My Theme My Theme Song
Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
Click Here


Above is Erika and her friend Natalie Bean beside Erika's lift.
Our basement is now so stocked for the winter that it looks like Wal-Mart.
Below are several autumn pictures from our living room.

Below is a picture of my work station in the front porch.
Just outside the window you can see our fat Blue Jays eating wild cranberries.

Below are pictures of my outside studio/office and my newly-painted wishing well.


The Three Graces are on the left (below), although they're more popularly known as the three Cannon Balls since
they butt up against Cannon Mountain (not shown on the left). On the right you can see Kinsman Mountain.


In the above pictures you can see the snow plow used to plow our road. It sits ominously
amidst the beautiful fall foliage that signals the changing season up here. I bought a new
snow blower for the trim work. Erika gets really upset when I shovel deep snow.

Below Mount Washington sends an even stronger signal that blizzards will soon be pounding on
our walls. Most blizzards roar in from Northwest, but on occasion
strong Nor'easters pound in from the Atlantic Ocean side of the mountains.
Last April a Nor'easter blew off half the shingles on one side of our cottage.
We now have over $60,000 invested in two new roofs since we moved up here.

Vermont's Green Mountains can be seen from our deck facing the west in the picture below.
I mow up to our fence. The other side of the fence is a golf course that I gratefully do not have to mow.
We get tons of leaves but I seldom rake much. The enormous mountain winds carry my leaves into
our woods to the south or the golf course to the west (heh, heh).

You can see the rest of my Autumn 2007 pictures in the 2007Nov folder at

From the Scout Report on November 2, 2007

What causes fall color? Experts explain 

Fall Foliage Maps 

The Miracle of Fall-About Fall Color 

Fall Colors for 2007 Autumn



Tidbits on November 8, 2007
Bob Jensen

Videos From Bob Jensen's Personal Camera (the pictures are clear but some of them lost a bit in the video) ---
The Tidbits.wmv video is narrated.

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

CPA Examination ---

You can read about Erika's surgeries and see her pictures at
Personal pictures are at
Some personal videos are at 

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

Set up free conference calls at
Also see   

World Clock ---

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  ---

Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Rick Monday makes the greatest play of all time in baseball ---

BBC History: Audio and Video ---

Teaching Math: A Video Library ---

How's the border fence doing thus far (video)? ---

Who's responsible for the most oil spills (Daryl Hannah does not face facts in extortion schemes according to the WSJ video) ---
Also see the "Amazon Swindle" by Bret Stephens at

Listening To Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life Along the North Pacific Coast ---

Carnegie Mellon Libraries: Digital Library Colloquium (video lectures) ---

Technology in Plain English (from The Chronicle of Higher Education) --- Click Here

Regenerating New Body Parts  (Video) ---

Your kitty's wakeup call ---

7 year old sings National Anthem ---

Through online videos:  Parkour practitioners run up walls, leap over rails, jump steps-just for fun 

The Art of Parkour: Capturing Extreme Jump Shots ---

Singer Robert Goulet Dies at 73 ---
Also see

What's My Line Nov. 4, 1962 (1 of 3) ---
What's My Line Nov. 4, 1962 (3 of 3 featuring Robert Goulet) ---

How many videos are on YouTube at this moment?
How many new videos are added (uploaded) on average each day?

The content on both and will be the same, but the Canadian site will highlight homegrown material, said international product manager Luis Garcia. The site becomes the 15th country-specific site, Garcia said. ''The only thing that's different is that this is just a Canadian lens into that content, so if a user wants to get the Canada point of view into that global body of content, then they're able to do that,'' Garcia told reporters at the launch event Tuesday in Toronto. That means that content uploaded by users in Canada will show up as ''top favorites'' and ''recommended content'' on the site. . . . YouTube, which was founded in February 2005, hosts more than 100 million video views every day with 65,000 new videos uploaded daily. Within a year after its launch, YouTube made headlines when Google Inc. acquired the company for US$1.65 billion worth of stock.
"Popular video-sharing site YouTube launches Canadian version," MIT's Technology Review, November 6, 2007
Recall that UC Berkeley has over 300 lectures (mostly in science) on YouTube ---
Other Open Courseware videos ---

How to search for videos and audio on the Internet ---

Free music downloads ---

Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' (Houston Grand Opera's terrific  full performance) --- 

Verdi's 'Simon Boccanegra' (full three acts from the Houston Grand Opera) ---

Edward Elgar's Post-War Concerto of Conviction ---

Julie Andrews (Love Story Slide Show) ---

Judy Garland ---

Review: SpiralFrog's tunes and videos are free to download, but users pay price in frustration ---

Over the Rhine has taken on a variety of forms since it was founded in 1989, but it's recently been reduced to the husband-and-wife duo of Linford Detweiler (bass, piano, guitar) and Karin Bergquist (guitar, vocals). Hear the bittersweet folk-pop band perform a concert from WXPN and the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, Pa. ---

New World: An American Composer's American Sojourn (not free)
Back in 1992, I helped organize a Faculty Summer Seminar on education technology. Among other things we invited in visiting speakers. The best speaker, in my opinion, was a UCLA music professor named Robert Winter who demonstrated his projects on Multimedia Beethoven, Multimedia Stravinsky, and Multimedia Mozart. I still use some of his work in my dog and pony shows on education technology. I finally wore out my favorite CD --- Multimedia Beethoven after all these years. On October 25, 2007 Robert Winter sent me the following message:

Hi Bob -- Nice to hear from you again. Beethoven is, alas, no longer available, but if you can wait a few weeks I have a new interactive DVD called From the New World: An American Composer's American Sojourn. Interactive from the inside out, its 4,500 screens, 1,000 color images, 600+ music examples, and nearly 70 videos explore a cultural and musical history of America from the 1890s until the First World War. It's far and away my best work yet. You can read more about it at: 

We hope to be shipping by mid-November.

Best wishes,


You can read more about Robert Winter at bios/RWinter.html


Photographs and Art

Watch an artist at work (video) --- Click Here

Satellite Pictures of California Wildfires ---
Also see

Decorated and Decorative Paper Collection ---

The New York Botanical Garden: International Plant Science Center Field Research ---

Rio PowerPoint Pictures ---

Posters of Smiling, albeit vicious, dictators ---

Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired By Ancient Rome ---

American Architectural Foundation ---

Nice autumn pictures forwarded by Ed Scribner ---

Yale University Library: The Map Collection ---

Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World ---

Unearthing Egypt's Greatest Temple ---
Sekhmet ---
Links to Sekhmet Sites ---


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

BBC History: Audio and Video ---

Arizona-Sonora Documents Online --- Autumn

Mudfog And Other Sketches by Charles Dickens --- Click Here

The Lamplighter by Charles Dickens --- Click Here

The Sub That Sank a Train ---

Rare Book Room ---

Open Library ---
For a good review, see offers thousands of free books for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast. To find the book you desire to read, start by looking through the author index ---

Finnegans Wake Extensible Elucidation Treasury ---

Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) --- Click Here

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) --- Click Here

From the University of Pennsylvania
PENNsound [audio poetry, literature, and reviews) ---

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. ---

Great electronic "books" from the University of Texas and Princeton University
Dante Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise (a multimedia learning experience) ---
Also see Princeton University's contribution (in Italian or English) ---
          Princeton's versions have both lectures and multimedia!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

Emma by Jane Austen --- Click Here

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

Persuasion by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

Sense And Sensibility by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here


Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

 T S Eliot, Choruses from ‘The Rock’ as quoted by John Brignell --- October.htm

"Role of Islam in Rwanda" ---
From PBS Frontline Television
Much of the genocide in Rwanda, including deaths of his U.N. peacekeepers, can be traced to the rotten leadership of Kofi Annan, then head of the UN during the Clinton Presidency ---

The death toll from a devastating suicide bombing in northern Afghanistan rose to 52 on Wednesday, making it the worst single suicide bombing in the country since 2001, government officials said . . . On Tuesday, a suicide attacker detonated a large bomb as a parade of schoolchildren, teachers and elders welcomed a parliamentary delegation from Kabul. “Based on the tally by the police department,” said Mohammad Alam Rasikh, the provincial governor, “so far, 52 people were found dead and 102 are injured.”
The New York Times, November 7, 2007 ---

Europe Wants U.S. Coal:  I wonder if Sweden, the home of the Nobel Prize, also increased its demand for coal?
Even though it costs more to ship across the Atlantic than it does to by it in U.S. commodities markets

Now that the price of coal is at a historic low relative to oil, there's no stopping consumers and producers alike from embracing Al Gore's nightmare. A ton of U.S. coal is so cheap at about $47 that European utilities will pay $50 to ship it across the Atlantic, according to Galbraith's Ltd., a 263-year-old London shipbroker. While oil and coal cost the same as recently as 1998, West Texas Intermediate crude is five times more expensive after climbing to a record $96.24 on Nov. 1. Peabody Energy Corp., Consol Energy Inc. and Arch Coal Inc., the three biggest U.S. coal companies, forecast the largest increase in exports in 20 years, degrading the call for a moratorium on coal plants by former U.S. Vice President and this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. Coal use worldwide has grown 27 percent since 2002, three times faster than crude, said BP Plc. U.S. East Coast coal has risen 71 percent, while oil tripled on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Christopher Martin, "Gore Nightmare Wins as Europe Pays to Ship U.S. Coal (Update1), Bloomberg News, November 5, 2007 ---
Total coal imports have increased dramatically ---

One commenter underscores the futility of seeking the answer to dependence on foreign oil in ethanol by noting that the United States consumes 150 billion gallons of gasoline a year (excluding all other derivatives of oil, including diesel fuel and kerosene). To produce the equivalent energy content in ethanol would, the commenter suggests, require harvesting 600 million acres of corn (versus the current 90 million), covering an area of nearly a million square miles--an area larger than all U.S. farmland.
Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, November 4, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
And this says nothing about requiring immense amounts of natural gas for the conversion of corn into ethanol. Ethanol is a farm subsidy, but it is no cure for the energy crisis.

"We're hearing, particularly from African-American women, on this issue. Michelle and I have talked about it and prayed about it," and the couple is confident about the job the Secret Service is doing to protect him. Concerns about his safety "shouldn't be an excuse or a reason" for blacks not voting for him, he said.
DeWayne Wickham quoting Barach Obama, "The Safety Dance," The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2007 ---  
Jensen Comment
We might extrapolate this reasoning to a hypothesis that many people who voted for George Bush in the 2004 election did so because they hoped he'd be murdered.

It doesn't matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera — audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall's surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films. Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror. "Rendition," which features three Oscar winners in key roles, grossed $4.1 million over the weekend in 2,250 screens for a ninth-place finish. A re-release of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" beat it, and it's 14 years old.
Christian Toto, Washington Times, October 25, 2007 ---

The children of Che Guevara, the revolutionary pin-up, had been invited to Tehran University to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their father's death and celebrate the growing solidarity between "the left and revolutionary Islam" at a conference partly paid for by Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president. There were fraternal greetings and smiles all round as America's "earth-devouring ambitions" were denounced. But then one of the speakers, Hajj Saeed Qassemi, the co-ordinator of the Association of Volunteers for Suicide-Martyrdom (who presumably remains selflessly alive for the cause), revealed that Che was a "truly religious man who believed in God and hated communism and the Soviet Union." Che's daughter Aleida wondered if something might have been lost in translation. "My father never mentioned God," she said, to the consternation of the audience. "He never met God." During the commotion, Aleida and her brother were led swiftly out of the hall and escorted back to their hotel. "By the end of the day, the two Guevaras had become non-persons. The state-controlled media suddenly forgot their existence," the Iranian writer Amir Taheri noted.
Sarah Baxter, The London Times, October 21, 2007 ---

The British conservative Enoch Powell once famously said that all political careers end in failure. John Bolton's career, as we read in the opening pages of "Surrender Is Not an Option," began with the defeat of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, on which he had served as a teenage volunteer. It is a disarming start to the memoir of a man usually caricatured as a bombastic tub-thumper. In any case, history records that John Bolton bounced back from this disappointment, rose through the Republican ranks in the 1980s and, after loyal service interpreting Floridian chads during the 2000 election count, found himself propelled into high office. He tells the rest of the story with a focus, brutality and exasperation that will give pain and pleasure in all the right places. Among Mr. Bolton's pungent chapter titles ("Sisyphus in the Twilight Zone," "Why Do I Want This Job?"), my favorite may be "Following the Yellow Cake Road on North Korea." Certainly "The Wizard of Oz" would have served as good preparation for Mr. Bolton's two Bush-era portfolios: undersecretary of state for arms control (2001-05) and U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations (2005-06). Mr. Bolton often finds himself in a fantasy-fueled Munchkinland in which all the problems of the Middle East are blamed on Israel and the Iranian quest for a nuclear bomb is either denied or ignored--or justified as a legitimate response to U.S. and Zionist hegemony . . . In the end, history will record all this as a question of judgment. If Iran is peacefully persuaded to stop short of the final turn of the screwdriver--or even if Tehran uses a nuclear device it develops "responsibly"--then Ms. Rice, Mr. Powell and "the Euroids" will be vindicated. But if--as seems more likely--the Iranians develop a deliverable nuclear device and put it in the hands of the zealots currently running the country, then we shall rue the day that John Bolton stepped down. After all, to adapt Goldwater, restraint in the pursuit of durable solutions is no virtue, and robustness in pursuit of American interests is no vice.
Brendan Simms, "Blunt Diplomacy:  John Bolton's new memoir shows tha the's no neocon,"  The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2007

Saban Center for Middle East Policy ---

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
Eric Hoffer
--- Click Here

The surgeon general really needs to slap a health warning on the New York Times. My blood pressure increases a few points every time I read it. This week, the newspaper of record pimped the Next Great American Education Fad: In-school yoga classes.
According to the piece,
Less Homework, More Yoga, From a Principal Who Hates Stress,” the head of Needham High School in the Boston suburbs is pushing “stress reduction” through better stretching and breathing. Principal Paul Richards, who last earned nationwide mockery when he ditched publishing the honor roll, is part-Oprah, part-Deepak Chopra, part-Richard Simmons, and all edu-babble.
Michelle Malkin, National Review Online, October 31, 2007 --- Click Here

A good review from the critics is just another stay of execution.
Dustin Hoffman --- Click Here

They hold elections in November because November is the best time of year for picking out a turkey.
Maxine ---

Voting is like choosing your favorite mosquito out of a swarm.
Maxine ---

The Democratic strategy is to attach an anti-arbitration provision to nearly every new law in order to limit non-lawsuit dispute settlement. Thus a House lending bill this week bans pre-dispute arbitration agreements related to mortgages, another House bill bans them in cases involving whistleblowers, and the Senate farm bill bans them even in meatpacking contracts. The mother of them all is a bill that lunges to fulfill the trial bar's long-cherished dream: prohibiting all Americans from voluntarily agreeing at the start of any business relationship to settle disputes without litigation. Arbitration, which avoids the cost and time of going to court, has proven to be a popular form of alternative dispute resolution. Even lawyers concede its virtues. In 2003, an American Bar Association survey found that 78% of lawyers "believe that arbitration is generally timelier than litigation, and 56% feel it is more cost effective."
"Party at Ralph's (as in Nadar), The Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2007; Page A22 ---
Jensen Comment
The trial lawyers are already counting the sugar plums of a Democratic landslide in 2008

U. S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, has spent the better part of the last decade running for president. He actively sought the office in 2000 and lost handily to George W. Bush. Since that time, he has done everything he could think of to antagonize the base of his own party. Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-TN, acts as if the thought of running for president just occurred to him five minutes ago. Some days he acts as though it still hasn't occurred to him. For very different reasons, these two men, with their totally different approaches to politics, have probably...
Doug Patton, "For Thompson And McCain, It's Too Little Too Late," GOP USA, November 6, 2007 

How do we know global warming isn't Mother Nature having a hot flash?
Maxine ---

Mr. Christy is director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a participant in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-recipient of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see. Rather, I see a reliance on climate models (useful but never "proof") and the coincidence that changes in carbon dioxide and global temperatures have loose similarity over time . . . I haven't seen that type of climate humility lately. Rather I see jump-to-conclusions advocates and, unfortunately, some scientists who see in every weather anomaly the specter of a global-warming apocalypse. Explaining each successive phenomenon as a result of human action gives them comfort and an easy answer. Others of us scratch our heads and try to understand the real causes behind what we see. We discount the possibility that everything is caused by human actions, because everything we've seen the climate do has happened before. Sea levels rise and fall continually. The Arctic ice cap has shrunk before. One millennium there are hippos swimming in the Thames, and a geological blink later there is an ice bridge linking Asia and North America.

John R. Christie
, "My Nobel Moment," The Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2007; Page A19 ---

You can't say Charlie Rangel lacks for ambition. The House Ways and Means Chairman has been saying he wants to pass "the mother of all tax reforms," and even that doesn't do justice to the trillion-dollar tax baby he delivered unto Washington yesterday. No one thinks his plan has a chance of becoming law this year, but its beauty is as a signal of Democratic intentions for 2009. In proposing what would be the largest tax increase in history, Mr. Rangel is showing the world what he wants the tax code to look like if Democrats run the entire government. None of the Presidential candidates will admit this before November 2008, but give Mr. Rangel credit for having the courage of Hillary Clinton's convictions.
"Trillion-Dollar Baby Charlie Rangel's very revealing tax increase," The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2007 ---

Charlie Rangel and other liberal leaders want to raise tax rates even if it means lower tax revenues . . . Nobel Peace laureate Al Gore believes global warming is "an inconvenient truth." Here are some economic truths that America's liberal leadership finds too inconvenient to support. Tax rate reductions increase tax revenues. This truth has been proved at both state and federal levels, including by President Bush's 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends. Those reductions have raised federal tax receipts by $785 billion, the largest four-year revenue increase in U.S. history. In fiscal 2007, which ended last month, the government took in 6.7% more tax revenues than in 2006. These increases in tax revenue have substantially reduced the federal budget deficits. In 2004 the deficit was $413 billion, or 3.5% of gross domestic product. It narrowed to $318 billion in 2005, $248 billion in 2006 and $163 billion in 2007. That last figure is just 1.2% of GDP, which is half of the average of the past 50 years.
Pete Du Pont
, "Inconvenient Tax Truths," The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2007 ---

The next country to adopt Reaganite tax reduction policies likely will be Scotland. Alex Salmond, who serves as "First Minister" and heads his government's ruling coalition, was in New York recently to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and deliver a message to the global investor community that his nation is hungry for investment. The occasion was the Royal Bank of Scotland's new listing on the Big Board . . . In 1900, Scotland was one of the world's three richest nations in per capita income, but it turned socialist, as so many European nations did, after World War II. It got rich again the easy way in the 1980s with the discovery of North Sea oil. But high taxes have inhibited capitalizing on the petro-dollars to create a sustained economic expansion. Scotland's problem now is that it only controls 15% of its tax system. The U.K. has veto power over the rest, including reductions in corporate taxes. But if British P.M. Gordon Brown signs off on the tax cut, Scotland may be able to duplicate the Irish Miracle in the years ahead. "We want to imitate the Irish success story," Mr. Salmond says. Ireland's tax-cutting policies aren't just a model for Scotland but for the U.S., which lately finds itself lagging in global competition because of relatively high tax rates on job creators.
Stephen Moore, Opinion Journal, October 31, 2007

A mandatory University of Delaware program requires residence hall students to acknowledge that "all whites are racist" and offers them "treatment" for any incorrect attitudes regarding class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality they might hold upon entering the school, according to a civil rights group.
Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily, October 30, 2007 --- 
After the program was brought to light in the media, Delaware dropped this program ---  

Dictatorships bear paradoxes. I came across a set of them 10 years ago, when I hosted a dinner for two female Iranian medical students who'd come to Yale Medical School on a rare academic exchange program. These impressive women had climbed to the top 10th percentile in a man's profession, in a man's country. But I was stunned to learn that -- despite 16 years of education at some of Iran's premiere schools -- neither had ever heard of the word "Holocaust," or thought of Hitler as anything but the German equivalent of Napoleon. Tehran's Holocaust denial did not begin with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It began in 1979 with the Islamic Revolution and the subsequent miseducation of the entire post-revolutionary generation. The Holocaust did not exist in the textbooks of my two young guests, and there was hardly any literature about it in Persian . . . The good news is that Iran is now home to a highly rebellious young generation that is deeply disenchanted with the status quo and suspicious of government propaganda in all its forms, including misinformation about Jews and Israel. Iranians actually possess a healthy curiosity toward Israel. In the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, for example, young Iranians were reportedly not interested in supporting Hezbollah, and were vehemently against their government's investment in it. Unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad steals the spotlight. With his threats toward Israel and his dreams of a nuclear Iran he has engendered a fear, however legitimate, that too often blinds Western and Israeli leaders of the broader, more complex realities of the Iranian people. American, European and Israeli media are full of dire warnings about the threat of a nuclear Iran. There is little mention of the plight of the Iranians themselves, or the ripe opportunity presented by a nation disenchanted with 30 years of theocratic rule: A people that has historically been friendly to Jews, can, with some effort, be so once again.
Roya Hakakian, "Holocaust Denial and Tehran," The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2007 ---

The new album from The Eagles, Long Road Out of Eden, is just one long, sustained attack on the integrity of the United States and is as bad as any loud-mouthed Dixie Chicks diatribe. With songs prosaically about Global Warming and the evil American “empire,” seemingly the only one of the band who just wanted to entertain the fans was Joe Walsh, the others too puffed up with their own sense of superiority to bother. Unfortunately, what we have here just another exclamation from pampered rock stars that they are smarter, more environmentally friendly and more caring than the rest of us... but be sure and buy more albums for gifts folks!
Warner Todd Huston, NewsBusters, November 5, 2007 ---

When does MSNBC give up on Olbermann? Even the hard core looney lefties are tired of his constant complaining and Bush Derangement Syndrome. You can only listen to the whining, moaning, blaming, and bitching so long before even the hard core get sick of it.
"Olbermann's Tanking Ratings Against BIllO," Inside Cable News, November 2, 2007 ---
O’Reilly Factor- 2,723,000 viewers at 8:00 p.m. on November 2, 2007
Countdown w/ Olbermann- 793,000 at 8:00 p.m. on November 2, 2007
Audiences are tired of Keith Oberman's negativism in general and predictions that the U.S. is going down the toilet. He  needs to carefully study "Hits the Nail on the Head" ---
Example videos from the always-whining CNBC commentator who never smiles:
A totally incompetent Condoleza Rice is untrustworthy (NBC's Keith Olbermann calls our Secretary of State an outright liar) ---
The beginning of the end of America (NBC's Keith Olbermann) --- 
General Petreaus is really General Betray Us? (NBC's Keith Olbermann calls our top general in Iraq an outright liar) ---

Thousands of Hezbollah guerrillas staged secret military maneuvers without weapons or uniforms near Israel's border in southern Lebanon, a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper reported Monday. The Lebanese government downplayed the report as probably just a simulation. Al-Akhbar, a pro-Hezbollah newspaper, said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah personally supervised the maneuvers, which it reported were carried out in the last three days and were the biggest ever staged on Israel's border by the Shiite Muslim militant group. Monday's report marked the first time Hezbollah, with its highly secretive military wing, revealed such exercises through a newspaper. The maneuvers, if confirmed, could pose a major challenge to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's war with the Jewish state. 
Sam H. Ghatta, "Report: Hezbollah Stages Maneuvers," ABC News, November 5, 2007 ---

Dumping, the practice of selling goods in foreign markets at lower prices than you charge for them in your home market, is the protectionists' favorite bogeyman. In the past, the EU has used antidumping measures to slap higher import duties on, for example, shoes from China, plastic bags from Thailand, bed linens from Pakistan, television sets from Korea and salmon from Norway. These duties are not small change. The tax on iron tubes from South Korea, requested by a group called the "Defense Committee of EU Steel Butt-Welding Fittings Industry," is nearly 12 times higher than the standard EU tariff on this product. Antidumpers like to represent the process by which such decisions are made, and the calculations on which they are based, as technical and objective. That's simply not true. Antidumping calculations always require difficult judgments -- to determine if dumping has actually taken place and if domestic industries have actually been harmed by it. Exporters to the EU often find themselves on the losing side of those judgments. What's more, the EU antidumping authority invariably neglects to properly examine whether the net effect of a punitive tariff is good for the European economy. The effect is certainly not positive in all cases, and probably not even in most cases. In the first place, a duty inevitably raises the prices that consumers pay. That's fairly straightforward and acknowledged by antidumping authorities themselves.
Brian Hindley and Fredrik Erixon, "Dumping Protectionism,"  The Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2007 ---

It took more than six years to try former Philippine President Joseph Estrada for plunder. It took barely six weeks for current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to pardon him after his conviction. While that's her prerogative, the signal it sends about the battle on corruption in Manila isn't encouraging. Mr. Estrada was charged in 2001 with enriching himself to the tune of $93 million through various schemes such as kickbacks from an illegal gambling operation while he was president from 1998 to 2001. The verdict handed down in September by Manila's special anti-corruption court stretched to 183 pages. The judges found Mr. Estrada guilty of most, although not all, of the counts laid against him and sentenced him to 40 years in jail, effectively a life term for the 70-year-old.
"The Estrada Effect," The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2007 ---

With the holidays approaching, a Wall Street colleague may sidle up and suggest a contribution to the SIV Superfund. Your esoteric reading is likely to lead you astray here. This is not a campaign to cure the simian immunodeficiency virus, a subject that recently occupied you for hours on Wikipedia. It's a self-help bailout fund organized by banks for their friendly neighborhood "structured investment vehicles." . . . Banks are supposed to know better than to borrow short and lend long, which can be profitable as heck until short-term rates skyrocket or short-term lenders disappear altogether. No, banks didn't commit this folly directly. They set up off-balance-sheet SIVs to borrow short and lend long, while shifting some of the proceeds back to the bank sponsors as fat "fees." Citigroup, for one, collected $24 million last year from its biggest SIV, equivalent to about 38% of the profits funneled to outside investors. But weren't the outside investors supposed to bear any loss? Otherwise the banks were obliged to recognize the SIVs on their own balance sheets with suitable reserves. Yet now you hear murmurs that banks offered informal guarantees and staked their "reputational capital" to lure investor cash into the SIVs. Some say that contributing to the superfund would be contributing to "moral hazard," i.e., encouraging bad behavior.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., "UnimpresSIV," The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2007; Page A20 ---
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at

Enthusiasts for government-financed health care don't seem to mind playing Pangloss. All is for the best in the best of all possible systems, which would have the government as single payer, aka "Medicare for all." The frequent claim is that eliminating profits and private administrative expenses would more than pay for the cost of covering all the uninsured. Well -- no, as demonstrated in a new study by Benjamin Zycher, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a former senior economist for the Reagan Council of Economic Advisers. He estimates that the real economic costs of moving to single payer would be at least twice those of today's semimarket patchwork. "Administrative" costs, generally speaking, are those not directly funding medical care but instead spent to deliver insurance benefits. Sure enough, on paper Medicare's are about 3% of outlays, compared to 11% to 14% for the private system. But Mr. Zycher notes that a more accurate measure of Medicare's administration would include other indirect federal services, such as tax collection, which round them up by about double. Fold in the incentives for the uninsured to consume more medical services under single-payer than they do now, and those "savings" are revealed as make-believe.
"Medicare for All?" The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2007; Page A18 ---

Not Even One Conservative for Tokenism:  Duke is for Democrats and so is the University of Iowa
The University of Iowa's history department and Duke's history department have a couple of things in common. Both have made national news because neither has a Republican faculty member. And both rejected the application of Mark Moyar, a highly qualified historian and a Republican, for a faculty appointment. Moyar graduated first in the history department at Harvard; his revised senior thesis was published as a book and sold more copies than an average history professor ever sells. After earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in England, he published his dissertation as "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965" with Cambridge University Press, which has received even more attention and praise. Moyar's views of Vietnam are controversial and have garnered scorn and abuse from liberal historians, including the department chair at the University of Iowa, Colin Gordon. Moyar revealed on his resume that he is a member of the National Association of Scholars, a group generally to the right of the normal academic organization. Gordon and his colleagues at Iowa were undoubtedly aware of Moyar's conservative leaning and historical view. Moyar is undoubtedly qualified. He is unquestionably diverse; his views are antithetical to many of the Iowa professors' views. Yet the Iowa department hired someone who had neither received degrees from institutions similar to Cambridge and Harvard nor published a book despite having completed graduate school eight years earlier (history scholars are expected to publish books within approximately six years of finishing their doctorates). In the Iowa history department there are 27 Democrats and zero Republicans. The Iowa hiring guidelines mandate that search committees "assess ways the applicants will bring rich experiences, diverse backgrounds and ideology to the university community." After seeking a freedom of information disclosure, Moyar learned that the Iowa history department had, in fact, not complied with the hiring manual. It seemed that Moyar was rejected for his political and historical stands. Maybe it was an unlikely aberration. But Moyar told the Duke College Republicans earlier this fall that he is skeptical because an application of his a few years ago at Duke for a history professorship progressed in much the same way it proceeded in Iowa.
The Duke Chronicle, November 1, 2007 --- Click Here

Court papers released Thursday in Britney Spears' custody dispute with Kevin Federline show she spends lavishly on clothes and entertainment, and doesn't save or invest any of her roughly $737,000 monthly income....she spends zero on education, savings and investments and gives $500 a month in charitable contributions..
The Washington Post, November 2, 2007 ---

Sometimes its really hard to understand the actions of students

The student, who was not identified, had complained that swastikas appeared on her door over a period of several days last month. A hidden camera positioned in response to the postings in Mitchell Hall, one of the school dormitories, led police to interview the student, who admitted responsibility, according to spokesman Tracy Schario. The student will not face student judicial action and officials will determine whether any District or federal laws were broken, Schario said.
"Another 'Hate' Hoax," The Washington Post, November 6, 2007 --- 

Police officers in Bannockburn, Ill., have charged a black female student at Trinity International University with sending the threatening notes that led the institution to evacuate its minority students last week. The student will be charged with disorderly conduct and a hate crime. Her name has not been released. According to the police, the student confessed that she had sent the notes because she wanted to convince her parents that she should leave the university, which is located outside of Chicago. Law enforcement and Trinity International officials now believe that the university’s minority students were never in danger. The notes made specific threats of violence toward minority students and prompted the university to send all of its minority students to off-campus hotels. The evacuation attracted nationwide attention from the news media . . .
Scott Jaschik, "Hoax at Trinity International," Inside Higher Ed, April 27, 2005 ---

Annual Index of Economic Freedom ---

War Veterans versus Children's School Desks ---

Where do you rank in terms of annual income and total net worth?
Jensen Comment
It may surprise you how many full professors are in the top percentiles in terms of academic-year salaries (before tax) plus supplementary income and how many senior professors have TIAA-CREF and other savings net worth in the top 10th percentile. The top fifty percent of income earners purportedly pay over 97% of all taxes (income, FICA, property, estate, gift, sales taxes, and other) collected from individuals in the U.S.
You can read more about tax collections at

"Where Do You Stand on America's Wealth Spectrum?" by Lee Eisenberg, Yahoo Finance, November 6, 2007 ---'s-Wealth-Spectrum

Annual income parking ramp
Income level (percentile) Median income (rounded)
Level VI (90 to 100) $170,000
Level V (80 to 89.9) $99,000
Level IV (60 to 79.9) $65,000
Level III (40 to 59.9) $40,000
Level II (20 to 39.9) $24,000
Level I (less than 20) $10,000
Source: Before-Tax Family Income, 2001 Federal Reserve Board Survey 

So does making $170,000 a year make a person rich? Last year a plurality of respondents (29 percent) in a survey by The New York Times said that "rich" was making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year. Unfortunately, the survey didn't break out how many people in that salary range considered themselves rich. If the people I talk to are any indication, very few do.

Of course, income is only one part of the equation defining where you stand. Net worth is more telling. Net worth, as every financially precocious schoolchild knows, is the sum of one's assets -- home equity, investments, savings accounts, retirement funds, cars, furnishings and such things as jewelry, furs, wine collection, old baseball cards -- minus all outstanding liabilities such as mortgage balance, revolving and credit card debt, college loans and so on. Across all households, the national median net worth is $86,000. Half of your fellow citizens have more than that, half less. As you see, there's a massive disparity between the haves and have-nots.

Net worth parking ramp

Net worth (percentile) Median net worth (rounded)
Level VI (90 to 100) $833,600
Level V (80 to 89.9) $263,100
Level IV (60 to 79.9) $141,500
Level III (40 to 59.9) $62,500
Level II (20 to 39.9) $37,200
Level I (less than 20) $7,900
Source: Family Net Worth, 2001 Federal Reserve Board Survey

We live in a country that once celebrated itself as egalitarian, yet 1 percent of the population -- nearly 3 million people -- currently has as much money as the 100 million people at the bottom of the ramp.

Yet when I ask those at the top of the ramp how they feel about the future, whether their fortunate place on the ramp gives them a measure of confidence about it, they shake their heads. They give me a look that says, "What planet do you park on?"

You and your broker If you're not parked near the top of the ramp, you're of little or no interest to financial services firms and financial advisers. There's no money to be made at these levels. Last year, a handful of Wall Street firms told their brokers they would no longer receive commissions on accounts holding less than $50,000. This effectively tells people with nano-Numbers to get lost. But for the Wall Street firms, there's gold on the floors above. The greater the household assets, the more fees and transaction costs can be extracted from an account. The result is a flood of advertising that captures a lifestyle so gloriously affluent it's enough to make everybody feel poor.

Those who manage Numbers break customers down into innumerable segments to better target them through their marketing efforts. These segments take into consideration all the usual demographic characteristics, such as age, income and net worth. Other segmentation models define you according to psychographic qualities: personal interests, leisure-time activities, whether you are active or passive when it comes to managing your affairs -- including, for instance, how comfortable you are using a computer. Once a financial services company figures it has your Number, it will use what it thinks are the most effective channels to get its hands on it. It will place advertising in the magazines and newspapers you read and the television shows and Web sites you browse. And it will probe you incessantly through the mailbox, testing or selling financial products and services.

The Number industry divides people on the top floors of the garage into three broad segments of wealth, each of which is nicely profitable.

The biggest and broadest affluent segment consists of people with investable assets of between $200,000 and $1 million to $2 million. This group is sometimes referred to as mass affluent, and it would be fair to think of it as the meat and potatoes of the financial services business. If you're at the lower end of that range -- if you have, say, $300,000 in your accounts -- you're definitely of prime interest to the brokers and customer reps at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, Vanguard and the rest. But they need to be careful lest you cost them money.

To assign a real live broker (oops, financial consultant) to a client who keeps too low a Number is tantamount to Safeway assigning a personal shopper to anyone who comes in to buy a quart of milk. Still, there are profitable ways for financial services firms to serve smaller customers: the telephone, assuming they can keep the calls short and to the point and, better still, the online channel, where self-service is highly cost-effective. This is not to say that firms aren't happy to see you walk into their investment centers for a quick hello and a fill-out-the-papers session. They'll shake your hand, put an arm around your shoulder, even pour you a cup of coffee. After that, the more you manage your own modest Number, the better for them and the more cost-effective for you.

The next segment up from mass affluent is where the action gets white hot. This parking level belongs to those designated as high net worth individuals (or HNWIs). There are no universal criteria here. Generally, HNWIs have invested assets of at least $1 million, although some companies also target younger households with healthy six-figure incomes, knowing that their net worth is likely to reach target levels in the near future. Right now there are well over 7 million high net worth households in the United States, with a forecasted growth rate of 16 percent a year and projected assets of $32 trillion. Yum.

If their marketing efforts are any indication, Wall Street firms see HNWIs as the happiest people in the world, no matter that so many of them are, rightly or wrongly, distressed over their long-term prospects. Distress is not what's pictured in the ads. The ads are filled with images of zippy seniors who flash large white teeth and incredibly healthy gums. They dance. They jog. They bike. They fish. They golf. They snuggle. According to the ads, life is a theme park expressly designed for the middle-aged. Graying boomers waltz across their living rooms, raise glasses to one another on the decks of ocean liners and exchange smiles secure in the knowledge that a surefire blue-steel erection is just a pill away. These ads remind us that we are living in the Golden Age of Aging. Not only are we younger and healthier than middle-aged people used to be, many of us would probably have been blind, disabled or dead by now had we had the bad luck to have been born just a tiny bit sooner.

Valet parking If you've made it onto the top levels of the ramp -- say you have at least $5 million in investments -- you are deemed to be an ultra high net worth individual (or UHNWI). This is a very nice position to hold in life, all the sweeter thanks to recent federal tax cuts. People earning $10 million a year hand over a smaller percentage of their income to the government than those earning a tenth of that and -- to a great degree -- escape the "gotcha" snare of the alternative minimum tax, according to The New York Times. The treatment extended to a UHNWI approaches that accorded to royalty. As a UHNWI, you aren't offered a cardboard cup of day-old sludge from a Mr. Coffee machine. Now you qualify for a china cup of freshly brewed java from a gleaming French press. They'd better get another grinder or two. The Boston Consulting Group reports that 3,000 new households a year lay claim to $20 million or more in invested assets. Should you be among them, put your feet up and just whistle for service.

If getting yourself to a firm's teak-paneled office is too much of a schlep, the investment advisers will high-tail it to you. They'll be more than delighted to take you to dinner at the best place in town and toast your success with the finest vintages on the menu. They go to this expense because they obviously respect your business prowess and find you personally charming. Mostly, though, they admire you for your assets. They will ply you with leather binders filled with laser-printed pie charts, bar graphs and three-dimensional wave diagrams. Over dessert, they will produce PowerPoint slides that show how your nest egg will incubate and eventually burgeon into a soaring phoenix that will carry your Number higher and higher, all thanks to their nurturing and personal attention.

There is yet one more place to park, higher up and more exclusive still. This spot is for people for whom even discreet, private banking is déclassé. On this level of the ramp you forgo the wealth managers at even the toniest trust companies and rely instead on your own "family office," complete with its own in-house investment manager and staff.

Typically, families with family offices have $100 million, $500 million, $1 billion, enough to blow off even the Lehmans, the Goldmans and the Northern Trusts of the world. At present, there are approximately 5,000 family offices around the country. Family offices are not for strivers -- at least not yet. But family offices may be going the way of fractional jets, shared yachts and high-end vacation-home clubs. People with only 20 million Numbers have begun to band together to create, in effect, multifamily offices to oversee their investments and estate planning.

Back down on the street, though, it's another world. Most people have to circle the block, just looking for a way to get into the damn garage.

Wikipedia has a great module on the history and theory of taxation ---

Who Pays America's Tax Burden, and Who Gets the Most Government Spending?
by Andrew Chamberlain, Gerald Prante and Scott A. Hodge
Special Report No. 151
March 22, 2007
Tax Foundation

Executive Summary
While many studies answer the question of who pays taxes in America, the question of who gets the most government spending is often overlooked. Just as some Americans bear a larger portion of the nation's tax burden than others, some Americans also receive a larger share of the nation's government spending.

This report summarizes the key findings of a comprehensive 2007 Tax Foundation study of federal, state and local taxes and government spending. The results show that when we consider the distribution of government spending as well as taxes, it provides a dramatically altered view of how U.S. fiscal policy affects Americans at different income levels than is apparent from the distribution of tax burdens alone.

Overall, we find that America's lowest-earning one-fifth of households received roughly $8.21 in government spending for each dollar of taxes paid in 2004. Households with middle-incomes received $1.30 per tax dollar, and America's highest-earning households received $0.41. Government spending targeted at the lowest-earning 60 percent of U.S. households is larger than what they paid in federal, state and local taxes. In 2004, between $1.03 trillion and $1.53 trillion was redistributed downward from the two highest income quintiles to the three lowest income quintiles through government taxes and spending policy.

These findings suggest tax distributions alone do not tell Americans how much the nation's fiscal system is helping or hurting low-income households. To answer that, we must look beyond tax burdens to government spending as well. Lawmakers who ignore the distribution of govern­ment spending risk making policy judgments based on an incorrect set of facts about the United States fiscal system.

Jensen Comment
Keep in mind that there are all sorts of definitional and externality problems when it comes to measuring how much is “received” from the government versus how much is “taxed.” For example, when a when the government provides each tobacco farmer with an allotment or quota on the amount of tobacco that can be grown per acre, the tobacco price is artificially increased without necessarily receiving a check from the government. The same thing happens to businesses and individuals who benefit from import or other quotas. The same thing could be accomplished by not having such allotment quotas and reimbursing farmers (from the government) for price differentials. Also the government may force direct transfer payments in the private sector in lieu of taxing and redistributing payments from Peter to pay Paul.

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at

Google Reader and Other Readers That Find News Feeds of Interest to You

First you should read about Google Reader at

Its main competitors are NewsGator Online, and Bloglines

Jim Mahar has "finance professor" blog at

Jim also shares Google Reader items in Jim's Shared Items that he commenced on November 3, 2007 at

Bob Jensen's take on blogs and listservs and Wikis ---
The tidbits below are consistent with what I’ve written many times.
The tidbits below are also available at ---

From the Author of "Dilbert"
"Giving Stuff Away on the Internet," by Scott Adams, The Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2007; Page A19 ---

I spend about a third of my workday blogging. Thanks to the miracle of online advertising, that increases my income by 1%. I balance that by hoping no one asks me why I do it.

As with most of my life decisions, my impulse to blog was a puzzling little soup of miscellaneous causes that bubbled and simmered until one day I noticed I was doing something. I figured I needed a rationalization in case anyone asked. My rationalization for blogging was especially hard to concoct. I was giving away my product for free and hoping something good came of it.

I did have a few "artist" reasons for blogging. After 18 years of writing "Dilbert" comics, I was itching to slip the leash and just once write "turd" without getting an email from my editor. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you aren't allowed to write in the way you talk, it's like using the wrong end of the shovel to pick up, for example, a turd.

Over time, I noticed something unexpected and wonderful was happening with the blog. I had an army of volunteer editors, and they never slept. The readers were changing the course of my writing in real time. I would post my thoughts on a topic, and the masses told me what they thought of the day's offering without holding anything back. Often they'd correct my grammar or facts and I'd fix it in minutes. They were in turns brutal and encouraging. They wanted more posts on some topics and less of others. It was like the old marketing saying, "Your customers tell you what business you're in."

At some point I realized we were collectively writing a book, or at least the guts of one. I compiled the most popular (mostly the funniest) posts and pitched it to a publisher. I got a six-figure advance, and picked a title indirectly suggested by my legion of accidental collaborators: "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey-Brain!"

As part of the book deal, my publisher asked me to delete the parts of my blog archive that would be included in the book. The archives didn't get much traffic, so I didn't think much about deleting them. This turned out to be a major blunder in the "how people think" category.

A surprising number of my readers were personally offended that I would remove material from the Internet that had once been free, even after they read it. It was as if I had broken into their homes and ripped the books off their shelves. They felt violated. And boy, I heard about it.

Some left negative reviews on to protest my crass commercialization. While no one has given the book a bad review for its content, a full half of the people who comment trash it for having once been free, as if that somehow mattered to the people who only read books on paper. In the end, the bad feeling I caused by not giving away my material for free forever will have a negative impact on book sales.

I've had mixed results with giving away content on the Internet. I was the first syndicated cartoonist to offer a comic on the Internet without charge ( That gave a huge boost to the newspaper sales and licensing. The ad income was good too. Giving away the "Dilbert" comic for free continues to work well, although it cannibalizes my reprint book sales to some extent, and a fast-growing percentage of readers bypass the online ads with widgets, unauthorized RSS feeds and other workarounds.

A few years ago I tried an experiment where I put the entire text of my book, "God's Debris," on the Internet for free, after sales of the hard copy and its sequel, "The Religion War" slowed. My hope was that the people who liked the free e-book would buy the sequel. According to my fan mail, people loved the free book. I know they loved it because they emailed to ask when the sequel would also be available for free. For readers of my non-Dilbert books, I inadvertently set the market value for my work at zero. Oops.

So I've been watching with great interest as the band "Radiohead" pursues its experiment with pay-what-you-want downloads on the Internet. In the near term, the goodwill has inspired lots of people to pay. But I suspect many of them are placing a bet that paying a few bucks now will inspire all of their favorite bands to offer similar deals. That's when the market value of music will approach zero.

That's my guess. Free is more complicated than you'd think.

Mr. Adams is the creator of "Dilbert" and author of "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey-Brain!" (Portfolio, 2007).

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing and open courseware ---

Do you know the difference between the following literature classifications?

Here's a somewhat interesting Wikipedia module on "Word Count" ---

The following is from MS Help for MS Word users

Some of the content in this topic may not be applicable to some languages.

  1. To count words in selected text only, select the text you want.

    If you don't select any text, Microsoft Word counts the words in the whole document.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Word Count.

    Word displays counts for words, paragraphs, lines, and characters.

  3. To add or remove footnotes and endnotes from the count, select or clear the Include footnotes and endnotes check box.

You can quickly recount the number of words, paragraphs, lines, and characters by using the Word Count toolbar. In the Word Count dialog box, click Show Toolbar, and then close the dialog box.

Note  Footnotes and endnotes are included in the count depending on whether the Include footnotes and endnotes check box is selected in the Word Count dialog box.

Of course it is difficult or impossible to get your computer to count words that are embedded in picture files such as pictures of exhibits.

Is there any software for counting words of all documents in a Website (apart from words in pictures?)?
Frankly I doubt it!

Have you considered student writing assignments for entries into (or commentaries on existing entries) Wikepedia?

"When Wikipedia Is the Assignment," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, October 29, 2007 ---

Wikipedia: time-saver for students, bane of professors everywhere.

Or is it?

If there’s one place where scholars should be able to question assumptions about the use of technology in the classroom (and outside of it), it’s the annual Educause conference, which wrapped up on Friday in Seattle. At a morning session featuring a professor and a specialist in learning technology from the University of Washington at Bothell, presenters showed how Wikipedia — often viewed warily by educators who worry that students too readily accept unverifiable information they find online — can be marshaled as a central component of a course’s syllabus rather than viewed as a resource to be banned or reluctantly tolerated.

That’s what Martha Groom, a professor at the university’s Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences program, tried to do for the first time last fall by requiring term papers to be submitted to the popular, user-edited online encyclopedia. The project comes at a time when instructors and administrators continue to debate the boundaries of certain technologies within the classroom and how to adapt to students’ existing online habits.

At first glance, a college term paper and a Wikipedia entry appear to have little in common. Term papers are intended for an “extremely limited audience, namely, me,” as Groom pointed out, they have little impact outside of the classroom and are constrained to a specific “time” and “place” in the world of ink-on-paper documents. “That is not a very good model of scholarship, to say that anything you produce [belongs] in this tiny space,” she said.

On the other hand, shared, public online documents have characteristics in common with parts of the academic review process. “The shift to thinking about placing the term paper as a Wikipedia encyclopedia entry allows for another level of peer review,” Groom said. Such entries have references and citations; allow for a process of repeated, continual editing; and encourage collaborations between authors.

They also reach a much wider audience, through the Wikipedia site and search engines. “How do you motivate students to do their best work?” she asked — implying that the answer lies in the possibility of others viewing it. The public nature of Wikipedia content also means that, in theory, students would be less likely to reuse others’ material as their own.

“[The Wikipedia guidelines] very clearly state that ... the onus is on you, not on them, so you’ll be the one who catches anything if you [post] any copyrighted material,” said Andreas Brockhaus, the manager of learning technologies at the university.

Groom’s first attempt at incorporating Wikipedia into a class came in the fall of 2006, when she required her students to make a major revision to an existing article or to create one of their own, with a minimum of 1,500 words, for 60 percent of the grade. The assignment, for her course on environmental history and globalization, encompassed an initial proposal, a first draft, revisions and peer review, after which students would post the final article to the Web site. For the next semester, and after student feedback, Groom decided to lower the weight of the assignment (to 40 percent of the grade) and have students work in groups.

She first required her students to complete Wikipedia’s online tutorial, which takes users through the basic steps of creating an account, editing articles and participating in discussions. But learning how to use Wikipedia didn’t necessarily pose the biggest obstacle. Some students, used to sustaining arguments in papers and essays, had trouble adapting to the Wikipedia style, Brockhaus said.

“How do you write for an encyclopedia?” he asked, referring to the site’s consensus-based model that values a neutral tone over strict balance and places and emphasis on non-original, verifiable sources. For example, an article on evolution wouldn’t grant equal space to intelligent design because of existing scientific and scholarly agreement. (Not coincidentally, this is the standard used by most academics in their scholarship and teaching.)

Not used to being edited on the fly by people they’ve never met, some students might also have felt uneasy about another feature inherent to Wikipedia’s design: constant revisions by regular contributors. Brockhaus suggested that was part of the experience, and that students posting material to the site would have to stop viewing their work as “sacrosanct.”

Continued in article

Also see

Jensen Comment
The good news is that students are less likely to cheat if their writing is going to be easily available for anybody in the world to read. The bad news is that students who do plagiarize are likely to be caught, and getting caught becomes an embarrassment to the instructor and the college in addition to humiliating the student.

But the most good news in accountancy is that these assignments will add to the dearth, especially relative to finance, of good accountancy modules in Wikipedia. Accountants have sadly neglected to write Wikipedia entries and to write comments on existing entries. I once submitted some modules. The Wikipedia Editor wrote back, with courtesy, explaining that Wikipedia could not become my Website. My submissions were just too long and involved for Wikipedia.

Please try it yourself today. Wikipedia entries and edits to existing entries can be typed directly in your Web browser (probably Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) and do not require any other software. It's easy and fun.

November 3, 2007 reply from David Raggay [draggay@TSTT.NET.TT]


You wrote: “…bane of professors everywhere”

Is this a reference to the fact that the articles might contain some inaccuracies?



November 4, reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

There are two types of inaccuracies that may arise in anything that is written. The first is the intentional and the second is the accidental.
In addition to inaccuracies there are biases/opinions that are not necessarily “inaccurate” so much as they reflect beliefs such as religious biases, political biases, and social biases. The world has more facts in dispute than facts not in dispute. That’s the basis of virtually all research.

Wikipedia is more vulnerable to inaccuracies in the first-time entries than other encyclopedias having modules that are carefully reviewed by other experts before being allowed into print. I say “first-time entries” since Wikipedia is more self correcting than other encyclopedias since experts from anywhere in the world may make corrections of inaccuracies at any time. More importantly they can add more facts and more new (linked) modules that elaborate on topics. As a result, Wikipedia has millions of linked modules that are better than those found in other encyclopedias. By way of example, go to
I suspect you could spend a lifetime on this topic alone following links that are linked to links that are linked to links just on this topic alone such that chasing down all references would be like trying to catch all of Augustus De Morgan’s fleas ---
Also see

Also Wikipedia has over a billion modules. It is much larger by far than any other encyclopedia online or in print. Websites that have more content expose themselves to more inaccuracies just because there is more content that can be inaccurate. The best Wikipedia modules are replete with references and footnotes to sources. In that respect Wikipedia modules are often very scholarly.

By far the biggest risk for inaccuracy is an obscure or uninteresting topic that is seldom sought out by many readers. This inaccuracy may not be corrected for a long time simply because it is not viewed often enough by experts who send in corrections when they find errors.

But as mentioned above, anybody in the world can make corrections to most Wikipedia entries (there are some sensitive modules that are somewhat restricted) and/or add to the extremely valuable “Discuss” sections (tabs)  where people discuss the modules rather than necessarily making changes to the modules themselves.

A similar thing happens when modules are biased but not necessarily inaccurate, although clearly there may be a huge gray zone where “facts” are in dispute by experts on opposing sides of the fence. This is where the “Discuss” sections (tabs) are so valuable in Wikipedia. For example, go to
Also see

Academic scholars vary across the board with respect to Wikipedia. Some refuse to use it (or so they say) and try to discourage students from using it (which is an utterly hopeless censorship effort). At the other extreme, some instructors encourage students to use Wikipedia and, at the same time, make considerable efforts to teach students about the advantages and dangers of using any Wiki site. The best instructors encourage their students to improve upon Wikipedia modules.

Many academic scholars are suspicious of Wikipedia because virtually all government agencies, business firms, and other organizations of virtually every nation submit new modules and make changes in existing modules in Wikipedia, especially when they feel the existing modules contain biases and inaccuracies that are unsuitable in their own eyes. For example, many academic scholars are concerned about the concerted effort of the U.S. CIA to edit some Wikipedia modules. We now have academic efforts underway to document the changes to Wikipedia by the CIA and some other organizations. In other words, tracking of Wikipedia edits has become an academic endeavor.

Some disciplines like finance and economics have very strong and detailed coverage of topics, including highly specialized topics. Other disciplines like accounting have relatively weak coverage. This is why I especially encourage accounting instructors to make writing assignments that include student submissions to Wikipedia. Hopefully these same students will also make corrections to their entries after receiving feedback from their instructors.

I would never go so far as using the phrase “bane of professors everywhere” with reference to the extraordinarily valuable openly shared knowledge portal called Wikipedia ---
Wikipedia is extraordinarily valuable because of the efficiency added to becoming a scholar that can turn years into days by saving both the time and expense of searching libraries around the world for knowledge of a topic. Book and journal publishers often dislike Wikipedia because the users can easily find the gems in mountains of publications by fast and simple searches of Wikipedia (and of course Google). I will always be a skeptical user of Wikipeida, but I will always be a user!

Bob Jensen

November 5, 2007 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]  

Bob Jenson wrote: By far the biggest risk for inaccuracy is an obscure or uninteresting topic that is seldom sought out by many readers. This inaccuracy may not be corrected for a long time simply because it is not viewed often enough by experts who send in corrections when they find errors.

Bob, you are correct. I know of one blatant inaccuracy so obvious that my students instantly recognize its erroneous and thoroughly ridiculous nature, but which has gone uncorrected for months, perhaps years, most likely because it is in an obscure entry. I use it as my quintessential example of why you must always use discretion when accepting web sources. (or any source!)

I'm amazed none of my students have submitted any corrections to it. (And no, I will not share it because once someone corrects it, I'll have to hunt down another good example!)

I also lost some respect for Wikipedia when I found out that a major corporation (and most likely a plethora of corporations!) has hired two (and by now, maybe more) full-time employees in their marketing department whose only job responsibility is to scrutinize Wikipedia entries and alter them to be favorable to the company in a manner that will go undetected and unchanged by Wiki editors and reviewers. My source, who is an executive with the company, pointed out some of the changes they've made, and I was amazed at the blatancy (and yes, I'll use the term gray area) of some of the wording modifications made well over a year ago, and that are going unchallenged, even on widely read articles. These changes are subtle but utilize the time-honored tradition of the major news outlets of using emotional wording to elicit and change attitudes while appearing to merely report facts.

Because I agree with these particular changes, biased as they are, I'm not going to correct any of these "lies-by-attitude-and-perspective-to-create-a-pseudofactual-misrepresentation" 's. I'm using them as yet more examples to my students of why they must learn to question everything, and take everything with a grain of salt, and be aware of the subtle manipulations of their thoughts that is going on in today's fantasy realm of so-called "factual reporting".

Many people take Wikipedia as gospel and rationalize their gullibility by saying, "well the democratic process ensures complete accuracy and fairness". Dream on, little one, dream on.

That said, I personally use Wikipedia a lot as an initial source to learn a little something about things that don't actually matter except to a Jeopardy contestant! ;-) If you, like me, enjoy obtaining knowledge that isn't going to really make a difference to anyone (like whatever happened to the parents of the fellow who assassinated William of Orange in Delft, or where is the burial place of Mary of Burgundy, or what was the name of the scientist who led the first expedition of the epicenter of the Tunguska Event, or why do sailors call the left side of the ship "port"?), then Wikipedia can be very entertaining and enjoyable.

David Fordham

November 5, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

In fairness, active topics are often quite accurate and more complete and up to date than many textbook modules.

For example, take a look at the following finance/accounting entries: 

As I mentioned in my pervious posting on this topic, fiancé and economics are covered quite well in Wikipedia. Accounting, on the other hand, is pretty well behind in terms of Wikipedia modules.

Bob Jensen

November 2, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


The Sloan Consortium's "Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning," a report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education, is "aimed at answering some of the fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education." These questions include:

-- How many students are learning online?

-- Where has the growth in online learning occurred?

-- What are the prospects for future online enrollment growth?

-- What are the barriers to widespread adoption of online education?

The report, and previous years' editions, can be downloaded at no cost at  

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is a consortium of institutions and organizations committed "to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines." Sloan-C is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. For more information, see 

. . . .

Each year, since 2001, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publishes the "Education at a Glance" report, an "annual round-up of data and analysis on education, providing a rich, comparable and up-to-date array of indicators on education systems in the OECD's 30 member countries and in a number of partner economies." Main areas covered in the reports are:

-- participation and achievement in education

-- public and private spending on education

-- the state of lifelong learning

-- conditions for pupils and teachers

The current and all past "Education at a Glance" reports are available online at no charge at,3343,en_2649_39263294_39251550_1_1_1_1,00.html 

The OECD's mission is "to help its member countries to achieve sustainable economic growth and employment and to raise the standard of living in member countries while maintaining financial stability -- all this in order to contribute to the development of the world economy." As one of the world's largest publishers in the fields of economics and public policy, OECD monitors, analyzes, and forecasts economic developments and social changes in trade, environment, agriculture, technology, and taxation. For more information contact: OECD, 2 rue Andre Pascal, F-75775, Paris Cedex 16 France; tel: +33; fax: +33; email: ; Web:


"Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to for possible inclusion in this column.

"The Basement Interviews: Peter Suber" October 2007 

Journalist Richard Poynder writes on information technology and online rights issues. In a series of interviews he speaks with leading advocates in the open source movement. One of his recent interviews was with Peter Suber, a leading proponent of the open access movement and author of SPARC Open Access Newsletter and Open Access News. (Suber's SPARC OPEN ACCESS NEWSLETTER is available at )



EDUCAUSE Live! is a "series of free, hour-long interactive Web seminars on critical information technology topics in higher education. Each seminar is delivered live using online audio and video/image presentation technology, allowing you to interact directly with the host and guests through your Web browser." Past seminars are archived and available for online viewing. Past seminars on information technology topics include:

"Cyberinfrastructure: A Campus Perspective on What It Is and Why You Should Care"

"IT Governance: Establishing Who Decides"

"Top-Ten Challenges of the Academic Technology Community"

"Developing and Implementing Successful Intellectual Property Policies for Online Courses"

"The Information Commons and the Future of Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity"

You can access forthcoming and past seminars at 

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The current membership comprises more than 1,900 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including 200 corporations, with 15,000 active members. EDUCAUSE has offices in Boulder, CO, and Washington, DC. Learn more about EDUCAUSE at

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives around the world are at

If your students submit assignments in MS Word, how can you make your grading task easier by creating a "Grading Toolbar?"
If you are a journal referee/reviewer, chances are the submissions that you have to evaluate are submitted in Word. If so, this Grading Toolbar can be useful for reviewing purposes. Adobe PDF submissions are more problematic, although it may be possible to add comments to PDF files ---

PDF authors using Adobe LiveCycle™ enterprise server and design software can activate special features in their documents that provide additional functionality. These enabled Adobe PDF files allow people with Adobe Reader to save the file to a local hard drive, fill out forms, add comments and other markups, share it with others, and submit a completed document electronically. In addition, Adobe PDF files can be enabled to allow people to digitally sign, certify, and authenticate a document.

Answer for MS Word
Richard Campbell sent a link to a helpful video that explains how to create a Grading Toolbar in MS Word.


Note that you must find the video in two steps (because it has a very long URL)
First click on
Then click on "
Proceed to this site"
The video is quite good.

Can you believe it?
Now Business Week is ranking the top "part-time" MBA programs by examining whether Business Week’s supposedly top full-time programs have part-time options ---

Also see

Jensen Comment
Aside from all the problems of ranking full-time MBA programs, the fact that some of the top full-time programs have part-time enrollment options does not ipso facto make them also top part-time programs. For one thing, top part-time programs often have great evening or distance education courses. Top ranked full-time programs often do not have evening or distance education courses, and if they do have such courses, it's unlikely that they assign their best faculty to teach in such courses.

I think the top-ranked part-time programs might indeed be some of the ones that have specialized in part-time programs and are not in the 25 top ranked full-time programs or even the top 100 full-time programs.

You can read more about rankings of MBA and other college programs, and controversies of such rankings, at

From eWeek
The 13 Scariest Things in IT (2007) ---,1205,l=%26s=25951%26a=218186%26po=1,00.asp
MS Vista is Number 1
MS Patches are Number 2
Server Consolidation is Number 3

Wal-Mart carries $199 computer with free Linux operating system in stores and online
Linux, the free operating system that's a perpetual underdog in the desktop market, is showing up in computers in Wal-Mart stores this week for the first time.About 600 Wal-Mart stores will carry the $199 Linux-powered ''Green gPC'' made by Everex of Taiwan, Wal-Mart said. It was available online on Wednesday. A comparable Everex PC that comes with Windows Vista Home Basic and more memory costs $99 more, or $298, partly because the manufacturer has to pay Microsoft Corp. for a software license. Both computers come with keyboard, mouse, and speakers, but no monitor. Linux is maintained and developed by individuals and companies around the world volunteering on an ''open source'' basis, meaning that everyone has access to the software's blueprints. Linux is in widespread use in server computers, particularly servers that host Web sites. But it hasn't yet made a dent in the desktop market. Surveys usually put its share of that market around 1 percent, far behind Windows and Apple Inc.'s OS X.
MIT's Technology Review, October 31, 2007 ---
Also see
Also see
Other Everex PC laptops ---

CEOs are rewarded hundreds of millions of dollars even when they fail. This is not competitive capitalism!

"Stanley O'Neal who is leaving Merrill Lynch after giving it a big fat gift of a $8 billion dollar write-off thanks to risky investments. The board just can't help but feed this obesity epidemic. They're giving him $160 million plus in severance for his troubles as he heads for the door. At some point, the nation's corporations, or most pointedly, their corporate boards, will realize throwing money at their CEOs is probably not the best idea"
"Obesity Epidemic Among CEO Pay," The Huffington Post, November 1, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous compensation are at

Carnegie Foundation's case for integrating statistics into "a manifold" of undergraduate courses

Figures don't lie, but liars figure.
Mark Twain

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
Mark Twain, attributed by him to Benjamin Disraeli

October 31, 2007 message from Lee S. Shulman

Michael Burke teaches mathematics at the College of San Mateo and is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation. He is working on a book, drawn from his own integrative approaches to teaching, that advocates teaching students to use mathematics in ways that prepare them for active lives as citizens in a democracy.

He encourages the integration of mathematics, statistics and their manifold forms of representation with other undergraduate courses. In this manner, he helps students understand, critique and write about serious issues that range from global warming to world population growth, all of which require the proper interpretation and use of quantitative data in a variety of forms.

Mike Burke issues a challenge to his fellow educators—both those who teach mathematics and those who teach the other disciplines—to emerge from their monastic disciplinary cells and address the challenges of quantitative literacy. I am persuaded by his argument. I dream of a time when those liars who figure can less easily pull the wool over our collective eyes.

Carnegie has created a forum—Carnegie Conversations—where you can engage publicly with the author and read and respond to what others have to say about this article at . Or you may respond to Mike privately through .

We look forward to hearing from you.


Lee S. Shulman, President
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Bob Jensen's threads on free mathematics and statistics tutorials are at

How to funnel subsidies to a few politically connected

October 29, 2007 message from David Cay Johnston []

Professor Jensen,

You have cited some of my work at your web pages and so I wanted to make you aware of my forthcoming book FREE LUNCH, which follows on the work in PERFECTLY LEGAL, a national best seller, winner of the Investigative Book of the Year award and widely used as a college text in accounting, business and law schools.

FREE LUNCH examines money flows that would not be captured by following the flow of funds across government and corporate books. It shows entire industries that derive all of their profits from these subtle and sometimes hidden subsidies and how policies that supposedly opened markets to competition and "deregulated" thwarted the market, induced higher prices and funneled money from the many to the few. For example, I show how a single major company gets a half billion dollars a year in free labor which is delivered in a way that, unintentionally, benefits criminals.

I hope you will take an interest in FREE LUNCH, which will be out Dec. 27, and consider it for your students.


David Cay Johnston Reporter The New York Times
212.556.3605 office 585.473.8704 home office 

Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill) Coming Dec. 27 from Portfolio Books

Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich and Cheat Everybody Else NYTimes Bestseller 2004 Book of the Year medal awarded by Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE)

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at

Legal Education at a Distance

The online only Concord School of Lawwhich has managed to grow without ABA recognition — announced a merger with Kaplan University. In terms of corporate ownership, this isn’t much of a change — both Concord and Kaplan are divisions of Kaplan Inc., a major player in for-profit higher education. But because Kaplan University is regionally accredited (which Concord is not), the merger will make Concord students eligible for federal student loans and to defer repaying their past student loans when enrolled. These are seen as advances for Concord — whose officials say that they believe law school’s efforts will eventually change attitudes about distance legal education.
Scott Jaschik, "Legal Education at a Distance," Inside Higher Ed, October 31, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives are at

Classroom of the Future Is Virtually Anywhere
The university classroom of the future is in Janet Duck’s dining room on East Chocolate Avenue here. There is no blackboard and no lectern, and, most glaringly, no students. Dr. Duck teaches her classes in Pennsylvania State University’s master’s program in business administration by sitting for several hours each day in jeans and shag-lined slippers at her dining table, which in soccer mom fashion is cluttered with crayon sketches by her 6-year-old Elijah and shoulder pads for her 9-year-old Olivia’s Halloween costume. In this homespun setting, the spirited Dr. Duck pecks at a Toshiba laptop and posts lesson content, readings and questions for her two courses on “managing human resources” that touch on topics like performance evaluations and recruitment. The instructional software allows her 54 students to log on from almost anywhere at any time and post remarkably extended responses, the equivalent of a blog about the course. Recently, the class exchanged hard-earned experiences about how managers deal with lackluster workers . . . It’s instructive for a skeptic to talk to Dr. Duck’s students — online, of course. They point out that online postings are more reasoned and detailed than off-the-cuff classroom observations. Students learn as much from one another’s postings, informed by the real business world, as they do from instructors, they say. And Kevin Krull, a technology executive, pointed out that introverts reluctant to speak up in class can strut their stuff.
Joseph Berger, "Classroom of the Future Is Virtually Anywhere," The New York Times, October 31, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
There's not much new in the above article. Both online and major onsite universities have been teaching like this for years. Most notably all-canpus award winning Amy Dunbar has been teaching graduate tax courses from her home at the University of Connecticut. Denny Beresford has been teaching graduate accounting courses at the University of Georgia online for years. A quotation from Amy Dinbar is shown below:

The Year 2001

The combination of asynchronous and synchronous materials in the WebCT environment worked well for my students. I felt closer to my students than I did in a live class. When I loaded AIM and saw my students online, I felt connected to them. Each student had an online persona that blossomed over the semester. The use of emotions in AIM helped us create bantering communication, which contributed to a less stressful learning environment. 

At then end of the six-week course, I was tired, but I was equally tired at the end of the live six-week course last summer. I don’t think the online environment made my life easier, but it made it more fun. The students appreciated the flexibility, and they liked not having to drive to downtown Hartford for classes. Although many of my students would have preferred a live class, they performed well in this online class. I did not attempt to statistically compare their performance with my past live classes, but the exam distributions appear similar to past classes. I was happy with the overall class performance. 

One student concluded, “Just reading the material without having anyone explain it to you makes it more difficult to understand at first (at least for me). I waffled between wanting online and in person teaching … . Ultimately I chose online because this way we can do it at our own pace and we always have the ability to go back to where we might not have understood and do it over.” 

Thus, flexibility appears to outweigh what to the student appears to be an easier way to learn.
From "Genesis of an Online Course" by Amy Dunbar Amy Dunbar, August 1, 2001 

A free audio download of a presentation by Amy Dunbar is available at

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of education are at

A Peek Into Fraternities and Sororities:  It's Not Pretty
Ever wonder what goes on behind closed doors on Greek row? A communications professor provides such a look in Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power and Prestige, just published by the University of Kentucky Press. Alan D. DeSantis, who teaches at the University of Kentucky, is both a tough critic and defender of the Greek system. While much in the book may embarrass fraternity and sorority members, and worry plenty of administrators, DeSantis is no abolitionist. He is a fraternity alumnus and dedicates the book “to my brothers. Many of the expected topics are covered in the book — hazing, drinking and so forth. But there is also considerable detail on gender roles, not all of which meet stereotypes. Fraternity members’ concerns about body image (their own) is portrayed as extreme. The sisterhood of sorority life is portrayed as including enough cruelty to suggest that when the Mean Girls graduate from high school, they rush. Anyone labeled an ORT (for “operation remove tool") must be rejected from the sorority for being “fat, ugly, unattractive.” However some sorority sisters like having one (and apparently it is important never to have more than one) DUFF (for “designated ugly fat friend") to make the other sorority sisters look more attractive. DeSantis does not identify the university where he observed Greek life up close, but the characteristics he reveals sound like Kentucky, where he teaches. He responded to questions about his book, via e-mail:
Scott Jaschi, "Inside Greek U." Inside Higher Ed, October 25, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Teaching versus Research versus Education

October 24, 2007 message from XXXXX


I'm writing this to get your personal view of the relationship between teaching and research? I think there's lots of ways to potentially answer this question, but I'm curious as to your thoughts.

October 27, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen


Wow! This is a tough question!.
Since I know you're an award-winning teacher, I hope you will identify yourself on the AECM and improve upon my comments below.

Your question initially is to comment on the relation between teaching and research. In most instances research at some point in time led to virtually everything we teach. In the long-run research thus becomes the foundation of teaching. In the case of accounting education this research is based heavily on normative and case method research. Many, probably most, accountics researchers are not outstanding teachers of undergraduate accounting unless they truly take the time for both preparation and student interactions. New education technologies may especially help these researchers teach better. For example, adding video such as the BYU variable speed video described below may replace bad lecturing in live classes with great video learning modules.

Similarly, master teachers and master educators are sometimes reputed researchers, but this is probably the exception rather than the rule. Researchers have trouble finding the time for great class preparation and open-door access.



Firstly your question can be answered at the university-wide level where experts think that students, especially undergraduate students, get short changed by research professors. Top research professors sometimes only teach doctoral students or advanced masters students who are already deemed experts. Research professors often prefer this arrangement so that they can focus upon there research even when "teaching" a tortured   esoteric course. Undergraduate students in these universities are often taught by graduate student instructors who have many demands on their time that impedes careful preparation for teaching each class and for giving students a lot of time outside of class.

Often the highest ranked universities are among the worst universities in terms of teaching.  See

When top researchers are assigned undergraduate sections, their sections are often the least popular. A management science professor years ago (a top Carnegie-Mellon graduate) on the faculty at Michigan State University had no students signing up for his elective courses. When assigned sections of required courses, he only got students if students had no choice regarding which section of a course they were forced into by the department head. This professor who was avoided by students at almost all costs was one of the most intelligent human beings I ever met in my entire life.

One of the huge problems is that research professors give more attention to research activities than day-to-day class preparation. Bad preparation, in turn, short changes students expecting more from teachers. I've certainly experienced this as a student and as a faculty member where I've sometimes been guilty of this as I look back in retrospect. A highly regarded mathematics researcher at Stanford years ago had a reputation of being always unprepared for class. He often could not solve his own illustrations in class, flubbed up answering student questions, and confused himself while lecturing in a very disjointed and unprepared manner. This is forgivable now an then, but not repeatedly to a point where his campus reputation for bad teaching is known by all. Yet if there was a Nobel Prize for mathematics, he would have won such a prize. John Nash (the "Beautiful Mind" at Princeton University who did win a Nobel Prize in economics) had a similar teaching reputation, although his problems were confounded by mental illness.

Then again, sometimes top researchers, I mean very top award-winning researchers, are also the master teachers. For example, Bill Beaver, Mary Barth, and some other top accounting research professors repeatedly won outstanding teaching awards when teaching Stanford's MBA students and doctoral students. I think in these instances, their research makes them better teachers because they had so much leading edge material to share with students. Some of our peers are just good at anything they seriously undertake.

But when it gets down to it, there's no single mold for a top teacher and a top educator. And top educators are often not award-sinning teachers. Extremely popular teachers are not necessarily top educators ---

In fact, some top educators may be unpopular teachers who get relatively low student evaluations. In a somewhat analogous manner, the best physicians may get low ratings from patients due to abrupt, impersonal, and otherwise lousy bedside manners. Patients generally want the best physicians even when bedside manners are lousy. This is not always the case with students. For example, an educator who realizes that student learn better when they're not spoon fed and have to work like the little red hen (plant the seed, weed the field, fend off the pests, harvest the grain, mill the grain, and bake their own meals) prefer their fast-food instructors, especially the easy grading fast food instructors.


Secondly your question can be answered at an individual level regarding what constitutes a master educator or a master teacher. There are no molds for such outstanding educators. Some are great researchers as well as being exceptional teachers and/or educators. Many are not researchers, although some of the non-researchers may be scholarly writers.

Some pay a price for devoting their lives to education administration and teaching rather than research. For example, some who win all-campus teaching awards and are selected by students and alumni as being the top educators on campus are stuck as low paying associate professorship levels because they did not do the requisite research for higher level promotions and pay.

Master Educators Who Deliver Exceptional Courses or Entire Programs
But Have Little Contact With Individual Students

Before reading this section, you should be familiar with the document at

Master educators can also be outstanding researchers, although research is certainly not a requisite to being a master educator. Many master educators are administrators of exceptional accounting education programs. They're administrative duties typically leave little time for research, although they may write about education and learning. Some master educators are not even tenure track faculty.

What I've noticed in recent years is how technology can make a huge difference. Nearly every college these days has some courses in selected disciplines because they are utilizing some type exciting technology. Today I returned from a trip to Jackson, Mississippi where I conduced a day-long CPE session on education technology for accounting educators in Mississippi (what great southern hospitality by the way). So the audience would not have to listen to me the entire day, I invited Cameron Earl from Brigham Young University to make a presentation that ran for about 90 minutes. I learned some things about top educators at BYU, which by the way is one of the most respected universities in the world. If you factor out a required religion course on the Book of Mormon, the most popular courses on the BYU campus are the two basic accounting courses. By popular I mean in terms of thousands of students who elect to take these courses even if they have no intention of majoring in business or economics where these two courses are required. Nearly all humanities and science students on campus try to sign up for these two accounting courses.

After students take these two courses, capacity constraints restrict the numbers of successful students in these courses who are then allowed to become accounting majors at BYU. I mean I'm talking about a very, very small percentage who are allowed to become accounting students. Students admitted to the accounting program generally have over 3.7 minimum campus-wide grade averages.

This begs the question of what makes the two basic accounting courses so exceptionally popular in such a large and prestigious university?

Trivia Question
At BYU most students on campus elect to take Norman Nemrow's two basic accounting courses. In the distant past, what exceptional accounting professor managed to get his basic accounting courses required at a renowned university while he was teaching these courses?

Trivia Answer
Bill Paton is one of the all-time great accounting professors in history. His home campus was the University of Michigan, and for a period of time virtually all students at his university had to take basic accounting (or at least so I was told by several of Paton's former doctoral students). Bill Paton was one of the first to be inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame.

As an aside, I might mention that I favor requiring two basic accounting courses for every student admitted to a college or university, including colleges who do not even have business education programs.

But the "required accounting courses" would not, in my viewpoint, be a traditional basic accounting courses. About two thirds or more of these courses should be devoted to personal finance, investing, business law, tax planning. The remainder of the courses should touch on accounting basics for keeping score of business firms and budgeting for every organization in society.

At the moment, the majority of college graduates do not have a clue about the time value of money and the basics of finance and accounting that they will face the rest of their lives.


There are other ways of being "mastery educators" without being master teachers in a traditional sense. Three professors of accounting at the University of Virginia developed and taught a year-long intermediate accounting case where students virtually had to teach themselves in a manner that they found painful and frustrating. But there are metacognitive reasons where the end result made this year-long active learning task one of the most meaningful and memorable experiences in their entire education ---
They often painfully grumbled with such comments as "everything I'm learned in this course I'm having to learn by myself."

You can read about mastery learning and all its frustrations at 


Master Teachers Who Deliver Exceptional Courses
But Have Little Contact With Individual Students

Before reading this section, you should be familiar with the document at

Master teachers can also be outstanding researchers, although research is certainly not a requisite to being a master teacher. Some, not many, master teachers also win awards for leading empirical and analytical research. I've already mentioned Bill Beaver and Mary Barth at Stanford University. One common characteristic is exceptional preparation for each class coupled with life experiences to draw upon when fielding student questions. These life experiences often come from the real world of business apart from the more narrow worlds of mathematical modeling where these professors are also renowned researchers.

Frequently master teachers teach via cases and are also known as exceptional case-method researchers and writers of cases. The Harvard Business School every year has some leading professors who are widely known as master teachers and master researchers. Michael Porter may become one of Harvard's all time legends. Some of the current leading master teachers at Harvard and elsewhere who consistently stand head and shoulders above their colleagues are listed at

Some of the all-time great case teachers were not noted researchers or gifted case writers. Master case teachers are generally gifted actors/actresses with carefully prepared scripts and even case choreographies in terms of how and were to stand in front of and among the class. The scripts are highly adaptable to most any conceivable question or answer given by a student at any point in the case analysis.

Most master case teachers get psyched up for each class. One of Harvard's all time great case teachers, C. Roland (Chris) Christensen, admitted after years of teaching to still throwing up in the men's room before entering the classroom.

In some of these top case-method schools like the Harvard Business School and Darden (University of Virginia) have very large classes. Master teachers in those instances cannot become really close with each and every student they educate and inspire.

Some widely noted case researchers and writers are not especially good in the classroom. In fact I've known several who are considered poor teachers that students avoided whenever possible even thought their cases are popular worldwide.

Open-Door Master Teachers Who Have Exceptional One-On-One Relations With Students

Not all master teachers are particularly outstanding in the classroom. Two women colleagues in my lifetime stand out as open-door master teachers who were prepared in class and good teachers but were/are not necessarily exceptional in classroom performances. What made them masters teachers is exceptional one-on-one relations with students outside the classroom. These master teachers were exceptional teachers in their offices and virtually had open door policies each and every day. Both Alice Nichols at Florida State University and Petrea Sandlin at Trinity University got to know each student and even some students' parents very closely. Many open-door master teachers' former students rank them at the very top of all the teachers they ever had in college. Many students elected to major in accounting because these two women became such important parts of their lives in college.

But not all these open-door master teachers are promoted and well-paid by their universities. They often have neither the time nor aptitude for research and publishing in top academic journals. Sometimes the university bends over backwards to grant them tenure but then locks them in at low-paying associate ranks with lots of back patting and departmental or campus-wide teaching awards. Some open-door master teachers never attain the rank and prestige of full professor because they did not do enough research and writing to pass the promotion hurdles. Most open-door master teachers find their rewards in relations with their students rather than relations with their colleges.

Sometimes master teachers teach content extremely well without necessarily being noted for the extent of coverage. On occasion they may skip very lightly over some of the most difficult parts of the textbooks such as the parts dealing with FAS 133, IAS 39, and FIN 46. Sometimes the most difficult topics to learn make students frustrated with the course and the instructor who nevertheless makes them learn those most difficult topics even when the textbook coverage is superficial and outside technical learning material has to be brought into the course. Less popular teachers are sometimes despised taskmasters.

Your question initially was to comment on the relation between teaching and research. In most instances research at some point in time led to virtually everything we teach. In the long-run research thus becomes the foundation of teaching. In the case of accounting education this research is based heavily on normative and case method research. Many, probably most, accountics researchers are not outstanding teachers of undergraduate accounting unless they truly take the time for both preparation and student interactions. New education technologies may especially help these researchers teach better. For example, adding video such as the BYU variable speed video described above may replace bad lecturing in live classes with great video learning modules.

Similarly, master teachers and master educators are sometimes reputed researchers, but this is probably the exception rather than the rule. Researchers have trouble finding the time for great class preparation and open-door access.

And lastly, accountics researchers research in accounting has not been especially noteworthy, apart from case-method research, in providing great teaching material for our undergraduate and masters-level courses. If it was noteworthy it would have at least been replicated ---
If it was noteworthy for textbooks and teaching, practitioners would be at least interested in some of it as well ---


"‘Too Good’ for Tenure?" by Alison Wunderland (pseudonym), Inside Higher Ed, October 26, 2007 ---

But what most small colleges won’t tell you — not even in the fine print — is that teaching and students often really don’t come first. And for the professors, they can’t. Once upon a time teaching colleges taught and research institutions researched. But these days, with the market for students competitive, and teaching schools scrambling for recognition, they have shifted their priorities. Now they market what is measurable — not good teaching, but big names and publications. They look to hire new faculty from top research universities who will embellish the faculty roster and bring attention to the school by publishing. And they can do this, because even job candidates who don’t really want to be at places like Rural College (although it is ranked quite well) are grateful to get a tenure-track position.

And here is where the problem is compounded. Small schools want books instead of teaching; and many new faculty — even the mediocre scholars — want to publish instead of teach. In the new small college, both win. Everyone looks the other way while courses are neglected for the sake of publications. What few devoted teachers will admit — because to do so would be impolitic — is that it is impossible to teach a 4-4 or even a 3-3 load effectively and publish a book pre-tenure without working “too hard.” What’s more, when you suggest that a small teaching college should prioritize teaching over publishing, what your colleagues hear you say is, “I am not good enough to publish.”

Sadly, many of the students also think they win in this scenario. They get good grades with little work. Once a culture like this is established, a new faculty member who is serious about teaching rocks the boat. And if she still somehow manages to excel in all the other required areas, she might be sunk. Unfortunately for the small schools, the best solution for her might be to jump ship.

"Teaching Professors to Be More Effective Teachers," Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, October 31, 2007 ---

David W. Concepción, an associate professor of philosophy, came to the first workshop series in 2003 wondering why “students in courses for some number of years said, ‘I get nothing out of the reading’” (specifically the primary philosophy texts). Discovering through student focus groups that what they meant was that they couldn’t ascertain the main points, Concepción realized that he needed to explain the dialogical nature of philosophy texts to students in his 40-person introductory philosophy course.

Whereas high school texts tend to be linear and students read them with the objective of highlighting facts paragraph by paragraph that they could be tested on, “Primary philosophical texts are dialogical. Which is to say an author will present an idea, present a criticism of that idea, rebut the criticism to support the idea, maybe consider a rejoinder to the rebuttal of the criticism, and then show why the rejoinder doesn’t work and then get on to the second point,” Concepción says.

“If you are reading philosophy and you’re assuming it’s linear and you’re looking for facts, you’re going to be horribly, horribly frustrated.”

Out of the workshop, Concepción designed an initial pedagogical plan, which he ran by fellow workshop participants, fellow philosophy faculty, junior and senior philosophy majors, and freshmen philosophy students for feedback. He developed a “how-to” document for reading philosophy texts (included in a December 2004 article he published in Teaching Philosophy, “Reading Philosophy with Background Knowledge and Metacognition,” which won the American Association of Philosophy Teachers’ Mark Lenssen Prize for scholarship on the instruction of philosophy).

Based on the constructivist theory of learning suggesting that students make sense of new information by joining it with information they already have, his guidelines suggest that students begin with a quick pre-read, in which they underline words they don’t know but don’t stop reading until they reach the end. They then would follow up with a more careful read in which they look up definitions, write notes summarizing an author’s argument into their own words on a separate piece of paper, and make notations in the margins such that if they were to return to the reading one week later they could figure out in 15 seconds what the text says (a process Concepción calls “flagging).

Concepción also designed a series of assignments in which his introductory students are trained in the method of reading philosophy texts. They are asked to summarize and evaluate a paragraph-long argument before and after learning the guidelines (and then write a report about their different approaches to the exercise before and after getting the “how-to” document on reading philosophy), turn in a photocopy of an article with their notations, and summarize that same article in writing. They participate in a class discussion in which they present the top five most important things about reading philosophy and face short-answer questions on the midterm about reading strategies (after that, Concepción says, students are expected to apply the knowledge they’ve learned on their own, without further direct evaluation).

The extra reading instruction has proven most beneficial for the weakest students, Concepción says — suggesting that the high-performing students generally already have the advanced reading skills that lower performers do not.

“What happened in terms of grade distribution in my classes is that the bottom of the curve pushed up. So the number of Fs went down to zero one semester, the Ds went down and the Cs stayed about the same in the sense that some of the former C performers got themselves in the B range and the Fs and the Ds got themselves in the C range. There was no difference in the A range, and not much difference in the B range.”

Meanwhile, in his weekly, 90-person lecture class on World Mythology, William Magrath, a full professor of classics, also saw significant drops in the number of Fs after developing targeted group work to attack a pressing problem: About a quarter of freshmen had been failing.

“I had been keeping very close records on student performance over the semester for the previous five or six years and noticed that there was a pattern wherein a lot of the freshmen were having real difficulty with the course. But it wasn’t so much that they weren’t performing on the instruments that they were given but rather that they weren’t taking the quizzes or weren’t taking the tests or weren’t getting the assignments in,” Magrath says.

Discovering that he could predict final grades based on student performance in just the first four weeks of class with remarkable accuracy, he divided the freshmen into groups based on their projected grades: the A/Bs, B/Cs and Ds/Fs (No – he didn’t call them by those names, but instead gave the groups more innocuous titles like “The Panthers.”)

Meeting with each set of students once every three weeks for one hour before class, he gave the A/Bs a series of supplemental assignments designed to challenge them. For instance, he would give them a myth on a particular theme and ask them to find three other myths connected to that theme for a group discussion. Meanwhile, the Ds/Fs took a more structured, step-by-step approach, completing readings together and discussing basic questions like, “How do you approach a story, what do you look for when you face a story, how would you apply this theory to a story?”

Meanwhile, Magrath says, the B/C students didn’t complete supplemental reading, but were instead expected to post questions about the readings or lectures that he would answer on the electronic class bulletin board – with the idea that they would remain engaged and involved in class.

In the end, Magrath found the smallest difference for B/C students. But the overall average of students climbed from 1.9 in 1999-2002, before the group work was put in place, to 2.4 in 2003-5. Of all the Fs he gave, the percentage given to freshmen (as opposed to upperclassmen in the class, who did not participate in the group work) fell from 63 to 11 percent.

When, in 2006, Magrath stopped conducting the group work in order to see what the effect might be, performance returned to earlier levels.

“The dynamic of this class is a large lecture class with the lights dimmed at night on Thursdays once a week. The kids feel anonymous almost right away. That anonymity gets broken by virtue of being with me,” Magrath says. He adds that while he has also replicated the group work format in the spring semester, the results weren’t as dramatic — suggesting, he says, that freshman fall is the critical time to get students on track.

“If what [first-semester freshmen] are experiencing in the classroom isn’t accommodating for them, they don’t know what to do. They genuinely don’t know what to do,” he says.

As for steps forward, Ranieri, the leader of the initiative, says that the Lumina grant – which included funds for faculty stipends of $2,400 the first year and $2,000 in subsequent years (faculty who participated in the first two years continued to participate in workshops and receive funding through the end of the three-year cycle) — has been exhausted. However, he hopes to expand a report he’s writing — which tracks retention and GPA data for students who enrolled in the “Lumina” courses as freshmen throughout their college careers — for publication.

So far, Ranieri says, the various professors involved have given 13 national or international presentations and produced four peer-reviewed publications.

“One of the biggest problems you have in higher education,” he says, “is allowing faculty members to be rewarded for this kind of work.”


October 30, 2007 reply from Linda A Kidwell [lkidwell@UWYO.EDU

There was an article in the Smith College Alumnae Magazine several years ago about one of my favorite professors at Smith, Randy Bartlett in economics. My second semester of senior year, I was done with all my required courses and swore I would not take another 8:00 class, but one of my friends told me to give his 8am Urban Economics class a try. He opened class that first day by reading Carl Sandberg's poem Chicago, and I was hooked -- back into an unnecessary 8 o'clock class by choice! And he was indeed a wonderful teacher. He read that poem again after a semester of urban econ, and it took on a whole new meaning.

Although I was unaware of his research activities at the time, the article I mentioned contained this wonderful quote I have kept on my wall since then:

"I carry out the research and publish because it keeps my mind lively. I can't ask my students to take on hard work without my doing the same."

When I wonder about the significance of my contributions to the field, I read that quote.

For those who don't know the poem, here it is:


HOG Butcher for the World,  
      Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,  
      Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;  
      Stormy, husky, brawling,  
      City of the Big Shoulders:         5
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.  
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.  
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.  
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:  
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.         10
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;  
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,  
      Wrecking,         15
      Building, breaking, rebuilding,  
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,  
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,  
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,         20
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse. and under his ribs the heart of the people,  
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Carl Sandberg 1916

Linda Kidwell University of Wyoming

October 30, 2007 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU]

You know, Linda, somehow your post brought to my mind something from my own undergraduate days at Duquesne University. I was a Liberal Arts student, and had to take, among other things, 4 semesters of history. I came into it dreading it - I'd hated history in high school - all memorization and outlining of chapters. The first college semester was no improvement - an auditorium lecture with hundreds of students, a professor lecturing for 50 minutes, and a TA taking attendance. Then came the second semester. I looked for, and found, a smaller class. The professor (whose name escapes me right now) was a "church historian," researching history from the viewpoint of world religions. He began the first class by reading an excerpt from Will Cuppy's "The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody." Had us rolling in the aisles. He kept at it the whole term, interspersing history with Cuppy readings and anecdotes from actual history. I loved that class.

And Will Cuppy is on my shelf to this day. And that professor awakened in me a love of history. I read history, historical novels, watch history films (fiction and non) to this day. All because one professor thought history was a living thing, not a dead timeline, and managed to convey that to a bunch of jaded sophomores.


"Faculty Theft," by Carolyn Foster Segal, Inside Higher Ed, November 6, 2007 ---

Thus, just as the final decision regarding Glenn Poshard, president of Southern Illinois University (yes, he plagiarized; no, he won’t be fired) was setting off yet another round of blogging, I found myself starting the day with The Great Gatsby and ending with Oedipus Rex, thus neatly pairing a novel in which “Everybody lies” (the line is Gregory House’s, although it might easily be Nick Carraway’s) and a play in which the tragic hero — driving the plot toward his own destruction — argues that “the truth must be made known.”

About a year or so ago, I put out a call at an online forum for tales about faculty plagiarists. What was driving my interest was the sneaking suspicion that in the case of plagiarism, colleges often have a double standard: one standard for students and another for faculty and administrators. If it is sometimes amusing (note that I said sometimes — more often it is disheartening and aggravating) to listen to the excuses that students will argue in defense of their cheating ways, it is nothing less than appalling to hear a tenured administrator plead that he wasn’t adequately schooled in the meaning of plagiarism or to listen to a faculty member justify her appropriation of another’s work under the headings of forgetfulness, ignorance, or the impossibility of original thought in the 21st century. If one has already committed one egregious act — that of stealing — is it surprising that he or she would attempt to lie his or her way out of it? And most appalling of all is how many instances of faculty plagiarism are simply left alone by administrators.

My correspondents in the forum answered my query with examples of faculty plagiarists great and small: some offenders had been outed and severely penalized; still other perpetrators of the crime had triumphed with no punishment at all. A number of forum participants advised against becoming involved in bringing any sorts of charges, and, based on the sagas of revenge cited by several individuals, this began to seem like very good advice.

Formal grievances filed against them, bad teaching schedules, being shrouded by other departmental members, seeing no recourse but to leave: These are some of the repercussions not for faculty members who cheat, but for those who uncover the evidence. Having once or twice stolen the good work of others, some plagiarists’ line of defense is to go after the good names of those who cried “foul.”

Plagiarism, I was beginning to understand, was only part of the story. This fact was reinforced for me by one of the final postings (readers having already begun to move on to other forums and forms of discontent). Why not, my anonymous source proposed, broaden the topic to faculty theft? Why not indeed? As the writer — a veteran of academe, who gave me permission to quote his response — pointed out:

“Plagiarism” is a somewhat narrowly-understood term — i.e. the verbatim incorporation of another’s words without acknowledgment — and the more general defining principle, theft, sometimes gets lost in the parsing. I would argue that other academic thefts — in particular the hijackings of ideas, proposals, (co-)credit, publishing opportunities, support funds, courses, students, lab space — are equally — if not more pernicious.

The writer was indeed correct: plagiarism is just one category of the theft that’s practiced within the halls of academe. I’ve also observed that individuals rarely commit one isolated act of thievery — there’s usually a pattern. And to my generous correspondent’s catalog, I would add the losses of time, concentration, reputation, joy, and friendships with colleagues.

What explains the lists above? Is it simply, as in the maxim attributed to Henry Kissinger, that university politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small? Do academic departments breed this behavior, or is there something in the makeup of the offender that led him or her to choose — and abuse — this line of professional work? In an outside, follow-up e-mail, my anonymous correspondent continued: “I think you will find that the most egregious serial offenders in academe fall under the DSM-IV category of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.... The essence of the disorder is an inability to distinguish between substance and grandiose facade.”

If that’s the case, then a proposal regarding the faculty self-evaluation form at my college would be of even less use that it originally appeared to be. Several years ago, a provost and subcommittee of the curricular/academic policy committee suggested that we add a question involving a statement of ethics: Faculty members would be asked to describe and assess in detail their ethical performance. The introduction of this question provoked a lively debate. The conundrum it posed was similar to that of the sink-or-swim test for witchcraft. If a faculty member composed a lengthy screed on his/her ethical behavior, wasn’t he/she protesting too much? If, on the other hand, a faculty member refused to answer the question, was that an indication that he/she was in fact guilty of unethical behavior? Wasn’t the question an insult to anyone striving to live a moral, ethical life? And finally, what would a serial offender do with this opportunity? How likely was it that a faculty member who had misbehaved would seek atonement on the front page of the yearly self-evaluation?

As for what constituted unethical behavior, our discussion never reached the heights or depths of plagiarism. The one example that I can recall went something like this: If you bring cookies for your students on the day that they fill out the course evaluations, is that ethical? It’s certainly food for thought — and we reflected on that dilemma for a bit, while gazing at the plates of cookies that are always provided for faculty meetings. (We were, in fact, ahead of our time, at least on this issue — see “Sweetening the Deal” and the accompanying commentary on Inside Higher Ed.)

The question on ethics was cut from the faculty evaluation forms — not for any philosophical reason but because the subcommittee had neglected to follow the procedure for such revisions that is mandated by the faculty handbook. When the topic surfaced several months later, there was general agreement that just as the students must follow an honor code, so too do faculty members everywhere have an implicit code. We all know, however, that there is no honor among thieves.

Plagiarism: Judge Posner Builds a Reputation Cutting and Pasting Opinions Written by Others
THE club of people accused of plagiarism gets ever larger. High-profile members include Stephen Ambrose, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Kaavya Viswanathan — of chick-lit notoriety — and now even Ian McEwan, whose best-selling novel “Atonement” has recently been discovered to harbor passages from a World War II memoir by Lucilla Andrews. Plagiarism is apparently so rife these days that it would be extremely satisfying to discover that “The Little Book of Plagiarism,” by Richard A. Posner, has itself been plagiarized. The watchdogs have been caught before. The section of the University of Oregon handbook that deals with plagiarism, for example, was copied from the Stanford handbook. Mr. Posner, moreover, is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a law professor at the University of Chicago who turns out books and articles with annoying frequency and facility. Surely, under deadline pressure, he is tempted every now and then to resort to a little clipping and pasting, especially since he cuts members of his own profession a good deal of slack on the plagiarism issue. In the book he readily acknowledges that judges publish opinions all the time that are in fact written by their clerks, but he excuses the practice on the ground that everyone knows about it and therefore no one is harmed. What he doesn’t consider much is whether a judge who gains a reputation for particularly well-written opinions or for seldom being reversed — or, for that matter, who is freed from his legal chores to do freelance writing — doesn’t benefit in much the same way as a student who persuades one of the smart kids to do his homework for him.

Charles McGrath, "Plagiarism: Everybody Into the Pool," New York Times Book Review, January 6 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
My question is why it is so inconvenient for Judge Posner to add citations to his plagiarisms?


Medical Professors Who Accept Kickbacks
Two Harvard-affiliated doctors are among the nearly 50 orthopedic surgeons who each have earned more than $1-million annually in consulting contracts and royalties from companies that make artificial knees and hips, according to an article published today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit organization. The payments were disclosed as part of a settlement between four of the companies and the U.S. attorney for northern New Jersey, who had accused them of participating in an illegal kickback scheme to get the surgeons to use their products.

"Orthopedic Surgeons at Harvard Accused of Taking Kickbacks From Company," The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 5, 2007 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

Bob Jensen's threads on authoring and faculty ethics or lack thereof are at
Note especially the lack of originality in content of textbooks.

Internet Explorer Advice:  Quite frequently reboot IE

October 31, 2007 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

I monitor the Toolbook list – and the latest buzz there is the observation that IE 7 does not properly manage memory. So running multiple instances and many tabs can cause computer performance problems. So rebooting and closing IE 7 periodically may relieve those problems.

Richard J. Campbell
School of Business
218 N. College Ave.
University of Rio Grande
Rio Grande, OH 45674


Camtasia Tutorial Video:  How to make interactive Flash quizzes

October 31, 2007 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Below is a link to a movie about the above topic – SCORM is a protocol which dictates how a content authoring system interfaces with a learning management system like WebCT. You must have at least Camtasia version 4 to do this, but this movie was filmed in Camtasia version 5.

Not the controls in the lower right corner of the video – one toggles a popup menu, one goes full-screen and one info / copyright box. 

Bob Jensen's threads on Camtasia are at


How to Teach With "Start" and "Remote Control"  and UserView in Windows
You should become very familiar with the Landmark Act before designing any course materials

For over two years, after we bought our retirement home in New Hampshire, and before I retired from Trinity University in Texas, I used GoToMyPC to remotely operate my desktop computer in Texas from hotel rooms and my home in NH during summers, holiday breaks, a sabbatical leave, and other visits to NH. GoToMyPC works great and did penetrate my university's firewall. This is an annual-fee based option for remotely controlling your office computer or the computer of a friend or student in a distant location ---

I now use Cisco's VPN which is free to me when I want to download files into various servers on the Trinity University Network. But VPN is not quite the same as a remote control system for operating a distant computer ---

Since I no longer have an office and desktop computer in Texas, I no longer use GoToMyPC. However, the other day I had call to use a free utility that is built into the Windows operating system. I simply clicked on "Start" and "Remote Control" and gave a Trinity University computer technician remote control of my PC (actually it's joint control since we both had control of my computer). This remote control can be granted for any specified amount of time (e.g., 20 minutes or two hours) and can be granted without having to give your password to the remote operator, although you can also choose the password-required option.

Note especially that the pre-specified time allotment is a key advantage over the free  "Start" and "Remote Control" alternative relative to the fee-based GoToMyPC alternative. However, GoToMyPC has some key advantages when the remote user is on public computers such as Internet cafes and public library computers.

The remotely located technician named Gabe and I were both on the telephone and jointly operating my computer. He performed some repairs and updates to my computer's email system while I watched. He also explained what he was doing on the phone. This saved us both a lot of time relative to the typical technical support phone call in which the technician asks you over the phone to do a sequence of complicated things on your computer. You have to fumble with your keyboard and phone at the same time, and the technician sits and waits doing nothing for periods of time. It is much faster to use "Start" and "Remote Control" and let the technician do the work while you watch and listen. I might add that I did not have to turn off my firewall for this, although firewalls may be a problem for some users.

It suddenly struck me that  "Start" and "Remote Control" might be a useful option for teaching one-on-one to a student at a remote site ranging from an on-campus dorm room to a site half way around the world. It would be much more efficient than trying to explain something technical on the phone with the student and then having to wait until the student makes it work on her/his computer.

This could be especially useful as a free alternative for remotely teaching certain types of handicapped students such as students having limited use of their arms or hands. Special course materials could even be designed with the  "Start" and "Remote Control" features in mind.

It also struck me that Gabe and other technicians are often doing the same things over and over with computer users. It would save a lot of money and time if technicians like Gabe and Microsoft made Camtasia videos explaining common repetitive solutions to computer problems ---

UserView --- 
TechSmith has a newer product called UserView that really sounds exciting, although I’ve not yet tried it. It allows you to view and record what is happening on someone else’s computer like a student’s computer. Multiple computers can be viewed at the same time. Images and text can be recorded. Pop-up comments can be inserted by the instructor to text written by students.

UserView can be used for remote testing ---

Userview offers great hope for teaching disabled students such as sight and/or hearing impaired students ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Technology Aids for the Handicapped and Learning Challenged are at
You should become very familiar with the Landmark Act before designing any course materials.

Migrant Integration Policy Index (from the Economic Union) ---

Not Even One Conservative for Tokenism:  Duke is for Democrats and so is the University of Iowa
The University of Iowa's history department and Duke's history department have a couple of things in common. Both have made national news because neither has a Republican faculty member. And both rejected the application of Mark Moyar, a highly qualified historian and a Republican, for a faculty appointment. Moyar graduated first in the history department at Harvard; his revised senior thesis was published as a book and sold more copies than an average history professor ever sells. After earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in England, he published his dissertation as "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965" with Cambridge University Press, which has received even more attention and praise. Moyar's views of Vietnam are controversial and have garnered scorn and abuse from liberal historians, including the department chair at the University of Iowa, Colin Gordon. Moyar revealed on his resume that he is a member of the National Association of Scholars, a group generally to the right of the normal academic organization. Gordon and his colleagues at Iowa were undoubtedly aware of Moyar's conservative leaning and historical view. Moyar is undoubtedly qualified. He is unquestionably diverse; his views are antithetical to many of the Iowa professors' views. Yet the Iowa department hired someone who had neither received degrees from institutions similar to Cambridge and Harvard nor published a book despite having completed graduate school eight years earlier (history scholars are expected to publish books within approximately six years of finishing their doctorates). In the Iowa history department there are 27 Democrats and zero Republicans. The Iowa hiring guidelines mandate that search committees "assess ways the applicants will bring rich experiences, diverse backgrounds and ideology to the university community." After seeking a freedom of information disclosure, Moyar learned that the Iowa history department had, in fact, not complied with the hiring manual. It seemed that Moyar was rejected for his political and historical stands. Maybe it was an unlikely aberration. But Moyar told the Duke College Republicans earlier this fall that he is skeptical because an application of his a few years ago at Duke for a history professorship progressed in much the same way it proceeded in Iowa.
The Duke Chronicle, November 1, 2007 --- Click Here

Malthus's population predictions ---

Malthus, at least in his first edition, predicted continuing famines in Europe; a prediction which has proven false.[1]

Elwell states that Malthus made no specific prediction regarding the future; and that what some interpret as prediction merely constituted Malthus's illustration of the power of geometric (or exponential) population growth compared to the arithmetic growth of food production.[2] Rather than predicting the future, the Essay offers an evolutionary social theory. Eight major points regarding evolution appear in the 1798 Essay:[3]

  1. subsistence severely limits population-level
  2. when the means of subsistence increases, population increases
  3. population-pressures stimulate increases in productivity
  4. increases in productivity stimulate further population-growth
  5. since this productivity can never keep up with the potential of population growth for long, population requires strong checks to keep it in line with carrying-capacity
  6. individual cost/benefit decisions regarding sex, work, and children determine the expansion or contraction of population and production
  7. checks will come into operation as population exceeds subsistence-level
  8. the nature of these checks will have significant effect on the rest of the sociocultural system — Malthus points specifically to misery, vice, and poverty

This theory of Malthus has had great influence on evolutionary theory, both in biology (as acknowledged by Darwin and Wallace) and in the social sciences (compare Herbert Spencer). Malthus's population theory has also profoundly affected the modern day ecological-evolutionary social theory of Gerhard Lenski and Marvin Harris. He can thus be regarded as a key contributing element of the canon of socioeconomic theory.

Are the Thomas Malthus population predictions manifesting themselves in the soaring prices of worldwide food?

My conclusion is that putting aside two major uncertainties, the Malthusian fears about rising food prices will not materialize. Food production will adapt to the growing demands from developing countries, and food prices in the future should continue their downward trend of the past century. One uncertainty that could upset this optimistic forecast relates to global warming, for food prices might rise steeply if global warming had sizable negative effects on the worldwide productivity of agricultural land. The second concerns biofuels, since food prices would also increase if sizable amounts of additional acreage continue to be diverted to production of ethanol and other biofuels in the attempt to cut down the use of fossil fuels.
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, October 28, 2007 ---

Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, October 28, 2007 ---

Thomas Malthus, though like the rest of us not very good at predicting the future, was a brilliant economist. He was wrong that the human population would increase geometrically (he did not consider contraception as a means of voluntarily limiting population) and the supply of food only arithmetically (he did not foresee advances in the technology of food production). But he was right that achieving an equilibrium between population and food could require starvation, war, or other unattractive methods of limiting population. In this he foreshadowed natural selection, as Darwin acknowledged. Rising food prices are doubtless causing malnutrition and even starvation in some backward countries today, and if they continue to rise, more people will starve. Becker is correct that sensible policies can moderate the price increases, and perhaps restore the trend toward lower food prices, but who can be confident about the adoption of sensible policies?

An important factor in recent food price increases is the ethanol subsidies. Ethanol is a "clean fuel" in the sense that unlike gasoline its burning as a fuel does not produce the conventional pollutants, including carbon monoxide. It does produce carbon dioxide, the principal culprit in global warming, but this effect is said to be offset by the fact that the corn from which ethanol is manufactured absorbs carbon dioxide, as trees do. However, the manufacture of ethanol requires a great deal of energy (more energy, some critics believe, than the ethanol itself produces), and in China for example that energy is supplied mainly by coal-burning plants, a fertile generator of carbon dioxide. Moreover, deforestation by fire, common in the Third World, is increasing in order to provide more cropland for the production of ethanol, and deforestation by fire is a major source of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

So it is doubtful that ethanol is a significant part of the solution to the problem global warming--indeed it may be part of the problem--and in any event the subsidy is more often defended as an answer neither to conventional air pollution nor to global warming, but instead as a means toward making the United States self-sufficient in energy.

The federal subsidy alone is currently running at a level of $7 or $8 billion a year. There are state subsidies as well, and, more important than either type of direct subsidy, there are indirect subsidies in the form of legal requirements that gasoline producers purchase a specified amount of ethanol to mix in with their gasoline. A federal law enacted in 2005 doubled those requirements and is believed to have been a big factor in the ethanol boom and resulting recent increase in corn prices.

Ethanol could be bought cheaply from Brazil, but high tariffs prevent the Brazilian and other foreign producers from competing with our farmers and producers. We could not achieve energy self-sufficiency from our own production of ethanol. Even if all the corn produced in the United States were used to produce ethanol, which is unthinkable, the amount of gasoline consumed would fall by only 12 percent. (This is a little misleading; an enormous increase in the demand for ethanol would lead to more cropland being switched to corn from other crops. But that could result in much higher food prices.) Moreover, the amount of other fossil fuels consumed would rise because of the energy requirements for the production of ethanol.

We could as I said increase the percentage of our total fuel consumption that is supplied by ethanol by buying ethanol from abroad, and while that would make us dependent on other countries for an important part of our fuel supply, it would not be dependence on other oil-producing countries. That would be a benefit. Because of the instability of many of those countries (such as Iraq and Nigeria), and the hostility to the United States of some of them (such as Iran and Venezuela), there would be value in achieving energy independence, or at least a good deal more independence than we have today. But we cannot achieve it through the ethanol subsidy. We can achieve it (at least insofar as ethanol can contribution to the solution) only by relaxing the tariff on imported ethanol. But this sensible measure seems blocked by one of the absurdities of our political system--the Iowa caucuses, which extract pledges from all plausible presidential candidates to preserve and indeed expand our home-grown ethanol industry--and, more broadly, by the excessive influence of our tiny farm population on U.S. policy. As a result of these factors, ethanol subsidies are bipartisan.

Most ethanol is manufactured from corn. The United States is the world's largest exporter of grains, and exports of our corn account for one-fourth of total worldwide grain exports. As a result of the increasing diversion of U.S. corn to the production of ethanol, food prices in the United States and the world have soared. It is estimated that by the end of this year, food prices in the United States will have grown in real terms by almost 5 percent (a 7.5 percent nominal increase in price minus a 2.6 percent inflation rate).

Technology is more likely to bail us out before our political system does. What is called cellulosic, as distinct from corn, ethanol--the production of ethanol from a variety of plants, other than corn--holds promise for enabling ethanol to be produced without forcing up the price of corn, but is not yet commercially feasible.

"How to Organize the Web:  Microsoft proposes a simple solution to the problem of information overload: lists," by Erica Naone,  MIT's Technology Review, November 2, 2007 ---

There are dozens of online tools for organizing information: wikis, social-bookmarking sites such as, and RSS feed readers, among other things. Researchers at Microsoft's Live Labs, an incubator for new Internet-related technologies founded in 2006, hope that a tool called Listas will distinguish itself by being more general than all the others. Listas launched at the recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco and is available for preview online.

Listas is, put simply, about making lists. Users can make their own lists, by either typing in original content or taking clippings from Web pages, or they can read or edit public lists. The lists can include almost any type of content, including images and videos. They can be designated either public or private, and they can be tagged to make them easier to search.

Like other social-networking sites, Listas also allows users to acknowledge each other as "friends." A user's lists, lists made by his or her friends, and public lists that the user has linked to are all collected on a single page on the Listas site. Downloading and installing the optional Listas toolbar, which is built to work with Internet Explorer, makes it easy to grab items from other Web pages and add them to lists. Those items might include short bits of text, URLs, or blog posts or product listings with their original structure intact.

"Lists are a fundamental data type across the Web," says Live Labs product manager Alex Daley. "Whether you look at task managers, blogs, RSS, shopping lists, or wish lists, they share a simple, linear list structure. A great deal of the information we produce and consume across the Web is in this structure." Similarly, says Daley, the virtue of Listas is its generality: it allows users to organize data in whatever way they want and begin to tease out trends.

Gary Flake, founder and director of Live Labs, says that Listas was born from his sense that his information online was no longer under his control. "There was just an awareness I had that my data was spread out everywhere," he says, noting that the more involved a person is with online communities, the more severe this problem can be. By using the Listas toolbar, a person can aggregate all of his or her contributions to online communities in a single dashboard, annotate them, and share them with others. Although a similar effect could be achieved without the toolbar, Flake says that he thinks the system will feel incomplete without the ease that the toolbar contributes to the process.

Other companies have tried to address the problem of organizing data with more specific tools. ZingLists, for example, shares some features with Listas, including the ability to make lists private or public. It is intended, however, as a productivity tool, according to its developer, Steve Madsen. The lists on ZingLists take the more traditional form of to-do lists, while Listas's lists can behave like to-do lists, blogs, or RSS feeds, depending on how users


Revealed: The Top Ten of the world's wackiest scientific experiments
Elephants on LSD... sexual turn-ons for turkeys... attempts to restore corpses to life: all feature on the list of the "craziest scientific experiments of all time," New Scientist reports.
PhysOrg, October 31, 2007 --- 

Science Tutorials

Teaching Science: Lab Safety ---

Wake Forest University Physics Demonstration Videos ---

Lecture Demonstrations: Brown University Department of Physics ---

The New York Botanical Garden: International Plant Science Center Field Research ---

USGS: Cascades Volcano Observatory Educational Outreach ---

Decade Volcanoes ---

Carnegie Mellon Libraries: Digital Library Colloquium (video lectures) ---

Open Semiotics Resource Center ---
Semiotics ---

Unearthing Egypt's Greatest Temple ---
Sekhmet ---
Links to Sekhmet Sites ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at ---

Math Tutorials

The Josephus Problem ---

Math Center: Valencia Community College ---

Teaching Math: A Video Library ---

Carnegie Mellon Libraries: Digital Library Colloquium (video lectures) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at

History Tutorials

Best History Websites ---

BBC History: Audio and Video ---

Today in History ---

The American Presidency Project ---

Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired By Ancient Rome ---

Listening To Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life Along the North Pacific Coast ---

Theodore Roosevelt Collection ---

Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives --- 

Yale University Library: The Map Collection ---

Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World ---

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at
Also see

Music Tutorials

New World: An American Composer's American Sojourn (not free)
Back in 1992, I helped organize a Faculty Summer Seminar on education technology. Among other things we invited in visiting speakers. The best speaker, in my opinion, was a UCLA music professor named Robert Winter who demonstrated his projects on Multimedia Beethoven, Multimedia Stravinsky, and Multimedia Mozart. I still use some of his work in my dog and pony shows on education technology. I finally wore out my favorite CD --- Multimedia Beethoven after all these years. On October 25, 2007 Robert Winter sent me the following message:

Hi Bob -- Nice to hear from you again. Beethoven is, alas, no longer available, but if you can wait a few weeks I have a new interactive DVD called From the New World: An American Composer's American Sojourn. Interactive from the inside out, its 4,500 screens, 1,000 color images, 600+ music examples, and nearly 70 videos explore a cultural and musical history of America from the 1890s until the First World War. It's far and away my best work yet. You can read more about it at: 

We hope to be shipping by mid-November.

Best wishes,


You can read more about Robert Winter at bios/RWinter.html Guitar Chords ---

Mel Bay’s Creative Keyboard ---

From NPR
Learning Guitar for Free (for Now) ---

Violin Instruction:  The American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
Point: the Suzuki Method in Action ---

Keeping Score Symphonic Music Tutorials ---

Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collection (includes music) ---

MakingMusic 2 (Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments)

Online Conservatory ---

Digital Sheet Music Collection: University of Colorado

Richard Wagner Opera Tutorials

From the Scout Report on July 27, 2007

Searching for Gemutlichkeit and Gotterdammerung, the Wagnerian faithful travel to Bayreuth Wagnerian storm as composer’s scion battles to be Bayreuth queen,,2134184,00.html 

Scion’s ‘Meistersinger’ Eagerly Awaited --- Click Here

Going Backstage With Bayreuth Festival Singers [Real Player],2144,2703690,00.html 

Opera-less in the Realm of Wagner 

Opera 101 [Macromedia Flash Player] 

Opera Scores: Richard Wagner 

Art, Life, and Theories of Richard Wagner (From Cornell University)--- Click Here


Language Tutorials

November 2, 2007 message from Jessica Thomas []

Dear Bob,

I would like to recommend  as a resource for . They have a spanish language learning resource guide at  that is an excellent resource for someone trying to learn spanish. Just thought it would be a good resource for your website visitors.

Jessica Thomas
Website Patron

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

Legal Writing Institute ---

How to Publish in Top Journals, Edited by Kwan Choi, March 7, 2002 --- 

University College Writing Workshop: Writing Handouts ---

Mike Kearl's guide to writing a research paper --- 

"Aphorisms on Writing, Speaking, and Listening," by Eric Rasmusen, September 11, 2006 --- 

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Advice to Faculty Job Seekers and Faculty Recruiters

From the Unknown Professor (on October 27, 2007) who runs the Financial Rounds Blog ---
The Unknown Professor spent much of his time recruiting faculty candidates at the most resent Financial Management Association Annual Meetings.

Three Collections of Advice About The Academic Finance Job Market

I recently came across two very good guides to the academic finance job market in a journal called Financial Decisions (formerly the Journal of Financial and Strategic Decisions).

The first one, titled "The Academic Job Market In Finance: A Rookie's Guide" is by Timothy Falcon Crack and Alex Butler. It's floated around the Internet for a while, and it's a pretty thorough guide to the job market for candidates at research-oriented schools. In addition to providing a lot of very helpful tips, it also lays out a timeline that would be useful for anyone just starting out graduate school - the choices you make in the first year or two are very important to your eventual job search.
note: they have a short update with a few additional pieces of advice here.

The second piece, by Delbert Goff and Stephen Huffman, is titled "The Finance Academic Job Search: What your Advisor Might Not Be Telling You". It's geared more towards the market for jobs at schools that are more teaching oriented. It has a very good list of questions to ask when you interview.

I wish I'd found these before FMA - they could have helped a few of the candidates we interviewed for our position.


Bob Jensen's career helpers are at

"When the Web Becomes The Family Dinner Table Site:  Aids Kin Closeness With Postings, Video; Working Out Beta Bugs," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2007; Page D8 ---

Have you ever felt guilty for hearing news about your mother second-hand? It's all too easy to fall out of sync with your family, especially when relatives are spread out in different states, time zones or countries. So it makes sense to use the Web to keep in touch. And while email has its place, as do photo-sharing sites and blogs, none of these solutions truly knits family members together in an environment where everyone can share, post and comment on content -- much like sitting around the dinner table.

This week, I tested one of the many Web sites created specifically to target families: Myfamily is a free site that serves as a place where invited members can upload photos, videos, news, recipes, family-tree entries and other data in a few steps. Naturally, this idea of helping families stay in touch through a Web site is one which many companies are anxious to monopolize. Sites vying for the spotlight include the likes of Famster, The Family Post and Some of these charge monthly or annual fees and offer features like online chatting within the site or ritzy background music while the site is being viewed, neither of which are currently included in myfamily.

Myfamily's ace in the hole is its popular relative, Both sites are owned by parent company, Generations Network Inc., which means that Ancestry's wealth of digitally scanned data and genealogy research can be linked to, enriching the site. Another big plus for myfamily is that it gives users the chance to add voice recordings to photos. These can be used to narrate a slide show (called SnapGenies) or when commenting on a shared image. Voice comments are added by following on-screen instructions and calling a 1-800 number.

I enlisted help from seven of my family members to test our own site. With a little coaching, my 82-year-old grandfather added a digital photo and an accompanying audio comment to our site. My Mom supplied images, voice comments and text comments. And my Dad needed only a little time during a busy week to add his voice comments to photos I posted of last year's Thanksgiving.

But isn't without its flaws. The site has been around by name for 10 years; however, I tested the newest version of this site, 2.0, which is still in its beta, or test, stages and is definitely still working out some of its bugs.

For example, a "What's New" list on the home page should display recent site changes yet unseen by the user, but a video that I posted didn't show up here, nor did new comments about photos. Also, two of my relatives received error messages when first trying to access the site with my invitation. And when a friend of mine added a 96-person family tree to her own site, the tree disappeared upon her next visit. (Luckily, she found it via an emailed link from the company.)

Myfamily cleverly starts new users on a page where they can create a site, rather than first asking for a username and password, as is done by many sites. It works on Macs and PCs, and on all three major browsers, though Apple's Safari browser has a few hiccups.

For now, doesn't offer unique URLs like; instead, users go to and sign in with a username and password. The site automatically remembers you when you return, so regularly accessing it from the same computer is a cinch.

The family member who creates the site (in this case, me) is designated the administrator and can invite anyone to become a site member. Invitees are labeled as either members or guests; the former can add content to the Web site while the latter can only view and comment on the site's contents.

Administrators can choose from four themes with different colors and patterns, and each site is laid out in the same way: members listed on the left, three advertisements, a centered photo and lists of What's New and Upcoming Events. Myfamily will introduce themes with more variety in the next few weeks.

Simple tabs running across the top ridge of the page organize the site's content into Photos, Videos, Discussions, SnapGenies, Trees (as in family trees), Events, Files and People. I got started by dragging and dropping batches of digital photos from my hard drive onto the site using a fast uploading tool. Photos can be listed alone or in virtual albums, which organize them a bit better. I also added videos to the site, and though these took a little longer to load, they were as easy to post as my digital photos.'s integration with voice comments is a huge plus for the site. I smiled listening to my Mom's emotional tone in a heartfelt comment that she left with a photo of my cousin's 21st birthday. On another photo of two relatives asleep in chairs after Thanksgiving dinner, my Dad left a voice comment in which he joked about how exciting the dinner must have been. These comments could easily have been left in text form, but by following on-screen instructions to call a number, enter a PIN and leave a message, my own family site suddenly became much more personal.

I also used the phone to create narrated slide shows called SnapGenies. I spoke into the phone to describe each photo and then skipped to the next image on my computer screen before talking about the next shot. When finished, I hung up the phone, and the result was a simple slide show that anyone in my family could play back with ease. The instructions for ending these SnapGenies could stand to be a bit clearer, but myfamily says it is working on this.

Family trees can be created on the site or uploaded from existing family-tree files. Photos, audio and video can be uploaded from your computer to the tree, and these trees are shared with family members who can also contribute to them. With an subscription (annual U.S. searching cost is $13 a month), users can attach historical census, immigration and military records to their trees, as well as hints about other people. Before the end of the year, users will be able to upload content from a family site directly to the tree.

My sister posted a couple of items under the Discussions tab: a recipe for Skillet Tamale Pie in Recipes, and Web sites related to our next family vacation in the News section. She asked our whole family to take a look at a list of midvacation excursions to decide which ones we wanted to go on, evoking a few responses from the younger members.

In its current state, myfamily doesn't limit the amount of data uploaded to a site, though individual file sizes are technically limited (videos can't exceed 100 megabytes each and photos can't exceed around 10 megabytes each). Myfamily plans to offer an ad-free subscription model at the start of 2008 that will offer more storage; the company estimates that this paid model will cost about $30 annually.

Email updates are sent to site members daily or weekly to inform them about the site's latest developments. Improvements are on the horizon for, including person-to-person chatting through the site, simple photo editing and the ability to create hyperlinks in posts.

The name has 10 years behind it -- staying power that resonates with families who worry about their tediously entered data disappearing should a Web site go belly-up. To placate old and new site members, this 2.0 version of the site needs to make sure it's dependably usable at all times. The new version of is off to a good start, and family members of all ages will feel comfortable here whether browsing the site or adding content of their own.


Apple's Predictions: The Quick and the Dead

"Review: Apple's New Operating System: MacOS 10.5 offers easy file recovery, effective parental controls, and a host of clever, smaller features," by Simpson Garfinkel, MIT's Technology Review, October 25, 2007 ---

Apple's new Macintosh operating system ships tomorrow. Visually stunning, OS 10.5--a.k.a. Leopard--is fast and stable, and it features a consistent set of powerful file-management tools familiar to anyone who has ever used iTunes. And unlike Microsoft Windows, which seems to grind slower with each successive release, OS 10.5 feels faster than 10.4 on the same hardware--provided that you have sufficient memory.

As I mentioned in my May 2007 review, Leopard's centerpiece technology is Time Machine, a revolutionary backup system that lets you take your computer "back in time" to find accidentally deleted files, address-book entries, photographs, and the like. Click "Time Machine," and the desktop drops off the screen to reveal a flowing star field with a sequence of windows progressing back toward the beginning of time (or at least to when you installed Leopard). Click on the timeline, and you can travel back to before you accidentally deleted a key paragraph in that annual report. You can then copy it and bring it back with you into the present.

Time Machine also has a clever disaster-recovery feature that lets you rebuild your Mac from a backup if the main hard drive fails. This feature is built into the MacOS installation process: once the operating system is installed, the computer asks you if you have a Time Machine backup to restore.

Yes, Time Machine's functionality is really no different than that of a traditional incremental backup system. But Time Machine is so much prettier and easier to use! Like the rest of 10.5, Time Machine's graphics and animations are smooth and pleasing but not excessive. The program needs just a tiny bit of configuration: turn it on and specify the hard drive where you want to keep your backups. The defaults are sensible but easily customized. And Time Machine is extensible, so that developers can incorporate it into their own applications. (For example, clicking the Time Machine icon while AddressBook is active allows you to restore individual address-book entries, rather than the entire AddressBook file.)

Unfortunately, Time Machine has a serious problem: when you "secure empty trash" a file on your Mac, the backup remains in Time Machine--with no indication or warning to the user that it's still there. If you want to delete the Time Machine backup, you need to enter Time Machine, find the file, and then tell Time Machine to delete all those backups as well. You'll have no clue as to whether they are "securely" deleted or just unlinked.

Leopard's other big breakthrough is its Parental Controls, one of the best implementations of child-control technology I've seen. Parental Controls allows you to set time limits on your child's use of the computer (separate limits on weekdays and weekends), bedtimes, and wake-up times. The system gives a warning when bedtime is approaching; if your child is working hard on a paper for school, you can type in your username and password and lift the electronic curfew.

Parental Controls also allows you to specify websites that can't be accessed, the people with whom your child can exchange e-mails and instant messages, and even which applications your child can run. I was pleased to see that restrictions on websites and the like are actually built into the operating system, rather than built into Apple's Safari Web browser: I downloaded and ran a copy of Firefox, but the blocked websites remained blocked.

. . .

There are lots of other clever features sprinkled throughout 10.5. For example, Leopard now has a "Back to My Mac" feature that lets you set up your home computer so that you can remotely access its desktop and files, even if it's trapped behind a firewall (provided that you have paid your .Mac subscription fee). You can attach your Mac to an HD television set (all iMacs now feature DVI output) and use it to play DVDs. You can preview a file before you open it. You can create notes and to-do lists and store them in your mailbox (which means that they'll sync across multiple computers if you are using Exchange, IMAP, or .Mac to sync). And you can drag a bunch of files to a "stack" in the dock; we'll see if this is the cure for the cluttered desktop that befuddles so many writers that I know.

Leopard comes standard with all new Macs shipping today, but if you want that new-Mac experience for your existing hardware, it will cost you $129 for the single-user edition or $199 for the five-user Family Pack. You'll also need to spend $79 to get a copy of iLife '08 (also included with new Macs). Leopard works much better if you have a .Mac subscription ($99/year). I also recommend spending $79 for iWork '08 to get Keynote, Apple's superior alternative to PowerPoint. Yes, discounts are available on some of these items, but that's still more than $300 per year to keep your Mac up to date with Apple's latest software and services.

These products are all worth the money if you value having a computer that's fast and easy to use more than you value, say, 100 gallons of gasoline or dinner for four at a really nice restaurant. For me there's no question: I bought them all. But people who are thriftier than I would probably do better to hold off on this update.

"On Apple's Leopard, New Tricks and Some Treats," by Rob Pegoraro, The Washington Post, November 1, 2007 --- Click Here

"The 15 Dumbest Apple Predictions Of All Time," by Rob Beschizza, Wired News, November 1, 2007 ---

The Resource Curse': Why Africa's Oil Riches Don't Trickle Down to Africans
In an era of rising petroleum prices, African oil is drawing new interest from major companies around the globe, according to John Ghazvinian, author of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil, who spoke at a recent event sponsored by the Wharton African Students Association. Companies, Ghazvinian says, see the continent as the most promising place in the world for new production. Yet due to an economic paradox known as the "Resource Curse," most Africans are realizing little benefit from this influx of oil drillers and investment: Between 1970 and 1993, the author notes, "countries without oil saw their economies grow four times faster than those of countries with oil."
University of Pennsylvania, Knowledge@Wharton,  October 31, 2007 --- Click Here

What states have parents who are best versus worst about reading aloud to young children?

"Report shows less than half of kids in California are being read to daily," PhysOrg, November 2, 2007 ---

"This report proves that physicians and policymakers have work to do," said Dr. Shirley Russ, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who led the research team that compiled the report. "Early learning starts in the home with parents. We need to do more to ensure that parents have the information and tools they need to provide their children with a strong foundation for learning."

The report provides state-by-state information on the percentage of children whose parents read aloud to them daily. The statistics show that reading rates vary significantly by state, with Vermont posting 68 percent and Mississippi only 38 percent.

Among the findings for California:

-- Reading rates vary by race/ethnicity, with 58.5 percent of white (non-Hispanic) parents reporting daily reading, compared with a 37.9 percent average for all other groups.
-- Among children living in or near poverty, about one-third from birth to age 5 are read to daily, putting California 48th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.
-- Among children in families with middle incomes, California fares better than many other states, ranking 25th in the nation.
-- Only 22 percent of California fourth graders display proficiency or better on national reading tests, putting the state 45th nationally.

From the Scout Report on October 26, 2007

Mindjet MindManager Pro 7 ---

The road to a successful project starts with a single click, and this application is a good way to get started on just about any type of project.

This version of MindManager Pro helps users play their strategy through the use of a graphical interface where they can arrange topics as they see fit.

The application comes with a few basic templates to get users started as well. This trial version lasts for twenty-one days and it is compatible with computers running Windows XP, 2003, and Vista.

Opera 9.24 ---

Sometimes it would be nice to have a speed dial on a web browser, particularly when one wants to breeze on through different sites quickly.

Just such a feature is available on Opera 9.24, along with embedded fraud protection and dozens of fun and helpful widgets. This latest version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3.

From the Scout Report on November 2, 2007

Flock 1.0  ---

Over the past year, a number of enterprising companies have released a spate of browsers that are increasingly focused on performing very specific functions. Flock 1.0 is one of these browsers, and it is meant to be the premiere "social" browser. To whit, it integrates a number of features (such as integrated photo-sharing and instant messaging) into its design. Visitors can also interact with social networking sites via Flock, and as such, users can access new information about friends and others seamlessly via RSS feeds and other such information conduits. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.

Aquallegro 4.7 --- 

Perhaps you'd like to brush up on your aural skills? Maybe you need a refresher on other things musical? Aquallegro 4.7 is a rather lovely and user-friendly way to do just that, and users can also use the application to learn more about music theory. Educators may also wish to recommend this program to their students who cannot wait for their next in-person music class session or lesson. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer.


After this book was reviewed by Oprah, my wife made me order it. Backorder is actually the case since Amazon could not get immediate copies after the Oprah show. Now there are charges flying about concerning plagiarism.

"Analysts: Seinfeld's defense rings hollow:  Wife claims she never saw cookbook she's accused of plagiarizing," WorldNetDaily, November 2, 2007 ---

Jerry Seinfeld's wife's claim that she never saw the cookbook she's accused of plagiarizing rings hollow against market-research practices in the book-publishing industry, analysts say.

The author of "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals" charges that Jessica Seinfeld stole the theme of her book and at least 15 recipes when she wrote a remarkably similar book, "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food," that appeared several months later.

"I have never seen or read this other book," Seinfeld said.

Her husband, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Monday defended his wife in an appearance on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman."

"My wife never saw the book, read the book, used the book," he insisted.

But publishing analysts point out that book agents scour the market before a book is formally proposed to rule out competing titles. And book editors and publishing boards conduct even more stringent market research before offering writers a contract.

"There's no way they missed 'Sneaky Chef,'" said a senior editor with a major New York publishing house, who wished to remain anonymous.

In fact, Seinfeld's publisher HarperCollins had access to the original manuscript of "Sneaky Chef" almost six months before signing her to a contract. Its author, Missy Chase Lapine, submitted her 139-page book proposal with 31 recipes and 11 purees twice to HarperCollins – once in February 2006 without an agent and again with an agent in May 2006.

HarperCollins signed Seinfeld one month later, in June 2006.

Lapine says that after her publisher, Running Press, contacted HarperCollins, the cover of "Deceptively Delicious" was changed from the one featured in a promotional brochure. In the title, the word "sneaky" was replaced with "simple."

Jerry Seinfeld called Lapine, former publisher of "Eating Well" magazine, a "wacko."

The comic's wife's cookbook has climbed to the top of the New York Times and Amazon bestsellers lists thanks in large part to an Oct. 8 appearance on the "Oprah" show. Lapine says she and her publicists pitched Oprah's producers five times without success.

Host Oprah Winfrey and the Seinfelds are close, and she has a role in Jerry Seinfeld's new animated film, "Bee Movie."

Also, Jessica Seinfeld reportedly gave Winfrey 21 pairs of rare designer shoes valued at some $20,000.

During the World Series last week, Jerry Seinfeld appeared in a Hewlett Packard TV spot promoting the HP notebook in which he plugs not only his movie but also his wife's book. Thumbing through a digital image of "Deceptively Delicious," he remarks, "My wife wrote a cookbook. She is a genius"

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at

Celebrities Who Plagiarized ---

From The Washington Post on November 2, 2007

What percent of U.S. consumer goods are purchased online?

A. 18.4 percent
B. 15.8 percent
C. 12.3 percent
D. 5.2 percent
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Updates from WebMD ---


People who skip meals: Are they better off?
Foregoing food for a day each month stood out among other religious practices in members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons), who have lower rates of heart disease than other Americans, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007. “People who fast seem to receive a heart-protective benefit, and this appeared to also hold true in non-LDS people who fast as part of a health-conscious lifestyle,” said Benjamin D. Horne, Ph.D., M.P.H., study author and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In the 1970s, scientists recognized that Latter-Day Saints (LDS) in Utah are less likely to die of heart disease than other Utah residents and Americans overall. The religious prohibition against tobacco use is usually credited for the health benefit, but researchers wondered whether other religious teachings also may be important.
PhysOrg, November 6, 2007 ---

Horne said this association between fasting and healthy arteries could be due to timing.

“When you abstain from food for 24 hours or so, it reduces the constant exposure of the body to foods and glucose,” he said. “One of the major problems in the development of the metabolic syndrome and the pathway to diabetes is that the insulin-producing beta cells become desensitized. Routine fasting may allow them to resensitize — to reset to a baseline level so they work better.”

The researchers looked separately at people with diabetes, who are not encouraged to skip meals, and found the same association of fasting and healthier arteries in both those with diabetes and those without diabetes. However, this is not sufficient information to suggest that diabetics should skip meals.

“One exciting thing is that the study could be replicated in the general population and in other locations in the United States, including people without an LDS preference who fast for various philosophical or health reasons,” Horne said. “However, it’s important to state that this study does not provide evidence diabetics should skip meals.”

The study is limited because it is not a randomized or controlled trial, and it only includes people who had sufficient symptoms to undergo coronary angiography, the gold standard assessment for CAD. Also, there could be other factors associated with fasting that are the actual causes of the reduced degree of coronary stenosis seen in this study.

Jensen Comment
Obviously this study needs to be extended beyond Mormons, because Mormons have other differences from many people in the general population, particularly a ban on alcohol consumption and other common indulgences in the general population. These factors may not be independent, i.e., the differences may be interactive.


Device Created for 'Red Wine Headache'
Professor Richard Mathies holds up a microchip used for wine analysis in a laboratory on the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007. Researchers are reporting development of a fast, inexpensive test suitable for home use that could help millions of people avoid headaches that may follow consumption of certain red wines, cheese, chocolate and other aged or fermented foods.
Marcus Wohlse, PhysOrg, November 1, 2007 ---

The prototype - the size of a small briefcase - uses a drop of wine to determine amine levels in five minutes, Mathies said. A startup company he co-founded is working to create a smaller device the size of a personal digital assistant that people could take to restaurants and test their favorite wines.

The researchers found the highest amine levels in red wine and sake and the lowest in beer. For now, the device only works with liquids.

Mathies suggests the device could be used to put amine levels on wine labels.

"We're aware of the consumer demand for information. But that has to be tempered by the manner in which wine is made," said Wendell Lee, general counsel for the Wine Institute, a California industry trade group.


Regenerating New Body Parts  (Video) ---

Psst: For the sake of brain-injured veterans, tell this to President Bush
Stem Cells Enhance Memory of Brain-Damaged Victims
In the study, mice with brain injuries experienced enhanced memory – similar to the level found in healthy mice – up to three months after receiving a stem cell treatment. Scientists believe the stem cells secreted proteins called neurotrophins that protected vulnerable cells from death and rescued memory. This creates hope that a drug to boost production of these proteins could be developed to restore the ability to remember in patients with neuronal loss. “Our research provides clear evidence that stem cells can reverse memory loss,” said Frank LaFerla, professor of neurobiology and behavior at UCI. “This gives us hope that stem cells someday could help restore brain function in humans suffering from a wide range of diseases and injuries that impair memory formation.” The results of the study appear Oct. 31 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
"Stem cells can improve memory after brain injury," PhysOrg, October 31, 21007 ---

UCLA Ergonomics: Exercises ---

"Calif. Court to Hear Marijuana Case," by Paul Elias, PhysOrg, November 6, 2007 ---

But along with his urine sample, Ross submitted a doctor's recommendation that he smoke pot to alleviate back pain - a document he figured would save him from being fired.

It didn't: Ross was let go eight days into his tenure because his employer, Ragingwire Inc., said federal law makes marijuana illegal no matter the use.

On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court is due to hear Ross' case, the latest example of the intensifying clash between federal and local authorities over marijuana use.

Ross, 45, contends that Ragingwire discriminated against him because of a back injury and violated the state's fair-employment law by punishing him for legally smoking marijuana at home.

He says he and others using medical marijuana should receive the same workplace protection from discipline that employees with valid painkiller prescriptions do. California voters legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996.

Eleven other states, including Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state have adopted similar laws and many are now grappling with the same sticky workplace issue of employee use of medicinal marijuana.

Continued in article

Forwarded by a Hometown (Algona, Iowa) Friend


Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test With which I have no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ASS, doing drugs, while I work. . . .

Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check ?


Jensen Comment
I guess the counter argument is that children of welfare parents should not be made to suffer for the weaknesses of their parents. However, the same might also be said for people thrown out of work due to their addictions or marijuana prescriptions for pain. Interestingly, those thrown out of work for bad drug test results may go on public assistance to support their drug habits.


Early exposure to violent TV promotes aggression in boys: study
Boys who watch seemingly harmless cartoons or contact sports on TV between the ages of two and five are more likely to be aggressive and disobedient later, a study published Monday showed. We found the more violent TV children see as preschoolers, the more likely they are to have anti-social behaviors -- acting aggressively, disobeying, getting in trouble -- at school age," said Dimitri Christakis, a lead author of the study, published in the scientific journal, Pediatrics. "Cartoons are the main culprit," he told AFP. "Most parents consider cartoons not threatening to their children because, after all, they're not real and they're just funny. But the truth is that preschool children don't distinguish between fantasy and reality the way older children and adults do. To them it's all very real. "Precisely because cartoon violence is intended to be funny and depicts violence without real consequence -- even if people get blown up, they're black for a second and then return to normal -- it conveys the wrong messages about the effects of violence in the real world," Christakis said.
, November 5, 2007 ---

Study: Educational TV for Toddlers OK
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children younger than two

The research involved children younger than 3, so TV is mostly a no-no anyway, according to the experts. But if TV is allowed, it should be of the educational variety, the researchers said. Every hour per day that kids under 3 watched violent child-oriented entertainment their risk doubled for attention problems five years later, the study found. Even nonviolent kids' shows like "Rugrats" and "The Flintstones" carried a still substantial risk for attention problems, though slightly lower. On the other hand, educational shows, including "Arthur," "Barney" and "Sesame Street" had no association with future attention problems. Interestingly, the risks only occurred in children younger than age 3, perhaps because that is a particularly crucial period of brain development. Those results echo a different study last month that suggested TV watching has less impact on older children's behavior than on toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children younger than 2 and limited TV for older children. The current study by University of Washington researchers was prepared for release Monday in November's issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Linsey Tanner, PhysOrg, November 5, 2007 ---

Older adults not more distractible, research shows
Despite previous research suggesting that older adults are more distractible, new research shows they are no more distractible than younger adults when asked to focus their attention on their sense of sight or sound, or when asked to switch their attention from one sense to the other.
PhysOrg, November 5, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Now where was I?

Robot Suit May Help You Achieve a Perfect Golf Swing
Researchers have developed a vibrotactile feedback suit to help individuals learn new motor skills more quickly and accurately than by mimicking human teachers alone. Besides golf, dance and sports training, the suit may also be useful for individuals undergoing motor rehabilitation after neurological damage, as well as for posture improvement. MIT researchers Jeff Lieberman and Cynthia Breazeal have published the results of the study in a recent issue of IEEE Transactions on Robotics. The study presents a proof-of-concept wearable robotic system that provides real-time tactile feedback over every joint simultaneously. “Oddly enough, the idea for the robot suit initially came from a dream,” Lieberman told “The dream involved people who weren't physically able to express themselves, but who were mentally normal, who used a machine that aided them to get their inner feelings out. This ranged from people with muscular difficulties to even toddlers and 'untrained' people who do not know how to wield a paintbrush. Upon waking and thinking about that idea for about an hour, the idea for this project was born, and I started doing research that day; the overall project was about six months for software and hardware development.”
Lisa Zyga, PhysOrg, October 31, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
You'll know there's need for improvement when your spouse buys you the pajama version for a Christmas or birthday present.

1 in 7 Americans over age 70 has dementia
One in seven Americans over the age of 70 suffers from dementia, according to the first known nationally representative, population-based study to include men and women from all regions of the country. About 3.4 million people, or 13.9 percent of the population age 71 and older, have some form of dementia, the study found. As expected, the prevalence of dementia increased dramatically with age, from five percent of those aged 71 to 79 to 37.4 percent of those age 90 and older.
PhysOrg, October 30, 2007 ---

World Health Organization: Quantifying environmental health impacts ---

Is pornography a catalyst of sexual violence?
Recent research suggests that the oppose is true

Steve Chapman, Reason Magazine, November 5, 2007 ---

In the 1980s, conservatives and feminists joined to fight a common nemesis: the spread of pornography. Unlike past campaigns to stamp out smut, this one was based not only on morality but also public safety. They argued that hard-core erotica was intolerable because it promoted sexual violence against women.

"Pornography is the theory; rape is the practice," wrote feminist author Robin Morgan. In 1986, a federal commission concurred. Some kinds of pornography, it concluded, are bound to lead to "increased sexual violence." Indianapolis passed a law allowing women to sue producers for sexual assaults caused by material depicting women in "positions of servility or submission or display."

The campaign fizzled when the courts said the ordinance was an unconstitutional form of "thought control." Though the Bush administration has put new emphasis on prosecuting obscenity, on the grounds that it fosters violence against women, pornography is more available now than ever.

That's due in substantial part to the rise of the Internet, where the United States alone has a staggering 244 million Web pages featuring erotic fare. One Nielsen survey found that one out of every four users say they visited adult sites in the last month.

So in the last two decades, we have conducted a vast experiment on the social consequences of such material. If the supporters of censorship were right, we should be seeing an unparalleled epidemic of sexual assault. But all the evidence indicates they were wrong. As raunch has waxed, rape has waned.

This is part of a broad decrease in criminal mayhem. Since 1993, violent crime in America has dropped by 58 percent. But the progress in this one realm has been especially dramatic. Rape is down 72 percent and other sexual assaults have fallen by 68 percent. Even in the last two years, when the FBI reported upticks in violent crime, the number of rapes continued to fall.

Nor can the decline be dismissed as the result of underreporting. Many sexual assaults do go unreported, but there is no reason to think there is less reporting today than in the past. In fact, given everything that has been done to educate people about the problem and to prosecute offenders, victims are probably more willing to come forward than they used to be.

No one would say the current level of violence against women is acceptable. But the enormous progress in recent years is one of the most gratifying successes imaginable.

How can it be explained? Perhaps the most surprising and controversial account comes from Clemson University economist Todd Kendall, who suggests that adult fare on the Internet may essentially inoculate against sexual assaults.

In a paper presented at Stanford Law School last year, he reported that, after adjusting for other differences, states where Internet access expanded the fastest saw rape decline the most. A 10 percent increase in Internet access, Kendall found, typically meant a 7.3 percent reduction in the number of reported rapes. For other types of crime, he found no correlation with Web use. What this research suggests is that sexual urges play a big role in the incidence of rape -- and that pornographic Web sites provide a harmless way for potential predators to satisfy those desires.

That, of course, is only a theory, and the evidence he cites is not conclusive. States that were quicker to adopt the Internet may be different in ways that also serve to prevent rape. It's not hard to think of other explanations why sexual assaults have diminished so rapidly -- such as DNA analysis, which has been an invaluable tool in catching and convicting offenders.

Changing social attitudes doubtless have also played a role. Both young men and young women are more aware today of the boundaries between consensual and coercive sex. Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, thinks the credit for progress against rape should go to federal funding under the Violence Against Women Act and to education efforts stressing that "no means no."

But if expanding the availability of hard-core fare doesn't prevent rapes, we can be confident from the experience of recent years that it certainly doesn't cause such crimes. Whether you think porn is a constitutionally protected form of expression or a vile blight that should be eradicated, this discovery should come as very good news.

Five Best Books on Exploration

"If It Is Adventure You Seek These books on exploration are marvelous finds," by Laurence Bergreen, The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2007 ---

1. "Through the Dark Continent" by Henry M. Stanley (1878).

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume." Welsh-born American journalist Henry M. Stanley (1841-1904) uttered those words, or so he claimed, upon tracking down the Scottish missionary and long-missing explorer Stanley Livingstone beside Lake Tanganyika in central Africa in 1871. Stanley continued to investigate Africa on a series of expeditions that he described in "Through the Dark Continent"--journeys that later drew criticism for Stanley's harsh dealings with the tribesmen he encountered. But there was no question of his courage and energy in the face of extreme hardship. This book's subtitle alone--"The Sources of the Nile, Around the Great Lakes of Equatorial Africa, and Down the Livingstone River to the Atlantic Ocean"--is enough to quicken the pulse.

2. "In Xanadu" by William Dalrymple (Collins, 1989).

No one could be further from the imperious Henry Stanley than William Dalrymple, a sensitive modern-day Oxford graduate who, in 1986, made a pilgrimage from Jerusalem to the ruins of the palace of the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, not far from Beijing. Dalrymple endures a succession of rides in impossibly dilapidated buses on a quixotic journey to the real Xanadu, where he and a friend, in a fine drizzle, declaim Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poetic fantasy of the place. Dalrymple, who has since written extensively about India and the Mughal empire, seems in his first book, "In Xanadu," as soft as sealing wax receiving its first impression. Yet his keen intelligence and critical faculties are already apparent. The result is "On the Road" for aesthetes.

3. "Travels With Herodotus" by Ryszard Kapuscinski (Knopf, 2007).

In his last work, Polish writer Ryszard Kapuscinski, who died earlier this year, contrasts his own curiously low-key and enigmatic travels through India, Africa and China in the 1960s and '70s with accounts left by the granddaddy of all travel writers and historians, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century B.C. But Kapuscinski resists facile then-and-now comparisons. Pondering his first sight of the Nile in 1960, or witnessing a Louis Armstrong performance in the Sudan, he examines different worlds and historical periods through the prism of his own melancholy sensibility. Nothing in this multidimensional work is quite what it seems, because Kapuscinski writes like a reporter and thinks like a poet. He acts as if it were the most natural thing in the world to live one's entire life out of time and out of place.

4. "White Gold" by Giles Milton (Harper, 2006).

Every so often, it is tonic to read an honest-to-Pete, can-you-believe-this historical account of nightmarish events. "White Gold" is such a book. The prolific English travel writer and historian Giles Milton describes with riveting immediacy the ordeal of Thomas Pellow, who, along with his English shipmates, was taken prisoner by Barbary Coast slave traders at war with Christendom in the early years of the 18th century. Pellow wound up in the service of Moulay Ismail, the sadistic sultan of Morocco, for 23 years--making for more than two decades of grisly adventures and near-death experiences. "White Gold" offers a topsy-turvy view of a decadent Islamic empire in which orthodoxy fights a losing battle with the temptations of the flesh.

5. "The Adventures of Ibn Battuta" by Ross E. Dunn (University of California, 1986).

A few decades after the Venetian Marco Polo traveled across Asia in the late 13th century and dictated an account of his adventures to an amanuensis, Ibn Battuta, the son of a prosperous Moroccan merchant, traveled through many of the same regions and cities--and dictated an account of his own adventures. Scholars wonder how much he actually saw himself and how much he simply heard and passed on. (They wonder the same thing about Marco Polo, of course.) Between 1325 and 1349, Ibn Battuta claimed, he traveled across Egypt, Persia, Russia, India, parts of China and even Sumatra. The best way for Westerners to approach "Rihla," as the original account was called, is through Ross E. Dunn's narrative discussion, which captures the flavor of the original but adds astute modern commentary.

Mr. Bergreen is the author of "Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe" (2003) and "Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu," just published by Knopf.

"Getting Ahead: How to succeed in business? Invest some time with these books," by Cathie Black, The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2007 ---

1. "Personal History" by Katharine Graham (Knopf, 1997).

Kay Graham's story is the gold standard for anyone in politics, business or the public arena who wants to recount life's lessons in autobiographical form. Though she was born into privilege and achieved renown on her own, she recounts her youth, her family life and her days running the Washington Post in a modest, at times even humble, manner. She is bracingly candid about the suicide in 1963 of her husband, Philip, who had been in charge of her family's paper, and about her resulting struggle to embark on a late career in the male-dominated realm of newspapering. And she is fascinating when describing the decisions that went into publishing the Pentagon Papers and investigating Watergate. "Personal History" is essential reading for anyone who loves a life story wonderfully told, particularly one as consequential in the culture and politics of our times as this one.

2. "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp (Simon & Schuster, 2003).

Choreographer Twyla Tharp's study of creativity isn't just engaging reading--it's an antidote to writer's block, stalled projects set against hard deadlines or any life situation where you need a jolt of out-of-the-box thinking. The book, a sleeper success, has been embraced by many corporations for management study. Tharp has taken her message on the lecture circuit as well, with stops that have included Georgia Pacific, NASA and my own magazine group at Hearst, where she was inspiring as she talked about the correlations between choreography and real-life problem solving. "Action will wake you," she advises, because "once the blood gets moving, ideas will come." My favorite lines are about the importance of naïveté, which she sees as a great advantage. Tharp renames it "forever the child" or "the ability to not know." She writes: "You do not know that failure can hurt, or even that you can fail." Not a bad state of mind, in work and in life.

3. "Winning" by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch (HarperBusiness, 2005).

In "Winning," the former chief executive of General Electric and his wife offer business advice in a straightforward, down-to-earth style. The book feels like a private session with one of the great leaders of American business. Jack Welch describes his own experiences at GE, but he expands on them, turning a business memoir into an invaluable guide to building and managing a business. ("If a company has been through enough change programs, employees consider you like gas pains. You'll go away if they just wait long enough.") Welch also offers a road map to personal success at every career stage, defines the qualities of a good manager, advises how to handle crises--and, not least, provides first-rate advice on maintaining a work-life balance.

4. "Never Check E-Mail in the Morning" by Julie Morgenstern (Fireside, 2004).

Whether you're an executive assistant or a chief executive, time management is crucial--and no one explains how to organize your time better than Julie Morgenstern. Some of her advice may seem hard to swallow: Don't multitask, for one, and, as the title instructs us, don't read email in the morning. Impossible! Or so you think. As she points out, email is a serious distraction, especially for people who feel the need to respond immediately. Some email-free time in the morning--permitting you to concentrate on other tasks--can be a blessing. Morgenstern's tips are easy both to understand and to remember. There are her four D's (delete, delay, delegate, diminish) and, my favorite, "Dance Close to the Revenue Line"--that is, assign priorities to your tasks based on their importance to your business. Morgenstern believes, as I do, that to function at work at the highest possible level you must have a life outside the office, so be strict about the value you put on your time--particularly by refusing to allow others to waste it.

5. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey (Free Press, 1989).

Although written nearly two decades ago, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" offers a message that has not lost any of its power: You will flourish by concentrating on the aspects of life that you can control rather than by reacting to external forces. The seven "habits" covered in the book may seem so simple as to be obvious ("Be Proactive," "Put First Things First," etc.), but Stephen Covey weaves them into a principle-based philosophy that emphasizes the importance of relying on your own character and intrinsic beliefs as you pursue any goal. I've found that even if you're able to take onboard only a couple of the book's seven habits, you will still notice their beneficial effect on life both in and out of the office.

Ms. Black is the author of "Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)," just published by Crown Business.


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologisms, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease.

9. Karmageddon (n): Its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10 Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an a-hole.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: 'And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?' the reporter asked. She simply replied, 'No peer pressure.'

The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs

I've sure gotten old! I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart.
'Wal-Mart?' the preacher exclaimed. 'Why Wal-Mart?'
'Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week.'


My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.


It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.


These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, 'For fast relief.'


Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old, You grow old because you stop laughing.

--- THE SENILITY PRAYER : Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

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The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.

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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
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Phone:  603-823-8482