Mt. Washington ---
Mt. Washington's 231 MPH wind allegedly is a world's record in officially-recorded wind speed.
That day the wind was coming off the Atlantic Ocean when the 231 MPH record was set.
Mean and peak wind speeds on Mt. Washington are shown below.
(Source ---


Above is a close shot of Mt. Washington's wind-swept dome.
Snow stays on top only when it's mixed with heavy ice.
Below is a picture the dome (zoomed slightly) from our front porch.
It was taken in late autumn sunset before we had snow in our yard.

Below is an unzoomed view of the snow-capped Presidential Range from our driveway.
Cold mountain winds rattle our walls occasionally but not every day.
This week they are blowing something fierce!
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow ---

Our front-lawn wild roses are blanketed under snow this time of year.
But last summer's pictures remind me of better days for our wild roses.
The bright light is camera flash off the window glass. It's not a UFO or
al Qaeda blowing up our Franconia Notch mountain pass.


Our 2007 XMAS Letter ---



Tidbits on December 18, 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 ---

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- 

Google Maps Street View ---

Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy ---

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 ---

You won't want to drink out of the glasses in your hotel room after watching this (video) ---
Also at
Hint:  The chamber maids do not send glasses down to the dishwashers. I carry paper cups in my suitcase.

Mountain Wing Suit Flying (spectacular, but they still need landing parachutes) ---

A Froggie's Rant Against the Proposed Canadian DMCA (the disastrous U.S. copyright law) ---
The Froggie is really technology professor Michael Geist. See the Chronicle of Higher Education module on December 14, 2007 --- Click Here
Bob Jensen's threads on the disastrous U.S. DMCA are at 

John Seely Brown was a computer enthusiast since before most people knew what personal computers were. His work as former director of the Xerox Corporation’s famed Palo Alto Research Center landed him in the computer Industry Hall of Fame. Jeffrey R. Young sat down with Mr. Brown at a recent event celebrating the history of NSFNet, a precursor of today’s Internet, and recorded this podcast interview, in which he talks about how computer networks — and now Web 2.0 —
From the Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2007 ---
John Seely Brown was a keynote speaker at the conference and video archives are available at

You and/or your spouse can be your own dancing elves ---

Candid Camera Moments

Skewed views on life by Mrs. Hughs (thanks Cindy) ---

Bette Midler Tonight Show w/ Johnny Carson (sponsored by Weight Watchers) ---

Christmas Comedy and Blues

XMAS Blessings --- Click Here

Free music downloads ---

While working on the computer, Bob Jensen mostly listens to (free and without commercials) ---

One Hour of Seasonal Music from NPR (mostly classical)
Christmas Around the Country 2007 ---

Ensemble Rebel: Rethinking the Baroque ---

Jimmy Heath's 80th Birthday Concert (Jazz) ---

Classical Music Christmas Around the Country 2007 (and 2005) from NPR ---

2007 Holiday Music Videos

Other holiday music links ---

Bob Jensen's Truck
Rusty Chevrolet ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

Barb Hessel maintains our family archives. She forwarded the following:

If you think you might enjoy some Christmas songs in Norwegian, here are a few. I recommend Sissel (4th one down). She has a wonderful voice. I bought one of her Christmas CDs. Barb

Photographs and Art

Quotations and Photographs of War --- Click Here

Growing Old With an Attitude --- Click Here

The Louvre ---

Ashland University Holiday Card (Beautiful) ---

Happy Holidays from Ernst & Young ---

XMAS Blessings --- Click Here

Arlington National Cemetery Photos ---
Christmas wreaths at Arlington Cemetery ---

2007 National Geographic Photographs of the Year --- Click Here

Beautiful Dixie ---

Butchart Gardens National Historic Site of Canada ---

Glow in the Dark Kittens ---
Nice photographs appear at ---
Click Here
Glow in the Dark Fish ---
Also see


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 ---

The Million Book Project, an international venture led by Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, Zhejiang University in China, the Indian Institute of Science in India and the Library at Alexandria in Egypt, has completed the digitization of more than 1.5 million books, which are now available online. For the first time since the project was initiated in 2002, all of the books ... are available through a single Web portal of the Universal Library (, said Gloriana St. Clair, Carnegie Mellon's dean of libraries.
The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, November 30, 2007 ---

The University of Pittsburgh’s University Library System (ULS) and University Press have formed a partnership to provide digital editions of press titles as part of the library system’s D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program. Thirty-nine books from the Pitt Latin American Series published by the University of Pittsburgh Press are now available online, freely accessible to scholars and students worldwide. Ultimately, most of the Press’ titles older than 2 years will be provided through this open access platform.
The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, December 5, 2007 ---

From the Nature Journal of Science
Archives of 19th Century Science (Free Online editions of Nature) ---

Critical Dance Forum ---

Christmas Quizzes

The 8,765 Reasons Why I (says one blogger) Do Not Like Christmas ---

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.


Tradition is a guide and not a jailer..
W. Somerset Maugham as quoted by Mark Shapiro at

Philosophers don't observe; they sit in their armchairs, lost in thought. That traditional view is changing.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Times, December 9, 2007 --- Click Here

As of January 1, every baby born in Maine will be eligible for a $500 savings nest egg, provided by a foundation founded by the late Harold Alfond, founder of the Dexter Shoe Company, the Associated Press reported. Parents will be encouraged to add their own funds to the $500 to be deposited by the foundation. If the children are not able to use the money for college, the $500 plus interest will be returned to the foundation.
Inside Higher Ed, December 12, 2007 ---

Iraqi oil exceeds pre-war output
Iraqi oil production is above the levels seen before the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA said Iraqi crude production is now running at 2.3 million barrels per day, compared with 1.9 million barrels at the start of this year.
It puts the rise down to the improving security situation in Iraq, especially in the north of the country.

BBC News, December 14, 2007 ---

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public's priorities. "They like this war. They want this war to continue," Pelosi, D- Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans' ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters. "We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we needed a new direction in Iraq," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. "But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is not just George Bush's war. This is the war of the Republicans in Congress."
Breitbart, December 13, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Nancy Pelosi wants to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory. But she's right. John McCain liked the Viet Nam war so much he wishes he could've spent the rest of his life in the Hanoi Hilton. Mitt Romney prays every day for eternal war because he likes it so much. December 14 was a day without one reportable act of violence according to ABC News. Nancy Pelosi is fearful that any more such days might hurt her partisan efforts to win a huge Democratic majority in Congress.  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi signify partisan politics at its worst! Do they really prefer defeat and continued violence in Iraq to defeat in Congress? The fact of the matter is that the U.S. military is still needed in Iraq to prevent a resurgence of al Qaeda.

Fighting between the US and Iraqi government-backed Awakening movements and al Qaeda in Iraq spiked over the weekend. At least four high profile engagements and bombings occurred in Baghdad, Anbar, Ninewa, and Diyala provinces. The largest clash occurred on Sunday in the eastern region of Diyala province in the villages of Nai and Safit. Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters attacked the villages but the local tribes fought back, Twenty-two al Qaeda fighters and seventeen tribesmen were killed in the battle, KUNA reported. Al Qaeda in Iraq is attempting to recroups in eastern Diyala after being ejected from much of central Baghdad province during operations this summer and fall. To the west in Anbar province, al Qaeda fighters attacked an Awakening checkpoint in the city of Barwana near Haditha. Four terrorists were killed in the clash.
The Long War Journal, December 17, 2007 ---

Al-Qaida's No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri warned of "traitors" among insurgents in Iraq and called on Iraqi Sunni Arab tribes to purge those who help the Americans in a new videotape posted Monday on the Web. Al-Zawahri's comments were aimed at undermining so-called "awakening councils" — the groups of Iraqi Sunni tribesmen that the U.S. military has backed to help fight al-Qaida in Iraq and its allies. Some Sunni insurgent groups have fought alongside American forces, and the U.S. military has touted the councils as a major factor in reducing violence in war-torn regions like Iraq's Anbar province.
Lee Keith, Associated Press via Yahoo News, December 17, 2007 ---

Two children have made an appearance on Hamas Television's children's show called "Liberate" to exhort a liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and to promise to "wipe out" Zionists. The new video captured from Hamas Television is being made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and publicizes media reports throughout the Middle East. MEMRI also has a web page that is devoted to Al-Aqsa television clips.
"Children promise to 'wipe out' Zionists," WorldNetDaily, December 13, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Terrorists are engaging in a very successful media effort to win the hears and minds of young people ---
This is where the fight is being waged successfully 24/7 for 365 days each and every year.

How to avoid losing your million dollar house to foreclosure.
There are bad ideas to address the mortgage meltdown, and then there are ideas so awful that they even have Democrats rebelling against their powerful House chairmen. Such is the case with the mortgage bankruptcy bill passed yesterday by John Conyers's House Judiciary Committee. We warned in October about this legislation, which would allow bankruptcy judges to treat mortgage debt the same as credit-card debt. It sounds like a great idea to troubled borrowers, because judges could then reduce the amount that a borrower owes on a mortgage -- while letting the owner keep the property. It's less great for future home buyers, who can imagine how much fun it will be when markets logically respond by setting mortgage interest rates closer to those on credit-card debt. Mortgage debt has always been treated differently -- i.e., the bank will take your house if you don't pay the agreed-upon tab -- precisely to encourage lower rates on a less risky investment.
"Of Victims and Mortgages," The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2007; Page A22 ---

This is a policy prescription, not an intelligence assessment. Nonetheless, it is worth recalling that if Iran did have an active weaponization program prior to 2003, as the NIE claims, it means that former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was lying when he said that "weapons of mass destruction have never been our objective." Mr. Khatami is just the kind of "moderate" that advocates of engagement with Iran see as a credible negotiating partner. If he's not to be trusted, is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Then again, when it comes to the issue of trust, it isn't just Mr. Ahmadinejad we need to worry about. It has been widely pointed out that the conclusions of this NIE flatly contradict those of a 2005 NIE on the same subject, calling the entire process into question. Less discussed is why the administration chose to release a shoddy document that does maximum political damage to it and to key U.S. allies, particularly France, the U.K. and Israel. The likely answer is that the administration calculated that any effort by them to suppress or tweak the NIE would surely leak, leading to accusations of "politicizing intelligence." But that only means that we now have an "intelligence community" that acts as an authority unto itself, and cannot be trusted to obey its political masters, much less keep a secret. The administration's tacit acquiescence in this state of affairs may prove even more damaging than its wishful thinking on Iran. For years it has been a staple of fever swamp politics to believe the U.S. government is in the grip of shadowy powers using "intelligence" as a tool of control. With the publication of this NIE, that is no longer a fantasy.
Bret Stephens, "The NIE Fantasy The intelligence community failed to anticipate the Cuban Missile Crisis," The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2007 --- 

Before rolling out the peace banners, though, it's worth looking at the agencies' track record in getting these sorts of "estimates" right. As a matter of fact, U.S. intelligence services have so far failed to predict the nuclearization of a single foreign nation. They failed to do so with regard to the Soviet Union in 1949, China in 1964, India and Pakistan in 1998, and North Korea in 2002. They also got Saddam's weapons program wrong -- twice. First by underestimating it in the 1980s and then by overplaying its progress before the 2003 invasion. But on the possible nuclearization of a regime that sounds fanatic enough to use this doomsday weapon, the NIE, contradicting everything we have heard so far about the issue, including from a previous NIE report, is suddenly to be trusted? It's not just on the nuclear front where American intelligence services have failed their country. They foresaw neither the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 nor the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. In Afghanistan, during the 1980s, while other friendly services, among them the French, urged the CIA to support more "moderate" tribal chiefs in the fight against the Red Army, the agency relied on the enlightened advice of its Saudi friends and supported the most extreme Islamists. U.S. troops are fighting and dying today for that blunder. More recently, the CIA conducted those "extraordinary renditions" of terrorist suspects in such an amateurish manner that several American intelligence officers were exposed and are now being tried in absentia in Italy. Allied services in other countries were also compromised, souring future cooperation between the agencies.
Claude Moniquet, "American Intelligence," The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2007 ---

It's not just on the nuclear front where American intelligence services have failed their country. They foresaw neither the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 nor the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. In Afghanistan, during the 1980s, while other friendly services, among them the French, urged the CIA to support more "moderate" tribal chiefs in the fight against the Red Army, the agency relied on the enlightened advice of its Saudi friends and supported the most extreme Islamists. U.S. troops are fighting and dying today for that blunder. More recently, the CIA conducted those "extraordinary renditions" of terrorist suspects in such an amateurish manner that several American intelligence officers were exposed and are now being tried in absentia in Italy. Allied services in other countries were also compromised, souring future cooperation between the agencies.
Claude Moniquet, "American Intelligence," The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2007 ---

 . . . nuclear warhead design (completed by Iran in five years) is proven, and production of fissile material is established technology. All that remains is for Iran’s production facilities to produce the fissile material needed to fuel its nuclear bombs. Perhaps Iran, like the New Energy Agency’s Maxifuel Project, suspended development of its nuclear warhead program as soon as the warhead design was completed. A scenario not addressed in the NIE . . . In addition, the NIE further muddies the waters by admitting it does not know, “...whether it (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons,” but it can state with “moderate confidence” that Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007. As to the Iran’s present nuclear ambitions, NIE concludes by avowing its “moderate-to-high confidence” that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon. Considering the availability of nuclear bomb making technology, and completing the earlier analogy, it is reasonable to assume that Iran—testing with inert parts—has completed its design and testing of nuclear warheads and has therefore suspended its warhead design. All that remains is production of the fissile material required to make the bomb—uranium-235 and plutonium-239. After all, Iran has continued to develop centrifuge technology and even brags about its 3,000 operating centrifuges at Natanz—that’s what all the hubbub at the UN is about.
Lee Boyland, "What the National Intelligence Estimate Does Not Tell You," The New Media Journal, December 15, 2007 ---

“There’s a lot that goes on in prison,” he said. “Prison is not an alien world; similar things occur outside of prisons such as groups not getting along and having separate social organizations but trying to coexist. It’s like the term Balkanization, inter-ethnic conflict, the Sunnis and Kurds. A prison itself is like this ongoing society that is fractured, and one’s relations are often characterized by extremes of conflict and cohesion. It’s a microcosm of situations where there’s a lot of civil strife. It’s an inmate society, but the dynamic is pertinent to how people deal with living in contentious social environments.” Along with respect, Colwell also examined reasons for violent behavior, which occurs frequently in prison communities due to conflict. He said violent acts are more then just about establishing a pecking order and are one sided “celebrations” of the contrast between aggressor and victim. Colwell said violence – verbal slights or overt acts of aggression – sometimes emanate from just wanting to reinforce one’s self-identity.
"Study Looks at Social Structure of Prison Communities," PhysOrg, December 14, 2007 ---

Here's today's quiz: What do Scottie Pippen, David Letterman and Ted Turner have in common? Answer: None of them are farmers, but all three have received thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies this decade. We could add to that list of non-farmer farm-aid recipients David Rockefeller, Leonard Lauder of the cosmetics firm, Edgar Bronfman Sr. of the Seagram fortune, and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. Our point is that you don't have to drive a tractor, plant seeds, or even live anywhere near rural America to qualify for Uncle Sam's farm largess. And you sure don't have to be poor. The Environmental Working Group has a map of New York City making the rounds on the Internet that shows 562 dots, each representing a Manhattan resident who gets a USDA farm payment. Who knew that growing cotton, corn and soybeans was such a thriving industry near Central Park? We don't know the incomes of these people, but it's a fair guess they're not homeless.
"Green Acres," The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2007; Page A26 ---

A lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts cannot get divorced in their home state of Rhode Island, the state's highest court ruled Friday in a setback to gay rights advocates who sought greater recognition for same-sex relationships. The Rhode Island Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, said the family court lacks the authority to grant a divorce because state lawmakers have not defined marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman. Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers wed in Massachusetts in 2004 after that state became the first to legalize same-sex marriages. The couple filed for divorce last year in Rhode Island, where they both live, citing irreconcilable differences. They can't get divorced in Massachusetts either, because the Bay State has a residency requirement. That means that, if you set aside the man-and-woman element, they have a genuine traditional marriage, till death do them part--something the law no longer recognizes for heterosexuals.
Opinion Journal, December 10, 2007

"There is a striking paradox associated with mass murders. are far more likely to occur in areas that have been designated as gun-free zones," he wrote. "Worldwide, office buildings, hospitals, convenience stores, TV studios, chain restaurants and day-care centers have all been targets of homicidal maniacs. Mass murders have taken place in such places after they have been declared gun-free zones. "In 1999, John Lott and William Landes published a U.S. study of multiple shooting incidents. They showed that mass shootings occur less often in areas where responsible citizens may carry weapons," he continued. "Do mass shootings ever occur in police stations, shooting ranges or at gun shows? Mass murderers select soft targets for their acts of violence. Expecting a suicidal individual to honor a law prohibiting firearms is sheer utopian fantasy.
Bob Unruh, "Hero guard: 'It was me, the gunman, and God' Woman who ended carnage: 'I knew what I had to do'," WorldNetDaily, December 10, 2007 ---

Democrat party officials are avoiding any and all criticism of Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, insiders reveal. The Democratic National Committee has told staffers to hold all fire, until he secures the party's nomination. The directive has come down from the highest levels within the party, according to a top source. Within the DNC, Huckabee is known as the "glass jaw -- and they're just waiting to break it." In the last three weeks since Huckabee's surge kicked in, the DNC hasn't released a single press release criticizing his rising candidacy. The last DNC press release critical of Huckabee appeared back on March 2nd.
The Drudge Report, December 11, 2007 ---

Your Dec. 3 "Outlook" (WSJ) column "Why Dollar May Be Set for a Rebound" correctly points out that currency movements have created huge price discounts in the U.S., resulting in America becoming the destination of choice for global bargain hunters. However, in your conclusion that a rising dollar will close this illogical gap, you fail to consider the obvious alternative mechanism: rising prices in the U.S. At present, goods imported by the U.S. are often sold at retail for less than they would fetch in their home markets. This bizarre phenomenon results from the falling dollar and exporters' reluctance to raise prices in the U.S. for fear of losing market share in the world's richest consumer market. Unfortunately for Americans, and bargain-minded Europeans, when these exporters finally weary of watching profits evaporate with the weak dollar, price hikes in the U.S. will be inevitable.
Peter Schiff, "Declining Dollar Poses Serious Risk of Inflation," The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2007; Page A25 ---

"How Can Markets Be Efficient If People Are such Morons?" --- Click Here
The always enjoyable
Megan McArdale has a great piece explaining the EMH with the above title in The There's also a pretty good snark-war in the comment section between a trader who insists markets are easily beatable and someone else who pretty much shoots him to pieces.
Financial Rounds Blog, December 15, 2007 ---

It’s an assertion repeated by politicians and climate campaigners the world over – ‘2,500 scientists of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisis’. But it’s not true. And, for the first time ever, the public can now see the extent to which they have been misled. As lies go, it’s a whopper. Here’s the real situation. Like the three IPCC ‘assessment reports’ before it, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) released during 2007 (upon which the UN climate conference in Bali was based) includes the reports of the IPCC’s three working groups. Working Group I (WG I) is assigned to report on the extent and possible causes of past climate change as well as future ‘projections’. Its report is titled “The Physical Science Basis”. The reports from working groups II and II are titled “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and “Mitigation of Climate Change” respectively, and since these are based on the results of WG I, it is crucially important that the WG I report stands up to close scrutiny.
Tom Harris and John McLean, "The UN Climate Change Numbers Hoax," Canada Free Press, December 14, 2007 ---

Our 2007 XMAS Letter ---

Probably the main advantage of a wiki is that Web pages can be made and modified directly from a Web browser such as Internet Explorer.
Persons other than the original author can generally modify a wiki module.

How Wikis Work ---
Also see

Best known Wiki site is Wikipedia where readers can add modules, modify modules, and add modules to discussion tabs ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the pros and cons of Wikipedia ---

Creating Your Own Wiki Site ---
(The sites below will host your Wiki files. Colleges often will not host Wiki uploads through their firewalls.)

Flex wiki - Wiki Hosting
A wiki hosting community where you can create your own wiki or change someone else's wiki.
Jotspot - Wiki Hosting
Create your own wiki using a wiki hosting program that looks and works like Word.
Media Wiki - Wiki Software
This is the wiki software that is used by Wikipedia, Wiki source, and Wiktionary to create their wiki's. Get a copy of this wiki software for yourself.
Netomat - Wiki Hosting
Share your pictures and other files, write text, even draw on this wiki hosting site. This is your own wiki site that you can use to communicate and share things with your friends and family for free with this wiki hosting site.
Socialtext - Wiki's for Workgroups
Have your whole workgroup add their thoughts all in the same place on this wiki hosting site. Instead of sending emails around, post

There are many other wiki hosting alternatives that you can find using Google.
One example of where you can pay for space to create a wiki site ---
K-12 teachers may apply for free space.

Richard Campbell forwarded the following instructional video about Wikispaces ----

Smartpen:  The Beautiful and the Ugly
The following invention offers students new opportunities, some for the good and some for the bad

"Computing on Paper:  Livescribe's smartpen turns a sheet of paper into a computer," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, December 13, 2007 ---

A new smartpen could change the way people practice mobile computing by bringing processing power to traditional pen and paper. Made by Livescribe, of Oakland, CA, the smartpen is designed to digitize the words and drawings that a user puts down on paper and bring them to life.

So long as the user writes on paper printed with a special pattern, the smartpen transforms what is written into interactive text. For example, the pen has a recording function, called paper replay, that can record sound and connect it to what the user writes while the sounds are being recorded. Later, the user can tap the pen over what she wrote and replay the associated sounds. "We're starting to make the whole world of printable surfaces accessible and functional," says Livescribe CEO Jim Marggraff.

The smartpen, he says, will enable "paper-based multimedia," such as interactive business cards. Marggraff's business card, for example, allows contacts to e-mail him by writing him a note on its surface with a smartpen. Users can also access the pen's power by writing commands on any surface printed with the pattern. For example, if a smartpen user wants to know the definition of a word, she can write, "define," followed by the word. The pen, using data stored in its memory, will recognize the word the user writes and display its definition on a small screen on the side of the pen. The same type of procedure can be used to translate words or solve math problems.

"I wanted to make the pen itself interactive and give you feedback, so that as you're writing on paper, the pen could interpret what you're doing and then tell you something about it," says Marggraff. "That opens up a whole new way of interacting with paper, because effectively, the pen and the paper become a computer."

The pen's features depend on its ability to track its position on the paper at all times. This is largely made possible, Marggraff explains, by the paper. The paper that the pen uses is printed with microdots according to a process developed by the Swedish company Anoto. The pattern provides gridded location information on a very small scale. The pen knows its position by taking a picture of what's beneath the pen tip and processing it based on the algorithms used to produce the patterns of microdots. Paper replay, for example, then works because the pen associates particular points of an audio track with particular locations on a particular page. "If you printed the whole pattern out, it would cover Europe and Asia in square miles," Marggraff says. "So when your pen goes down in Southern Italy in a tiny corner, it knows exactly where you are." This means that a user can permanently link audio information to particular locations in a notebook, with no worry about losing the link when she turns the page. Because of the size of the pattern and the possibilities for extending it even further, Marggraff says, he's not worried that it will run out.

Pads of the paper with the special pattern will be sold by Livescribe. Users will also be able to print the pattern on regular, blank sheets of paper using certain high-quality printers.

Marggraff says that the dot-positioning technology, which he read about in a magazine, was partly what inspired his endeavors in paper-based computing. Before the Livescribe smartpen, he worked on the Fly Pentop Computer, a product for children developed from earlier applications of the technology.

In addition to the microdot pattern, the Livescribe smartpen makes use of other technologies, including a 3-D audio recording system. This technology, Marggraff says, is designed to make the pen's paper-replay function more useful in less than ideal recording conditions. If a student using the smartpen gets stuck in the back of a lecture hall, for example, most recordings would risk being too low-quality to be useful. The pen, however, uses two microphones to record the sound the way the user would have heard it originally: the two microphones help the listener sort different sounds, much as information from two ears helps people identify the source of a sound.

Rodney Brooks, director of the computer-science and artificial-intelligence laboratory at MIT, who has been an advisor to the product, says that connecting writing and computation in the smartpen is "a real step forward." While Brooks notes that it's unfortunate that a user must have special paper in addition to a special pen, he is still very enthusiastic about the technology. "If a magic wand could be waved and you didn't require [special paper], that would be wonderful, but these are pretty big steps even without that," he says.

Other companies have previously made products using the dot-positioning technology. Logitech, for example, licensed the microdot pattern from Anoto to build a digital pen called io. Mark Anderson, director of business development at Logitech, says that the io employs the dot technology to allow users to take notes and view them as typewritten text on a PC, and other similar applications. However, at this time, Anderson says that the io does not have multimedia functions.

Beyond the capabilities that the Livescribe smartpen already has, the company is releasing tools that developers can use to build their own applications for the pen. Marggraff hopes that the pen will become a new computing platform for consumers, replacing some existing mobile products.

Brooks says that he can imagine the pen taking on that role. "People do change their platforms," he says.

The smartpen is planned for release in January, when more product details will be available.

Jensen Comment
Smartpen's audio recorder is good for students to record parts of lectures for replay later when trying to better understand.
Smartpen's audio recorder is bad when student makes portions of lectures available online without permission.

Smartpen is good in when the student is writing and wants a word defined in order to improve the documents.
Smartpen is bad when the student writes "define" in an exam when the definition is an integral part of the examining question.

Since the smartpen does not work on any writing surface, the main worry for examinations is when students use smartpen paper for scratch pads while taking examinations.

Bob Jensen's threads on other imaginative ways to cheat are at

Google's Cloud Computing

Before reading the module below it may be best to go to

"Google and the Wisdom of Clouds:  A lofty new strategy aims to put incredible computing power in the hands of many," by Stephen Baker, Business Week, December 13, 2007 --- 

One simple question. That's all it took for Christophe Bisciglia to bewilder confident job applicants at Google (GOOG). Bisciglia, an angular 27-year-old senior software engineer with long wavy hair, wanted to see if these undergrads were ready to think like Googlers. "Tell me," he'd say, "what would you do if you had 1,000 times more data?"

What a strange idea. If they returned to their school projects and were foolish enough to cram formulas with a thousand times more details about shopping or maps or—heaven forbid—with video files, they'd slow their college servers to a crawl.

At that point in the interview, Bisciglia would explain his question. To thrive at Google, he told them, they would have to learn to work—and to dream—on a vastly larger scale. He described Google's globe-spanning network of computers. Yes, they answered search queries instantly. But together they also blitzed through mountains of data, looking for answers or intelligence faster than any machine on earth. Most of this hardware wasn't on the Google campus. It was just out there, somewhere on earth, whirring away in big refrigerated data centers. Folks at Google called it "the cloud." And one challenge of programming at Google was to leverage that cloud—to push it to do things that would overwhelm lesser machines. New hires at Google, Bisciglia says, usually take a few months to get used to this scale. "Then one day, you see someone suggest a wild job that needs a few thousand machines, and you say: Hey, he gets it.'"

What recruits needed, Bisciglia eventually decided, was advance training. So one autumn day a year ago, when he ran into Google CEO Eric E. Schmidt between meetings, he floated an idea. He would use his 20% time, the allotment Googlers have for independent projects, to launch a course. It would introduce students at his alma mater, the University of Washington, to programming at the scale of a cloud. Call it Google 101. Schmidt liked the plan. Over the following months, Bisciglia's Google 101 would evolve and grow. It would eventually lead to an ambitious partnership with IBM (IBM), announced in October, to plug universities around the world into Google-like computing clouds.

As this concept spreads, it promises to expand Google's footprint in industry far beyond search, media, and advertising, leading the giant into scientific research and perhaps into new businesses. In the process Google could become, in a sense, the world's primary computer.

"I had originally thought [Bisciglia] was going to work on education, which was fine," Schmidt says late one recent afternoon at Google headquarters. "Nine months later, he comes out with this new [cloud] strategy, which was completely unexpected." The idea, as it developed, was to deliver to students, researchers, and entrepreneurs the immense power of Google-style computing, either via Google's machines or others offering the same service.

What is Google's cloud? It's a network made of hundreds of thousands, or by some estimates 1 million, cheap servers, each not much more powerful than the PCs we have in our homes. It stores staggering amounts of data, including numerous copies of the World Wide Web. This makes search faster, helping ferret out answers to billions of queries in a fraction of a second. Unlike many traditional supercomputers, Google's system never ages. When its individual pieces die, usually after about three years, engineers pluck them out and replace them with new, faster boxes. This means the cloud regenerates as it grows, almost like a living thing.

A move towards clouds signals a fundamental shift in how we handle information. At the most basic level, it's the computing equivalent of the evolution in electricity a century ago when farms and businesses shut down their own generators and bought power instead from efficient industrial utilities. Google executives had long envisioned and prepared for this change. Cloud computing, with Google's machinery at the very center, fit neatly into the company's grand vision, established a decade ago by founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page: "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible." Bisciglia's idea opened a pathway toward this future. "Maybe he had it in his brain and didn't tell me," Schmidt says. "I didn't realize he was going to try to change the way computer scientists thought about computing. That's a much more ambitious goal."

Continued in article

Also see Grid Computing at

Question 1
It is widely suspected that Vladimir Putin did not read his thesis, let alone write it.
Do some Harvard professors also get credit for writing something they've not even read?

Question 2
Why did the University of Missouri rename its basketball arena?

My good neighbor called my attention to the article below.

"Chicanery in Cambridge," by Peter Carlson, The Washington Post, December 10, 2007 --- Scroll down Here

The magazine 02138 covers Harvard University generally in a breathless and fawning manner. But the current "Sex! Greed! Scandal!" issue contains a wonderfully acerbic expos¿ that reveals how some of Harvard's hotshot celebrity professors actually produce their books: They do it "with the help of a small army of student assistants who research, edit and sometimes even write material for which they are never credited."

Take the case of Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who seems to be on TV more often than Regis Philbin. Dershowitz has published 12 books since 2000. How does he do it?

"Dershowitz generally employs one or two full-time researchers, three or four part-timers and a handful of students who do occasional work -- all paid at $11.50 an hour," writes Jacob Hale Russell. And, Russell adds, "he also repackages his own work; 'Blasphemy: How the Religious Right Is Hijacking Our Declaration of Independence,' released this year, is his 2003 book 'America Declares Independence' almost verbatim, with a few new chapters tacked on."

The funniest -- and most damning -- anecdote in this piece features Charles Ogletree, the Harvard law professor who admitted in 2004 that his book "All Deliberate Speed" contained six paragraphs taken verbatim from a book by a Yale professor named Jack Balkin. Here's how Ogletree explained this error:

"Material from Professor Jack Balkin's book . . . was inserted . . . by one of my assistants for the purpose of being reviewed, researched and summarized by another research assistant with proper attribution. . . . Unfortunately, the second assistant, under the pressure of meeting a deadline, inadvertently deleted this attribution and edited the text as though it was written by me. The second assistant then sent a revised draft to the publisher."

Jensen Comment
For hundreds of years is was common in Europe for authors and artists to get sole credit and all the revenues from works of students. In many cases the students were not even mentioned. Students were considered extensions of their professors.

I once had a student who plagiarized in a sense. But it wasn't him. He'd hired one of his employees to write his term paper. He was then torn as to whether to be blamed for the plagiarism or accepting blame for hiring a ghost writer. In either case he got the F he deserved. He and his parents (I had to meet with them) considered suing me for giving him a failing grade until I showed where 99% of the term paper was lifted verbatim from three sources.

Some Harvard professors should also get an F.

Professors Who Fabricate Data ---

"Wal-Mart heir returns degree amid cheating claims," iWon News, October 21, 2005 ---

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wal-Mart heiress Elizabeth Paige Laurie has surrendered her college degree following allegations that she cheated her way through the school.

The University of Southern California said in a statement that Laurie, 23, "voluntarily has surrendered her degree and returned her diploma to the university. She is not a graduate of USC."

The statement, dated September 30, said the university had ended its review of the allegations concerning Laurie.

Laurie's roommate, Elena Martinez, told a television show last year that she was paid $20,000 to write term papers and complete other assignments for the granddaughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton. Wal-Mart is the world's biggest retailer. The family could not be reached for comment.

Following the allegations, the University of Missouri renamed its basketball arena, which had been paid for in part by a $425 million donation from the Lauries and was to have been called "Paige Sports Arena."

Continued in article

December 12, 2007 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]


I'm confused on one point in your email. Are you saying that its wrong that Deshowitz outsources some or even all of his writing work? What he does is what we teach is school as "strategic outsourcing" where companies outsource there non-core activities. For example, Apple has never manufactured an iPod and Cisco has never manufactured a router. Those manufacturing jobs have been completely outsources. Deshowitz's core skill is conceptualizing the topics of books and then marketing those books by frequent TV appearances. Seems like a win-win-win situation for everybody.

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8372

December 12, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Glen,

I don’t think it’s wrong to have assistants who help with projects. To be ethical, the professor should be entirely clear as to what the contributions are for each assistant and/or each outsourced component. Then the professor can be judged on her/his professional contribution. As far as conceptualizing goes, professors can conceive topics. But professors may also rely upon students or others to conceptualize topics. All significant contributions should be cited.

There’s a huge gray zone where student assistants are paid by the university to assist with projects that are eventually written up in books or SSRN papers for which a professor is compensated. I think assistants should be paid by professors or publishers for direct work on books or media projects under contract from sponsors. However, when the assistant helps with research projects a great deal depends upon the guidelines of the university regarding what are acceptable versus unacceptable projects for assistants paid from university funds. Science departments generally have explicit guidelines since so many scientists work under funding grants. Business and accounting professors have a much higher proportion of unfunded research projects.

I do know of an instance where a department head where I worked (he was my boss) was called back to the prestigious university where he got his doctorate. He was being investigated for plagiarism since writing appearing verbatim in an accounting research journal also appeared in his thesis. He was a management professor and had no idea about the accounting research journal. It turned out that an accounting professor at this university plagiarized this student’s thesis. The student’s doctoral diploma was never revoked, and to my knowledge the accounting professor was not sanctioned (at least not for the public record.) That accounting professor, however, mostly shrank into the woodwork. I never saw him again at AAA meetings. Nor did I discover any subsequent publishing by him, although he continued to teach. I think he’s now retired. My boss went on to become the president of another state’s university (as one of the youngest presidents in history).

Sadly, I don’t think the plagiarism was ever reported to the accounting research journal. At least there were never any acknowledgements made about the plagiarized portions of the published paper.

Another gray zone is in the area of projects that are field tested in classrooms.

Bob Jensen

December 12, 2007 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

"Another gray zone is in the area of projects that are field tested in classrooms."

OK, Bob, I'm interested in just how you perceive this as a gray area. I write lots of projects for my own classes. I guess I'm going to go ahead and try to get some of the better ones into an accounting education journal. It's safe to say that I've field tested the projects. For consideration by at least two accounting education journals, I'm supposed to provide evidence that they've been successfully used in class.

Or are you talking about something else.

David Albrecht

December 13, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

Suppose that you receive a relatively large advance from a publisher to create a multimedia DVD that will be copyrighted by the publisher and pay you a handsome royalty on ultimate DVD sales.

You also intend to field test this DVD in the classroom for a succession of semesters and possibly adopt it for your classes after it’s published.

Your university supplies you with a student assistant paid for out of university funds. You assign 80% of that assistant’s time in helping you develop that DVD which you are also using in your classes.

It would clearly be unethical to use that assistant on the DVD project if you never used the DVD in your classes. However, since your DVD project is intended to be a learning aid for your students, you’ve entered that gray zone of ethics since university funds are being used in part, but not fully, to develop your for-profit venture.

Case writers especially face a problem along these lines. A typical Harvard-type case is developed and used only once at a university largely because the solutions developed in class become known (and even archived) such that students in succeeding semesters can use archived solutions rather than being forced to develop their own clever ideas. Student notes taken in class can be archived by fraternities, etc. Harvard-type cases are typically developed by Harvard-type professors using teams of student assistants. Harvard-type cases can either be owned by the university or they can be copyrighted by the major-authoring professors who then compile them into published case books (think of all those Irwin casebooks of mostly Harvard cases). If a case is only used once by the authors in their own universities, they had a pretty good deal if their assistants were paid in total by their universities to help develop those cases. At Harvard, I think the university actually owns the copyrights and then shares jointly with professors in future sales of the cases. But this is not the practice of many universities where professors and/or their publishers own the copyrights.

There are a few, very few, universities that collect all royalties of professors from all sales of textbooks and cases whether or not they are ever used on their own campuses. I'm told South Dakota has this policy based on the grounds that professors are being paid for full time work including the writing of textbooks and cases. This is a dysfunctional policy, however, since a lot of learning materials would never be developed if there was not some financial incentive for authors to put in exceptional effort.

This also raises the traditional problem faced by textbook authors when their textbooks are adopted by their own universities. There are conflicts of interest issues if the authors simply pocket the royalties. A typical answer is to donate the royalties to the college or even the department within the college for royalties received from sales to students where authors are employed. This becomes a transfer payment of the royalties from the students to the colleges. However, if students will have to pay a comparable price for any other textbook, they probably do not mind this transfer payment.

Norm Nemro at BYU solved the multimedia CD issue, I surmise, by giving the copyright to BYU. I think his assistant(s) are then paid out of the “profits” from selling the CDs. I’m not enough of a tax expert to know how this is handled for tax purposes by a non-profit university for a venture like this. I think BYU formed a separate corporation to develop and market its commercial products ---
Norm himself is sufficiently wealthy enough to teach full time at BYU for no compensation.

As I’ve indicated previously, basic accounting courses only meet about eight times each semester, and those classes are devoted to visiting speakers. Most of the technical learning of accounting is from the variable speed videos on the CDs. This technology has been an enormous success at BYU ---

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at

What do income tax rates and some state university tuition rates have in common?
Hint: The traditional cash cow is getting milked more heavily.

"Tuition: Earn More, Pay More?" only in this case it's based on expected rather than actual income.

Eric DeFries, a senior business major at Utah State University in Logan, has watched his tuition slowly creep up two to three percentage points a year since he arrived as a freshman. The modest increases were bearable for DeFries, who's studying finance. That all changed when he received an e-mail from the business school last spring informing him that because he was a business major, his tuition would be an additional $445 per semester, on top of his $2,150 base tuition and mandatory fees.
Alison Damast, Business Week, December 4, 2007 ---

December 13, 2007 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

The disingenuous of this coming from Business Week would be amusing were it not so cynical. What do income tax rates and tuition have in common? As the one has gone down, the other has gone up. In the 19th century the U.S. essentially socialized higher education; I work at a state institution whose tuition policy was governed for many years by a constitutional provision that tuition at state universities be kept as close to zero as practicable.

A recent book about the GI Bill illustrates what subsidized education to the able accomplished: 8 Nobel Laureates, 27 Pulitzer Prize winners, 64,000 physicians. Estimated return on investment is 700 percent. In my state the Reagan revolution ushered in what Jacob Hacker labels the politics of personal responsibility -- your on your own buddy.

In 1996 the NC State legislature cut $1.5 billion out of the state budget to affect a tax cut. Universities have yet to recover from that; currently the legislature is comprised of representatives that are willing to finance enrollment increases, but the deficiencies created in the late 90s will never be made up. We fund the new students, but the base stock is still underfunded. My university currently charges and Education and Technology Fee of $350 per student to pay for the technology that any reasonably well equipped technical university should have. The state builds an engineering/science university, but doesn't fund the purchase of the equipment needed to provide such an education. Business students pay the fee, but most of the money goes to the three technical colleges. Fair? That has become an irrelevant question.

Government leaders in my state no longer take the constitutional directive to keep tuition as close to zero as practicable. As subsidies decline, tuition has been allowed to go up (as has student indebtedness). Thousands of GIs went to college and graduated debt free. Now the average indebtedness is around $17,000. Is it fair to charge higher tuition for business students? Of course it is -- there's this law of supply and demand that apparently makes people who think the GI bill wasn't such a bad idea automatically stupidly subversive.

We have been given permission to raise tuition in graduate professional programs to what the market will bear. What's wrong with paying on the basis of expected income? A great deal of what we pay for is based on expectations (e.g., car insurance, health insurance, oil (the speculative premium in oil prices has been estimated to be up to 50% of the price)). (A great deal that is reported in financial statements as "fact" is based on expectations). As we shift risk more and more from institutions (notably businesses (the disappearance of defined benefit plans) and governments (Katrina, the volunteer army)) to individuals, isn't it inevitable individuals will pay more (and some will pay a lot more)? Business Week asking whether market solutions are fair?

Time to retire to Bedlam.

December 13, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Paul,

Subsidization of in-state students pretty well took market pricing out of higher education in state-supported colleges. The issue at Utah State is one of differential pricing by major.

I was thinking more in terms of equity outside the market pricing issue.

Clearly if cost of delivering an education is a consideration, physical science majors would pay the highest tuition due to the costs of laboratories, field trips, really expensive equipment, supplies, lab technicians, etc. But there's not much sentiment these days for discouraging students from majoring in science.

A high proportion of minority students choose professional majors such as business and nursing because their number one concern is employment after graduation. Having to pay higher tuition in business schools penalizes these minority students.

Many of the best humanities majors choose humanities because they can afford to graduate with a humanities degree. Some of them are on trust funds that can subsidize lower paying employment such as being artists and musicians. Others are not on trust funds but have families that can afford to send them to prestigious law schools after graduating in humanities. In such instances, students who don't need it are getting a better deal by majoring in humanities before going off to law school or expensive MBA programs.

Some  of the worst humanities majors are students who did not make it in professional schools like business. I've been involved in studies where business majors who did not make the cut (usually due to low grade performance) but remain in the college are tracked after changing majors. A high proportion of them chose some humanities major because humanities disciplines often do not have the gpa threshholds found in business schools. Having lower tuition for humanities majors in this instance makes it a better deal for the worst students remaining in the college. Often these students do poorly in humanities as well, but they're doing poorly at less tuition than business majors at Utah State University.

And Paul I hope you can one day enjoy retirement like I enjoy retirement. While the rest of you working stiffs are giving and grading final examinations in "bedlam" and getting eyestrain reading term papers, I just surf the Web and read at leisure like any other time of the year. But I did have 80 such end-of-semester "bedlams" minus about ten semesters when I was on leaves of absence.

But I can't seem to break the habit of awakening at 3:30 a.m. from a nightmare in which I'm lost in a maze and can't find where I'm supposed to be taking or giving a final examination. Old habits are hard to break. I awaken and get on the computer before 4:00 a.m. But each morning I do not first have to drive to work. For that I'm now eternally grateful.

Bob Jensen

"Yale U. Puts Complete Courses Online," by Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2007 --- 

Modern poetry, as well as introductory courses in physics, psychology, and political science, are four of seven classes from Yale U. that the institution put online today. Not only are the courses free for anyone who is interested, but they are as close to being there as online technology allows.

“These are gavel-to-gavel presentations,” Tom Conroy, a university spokesman, told The Chronicle. “We’ve put everything online that we could, and I think that’s what makes this different.” Lectures can be downloaded and run in streaming video or in audio only. There are searchable transcripts of each lecture, as well as course syllabi, reading assignments, problem sets, and other materials.

Diana E.E. Kleiner, a professor of the history of art and classics and director of the project, which is called Open Yale Courses, said in a written statement that the project’s leaders “wanted everyone to be able to see and hear each lecture as if they were sitting in the classroom.”

The courses available are:

• Astronomy 160: Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics, with Professor Charles Bailyn.

• English 310: Modern Poetry, with Professor Langdon Hammer.

• Philosophy 176: Death, with Professor Shelly Kagan.

• Physics 200: Fundamentals of Physics, with Professor Ramamurti Shankar.

• Political Science 114: Introduction to Political Philosophy, with Professor Steven B. Smith.

• Psychology 110: Introduction to Psychology, with Professor Paul Bloom.

• Religious Studies 145: Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), with Professor Christine Hayes.

The project also has international connections, with Open Yale Courses lectures broadcast over Chinese television and a satellite network in India. The lectures will also be available at 300 libraries and universities throughout the world, via a U.S. State Department project called American Corners.

Jensen Comment
Yale also has quite a few video lectures online that were drawn from other courses. You can read more about these and other open sharing videos and course materials at

The link to the Yale courses is


Forwarded by Mindy Brent

I'm posting this to my Fraud Updates because the daily level of the fees appears fraudulent to me!
"Rental-Car Customers Criticize Extra Fees For Changeless Tolls," NBC Dallas, December 6, 2007 ---

Some rental-car companies charge customers extra fees when they drive through the new changeless tollbooths Highway 121 and the Dallas North Tollway.

Adriana Martinez-Holtz rented a car in Dallas last summer when she was in town for a friend's birthday party.

She made three trips down the Dallas North Tollway, passing through the changeless toll plaza at Wycliff Avenue. There is no place to deposit money at the toll. Cameras take pictures of license plates, and the tollway authority mails a bill to the car owner.

The bill goes to the rental-car company if drivers pass through.

When Martinez-Holtz returned home to San Antonio, she received a bill in the mail from a collection agency hired by Advantage Rent-A-Car.

Advantage wanted payment for three 75-cent tolls, plus a $25 late-payment penalty from the tollway authority and a $40 service charge for each time she passed through a tollbooth.

Her total bill was $197.25

"As a matter of fact, it was more than the cost of the rental at this point," she said.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

What's the new Microsoft Office Live and its competitors?


Microsoft Office Live came about in large measure because open source (OpenOffice) alternatives to Microsoft Office (MS Word, Excel, etc.) are getting seriously competitive to this bread and butter suite of software sold by Microsoft.

You can read more about fee and free alternatives to MS Office at

What is one of the most frightening thing about universal health care patterned after Medicare/Medicaid at all ages?

Increased opportunity for massive fraud.

Link forwarded by Rose
"Blatant Medicare fraud costs taxpayers billions Officials say outrageous fraud schemes are 'off the charts'," by Mark Potter, MSNBC, December 11, 2007 ---

On an FBI undercover tape, the fraud was plain to see: A patient came to a South Florida AIDS clinic, signed some papers, walked into an office and was handed $150 in cash. She politely thanked the workers and left, her visit to the doctor finished without ever receiving any treatment.

According to records seized by investigators, the office staff (who was assured of the patient's cooperation) used her name to fraudulently bill Medicare for a list of expensive treatment and medications.

Law enforcement officials said it's just one of the many widespread, organized and lucrative schemes to bilk Medicare out of an estimated $60 billion dollars a year — a staggering cost borne by American taxpayers.

Officials say the array of criminals running these schemes are stealing blatantly from the social safety net that cares for 43 million seniors and the disabled, and along the way are hurting honest patients, physicians and legitimate businesses.

"These people have absolutely nothing to do with health care," said Kirk Ogrosky, a prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department. "They're thieves that would be committing other types of crimes if they weren't committing Medicare fraud."

Outrageous fraud called "off the charts" While Medicare fraud is a national scourge, found primarily in large urban areas, federal authorities said the very worst of it these days is in South Florida— particularly in Miami-Dade County.

Most of these schemes, they said, are found in the cities of Miami and Hialeah, where they are often concentrated in parts of the Cuban immigrant community.

After visiting the region, and seeing the extent of the fraud, Michael Leavitt, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, said, "In a decade and a half of public service, this was the most disheartening, disgusting day I have ever spent. We have to fix this."

A recent report by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services noted that 72 percent of the Medicare claims submitted nationwide for HIV/AIDS treatment in 2005 came from South Florida alone. That percentage is of great concern to authorities, since only eight percent of the country's HIV/AIDS Medicare beneficiaries actually live in South Florida, a clear indication that the level of fraud was, as one official put it, "off the charts."

To attack the fraud, the Justice Department this year set up a strike force at a remote office park near Miami, and in just six months prosecutors filed 74 cases charging 120 people with allegedly trying to steal $400 million from Medicare.

While officials claimed the concentrated law enforcement efforts led to a $1.4 billion drop in Medicare billing in the area (another clear indication of the phony nature of many of the earlier claims), they said they have still barely scratched the surface of the fraud schemes involving bogus clinics, fake medicines, and illegitimate medical supply companies.

"The problem is far from solved," said Timothy Delaney, a supervisor for the FBI's Miami office. "For every one owner we arrest, another one pops up, maybe even two, tomorrow. It's so lucrative that we have yet to turn the tide."

Illegal billing for non-existent medical equipment One of the most common schemes is the illicit billing for DME, or durable medical equipment, such as oxygen generators, breathing machines, air mattresses, walkers, orthopedic braces and wheelchairs. This scheme involves billions of dollars a year in illegal claims.

Raul Lopez, the president of the Florida Association of Medical Equipment and Services and the director of a legitimate medical supply company, said the fraud is so widespread it hurts the many valid DME companies, which are struggling to compete.

"We're here providing services to patients that need healthcare services, and as a result of the fraud our industry is suffering enormously," he said.

Unlike real DME companies, which have showrooms, warehouses, public offices, trained staff and professional record-keeping, the fraudulent companies are usually shell companies with shadowy business practices, hidden owners, and tiny, locked offices which are only there to create the illusion of legitimacy. They rarely have any medical products for actual sale or delivery.

"They're lined up in hallways one after the other, office after office with a locked door, no foot traffic, no employees, no medical equipment," said Ogrosky. "We're talking about billing that goes up in the tens of millions of dollars for places that don't exist."

FBI agents looking for suspected front-companies that Medicare records show are actively billing rarely find much to search. "We often don't see places. We find vacant lots, we see mailboxes, we see an office suite shared by 30 companies. We're not finding legitimate companies where we can go in and do a search warrant," said Delaney.

On a recent trip to some shopping centers and office buildings in the Miami area, FBI agents Brian Waterman and Christopher Macrae knocked on the doors of several purported medical supply companies. Most of the offices were locked during business hours, with no signs of any activity. Calls to the offices went unanswered.

Referring to one of the closed offices, Waterman said, "The amount of money in dollars that this company is billing for in the last month are close to a half million dollars. We're just trying to find out what they're billing for and what they're doing."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

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

"Checking on Charities A growing number of online resources provide a starting point for evaluating nonprofit groups before you give," by Jaclyne Badal, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2007; Page R5 ---

Here's a guide to finding -- and interpreting -- charity information on the Web.


Your first stop when researching a charity should be a watchdog site. These groups offer information about nonprofits and often rate their efforts.

Remember, though, that these sites come with some important caveats. Many of them rely on information in charities' IRS returns, called Form 990s. And that information can be quite old by the time the watchdogs get it. Charities file their returns as much as 11 months after the end of the fiscal year, and then it can take months for the IRS to process the form and make it available. Meanwhile, if the charities aren't forthcoming on their IRS return, the watchdogs' data and analysis will end up skewed.

With that in mind, here's a look at some of the best information sources out there., provided by the nonprofit group Charity Navigator in Mahwah, N.J., rates more than 5,000 U.S.-based charities, using information in their Form 990s. The site is free to people who register.

For an idea of how the rankings work, consider the group's take on United Way of America. The charity, which is based in Alexandria, Va., gets three stars out of four for "Efficiency," in part because 90% of its budget went to programs, and it cost only two cents for the program to raise a dollar.

The organization also gets three stars of four for "Capacity," or its ability to sustain itself over time. The group had annualized revenue growth of 21% from 2002 through 2005 and had enough working capital to operate for about eight months without any income.

If you want to look at the raw data,, a product of Philanthropic Research Inc., in Williamsburg, Va., is the go-to organization for copies of a charity's Form 990. It covers 1.7 million groups and has about 3.1 million Form 990 images, many of which are available free to people who register.

The site makes money from a combination of donations and subscriber fees, so not all of the content is free. For instance, a prospective donor can see that the March of Dimes Foundation wanted to continue a $75 million education, awareness and research campaign on premature birth in 2006, and that it has more than 1,000 employees.

To get other details, such as the charity's income and assets, you need a subscription. That will run either $30 or $100 a month, depending on the depth of information you want and other factors., operated by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance in Arlington, Va., reports on whether the approximately 1,200 charities it has evaluated meet the alliance's 20 "Standards for Charitable Accountability." It doesn't do ratings or rankings.

The group's free reports provide information on who runs a charity and list its income, expenses, assets and sources of income. The reports also describe the group's programs; in some cases, this includes a breakdown of how much the group spent on them.

To meet the alliance's standards, organizations have to do everything from spend at least 65% of total expenses on programs to provide a clear privacy policy online. Charities that come up short will have a report on exactly where they failed.

The NAACP, for instance, fails on three standards, the site says. Its annual report doesn't include the recommended financial information, it doesn't include financial information or a recent Form 990 on its Web site, and it doesn't have a privacy policy with the recommended information on its Web site. says it was unable to evaluate six other standards, because it's waiting on an information request to the NAACP.

The NAACP says many of the requested items -- like the annual report and privacy policy -- are on the site, even if they lack the level of detail desired by the alliance. It says the group's Web disclosures are in line with its peers and that more specific information, like a copy of the Form 990, can be obtained by contacting the NAACP directly.

Moreover, an NAACP spokesman points out that each watchdog site has its own criteria and agenda, which can make it difficult for nonprofits to satisfy every set of standards. He recommends checking multiple sources to get a more accurate picture of the organization.


So, what if the charity you're interested in hasn't been reviewed by a watchdog group?

First, get some information at the IRS site, Search for Publication 78, which has a list of nonprofit groups that qualify for tax-deductible donations. Next up: Request a Form 990. The IRS return, required by most organizations with annual revenue of more than $25,000, will have much of the financial information you need.

100% of its money on programs isn't likely to have much longevity, but a program that spends too little could be more interested in enriching staffers then helping the underprivileged.

But be careful when weighing ratios, says Charity Navigator President Trent Stamp, since the expected program expenses vary depending on the work that's being done. Food banks, for instance, devote a higher portion of expenses to programs, say 90% or so. Museums, in contrast, spend about 70% of the budget on programs.

So, if you're investigating a charity, compare its numbers with those of another group that's closely related. For instance, you might compare the Committee for Missing Children in Lawrenceville, Ga., with the National Child Safety Council, since the groups do similar work and have similar revenue. You would find that the two have strikingly different spending ratios: The Committee for Missing Children spends 11% of its budget on programs and 87% on fund raising, according to IRS returns, while the National Child Safety Council spends 81% on programs and 7.8% on fund raising.

David Thelen, chief executive of the Committee for Missing Children, says the fund-raising costs seem disproportionately high because the group has to rely on pricey telemarketing. He says the group doesn't have the same cachet as larger organizations, which has made it difficult to get corporate donations or gifts from individuals that aren't solicited by a third party.

It's also important to make sure the IRS return accurately conveys the organization's behavior, and isn't full of one-time expenses. A charity may have low program spending one year because it's investing in a new computer system that is going to make the organization more productive down the road, for instance.

In the case of the Committee for Missing Children, IRS returns for the past three years show that program expenses were less than 10% of the budget in 2005 and 2004. The National Child Safety Council, by contrast, spent just 58% of the budget on programs in 2004, but the number increased to 75% in 2005 and 81% in 2006.

Mr. Thelen at the Committee for Missing Children says that while the program percentages may seem small, it doesn't change the fact that the money is going to good use. That 10% or so distributes pictures of missing children, provides literature on child recovery and connects parents with help here and abroad. Meanwhile, the National Child Safety Council says it understated program spending prior to 2005, due to a misunderstanding of IRS rules.

If the charity seems to be having an off year, call or email to find out why. The nonprofit may have a great reason. But if it answers with a fuzzy explanation or won't take the call, it may be time to move on.

Checking executive salaries, which are listed on the Form 990, can also be helpful. Donors are sometimes dismayed by what they perceive as exorbitant wages, but it's important to take the numbers in context. Many nonprofits are complex, multimillion-dollar organizations that require experienced managers -- a labor pool that isn't cheap.

If a salary seems high, check salaries at charities that are doing similar work and that are a similar size. The alarm bells shouldn't start ringing unless executive compensation is out of line with comparable organizations.

Donors who check the Form 990 may also want to look at the list of "Officers, Directors, Trustees and Key Employees" toward the middle of the form. An organization that has multiple family members on the payroll as directors, or that pays the president a nominal amount but shells out hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone in a lower-level position, deserves some extra scrutiny.

It's also a good idea to do a Web search on the organization and its officers, since the mainstream media -- along with bloggers and forum members -- often flush out problems before the IRS pulls a charity's tax-exempt status.

A short conversation with a staffer can also be helpful. Ask whether the organization has a written privacy policy that's available for review. (Sometimes nonprofits will sell the names of donors who contribute nominal amounts, say $10 or $50.) Also look into progress the organization made the previous year and check its goals for the year to come. Someone in the group should be able to answer those questions in a clear way.


Vetting a charity may seem daunting, or too time-consuming. But people with charitable inclinations don't have to go it alone. A number of donors are joining "giving circles." Members generally pool money and divide the research among members of the group. The idea has gained popularity in recent years, with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in Washington identifying more than 400 giving circles in 2006, up from about 200 in 2004.

The circle investigates charities as a group and then decides how to distribute the money. In some circles, decisions are made by consensus, while others let majority rule or let individual members vote with their dollars.

Margae Diamond, an executive at a donor-advised fund in San Francisco, joined the Traveling Giving Circle to Kenya, a project of the Clarence Foundation, last year. The group went to Africa and visited six charities in six days. The International Child Resource Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, completed some of the background research, but the 19 members of the circle did plenty of reconnaissance on the ground.

They interviewed the program leaders and talked with many of the people receiving services. They also investigated conditions at the charities, which helped them spot larger needs or areas where the charity might have been looking for a quick fix.

Ms. Diamond says the group made better decisions about giving because it was able to draw on the knowledge and input of so many people. "It was very, very thorough," Ms. Diamond says. "We never stopped talking about it."

Other links to check out charities
Bob Jensen's threads on charity frauds are at

What are sovereign funds and why are they so scary for economists?


"Why Sovereign Funds?" by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 10, 2007 ---

The growth of large government managed funds during the past few years has been spectacular. These funds are estimated to manage between $2-3 trillion, and their assets are increasing rapidly. Sovereign funds have grown mainly because of the run-up in fossil fuel and other commodity prices, although China is creating a large fund with the capital earned from its trade surplus in goods. If present energy and commodity prices continue, sovereign funds could have over $10 trillion in assets within a few years. I do not believe that the scale of these funds is a healthy development for these countries.

The largest fund is that by The United Arab Emirates, which is thought to have assets of about $900 billion. Next in size are the funds from Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Norway, and China: each has capital of about $300 billion. Following these giant government funds are another 20 or so funds with much smaller amounts of capital. Oil producing countries have about two thirds of the capital of all sovereign funds. The aggregate assets of sovereign funds greatly exceed the approximately $1.5 billion invested in hedge funds.

During the past couple of years, sovereign funds have begun to invest more aggressively in international companies. For example, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority recently gave cash infusion of $7.5 billion to Citigroup to help replace bank capital that had been depleted due to the credit crunch. China's State Foreign Exchange Investment Corp invested in the IPO of the large private equity company, Blackstone, and was embarrassed after the stock declined greatly from the issuing price. Sovereign funds have made other investments in private companies, and many more are expected.

With only a few exceptions, such as the fund of the Norwegian government, sovereign funds are secretive and not at all transparent. Lack of transparency is a major obstacle to citizens of countries with secretive sovereign funds in determining whether the money that automatically flows to the funds is being well spent. Even estimates of the total assets of most sovereign funds have to be arrived at through guesswork, and except for an occasional well-publicized transaction, their asset allocations are kept private. While private equity and hedge funds have also been criticized because they are little regulated- I do not share this criticism- they are paragons of voluntary disclosure and good governance compared to the vast majority of sovereign funds. Private equity and hedge funds voluntarily disclose information mainly because they compete vigorously for funds, whereas sovereign funds automatically get their resources because of government ownership of oil producing and other commodities.

Compounding the adverse effects of the extreme secrecy is that managers of these funds, being government employees on fixed salaries, have only limited financial incentives to try to achieve higher returns for given risk. Even when those in charge of sovereign funds hire private managers for some of their capital, there is still what economists call a principal-agent problem because government officials choose the managers. As a result, one would expect that the management of these funds would be excessively conservative to avoid investment blunders and bad publicity, or that managers would be tempted toward corruption by companies that want to attract investments from these funds. Or governments will use the funds for other government purposes, such as the just announced unwise decision by Brazil to create a sovereign fund to intervene in the foreign exchange market to shore up that country's currency. Given that little information is available, it is very difficult to discover whether a fund is managed too conservatively, or whether corruption affects investments in a significant way.

A major reason behind the growth of sovereign funds is the desire by oil producing and other countries to avoid what happened during previous booms in commodity prices. Vast revenues in the past were spent with little concrete results to show later on. Countries now recognize that the enormous boom in their export prices, such as oil close to $100 a barrel, is not likely to last. That makes it prudent to save rather than spend most of the revenue that is being collected. The desire to save the surplus is commendable, but that consideration alone does not imply that governments rather than households should do the saving.

Central banks and fiscal agencies should accumulate assets during years with high oil and other commodity prices, or what are in other ways unusually good times, in order to protect against the adverse effects of bad times on fiscal and foreign trade deficits. However, the Abu Dhabi fund and the other large funds, and many smaller ones, have far more assets than is necessary for cyclical management of government portfolios. Instead of government funds retaining the excess assets, they should be distributed as national dividends, or as reductions in taxes.

Continued in article

"Why Sovereign Funds?" by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 10, 2007 ---

I shall focus my comment on the consequences of the sovereign-wealth funds for the United States; Becker's post focuses on the consequences for the nations that have such funds. Owned mainly by major oil-exporting nations, sovereign-wealth funds have today in the aggregate some $2.5 trillion in assets, and if oil prices remain sky-high this figure may grow to more than $20 trillion in a relatively short time. At that point the funds will be among the world's most important sources of investment capital. (The total debt and equity capital in the world is about $110 trillion, though of course it will be greater when the sovereign-wealth funds reach $20 trillion, if they ever do.)

The rise of the sovereign-wealth funds may well be a positive development for the rest of the world, assuming that the alternative would be for these countries to increase domestic consumption or to invest in domestic infrastructure. The decision to invest on a global basis increases the global supply of capital, including therefore the supply of capital for investment in the United States. As Becker and I argued in our August 7, 2005, postings concerning opposition to the proposed acquisition of Unocal by an oil company owned by the Chinese government, the purchase of assets by foreign nations, even when they are hostile or potentially hostile to us, does not threaten U.S. welfare or security. The purchase of a company from its owners places money in the hands of those owners that they can invest for a higher return--if they did not think they could do this, they would not sell the company. So such a purchase is wealth-enhancing. It does not undermine our national security just because the purchaser is a foreign government, but on the contrary enhances our security because the investment is a hostage. It's as if to guarantee China's good behavior the president of China sent his family to live in the United States. But it is different if the purchase could create a security risk, as was argued to be the case with the proposed purchase by Dubai of a British company that serviced a number of U.S. ports (see my posting of March 13, 2006). The concern (which may have been overblown, however) was that Arabs employed by the Dubai company would obtain in the ordinary course of business information about the ports and might pass it on to Islamic terrorists. Notice that this was a concern about foreign companies whether or not government-owned.

One of the motivations for the creation of the sovereign-wealth funds is the concern of the oil-exporting nations with the value of their huge dollar surpluses; China has the same concern, though in its case its trade imbalance with the United States is not due to oil exports. As Becker points out, at least in the case of the oil-producing nations these surpluses are due to the fact that the governments of the nations are the producers, so they receive the export revenues; if the producers were private companies, the revenues would not go into government coffers. For political reasons, however, the governments are the recipients of the oil revenues, they are paid in dollars, and they want to put their dollars to work rather than just accumulate them or distribute them to their citizens. And rather than just purchase U.S. Treasury notes or other safe securities--which would not make economic sense, since as Becker points out the amount of money in the funds greatly exceeds the nations' liquidity needs--the governments are in effect operating giant hedge funds, investing in diverse assets all over the world. By doing this they are giving hostages to the nations in which they invest. We should welcome the fact that these investments are less liquid than the short-term securities in which governments conventionally invest their reserves. The less liquid an asset, the better a hostage it is; it can't be withdrawn as rapidly. In addition, excess liquidity in the world's financial system can lead to financial instability.

The concern being expressed in some quarters in this country about the rise of the sovereign-wealth funds is ironic in view of the fact that our government's policies have contributed significantly to the growth of these funds. Those policies include failure to exploit our Alaskan and offshore oil resources more vigorously, because of the opposition of environmentalists; our low tax rates, which facilitate consumption, including consumption of foreign goods, which in turn shifts dollars abroad; and, in particular, our very low taxes on oil and on oil products, such as gasoline and aviation fuel. A stiff tax on imported oil, by reducing consumption, would reduce the wealth of the oil-exporting nations and hence the size of their sovereign-wealth funds. Such a tax would have the not incidental further benefit of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (though from that perspective a tax on carbon emissions is superior to a tax on oil and oil products) and of stimulating the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, a major culprit in global warming.

"The Roots of the Mortgage Crisis: Bubbles cannot be safely defused by monetary policy before the speculative fever breaks on its own,
by Alan Greenspan, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2007 --- 

On Aug. 9, 2007, and the days immediately following, financial markets in much of the world seized up. Virtually overnight the seemingly insatiable desire for financial risk came to an abrupt halt as the price of risk unexpectedly surged. Interest rates on a wide range of asset classes, especially interbank lending, asset-backed commercial paper and junk bonds, rose sharply relative to riskless U.S. Treasury securities. Over the past five years, risk had become increasingly underpriced as market euphoria, fostered by an unprecedented global growth rate, gained cumulative traction.

The crisis was thus an accident waiting to happen. If it had not been triggered by the mispricing of securitized subprime mortgages, it would have been produced by eruptions in some other market. As I have noted elsewhere, history has not dealt kindly with protracted periods of low risk premiums.

The root of the current crisis, as I see it, lies back in the aftermath of the Cold War, when the economic ruin of the Soviet Bloc was exposed with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Following these world-shaking events, market capitalism quietly, but rapidly, displaced much of the discredited central planning that was so prevalent in the Third World. A large segment of the erstwhile Third World, especially China, replicated the successful economic export-oriented model of the so-called Asian Tigers: Fairly well educated, low-cost workforces were joined with developed-world technology and protected by an increasing rule of law, to unleash explosive economic growth. Since 2000, the real GDP growth of the developing world has been more than double that of the developed world.

The surge in competitive, low-priced exports from developing countries, especially those to Europe and the U.S., flattened labor compensation in developed countries, and reduced the rate of inflation expectations throughout the world, including those inflation expectations embedded in global long-term interest rates.

In addition, there has been a pronounced fall in global real interest rates since the early 1990s, which, of necessity, indicated that global saving intentions chronically had exceeded intentions to invest. In the developing world, consumption evidently could not keep up with the surge of income and, as a consequence, the savings rate of the developed world soared from 24% of nominal GDP in 1999 to 33% in 2006, far outstripping its investment rate.

Yet the actual global saving rate in 2006, overall, was only modestly higher than in 1999, suggesting that the uptrend in developing-economy saving intentions overlapped with, and largely tempered, declining investment intentions in the developed world. In the U.S., for example, the surge of innovation and productivity growth apparently started taking a breather in 2004. That weakened global investment has been the major determinant in the decline of global real long-term interest rates is also the conclusion of a recent (March 2007) Bank of Canada study.

Equity premiums and real-estate capitalization rates were inevitably arbitraged lower by the fall in global long-term interest rates. Asset prices accordingly moved dramatically higher. Not only did global share prices recover from the dot-com crash, they moved ever upward.

The value of equities traded on the world's major stock exchanges has risen to more than $50 trillion, double what it was in 2002. Sharply rising home prices erupted into major housing bubbles world-wide, Japan and Germany (for differing reasons) being the only principal exceptions. The Economist's surveys document the remarkable convergence of more than 20 individual nations' house price rises during the past decade. U.S. price gains, at their peak, were no more than average.

After more than a half-century observing numerous price bubbles evolve and deflate, I have reluctantly concluded that bubbles cannot be safely defused by monetary policy or other policy initiatives before the speculative fever breaks on its own. There was clearly little the world's central banks could do to temper this most recent surge in human euphoria, in some ways reminiscent of the Dutch Tulip craze of the 17th century and South Sea Bubble of the 18th century.

do not doubt that a low U.S. federal-funds rate in response to the dot-com crash, and especially the 1% rate set in mid-2003 to counter potential deflation, lowered interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages and may have contributed to the rise in U.S. home prices. In my judgment, however, the impact on demand for homes financed with ARMs was not major.

Demand in those days was driven by the expectation of rising prices--the dynamic that fuels most asset-price bubbles. If low adjustable-rate financing had not been available, most of the demand would have been financed with fixed rate, long-term mortgages. In fact, home prices continued to rise for two years subsequent to the peak of ARM originations (seasonally adjusted).

I and my colleagues at the Fed believed that the potential threat of corrosive deflation in 2003 was real, even though deflation was not thought to be the most likely projection. We will never know whether the temporary 1% federal-funds rate fended off a deflationary crisis, potentially much more daunting than the current one. But I did fret that maintaining rates too low for too long was problematic. The failure of either the growth of the monetary base, or of M2, to exceed 5% while the fed-funds rate was 1% assuaged my concern that we had added inflationary tinder to the economy.

Continued in article

Question 1
Would video games entice students into accounting courses?
Pro 1 has a purportedly has an accounting video game, but I don't know anything about it.
Multimedia Financial Accounting --- Click Here

Question 2
How can you make your own video game, possibly an educational game that you put online?
People who love to create their own blogs, podcasts, and movies have a new outlet for self-expression: home-made video games.
Erica Naone, "Playing Their Own Way," MIT's Technology Review, August 2, 2007 ---

Question 3
What are some computer science courses doing to slow the decline in enrollments?
Could robots play Monopoly in basic accounting and economics courses?
"U.S. Colleges Retool Programming Classes," by Greg Bluestein, PhysOrg, May 26, 2007 --- 

The lesson plan was called "Artificial Unintelligence," but it was written more like a comic book than a syllabus for a serious computer science class.

"Singing, dancing and drawing polygons may be nifty, but any self-respecting evil roboticist needs a few more tricks in the repertoire if they are going to take over the world," read the day's instructions to a dozen or so Georgia Tech robotics students.

They had spent the last few months teaching their personal "Scribbler" robots to draw shapes and chirp on command. Now they were being asked to navigate a daunting obstacle course of Girl Scout cookie boxes scattered over a grid.

The course is aimed at reigniting interest in computer science among undergraduates. Educators at Georgia Tech and elsewhere are turning to innovative programs like the Scribbler to draw more students to the field and reverse the tide of those leaving it.

At risk, professors say, is nothing less than U.S. technology supremacy. As interest in computer science drops in the U.S., India and China are emerging as engineering hubs with cheap labor and a skilled work force.

Schools across the country are taking steps to broaden the appeal of the major. More than a dozen universities have adopted "media computation" programs, a sort of alternate introduction to computer science with a New Media vibe. The classes, which have been launched at schools from the University of San Francisco to Virginia Tech, teach basic engineering using digital art,
digital music and the Web.

Others are turning to niche fields to attract more students. The California Institute of Technology, which has seen a slight drop in undergraduate computer science majors, has more than made up for the losses by emphasizing the field of bioengineering.

"Many of our computer science faculty work on subjects related to biology, and so this new thrust works well for us," said Joel Burdick, a Caltech bioengineering professor.

At Georgia Tech,
computing professor Tucker Balch says the brain drain is partly the fault of what he calls the "prime number" syndrome.

It's the traditional way to teach computer science students by asking them to write programs that spit out prime numbers, the Fibonacci sequence or other mathematical series.

It's proven a sound way to educate students dead-set on joining the ranks of computer programmers, but it's also probably scared away more than a few.

That's why Balch, who oversees the robotics class, is optimistic about the Scribbler, a scrappy blue robot cheap enough for students to buy and take home each night after class but versatile enough to handle fairly complex programs.

The key to the class is the design of the robot. It weighs about a pound and is slightly smaller than a Frisbee, sporting three light-detecting sensors and a speaker that can chirp. And at about $75, it's roughly the price of a science textbook.

Continued in article


"Community College Uses a Video-Game Lab to Lure Students to Computer Courses," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 14, 2007 ---

A computer lab has become one of the most popular hangouts at Northern Virginia Community College after officials decided to load its PC's with popular video games, install a PlayStation and an Xbox, and declare it "for gamers only."

On an afternoon this fall, nearly all of the 15 computers were in use, and students stared in concentration — some gunning down bad guys in Counter-Strike, others strumming along with Guitar Hero. No one was doing any classwork.

But the goal of the lab is very much college-related. It is to entice students to take game-design and other IT courses, says John Min, dean of business technologies on the college's campus here.

Mr. Min decided to create the Game Pit, as the lab is called, because he noticed that IT enrollment had been falling since 1999. "We need to find ways to get more students," he says.

Posters and fliers in the gaming lab list the many computer courses offered, and professors sometimes stop in to tout their courses.

It is too soon to tell whether the effort will raise enrollment, say professors in the department. At least one student playing here, though, says he plans to take a course next semester that he learned about at the Game Pit. "There's actually a gaming class," says the student, Abdullah Alhogbani. "When I saw the poster I was like 'Oh, that's awesome.'"

David Williamson Shaffer, an associate professor of education psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, says the community college could be on to a winning strategy. He is the author of How Computer Games Help Children Learn.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment are at

Note that video games are not the same as virtual learning such as with Second Life where there is interaction between instructors and students ---
However, video games may be used in virtual worlds.

From the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching in December 2007
Strengthening Pre-collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) ---

Strengthening Pre-collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) is a partnership of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation. A multi-site action-research project, SPECC focuses on teaching and learning in pre-collegiate mathematics and English language arts courses at 11 California community colleges. These courses, which cover material often termed "developmental" or "basic," serve as prerequisites to transfer-level academic courses. On each campus, faculty members are exploring different approaches to classroom instruction, academic support, and faculty development. Their inquiry into the effects of these approaches engages a wide range of data, including examples of student work, classroom observations, and quantitative campus data. The ultimate goal of their investigations, and of SPECC as a whole, is to support student learning and success through a culture of inquiry and evidence.

Education Tutorials

Moving Images Pinewood Dialogues (for students of film) ---

The Educational Multimedia Visualization Center (video) ---

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ---

Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media ---

Stanford Institute for Higher Education ---

Conversations about Creativity --- /

Sociology of Knowledge ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

From the Nature Journal of Science
Archives of 19th Century Science (Free Online editions of Nature) ---

MicroMatters ---
Tutorials in health science, medicine, and biology

National Pesticide Information Center --- 

Virginia Cooperative Extension: Agricultural and Natural Resources Publication --- 

Oxford Internet Institute ---
Research materials and college degrees are available.

Minerals in the Biosphere ---

Online Ethics Center at the National Academy of Engineering ---

Buildings in Cities ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Culturally-Situated Design Tools (archaeology) ---

Wine, Worship & Sacrifice ---

Letters Home From Congress --- Home From Congress

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ---

Journalists in Iraq: A Survey of Reporters On The Front Lines --- FINAL Survey of Journalists in IraqWITH SURVEY.pdf

States in the U.S. Rated by Population and Poverty ---

Some sites to stimulate the sociological imagination ---

Center for Civic Education ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at

Math Tutorials

Exercises in Math Readiness --- 

Creating Mathlets with Open Source Tools ---

History in College Algebra --- 

Algebasics ---

xyAlgebra ---

Tools for Understanding (Math) ---

Free from Temple University
COW:  Calculus on the Web (plus linear algebra) ---

Free Science and Math Tutorials called "Interactive Lessons" from the Shodor Education Foundation
(With funding from the National Science Foundation) ---

Historical Activities for the Calculus Classroom ---

Math Tutorials
The Math Forum@ Drexel University ---

Algebra: In Simplest Terms ---

Mathematics Help Central --- 

Internet Resources for the Mathematics Students --- 

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

History Tutorials

From the Nature Journal of Science
Archives of 19th Century Science (Free Online editions of Nature) ---

The Louvre ---

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House: African American Women Unite For Change ---

The New Jersey Digital Highway ---

Letters Home From Congress --- Home From Congress

Tate Collection: Carousel (history, modern art) ---

Images of farm machine history ---

The Internet Craftsmanship Museum ---

Museum of Yo-Yo History ---

Critical Dance Forum ---

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

Language Tutorials

Modern Language Association Language map --- 

Language Translation Software --- 

Various modern language and literature helpers are linked at

"Overcoming Language Anxiety," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2007 ---

Free Language Learning Helpers (With Audio) ---

Learn Spanish ---

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials


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 ---

Writing Forward (writing tips) ---

Legal Writing Institute ---

NewsLab ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

From the Scout Report on December 14, 2007

Free FLV Converter --- 1.2.1 

Taking Flash files from the web can be a bit cumbersome, so this application will definitely be a most welcome find. This free Flash converter allows users to take Flash files and transfer them to formats appropriate for portable devices and other items. The site is available in both French and English and this particular version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista.

Crossword Construction --- Kit 

You don't have to be Will Shortz to create a great crossword puzzle, and this handy desktop crossword publisher will help users on their way to puzzle nirvana. With this application, users can enter the words and clues, select a puzzle shape and page layout, and the puzzle will be generated shortly. It is worth noting that this version can be used for thirty days at no charge and that it is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP.

From The Washington Post on December 10, 2007

At their height in 2003, pop-up ads accounted for what percentage of total online advertising?

A. 36
B. 26
C. 16
D. 6

From The Washington Post on December 10, 2007

Who owns DirecTV?

A. Ted Turner
B. Steve Jobs
C. Bill Gates
D. Rupert Murdoch

Updates from WebMD ---

Study: Monthly Fasting May Help Heart
A study in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is based, found that people who skipped meals once a month were about 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged arteries than those who did not regularly fast. People did not have to "get religion" to benefit: non-Mormons who regularly took breaks from food also were less likely to have clogged arteries, scientists found. They concede that their study is far from proof that periodic fasting is good for anyone, but said the benefit they observed poses a theory that deserves further testing.
Marilynn Marchione, PhysOrg, December 10, 2007 ---

Should you feel guilty if your children spend a lot of time in front of the TV? Probably.
Relying on dozens of scientific studies, Ms. Guernsey explores the intricacies of trying to unpick the complicated weave of what goes on inside the head of a 1- or 2 1/2-year-old child crouched before a glowing screen. Can a person yet to speak in full sentences understand flashbacks or rapid scene changes? What about vocabulary? Will that child be quicker to absorb new words--or, having been overwhelmed, slower? How researchers go about forming conclusions is neither simple nor always satisfying, but a great deal of inquiry has been pursued in the past few years, and more is under way even as purveyors of dubious "educational" media are pushing electronic keypads into ever-younger plump little palms.
Meghan Cox, Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2007 --- 

Green tea may protect brain cells against Parkinson's disease
Does the consumption of green tea, widely touted to have beneficial effects on health, also protect brain cells? Authors of a new study being published in the December 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry share new data that indicates this may be the case. The authors investigated the effects of green tea polyphenols, a group of naturally occurring chemical substances found in plants that have antioxidant properties, in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells, and there is presently no cure. According to Dr. Baolu Zhao, corresponding and senior author on this article, current treatments for Parkinson’s are associated with serious and important side effects. Their previous research has indicated that green tea possesses neuroprotective effects, leading Guo and colleagues to examine its effects specifically in Parkinson’s. The authors discovered that green tea polyphenols protect dopamine neurons that increases with the amount consumed. They also show that this protective effect is mediated by inhibition of the ROS-NO pathway, a pathway that may contribute to cell death in Parkinson’s.
PhysOrg, December 13, 2007 ---

Testosterone for Aging
Caution Urged Researchers Say Testosterone Therapy Is Not a Fountain of Youth for Men. More and more clinics and infomercials are popping up touting the antiaging benefits of hormones for men. But researchers are warning prospective patients to view the claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. Male hormones like testosterone are well known to bulk up muscle mass and cut down on body fat. But there's growing interest over the last several years in "testosterone replacement" therapy for men who are aging normally. The idea is that replacing naturally waning testosterone can make men more robust and possibly healthier as they age. One recent study from Australia showed that giving otherwise healthy, non-obese men testosterone replacement over the course of a year helped them avoid some of the muscle loss and fat gain associated with aging. The men were all over 55 years of age but were not "deficient" in testosterone when they started the study. The study suggests that "replacement" could be a help to men. Especially if the benefits seen in deficient men -- such as improving bone strength and reducing cardiovascular risk -- translate to naturally aging men. But that "if" is a big if, experts say. They say the results of the study and others like it are giving too many people an excuse to claim that testosterone and human growth hormone replacement is a fountain of youth for men.
Todd Zwillich, WebMD, December 11, 2007 ---

Mediterranean diet and physical activity each associated with lower death rate over 5 years
Eating a Mediterranean diet and following national recommendations for physical activity are each associated with a reduced risk of death over a five-year period, according to two reports in the December 10/24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Both studies use data from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, which began when questionnaires were returned from 566,407 AARP members age 50 to 71 in six states between 1995 and 1996. In one study, Panagiota N. Mitrou, Ph.D., then of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., and now of the University of Cambridge, England, and colleagues used a nine-point scale to assess conformity with the Mediterranean diet in 380,296 of the participants (214,284 men and 166,012 women) with no history of chronic disease. Components of the diet included vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish, ratio of monounsaturated fats, alcohol and meat. During five years of follow-up, 12,105 participants died, including 5,985 from cancer and 3,451 from cardiovascular disease. Those with higher Mediterranean diet scores were less likely to die of any cause or of cancer or heart disease.
PhysOrg, December 10, 2007 ---
Also see

Early treatment stops epilepsy in its tracks
Yale School of Medicine researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to suppress the development of epilepsy in genetically predisposed animals—which could open the door to treating epilepsy as a preventable disease. According to the study published this month in Epilepsia, early treatment of epilepsy-prone rats with the anti-convulsant medication ethosuximide before the onset of seizures led to a marked suppression of seizures both later in life and months after treatment stopped. “Current treatments for epilepsy may control seizures, but they do nothing to alter the underlying disease,” said Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., associate professor of neurology and lead author of the study. “These findings are important because they set the stage for prevention of epilepsy in genetically susceptible people.” Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that affects about 50 million people worldwide. It is characterized by seizures—temporary loss of consciousness or muscular control—that are precipitated by abnormal electrical overload on neurons within the brain.
PhysOrg, December 13, 2007 ---

A Rural Health Clinic in a Box
Indian business Neurosynaptic Communications brings health care to the country's poorer citizens with a portable diagnostic kit.
Business Week, December 10, 2007 ---

Can you find the flaw in the following research conclusion?

All-nighters may not improve grades
Students who rely on all-nighters to bring up their grades might want to sleep on that strategy: A new survey says those who never study all night have slightly higher GPAs than those who do. A survey of 120 students at St. Lawrence University, a small liberal arts college in northern New York, found that students who have never pulled an all-nighter have average GPAs of 3.2, compared to 2.95 for those who have. The study, by assistant professor of psychology Pamela Thacher, is to be included in the January issue of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.
Michael Virtanen, Yahoo News, December 14, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
One flaw in the above analysis is that students who pull all nighters might have lower grade averages in general. They might be the ones who've put off studying and  are more desperate to try to raise their grades. It's actually very difficult to test the hypothesis that all-nighters do not improve grades. Every student has different physical attributes and needs for sleep on given days. Every examination is different and circumstances leading up to preparation to take each examination are different such that it is very difficult to conduct longitudinal studies of even the same student at different times and different examinations. There are too many missing variables in studies like this and too much nonstationarity in circumstances to test this hypothesis. Anecdotally, one might compare A-grade students with lower grade students to see what proportions in each group had all-night study. But this is only anecdotal. A second flaw is the definition of an "all-nighter." Is a student who takes a long nap in the afternoon and then studies all night the same as a student who has not slept in two days? Is a student who dozes off in an all-nighter the same as a student who never dozed one time? How many dozes make an all-nighter not an all-nighter? Other missing variables entail chemicals. Students on all-nighters take differing amounts of caffeine or other chemicals and at different times. And bodies react differently to such chemicals and food intake.

December 17, 2007 reply from Henry Collier in Australia []

Dr Bob: … good points .. I’d like to add something to your analysis …

One learning ‘thing’ that might be happening is that the students who do not ‘cram’ or ‘pull all nighters’ are operating at different cognitive levels. While the ‘crammers’ may be operating at knowledge and comprehension levels without being able to synthesize or evaluate (a la Bloom), or reflect on what they are studying, those who spend their time in different ways may have greater long term advantages in developing cognitive structures (a la Piaget) that allow the student to ‘tie together’ their thoughts about the material to be learned.

I have often thought that one of the basic problems in trying to learn a rule based accounting discipline is that so many of our ‘rules’ are not transitive and often contradictory in method or methodology. We still have these ‘principles’ that we continue to ignore … IMO among the most ignored principles are ‘constant measuring unit / constant dollar’ and ‘going concern’. I have often ‘crapped on (some may say mindlessly) about the refusal to review the ‘usefulness’ and ‘predictive ability’ of our financial accounting statements. Why, for example, would we treat research and development costs in an ethical drug company different from research and development costs in an oil exploration firm? Why do we treat advertising as an ‘expense’ when the only reason that we spend any money on advertising is to effect change in buyer behaviour in the future? And my favourite is the ‘income tax effect accounting’ … ?

Ah well, I do drift again … J

I do suspect that management accountants, and management accounting being less controlled by huge bureaucracies that some would say exist to resist change and development of accounting statements useful for decision making by external ‘users’ of f/s MUST produce something that is useful to the people who make decisions about the past, present and future of their organizations. It may be GIGO thinking … (garbage in, garbage out) … that makes me wonder about financial accounting.

The old tale about What is income? Is still relevant … and the OLD answer is what do you want it to be? Apparently we still have many entrenched individuals who believe and support the thinking and operations of the past … when we know that the medicine prescribed by the diagnostician doesn’t have anything to do with the disease affecting the patient, then why do we persist with the same treatment even though we know that it doesn’t work?

As a final assault on your minds, I will put my biases and prejudices on display and wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year … all with the recognition and realization that there are many out there who do not follow the same faith or beliefs … please accept my best wishes in the spirit of the season and NOT as an expression of religious fervor. It’s nice to give and receive the best presents of all … HUGS … from those who are important to you.


Cancer risks of eating red and processed meat
New findings provide evidence that people who eat a lot of red and processed meats have greater risk of developing bowel and lung cancer than people who eat small quantities. The research by Amanda Cross and colleagues at the US National Cancer Institute is published in the latest issue of PLoS Medicine.
PhysOrg, December 11, 2007 ---

Turkish health workers condone wife beating
Domestic violence is an inherent problem in Turkey, and healthcare workers are doing little to combat the prevalence of wife beating, according to research published in the online open access journal, BMC Public Health. A survey of medical personnel reveals that a lack of training and a cultural acceptance of domestic violence may prevent victims from obtaining the support they desperately require. 173 medical staff from the emergency department of a Turkish university hospital responded to a questionnaire about domestic violence. 69.0% of the female and 84.7% of the male respondents declared that they agreed or partially agreed to at least one reason to justify physical violence. Accepted grounds for intimate domestic violence included lying to or criticising the male and failure to care for children. Moreover, about three-quarters of the nurses and male physicians and over half of female physicians agreed that deceiving the husband justified physical punishment Deceiving the husband is a taboo in Turkey and it is among the most important reasons for honour murders.
PhysOrg, December 13, 2007 ---

"A Glance at the December issue of The Atlantic Monthly:  The Health Risks of Graduating Too Many Medical Students, by Anna Wegel, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2007 ---

In the next eight years, medical schools intend to increase enrollment in order to accommodate the medical needs of aging baby boomers and replace retiring doctors from that generation. But Shannon Brownlee, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that adding more doctors does not necessarily mean better care.

The Association of American Medical Colleges, which advises the federal government on how many medical residents to support, says that the country will be 100,000 doctors short by 2025 unless the average number of medical-school graduates rises. Ms. Brownlee says more than 12 new medical schools are now being constructed or considered, and many existing schools are expanding, with a goal of increasing the number of graduates from 16,000 a year to 21,000 a year.

Some experts are saying, however, that many doctors are choosing their location based on patients' wealth and quality of life. Ms. Brownlee says that doctors are in control of how much care their patients receive and that when there is an influx of doctors in one area, they can still keep their schedules busy, creating unnecessary expenses for the patients and sometimes putting them at risk. This attraction to heavily insured areas makes for shortages in parts of the country where more people lack insurance, such as rural areas.

Ms. Brownlee points to other ways in which too many doctors can have an adverse effect on the quality of care and drive up costs. In hospitals that have a high ratio of specialists to primary-care physicians, for example, having different doctors for the same patient can lead to mishaps such as duplicate tests, unwise prescriptions, and mistaken assumptions about care, she writes. Medical schools are graduating more specialists and fewer primary-care doctors, a trend that she believes could make such problems worse.

Continued in article

Five Best Books

"Youthful Passages These coming-of-age tales are timeless triumphs," by A.E. Hotchner, The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2007 --- 

1. "The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway" (Scribner, 1938).

Ernest Hemingway's autobiographically inspired tales of Nick Adams are, for me, the finest evocation of the coming-of-age experience, Tom and Huck included. The interlocking Nick Adams stories carry him from boyhood to an embattled manhood, beginning with a portrayal of his oppressive mother and oppressed father ("The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife"). Nick eventually renounces his Midwestern life ("The Three-Day Blow") and enlists in the Italian army during World War I--his severe wounding and tragic love affair with a nurse are depicted in "A Very Short Story." The odyssey's capstone is "Fathers and Sons," wherein the 38-year-old Nick reflects, during a quail hunt, about his boyhood and his father, whom he adored. Nick's yearning for his father, who committed suicide, is so poignant, so awash with painful nostalgia, that you pause from paragraph to paragraph to settle your emotions.

2. "Goodbye, Columbus" by Philip Roth (Random House, 1959).

This acidulous and funny novella begins with the 23-year-old narrator, Neil Klugman, holding Brenda Patimkin's glasses while she dives into a country-club swimming pool--and then he watches, entranced, as she walks away: "She caught the bottom of her suit between thumb and index finger and flicked what flesh had been showing back where it belonged. My blood jumped." With that, Philip Roth is off, spinning an unsparing yet tender tale about a summer affair between poor-boy Neil, from Newark, N.J., and Brenda, a Radcliffe student who is staying with her upper-middle-class family in Short Hills. "Goodbye, Columbus"--originally published with an additional five short stories--is primarily concerned with Neil and Brenda's tense romance and the challenges of Jewish assimilation, but it is also a brilliant lampoon of the American way of life.

3. "The Member of the Wedding" by Carson McCullers (New Directions, 1946).

Frankie Addams, a gangling girl of 12--restless and given to a world of fantasy--is the protagonist of Carson McCullers's gentle, powerful novel. Frankie's mother is deceased, her father preoccupied with his business, and so she is devoted to Berenice Sadie Brown, the Georgia family's black cook of many years, whose wisdom and compassion are anchors in Frankie's chaotic existence. But Frankie foresees a new life: Her brother, a soldier, is getting married, and she imagines that her role as a "member of the wedding" means that she will go along on the honeymoon. In her desperation to flee the life she knows yet still feel a sense of belonging, Frankie suffers her agonies with a dream-like incandescence that illuminates the universal passageway into womanhood.

4. "Stop-Time" by Frank Conroy (Viking, 1967).

"My father stopped living with us when I was three or four. Most of his adult life was spent as a patient in various expensive rest homes for dipsomaniacs and victims of nervous collapse. He was neither . . . " So begins "Stop-Time," Frank Conroy's memoir of the world of half-mad, lonely characters whom he confronted during his adolescence. It is a story of growing up during a time of anxiety, broken families, sexual anarchy and pervasive discontent. There is no self-pity, but Conroy's remarkable perceptions lay bare the feelings of this distinctive boy, who nimbly side-steps despair to reach a seemingly impossible destination on the next-to-last page: "I was rich and I was free."

5. "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger (Little, Brown, 1951).

Holden Caulfield thoroughly deserves his status as the quintessential teenager of American literature. J.D. Salinger found a note-perfect teenage voice, with Holden's venomous contempt for everything "phony," a voice that the author expertly deploys in capturing all the prejudices and emotions of a troubled prep-school boy from New York. Holden's escapades are both hilarious and painful, as when he decides to lose his virginity with a prostitute that he has procured with the help of a hotel bellhop. When she arrives, Holden has second thoughts about this misguided attempt to grow up and finds himself bargaining with the indignant woman to let him out of the deal. Holden zig-zags through an amusing, pathetic, confusing year, battling inner turmoil every step of the way. But in the end he does grow up--somewhat.

Mr. Hotchner is the author of the memoir "Papa Hemingway" (1966) and "The Boyhood Memoirs of A.E. Hotchner" (2007). His 20th book, "The Good Life According to Hemingway," will be published next spring.


This is a repeat from previous years, but what the heck? It's the holiday season once again.

Christmas Carols for Those Over the Edge

01.         Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

02.         Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

03.         Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas If I Can Find Where Our Home Is?

04.         Narcissism--- Hark the Herald Angels Are Singing About Me

05.         Manic--Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and ...

06.         Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

07.         Borderline Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

08.         Personality Disorder---Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

09.         Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent Night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - Can I have a Chocolate Why is France so Far Away?  

10.        Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.

11.         Family Visitation at Rehab --- What Child is This?

12.        San Francisco Syndrome --- I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.

Forwarded by Valerie

In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.

In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 litre of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli,(E. coli) - bacteria found in feces. In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of poop.

However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine & beer (ortequila, rum, whiskey or other liquor) since alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

So remember:
Water = Poop
Wine = Health

Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupidly, than to drink water and be full of shit.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service.

Tidbits Archives ---

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
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         Also see
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Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

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I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

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Moodle  --- 

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.

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to
AECM (Educators) 
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

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CPAS-L (Practitioners) 
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
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This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM



Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482