Happy New Year 2008

Snowfall up here in December 2007 will not quite beat the December record in 1895 but it's close.
Snow depth on Saturday was around four feet between our cottage and the barn.
 On Sunday wind roared in with heavy rain and took over half of it away --- Yuk!
What to expect in New Hampshire's varied  weather (in general) --- Click Here

Our closest mountain (Cannon) is about 10 miles to the east.
60 ski trails on Cannon Mountain --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannon_Mountain
9 lifts (and an aerial tramway) can handle 11,000 skiers per hour

Ski conditions are still good on the mountains ---
http://www.snocountry.com/snowclient/srlist.php?state=NH
(Most now have snow cannons that make their own snow if needed.)

Below is a sunset shot of Cannon (on the right) from the shore of Echo Lake
A few of Cannon's 60 ski trails are shown in the clearings.
The V in the terrain is called Franconia Notch Mountain Pass

Below are two views of Cannon and some wild turkeys in front of our living room in late autumn.
 

 

One Cannon chairlift descends into a quaint alpine village called Mittersill (for history Click Here )
This alpine village was the brain child of Austrian Baron Hubert von Pantz.
Part of the Mittersill Resort Hotel is shown below.
During it's prime, Mittersill became "the place to be" for some celebrities.
Bandleader Desi Arnaz, his famous wife Lucille Ball, and friends once trashed the place in a wild party.
At the time the damages were over $60,000 (over $100,000 in today's repair costs).

 

Cannon Mountain Videos

History of Cannon Mountain --- --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannon_Mountain 

The Ridley Report Does Franconia Notch in 2006 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXfLlhcjA5A
(The foliage was much better in 2007)

I didn't get a single thing on my XMAS wish list --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312922,00.html

Tidbits on December26, 2007
Bob Jensen

Videos From Bob Jensen's Personal Camera (the pictures are clear but some of them lost a bit in the video) ---
http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/Video/Personal/
The Tidbits.wmv video is narrated.

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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 http://www.searchedu.com/.


Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   


Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination


You can read about Erika's surgeries and see her pictures at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm
Personal pictures are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/
Some personal videos are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/Video/Personal/ 

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )

Set up free conference calls at http://www.freeconference.com/
Also see http://www.yackpack.com/uc/   

Free Online Tutorials in Multiple Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials

Google Maps Street View --- http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  --- http://www.valour-it.blogspot.com/




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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Bravo America --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/BravoAmerica.asf
How to gesture thank you --- http://www.gratitudecampaign.org/fullmovie.php
Also see http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/12/rejoice_americas_love_for_troo.html

Proud Russia --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSgqSRtU28M

How do polar bears fight back against global warming? --- Click Here

Should you buy a trunk monkey? --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8avOiTUcD4Y
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYpG5wlq2Ls
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8avOiTUcD4Y
Also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geynA-JYDHE
There are now a bunch of similar videos on YouTube

Auntie Bev got Elfed --- http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1237605322

Baby Boomers Are Getting Old --- http://weblogs.newsday.com/news/opinion/walthandelsman/blog/2007/11/animation_baby_boomers.html

Tejano and the Seven Dwarfs --- http://www.youtube.com/v/tAq3hWBlalU 

Tom Rush on Getting Old --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yN-6PbqAPM

Crisis Guide: The Korean Peninsula --- http://www.cfr.org/publication/11954
This is a very, very informative site about political and military balance. The Council on Foreign Relations has similar Crisis Guides for other high tension locales in the world.
See http://www.cfr.org/

Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at M.I.T. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace. Professor Lewin’s videotaped physics lectures, free online on the OpenCourseWare of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have won him devotees across the country and beyond who stuff his e-mail in-box with praise. “Through your inspiring video lectures i have managed to see just how BEAUTIFUL Physics is, both astounding and simple,” a 17-year-old from India e-mailed recently.
Sara Rimer, The New York Times, December 19, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/education/19physics.html
Jensen Comment
MIT's Open Courseware portal and other open courseware sites are linked at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

MIT's Video Lecture Search Engine: Watch the video at --- http://web.sls.csail.mit.edu/lectures/
Researchers at MIT have released a video and audio search tool that solves one of the most challenging problems in the field: how to break up a lengthy academic lecture into manageable chunks, pinpoint the location of keywords, and direct the user to them. Announced last month, the MIT
Lecture Browser website gives the general public detailed access to more than 200 lectures publicly available though the university's OpenCourseWare initiative. The search engine leverages decades' worth of speech-recognition research at MIT and other institutions to
convert audio
into text and make it searchable.
Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, November 26, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19747/?nlid=686&a=f
Once again, the Lecture Browser link (with video) is at http://web.sls.csail.mit.edu/lectures/
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm

Möbius transformation may be performed by performing a stereographic projection from a plane to a sphere, rotating and moving that sphere to a new arbitrary location and orientation, and performing a stereographic projection back to the plane --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_transformation
Chronicle of Higher Education, December 18, 2007 --- Click Here
Möbius Video

How Jon Stewart got CNN Crossfire's commentators fired
Here's the not-so-funny episode that did it --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFQFB5YpDZE
Harry Frankfurt (Emeritus Princeton University Philosophy Professor) talks about Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert ---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-7IW8CxgXY

Jon Stewart on The O'Reilly Factor  --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5pK7sK0i4A

Harry G. Frankfurt : on Bullshit (Emeritus Princeton University Philosophy Professor) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSbI8MtuBN0
Interview with Harry G. Frankfurt --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q_h5ZyjJWA
On Bullshit Part 1 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1RO93OS0Sk
On Bullshit Part 2 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp_c8-CfZtg

Garrison Keillor --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrison_Keillor


Free music downloads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

The Irish Blessing for the New Year --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/blessing.htm 
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.
Then scroll back to the top for the Irish countryside slide show.
Also found at
http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c001/thebend.html
Also see
http://www.e-water.net/viewflash.php?flash=irishblessing_en

Proud Russia --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSgqSRtU28M

Classical Music Christmas Around the Country 2007 (and 2005) from NPR --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16932702

Piano Jazz: 2007 Christmas Special (Part 1) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17214337

Janie Breck forwarded a new Elvis Christmas Page  --- http://mjbreck.com/SharisDesignsElvisLeaveTheLightsOn.html

White Trash Christmas --- http://www.andycouch.com/whitetrashxmas/

Loretta Lynn (the Queen of Country Music) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loretta_Lynn

Canada's jazz pianist legend (truly a legend) Oscar Peterson died December 24, 2007 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Peterson


Photographs and Art

The New Museum of Contemporary Art --- http://www.newmuseum.org/

National Galleries of Scotland --- http://www.nationalgalleries.org/education

Funny Photographs --- http://blog.impactmt.com/2007/12/what-i-found-in-my-email-mondays-vol1_17.html

Photos on Blogs --- http://technorati.com/photos/

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow --- Click Here

Drawings of People on Subways --- http://www.subway-life.com/

World Wide Arts Resources --- http://wwar.com/masters/v/varo-remedios.html

Visual Dictionary --- http://visual.merriam-webster.com/

Luke Duval Photography (some nudes) --- http://www.lukeduval.com/

Adam Burton Photography --- http://www.adam-burton.co.uk/

Jay Patel Photography --- http://www.jaypatelphotography.com/

Photos by Martin --- http://www.extremeinstability.com/

Artsy Magazine --- http://www.artsymag.com/

Extreme Instability --- http://www.extremeinstability.com/

Digital Durham, NC ---  http://digitaldurham.duke.edu/

 


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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

From the University of Pennsylvania
Online Books Page --- http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/

101 Best Websites for Writers --- http://www.writersdigest.com/101sites/2005_index.asp

Online Library of Literature --- http://www.literature.org/

Great Books Index --- http://books.mirror.org/gb.titles.html

Full Text Classics --- http://www.bookspot.com/features/fulltextfeature.htm

Classics Reader --- http://www.classicreader.com/

Harvard Classics Fiction --- http://www.bartleby.com/hc/

Works and Life of T.S. Eliot --- http://www.whatthethundersaid.org/

Literary Quotations --- http://www.literary-quotations.com/e/t_s_eliot.html

Dylan Thomas Poetry --- http://www.dylanthomas.com/

Collected Poetry by Winston Churchill --- http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=463

Collected Poetry by Rudyard Kipling --- http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling_ind.html

Visual Dictionary --- http://visual.merriam-webster.com/

Cool Words --- http://www.ptolus.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?mc_los_121

Common Errors in English --- http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/

Calvin and Hobbes Cartoon (one of my favorites) --- http://www.marcellosendos.ch/comics/ch/index.html

Shoe Cartoon --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/strips/shoe/shoe.asp

Other Cartoons

Shoe
Andy Capp
Archie
9 to 5
Baloo
Bliss
The Born Loser
Bound and Gagged
Bottom Liners
Flo & Friends
Frank & Ernest
The Grizzwells
Herman
Mallard Filmore
Moderately Confused
Momma
One Big Happy
The Other Coast
Prickly City
State of the Union

A partnership between Stanford University and Cambridge University will make 538 manuscripts spanning the 6th to the 16th centuries available online. The collection, which has been located in the Parker Library at Cambridge's Corpus Christi College since the 16th century, consists mostly of manuscripts from monastic libraries, and includes about a quarter of all surviving early Anglo-Saxon manuscripts --- http://parkerweb.stanford.edu

"Transatlantic partnership puts British library online, spotlighting rescued books," by Cynthia Haven, Stanford Report, November 15, 2007 ---
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/november28/parker-112807.html

One of the biggest cultural earthquakes of the 16th century was the dissolution of the English monasteries under King Henry VIII. His motive was simple: He wanted the land and assets. The effects were long lasting and complicated: The Protestant Reformation was irreversibly launched in England, and so was a period of bitter religious strife.

Books were among the first casualties. In the quest for quick cash, the great monastic libraries perished. Their charms were perhaps too subtle for the new men. (The former abbeys and priories that were not left to ruin were sold at a pittance or given outright to royal favorites.)

Said the aptly named John Bale, notorious for his anti-clericalism: "A great number of them which purchased those superstitious mansions, rescued of those library books, some to use in their jakes [i.e., their toilets], some to scour their candlesticks, and some to rub their boots. Some they sold to the grocers and soap-sellers."

These lost books and manuscripts contained much of English history. (Only six of Worcester Priory's 600 books survived intact to the present; only three of 646 volumes from the Augustinian Friars of York.) Many of the earliest Anglo-Saxon manuscripts vanished.

Many, but not all. Some of the monastic treasures are now available to the world, thanks to a partnership between Corpus Christi College (Cambridge), the University of Cambridge and Stanford.

A new website, http://parkerweb.stanford.edu , will eventually include high-resolution images of every page of Corpus Christi's Parker Library. The remarkable collection includes 538 manuscripts spanning the sixth to the 16th centuries. The project is supported by $5.6 million in grants from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The beta version currently online includes about a sixth of the total content that eventually will be available. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2009.

Scholars and students in the pertinent subjects—medieval, Renaissance and early modern studies; art history; paleography; church history; the history of the English language; Anglo-Saxon studies—are invited to use the test site and provide criticism and suggestions to guide revisions and enhancements. Help is available for instructors or institutions using the site for coursework or research. Material will be added to the site periodically.

The library is named for Cambridge-educated Matthew Parker (1504-75), a bibliophile and a shrewd mover-and-shaker of his day. He was a defender of the "New Religion," a master at Corpus Christi and confessor to Anne Boleyn, the siren who fascinated the king so much he was willing to break with Rome for her. Parker lay low during the brief, violent Catholic reign of Mary Tudor, but when Boleyn's daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, assumed power, his star was shining. Elizabeth was famously kind to those who had been good to her ill-fated mother, beheaded in 1536. Parker became Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held until his death.

He kept busy, supervising the revisions that established the doctrine of the Anglican Church. He organized the translation of the Bible into English, personally translating Genesis, Matthew and some of the Epistles.

He was so busy, in fact, that he became a household word. His supervision of the minutiae of the church became so intrusive, exhausting and tiresome to the clergy that he inspired the sobriquet "Nosy Parker."

Elizabeth mandated her trusted archbishop to rationalize and defend her church. Parker was to build the case that the Protestant Reformation in England was no reformation, but rather a restoration of an English church that had existed from the remote past, separate from Rome. In other words, he was to justify the fait accompli.

And he was in an excellent position to do so. "Parker was more or less the first serious collector of the Reformation, buying and commandeering books with virtually unlimited money and power," said Christopher de Hamel, chief librarian at Corpus Christi.

For Parker, it was a working collection; he used these books himself, copiously annotating them, and did not collect them only for their elegant calligraphy and bindings.

His library, consisting mostly of manuscripts from monastic libraries, includes about a quarter of all surviving manuscripts in Anglo-Saxon. The Parker Library is one of three major library foundations of early England. Sir Thomas Bodley's collection became Oxford's famous Bodleian Library. Sir Robert Bruce Cotton's library, including the renowned Lindisfarne Gospels, became the equally famous British Library.

But, de Hamel said, Parker antedates Bodley and Cotton by a generation: "Parker had the first pickings, acquiring many of the earliest books in English history."

The Parker Library survived the destruction of the Protestant Reformation, but paper and parchment are vulnerable to other kinds of destruction. For example, a 1731 fire destroyed a quarter of the Cotton Library and sent the librarian fleeing the inferno with the Codex Alexandrinus under his arm.

The Parker Library also needed to survive its own inaccessibility. It remained entirely intact but largely untouched in one room at Corpus Christi. To gain entry, according to Andrew Herkovic, director of communications and development for Stanford University Libraries, you had to "be nice, be important, and write in advance."

"The who's who of people denied access is incredible in itself—including Christopher de Hamel," Herkovic added.

Having the Parker Library online means it is universally accessible and virtually indestructible. In 2001, Stanford and Corpus Christi began negotiations for a cyberspace Parker Library. "It may seem an unlikely marriage, but it had an underpinning of logic to it," said John Haeger, the Stanford Libraries' special projects director.

Corpus Christi hired a staff of scholars to do bibliographic work and update and expand the catalog. The University of Cambridge provides "image capture." Stanford provides website development and the post-processing of archival TIFF images.

Beyond that, said Herkovic, "What we brought to the table was a comprehension of what it takes to make a project succeed—from concept to being fundable by a grant agency. We knew about digitization and process—how to roll up our sleeves and get it done."

Continued in article

Parker Library: Printed Books
There are approximately 4,750 books printed before 1820 in the Parker Library, of which around 1,075 are from the collection of Matthew Parker. Between April 2003 and April 2006 these books were recatalogued online by William Hale, Parker-Taylor Bibliographer, in a project generously funded by Dr. John Taylor, an old member of the College ---
http://www.corpus.cam.ac.uk/parker/catalogue/index.php

The collection covers a wide range of subjects, but is unsurprisingly particularly strong in sixteenth century church history and the writings of the Reformers. The new catalogue describes these books for the first time to modern bibliographical standards, with extensive indexing enabling searching by subject, provenance and binder where applicable. A secondary objective of the project was to determine as far as possible which of the books in the collection are from the library of Archbishop Parker and which are from other sources. A list of Parker's printed books was compiled as part of the project, and is now available in the Library; details of other former owners and other material can be found by clicking the links below.

To search the Parker Library catalogue, click here or here http://collan-newton.lib.cam.ac.uk/
I found many links under the term "accounting." Of course most of these cataloged books are not freely online because they are still copyright protected. However, the Google project may one day free these up for online reading --- http://www.corpus.cam.ac.uk/parker/catalogue/index.php

Soon to be the largest scholarly library in the world:
Google Book Search --- http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search

One Million University of Illinois (Free) Books to be Digitized by Google --- http://www.cic.uiuc.edu/programs/CenterForLibraryInitiatives/Archive/PressRelease/LibraryDigitization/index.shtml
Google Digitized Books --- http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search?q=Accounting
For example, key in the word "accounting"
Then try "Accounting for Derivative Financial Instruments"
Then try "Robert E. Jensen" AND "Accounting"

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 (www.ulib.org), said Gloriana St. Clair, Carnegie Mellon's dean of libraries.
The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, November 30, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Bob Jensen's links to electronic literature --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

 




I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature. Let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Etienne Griellet

If we are on a path of getting nowhere fast, technology is allowing us to get nowhere faster and faster.
John Renesch --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Renesch

The Wisconsin Virtual Academy has grown in its four years to about 850 students, all there by choice. The online public charter school gets good results on state tests, equivalent to small-town districts from which it draws students. Parents rave about it.So, naturally, the state's biggest teachers union got a court to order it closed . . . Mind you, nobody says the place does poorly. "They meet the state standard," conceded the state's lawyer — 92% of the students score advanced or proficient in reading. That's beside the point, he told the court. Because parents help when children are stuck or act as an on-hand coach, they're the teachers. Such parents are "unlicensed, untrained, unqualified and, um, adults who are not required to prove competence," the state's lawyer said, though he later said the state wants these incompetent peasants involved in schools anyhow. Maybe they can show up with juice boxes or something.
Patrick McIlheran, "It's Virtual War," New York Sun, December 14, 2007 ---  http://www.nysun.com/article/68078

This solitary voice will open the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, held each year in the chapel of King’s College at Cambridge University. The King’s Festival was first organized in 1918 by the chapel’s then-dean Eric Milner-White, and since the 1930s it has been broadcast annually by BBC radio and its international affiliates.Millions of people now listen every year, and visitors to Cambridge “from all over the world are heard to identify the Chapel as ‘the place where the carols are sung.’. . . The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a Christian religious service, of course, and the older colleges of Oxford and Cambridge were all originally Christian religious foundations. But the general social principles that are manifest here — the regularity of the service, its stability and variety, and the way it binds the community together — apply with great generality. And they apply not only to Oxbridge-style colleges founded within other religious traditions (Shalom College at the University of New South Wales and Mandelbaum House at the University of Sydney are Jewish foundations, and the colleges of the Universiti Putra Malaysia follow Islamic traditions), but also to fully secular colleges and universities across the United States and around the world.
Robert J. O'Hara, "‘To Gather From the Air a Live Tradition’ ," Inside Higher Ed, December 26, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/12/21/ohara 
Jensen Comment
Meanwhile in the U.S., public schools are fearful of performing Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or singing Christmas songs at school events even if these were former annual traditions. King's College at Cambridge in the United Kingdom has no such fear of lawsuits. Also see http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/~citypaper/news.php?viewStory=18362

Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is calling for an immediate suspension of the earmarking process after learning that a House Democrat suggested to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that additional earmarks could assist the campaigns of vulnerable Democrats. “Inherently, we understand that this earmark process is not equitable… There are a few examples of where your help could significantly assist a few members in highly contested races,” wrote Rep. Kilpatrick (Rep. Kilpatrick letter to Speaker Pelosi, 12/13/2007). Want to ask Speaker Pelosi whether she believes granting earmarks to re-elect Democrats is ethical and an appropriate use of tax dollars? Give her a ring at 202-225-4965 and ask her.
Brendan Steinhauser, "Liberals admit using earmarks for re-election," Freedom Talks, December 18th, 2007 ---
http://www.freedomtalks.org/2007/12/18/liberals-using-earmarks-for-political-purposes/

Before leaving town, Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Sens. Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, left a lump of coal (and a stink bomb) in the stockings of the American people when it comes to prevention against terrorist attack. After they failed on Monday failed to block Republican efforts to retroactively bar lawsuits against telephone companies that helped the government monitor suspected jihadist communications after September 11, Mr. Reid pulled from the floor legislation to modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the primary law governing the monitoring of electronic communications. Unless Congress acts, on Feb. 1 U.S. intelligence agencies will lose the ability to monitor at least some overseas terrorist telecommunications without first obtaining court approval.
"Sen. Reid's stink bomb," The Washington Times, December 19, 2007 --- Click Here

Ethanol, after all, is hardly an ideal fuel. A two-carbon molecule, it has only two-thirds the energy content of gasoline, which is a mix of long-chain hydrocarbons. Put another way, it would take about a gallon and a half of ethanol to yield the same mileage as a gallon of gasoline. And because ethanol mixes with water, a costly distillation step is required at the end of the fermentation process. What's more, because ethanol is more easily contaminated with water than hydrocarbons are, it can't be shipped in the petroleum pipelines used to cheaply distribute gasoline throughout the United States. Ethanol must be shipped in specialized rail cars (trucks, with their relatively small payloads, are usually far too expensive), adding to the cost of the fuel. So instead of ethanol, the California startups are planning to produce novel hydrocarbons. Like ethanol, the new compounds are fermented from sugars, but they are designed to more closely resemble gasoline, diesel, and even jet fuel. "We took a look at ethanol," says Neil Renninger, senior vice president of development and cofounder of Amyris Biotechnologies in Emeryville, CA, "and realized the limitations and the desire to make something that looked more like conventional fuels. Essentially, we wanted to make hydrocarbons.
David Rotman, "Part III: The Price of Biofuels:  Do we really have any alternative to biofuels?" MIT's Technology Review, January/February 2008 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/19926/?nlid=764

SHELL is to become the first major oil company to produce diesel fuel from marine algae. Algae are a climate-friendly way to make fuel from carbon dioxide. They produce an oil that can readily be converted to diesel, and can be fed CO2 directly from smokestacks. Unlike biofuels such as corn, they don't use up soil or water that could otherwise be used to grow food, which can pump up food prices. The US government abandoned research on algal biofuel in the 1990s because of the low cost of crude oil. But as oil and food prices began to rise, small algal fuel producers sprang up. Shell plans to begin construction on a pilot plant in Hawaii immediately, which it expects will produce 15 times as much oil for a given area as other biofuel crops, thanks to the efficiency of algal photosynthesis.
New Scientist, December 22, 2007 --- Click Here

The United States will offer the moderate Palestinian leadership more than half a billion dollars at Monday's international donors' conference in Paris, a US official said Friday. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is seeking a total of 5.6 billion dollars between 2008 and 2010 to help tackle poverty, build a viable Palestinian state and give impetus to a new peace process with Israel. "The US will make a generous contribution," a government official said on condition of anonymity. "The expectation would be 100 million dollars more than last year's context, in the vicinity of 500 million (dollars) plus." The figure would still be subject to approval by the US Congress. The administration of US President George W. Bush had asked Congress to approve 400 million in economic support for Palestinians in the 2007-2008 budget which began on October 1. That amount has not been approved. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will fly Sunday to the donors' conference aimed at supporting Palestinian reform of political, security and economic institutions that would underpin a future Palestinian state.
AFP, December 15, 2007 --- http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jB9nLVrfmY-gq4YrvbKEjER6dx0Q

In 1977, Reagan expressed doubt about the "illegal alien fuss" and suggested that such foreigners were "doing work our own people won't do." In 1986, he signed the immigration reform bill that conservatives now revile as "amnesty." Clearly the party has undergone a transformation since his day. The question is why. It's not just that we have an estimated 12 million foreigners here illegally—the 1984 GOP platform estimated there were 12 million then. Their economic impact hasn't changed: They still mostly take unpleasant, low-wage jobs. The gripe that they don't speak English and don't assimilate has been around a long time. But a quarter century ago, the issue was seen through a different lens. What really changed the party faithful's attitude toward illegal immigrants was something seemingly unrelated: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.
Steve Chapman, "Why the Right Shifted on Immigration And how Tancredoism took over," Reason Magazine, December 13, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/123922.html 

The 52 senators from the nation's smallest states could command a Senate majority even though they represent only 18 percent of the American population . . . According to the Census Bureau's July 2004 population estimates, the 44 Democratic senators represent 148,026,027 people; the 55 Republican senators 144,765,157. Vermont's Jim Jeffords, an independent who usually votes with the Democrats, represents 310,697. (In these calculations, I evenly divided the population of states with split Senate delegations.) What does majority rule really mean in this context? If the Republicans pushing against the filibuster love majority rule so much, they should propose getting rid of the Senate altogether. But doing so would mean acknowledging what's really going on here: regime change disguised as a narrow rules fight. We could choose to institute a British-style parliamentary system in which majorities get almost everything they want. But advocates of such a radical departure should be honest enough to propose amending the Constitution first.
E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post, March 22, 2007, Page A17 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55429-2005Mar21.html

Nicole Kidman has revealed how her Catholic faith helped her through the loss of two babies and the collapse of her marriage to Tom Cruise. Despite spending a decade married to Scientologist Cruise, she says her family faith is "ingrained" in her, and that she turned to her devout father, Anthony, at the time of the break-up.
London Daily Mail, December 22, 2007 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
I quoted this only to show the irony in Ms. Kidman's starring role in the current atheism movie (Golden Compass) that the author, Phillip Pullman, claims is part of his quest to "kill God." Snopes says this anti-religion theme is true --- http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp
The Catholic League condemned her movie "as a pernicious effort to indoctrinate children into anti-Christian beliefs." I guess for Kidman money speaks louder than faith. She claims to be a devout Catholic while accepting money to help steer children away from all religion, especially Catholicism. Have a good day Nicole!

Sen. Patrick Leahy is preventing the Bush administration from requiring passports next year from people crossing the U.S.-Canada border and the U.S.-Mexico border by land.
"Democrat Blocks Passport Requirement at Canada, Mexico Borders," by Susan Jones, CNSNews.com ---
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200712/NAT20071221b.html
Jensen Comment
Leahy seems to side with al Qaeda on every issue proposed by Bush for homeland security. The Vermont Senator's hatred for President Bush is even more visceral than that of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Which is what makes this Republican presidential contest so striking. It is hard to think of another campaign when Republicans have seemed less excited about their choices. That was the unmistakable lesson of the rapid ascension in recent polls of Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, the latest in a line of Republican flavors of the month. A New York Times/CBS News poll last week found that none of the Republican candidates — not even the suddenly hot Mr. Huckabee — was viewed favorably by even half of Republican voters.
Adam Nagourney, The New York Times, December 16, 2007 --- Click Here

In October of this year, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a pardon for Richard Paey, a paraplegic with multiple sclerosis who had served nearly four years of a 25-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. Paey, who requires high-dose opioid therapy to treat pain brought on by his MS, a car accident, and a botched back surgery, was convicted of trafficking despite concessions from prosecutors that there was no evidence the painkillers in his possession were for anything other than his own use. When police came to arrest the wheel-chair bound Paey, they came with a full-on SWAT team, battering down the door and rushing into the home of the wheelchair-bound Paey, his optometrist wife, and their two schoolage children. Prosecutors offered Paey a plea bargain, but he refused, insisting that he’d done nothing wrong, and that he shouldn’t have to plead guilty to a felony for treating his own pain. Paey was tried, convicted, and given a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence. While in prison, the state of Florida paid for a morphine pump that administered painkillers to Paey at rates higher than what the state convicted him of for possessing in the first place.
Radley Balko, "Richard Paey Speaks:  An interview with the paraplegic man sentenced to 25 years in prison for treating his own pain," Reason Magazine, November 20, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/123589.html

What worries state department officials, former national security officials and counterterrorism researchers is that, if attacked, Iran could stage strikes on American or allied interests from Nicaragua, deploying the Iranian terrorist group Hezbollah and Revolutionary Guard operatives already in Latin America. Bellicose threats by Iran's clerical leadership to hit American interests worldwide if attacked, by design or not, heighten the anxiety. "The bottom line is if there is a confrontation with Iran, and Iran gets bombed, I have absolutely no doubt that Iran is going to lash out globally," said John R. Schindler, a veteran former counterintelligence officer and analyst for the National Security Agency. "The Iranians have that ability, particularly from South America. Hezbollah has fronts all over Latin America. That is not new. But it's certainly something we're starting to care about now." American policymakers already had been fretting in recent years over Tehran's successful forging of diplomatic relations, direct air routes and embassy swaps with populist South American governments that abhor the U.S., such as President Hugo Chávez's Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. But Iran's latest move places it just a few porous borders from Texas, where illegal Nicaraguan laborers routinely travel.
Todd Bensman, "Iran making push into Nicaragua," San Antonio Express News, December 16, 2007 --- Click Here 

Come Jan. 1, Massachusetts residents who still haven’t signed up for health insurance will start racking up fines on a monthly basis. Those penalties may be up to half of the monthly premiums for the least expensive health care plan available, although the exact amount of the fines is expected to be announced as soon as this week. That’s on top of the loss of the $219 personal tax exemption for anyone not insured by the end of December. The fines are part of an increasingly more aggressive approach written into the state’s landmark health care law designed to pressure Massachusetts residents into getting insurance. The law, intended to create near-universal coverage in the state, was approved by lawmakers and signed by former Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006. Even those residents who already have insurance will see some changes when they file their taxes this year. Everyone, including those insured through their employers, will be required to fill out a new tax form proving they have insurance to avoid paying penalties. That form — dubbed 1099-HC — will require taxpayers to provide the name of their insurer and their subscriber number. The form will also allow individuals and families to claim an exemption to the law — either for religious or hardship reasons. Those claiming exemptions will be asked to provide supporting information to back up their claim. Those who still refuse to get insurance even after being deemed able to afford it, will see the penalties add up quickly. The monthly premium for the least expensive health care plan — a so-called "bronze level" plan with no prescription drug coverage — for a 37-year-old male living in Boston is $196. Under the law, the penalty for not getting insurance could be up to half that cost — about $98 a month, or $1,176 for the year. The actual penalty will be determined by the Department of Revenue that is charged with coming up with the fine structure.
Boston Herald, December 24, 2007 --- http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1062608&format=text

Belgian police Friday arrested 14 Muslim extremists suspected of planning the jailbreak of an al-Qaida prisoner convicted of plotting a terrorist attack on U.S. air base personnel, officials said. Extra police were deployed across the capital at airports, subway stations and other public places. The U.S. Embassy warned Americans of "a heightened risk of terrorist attack in Brussels," although it had no indication of any American targets.
Raf Casert, Yahoo News, December 21, 2007 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071221/ap_on_re_eu/belgium_terrorism
Also see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7155539.stm
Jensen Comment
All 14 arrested were later released for "lack of evidence" in spite finding explosives and weapons in their homes.

Afghanistan has ordered a top European Union official and a United Nations staffer to leave the country for threatening national security, government and diplomatic officials said Tuesday. The two were declared persona non grata, apparently after allegations they had met with Taliban insurgents, a European diplomat said. The office of President Hamid Karzai had at first announced at a press conference that the two, said to be British and Irish, had been arrested. Spokesman Homayun Hamidzada later told AFP the pair, whom he did not identify, had been asked to leave the country. Another official said that two of their Afghan colleagues had been arrested. "The foreign nationals have been declared persona non grata and their Afghan colleagues have been arrested and are being investigated," Hamidzada said.
Sardar Ahmad, Yahoo News, December 25, 2007 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071225/wl_afp/afghanistanunrestbritaineuun 

The Federal Reserve is especially blameworthy. Starting as early as 2000, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan brushed aside warnings from another Fed governor, Edward M. Gramlich, about subprime lenders who were luring borrowers into risky loans. Mr. Greenspan’s insistence, to this day, that the Fed did not have the power to rein in such lending is nonsense. In 1994, Congress passed a law requiring the Fed to regulate all mortgage lending. The language is crystal clear: the Fed “by regulation or order, shall prohibit acts or practices in connection with A) mortgage loans that the board finds to be unfair, deceptive, or designed to evade the provisions of this section; and B) refinancing of mortgage loans that the board finds to be associated with abusive lending practices, or that are otherwise not in the interest of the borrower.” Yet, the Fed did nothing as junk lending proliferated — including loans that were unsustainable unless house prices rose in perpetuity, riddled with hidden fees and made to borrowers who could not repay. Mr. Greenspan has said that the law was too vague about the meaning of “unfair” and “deceptive” to warrant action.
"A Crisis Long Foretold," The New York Times, December 19, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/opinion/19wed1.html
Jensen Comment
Greenspan's defense rings hollow in light of the recent actions of the Fed to make mortgage lending less deceptive. Greenspan was always biased toward the financial institutions vis-a-vis accounting transparency and limiting deceptive practice of those institutions.

Hay prices, which have doubled because of the drought, have left some horse owners unable to properly care for their animals. The U.S. Equine Rescue League has been there to help, taking in horses sometimes hundreds of pounds under their ideal weight . . . "More and more people are wanting to surrender their horses because they can't afford to take care of them," said Susan White, the rescue league's lead investigator for equine cruelty in Virginia. "We are getting calls all the time now."
The Washington Times, December 16, 2007 --- http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20071216/METRO/172248005/1004

Virginia Western Community College was hit with a lawsuit filed today by 59 current and former nursing students, who say it never told them its nursing program had lost its national accreditation, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The students, who say they will have trouble getting jobs with credentials from an unaccredited program, are demanding recompense of $350,000 each, a total of $20,650,000. The Times-Dispatch could not reach any officials at the college for comment because it is on winter break.
Andrew Mytelka, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 20, 2007 ---
http://chronicle.com/news/article/3677/nursing-students-file-21-million-lawsuit-against-2-year-college?at

Margaret Boyes, a spokeswoman for Virginia Western, said the school could not comment on active litigation. She did point out, however, that the school's nursing program is accredited by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Earlier this year, when the some of the students filed notices of possible litigation, Boyes said that NLNAC accreditation -- or the lack of it -- does not affect a student's ability to apply for a job, transfer to another school or take the licensing exam for nurses. Boyes said at the time that students were not notified of the loss of accreditation because the school believed it would have no practical effect on their futures.
Lawrence Hammack, "Students sue college over accreditation," The Roanoke Times, December 21, 2007 ---  http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/144269

Three fatal shootings since Saturday have pushed San Francisco's murder total for the year to the highest level in more than a decade. In the latest killing, a 24-year-old man died after being shot in the city's Hunters Point neighborhood Monday afternoon. That murder follows the fatal shooting Saturday morning of two men who were gunned down in the city's Mission neighborhood.
The Bakersfield Californian, December 18, 2007 --- http://www.bakersfield.com/119/story/313717.html 

Measure H was placed on the November 2005 ballot by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, who were frustrated by an alarmingly high number of gun-related homicides in the city of 750,000. The NRA sued a day after 58 percent of voters approved the law. In siding with the gun owners, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge James Warren said a local government cannot ban weapons because the California Legislature allows their sale and possession.
"U.S. Supreme Court To Consider Handgun Bans," Fox Reno, November 27, 2007 --- http://www.foxreno.com/news/14650468/detail.html?rss=reno&psp=news

During 2000--2002, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force), an independent nonfederal task force, conducted a systematic review of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence, including violent crimes, suicide, and unintentional injury. The following laws were evaluated: bans on specified firearms or ammunition, restrictions on firearm acquisition, waiting periods for firearm acquisition, firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners, "shall issue" concealed weapon carry laws, child access prevention laws, zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools, and combinations of firearms laws. The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes. (Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.) This report briefly describes how the reviews were conducted, summarizes the Task Force findings, and provides information regarding needs for future research.
"First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws Findings from the Task Force on Community Preventive Services," U.S. Center for Disease Control, October 3, 2007 --- http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm

The Federal Reserve is due to unveil a plan that would give people taking out home mortgages new protections against unscrupulous lending practices. The rules are designed to protect borrowers from the kind of abusive lending that contributed to the subprime mortgage crisis.
Chris Arnold, NPR, December 18, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17344710

The UN's Human Development Index recognizes some of these defects in income accounts, and attempts to correct them by combining percentage changes (or percentage levels) in per capita incomes with percentage changes in life expectancy, and percentage changes in education levels. However, as Posner points out, the weights attached to these different changes (1/3 weight to each) are completely arbitrary. Moreover, there is substantial double counting since much of the value to increased education results from its effects on raising incomes and lower mortality, and these are counted separately.
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 15, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

Groucho Marx once asked, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" Too bad Groucho doesn't work at either the Federal Reserve or on Wall Street, where economists have been predicting that slower economic growth would lead to a slowdown in inflation. They should have believed their own eyes. As any American who has shopped for groceries or gasoline can tell you, prices are rising. That was confirmed last Friday in the official figures for November, with overall consumer prices jumping 0.8% from a month earlier. That was the largest monthly gain in two years, and 4.3% higher than a year ago. The report for producer prices was equally as alarming a day earlier, rising 3.2%. The producer price index is up 7.7% in the past 12 months, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Some analysts continue to ignore all this and focus on so-called "core" inflation, which excludes food and energy. That is cold comfort to Americans who devote increasingly larger chunks of their monthly budget to -- food and energy. One lesson of the past few years is that relying too much on core inflation data, as the Fed has done until recently, can be a dangerous mistake. We couldn't help but notice that former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, a longtime "core" watcher, was quoted last week as saying it is now a less reliable guide to monetary policy.
"Money Illusions," The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2007; Page A20 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119786250709733105.html

Between 2005 and 2016, college enrollments are projected to increase by about 17 percent, according to “Projections of Education Statistics to 2016,” an updated version of an annual report, released Tuesday by the Education Department. As has been the case in recent years, the updated data project a national student body that is more female and less white than the current student body. According to the report, female enrollment will increase by 22 percent, compared to 10 percent for men. And among racial and ethnic groups, the projected increases are 8 percent for white students, 29 percent for black students, 45 percent for Latino students, 32 percent for Asian students, and 34 percent for American Indian students.
Inside Higher Ed, December 19, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/19/qt

The results turned out to be quite odd. Vermont has one of the most homogenous populations in the country — overwhelmingly white (especially in 1967), with relatively similar levels of poverty and education statewide. Yet medical practice across the state varied enormously, for all kinds of care. In Middlebury, for instance, only 7 percent of children had their tonsils removed. In Morrisville, 70 percent did . . . But here was the stunner: Vermonters who lived in towns with more aggressive care weren’t healthier. They were just getting more health care. Dr. Wennberg would eventually move to Dartmouth and, over the last 30 years, has done versions of his Vermont study for the entire country. Again and again, he has come up with the same broad result. And that result holds the key to health care reform — how to spend less on health care while not making the population any less healthy . . . Dr. Wennberg’s story forms the backbone of “Overtreated,” by Shannon Brownlee, which is my choice for the economics book of the year.
David Leonhardt
, The New York Times, December 19, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/business/19leonhardt.html

Life in southern Israel is unbearable. Since last January, on average, 6.3 mortars and rockets have been fired from Gaza on southern Israel every day. As Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i warned the heads of the communities around Gaza last week, due to the improvements in the Palestinian arsenal since Israel vacated Gaza two years ago, the Palestinians now field missiles and rockets with extended ranges that place 130,000 Israelis under threat of missile attack. Wednesday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi made clear that if Israel wishes to secure its citizens there is only one thing it can do. It can conquer Gaza.
Caroline B. Glick, "Who's being rational?" Jewish World Review, December 14, 2007 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1207/glick121407.php3

"What Kind of War Are We Fighting, and Can We Win It? A Symposium," by Fouad Ajami, Commentary, Vol. 124 Issue 4, November 2007, pp. 21-43
--- http://www.commentarymagazine.com/

The origins and legitimacy of the Iraq war have been endlessly debated. For me, it is and remains a just and noble war, waged by an American leader who was fated to take on the troubles and malignancies of the Arab-Islamic world. The distinction between the Islamism of al Qaeda and the "secularism" of the Iraqi regime is a distinction without a difference. A road led from Kabul to Baghdad. We took the war from the Afghan front, which the Arab preachers and financiers and jihadists had secured as a base for their operations, to the Arab world itself. In Baghdad, a despot at once cruel and (fortunately) clumsy held out to the Arabs an example of defiance, proof that no price would be paid by those who took on American power. Once we pulled the trigger in 2003, Iraq became the central front in the war on terror. Fail there, and our enemies would have been emboldened beyond measure, and the world would have depicted our failure as evidence that history's tide was running against us.

We have paid dearly in Iraq, but we held the line, we maintained the American position in the region, we supplied proof that we would not scurry for cover and that we believed there were things worth fighting for. The despots in the region feigned a lack of interest in the fate of Saddam's brutal sons, and in Saddam's execution. But make no mistake: these personalistic regimes got the message. There but for the grace of God, they thought, go we. The sacrifices in Iraq paid dividends in Iraq's neighborhood.

WE HAVE DONE reasonably well since 9/11. American memory is unduly short, and the memory of 9/11 is steadily being lost to us. There is a growing conviction that this was a single day of grief, that the warrant given to our government back then by the most liberal of the liberals should now be withdrawn. The vigilance our country sanctioned after 9/11 is now seen as overly intrusive and given to paranoia. But we take the world as it is, and at least some of the illusions held about Arab and Muslim affairs, about the sources and wellsprings of anti-Americanism, have been shed.

I would very much want to see a more critical assessment of the role of Egypt and of Egyptians in the trail that led to 9/11. Here is a country on the American payroll, a regime in the orbit of American power. But Egypt's ruler has snookered us all along. He takes America's coin but rides with its enemies. He has winked at, and fed, a culture suffused with anti-modernism and anti-Americanism — and anti-Semitism, their inevitable companion. The prestige of Egypt in Arab affairs is great, and so is the influence of its radicalism.

Those in the know — and those who pretend to be — have written and spoken about the influence exercised by the Egyptian thinker and pamphleteer Sayyid Qutb (executed by the Nasser regime in 1966) on the course of modern Islamism. This is good as far as it goes. What is needed is a more sustained analysis of the depth of Egyptian radicalism, and of the skill of that despotic regime in directing the wrath of its own thwarted population toward the United States. Beyond this lies the need for a proper response to the Hosni Mubarak regime. We need to cast that regime adrift.

But grant George W. Bush his due: he broke with Scowcroftian realism, he broke with the likes of James Baker. His speech of November 6, 2003, to the National Endowment for Democracy will remain, for decades, a noble American declaration. It had a startling mea culpa:

Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe — because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place for stagnation, resentment, and violence for export.

It was this declaration, and the larger Bush campaign for democracy, that gave heart to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, which rid that country of a long and cruel Syrian captivity; it was this drive that gave continued justification to the Iraq war after the hunt for weapons of mass destruction there ran aground. The historical truth of Bush's declaration is indisputable. The Bush Doctrine brought about a veritable reversal in the realm of ideas: here was a conservative President asserting that freedom can travel to distant shores, that we can take it to strangers beyond, and here were his liberal critics at home falling back on a surly argument that Iraq, Lebanon, and other Arab and Islamic domains offer insurmountable obstacles to the spread of freedom.

Natan Sharansky is perhaps on the mark with his observation that Bush, in holding onto his belief, is a lonely man even within his own circle of power.

Continued in article

Against all odds, and despite the usual drumbeat of criticism, President George W. Bush has had a very good year. The troop surge in Iraq is succeeding. America remains safe from terrorist attacks. And the Goldilocks economy is outperforming all expectations. At his year-end news conference, President Bush stated with optimism that the economy is fundamentally sound, despite the housing downturn and the sub-prime credit crunch. The very next day, that optimism was reinforced with news of the best consumer spending in two years. The prophets of recessionary doom, such as former Fed chair Alan Greenspan, Republican advisor Martin Feldstein, ex-Democratic Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, and bond-maven Bill Gross have been proven wrong once again.
Harry Reid Larry Kudlow, "Bush’s Very Good Year," Town Hall, December 21, 2007 --- Click Here

The masters of the mainstream media contended that the campaign in Iraq was "lost." The Associated Press, in a piece headlined "Many U.S. Troops in Iraq Oppose Escalation," baldly stated we were "embroiled in civil warfare between majority Shiite Muslims and Sunni Arabs that no number of American troops can stop." America's newspapers and television screens were full of stories about U.S. and Iraqi casualties, and liberal partisans were demanding that President Bush "bring the troops home -- now!"
Nancy Pelosi Oliver North, Town Hall, December 21, 2007 --- Click Here

As in Iraq, so in Afghanistan: it would be both morally wrong and tactically foolish for the West's politicians to exaggerate temporary gains in the vain hope of stilling the domestic clamour for withdrawal. Voters are not fools, and most already know what the politicians sometimes fear to tell them. “Victory” in George Bush's wars will at most mean preventing catastrophe; and even this modest aim will for years require spending Western lives and money in campaigns that will demand as much attention to the once-reviled business of nation-building as to the use of military force. Fortunately, Western armies are slowly learning how this can be done. As to whether either war is worth the prolonged struggle, that is a question whose answer must depend on the changing costs and benefits. A humiliation in Iraq would batter American prestige and unsettle allies who have staked their security on American power. It would embolden al-Qaeda; but might also extinguish a fire that has drawn new jihadists to the cause. At present, however, the strongest case for America to stay is its duty to prevent an even worse calamity from befalling Iraq's people. That calculation could change, too: at some point the American presence may stoke up more violence than it damps down. But for now the judgment of this newspaper remains that an American withdrawal is more likely to end political bargaining and provoke a free-for-all.
The Economist, December 15, 2007, Page 13 --- http://www.economist.com/

 

 

"This land (the United States) is a paradise not because of its beauty or richness but because of its people, the compassionate, generous Americans who took my family and me in, 32 years ago, and healed our souls, who restore my faith in humanity, and who inspire me to public service. There's a special group of people that I'm especially indebted to and I would like to dedicate this medal to them. They are the 58,000 Americans whose names are on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial and the 260,000 South Vietnamese soldiers who died in that war in order for people like me to earn a second chance to freedom. May God bless all of those who are willing to die for freedom—especially those who are willing to die for the freedom of others. Thank you."
Anh Duong (See Below)

The Bombs Lady Video --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3tExVuoicQ&feature=related

"Anh Duong, Out Of Debt:  Such are history's caroms—she was involved in the end of the Vietnam War and the beginning of the War on Terror," by George F. Will, Newsweek Magazine, December 17, 2007, Page 84 --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/74457

History, said Emerson, is "the biography of a few stout and earnest persons." But history also is a story of unpredictable contingencies and improbable caroms, and of a 4-foot-7, 15-year-old girl's leap from a dangerously bobbing boat to a pitching South Vietnamese ship in the South China Sea. It was April 1975. The Communists were overrunning South Vietnam. At that time, Osama bin Laden was 18. The arc of his life, and Anh Duong's, would intersect.

Her leap propelled her to freedom. She grew up to be a 5-foot-1 chemist who, 26 years later, led the development of a bomb efficient at killing America's enemies in Afghanistan's caves. As a result, fewer American soldiers have had to enter those caves to engage Osama's fighters. This is Anh Duong's story.

The U.S. Navy took her and her family to Subic Bay in the Philippines. Next stop was a refugee camp in Pennsylvania. After five months this Buddhist family was adopted by the First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Soon Anh was in a suburban Maryland high school, headed for the University of Maryland and, eventually, degrees in chemical engineering, computer science and public administration.

Sending U.S. forces into those caves would involve a terrible butcher's bill that might be avoided if a new munition could be developed—a new thermobaric (traveling blast and heat) bomb. At lunch at the Ritz-Carlton hotel near the Pentagon, as she delicately eats a hamburger with a knife and fork, she explains that normal bombs do their work by delivering fragments (to punch through things) and blast (to collapse things). But delivered by an F-15 to the mouth of a cave, a normal bomb's blast and fragmentation dissipate too quickly to reach deep into the cave and kill those hiding there. The task for her and her team was a challenge of detonation chemistry. They had to "deliver energy more slowly—we want the energy to last longer and travel."

The three-year plan for demonstrating a prototype thermo-baric bomb was scrapped, and Anh and her team set about confirming the axiom that America is like a boiler—there is no telling how much energy it will produce once you light a fire under it. "I did not need to motivate my team," she says. Osama had done that. In 67 days their three-year mission was accomplished. BLU-118/B, a thermobaric bomb whose heat and blast persist and penetrate deep into caves, went to war.

Her current mission derives from the peculiar nature of the war against terrorists, in which the first difficult question is, she says, "Who am I aiming the weapon at?" This has become, in Iraq, a matter of high-stakes forensics using a huge biometric database. Whose fingerprints are those on that fragment of an improvised explosive device? She is devising portable labs to answer such questions in Iraq.

Anh is hardly a thermobaric person, a weaponized woman. The Washington Post reports that while she was working on the new bomb, her children, then 5 to 11, were not allowed to play with toy guns or read Harry Potter books, which the parents deemed too violent. Their parents even excised the fight scenes from their Disney "Pocahontas" video.

The trajectory of Anh's life, which has taken her from one of America's wars to another, might eventually involve another generation of her family. The oldest of her four children, a 17-year-old daughter, is considering a career in—this apple did not fall far from the tree—homeland security or international affairs.

"This land is a paradise not because of its beauty or richness but because of its people, the compassionate, generous Americans who took my family and me in, 32 years ago, and healed our souls, who restore my faith in humanity, and who inspire me to public service. There's a special group of people that I'm especially indebted to and I would like to dedicate this medal to them. They are the 58,000 Americans whose names are on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial and the 260,000 South Vietnamese soldiers who died in that war in order for people like me to earn a second chance to freedom. May God bless all of those who are willing to die for freedom—especially those who are willing to die for the freedom of others. Thank you."

And thank you, Anh Duong. Consider your debt paid in full, with interest.
 




Read the talk and watch the walk

In April 2007 the blog search engine Technorati reported that it was tracking 70 million blogs, with 120,000 new ones arriving every day --- http://technorati.com/weblog/2007/04/328.html
Technorati --- http://technorati.com/

PC World's choices for the Top 100 blogs on June 25, 2007 --- http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,133119/article.html

Search for Blogs (Weblogs) ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm#Blogs
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm 

In July 2006, the YouTube revealed that more than 100 million videos were being watched every day on YouTube, and 2.5 billion videos were watched in June 2006. 50,000 videos were being added per day in May 2006, and this increased to 65,000 by July --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube

Potential Roles of ListServs and Blogs
Getting More Than We Give --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm


Question
In terms of the "right to carry" handguns, what are the 40 states that have RTC laws?
What's the status of RTC on college campuses?

Answer
See the map at http://www.nraila.org/images/rtcmaplg.jpg
There were 29 states added since 1989. Actually there are 47 states that allow carrying of handguns but only 40 now qualify to be designated a RTC state.
See http://www.nraila.org//Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=1861

Wisconsin is one of only four states that prohibit citizens from carrying concealed firearms. The other three states are Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois. The Kansas Legislature overwhelmingly passed a Right to Carry Law in 1997 and 2003 but, like Wisconsin’s Legislature, it could not override the Governor’s veto. (Since then Nebraska became a RTC state.)

RTC does not mean that guns can be carried anywhere within a state. Generally court houses, bars, public transportation, K-12 schools, and college campuses are off limits. Details of RTC vary from state to state. RTC does not mean that any adult may carry a handgun. To my knowledge there's no state that does not require licensing and issuing of permits to carry hand guns.

Generally college campuses are off limits to handgun carrying in all 50 states, although there are challenges to this that have become particularly active since the shootings at Virginia Tech. To read more about Utah, Colorado, Texas, and other states read in the term "campus" in the search box at http://www.nraila.org//Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=1861
Personally I think gun toting on college campuses is a bad idea. Even if licensed students were all model adults, the availability of such guns on campus makes it easier for others, perhaps in a rage, to quickly get their hands on a gun. And the definition of a "model adult" is difficult to apply in practice.

Efforts by some cities (e.g., San Francisco and Washington DC)  to ban the possession of hand guns even within the home are still tied up in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon make an important ruling in the case of Washington DC.

The RTC generally has extreme side effects --- some very good (discouraging sex offenders) and some very bad (killing unarmed car thieves).  Many claims and counter claims are made regarding the impact of RTC on crime prevention ---  http://www.nraila.org/images/rtcmaplg.jpg

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the most politically active organization in favor of gun ownership and the RTC.

Police associations generally oppose the NRA regarding the RTC --- http://www.napo.org/

Interestingly the highly liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) remains generally neutral on gun control and the Second Amendment --- http://www.aclu.org/police/gen/14523res20020304.html
There are all sorts of complications and interactions, however, with other ACLU action agendas. For example, states banning RTC conflict with ACLU actions to prevent racial profiling. The ACLU fears police might racially profile to detect carrying of weapons.

We all dream of bygone days in England (not the U.S.) when neither criminals nor police carried guns. Gangs and drugs have ruined this even in England. Now the issue is one of drawing lines regarding who is legally permitted to own guns and who is permitted to carry guns and in what circumstances. This will probably remain an emotionally-charged issue with evolving political action and court decisions on where to draw bright lines in legislation.

One thing is certain --- no circumstances are exactly alike in terms of key factors like police protection and crime vulnerability. Moscow and Christ Church, New Zealand are worlds apart. Rio Grande border cities like Laredo versus Madison, Wisconsin are worlds apart. No worldwide RTC law fits all circumstances and all types of weapons. One of the most important factors is the culture of crime. In some parts of the world violent car jackings, kidnappings, serial/gang rapings, serial/gang murders, home invasions and other fearful crimes are relatively rare. Sadly this is not the case in other cultures where RTC becomes more of an issue. It's interesting to note how most high-crime cities in the U.S. are in states that have RTC protections in place in large measure because voters viewed crime in their largest cities as growing out of control and spilling out into the suburbs.  The noteworthy exceptions are Milwaukee and Chicago that lie in states not allowing the RTC. For all practical purposes, NYC and Washington DC also do not have the RTC. Police associations/unions in those particular cities are especially forceful in banning the right to carry arms.

Actually RTCTM legislation may become even more controversial. RTCTM stands for "Right to Carry a Trunk Monkey!"

Should you buy a trunk monkey? --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8avOiTUcD4Y
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYpG5wlq2Ls
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8avOiTUcD4Y
Also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geynA-JYDHE
There are now a bunch of similar videos on YouTube


From Business Week on December 14, 2007
Innovation Predictions 2008
Get ready for … anything. As companies, governments—indeed, entire countries—confront an array of dilemmas, the only constant will be change --- http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/dec2007/id20071213_733494.htm?link_position=link3

And the Big Idea for 2008? Stop competing against your competitors. Your traditional rivals aren't your biggest worry. Disruptive innovation is hitting corporations from outside their business. Verizon was forced to open its cell-phone service because Apple and Google smacked it hard. Verizon's new business model will probably generate 10 times the demand for service. You just never know. That's life, in beta.

Jensen Comment
"Stop competing" is a poor expression if they're truly your competitors. A better statement is that your traditional competitors may not always be your main concern in this dynamic era of innovation, especially innovation from literally any part of the world.

 


Top 25 (most visited) Websites --- Click Here
You can also enter a previously-registered URL to see where it ranks

The 10 Best Websites for 2007 according to Time Magazine, December 24, 2007, Page 79 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1694481,00.html

#1| lemonade.com
Set up a virtual lemonade stand on your Facebook or MySpace page and recommend your favorite products. You make money on every purchase.

#2 | asksunday.com
Hire a social secretary to make dinner reservations and cancel unwanted dates.

#3 | wink.com
Search over 200 million social-networking profiles to find long-lost friends.

#4 | techpresident.com
Track candidates' presence on the Web, and compare how many friends they have on MySpace.

#5 | goodreads.com
Browse book reviews from your trusted network.

#6 | menupages.com
Order takeout from more than 25,000 restaurants in eight cities.

#7 | don'tforgetyourtoothbrush.com
Make a list of items to take on vacation.

#8 | volunteermatch.com
Give back to your community by finding a volunteer position you'd enjoy.

#9 | fatsecret.com
Connect with others who are trying to shed pounds.

#10 | indeed.com
Search for a new vocation across job boards and company employment sites.

The 10 Most Popular Time Magazine Articles in Terms of Email Volume  for 2007 according to Time Magazine,
December 24, 2007 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1694481,00.html

World's Best Websites --- http://www.worldbestwebsites.com/

Jensen Comment
Actually Website rankings are in the eyes of the beholder. Possible criteria include design, links to areas of interest, and content itself on given topics. I generally vote for content (text, audio, video), and interactivity. I always thought that meters that count Website hits are a joke. I know one professor who designed a site that his students are required to visit multiple times per day. Also commercial sites (including Google) are prone click frauds for purposes of getting higher prices for advertising.


"The Wired Campus," Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2007 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=2625&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

5 Most Popular Wired Campus Entries of 2007

Here’s what readers of Wired Campus clicked on the most:

1. Walt Mossberg Shows College Leaders His New iPhone — Days before the official release of the iPhone, Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal’s personal-technology columnist, gave attendees at The Chronicle’s Presidents Forum a sneak peek. He noted that the iPhone is just one sign of a major shift of computing away from PCs and into users’ hands through new mobile devices.

2. A MySpace Photo Costs a Student a Teaching Certificate — Sharing a picture of a night out partying as a “Drunken Pirate” got a student at Millersville University of Pennsylvania into trouble. After seeing the picture on Stacy Snyder’s MySpace page, university officials refused to award her a degree. Wired Campus readers reacted with more than 140 comments. The issue of educating students about the importance of guarding their personal information online remains hot this year. And as more professors join Facebook, they, too, might need some education.

3. U. Tube — As colleges update their official Web sites, one major new feature is video. At Loyola University Chicago, a section of the Web site called LU Tube features recorded speeches from visiting alumni and testimonials from students and professors. Also in 2007, the University of California at Berkeley became the first institution to set up an official channel on YouTube.

4. A Professor Pokes Fun at Copyright — A lighthearted video, composed entirely of clips from Disney films, makes an interesting argument about fair use. The video, by Eric Faden, an assistant professor of English and film studies at Bucknell University, was part of a trend of professors’ spreading their ideas through YouTube and becoming video stars.

5. The MPAA’s Most Wanted — The Motion Picture Association of America released a list of the 25 campuses that it says are the biggest hotbeds of video piracy. Colleges continue to feel under fire by the movie and music industries to crack down on illegal file sharing on campus, although some canmpus leaders feel that they are being unfairly blamed.


Does technology have a discernable impact on learning?
I've never been a disciple of technology. For me cell phones are multifunctional, multicolor devices that empower millions of us with little worth saying to interrupt other millions of us who ought to have something better to do. I don't want my car to talk to me, I don't want General Motors to know my latitude and longitude, and I don't need a pocket-size liquid crystal New York Times or instant access to thirty-second videos of skateboarding dogs , , , Many American students aren't doing all that well academically, and almost as many experts are peddling cures. Many prescribe computers as the miracle that will rescue our kids from scholastic mediocrity. That's why states like Michigan and Pennsylvania distributed laptops to thousands of students. Maine led the parade by handing out laptops to every seventh and eighth grader. Sponsors of the giveaways promised "higher student performance." Unfortunately, the results have been disappointing. When the test results of Maine students showed no improvement, boosters explained that it would "take more time for the impact of laptops to show up." Inconveniently, Maine's lackluster outcome only confirmed a rigorous international study of student computer use in thirty-one countries, which found that students who use computers at school "perform sizably and statistically worse" than students who don't. Analysts warned that when computer use replaces "traditional learning methods," it "actually harms the student." A review of California schools determined that Internet access had "no measurable impact on student achievement." A 2007 federal study concluded that classroom use of reading and math software likewise yielded "no significant differences" in student performance.
Peter Berger, "Stuck on the Cutting Edge," The Irascible Professor, December 19, 2007 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-12-19-07.htm

Jensen Comment
Anecdotally technology can favorably impact learning. In my own case, it's had an enormous positive impact on my scholarship, my research, and my publishing. Number 1 are the communications and knowledge sharing (especially from listservs and blogs) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

Number 2 is the access to enormous databases and knowledge portals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm

Number 3 is the tremendous increase in access provided by the campus libraries for scholars who take the time and effort to determine what is really there.

Number 4 is open courseware. The open courseware (especially shared lecture materials and videos) from some of the best professors in our leading universities such as 1,500 courses served up by MIT and 177 science courses served up on YouTube by UC Berkeley are truly amazing. Critics of technology have probably never utilized these materials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Number 5 is Aid for handicapped persons.
Handicapped Learning Aids Work Wonders --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

I think Peter Berger overlooks some of the positive outcomes of technology on learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#WhatWorks
More importantly look at the SCALE experiments at the University of Illinois --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois

Although I always like Peter Berger's essays, this time he also overlooks much of the dark side of technology are learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm

Technology and learning have much more complicated interactions that are superficially glossed over in this particular essay --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Top 10 Stories of the Year on the Chronicle of Higher Education's News Blog --- Click Here

An end-of-year look at this blog’s top stories of 2007 shows that readers come here for genuine news as well as the frothy, piquant stories that sometimes get us in trouble with our editors. So there’s reason for both hope and dismay that the following 10 articles drew the most Chronicle readers to the News Blog, out of the roughly 2,200 posts published since January 1.

College Student’s Fashion Sense Gets Grounded on Runway (September 6) — student removed from airplane after her eye-catching attire drew unwanted attention.

Death Toll Rises to at Least 33 in Mass Shootings at Virginia Tech (April 16) — an oft-updated article on the day of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Student Was ‘Troubled,’ Says English Department Chair (April 17) — revelation of the Virginia Tech gunman’s history.

Free-Speech Group Accuses U. of Delaware of ‘Thought Reform’ (October 31) — controversy over a residence-life program that critics likened to Orwellian thought control.

New Ranking Tallies Colleges’ ‘Gay-Point Average’ (September 25) — a gauge of campuses’ “gay friendliness.”

DePaul Rejects Tenure Bid by Finkelstein and Says Dershowitz Pressure Played No Role (June 8) — one of the year’s biggest battles in the culture wars.

Berkeley Tree-Sitter Falls, Breaks 2 Limbs (November 12) — a tree-perching protester fractured an arm and a leg; the tree was apparently unharmed.

20 Professors Cite Response to Murder in Calling for President’s Ouster (June 20) — aftermath of Eastern Michigan University’s handling of a student’s death on the campus.

President Resigns After Only 4 Months on the Job (November 9) — a mysterious departure at Cedar Crest College.

High-School Grades Are Best Predictors of College Success, Study Finds (June 19) — a key paper drawing on data on 80,000 University of California students in the 1990s.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


This is probably the most clever phishing scam I've ever read about (link forwarded by Moe).
This one is very real to me because I received a very similar call from Visa regarding a credit card that I only use for online purchases. The call was almost identical to the phone calls used in the scam linked below. In my case this really was my Visa bank regarding some fraudulent purchases that Visa suspected early on because the charges were were made in foreign countries. I have not been out of the country recently. But to my chagrin, now, this call could've easily been a scam. Fortunately in my case the call was legitimate, and I received new credit cards the next day.

Read about it at http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/creditcard.asp

Bob Jensen's threads on phishing scams are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing


Professors Who Cheat --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#ProfessorsWhoPlagiarize

"Arguing Against Free-Market Plagiarism Prevention," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, December 17, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/17/econ

Most academic disciplines largely trust a decentralized approach to policing potential instances of plagiarism, counting on scholars to report situations when they occur, and journal editors or academic administrators to respond to and punish breaches upon learning about them. The assumption that wrongdoing will eventually become known, and that a cheater’s reputation will be destroyed (along, not unimportantly, with fears of legal dangers for getting involved) has led most scholarly societies to avoid playing a direct role in policing academic misconduct. (One disciplinary group that did investigate charges of plagiarism, the American Historical Association, gave up doing so in 2003.)

That approach makes sense if the appropriate people are fulfilling their appropriate roles in that informal system, says Gary A. Hoover, an associate professor of economics at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. But Hoover, whose personal experiences as a victim of academic piracy have led him to study the state of plagiarism within his chosen field, argues that the system falls down if incidents don’t get reported to those with the power to punish the perpetrators, or if those with that power don’t act.

And too often they don’t, Hoover argued in a presentation made to a group of government economists in Washington on Friday, based on a series of surveys and papers he has produced on the subject of economics plagiarism.

At the core of Hoover’s argument to the Society of Government Economists are data from two surveys he conducted with Walter Enders, a fellow economist at Alabama. One, conducted in 2004, was of about 110 editors of economics journals; the other, from 2006, sought the views of about 1,200 rank and file economists, about 80 percent of them academics. While there was significant overlap on many points, the views of the editors and of likely authors diverged in a few key ways. As seen in the table below, for example, 64.7 percent of rank and file economists said that using another scholar’s idea without attribution was “likely” or “definitely” plagiarism, compared to 52.4 percent of journal editors.

Proportion of Journal Editors and Economists Who View Certain Practices as Plagiarism

Practice Not at All Not Likely Likely Definitely
  Economists Editors Econ. Editors Econ. Editors Econ. Editors
Unattributed sentences 2.8% 1.8% 16.6% 19.8% 41.7% 44.3% 38.9% 34%
Unattributed proof from working paper 2.5% 0% 16.6% 9.3% 41.7% 32.4% 38.9% 58.3%
Unattributed proof from published paper 2.2% 0% 4.8% 4.6% 27.5% 29.4% 65.5% 66.1%
Unattributed idea 3.0% 3.9% 32.3% 43.7% 46.1% 35.9% 18.6% 16.5%
Use of privately collected data 7.7% 2.8% 16.8% 16.8% 31.4% 32.7% 44.0% 47.7%

And when asked for the appropriate responses when clear cases of plagiarism are identified, nearly three-quarters of rank and file economists said they thought a plagiarist’s department chair, dean or provost should be notified, while fewer than half of journal editors thought so, as seen in the following table:

Proportion of Economists and Editors Who See Certain Responses to Plagiarism as Appropriate

Practice Not at All Not Likely Likely Definitely
  Economists Editors Econ. Editors Econ. Editors Econ. Editors
Notify original author (if possible) 1.8% 1.8% 4.1% 8.2% 24.5% 19.1% 69.2% 70.9%
Notify department chair, dean, provost 4.0% 11% 21.9% 42% 43.3% 23% 30.1% 24%
Ban future submissions to journal by plagiarist 4.9% 1% 23.0% 21.5% 39.9% 35.5% 32.2% 42.1%
Public notice of plagiarism 9.3% 19.2% 41.0% 50.5% 32.0% 17.2% 17.8% 13.1%

Hoover sees it as a problem that journal editors, who are arguably most likely to be in a position to come across potential instances of plagiarism, are less likely to view the theft of ideas as plagiarism and to see it as appropriate to report potential wrongdoing to the superiors of someone they caught.

“If we as a profession are going to say, we’re not going to have an overall policy, so the way we’re going to police this is through reporting, you have to be able to hurt somebody’s reputation” if they get caught, Hoover said. “But if editors are not willing to [report to someone’s bosses], where’s the bite? Where’s the fear of damage to reputation if nobody’s going to find out about it?”

(If Hoover sounds passionate about the subject, that may be because he encountered it personally. In 2003, he says, he and Enders were surprised when they were asked to referee a paper that applied time-series econometrics to poverty research. It was remarkably similar to a paper they had co-written that was awaiting publication in another journal — which had been disseminated via the Social Science Research Network — and to previous papers they had published separately. When they raised the issue with the editor of the journal that had asked them to peer review the offending paper, the editor checked with colleagues and lawyers and reported back “they and I are both concerned about possible liability for the journal of any aggressive course of action.” The editor ultimately sent the plagiarizing scholar an e-mail message rejecting the paper but inviting him to submit materials to the journal in the future.)

Continued in article

Professors Who Plagiarize

In one of the rare surveys conducted about plagiarism, two University of Alabama asked 1,200 of their colleagues if they believed their work had been stolen.  A startling 40 percent answered yes.
Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, "Professor Copycat," The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2004, Page A8.
The number of articles in this particular issue of the Chronicle make it a must reference for anybody studying plagiarism by college faculty.

In Germany and other parts of Europe, professors get credit for passages or even entire works written by their students citing the original author and, in most cases, without giving any form of credit whatsoever.  The work of the student, including that student's writing, is deemed the property of his or her professor.  Although this practice is not ver botten in Europe, it is considered unethical in North America.  But is does happen on this side of the globe and is sometimes not punished as heavily as plagiarism if the original writer is a student assistant.  
See Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, "Mentor vs. Protégé," The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2004, Page A14

Bob Jensen's threads on Professors Who Cheat --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#ProfessorsWhoPlagiarize


Billionaires Who Cheat

"California Billionaire Developer Admits Filing False Tax Return, Pays $52 Million to IRS," SmartPros, December 14, 2007 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x60075.xml

A billionaire accused of stashing a fortune in foreign bank accounts pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return and has paid more than $52 million in back taxes, penalties and interest, the Internal Revenue Service said.

Igor Olenicoff entered the plea Wednesday in federal court, according to the IRS.

He could face up to three years in prison but is likely to serve less than six months when he is sentenced in April, said his attorney, Edward M. Robbins Jr.

"I'm pleased with the outcome," Olenicoff said after the hearing. "I'm not happy about it."

Olenicoff is a developer whose Newport Beach company, Olen Properties, owns more than 10,000 apartments and 33 residential communities, mainly in Las Vegas and Florida, along with 65 commercial and industrial properties in Orange County.

He was charged with filing a 2002 tax statement denying he had offshore accounts.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


10 Effective ways to remember names
AccountingWeb, December 2007 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104260

Why some people never forget a face --- http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20071218/never-forget-a-face-thank-your-genes


"You Said What? A happy history of lies and propaganda," by Nick Gillespie, The New York Times, December 14, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/123939.html

Here's a history test no one should fail: Name a president whose "only reading materials were government documents and Bible scriptures" and whose tenure was linked to an increasingly unpopular war started under morally murky—if not clearly phony—circumstances. That would be James K. Polk, who pushed for war with Mexico in 1846 after the Mexican army killed American soldiers in disputed territory along the Rio Grande River. As recounted in You Said What? (Harper Paperbacks), Polk "began to prepare his declaration of war, at no time recognizing that...the attack had occurred in disputed land. By not addressing the point, he was able to make the strongest case possible to a skeptical Congress."

Polk lied through omission, a disturbingly common characteristic of many of the "lies and propaganda" campaigns gathered in this volume. One hundred and 20 years later, another president, Lyndon Johnson, took advantage of the fog surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin incident to ratchet up the American military presence in Vietnam. What's more, Johnson systematically pursued a "policy of minimum candor" when discussing U.S. aims and troop commitments: "He left office branded a liar because he could not tell the whole truth about the war."

Editor Bill Fawcett, whose previous collections include "How to Lose a Battle," proceeds from the useful premise that "the lies told in an era give us some real insights into history." Short but well-researched entries cover topics from legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's invention of assassination plots by hippies at the 1968 Democratic National Convention to Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke's Pulitzer Prize-winning invention of an eight-year-old heroin junkie to the tobacco industry's varied and insidious attempts to convince the public that cigarettes were harmless.

There's a refreshing libertarian edge to much of the material, especially the ways in which governments baldly manipulate the truth in wartime. "In war," Winston Churchill is quoted, "truth should be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies."

The Food and Drug Administration comes in for well-deserved abuse for putting politics ahead of science, as it did in the case of t-PA, a "clot busting" drug that was kept off the market in the 1980s for no good reason. The perpetrators of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, who monstrously withheld treatment from hundreds of infected black men, are similarly taken to the woodshed.

Even when the topics are as light and superficial as Eric Clapton's "undying but temporary passion for Patti Boyd-Harrison"—he wrote "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight" for her but their marriage didn't last—"You Said What?" performs a public service. We've got more access to more information today than ever before, which can be incredibly liberating—no one has a monopoly on knowledge anymore—but it also demands that each of us be careful about the information we get. By reminding us of past episodes of dissembling, manipulation and even good-natured idiocy, Fawcett edifies even as he entertains.

And Fawcett also reminds us that sometimes liars get their comeuppance. The Whig Party, which had opposed James Polk's "unnecessary war," took the White House in next election and Young Hickory "passed away 103 days after leaving office, the shortest post-presidency on record."


20 Florida State University Football Players Likely to Be Suspended in Cheated Scandal

"Source: Multiple suspensions likely for Music City Bowl, plus 3 games in 2008," by Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com, December 18, 2007 --- http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3159534

As many as 20 Florida State football players will be suspended from playing against Kentucky in the Dec. 31 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, as well as the first three games of the 2008 season, for their roles in an alleged cheating scandal involving an Internet-based course, a source with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday morning.

Florida State officials are expected to announce the results of the investigation this week. The source said university officials determined Monday night the exact number of football players who will be suspended. Federal privacy laws prohibit the school from releasing names.

. . .

The investigation already has led to the resignations of two academic assistance employees who worked with FSU student-athletes. The school revealed in September that as many as 23 student-athletes were given answers before taking tests over the Internet.

Further investigations revealed additional student-athletes were involved in the cheating, according to the source.

"If the players fight the suspensions, they'll risk losing all of their eligibility," a source with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday morning.

The school's investigation found that a tutor gave students answers while they were taking tests and filled in answers on quizzes and typed papers for students.

Florida State president T.K. Wetherell, a former Seminoles football player, reported the initial findings in a letter to the NCAA in September.

Wetherell ordered an investigation by the university's Office of Audit Services in May after receiving information an athletics department tutor had directed one athlete to take an online quiz for another athlete and then provided the answers.

The tutor implicated in the audit told investigators he had been providing students with answers for the test since the fall of 2006, according to a university report.

Wisconsin was the last football program to suspend as many as 20 players. Days before the start of the 2000 regular season, 26 Badgers were given three- or one-game suspensions for getting unadvertised price breaks at a shoe store.

Florida State announced in October that athletics director Dave Hart Jr. will resign Dec. 31. Wetherell appointed State Rep. William "Bill" Proctor interim athletics director. Proctor also is a former FSU football player.

The school announced last week that longtime football coach Bobby Bowden had agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2008 season that will pay him at least $1.98 million. Bowden, who is in his 32nd season at the school, is major college football's all-time winningest coach with 373 career victories.

Florida State also designated offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as Bowden's eventual successor. Fisher's new contract calls for him to replace Bowden by the end of the 2010 season. If Fisher isn't named FSU's new coach by then, the school's booster organization would owe him $2.5 million. Under the terms of the new contract, Fisher would owe Seminoles boosters $2.5 million if he leaves the school before the end of the 2010 season.

The Seminoles struggled for the fourth consecutive season in 2007, finishing 7-5 overall, 4-4 in ACC play. It is the fourth consecutive season they failed to win 10 games, after winning at least 10 games in 14 consecutive seasons, from 1987 to 2000.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on college athletics scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics


U.S. Army knew of cheating on tests for eight years
For eight years, the Army has known that its largest online testing program - which verifies that soldiers have learned certain military skills and helps them amass promotion points - has been the subject of widespread cheating. In 1999, testing officials first noticed that soldiers were turning in many tests over a short period, something that would have been almost impossible without having obtained the answers ahead of time. A survey by the testing office showed that 5 percent of the exams were probably the subject of cheating. At the time, soldiers were filing roughly 200,000 exams per year. But it wasn't until June of this year, when an Army computer contractor complained about a website providing free copies of completed exams, that the Army acknowledged that it had a problem.
"Army knew of cheating on tests for eight years: Hundreds of thousands of exam copies used, Globe probe finds," Boston Globe, December 16, 2007 --- http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/12/16/army_knew_of_cheating_on_tests_for_eight_years/

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


Question
If median grades for each course are made publically available on the Internet, will students seek out the high grade average or low grade average courses?
Examples of such postings at Cornell University are at http://registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Student/mediangradesA.html

Hypothesis 1
Students will seek out the lower grade average courses/sections thinking that they have a better chance to compete for high grades.

Hypothesis 2
Students will seek out the higher grade average courses/sections thinking that particular instructors are easier graders.

However, when Cornell researchers studied about 800,000 course grades issued at Cornell from 1990 to 2004, they found that most students visited the site to shop for classes where the median grade was higher. Plus, professors who tended to give out higher grades were more popular. Students with lower SAT scores were the most likely to seek out courses with higher median grades.
"Easy A's on the Internet:  A surprising Cornell experiment in posting grades; plus a look at recent research into ethical behavior, service charges, and volunteer habits," by Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week, December 11, 2007 ---
http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/dec2007/bs20071211_885308.htm?link_position=link2 

In a striking example of unintended consequences, a move by Cornell University to give context to student grades by publicly posting median grades for courses has resulted in exactly the opposite student behavior than anticipated.

Cornell's College of Arts & Sciences originally set up a Web site in 1997 where median grades were posted, with the intention of also printing median class grades alongside the grade the student actually received in the course on his or her permanent transcript. Administrators thought students would use the information on the Web site to seek out classes with lower median grades—because, they reasoned, an A in a class that has a median grade of B-minus would be more meaningful than say, an A in a course where the median was A-plus.

Course Shopping Leads to Grade Inflation

However, when Cornell researchers studied about 800,000 course grades issued at Cornell from 1990 to 2004, they found that most students visited the site to shop for classes where the median grade was higher. Plus, professors who tended to give out higher grades were more popular. Students with lower SAT scores were the most likely to seek out courses with higher median grades.

This "shopping" in turn led to grade inflation, Vrinda Kadiyali, associate professor of marketing and economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, one of the authors, explained in an interview. The study, which is undergoing peer review, has not yet been published.

So far, however, the university has posted the median course grades only on the Internet and has not yet put those grades on transcripts. According to an article in the Cornell Daily Sun, the school will start posting the grades on transcripts in the spring. School officials were not immediately available for comment.

The research team hopes the school follows through on its plans. "That will allow Cornell to hold itself to a higher standard because it lets potential employers know where students stand relevant to other students," says Kadiyali.

The presence of the median grade data is well-known to students but less well-known to faculty. The researchers themselves were prompted to do the study when one of them learned of the Web site from a student questioning grades in her course.

Kadiyali says the formula the researchers used to come to these conclusions could easily be applied to Internet teacher rating sites, such as ratemyprofessors.com. It's something educators should consider, she adds, to find out how these posts affect the decision-making of students and, thus, professors and their courses.

Jensen Comment
The problem is that, in modern times, grades are the keys to the kingdom (i.e., keys unlocking the gates of graduate studies and professional careers) such that higher grades rather than education tend to become the main student goals. A hundred years ago, just getting a degree could open postgraduate gates in life because such a small proportion of the population got college diplomas. With higher percentages of the population getting college diplomas, high grades became keys to the kingdom. In many colleges a C grade is viewed as very nearly a failing grade.

At the same time, formal teaching evaluations and teacher rating sites like ratemyprofessors.com have led to marked grade inflation in virtually all colleges. The median grades are often A, A-, B+, or B. The poor student's C grade is way below average. Just take a look at these course medians from Cornell University --- http://registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Grades/MedianGradeSP07.pdf

December 19, 2007eply from a good friend who is also a university-wide award winning teacher

I'm not for easy grading, but I also wonder some about this study. Could it be that the MORE EFFECTIVE instructors are also easier graders and vice versa? I have no idea, but I'd like to see a control for this variable.

And God help us if a professor is popular! What an awful trait for an educator to have!

Jeez!

December 20, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Dear Jeez,

The terms "easy grader" and "easy grading" are probably not suited for hypothesis testing. They are too hard to precisely define. Some, probably most, "easy graders" counter by saying that they are just better teachers and the students learned more because of superior teaching. In many cases, but certainly not all cases, this is probably true. Also, it is almost impossible to distinguish easy grading from easy content. Students may learn everything in a course if the course is easy enough to do so.

Instructors will also counter that they are ethical in the sense of scaring off the poor students before the course dropping deadlines. Instructors who snooker poor students to stay in their courses and then hammer them down later on can show lower median grades without punishing better students with C grades. Fortunately I don't think there are many instructors who do this because they then face the risk of getting hammered on teaching evaluations submitted by the worst students in the course.

Easy grading/content is a lot like pornography. It's probably impossible to precisely define but students know it when they shop for easier courses  before registering. It may be possible to a limited extent to find easy graders in multiple section courses having common examinations. For example, I was once a department chair where our two basic accounting courses had over 30 sections each per semester. But even there it is possible that all instructors were relatively "easy" when they put together the common examinations.

It is widely known that nearly every college in the U.S. suffers from grade inflation. Only an isolated few have been successful in holding it down. College-wide grade averages have swung way above C grades and in some instances even B grades. It is typical any more for median grades of a college to hit the B+ or A- range, and in many courses the median grade is an A.

The Cornell study sited above covering 800,000 course grades (a lot) did not identify easy graders. It identified courses/sections having higher median grades. Higher median grades may not signify easy grading or easy content, but students seem to know what they are shopping for and the Cornell study found that students do shop around for bargains. My guess is that the last courses left on the shelf are those with median grades in the C range.

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation

Bob Jensen's threads on dysfunctional teaching evaluations are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#RateMyProfessor


Turning Carbon Dioxide into Gasoline:  Sounds like a win-win hope for mankind!
Remember:  The huge problem with solar energy is storing it and transporting it over great distances.

"Turning Carbon Dioxide into Fuel Researchers are harnessing solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be used to make fuels," by Duncan Graham-Rowe, MIT's Technology Review, December 17, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19909/?nlid=755 

Could concentrated solar energy be used to reverse combustion and convert carbon dioxide back into gasoline? That's what scientists at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM, aim to find out by building a novel reactor that can chemically "reenergize" carbon dioxide.

The device uses a two-stage thermochemical reaction to break down carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, says Nathan Siegel, a senior member of technical staffat Sandia's Solar Technologies Department and one of the researchers developing the technology. "Carbon dioxide is a combustion product, so what we're doing is reversing combustion," he says. The carbon monoxide can then readily be employed to produce a range of different fuels, including hydrogen, methanol, and gasoline, using conventional technologies.

. . .

At least that's the theory. The Sandia group has carried out proof of principle demonstrations of various stages of the device but has yet to show that they all work together. The team is building a prototype that will be ready for testing by late spring. "It's 95 percent built," says Siegel. 

Continued in article

 


"Can Google's New Open Encyclopedia Best Wikipedia?" by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2007 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=2619&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en  

On Wikipedia, you never really know who wrote the article you're reading. Some are written by experts, but others are written by people with time on their hands who may or may not know what they're talking about. Actually, most Wikipedia articles are written by a combination of the two. But Google's new Web encyclopedia, announced last tweek, will put the authors of articles front and center, so you'll always know who is talking and what their qualifications are. The question is, which model will produce a better quick-reference guide? Daniel Colman, director and associate dean of Stanford University's continuing-studies program and author of the blog OpenCulture, picks Wikipedia to win this face off. He thinks that Google's planned encyclopedia will have a hard time attracting experts to write articles, whereas Wikipedia works by letting everyone write articles that are then often corrected by experts. "Take my word for it," writes Mr. Colman. "I’ve spent the past five years trying to get scholars from elite universities, including Stanford, to bring their ideas to the outside world, and it’s often not their first priority. They just have too many other things competing for their time." Others have pointed out that Google's project, called knol, is similar to other efforts to create authoritative topic pages, like Squidoo. There is at least one key factor in Google's favor though. Knol authors stand to make money for their efforts. "At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads," Google's Udi Manber, said in a statement announcing the service. "If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads." Those ad dollars would be more than professors make for writing journal articles, which are usually written for no compensation at all.

. . .

There is at least one key factor in Google’s favor though. Knol authors stand to make money for their efforts.

“At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads,” Google’s Udi Manber, said in a statement announcing the service. “If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.”

Those ad dollars would be more than professors make for writing journal articles, which are usually written for no compensation at all.

Bob Jensen's threads on Wikipedia are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm#KnowledgeBases


Question
Are refereed journals set in stone for the academy's tenure and performance evaluations in the age of newer technology?

"Colleges Are Reluctant to Adopt New Publication Venues," by Andrea L. Foster,  Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2007 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=2617&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Academe has been slow to accept new forms of scholarship like blogs, wikis, and video clips, according to a report released last week that examines emerging technology trends in higher education. The Horizon Report 2007 predicts that in four to five years, academe will accept as scholarship this kind of interactive online material and will develop methods for evaluating it. The document notes that the change serves to encourage the public to participate in the production of research and scholarly works. An author who posts a draft of his or her book online, for example, can receive immediate feedback on ways to improve the work, the report states. The document was developed by Educause and the New Media Consortium, two higher-education technology groups.

The report also concludes that within one year, social-networking sites will be widely used in teaching and learning, and that mobile phones and virtual worlds will be used in this way in two to three years.

Teaching Excellence Secondary to Research for Promotion, Tenure, and Pay --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#TeachingVsResearch


"Facebook's Flop," by Randall Rothenberg, The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2007; Page A21--- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119760316554728877.html

Within the space of a month or so, Facebook launched and then shut down an advertising program called Beacon that alerted users to purchases and other activities their "friends" made outside Facebook. The episode has been called many things: "annoying," "upsetting," "creepy," a "nightmare," a "privacy hairball." I call it proof that when it comes to the evolution of the Internet, market forces work.

An increasingly organized coalition of anti-business groups, sensing a power shift in Washington, is lobbying to regulate interactive media, marketing and advertising. Their recommendations include a federally-administered "do not track list" and a ban on well-targeted ads. Such recommendations would severely curtail investment in interactive technologies. They would also curb the flow of otherwise free services that have revolutionized Americans' ability to teach, learn, communicate across boundaries and build entrepreneurial businesses using the Web.

The Facebook imbroglio is an almost-perfect representation of the power of the Internet to mobilize people to change the Web for the better. On Tuesday of this week, the search engine Ask.com announced a program intended to offer people privacy protections more advanced than those on other search services -- an explicit effort to turn consumer privacy concerns into a competitive business opportunity.

The onslaught against Facebook was so severe that it didn't even wait until a competitive threat materialized. The site specializes in connecting friends to each other through a network of individually-created home pages that feature biographical information, photos, gossip and just about anything else a person wants to post. Changes subscribers make to their pages appear in a news feed that runs across the home pages of each friend in their network. For example, today on my Facebook page, I discovered that one of my 309 friends is going on vacation in three days, another celebrates a birthday today, and a third joined an interactive television business alliance. This intimate connective tissue has helped propel Facebook's growth to 55 million registered users in only three years.

The controversy began in early November, when the site introduced Beacon and began sharing information about users' purchases and other activities outside Facebook, accompanied by relevant advertisements. Almost immediately, Facebook subscribers began complaining about invasions of privacy. Facebook's attempts to defend the program -- "All we're trying to do is make sure anytime there is a trusted word-of-mouth referral that your friend has made about this product, we share that information with you," one company executive said -- were met by complaints that Facebook was exploiting for commercial purposes personal information members hadn't intended to share. MoveOn.org got 50,000 people to sign a petition calling for Facebook to allow users to completely opt out of Beacon. A month in, Facebook did just that.

Facebook's blunder illustrates one of the hoary maxims of the Internet era: The consumer is in control. The ability of aggrieved Americans to band together and make noise that is either (depending on your point of view) productive or destructive is a reality that organizations as diverse as the Democratic Party and Dell Computer have learned the hard way. "Listenomics," Advertising Age's critic-at-large Bob Garfield calls this new principle: "The herd will be heard."

Why does the herd have such a powerful voice? Because the technologies that enable people to network to their 10,000 closest colleagues, build a blog or launch a global digital video network are now built into personal computers or available gratis on the Web.

This environment -- a world of no barriers-to-entry and unlimited shelf space -- has generated countless businesses, many of them constructed around the promise of advertising. The entrepreneurial equation is simple: Offer great content or great services, build an audience and bring that audience to advertisers. Advertisers love the Internet because its mathematical and technological tools enable them to analyze anonymous data to detect patterns in peoples' interests and consumption habits and to match ads to them, adding precision, accountability and productivity consumer marketers previously had lacked.

The Internet has paid off on this promise: The volume and value of the free services available on the ad-supported Web are almost incalculable. Google, Yahoo and MSN together provide 500 million email accounts -- for free. The research firm comScore reports that more than 200 million Americans age 15 or older conduct search-engine searches each month, also for free. And each month some 20 million people search the top three online job-listings sites -- Monster, Hotjobs, and CareerBuilder -- without charge. Just one of those sites, Monster.com, has 41 million résumés posted on it by job-seekers.

Of course, none of this is really free. Advertisers are paying for it. Internet advertising revenues are likely to exceed $20 billion in 2007, about one-third the amount marketers spend on national broadcast and cable television, according to research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Price Waterhouse Coopers. The Veronis Suhler Stevenson investment bank projects that Internet ad spending will reach $62 billion in 2011, surpassing newspapers as the largest advertising medium. Small providers as well as large are benefiting: 32 million American adults have used online classified ads for selling or buying, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Activists' calls to regulate interactive advertising -- which include the banning of behaviorally-targeted ads -- would, if followed, shut down this flow of advertiser money and the services for which it pays by limiting the medium's effectiveness. That would be a tragedy, because it's unnecessary. Internet consumers have shown themselves willing and able to police the medium on their own. Just ask Facebook: Consumer regulation proved itself to be a far more effective, efficient, economically productive and unforgiving mechanism than federal regulation ever will be.


"A Guide to Grading Exams," by Daniel J. Solove, Concurring Opinions, December 14, 2006 --- http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2006/12/a_guide_to_grad.html
The link to this article was forwarded by David Albrecht.

Bob Jensen's threads on resources for teachers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm#Resources


Porn bots in your Facebook
Facebook is suing seventeen people and a Canadian Internet porn company for allegedly trying to mine the popular social networking site for its users' personal details. Facebook alleges that in June servers controlled by the defendants used automated scripts to make more than 200,000 requests for personal information stored on Facebook's site. The allegations are contained in an amended lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. The company first filed suit back in June, but amended the complaint this month after obtaining court orders to identify who controlled the servers trying to access its site. Experts have warned people against publishing too much personal information on social networking sites for fear it could be collected and then abused by fraudsters.
PC World via The Washington Post, December 18, 2007 --- Click Here


Clear-Cutting of Oregon State U. Forest Is Partly Blamed for Devastating Landslides
After homes and a section of U.S. 30 were inundated near of the northwestern Oregon town of Clatskanie last week, rain got the blame, at first. Turns out, though, that Oregon State University’s College of Forestry now seems partly to blame because the two landslides that caused the flooding stemmed in good part from university foresters’ clear-cutting of trees in 2004 on a 2,440-acre tract of land that it manages. That was the beginning of a chain of events that resulted in a cascade of what The Oregonian calculated as “thousands of truckloads’ worth of mud and debris.” Much of it ended up in the small town of Woodson, half a mile north of the slide site. Fortunately no one was injured, although many properties were seriously damaged.
Chronicle of Higher Education
, December 18, 2007 --- Click Here


Conrad Black's Business Partner Sentenced
F. David Radler, former publisher of The Chicago Sun-Times and No. 2 man in the once-powerful Hollinger International newspaper empire, was sentenced Monday to 29 months in prison for his role in stealing millions of dollars from Hollinger shareholders. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” said Mr. Radler, 65, who pleaded guilty to fraud and testified against Conrad M. Black, his longtime business partner and the head of Hollinger, in return for a lenient sentence. Mr. Radler, who already has paid millions in restitution, also was fined $250,000.
"Former Publisher Sentenced," The New York Times, December 18, 2007 ---  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/18/business/media/18black.html?ref=business

Conrad Black's sentence was 78 months plus fines --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Black


"What We Owe the New Critics," Mark Bauerlein, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 21, 2007 ---
http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i17/17b00601.htm?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

When Garrick Davis told me he had assembled an anthology of New Criticism, I reached across the table and shook his hand. Davis is the founder of the Contemporary Poetry Review (http://www.cprw.com), an online magazine that covers the poetry scene inside academe and out, and he had wanted to compile a selection of essays by that loose cohort of academics from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s who had advanced a formalist study of literary language and tried to erect a discipline upon it. Davis came to literary study through Practical Criticism (I.A. Richards), Seven Types of Ambiguity (William Empson), The Well Wrought Urn (Cleanth Brooks), The Verbal Icon (W.K. Wimsatt Jr.), Language as Gesture (R.P. Blackmur), and other midcentury classics, and he remains a devotee. The New Critics taught him to focus on a poem's verbal detailnot its historical context or political/psychological/philosophical ideas, but its metaphors, ironies, and ambiguities. In graduate school in the 90s, he never succumbed to the postmodernist insight on the impossibility of meaning and objectivity and closure, and the blandishments of various political criticisms left him cold.

That makes him, of course, a throwback. For most graduate students interested in literary theory of any kind in the 80s and 90s, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Jean-François Lyotard, Julia Kristeva, et al. were a passion. Students might have felt a thrill when they read Hegel on tragedy or Nietzsche on nihilism, but the latest thinkers had an added aura of the new. They bore the romantic air of radicalism, and if they were the revolutionaries, then their predecessors were the ancien régime, quaintly obsolete. As the literary theorist Peter Brooks put it a few years ago, "The coming to America of continental 'theory' in the 1970s created a new avant-garde of sorts — a genuine one, I think." It changed fields in the humanities so quickly and sweepingly that it joined the ranks of other great paradigm shifts in the career of thought, this one given momentous titles such as The Poststructuralist Turn.

In a few short years, the whole vocabulary of criticism changed, and so did the idols. Students flocked to Cornell University, the Johns Hopkins University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Yale University to hear the most up-to-date purveyors. When the "theory turn" happened, those who didn't participate suddenly sounded old-fashioned and out of it, and younger scholars and students took the lead. They emulated the radical-reader pose, as in Wlad Godzich's introduction to the second edition of Paul de Man's Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism: "Caution! Reader at Work!" They savored the breathless, adventuresome phrasings of Derrida's Of Grammatology, absorbed the transvaluation of bourgeois values in Foucault's Discipline and Punish, and overlaid their own prose with melodrama and historic import (proclaiming about "criticism in crisis," "ideological unmasking," "the posthuman," etc.). And the more disciples credited grand theorists with breakthrough insight and radical rethinking, the more the New Critics faded into the past.

A few of the early theorists, it should be said, retained respect for the New Critics, my own professor Joseph N. Riddel included. He taught literary theory at the University of California at Los Angeles, and his study The Inverted Bell: Modernism and the Counterpoetics of William Carlos Williams was the first book-length deconstructionist analysis by an American critic. He was a Derridean all the way, but he nonetheless had his students work through pre-theory literary theory from T.E. Hulme to Northrop Frye before deciphering the works of the Deconstructor. Instead of casting the New Critics as unenlightened oldsters, as naïve thinkers unlucky enough to mature before the 1966 Hopkins conference on structuralism touched off the new wave of thinking, Riddel honored them as a great generation. He recommended a host of lesser-known formalist-oriented critics, too, such as Ronald S. Crane, Charles Feidelson, John Crowe Ransom, and Earl R. Wasserman, reconstructing for his students the kind of group that Charles Sanders Peirce, 19th-century polymath and semiotician, had called a "community of inquirers," people addressing the same questions in conflictual ways but with a common purpose of advancing the critical enterprise. The formalist critics refined the practice of literary analysis, as opposed to literary history and philology, Riddel insisted. While the dismantling skepticism of the theorists better fit the intellectual tenor of the 70s, the New Critical faith in concrete universals, organic unity, sharp disciplinary distinctions, and scientific reading was no less rigorous and philosophical.

That was how many first-generation theorists regarded their predecessors. Yes, one of their figureheads, Paul de Man, could say in a 1967 essay: "Well-established rules and conventions that governed the discipline of criticism and made it a cornerstone of the intellectual establishment have been so badly tampered with that the entire edifice threatens to collapse." But six years later, de Man could maintain in another essay, "It can legitimately be said, for example, that, from a technical point of view, very little has happened in American criticism since the innovative works of New Criticism."

By 1980 the assumption had changed. Intoxicated with the nearest precursors, younger critics felt no obligation to remember the farther ones. Second-generation theorists looked not directly at the New Critics, but through the eyes of their mentors, the first-generation theorists, and they assumed only the negative side of their mentors' critique. Frank Lentricchia's After the New Criticism and Geoffrey H. Hartman's Beyond Formalism had discussed New Critical theory closely, but for younger readers the message lay all in the titles. De Man and others contested the New Critics at length about organicism, self-referentiality, intention, and irony, but their students didn't recognize the respect implied in mounting arguments against precursors. All they heard was, "The Old Guard was wrong." Why bother with them? Why read them? It was easier to win, casting them as benighted apostles of "transhistorical truths," "timeless verities," "objective interpretation," and other exploded notions.

Added to that, when racial, sexual, and political themes arose during the 80s, several New Critics looked less like literary theorists than backward conservatives, and their demise became irreversible. They dropped off syllabi and waned in anthologies. The extent of their fall became clear by 2001 in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, whose 2,624 pages do not contain anything by the main originator of New Criticism, Richards, one of the greatest and most influential literary theorists of the century.

The loss is a damaging one. Figureheads and schools of thought come and go, to be sure, but the disappearance of the New Critics isn't just another evolution in intellectual history. It's a critical gap — with present-day implications. For when literary, cultural, and textual critics ignore the New Critics, they misconstrue their own genesis and identity, forgetting that the New Critics were the first professional theorists, the first humanists to make theory into a recognized disciplinary activity. They devised principles of interpretation that were both ingenious and convertible into disciplinary standards. For instance, they recast the proposition that an author's intention was identical to the meaning of a text as the "intentional fallacy." The argument derived from complex ideas in semantics and psychology, but it also allowed for direct application in the freshman classroom. It joined other concepts to impart basic lessons in reading right, so that learning New Criticism equaled training in a field and distinguished literary analysis from philosophical, historical, etc., analyses (and distinguished the English department from history, psychology, etc.). It gave teachers a useful pedagogy, professors a sure footing on campus, and theorists a job specialty.

The example of the New Critics, then, bears directly upon the enterprise of theory as we've come to know it today. They weren't the first to theorize about literature, but they were the first to establish theory as a distinct practice in the humanities. Like the theorists who came after, they regarded texts as dense and multilayered, and scorned interpretations that overlooked the figurative and formal aspects of the work. On the other hand, the New Critics erected disciplinary walls, while the theorists who followed knocked them down. The former eschewed political interpretations, while the the latter often define their practice as political through and through. The New Critics derived principles in part from classroom observations, whereas one can find few texts more remote from the educational needs of undergraduates and their reading problems as are the classics of High Theory.

Those contrasts and similarities should solidify the place of New Criticism in the institutional memory of the humanities. That is the rationale for Davis's anthology. It preserves an episode of intellectual history that should be preserved, and it gives teachers a tool to carry it on. New Criticism will carry on only if it survives in the classroom, which is to say only if instructors have a handy anthology to assign. They'll get it in early 2008, when Ohio University Press, in partnership with Swallow Press, issues Praising It New: The Best of the New Criticism.

It almost didn't happen. And the reason why raises broad questions about how humanities fields progress, and what becomes of prior works and ideas once professors assume they have progressed beyond them. The New Critics pose a special complication, for while they wrote essays and established programs that helped solidify an academic field, they often collected their works in volumes that were published by nonacademic trade presses. The works no longer have commercial value, but many of them remain in trade-press hands. That is a problem for professors who still value them, who not only face the disregard of colleagues but also the copyright practices of publishers. It is remarkable, in fact, how the treatment of New Critical works in the publishing world shores up the fashions of literary and cultural theorists who pledge to "always historicize" at the same time they forget their own precursors.

Continued in article


"This Is Not Your Land Anymore:  An outrageous story of eminent-domain abuse," by Jonathan V. Last, The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110011006

The legal phrase "eminent domain" has become all too familiar to nonlawyers in recent years as the U.S. Supreme Court has gradually expanded the power of municipalities to condemn private property and seize it for "public" use--even if they just end up handing property over to another private party. The court's now infamous Kelo decision (2005) no doubt pleased the city fathers of New London, Conn., who had taken possession of some residential neighborhoods for the sake of private developers. But it outraged nearly everyone else, not least Susette Kelo, the plaintiff whose home was coveted.

Outrage, appropriately, is the sustained effect of Carla Main's "Bulldozed," the case study of another instance of eminent-domain abuse, this time in the working-class town of Freeport, Texas (pop. 13,500), on the Gulf coast. Six years ago, after decades of decline, Freeport decided to revitalize itself by building a private marina on the Old Brazos River, which runs through the center of town. City leaders hoped that the development would attract hotels, restaurants, art galleries and tourists. But to make it all happen, they needed the land of a local family business. "Bulldozed" tells the story of a fight over domain, eminent and otherwise.

Ms. Main begins with the members of the Gore family, whose shrimping business has operated in Freeport since the 1940s. They own 330 feet of riverfront land, where shrimp boats dock and unload, and a state-of-the-art processing plant nearby. The family's company, called Western Seafood, employs more than 50 people and pays Freeport nearly $20,000 in taxes every year. Not that such good citizenry was enough to shield the company from the hazards of municipal overreach.

In March 2002, a group of private investors, led by a man named H. Walker Royall, formed a company called Freeport Waterfront Properties. Six months later, consultants hired by the city released a redevelopment plan--and, amazingly, it recommended a private marina, just what Mr. Royall's investors had hoped for. The city did not open the marina project to competition; it just handed it over to Freeport Waterfront. Conveniently, Mr. Royall sat on the board of Sun Resorts, another company that the city selected, also without competition, this time to manage the marina once it was built.

The cozy arrangements didn't stop there. Freeport agreed to give the private investors $6 million in the form of a no-recourse loan. (The city's annual budget was $13 million.) It promised to cover their cost overruns with a loan of up to $400,000. It gave them a tax abatement. And it limited the investors' financial liability to $250,000 in cash, leaving the city on the hook for other cost overruns.

The only obstacle to this sweetheart deal was Western Seafood. It owned the land where Mr. Royall and his friends wanted to build. The city came up with a clever way around this problem. Claiming eminent domain, it proposed to take only part of the company's land--paying the Gores $260,000 in compensation. But the part the city officially wanted was riverfront land. Without it, Western Seafood wouldn't have access to its shrimpboats, and the "problem" of the rest of Western Seafood's land--expensive property, crowded with buildings and industrial equipment--would take care of itself. The city would get it virtually without paying for it.

The tale gets worse. Freeport was in a position to consider building a marina in the first place only because a "guillotine gate" in the river--insulating boats from hurricanes and storm surges--made Freeport a safe harbor. When the guillotine gate needed modernization several years ago, Ms. Main reports, the city didn't have the money for the $300,000 job. So the Gores gave the city a gift of $150,000. If they hadn't been so generous, the city never would have tried to take their land.

Ms. Main's legal background and reporting skills serve her well as she navigates the Gores' messy, twisting fight against city hall. Her tone is usually judicious, though not always. (Recounting one insincere proposal from the city to create a tiny buffer between Western Seafood and the marina, she exclaims: "Buffer, my ass!") From time to time, she steps away from Freeport to give a primer on eminent domain and the legal arguments surrounding the claims of municipalities on private land.

But "Bulldozed" is at heart a story about trouble in a small town, a sort of eminent-domain version of "In Cold Blood," although it lacks a satisfying conclusion. In 2003, the Gores and Freeport took one another to court and fought a long, rancorous battle. After a series of defeats, the family was seemingly victorious. Freeport abandoned its plan for a private marina--only to unveil a plan for a public marina that would also need much of the Gores' land. As "Bulldozed" closes, the two sides are heading back to the courthouse once more.


Fraud Seen as a Driver In Wave of Foreclosures
Mortgage-fraud schemes -- some highly sophisticated -- are costing banks billions and go a long way toward explaining why defaults and foreclosures are rocking Wall Street and the economy. The system itself bears some blame.
Michael Corkery, The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2007 --- Click Here

Skyrocketing foreclosures are a testament to how easy it was to borrow from mortgage lenders in recent years.

It may also have been easy to steal from them, to judge from a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme that federal prosecutors unraveled here in Atlanta. The criminals obtained $6.8 million in mortgages from Bear Stearns Cos., including a $1.8 million mortgage to Calvin Wright, a New Yorker who told the investment bank that he and his wife earned more than $50,000 a month as the top officers of a marketing firm. Mr. Wright submitted statements showing assets of $3 million, a federal indictment alleged.

In fact, Mr. Wright was a phone technician earning only $105,000 a year, with assets of only $35,000, and his wife was a homemaker. The palm-tree-lined mansion they purchased with Bear Stearns's $1.8 million recently sold out of foreclosure for just $1.1 million. Bear Stearns, meanwhile, posted the first quarterly loss in its 84-year history as it wrote down $1.9 billion of mortgage assets yesterday. (See related article.)

Fraud goes a long way toward explaining why mortgage defaults and foreclosures are rocking financial institutions, Wall Street and the economy. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the share of its white-collar agents and analysts devoted to prosecuting mortgage fraud has risen to 28%, up from 7% in 2003. Suspicious Activity Reports, which many lenders are required to file with the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network when they suspect fraud, shot up nearly 700% between 2000 and 2006.

In 2006, losses from fraud could total a record $4.5 billion, a 100% increase from the previous year, says Arthur Prieston, chairman of the Prieston Group, which provides lenders with mortgage-fraud insurance and training. The surge ranges from one-off cases of fudging and fibbing to organized criminal rings. The FBI says its active mortgage-fraud cases have increased to 1,210 this year from 436 in 2003. In some regions, fraud may account for half of all foreclosures. "We've created a culture where a great many people know how to take advantage of the system," says Mr. Prieston.

Skyrocketing foreclosures are a testament to how easy it was to borrow from mortgage lenders in recent years.

It may also have been easy to steal from them, to judge from a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme that federal prosecutors unraveled here in Atlanta. The criminals obtained $6.8 million in mortgages from Bear Stearns Cos., including a $1.8 million mortgage to Calvin Wright, a New Yorker who told the investment bank that he and his wife earned more than $50,000 a month as the top officers of a marketing firm. Mr. Wright submitted statements showing assets of $3 million, a federal indictment alleged.

In fact, Mr. Wright was a phone technician earning only $105,000 a year, with assets of only $35,000, and his wife was a homemaker. The palm-tree-lined mansion they purchased with Bear Stearns's $1.8 million recently sold out of foreclosure for just $1.1 million. Bear Stearns, meanwhile, posted the first quarterly loss in its 84-year history as it wrote down $1.9 billion of mortgage assets yesterday. (See related article.)

Fraud goes a long way toward explaining why mortgage defaults and foreclosures are rocking financial institutions, Wall Street and the economy. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the share of its white-collar agents and analysts devoted to prosecuting mortgage fraud has risen to 28%, up from 7% in 2003. Suspicious Activity Reports, which many lenders are required to file with the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network when they suspect fraud, shot up nearly 700% between 2000 and 2006.

In 2006, losses from fraud could total a record $4.5 billion, a 100% increase from the previous year, says Arthur Prieston, chairman of the Prieston Group, which provides lenders with mortgage-fraud insurance and training. The surge ranges from one-off cases of fudging and fibbing to organized criminal rings. The FBI says its active mortgage-fraud cases have increased to 1,210 this year from 436 in 2003. In some regions, fraud may account for half of all foreclosures. "We've created a culture where a great many people know how to take advantage of the system," says Mr. Prieston.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm


Education Tutorials

Education statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Statistics

International Comparisons of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits071211.htm

From the University of Wisconsin
ide@s --- http://www.ideas.wisconsin.edu/
This site offers tutorials, resources, and videos on over two dozen disciplines.

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#EducationResearch


Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at M.I.T. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace. Professor Lewin’s videotaped physics lectures, free online on the OpenCourseWare of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have won him devotees across the country and beyond who stuff his e-mail in-box with praise. “Through your inspiring video lectures i have managed to see just how BEAUTIFUL Physics is, both astounding and simple,” a 17-year-old from India e-mailed recently.
Sara Rimer, The New York Times, December 19, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/education/19physics.html
Jensen Comment
MIT's Open Courseware portal and other open courseware sites are linked at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

MIT's Video Lecture Search Engine: Watch the video at --- http://web.sls.csail.mit.edu/lectures/
Researchers at MIT have released a video and audio search tool that solves one of the most challenging problems in the field: how to break up a lengthy academic lecture into manageable chunks, pinpoint the location of keywords, and direct the user to them. Announced last month, the MIT
Lecture Browser website gives the general public detailed access to more than 200 lectures publicly available though the university's OpenCourseWare initiative. The search engine leverages decades' worth of speech-recognition research at MIT and other institutions to
convert audio into text and make it searchable.
Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, November 26, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19747/?nlid=686&a=f
Once again, the Lecture Browser link (with video) is at http://web.sls.csail.mit.edu/lectures/
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm

Möbius transformation may be performed by performing a stereographic projection from a plane to a sphere, rotating and moving that sphere to a new arbitrary location and orientation, and performing a stereographic projection back to the plane --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_transformation
Chronicle of Higher Education, December 18, 2007 --- Click Here
Möbius Video

USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (Note the Facts Sheets) --- http://fresc.usgs.gov/ 
How science stuff works --- http://science.howstuffworks.com/ 
Yahoo Science --- http://dir.yahoo.com/Science/ 
From Harvard University
Surgical Planning Laboratory --- http://www.spl.harvard.edu/ 
A Student's Guide to the Medical Literature --- http://grinch.uchsc.edu/sg/ 
Five Keys to Safer Food Manual --- http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/manual_keys.pdf 
From the University of Wisconsin
ide@s --- http://www.ideas.wisconsin.edu/ 
This site offers tutorials, resources, and videos on over two dozen disciplines.

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science


Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Yahoo Social Science --- http://dir.yahoo.com/Social_Science/
Yahoo Science and Culture --- http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/

More or Less (economics and statistics tutorials) --- http://www.open2.net/moreorless/

Human Development Report 2007/2008 --- http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr_20072008_en_complete.pdf

Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the Public Realm with Children and Young People --- http://www.demos.co.uk/files/070928_DEMOS_S&H_Pamphlet.pdf

From the University of Wisconsin
ide@s --- http://www.ideas.wisconsin.edu/
This site offers tutorials, resources, and videos on over two dozen disciplines.

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social


Math and Statistics Tutorials

Exploring Data (Statistics Tutorials) --- http://exploringdata.cqu.edu.au/

More or Less (economics and statistics tutorials) --- http://www.open2.net/moreorless/

Teaching Mathematical Thinking Through Origami --- http://newmedia.purchase.edu/~Jeanine/origami

Geometry --- http://mathworld.wolfram.com/topics/Geometry.html 

Proportionality in Similar Triangles: A Cross-Cultural Comparison ---
http://mathdl.maa.org/convergence/1/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=1618

 

From Dartmouth College
Chance News --- http://chance.dartmouth.edu/chancewiki/index.php/Main_Page
Tutorial on Statistics (focus is on learning exercises and how to view media reports critically)

Probability Tutorials --- http://www.probability.net/

Statistical Guide to Poker
"A Physicist's Guide to Texas Hold 'Em," PhysOrg, April 4, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news94907470.html

AuditNet provides resources for statistical sampling at http://www.auditnet.org/sampling.htm

Journal of Statistics Education --- http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/

Statistics Education Research Journal --- http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications.php?show=serj

Teaching Statistics --- http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications.php?show=serj

From the University of Wisconsin
ide@s --- http://www.ideas.wisconsin.edu/
This site offers tutorials, resources, and videos on over two dozen disciplines.

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


History Tutorials

Digital Durham, NC ---  http://digitaldurham.duke.edu/

From the University of Wisconsin
ide@s --- http://www.ideas.wisconsin.edu/
This site offers tutorials, resources, and videos on over two dozen disciplines.

From the University of South Carolina
William Tennent III: Journal/Diary and Album of Collected Papers ---  http://www.sc.edu/library/digital/collections/tennent.html

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#History
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm  


Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Languages


Legal Tutorials

University Channel (video and audio) ---  http://uc.princeton.edu/main/

Basic Legal Citation --- http://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/

Law & Legal Research Center - http://www.cpanet.com/up/s0210.asp?ID=0575

FindLaw - http://www.cpanet.com/up/s0210.asp?ID=0576

Legal Professional Site Links --- http://www.chooselaw.com/

Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement --- http://www.counterterrorismtraining.gov/

The Yale Law Journal: Pocket Part --- http://www.thepocketpart.org/

Center for Science in the Public Interest --- http://www.cspinet.org/

Bob Jensen's threads on legal studies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Law


Writing Tutorials

101 Best Websites for Writers --- http://www.writersdigest.com/101sites/2005_index.asp

Common Errors in English --- http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/

Hook Your Readers With Tension --- http://absolutewrite.com/novels/tension.htm

Better Editor --- http://bettereditor.org/

Cool Words --- http://www.ptolus.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?mc_los_121

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


"Man of Letters:   Dear Mr. Buckley, cancel my subscription," by Andrew Ferguson, The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110011017

I don't think I'm giving away any trade secrets when I say that, in many magazines, the letters page is not quite what it appears to be. The ruse is less noticeable in daily newspapers (particularly this one!), where the editors rely on feedback from their readers and labor to put together a letters page that lets off steam even as it provides genuine interest.

It's a different story, though, in the high-end glossies, the ones that are fat with ads and self-regard. In their slick, rubbery pages, it's more often the editor himself (or herself) who benefits from the illusion provided by a letters page. He does, after all, get several pages of copy that he doesn't have to pay a writer for. His Platonic ideal of the perfect contributor--the writer who hands in his article and is then run over by a bus before he can complain about the editing--comes to life in the letter-writing reader, who is advised in the fine print that while the publication "welcomes letters to the editor" it nevertheless "reserves the right to edit the letters for length and style." (Meaning: Send us whatever you want; we'll print whatever we want.) At the same time, the editor gets to appear egalitarian and concerned, flattering his readers by making a show of seeming to care what they think when all he really cares about is whether they drop the $85,000 for the Lexus advertised on page 187.

One reason the old New Yorker magazine--the one with A.J. Liebling and E.B. White--was so unusual was that it refused to print letters to the editor at all, thus making the editor's disdain utterly transparent. (The magazine didn't run corrections, either.) The message was unmistakable, and you could almost hear it through the lockjaw of that foppish, monocle-wearing Eustace Tilley on the cover: "It seems scarcely possible, dear reader, that any letter you write could be of any interest to us whatsoever. We write, you read." So just be still and go back to that eight-part series on glaciers.

Another nervy, equally admirable approach was conceived by William F. Buckley Jr. In addition to his duties as columnist, TV talk-show host, lecturer, novelist and Manhattan boulevardier, Mr. Buckley was founder and, for 35 years, the editor of the magazine National Review. In this role, as in others, he was an innovator. Instead of merely parking all the letters to the editor in a few pages at the front, in the editorial equivalent of a mud room, he set aside a special department in the middle of the magazine to showcase the ones that caught his eye. And then, more often than not, he would gut the letter writer right there on the printed page. At NR the letters page became an abattoir.

Mr. Buckley called his department "Notes and Asides," and he has now gathered between hard covers a "best of" collection culled from the years 1967 through 2005, when the department was discontinued. In "Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription," we find the whole range of letters to the editor: complaints and condescending jibes, lame jokes and wry observations, galloping know-it-all-ism and--always a favorite of letter writers--nitpicking. The tone varies with the subject, of course, but certain notes recur.

"You ridiculous ass," begins one early letter. Another opens: "You are the mouthpiece of that evil rabble that depends on fraud, perjury." And another: "You are a hateful, un-Christian demagogue." "You are the second worst-dressed s.o.b. on television." Mr. Buckley's responses are equally pithy, though slightly higher toned and always more allusive. To one disgruntled reader who identifies himself, in his righteous indignation, as the Second Coming of Jesus, Mr. Buckley warns: "And I am the second coming of Pontius Pilate." He sometimes composes his insults in Latin--a bit of one-upmanship that even Eustace Tilley would envy.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr. writes to complain about some perceived slight: "I might have hoped that you would have had the elementary fairness, or guts, to provide equal time; but, alas, wrong again." "Dear Arthur," Mr. Buckley replies. "I should have thought you would be used to being wrong."

Not all the exchanges are purely contentious. The literary scholar Hugh Kenner writes in to critique a single sentence--a long, zig-zaggy construction that Mr. Buckley wrote to open an essay in Esquire magazine. Abashed, Mr. Buckley protests that the sentence was "springy and tight."

" 'Springy and tight' my foot," says Kenner. "Those aren't springs, they're bits of Scotch tape." What follows is several pages of literary dissection, with Kenner attacking vigorously and Mr. Buckley defending his published sentence with slackening strength. If it sounds fussy, it isn't. It's a miniature tutorial in rhetoric and style from one of the century's most rigorous critics directed at one of its most accomplished journalists. You can't imagine finding it in any other letters column.

Over time "Notes and Asides" became a grab bag of odds and ends, a way for Mr. Buckley to clear his desk. There are speeches, random squibs, and tributes to the living and the dead. A lot of this material is included here along with the letters, and given Mr. Buckley's unrelieved involvement in the public affairs of his time, the book stands as a kind of informal intellectual history of the final third of the 20th century. These items of Buckleyana are good to have in more permanent form, but I bet it's the letters to the editor that readers will savor most--even those magazine readers who have once or twice been duped, by distant editors, into writing a letter to the editor themselves.

Mr. Ferguson, a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, is the author of "Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America" (Atlantic Monthly Press). You can buy "Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.


From the Scout Report on December 15, 2007

FStream 1.3.1 --- http://www.myosxfreeware.com/fstream-131/ 

Listening to the radio online can be relaxing and fun, especially when one considers that online programs cover everything from gardening tips to conversations about the state of modern literature. Of course, some online radio players can be large and bulky, so visitors may wish to take a look at this version of FStream. The application includes an equalizer and added search capability. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer.


FxFoto 5.0.066 --- http://www.fxfoto.com/fxdownload.htm 

The end of the year can be a joyous time, but assembling holiday photos can be a real challenge. FxFoto 5.0.066 is a nice way to edit and assemble photos with relatively little fuss. The application can remove red-eye and blemishes from photos, add frames and borders, and even correct colors. As with most programs of this type, user can also create a slide show with seamless transitions and snappy captions. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, and 2003.

 


From The Washington Post on December 20, 2007

What is the online term for books that originate from web logs?

A. blogbooks
B. boogs
C. blooks
D. wooks


Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/


From Harvard University
Surgical Planning Laboratory
(includes tutorials) --- http://www.spl.harvard.edu/


Five Keys to Safer Food Manual --- http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/manual_keys.pdf


"7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe," by Robert Roy Britt, Live Science, December 20, 2007 ---
http://www.livescience.com/health/071220-medical-myths.html
(Also see http://physorg.com/news117461398.html )

Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Fact: Physicians and comedians alike, including Jerry Seinfeld, love to cite this one. It's sometimes erroneously credited to Albert Einstein. But MRI scans, PET scans and other imaging studies show no dormant areas of the brain, and even viewing individual neurons or cells reveals no inactive areas, the new paper points out. Metabolic studies of how brain cells process chemicals show no nonfunctioning areas. The myth probably originated with self-improvement hucksters in the early 1900s who wanted to convince people that they had yet not reached their full potential, Carroll figures. It also doesn't jibe with the fact that our other organs run at full tilt.

Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Fact: "There is no medical evidence to suggest that you need that much water," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman, a pediatrics research fellow at the university and co-author of the journal article. Vreeman thinks this myth can be traced back to a 1945 recommendation from the Nutrition Council that a person consume the equivalent of 8 glasses (64 ounces) of fluid a day. Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables, plus coffee and other liquids, count.

Myth: Fingernails and hair grow after death.

Fact: Most physicians queried on this one initially thought it was true. Upon further reflection, they realized it's impossible. Here's what happens: "As the body’s skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is retracting," Vreeman said. "The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. The same is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit."

Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.

Fact: A 1928 clinical trial compared hair growth in shaved patches to growth in non-shaved patches. The hair which replaced the shaved hair was no darker or thicker, and did not grow in faster. More recent studies have confirmed that one. Here's the deal: When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top, Carroll and Vreeman explain. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it actually is. Hair that's just emerging can be darker too, because it hasn't been bleached by the sun.

Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.

Fact: The researchers found no evidence that reading in dim light causes permanent eye damage. It can cause eye strain and temporarily decreased acuity, which subsides after rest.

Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.

Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical in turkey called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it than does chicken or beef. This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol — both things that will make you sleepy.

Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.

Fact: There are no known cases of death related to this one. Cases of less-serious interference with hospital devices seem to be largely anecdotal, the researchers found. In one real study, mobile phones were found to interfere with 4 percent of devices, but only when the phone was within 3 feet of the device. A more recent study, this year, found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. To the contrary, when doctors use mobile phones, the improved communication means they make fewer mistakes.

"Whenever we talk about this work, doctors at first express disbelief that these things are not true," said Vreeman said. "But after we carefully lay out medical evidence, they are very willing to accept that these beliefs are actually false."

Also see the Most Popular Myths in Science --- http://www.livescience.com/bestimg/?cat=myths


Is Alzheimer's A Form of Diabetes?
The article suggests that Alzheimer's disease is actually a form of diabetes known as type three diabetes. Brain cells in Alzheimer's patients are insulin resistant and deprive cells from receiving glucose energy supplies. Drug companies like Acumen Pharmaceuticals and Merck are testing diabetes drugs on Alzheimer's patients. The discovery that the two diseases may be related came in 1997, and ten years later researchers have still not clarified the connection.
Catherine Arnst, Business Week, December 17, 2007, Page 54.

Scientists have been searching for the cause of Alzheimer's disease for more than 100 years, and during that time, theories about why brain cells are destroyed in the course of the illness have come and gone. One of the newer and more unorthodox theories posits that Alzheimer's may actually be a form of diabetes. Some experts have even taken to calling the brain disease type 3 diabetes, as distinct from the insulin-dependent (type 1) and adult-onset (type 2) varieties of the condition.

The diabetes hypothesis stems from growing evidence that cells in the brains of Alzheimer's victims are resistant to insulin; just as in diabetes, the cells don't respond appropriately to this hormone. As a result, neurons are deprived of glucose, which they need for energy. As the evidence mounts, the type 3 label is gaining currency in Alzheimer's research circles and is drawing attention from the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies are testing existing diabetes drugs against Alzheimer's, while startup Acumen Pharmaceuticals, in partnership with Merck, is focusing on molecules that allow insulin to reach brain cells.

The Alzheimer's-as-diabetes idea is still a long way from being accepted truth. Even Glaxo's head of neuroscience medicine development, Atul Pande, cautions that it may not pan out. If it does, however, he says the outlook for this devastating disease could change dramatically. "Some researchers are suggesting you may be able to detect insulin resistance in the brain as early as age 18," says Pande--and take action to correct it.


No need for reduced alcohol consumption in later life
Provided they stick to the same guidelines about alcohol consumption as younger adults, regular moderate drinking poses no additional risks to the over 65s, and may even bring health benefits, according to two studies from the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England . . . Researchers assessed the drinking levels of over 13,000 older people in England and the US and looked at the effects on physical disability, mortality, cognitive function, depression, and well-being. They concluded that moderate drinking is fine for the over 65s – and in some cases is better than not drinking at all. This will be good news to the elderly who want to get into the festive spirit, and who until now have lived by the commonly held belief that they have to reduce their alcohol consumption as they get older.
PhysOrg
, December 18, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news117208106.html


Mutant gene identified as villain in hardening of the arteries
A genetic mutation expands lesions in the aorta and promotes coronary atherosclerosis, more commonly known as hardening of the arteries, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine The researchers found that mice engineered without the Akt1 gene and fed a high cholesterol diet had many more signs of aortic atherosclerosis compared to their littermates. And, surprisingly, their coronary lesions were similar to humans, say the scientists. “About 20 percent of the mice died spontaneously, perhaps due to an acute heart attack,” said William Sessa, senior author of the study, professor of pharmacology, and director of Yale’s vascular biology and therapeutics program. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory response in arterial walls, in large part due to deposits of lipoproteins—which are plasma proteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides. The "hardening" or "furring" of the arteries is caused by plaque formation. In the vascular wall, Akt plays an important role in regulating the development of endothelial cells, which line the entire circulatory system, from the heart to the smallest capillary. Endothelial cells play an important role in regulating blood pressure, in blood clotting, in plaque formation in the arteries, and in formation of new blood vessels.
PhysOrg, December 18, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news117206547.html


Farmers inspect their cows better than their would-be spouses

From Penn State University
Cow Sense --- http://dairyalliance.psu.edu/pdf/CowSenseLaminatedHandouts.pdf

From Opinion Journal on December 19, 2007
The Penn State Dairy Alliance has a helpful brochure for political humorists titled " Cow Sense: Hands-On Evaluation & Inspection
http://dairyalliance.psu.edu/pdf/CowSenseLaminatedHandouts.pdf ." It reveals that the mouth inspection is to determine "fluid status," abnormalities of which can indicate "septic or toxic diseases, digestive diseases." No word on what they found when they inspected Saddam Hussein http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39634000/jpg/_39634787_mouth300.jpg .


"Why are Pygmies Short?" by Lisa Zyga, PhysOrg, December 21, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news117456722.html

Because of their short life expectancies, the researchers speculate that pygmies have had to shift their reproductive years forward. The average life expectancy at birth for different pygmy populations ranges from just 16 years to 24 years. Very few pygmy women reach the end of their reproductive period, as only a small percentage survive past age 40.

In order to compensate for the lack of older reproductive women, natural selection has shifted the reproductive period forward. The fertility peak of age at first reproduction in the Aeta is around 15 years old, which reduces generation time and compensates for their short lifespan.

In order to make this fertility shift, pygmies must reach full maturity faster than longer-lived human populations. For this reason, many pygmies stop growing at about age 12, several years earlier than other humans. Their childhood growth rate isn’t any more or less rapid than the growth rate of other (traditional) humans; pygmy youth are roughly the same size as non-pygmy youth. (This is the opposite of what is observed in cases of nutritionally induced stunting, where humans delay growth but achieve adult body size later). Instead of experiencing the “teenage growth spurt,” pygmies’ growth is simply truncated.

Continued in article


Global Health Reporting --- http://globalhealthreporting.org/




"Who Owns the Vietnam War?" by Arthur Herman, Commentary, Vol. 124, Issue 5, December 2007 --- http://www.commentarymagazine.com/

. . .

Among the new generation of historians of the Vietnam war, important debates and differences still remain — for example, over the efficacy of American tactics of counterinsurgency and pacification. But they overwhelmingly agree on one point: the old account is a myth, and no longer stands up to scrutiny. It is worthwhile reviewing some of the main findings of the new scholarship before returning to the question of their relevance, if any, to our present struggle in Iraq and to the President's warning on August 23.

VIETNAM may have been a "civil war" in the sense that it involved Vietnamese killing other Vietnamese. But it is far from the case that, as many have claimed, Ho Chi Minh, the founder of Vietnam's Indochinese Communist party, was primarily a nationalist who had successively fought Japanese occupiers (1941-45), French colonial rulers (1946-54), and finally the Americans (196575) in a determined effort to unify the two halves of his country and thus make it possible, in the words of one favorably disposed historian, for "the people of Indochina [to] govern themselves." Some have even asserted that, after World War II, the United States missed a great opportunity to support Ho in his fight against the French and for Vietnamese "self-determination."

The truth is otherwise. Even before he founded the party in 1930, Ho was a committed Stalinist and Comintern agent. During World War IT, his party did little actual fighting against the Japanese, concentrating instead on eliminating its Vietnamese opponents. Once hostilities with France began in 1946, Ho's regime in North Vietnam survived with help from his ideological allies, especially the Soviet Union, until Mao Zedong's victory in his own war for control of China in 1949 finally opened the way for a full-scale Communist counterattack. Like Kim Il Sung's invasion of South Korea in June 1950, Ho's war against the French in Vietnam came with Stalin's backing and Mao's support, and was part of the same effort to create (in the testimony of the former Red Army journalists Oleg Sarin and Lev Dvortsky) "new opportunities for spreading Soviet Communism further into Asia."

Presidents Truman and Eisenhower understood the stakes in Vietnam only too well. Their goal in supporting the French against Ho and the Vietminh was to prevent a repetition of what was happening in Korea. By the time the conflict was winding down, the U.S. was supplying nearly 70 percent of the French effort — not enough to crush the Vietminh but enough to stop Ho from overrunning the southern half of the country. Without that help, the new republic in the south created by the 1954 Geneva Accords would have become subject to the same horrors that were about to engulf the north.

There, in 1954-55 alone, according to the French historian Jean-Louis Margolin (no admirer of American involvement in Vietnam), "the scale of violence was extraordinary."[*] At least 50,000 people were executed, a figure proportional with the number of Chinese butchered during Mao's agrarian "reforms" in China in 1949-50. Most victims were chosen virtually at random in order to terrorize the rest of North Vietnam's rural population. As in Maoist China, entire families were made to suffer. "The motto was similar to [that] in China," writes Margolin: "'Better ten innocent deaths than one enemy survivor.'" As many as 100,000 people were thrown into prison, and 95 percent of the cadres in the Vietminh were purged.

This reign of terror goes largely unmentioned in standard histories of the Vietnam war or by admiring biographers of Ho like David Halberstam. The same silence engulfs Hanoi's version of Mao's Great Leap Forward: a crash attempt, launched in October 1958, at collectivizing North Vietnam's fragile agricultural base that triggered a famine similar to the one devastating China during those same years. The number of Vietnamese who died is still unknown, but left behind was an impoverished police state not very different from today's North Korea, kept alive only by massive Soviet and Communist Chinese aid.

This was of no concern to Ho. Beginning in 1959, and for the remaining ten years of his life, his attention was focused on taking control of South Vietnam, a country that had so far eluded his grasp.

SOUTH VIETNAM was never the artificial American creation that critics claim. The political division of the country into northern and southern halves dates back at least to the 17th century, and was marked by sharp cultural and even linguistic differences. Indeed, the boundary between the two Vietnams set in the Geneva Accords roughly followed the south's line of fortifications constructed centuries earlier to fend off the north.

The south was also Vietnam's pluralist face, with a population in 1954 that included Christians, Buddhists (nearly one-quarter of the population), and ethnic Chinese, as well as 800,000 refugees from Ho's terror. These conflicting interests made governance difficult: during its short and sad history, South Vietnam went through a series of unstable governments, especially after the fall of President Ngo Diem in November 1963. Nonetheless, over time this supposedly artificial and corrupt regime managed to turn South Vietnam into a country no less viable than South Korea, with an army similarly trained by U.S. advisers and then, starting in 1965, supported by American combat troops. By 1972, South Vietnam would have an army and local militia strong enough, with the aid only of American air power, to defend itself from full-scale attack by the North.

Ngo Diem was certainly no George Washington (as some admirers claimed), but neither was he the incompetent figure portrayed by the American press at the time and in current textbooks. The best and most recent account of the Diem years, by Mark Moyar,[*] documents his skill at balancing the demands of nationalists, traditionalists, and liberals and at convincing a peasant society to accept the unwelcome burden of fighting an insurgency funded, supplied, and even manned by the Communist North.

Diem's real failure was his inability to placate an American press determined to find fault with his leadership and American advisers like Colonel John Paul Vann who pressured Washington to drop its support for him. But Diem's removal by an American-supported coup in November 1963 only made things worse. As Moyar documents, before the coup the tide of war had been turning against the guerrillas. Yet by the time the American Foreign Service officer H.J. Kaplan arrived in Vietnam in January 1965, he was "shocked to discover that the Communists controlled most of the countryside."[†]

With year's end, however, the course of the war had again shifted with the arrival of American combat troops. By 1966, even after tens of thousands of North Vietnamese regulars had entered the South, the mood in Saigon was one of "cautious optimism." In the spring of 1967, General Earl Wheeler was able to predict a victory "if we apply pressure upon the enemy relentlessly in the North" as well as the South.

WHAT MADE this optimism possible was the U.S. military's overwhelming defeat of both Vietcong and North Vietnamese units in South Vietnam. This flies in the face of the second tenet of the Vietnam myth, namely, that after 1965 the United States found itself fighting an indigenous guerrilla army benefiting from superior tactics, enjoying popular support, and driven by a fervor that the weak and corrupt regime in Saigon could never hope to match. Thus, according to the historians G.M. Kahn and John W. Lewis, "The insurrection [was] southern-rooted; it arose at southern initiative in response to southern demands." Powerfully supporting this same view was Frances Fitzgerald in her Pulitzer-Prize winning Fire in the Lake (1972). Offering a benign portrait of the Vietcong and its political wing, the National Liberation Front (NLF), Fitzgerald predicted hopefully that this grassroots movement would one day "cleanse the lake of Vietnamese society" with "the narrow flame of revolution."

Scholarly research has debunked this picture, too. As early as 1975, North Vietnam's own Communist-party historian admitted that the Vietcong were "always simply a group emanating from" Hanoi. In 1964 the North stepped up its backing of this proxy force by sending entire combat units from its regular army across the border. It was this growing invasion that had finally forced President Johnson, against his own instincts, to commit American ground troops in 1965 — a decision that the standard account presents as a final plunge into the Vietnamese "quagmire" but that in fact had the result of transforming the war from a counter-insurgency operation into a struggle among three conventional armies: the United States and the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN) on one side, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) on the other.

From movies like Platoon (1986) and Casualties of War (1989), the cliché image of the war itself is of American GI's slogging through rice paddies in order to do battle with men and women wearing black pajamas and armed with World War II-vintage weapons. This may bear some resemblance to Vietnamese reality during the Kennedy years, but for later years Mel Gibson's We Were Soldier. (2002), based on the dramatic November 1965 fight in the Ia Drang Valley between a battalion of the U.S. 7th Cavalry and one of the NVA's best equipped and most powerful units, comes much closer.

The battle raged for four days, involving mortars, heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, artillery, and air strikes. At the end the North Vietnamese retreated in disarray, leaving nearly 2,000 dead, while American casualties were 79 killed and 121 wounded. Ia Drang was a major setback for North Vietnamese arms and a foretaste of what was to come. High-intensity conventional firefights in the mountainous terrain along South Vietnam's northern border, not the low-intensity insurgency in the Mekong Delta that dominated American headlines but caused less than 5 percent of the total American combat deaths, made up the real Vietnam war.

Tragically, the Johnson administration never accepted that it could win a war it was in fact winning. As H.R. McMaster shows in Dereliction of Duty (1997), the overarching theme of the Johnson years was not reckless war-mongering but its opposite: indecision followed by halfway measures, and a growing pessimism leading to more halfway measures. It was this that encouraged the North to extend its efforts in 1964, enabling its Vietcong auxiliary to regain lost ground. The same indecisiveness plagued the American approach to bombing, employed by Johnson and his Defense Secretary Robert McNamara largely for political rather than military objectives, i.e., in the vain hope of convincing the North to come to the bargaining table. Until 1968, in fact, Washington's carefully planned bombing campaigns barely had an impact on the course of the fighting.

On this point, later scholars like John Nagle, Andrew Krepinevich, and others have faulted the poor performance of the American military against the Vietcong. But they may overestimate the significance of the VC "insurgency," whose vacillating fortunes were almost entirely a function of the degree of North Vietnamese support. By June 1968, fully 70 percent of VC units in at least one province were actually North Vietnamese soldiers in disguise, and these northern invaders were as much foreigners as the Americans. "They wander around in the jungle," one Vietnamese interpreter told the Marines, "and can't do anything without our local people to act as guides." Far from being "fish swimming in the ocean of the people," as the propaganda cliché had it, the NVA forces were regular soldiers fighting conventional battles against a conventional foe who had them outclassed in nearly every category.

True, the North enjoyed two huge advantages. The first were its sanctuaries for regrouping and rearming in Cambodia and Laos. (These sanctuaries, ironically, had been set up with U.S. help according to agreements recognizing the two countries' "neutrality.") The second was the freedom to terrorize civilian populations into providing food and necessary cover for the North's operations. Yet even so, once Americans arrived in numbers, the Communists found themselves mauled in one battle after another. As time wore on, General Giap, the North's commander in chief, calculated that he needed a nine-to-one numerical advantage over the Americans in order to prevail in any battle. Eventually, the VC lost control even over the Mekong Delta, the original site of the alleged Vietnam "quagmire." The Tet offensive at the end of January 1968 would be the VC's last stand.

THE DECISION to launch that offensive was made in Hanoi. It was born of desperation, a mad gamble to seize the northern provinces of South Vietnam with conventional troops while triggering an uprising that would distract the Americans — and, some still hoped, revive the fading hopes of the Communists. The offensive itself began on January 30 and ended a little more than a month later when Marines crushed the last pockets of resistance in the northern city of Hue. It was a spectacular defeat both for the Vietcong, who failed to trigger their popular uprising, and for the North, which lost 20 percent of its forces in the South and suffered 33,000 men killed in action, all for no gain.

Today even the New York Times has had to concede that Tet was an overwhelming American victory. But, like many others, it still refuses to acknowledge the implications. Tet not only destroyed the Vietcong as an effective political and military force; together with the siege of Khe Sanh, it also crippled the NVA. Like the Somme or Verdun in World War I, these big battles exacted a price in "a lost generation" of North Vietnamese youth. Small wonder that in mid-1968 General Giap made the fateful decision to scale back NVA operations to hit-and-run raids while relying more heavily than ever on the sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia.

In the meantime, in the South, as Lewis Sorley notes in A Better War (1999), the Tet offensive "radically changed the outlook of South Vietnam's populace." Instead of provoking an uprising in favor of the Communists, its effect was "just the opposite — general mobilization in support of the government." By the end of 1969, over 70 percent of South Vietnam's population was rated as under government control, compared to 42 percent at the beginning of 1968. The new government of President Nguyen Van Thieu followed with a sweeping land-reform law that cut Vietnam's tenant-farmer population from 60 percent to 7 percent by 1973.

To be sure, all this made no impression on the American public. That was because the press had presented the Tet offensive as a stunning Communist success and a signal that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The suddenness of the attack had caught not only the American military by surprise, but also the American media. After the war, one of their own, the Washington Post's Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup, documented exactly how the major media proceeded to turn the reality of American victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat.[*] Basing themselves on that image, Walter Cronkite and others clearly felt they now had definitive grounds for mistrusting their government's word and for concluding that, just as the antiwar movement had declared, victory in Vietnam was not and never had been a possibility.

Others went beyond this conclusion. In March 1969, the executive producer of ABC News told his Saigon bureau: "I think the time has come to shift our focus from the battlefield … to themes and stories under the general heading, 'We are on our way out of Vietnam.'" One of those "stories" would be the massacre at My Lai, which took place in the aftermath of Tet but became a news event only a year later. The steady coverage of isolated but sensational episodes like My Lai, deaths by "friendly fire," and the like had the effect of convincing many Americans that such extraordinary occurrences reflected the ordinary situation on the ground and were destroying their country's moral standing. Seizing the opportunity, a weakened Hanoi tried to turn it to its advantage. As Mark Woodruff writes in Unheralded Victory: The Defeat of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army (1999), Hanoi "increasingly shifted its [own] efforts toward the American media and the antiwar movement and soon sought American casualties as [its] main objective." Indirectly, then, the press's willful misreading of the meaning of Tet and its harping on the idea that "we are on our way out" would increase the cost of the war in American blood.

WHICH BRINGS us to the third tenet of the VV Vietnam myth — that our failures in vanquishing our unconventional foe pushed American soldiers over the brink, leading to the "fragging" of officers, drug use, and the kind of indiscriminate shooting of women and children later portrayed as common and widespread. Similarly, it became a truism that the ordeal of fighting an elusive enemy in the steaming jungles of Vietnam (unlike, presumably, the ordeal of fighting a similarly elusive enemy in the steaming jungles of Guadalcanal or Guam during World War II) left veterans uniquely traumatized, psychological time bombs set to go off under the pressure of later "flashbacks" to their Vietnam experience. Woodruff points to the popular 70's television series Kojak, in which, after any particularly gruesome homicide, the police lieutenant would routinely order "that all Vietnam vets be brought in for questioning."

Guenter Lewy was one of the first to investigate the claim that atrocities like My Lai were routine. He found no grounds for it. On the contrary, what made My Lai so noteworthy — an estimated ISO-200 civilians were killed by members of an Army "search and destroy" task force under the impression that the villagers were actively supporting the enemy — and caused the Army to put its perpetrators on trial, was precisely that it was both unusual and in violation of military directives. Even so harsh a critic of the war as the former Pentagon official Daniel Ellsberg was emphatic on this point: "My Lai was beyond the bounds of permissible behavior . .. virtually every soldier in Vietnam [knew] it was wrong."

Other, later assertions about similar mass shootings, or indiscriminate killings on orders from higher-ups, also fall apart under scrutiny. At the meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War held in Detroit in early 1971, the so-called Winter Soldier conference, John Kerry and others claimed to have witnessed grisly tortures, villages burned to the ground, gang rapes of women, ears cut off, and other horrors. When an outraged Congress demanded an inquiry, however, the claims evaporated. Many so-called eyewitnesses refused to testify, even after being promised that they would never be questioned about atrocities they personally had witnessed or committed. Several turned out never to have been in Vietnam at all. In the end, no substantive charges ever emerged from the Winter Soldier conference.

Another notorious case was that of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert, who claimed he had been dismissed from the army for refusing to cover up war crimes. Herbert received lavish coverage in the New York Times, Time, and Newsweek and three appearances on the Dick Cavett Show before his story was finally exposed as fraudulent. Yet an insatiable appetite for sensational charges continued to draw bizarre characters into the limelight. They included Kenneth B. Osborn, who testified in 1973 to "atrocities" committed by members of the CIA's Phoenix pacification program but who had never served in the Phoenix program or met anyone connected with it, and never provided any specific information to support his charges; former Army Lieutenant Francis Reitemeyer, who claimed that he had been given a "kill quota of 50 VC per month" but had never even served in Vietnam; and the seven patients at a veterans' hospital in Nevada, allegedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of service in Vietnam, one of whose stories was so harrowing that he had been hired as a counselor at the local Veterans' Center but none of whom had actually been there. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who may have served in Vietnam but not in the role of combat pilot as he claimed, even made it to the United States Senate.

Genuine veterans of Vietnam, by contrast, were hardly broken men and women. The rate of murderous attacks or "fragging" of unpopular officers was lower in American ranks than among Australian troops in Vietnam, and the rate of drug use was no higher than among American military personnel serving in Germany. Psychiatric casualties in Vietnam (12 per 1,000) were lower than in the Korean war (37 per 1,000) or in World War II, even though the Vietnam veteran spent more time in combat than his predecessor in that latter conflict. In 1980, according to a Veterans Administration survey, 90 percent of Vietnam vets with "heavy combat exposure" said they were proud to have served their country, and 69 percent said their service had been a positive experience. A 1986 Washington Post/ABC poll reported that Vietnam veterans were more likely than their peers in the general population to have a college education, own their own home, and hold a high-income job. Divorce and suicide rates were no higher among veterans than among non-veterans.

Certainly, atrocities took place in Vietnam, as they do in all wars and under all conditions. Yet out of 2.59 million American soldiers and Marines who served in Vietnam, a grand total of 201 Army personnel and 77 Marines were tried and convicted of serious crimes against Vietnamese civilians. Of these, 95 soldiers and 27 Marines were convicted of unjustifiable homicide, but in fully 25 percent of those cases the deaths occurred in the midst of combat operations. By contrast with such American atrocities, which were random and rare, Vietcong atrocities, like the murder of entire families in order to terrorize villages into submission, were systematic and a matter of deliberate policy. Wholesale butchery of the kind perpetrated in Hue in 1968 was repeated on a smaller scale many times in the Vietnamese countryside. But American reporters were simply not interested in covering this, preferring instead to focus on American misdeeds, even when they were fabricated.

Continued in article

 




"The funny things children say at Christmas," The London Daily Mail, December 21, 2007 ---
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=504112&in_page_id=1879


The 8,765 Reasons Why I Do Not Like Christmas --- http://blogs.webmd.com/all-ears/2007/12/8765-reasons-why-i-do-not-like.html


Top ten worst Christmas cracker jokes ever (these are tricky) --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/19/njoke119.xml


Why I Will Never Have a Girlfriend (mathematical reasoning) --- http://en.nothingisreal.com/wiki/Why_I_Will_Never_Have_a_Girlfriend


"15 Weirdest Work Stories of 2007," by Rachel Zupek, Career Builder, December 2007 --- Click Here


ALCOHOL TROUBLESHOOTING FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE

SYMPTOM

FAULT

ACTION

Feet cold and wet.

Glass being held at incorrect angle.

Rotate glass so that open end points toward ceiling.

Feet warm and wet.

Improper bladder control.

Stand next to nearest dog, complain about house training.

Drink unusually pale and tasteless.

Glass empty.

Get someone to buy you another drink.

Opposite wall covered with fluorescent lights.

You have fallen over backward.

Have yourself lashed to bar.

Mouth contains cigarette butts.

You have fallen forward.

See above.

Alcohol tasteless, front of your shirt is wet.

Mouth not open, or glass applied to wrong part of face.

Retire to restroom, practice in mirror.

Floor blurred.

You are looking through bottom of empty glass.

Get someone to buy you another drink.

Floor moving.

You are being carried out.

Find out if you are being taken to another bar.

Room seems unusually dark.

Bar has closed.

Confirm home address with bartender.

Taxi suddenly takes on colourful aspect and textures.

Alcohol consumption has exceeded personal limitations.

Cover mouth.

Everyone looks up to you and smiles.

You are dancing on the table.

Fall on somebody cushy-looking.

Drink is crystal-clear.

It's water. Somebody is trying to sober you up.

Punch him.

Hands hurt, nose hurts, mind unusually clear.

You have been in a fight.

Apologize to everyone you see, just in case it was them.

Don't recognize anyone, don't recognize the room you're in.

You've wandered into the wrong party.

See if they have free alcohol.

Your singing sounds distorted.

The drink is too weak.

Have more alcohol until your voice improves.

Don't remember the words to the song.

Drink is just right.

Play air guitar.

 


Forwarded by Amy Dunbar

From http://immobilienblasen.blogspot.com/2007/12/investment-banking-lexicon-post-credit.html

Love the Christmas party one!

 

An investment banking lexicon: The post-credit squeeze edition
Investment-speak is a universal language. From maximising shareholder value to full and fair offers, bankers are well versed in the art of keeping their clients happy.

But four months into the credit crisis and their words have taken on a new meaning. Here is an explanation.

SUBPRIME
Pre-squeeze: Poor cut of beef
Post-squeeze: On the national education curriculum

COVENANT-LITE
Pre-squeeze: Please pay back the money (no rush)
Post-squeeze: Please get approval for all expenses above £50

COMPETITIVE AUCTION
Pre-squeeze: 50 buy-out firms submit first-round bids
Post-squeeze: The Malaysians are looking

EMI
Pre-squeeze: Coveted transaction
Post-squeeze: Distressed debt play

STAN O’NEAL
Pre-squeeze: $50m for successfully delivering shareholder value
Post-squeeze: $50m for destroying shareholder value

DEBT AVAILABLE FOR BUY-OUT
Pre-squeeze: $10bn
Post-squeeze: Z$300,000bn

ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
Pre-squeeze: Growing faster than the competition
Post-squeeze: Not falling quite as quickly as the competition

INFRASTRUCTURE
Pre-squeeze: Goldman launches billion-dollar fund
Post-squeeze: Heathrow queues get longer

MULTIPLES
Pre-squeeze: 8 x pro forma ebitda
Post-squeeze: 4 x historic earnings

DUE DILIGENCE
Pre-squeeze: There is a hole in the pension book
Post-squeeze: Due diligence to look diligent

BANK’S CHRISTMAS PARTY
Pre-squeeze: Bollinger, Château Lafite, Nobu catering
Post-squeeze: Small Glass of Chianti, peanuts in the shell

PIPELINE IS FULL
Pre-squeeze: Real deals by stretched bankers
Post-squeeze: Stretched deals by virtual bankers

EMERGING MARKETS
Pre-squeeze: Risky, high-yield play
Post-squeeze: Safe haven

STRATEGIC REVIEW
Pre-squeeze: We will take the highest offer
Post-squeeze: Fire sale

 




Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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 http://www.searchedu.com/

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
        
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Free Textbooks and Cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Free Education Discipline Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/arts_lit.htm

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/health.htm

Teacher Source: Math --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm

Teacher Source:  Science --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/sci_tech.htm

Teacher Source:  PreK2 --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/prek2.htm

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/library.htm

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

VYOM eBooks Directory --- http://www.vyomebooks.com/

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- http://www.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/doc/intro.jsp

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
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

Roles of a ListServ --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
 

CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
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.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
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.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
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 BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

 

 

Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu