Good Horses Make Good Videos
Down the road from our cottage in New
Hampshire an elderly man's life centers on his
draft horses. Although Mr. Schmidt lives humbly, some of his big horses are
quite valuable. He told me he turned down an offer of over $100,000 for a team
because he suspected that the buyer might not treat the horses right. In the summer he
takes some of his horses to pulling contests around New England (usually at
county fairs). He's an expert on training young horses for pulling
Draft horses were bred to be more gentle than
most other types of horses even though they originated to carry crusaders donned in
heavy armor. They're the biggest horses on the planet and were bred to pull their
hearts out (although they cannot take extreme heat as well as mules and oxen).
The record height was a
over seven feet tall at the
base). Best known because of Budweiser show horses are the handsome and
feathered (long hair around the hooves)
Clydsdales. Over a hundred years ago these handsome and powerful horses
pulled wagons loaded to the top with beer kegs.
Among my favorite recollections of childhood are
memories of draft horses. On the Jensen home farm the breeds were mixed although
the favored breed was probably the
(or part Belgian)
work horse. The Jensen horses were good workers but they were not show
horses. My grandfather Christian Granville (Grant) Dourte, however,
owned show horses, including the 1910 Iowa State Grand Champion named
Percheron stallion). Today my cousin Don Jenson has black Percherons that he drives at events like
weddings and town parades in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. His great joy in life is
hauling a wagon full of laughing children in a parade. If you visit the
Magic Kingdom in Disneyworld you will see Percheron horses pulling carriages
In the early 1900s, long before I was born,
Grant Dourte owned the
stable in Swea City, Iowa. He held horse shows and traded in top breeds of
horses, especially draft horses. My grandfather was a colorful horse trader who
in his prime owned nine farms and half the town of Swea City. He sometimes would
rent a private train car to take to Chicago for business. He got out of the
horse business when his fine livery barn in Swea City burned to the ground.
Fifteen big and beautiful draft horses perished in that tragic fire. Grandfather
later lost eight of his nine farms and got me in the
Depression, but he did manage to keep one farm about nine miles north of
Swea City. I eventually inherited this farm after it was passed on to my
parents. In the summertime I spent weeks at a time living with my grandparents
in Swea City during the 1940s. I've very fond memories of those carefree
childhood days ---
One of the things that slowed my grandfather
down was a run-away team out on the farm. When the wagon flipped at full speed
my grandfather broke both shoulders, a collar bone, an arm, and both legs. After
that he drove his horses and his cars at a snail's pace.
A number of horse breeds are used as draft horses, with
the popularity of a given breed often closely linked to geographic location.
Examples include: American Cream, Ardennes, Belgian, Boulonnais, Breton.
Clydesdale, Dole Gudbrandsdal, Irish Draught, Percheron, Shire, Suffolk Punchand
Gypsy Vanner horse.
Draft Horses (with pictures) ---
Videos of Draft Horses
The best-known horse originating in New England is the mixed breed horse
first bred by Justin Morgan West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1789. Morgan
horses combined the strength of draft horses with the speed and stamina of Arab
breeds. Morgans are smaller than draft horses but can often do more work for longer
periods of time and in hotter weather. Vermont named the "Vermont State Horse"
after the Morgan horse ---
I'm told that today Morgans are bred to be somewhat smaller like the one named
Travis that I bought for my young son while living in Florida. They generally
have a very heavy mane and tail.
History of and care of a horse ---
THE AGE OF A HORSE (Author Unknown)
|To tell the
age of any horse
Inspect the lower jaw of course;
The six front teeth the tale will tell,
And every doubt and fear dispel.
Two middle nippers you behold
Before the colt is two weeks old;
Before eight weeks two more will come
Eight months: the corners cut the gum.
|At two the
middle "Nippers" drop:
At three the second pair can't stop;
When four years old the third pair goes,
At five a full new set he shows.
The deep black spots will pass from view
At six years from the middle two;
The second pair at seven years;
At eight the spot each corner clears.
middle "Nippers" upper jaw
At nine the black spots will withdraw.
The second pair at ten are bright;
Eleven finds the corners light.
As time goes on the horsemen know
The oval teeth three-sided grow;
Then longer get - project before -
Till twenty, when they know no more."
In elderly horses and humans the teeth do not grow longer. They only seem longer
because the gums recede with age. Hence the expression "getting a little long in
I said that the
Jensen farm did not have show horses. Actually for many years my Uncle Millen
Jensen on the home farm had an albino stallion named Cap, but Cap was a saddle
horse rather than a draft horse. Cap was trained to do some show ring tricks,
and people brought mares from hundreds of miles away for breeding with Cap. Cap
was always called an "albino stallion," although I recently learned that there
are no purely albino horses. The only horses properly called
white are those with pink skin under a white hair coat, a far more rare
occurrence than grays with black skin underneath. There are no truly
albino horses (no pigmented skin and pink eyes). True albinism is a lethal
gene in horses ---
The best known white horse was the Lone Ranger's horse named Silver ---
Hi ho Silver away!
Tidbits on January 18, 2008
Videos From Bob Jensen's Personal
Camera (the pictures are clear but some of them lost a bit in the video) ---
The Tidbits.wmv video is narrated.
For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures
Bob Jensen's Threads ---
Bob Jensen's Home Page is at
On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long
and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was
generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My
wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---
Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
(Also scroll down to the table at
Set up free conference calls at
Free Online Tutorials in Multiple Disciplines ---
Google Maps Street View ---
World Clock ---
Tips on computer and networking
If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops ---
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
If you think your life is not going anywhere, think again ---
Patriots 16-0 (Make that 17-0) ---
Forwarded by Roger Hermanson
Some of the world's greatest quotations from great leaders (video) ---
Aristocrats of Campus Humor (video) ---
(Not always politically correct)
A college comedy contest in New Jersey offers a peek
inside the undergraduate mind. It isn't pretty in there.
Thomas Bartlett, "Funny You Should Say That," Chronicle of Higher
Education, January 11, 2008 ---
Reviewer Persona & Shadow: Insights from Jungian Psychology,
by our friend Dan Stone at the University of Kentucky ---
I confessed to changing my "reviewer persona and shadow" at
The longer URL is
From the U.S. Library of Congress
Exploring the Early Americas ---
A cocaine boom in Europe and the continent's strong currency
have combined to fuel a thriving industry: euro laundering.
The Wall Street Journal Video ---
George Wright forwarded the link to this nasty video
How to Cheat With Crib Notes (Video) ---
beware of a student who brings in a six pack.
Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at
Teamwork Cheating on Exams ---
(But students in the front row are out of luck.)
Skirting an Exam ---
(There's hope for the front row too. But if you have a male instructor, your
chances of getting caught are greater.)
How to cheat in an exam with just a pen and paper ---
How to Cheat at School ---
Howstuffworks: "How Electric Cars Work" ---
Mike Gasior filmed a new video on the supposed "credit crisis" ---
His past video commentaries are at
Math in Daily Life ---
Cell Phone Karma ---
Talking Dogs ---
Accounting Videos on YouTube ---
Search for “campbell79” or “susancrosson”
Links forwarded by Richard Campbell
Texas Ditch Surfing (read that "Lawyers Delight") ---
Netflix's coming attraction: Unlimited movies streamed over the Internet ---
For years I've loved renting Netfix DVDs. It's a heck of a deal for movie
Free music downloads ---
NPR Archives ---
The Year 2007 in Music for Kids ---
Berlin Philharmonic, in Concert at Carnegie Hall
Daniel Pollack at the 1958 Tchaikovsky
Jam session with Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and
Jerry Lee Lewis (video) ---
Also see ---
WXPN's 'Blues Show' host counts off
the best blues CDs of 2007.
Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials)
Photographs and Art
Harbin Snow and Ice Festival in China
Global Distribution of
Lucian Freud: The Painter's Etchings
MacWorld in 2008 ---
Laura den Hertog Galleries (reminds me of Andrew Wyeth)
Irish Blessing ---
My favorite is still the one from Jesse
The Irish Blessing ---
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
Also found at
"Flickr Taps User Tags to Organize
Library of Congress Images," by Scott Gilbertson, Wired News, January
16, 2008 ---
has unveiled a new project,
will give Flickr members an
opportunity to browse and
tag photos from Library of
Congress archives. The goal
is to create what
likes to call
an "organic information
system," in other words, a
searchable database of tags
that makes it easier for
researchers to find images.
pilot project features a
Library of Congress’ some 14
million images. For now
you’ll find two collections.
The first is called
“American Memory: Color
photographs from the Great
Depression” and features
color photographs of the
Administration-Office of War
including “scenes of rural
and small-town life, migrant
labor, and the effects of
the Great Depression.”
The second collection is the
The George Grantham Bain
Collection which features
“photos produced and
gathered by George Grantham
Bain for his news photo
service, including portraits
and worldwide news events,
but with special emphasis on
life in New York City.” The
Bain collection images date
from around 1900-1920.
effect the Library of
Congress has become a Flickr
complete with its own stream
while it’s great to see
these image available to a
much wider audience, we’re
not so sure how much it’s
going to help researchers.
you’re looking for
historical photographs do
you want to search through
comments from self-appointed
criticizing the composition
skills of photography
ever insightful “wow?”
there’s the inevitable
comments soliciting photos
to be added to whatever
banal and increasingly inane
groups and pools that Flickr
members have come up with.
The tagging aspect will no
doubt produce something of
value, but pardon our
cynicism, this may well turn
out to be a good test of
whether the positive aspects
of the Flickr community
outweigh the negative.
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 ---
Forwarded by Roger Hermanson
Some of the world's greatest quotations from great leaders (video) ---
Vive la difference: The English and French stereotype in satirical prints,
Arden: World of William Shakespeare ---
Dilbert Comic Strip ---
Banned (Forbidden) Books ---
Open Library ---
For a good review, see
Readprint.com offers thousands of free books for students,
teachers, and the classic enthusiast. To find the book you desire to read, start
by looking through the author index ---
Finnegans Wake Extensible Elucidation Treasury ---
Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) ---
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) ---
From the University of Pennsylvania PENNsound [audio poetry,
literature, and reviews) ---
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. ---
Great electronic "books" from the University of Texas and
Princeton University Dante Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise (a multimedia
learning experience) ---
Also see Princeton University's contribution (in Italian or English) ---
Princeton's versions have both lectures and multimedia!
The great strength of the AICPA is that it brings so
many men and women together as members of a single profession. Individually, we
do great things for American households, businesses and governments. Together,
we are an even more powerful force for prosperity in the economy at large—we
pool our knowledge and speak with one voice. In the face of many challenges,
we—as a united profession—have a fantastic future ahead of us.
AICPA Chairman Randy Fletchall’s inaugural speech
delivered as he accepted the chairmanship of the Institute’s Board of Directors
at the governing Council’s October 2007 meeting in Tampa, Fla. ---
AICPA=American Institute of Certified Public Accountants ---
AICPA Accounting Education Center ---
Accounting is the most popular major on US
college campuses, according to the Job Outlook 2005 survey by the
National Association of Colleges and Employers. The study found more
college students are choosing to pursue accounting than any other
discipline, followed by electrical engineering, mechanical engineering
and business administration/management.
CA Magazine, "The New IT Profession," April 2006 ---
Yesterday at the North American International Auto
Show in Detroit, General Motors announced a partnership with Coskata of
Warrenville, IL, a new company that claims it can make ethanol from wood chips,
grass, and trash--including old tires--for a dollar a gallon. That's
significantly less than it costs to make the biofuel from corn grain, which is
the source of almost all the ethanol made in the United States.
Kevin Bullis, "Cheap Ethanol from
Tires and Trash: GM teams with a startup aiming to produce low-cost
biofuels," MIT's Technology Review, January 14, 2008 ---
With the credit markets convulsing and merger
activity slowing, what, pray tell, is the fate of law-firm associates who serve
the titans of Wall Street? For sure, the most vulnerable are lawyers in
so-called structured-finance practices. These are attorneys involved in the
process of packaging assets such as mortgages, auto loans or credit-card debt
into securities. But will layoffs creep into other practice areas as well?
Peter Lattman, "Structured Finance Proves To Be a
Vulnerable Area," The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2008; Page B17 ---
In their shared opinion the local funeral home was
the best-looking place in Petunia (Texas).
“It figures you’d have to die in this town to experience beauty,” Mr. Leleux
quotes his mother as having said.
Janet Maslin when reviewing The Memoirs of a
Beautiful Boy by Robert Leleux, The New York Times, January 14, 2008
The Wall Street Journal ran out a new Web site for the WSJ's
editorial page, offering all editorials/op-eds, video interviews, and commentary
--- for free ---
The embedded Web links are quite useful even for scholars who generally disagree
with WSJ editorials. For example, I'm often riled by the WSJ's visceral hatred
of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but I find the referencing useful. I cannot determine
as of yet whether the archives of the WSJ Editorial Page will henceforth also be
free. For quite some time some of the other major newspapers have made virtually
all the current articles free but not the archives. The WSJ has never had a free
electronic version for all current articles although links from a newsletter
called Opinion Journal have often been free for some current editorial
page articles. I think that the new owner of the WSJ intends to eventually
expand the free electronic version to other areas of current news in the WSJ.
The free versions of editorial page items are is probably the first step. I do
not anticipate making the WSJ archives free.
However, college students and faculty can usually access archives of thousands
of newspapers and magazines free through the subscription services paid for by
their campus libraries. These libraries, however, require passwords from
authorized users in each campus community. It's very easy at times to forget to
use those wonderful and expensive database subscriptions made available to
campus communities for free. Authorized persons who've not used these for some
time may be surprised at how much easier the libraries have made access to these
archives as well as archives of other scholarly publications. I make use of this
service for particularly expense items and for items that I do not consult
A new survey estimates that 151,000 violent deaths
took place in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2006. The finding increases the
controversy surrounding an earlier study that came up with a much higher death
count for the years following the American-led invasion. That earlier study put
the number at over 600,000.The new research, described in a
paper published online on Wednesday by The New
England Journal of Medicine, was based on interviews with people in homes
grouped in clusters throughout Iraq.
Lila Gutterman, "Violent Deaths in
Iraq Overestimated by Scholars, New Study Suggests," Chronicle of Higher
Education, January 10, 2008 ---
Also see NPR's account at
A liberal Johns Hopkins scientist is shown to be more interested in politics
than in science. Here are a couple of archived tidbits on October 16, 2006 ---
analysis or politics?
The MSM had a
field day on October 11 with two reports. The first was by a
Johns Hopkins scientist, suggesting that there have been more
than 600,000 civilian deaths in Iraq during the current conflict
- a full order of magnitude greater than the US-government
estimate of 30-50,000. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for
Strategic & International Studies
criticized the way the estimate was derived
and noted that the results were released
shortly before the Nov. 7 election." They're almost certainly
way too high. This is not analysis, this is politics," Cordesman
"Rumsfeld, Casey Reject Reports on Iraqi Civilian Deaths, Troop
Levels," by Mark Finkelstein, Newsbusters, October 12,
At a separate Pentagon briefing,
Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that the
figure "seems way, way beyond any number that I have seen. I've
not seen a number higher than 50,000. And so I don't give it
that much credibility at all."
San Francisco Chronicle, October 12, 2006 ---
It is estimated that at the Battle of the Somme in
World War I, one million soldiers were killed or wounded. The men were subjected
to continuous bombing and machine-gun fire, engaged in hand-to-hand combat, as
well as endured poison gas attacks. On the most hideous day of the fight, the
British lost over 50,000 troops. It has been called one of the bloodiest battles
in all of history. It is not surprising, therefore, that a few of survivors
reacted negatively, and experienced shell-shock, which is a complete mental
breakdown. Incidentally, the term originated in that war.
William M. Briggs, January 14, 2008
Once again, the power of pork to sustain incumbents
gets its best demonstration in the person of John Murtha (D-PA). The
acknowledged king of earmarks in the House gains the attention of the New York
Times editorial board today, which notes the cozy and lucrative relationship
between more than two dozen contractors in Murtha's district and the hundreds of
millions of dollars in pork he provided them. It also highlights what roughly
amounts to a commission on the sale of Murtha's power as an appropriator: Mr.
Murtha led all House members this year, securing $162 million in district
favors, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. ... In 1991,
Mr. Murtha used a $5 million earmark to create the National Defense Center for
Environmental Excellence in Johnstown to develop anti-pollution technology for
the military. Since then, it has garnered more than $670 million in contracts
and earmarks. Meanwhile it is managed by another contractor Mr. Murtha helped
create, Concurrent Technologies, a research operation that somehow was allowed
to be set up as a tax-exempt charity, according to The Washington Post. Thanks
to Mr. Murtha, Concurrent has boomed; the annual salary for its top three
executives averages $462,000.
Edward Morrissey, Captain's
Quarters, January 14, 2008 ---
When Jeff Flake was
elected to Congress in 2000 from Arizona’s Sixth Congressional District with the
hope of “effectively advanc[ing] the principles of limited government, economic
freedom, and individual responsibility,” he was a relatively unknown entity
outside Arizona. Some may have dismissed the Arizona newbie as just another
congressman out of a 435-member body, but that would have been a big
mistake.Over his seven years in the House, the mild-mannered contrarian has
become the bane of porkers everywhere. To the chagrin of his congressional
colleagues, the Arizona representative has made a career out of targeting some
of Congress’s most outrageous pork projects by introducing amendments to
eliminate those projects from congressional spending bills. In 2006, Flake
introduced nineteen amendments, putting each member of Congress on record either
in favor or in opposition to spending taxpayer dollars on such crucial projects
Grape and Wine Initiative, a
pool in California, and
tomato production in Ohio.
Pat Toomey, "Make It Flake! An
appropriating move," National Review, January 17, 2008 ---
Jeff Flake is a thorn in Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi's side as she agrees to
earmarks in order to grease legislation through the House. It's really hard to
manage a bunch of thieves without giving them something to steal.
The California State Court of Appeals announced
today their decision to overturn one of the most restrictive gun bans in the
country, following a legal battle by attorneys for the National Rifle
Association (NRA) and a previous court order against the San Francisco Board of
Supervisors. “Today’s decision by the California State Court of Appeals is a big
win for the law-abiding citizens and NRA Members of San Francisco,” declared
Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist.
"San Francisco Gun Ban Ruled Null and Void," NRA-ILA,
January 9, 2008 ---
Now all eyes are shifted toward the U.S. Supreme Court's much larger pending
decision on the banning of handguns in Washington DC ---
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is making it
clear that she doesn’t share Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s view that the Bush
administration is too cozy with the student-loan industry.After winning the
Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday in New Hampshire,
Senator Clinton complained that “predatory
student-loan companies” have enjoyed “seven years of a president who stands up
for them.”Ms. Spellings, asked about that remark during an address here today at
the National Press Club, said the Bush administration actually has provided
“vigorous oversight when we see abuse in the financial and student-lending
industry.”The secretary cited the case of the 9.5-percent loan-subsidy program,
which, according to the department’s inspector general,
a loophole through which lenders pulled hundreds of
millions of dollars in excess profits. That abuse “has come to an end under this
administration,” Ms. Spellings said.
"Secretary Spellings Stands Up to Senator Clinton," Chronicle
of Higher Education, January 10, 2008 ---
As much as I would like to force the student-loan industry to pay the money
back, it was Congress that created the loop hole in the first place. I wish they
had to personally pay it back.
January 10, 2008 message from Israel's Naomi Ragen
The good things that a person does are not
negated by the bad things. They are totally separate. George W. Bush removed
the threat of Saddam Hussein from the world, and took out the rockets aimed
at Israel. He helped dry up terrorist funding in the world. He went after
Bin Laden. He did all these things when people like you were baying for his
blood, and waiting to elect some moron like John Kerry, who would have done
none of these things.
Now Mr. Bush is coming to the end of his
term. He has been given some devastating advice by those he trusts. And he
is acting on that advice, destroying his legacy and endangering Israel, the
Middle East and the world. While you may sit back and gloat: I told you so,
I will say this: My world, is also your world. I feared, as did everyone
else, that the constant pressure on the Bush administration from the Left
would eventually cause this breakdown. The American government's failure to
destroy the Iranian nuclear threat, to support Israel in her righteous
attempt to protect herself from her enemies, and to set clear boundaries on
terror organizations like Mahmoud Abbas' PLO will not only affect the life
that I lead in Israel, but the life you lead in America. I don't know how
this will happen, but the world is a very small place. When the Nazis
targeted their Jewish community and Americans said: what does this have to
do with us? the end result was a World War. I am sorry Mr. Bush has been
mislead. I am devastated when I look ahead at the consequences of his
delusional stance on what needs to been done in the Middle East. But this
doesn't negate all the good he did. This doesn't negate the fact that his
opponents were even worse.
The uprooting of Jews, and their
replacement with hardened terrorists, will never bring peace, whatever
people like you delude yourself into believing. It doesn't matter if many
Israelis are similarly deluded, the end will be the same. And the election
of Rudolph Giuliani, who in the past was a staunch friend of Israel, and a
man of principle when it came to terrorists, might not make a difference,
you're right. But the election of Hillary or Obama, et al, will certainly
sound the final knell for the world as we know it. It's the same world you
live in,believe it or not Ira. Sorry, you don't get to sit it out. You and
those like you will finally have to face the fruits of your willfully blind
choices along with us.
What I cannot figure out is why Israel keeps furthering its bad image in the
world by building more and more housing on the West Bank. To me this is not a
good way to make friends with skeptics in the world. Naomi may also be
misjudging the commitment of the Democratic Party candidates to Israel.
Certainly the Jewish lobby in the U.S. is solidly behind the Democratic Party.
This always has been and probably always will be until the Democratic Party
truly abandons Israel's hope for a future ---
Arnold Schwarzenegger said in an address this week
that California must end its "binge and purge" budget process -- his way of
kicking off a binge worthy of Imperial Rome in its decadent late period. Yep: As
his state reels from one of its recurrent fiscal crises, the Governor is making
some headway on his "universal" health-care plan. California is carrying a $14
billion budget deficit and Mr. Schwarzenegger is suggesting across-the-board
spending cuts. So perhaps it's unwise to introduce a new government entitlement
that costs north of $14.4 billion a year. But then, you have to understand the
Kremlinology of liberal health-care reform: This effort has as much to do with
politics as public policy. Mr. Schwarzenegger devoted more than a year to health
feuding with Sacramento. He strafed his own party for opposing tax increases.
Meanwhile, many Democrats (and most labor unions) fought the Governor's agenda
because the subsidies weren't extravagant enough. Desperate, the Governor
brokered a last-minute bargain with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez in December.
Thus Mr. Schwarzenegger's ambitions didn't die -- but for now, maybe call them
the living dead. The negotiators rushed to patch together a policy framework
before 2007 ended, but they didn't have the votes to actually pay for it. A
two-thirds majority in the state legislature is required for tax increases, and
Mr. Schwarzenegger alienated the Republicans he needed. So if this scheme is to
become reality, new taxes on tobacco, hospitals and business must be ratified by
voters in a November ballot initiative.
"State of the Living Dead," The Wall Street Journal,
January 12, 2008; Page A8 ---
Unlike the Federal government, state governments and private individuals have no
power to create money out of thin air to cover their excesses. How money is
created (note that its not simply a matter of printing on more paper) ---
Sadly for The Terminator, California cannot create new money. It has to be
raised or saved. Governor Schwarzenegger is married to a spendthrift legislature
that has a zero fiscal responsibility mentality. Lately the Gov ernor himself
has caved in to politics of insanity delusions. What happens when a state gets a
zero credit rating with billions in bills to pay under contract? Never fear,
Nancy Pelosi will ride in on a white horse with saddlebags full of taxpayer
money from the other 49 states. Perhaps Governor Schwarzenegger and the
California legislature aren't so dumb after all. There is a way for California
to create new money out of thin air if Nancy remains Speaker of the House after
November 2008. But if the GOP wins back the House in November, The Terminator
What we need is change I guess experience is kind of
Bill Richardson, failed but
gentlemanly candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination ---
Practical wisdom is only to be learned in the school
of experience. Precepts and instruction are useful so far as they go, but,
without the discipline of real life, they remain of the nature of theory only.
Samuel Smiles as quoted by Mark
Huckabee’s tenure as Governor,
evolution education in Arkansas languished
in an environment of general hostility and
Two anti-evolution bills were
introduced in the state’s House of
Representatives; textbooks in the Beebe, Arkansas public high
disclaimer stickers denigrating evolution;
state’s science curriculum earned a
grade of “D” overall and an abysmal “zero” for its treatment of
a creationist “museum” enjoyed
state-funded advertising; and
systematically and broadly squeezed out
of schools and other educational
institutions across the state. Huckabee did nothing to deter any
of this – in fact, some of his public statements might indicate
his tacit support . . . Finally, the teaching of creationism
alongside of evolution in public schools for which Huckabee has
called has been repeatedly
rejected by the nation’s courts.
The oath of office obliges the president to “preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution of the United States.” It is
unacceptable for a presidential candidate to advocate such
clearly unconstitutional educational policy. University
scientists, professors who train science teachers, and others
who care about the quality of science education ought to oppose
candidates who disparage evolutionary science and who condone
the injection of religious doctrine into the public school
A Hollywood Yarn Unravels:
Stone's FARC heroes are child abusers, too.
For (Hollywood Producer/Director)
Mr. Stone, an anti-American Christmas miracle was in the offing. His film would
portray Mr. Chávez as a humanitarian hero while demonizing Mr. Uribe. But it
wasn't to be an obscure foreign film with no American message. It would also
complement the assertions of U.S. unions, other trade protectionists and
President Bush's political adversaries, all of whom insist -- against the
evidence -- that the Colombian president violates human rights. Of course, the
American left's current obsession with Mr. Uribe is not really about concern for
human life. It's about the pending U.S.-Colombian free trade agreement, which
they want to kill on "moral" grounds. Depicting Mr. Uribe as an intransigent
right-winger is critical to their narrative. In this, the protectionists are
allies of the rebels. The truth is that Mr. Uribe's restoration of law and order
in Colombia has thrown the guerrillas back on their heels, and they are now
frantically pulling the levers of international propaganda . . . Press reports
say that doctors diagnosed the baby with anemia, malaria, a parasitic skin
disease, malnutrition and an arm that had been broken at birth and not treated.
"Anyone would have fallen apart before this child, with so many diseases," the
hospital director told the Miami Herald. "He didn't raise his eyes. He got toys
but did not pick them up. He did not stand but dragged himself on his butt. He
cried but no tears came because of the malnutrition." When the news of the
child's whereabouts broke Mr. Stone went away spitting mad, not at his FARC
heroes, who had been exposed as child abusers, but at Mr. Uribe and Mr. Bush. Of
the FARC he said, "Grabbing hostages is the fashion in which they can finance
themselves and try to achieve their goals, which are difficult. I think they are
heroic to fight for what they believe in and die for it, as was Castro in the
hills of Cuba." Meanwhile, with Mr. Chávez looking like a fool, the two women
were finally freed on Thursday. The FARC had reason to help him try to salvage
his image: As this column has frequently noted, it needs Venezuela as its main
transit route for cocaine and as a safe haven.
Mary Anatasia O'Grady," "A Hollywood
Yarn Unravels (with video)," The Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2008;
Page A12 ---
Another mortgage-refinancing boom is under way. But
this time around, many homeowners will be watching from the sidelines. For the
first time since 2005, mortgage rates have slipped well below 6%, ending last
week at about 5.87%, according to mortgage tracker HSH Associates. Some lenders
are offering even lower deals. At these levels, about 37% of homeowners could
refinance their mortgages and save money on their monthly payment, estimates
investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. As rates drop further -- and some expect that
to happen if the economy continues to weaken -- increasing numbers of consumers
will find refinancing their existing mortgage worthwhile . . . The result: The
big winners will be conventional borrowers with so-called conforming loans --
those eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two
government-sponsored entities that rule the mortgage market. In particular,
borrowers with high credit scores or a large amount of equity already in their
home, or some combination of both, stand to benefit, says Dale Westhoff, who
heads Bear Stearns's mortgage research. In the past, when rates have dived below
6%, "you'd normally see subprime and Alt-A and jumbo borrowers" in the market,
Mr. Westhoff says. "But they're really not going to be participants in this refi
Jeff D. Opdyke, "Prime Time: The New
Boom In Refinancing," The Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2008; Page D1
Remember that the drop in mortgage payments can be misleading if you ignore the
upfront costs of lowering these payments. There's no free lunch.
According to university (University of
Rochester) officials, Arun Gandhi is in India right
now. Joel Seligman, president of the university, released a statement Friday in
which he said he was “surprised and deeply disappointed” by Gandhi’s post and
that “his subsequent apology inadequately explains his stated views, which seem
fundamentally inconsistent with the core values of the University of Rochester.”
Said Seligman: “In particular I vehemently disagree with his singling out of
Israel and the Jewish people as to blame for the ‘Culture of Violence’ that he
believes is eventually going to destroy humanity. This kind of stereotyping is
inconsistent with our core values and would be inappropriate when applied to any
race, any religion, any nationality, or either gender.” Seligman added: “We are
also committed to the right of every person to address complaints or allegations
personally and directly. Arun Gandhi currently is in India. I will discuss this
matter with him in person as soon as he returns to Rochester later this month.”
Scott Jaschik, "," Inside Higher
Ed, January 14, 2008 ---
If our Washington, D.C., readers noticed a cortege
of blue suits carrying a casket in front of the Brookings Institution last week,
be not mournful. You were merely watching the leading economists of the
Democratic Party burying the faith once known as Rubinomics. May it rest in
peace. Rubinomics is the concept of "deficit reduction" as growth policy: Lower
the federal budget deficit and, as dawn follows night, interest rates will fall
and prosperity will break upon the land. Named for former Treasury Secretary
Robert Rubin, and much celebrated in the 1990s, the concept was embraced as
gospel by nearly all Democrats as recently as a few weeks ago. But last week it
officially expired, as those same Democrats reconverted to Keynesian deficit
spending in the name of "economic stimulus."
"Rubinomics R.I.P," The Wall Street Journal, January 15,
2008; Page A12 ---
In-store surveillance cameras showed that the man,
who police identified as Derrick Kosch, 25, of Kokomo, shot himself as he placed
the gun into the waistband of his pants, police said. Authorities declined to
release the surveillance footage early Tuesday. Shortly after the robbery,
dispatchers got a call from someone in a home in the 1000 block of East North
Street about a man who was shot. When officers arrived, they found Kosch with a
gunshot wound to a testicle and leg. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The Indy Channel.com, January 15, 2008 ---
Great Balls of Fire ---
The winner in the Fallaci category is the brilliant
General David Petraeus, who achieved something many were beginning to believe
impossible. And the winner of the Fiskie, the idiotarian of the year par
excellence, the most outstandingly hypocritical empty-skulled yapper in the
universe according to LGF readers: MSNBC spokeshole Keith “The Mouth” Olbermann.
The 2007 Fiskie and Fallaci Winners! ---
General Petreaus is really
General Betray Us? (NBC's Keith Olbermann calls our top general in
Iraq an outright liar) ---
Actor Wesley Snipes didn't pay federal taxes on $37.9
million in income from 1999 to 2004, according to documents filed ahead of the
actor's tax fraud trial scheduled to begin on Monday in U.S. District Court in
Ocala, FL, 80 miles northwest of Orlando.
"Actor Wesley Snipes spars with tax prosecutors," AccountingWeb,
January 15, 2008 ---
Wesley doesn't take much comfort in knowing that Sophia Loren went to jail for
tax evasion (but only for 18 days in Italy).
A special Kansas City police counter-terrorism unit
says they are battling international and domestic terrorism in the metro. The
department's homeland security division has five detectives dedicated to
investigating threats of terrorism. The unit's commander says it's an evolving
threat. . . . "In Kansas City, we face a silent, careful enemy," Dailey
testified. "Disguised as legitimate Islamic organizations and charities we find
threads leading to violent Islamist extremism." Dailey believes there are some
in the metro posing as refugees from east-African countries. Though, he would
not name specific organizations like Al-Qaeda or Hamas.
"Unit battles terrorism in Kansas CIty," MSNBC,
January 15, 2008 ---
As many as 1,500 white Britons are believed to have
converted to Islam for the purpose of funding, planning and carrying out
surprise terror attacks inside the UK, according to one MI5 source. Lord Carlile,
the Government's independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, said many
of the converts had been targeted by radical Muslims while serving prison terms.
Security experts say the growing secret army of white terrorists poses a
particularly serious threat as they are far less likely to be detected than
members of the Asian community.
Richard Elias, "Al-Qaeda's white
army of terror," Scotsman, January 17, 2008 ---
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said
Wednesday that one of the biggest threats to U.S. security may now come from
Rob Gifford, "Chertoff Says Europe Poses Terror Threat," NPR,
January 17, 2008 ---
With that as pretext, our sordid tale began Thursday
when that bastion of socialism on the West Coast, the San Francisco Chronicle,
curiously published an article harshly critical of folks like Penn who suck up
to despots the paper typically reveres (emphasis added): . . . With so
many celebrities making asses of themselves these days, D-list actors and
has-been pop stars need to get more resourceful. And what could be more
controversial than hanging out with the world's most notorious dictators and
other authoritarian figures? As ridiculous as the idea sounds, it's already
coming into style. Naomi Campbell had a flirty interview with Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez for a British GQ article that comes out today. At one
point the controversial leader and potential ruler-for-life asked her to "touch
my muscles." Danny Glover is friends with Chavez, who is reportedly funding two
of the San Francisco actor's forthcoming films. Others who have made recent
Chavez-related headlines include Oliver Stone, Sean Penn and Barbara Walters,
who placed Chavez on her list of the most fascinating people of 2007.
Noel Sheppard, "Sean Penn Slams
Paper That Mocked Celebs Sucking Up To Chavez," Newsbusters, January 16,
Iran is awash with natural gas, a relatively
clean-burning fuel that can produce electricity far cheaper than nuclear power
plants ever could. Nearly all of its Middle Eastern neighbors sit on significant
gas reserves or could have ready access to them through pipelines. Nuclear
power, by contrast, is so costly that even in advanced economies it needs
massive government subsidies and guarantees. True, many Middle Eastern states
currently suffer from a shortage of natural gas. But this supply squeeze could
be overcome relatively quickly once Middle Eastern states price electricity at
market rates, develop their gas fields more fully and run pipelines to states
with more gas on tap. This, though, would mean raising subsidized domestic
energy prices, costly investments and solving outstanding border disputes.
Henry Sokolski, "Atomic: Why
are France and America helping the Mideast go nuclear?" The Wall Street
Journal, January 17, 2008 ---
The Democratic-led Congress is unlikely to block
U.S. plans to sell $123 million worth of sophisticated precision-guided bomb
technology to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns from some members that the systems
could be used against Israel. . . . The sale is a key element in the U.S.
strategy to bolster the defenses of its Arab allies in Saudi Arabia and other
oil-producing majority Sunni Muslim Gulf nations against threats from Shiite
Matthew Lee and Anne Flaherty,
"Congress likely to OK Saudi arms deal," Seattlepi.com, January 14, 2008 ---
Bucking the trend in many other wealthy
industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby
boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years . . . The
nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population,
especially a growing number of Hispanics. That group accounted for nearly
one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Hispanic white women and other racial
and ethnic groups were having more babies, too.
Mike Stobbe, "Against the Trend,
U.S. Births Way Up," PhysOrg, January 15, 2008 ---
In addition, the survey, conducted between June and
October of 2007, found that a wide majority of Democratic (67%), Republican
(66%), and Independent (70%) voters believe that health insurance costs should
be shared by individuals, employers and the government. Further, a majority of
the public was strongly or somewhat in favor of requiring individuals to have
health insurance coverage—with government help for those who cannot afford it.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans favor such a proposal, with 80 percent of
Democrats in support, and more than half of Republicans (52%) and two-thirds of
Independents (68%) in favor, according to a report on the survey findings, The
Public’s Views on Health Care Reform in the 2008 Presidential Election. The
Commonwealth Fund today also released a report that describes and evaluates the
Presidential candidates’ health reform plans. The analysis found that both
leading Democratic and Republican candidates seek to expand health coverage
through the private insurance market, but the leading Democratic candidates
would require employers to continue participating in the health insurance system
either by providing coverage directly or contributing to the cost of their
employees’ coverage, whereas the Republicans support changes in the tax code
that have the potential to significantly reduce the role of employers in the
provision and financing of health insurance. “In
some ways, the Republican proposals seek bigger changes to the way most people
currently obtain coverage,” said lead author Sara Collins, Assistant Vice
President at The Commonwealth Fund. “Most of their plans propose a diminishing
role for employers, whereas the leading Democrats favor keeping employers in the
PhysOrg, January 15. 2008 ---
Two of the leading scholars in America (Gary Becker and Richard Posner) discuss
the healthcare proposals of the leading U.S. Presidential candidates at
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/ (January 13, 2008)
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker states the following:
As Posner indicates, American health care
generally gets poor grades in international comparisons of health care
systems. Although major reforms are needed in the American approach,
international comparisons underrate American health care. This is partly
because these comparisons give insufficient weight to the fact that most of
the new drugs to treat major diseases originated in the US, along with many
of the new surgical procedures, and insights about the importance of
lifestyles in good health. This helps explain why many Canadians and those
from other countries come to the US to treat serious diseases rather than
visa versa. The US is also much more generous than other countries, such as
Great Britain and France, in making expensive surgeries and drugs available
to older persons through Medicare and private insurance. This too
significantly raises the cost of health care. Moreover, the American health
system is decentralized and "messy", and many health evaluators prefer a
single payer (i.e., government) centralized approach to health care as
opposed to any market-based approach.
This is not to deny that the American
health care system has serious defects. If I were running for president, and
allowed only four reforms, I would emphasize the following (assuming I do
not worry about getting enough votes to be elected!):
1) Eliminate the link between employment
and the tax advantage of private health insurance. Since much of the
spending on health are investments in human capital, there is good reason to
exempt these expenditures, along with other investments, from income taxes.
However, this employment link is inequitable because it does not provide the
same tax advantages to families without employment-based insurance. It also
encourages expensive employer health plans that have significant consumption
components since the government picks up much of the cost of such coverage.
President Bush has proposed a reasonable alternative; give every family a
flat $15,000 standard deduction (and half that amount for individuals),
whether or not their health insurance is obtained through their employer.
They would still get this deduction if they spend less on their insurance,
so they have incentives to economize on their health care (but by my reform
number 4, everyone would have to take out catastrophic coverage). Consumers
would have to pay for any coverage in excess of $15,000, so they would only
choose such coverage if they were willing to spend their own money, not
2) Encourage the spread of Health Savings
Accounts (see my discussion on Feb. 5, 2006) that encourage consumers to
economize on unnecessary medical expenditures. Present law allows tax-free
contributions to these Accounts of up to about $2700 for individuals and
double that amount to $5450 for families, as long as these contributions are
not greater than the deductibles on their health insurance. Contributions to
HSAs that are not spent in any year can be carried over to future years
without any tax liabilities, and even into retirement income. So HSAs are an
efficient way to save as well as to spend on non-catastrophic medical care.
Health Savings Accounts have spread since they were introduced several years
ago, but might need greater encouragement, such as higher limits.
3) Medicare spending amounts to about $350
billion a year, it constitutes about 12 percent of federal spending, and it
is one of the most rapidly growing entitlements. It is projected to continue
to grow as a fraction of GDP from its present 2.7 percent level to over 11
percent in 2080. The source of the growth is the continued aging of the
population, and the increased per capita medical spending on older person as
new medical technologies and drugs are developed. Projections made by
Medicare Actuaries indicate that the Medicare HI Trust Fund will be
exhausted by the year 2018-only a decade away.
Reform of Medicare is probably among the
most challenging not only because of the elderly's political clout, but also
because Americans have come to expect access to expensive medical treatments
as they age. Still, the prescription drug coverage introduced into Medicare
in 2003 was an important step in the right direction, despite the flaws in
the program (see my discussion on February 3, 2005). Drugs are not only
increasingly available to fight many diseases of old age, but drugs, once
developed, are relatively cheap to extend to large numbers of users. Even
when drugs provide only small benefits as they are extended to groups that
can benefit less from the drugs, the costs are far less than would be
required to provide expensive surgeries or hospitalizations to older persons
with few years of life remaining. This is why I would greatly increase the
generosity of Medicare drug coverage, and compensate for the additional
expense by cutting down on allowances for lengthy hospital stays, and
raising other co-pays.
4) I do not believe the problem of the
uninsured in the US is as serious as usually claimed since most of those
without health insurance are young and do not have major medical expenses.
When they do, they can use emergency room service at major hospitals,
although studies show that they do not even use emergency room care more
often than others. Still, it may be desirable to require that everyone must
contract for private catastrophic health care since the uninsured tend to
use taxpayer and philanthropic funded medical care facilities to pay for the
costs of any major illnesses. Medicaid should be extended to cover anyone
who cannot afford such catastrophic insurance. Compulsory coverage would
integrate the 45 million or so uninsured Americans into an overall health
care system while still preserving the desirable decentralized private
system of health care.
Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements are at
running Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign probably haven’t
made time to leaf through the University of Illinois Press’s
most recent catalog. Too bad for them. They could have placed an
early bulk order for Erika Falk’s
Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns.
The official publication date is next
week. It seems like a book that Clinton’s staff would find
useful – and not just as a projectile to bounce off the heads of
members of the press corps. Falk, who is the associate program
chair for the master’s degree program in communications at Johns
Hopkins University, analyzes decades of media reports on female
presidential candidates. The first was Victoria Woodhull, who
campaigned on the ticket of the Equal Rights Party during the
election of 1872. The most recent was the bid by Carol Mosley
Braun, a Democratic candidate who withdrew shortly before the
primaries started in January 2004.
Scott McLemee, "Hillar-ious,"
Inside Higher Ed, January 16, 2008 ---
Disgraced and disbarred, Mike Nifong is now
bankrupt. The former North Carolina prosecutor, whose career imploded with his
botched handling of the Duke University rape case, today filed for bankruptcy,
listing liabilities in excess of $180 million (virtually all
The Smoking Gun, January 15, 2008 ---
In a legal effort to help a U.S. senator, the
American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that people who have sex in public
bathrooms have an expectation of privacy. Republican Senator Larry Craig is
asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to let him withdraw his guilty plea to
disorderly conduct related to a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport
"Sex in restroom stalls is private: ACLU says Civil
liberties group goes to bat for Sen. Craig," MSNBC, January 15, 2008 ---
This leaves some questions unanswered. Is a "wide stance" spillover into
adjoining stalls an invasion of privacy in those stalls? Will the U.S. Supreme
Court eventually define a "wide stance?"
Is solicitation of sex from a stall acceptable to the ACLU? Does
this include paying money for sex?
The ACLU argues that: "Even if Craig was inviting the officer to have sex,
the ACLU argued, his actions would not be illegal." What if Senator Craig
put a $100 bill on the toe of his wide stance shoe? Then again what if Senator Craig had simply
offered the officer an internship in the U.S. Senate?
Another question we would like the ACLU to address: What
if sex in the only stall of a restroom ties up the stall for two hours while a
line of very cramped up people forms for half a block? If the ACLU wins this
case we hope that parking clocks will be installed that make very and
distracting announcements when the stall time is up! Perhaps boarding
announcements should be made in airport restrooms.
If the ACLU wins this appeal then it is only fitting that
restrooms also be retrofitted with waterbeds. That way hookers pretending to be
on legitimate dates won't have to be confined to sleazy whorehouse rooms.
Remember to send money to the ACLU as a thank you for clarifying what kind of
sleaze in legal in public restrooms ---
Match yourself to a presidential candidate ---
(Try pretending to be Santa Claus or Robin Hood)
Question for Walt Mossberg
Q: I want to switch to a Mac, but my life is on Microsoft Outlook, which
is only available on Windows. Is there a simple way to convert all of this data
to programs on the Mac?
From The Wall Street Journal, January t0, 2008, Page B2 ---
A: There is a $10 program that performs this task.
It's called O2M (Outlook to Mac) and is from a company called Little
Machines. It can be downloaded at littlemachines.com, where you also will
find details about the Mac programs with which it works. This is a Windows
program, which transfers your Outlook data into files you copy to your Mac.
You then manually import these files into your Mac programs.
According to the company, the program exports
Outlook email, email attachments, contacts and calendar appointments and
allows you to import this data into Apple's built-in email, address book and
calendar programs, as well as into Microsoft Entourage, and other
January 17, 2008 reply from Robert C. Holmes, Glendale Community College
When I bought my MacBook Pro the local Mac dealer
said it was easy to put all of my Outlook stuff into Entourage. I said fine,
throw that in for free as part of the deal. Everything came over and it
syncs to my Treo phone/PDA just like it used to using Outlook. They also
moved all of the data files from my Windows PC also for free.
CELL PHONES AND HOTEL MAGNETIC KEY CARDS DON’T MIX
The desk clerk at the hotel I was staying in told me that the reason my room key
card kept failing was because I kept it in my pocket next to my cell phone. Sure
enough, after the clerk reactivated the card and I kept it in a separate pocket,
the problem didn’t reoccur. Is that explanation an urban myth? What’s the story?
Answer from Stanley Zarowin, Journal of Accountancy, January 2008 ---
I’ve had the same experience, and when I checked with a
manager with my cell phone company, she told me it does happen from time to
time—especially with phones that have a metal, rather than a plastic, case.
How to Start Up Your PC Instantly
workers have the same morning routine: turn on the computer, then grab coffee,
catch up with coworkers, or look at paperwork while Windows boots up. Others
save time, but waste energy, by keeping their machines on all the time. Now
Device VM, a startup based in Silicon Valley, has a product that circumvents the
everlasting boot-up. The company has recently released a tiny piece of software
that, when integrated with common computer hardware, gives users the option to
boot either Windows or a faster, less-complex operating system called
Depending on the hardware and Splashtop settings, a person
using the software--which is based on the open-source operating system
Linux--can start surfing the Web or watching a DVD in less than 20 seconds, and,
in some cases, in less than five.
Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, January 16, 2008 ---
The University of California's eScholarship Repository has recently
five million full-text downloads,
according to the university
The eScholarship Repository, a service of the
California Digital Library, allows scholars in the University of California
system to submit their work to a central location where any users may easily
access it free of charge. The idea is to ease communication between researchers.
Catherine Mitchell, acting director of the CDL publishing group, says the number
shows that both content seekers and creators have embraced the service, allaying
concerns among researchers that others wouldn't contribute to the repository.
Hurley Goodall, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2008 ---
How Do Scholars Search? ---
What are the big faculty cat fights all about?
"Learning From Cats," by Rob Weir, Inside Higher Ed, January 17, 2008
Academic squabbles are often compared to cat
fights, but as one who has owned cats for several decades, I’ve come to
believe that such analogies are unfair to felines. Cats, for instance,
instinctively know to terminate a chase when they would consume more
calories than their prey would provide. And even the pugilist tabbies I’ve
owned eventually learned to give wide berth to rivals who consistently
bloodied them. All of this suggests that cats may be more evolutionarily
advanced than a lot of academics. In the spirit of all those What I Learned
from My Cat books now moldering on remainder shelves, here are eight
academic debates left over from last year that aren’t worth the calories,
let along the anguish.
1. What Do
We Do About Poorly Prepared Incoming Students?
How about teach them? It seems like I’ve been hearing the
same tape loop since I was 18 and was told my generation was
ignoramus-ridden because it had no training in Latin. Let’s
just admit that each generation comes to the table with
different skill sets and move on. This is the ultimate lost
chase. What students ought to know is irrelevant when faced
with a classroom of those who don’t know it.
2. The Great
Books versus Multicultural Readings:
This is another tired horse ready for pasturage. We’ve been
fighting over the canon for so long that it has escaped the
debaters’ notice that the passion for books has fallen from
fashion. I, for one, am grateful when students read anything
and get excited. If they want to declare Neil Gaiman graphic
novels part of the canon, that’s fine with me if it helps us
talk about myth, archetypes, and culture.
the Academy Operate According to a Consumer Model?
If you answered “no,” prepare to be boarded; your ship has
been vanquished. The high price tag of higher ed makes it a
market-place commodity and it’s as naïve to assert that a
college education is its own reward as to believe that the
Olympics are a still bastion of amateurism. Whether we like
it or not, kids shop for courses just like they hit the
mall. Profs and departments can assume the crusty purist’s
demeanor, or they can start making course offerings jazzier
and sexier. The latter path leads to the vitality, the first
to extinction. If you don’t believe it, ask a classicist or
a labor historian.
Should Faculty Be Forced to Be Tech-Savvy?
Because it’s the 21st century, we’re educators, and we need
to communicate with students. Every campus has a few cranks
who wear electronic illiteracy as a badge of honor. They
walk about in crumpled garb, wax eloquent about the glories
of their old Olivetti, and brag they don’t use e-mail. The
rest of us tolerate them as if they were an eccentric aunt,
and defend them when students grouse about them. Here’s a
better idea: Give students the e-mail addresses of the
department chair and the academic dean. Just in case they
wish to register their complaints.
Colleges Be Required to Dip Deeper into Endowment Funds?
Yes, but this debate is really not worth having as
the future is clear: Either everyone will follow the
preemptive lead of those well-endowed schools that have
begun spending a higher percentage of their endowment, or
Congress will act and impose the same 5 percent standard
with which foundations must comply.
Can We Improve Our ‘U.S. News & World Report’ Rating?
Unless you’re a member of an embattled admissions
department, who cares? The battle worth fighting would be a
campaign to put all such Miss Congeniality-modeled guides
out of business. I’d happily don armor for a federated
effort to do that.
Campus Conservatives the Victim of Discrimination?
Does anyone have any spare crocodile tears for the group
that pretty much runs the country? What a silly debate.
There’s a difference between being a minority and being a
victim, just as there’s a difference between free speech and
the guarantee that others will agree with you. When stripped
to its basics the brief is that neo-cons feel uncomfortable
in places like Amherst, Berkeley, Cambridge, and Madison.
Well, duh! That’s like a vegetarian complaining about the
menu at a Ponderosa Steakhouse. Oddly enough, one seldom
hears pleas for more feminists at faith-based institutions,
pacifists at military academies, or evolutionary scientists
on the Mike Huckabee campaign staff.
Churchill or David Horowitz?
Neither please! If nothing else, can we resolve that in 2008
we will uphold the principle that propaganda of any sort has
no place in the college classroom? That would also solve the
conservative complaint above. Best of all, it would relegate
the boorish Churchill and Horowitz to the obscurity they
have so richly earned.
altogether now: Meow!
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Humanities Professors Can Be a Condescending Bunch
I always thought it was part of their charm.
"It's Their Problem, Not Ours," by Mark Baurline, Chronicle of Higher
Education's The Chronicle Review, January 16, 2008 ---
In either case, a little more respect for public
opinion will be more effective than half-baked diagnoses of the public mind.
Posted at 04:30:06 AM on January 16, 2008 | All
postings by Mark Bauerlein
Comments Humanities faculty, if nothing else,
always have been experts to expressing condescension towards faculty in
other fields. They express it in cleverly-worded comments at faculty
meetings. They express it in their classrooms to students who major in
anything else. They express it in their writing and at their conferences.
They love expressing it. It’s part of their
It’s part of what makes them so repellent to so
many students. And to other faculty.
— Mike Faraday · Jan 16, 07:15 AM · #
Don’t condescend… I’m going to use pop culture to
defend the humanities. Specifically, I’m thinking of the 2003 movie
“Underworld,” in which a war ensues between vampires and werewolves over an
act of injustice and racism. What’s important is that the war continues, as
the subject of the movie, because a significant number of the warriors, at
least on the vampire side, don’t understand the genesis of the war. And why
not? Because probing history is forbidden. That’s a major though understated
theme of the movie. Simply put, I believe in a strong humanities curriculum
because I believe critical and analytical thinking is a good thing. And I
believe that critical and analytical thinking is best taught in the
humanities. It’s a different kind of analytical thinking than offered in the
sciences. Without humanities, who knows, we could end up fighting a long and
gruesome war for reasons to difficult to determine. Hey, wait a minute…
— Epiphany · Jan 16, 10:57 AM · #
It’s the humanities professors that are
experiencing “unease” — they’re the ones concerned with “proving their
worth.” The man on the street seems fine.
— Pippin · Jan 16, 12:40 PM · #
“That’s Byrne’s paraphrase, and if it’s accurate….”
Why would you indulge in this formulation? Do you
have some particular reason to think that it might be inaccurate? If so, you
should make clear what that reason is.
Or is this not merely a familiar academic
status-marking gesture — one perhaps best termed “taking a whiz on the
journo”? According to the oft-repeated claim, reporters are more or less
incapable of quoting anything accurately, let alone understanding it, while
professors are wonderfully diligent and precise on both scores. If only that
You have insulted a skilled reporter and editor.
You owe him an apology.
— Scott McLemee · Jan 16, 01:30 PM · #
I “indulged” (?) in the accuracy point only because
I haven’t seen the original speech. It is clear that I assume Byrne is
It is quite a stretch to turn my criticism of
academic condescension into a specimen of “familiar academic status-marking”
against journalists, academic status being something I lost interest in long
— Mark Bauerlein · Jan 16, 07:15 PM · #
While teaching MBAs at the University of Chicago
Grad School of Business, I never found an undergrad econ or business major
who performed best in my assignments. Always it was undergrad literature or
philosophy majors who excelled in MBA work. Why? I wondered at the time,
utterly surprised by these results.
My best guess—lacking decent valid data—was and is
that articulateness overwhelms all quantitative skills in doing teamwork.
The person on the team who can split differences because they can exactly
and sympathetically spot and articulate them, controls team outcomes.
Neither professors nor students of humanities
departments charm me with their casual arrogances and lack of long term
career pay, it must be said. However, in businesses, their grads clearly
outperform econ and business grads. Unfortunately the people we like are not
always the people who work best for us.
The humanities are to “educate” but they, the tens
of thousands of professors who constitute them, have not yet bothered to
apply half decent research methods to define what educatedness is and how it
helps real world needs. Changes in self understanding exist, can be
measured, and their impact on concrete work contexts and challenges can be
measured—were there people in the humanities un-lazy enough to define their
mission and primary beneficial side-effects in life.
— Richard Tabor Greene · Jan 17, 08:28 AM · #
I agree that we humanists too often condescend and
too often fail to think that everyday communication with people outside our
in-crowd is worth the time and effort. On the other hand, recognizing this
shouldn’t make us miss the elements of truth in Holquist’s statement.
There is a very long tradition of suspicion of and
dis-ease with language, especially in the American context. Witness Hillary
Clinton’s efforts to portray Barack Obama’s oratory as all eloquence and no
substance. Be a doer, not a talker! Walk the Walk, don’t just talk the talk.
The list could go on endlessly, but I’ve already blogged about this
elsewhere, so I won’t go on. The Puritan plain style is one interesting
effort to negotiate the tension created by the inevitable necessity of
language and suspicion that the person who relies upon it is somehow
inferior or suspect.
I think, then, that the Humanities do suffer in the
American context because we traffic above all else in language. This,
however, doesn’t excuse us from whatever smugness accompanies and
exacerbates this situation. It is, nevertheless, the rhetorical situation
into which the humanist has to speak.
— Peter Kerry Powers · Jan 17, 09:05 AM · #
In my view, Prof. Holquist’s formulation—if it is
accurately reported—is more vague than condescending, and Professor
Bauerlin’s response is equally vagued and “half-baked.” Not that it is
entirely wrong—humanists (and scientists, and politicians, and the person at
the checkout stand) can be condescending. But the Holquist comment was
directed at why humanists fail to communicate with the general public, and
his answer seems to be “unease with language.” This weak response is rather
ironic since according to new criticism and the abhorred “deconstruction,”
among other critical methodologies, such as the Russian formalist
“ostranyie” or “making strange,” language (and art) are supposed to make one
feel uncomfortable, not at ease, estranged, cast out of one’s normal mode of
thinking, thus opening the mind up to new perceptions and knowledge.
Bauerlin’s implict, if tiredly familiar response is that we (humanists) have
hoist ourselves by our own petard, and our condescension comes in the form
of blaming our repressed embarrassment at having done so on the inadequacies
of the reader, or public, or student. Fair enough; but in the end, I’m with
the party (the professors of humanities, as characterized, comprised of
human beings with all kinds of foibles) that, however inadequately and
condescendingly, wants to make “the public” and more particularly our
students a little uncomfortable with language, or world view, or familiar
habit of mind. Perhaps a little more discomfort with our assumptions about
the world—communicated through language—might lead us to a better place,
eventually. Maybe not; there are no guarantees.
— POD · Jan 17, 09:58 AM · #
The humanities have often abandoned the functions
which the ‘general public’, i.e. citizens of the real world, consider
important—the preservation of our cultural heritage and the identification,
analysis, and teaching of works of excellence. Many of the things in which
humanities faculty are interested (‘cognitive atheism’, ‘antifoundationalism’,
and pseudo-theorized approaches to race, class, and gender, for example) do
not interest citizens of the real world. The issues themselves may, but
generally not in the manner used by academics.
The humanities are profoundly important to people
in the real world and they are highly respected by them. They need no
defense. Similarly, the skills of articulation fostered by humanities study
are widely and deeply prized and need no defense. What requires defense is
the list of titles of MLA addresses. The ‘general public’ see
self-indulgence, effeteness, triviality, self-obsession, and political bias
It is also time that ‘leaders’ in the humanities
confront the fact that the ‘general public’ that seems not to understand
them includes a large number of individuals who have been taught and given
degrees by them. What does that say?
— Observer · Jan 17, 10:48 AM · #
Among other concerns, Bauerline is constantly
reminding us that kids these days can’t read, that adults don’t read, that
our society has been dumbed down, etc. Literacy experts attest that
attention span is down. Politicians cannot counter sound bytes with reasoned
I think “unease with language” is putting it
gently. And I think Mark Bauerline has complained about this “unease” all
the time. But when he can BLAME the unease on educators, he is happy.
Sabbaticals for Dummies
Lessons to Be Learned on Your First Sabbatical Leave
Those of us who have long been curious about what
professors do on sabbatical could glean one sort of an answer from Oregon
University English professor Edwin Battistella’s tongue-in-cheek (we think)
listing of “Twenty-Five things to do on sabbatical” that appeared in the Fall
2007 issue of The Montana Professor. Although Battistella was obviously
in a whimsical frame of mind when he constructed the “to do” list, the
suggestions look all too credible to some of us on the higher education beat.
Some of us always thought that the answer to what pedagogues do on sabbatical
was akin to an old George Carlin comedy routine. “What do dogs do on their day
off?” Carlin famously asked. “They can’t lay around, man.”
Malcolm A. Kline, "Sabbaticals for Dummies," Campus Report, January 16,
Lessons to Be Learned in Your First Apartment ---
The makers of Scrabble are trying to shut down Scrabulous, an online
version of the game that is a popular activity on Facebook
"Makers of Scrabble Target Facebook Version of Game," The Wall Street Journal,
January 16, 2008 ---
Are you clueless about protecting your rights to your own writings?
"Librarian: Ohio State Professors Need Copyright Refresher," by Andrea L.
Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2008 ---
Beware of faculty members who are clueless about
whether they hold the copyrights to their research papers, Trisha Davis, a
librarian at Ohio State University, told a group of librarians today at the
midwinter conference of the American Library Association.
She made the remark while discussing the challenges
Ohio State faced in building an institutional repository. The university has
over 21,000 articles — including conference papers, teaching materials,
photographs, and multimedia works — in the
Faculty members will submit research papers to the
repository often unaware that they have signed away the rights to their work
to a journal publisher, Ms. Davis said. “They are stunned that they have not
retained the copyrights,” she said. “They’re vehemently adamant” that they
still have rights to the work.
Also, she added, faculty members sometimes add
other scholars’ material to the repository, incorrectly assuming that this
is allowed under fair use. —
Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at
RateMyProfessor now claims to have archived evaluations of over 1 million
professors from 6,000 schools based on over 6 million submitted evaluations from
The proportions of students who submitted evaluations are self selecting and
miniscule compared to the number of students taught by each professor. Also the
outliers tend to respond more than the silent majority. For example, sometimes
the overall evaluations are based on only 1-10 self selecting (often
disgruntled) students among possibly hundreds taught over the years by an
The controversial RateMyProfessor site now links to Facebook entries for
Our new Facebook app
lets you to search for, browse and read
ratings of professors and schools. Find out
which professor will inspire you, challenge
you, or which
will just give you the easy A.
What topic dominates instructor evaluations on RateMyProfessors.com (or RATE for
"RateMyProfessors — or His Shoes Are Dirty," by Terry Caesar, Inside
Higher Ed, July 28, 2006 ---
But the trouble begins here. Like those guests,
students turn out to be candid about the same thing. Rather than sex, it’s
grades. Over and over again, RATE comments cut right to the chase: how easy
does the professor grade? If easy, all things are forgiven, including a dull
classroom presence. If hard, few things are forgiven, especially not a dull
classroom presence. Of course we knew students are obsessed with grades. Yet
until RATE could we have known how utterly, unremittingly, remorselessly?
And now the obsession is free to roam and cavort,
without the constraints of the class-by-class student evaluation forms, with
their desiderata about the course being “organized” or the instructor having
“knowledge of subject matter.” These things still count. RATE students
regularly register them. But nothing counts like grades. Compared to RATE,
the familiar old student evaluation forms suddenly look like searching
inquiries into the very nature of formal education, which consists of many
other things than the evaluative dispositions of the professor teaching it.
What other things? For example, whether or not the
course is required. Even the most rudimentary of student evaluation forms
calls for this information. Not RATE. Much of the reason a student is free
to go straight for the professorial jugular — and notwithstanding all the
praise, the site is a splatfest — is because course content can be merrily
cast aside. The raw, visceral encounter of student with professor, as
mediated through the grade, emerges as virtually the sole item of interest.
Of course one could reply: so what? The site
elicits nothing else. That’s why it’s called, “rate my professors,” and not
“rate my course.” In effect, RATE takes advantage of the slippage always
implicit in traditional student evaluations, which both are and are not
evaluations of the professor rather than the course. To be precise, they are
evaluations of the professor in terms of a particular course. This
particularity, on the other hand, is precisely what is missing at the RATE
site, where whether or not a professor is being judged by majors — a crucial
factor for departmental and college-wide tenure or promotion committees who
are processing an individual’s student evaluations — is not stipulated.
Granted, a student might bring up being a major. A
student might bring anything up. This is why RATE disappoints, though,
because there’s no framework, not even that of a specific course, to
restrain or guide student comments. “Sarcastic” could well be a different
thing in an upper-division than in a lower-division course. But in the
personalistic RATE idiom, it’s always a character flaw. Indeed, the purest
RATE comments are all about character. Just as the course is without
content, the professor is without performative ability. Whether he’s a “nice
guy” or she “plays favorites,” it’s as if the student has met the professor
a few times at a party, rather than as a member of his or her class for a
RATE comments are particularly striking if we
compare those made by the professor’s colleagues as a result of classroom
observations. Many departments have evolved extremely detailed checksheets.
I have before me one that divides the observation into four categories,
including Personal Characteristics (10 items), Interpersonal Relationships
(8), Subject Application/Knowledge (8), and Conducting Instruction (36). Why
so many in the last category? Because performance matters — which is just
what we tell students about examinations: each aims to test not so much an
individual’s knowledge as a particular performance of that knowledge.
Of course, some items on the checksheet are of
dubious value, e.g. “uses a variety of cognitive levels when asking
questions.” So it goes in the effort to itemize successful teaching, an
attempt lauded by proponents of student evaluations or lamented by critics.
The genius of RATE is to bypass the attempt entirely, most notoriously with
its “Hotness Total.” Successful teaching? You may be able to improve
“helpfulness” or “clarity.” But you can’t very well improve “hotness.”
Whether or not you are a successful teacher is not safely distant at RATE
from whether or not you are “hot.”
Perhaps it never was. In calling for a temperature
check, RATE may merely be directly addressing a question — call it the
charisma of an individual professor — that traditional student evaluations
avoid. If so, though, they avoid it with good reason: charisma can’t be
routinized. When it is, it becomes banal, which is one reason why the
critical comments are far livelier than the celebratory ones. RATE winds up
testifying to one truism about teaching: It’s a lot easier to say what good
teaching isn’t than to say what it is. Why? One reason is, because it’s a
lot easier for students who care only about teachers and not about teaching
to say so.
Finally, what about these RATE students? How many
semester hours have they completed? How many classes did they miss? It is
with good reason (we discover) that traditional student evaluation forms are
careful to ask something about each student. Not only is it important for
the administrative processing of each form. Such questions, even at a
minimal level, concede the significance in any evaluation of the evaluating
subject. Without some attention to this, the person under consideration is
reduced to the status of an object — which is, precisely, what the RATE
professor becomes, time after time. Students on RATE provide no information
at all about themselves, not even initials or geographical locations, as
given by many of the people who rate books and movies on amazon.com or who
give comments on columns and articles on this Web site.
In fact, students at RATE don’t even have to be
students! I know of one professor who was so angered at a comment made by
one of her students that she took out a fake account, wrote a more favorable
comment about herself, and then added more praise to the comments about two
of her colleagues. How many other professors do this? There’s no telling —
just as there’s no telling about local uses of the site by campus
committees. Of course this is ultimately the point about RATE: Even the
student who writes in the most personal comments (e.g. “hates deodorant") is
completely safe from local retribution — never mind accountability — because
the medium is so completely anonymous.
Thus, the blunt energies of RATE emerge as cutting
edge for higher education in the 21st century. In this respect, the degree
of accuracy concerning any one individual comment about any one professor is
beside the point. The point is instead the medium itself and the nature of
the judgements it makes possible. Those on display at RATE are immediate
because the virtual medium makes them possible, and anonymous because the
same medium requires no identity markers for an individual. Moreover, the
sheer aggregation of the site itself — including anybody from anywhere in
the country — emerges as much more decisive than what can or cannot be said
on it. I suppose this is equivalent to shrugging, whatever we think of RATE,
we now have to live with it.
I think again of the very first student evaluation
I received at a T.A. The result? I no longer remember. Probably not quite as
bad as I feared, although certainly not as good as I hoped. The only thing I
remember is one comment. It was made, I was pretty sure, by a student who
sat right in the front row, often put her head down on the desk (the class
was at 8 a.m.) and never said a word all semester. She wrote: “his shoes are
dirty.” This shocked me. What about all the time I had spent, reading,
preparing, correcting? What about how I tried to make available the best
interpretations of the stories required? My attempts to keep discussions
organized, or just to have discussions, rather than lectures?
All irrelevant, at least for one student? It seemed
so. Worse, I had to admit the student was probably right — that old pair of
brown wingtips I loved was visibly becoming frayed and I hadn’t kept them
shined. Of course I could object: Should the state of a professor’s shoes
really constitute a legitimate student concern? Come to this, can’t you be a
successful teacher if your shoes are dirty? In today’s idiom, might this not
even strike at least some students all by itself as being, well, “hot"? In
any case, I’ve never forgotten this comment. Sometimes it represents to me
the only thing I’ve ever learned from reading my student evaluations. I took
it very personally once and I cherish it personally still.
Had it appeared on RATE, however, the comment would
feel very different. A RATE[D] professor is likely to feel like a contestant
on “American Idol,” standing there smiling while the results from the
viewing audience are totaled. What do any of them learn? Nothing, except
that everything from the peculiarities of their personalities to, ah, the
shine of their shoes, counts. But of course as professors we knew this
already. Didn’t we? Of course it might always be good to learn it all over
again. But not at a site where nobody’s particular class has any weight; not
in a medium in which everybody’s words float free; and not from students
whose comments guarantee nothing except their own anonymity. I’ll bet some
of them even wear dirty shoes.
July 28, 2006 reply from Alexander Robin A
Two quotes from a couple of Bob Jensen's recent
"Of course we knew students are obsessed with
grades." (from the RateMyProfessors thread)
"The problem is that universities have explicit
or implicit rankings of "journal quality" that is largely dictated by
research faculty in those universities. These rankings are crucial to
promotion, tenure, and performance evaluation decisions." (from the TAR
These two issues are related. First, students are
obsessed with grades because universities, employers and just about everyone
else involved are obsessed with grades. One can also say that faculty are
obsessed with publications because so are those who decide their fates. In
these two areas of academia, the measurement has become more important than
the thing it was supposed to measure.
For the student, ideally the learning is the most
important outcome of a class and the grade is supposed to reflect how
successful the learning was. But the learning does not directly and tangibly
affect the student - the grade does. In my teaching experience students,
administrators and employers saw the grade as being the key outcome of a
class, not the learning.
Research publication is supposed to result from a
desire to communicate the results of research activity that the researcher
is very interested in. But, especially in business schools, this has been
turned on its head and the publication is most important and the research is
secondary - it's just a means to the publication, which is necessary for
It's really a pathetic situation in which the
ideals of learning and discovery are largely perverted. Had I fully
understood the magnitude of the problem, I would have never gone for a PhD
or gotten into teaching. As to what to do about it, I really don't know. The
problems are so deeply entrenched in academic culture. Finally I just gave
up and retired early hoping to do something useful for the rest of my
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations are at
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations and learning styles are at
Bob Jensen's criticisms of RateMyProfessor are at
Probably the most widespread scandal in higher education is grade
inflation. Much of this can be attributed to required (by the university) and
voluntary (RateMyProfessor) evaluations of instructors by students ---
Is banning of Wikipedia/Google
for coursework both stupid and wasted effort?
ban their students from citing Wikipedia
in papers. Tara Brabazon of the University of Brighton, bars her students from
using not only Wikipedia, but Google as well,
of London reported. Google is “white bread for the mind,”
Brabazon said. “Google offers easy answers to difficult questions. But students
do not know how to tell if they come from serious, refereed work or are merely
composed of shallow ideas, superficial surfing and fleeting commitments,” she
said. “Google is filling, but it does not necessarily offer nutritional
Education, January 14, 2008 ---
"The University of Google," by Andrea L.
Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 17, 2008 ---
Tara Brabazon, professor of media studies at
Britain’s University of Brighton, was expected Wednesday to criticize Google
and what she sees as students’ over-reliance on the search engine and
Wikipedia in an inaugural lecture at the university. She calls the trend
“The University of Google,” according to an article Monday in The Times, and
labels the search engine “white bread for the mind.” The professor bans her
own students from using Wikipedia and Google in their first year of study.
A columnist for the paper responded in a piece that
accuses Ms. Brabazon of snobbery. “Curiosity, it seems, can only be
stimulated by trawling library shelves or by shelling out substantial
amounts of money,” he writes, sarcastically.
January 17, 2008 reply from Derek
Very interesting. I understand Brabazon’s point
about students’ over-reliance on Google and Wikipedia, but I don’t know if
banning those web sites helps to improve students’ information literacy. I
think students need to know how to use these kinds of web sites wisely.
If I can make a plug here, our teaching center just
started a new podcast series featuring interviews with faculty about issues
of teaching and learning. The first episode, available
here, features an interview with a
(Vanderbilt) history professor who uses Wikipedia to
teach the undergraduate history majors in his class how to think like
historians. He’s a great teacher and interviewee, and I think he offers an
effective way to use Wikipedia to help him accomplish his course goals.
Episode 1 ---
How will Professor Brabazon deal with the new and authoritative
So how might a student find refereed journal or scholarly book references using
Most scholarly Wikipedia modules have footnotes and
references that can be traced back such that there is no evidence of having
ever gone to Wikipedia.
For example, note the many scholarly references and links at
Don't overlook the Discussion tab in Wikipedia. Here's
where some information is turned into knowledge by scholars.
If there is not a footnote or a reference, look for a
unique phrase in Wikipedia and then insert that phrase in Google Scholar or
one of the other sites below:
PLoS One ---
Google Scholar ---
Not to be confused with Google Advanced Search which does not cover many
scholarly articles ---
Google Knol ---
Google Research ---
One Million University of Illinois (Free) Books to be Digitized by Google
Google Digitized Books ---
For example, key in the word "accounting"
Then try "Advanced Managerial Accounting"
Then try "Joel Demski"
Then try "Accounting for Derivative Financial Instruments"
Then try "Robert E. Jensen" AND "Accounting"
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announces
the availability of a newly-digitized collection of Abraham Lincoln books
accessible through the Open Content Alliance and displayed on the University
Library's own web site, as the first step of a digitization project of
Lincoln books from its collection. View the first set of books digitized at:
Microsoft's Windows "Live Search" or "Academic Search" ---
Amazon's A9 ---
Beginning October 23, 2003,
Amazon.com offers a text search of entire contents of millions of pages of
books, including new books ---
How It Works ---
A significant extension of our groundbreaking Look Inside the Book
feature, Search Inside the Book allows you to search millions of pages
to find exactly the book you want to buy. Now instead of just displaying
books whose title, author, or publisher-provided keywords that match
your search terms, your search results will surface titles based on
every word inside the book. Using Search Inside the Book is as simple as
running an Amazon.com search.
Soon to be the largest scholarly library in the world:
Google Book Search ---
Carnegie Mellon Libraries: Digital Library Colloquium (video lectures)
Wikipedia describes how Jung proposed
spiritual guidance as treatment for chronic alcoholism ---
Professor Brabazon might give a student an F grade for citing the above link.
Instead the student is advised to enter the phrase [ \"Jung\" AND \"Alcoholism\"
AND \"Spiritual Guidance\" ] into the exact phrase search box at
Hundreds of scholarly references will emerge that Professor Brabazon will accept
as authoritative. But never mention to Professor
Brabazon that you got the idea for spiritual guidance
as a treatment of alcoholism from Wikipedia.
Also there's a question of how Professor Brabazon
will deal with the new Google Knol
"Google's Answer to Wikipedia: Google's Knol project aims to
make online information easier to find and more authoritative," MIT's Technology
Review, January 15, 2008 ---
Google recently announced Knol, a new experimental
website that puts information online in a way that encourages authorial
attribution. Unlike articles for the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia,
which anyone is free to revise, Knol articles will have individual authors,
whose pictures and credentials will be prominently displayed alongside their
work. Currently, participation in the project is by invitation only, but
Google will eventually open up Knol to the public. At that point, a given
topic may end up with multiple articles by different authors. Readers will
be able to
rate the articles, and the better an article's
rating, the higher it will rank in Google's search results.
Google coined the term "knol" to denote a unit of
knowledge but also uses it to refer to an authoritative Web-based article on
a particular subject. At present, Google will not describe the project in
detail, but Udi Manber, one of the company's vice presidents of engineering,
provided a cursory sketch on the company's blog site.
"A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first
thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to
read," Manber writes. And in a departure from Wikipedia's model of community
authorship, he adds that "the key idea behind the Knol project is to
founder of the premier conference about online communities,
sees an increase in authorial attribution as a change
for the better. He notes the success of the review site
which has risen to popularity in the relatively short span of three years.
"Yelp's success is based on people getting attribution for the reviews that
they are posting," Kagan says. "Because users have their reputation on the
line, they are more likely to leave legitimate answers." Knol also has
features intended to establish an article's credibility, such as references
to its sources and a listing of the title, job history, and institutional
affiliation of the author. Knol may thus attract experts who are turned off
by group editing and prefer the style of attribution common in journalistic
and academic publications.
Manber writes that "for many topics, there will
likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a
good thing." But
Pellegrini, administrator and featured-article
director at Wikipedia and a member of its press committee, sees two problems
with this plan. "I think what will happen is that you'll end up with five or
ten articles," he says, "none of which is as comprehensive as if the people
who wrote them had worked together on a single article." These articles may
be redundant or even contradictory, he says. Knol authors may also have less
incentive to link keywords to competitors' articles, creating "walled
gardens." Pellegrini describes the effect thus: "Knol authors will tend to
link from their articles to other articles they've written, but not to
articles written by others."
Continued in article
August 31, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas
NEW GOOGLE RESEARCH UNIVERSITY SERVICES
Google,Inc. recently announced two new services as
part of its Google Research University program.
Google Search "is designed to give university
faculty and their research teams high-volume programmatic access to Google
Search, whose huge repository of data constitutes a valuable resource for
understanding the structure and contents of the web." For more information
and to register for the service, go to
Google Translate "offers tools to help researchers
in the field of automatic machine translation compare and contrast with, and
build on top of, Google's statistical machine translation system." For more
information and to register for the service, go to http://research.google.com/university/translate/.
For an overview of all Google Research
How do scholars search the Internet? See
Bob Jensen's threads on Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Open Encyclopedia, and
YouTube as Knowledge Bases ---
Federal Audit Finds Fault With Fafsa Oversight
audit released last week by the U.S. Department of
Education has found that more than $1.51-billion in federal student aid was
distributed in 2004-5 to students whose loan applications were questionable or
erroneous. That figure, however, may overestimate the number of students
affected.The audit checked common error codes that could be generated on the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The errors include not being
registered with Selective Service, answering “yes” to a drug-conviction
question, or being unable to verify U.S. citizenship.
JJ Hermes, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 15, 2008 ---
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
LinkedIn Home Page ---
History of LinkedIn ---
The New LinkedIn Platform Shows Facebook How It's Done
A social network showdown is coming. LinkedIn, which
aims to track your business and professional connections, has rolled out a new
developer platform and already the majority of the web press is comparing
LinkedIn's efforts Facebook's platform. It's a fair comparison, but there's one
key difference between the two — LinkedIn's platform is actually useful. Where
Facebook’s platform provides a proprietary programming language for developers
to build applications that run inside the site (so you can send you friends a
fresh pair of virtual diapers or whatever), LinkedIn has created a platform in
the sense of what the word used to mean — a way of mixing, mashing, repurposing
and sharing your data. Think Flickr, not Facebook. The LinkedIn platform, known
as the LinkedIn Intelligent Application Platform, consists of two parts, a way
for developers to build application that run inside your LinkedIn account (via
OpenSocial) and the far more useful and interesting part — ways to pull your
LinkedIn data out and use it elsewhere . . . As an example of the second half of
LinkedIn’s new platform, the company has announced a partnership with
which will see LinkedIn data pulled into the Business Week
site. For instance, if you land on a Business Week article about IBM, the site
will then look at your LinkedIn profile (assuming you’ve given it permission to
do so) and highlight the people you know at IBM. Call it six degrees of Business
Week, but it does something Facebook has yet to do — it connects your data with
the larger web.With Beacon having recently
in Facebook’s face — something that’s become a
trend for the site,
weather user backlash, violate privacy,
weather user backlash, violate privacy, weather
user backlash — LinkedIn’s new platform couldn’t come at a better time. Frankly,
it reminds us of the good old days when the data you stored on websites was
actually yours and you could pull it out and do interesting things with it.
Scott Gilbertson, Wired News, December 10, 2007 ---
Despite the opportunity to grow from its college
campus roots, into a hipper more organic version of LinkedIn, there are a number
of reasons why Facebook is unlikely to ever replace my own use of the
“professional” networking site — not least of which is the usability chaos that
has been created by the Facebook platform. (Also add
the lack of data export.). By allowing all and any
third-party developers to create Facebook applications, the site has become a
playground for all sorts of useless, but arguably fun, features, and well as a
few useful ones. The problem is the spammy or viral nature in which these
applications replicate themselves onto someone’s Facebook profile. At the
weekend I visited a friend’s Facebook profile to leave a happy birthday message
on their wall. Five minutes later, and I was still trying to fathom which “wall”
to leave it on, as they’d installed multiple third-party “walls”. Worse still,
if I picked any wall except the default one (which I couldn’t find), I was
required to add that application to my own profile first, or at least give it
permission to access my data, before I could leave a message. The same process
is required to interact with almost any third-party application — you must
install it first or accept its terms and conditions.
Steve O'Hear, "Facebook vs LinkedIn (round three)," ZDnet, October 15,
A rising tide of companies are tapping Semantic Web technologies to
unearth hard-to-find connections between disparate pieces of online data
"Social Networks: Execs Use Them Too Networking technology gives companies a
new set of tools for recruiting and customer service—but privacy questions
remain," by Rachael King, Business Week, September 11, 2007 ---
Executive Officer Chip Overstreet was on the hunt for a new
vice-president for sales. He had homed in on a promising
candidate and dispensed with the glowing but unsurprising
remarks from references. Now it was time to dig for any
dirt. So he logged on to LinkedIn, an online business
network. "I did 11 back-door checks on this guy and found
people he had worked with at five of his last six
companies," says Overstreet, whose firm sells and manages
service contracts for manufacturers. "It was incredibly
powerful, in fact, that more than a dozen sites like
LinkedIn have cropped up in recent years. They're responding
to a growing impulse among Web users to build ties,
communities, and networks online, fueling the popularity of
sites like News Corp.'s (NWS)
MySpace (see BusinessWeek.com,
"The MySpace Generation"). As of
April, the 10 biggest social-networking sites, including
MySpace, reached a combined unique audience of 68.8 million
users, drawing in 45% of active Web users, according to
corporations and smaller businesses haven't embraced online
business networks with nearly the same abandon as teens and
college students who have flocked to social sites. Yet
companies are steadily overcoming reservations and using the
sites and related technology to craft potentially powerful
Recruiters at Microsoft (MSFT)
and Starbucks (SBUX),
for instance, troll online networks
such as LinkedIn for potential job candidates. Goldman Sachs
and Deloitte run their own online alumni networks for hiring
back former workers and strengthening bonds with
alumni-cum-possible clients. Boston Consulting Group and law
firm Duane Morris deploy enterprise software that tracks
employee communications to uncover useful connections in
other companies. And companies such as Intuit (INTU)
and MINI USA have created customer
networks to build brand loyalty.
adopters notwithstanding, many companies are leery of online
networks. Executives don't have time to field the possible
influx of requests from acquaintances on business networks.
Employees may be dismayed to learn their workplace uses
e-mail monitoring software to help sales associates' target
pitches. Companies considering building online communities
for advertising, branding, or marketing will need to cede
some degree of control over content.
those concerns are holding back Carmen Hudson, manager of
enterprise staffing at Starbucks, who says she swears by
LinkedIn. "It's one of the best things for finding mid-level
executives," she says.
Grail in recruiting is finding so-called passive candidates,
people who are happy and productive working for other
companies. LinkedIn, with its 6.7 million members, is a
virtual Rolodex of these types. Hudson says she has hired
three or four people this year as a result of connections
through LinkedIn. "We've started asking our hiring managers
to sign up on LinkedIn and help introduce us to their
contacts," she says. "People have concerns about privacy,
but once we explain how we use it and how careful we would
be with their contacts, they're usually willing to do it."
and human-resources departments are taking note. "LinkedIn
is a tremendous tool for recruiters," says Bill Vick, the
author of LinkedIn for Recruiting. So are sites
such as Ryze, Spoke, OpenBc, and Ecademy
Continued in article
January 14, 2008 message from Charles Wankel
Bob, Richard, and the rest
I love LinkedIn and have
about 1700 connections there, mostly business professors but also my
students and former students, who now I am less likely to lose touch
with as they move through their careers. I like the LinkedIn ANSWERS
utility where you can ask about ideas for a particular class assignment
and get answers from people in industry who then you can cajole into
becoming part of the exercise and provide feedback on it to the students
when you assignment it. Also, you can search for people using the
advanced search function by title, keywords, geography etc. Now I find
CEOs in my town to lunch with etc. It’s great! I welcome you to join
my LinkedIn connections. Join LinkedIn and add me with the EXPAND YOUR
CONNECTIONS tab on the top right using Charles Wankel
St. John’s University, New York
Tobin College of Business
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
Online Networking Site for Scientists Debuts
BiomedExperts.com, a social-networking Web site for
health-care and life-science experts, was unveiled today at the American Library
Association’s midwinter meeting, in Philadelphia. The site includes profiles of
more than 1.4 million biomedical experts in 120 countries. Researchers can gain
access to the site for free and search for colleagues based on their areas of
expertise, where they live, or other variables. The site also allows scientists
to share data and analyses, and view summaries of their colleagues' research
papers. The site is a collaboration between Collexis Holdings Inc., a Dutch
software company, and Dell, a computer manufacturer.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2008 ---
Phishing With Fake Jury Notice
I think this has been around foe a while, but Roger Hermanson called my
attention to it once again. The scammer phones and claims to be working with a
court. He alleges that you failed to show up for jury duty ---
Identity Theft Resource Center ---
Bob Jensen's threads on phishing/ID theft are at the following two sites:
Identity Theft ---
Phishing, Spoofing, Pharming, Slurping, and Pretexting ---
Professor Aaron Delwiche Comments on Second Life
January 10, 2008 reply from Aaron Delwiche at Trinity University
Thanks for sending these links to Tiger Talk. In
your list of resources, you might want to include pointers to the archives
of the Second Life Educators List (SLED), as it is a terrific repository of
thoughtful suggestions for how to use Second Life in the classroom. If your
readers point their browsers at:
they will find a link to the mailing list archives and
the Second Life Educators wiki.
You might be interested in an article on Second
Life that I recently published in the Journal of Educational Technology
http://www.ifets.info/journals/9_3/ets_9_3.pdf#page=165 ) .
The article describes a classroom case study that was conducted at Trinity
back in 2004. An updated list of readings on virtual worlds can be found in
this syllabus from a Trinity course that explored on-line marketing and
There also some useful links on the Elastic Collision
site ( http://www.elasticcollision.com).
There is plenty of hype out there about Second
Life, and it's important to remind people that SL is not an educational
panacea. When instructors transplant archaic instructional methods into the
virtual world, SL is likely to be a complete failure. On the other hand, if
the course content is designed to take advantage of the platform's unique
characteristics, it is possible to create instructional environments that
foster situational learning.
Virtual worlds are still in their infancy, but they
are growing and changing at an accelerating rate. The experiments unfolding
in college classrooms around the world are just a taste of what we will see
two or three years from now. There will be many failures along the way, but
that's just part of the learning process. These are exciting times!
Bob Jensen's threads on Second Life are at
Jury Orders U. of Phoenix Parent to Pay $277 Million
With a major lawsuit challenging its admissions
practices looming on the horizon, the Apollo Group — parent of the University of
Phoenix — took a beating in another legal proceeding Wednesday. A federal jury
in Arizona ordered Apollo to pay an estimated $277.5 million to shareholders who
sued the higher education company and two former executives in 2004 for
securities fraud. The lawsuit alleged that company officials withheld a harshly
critical U.S. Education Department report in February 2004 that accused Apollo
of violating a federal prohibition against paying recruiters based on the number
of students they enrolled. The company did not disclose the report in its
Securities and Exchange Commission filings or in calls with analysts or
reporters for months. When the company finally released the preliminary report,
in September when it announced a $9.8 million settlement with the Education
Department, its stock took a dive. That month, a group of shareholders, led by
the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, sued the company under
federal securities fraud laws, seeking to recoup the money they said they had
Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, January 17, 2008 ---
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
From Business Week Magazine on November 28, 2007
Meet This Year's Tech Pioneers ---
"Young Women Outpace Young Men in Degree Attainment, Census Shows," by
JJ Hermes, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2008 ---
Greater proportions of young women than
young men are earning bachelor's degrees, according to new data released
Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. But among adults over 25, men are still
more likely than women to have received such degrees.
Nearly one-third, or 33.1 percent, of women ages 25
to 29 reported in 2007 that they had earned a bachelor's degree or higher.
That compares with 26.3 percent of men in the same age range.
The data strongly suggest that college enrollment
among young women over the past decade has significantly outpaced that among
young men. In 1997, just 29.3 percent of women ages 25 to 29 said they had
earned a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 26.3 percent of men in
that age range.
While college enrollment among women is surging,
women have yet to close the gap from earlier generations. Among all men 25
years or older, 29.5 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to
28 percent of women.
The census data is part of the agency's annual
survey on educational attainment in the United States and was published
a series of tables. The Census Bureau maintains
a history of such surveys dating back to 1947.
Continued in article
Howstuffworks: "How Electric Cars Work" ---
College Football Players Spend 44.8 Hours a Week on Their Sport, NCAA
Playing major-college football is a full-time job,
according to new research presented here on Saturday during the National
Collegiate Athletic Association's annual convention. In a 2006 NCAA survey of
21,000 athletes who were then playing in a variety of men's and women's sports,
football players reported spending 44.8 hours a week practicing, playing, or
training for their sport. That's on top of the time players spend in the
classroom. The findings shocked campus leaders and athletics officials at the
gathering here. "That's out of control," said Walter Harrison, president of the
University of Hartford. "I'm hoping the [NCAA] bodies that oversee football will
do something about this, and that the board of directors pays attention to it."
Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2008
Among other results, the survey found:
- Almost two-thirds of Division I
athletes said they believed their grade-point averages would be
higher if they had not participated in sports.
- Athletes who reported having more
balance between their athletics and academic commitments
performed better in the classroom.
- The majority of those surveyed viewed
themselves more as athletes than as students. But those who
viewed themselves primarily as students had higher graduation
A report on the survey, "Goals: Growth,
Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College,"
will be released later this year.
College baseball players strike out a lot in
Football players play approximately 12-16 games each autumn semester. I think
baseball players probably spend even more time on their sport since they play
50-80 games each spring semester.
Also Thursday, the NCAA’s Division I Board of
Directors initiated a year-long study aimed at identifying ways to improve the
academic performance of baseball players, who fared comparatively poorly in
March when the association, for the first time, began punishing sports teams
based on members’ failure to proceed toward a degree.
Doug Lederman, "NCAA Homes In on High Schools," Inside Higher Ed, April
28, 2006 ---
How can you play 70 games of baseball, half of which
are out of town, and pretend to go to class?
"The Brutal Truth about College Sports,"
by Skip Rozin, The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2005; Page D7
Just Don't Call It Education: Is there fraud in academic
assessment of top college athletes?
Three newspapers this weekend
explored the academic compromises universities make in the name of
The New York Times reported that an internal audit at Auburn
University revealed that an athlete’s grade had been changed without the
professor’s knowledge, to bring the athlete just over the minimum
average needed for eligibility. Auburn isn’t talking.
The Athens Banner-Herald reported that in
1999 and 2000, the University of Georgia’s president, Michael Adams,
authorized the admission of 119 athletes who did not meet academic
standards, and that 21 of them left because of academic problems. And
The San Diego Union Tribune reported on the
percentages of scholarship athletes at many Western institutions who are
“special admits” (translation: they don’t meet admissions standards).
The newspaper found that special admits are rare in the student body as
a whole at the institutions studied, but quite high (70 percent at the
University of California at Los Angeles, 65 percent at San Diego State
University) for scholarship athletes.
Inside Higher Ed, December 11, 2006 ---
NCAA Committee to Explore Concerns Over Athletes' Clustering in Certain
Athlete clustering is one of the most
controversial topics in college sports, and many athletics officials have long
denied that it takes place (The
Chronicle, January 17, 2003). But as
colleges have demanded more of athletes, and the NCAA has raised academic
standards to keep players on track toward graduation, some academic advisers
have seen an increase in the number of athletes who choose certain majors.The
Committee on Academic Performance, which created the stricter academic
requirements for athletes, wants to look at the effect the rules have had on
players. It also wants to explore how athletes' majors compare with those of the
overall student population. The NCAA already has data on athletes' majors. And
members of its research staff believe they may have found comparable data for
overall enrollments."We've all heard examples of athletes' taking majors with
more electives, or not studying things like chemistry" because of how much time
students must spend in the laboratory, Mr. Harrison said. "We just want to know
if athletes are being channeled away from, say, psychology and into sports
Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2008 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on athletics controversies in higher education are at
Reviving Journalism Schools and Business Schools
For as long as doomsayers have predicted the decline of
civic-minded reportage as we know it, reformers have sought to draft a rewrite
of the institutions that train many undergraduate and graduate students pursuing
a career in journalism. Criticisms of journalism schools have ranged from
questioning whether the institutions are necessary in the first place (since
many journalists, and most senior ones, don’t have journalism degrees) to
debating the merits of teaching practical skills versus theory and whether
curriculums should emphasize broad knowledge or specialization in individual
fields . . . The sessions were part of an effort to evaluate the function of
journalism schools in an age of new media and the public’s declining faith in
the fourth estate: the
Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education,
which in 2005 enlisted top institutions in the country to bolster their
curriculums with interdisciplinary studies and expose students to different
areas of knowledge, including politics, economics, philosophy and the sciences.
The initiative, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S.
and James L. Knight Foundation, also works with journalism schools to incubate
selected students working on national reporting projects.
Andy Guess, "Reviving the J-School," Inside Higher Ed, January 10, 2008
There are an
increasing number of scholarly videos on this topic at
BigThink: YouTube for Scholars (where
intellectuals may post their lectures on societal issues) ---
of you may benefit by analyzing similarities and differences between the above
tidbit on J-Schools versus the AACSB effort to examine needs for change in
Key AACSB sites
include the following:
"Teaching the Gospel of Management Program Aims to Bring Transparency To
Church Business Practices," by Ron Alsop, January 8, 2008; Page B4---
The reputations of many Roman Catholic parishes
have been tarnished in recent years, both by the priest sex-abuse scandals
and a growing number of embezzlement cases. That has prompted a burgeoning
movement to improve the management and leadership skills of church officials
through new programs being offered primarily at Catholic universities.
M.B.A. Track columnist Ron Alsop talked recently with Charles Zech, director
of the Center for the Study of Church Management and a professor of
economics at Villanova University's School of Business in Villanova, Pa.,
about the launch of its master's degree in church management in May and the
need for more sophisticated and more transparent business practices in
parishes and religious organizations.
WSJ: Why did Villanova decide to create a
master's degree in church management?
Dr. Zech: We find that business managers at both
the parish and diocesan level often have social work, theology or education
backgrounds and lack management skills. While pastors aren't expected to
know all the nitty-gritty of running a small business, they at least need
enough training in administration to supervise their business managers.
Before starting the degree, we ran some seminars in 2006 and 2007 as a trial
balloon to see if folks were interested enough to pay for management
education. The seminars proved to be quite popular, drawing people from all
over the country, including high-level officials from both Catholic dioceses
and religious orders.
How have the sexual-abuse scandals and
embezzlement cases put a spotlight on poor management and governance
The Catholic Church has some real managerial
problems that were brought to light by the clergy abuse scandals. It became
quite obvious that the church isn't very transparent and accountable in its
finances. Settlements had been made off the books with abuse victims and
priests had been sent off quietly for counseling, to the surprise of many
parishioners. Then came a string of embezzlement cases. Our center on church
management surveyed chief financial officers of U.S. Catholic dioceses in
2005 and found that 85% had experienced embezzlements in the previous five
years. One of our recommendations was that parishes be audited once a year
by an independent auditor. There clearly are serious questions about
internal financial controls at the parish level, and we are now doing
research on parish advisory councils and asking questions about such things
as who handles the Sunday collection and who has check-writing authority.
Does the same person count the collection, deposit the money and then
reconcile the checkbook? Obviously, you're just asking for problems if it's
the same person; you can imagine the temptations.
Beyond the need for better financial controls,
what other management issues should get more attention from church leaders?
Performance management is definitely an important
but neglected area. That's partly because it's a very touchy issue. Who is
going to appraise the performance of a priest or a church worker who is also
a member of the parish? There's great reluctance on the part of the clergy
to be appraiser or appraisee. You have to view the parish as a family
business and understand that it's like evaluating members of your family.
How will Villanova's church management degree be
different from what other universities have started offering?
Some schools combine standard business classes with
courses from theology and other departments. But if you're taking a regular
M.B.A. finance class, you're learning about Wall Street and other things
that aren't really relevant. What we're doing is creating courses
specifically for this degree program, so there are both business and
faith-based elements in every class. For example, the law course will deal
with civil law relative to church law so students understand the possible
conflicts. The accounting course will cover internal financial-control
issues for churches. And the human-resource management class will include
discussion of volunteers, a big part of the labor force for parishes.
Have you encountered any resistance from church
Yes, some people say a church is not a business.
But I point out that we still have to be good stewards of our resources --
our financial and human capital -- to carry out God's work on Earth. When
you use management terms with bishops, they often get turned off. But when
you use the word stewardship, it has more impact because it's in the Bible.
Jesus talked about the importance of our being good stewards who take care
of our talents and other gifts.
Is the degree restricted to Catholic clergy and
The courses will have a Catholic focus because as a
Catholic university, our mission is to try to meet the needs of our
community. But the degree is certainly not restricted to Catholics. Every
church has similar managerial problems. In fact, we're eager for other
Christian denominations to become part of the program and provide some
valuable contributions to class discussions. A typical course, however,
would not apply to other religions because of the different way Christian
churches are organized compared with synagogues and other religious
Why is the degree being offered primarily
online, with only a one-week residency on campus?
Since we view the market for church-management
education as national and even global, a distance-learning degree will
attract clergy and church workers from any part of the world who can't take
off for two years to come to Villanova. In fact, we already have heard from
a priest in Ireland and a Presbyterian minister in Cameroon interested in
enrolling in the program.
The church management degree costs $23,400. How
can clergy and church workers afford it?
We expect the vast majority of students to be
supported by a diocese or other religious or social service organizations.
We will chop 25% off the price for anyone who can get their organization to
pay a third of the tuition. That cuts a student's out-of-pocket costs by
about half. We're trying to send the message to religious leaders that this
is important and that they should invest in management training.
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at
"A Deadly Web of Deceit A Teen's Online 'Friend' Proved False, And
Cyber-Vigilantes Are Avenging Her," by Tamara Jones, The Washington Post,
January 10, 2008 ---
Megan Meier was buried in the polka-dot dress she
planned to wear for her 14th birthday. She had handed out the invitations to
her party the day she died. Her eighth-grade classmates attended her
funeral, instead, heads bowed and hands clasped as her casket was loaded
into the hearse.
At the time, Megan's suicide was considered a
private tragedy in a quiet suburb tucked between strip malls a half-hour up
the interstate from St. Louis. Concerned neighbors embraced her stunned
family, and a collective grief seemed to envelop the look-alike houses on
Waterford Crystal Drive.
A year passed before the truth began coming out.
In November, the grieving parents told their local
newspaper that a 47-year-old neighbor -- a family friend -- had orchestrated
a cruel prank on MySpace.com, driving Megan to loop a belt around her neck
and hang herself in her bedroom closet. The troubling story was picked up by
bloggers, talk radio and others in the indignant chat universe. Tens of
thousands joined the ongoing debate. Some wanted legislation; others wanted
On message boards and Web site memorials, in chats
and forums, Megan would be mourned, analyzed, romanticized, vilified and
endlessly discussed, giving her in death the popularity she never knew in
If the Internet had killed Megan Meier, now it
would avenge her.
* * *
A handsome high school boy was flirting on
MySpace.com. Josh Evans told Megan Meier she had pretty eyes, that he
thought she was cute. Megan excitedly messaged back.
On the Internet, she could be cool. Thirteen had
been miserable, but that fall Megan had fled the jeering hallways of West
Middle School, and the outcast misery of a fat girl trying to fit in.
Enrolled in a small parish school, she was reinventing herself: She had
joined the volleyball team and lost 20 pounds. Her parents were relieved to
hear Megan's bubbly laugh again. Fourteen promised to be better.
But in the course of two hours on a rainy Monday
afternoon, Megan Meier suddenly became a target once more, hounded and
publicly humiliated by a teenage mob on the Web, set upon in a virtual Lord
of the Cyberflies.
Continued in article
"Privacy, Free Speech and Anonymity on the Internet," by Daniel J. Solove,
The Washington Post, January 10, 2008 ---
Daniel J. Solove, associate law professor at George
Washington University and author of "The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor
and Privacy on the Internet," will be online Thursday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m.
ET to discuss the Megan Meier-MySpace suicide case and the growing issues of
free speech, privacy and reputation on the Web.
Some updates from Mossberg's Mailbox, The Wall Street Journal, January
10, 2008 Page B2---
There's no other major item most of us own that is as confusing,
unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has
questions about them, and we aim to help.
Here are a few questions about computers I've received
recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated
the questions a bit, for readability.
Q: I couldn't find any columns on products you
recommend for monitoring kids' Web access and installing parental controls.
I recently purchased a new computer for my 9-year-old daughter. I want to
make sure she can only access specific Web sites and I want to protect her
from inappropriate spam and chatting.
A: If you have a computer
running one of the newer versions of Windows or the Macintosh operating
system, I recommend using the extensive parental controls that are now built
right into those operating systems. While you can never underestimate the
ingenuity of computer-savvy kids, these built-in controls, if properly used,
are generally harder to evade than the ones provided by third-party
I did recently review these built-in
parental controls, which appear in Windows Vista, and in the Tiger and
Leopard editions of the Mac's OS X operating system. You can find that
Q: I want to switch to a Mac, but my life is on
Microsoft Outlook, which is only available on Windows. Is there a simple way
to convert all of this data to programs on the Mac?
A: There is a $10 program that
performs this task. It's called O2M (Outlook to Mac) and is from a company
called Little Machines. It can be downloaded at
littlemachines.com, where you also will find
details about the Mac programs with which it works. This is a Windows
program, which transfers your Outlook data into files you copy to your Mac.
You then manually import these files into your Mac programs.
According to the company, the program
exports Outlook email, email attachments, contacts and calendar appointments
and allows you to import this data into Apple's built-in email, address book
and calendar programs, as well as into Microsoft Entourage, and other
Another approach is to install
Windows on your Mac, and keep running Outlook. If you do this using the
Parallels or Fusion virtualization programs ($80 each, plus the cost of
Windows,) you can run Outlook simultaneously with your Mac programs.
Yawn: Just Billions More in World Bank Frauds Coming to Light
Corruption is an endemic problem in bank projects,
swallowing unknown but significant chunks from its $30 billion-plus annual
portfolio. No less a problem has been the bank staff's ferocious resistance to
anything that might stand in the way of its lending ever more money to projects
run by the same governments that tolerate this malfeasance. Yet nothing we've
seen so far can compare to what has now been uncovered about five health
projects in India, involving $569 million in loans. The projects were the
subject of a "Detailed Implementation Review," a lengthy forensic examination
undertaken by Ms. Folsom's Department of Institutional Integrity, known within
the bank as INT. As of this writing the bank has not publicly released the
review, though it's been shared with the bank's board. But we've seen a copy and
are posting its executive summary on
here to see it).
"World Bank Disgrace," The Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2008; Page
Why doesn't Section 401 of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply to attestation of internal controls in the World
"World Bank Reckoning," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007;
Page A16 ---
Since we're talking about the world's second most
out-of-control international bureaucracy -- no prizes for guessing the first
-- we shouldn't get our hopes up. But in the past week some prominent
outsiders have been forcing the World Bank to reckon with the alien concept
of accountability. Now it's up to new bank President Robert Zoellick to see
that their efforts bear fruit.
First up is former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul
Volcker. For the past five months, Mr. Volcker and a panel of international
experts have been conducting an independent review of the Department of
Institutional Integrity, the bank's anticorruption unit known internally as
the INT. Their report, which readers can find on OpinionJournal.com, is
being released to the public today.
In sober and measured terms, Mr. Volcker's report
provides a devastating indictment of what it calls the bank's "ambivalence"
toward both corruption and its own anticorruption unit. "There was then, and
remains now, resistance among important parts of the Bank staff and some of
its leadership to the work of INT," the report says (our emphasis).
It goes on to say that, "Some resistance is more
parochial. There is a natural discomfort among some line staff, who are
generally encouraged by the pay and performance evaluation system to make
loans for promising projects, to have those projects investigated ex post,
exposed as rife with corruption, creating an awkward problem in relations
with borrowing clients." To put it more plainly, the report is saying that
every incentive at the bank is to push more money out the door, and bank
employees hate the anticorruption effort because it interferes with that
The report endorses the work of the INT, which was
created a mere six years ago and which has been under what it calls a
"particularly strong" institutional attack ever since. The INT, the Volcker
panel says, "is staffed by competent and dedicated investigators who work
hard and long hours with professionalism" and deploy "advanced investigative
methods to detect and substantiate allegations of fraud and corruption." And
it goes on to recommend that the anticorruption crusaders "should be
nurtured and maintained as an exemplary investigative organization" within
In a phone interview yesterday, Mr. Volcker added
that he gives "high marks" to current INT director Suzanne Rich Folsom. Mr.
Volcker's endorsement should stop cold the recent attempts by some in the
bank's entrenched bureaucracy to run Ms. Folsom out of the bank, as they did
The bank is also being put on notice by the U.S.
Senate through provisions in its foreign operations appropriations bill. The
provision threatens to withhold 20% of U.S. funds to the bank's
International Development Association arm (which provides interest-free
loans to the world's poorest countries) until it is assured that the bank
"has adequately staffed and sufficiently funded the Department of
Institutional Integrity." The bill also demands that the bank provide
"financial disclosure forms of all senior World bank personnel." Now, that
will get the bureaucracy's attention.
Notably, it's a Democrat -- Evan Bayh of Indiana --
who's taken the lead on this issue. Mr. Bayh has ordered a Government
Accountability Office report on the effectiveness of IDA loans and their
susceptibility to corruption, the bank's procurement procedures, as well as
the legendary pay packages enjoyed by its senior management. "There's a
tendency [at the bank] to say 'just give us the money and go away,'" the
Senator told us by phone yesterday. "Until there are some tangible
consequences, they won't take us seriously. We shouldn't let that happen."
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
Note that there's a pretty good summary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act at
"Verizon's New Voyager Looks Like the iPhone, But Software Is Inferior,"
by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2008; Page B1
From Connecticut Central State University
"How well does your city cultivate literate, 'bookish' behavior in its
2007 annual ranking of the "most literate cities" ---
The annual rankings of the "most literate cities"
have been released by Central Connecticut State University, accounting for
per capita booksellers; educational attainment; internet resources; library
resources; newspaper circulation; and periodical publications. The study
ranks only the 69 largest U.S. cities (population 250,000 or more)
And the winners are:
01 Minneapolis, MN
02 Seattle, WA
03 St. Paul, MN
04 Denver, CO
05 Washington, DC
06 St. Louis, MO
07 San Francisco, CA
08 Atlanta, GA
09 Pittsburgh, PA
10 Boston, MA
I have my doubts about these "bookish behavior" rankings of some cities.
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have
the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli
would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies,
damned lies and statistics."
Mark Twain ---
"Critical Mass: The Number 32," by Robert Lalasz, Chronicle
of Higher Education, January 18, 2008 ---
Are global consumption trends leading to a new
"population bomb"? Jared M. Diamond thinks so — and so do his critics.
Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California at Los
Angeles and author of best sellers like Collapse: How Societies Choose to
Fail or Succeed and Guns, Germs, and Steel, wrote in a New
York Times op-ed this month that the average Western person consumes and
pollutes 32 times as much as a person in the developing world — and that the
world will plunge into environmental catastrophe when developing countries
like China and India catch up to American levels of driving, buying, and
throwing away. "It would be as if the world population ballooned to 72
billion people," Diamond writes.
Diamond's arithmetic is both frightening and easy
to grasp — suspiciously so for a number of critics. They say Diamond's
argument falls into the same intellectual trap as Paul H. Ehrlich's 1968
book The Population Bomb, which predicted that global population
growth would outstrip agricultural advances and lead to mass famines by
1985. But can technology develop quickly enough to support nine billion
people who consume like Americans? The answer seems to depend less on
evidence than on what you put your faith in.
Continued in article
"For CES and Beyond, a Glossary on Geek-Speak Finding Your Way Around Tech
Talk When Browsing," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal,
January 9, 2008; Page D4 ---
This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas, the majority of attendees are doing their darndest to speak the geek
language. "Geek," though just a letter away from "Greek," can be just as
confusing to those who aren't fluent speakers. Below, find a guide to terms
and definitions used in some key technology categories. It will help you
speak geek with the best of them, whether at CES or browsing products in
your neighborhood electronics store.
Megapixels: This term
describes the highest resolution photo a camera can take. Often mistaken as
the most important factor in a digital camera, a high megapixel count --
such as 10MP or more -- isn't necessary for the average user unless he or
she plans on heavily editing or enlarging photos. Most new digicams offer
between five and eight megapixels, which is usually more than enough.
Optical or Digital Zoom:
Optical zoom, determined by the physical movement of a lens, matters much
more than digital zoom, which digitally alters an image using the camera's
internal computer. Camera companies still try to confuse potential buyers by
listing a camera's total zoom, or the optical and digital zooms multiplied
together. Ignore total zoom numbers and instead focus on optical, which now
averages around 5x for many new cameras.
Image Stabilization: When
generously sized LCD viewing screens started replacing optical viewfinders,
they also forced users to hold their cameras at arm's length, making for
plenty of blurry photographs. To remedy this, camera manufacturers have
added image stabilization, tools once found only in high-end SLR models.
Optical (also called "mechanical") and digital image stabilization correct
for unsteady hands and moving subjects, respectively. Cameras with both
types advertise dual image stabilization, which corrects for both situations
and costs more.
HSDPA and EVDO: HSDPA, or High
Speed Downlink Packet Access, is the name for AT&T's 3G, or third
generation, mobile network that operates at roughly the speed of a slower
DSL in a home. HSDPA is available in most major metropolitan areas and is
seen as the competitor to Verizon and Sprint's EVDO (Evolution Data Only)
networks, though the popular iPhone runs on AT&T's network using Wi-Fi and
EDGE technology rather than HSDPA.
Multi-Touch Technology: Most
popularly found on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, multi-touch is starting to
show up in other products, such as in Microsoft's Surface, a
coffee-table-like computer. Rather than just responding to on-screen
touches, this technology enables moving, resizing and zooming pictures and
Web pages using one or more fingers simultaneously. Look for many more
devices -- mobile and otherwise -- to incorporate multi-touch in the future.
GPS: Global Positioning
Systems are most often found in cars -- either built-in or on portable
devices from companies like Garmin and TomTom. These gadgets use satellite
technology to determine geographic location, and high-end models even
display Web content like news and weather along with directions. GPS
integration in mobile devices can be used to plot routes in cars, can help
users find nearby businesses while on the go and can link friends by showing
one where the other is located and what they're doing.
DRM: Digital rights management
is a set of standards that protect the intellectual property rights of
online content like music and videos, preventing it from being illegally
distributed across the Web. In the past year, Vivendi's Universal Music
Group, Apple and (most recently) Sony BMG said they will start selling DRM-free
versions of songs, often for a higher price. In Apple's iTunes store, these
files are called "iTunes Plus" and aren't restricted like other iTunes
MP3: MP3 files are open,
without any DRM restrictions. Files that you rip (copy) from your own CDs
are usually converted into MP3s, though iTunes users can automatically rip
tracks into that program's special format, called AAC. MP3 files can be
uploaded to social-networking sites for sharing with friends and online
AAC and WMA: These file types
are protected by rights that tie them to specific players. Generally, AAC
files make up the majority of tracks sold on Apple's iTunes store and play
only on Apple's iPods; WMA files are Microsoft's version of proprietary
The popularity of Wireless Fidelity,
or Wi-Fi, brings this technology to more and more portable devices like the
iPod Touch and Microsoft Zune and gives companies good reason to incorporate
Wi-Fi receivers in new computers -- laptops and desktops alike. While
available in many flavors, different letters like b, g, a and n stand behind
Wi-Fi's more technical name, 802.11, to help discern one version from
another according to characteristics like speed and compatibility. The
latest version, "n," offers the greatest range and speed, and "n" devices
are usually compatible with earlier versions.
television has now become the standard, capable of displaying vastly better
pictures, provided the source is also HD. Today's more popular flat panel HD
televisions are LCDs, or liquid crystal displays, though plasmas still hold
their own. Recording HD content can't be done with a regular digital video
recorder; instead, a special HD recorder is required to capture this higher
480p vs. 1080i vs. 720p vs. 1080p:
These numbers refer to the resolution, or sharpness, of a digital display,
while "p" stands for progressive and "i" stands for interlaced. A resolution
of 480p, known as EDTV or Enhanced Definition TV, is found most often in
low-end plasmas or LCD screens. A TV with a resolution of 1080p is currently
considered the Holy Grail, and costs the most. But 1080p pictures usually
can't be distinguished from less expensive 1080i or 720p pictures by average
viewers at the typical distances from which most folks watch TV.
Blu-ray vs. HD DVD: Blu-ray
and HD DVD are incompatible high-definition disc formats that continue to
fight a seemingly endless battle to replace the DVD. The Blu-ray camp is led
by Sony and the HD DVD camp is led by Toshiba. The two formats aren't so
different, technically speaking, but their very existence is confusing to
consumers. The recent decision made by Time Warner's Warner Bros. to use Blu-ray
gives Sony's side a boost, and now Viacom's Paramount is rumored to be
switching to Blu-ray from HD DVD. Dual-format players from Samsung and LG
offer some solace.
Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at
Is Fair Tax Advocate Mike Huckabee a "fair tax" huckter?
From The Wall Street
Journal Accounting Weekly Review on January 11, 2008
Fair Tax Flaws
The Wall Street Journal
Jan 08, 2008
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com ---
Income Tax, Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion, Tax Laws, Tax
this opinion page item, Mr. Bowyer writes in a funny and
entertaining way about the difficulties in replacing the
current U.S. income tax system with a sales tax, as
currently proposed by one candidate for president, Mike
Huckabee. For example, he writes, "There is a large category
of economic activity designed to avoid sales taxes -- it's
called smuggling. We don't hear that word much anymore,
because we're not a sales-tax or tariff-based system
anymore. Increase sales taxes to a combined state and
federal 30%, up from a state-based 6% now, and watch the
dodging begin." Mr. Bowyer is chief economist of BenchMark
Financial Network and a CNBC contributor.
APPLICATION: Taxation and the impact of the political
process on it.
1.) What is tax reform? Why is it a topic on the current
presidential campaign trail?
2.) What is presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's proposal
to reform U.S. tax laws? How might a national sales tax
provide tax reform?
3.) In this Opinion page article, Mr. Bowyer refers to
raising sales tax rates from 6% to 30%--what is the meaning
of these two rates?
4.) What is the "complexity argument" in relation to our
current tax code? In sum, what is Mr. Bowyer's response to
5.) What is the notion of exempting businesses from a
national sales tax? How likely is that proposal to come to
6.) Mr. Bowyer lists installment sales, inventory
accounting, wholesale purchases and eBay transactions as
items leading to problems in applying sales tax laws. For
each, what do you think is the problem or questionable tax
treatment? Do these areas lead to problems in our current
tax reporting system? Explain.
Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island
Republican Candidates Spar in New Hampshire Forum
by Alex Frangos
Jan 07, 2008
Review & Outlook: McCain's Mojo
by WSJ Opinion Page Editors
Jan 09, 2008
"FairTax Flaws," by Jerry
Bowyer, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2008; Page A20 ---
If talk show hosts ran the world, we'd have a
national sales tax. We'd have no immigration, and we would have long ago
carpet-bombed the entire Middle East. We'd also have something called "fair
trade," which means no real trade at all.
But they don't run the world; they just pretend
that if they did, everything would be great. I would be a lot more confident
that this was true if I didn't know so many talk show hosts. I would be even
more confident if they had really run anything of consequence before. But I
do, and they haven't.
I mention this because last week Mike Huckabee won
the Iowa caucus partly on a movement incubated in large part on radio talk
shows: the FairTax. If words were deeds, then life would be great. We could
simply declare that by switching from a federal income tax to a national
retail sales tax, tax cheating would end, code complexity would be a thing
of the past, and illegal immigrants would start paying taxes. And, of
course, we'd switch into high economic growth -- forever.
The problem is that none of this would happen.
People would simply switch from cheating on income taxes to cheating on
Small vendors often fail to withhold sales taxes.
Buyers cheat on sales taxes now. They often fail to pay taxes on interstate
catalogue sales. They buy some goods in black markets.
This doesn't happen much because sales taxes are
much lower than income taxes, but if that were reversed, consumers would
cheat more. Look at cigarettes. Organized crime sells smokes on the black
market in jurisdictions that impose high cigarette taxes.
There is a large category of economic activity
designed to avoid sales taxes -- it's called smuggling. We don't hear that
word much anymore, because we're not a sales-tax or tariff-based system
anymore. Increase sales taxes to a combined state and federal 30%, up from a
state-based 6% now, and watch the dodging begin.
The immigrant stuff is nonsense on stilts. Let me
ask you this: If they're here illegally, why won't they also buy and sell
goods on the black market?
Then there's the complexity argument. You don't
think the lobbyists and lawyers will get involved in this, looking for
exemptions on houses, medical services and education? You're going to put a
30% tax on my home purchase, and my doctor visits and my kids' tuition?
Yeah, great idea.
And what about business transactions? If you tax
business-to-business transactions, then you'll set off a wave of corporate
consolidation. Instead of buying from a supplier at a 30% markup, I'll just
buy my supplier and be tax free. And what about financial firms like Goldman
Sachs, which spend most of their money on payroll and investments, and very
little on goods and services? Goldman will pay taxes on what? Paper clips?
If, on the other hand, we institute the most widely
supported version of the national sales tax, then business transactions are
to be exempted. In addition to the colossal job of selling America on a zero
tax rate for business, a rigorous definition of the term "business
transaction" would have to be provided. What is a business transaction,
exactly? I write articles for publication. I consider it a hobby. Sometimes
I get paid. Should I pay sales taxes on money I earn for writing this
What about the Internet connection I used to send
it? Should readers pay taxes on the connection they use to read my article?
What if a reader uses it for his job? If he is a financial adviser, then no,
but otherwise it's yes? Will I pay taxes on gas I used to drive to the
studio to talk about this article? What if I stop to buy my son Jack a
birthday present on the way home?
I'm a recovering tax accountant (and not a good one
at that) and I've got 50 ways to avoid this tax swimming around in my head.
What about the really smart guys?
And what about transition rules? There are millions
of transactions that are, at any given moment, occurring over an extended
time. The most obvious example is retirement. I defer taxes now, for
retirement later. So I make a decision based on an income-tax regime that
doesn't make any sense in a sales-tax regime. Do I get my money back? What
about Roth IRAs? I pay income taxes on the money now, and then pay again
later when I spend it during retirement? Double taxation isn't really a
"fair" tax, is it?
These are the easy-to-see cases, but what about the
incredible variety of tax questions raised by installment sales? Inventory
accounting? Wholesale purchases? Ebay?
None of this matters anyway. We will never make
this change. The 16th Amendment will not be repealed in favor of a tax
vigorously opposed by an army of restaurants, pubs and retail stores. It's
hard to get good ideas through the ratification process; imagine how hard it
would be to push this stinker. In point of fact, the FairTax serves one main
purpose right now: It gives Mr. Huckabee the chance to sum up his economic
plan in one line. And that just doesn't seem, well, fair.
Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at
Stanford Scientists Build a Better Virtual World
A group of Stanford computer scientists has designed a
program that could help users create a more realistic virtual environment in
which to interact.
The Stanford Virtual Worlds group announced this week that they have created
Dryad, a program in which users can easily
“construct” trees in a virtual space. Using the wealth of information about
trees already collect by botanists, Dryad populates the virtual space with trees
created from 100 different variables. Users navigate the space and pick their
desired tree from thousands of possibilities. A social-networking component
refines the software by “nudging” users to trees with popular characteristics.
This, in effect, allows users to pick an item they want without having to go
through a complicated creation process, or being able to shape a
realistic-looking object manually.
Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2008 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on virtual worlds in education are at
The 2007 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American
Students Learning? ---
Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at
Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials
Minority Health Archive ---
Colorado State University Extension: Agriculture Resources ---
The Case of a Tropical Disease and Its Treatment: Science, Society, and
"Ants, plants each must hold up their end," Chicago Sun-Times,
January 10, 2008 ---
Call it the rule of unintended
consequences — drop your guard because one threat goes away and an
unexpected menace jumps up and smacks you.
And new research shows it even applies to
African acacia trees.
For thousands of years these thorny shrubs
have provided food and shelter to aggressive biting ants, which protect the
trees by attacking animals that try and eat the acacia leaves.
Called mutualism, it’s a good deal for
both the trees and the ants.
Scientists studying the decline in large
animals in Africa wondered what would happen if they no longer were eating
the leaves. So they fenced off some of the acacias, so elephants, giraffes
and other animals couldn’t get to them.
Surprisingly, after a few years the
fenced-in trees began looking sickly and grew slower than their unfenced
It turns out that without animals eating
their leaves the trees no longer bothered to take care of their ants — they
reduced nectar production and made fewer swollen thorns that the ants could
The result: The protective ants either
began damaging the plant or were replaced by other insects that ate holes in
‘‘Although this mutualism between ants and
plants has likely evolved over very long time-scales, it falls apart very,
very rapidly,’’ said Todd Palmer, an assistant professor of zoology at the
University of Florida.
‘‘Over the course of only 10 years, we
found that when mammals could not eat plants, the plants began to have less
use for the ants, and therefore began to reduce their ’payments’ to the
ants, in the form of nectar,’’ Palmer, who is currently in Kenya, explained
in an interview via e-mail. Palmer’s findings are reported in Friday’s
edition of the journal Science.
‘‘If you had asked me 10 years ago ’what
would happen if you took large mammals out of the system,’ I would have
answered ’I’ll bet the trees would be really happy!’’’ he said.
But instead, because the browsing animals
are the driving force behind the tree paying out benefits to the ants, when
the payments diminish, the ants that protect the tree begin to starve and
its colonies become smaller.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on free online science,
engineering, and medicine tutorials are at ---
Social Science and Economics Tutorials
Understanding Economics ---
Social Geography ---
Global Distribution of Poverty ---
Governing.com (a magazine for state and local government) ---
A Government Website for Helpers
in Personal Finance
MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government's
website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about
financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home,
balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources
on MyMoney.gov can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you
will find important information from 20 federal agencies government
My Money.gov ---
The Case of a Tropical Disease and Its Treatment: Science, Society, and
Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and
Philosophy tutorials are at
Law and Legal Studies
European Judicial Network ---
University Channel (video and audio) ---
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 ---
Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement ---
The Yale Law Journal: Pocket Part ---
Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at
Math in Daily Life ---
Episodes in the History of Geometry through Models in Dynamic Geometry---
Center for the Teaching of Statistics ---
Exploring Data (Statistics Tutorials) ---
Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at
From the U.S. Library of Congress
Exploring the Early Americas ---
History of the United States ---
The John Adams Library at the Boston Public Library ---
International Spy Museum ---
Vive la difference: The English and French stereotype in satirical prints,
Arden: World of William Shakespeare ---
Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at
Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at
Arden: World of William Shakespeare ---
Web Technology Boosts Writing Performance at Alhambra USD ---
"How to Be an Author," by William Germano, Chronicle of Higher Education,
January 14, 2008 ---
Put down the pen, turn off the computer: Writing a
book is only the first part of becoming an academic author. Today, more than
ever, you also have to become your publisher's partner.
It's easy to imagine what that might mean while the
book is still cooking. But the real work of promotion begins when the book
is done. This isn't the moment to be tired of your subject -- you're the
only one to whom your book is old news. Here are a few things authors can
do. Some require plane flights and hotel stays, others you can do from home.
Talk to Your Publisher's Publicity Department.
Get its take on your book's potential. If it's a
trade book, can you get a breakfast appearance or an autograph session at
BookExpo, the massive booksellers' jamboree? Can you get on "Fresh Air?"
Cable? Network TV? For most academic authors, those aren't likely prospects,
but it's always worth asking politely. If you're not big media fodder, there
are plenty of other ways in which to take part in your book's career. Be
sure you've filled out the author's questionnaire that the publisher sent
you to guide its promotion efforts. Fill it out completely. Which means all
Make the Net Work for You.
If you're a blogger, you already have a platform.
If not, maybe you've been a lurker on a forum or an e-mail discussion group.
Now is the moment to step into the cyberspotlight and say something about
your exciting new project. Don't be afraid to e-mail friends and
acquaintances. Spam filters and institutional protocols may set limits on
what you can do, but an e-blast is a good way for you, or you and your
publisher, to reach carefully selected lists.
If you have a Web site, use it to reward the
curious. Offer more information (for example, visuals) about your project.
Make the URL part of your e-signature. If you don't want to mix holiday
snaps with your professional writing life, consider creating a separate Web
site dedicated to your subject.
Watch Amazon. Be sure your publisher has put up the
cover of your book with the correct copy, advance blurbs, and good reviews
as they come in.
Go Out and Dramatize.
Most authors lecture on their subject. Plan on
speaking about your book, and plan on reading some of it aloud when you do.
Keep a public-reading copy, and keep it safe. Mark up passages that take no
more than 10 minutes to read. Don't just settle on the three pages you like
best. Edit them down for maximum effectiveness. That means taking out
clauses or descriptive words that don't work as well when spoken as they do
on the page. Dickens took a heavy pencil to his own novels to produce
gripping renditions of stories his audiences already knew. Your study of oil
spills in Antarctica might not read like Sykes's murder of Nancy, but then
again, with a bit of editing, it could.
It's no accident that some scholars wind up
speaking about their recent books at academic conventions. Plan ahead.
Arrange to be on programs related to your current work. Propose a special
session on Antarcticana.
Have things to say, or at least one important thing
to say (in the end, one thing may be better anyway). Some authors work with
media consultants. They can help you learn not to fidget and explain that
you need to floss before going on camera. A friend of mine calls them people
trainers. If you're invited to appear on camera -- anywhere -- you might
consider getting people-trained, too.
Having spent our entire lives in and around
academe, and much of it in front of students, it can be sobering to learn
that our presentational skills can do with some sharpening. Watch successful
academics speak with television interviewers. Take notes on what works and
what doesn't. You'll discover that most successful interviewees have
something they want to say. Take a leaf from the politician's handbook: Know
what your message is before they clip the lapel mike on. Then stay on
Hand out fliers. Your publisher will be happy to
e-mail you a PDF file of a flier for your book. You can print up a stack of
fliers and distribute them in connection with your conference talk. If
you're uncomfortable being seen passing out advertising for your own book,
leave a stack of fliers at a conspicuous spot in the conference hotel's
corridor. At many conventions, there will be a natural space for placing
promotional materials, calls for papers, and other academic curiosa.
In the year around publication -- roughly two
months before your pub date and 10 months following -- you should be out and
visible. Get invited to give a talk or be a respondent. If your travel plans
will bring you near a university or college, ask if there might be an
opportunity to speak on the subject of your new book. Don't be the first to
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at
From the Scout Report on January 11, 2008
Free Download Manager 2.5 ---
As files get larger, downloading them can be
unwieldy and time-consuming. Free Download Manager can help users out in
this area, as it effectively accelerates downloads by splitting files into
sections and then downloading them simultaneously. The application can also
help users download video segments from popular video-sharing sites. It
comes with support for several dozen languages and can be used on computers
running Windows 95 and newer.
Endo 1.0.46 ---
In this new year, it might be worth taking a look
at a compelling news aggregator. This latest version of Endo is just such an
application, and can be used with any site that includes a syndication
feature, such as RSS. Visitors can use Endo to manage their subscriptions,
create customized text summaries, and even flag articles for permanent
storage. This version is compatible with computers running Max OS X 10.4 and
Updates from WebMD ---
Research suggests that, except among high-risk heart patients, the
benefits of statins such as Lipitor are highly overstated
"Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?" by John Carey, Business Week,
January 17, 2008 ---
For one thing, many researchers harbor doubts about
the need to drive down cholesterol levels in the first place. Those doubts
were strengthened on Jan. 14, when Merck and Schering-Plough (SGP) revealed
results of a trial in which one popular cholesterol-lowering drug, a statin,
was fortified by another, Zetia, which operates by a different mechanism.
The combination did succeed in forcing down patients' cholesterol further
than with just the statin alone. But even with two years of treatment, the
further reductions brought no health benefit.
DOING THE MATH The second crucial point is hiding
in plain sight in Pfizer's own Lipitor newspaper ad. The dramatic 36% figure
has an asterisk. Read the smaller type. It says: "That means in a large
clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart
attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor."
Now do some simple math. The numbers in that
sentence mean that for every 100 people in the trial, which lasted 3 1/3
years, three people on placebos and two people on Lipitor had heart attacks.
The difference credited to the drug? One fewer heart attack per 100 people.
So to spare one person a heart attack, 100 people had to take Lipitor for
more than three years. The other 99 got no measurable benefit. Or to put it
in terms of a little-known but useful statistic, the number needed to treat
(or NNT) for one person to benefit is 100.
Compare that with, say, today's standard antibiotic
therapy to eradicate ulcer-causing H. pylori stomach bacteria. The NNT is
1.1. Give the drugs to 11 people, and 10 will be cured.
A low NNT is the sort of effective response many
patients expect from the drugs they take. When Wright and others explain to
patients without prior heart disease that only 1 in 100 is likely to benefit
from taking statins for years, most are astonished. Many, like Winn, choose
to opt out.
Plus, there are reasons to believe the overall
benefit for many patients is even less than what the NNT score of 100
suggests. That NNT was determined in an industry-sponsored trial using
carefully selected patients with multiple risk factors, which include high
blood pressure or smoking. In contrast, the only large clinical trial funded
by the government, rather than companies, found no statistically significant
benefit at all. And because clinical trials themselves suffer from potential
biases, results claiming small benefits are always uncertain, says Dr.
Nortin M. Hadler, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill and a longtime drug industry critic. "Anything over an NNT of
50 is worse than a lottery ticket; there may be no winners," he argues.
Several recent scientific papers peg the NNT for statins at 250 and up for
lower-risk patients, even if they take it for five years or more. "What if
you put 250 people in a room and told them they would each pay $1,000 a year
for a drug they would have to take every day, that many would get diarrhea
and muscle pain, and that 249 would have no benefit? And that they could do
just as well by exercising? How many would take that?" asks drug industry
critic Dr. Jerome R. Hoffman, professor of clinical medicine at the
University of California at Los Angeles.
Drug companies and other statin proponents readily
concede that the number needed to treat is high. "As you calculated, the NNT
does come out to about 100 for this study," said Pfizer representatives in a
written response to questions. But statin promoters have several
counterarguments. First, they insist that a high NNT doesn't always mean a
drug shouldn't be widely used. After all, if millions of people are taking
statins, even the small benefit represented by an NNT over 100 would mean
thousands of heart attacks are prevented.
That's a legitimate point, and it raises a tough
question about health policy. How much should we spend on preventative
steps, such as the use of statins or screening for prostate cancer, that end
up benefiting only a small percentage of people? "It's all about whether we
think the population is what matters, in which case we should all be on
statins, or the individual, in which case we should not be," says Dr. Peter
Trewby, consultant physician at Darlington Memorial Hospital in Britain.
"What is of great value to the population can be of little benefit to the
individual." Think about buying a raffle ticket for a community charity.
It's for a good cause, but you are unlikely to win the prize.
Continued in article
"Virtual Worlds Turn Therapeutic for Autistic Disorders," by Katherine
Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2008 ---
The 19-year-old woman glares at her computer
screen, furious because her roommate wants a friend to move in with them,
rent-free. But instead of calmly asserting herself, she begins yelling, and
her virtual world is put on pause.
Then the woman replays the encounter, which
occurred not with a live roommate, but between digital characters, or
avatars, guided by a clinician in the Center for Brain Health at the
University of Texas at Dallas. The woman and the clinician consider how she
could have handled the situation better
Then the woman is back in the virtual town, created
specially for patients who, like her, have Asperger's syndrome. The disorder
is a mild form of autism marked by normal intelligence and a variety of
cognitive defects, including troubles with social interaction or adapting to
Asperger's patients have been treated by
role-playing with real-life therapists. The virtual-reality town at the
medical center is a new twist. "The clinicians can change the virtual world
to increase the complexity of the exercise, control for sensory overload,
provide motivation, and record feedback. It's very safe," says the center's
executive director, Sandra B. Chapman.
The university uses a platform from Second Life,
the popular virtual world, in which patients go to an "island" customized
for therapeutic purposes. The island was built by undergraduates in the
university's game-design program, guided by the center's clinicians.
Patients design their avatars to look as much like
themselves as possible, and can readily access programmed gestures to make
their likenesses smile, shrug, or express impatience by tapping their feet.
Building Social Skills
Virtual reality is gaining traction as a form of
psychotherapy at many academic medical centers, says Zachary Rosenthal,
director of the Cognitive Behavioral Research and Treatment Program at Duke
University Medical Center. It "allows you a wider, more flexible platform,
with a broader variety of cues and potential scenarios to build social
skills," he says. Mr. Rosenthal has created a virtual crackhouse at Duke to
help addicts control their craving.
In Dallas, says Ms. Chapman, Asperger's patients
experience the same emotions they would in a direct encounter. "They're
interacting in real time with real people in surprisingly realistic
scenarios," she explains. They make small talk, using headsets and
microphones, and settle conflicts with people in virtual restaurants, shops,
offices, and parks. These people are mostly clinicians and volunteers
represented by their own avatars.
Researchers in Dallas also conduct brain-imaging
and neurocognitive tests on the patients before and after the virtual-world
therapy sessions. The three patients they have tested so far have shown
improvements in several areas, including "social appropriateness." They are
less likely, for instance, to make inappropriate jokes and more likely to be
able to read a person's body language.
Matt Kratz, a 35-year-old graduate student with
Asperger's syndrome who has been treated in the program, says he feels more
confident making small talk, especially with women, since practicing in
"I'm usually not good with someone face to face,"
he says. "I tend to feel awkward and put my foot in my mouth."
In his virtual world, Mr. Kratz was able to see,
for example, that an innocent comment about a rose on a woman's shirt could
be misconstrued as a pickup line, and how his flat tone when talking with a
friend who had just received a promotion could be construed as a lack of
concern. "I feel like I'm more prepared now," he says, "when I go out into
the real world."
Bob Jensen's threads on technology for handicapped and disabled learners
Sexually-active gay men vulnerable to new, highly infectious bacteria
Sexually active gay men are many times more likely than
others to acquire a new, highly antibiotic-resistant strain of the so-called
MRSA bacteria widely know as the "superbug," a UCSF-led study shows. The
bacteria appear to be transmitted most easily through intimate sexual contact,
but can spread through casual skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated
surfaces. The scientists are concerned that it could soon gain ground in the
general population. The new strain of bacteria is closely related to the MRSA
bacteria that have spread beyond hospital borders in recent years and caused
outbreaks of severe skin and other infections. But the newly discovered microbe
is resistant to many more front-line antibiotics. Both strains are technically
known as MRSA USA300. Like its less antibiotic-resistant sibling, the new
multi-drug resistant microbe spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact,
invading skin and tissue beneath the skin. Both strains cause abscesses and
ulcerations that can progress rapidly to life-threatening infections.
PhysOrg, January 14, 2008 ---
Fish oil -- helpful or harmful?
Fish oil supplements may help some cardiac patients
while harming others, suggests a new review of evidence compiled by St.
Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto researchers. There is evidence from
multiple large-scale population (epidemiologic) studies and randomized
controlled trials that intake of recommended amounts of DHA and EPA in the form
of dietary fish or fish oil supplements can reduce the risk of death, heart
attack and dangerous abnormal heart rhythms in people with known cardiovascular
disease, as well as potentially slow hardening of the arteries and lower blood
pressure slightly. But the evidence also shows high doses can have harmful
effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding. Although benefits are proposed
for alpha-linolenic acid, scientific evidence is less compelling and beneficial
effects may be less pronounced. The meta-analysis reveals that studies in
different patient populations with different pathophysiologies and therapeutic
regimens have all produced divergent results. However, more recent data suggests
that particular caution should be exercised when analyzing data from certain
subgroups, such as men with stable angina. The same may also be true for
patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators who have a history of
ventricular tachycardia and who are not taking antiarrhythmic medications.
PhysOrg, January 14, 2008 ---
Electroshock therapy making a comeback
Electroshock therapy is coming back into favor as a
treatment for depression in the United States. In the last 25 years, the number
of U.S. patients undergoing the treatment -- formally known as electroconvulsive
therapy -- has tripled to about 100,000, Te Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer
reported Sunday. The treatment faces a stigma, the newspaper said. Some view it
as a form of torture, while others argue it causes permanent mental damage. The
American Psychiatric Association last month agreed to a new examination of
literature on the practice.
PhysOrg, January 14, 2007 ---
Lighting up the powerful global smoking lobby
Global public health efforts to reduce smoking are at
odds with the interests of the tobacco industry. According to a case study
published in the online open access journal Globalization and Health, competing
tobacco companies co-operate via a global network of national and regional
manufacturing associations to undermine public health measures to counter
smoking. Patricia McDaniel, Gina Intinarelli and Ruth Malone from the University
of California, San Francisco dug deep into documentary data from tobacco
industry documents archives. Their case study, which maps globally tobacco
industry-linked groups known as “issues management organizations,” draws upon
previously secret tobacco industry documents and details some of the strategies
these bodies used.
PhysOrg, January 17, 2008 ---
Will it be very expensive for Merck and Schering-Plough to defend why they
continued to sell useless/dangerous medications for two years after discovering
they were useless/dangerous?
This trial was designed to show that Zetia could
reduce the growth of those plaques. Instead, the
plaques actually grew almost twice as fast in patients taking Zetia along with
Zocor than in those taking Zocor alone.
"Cholesterol Drug Has No Benefit in Trial," Alex Berenson, The New York Times,
January 14, 2008 ---
A clinical trial of Zetia, a cholesterol-lowering
drug prescribed to about 1 million people a week, failed to show that the
drug has any medical benefits, Merck and Schering-Plough said on Monday.
The results will add to the growing concern over
Zetia and Vytorin, a drug that combines Zetia with another cholesterol
medicine in a single pill. About 60 percent of patients who take Zetia do so
in the form of Vytorin, which combines Zetia with the cholesterol drug Zocor.
While Zetia lowers cholesterol by 15 percent to 20
percent in most patients, no trial has ever shown that it can reduce heart
attacks and strokes — or even that it reduces the growth of the fatty
plaques in arteries that can cause heart problems.
This trial was designed to show that Zetia could
reduce the growth of those plaques. Instead, the plaques actually grew
almost twice as fast in patients taking Zetia along with Zocor than in those
taking Zocor alone.
Patients in the trial who took the combination of
Zetia and Zocor were receiving it in the form of Vytorin pills. The trial,
called Enhance, lasted two years and covered about 720 patients with
extremely high cholesterol, mostly in the Netherlands.
Dr. Steven Nissen, the chairman of cardiology at
the Cleveland Clinic, said the results were “shocking.” Patients should not
be prescribed Zetia unless all other cholesterol drugs have failed, he said.
“This is as bad a result for the drug as anybody
could have feared,” Dr. Nissen said. Millions of patients may be taking a
drug that has no benefits for them, raising their risk of heart attacks and
exposing them to potential side effects, he said.
Still, patients who are taking Vytorin or Zetia
should talk to their doctors if they are concerned and not discontinue
taking the medicines on their own, Dr. Nissen said.
Dr. Howard Hodis, a cardiologist at the University
of Southern California, also said he was concerned by the trial’s results.
Growth in fatty plaques — called atherosclerosis — is highly correlated with
heart attacks and strokes, Dr. Hodis said.
“Clearly, progression of atherosclerosis is the
only way you get events,” Dr. Hodis said. “If you don’t treat progression,
then you get events.”
Continued in article
"Sweetener Side Effects: Case Histories: Researchers Cite 2 Patients Who
Suffered Severe Weight Loss From Heavy Use of Sorbitol", by Kathleen Doheny,
WebMD, January 10, 2008 ---
Consuming sweets and
chewing gum with
may help the
slash calories, but
excessive use of the
can cause extreme
and other problems,
according to a new
In this week's
Bauditz, MD, of the
patients with a
sorbitol habit who
loss until their
excessive use of the
(Do you include
sorbitol in your
What foods and how
Tell us about it on
Type 2 Diabetes
Support Group board.)
Sweeteners and Side
One patient, a
for eight months.
She reported an
loss of 24 pounds,
weighing in at about
After she was asked
about diet, she said
sugar-free gum with
taking in about 18
to 20 grams a day.
One stick typically
has 1.25 grams.
Once she eliminated
sorbitol from her
problems stopped and
she gained back more
than 15 pounds.
The second patient,
a 46-year-old man,
of diarrhea and a
weight loss of more
than 48 pounds
during the previous
year. His blood work
and other exams came
back normal, but
when asked about
diet, he, too,
sorbitol. He chewed
20 sticks of
sugar-free gum daily
and also ate about 7
ounces of sweets
about 30 grams of
When he cut out the
sorbitol, he gained
back 11 pounds
within six months
and his diarrhea
The message for
doctors, the authors
conclude, is to
dietary habits when
a patient has
Sweeteners and Side
Effects: A Food
Reports of side
effects such as
abdominal pain and
diarrhea with high
amounts of sorbitol
nothing new, says
Roger Clemens, DrPH,
a spokesman for the
Institute of Food
sciences at the
"The laxative effect
is very well
tells WebMD. "It
could be these
individuals [in the
case histories] were
sensitive." And they
he notes. "We would
not expect the
average consumer to
consume upwards of
20 sticks of gum a
"Sorbitol is not
Clemens says. As a
result, excess water
tract and diarrhea
can occur. Those who
rely on artificially
to help manage their
diabetes or to
calories, he says,
should use a variety
of such products and
consume them in
is found in
toothpastes as well
as chewing gum and
Continued in article
Cranberries really are a miracle cure for women
Cranberry juice, long dissed as a mere folk remedy for
relieving urinary tract infections in women, is finally getting some respect.
Thanks to Prof. Itzhak Ofek, a researcher at Tel Aviv University's Sackler
Faculty of Medicine, the world now knows that science supports the folklore.
Prof. Ofek's research on the tart berry over the past two decades shows that its
juice indeed combats urinary tract infections. And, he’s discovered, the
refreshing red beverage has additional medicinal qualities as well. Prof. Ofek
has found that cranberry juice exhibits anti-viral properties against the flu,
can prevent cavities, and lessens the reoccurrence of gastric ulcers. Unhappily
for half the human race, however, new research published this year in the
journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research on ulcers, suggests that, like
urinary tract infections, the healing power of cranberries apply only to women.
PhysOrg, January 10, 2008 ---
Words of Wisdom forwarded by Dick and Cec
01. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.
02. Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
03. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at
04. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
05. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.
06. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to
become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
07. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many
people a company can operate without.
08. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else
09. Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.
10. No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.
11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. It
could be a right number.
13. Think about this ... No one ever says "It's only a game" when his team is
14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.
15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like
16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size
bucket17. Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of OLD
LADIES running around with tattoos?
(And RAP music will be the Golden Oldies!)
18. Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in
a Corvette than in a new $2,500 Nano (from Ratan Motors in India).
19. After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are
Ain't it the truth!!
Tidbits Archives ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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
World Clock ---
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/
Interesting Online Clock
Time by Time Zones ---
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) ---
Facts about population growth (video) ---
Projected U.S. Population Growth ---
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq ---
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons ---
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.
Three Finance Blogs
Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---
Some Accounting Blogs
Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International
International Association of Accountants News ---
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and
XBRL Blogs ---
Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New
Current and past editions of my newsletter called
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud
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 ---
Shared Open Courseware
(OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing
Free Textbooks and Cases ---
Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---
Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---
Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---
Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---
Teaching Materials (especially
video) from PBS
Teacher Source: Arts and
Teacher Source: Health & Fitness
Teacher Source: Math ---
Teacher Source: Science ---
Teacher Source: PreK2 ---
Teacher Source: Library Media ---
Free Education and
Research Videos from Harvard University ---
VYOM eBooks Directory ---
From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---
Online Mathematics Textbooks ---
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---
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 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 ---
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.
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA.
This can be anything from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ
initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as
accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed
assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586