Went out to the country this past weekend and took this picture of the yearling doe that was found abandoned when she was a fawn. The mother doe was either killed by coyotes or the mountain lions. Weak and ant bitten she was rescued by the wife of the ranch hand. The dog next to her just had a litter of pups so the deer started to nurse with the puppies. Well this little fawn survived and now runs, eats and sleeps with the dogs ! It is funny watching her run along the side of the truck with the dogs and wishing she could bark like them too.
Message sent by my friend Jerry Hernandez at Trinity University [GHernan1@Trinity.edu]

Jensen Comment
It's written in yearling-doe hormones that someday she'll lose her heart to a young buck like the one in the picture below forwarded by Paula. There's little doubt what this horny guy will be looking for in next autumn's rut if he does not first become a hood ornament or venison sausage.

Lab and Fawn Playing --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIAd_h0Us3Y

Deer and Dog Dancing --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLvN7-ye-lQ

Mother Nature's Animals (Beautiful and Comical) --- Click Here
(Click the right arrow button)

 

Tidbits on February 4, 2008
Bob Jensen

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

Global Incident Map --- http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

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

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

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

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

Tips on computer and networking security --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm

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




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

Why the Yankees lost to the Red Sox --- http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=25960628

Would you like to pose a video question to the Davos World Economic Forum?
Here's how --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4503xrB9xc
Also search for "Davos" in YouTube and see what pops up --- http://www.youtube.com/

Interactives: 3D Shapes --- http://www.learner.org/interactives/geometry/index.

Rock Cycle Animations --- http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/visualization/collections/rock_cycle.html

Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/poles/index.php

Bob Milne Ragtime (from the Library of Congress) --- http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200035798/default.html

3D Organic Chemistry Animations --- http://138.253.125.24/~ng/external/ 

Statistical Understanding Made Simple --- http://www.gla.ac.uk/sums/  

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Auschwitz Through the Lens of the SS --- http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/ssalbum/

Royal Academy of Arts (mulitmedia) --- http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

The Wall Street Journal questions why polar bears are going on the endangered species list when their population hits an all-time high, seal killing high ---
http://online.wsj.com/public/page/8_0004.html?bcpid=86195573&bclid=212338097&bctid=1392526863

Update on Free Open Sharing of Knowledge by Colleges and Universities
"Professors on YouTube, Take 2," by Jeffrey R. Young , Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2008 --- Click Here

Since writing about how professors are finding celebrity on YouTube, several people wrote in to point us to other efforts to offer lecture videos online. So here are a couple of more, with some updates on what they are up to:

* Research Channel: This non-profit consortium of colleges and universities broadcasts video of campus lectures and presentations in a variety of formats. Its largest reach comes from its satellite and cable-TV channel, which reaches more than 30-million homes in the U.S. But the group has long had a Web presence as well, and its leaders say the online audience is growing rapidly. Amy Philipson, executive director of Research Channel, says to look for the channel to offer its videos on YouTube soon. And she says they've recently set up a page on iTunesU, the educational section of Apple's iTunes Store.

* UChannel: Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs runs this Web-video network that pulls together audio and video recordings of campus talks. The effort started back in 2005. Donna M. Liu, director for strategic initiatives for Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, says that UChannel was on YouTube long before the University of California at Berkeley set up its channel there. And the group even offers a Facebook application that pops lecture videos into your online social profile.

* DoFlick: On a much, much smaller scale, recent graduates of the University of Maryland at College Park set up this site featuring instructional videos about science and engineering. One of the founders, Luis Corzo, says the site is getting about 5,000 to 10,000 visits per month. One of the stars of the site so far is Richard E. Berg, a professor of practice at College Park who produces videos of physics demonstrations.

Finally, I produced a short video report with footage from some of lectures featured in my previous article. What's your favorite lecture video online?

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

 


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

Gabriela Montero is a classical pianist who loves to improvise. At her concerts, audience members sing her a tune and she immediately creates a multi-layered improvisation. Montero likes to visit the NPR studio to try something similar, called Sing It and Wing It. With Performance Today host Fred Child, Montero takes phone calls from listeners. They sing her a tune and tell her the story behind it. Montero creates a new, on-the-spot improvisation ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18185186

The Morgan State Choir: Heritage in Song --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18576282
Includes
America the Beautiful

Loving 'Leonore': Beethoven's Neglected Opera (full concert) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18306733

Joshua Bell: A Sonata in the SouthBell plays Saint-Saens’ Violin Sonata No. 1 in suburban Atlanta. (Full Concert) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13824026

Ragtime --- http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/html/ragtime/ragtime-home.html

New rendition of "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore" (video) --- http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20071221/MULTIMEDIA/283841756

Hoe Down

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


Photographs and Art

Tom Robinson (retired accounting professor from the University of Alaska and a wonderful friend and fisherman) forwarded this magnificent PowerPoint show.
Alaskan Railroad  (Great music and photographs) --- Click Here

Forwarded by a former B-29 pilot and friend named Col. Bob Booth
OH-58 Kiowa helicopter that came back to base with more than a few leaks --- Click Here
(Hit the right arrow button to see more pictures)
You can read more about the OH-58 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OH-58
God bless our heroes!

Let the World In: Prints by Robert Rauschenberg --- http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2007/rauschenberg/index.shtm

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

Royal Academy of Arts (mulitmedia) --- http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

University of Michigan Collections (Images, Photographs) --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?page=groups#um-
(Heavy on science images)

The Frick Collection owns some famous and valuable historic paintings that it only shows now and then (some rarely). It now has only one painting on display --- Antea by Francesco Mazzola Parmigianino (1503-1540) --- http://www.frick.org/collection/index.htm 

Sacred Contexts (Religion Comparisons and Contexts, art history) --- http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/sacred/homepage.html 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Videos and Podcasts --- http://www.lacma.org/art/ScreeningRoom.aspx

Pamphlet and Textual Ephemera Collection ---  http://content.lib.washington.edu/ptecweb/index.html

Mother Nature's Animals (Beautiful and Comical) --- Click Here
(Click the right arrow button)

Visual Arts Data Service (art history) --- http://www.vads.ahds.ac.uk/

Mapping Pittsburgh: Art, Space & Alternative Culture --- http://www.warhol.org/mappingpgh/index.html#new

Greene & Greene Architectural Records and Papers --- http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/archives/avery/greene/index.html

Hillary can't wait (old humor) --- http://jokelibrary.net/yyPictures/m/2008b.html 

This student-sponsored "art show" may draw thousands
The College of William & Mary, of late the site of debates over social issues and the First Amendment, has affirmed the right of students to sponsor an art show by sex workers. The Sex Workers’ Art Show features visual and performing arts by strippers, prostitutes, porn stars and others. While the show tends to tour college campuses, some have suggested that William & Mary might be better off finding another venue in the area for the show, scheduled for the campus on February 4. Gene R. Nichol, president of the college, issued a statement in which he said that while he wished that students hadn’t scheduled the event, it would be wrong for him to censor it. “There are powerful reasons that colleges have student-funded and student-governed speaker series. They help assure a robust program of expression on campus. Censoring them because administrators disagree with a performance’s content contradicts values residing at the core of the American university,” he said.
Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/30/qt

 


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Electronic Literature Directory (a great directory) --- http://directory.eliterature.org/ 

The Green Guide --- http://www.thegreenguide.com/

PowerPoint Poetry by David Galef (at a faculty meeting no less) --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/01/31/galef

30 Days of Rain (video) --- http://www.30daysofrain.com/30daysofrain_shell_content.html
(Click different squares in the flag on the bottom of the wall)

August 1959 by DeWayne Rail --- http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/six/rail6.htm

Heartbreak  --- http://tracearchive.ntu.ac.uk/traced/guertin/heartbreak/mainframe.htm

 Tom Sawyer Abroad by Mark Twain --- Click Here




According to a Gallup Poll from last year, 64 percent of Americans drink alcohol. Thirty-four percent of American drinkers choose wine. Fortunately, wine is not rising in price at the rate of oil. That's the good news. We already know the bad news about gasoline, feeling it every time we pull up to the pump. That precious petroleum product is now triple what it was just a few years ago. Wow! Wouldn't it be nice to increase your hourly billing rate three-fold? The next time a client balks at your price increase maybe you could pour them a glass of Merlot and remind them that their dollar goes a lot farther with you than it does with Shell, Gulf, and Exxon!
Rob Nance, AccountingWeb Newsletter, January 31, 2008

The brief evidence cited above shows that there is an unhealthy relationship between the UK state and major accounting firms. Accounting firms have penetrated the state and their many anti-social activities go unchecked. Despite dodgy audits and dubious tax avoidance schemes no UK government has ever prosecuted any major accounting firm. Is it any wonder that the public confidence in political institutions is low?
Bikesh Shrestha, "Heart of darkness:  Accounting firms have penetrated the UK state and their many antisocial activities are going unchecked," The Guardian, January 9, 2008 --- http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/prem_sikka_/2008/01/heart_of_darkness.html

In a brazen attempt to attract students to the pleasures of reading by associating classic literature with acts of senseless violence, a professor at a well-known liberal-arts college ran the following log in the pages of the campus newspaper. The local bookstore noted a sudden spike in sales of The Iliad.
Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George, "The Literary Police Blotter," Chronicle of Higher Education Chronicle Review, February 1, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i21/21b00501.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

PI, the popular mathematical symbol, today announced that it is a candidate for the presidency. Pi's campaign theme "Endless Change." is based on its infinite and endless series of digits. "We expect an uphill battle. e and PHI have also announced.
Press Release Newswire, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/1/prweb662364.htm
Jensen Comment
But Epsilon is planning to enter the race with the theme "all changes will be asymptotically small." My vote if for Epsilon.

To some extent, our qualified optimism is borne out by impartial data. In this article we look at three pieces of evidence: the underlying social conditions in poor countries; poverty alleviation over the past decade; and the incidence of wars and political violence. By those measures the world seems to be in rather better shape than most people realise . . . In China 25 years ago, over 600m people—two-thirds of the population—were living in extreme poverty (on $1 a day or less). Now, the number on $1 a day is below 180m. In the world as a whole, a stunning 135m people escaped dire poverty between 1999 and 2004. This is more than the population of Japan or Russia—and more people, more quickly than at any other time in history. Poverty alleviation has gone hand in hand with improvements in basic services. Digging canals and building water-treatment plants has increased the number of people with access to safe water: in South Asia, for instance, the number of those without clean water has been nearly halved since 1990. Thanks to this, and to better public-health provision, the rate at which people die from infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis is falling in most poor countries, Africa excepted . . . A generation ago the biggest worry about poor countries was over-population. Books such as “The Population Bomb” (1968) and “The Limits to Growth” (1972) predicted Malthusian crises in countries where women were having five children or more. Since then the fertility rate (the average number of children a woman can expect during her lifetime) in low- and middle-income countries has crashed. In East Asia and the Pacific, the rate was 5.4 in 1970. Now it is 2.1. In South Asia, the fertility rate halved (from 6.0 to 3.1). In the world as a whole, fertility has fallen from 4.8 to 2.6 in a generation (25 years). The biggest decline is in those countries that are most involved with globalisation (especially in East Asia, though China is a special case because of its one-child policy). The most important exception to the rule of declining fertility is sub-Saharan Africa. All the countries with fertility rates over 5.0 are in Africa (with the one exception of Yemen) . . . Bad government and lack of growth often, though far from always, go together. Whatever the problems of globalisation, they are dwarfed by the penalties of being untouched by it. The World Social Forum, a gathering of self-proclaimed progressives who want to turn back trade, growth and globalisation has adopted as its slogan the motto “Another world is possible”. In reality, another and better world is painfully and fitfully coming into being.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow," The Economist, February 1, 2008, Page 27 ---
http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10564141

Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, age 41, who holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Oxford, is a high-profile member of a cadre of so-called warrior-scholars gathered around Gen. David H. Petraeus, who himself holds a doctorate from Princeton University in international relations. Petraeus, commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, has long advocated that the military repair ties to academe rendered asunder by the Vietnam War. Charged with drafting a new doctrine on counterinsurgency operations, Petraeus sought the specialized knowledge, fresh thinking, and cultural sensitivity of journalists, human-rights activists, scholars, and members of the armed forces like Nagl. Nagl will join the Center for a New American Security, a foreign-policy think tank in Washington. Although he cited family reasons for his retirement, his sudden departure sparked a wave of hand-wringing as commentators questioned the military's ability to retain its most capable and intellectually adventurous officers.
Evan R. Goldstein, "An Unscholarly War?" Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, February 1, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i21/21b00401.htm?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

Iran declared on Sunday that a French military base in the Gulf would not help security and peace in the oil-rich region. Paris signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates in January to build France's first permanent military installation in the Gulf, just across the water from Iran. The base will accommodate 400 to 500 personnel, keeping France within reach of sea lanes through which over a third of global oil shipments pass.
Reuters, February 3, 2008 --- Click Here

We are concerned with the bi-partisan "Libel Terrorism Protection Act," introduced in the New York Assembly and Senate by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D) and Senator Dean Skelos (R).This bill has been introduced to protect New York authors who investigate and expose the enablers of terrorism from libel lawsuits filed in foreign courts. Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed - And How to Stop It, was the target of one of those lawsuits. The wealthy Saudi who filed the lawsuit against Dr. Ehrenfeld in the United Kingdom has successfully silenced more than 40 authors and publishers, including many Americans. If these lawsuits are allowed to continue, the ramifications for our cherished freedoms of speech and the press are chilling and ominous. The sooner "The Libel Terrorism Protection Act," is signed into law, the sooner New York - the publishing capital of the U.S. and the free world - and New York authors will be protected from meritless and frivolous libel suits filed in foreign jurisdictions.
Brigitte Gabriel as quoted in a January 29, 2008 message from Naomi Ragen [nragen@netvision.net.il]

GodTube is a new online video social networking community for Christians -- basically, YouTube for The Righteous. Its motto is: "Broadcast Him." The service is essential, says former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister and Republican presidential candidate, because Christians need a way to infuse themselves and their views into the political process.
Sarah Lai Stirland, "Huckabee Endorses Hell-Fearing Christian YouTube Competitor 'GodTube'," Wired News, January 28, 2008 --- http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/01/christianity-ne.html
Jensen Comment
It always amazes me that so many Christians who abhor physical torture promise perpetual hellfire torture to unforgiven sinners whether or not they are Christians.
The GodTube link http://www.godtube.com/

What exactly was wrong with Bobby Fischer was a subject of much debate. The combination of high intelligence and social dysfunction suggested autism; but he had been a normal boy in many respects, enjoying Superman comics and going to hockey games. He had got mixed up in the 1960s with the Worldwide Church of God, a crazed millenarian outfit, and perhaps had learned from them to hate and revile the Jews; though he was Jewish himself, with a Jewish mother who had tried psychologists and the columns of the local paper to cure him of too much chess, but who still couldn't stop the pocket set coming out at the dinner table . . . Perhaps, in the end, the trouble was this: that chess, as he once said, was life, and there was nothing more. Mr Fischer was not good at anything else, had not persevered in school, had never done another job, had never married, but had pinned every urgent minute of his existence to 32 pieces and 64 black and white squares. He dreamed of a house in Beverly Hills that would be built in the shape of a rook.
"Bobby Fischer," The Economist, February 1, 2008, Page 84 --- http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10559454

With all the indignation shown over allegations that Israel is causing a humanitarian crisis and exercising “collective punishment” on Gaza’s Palestinians, few have stopped to consider the possibility that this “crisis” has been engineered by Hamas to score a propaganda victory against Israel using the gullible Western media as its vehicle. This “crisis” has all the markings of a pre-arranged publicity event - skillful manipulation of the Western media, the use of falsehoods and selective information, staged atrocities, and all the other time-honored methods used by unscrupulous propagandists. Since the Palestinians staged the death of the child Mohammed al-Dura in his father's arms back in September 2000, Palestinian propaganda has not enjoyed such international success as it is enjoying today in Gaza. Accumulated evidence suggests that Hamas has knowingly diverted gas from Gaza’s domestic generators for the production of its Kassam missiles and has transferred other fuel supplies, electrical power and foodstuffs for its other political and military purposes; and despite the fact that Gaza continues to receive 70% of its electricity supply directly from Israel and another 5 percent from Egypt (none of which is ever acknowledged by the international media), Hamas officials, with great bravado, recently shut down Gaza’s major power plant plunging Gaza City into total darkness. TV reporters and crews were of course on hand to witness “the shutdown” and minutes later, Gazans took to the streets in a pre-arranged candlelight protest march blaming Israel. Does anyone really believe that a power station as large as the one in Gaza keeps only a one-day diesel fuel reserve?”
Mark Silverberg, "Playing the Media," The New Media Journal, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.newmediajournal.us/staff/silverberg/2008/01292008.htm

Iraqis have fanned out across the Middle East and beyond to escape violence at home. Many women say they were the targets of Islamist militias intent on imposing a fundamentalist brand of Islam.
NPR, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18512380

Two mentally disabled (Down Syndrome) women were strapped with explosives Friday and sent into busy Baghdad markets, where they were blown up by remote control, a top Iraqi government official said. In both bombings, the attackers were mentally disabled women whose explosive belts were remotely detonated, Gen. Qasim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad's security plan, told state television.
"'Demonic' militants sent women to bomb markets in Iraq," CNN, February 1, 2008 --- http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/02/01/iraq.main/index.html
"Down's Syndrome Women Kill 91," London Times, February 2, 2008 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3287373.ece
Also see http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8UHKP281&show_article=1&catnum=0

The officials noted Robert Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause . . . Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Times piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state. Malley's contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat's refusal to make peace for the talks' failure.
Aaron Klein, "Obama aide wants talks with terrorists:  Foreign adviser's 'anti-Israel policies,' sympathy for Hamas, raise concerns," WorldNetDaily, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59930
Jensen Comment
Something should be said in favor of a candidate's having inputs from various factions after being elected to office, but doing so beforehand can be hazardous to getting into office. Having the anti-Israeli Robert Malley as a salaried aide helps explain why Obama is losing the Jewish Lobby votes to Hillary Clinton. If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, traditionally democratic Jews will be put in a bind to support the Democratic candidate. This may be the best opportunity yet for the GOP to attract Jewish voters. What will Barbara do if and when Obama wins the nomination? At the moment her powerful support and dollars are going for Hillary Clinton ---
http://www.barbrastreisand.com/index.php?page=news&n_id=588
It's more likely that Malley will be fired from the Obama camp quite soon and then rehired if and when Obama wins the November 2008 election.

Sid Davidoff, a lobbyist who has been involved in New York government and politics since the 1960s, said: “I think there is going to be a split between established older voters in the Jewish community, with whom Hillary will do well, and younger and more liberal Jews who see Obama as an agent of change.” Although it might be expected that Senator Clinton will win the support of more voters, including Jewish voters, in the state she represents, even the slightest shift in Jewish support is a subject of interest.
Glenn Collins, "For Jewish Voters in New York, ‘Almost an Embarrassment of Riches’," The New York Times, February 3, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/nyregion/03jewish.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Senator Barak Obama's surprise landslide victory in the South Carolina primary demarcates a turning point in modern American politics. Can it be a coincidence that it occurred in the same week that financial markets showed their wildest gyrations in post-war history? Days ago, every poll indicated that economic weakness gave the edge to Senator Hillary Clinton, whom voters regarded as a superior manager. But the Democrats of South Carolina chose a miracle over a manager, for the same rational reasons that a down-and-outer spends his last dollar on the lottery. Obama's South Carolina victory speech was the economic equivalent of a carnival snake-oil pitch. He promised to "stop giving tax breaks to rich companies and instead put the money in the pockets of struggling homeowners who can't pay their mortgages", and at the same time stop the export of American jobs overseas, while raising everyone's wages. The crowd chanted, "Yes we can! Yes we can!" Excuse me: No, you can't. You can't keep inefficient American factories open without massive tax breaks to corporations, in the form of tariffs or otherwise. In 1992, voters rejected the same message from Ross Perot, who warned that free trade with Mexico would create a "giant sucking sound" as American jobs disappeared, and chose the free-trader Bill Clinton. But that was then: this is now.
Spengler, "Obama bin lottery By Spengler," Asia Times, January 29, 2008 ---  http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JA29Dj06.html
Jensen Comment
Is is possible to have an undergraduate degree and a law degree without ever taking Economics 101?
As Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people some of the time . . . "
Obama's promises will only hold in the magical land of the Big Rock Candy Mountain --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QACDHNb5iWs 

Who bought into the promises of a magical land of the Big Rock Candy Mountain?
Barack Obama routed Hillary Clinton 2 to 1 in the heaviest turnout in a Democratic primary in the history of South Carolina. Such a defeat would normally be a crushing and perhaps fatal blow to a rival's campaign. Bill and Hillary laughed it off. Indeed, even before the voting had ended, Bill Clinton had tarnished and diminished Barack's victory. Responding to an unrelated question, he volunteered that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in the 1980s. This is an Arkansan way of saying black candidates always do well when there is a large black bloc vote, as in the Deep South, but no one should take this seriously. By introducing Jackson and earlier saying the Palmetto State contest would be about gender and race, Clinton set the media to looking beyond Barack's total vote to its racial composition. And, sure enough, when the final returns came in, Barack had won 78 percent of the black vote, and lost 76 percent of the white vote.
Pat Buchanan, "Obama's hollow victory," WorldNetDaily, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59934

An ethnic split in the Democratic race hurts both leading (Democratic Party) candidates --- perhaps to the advantage of Republicans come November.
"The Cooks Spoil Obama's Broth," The Economist, February 1, 2008, Page 31

Last week the U.N. Human Rights Council held an emergency session, organized by Arab and Muslim nations, to condemn Israel for its military actions in the Gaza strip. That the council is capable of swift and decisive action is a welcome surprise; that Israel remains the only nation to provoke such action is not. In the 17 months since its inception, the body has passed 13 condemnations, 12 of them against Israel.
Ronan Farrow, "The U.N.'s Human-Rights Sham," by Ronan Farrow, The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2008; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120156891659323879.html?mod=todays_us_opinion
Jensen Comment
It's sad that Israel's military actions would cease if Gaza stopped sending more frequent and bigger rockets into Israel. The U.N. doesn't want to test this theory.

One of the most dangerous proposals is now moving through the House of Representatives. The Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act was voted out of the Judiciary Committee recently. It takes aim at Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings to make it easier for buyers to rewrite the terms of their mortgage contracts in court. It would do this by changing how a debtor's principal residence is treated in bankruptcy, allowing mortgage contracts to be modified by the courts. In short, if this bill becomes law a mortgage would no longer be a matter between a borrower and a lender, but instead, between a borrower, a lender and a judge. Rather than interpreting private contracts, judges would suddenly be able to rewrite them.
Dick Armie, "A Mortgage 'Tweak' We Don't Need," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2008; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120156746465123881.html
Jensen Comment
Good intentions have a way of backfiring. This proposed law is in the favor of honest high earning workers and crooks. It almost assures us that low-income people will be denied mortgages since they, along with the crooks, are the most likely to manipulate this bankruptcy provision to steal from home lenders.

"Kurdish Student's Death in Iranian Custody Prompts Global Criticism," by Aisha Labi, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 26, 2008 --- Click Here

The death in custody of an ethnic Kurdish university student this month in the northwestern Iranian city of Sanandaj has prompted anger in Iran and international calls for an inquiry into his death.

The student, Ebrahim Lotfallahi, was picked up by intelligence officers on January 6 as he was leaving the Sanandaj campus of Payam Noor University, where he was a fourth-year law student.

Mr. Lotfallahi’s family visited him three days later and found him in good spirits, although it was not clear what charges had been brought against him, Human Rights Watch says in its account of the case. “On January 15, officials from the detention center contacted Lotfallahi’s parents and informed them that they had buried their son in a local cemetery. The officials claimed that Lotfallahi had committed suicide in his cell.”

Mr. Lotfallahi’s death “has angered student activists, who believe it is part of a campaign of harassment aimed at supressing dissent before the March elections,” The Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported today. “They say students in the Kurdish part of the country, which includes Sanandaj, have borne the brunt of the crackdown.” The paper also reported that Mr. Lotfallahi’s grave had been filled with cement, to prevent his body from being exhumed for examination.

Mr. Lotfallahi’s death followed the death last October in northwestern Iran of a 27-year-old female doctor, who also was in custody when officials claimed she had committed suicide.

On Wednesday the American government joined Human Rights Watch in calling for a full investigation of Mr. Lotfallahi’s death, the Reuters news agency reported.

A statement on the State Department’s Web site urged the Iranian government to “release all individuals held without due process and a fair trial” and singled out “three Amir Kabir University students that prison authorities refuse to free despite an order issued by an Iranian judge in late December.” 

 

Whether Ms. Merkel does indeed "recognize" this may determine whether Europe's largest economy can build on its recent recovery, or will slide back into the stagnation of the 1990s. The Chancellor already watered down her reform plans after a surprisingly narrow victory in 2005 stuck her with a difficult coalition partner. Ahead of national elections next year, she may feel pressed to dilute even further. Ms. Merkel got herself into this hole. With precious little leadership from Berlin, the previously marginal Left Party set the terms of the national debate. The Social Democrats, desperate for votes, followed them by equating "social justice" with expanded welfare benefits. Ms. Merkel didn't stand her ground.
"Ms. Merkel's Left Problem," The Wall Street Journal Europe, January 29, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120155373554823181.html

Despite Hugo Chávez's vow to build a classless society in Venezuela, banker Víctor Vargas is thriving. His success highlights the durability of the country's elites no matter who is in power. Víctor Vargas is a polo-playing banker who zips between his six homes in a fleet of luxury jets. So you might expect him to be struggling in today's Venezuela, where President Hugo Chávez has vowed to build a classless society. But Mr. Vargas, 55 years old, hasn't missed a beat. His Banco Occidental de Descuento is expanding amid an oil-fueled economic surge. Like other bankers, he snares profits dealing in a flood of government-issued debt. And the Chávez years have done little to damp Mr. Vargas's exuberance for the trappings of wealth.
John Lyons, "Polo-Loving Banker Lives Really Large In Chávez Socialism:  Venezuela's Mr. Vargas Has Yachts, and Good Timing; 'I've Been Rich All My Life'," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2008; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120157299096224193.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Kudos to John Bolton who has repeatedly warned that the denuclearization deal with North Korea was too good to be true ("North Korea's True Colors," op-ed, Jan. 11). Now that Mr. Bolton's predictions have been vindicated, and it has become clear that the Korean desk diplomats at the State Department and their boss Condoleezza Rice have failed miserably, President Bush should pay attention to his august former representative to the United Nations. By the way, it is not his legacy that President Bush should focus on in the last 12 months of his administration, but the future standing of the U.S. in an increasingly dangerous and unruly world where rogue strongmen flex their muscles.
Robert Zeidman, "Bolton is Right on Korea," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2008; Page A15 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120157162881724101.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Army officials in upstate New York instructed representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs not to help disabled soldiers at Fort Drum Army base with their military disability paperwork last year. That paperwork can be crucial because it helps determine whether soldiers will get annual disability payments and health care after they're discharged. Now soldiers at Fort Drum say they feel betrayed by the institutions that are supposed to support them. The soldiers want to know why the Army would want to stop them from getting help with their disability paperwork and why the VA— whose mission is to help veterans — would agree to the Army's request.
Ari Shapiro, "Army Blocks Disability Paperwork Aid at Fort Drum," NPR, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18492376

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government started a project Monday to cut down 1.8 million cedar trees in the mountainous Tama region west of Tokyo to help people with cedar pollen allergies.
"Tokyo launches cedar pollen reduction project in Tama," Japan Times, November 14, 2006 --- http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20061114a3.html
Jensen Comment
That should help warm the planet. Where's Al Gore when we really need him?

Faith in the Federal Reserve is not what it used to be. Since September the Fed has cut its policy rate by 1.75 percentage points, to 3.5%. It still has plenty of firepower left—rates are some way above the 1% level reached in 2003—but few seem willing to rely on monetary policy alone to save the day. Politicians and pundits alike were making a case for a fiscal stimulus package even before the Fed's surprise rate cut on January 22nd. That Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman today, has given his blessing to the plan only adds to the impression that central banks have lost their grip. What lies behind this loss of faith? One cause is the feeling that overly loose monetary policy got the economy into this mess. Repeated cuts in interest rates during the last downturn, in 2001-03, fuelled the housing and credit bubbles that are now bursting to such damaging effect. The legacies of that boom—falling asset prices, high consumer debt and bank losses—may now hamper the ability of central banks to prop up spending.
The Economist, February 1, 2008, Page 74 --- http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10566838

"Hair of the Dog:  We need a "fiscal stimulus" the way a drunk needs another drink. Let's sober up first," by Michel Kinsley, Time Magazine, February 4, 2008, Page 64 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1706769,00.html

In other words, the government should go out and borrow even more money and pass it around for us to spend. The experts caution that for maximum stimulus effect, we must be sure to spend it immediately. No squirreling it away for a rainy day. In drinking circles, they call this hair of the dog: to cure a hangover, you have another drink.

A few Republicans are embarrassed enough by this universal wisdom that they are making noises about paying for the stimulus by cutting government spending. Unfortunately, even if such spending cuts took place, which is unlikely, they would defeat the purpose of the stimulus. Bush, for example, proposes to pump about $145 billion into the economy through tax cuts of various sorts. This is a classic Keynesian stimulus, and the whole purpose of that is to increase demand in the economy. Instead of a self-feeding spiral downward—I get laid off and can't pay my mortgage, so the bank fires you, and you don't buy a new TV, and so on—we get a self-feeding spiral upward: I take my government check and buy that new TV, Best Buy has the money to hire you as a salesman, you then buy a house and take out a mortgage, and so on. If the government puts $145 billion into the economy with its stimulus and then takes $145 billion back out again by cutting spending, the two effects will cancel each other out.

It is a sign of how completely Republican thinking now dominates discussions of economic policy that so few of the stimulus ideas floating around Washington involve increasing federal spending. It used to be that stimulus debates were about a tax cut vs. a spending increase. An increase in federal spending can goose the economy just like cutting taxes. The government builds a bridge or a highway, people get jobs, take their families to Olive Garden, which hires more waiters, and so on. In fact, direct government spending is a more efficient stimulus than an equivalent tax cut because all of it gets spent. When actual people get hold of the money, a few might have an unpatriotic tendency to save some of it.

But the current debate is virtually all about tax cuts. Republicans want them to go to business. Democrats want them to go to the poor and middle class. Both parties are fond of tax credits for approved interest groups and favored forms of behavior. The notion that the government is good for anything except issuing checks and printing money has just about disappeared.

People will say they don't trust the government to spend the money wisely. I go further: I don't trust the government or the Washington establishment or the presidential candidates of either party or, for that matter, the voters themselves to come up with a stimulus that will do the job intended and not make matters worse. Often in the past, these stimuli have come too late or been too small to do anything but add to the deficit. But that's not my gripe. My gripe is that telling Americans they need to borrow and spend just a little bit more to get us past this recession—and then reform their ways—is like telling an alcoholic he needs one more drink before sobering up.

I think we should sober up first. Plenty of people are still partying as if it were 2006. Right-wing radio talk shows are still dominated by ads for second mortgages. Every day's mail still brings fat envelopes from companies begging to issue you a credit card. Every TV commercial that isn't about some prescription drug for a disease you never heard of (but may well have, now that they mention it) seems to be for payday loans. Always borrow responsibly, they say. A little late for that.

Here's a thought. Suppose we don't go further into debt in the name of fiscal stimulus. Suppose we stop selling ourselves piece by piece to foreigners (and suppose we stop blaming the foreigners for problems of our own making). Suppose we use taxing and spending to show the world that we can behave responsibly, see how the world responds to that, and let the Federal Reserve Board supply the stimulus with lower interest rates. If we must have a fiscal stimulus, let's make sure it's not too enjoyable. Build some rapid transit; don't give away any tax breaks.

Suppose we stop looking in the mirror and saying "Gosh, you're drunk. Waiter, I'll have another."

 

Just Say No to California's Proposition 92
So says The Irascible Professor (and he's correct) --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-01-30-08.htm
This is a bomb dressed in gilded verbage.

"Condoleezza Rice for Vice President," Townhall, January 21, 2008 --- http://rrr.townhall.com/g/1ef3d26c-8e13-4313-b0cd-1c471087099e

Mr. Rusher wrote an article last week about vice-presidents: what they need to bring to the ticket, how they affect elections, etc. He suggested Dr. Condoleezza Rice as a VP pick.

What a great idea!!!! I have been on the Condi for President bandwagon for years. Our efforts to draft her failed, but we did make a big splash.

At the Mackinac Island Conference we began Plan B: Promoting her as a VP. This strategy cut down on our costs significantly, and was more appealing to those who already had a favorite for Pres.

Mr. Rusher explained the demographic aspect of the idea: appealing to black voters and female voters. These two blocks are DNC strongholds. This is a good idea strategically, BUT we need to focus on what she has done under the Bush presidencies (both 41 and 43).

*As an expert on Russian affairs, she was able to stand up to Yeltsin and build relations with Putin.

* As the face of the US to the outside world, she was the one person who countries who hated Bush would deal with.

* She was able to convince North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and come to a bargaining table. (This is a country that considered nukes a "birth right".)

* She is a vehement defender of the War on Terror. This is very important. Despite the moonbattery and protests about the war, she was able to articulate time and time again why we are there. Anyone who can handle both Yeltsin and Barbara Boxer is one tough cookie. She would always relay the good news in Iraq development (including the new hospital built in Baghdad.) The new infrastructure developed in the peaceful Iraqi provinces have Dr. Rice's stamp of approval.( For a full view of the progress in iraq, see http://www.cpa-iraq.org.) Progress has been slow, but steady. Some in the Military are predicting more troops coming home as soon as this year.

Many naysayers, in the GOP, say we should avoid any connection to Bush 43 at all costs. I say Bush did what was necessary, and the work is not done yet. We need to have some sort of carryover into the new administration to ensure a smooth transition both at home and abroad.

Anyone who says Condi supporters are racist and sexist are dead wrong. We are realists. We support Dr. Rice not because of her immutable characteristics, but because of her strength and leadership.

Jensen Comment
It's not likely to happen that Dr. Rice gets the GOP nod as a candidate to be Vice=President of the United States, but this is one way of assuring that an African American will be on the winning ticket in November assuming Obama beats Hillary beforehand. If Hillary should win the Democratic nomination then we'd be assured that a woman will be on the winning ticket.

Dr. Rice has has fought prejudice with grace her entire life --- hurtful racial prejudice and intimidation as a child in Alabama, liberal academic prejudice as a professor and academic vice-president at Stanford University, undermining employees in the U.S. State Department, a hateful liberal press, the terrorist media, and most of all CNBC's hateful Keith Olbermann who blames her for everything bad on earth. It's obvious that she scares the crap out of extremists like Olbermann. Through it all she's been super intelligent, talented, graceful, tactful, and held her head high in dignity against impossible odds.

Alabama's Condi (Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKNtkCfPGWY

The Wonder of Condi Rice (Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUw7OrvHDao

Even though she pulled herself up by her own boot straps, she's had to endure the prejudices of politically-exploiting African Americans.
Al Sharpton calls her a house negro  (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdVjrBY5-F0
Malcomb X on house negroes (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znQe9nUKzvQ&NR=1
But then Barack Obama is viewed as the Senate's house negro (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Op5or_vkcc
It does not appear that "house negro" insults will matter much if the ticket for November is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice versus Senator Barack Obama.
 




Free Money (for real)

Forwarded by Aaron Konstam
For those who have not heard the government will give you coupons for $40 on up to two digital to analog tv converters. Apply at: http://www.dtv2009.gov  or call (888) DTV-2009

We would like to continue to use our analog set because it has apace-saving built-in VCR and DVD players.


Who's in the National Women's Hall of Fame?
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Women%27s_Hall_of_Fame


CiteULike social networking for scholarly citations
At first glance, it seems like a nerdier version of Facebook. There’s the profile picture, the list of interests, the space for your Web site. Most of the members have Ph.D.’s, though, and instead of posting party invites or YouTube videos, their “Recent Activity” is full of academic papers and scholarly treatises. Welcome to CiteULike, a social bookmarking tool that allows users to post, share and comment on each other’s links — in this case, citations to journal articles with titles like “Trend detection through temporal link analysis” and “The Social Psychology of Inter- and Intragroup Conflict in Governmental Politics.” It’s a sort ofdel.icio.us for academics,” said Kevin Emamy, a representative for the site’s London-based holding company, Oversity Ltd. It started out as a personal Web project in 2004 and grew organically by word of mouth. Today, it has some 70,000 registered users and a million page views a month, he said.
"Keeping Citations Straight, and Finding New Ones," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/31/citeulike

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

 

New Definition of a Virgin Prostitute

I had to chuckle/cry that Berkley Term Papers will sell "plagiarism-free" papers and dissertations to students and professors who want to plagiarize.

Isn't that a little like paying for a virgin prostitute?

January 30, 2008 message from Jane [webmaster@berkeley-term-papers.com]

Dear Professor Jensen

Link Exchange Request

I handle essay writing site for my client:

www.berkeley-term-papers.com; which is in top 10 in Yahoo & MSN for their targeted keywords and receives nice amount of traffic daily (email me for stats).

As an ongoing process to increase the link popularity of the site, I am looking for some good quality sites to exchange links with my client's site. I recently came across your site through search and found it beneficial and informative for our site's visitors. I would like to offer you a link exchange with my site.

My site details as follows :

URL: http://www.berkeley-term-papers.com

Title: Term papers

Description: We offer term papers, essays, thesis, book reports, dissertation and editing services. Order plagiarism free custom written products with Berkeley to get complete peace of mind.

Let me know once my link is added on your link page I will add your link at: http://www.berkeley-term-papers.com/main/resources.html

Also, please forward me the Link Text/Description to be used while placing your links at these sites.

A positive response from you on this would be highly appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

With Warm Regards

Tyler Chaman
Webmaster

Bob Jensen's threads on ghost writing are at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#GhostWriting


"Just Say No To Work-At-Home Money Mule Scams," by Brian Krebs, The Washington Post, January 28, 2008 --- Click Here 

washingtonpost.com today ran a story I wrote that examines the ever-evolving scams that organized cyber thieves are coming up with to con people into laundering stolen funds on their behalf. The piece features interviews with a couple of unfortunate victims who lost money from so-called "money mule" scams. The following blog entry looks deeper into the essential role that mules play in many cyber crime operations, as well as the growing number of people who become mules knowing full well they are aiding criminals.

Money mules typically are recruited via spam or targeted e-mail. The recipient is often told the potential employer found her resume on Monster.com and would he or she be interested in working a small number of hours per week to make anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars a week. The company usually represents itself as some kind of international finance operation or shipping company. In reality, most are fronts for cyber crime operations that are desperately seeking a constant stream of new recruits to help launder the proceeds of phishing scams and password-stealing computer viruses.

For example, money mules have helped to generate profits for the individual(s) behind some 15 separate, targeted malicious software attacks last year that came disguised as e-mails from the Better Business Bureau, according to iDefense, a security firm owned by Verisign. In those scams, the fraudsters sent virus-laden e-mails to tens of thousands of individuals whose resume and contact information were stolen in a previous compromise of a Monster.com job-seekers database, said Matt Richard, director of iDefense Rapid Response.

Targets of the BBB scams received e-mails that addressed them by name, and were told that a complaint was lodged against their company. Recipients who clicked on the link to view the "complaint" were taken to a Web site that tried to silently install software designed to steal passwords and financial data.

Richard said the BBB scammers used the same list of Monster.com job searchers to help monetize the credit card and bank account information stolen by the malicious software. Indeed, Richard said, the e-mail templates that the scammers used in both campaigns to customize messages with the names of recipients were found on the same Web server.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on computer and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm


From Arizona State University
"Sun Devils could be packing heat under bill:  State proposal would allow guns at state schools and universities," by Leigh Munsil, ASU Web Devil, January 31, 2008 --- http://www.asuwebdevil.com/issues/2008/01/31/news/703380

Meanwhile in Georgia --- http://www.wrcbtv.com/news/index.cfm?sid=2372


January 29, 2008 message from Sikka, Prem N [prems@essex.ac.uk]

Dear Bob,

Here is an item for your website.

I have been writing regular blogs for The Guardian, a UK national newspaper. The articles are available at http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/prem_sikka/index.html and offer a critical commentary on business and accountancy matters. For three days after each article the website takes readers' comments and colleagues are welcome to add comments, critical or otherwise. The most recent article appeared on 29 January 2008.

There is now also an extensive database of corporate and accountancy misdemeanours on the AABA website ( http://www.aabaglobal.org <https://exchange5.essex.ac.uk/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.aabaglobal.org/> ) and may interest scholars, students, journalists and citizens concerned about the abuse of power.

Regards

Prem Sikka
Professor of Accounting
University of Essex
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
UK
Office Tel: +44(0)1206 873773
Office Fax: +44 (01206) 873429

Jensen Comment
I added Professor Sikka's message to the following sites:

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm


College Dating/Marrying Ain't What It Used to Be Many Long Years Ago

"Where Is the Love? Students Eschew Campus Romance," by Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2008, Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120172523751229601.html

Remember the movie "Love Story" and its star-crossed student lovers? Such torrid campus romances may be becoming a thing of the past. College life has become so competitive, and students so focused on careers, that many aren't looking for spouses anymore.

Replacing college as the top marital hunting ground is the office. Only 14% of people who are married or in a relationship say they met their partners in school or college, says a 2006 Harris Interactive study of 2,985 adults; 18% met at work. That's a reversal from 15 years ago, when 23% of married couples reported meeting in school or college and only 15% cited work, according to a 1992 study of 3,432 adults by the University of Chicago.

. . .

Researchers cite a couple of factors. Young adults are delaying marriage, for one thing. In the past 15 years, men's median age at first marriage has risen by 1.2 years to 27.5, and by 1.4 years for women, to 25.5, the highest in more than a century, Census Bureau data show.

Also at work is "credential inflation" -- an increase in the qualifications required for many skilled jobs, says Janet Lever, a sociology professor at California State University, Los Angeles. Many young adults want the flexibility to relocate freely and immerse themselves in new work and educational opportunities before making room for marriage and family. As a result, students favor "light relationships that aren't going to compromise where they go to grad school or which job they take," she says.

Cody Cheetham, 22, a Purdue senior, is looking for a marketing job after she graduates in May and plans on getting an MBA. "A lot of us don't even know where we're going to be living six months after we graduate," she says. "We don't want to bring another person into the chaos of our lives."

Continued in article

"Stronger Marriages Forged on Campus or the Work World?" by Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2008 --- http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2008/01/31/stronger-marriages-forged-on-campus-or-the-work-world/ 

I couldn’t help feeling a bit of poignancy as I reported and wrote today’s Work & Family column on the eclipse of campus romance. Fewer college students are finding their mates on campus, as the office replaces school as the No. 1 place for pairing up.

The historic shift toward marrying later that underlies this trend is proceeding at a breakneck pace, in historical terms. After hovering almost unchanged between the late 1940s and the mid-1970s, the median age at first marriage has surged by more than four years, to 27.5 years for men and 25.5 for women — the highest levels recorded by the Census Bureau since 1890. My own family patterns reflect this: My late parents met in high school. My two older siblings met their lifelong spouses in undergraduate school. Intent on establishing a career in the bra-burning 1970s, I waited until I was working before finding my future husband, as did my three Gen-X stepchildren. My two Gen-Y birth children, 17 and 20, seem even more years removed from making such a choice. At this rate, my grandkids will be on Social Security before they tie the knot.

Waiting to get married is wise in many ways; I recommend it to my own kids. Men and women alike can benefit from investing heavily in education and skill-building before shifting gears to make room for marriage and family.

Continued in article

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


Question
Can you imagine what would happen if required courses for "Sports Management" majors included calculus, multivariate statistical modeling, and SPSS applications? And maybe even surface mapping in 3-D?

"Analytics in Football:  Will using complex statistical analysis give the New England Patriots an edge at game time?" by Brittany Sauser, MIT's Technology Review, February 1, 2008 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/20132/?nlid=848 

Football coaches have never been known to be particularly intellectual, tending to favor their "gut feelings" over objective data. But that is slowly changing. Professional-football general managers and coaches are increasingly using analytics--the intensive use of data and statistics to make decisions--both in evaluating a player's performance and in calling plays during the game. Some experts credit part of the success of the New England Patriots, who are competing for their fourth Super Bowl in six seasons on Sunday, to this trend in analytics.

"It is generally accepted that the Patriots are one of the most analytically advanced franchises in the NFL," says Aaron Schatz, the creator of FootballOutsiders.com, a site that uses statistics to analyze the game.

Such heavy use of analytics has already transformed the management of professional baseball, and now it is making inroads into football. KC Joyner, author of Scientific Football 2007, a book that uses a performance-based metric system to analyze nearly every measureable statistic in the NFL, says that analytics began to emerge in football in the past five years as teams have gone from just analyzing game footage to putting a quantitative value on a player's performance.

One of the more widely used metrics is the quarterback rating. It is a complex rating that's computed based on complete passes, pass attempts, passing yards, touchdown passes, and interceptions. "This is a pretty critical metric since quarterbacks are one of the most important players," says Tom Davenport, a professor of IT and management at Babson College and author of Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning.

Teams continue to analyze video to track, tabulate, and calculate how many times the opposing team, for example, blitzes when its defense is in a nickel formation, but they are also starting to use video to track the number of times that a cornerback misreads a slant route or runs into another defender when covering a pick play. "It's not just about doing advanced scouting on teams' formations, but targeting players so teams say, 'We can run this play at this lineman,' or 'This cornerback can't cover this particular route,'" says Joyner.

Beyond targeting players, football is beginning to use analytics to select the best players for the lowest price. "The Patriots are particularly good at optimizing their payroll," says Davenport. "This is what a corporation would call human resource analytics, and in any sport, that is probably the single most important thing to do."

Continued in article


Question
Why are Division 1 athletic scholarships becoming much more costly?

"NCAA Agrees to Pay Up to $228-Million to Settle Vast Antitrust Case Brought by Athletes (four basketball players)" by Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 30, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/01/1426n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

In a move that would provide tens of thousands of athletes with more money for college expenses, the National Collegiate Athletic Association agreed on Tuesday to reallocate up to $228-million to settle a massive antitrust lawsuit filed by four former players. But the deal could have costly implications for colleges in the coming years.

Under the settlement, which must still be approved by a federal court in California, the NCAA agreed to set aside $218-million over the next five years to help the more than 150,000 Division I athletes in all sports pay for basic expenses not covered by their athletics scholarships. The NCAA would allocate an additional $10-million over the next three years to cover career-development services and other educational expenses for some 30,000 current and former Division I football and men's basketball players.

Much of that money was already designated to help colleges hire tutors, build academic facilities for athletes, and assist needy students. The settlement would allow more of those funds to go directly to athletes for their out-of-pocket expenses, such as personal travel.

Meanwhile, the settlement could hit athletics departments with significant new costs. It would allow Division I programs to begin offering year-round, comprehensive health insurance to athletes, as well as basic accident insurance for injuries players sustain while participating in intercollegiate athletics. Insurance experts say those policies could cost colleges $100,000 or more a year.

Hardship Complaint

The plaintiffs, four former Division I football and men's basketball players, accused the NCAA of creating a hardship for college athletes by capping the amount of scholarship aid they may receive. Full athletics awards at Division I colleges include tuition, fees, books, and room and board, but the players' complaint asserted that athletes must often pay $2,500 or more annually out of their own pockets for basic expenses not covered by their athletics scholarships.

Members of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a group of 56 faculty senates from some of the biggest athletics programs, said the settlement was good news for players—but could present additional problems for athletics departments in five years. After 2012, colleges could be forced to pay for athletes' out-of-pocket expenses themselves, said Nathan Tublitz, a professor of biology at the University of Oregon who is the group's co-chair.

"Any settlement that helps student-athletes financially and enables them to stay in school and graduate is a good settlement," Mr. Tublitz said in an interview on Tuesday. "But we're concerned that after five years, someone is going to have to pick up this cost, and that's a lot of money that could be transferred onto institutions."

'Landmark' Settlement

The size of the deal shocked some legal experts, who described it as a "landmark" settlement for college sports.

"This makes the settlement against assistant coaches look like a Sunday-school picnic," said Sheldon E. Steinbach, a Washington lawyer, referring to the NCAA's $54.5-million settlement in 1999 with a group of former assistant coaches whose salaries the NCAA had capped.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I hope this convinces as many Division 1 schools to change to Division 3 and divert the scholarship money to academic standouts rather than athletic standouts. Of course those schools who who run their athletic departments at a profit will think otherwise.

This reminds me of a lawsuit by four UCLA basketball players who played for UCLA for four seasons and still found themselves to be functional illiterates. Universities must decide the real purposes of such athletic "scholarships." If I'd have been the judge I'd have ordered that UCLA give them four more years of college with supervised study (in windowless rooms) of 48 hours per week. I don't think these athletes would be pleased with the outcome.

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

January 30m 2008 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

Bob,

I've not read any court documents on this issue, but that doesn't mean that I can't voice my opinion loudly (and in all the wrong places). Afterall, I have a Ph.D.

I have comments on two issues.  Apparently this settlement applies to students on full-ride scholarships.  What about students on partial scholarship?  I know that in a number of "minor" sports, a scholarship is sometimes split and allocated to two or more students?  With respect to the additional benefits such as career development and other advisory services, do the non-full ride students get anything? 
It seems to me that if benefits for the five-year period are to be paid for by the NCAA, which governs all student participation in D1 intercollegiate sports, then the benefits should be paid for all students in intercollegiate athletics (ICA), even those that receive no or only partial scholarship.

I agree with you about the over-emphasis on sports.

I am a supporter (in principle) of intercollegiate athletes and club sports athletes.  However, sometimes I wish that schools in general would support scholarships for students in the arts to the same extent that they supports scholarships for students in the sports.  As an example (chosen only because I know the details, not because I think it does bad), I'll talk about my school.  My school is somewhat known for its success in the performance arts (especially music).  It provides nearly 550 full-ride scholarships for attracting students to campus for athletic performance, and less than $200,000 per year to attract students to campus for musical performance. And my school sends more students to the pros in music than in sports. To my knowledge, there are no full-ride or partial scholarships for recruiting students to BGSU for the debate team (which has a storied history).

At my school, there aren't that many tickets sold for D1 sports events, so the general student body ends up paying a majority of the budget for intercollegiate sports.  A few years ago I did a quick mental computation and concluded that students were in effect required to pay more than $50 per ticket for all home events in the money sports (FB, H, MBB, WBB) whether or not they choose to attend most don't).  We can only get non-students attending sports events to pay $5-15 per ticket, and many are even comped in.  It has been a while since we approached a sell-out at a sporting event.  (As in interesting aside, WBB now out-draws MBB.)  (As another interesting aside, Club Rugby has been to three final fours, and students must pay to play.)

My school is a member of the Mid-American Conference for ICA.  The mid-tier MAC is in an athletic facilities race.  Many schools have built (or are planning to build) large indoor practice facilities for outdoor sports and fancy buildings for weight and other training. Recently, my school announced plans to build a new basketball arena (seating capacity only 10% larger than that of the old building), a football stadium renovation, and a Hockey arena renovation.

I'd love to be in a position to make a financial offer to an accounting student that would woo them from other schools in my state.  I don't think I've ever been at a school that has scholarship money targeted solely to accounting students to attract them to campus.

There are many things out of whack in American higher education.  The emphasis on sports is only one of them.

David Albrecht

 



No More Study Hall?
College students on welfare won’t have to attend supervised study halls to fulfill weekly work requirements and can pursue baccalaureate, advanced degrees, or distance education under new, soon-to-be-released federal regulations for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. (The regulations, obtained by Inside Higher Ed, were briefly available to the public last week before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rescinded them because of clerical errors. A spokesman said the content will remain consistent, and a new version will likely be available on the Federal Register within a week).
Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/30/welfare
 

"Bans on Affirmative Action Help Asian Americans, Not Whites, Report Says," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 30, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/01/1424n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Although opposition to colleges' affirmative-action policies runs highest in the white population, a new study suggests that it is Asian Americans—not whites—whose chances of gaining admission to a selective university surges after an institution is precluded from considering applicants' ethnicity or race.

One of the study's authors, David R. Colburn, a professor of history and former provost at the University of Florida, said in an interview on Tuesday that the study shows "Asian Americans were discriminated against under an affirmative-action system." Asian Americans' share of enrollment has shot upward at selective public universities that have been forced to abandon affirmative-action preferences, he said, and the Asian-American population has not increased nearly enough to explain the trend.

Meanwhile, a report on the study's findings says, white enrollments, as a share of the student body, actually declined slightly at the universities examined. That trend, it says, though partly attributable to the growing diversity of the states served by the institutions, "can hardly be satisfying" to "those who campaigned for the elimination of affirmative action in the belief that it would advantage the admission of white students."

Black students' share of enrollment at such institutions generally dropped—sometimes substantially—while the picture for Hispanic students was mixed, the researchers found.

The study, the results of which are to be published next week in InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, was based on an analysis of enrollment data from selective universities in three states: California, where voters passed a 1996 referendum barring such institutions from considering applicants' race or ethnicity; Florida, where Gov. Jeb Bush persuaded the state university system to abandon race-conscious admissions in 2000; and Texas, where race-conscious admissions were prohibited under a 1996 federal court decision that remained in effect until the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of such policies in 2003.

The specific institutions examined in the study, which tracked freshman enrollment patterns from 1990 through the fall of 2005, were the University of Florida, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California's campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

One of the study's three co-authors, Charles E. Young Jr., was chancellor of UCLA when California's ban on affirmative-action preferences was passed and later served as president of the University of Florida at the time when public universities there were barred from considering applicants' ethnicity or race. The third co-author is Victor M. Yellen, a former director of institutional research at Florida.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on collegiate affirmative action are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#AcademicStandards


"Social Search:  A new website will offer personalized search results based on the user's social network," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, February 1, 2008 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/20138/?nlid=848 

People are flocking to online social networks. Facebook, for example, claims an average of 250,000 new registrations per day. But companies are still hunting for ways to make these networks more useful--and profitable. In the past year, Facebook has introduced new services aimed at taking advantage of users' online contacts (see "Building onto Facebook's Platform"), and Yahoo announced plans for an e-mail service that shares data with social-networking sites. (See "Yahoo's Plan for a Smarter In-Box.") Now a company called Delver, which presented at Demo earlier this week, is working on a search engine that uses social-network data to return personalized results from the larger Web.

Liad Agmon, CEO of Delver, says that the site connects information about a user's social network with Web search results, "so you are searching the Web through the prism of your social graph." He explains that a person begins a search at Delver by typing in her name. Delver then crawls social-networking websites for widely available data about the user--such as a public LinkedIn profile--and builds a network of associated institutions and individuals based on that information. When the user enters a search query, results related to, produced by, or tagged by members of her social network are given priority. Lower down are results from people implicitly connected to the user, such as those relating to friends of friends, or people who attended the same college as the user. Finally, there may be some general results from the Web at the bottom. The consequence, says Agmon, is that each user gets a different set of results from a given query, and a set quite different from those delivered by Google.

"We have no intention of competing with the Googles of the world, because Google is doing a very good job of indexing the Web and bringing you the Wikipedia page of every search query you're looking for," says Agmon. He says that Delver will free general search queries such as "New York" or "screensaver" from the heavy search-engine optimization that tends to make those kinds of queries return generic, ad-heavy results on Google. "[As a user], you're always thinking, how can I trick Google into bringing me the real results rather than the commercial results?" Agmon says. "With this engine, we don't need to trick it at all. You can go back to these very naive and simple queries because the results come from your network. Your network is not trying to optimize results; they just publish or bookmark pages which they find interesting." As a consequence, the results lean toward user-generated content and items tagged through sites such as del.icio.us.

Continued in article

Social Networks --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Network

1 Social network analysis
2 History of social network analysis
3 Applications
4 Metrics (Measures) in social network analysis
5 Professional association and journals
6 Network analytic software
7 See also
8 References
9 External links

"Demystifying social networking," AccountingWeb, February 1, 2008 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104565

Differences between ISNs and ESNs

Webster's New Millennium Dictionary defines social networking as: "the use of a Web site to connect with people who share personal or professional interests, place of origin, education at a particular school, etc."

This broad definition needs a narrower focus for anyone deciding to incorporate a social networking site on their own Web site or starting a new site. Other than the closed/private and open/public differences, how else do ISNs and ESNs differ?

  • Amount of Disclosure: ISN members - especially in a corporate or professional network - will usually be more circumspect when completing profiles and postings. On the other hand, ESN members may well embellish qualifications, accomplishments, adventures and degrees as their career is not on the line.

     

  • Objectives: Associations or not-for-profits may use social networking sites to attract and increase membership. Companies may use ISNs to retain employees by creating a community. Companies can also use ESNs to attract advertisers interested in targeting specific products and services.

     

  • Focus: ISNs are more specific in their focus while ESNs target broad groups of people to join. Once joined, ESNs work hard at directing people to more specific groups or niches of further interest to the user. Think of it as an ISN within an ESN.

    According to e-Marketer's December 2007 Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending and Usage report, social networking is an activity that 37 percent of U.S. adult Internet users and 70 percent of online teens engage in every month, and the numbers continue to grow. eMarketer projects that by 2011, one-half of online adults and 84 percent of online teens in the U.S. will use social networking. It's no wonder that corporate America is embracing the social networking phenomenon!

    Continued in article

  • Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm


    Question
    What law schools in the U.S. never give a second thought to passage rates on the Bar Examination?

    Would-be lawyers in Wisconsin who have challenged the state’s policy of allowing graduates of state law schools to practice law without passing the state’s bar exam will have their day in court after all, the Associated Press reported. A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit challenging the practice, which apparently is unique in the United States.
    Katherine Mangan, "Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Over Wisconsin's Bar-Exam Exemption," Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2008 ---
    Click Here

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


    Question
    How are the oligopolies of prestigious European business schools and global universities changing?
    Hint 1:  It's largely a function of gaming for media rankings
    Hint 2:  Those top ranking programs are seriously cutting into the U.S. market for prestige colleges of business

    "Insead Out?" The Economist, February 1, 2008, Page 63 --- http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10567518

    TIME was when INSEAD in Fontainebleau, near Paris, was the top business school in Europe, with no competition. In Europe the only schools that could call themselves rivals were the London Business School (LBS) and IMD in Switzerland. Its one-year MBA course is still famous for the experience of mixing with students from a wide range of countries. Internationally, it holds its head up with the top American schools, and its 33,000 alumni form a powerful network covering the top echelons of global business. But now the heat is on for INSEAD, as a crowd of rivals has come forward, including a new, generously funded school in Berlin.

    HEC, the original French business school in Paris, with a proud 127-year history, now tops the latest Financial Times ranking of European schools, ahead of both INSEAD and LBS. In another ranking of the world's top 100 business schools by the Economist Intelligence Unit* (a sister company of The Economist), INSEAD comes 17th. That puts it behind seven other European institutions, including Barcelona's IESE, Madrid's Instituto de Empresa and Cambridge University's Judge Business School, which all make it into the top 15.

    One INSEAD insider says that the school is “rattled” by the latest rankings and by all the new competition. The school is obsessed with rankings, says an employee. Much management time goes on “gaming” the ratings to ensure a good score. The EIU rankings are based on student surveys asking about career openings, the overall educational experience, salary effect and networking potential. Those of the Financial Times look mainly at return on investment, in terms of the boost to a salary. Soumitra Dutta, dean of external relations at INSEAD, says that rankings “are not always most helpful” because of all the different methodologies used. In other words, they are a nuisance.

    This week 30 executives from 13 different countries are entering their fourth month of the first executive MBA course at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin (ESMT). Germany only got round to founding an international business school in 2002, and started small MBA classes two years ago. To be sure, a class of 30 students is puny compared with the 920 going through INSEAD this year. INSEAD's joint campus (it runs a parallel school in Singapore), has 143 teachers compared with ESMT's 22. But the infant German institution has the financial support to triple the size of its faculty within five years. Its backers span the alphabet of leading firms from Allianz and Axel Springer through BMW, Bayer and Bosch to Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. The president of ESMT is Lars-Hendrik Röller, a former INSEAD professor with a distinguished academic career on both sides of the Atlantic. He says the strength of the new school will be business and its interaction with technology and public policy.

    INSEAD also had money on its mind when it appointed a new dean in 2005. Frank Brown is an American and a former partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers. A former INSEAD board member, his brief as dean was to raise more finance for a school that has always struggled against the financial heft of the Americans. So far, says Mr Dutta, he has already raised some €170m of the €200m which the school wants to find by 2010.

    INSEAD, LBS and IMD face new threats beyond uppity rivals like the Spanish schools and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge (both late to embrace business, but rich and rising fast). The forthcoming harmonisation of European university education, under what is known as the Bologna Accord, could also upset them. Europe's universities will soon all adopt a uniform Anglo-Saxon system of bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. This is designed to produce greater movement of students around Europe, and has already generated 299 new management masters degree courses that students can follow straight after an undergraduate degree. It was HEC's success in these courses which helped it beat all the other business schools in the FT rankings. INSEAD and the other established

     

    From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog on November 21, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

     

    Top 100 Global Universities

    An August 2006 article in the international edition of Newsweek evaluated universities from around the world on their "globalness", providing a ranked list of the top 100. We're pleased to see that one of their criteria was the size of the library.

    We evaluated schools on some of the measures used in well-known rankings published by Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Times of London Higher Education Survey. Fifty percent of the score came from equal parts of three measures used by Shanghai Jiatong: the number of highly-cited researchers in various academic fields, the number of articles published in Nature and Science, and the number of articles listed in the ISI Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities indices. Another 40 percent of the score came from equal parts of four measures used by the Times: the percentage of international faculty, the percentage of international students, citations per faculty member (using ISI data), and the ratio of faculty to students. The final 10 percent came from library holdings (number of volumes).

    The top 10 were:
     

    1. Harvard University
    2. Stanford University
    3. Yale University
    4. California Institute of Technology
    5. University of California at Berkeley
    6. University of Cambridge
    7. Massachusetts Institute Technology
    8. Oxford University
    9. University of California at San Francisco
    10. Columbia University

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came in 48th, behind other big ten universities such as Michigan (11), U Chicago (20), Wisconsin (28), Minnesota (30), Northwestern (35), and Penn State (40). Others from the Big 10 that made the list of 100 included Michigan State (62), and Purdue (86).

    Read the entire list of the 100 top global universities at MSNBC as well as a related story.

    Note: You may also be interested in reading the Times of London's analysis of the "Top 100 Universities", worldwide. By their accounting, the University of Illinois ranked 58 in 2005 and 78 in 2006. According to this listing, the top universities are:

    1. Harvard
    2. Cambridge
    3. Oxford
    4. MIT
    4. Yale
    6. Stanford
    7. California Institute of Technology
    8. UC Berkeley
    9. Imperial College, London
    10. Princeton
    11. University of Chicago

     

    Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/higherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings


    Allegations of Conflict of Interest for Top Business School Admissions Officers
    Three senior admissions officials of prominent American universities sit on an advisory board of a Japanese company that helps applicants in Japan get into top M.B.A. programs in the United States — including programs at their universities. The officials confirmed their involvement and that they receive a free annual trip to meetings in Japan for their services, which are boasted about on the Japanese company’s Web site. One of the officials said that there is also pay involved, but declined to say how much. One official said he couldn’t answer questions about his pay. And one official denied being paid except for the free trip to Japan.
    Scott Jaschik, "New Conflict of Interest Allegations," Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/30/agos

    "Questions, Not Answers, on Conflicts of Interest," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, January 28, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/28/conflicts 

    Bob Jensen's threads about collegiate conflicts of interest are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Accountability




    How can teachers/researchers gain collegiate administrative skills?
    Many professors worry that colleges these days prefer a professional class of administrators to promoting faculty members. In turn, many administrators complain that faculty members — however good at their teaching and research — may lack key skills for more responsibility. A new program at Simmons College — one of six master’s institutions receiving grants Tuesday to promote “faculty career flexibility” — aims to provide professors with a path to pick up administrative skills, without just adding on to their workloads. The grants are being awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which last year awarded similar grants to research universities.
    Scott Jaschik, "Promoting Career Flexibility," Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/30/sloan
     


    This student-sponsored "art show" may draw thousands
    The College of William & Mary, of late the site of debates over social issues and the First Amendment, has affirmed the right of students to sponsor an art show by sex workers. The Sex Workers’ Art Show features visual and performing arts by strippers, prostitutes, porn stars and others. While the show tends to tour college campuses, some have suggested that William & Mary might be better off finding another venue in the area for the show, scheduled for the campus on February 4. Gene R. Nichol, president of the college, issued a statement in which he said that while he wished that students hadn’t scheduled the event, it would be wrong for him to censor it. “There are powerful reasons that colleges have student-funded and student-governed speaker series. They help assure a robust program of expression on campus. Censoring them because administrators disagree with a performance’s content contradicts values residing at the core of the American university,” he said.
    Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/30/qt

     

    "IRS Names Four New Frivolous Claims to Avoid," SmartPros, January 15, 2008 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x60395.xml

    The four new frivolous claims pertain to the following:
    • Misinterpretation of the 9th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding objections to military spending.
    • Erroneous claims that taxes are owed only by persons with a fiduciary relationship to the United States or the IRS.
    • A nonexistent "Mariner's Tax Deduction" (or the like) related to invalid deductions for meals.
    • Certain instances of misuse or excessive use of the section 6421 fuels credit.

    An individual or group may not avoid paying their fair share of taxes by making "frivolous" legal arguments. The IRS publicizes these frivolous claims to help taxpayers understand the law and avoid penalties.

    Continued in article

    Question
    Does it pay to evade taxes and, if so, why don't more people do it?

    "Why so Little Tax Evasion? Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, November 25, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

    All the rich countries are successful in raising sizable amounts of revenue from taxes with only a rather little tax evasion. Tax avoidance is the use of legal means to reduce taxes, whereas tax evasion uses illegal means. The federal government of the US raises almost 20 percent of American GDP through taxes on personal and business income, capital gains, estates, and the sale of gasoline and some other goods. The estimates from the 2001 IRS National Research Program indicate that the percent of income not reported is quite low for wages and salaries, but rises to over 50 percent for farm income, and about 40 percent for business income. Income tax payments overall are under reported by about 13 percent. What determines the degree of tax evasion?

    If taxpayers responded only to the expected cost of evading taxes, evasion would be far more widespread. The reason is that only about 7 percent of all tax returns are audited (over a 7 year period), and typically the penalty on under reported income is only about 20 percent of the taxes owed. Virtually no one is sent to jail simply for evading taxes unless that evasion is on a very large scale, or involves massive fraud. If a person were to evade $1,000 in taxes, his expected gain would be 0.93x$1000 -0.07x$200 (=$1000/5) = $916. On these considerations alone, he should not hesitate to evade paying the $1,000, and presumably much more.

    To be sure, the expected gain is not the right criterion since most taxpayers would be risk averse regarding audits and punishments, especially if there is some chance of much greater than the average punishment or likelihood of an audit. However, if the expected gain from evading $1,000 were $916, the degree of risk aversion would have to be huge, far higher than the risk aversion that is embodied in pricing of assets, for risk to explain why there is so little tax evasion.

    This is not to say that possible punishments have no affect on the amount of tax evasion. Compliance rates are much higher when governments have independent evidence on a person's income since then the probability of audit when he under reports his income is much higher than when they do not have this information. For example, income from independent consulting to companies is better reported than tips on earnings, or than the incomes of farmers and other small business owners because employers report how much they paid to independent consultants, whereas no one reports how much they paid in tips, or how much they bought from a local store. A PhD study in progress at the University of Chicago by Oscar Vela also shows that persons in occupations where integrity is a more important determinant of success, such as law or medicine, are less likely to evade taxes. Presumably, any publicity that an individual in these occupations was convicted of tax evasion would damage his reputation and earnings.

    Vela finds that considerations of reputation, along with more traditional variables in the tax evasion literature do help explain how much evasion occurs for different types of income. These variables include the likelihood of audits that varies for different classes of taxpayers, punishments for those audited, marital status (not surprisingly, married persons are less likely to evade taxes), the marginal tax rate, and the ease with which governments can match reported incomes with independent evidence on incomes, such as from 1040 and 1099 tax forms,

    Note that tax avoidance as well as tax evasion tends to rise as the marginal tax rate increases. That is, with higher tax rates, individuals and businesses are both more likely not to report some of their income to the tax authorities, and also to search harder for ways to reduce how much of their income they are obligated to report. This implies, for example, that flattening the income tax structure would increase the amount of personal income reported to tax authorities because both the amount of evasion and the avoidance of the personal income tax would be reduced.

    However, audits, punishments, and the other deterrence variables mentioned in the previous paragraphs do not fully explain why there is not much more tax evasion. I believe it is necessary to recognize that most people believe they have a duty, moral or otherwise, to report their taxable income more or less honestly. I intentionally say "more or less honestly" because a little cheating on taxes is usually considered to be ok, as long as it does not go too far. Individuals might not pay social security taxes on their payments to workers who clean their houses, and they might pay a mason in cash because he then gives them a lower price, but these same persons would be very reluctant to engage in large-scale tax evasion.

    Similarly, most people do not believe it is moral to steal money even when there is little chance they will be found out, and they feel obligated to obey many other laws, even when that entails inconvenience and cost to themselves. There would be considerably more crime if individuals only obeyed laws when the expected cost of being caught, adjusted for risk, exceeded the benefits from disobeying these laws. To some extent, people obey many laws, including tax laws, because most other persons are doing the same. If so, their behavior might change radically if they lost confidence that others would pay their taxes and obey other laws.

    Clearly, morality about obeying laws does not apply to all types of taxes, or all laws-people often cross a street when the light is red, do not stop at stop signs when riding their bikes, and do not report much of their tips. Moreover, in many countries of Latin America, Africa, and Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, individuals do not even feel much obligation to pay ordinary income and other taxes. They evade except when they expect the chances of being caught are high, as with businesses paying value added taxes. These countries are unable to raise substantial amounts from taxes on personal incomes or businesses except when marginal tax rates are low. Instead they rely greatly on value added and other more difficult to evade taxes.

    "Why so Little Tax Evasion? Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, November 25, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

    Becker presents persuasive evidence that the amount of tax evasion varies, as one would expect in a rational-choice model of taxpaying, with variance in the private costs and private benefits of evasion. I am inclined to believe that the private costs are higher than he suggests, which if true would mean that more tax compliance can be attributed to rational fear of punishment than he suggests and less to taxpayers' feeling a moral duty to pay taxes. For example, the civil penalties for tax evasion are quite severe (the fraud penalty is 100 percent of the amount of taxes evaded), and anyone charged with civil or criminal tax evasion will incur heavy legal and accounting expenses in defending against the charge. Although the audit rate is low, it is not random, but rather is higher for those taxpayers who are in the best position to evade taxes without being caught or whose tax returns raise a red flag because of unusually high deductions or other suspicious circumstances. And once one has been caught evading taxes, one can expect the rate of future audits of one's returns to be high. While it is true that underpayment of taxes is rarely prosecuted criminally, even when deliberate, criminal prosecution is likely if the tax evader takes steps to conceal the evasion, as by never filing a tax return, keeping phony books, or forging evidence of deductions. Moreover, the government does occasionally prosecute even small fry.

    . . .

    The general question that Becker raises of the moral costs of committing crime is a fascinating one. I would be inclined to search as hard as possible for nonmoral costs before concluding that morality is a major motivator of behavior, especially with regard to crimes, like tax evasion, that do not have an identifiable victim. In the case of many crimes, the benefits to most people of perpetrating them would be so slight (and often zero or even negative) that sanctions play only a small role in bringing about compliance; enforcement costs needn't be high in order to deter when nonenforcement benefits are low. Some examples: the demand for crack cocaine among white people (including cocaine addicts) appears to be very small. Both altruism and fear deter most people from attempting crimes of violence, quite apart from expected punishment costs. The vast majority of men do not have a sexual interest in prepubescent children. Well-to-do people often have excellent substitutes for crime: any person of means can procure legal substitutes for illegal drugs (for example, Prozac for cocaine, Valium for heroin). Fear of injury deters most people from driving recklessly or while drunk. People who have no taxable income are incapable of evading income tax. People who do have taxable income can obtain benefits from evading it, but the costs of evasion are, as I have emphasized, nonnegligible, so there is widespread compliance along with a good deal of evasion. I would therefore expect differences across countries in tax evasion to be related more to differences in penalties, collection methods, and so forth than to differences in morality. Americans may exhibit higher tax compliance than Italians, but Americans are not a more moral people than Italians.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    I inclined to think that more people evade taxes than Becker and Posner suggest, although this evasion has declined due to added reporting of revenues, particularly 1099 forms for miscellaneous income. In the United States, the IRS estimated in 2007 that Americans owed $345 billion more than they paid, or about 14% of federal revenues for FY2007. But these estimates are very soft numbers based largely on intense audits of a miniscule proportion of taxpayers filing returns --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_Evasion

    Contents

    You can learn a lot about taxation at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax
    Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax

    Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


    Professors Who Plagiarize

    "Plagiarism and Other Sins Seem Rife in Science Journals, a Digital Sleuth Finds," by Lila Guterman, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 1, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i21/21a00901.htm

    Faculty members gnash their teeth and wring their hands when students plagiarize. They cry for offenders to be punished. But now an online text-search program directed at their own work suggests that professors in biomedicine may be just as guilty of paper-writing sins.

    More than 70,000 article abstracts appeared disturbingly similar to other published work when scanned by a new search program, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center report in the current issue of Nature. The researchers examined 2,600 of these abstracts by hand and found 73 instances of what appears to be outright plagiarism: one author stealing another's work.

    Many more examples existed that looked like double publishing, in which a researcher publishes identical papers in different journals.

    Mounir Errami, one of the Texas scientists, said that as a result of this work, a "big shot" at "one of the most prestigious universities in the United States" was now under investigation by a top-tier journal in which he apparently published a plagiarized article. He declined to give further details because of the preliminary stage of the inquiry.

    The search program, called eTBLAST, looked for similar language among papers listed in Medline, the online database of abstracts from biomedical journals. Mr. Errami, and his Nature co-author, Harold R. Garner Jr., turned it loose on seven million abstracts tagged by Medline as related to other literature in the database.

    After getting 70,000 suspicious hits, the researchers began the slower process of checking each abstract manually; it has taken them months to churn through the 2,600 items. They have placed the entire set of 70,000 abstracts in a public database called Déjà Vu ( http://spore.swmed.edu/dejavu ), hoping the scientific community will now pitch in with some public peer review.

    The detection program is sorely needed, said Mr. Errami. Apart from violating ethical norms and skewing research efforts, repeat publication could actually be dangerous to patients. If a clinical trial appears more than once, it would appear that more patients have undergone an experimental treatment than truly have. "Then you instill a false sense of safety for the drug," says Mr. Errami, an instructor at Texas Southwestern's division of translational research.

    Double Trouble

    Researchers originally developed the text-comparison program to allow scientists to scan the vast medical literature and find work closely related to their own.

    But Jonathan D. Wren, who had been a graduate student in Mr. Garner's laboratory, suggested in 2006 that eTBLAST could check for duplicate publication after a manuscript he was considering for a journal turned out to be oddly familiar. Mr. Wren, who is an associate editor of Bioinformatics and a scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, recalls that when he sent the manuscript for peer review, one reader responded by saying, "I've reviewed this paper before." Mr. Wren and other editors of Bioinformatics now use eTBLAST routinely, he told The Chronicle.

    Journals' policies forbid repeat publication and plagiarism, but there are gray areas. In papers that build upon one another, the sections describing the experimental methods or the background information are often almost identical.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on professors who plagiarize are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#ProfessorsWhoPlagiarize


    "Gilligan's Islands:  The famous psychologist and author of 'In a Different Voice' has written a novel. Why?" by Elaine Showalter, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, February 1, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i21/21b01901.htm?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

    In the 1980s, I went on a tour of Times Square led by Women Against Pornography. In one bookshop, all the literature was carefully labeled and indexed by subject; one category, irresistibly, was called "professors." To my great disappointment, prof-porn turned out to be pictures of orgies in which all the participants were wearing glasses. I had something of the same feeling of letdown reading Carol Gilligan's new novel, Kyra (Random House).

    Not that it is pornographic, I hasten to add. Kyra is nothing if not high-minded, and it is tastefully erotic in a glum, Bergmanesque way. But Gilligan (see related article) has dressed up standard romantic fiction — with its fantasies of wish fulfillment and revenge — in a thickly padded coat of learned allusions and erudite lectures. I might call Kyra "professorial chick lit," except that the heroine of chick lit is always lovably flawed and funny, and Gilligan's narrator is perfect and humorless, not only a brilliant and acclaimed lecturer at A-list conference venues from Cambridge to Vienna, but also, as her lover tells her more than once, "incredibly beautiful." Kyra also knows binaries like female/male, private/public, inside/outside, and commitment/independence. That's a lot of baggage for a first novel to carry, and Kyra buckles under the weight of Gilligan's ambitions.

    Why write a novel after a splendid career as a social psychologist at Harvard and New York Universities, and the University of Cambridge? Gilligan first made her academic reputation in 1982 with the enormously influential but controversial In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development (Harvard University Press), which argued that girls and boys had a different moral development and ethical concerns. For girls, she maintained, entering adolescence meant sacrificing an authentic self and genuine voice to the urgent need for relationships, thus developing a female ethics of care more complex and conflicted than a male one. In addition to a small number of interviews with 12-year-old boys and girls, Gilligan drew many of her examples from literature (she had majored in English at Swarthmore College), including the work of Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Margaret Drabble, George Eliot, Robert Frost, Henrik Ibsen, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Mary McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Shakespeare, Stendhal, and Virginia Woolf. In her most recent psychological text, The Birth of Pleasure (Knopf, 2002), Gilligan argued that tragic love stories are patriarchal, defining love as loss and pain, whereas a female-centered love story would allow both protagonists the happy ending of equality.

    In 2002, Gilligan also wrote a dramatic adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, produced at Shakespeare & Co., in Lenox, Mass., a tale that illustrated her idea that the tragic love story is a rigid and inflexible genre that denies men and women pleasure by insisting on obedience to patriarchal codes. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's treatment, the protagonist Hester Prynne believes in a future that "would establish the whole relation between men and women on a surer ground of mutual happiness," but Hawthorne refuses such a utopian ending. In Gilligan's play, Hester's daughter, Pearl, speaks magically from the 21st century to describe how a happy ending can be achieved by contemporary feminists, but that is a didactic postscript to the characters' dilemma.

    Continued in article


    Many Colleges Turn Their Ears Toward Congress
    Higher education leaders have long had a love-hate relationship with earmarks. On the one hand, they’re regularly derided by critics as fostering the waste of tax dollars and encouraging a sometimes secretive circumvention of peer review in ways that do not necessarily produce the best science. But the fact remains that colleges and the research initiatives they house have been among the key recipients of the dollars, which some argue level the research playing field for less-prestigious institutions. Public university presidents regularly pass through Washington to lobby their members of Congress for the grants; on Monday alone, two who met with Inside Higher Ed’s editors boasted that that was a primary reason for their visits to town. Although many members of Congress defend the grants as a way for them to reward constituents who do good work but are disadvantaged for a variety of reasons in traditional competitions for funds, the grants have come under increasing scrutiny from budget hawks and “good government” types who see the earmarks as wasteful. Congress has made several changes in law and policy aimed at improving disclosure of the grants, with the goal of embarrassing lawmakers into providing fewer of them. But that strategy appears to have failed miserably so far; in its 2008 spending bills, Congress funded 11,000 noncompetitive projects worth $14 billion — half the amount delivered in 2007, but about 1,000 more grants than awarded that year.
    Doug Lederman, 'Bush on Earmarks: Tough Words, Little Meaning," Inside Higher Ed, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/29/bush

    Bob Jensen's threads on Congressional fraud are at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/29/bush



    Question
    Did the Motion Picture Association of America Lie on Purpose?

    A week ago today, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) issued what had to be a hugely embarrassing news release acknowledging that an aggressively promoted and widely cited research report commissioned by the MPAA in 2005 significantly overstated the Internet-based peer-to-peer piracy of college students: “The 2005 study had incorrectly concluded that 44 percent of the motion picture industry’s domestic losses were attributable to piracy by college students. The 2007 study will report that number to be approximately 15 percent.” The MPAA release attributes the bad data to an “isolated error,” adding that it takes the error seriously and plans to hire an independent reviewer “to validate” the numbers in a forthcoming edition of an updated report. We should applaud the MPAA for going public with a painful press release about what some have tagged the “300 percent error.” Unfortunately, the MPAA has yet to release the actual reports that generated either the 44 percent or 15 percent claims about the role of college students in digital piracy; the public data are limited to PowerPoint graphics in PDF format on the association’s web site. Perhaps as part of its efforts to validate the numbers in the new report the MPAA will also make public the complete document, not just the summary graphics. (Academics do know something about peer review.)
    Kenneth C. Greene, "The Movie Industry’s 300% Error," Inside Higher Ed, January 29, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/01/29/green
     


    "Questions, Not Answers, on Conflicts of Interest," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, January 28, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/28/conflicts 

    College leaders have been criticized in some quarters for not taking conflicts of interest seriously. The largest association representing higher education took a first pass at remedying that Friday with a working paper aimed at helping campus administrators deal with real and perceived financial conflicts.

    But the document from the American Council on Education, which generally shuns strong stands in favor of laying out questions campus officials should ask in contemplating their own situations — avoiding, for example, the list of do’s and don’ts contained in the code of conduct adopted under pressure last year by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators — is unlikely to satisfy those who were hoping for a full-throated statement of principle.

    The “Working Paper on Conflict of Interest” was prepared by a panel of college presidents, association heads and lawyers assembled by ACE after a September meeting on conflicts of interest. The council had gathered higher education officials to discuss whether and how they should respond, broadly, to the perception that conflicts of interest were rife or spreading in higher education. The conversation and the intensified attention to financial conflicts were prompted largely by 2007’s various inquiries into the student loan industry, and by the perception that some of the same conflicts of interest inherent in the financial aid world exist in other college and university operations.

    After the September meeting, David Ward, the departing president of the American Council on Education, said he expected the working group he appointed to create not a list of things to do and not to do, but a list of “diagnostic questions” about potential conflicts, framed in such a way that “if the answer to [the questions] was no, that’s an indication that you might have a problem” with a particular situation. ACE’s desire, he said, was to give campus officials a document to “illuminate principles” that should guide them as they confront arrangements that might seem to fall into a gray area.

    The document released just before 5 p.m. on Friday, which was produced by an eight-member panel whose members are listed below, hews closely to that approach. Because colleges have such diverse structures, cultures and missions, the panel writes in its introduction, “[t]here is thus likely no one conflict of interest policy that would fit all of the institutions. Accordingly, the purpose of this statement is not to prescribe a single approach to conflicts management. Rather, this statement aims to provide tools that each institution may use to inform its own thinking about these issues.”

    The paper starts from the premise that colleges must, to meet their many needs while remaining financially viable, engage in partnerships and financial arrangements with outside entities, including businesses, that may create real or perceived conflicts of interest. And it notes that the environment in which the legality and, importantly, the morality of those arrangements will be judged can change over time, as some financial aid officials believe they did in the student loan world over the last few years.

    “Transactions once deemed acceptable may now be the subject of questions about whether, for example, they are at arm’s length,” the panel writes.

    While the paper generally avoids dictating what colleges should and should not do in specific instances, it does lay out a set of “basic precepts that are universal or nearly universal among higher education institutions” to “form a baseline for management of conflict of interest.” Foremost among these precepts is the idea that a faculty or staff member or trustee must disclose “known significant financial interests” in an outside organization with which the institution is affiliated, and that institutional officials should review those disclosures and have “procedures to address identified conflicts.”

    That is as far as the committee went in laying out a common view of how colleges and universities should approach conflicts of interest; the rest of the paper lays out a long set of questions that institutions might ask in reviewing various situations, including their relationships with vendors ("Under what circumstances, if any, is it appropriate for an administrator, faculty member, or trustee to own stock or have another financial interest in a vendor?"); their conflicts policies ("Under what circumstances should institutional policy give the persons disclosing conflicts of interest discretion to decide whether a particular interest needs to be disclosed?"); and institutional conflicts involving commercial arrangements ("Does the transaction entail the actuality or perception that the institution is profiting to the detriment of students or other constituents?")

    Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, said he found it “more than a little surprising that the paper doesn’t clearly enough recommend avoidance of actual or apparent conflicts where that is at all practicable, and appears to view disclosure — even of avoidable and more appropriately avoided conflicts — as meeting an adequate threshold of ethical conduct.”

    Continued in article

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


    In the Name of Entrepreneurship? The Logic and Effects of Special Regulatory Treatment for Small Business (a 368 Rand Corporation Report on ways to stimulate and improve entrepreneurship, December 2007) ---  http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG663.pdf

    Bob Jensen's small business helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness



    MySpace's Leaked Photos More Popular Than Sweeney Todd
    The 17-gigabyte file containing half-of-million photos pillaged from MySpace accounts made the Pirate Bay's top-ten list of most popular downloads over the weekend, beating out pirated copies of No Country For Old MenSweeney Todd and the sci-fi flick I Am Legend. Sunday afternoon the file -- compiled using a still-unacknowledged hole in MySpace's architecture that exposed photos in private profiles --  was the 9th most popular download on the torrent site, with over 6,700 downloads in progress.On Monday, though, the file's popularity plummeted as the first round of downloaders completed their transfers and found that the photos -- a mix of images from public and private profiles -- just weren't that interesting.
    Kevin Poulsen, Wired News, January 28, 2008 --- http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/01/myspaces-leaked.html
     

    Tax Lesson for the Week

    "Why Are Tax Burdens So Different in Different Developed Countries?" by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, January 27, 2008 ---
    http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

    In all 20 countries except the Netherlands, the tax burden has increased since 1975, though in some countries, such as the United States, the increase has been slight--only 2.6 percent. In others, however--Denmark Greece, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey--it has exceeded 10 percent. Spain's increase has been the greatest, at 18.3 percent, followed by Italy's at 17.3 percent and Turkey's at 16.5 percent.

    The OECD report explains that the increase in tax burden is due to increased revenues from "direct" taxes--income (including payroll) and corporate taxes--rather than from "indirect" taxes such as VAT, sales taxes, and other excise taxes. Even though most countries, including the United States, have cut income and corporate tax rates, the cuts have been more than offset by increases in income and corporate profits; of course the cuts may have helped generate those increases. The OECD favors indirect taxes because they tax only consumption, whereas direct taxes tax income that is saved, and thus discourage investment.

    Continued in article

    "Why Are Tax Burdens So Different in Different Developed Countries?" by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, January 27, 2008 ---
    http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

    The burden of taxes to a country depends not only on the fraction of its gross domestic product GDP that are collected as tax revenue –the data shown in Posner's chart- but on many other factors as well. Since my comment is brief I will confine my discussion to the link between tax burdens, the level of government spending, and the structure and incidence of taxes.

    It is not possible to separate tax burdens from government spending. Obviously, as Posner makes clear, how governments spend their tax revenues makes an enormous difference to the functioning of an economy. In addition, however, the level of government spending also affects the tax burden. If spending exceeds the amount collected in taxes, the excess spending must be financed by an increase in government debt (I ignore inflationary printing of money). Interest payments on the higher government debt have to be financed by higher taxes in the future, so the full tax burden is determined not by tax revenues alone but also by government spending. Senator McCain has justified his initial opposition to the Bush tax cuts by indicating that they were not combined with cuts in government spending -in fact, just the opposite occurred.

    The tax burden depends in addition on the type of taxes used and their structure. What economists call the "excess burden" is measured by the difference between the cost to those paying taxes and the revenue collected by government. The excess burden is zero for a head tax, which is an equal tax per person, since the amounts paid to governments from such a tax equals the cost to taxpayers. Taxes on income do have an excess burden because they distort taxpayers' decisions toward greater leisure. The higher the marginal tax rate, the greater are these and other distortions induced in labor supply, and hence the greater the excess burden of income taxes.

    To reduce distortions, broader and flatter taxes are better because then marginal tax rates are lower. Rudy Giuliani has proposed a flat and rather broad income tax with a highest marginal tax rate of only 30 percent to complement the present complicated income tax system. Consumption taxes, such as value added taxes, have lower excess burdens than income taxes. Like an income tax, a general tax on consumption does discourage work in favor of leisure essentially because individuals can avoid both consumption and income taxes by taking additional leisure since leisure is not taxed. However, an income tax has other distortions as well since income is both taxed when received, and also taxed again when the savings out of income produces additional income. Income taxes in effect tax savings twice, while consumption taxes only tax savings once, when they are spent. In order to reduce this double taxation of savings from income taxes, the US and other countries allow families to save in ways that are free of income taxes until the savings are spent, such as through saving with IRAs.

    There is a natural tendency to assume that the burden of taxes falls on persons or companies that mail the tax checks into the government. To show why this is generally false, consider a 10 percent tax on capital that initially reduces returns on capital from say 8 percent to 7.2 percent. This initial impact is clearly on owners of this capital, who are generally wealthier than the average individual. Over time, however, the capital stock would fall because companies reduce their investments in reaction to the lowering of after-tax returns on investments due to the capital tax. As the capital stock falls, the after-tax return would begin to increase because the productivity of capital is higher when capital is scarcer relative to labor. The capital stock would continue to fall essentially until after-tax returns climb back up to the 8 percent level they were at before the tax on capital was imposed.

    Since studies confirm that in the long run owners of capital get about the same rate of return that they would have without any taxes on capital, who then pays the capital tax in the long run? The answer is not capital but labor because wages and earnings are lower when workers have less capital to work with. Owners of capital continue to send in the checks to pay a capital tax, but the negative response of investments to a capital tax shifts the burden of a capital tax away from capital to labor. That eventually labor pays a tax on capital even though it is placed on capital explains why economists generally oppose long-term taxes on capital even though in the short run capital taxes have many desirable properties. Investment tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and low taxes on capital gains are some of the ways that the effective long run tax on capital is reduced toward zero.


    Education Tutorials

    The Green Guide --- http://www.thegreenguide.com/

    Royal Academy of Arts (mulitmedia) --- http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

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


    Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

    Physics Education Technology --- http://phet-web.colorado.edu/new/index.php

    Interactives: 3D Shapes --- http://www.learner.org/interactives/geometry/index.

    3D Organic Chemistry Animations --- http://138.253.125.24/~ng/external/ 

    Chemistry PowerPoint Lessons and Instructional Materials --- http://www.chalkbored.com/lessons/chemistry-12.htm

    The World of Chemistry --- http://www.learner.org/resources/series61.html

    Essentials of Geology --- http://www.wwnorton.com/college/geo/egeo/welcome.htm

    Pre-assessment: Gauging students preparedness for sedimentary geology ---
     http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/sedimentary/activities/13842.html

    Rock Cycle Animations --- http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/visualization/collections/rock_cycle.html

    Minerals in the Biosphere --- http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health04/activities/3765.html

    Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/poles/index.php

    The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems --- http://casfs.ucsc.edu/index.html

    TechNewsWorld --- http://www.technewsworld.com/

    The Green Guide --- http://www.thegreenguide.com/

    Radiology Education --- http://www.radiologyeducation.com/

    National Institute of Mental Health: Publications --- http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/

    University of Michigan Collections (Images, Photographs) --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?page=groups#um-
    (Heavy on science images)

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


    Social Science and Economics Tutorials

    Internet for Geographers --- http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/he/tutorial/geographer

    Quick Tour of Government Information Sites --- http://scout.wisc.edu/Projects/PastProjects/toolkit/enduser/archive/1997/euc-9707.html

    From the University of Pennsylvania
    Student Voices (politics and government) ---  http://www.student-voices.org/ 

    Catalog of U.S. Government Publications --- http://catalog.gpo.gov/F

    State and Local Government on the Web --- http://www.piperinfo.com/state/states.html

    International Documents Collection --- http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govinfo/resource/internat/

    "The New York Review of (Little Red) Books," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/01/30/mclemee 

    Late last year, The New York Review of Books ran a full-page advertisement fairly glowing with the warmth of the enthusiasm it projected for work of Bob Avakian. In case that name does not ring a bell, Bob Avakian is Chairman of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Once upon a time, Avakian was a student of Stanley Fish at the University of California at Berkeley; but amidst all the excitement of the late 1960s, the poetry of Milton could not compete with the slogans coming out of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, and so a leader of the American masses emerged, even if the masses themselves didn’t notice.

    The NYRB ad praised Avakian’s combination of “an unsparing critique of the history and current direction of American society with a sweeping view of world history and the potential for humanity.” It called upon readers to “engage” with his work. As it happens, I was once in a punk rock band with a former Avakianite. (This was back when one of the party’s slogans was “Revolution in the ‘80s – Go For It!”) Having thus already had the opportunity to (as they say) “engage” with Avakian’s work, I will testify that he is, at the very least, prolific and capable of extensive discourse. Nearly all of his writings are based on speeches to the party, and they do go on a bit.

    In any case, the content of the full-page proclamation was much less interesting, all in all, than the list of people endorsing it. Among them were a few prominent academics. Cornel West was one of them. Members of the Harvard faculty were among the signatories. Ubiquitous cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek has recently added his name to an online version. The list also includes famous entertainers such as Public Enemy rapper Chuck D and Ricky Lee Jones, the folk-rock chanteuse. (The text and the most recently updated set of signatories can now be found here.)

    Without quite endorsing the RCP slogan “Mao More Than Ever,” all of them had “come away from encounters with Avakian provoked and enriched in our own thinking.” Or so the text of the ad put it.

    In the weeks since it appeared, a few friends who knew of my longstanding fascination with the Chairman Bob phenomenon asked about the New York Review ad. They were surprised to see it, and wondered whether all these people had actually taken up the cause of Avakianism.

    My best guess, rather, was that very few of the signatories had read much Avakian. The abundance and verbosity of his pamphlets would exceed the stamina of any but the most disciplined of revolutionary intellectuals. What probably happened, I surmised, was that party cadres had pointed out various anti-Bush statements by Avakian in order to harvest a bunch of signatures from people who were angered by the course of recent history.

    Continued in article

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


    Law and Legal Studies

    Parliament and the British Slave Trade, 1600-1807 --- http://slavetrade.parliament.uk/slavetrade/index.html

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


    Math and Statistics Tutorials

    Interactives: 3D Shapes --- http://www.learner.org/interactives/geometry/index.

    Statistical Understanding Made Simple --- http://www.gla.ac.uk/sums/

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

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


    History Tutorials

    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Auschwitz Through the Lens of the SS --- http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/ssalbum/

    Visual Arts Data Service (art history) --- http://www.vads.ahds.ac.uk/

    University of Michigan Collections (Images, Photographs) --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?page=groups#um-
    (Heavy on science images)

    Sacred Contexts (Religion Comparisons and Contexts, art history) --- http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/sacred/homepage.html

    Jamestown, Quebec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings http://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/small_exhibition.cfm?key=1267&exkey=244

    LaFayette: Citizen of Two Worlds --- http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/lafayette/index.html

    Parliament and the British Slave Trade, 1600-1807 --- http://slavetrade.parliament.uk/slavetrade/index.html

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


    Language Tutorials

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


    Writing Tutorials

    National Education Writers Association --- http://www.ewa.org/

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


    Update on Free Open Sharing of Knowledge by Colleges and Universities
    "Professors on YouTube, Take 2," by Jeffrey R. Young , Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2008 --- Click Here

    Since writing about how professors are finding celebrity on YouTube, several people wrote in to point us to other efforts to offer lecture videos online. So here are a couple of more, with some updates on what they are up to:

    * Research Channel: This non-profit consortium of colleges and universities broadcasts video of campus lectures and presentations in a variety of formats. Its largest reach comes from its satellite and cable-TV channel, which reaches more than 30-million homes in the U.S. But the group has long had a Web presence as well, and its leaders say the online audience is growing rapidly. Amy Philipson, executive director of Research Channel, says to look for the channel to offer its videos on YouTube soon. And she says they've recently set up a page on iTunesU, the educational section of Apple's iTunes Store.

    * UChannel: Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs runs this Web-video network that pulls together audio and video recordings of campus talks. The effort started back in 2005. Donna M. Liu, director for strategic initiatives for Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, says that UChannel was on YouTube long before the University of California at Berkeley set up its channel there. And the group even offers a Facebook application that pops lecture videos into your online social profile.

    * DoFlick: On a much, much smaller scale, recent graduates of the University of Maryland at College Park set up this site featuring instructional videos about science and engineering. One of the founders, Luis Corzo, says the site is getting about 5,000 to 10,000 visits per month. One of the stars of the site so far is Richard E. Berg, a professor of practice at College Park who produces videos of physics demonstrations.

    Finally, I produced a short video report with footage from some of lectures featured in my previous article. What's your favorite lecture video online?

    Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

     


    From the Scout Report on January 25, 2008

    Avast Home Edition 4.7.1098.80107 --- http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html 

    Avast has been around for some time now, but the uninitiated will definitely want to take a look at this rather easy to use antivirus application. Users can select which places they want scanned using a skinnable simple interface, and the program will start when the "Play" button is pressed. The application can also check different email client and instant messaging programs for viruses. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

    RiverGate RSS Reader 1.8 --- http://www.bestsecuritytips.com/content+index.id+14.htm 

    Staying on top of one's favorite weblogs and RSS feeds can be a time- consuming affair, but the process can be made a bit easier with the use of RiverGate RSS Reader 1.8. This application can retrieve content that includes weblogs and podcasts. Visitors can also use the program to create their own customized searches. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, and Vista.


    From the Scout Report on February 1, 2008

    BullGuard Spamfilter 8.0 --- http://www.bullguard.com/try/bullguard-spamfilter.aspx 

    Spamfilters are common enough, so it's nice to find out about one with a few extra features. Bullguard Spamfilter allows users to ban individual email addresses or complete domains, and it also includes anti-phishing protections and integration with Outlook, Outlook Express, and Thunderbird. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.


    Adium X 1.2.1 --- http://www.adiumx.com/ 

    When Adium disappeared during development, a number of users were quite disappointed. Those users need worry no longer, as their development team recently released this version of this multiple-protocol, instant messaging client. Visitors can insert their existing addresses into the client and they will also appreciate the very sleek and elegant design of this particular iteration. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4.0 and newer.

     


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


    Health Tutorials

    The Green Guide --- http://www.thegreenguide.com/

    Radiology Education --- http://www.radiologyeducation.com/

    National Institute of Mental Health: Publications --- http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/


    Sedentary lifestyles associated with accelerated aging process
    Individuals who are physically active during their leisure time appear to be biologically younger than those with sedentary lifestyles, according to a report in the January 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Regular exercisers have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis, according to background information in the article. “A sedentary lifestyle increases the propensity to aging-related disease and premature death,” the authors write. “Inactivity may diminish life expectancy not only by predisposing to aging-related diseases but also because it may influence the aging process itself.” Lynn F. Cherkas, Ph.D., of King’s College London, and colleagues studied 2,401 white twins, administering questionnaires on physical activity level, smoking habits and socioeconomic status. The participants also provided a blood sample from which DNA was extracted. The researchers examined the length of telomeres—repeated sequences at the end of chromosomes—in the twins’ white blood cells (leukocytes). Leukocyte telomeres progressively shorten over time and may serve as a marker of biological age.
    PhysOrg, January 28, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120759104.html


    CDC Releases New HIV Statistics
    Less Than 1% of U.S. Adults Younger than 50 Have HIV, New HIV Prevalence Statistics Show. The CDC today reported that about one-half of 1% of U.S. adults younger than 50 have HIV. The CDC's HIV prevalence statistics are based on nearly 12,000 adults aged 18-49 who took part in national health studies from 1999 to 2006. Participants were interviewed and provided blood samples; 0.47% had HIV infection. That's similar to findings from a 1988-1994 survey, states a CDC news release. HIV infection was more common among men than women, and among African-Americans than whites or Mexican-Americans. About 2.6% of African-American men and 1.5% of African-American women were HIV positive. The data don't show how people contracted HIV. The findings appear in January's edition of the CDC's NCHS Data Brief.
    Miranda Hitti, WebMD, January 30, 2008 --- http://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/news/20080129/cdc-releases-new-hiv-statistics


    Accelerated head growth can predict autism before behavioral symptoms start
    Children with autism have normal-size heads at birth but develop accelerated head growth between six and nine months of age, a period that precedes the onset of many behaviors that enable physicians to diagnose the developmental disorder, according to new research from the University of Washington’s Autism Center. The study also indicates that this aberrant growth is present in children who have the early onset form of autism as well as those later diagnosed with the regression type of the disorder, according to Sara Webb, who led the research. “We know there are a number of risk factors for autism, and if we can pinpoint them we have better ways of identifying children at risk so we can get them into prevention or monitoring,” said Webb, a UW research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “This abnormal or accelerated rate of head circumference growth is a biological marker for autism. It occurs before the onset of behavioral symptoms at 12 months of age such as a child’s failure to respond to their name, a preoccupation with certain objects, not pointing to things, a lack of interest in other people and the absence of babbling. “By itself, head growth is not an indicator of autism,” she said, “because kids are going to be getting bigger and development is so variable. However, if you notice it and some of these other symptoms, it is a red flag to seek evaluation.”
    PhysOrg, January 30, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120923947.html


    Will you buy and wear an Alzheimer's prevention helmet?
    Nevertheless, a team of British researchers is showcasing a bizarre-looking contraption that they say could stimulate the healing and regeneration of brain cells using a specific wavelength of infrared light — a category of radiation most often associated with heat energy. And human trials on the Alzheimer's hat are even scheduled to begin this summer. Dr. Gordon Dougal is one of the developers of the Alzheimer's hat. Dougal is also a director of Virulite, a U.K.-based medical research company that has in the past developed a machine to treat cold sores using the same infrared technology from which the hat is said to derive its benefits.
    "Alzheimer's Hat Draws Skepticism Experts Say Novel Invention Has Little Scientific Base, Not Ready for Prime Time," ABC News, January 28, 2008 --- http://abcnews.go.com/Health/GadgetGuide/story?id=4202266&page=1
    Jensen Comment
    I'm holding out for a helmet that will download knowledge into the brain.


    Lead Linked to Aging in Older Brains
    Could it be that the "natural" mental decline that afflicts many older people is related to how much lead they absorbed decades before? That's the provocative idea emerging from some recent studies, part of a broader area of new research that suggests some pollutants can cause harm that shows up only years after someone is exposed. The new work suggests long-ago lead exposure can make an aging person's brain work as if it's five years older than it really is. If that's verified by more research, it means that sharp cuts in environmental lead levels more than 20 years ago didn't stop its widespread effects. "We're trying to offer a caution that a portion of what has been called normal aging might in fact be due to ubiquitous environmental exposures like lead," says Dr. Brian Schwartz of Johns Hopkins University. "The fact that it's happening with lead is the first proof of principle that it's possible," said Schwartz, a leader in the study of lead's delayed effects. Other pollutants like mercury and pesticides may do the same thing, he said. In fact, some recent research does suggest that being exposed to pesticides raises the risk of getting Parkinson's disease a decade or more later. Experts say such studies in mercury are lacking.
    Malcomb Ritter, Wired News, January 27, 2008 --- Click Here


    Parenting lessons don't stop toddler tantrums: study
    A new study shows that parent training programmes fail to reduce behavioural problems in toddlers, suggesting that coaching on how to rear children may be a waste of time and money. On average, behavioural problems afflict every seventh child aged 4 to 17, previously studies have shown. Aggressive or extremely defiant youngsters are said to have externalised problems, while those of kids who withdraw, or suffer anxiety and depression, are described as internalised. Troubles in childhood often have serious personal, social and economic consequences later in life, experts say. Left untreated, approximately 50 percent of preschoolers with behaviour problems develop mental health problems, including depression. Besides the direct cost of treatment, there are social costs as well: unemployment, family stress or violence, drug use and increased crime have all been linked to behavioural difficulties very early in life. One approach is to deal with the problems as they emerge through counselling, drug treatment, or psychiatry. But this is expensive, and not always effective.
    PhysOrg, February 1, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news121070647.html


    "Studies Cite Head Injuries As Factor in Some Social Ills:  Brain Researchers Link Mental Woes, Alcoholism To Long-Ago Blows," by Thomas M. Burton, The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2008; Page A1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120156672297223803.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

    Researchers studying brain injury believe they've found a common thread running through many cases of seemingly unrelated social problems: a long-forgotten blow to the head.

    They've found that providing therapy for an underlying brain injury often helps people with a variety of ills ranging from learning disabilities to chronic homelessness and alcoholism. If broadly verified, the findings could have a significant impact in dealing with such intractable difficulties.

    That severe head injuries can lead to cognitive and behavioral problems is widely accepted. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 5.3 million Americans suffer from mental or physical disability that is due to brain injury.

    What's new is the contention of some researchers that there are many other cases where a severe past blow to the head, resulting in unconsciousness or confusion, is the unrecognized source of such problems. "Unidentified traumatic brain injury is an unrecognized major source of social and vocational failure," says Wayne A. Gordon, director of the Brain Injury Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where much of the research is being done.

    Research by his team has consistently found high rates of "hidden" head trauma when screening various populations in New York schools, addiction programs and the general population. The CDC acknowledges its 5.3 million estimate is an undercount based on hospital admissions; it doesn't include people who sought no treatment for a severe blow to the head or who were sent home from a doctor's office or emergency room with little treatment.

    Causes of brain injury can include bike and car accidents, sports concussions such as those suffered by professional football players, and abuse and falls that can date back to childhood. Doctors say about 85% of common falls in infancy don't produce long-term deficits, but that some do.

    To be sure, it's difficult to connect with any certainty a long-ago blow to the head to memory and cognition problems years later. Other researchers point out that many people do recover completely from severe head injury, and mental problems arise from other causes. Moreover, Mount Sinai's findings haven't all been published, nor have they been widely evaluated at other institutions.

    Lost Ability to Read

    Mount Sinai's research involves people like Kate Gleason, a business-college instructor who over the course of a year lost her ability to read, keep her home orderly and even maintain friendships.

    Continued in article


    TV for the Visually Impaired
    Using a new algorithm, researchers are trying to enhance picture quality so that those with macular degeneration can enjoy television. Enjoying a favorite TV show can be difficult for someone with macular degeneration. Like many kinds of visual impairment, macular degeneration makes the images on the screen seem blurred and distorted. The finer details are often lost. Now researchers at the Schepens Eye Research Institute have developed software that lets users manipulate the contrast to create specially enhanced images for those with macular degeneration. "Our approach was to implement an image-processing algorithm to the receiving television's decoder," says Eli Peli, a professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and the project leader. "The algorithm makes it possible to increase the contrast of specific size details."
    Brittany Sauser, MIT's Technology Review, January 28, 2008 ---  http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/20117/?nlid=836&a=f 


    Cold Meds Send 7,000 Kids to Hospitals
    Cough and cold medicines send about 7,000 children to hospital emergency rooms each year, the U.S. government said Monday in its first national estimate of the problem. About two-thirds of the cases were children who took the medicines unsupervised. However, about one-quarter involved cases in which parents gave the proper dosage and an allergic reaction or some other problem developed, the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The study included both over-the-counter and prescription medicines. It comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned parents that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are too dangerous for children younger than 2. The study's findings about the proportion of properly dosed kids who end up in the ER is likely to contribute to FDA discussions about recommendations of cough and cold medicines in the 2-to-6 age group, CDC officials said.
    Mike Stobbe, PhysOrg, January 29, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120806398.html


    Roseanne Barr is Vindicated: Research suggests why scratching is so relieving
    In the first study to use imaging technology to see what goes on in the brain when we scratch, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have uncovered new clues about why scratching may be so relieving – and why it can be hard to stop. The work is reported online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and will appear in a future print issue. “Our study shows for the first time how scratching may relieve itch,” said lead author Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., a dermatologist who specializes in itch. “It’s important to understand the mechanism of relief so we can develop more effective treatments. For some people, itch is a chronic condition that affects overall health.” The study involved 13 healthy participants who underwent testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that highlights areas of the brain activated during an activity. Participants were scratched on the lower leg with a small brush. The scratching went on for 30 seconds and was then stopped for 30 seconds – for a total of about five minutes. “To our surprise, we found that areas of the brain associated with unpleasant or aversive emotions and memories became significantly less active during the scratching,” said Yosipovitch. “We know scratching is pleasurable, but we haven’t known why. It’s possible that scratching may suppress the emotional components of itch and bring about its relief.”
    PhysOrg, January 31, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news121005953.html


    Mental health screenings, risk behavior interventions needed in juvenile justice system
    Kids who have been arrested and are depressed are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and engage in unsafe sexual activity that puts them at greater risk for HIV, according to new research from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center. Findings of the study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggest the need for depression screenings as part of the juvenile intake process in order to determine appropriate mental health, substance use and HIV risk behavior interventions. “We know that symptoms of depression may be a factor that is linked to both drug and alcohol use and sexual risk-taking behaviors,” said lead author Marina Tolou-Shams, Ph.D., of the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and an assistant research professor of psychiatry at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “However, juvenile offenders aren’t routinely screened for emotional difficulties, such as depression or anxiety – rather, everyone tends to focus more on their conduct or behavioral problems.” She said that understanding more about the association between depression and risky behaviors can help create protocols for appropriately screening, assessing and identifying the needs of juvenile offenders and lead to positive health outcomes.
    PhysOrg, January 28, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120746368.html 



    Yale Lecturer Advises: Flush the Prozac and Hack Your Own Happiness
    Sometime in the 1990s, the concept of better living through chemistry turned a corner, thanks to drug companies' efforts to synthesize antidotes for every possible mood swing. So writes Yale lecturer Charles Barber in his new book, Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation. An OCD sufferer himself, Barber spent a decade working in places like New York City's Bellevue Hospital. He knew something was wrong when he discovered that his colleagues' perfectly functional, $300-an-hour Upper West Side clients were taking the same potent pills as his own schizoid, homeless, crackhead patients. "I would spend part of the day in shelters dealing with seriously ill people," Barber says. "Then I'd go to cocktail parties and find out that the people there were on the same medications." He proposes that we just say no to multinational drug peddlers and heal ourselves with cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies — "talk therapy" techniques that minimize pill pushing, dispense with Freudian dream analysis, and engage patients in actively reprogramming their own brains. It's like "a highly selective carpentry of the soul," Barber writes — therapy as self-engineering.
    Josh McHugh, Wired Magazine, January 28, 2008 --- http://www.wired.com/culture/culturereviews/magazine/16-02/pl_print

     

    Morphine dependency blocked by single genetic change
    Morphine’s serious side effect as a pain killer – its potential to create dependency – has been almost completely eliminated in research with mice by genetically modifying a single trait on the surface of neurons. The study scientists think a drug can be developed to similarly block dependency.
    PhysOrg, January 28, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120756505.html

    The research was published online January 17 by “Current Biology” and appears in the journal’s January 23 print edition. The scientists were led by Jennifer Whistler, PhD, an investigator in the UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, and associate professor of neurology at UCSF.

    Millions of people in the U.S. are given the opiate drug morphine for extreme pain caused by cancer, surgery, nerve damage and other conditions. It remains the pain killer of choice for many types of short-term pain, such as surgery, according to Whistler, but it is less useful for the treatment of chronic pain because its effectiveness decreases with continued use in a process called tolerance. As a consequence, an increasingly larger dose is required to treat the pain, thereby increasing the chance of addiction.

    The body’s natural pain killers, such as endorphins, ease pain by first binding to receptors on the surface of neurons. The receptors cycle on and off “like a light switch,” Whistler says, regulating the intake of endorphin. This crucial control is absent when the neurons encounter morphine. The researchers’ strategy in their study was to try to trick neurons into responding to morphine in the more regulated way.

    Strong evidence suggests that the natural on-off cycling occurs because the endorphin receptor withdraws from the cell surface, toward the cell’s interior, Whistler says. The migration from the cell surface is called endocytosis.

    When the neuron receptors encounter morphine the light switch is broken, and the nervous system responds by becoming more tolerant of the drug, making the recipient more dependent on the drug.

    To demonstrate their hunch that morphine’s unwanted effects were caused by the failure of its receptor to withdraw from the cell surface, the researchers genetically engineered mice with a single difference from normal mice: Receptors that encounter morphine in these mice can undergo endocytosis, as they normally do in the presence of endorphins. The researchers showed that with this single change, morphine remained an excellent pain killer without inducing tolerance and dependence.

    “As more pain medications are being removed from the market, new strategies to overcome chronic pain become crucial,” Whistler says. “If new opiate drugs can be developed with morphine’s pain killing properties but also with the ability to promote endocytosis, they could be less likely to cause the serious side effects of tolerance and dependence.”

    The research is the first direct demonstration that this single cellular change can block the body’s tendency to become tolerant of the drug, she points out.

    Several strategies are now being tested to counter morphine addiction, Whistler says. These include development of morphine derivatives such as oxycontin, that are delivered in a time released manner or only once they have been processed in the digestive system. Other approaches seek to develop morphine derivatives that target only certain opioid receptors but not others.

    “The most promising aspect of these other approaches is that they have the potential to prevent or delay dependence and addiction to morphine, but few of them address the development of tolerance,” Whistler said.

    Source: University of California - San Francisco




    Forwarded by Sid and Eileen

    Yes indeed we all need a tree...

    I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.

    While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

    When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

    Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

    "Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled," when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. We all Need a Tree.

     




     "She eats like a bird." Did you ever wonder about that expression? Birds spend most of their waking moments eating or trying to find food to eat. They can eat more than their body weight in a week. The expression would seem more fitting for the fat lady in the circus than a Parisian model.


    I don't mind going to work, But that eight hour wait to go home is a bitch.
    Maxine's sister


    Forwarded by Team Carper

    Essential vocabulary additions for the workplace (and elsewhere)!!!

    1. BLAMESTORMING : Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

    2. SEAGULL MANAGER : A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

    3. ASSMOSIS : The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

    4. SALMON DAY : The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

    5. CUBE FARM : An office filled with cubicles.

    6. PRAIRIE DOGGING : When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

    7. MOUSE POTATO : The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

    8. SITCOMs : Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What Yuppies get into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

    9. STRESS PUPPY : A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

    10. SWIPEOUT : An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

    11. XEROX SUBSIDY : Euphemism for swiping free photo-copies from one's workplace.

    12. IRRITAINMENT : Entertainment and media spectacles that are Annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them.

    13. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE : The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again. Often feel like doing this to my computer------

    14. ADMINISPHERE : The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

    15. 404 : Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error Message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested site could not be located.

    16. GENERICA: Features of the American landscape t hat are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, and subdivisions.

    17. OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake. (Like after hitting send on an email by mistake).

    18. WOOFS : Well-Off Older Folks.

    19. CROP DUSTING : Surreptitiously passing gas while passing through a Cube Farm.

    Jensen Comment
    My favorite is
    ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION: In ability to get aroused by any of the candidates for the U.S. presidential elections in 2008.

     


    Forwarded by Niki

    In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

    One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students...?"

    "Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."

    "Test of Three?"

    "That's correct," Socrates continued.

    "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

    "No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

    "All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

    "No, on the contrary..."

    "So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"

    The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

    Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness.

    Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

    "No, not really..."

    "Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

    The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

    This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem. It also explains why Socrates never found out that Plato was banging his wife.

    Jensen Comment
    In truth Socrates' wife named Xanthippe had a notorious temper and mean disposition. Her name is now synonymous with a "nagging scolding person, especially a shrewish wife" who would dump a chamber pot on her husband's/lover's head --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthippe


    Forwarded by Bob Every

    Bubba went to a psychiatrist. 'I've got problems. Every time I go to bed I think there's somebody under it. I'm scared. I think I'm going crazy.'

    'Just put yourself in my hands for one year,' said the shrink. 'Come talk to me three times a week, and we should be able to get rid of those fears.'

    'How much do you charge?

    'Eighty dollars per visit, replied the doctor.'

    'I'll sleep on it,' said Bubba.

    Six months later the doctor met Bubba on the street. 'Why didn't you ever come to see me about those fears you were having?' asked the psychiatrist.

    'Well Eighty bucks a visit three times a week for a year is an awful lot of money! A bartender cured me for $10. I was so happy to have saved all that money that I went and bought me a new pickup!'

    'Is that so! And how, may I ask, did a bartender cure you?'

    'He told me to cut the legs off the bed! - Ain't nobody under there now !!!'


    Forwarded by Moe

    RECENT STUDY FOUND OUT WHICH DAYS MEN PREFER TO HAVE SEX. IT WAS FOUND THAT MEN PREFERRED TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY ON THE DAYS THAT STARTED WITH THE LETTER 'T'.
    EXAMPLES

    TUESDAY
    THURSDAY

    TODAY
    TOMORROW
    THANKSGIVING
    THATURDAY
    THUNDAY




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

    Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
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    Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
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    Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
             Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
            
    Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
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    Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
    FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
    Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

    Some Accounting Blogs

    Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
    International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
    AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
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    Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
    In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
    I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

    Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

    CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
    CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
    Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
    This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
    AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
    This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
    Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
    This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

     

     

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