While I'm under contract to write a book I suspended weekly editions of Tidbits. However, when my monthly editions of New Bookmarks become too cluttered with tidbits I will occasionally come out with a special edition of Tidbits. This is a June 16, 2008 special edition.

 

Hi Dena,

It’s been a cold and somewhat dry spring up here. The Lupin are late and not quite as impressive as usual now that they’re blooming. I think it’s been too bloomin’ cold in the mountains.

We finally got some nice rain, but we could use much more.

We went from running the furnace two days ago to running the air conditioners yesterday and today. There is no spring up here. They’re too seasons --- winter and summer, although we started running the air conditioners when the temperature hit 80 degrees so summer here is not like summer in Texas.

My heating bill may go from $2,500 to $5,000 next year. I haven’t heard about how cooling costs are going in Texas. One advantage of air conditioners is that A/C units became more more efficient the last 20 years. There’s not much new technology in furnaces. Some people up here may close off parts of their houses for the coldest months. There are millions of trees up here, but heating daily with wood in a pain in the tail. Split hardwood is also becoming more expensive.

 I proposed that we stay in bed more during the day, but Erika’s not buying into that fuel-saving idea

Bob

 It's the season for the annual Lupin Festival in Sugar Hill

What are Lupin? --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupin

These are our wild roses along the front fence.

This golf course that borders on two sides of our home.

Above is one of the reasons I only found time to play five holes of golf in five years.
A big old bull frog sings me to sleep at night accompanied by hoot owls.

Please check on your bank account --- http://www.scottstratten.com/movie.html

 

 

Tidbits on June 16, 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

Ancient Mesopotamia: This History, Our History (video) --- http://mesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu/

A cleverly-constructed timeline on the history of the world's great religions --- http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf

How to Dispose of Energy Saving Light Bulbs --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=e-LOtKIIKcg

The Labrador Inuit Through Moravian Eyes (video) --- http://link.library.utoronto.ca/inuitmoravian/

The Energy Non-crisis --- http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3340274697167011147&pr=goog-sl
(I don't know if the facts are straight, but I do believe this partly true.)

Ordering Pizza in 2010 --- http://aclu.org/pizza/images/screen.swf

Academics have also found Vertigo to be the most concentrated distillation of Hitchcock's fascination with the act of seeing, a favorite theme among film scholars for obvious reasons. The momentous glimpses, glances, looks, and stares exchanged by Scottie and Judy/Madeleine add up to a compendium of the gaze, illustrating its power to enthrall, gratify, deceive, and even destroy. Associating the Hitchcockian gaze with the patriarchal gaze, feminist critics like Laura Mulvey have often emphasized its harmful, authoritarian effects in Vertigo and elsewhere. More eclectic commentators take a broader view, however, finding more complexity in Hitchcock's films than single-minded theories can encompass. In his recent book Hitchcock and Twentieth-Century Cinema (Wallflower Press, 2005), for instance, the film scholar John Orr says the fates of Hitchcock's characters are "bound up with perceiving a world in flux," just as the success of his films is "bound up with the spectator's pleasurable act of perceiving [the characters] perceiving." Hitchcock's artistic vision is bound up with the nature of vision, and no film penetrates its mysteries more deeply than Vertigo does. For a generation of academics and critics, it has been a laboratory for investigating some of cinema's most fundamental properties.
David Starrett, "At 50, Hitchcock's Timeless 'Vertigo' Still Offers a Dizzying Array of Gifts," The Chronicle Review, June 13, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i40/40b01801.htm?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en


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

It's Hard to Be Humble (humor) --- http://www.celeryhart.com/HardtobeHumble/hardtobehumble.swf

The Tennessee Plough Boy (Eddie Arnold) died on May 8, 2008 one week short of being 90 years young..
He' a legend in country music --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Arnold

Artie Shaw --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artie_Shaw

Yuji Ohno & Lupintic Sixteen - Lupin the Third '78 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRoLgd7QQxk

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


Photographs and Art

Fly over these mountains with your mouse --- http://www.electricoyster.com/electric3d/index.html
Music from J.M. Jarre.

Detailed 3-D images of cells reveal the inner beauty of biology --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/20868/?nlid=1129

National Park Service Travel Itinerary: Richmond, Virginia --- http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/index.html

The Ramayana: Love and Valour in India’s Great Epic --- http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/whatson/exhibitions/ramayana/index.html

Phoenix Mars Lander Spotted from Space http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/080527-phoenix-mars-update.html

 


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

List: Revolution for Kids! Cory Doctorow recommends three political books (not free) for young adults --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/126848.html 

1 Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, by Daniel Pinkwater: “One of my all-time favorite books, period. A subversive novel about a kid who moves from a funky urbanized inner city neighborhood to a place where he attends Heinrich Himmler junior high and is lost among very plastinated people. He and a friend discover an occult book shop in the funky neighborhood and go spelunking.”

2 Pretties, by Scott Westerfeld: “Well paced, and wildly popular. It’s about the pressures on young people to conform, specifically to physically conform and to switch off their minds while they’re conforming. All Westerfeld’s books are good revolutionary texts.”

3 Animal Farm, by George Orwell: “It’s probably the most perfect bit of political exposition disguised as fairy tale of all time.”

Dylan Thomas --- http://www.dylanthomas.com/
Not So Gentle Into That Good Night --- http://poetry.suite101.com/article.cfm/dylan_thomas___do_not_go_gentle_
Free Online Video

 




Independence Day Quiz --- http://games.toast.net/independence/
It's asserted that less than five percent of high school graduates can pass the quiz.

Regardless of who wins in November, the attitudes of Americans toward the role of identity in democratic life are unlikely to change much. Relative to Europe, Americans will surely remain deeply patriotic and much more committed to their faiths. Europeans, meanwhile, may move closer to the Americans in their views. The recent shift to the right in Europe – from the victory of conservative leaders like Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi to the surprise defeat of the leftist mayor of London, Ken Livingston – might partially reflect a belated awareness there that a unique heritage is under assault by a growing Muslim fundamentalism. The logic of the struggle against this fundamentalist threat will inevitably demand the reassertion of the European national and religious identities that are now threatened. Europeans are now saying goodbye to Mr. Bush, and hoping for the election of an American president who they believe shares their sophisticated postnational, postmodern and multicultural attitudes. But don't be surprised if, in the years ahead, European leaders, in order to protect freedom and democracy at home, start sounding more and more like the straight-shooting cowboy from abroad they now love to hate.
Natan Sharansky, "Democracies Can't Compromise on Core Values," The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2008; Page A15 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121358021414976189.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

What kind of government forces people to make gasoline out of food, artificially boosts the price of corn to $6 a bushel, guarantees that inflated price as the "base" for higher federal subsidies to corn farmers in the future, and then tries to hide its own depredations by excluding high food prices from its measure of "core" inflation? Washington never learns from its mistakes. In "The Worst Hard Time," Timothy Egan notes how federal price supports encouraged farmers in World War I to plow up millions of acres of dry grasslands and plant wheat. When the price of wheat crashed after the war, the denuded land lay fallow; then it blew away during the droughts of the 1930s, turning a big chunk of America into a Dust Bowl.
Ernest S. Christian and Gary A Robbins, "Stupidity and the State," The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2008; Page A9 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121279364915353389.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

On top of everything else, Washington tries to cover up the cost of its failures and incompetence by officially misstating the government's financial results. For instance, the government says that the tax burden will be $2.6 trillion in 2008. But counting the "deadweight" loss from damage done by taxes to the private economy, the real tax burden is twice that – roughly $5.2 trillion, according to various estimates, including ones published by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Congressional Budget Office. On the spending side, a study by the Office of Management and Budget showed that government programs on average fall 39% short of meeting their goals. Thus, in 2008, government will spend $2.7 trillion to provide $1.65 trillion of benefit.

A real tax burden of $5.2 trillion to pay for a $1.65 trillion benefit seems a bit excessive, even by Washington standards. Perhaps one of the presidential candidates should do the voters the courtesy of at least telling them the truth, and asking them if they really want quite so much government at such a high price. Then again, maybe the voters already sense the truth, and perhaps that is why they are so furious.

 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the national gender ratio is 98 males to every 100 females. Compare to a global average of 102 males to every 100 females, and to countries like China, which has 107 males for every 100 females. Australia might not be the worst off in this regard; America's ratio is 97 males to every 100 females, and Estonia's is a distressing 85:100. But within Australia, the differences can be pronounced. Six out of Australia's eight states and territories have lower numbers of males than females.
Robert Skeffington, "Man Drought," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2008 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121269592936449047.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

If only the metadata accompanying e-texts were as interesting as that found in used books! Online bookseller AbeBooks.com recently asked its vendors about the strangest things they've found in used books. The list will surprise you: a Christmas card from L. Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie card, a diamond ring, a strip of bacon, $40,000, a World War II U.S. ration book, and even "a holographic image of a lady who sheds her clothing," among other items. Surely similar items have turned up in collections bequeathed to academic libraries around the country. What strange things have you found in your library's old books?
Catherine Rampell, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3083&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Cuba is to abolish its system of equal pay for all and allow workers and managers to earn performance bonuses, a senior official has announced.
"Cuba to abandon salary equality," BBC News, June 12, 2008http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7449776.stm

As United States airlines reel from soaring oil prices and a sinking domestic economy, most of their European rivals appear better placed to ride out the storm. While no airline can avoid the oil price shock, analysts say, European operators are benefiting from the relatively strong euro, given that jet fuel is priced in dollars. European carriers also fly relatively newer models of Boeing and Airbus planes, which burn 30 percent less fuel than models from the 1970s and 1980s, many of which are still in use by United States airlines.
The New York Times, June 12, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/business/12air.html?ref=business
Jensen's Leading Questions for Obama and McCain
What are your plans to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and strengthen the U.S. dollar? The weakening U.S. dollar, fueled by President's Bush's spendthrift budgets, is the number one cause of high oil prices and jumps in inflation pricing in the U.S. All other proposed causes are politicalsubterfuge intended to avoid making the hard choices that will not win the presidency but will save the nation.

Anyone wondering why U.S. energy policy is so dysfunctional need only review Congress's recent antics. Members have debated ideas ranging from suing OPEC to the Senate's carbon tax-and-regulation monstrosity, to a windfall profits tax on oil companies, to new punishments for "price gouging" – everything except expanding domestic energy supplies. Amid $135 oil, it ought to be an easy, bipartisan victory to lift the political restrictions on energy exploration and production. Record-high fuel costs are hitting consumers and business like a huge tax increase. Yet the U.S. remains one of the only countries in the world that chooses as a matter of policy to lock up its natural resources. The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive, while the Saudis laugh all the way to the bank
"$4 Gasbags," The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2008; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121322599645166029.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

California won't drill for the estimated 1.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil off its coast because of bad memories of the Santa Barbara oil spill – in 1969. We won't drill for the estimated 5.6 billion to 16 billion barrels of oil in the moonscape known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because of – the caribou. In 1990, George H.W. Bush, calling himself "the environmental president," signed an order putting virtually all the U.S. outer continental shelf's oil and gas reserves in the deep freeze. Bill Clinton extended that lockup until 2013. A Clinton veto also threw away the key to ANWR's oil 13 years ago.
Daniel Henninger, "Drill! Drill! Drill!," The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2008; Page A15 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121322872046666269.html?mod=djemEditorialPage
Also see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=66441 

Although the Senate's recent attempt to introduce a cap-and-trade system for carbon crashed and burned when it collided with $4 per gallon gasoline, fear not. Some in Congress are fearlessly tilting at another windmill: the "windfall" profits earned by oil companies. Unfortunately, by reducing supplies, a windfall profits tax will only lead to even higher prices. Still, if Congress really wants to "do something" about high gasoline prices and global warming, it can always try rationing. To lower gasoline prices permanently, you can reduce demand, increase supply, or do both. Congress long ago capped supplies by proclaiming from on high: Drillest thou not offshore, nor in ANWR. The next obvious step for our solons is to cap demand by rationing gasoline, and then gradually reduce the quantity of ration coupons. "Trading" in coupons would be encouraged to ensure gasoline is allocated to uses of only the highest value. So Congress could reserve quantities of ration coupons for key lobbyists and their clients. Environmentalists could buy up coupons and "retire" them, lowering gasoline sales even more. Refineries could continue to produce gasoline, but as consumer demand would be sharply limited (and declining), oil companies would be forced to reduce the prices they charge. No more windfall profits! And lower carbon emissions!
Jonathan Lesser, "Cap and Trade for Gasoline?" The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2008; Page A9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121340131140573813.html?mod=djemEditorialPage
Also see "Carbon: Tax, Trade, or Deregulate? Something is going to be "done" about global warming, so what should it be? A debate," by Ronald Bailey, Fred L. Smith and Lynne Kiesling, Reason Magazine, July 2008 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/126851.html 

That such musings are no merely individual quirk is confirmed by James Baldwin in an essay written in his mid-forties — a portion of which I have copied out onto a small piece of paper and carried around in my wallet over the past several months. In it, Baldwin writes: “Though we would like to live without regrets, and sometimes proudly insist that we have none, this is not really possible, if only because we are mortal. When more time stretches behind than stretches before one, some assessments, however reluctantly and incompletely, begin to be made. Between what one wishes to become and what one has become there is a momentous gap, which will now never be closed. And this gap seems to operate as one’s final margin, one’s last opportunity, for creation. And between the self as it is and the self as one sees it, there is also a distance even harder to gauge. Some of us are compelled, around the middle of our lives, to make a study of this baffling geography, less in the hope of conquering these distances than in the determination that the distance shall not become any greater. ”This passage helps me keep my bearings. But I’ve broken the quotation off at that point because Baldwin then shifts to a higher pitch of personal drama than quite resonates given my own circumstances: “One is attempting,” he writes, “nothing less than the recreation of oneself out of the rubble which has become one’s life....”Well now that seems a bit much. Clutter, yes, but not rubble — though in saying that, one has the sense of tempting fate . . . For better or worse, Intellectual Affairs is firmly planted in the “baffling geography” that Baldwin describes as occupying the zone between what one most deeply wants and that which actually exists. After two hundred columns, I still don’t have a map. But it’s too late to turn back now.
Scott McLemee, "200 and Counting," Inside Higher Ed, June 11, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/06/11/mclemee

To GOP strategists' frustration, focus groups still show that many people don't know what Mr. Obama proposes policy-wise – and don't care. They are drawn to his promise to move past political business as usual. John "My Friends" McCain won't be able to match his rival's verbal mojo. He's instead going to have to counter with a compelling theme of his own. First, he'll have to find one.
Kimberly A. Strassel, "What We've Learned About Barack," The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2008; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121270837880050313.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

And finally, how much more will college attendance increase? Will it go to 100 percent (currently, about 60 percent of high school graduates go on to college--of course many kids drop out of high school)? That depends on two factors: the brain/brawn tradeoff, and IQ (or some alternative measure of intellectual aptitude). If the intellectual demands of work relative to the physical demands continue to increase, the demand for college will also increase. IQ is, though, a limiting factor. But it is less of a limiting factor than one might think. The reason is that a frequent byproduct of technological advance is deskilling.
Richard Posner, "The Boom in College Education," The Becker-Posner Blog, June 9, 2008 ---  http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/
Jensen Comment
I wonder if Becker and Posner would've written their commentaries differently if they were Wal-Mart Greeters for a week?


We are nearing the end of American identity politics as we know it. Bearing that gift to those who prize the individual over the tribal is a messenger who shared a Hyde Park neighborhood with Milton Friedman, though with a public record that suggests he is more statist than classical liberal. But Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), can’t be categorized that simply. He is, rather, an intellectual and ideological work in progress. Not stuck in cable-babble caricatured time, he may be traveling the circuitous path many “liberal-tarians”—or libertarian Democrats like me—treaded as we grew and found our way back to the self-reliant values that informed our pluralistic democracy. We lost those values in the Industrial and Progressive eras, when advocates of centralized planning prized society’s perfection over individual liberty. While Obama’s positions don’t exactly channel the Cato Institute, his departure from usual Democratic Party left-liberalism is reflected in the left’s suspicion of him for not having all the 162-point plans of Sen. Hillary Clinton, or spewing the syrupy populism of trial lawyer to the underclass, Sen. John Edwards.
Terry Michael, "Obama as the End of Identity Politics as We've Known Them (And I Feel Fine)," Reason Magazine, June 10, 2008 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/126944.html 

But in many ways, it will be business as usual in Washington DC with or without President Obama
An Absurd Way to Bring About "So-Called Change" in Washington:  Let Yesterday's Thieves Pave the Way for More Theft

"Friends of Barack," The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2008; Page A22 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121314375651462773.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

A former CEO of mortgage financing giant Fannie Mae, Mr. Johnson is now vetting Vice Presidential candidates for Mr. Obama. But he is also a textbook case for poor disclosure as regulators sifted through the wreckage of Fannie's $10 billion accounting scandal. Despite an exhaustive federal inquiry, Mr. Johnson managed to avoid disclosing one very special perk: below-market interest-rate mortgages from Countrywide Financial, arranged by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and James Hagerty broke the story this weekend.

Fannie Mae tells us that Mr. Johnson did not inform the company's board of these sweetheart mortgage deals, nor did his CEO successor Franklin Raines, who also received such loans. We can understand why. Fannie bought mortgages from loan originator Countrywide, and then packaged them into securities for sale or kept the loans and profited from the interest. Mr. Mozilo told Dow Jones in 1995 that he was "working very closely . . . with Jim Johnson of Fannie Mae to come up with a rational method of making the process more efficient by the use of credit scoring."

Since Fannie was buying Countrywide's loans, under terms set by Mr. Johnson and later Mr. Raines – or by people in their employ – the fact that Fannie's CEO had a separate personal financial relationship with Countrywide was an obvious conflict of interest. The company's code of conduct required prior approval of such arrangements. Neither Mr. Johnson nor Mr. Raines sought such approval, according to Fannie.

Even if they had received waivers from the board to enjoy these perks, conscientious board members would then have wanted to disclose the waivers to investors. Post-Enron, the Sarbanes-Oxley law requires such disclosures. But even in the late-1990s, when the Friends of Angelo loans began, board members would likely have raised red flags.

Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt tells us that "the best way to deal with issues like this is not to have these kinds of relationships. From both the Countrywide and the Fannie perspective, it is simply bad policy to permit loans to 'friends' on more favorable terms than others similarly situated would be able to get."

One question is whether Messrs. Johnson and Raines were using their position to pad their own incomes that were already fabulous thanks to an implicit taxpayer subsidy. (See the table nearby.) But the bigger issue is whether they steered Fannie policy into giving Mr. Mozilo and Countrywide favorable pricing, which means they helped to facilitate the mortgage boom and bust that Countrywide did so much to promote. A further federal probe would seem to be warranted, and we assume Barney Frank and his fellow mortgage moralists will want to dig into this palm-greasing from Capitol Hill.

The irony here is that Mr. Obama has denounced Mr. Mozilo as part of his populist case against corporate excess, calling Mr. Mozilo and a colleague in March "the folks who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis." Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also said in March that "If we're really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we're going to need a leader who doesn't owe these industries any favors." But now this protector of the working class has entrusted his first big task as Presidential nominee to the very man who received "favors" in return for enriching Mr. Mozilo.

Yesterday, ABC News asked Mr. Obama whether he should have more carefully vetted Mr. Johnson and Eric Holder, who is working with Mr. Johnson on veep vetting. Correspondent Sunlen Miller noted Mr. Johnson's loans from Countrywide and Mr. Holder's involvement as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. Said Mr. Obama: "Everybody, you know, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships – I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters."

Vetting Mr. Johnson's finances would have been time well spent, judging by a May 2006 report from Fannie Mae's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (Ofheo). Even if Mr. Obama considers the advisers helping him select a running mate "tangentially related" to his campaign, he might have thought twice about any relationship with Mr. Johnson.

Addressing the company's too smooth (and fraudulent) reported earnings growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ofheo reported: "Those achievements were illusions deliberately and systematically created by the Enterprise's senior management with the aid of inappropriate accounting and improper earnings management . . . By deliberately and intentionally manipulating accounting to hit earnings targets, senior management maximized the bonuses and other executive compensation they received, at the expense of shareholders."

* * * The regulator described how, despite an internal Fannie analysis that valued Mr. Johnson's 1998 compensation at almost $21 million, the summary compensation table in the firm's 1999 proxy suggested his pay was no more than $7 million. Ofheo found that Fannie had actually drafted talking points to deflect such media questions as: "He's trying to hide how much he's made, isn't he?" and "Gimme a break. He's hiding his compensation."

To this list we would add one more, directed at Mr. Obama: Is this what you mean by bringing change to Washington?

Update
James A. Johnson, the consummate Washington insider whom Senator Barack Obama tapped to head his vice-presidential search effort, resigned abruptly on Wednesday to try to silence a growing furor over his business activities. Mr. Johnson’s departure deprives Mr. Obama of decades of experience and access to Washington’s power elite. Mr. Johnson has been a fixture in Washington political and legal circles for three decades, and he led the vice-presidential search team for Senator John Kerry, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004.
John M. Broder and Leslie Wayne, The New York Times, June 12,2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/us/politics/12veep.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

 




 

Local officials in this liberal city say it's time for the U.S. Marines to move out. The Berkeley City Council has voted to tell the Marines their downtown recruiting station is not welcome and "if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome guests." The measure passed this week by a vote of 8-1. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,327347,00.html 

Jensen Comment
I can't think of anybody in Berkeley that the Marines would want.

The Berkeley City Council rescinded its earlier outright ban on the Marine recruiters the fear that the University of California at Berkeley might lose hundreds of millions in Federal government research contracts. The City of Berkeley does not want to go too far in antagonizing its only good asset --- the University of California. But the Berkeley City Council never passes up a chance to insult the U.S. military. The only less-friendly cities to the U.S. military are neighboring San Francisco and possibly Tehran although they might be more polite about in Tehran.


Researchers at the University of Munich have created new environmentally friendly bombs. The explosives commonly used now by military and industry (such as TNT and RDX) hurt not only their intended targets, but the environment as well by releasing toxic gases. They are also relatively unsafe to handle, LiveScience reports. The German scientists used tetrazoles to create explosives that release fewer toxic byproducts. Does this make you feel bad about not recycling?
Catherine Rampel, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3057&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en


Question
What famous retailer is known for abusing accounts payable to vendors?

Hint:
In this mart, the buyer puts vendors to the “Wal.”

If textbook vendors were smart, they'd just use Scott Adams for most of their illustrations.
"Stretching Accounts Payables." Financial Rounds, June 14, 2008 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Also enjoy the Dilbert cartoons!


Always open, always closed.
International Revolving Door Company slogan as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-06-05-08.htm

My friend, Sean, who taught freshman composition and technical writing is a natural teacher. He brought his real world corporate experience into the classroom, loved coming to work every day and truly cared about everyone on his class roster. The students loved him. He was rigorous, fair, and knowledgeable. He had a year-to-year full time appointment, but no assurance of being rehired. Last week he packed his briefcase for the last time, What a loss.
Beverly C. Lucey, "Migrants, Money, and Migraines: Headaches of the Adjunct Professor," The Irascible Professor, May 20, 2008 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-06-05-08.htm


The Case Against the World Wide Web
A provocative article in the forthcoming issue of Atlantic Monthly argues that Web surfing is rewiring our brains, making us unable to stay focused long enough to make it to the end of a book or long article. To support his thesis, the author, Nicholas Carr, cites these scholars: Bruce Friedman, of the University of Michigan Medical School; Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University; and James Olds, a professor of neuroscience at George Mason University. Mr. Carr also mentions a report of online research habits by scholars from University College London. A study by the National Endowment for the Arts also seems to support Mr. Carr's argument. The study, "To Read or Not to Read," showed, among other things, that the portion of college graduates who were proficient in reading prose declined 23 percent from 1992 to 2003.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3085&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

For a short while the Atlantic Monthly article ("Is Google Making Us Stupid?") may be downloaded free from http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. Even when I’m not working, I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the Web’s info-thickets—reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also begun mentioning the phenomenon. Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online media, recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether. “I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he wrote. “What happened?” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?”

Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”

Anecdotes alone don’t prove much. And we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition. But a recently published study of online research habits, conducted by scholars from University College London, suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in the way we read and think. As part of the five-year research program, the scholars examined computer logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two popular research sites, one operated by the British Library and one by a U.K. educational consortium, that provide access to journal articles, e-books, and other sources of written information. They found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site. Sometimes they’d save a long article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it. The authors of the study report:

It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.

Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice. But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self. “We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “We are how we read.” Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.

Reading, explains Wolf, is not an instinctive skill for human beings. It’s not etched into our genes the way speech is. We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand. And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits inside our brains. Experiments demonstrate that readers of ideograms, such as the Chinese, develop a mental circuitry for reading that is very different from the circuitry found in those of us whose written language employs an alphabet. The variations extend across many regions of the brain, including those that govern such essential cognitive functions as memory and the interpretation of visual and auditory stimuli. We can expect as well that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those woven by our reading of books and other printed works.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
People generally read some books for pure entertainment and the fast passage of time. With Agatha Christie still being my favorite mystery writer, I read mystery books like Agatha Christie might've written while I'm on airplanes and in hospital waiting rooms and even while Erika shops. I read these without looking for embedded messages other than learning about properties of some poisons if I ever did undertake to commit murder

People read some books for the message, especially passages from the Bible or Qur'an or biographies about great leaders or teachers like Abraham Lincoln, Socrates, and Albert Einstein.

People read some classics for both entertainment and embedded messages such as Moby Dick and the great books of Leo Tolstoy, although I must admit that several times in my life I grew too weary of Tolstoy to ever finish War and Peace. Often the benefits of the message are not worth the wearying effort to wade through the verbiage. This is probably why even our best writers often turn to short stories or magazine/journal articles or poems to communicate their messages.

I don't blame the Internet for the decline in book reading or the speed reading and scanning of books. The Internet is a fault only to the extent that it is part of our frenetic lifestyles and the flood of information from more and more books, articles, television, NetFlix DVDs, Blockbuster DVDs, etc. Books have to compete with many newer alternatives aside from the Internet. And our lifestyles just do not make it easy to find a few hours each day to read a long book cover-to-cover. Admittedly part of the problem is the added time we now devote to email messaging, blogs, online journals, podcasts, Webcasts, and Bob Jensen's tidbits. But somehow I personally think I would be depriving myself of much learning if I cut off my broadband cable and started working my way through the classics or the endless stream of new, often poorly written, so-called best sellers.

There's nothing sacrosanct about book reading in the information age. Books must compete with other alternatives. And often books are very worthwhile, although I must admit that I'm prone to speed reading and scanning just like I was 50 years ago. There's more in Randy Pausch's new short book than in his video speeches, television interviews, and most likely the forthcoming movie about his life and death. Some books we just read to learn more about what we can't find anywhere else. This makes books compete if they contain more of what we are seeking. I'm not really seeking to learn more about Barbara Walter's sex life, so I don't choose to read her autobiography. But there are books that I seek out because I want to know more about particular topics.

I find that the main advantage of a printed book is that I like reading from hard copy rather than a computer screen and that I find books to be better than any other alternative for perusing and scanning. I must admit that I rarely, if ever, read every word in any book at any time. I guess this goes with my Type A personality and aversion for wasting time even at things like golf. There's a golf course on two sides of my property and a life-time membership came with the purchase of my house. I've played a total of five holes in five years up here in the mountains because there are better things to do like spending ten hours a day on the Internet. Maybe there's something true about "The Case Against the World Wide Web."

Perhaps my brain really has been altered by the WWW, at least what's left of my aging brain!

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm

June 13, 2008 reply from Orenstein, Edith [eorenstein@FINANCIALEXECUTIVES.ORG]

Also of interest on the subject of how the internet has impacted the way we learn and read [and how we pay – or don’t pay- or indirectly pay a third party (vs. content provider) - for that privilege] is in blog post by Barry L. Ritholtz  (analyst who has appeared on CNBC among other places) in his blog called “The Big Picture” http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/06/word-of-the-day.html  which links to article by Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired magazine (wired.com), “Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business”
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/16-03/ff_free?currentPage=1 .

Separately, with advent of WWW, I am very interested in views this readership has on Distance Learning – including: are there any distance learning programs to get a PhD in Accounting, are any distance learning programs (undergrad/masters level) currently seeking professionally qualified (PQ vs. AQ) instructors, and any thoughts on ability of distance learning programs to provide quality education in accounting or business generally as well as PhD programs specifically. I joined Prof. Jensen’s listserv recently and I apologize if this topic was previously covered.

Thank you.

 Edith Orenstein, FEI
eorenstein@financialexecutives.org
www.financialexecutives.org
Blog: http://www2.financialexecutives.org/blog/blog.cfm?blog_id=1 )

June 13, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Edith,

Thank you for the informative reply.

I’ve always claimed there are no respectable or even satisfactory online doctoral programs in accounting. Thus far nobody has convinced me otherwise.

The most popular online alternatives are to get an online law degree or a PhD in business (not accounting), technology, or education and then teach accounting based upon your accounting credentials such as a CPA, CA, or Masters in Accountancy or Taxation --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/CrossBorder.htm#CommercialPrograms  .

Since there is such an enormous shortage of new PhDs in accounting, sometimes doctoral graduates in other fields can get accounting tenure track positions, especially when their theses make worthy contributions to accounting research. But it’s important to remember that leading universities can be pretty snobby when it comes to accounting tenure tracks.

And I might add that the AECM is not my listserv even though it may seem like it at times.

Bob Jensen

June 16, 2008 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

Bob,

I must disagree. I ind it amusing when such blanket statements are made on a phenomenon before it is fully understood.

I think the web's advantages far outweigh its disadvantages. Also, blaming the web for the follies of those who misuse it is like blaming guns for murders.

I thought you'll find the following article in the Forbes by Robert Metcalfe (inventor of the ethernet) interesting:

It's All In Your Head Robert M. Metcalfe 05.07.07 http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2007/0507/052.html 

Jagdish

 

A big difference that has taken place in the last 40 years is that when I started the typical working paper, double-spaced, was 20 to 25 pages. But now they are 60 to 70 pages, and as I get older and my eye sight deteriorates especially, I find this a terrible thing. I wish people would put their ideas in a punchier, simpler way.
"An Interview with Avinash Dixit,"  Forthcoming in the Royal Economic Society Newsletter --- http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/faculty/oswald/avinashdixit.pdf


From the Finance Clippings blog on June 12, 2008 --- http://financeclippings.blogspot.com/

Stephen Dubner at the freakonomics blog has a bleg out for finance sayings.

One of my faves is

 
The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.
Keynes

Jensen Comment
Here are some others --- http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/our-daily-bleg-wall-street-proverbs-please/

Bulls make money Bears make money pigs get slaughtered. — Posted by charles

God gave you eyes. Plagiarize. - quoted in Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis, Work smarter, not harder. — Posted by Shane

Don’t try to catch a falling knife The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. - Keynes

You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out. - Buffet — Posted by Broadway

“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful” — Warren Buffett

“Buy the rumor, sell the fact” — Posted by Phil

“Buy on the sound of the cannon, Sell on the sound of the trumpet”, I read this quote in Ben Stein’s column on Yahoo Finance, it’s a great blog (as is this one). — Posted by James Burden

“Trees don’t grow to the sky.”

“Even a dead cat will bounce if it drops from high enough.”

“No one ever went broke taking profits.” — Posted by Marton

“Even a dead cat can bounce” — Posted by Drew 9.

I remember an SNL skit after the ‘87 crash. It was Wall Street Week with a guest named “Futureman” he had the best investing mantra ever: “Read old newspapers, look at historic charts, go back in time, buy low, sell high.” — Posted by Greg

The stock market is like a beauty contest. Don’t pick the prettiest girl; Pick the one everyone else thinks is the prettiest. (Keynes?) — Posted by Adam J. Fein

June 12th, 2008 12:44 pm “When there is blood on the streets, buy real estate”. Le Baron de Rothschild (so said Jodie Foster in 2006’s Inside Man). — Posted by luz

I like them in matched pairs: No one ever went broke taking profits - sell you losers and let your winners ride. Don’t fight the tape/the trend is your friend - buy when there is blood in the streets. I would be surprised if there are any cliches that don’t have an opposite. — Posted by ziggurat

“Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?” (Fred Schwed) — Posted by DK1

From Keynes - In the long run, we’re all dead. — Posted by John

Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered. — Posted by Bylo Selhi

October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February. (Mark Twain) Those who live by numbers can also perish by them and it is a terrifying thing to have an adding machine write an epitaph, either way. (George J.W. Goodman) — Posted by Justin

Just to go with volume, a slight tweak to #2. Bears make money; bulls make money; pigs lose their shirt. Which I like better than slaughter, although now that I think on it, slaughter makes more sense than fashion losing hogs. I thought there were more of these aphorisms. I guess not. — Posted by Erika

Think big, think positive, never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat. Buy low, sell high. Fear? That’s the other guy’s problem. Nothing you have ever experienced will prepare you for the absolute carnage you are about to witness. Super Bowl, World Series - they don’t know what pressure is. In this building, it’s either kill or be killed. You make no friends in the pits and you take no prisoners. One minute you’re up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don’t go to college and they’ve repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me? — Louis Winthorpe III — Posted by Sail Boffin

“For every cliche, there is an equal and opposite cliche.” — Posted by zbicyclist

Buy the dips, sell the rips. — Posted by Dan M

From the subprime mess, “A rolling loan gathers no loss.” — Posted by Evan


"Staying Smart in Dumbed-Down Times," by Judith Shapiro, Inside Higher Ed, June 13, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/06/13/shapiro

In 1963, when I was graduating from college, a book was published entitled Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by the noted historian Richard Hofstadter. In exploring anti-intellectualism as a major current of American culture, Hofstadter examined various facets of our nation’s history over time. He described how those living in rural areas grew suspicious of urban life. He analyzed how utilitarianism and practicality, associated with the world of business, were accompanied by a certain contempt for the life of the mind. He devoted special attention to evangelicalism, although we should perhaps more specifically define his target as fundamentalism, a literal-minded approach to the Bible that involved hostility to all forms of knowledge that contradicted scripture or sought to interpret it as a set of historical documents reflecting the context of its production. He noted how all of this combined to make the term “elite” a dirty word.

This exploration of American national character, which was very much a product of his times, notably the atmosphere of fear and distrust that characterized the Cold War, is still quite timely today. Which is why I felt compelled to re-read Hofstadter’s book last summer. And why I was particularly interested in reading an update and homage to Hofstadter by Susan Jacoby, whose book The Age of American Unreason was published just this year.

Jacoby brings Hofstadter’s arguments into the present, illustrating them with examples from the times in which we live today. She talks about the powerful role played by fundamentalist forms of religion in current America; about the abysmal level of public education; about the widespread inability to distinguish between science and pseudoscience; about the dumbing-down of the media and politics; about the consequences of a culture of serious reading being replaced by a rapid-fire, short-attention-span-provoking, over-stimulating, largely visual, information-spewing environment.

She, like Hofstadter, invites us to consider how all of this has affected the great venture that is American democracy? So, let us do so.

Once upon a time, the leaders of our country were the kind of men — and, let’s face it, it was a men’s club at the time — who were learned, who valued scholarship and science. The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 at the instigation of Benjamin Franklin, counted also among its early members presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

In adopting as its mission the promotion of “useful knowledge”, the American Philosophical Society reflected a time in which the sciences and the humanities were not divided from one another, and in which there was no opposition between what we might now call pure and applied science. What it did reflect was an opposition between Enlightenment values of reason and empirical research, on the one hand, and what we might call “faith based” beliefs, on the other. There were clergymen among the early members of the APS, but they were those who felt that their religious convictions did not stand in their way of their desire to be among the most educated members of their society.

That was then. This is now: We have a president who believes that “creation science” should be taught in our schools. As Jacoby points out, we should understand “how truly extraordinary it [is] that any American president would place himself in direct opposition to contemporary scientific thinking.”

But let’s not just pin the tail on the elephant here and pick only on the Republicans — or, to be more precise, on the extreme right wing of the Republican party, since there are, after all (though they may be increasingly hard to locate), moderate, thoughtful — one might even say, liberal — Republicans.

Let’s look at the Democrats, at the nomination fight we all followed – followed, it seems, since the early Pleistocene. Here we had two candidates vying to run for President who had been educated at institutions that are among the most distinguished in our country: Wellesley, Yale, Columbia and Harvard. Both candidates were obviously highly intelligent and knowledgeable. Yet both felt the need to play down their claims to intellectuality — and the winner may still feel that need in the general election. Hillary Clinton chugalugged beer and sought to attach the dread label of “elitist” to her rival. And Barack Obama felt compelled to follow one of the most honest and sophisticated political speeches in recent memory with strenuous displays of folksiness.

And who are we to blame them? If anyone is going to serve as president, the first step is to get elected. What level of intellectual interest and background can political candidates presuppose on the part of our nation’s citizenry? What level of interest in the most important challenges facing us in the years ahead? What level of public demand that assertions be backed up with sound reasoning and actual facts?

To take just one example: citing data from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, released in 2005, Jacoby notes that two-thirds of Americans believe that both evolution and creationism should be taught in our public schools. Who would have thought that, all these years after the United States became the laughing stock of the civilized world through international newspaper coverage of the Scopes trial, we would still see the fight we have recently seen in the state of Pennsylvania over teaching creationism in our public schools?

Nor is this simply a matter of religious belief. Many who advocate teaching creationism do so in the name of providing a “fair and balanced” curriculum. This misplaced pluralism, which draws no distinction between the results of scientific inquiry and the content of folk beliefs, is in line with the loose way in which the word “theory” is used, such that Einstein’s “theory” of relativity or Darwin’s “theory” of evolution is on a par with the loose way we use “theory” to describe any kind of wild guess. In this latter sense, “theory” is used as the opposite of “fact”, rather than as a systematic set of hypotheses to explain a variety of facts. Moreover, simply changing the label from “creationism” to “creation science” or “intelligent design” gives this set of untestable and unfalsifiable assertions the veneer of science, which is quite enough for a lot of people who have little or no sense of what real science is.

But let us not let the scientists and scholars themselves off the hook. Jacoby devotes some interesting passages in her book to forms of pseudo-science that were at various times in our history embraced by members of the most educated classes. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, we had social Darwinism, which sought to justify differences between rich and poor as a reflection of “survival of the fittest” (which, by the way, was not an expression coined by Darwin). And lest we look upon those benighted forebears too complacently, let us keep in mind that, much more recently, we have had sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, which share many of the same faults, though in more sophisticated trappings, as befits the trajectory of the natural and social sciences since the 19th century unilinear evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and others.

Returning to the world of politics, the first presidential candidate I campaigned for myself — I was 10 years old at the time and we were having a mock convention in my elementary school (those were the days when candidates actually got chosen at the party’s national convention) — that first presidential candidate was the quintessential, unelectable intellectual Adlai Stevenson, who ran against Dwight Eisenhower. One of the well-known anecdotes about him is the time a woman went up to him after a speech and said, “Mr. Stevenson, every thinking American will be voting for you.” To which he replied, “Madam, that is not enough. I need a majority.”

In her chapter on “Public Life”, which is subtitled “Defining Dumbness Downward”, Jacoby opens by talking about the extemporaneous speech given by Robert Kennedy on April 4th, 1968, when he had just learned, before taking the stage in Indianapolis, that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. had just been assassinated in Memphis. Kennedy began by invoking from memory the following lines from Aeschylus:

Even in our sleep, pain which we cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
Until, in our own despair,
Against our will,
Comes wisdom
Through the awful grace of God.

Jacoby notes how inconceivable it is today that a major political figure, an aspirant to the highest office in the land, would use such a quote, given the pervasive fear nowadays of seeming to be an “elitist.” Yet Robert Kennedy was not showing off to his audience or condescending to them. He just assumed that he could address them in this way, whether or not they themselves were familiar with these lines, much less could quote them from memory.

Jacoby’s discussion of the dumbing down of our public, political culture follows a chapter on what she calls “The Culture of Distraction”. She worries over the consequences of our being constantly bombarded by noisy stimuli, by invitations to multitask in a way that fosters superficiality as opposed to depth. The major casualties of our current media-saturated life are three things essential to the vocation of an intellectual: silence, solitary thinking, and social conversation.

Continued in article


New Wiki Helps Humanities Researchers Find Online Tools
A new wiki provides a directory of online tools for humanities scholars. The site, which uses software that lets anyone edit or add to the material, covers more than 20 categories, including blogging tools, specialized search engines for scholars, and software programs that can record what is on a user's screen. The site, called Digital Research Tools, or DiRT, is run by Lisa Spiro, director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University. The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University runs a similar collection of resources called Exploring and Collecting History Online, or ECHO.
Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 6, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3068&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en


Now you can write modules for Encyclopedia Britannica (well sort of in their "not responsible" section)

Encyclopaedia Britannica Goes -- Gasp! -- Wiki

Long a standard reference source for scholarship, largely because of its tightly controlled editing, the Encyclopaedia Britannica announced this week it was throwing open its elegantly-bound covers to the masses. It will allow the "user community" (in the words of the encyclopedia's blog) to contribute their own articles, which will be clearly marked and run alongside the edited reference pieces. This seems to be a response to the runaway success of the user-edited online reference tool Wikipedia. (See for yourself. Do a Web search on a topic and note whether Wikipedia or Britannica shows up first.) Scholars have been adamantly opposed to Wikipedia citations in academic papers because the authors and sources are always changing. Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's co-founder, agrees with this, but in next week's issue of The Chronicle (click back to our home page on Monday for more) he also points to some changes in the reference tool that may make it more palatable to scholars. At Britannica, "readers and users will also be invited into an online community where they can work and publish at Britannica’s site under their own names," the encyclopedia's blog explains. But it's not a complete free-for-all. The voice of Britannica adds that the core encyclopedia itself "will continue to be edited according to the most rigorous standards and will bear the imprimatur 'Britannica Checked' to distinguish it from material on the site for which Britannica editors are not responsible."
Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 6, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3064&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Jensen Comment
This might be the wave of the future for academic research journals. In a journal's online archives could be those "set in stone" reviewed articles given a blue ribbon. Then there could be the "open source communications" for contributions that are edited and revised by the world in general. The academic community will ultimately have to judge whether two or three editor-assigned (anonymous) reviewers have more cost-benefit to scholarship than the entire world of (signed) reviewers.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Western Governors University, which was founded in 1997 as a collaboration of colleges in 19 states offering online programs, was for many years known for not meeting the ambitious goals of its founders. Projected to attract thousands of students within a few years, it initially attracted but scores of students. But the university has been growing lately, and on Wednesday announced that enrollment has hit 10,000, including students from all 50 states.
Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/06/05/qt

Jensen Comment
Some of the things that made WGU controversial were as follows:

WGU now has many undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including those in traditional fields of business such as accounting, marketing, etc. --- http://www.wgu.edu/

Some tidbits on history of WGU are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

Judith Boettcher in Syllabus, June 1999, 18-24 Judith Boettcher is affiliated with CREN. She predicts the following scenarios (which appear to be heavily in line with the emerging WGU programs mentioned above):

1.  A "career university" sector will be in place (with important partnerships of major corporations with prestige universities).

2.  Most higher education institutions, perhaps 60 percent, will have teaching and learning management software systems linked to their back office administration systems.

3.  New career universities will focus on certifications, modular degrees, and skill sets.

4.  The link between courses and content for courses will be broken.

5.  Faculty work and roles will make a dramatic shift toward specialization (with less stress upon one person being responsible for the learning material in an entire course).
(Outsourcing Academics http://www.outsourcing-academics.com/ )

6.  Students will be savvy consumers of educational services (which is consistent with the Chronicle of Higher Education article at http://chronicle.com/free/99/05/99052701t.htm   ).

7.  The tools for teaching and learning will become as portable and ubiquitous as paper and books are today.

An abstract from On the Horizon http://horizon.unc.edu/horizon/online/login.asp  

Will Universities Be Relics? What Happens When an Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object? John W. Hibbs

Peter Drucker predicts that, in 30 years, the traditional university will be nothing more than a relic.    Should we listen or laugh? Hibbs examines Drucker's prophesy in the light of other unbelievable events, including the rapid transformation of the Soviet Union "from an invincible Evil Empire into just another meek door-knocker at International Monetary Fund headquarters." Given the mobility and cost concerns of today's students, as well as the growing tendency of employers to evaluate job-seekers' competencies rather than their institutional affiliations, Hibbs agrees that the brick-and-mortar university is doomed to extinction.

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

Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm


Question
How do for-profit-colleges and universities differ fundamentally from traditional colleges and universities?

At the beginning of their new book on for-profit higher education, William G. Tierney and Guilbert C. Hentschke talk about the academic division between “lumpers” and “splitters,” the former focused on examining different entities or phenomena as variations on a theme and the latter focused on classifying entities or phenomena as truly distinct. In New Players, Different Game: Understanding the Rise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities, just published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Tierney and Hentschke consider the ways for-profit colleges are part of or distinct from the rest of higher education. Tierney and Hentschke are professors at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, where Tierney is also director of the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis. They responded to questions via e-mail about their new book . . . For-profits are not, technically, just a ‘technology.’ But they do function in a manner that is radically different from the manner in which traditional postsecondary institutions function. For-profits, like their traditional brethren, come in many shapes and sizes — some are gigantic (such as the University of Phoenix) and others are small barber’s colleges. What differentiates them from traditional institutions is that they have a different decision-making model, different ways to develop and deliver the model, and different ways to measure success. The point is not that all for-profits utilize distance learning (because they do not), but that they eschew the established norms of the academy and pursue success in quite different ways.
Scott Jaschik, "New Players, Different Game," Inside Higher Education, August 30, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/30/forprofit

For the first time, a for-profit education company has received permission to offer degrees in Britain, The Guardian reported.
Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/09/26/qt

With Grand Canyon Education planning an initial public offering, an article in The Wall Street Journal explores the state of the for-profit market on Wall Street. Several for-profit entities are seeing stocks increase, with analysts feeling particularly favorable about online education.
Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/06/05/qt

"Online College Plans IPO In Rough Market," by Lynn Cowan, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2008; Page C3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121263175442747247.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Investing in for-profit colleges is often considered a haven during a rocky economy. But turmoil in the student-loan market could add a hint of uncertainty to Grand Canyon Education Inc.'s plans for an initial public offering of stock this year.

The company, which acquired 55-year-old Grand Canyon University in 2004 and converted it from a traditional nonprofit bricks-and-mortar college to a school that also offers online degrees, registered last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise as much as $230 million in an IPO.

Based in Phoenix, the company hasn't set a price range, share size or date yet for its offering, which it plans to list on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the trading symbol LOPE.

Smart Money?

Many of Grand Canyon's public peers -- Strayer Education Inc., which operates Strayer University; Capella Education Co.; and American Public Education Inc. -- have been trending higher since hitting 2008 lows in March. Capella rose 26% on its first day of trading in November 2006 and is now more than triple its $20 IPO price, while American Public Education rose 80% on its first day in November, the third-best debut of 2007, and is up about 78% from its $20 IPO price.

Apollo Group Inc., which operates the University of Phoenix, hasn't shown the same upward trend as its peers since March; late that month the company reported earnings for its second quarter, ended Feb. 29, that missed analysts' estimates.

"There's an association between increased unemployment figures and increasing enrollment of adults in postsecondary schools," says Richard Garrett, program director and senior research analyst for education research and consulting firm Eduventures. "The underlying story for these firms remains positive."

Colleges that offer an online-degree component are viewed in an especially positive light, according to Mr. Garrett and other industry watchers, because it is easier and more economical to expand their programs.

Earlier IPO

Grand Canyon isn't alone in its interest in tapping the public markets; earlier this year, Education Management Corp. filed to return to the public markets after going private in 2006.

What's less clear is how the student-loan environment will fare in the future.

Lower demand among debt investors for student-loan securities, combined with a new law that cut the subsidies student-loan issuers get on Federal Family Education Loans, has caused some lenders to leave the market and others to pare back.

"This summer will be zero hour for determining whether the loan market in its current form will be able to serve students adequately, or whether there is further uncertainty on the horizon. The bulk of students will be receiving their loans in June and July," says Jessica Lee, an investment banker at Rittenhouse Capital Partners, which specializes in education and technology.

Ms. Lee believes that the for-profit education market should remain strong because of economic conditions and investors' flight to safety; most for-profit schools have low debt levels, along with high profit margins and free cash flow.

June 5, 2008 reply from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@TUCK.DARTMOUTH.EDU]

The *fundamental* difference is that non-profit colleges and universities face what Hansmann (1980) calls the "non-distribution constraint."

See http://www.learningtogive.org/papers/index.asp?bpid=177 

June 5, 2008 reply from Hossein Nouri --- hnouri [hnouri@TCNJ.EDU]

Bob:

Do you know whether there are there any data how recruiters view this degree? That is, How many of them get job?

June 5, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

If WGU was a dead end on a career path and a graduate school path, it is doubtful that it would continue to grow at these rates. Certainly it will do better in some disciplines than other disciplines. The MBA and some K-12 teacher prospects are bleak at the moment for many programs these days but accounting firms are hiring.

WGU had a drawn out battle for accreditation because it was so different. But it achieved accreditation. It is now the only accredited competency-based program in the United States.

Students should also be able to sit for the CPA examination in the states that are supporting WGU. Online programs typically have greater problems with dropout for a number of pretty well known reasons. Also education is not ideal in the sense of socialization of the students vis-à-vis onsite students.

WGU is apparently filling a need, and I think accounting recruiters will hire good students from most any accredited programs that graduate students who qualify to sit for the CPA examination. MBA programs have lost their appeal in some respects as states tightened up requirements to sit for the CPA examination.

Some online programs are graduating duds, but WGU is not one of these programs. To the contrary, its competency-based grading makes WGU relatively tough.

I like WGU because in didn't get out of the kitchen when it got hot both in the snobbish academy and in state legislatures. It hung in there and stayed true to its mission and standards. The same thing happened to the competency based CASB in Canada which also hung in there as a graduate school with high standards --- http://www.casb.com/ 

My hat is off to both competency based WGU and the CASB.

Bob Jensen

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


What's Online Learning Really Like in a Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting Class?

The Chronicle's Goldie Blumenstyk has covered distance education for more than a decade, and during that time she's written stories about the economics of for-profit education, the ways that online institutions market themselves, and the demise of the 50-percent rule. About the only thing she hadn't done, it seemed, was to take a course from an online university. But this spring she finally took the plunge, and now she has completed a class in government and nonprofit accounting through the University of Phoenix. She shares tales from the cy ber-classroom -- and her final grade -- in a podcast with Paul Fain, a Chronicle reporter.
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2008 (Audio) --- http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v54/i40/cyber_classroom/

Jensen Added Comment
It wasn't mentioned, but I think Goldie took the ACC 460 course --- Click Here

ACC 460 Government and Non-Profit Accounting

Course Description

This course covers fund accounting, budget and control issues, revenue and expense recognition, and issues of reporting for both government and non-profit entities.

Topics and Objectives

Environment of Government/Non-Profit Accounting

Fund Accounting Part I

Fund Accounting Part II

Overview of Not-for-Profit Accounting

Current Issues in Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education training and education alternatives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on free online video courses and course materials from leading universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

June 12, 2008 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

Bob,

Thanks posting links to these interesting articles.

My first comment pertains to faculty acceptance of distance learning. I'm for it, but I've never done it. Administrators at my university would love to do it as it is viewed as a source of additional students and revenue. However, the predominant faculty view across the university is to view Internet-based distance education with much skepticism. And, I'm surprised. If a common perception is that Internet-based distance education is predominantly asynchronous (mostly from prof to student), then how does that differ from to many local classrooms where heavy use of overhead and PowerPoint projectors raise room temperatures.

Second, there is a quote in which it is said that there has been a paradigm shift in how people learn. I fear this is not the case. How people learn is a function of our physical and mental humanity. Affection, as influenced by environmental/societal factors, has an impact on the degree of learning. My personal view, unsubstantiated by research, is that the influence of societal/environmental factors is not huge. What this means is that the ability of students to learn from lectures isn't all that different today than it was when we were all much younger. Students today might be less inclined (than we were) to like being lectured to and as a result decide to learn less. But I don't think so.

As a result of decades of research, the processes by which people learn is better understood. As a result, there has been a paradigm shift in instructional approaches and strategies to more effectively assist students in the learning process.

Third, I wonder about faculty compensation at a school like Phoenix. We all know that full-time, terminally qualified faculty can earn $100,000+ at AACSB schools, and less (but not too much less) at non-AACSB schools. Is the compensation as high for full-time on-line teaching? If so, this might be a viable way for faculty to continue their careers.

David Albrecht
Bowling Green

June 13, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

Except for some disadvantaged students who cannot easily attend onsite classes (e.g., due to handicaps, full-time jobs, distances to campus, single-parent constraints, etc.), distance learning can make a somewhat nice mix with onsite learning. For example, a student in a wheelchair might be able to attend one or two courses in a classroom two days a week when it's really a burden to attend five courses in classrooms each week.

But what many of our luddite faculty fail to appreciate is the learning advantages of online learning, especially online learning like courses taught by Amy Dunbar with daily instant messaging and much more communication with instructors and classmates than takes place in onsite courses.

The SCALE experiments at the University of Illinois dramatically demonstrated that for certain types of online courses with really hard working online instructors, online learning is likely to be better than onsite learning from the same instructors --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois 

The University of North Texas experiments showed that on-campus students prefer that some of there courses be online, but certainly not all courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#NorthTexas 

Onsite courses have a lot of advantages, especially for immature students in need of more structure, face-to-face guidance, and socialization with other students.

Online courses have the advantage of less wasted time such as the time needed to get to class, start up a class, and incidental time wasters in class. It is also very hard to get student teams together face-to-face because of complicated logistics and schedules. It's much easier to get student teams together online, and this in most instances makes team learning both more efficient and more effective online.

Asynchronous learning, in my opinion, is vastly superior to synchronous learning, although a lot of good things can happen in good case-method and lecture courses.

I think most accounting students learn more asynchronously from their textbooks and homework than they do in lectures. What good lectures and good cases do in synchronous settings is inspire --- and that is very, very important. What asynchronous learning does is allow students to pace their concentration and learning as well as repeat, repeat, and repeat some more until they finally see the light. Practice makes perfect more than any other aspect of learning.

Hence, even in ideal circumstances with full-time resident students it is probably better to mix online with onsite courses rather than consider onsite learning superior in all instances with full-time students.

Many faculty hate online courses because, when done properly with lots of communication, they are much, much harder to teach. Of course instructors can cheat by discouraging one-on-one student interaction just as some faculty sometimes get away with in their lecture courses.

I always remember an economics professor at Michigan State University years ago who taught via television piped to classrooms around the campus. His TAs administered examinations and communicated face-to-face students. Al was a TV star who literally spent about three ours per week for each class. He thought it was the best teaching assignment on campus. The only thing he had to interact with was a camera. In fairness the students could push a button and ask questions during a class, but they tended not to do so and could've tied up the TV class if each of over 1,000 students out there wanted to push his/her button to talk.

Mostly I think students slept and daydreamed while supposedly watching Big Al. He did do some things that attracted attention like take off his shirt and teach in his undershirt. But I don't think that contributed a whole lot to learning.

Bob Jensen

 


Soaring Popularity of E-Learning Among Students But Not Faculty
How many U.S. students took at least on online course from a legitimate college in Fall 2005?

More students are taking online college courses than ever before, yet the majority of faculty still aren’t warming up to the concept of e-learning, according to a national survey from the country’s largest association of organizations and institutions focused on online education . . . ‘We didn’t become faculty to sit in front of a computer screen,’
Elia Powers, "Growing Popularity of E-Learning, Inside Higher Ed, November 10, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/10/online

More students are taking online college courses than ever before, yet the majority of faculty still aren’t warming up to the concept of e-learning, according to a national survey from the country’s largest association of organizations and institutions focused on online education.

Roughly 3.2 million students took at least one online course from a degree-granting institution during the fall 2005 term, the Sloan Consortium said. That’s double the number who reported doing so in 2002, the first year the group collected data, and more than 800,000 above the 2004 total. While the number of online course participants has increased each year, the rate of growth slowed from 2003 to 2004.

The report, a joint partnership between the group and the College Board, defines online courses as those in which 80 percent of the content is delivered via the Internet.

The Sloan Survey of Online Learning, “Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006,” shows that 62 percent of chief academic officers say that the learning outcomes in online education are now “as good as or superior to face-to-face instruction,” and nearly 6 in 10 agree that e-learning is “critical to the long-term strategy of their institution.” Both numbers are up from a year ago.

Researchers at the Sloan Consortium, which is administered through Babson College and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, received responses from officials at more than 2,200 colleges and universities across the country. (The report makes few references to for-profit colleges, a force in the online market, in part because of a lack of survey responses from those institutions.)

Much of the report is hardly surprising. The bulk of online students are adult or “nontraditional” learners, and more than 70 percent of those surveyed said online education reaches students not served by face-to-face programs.

What stands out is the number of faculty who still don’t see e-learning as a valuable tool. Only about one in four academic leaders said that their faculty members “accept the value and legitimacy of online education,” the survey shows. That number has remained steady throughout the four surveys. Private nonprofit colleges were the least accepting — about one in five faculty members reported seeing value in the programs.

Elaine Allen, co-author of the report and a Babson associate professor of statistics and entrepreneurship, said those numbers are striking.

“As a faculty member, I read that response as, ‘We didn’t become faculty to sit in front of a computer screen,’ ” Allen said. “It’s a very hard adjustment. We sat in lectures for an hour when we were students, but there’s a paradigm shift in how people learn.”

Barbara Macaulay, chief academic officer at UMass Online, which offers programs through the University of Massachusetts, said nearly all faculty members teaching the online classes there also teach face-to-face courses, enabling them to see where an online class could fill in the gap (for instance, serving a student who is hesitant to speak up in class).

She said she isn’t surprised to see data illustrating the growing popularity of online courses with students, because her program has seen rapid growth in the last year. Roughly 24,000 students are enrolled in online degree and certificate courses through the university this fall — a 23 percent increase from a year ago, she said.

“Undergraduates see it as a way to complete their degrees — it gives them more flexibility,” Macaulay said.

The Sloan report shows that about 80 percent of students taking online courses are at the undergraduate level. About half are taking online courses through community colleges and 13 percent through doctoral and research universities, according to the survey.

Nearly all institutions with total enrollments exceeding 15,000 students have some online offerings, and about two-thirds of them have fully online programs, compared with about one in six at the smallest institutions (those with 1,500 students or fewer), the report notes. Allen said private nonprofit colleges are often set in enrollment totals and not looking to expand into the online market.

The report indicates that two-year colleges are particularly willing to be involved in online learning.

“Our institutions tend to embrace changes a little more readily and try different pedagogical styles,” said Kent Phillippe, a senior research associate at the American Association of Community Colleges. The report cites a few barriers to what it calls the “widespread adoption of online learning,” chief among them the concern among college officials that some of their students lack the discipline to succeed in an online setting. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents defined that as a barrier.

Allen, the report’s co-author, said she thinks that issue arises mostly in classes in which work can be turned in at any time and lectures can be accessed at all hours. “If you are holding class in real time, there tends to be less attrition,” she said. The report doesn’t differentiate between the live and non-live online courses, but Allen said she plans to include that in next year’s edition.

Few survey respondents said acceptance of online degrees by potential employers was a critical barrier — although liberal arts college officials were more apt to see it as an issue.

November 10, 2006 reply from John Brozovsky [jbrozovs@vt.edu]

Hi Bob:

One reason why might be what I have seen. The in residence accounting students that I talk with take online classes here because they are EASY and do not take much work. This would be very popular with students but not generally so with faculty.

John

November 10, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi John,

Then there is a quality control problem whereever this is a fact. It would be a travesty if any respected college had two or more categories of academic standards or faculty assignments.

Variations in academic standards have long been a problem between part-time versus full-time faculty, although grade inflation can be higher or lower among part-time faculty. In one instance, it’s the tenure-track faculty who give higher grades because they're often more worried about student evaluations. At the opposite extreme it is part-time faculty who give higher grades for many reasons that we can think of if we think about it.

One thing that I'm dead certain about is that highly motivated students tend to do better in online courses ceteris paribus. Reasons are mainly that time is used more efficiently in getting to class (no wasted time driving or walking to class), less wasted time getting teammates together on team projects, and fewer reasons for missing class.

Also online alternatives offer some key advantages for certain types of handicapped students --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm 

My opinions on learning advantages of E-Learning were heavily influenced by the most extensive and respected study of online versus onsite learning experiments in the SCALE experiments using full-time resident students at the University of Illinois --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois 

In the SCALE experiments cutting across 30 disciplines, it was generally found that motivated students learned better online then their onsite counterparts having the same instructors. However, there was no significant impact on students who got low grades in online versus onsite treatment groups.

I think the main problem with faculty is that online teaching tends to burn out instructors more frequently than onsite instructors. This was also evident in the SCALE experiments. When done correctly, online courses are more communication intent between instructors and faculty. Also, online learning takes more preparation time if it is done correctly. 

My hero for online learning is still Amy Dunbar who maintains high standards for everything:

http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/002cpe/02start.htm

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book01q4.htm#Dunbar

Bob Jensen

November 10, 2006 reply from John Brozovsky [jbrozovs@vt.edu]

Hi Bob:

Also why many times it is not done 'right'. Not done right they do not get the same education. Students generally do not complain about getting 'less for their money'. Since we do not do online classes in department the ones the students are taking are the university required general education and our students in particular are not unhappy with being shortchanged in that area as they frequently would have preferred none anyway.

John

 


"U. of Phoenix Reports on Its Students' Academic Achievement," by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 5, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/06/3115n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

The University of Phoenix is often derided by traditional academics for caring more about its bottom line than about academic quality, and every year, the annual report issued by its parent company focuses more on profits than student performance.

The institution that has become the largest private university in North America is releasing its first "Annual Academic Report," which it will make available on its Web site today. The university's leaders say the findings show that its educational model is effective in helping students succeed in college, especially those who are underprepared.

Freshmen at the University of Phoenix enter with reading, writing, and mathematical skills that are, on average, below those of other college students, but according to data from standardized tests, Phoenix students appear to improve in those skills at a greater rate than do students at other colleges.

And in a comparison of students who enter college with "risk factors" that often contribute to their dropping out, Phoenix's rates of completion for a bachelor's degree were substantially higher than for institutions over all.

William J. Pepicello, president of the 330,000-student university, said those and other findings shared in advance with The Chronicle show that the 32-year-old, open-access institution is fulfilling its goals.

"This ties into our social mission for our university," said Mr. Pepicello, in an interview at the company's headquarters here. "We take these students and we do give them a significant increase in skills."

Phoenix for years has been extensively measuring and monitoring student progress for internal purposes, using the data to change the content and design of its courses or to reshape its approach to remedial education.

It decided to develop and publish this report—distinct from the financial reports that its parent company, the $2.6-billion Apollo Group Inc., regularly provides—as "a good-faith attempt on our part" to show the university's commitment to growing public demand for more accountability by institutions of higher education, said Mr. Pepicello.

He and other university leaders fully expect some challenges to the findings, but they say the institution, by publishing the report, is showing its willingness to confront scrutiny of its educational record from within academe. "It lets us, in a public forum, talk to our colleagues about what we do and how well we do it," said Mr. Pepicello.

The introduction this academic year of a test that could be administered to both campus-based and distance-education students—the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress exam by the Educational Testing Service—also made this kind of reporting possible, he said. Nearly two-thirds of Phoenix students attend online.

Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, said that although he had not yet seen Phoenix's data, its decision to publish such a report was "a very positive development."

He has urged colleges to be open in their reporting on themselves. Even if the university has chosen to release data that put it in the best light, as others often do, Mr. Callan said the report will be a significant piece of the national debate over what value an institution can add to a student.

"For higher education, it is a positive and useful and constructive approach," Mr. Callan said. Publication of the report, he added, was in line with other efforts by the university "to be part of the discussion on the outcomes of higher education." Those efforts include the university's recent creation of a research center on adult learners (for which Mr. Callan is an unpaid adviser).

 

A Mixed Report Card

In the report, some of those outcomes look better than others.

"It certainly is not perfect," said Mr. Pepicello of some of the test scores. "It is where we are."

In its report, Phoenix shows the results from its 1,966 students who took the MAPP test this year, compared with the national sample of more than 376,000 students from about 300 institutions.

The results show that in reading, critical thinking, and writing, its freshmen scored below those of the population over all, but the difference between those scores and those of its seniors was greater than for the population at large. The difference was more marked in mathematics, although the university's freshmen and seniors' scores were both notably lower than those of the whole test-taking pool.

Bill Wynne, MAPP test product specialist, said that without knowing more about the makeup of the comparative samples and other information, he could not characterize the statistical significance of the gains the university was reporting, except that they were at least as good as those reported by the national cross section. "The magnitude of the change is in the eye of the beholder," he said.

Mr. Pepicello said he wished the seniors' scores were higher, particularly in math, but he considered all of the findings positive because they indicated that students improve when they attend. "This doesn't embarrass me," he said. "This is really good information for us to really improve our institution."

(Phoenix did not track the progress of individual students, but MAPP officials said the university's pool of freshmen and seniors taking the test was large enough and random enough to justify its using different groups of students for comparisons.)

In another test, involving a smaller pool of students, the Phoenix students' "information literacy" skills for such tasks as evaluating sources and understanding economic, legal, and social issues were also comparable to or significantly higher than the mean scores in several categories. Adam Honea, the provost, said the findings from the Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills test, developed at Kent State University, were important to the institution since "information literacy is a goal of ours."

Continued in article

As you might expect, this report triggered a lots of debate, humor, and cynicism in the Chronicle of Higher Education --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm
Keep in mind that the University of Phoenix has a combination of onsite and online degree programs.

Bob Jensen's threads on controversies of education technology and online learning are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm

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


Gone are the days when B-schoolers had the luxury of choosing from among a half-dozen internships or job offers. As the Class of 2008 prepares to graduate, an uncertain business climate is forcing students to make difficult career choices that could have long-term economic consequences. A growing body of research on both MBAs and undergrads suggests that graduating into an economic downturn will substantially reduce lifetime earnings—in some cases by millions of dollars.
Louis Lavelle, Business Week, April 3, 2008 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_15/b4079059579345.htm


I do not pretend to be an expert of any sort on the complicated global warming controversy. I do not view any of these points as reasons not to try to suppress carbon emission within affordable global initiatives. The dispute centers around what’s “affordable.”

From the Middlebury Community Network
Editorial: The Great Global Warming Hoax? --- http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html

Our planet has been slowly warming since last emerging from the "Little Ice Age" of the 17th century, often associated with the Maunder Minimum. Before that came the "Medieval Warm Period", in which temperatures were about the same as they are today. Both of these climate phenomena are known to have occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, but several hundred years prior to the present, the majority of the Southern Hemisphere was primarily populated by indigenous peoples, where science and scientific observation was limited to non-existent. Thus we can not say that these periods were necessarily "global". However, "Global Warming" in recent historical times has been an undisputable fact, and no one can reasonably deny that.

But we're hearing far too often that the "science" is "settled", and that it is mankind's contribution to the natural CO2 in the atmosphere has been the principal cause of an increasing "Greenhouse Effect", which is the root "cause" of global warming. We're also hearing that "all the world's scientists now agree on this settled science", and it is now time to quickly and most radically alter our culture, and prevent a looming global catastrophe. And last, but not least, we're seeing a sort of mass hysteria sweeping our culture which is really quite disturbing. Historians ponder how the entire nation of Germany could possibly have goose-stepped into place in such a short time, and we have similar unrest. Have we become a nation of overnight loonies?

Sorry folks, but we're not exactly buying into the Global Hysteria just yet. We know a great deal about atmospheric physics, (bio) and from the onset, many of the claims were just plain fishy. The extreme haste with which seemingly the entire world immediately accepted the idea of Anthropogenic ( man-made ) Global Warming made us more than a little bit suspicious that no one had really taken a close look at the science. We also knew that the catch-all activity today known as "Climate Science" was in its infancy, and that atmospheric modeling did not and still does not exist which can predict changes in the weather or climate more than about a day or two in advance.

So the endless stream of dire predictions of what was going to happen years or decades from now if we did not drastically reduce our CO2 production by virtually shutting down the economies of the world appeared to be more the product of radical political and environmental activism rather than science. Thus, we embarked on a personal quest for more information, armed with a strong academic background in postgraduate physics and a good understanding of the advanced mathematics necessary in such a pursuit. This fundamental knowledge of the core principles of matter and its many exceptionally complex interactions allowed us to research and understand the foundations of many other sciences. In short, we read complex scientific articles in many other scientific disciplines with relative ease and good understanding - like most folks read comic books.

As our own knowledge of "climate science" grew, so grew our doubts over the "settled science". What we found was the science was far from "settled".. in fact it was barely underway.

It was for a while a somewhat lonely quest, what with "all the world's scientists" apparently having no doubt. Finally, in December 2007 we submitted an article to one of our local newspapers, the Addison Independent, thinking they would be delighted in having at minimum an alternative view of the issue. Alas, they chose not to publish it, but two weeks after our submission (by the strangest coincidence), published yet another "pro-global-warming" feature written by an individual whom, to the best we could determine, had no advanced training in any science at all, beyond self-taught it would appear. Still, the individual had published a number of popular books on popular environmental issues, was well-loved by those of similar political bent, and was held in high esteem among his peers. We had learned a valuable lesson: Popular Journalists trump coupled sets of 2nd-order partial differential equations every time. Serious science doesn't matter if you have the press in your pocket.

In fairness to the Addison Independent and its editors, our article was somewhat lengthy and technical, and presumably the average reader most likely could not follow or even be interested in an alternative viewpoint, since everyone knew by now that the global warming issue was "settled science". And we confess that we like the paper, subscribe to it, and know a number of folks who work there personally. They're all good folks, and they have every right to choose what does or doesn't go in their publication. They also have a right to spin the news any direction they choose, because that's what freedom of the press is all about. Seems everyone, both left and right, does it - and it's almost certain we will be accused of doing the same here. And we just may be, as hard as we may try to avoid it. We humans aren't all shaped by the same cookie cutter, and that's a blessing that has taken us as a species to the top of the food chain.

But by then we had been sharing our own independent research of the literature with others via email, and receiving a surprising amount of agreement back in return. (We're in contact with a large number of fellow scientists around the country, dating back to our college days in the 17th century when beer was a quarter a bottle). One local friend, in particular, kept pressing us to publish, and even offered to set up a "debate" with the Popular Journalist who had usurped our original article. This we politely declined, arguing that "debate" cannot prove or disprove science...science must stand on its own.

But then something unusual happened. On Dec. 13, 2007, 100 scientists jointly signed an Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, requesting they cease the man-made global warming hysteria and settle down to helping mankind better prepare for natural disasters. The final signature was from the President of the World Federation of Scientists.

At last, we were not alone...

We decided to publish the results of our counter-exploration on the internet - but in a somewhat uniquely different fashion. Knowing that most folks aren't geeks, and may have little understanding of science or math, we're going to attempt to teach some of the essential physics and such as we go along. Readers with little or no mathematical or scientific training may find it challenging, but if you have a general understanding of introductory college or even solid high school level chemistry or physics, you should have no problem in following this amazing tale. The brighter readers, even without a science background, should be able to follow, as well. Smart folks learn faster than most.

View the math Nobel Prize winner, supposed geek, Al Gore can't comprehend at  http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html 

 

Below is an unrelated Global Warming Test critiqued by a very respectable geoscientist who did not sign the Open Letter at
http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/un-signatories.html

Global Warming Test --- http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest/start.html
Critique of the test by a geoscientist:

Bob,
I owe you a longer response, so here goes:

Much of the information on the test is correct... but facts out of context can often mislead!

I have strong issues with several questions on those grounds:

Question 3 asks what the main cause of global warming is, and gives 3 possible choices. There are two major problems here. First the question is time dependent. Second, several "main" causes aren't even listed as possibilities. Some examples:  If I ask what the main cause of the warming that has occurred over the last 18,000 years is, the answer is Milankovitch orbital variations (which include more than the "eccentricities" listed in answer b), but if I ask what the main cause of global warming was in the late Mesozoic, the answer is CO2 released by tectonic activity. If I ask what the main cause of global warming was between 1992 and 1999, the answer is the diminishing effects of the SO2 released by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. And if I ask what is the main cause of global warming has been over the past two centuries, the answer is increasing atmospheric greenhouse gasses, some of which are human produced.  Although the author discusses many of these causes on his answer page, clearly understanding relative time scales and interactions go way beyond his simplistic multiple choices.

Question 5 implies that something less than 1 degree C is negligible... but continuous changes of this magnitude in overall global averages implies that polar high temps are increasing more... since hotter equatorial regions stay relatively the same. This may be insignificant to the author, but ask a polar bear!

Question 6 implies that just because CO2 has been higher in the geologic past means we don't need to worry about current trends. This ignores two significant issues. First, solar output was much different in the past. Second, rate of change is more important for ecosystems than absolute changes. It took millions of years for CO2 to rise in the mid Mesozoic... not several centuries. Berner's data without error bars is also a bit misleading.

Question 7 has only simplistic answers. Sure, trees love CO2. But things we love can hurt us. Eat too many Twinkies and you die of clogged arteries. While forests like the CO2, individual species can't necessarily adapt to rapid climate changes. Your grandchildren won't see any Sugar Maples in New England, despite their use of CO2.

Question 9 depends on how one defines drastic. And check out the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine...

Question 10 is simplistic... all three means are important to determining how the Earth is changing. To say that high altitude temps are the only important measure is absurd. What is worse, the answer page still hawks the line that satellite data shows decreasing temperatures. This is well known error in early analyses that NASA has repudiated.

So the upshot is that there are many truths in this quiz. But that are presented along with untruths, and half truths in order to support a particular viewpoint. Whether that viewpoint is right or wrong is unimportant. Science must not seek to prove a point. That is what faith is for.

You may remember Ana Unruh, Trinity's first (and so far only) Rhodes Scholar. She is now a Senior Policy advisor for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (she is also now Ana Unruh Cohen). She likes to point out that climate models now been shown to be very accurate over the last 10-12 years but many politicians are unwilling to accept them, but the same politicians are willing to budget based on economic models that have much less basis in theory and much worse track records for predictive capability.

 


Sixty-nine percent of university research libraries plan to increase spending (this is a vague statistic since they don't indicate a starting benchmark) on e-books over the next two years, according to a recent study published by Primary Research Group Inc. This finding and others were based on a survey of 45 research libraries in countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Japan.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 30, 2008 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on e-books are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm


June 6, 2008 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

"In contrast to earlier e-learning approaches that simply replicated traditional models, the Web 2.0 movement with its associated array of social software tools offers opportunities to move away from the last century's highly centralized, industrial model of learning and toward individual learner empowerment through designs that focus on collaborative, networked interaction"

-- McLoughlin and Lee, "Future Learning Landscapes"

The future of learning is theme of the June/July 2008 issue of INNOVATE. Articles include:

"Future Learning Landscapes: Transforming Pedagogy through Social

Software" by Catherine McLoughlin and Mark J. W. Lee

"McLoughlin and Lee posit that future learning environments must capitalize on the potential of Web 2.0 by combining social software tools with connectivist pedagogical models."

"Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum" by Dave Cormier

"In the rhizomatic model, knowledge is negotiated, and the learning experience is a social as well as a personal knowledge creation process with mutable goals and constantly negotiated premises."

"A Singular Vision for a Disparate Future: Technology Adoption Patterns

in Higher Learning Through 2035" by Robert G. Henshaw

Henshaw "examines factors likely to influence technology adoption within U.S. higher education over the next 30 years and their impact on education providers and consumers." [Editor's note: the author of this paper is my colleague at UNC-Chapel Hill ITS Teaching and Learning division.]

The issue is available at http://innovateonline.info/index.php

Registration is required to access articles; registration is free.

Innovate: Journal of Online Education [ISSN 1552-3233], an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal, is published bimonthly by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.

The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and governmental settings.
For more information, contact James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief
; email: innovate@nova.edu ;
Web:
http://innovateonline.info/

......................................................................

OPENNESS AND LEARNING IN TODAY'S WORLD

How open access and interactive Web 2.0 applications are changing the learning environment is focus of the latest issue of ELEARNING PAPERS.

The papers' authors consider the impact of these technologies both on individual learners and the institutions that facilitate the learning process. Papers include:

"Web 2.0 and New Learning Paradigms" by Antonio Bartolome

"This article is sceptic about the current changes at eLearning institutions and businesses, but points out some of the changes that will take place outside their courses and programmes."

"Universities and Web 2.0: Institutional Challenges" by Juan Freire

"Teachers, researchers and students started some years ago to use social software tools, but in few cases these experiences have allowed any scaling from the individual to the institutional level. The promises and potential of web 2.0 in universities need an adequate strategy for their development which has to confront the bottlenecks and fears common in these institutions, which could explain the lack of adaptation."

"Is the world open?" by Richard Straub

"The rise of social networking sites, virtual worlds, blogs, wikis and 3D Internet give us a first idea of the potential of the 'interactive and collaborative web' dubbed Web 2.0. Now we have the infrastructure and tools to operate in new ways in open systems. While many of the thoughts about openness and the need for more open social systems have been around for some time, this new infrastructure and new tools accelerate the movement."

The issue is available at http://www.elearningpapers.eu/index.php?page=home&vol=8

eLearning Papers [ISSN 1887-1542] is an open access journal created as part of the elearningeuropa.info portal. The portal is "an initiative of the European Commission to promote the use of multimedia technologies and Internet at the service of education and training."

For more information, contact: eLearning Papers, P.A.U. Education, C/ Muntaner 262, 3rd, 08021 Barcelona, Spain; email:

editorial@elearningeuropa.info ;
Web:
http://www.elearningpapers.eu/

......................................................................

CRITIQUING THE CLAIMS OF E-LEARNING

"Critical theory designates a philosophy and a research methodology that focuses on the interrelated issues of technology, politics and social change. Despite its emphasis on technology, critical theory arguably remains underutilized in areas of practical research that lie at the confluence of social, political and technological concerns, such as the study of the use of the usability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) or of their use in educational institutions."

In "Critical Theory: Ideology Critique and the Myths of E-Learning"

(UBIQUITY, vol. 9, no. 22, June 3-9, 2008), Norm Friesen uses critical theory to de-mystify three claims of e-learning:

-- "that we live in a 'knowledge economy'"

-- "that users enjoy ubiquitous, 'anywhere anytime' access"

-- "that social and institutional change is motivated by a

number of fixed 'laws' of progress in computer technology"

The paper is available at http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/volume_9/v9i22_friesen.html

Ubiquity [ISSN 1530-2180] is a free, Web-based publication of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), "dedicated to fostering critical analysis and in-depth commentary on issues relating to the nature, constitution, structure, science, engineering, technology, practices, and paradigms of the IT profession." For more information, contact: Ubiquity, email: ubiquity@acm.org ;
Web:
http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/

For more information on the ACM, contact: ACM, One Astor Plaza, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA; tel: 800-342-6626 or 212-626-0500;
Web:
http://www.acm.org/

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Watch the Video

"The Future of the Internet - And How to Stop It," by Jonathan Zittrain, The Washington Post, May 29, 2008 --- Click Here

Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University, will be online May 29 at 11 a.m. ET to answer questions about his new book: The Future of the Internet - And How to Stop It.

A transcript follows.

Zittrain, who co-founded Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, is also a participant in our new video series: Voices on Personal Technology. In his first installment, he answers the question: Is Google a threat to free culture?

Jonathan Zittrain: Hi there - thanks for having me as a guest today. I'm looking forward to the discussion. I'll type as quickly as I can!

Annandale, Va.: I was checking out some seriously cool videos of Google's upstart, open source mobile phone operating system, Android:

http://androidcommunity.com/first-live-images-of-fullscreen-android-demo-20080528/ 

What impact do you see this platform having on the mobile market?

Jonathan Zittrain: Android will be a good bellwether for my thesis that we're drifting towards locked down or vendor-controlled environments. If Android takes off, I'm wrong (but relieved!): it'll roughly fit the pattern of the Internet swamping the old AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy.

But without a new architecture for dealing with bad code, I worry that Android will be limited in how far it can go; there's a reason why the iPhone is so popular, and part of it has to do with the reliability of the device arising from every part being put there or approved by the same vendor.

_______________________

Bethesda, Md.: Web 2.0 feels so old - what do you envision for Web 3.0 or even 4.0?

Jonathan Zittrain: Heh. Why not jump to Web 5.0 while we're at it? (It reminds me of the old modems we used to use -- from 300 baud, to 1200 baud, then 2400, 15200, 34800, and 56K -- why not just jump straight to really fast?!)

Web 2.0 means different things to different people, and I'm actually pretty amazed at how much the versioning usually applied to a piece of software can be tagged to the Web. (It certainly does mean a Web based on a new version of its protocols.)

So: I think the idea of a Web page may be beginning to feel old; browse-and-click isn't the only way to interact with information and people. Some new technologies are rearranging that, but part of the question of whether we'll see them go mainstream is whether our endpoint devices will remain "unowned" by any single vendor or small group of vendors. If we're still using browsers ten years from now as the main way to be online, something's wrong.

_______________________

Tucson, Ariz.: Is Cybercrime coming from Africa undermining the potential for e-commerce in Africa? What do you think of the spam emails originating from Africa? What can be done about them before they evolve into more sophisticated forms of phishing?

Thanks,

___________________________________

William A. Foster

Faculty Associate

Science, Technology, and Society Program

Arizona State University

Jonathan Zittrain: In the last chapter of the book I quote from Gene Spafford, a renowned computer science professor:

"We can't defend against the threats we are facing now. If these mass computer giveaways succeed, shortly we will have another billion users online who are being raised in environments of poverty, with little or no education about proper IT use, and often in countries where there is little history of tolerance (and considerable history of religious, ethnic and tribal strife). Access to eBay and YouTube isn't going to give them clean water and freedom from disease. But it may help breed resentment and discontent where it hasn't been before.

Gee, I can barely wait. The metaphor that comes to mind is that if we were in the ramp-up to the Black Plague in the middle ages, these groups would be trying to find ways to subsidize the purchase of pet rats."

I don't agree with that. I think that movements like One Laptop Per Child are fascinating, and -- putting aside the implementation details that might alone make it fail -- I very much like the idea of bringing new groups of people online without giving them only "applications" like a mobile phone. I'd love to see what I call generative platforms deployed in areas that haven't really seen any consumer information technology -- and then see how readily a hacker culture can arise in the best sense, exactly the culture that brought us so many of the applications we now think to be central.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: With Google, Microsoft, Yahoo (unless it gets eaten up by Microsoft) continue to dominate the industry or will the Internet open back up to the marketplace to allow smaller companies to service niche markets in a profitable way?

Jonathan Zittrain: I think Google in particular is in a great position right now: a river of money flowing by them called search (and Ad Words); talented engineers with a day a week of free time to noodle around; and a brand that makes many of the next generation of talented engineers want to work there.

But the great thing about the Internet and PC we have today -- not a permanent thing, of course -- is that if someone comes along and invents better search, it wouldn't take that much for people to switch away. That may change as more and more of our own data goes online and gets cross-referenced, which is why Google and others are smart to want to create a single portal for search, mail, documents, etc.

Of particular interest to me are Web platforms like Facebook and Google Apps: people can code new stuff to run there, and there's a ton of creativity going into it, notwithstanding how annoying the Vampire App is on Facebook. One question is how open those platforms will be and can stay. I'm nervous that, naturally, Facebook or Google can (and do) shut down apps they don't like (or as Steve Jobs can and will do in the iPhone apps store), in a way that Bill Gates never really could do on a Windows box.

_______________________

Danville, Calif.: In your opinion, who are the smartest men in Internet technology?

Jonathan Zittrain: Why limit it to just men? :)

Esther Dyson thinks big and asks tough, skeptical questions. Of course, the usual suspects: Sergey Brin is an amazingly smart guy who shoots straight. Mark Zuckerberg has made brilliant strategic decisions, notwithstanding the more headline-grabbing tactical hiccups like Facebook Beacon. Charlie Nesson, a colleague at HLS, framed many cyberspace issues as ones of the commons nearly fifteen years ago. And Larry Lessig is near-effortlessly genius. In my view. :)

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm


June 6, 2008 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

ASSESSING THE FUTURE OF SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION

The Center for Studies in Higher Education is conducting research to "understand the needs and desires of faculty for in-progress scholarly communication (i.e., forms of communication employed as research is being executed) as well as archival publication." With the study now into its second year, the Center has released an interim report with some of the early findings based on interviews with over 150 faculty members in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Some of the questions that the study seeks to answer include:

-- "What will scholars want to do in their research and with their research results, and what new forms of communication do or do not support those desires?"

-- "How will scholars want to disseminate and receive input on their work at various lifecycle stages?"

-- "How do institutions and other stakeholders support these faculty needs, if at all?"

The Spring 2008 "Draft Interim Report: Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication," by Diane Harley, et al., is available at http://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/publications.php?id=300

The Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California Berkeley is a "multi-disciplinary research and policy center on higher education [that is] oriented to California, the nation, and comparative international issues." For more information, contact:

Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley, 771 Evans Hall #4650, Berkeley, CA 94720-4650 USA;
tel:
510-642-5040; fax: 510-643-6845;
email: cshe@berkeley.edu ;
Web:
http://cshe.berkeley.edu/

GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY

Charles W. Bailey, Jr. recently published the second version of "The Google Book Search Bibliography." The resource provides citations and links to over a hundred English-language references to scholarly papers and newspaper articles. The bibliography presents a comprehensive examination of the Google service and the "legal, library, and social issues associated with it." The bibliography is available at http://www.digital-scholarship.org/gbsb/gbsb.htm

Bailey is a prolific compiler of scholarly communication bibliographies, notably the "Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography" (now in its 70th edition). You can access all his publications at http://www.digital-scholarship.org/

Jensen Comment
Also see http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3069&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Business of the Bomb: The Modern Nuclear Marketplace --- http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/nukes/ 


The Civil Rights Digital Library --- http://crdl.usg.edu/voci/go/crdl/home/

BlackPast: Remembered and Reclaimed (African American History) --- http://www.blackpast.org/

Human Rights --- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/humanrights/


A cleverly-constructed timeline on the history of the world's great religions --- http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf
 


Digital Portrait Painting with Marilyn Sholin --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj_7yWUgqSY

The above link was forwarded by Richard Campbell who points out that the video was created using Camtasia's time lapse capability.

Jensen Comment
I think what this shows is that artists can do things on the computer that us less talented computer users cannot do or cannot do without years of training. Van Gogh once said it took many years to learn his craft even though he had some innate talent.

"Simple 3D Drawing," by Barbara Kaskose --- http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/3/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=1674

Blender 2.46 (for 3-D animations) --- http://www.blender.org/

 


U.S. Census Bureau: Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics --- http://lehd.did.census.gov/led/index.html

Bob Jensen's threads on economic and social statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics


"Signing Up for a Video Dictionary for Deaf People," by Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 27, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3033&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

As many as two million people in the United States use American Sign Language, but not every user knows what every one of the thousands of signs mean. And there is no dictionary in which to look them up—sign dictionaries are organized by the written definition of the sign, not by the physical movement.

Now a team of researchers at Boston University is working on an interactive video project that would allow someone to trace an unfamiliar sign in front of a Web camera and have a computer program interpret and explain its meaning, according to the Associated Press.

The researchers, working with a three-year, $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, are trying to capture 3,000 ASL signs on video. Their goal is to develop a “backwards” dictionary that will allow people to look up any unfamiliar gesture.

If a deaf person signs to a someone who doesn’t understand the sign, that person could sit down in front of a computer, repeat the sign into a Web cam, and the program would identify possible translations by recognizing the sign’s visual properties.

May 28, 2008 reply from William Sloboda [william.sloboda@GALLAUDET.EDU]

Dear Bob
Thanks for bringing this to our attention! I hope that it will work since every deaf person signs any signfrom a tiny bit to a lot more differently than the next deaf person does. This promises to be a longer term project.

Bill

William Sloboda, MBA, CPA Associate Professor of Accounting and Accounting, Program Coordinator Department of Business Gallaudet University 800 Florida Ave. NE Washington, D C 20002-3695 202-651-5312

Bob Jensen's threads on technology aids for handicapped learners and their teachers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped


She's In the Doghouse Now: Professors Who Cheat

A former assistant professor of accounting at the University of Tampa has pleaded guilty to stealing $120,000 from the American Spaniel Club.
She was accused of writing 71 Spaniel Club checks to herself between July 2006 and March 2007 to feed an Internet gambling addiction. Instead of doing jail time, Lippincott, now a part-time accounting professor at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. lauderdale, FL, was sentenced to 15 years' probation. During that time, she is required to pay $500 a month until June 2009 and $1,000 a month after that until her probation ends, the Tampa Tribune reported. Some of the money will go directly to the spaniel club; the rest will be used to repay the club's insurance carrier.

AccounitngWeb, May 16, 2008 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=105175

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


She's Joined by Another Dog:  Professors Who Cheat

This link appeared in the Financial Rounds blog on May 22, 2008 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/ 

"F**k I Hate Plagiarizers," by Jacqueline Passey, May 7, 2008 --- http://www.jacquelinepassey.com/2008/05/fuck-i-hate-peo.html

So, I finished my marketing project slides and have begun work on finishing the accounting project (an analysis of The Gap's financial reports).

It turns out that one of my accounting project group members -- yup, you guessed it -- plagiarized her contribution to our paper!

The other group member and I initially were suspicious because of the three pages she sent us, the third page was written in the first person plural and thus was obviously taken from the company's annual report.  However, the plagiarizer wrote in her original email, "The financial information is in draft form right now," so we decided to give her the benefit of the doubt that perhaps this part was just her research notes and she planned to rewrite and properly cite the information.

So, my reply to her email included the question, "Is what you sent us so far a draft that you wrote or is it notes copied from somewhere else or what?"

She replied, "the first 2 pages i wrote and the bottom is info i found."

OK, so far, so good.  She was not claiming to have written the part that she very obviously hadn't written.  Since I had the much more pressing marketing project to deal with and the accounting project isn't due until the 15th, I put off doing anything else with it for a week.

Well, I just started working on the accounting project again, and since I still don't trust her, I started plugging phrases into Google.  It turns out that the entire two pages she claims to have written herself are ripped off from Hoover's:

The Gap Company Description
: She copied this paragraph word-for-word with only the following minor changes:

So of the 112 words in the paragraph, she changed only 13 of them.  This does not count as adequate paraphrasing.

Industry Overview: Clothing Stores: She copied the "Industry Overview" and "Competitive Landscape" paragraphs word-for-word with NO changes.

Industry Forecast: She copied the opening sentence of the "Industry Forecast" section word-for-word with NO changes.

I'm not sure where she got her "Comparison to Industry & Market" and "Top Competitors" tables from, but the weird formatting strongly suggests that they were not created by her in Word (it's a Word document) but were copy/pasted off a website as well.

She does cite the source she ripped off, "Hoover's Handbook of World Business 2008", at the end of her document, but in no way does changing only 13 out of 286 words (thus copying 95% of the source word-for-word) count as "writing" something.

I am so fucking pissed.  Because *I* would have gotten an F on the project too (the professor has emphasized that plagiarism would not be tolerated) if I'd believed her and turned in the paper with her section left as is.  This woman is not some stupid little freshman who doesn't know better, she's on her last 12 credits of her MBA.  She fucking knows better and she decided to take the risk anyway and fuck the rest of us over because she's too fucking lazy to ethically research and write two fucking pages.

I AM TURNING THE BITCH IN.  I'm certain that my other group member will support me on this and we will just complete the project by ourselves.

Update: What really fucking sucks is the plagiarizer is the one who picked The Gap as our paper topic.  I don't want to write a paper analyzing the fucking Gap.  I don't even shop there.  I'd rather do Amazon.  But the non-plagiarizer and I already have 1/3 to 1/2 a paper about The Gap so it'll take us less time to finish the stupid thing than to start on a new company.

Update II: I heard back from the professor: "Thank you very much for telling me this.  You did the right thing in breaking away into a separate group.  There is nothing further that you need to do."  Dude, what are you doing up at 4am?

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


Professors Who Cheat

"Charges of Insider Trading for a Wall Street Luminary," by Louise Story, The New York Times, May 30, 2008 --- Click Here

John F. Marshall spent decades teaching at business schools and watching his students parlay his lessons into fortunes on Wall Street. But when he and another professor reached for some of those riches themselves, events took a startling turn, the authorities say.

Dr. Marshall, a retired professor at St. John’s University and a fixture on the Wall Street lecture circuit, was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission in March of passing inside information about a multibillion-dollar corporate takeover to a professor at Pace University. The Pace professor, Alan L. Tucker, made more than $1 million trading on the tips in 2007, according to the S.E.C. The Justice Department has filed criminal charges.

The developments have stunned Dr. Marshall’s former colleagues and students, who describe him as a meticulous scholar and a generous, unassuming teacher. The accusations have also jolted Wall Street, where Dr. Marshall is considered one of the wise men of financial engineering.

“I am just shocked beyond belief,” said Jennifer Kim, a St. John’s graduate who was taught by Dr. Marshall. “If he wanted to, he could have made money — lots of money — years ago.”

Suspicious trading has set off alarms at the S.E.C. during the record rush of corporate takeovers in recent years. Since 2006, the agency has filed more lawsuits related to insider trading than during the entire decade of the 1990s.

But the usual suspects are bankers, analysts and executives — not academicians like Dr. Marshall, the author of books like “Financial Engineering: A Complete Guide to Financial Innovation.”

Yet, like many business school professors, Dr. Marshall, 56, and Dr. Tucker, 47, built twin careers by hopscotching from teaching to consulting. Dr. Marshall’s stature in the field of finance eventually lead a board position at a fledgling electronic exchange for stock options — a position the S.E.C. said he had used to pass illegal tips to Dr. Tucker, a friend and business associate. The men declined to comment for this article.

It’s a remarkable turnabout for Dr. Marshall, who co-founded the leading professional society for practitioners of financial engineering, the International Association of Financial Engineering, the math-heavy discipline that revolutionized Wall Street in recent years.

Ms. Kim recalled how her former professor gave away complex computer software to his students. Dr. Marshall helped establish a graduate program in financial engineering at Polytechnic University in Manhattan and fostered the explosive growth of financial derivatives. He also became a popular lecturer at banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch.

Few people on or off Wall Street moved in such rarefied financial circles. During a long, distinguished career, Dr. Marshall mixed with Nobel laureates like Myron S. Scholes, Fischer Black and Franco Modigliani — whose pioneering theories transformed the world of finance — while he himself lived modestly on Long Island.

“Everybody loves Jack Marshall” said David F. DeRosa, president of DeRosa Research and Trading and a former Wall Street trader. “He is like the uncle of derivatives.”

In an essay published in the 2007 book, “How I Became a Quant,” Dr. Marshall wrote that his work on Wall Street had informed his academic research.

“What I was seeing during the day in the Street was growing increasingly at odds with what I saw being taught in business schools,” Dr. Marshall wrote. “Most of academia was missing the great transformation that was taking place in finance.”

He recruited Dr. Tucker to help edit the financial engineering society’s journal, and together they proposed new types of options that companies might use to protect themselves from economic downturns. The pair also opened a small consulting firm in Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Their work was notable for its real-world applications, professional colleagues said.

“A lot of academics publish papers that have very little to do with practical applications,” said Anthony Herbst, a retired finance professor at the University of Texas in El Paso. “Jack Marshall bridges the gap.”

Dr. Marshall retired from St. John’s in 2000 and went on to help form the International Securities Exchange, the electronic options exchange. He later became a member of its board and the chairman of its finance and audit committee.

The trouble began in late 2006, when Eurex, a German exchange, expressed interest in buying the I.S.E. According to the S.E.C., Dr. Marshall tipped off Dr. Tucker about the deal, sharing insider details of the proposed transaction through multiple phone calls.

Dr. Tucker later bought options giving him the right to buy I.S.E. stock, as well as shares in the American exchange, through an Ameritrade account, the S.E.C. said in its complaint. In e-mail exchanges, Dr. Tucker referred to the scheme as “the program,” according to the S.E.C. Dr. Marshall’s brother-in-law, Mark R. Larson, 45, bought shares of I.S.E. stock based on the tips, S.E.C. says.

When Eurex agreed to buy I.S.E. for $67.50 a share in 2007, the value of the I.S.E. stock and options soared, producing a profit of $1.1 million. It is unclear if Dr. Marshall profited personally. But the options trades set off alarms with market regulators because Dr. Tucker was the only person buying some of the instruments just before the takeover.

Since the S.E.C. filed its complaint in March, the men have fallen out of touch with friends and colleagues, longtime acquaintances said. Dr. Tucker finished out the spring term teaching at Pace but did not turn up at a recent finance conference he was scheduled to attend in China. Dr. Marshall has resigned from the I.S.E.’s board. Recent calls placed to his consulting firm on Long Island were unanswered.

At universities and on Wall Street, people who know Dr. Marshall are dumbfounded.

Manuchehr Shahrokhi, a finance professor at California State University at Fresno, said he was so surprised to hear about the allegations that he looked up the S.E.C. complaint to double-check. He could not reconcile the accusations with the man knew — someone he once heard speak on ethics in the derivatives markets.

“You know, sometimes greed takes over your knowledge and your skills and everything else. But he is not a greedy man,” Dr. Shahrokhi said. “Really, the only conclusion I can come up with is it must have been an accident. I do not believe that a person of his stature would do this.”

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


Duke University Invites Back Business Students Who Cheated

"Fuqua Puts Scandal Behind It:  A year after being rocked by a cheating scandal, Duke's business school plans to welcome back students who were suspended," by Alison Damast, Business Week, May 22, 2008 --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/may2008/bs20080522_585217.htm

Jensen Comment
You can read more about this MBA student cheating scandal at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm
Search the site for "Fuqua"

Cultural differences that may have contributed to this type of cheating. I personally feel that it is appropriate to now give these students another chance at Duke


In Accounting Research We'd Never Discover this Type of Fakery --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#Replication

"Journals Find Fakery in Many Images Submitted to Support Research," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 27, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/free/2008/05/3028n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en 

Kristin Roovers was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania with a bright career ahead of her—a trusted member of a research laboratory at the medical school studying the role of cell growth in diabetes.

But when an editor of The Journal of Clinical Investigation did a spot-check of one of her images for an article in 2005, Roovers's research proved a little too perfect.

The image had dark bands on it, supposedly showing different proteins in different conditions. "As we looked at it, we realized the person had cut and pasted the exact same bands" over and over again, says Ushma S. Neill, the journal's executive editor. In some cases a copied part of the image had been flipped or reversed to make it look like a new finding. "The closer we took a look, the more we were convinced that the data had been fabricated or manipulated in order to support the conclusions."

As computer programs make images easier than ever to manipulate, editors at a growing number of scientific publications are turning into image detectives, examining figures to test their authenticity.

And the level of tampering they find is alarming. "The magnitude of the fraud is phenomenal," says Hany Farid, a computer-science professor at Dartmouth College who has been working with journal editors to help them detect image manipulation. Doctored images are troubling because they can mislead scientists and even derail a search for the causes and cures of disease.

Ten to 20 of the articles accepted by The Journal of Clinical Investigation each year show some evidence of tampering, and about five to 10 of those papers warrant a thorough investigation, says Ms. Neill. (The journal publishes about 300 to 350 articles per year.)

In the case of Ms. Roovers, editors notified the federal Office of Research Integrity, which polices government-financed science projects. The office concluded that the images had been improperly manipulated, as had images the researcher had produced for papers published in three other journals. That finding led two of those journals to retract papers that Ms. Roovers had co-authored, papers that had been cited by other researchers dozens of times.

The episode damaged careers—Ms. Roovers resigned from the lab and is ineligible for U.S. government grants for five years—and delayed progress in an important line of scientific inquiry.

Experts say that many young researchers may not even realize that tampering with their images is inappropriate. After all, people now commonly alter digital snapshots to take red out of eyes, so why not clean up a protein image in Photoshop to make it clearer?

"This is one of the dirty little secrets—that everybody massages the data like this," says Mr. Farid. Yet changing some pixels for the sake of "clarity" can actually change an image's scientific meaning.

The Office of Research Integrity says that 44 percent of its cases in 2005-6 involved accusations of image fraud, compared with about 6 percent a decade earlier.

New tools, such as software developed by Mr. Farid, are helping journal editors detect manipulated images. But some researchers are concerned about this level of scrutiny, arguing that it could lead to false accusations and unnecessarily delay research.

Easy to Alter

The alterations made by Ms. Roovers at the University of Pennsylvania were "very easy" to do, says Richard K. Assoian, a professor of pharmacology at Penn who worked with the young researcher and served as her mentor while she was a doctoral student at the University of Miami. "It's basic Photoshopping," he says.

Ms. Roovers admitted that she used the software, though she says she was not the only one in the lab to do so.

"I certainly did something wrong, but I don't think I was alone in the whole thing," she says, adding that it was not her intent to deceive. "It was trying to present it even better."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Professors Who Fabricate Research Outcomes --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#ProfessorsWhoFabricate


Make Your Own Crosswords for Fun and Learning

June 4. 2008 message from Andrew PRIEST [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU]

I thought I would share this email which came from one of our librarians. It may be of interest.

Regards

Andrew

Hi Andrew

I came across this free website http://www.eclipsecrossword.com/samples.html  which allows you (anyone) to make up a crossword on any topic.

They had examples of crosswords which have been setup for Accounting which I thought was rather cute & an alternative to quizzes http://www.accountingcrosswords.com /

Regards

Maureen

Jensen Comment
Here's a neat interactive Javascript crossword made using Eclipse --- http://lschwake.tripod.com/crosswords/acc22cross.html
Click on one of the boxes to get started.

Some of Bob Jensen's Former Tidbits:

Crossword Construction Kit (not free) --- http://www.crosswordkit.com/
Other word games --- http://www.puzzleconnection.com/

Discovery Channel School's PuzzleMaker (free) --- http://puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com
This puzzle-generation tool helps create and print customized word search, crossword and math puzzles using your own word lists.

AccountingCrosswords.com (with many subtopics) --- http://www.accountingcrosswords.com/
Example:  Payroll Accounting Crossword Puzzle --- http://www.accountingcoach.com/crossword-puzzles/payroll-empty.html

Brenda Kennedy's k-12 Accounting Crosswords ---
http://ww2.nps.k12.va.us/education/components/docmgr/default.php?sectiondetailid=34838

Crossword Bank (with a section on taxation) --- Click Here 

Payroll Accounting Crossword Puzzle --- http://www.accountingcoach.com/crossword-puzzles/payroll-empty.html

Basic Accounting Example --- Click Here

Computer defeats humans at the NYT’s crossword Puzzles
Crossword-solving computer program WebCrow has defeated 25 human competitors in a puzzle competition in Riva del Garda, Italy. The program took both first- and second-place honors in the contest, which was staged as part of the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, New Scientist reported Thursday. The two English puzzles were taken from The New York Times and The Washington Post, while two Italian puzzles were taken from newspapers in the country. A fifth puzzle featured clues in both languages taken from all four sources. "It exceeded our expectations because there were around 15 Americans in the competition," said Marco Ernandes, who created WebCrow along with Giovanni Angelini and Marco Gori. "Now we'd like to test it against more people with English as their first language."
"Computer defeats humans at crossword," PhysOrg, September 1, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76345125.html

Question
Will daily working of crossword puzzles and similar mental exercise deter the rate of cognitive decline in older brains?

The last two paragraphs below are important.

"Oops! Mental Training, Crosswords Fail to Slow Decline of Aging Brain," by Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/science_journal.html

If you thought recent clinical trials of reduced-fat diets and breast cancer, or calcium/vitamin D and hip fractures, were disappointing when the intervention failed to live up to its billing, you haven't seen studies of whether mental training slows the rate of cognitive decline resulting from aging.

The largest such study, called Active, was launched in 1998 and is still going. It trained 2,832 adults, aged 65 years old to 94, in memory, reasoning or visual attention and perception. Disappointment ensued. Though the trainees did better on the skill they practiced, that didn't translate to improvement on the others (memory training didn't sharpen reasoning, for instance).

Worse, when the trainees were tested years later, performance fell more than it did in the untrained group, according to a new analysis by Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia, a veteran of studies on aging and cognition. That probably reflects the fact that if performance rises it has further to fall, he says.

But there is a larger issue. "There is no convincing empirical evidence that mental activity slows the rate of cognitive decline," he concludes from an exhaustive review of decades of studies. "The research I reviewed is just not consistent with the idea that engaging in mentally stimulating activities as you age prevents or slows cognitive decline."

Many scientists, not to mention the rest of us, believe it does. The "mental exercise" hypothesis has been around since 1920, and studies find that higher mental activity -- more hours per week spent reading, doing crossword puzzles, learning a language or the like -- is associated with better cognitive function. That has spawned the idea that, to keep your brain young(ish), you should partake of intellectual challenges.

But this logic has a hole big enough to drive a truck through. Just because older adults who are more mentally active are sharper than peers who are cognitive couch potatoes doesn't mean mental activity in old age raises cognitive performances, let alone slows the rate of decline. To conclude that it does confuses correlation with causation.

Consider an alternative that is gaining scientific support. Say you enter old age (by which I mean your 30s, when mental functioning starts heading south, accelerating in your 50s) with a "cognitive reserve" -- a cushion of smarts. If so, you are likely to be able to remember appointments, balance a checkbook and understand Medicare Part D (OK, maybe not) well into your 60s and 70s. But not because your brain falls apart more slowly. Instead, you started off so far above the threshold where impaired thinking and memory affect your ability to function that normal decline leaves you still all right.

The Active study isn't the only reason scientists are rethinking the use-it-and-you-won't-lose-it idea. In the Seattle Longitudinal Study, older adults received five hours of training on spatial rotation (what would a shape look like if it turned?) or logic (given three patterns, which of four choices comes next?). As in Active, people got better on what they practiced.

But seven years later, their performance had declined just as steeply (though, again, from a higher starting point) as the performance of people with no training, scientists reported last year. That supports the cognitive reserve idea -- if you enter middle age with a good memory and reasoning skills you stay sharp longer -- not the mental-exercise hypothesis.

Even in the most mentally engaged elderly -- chess experts, professors, doctors -- mental function declines as steeply as in people to whom mental exercise means choosing which TV show to watch. Again, profs and docs enter old age with a brain functioning so far above the minimum that even with the equal rate of decline they do better than folks with no cognitive cushion.

Crossword puzzles do not live up to the hope people invest in them, either. Age-related decline is very similar in people whether or not they wrestled with 24 Downs, Prof. Salthouse and his colleagues find in a recent study. There is "no evidence" that puzzle fans have "a slower rate of age-related decline in reasoning," he says.

Evaluating use-it-and-you-won't-lose-it in a new journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science, he ends on a grim note: There is "little scientific evidence that engagement in mentally stimulating activities alters the rate of mental aging." He regards the belief as "more of an optimistic hope than an empirical reality."

But don't write off mental exercise yet. True, neither one-time training nor regular mental challenges such as crosswords slow the rate of cognitive decline. But they do show that "older adults can be made to perform better on almost anything they can be trained on," says Michael Marsiske of the University of Florida, who helped run the Active study. "We're still detecting differences seven years after the training."

In practical terms, although mental function continues to decline even after mental training, the latter can give old brains enough of a boost that they nevertheless remain higher functioning than untrained brains. A number of scientists think they understand what kind of training provides the biggest, most enduring boost. Next week, I'll look at their ideas.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology tools and tricks of the trade --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm
Especially note the section on Edutainment!


To Provide Answers or Not:  That is the Question

May 28, 2008 message from Henry Collier [henrycollier@aapt.net.au]

I have this ongoing question / struggle about all these comments about students and exams and usefulness of the unintentionally presented answers to questions.

I have great difficulty in understanding why the students cannot ‘understand’ or ‘use’ the answers to the questions when they are presented to them. The nagging sense is that it is possible that the question (and the answer presented) has absolutely no relationship to the material supposedly taught in the subject. If the question asked doesn’t relate to the subject matter, then how would knowing the answer elicit anything more than copying the answer from the back to the front of the paper. Or perhaps, if the question is so obtuse and ‘off target for the subject’ then what difference does it make if the student knows whether the answer is correct or just wind? Quite obviously there is the explanation that the students simply did not see the ‘answers’ … but (again IMO) that is significantly different than not understanding the question and / or the answer.

The contributor who made exam questions where all the answers were False exposes one of the common myths about TorF exams. Just because a random probability of getting the right answer to a single question on a TorF test is .5, that does not mean that the % of questions correctly answered F is 50% … The research indicates that TorF questions that are correctly answered F are better discriminators than those questions where the correct answer is T. If your objective is to separate or rank those who know the subject material from those who do not know the material, then TorF questions that are in fact F appear to be better at doing the separation.

It is not easy to write good TorF questions. For that matter it is not easy to write any test item that is both effective and efficient in measurement terms or reliable and relevant to the subject matter. I am of the long held view that it is important to test what we teach, and particularly for summative evaluation to make our learning objectives clear and obvious to the students. I think that it is important for us, as teachers, to say to our students this is what you must be able to do … we can set our goals at different levels in the cognitive processes … we can use Bloom’s taxonomy to help guide us in our measurements. Clearly objective testing is easier at the lower levels of knowledge, comprehension and application. Higher levels of cognitive processing, analysis, synthesis, evaluation and particularly creativity are much more difficult (but not impossible) to test with objective (TorF or MC) items.

After that ramble, I’ll go back to the premise that it is difficult for me to see any way that having the answer on the back of the page cannot help the students answer an appropriate summative exam question.

June 2, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Henry,

I might reverse the question about giving students answers and ask why professors normally prefer cases that have teaching note solutions or guidelines for solutions as opposed to cases written by authors who do not provide any teaching notes.

Obviously, instructors prefer teaching notes to reassure themselves that their own solutions are not misleading students.

 I also get a feeling of self worth when I find errors in teaching notes --- that sort of Eureka surge that proves I’ve still got it.

But mostly I think instructors prefer teaching notes because teaching notes are sometimes great learning tools alongside complex problems. One of my favorite cases that I used over and over when teaching accounting theory is “Questrom vs. Federated Department Stores, Inc.:  A Question of Equity Value," by Gary Taylor, William Sampson, and Benton Gup, Issues in Accounting Education, May 2001, pp. 223-256. This is perhaps the best short case that I've ever read.  It will undoubtedly help my students better understand weighted average cost of capital, free cash flow valuation, and the residual income model.  The three student handouts are outstanding. Bravo to Taylor, Sampson, and Gup. If you subscribe to the electronic option of the American Accounting Association, you can download the case and its teaching note from
http://www.atypon-link.com/AAA/loi/iace    
I found it better to assign homework asking students to critique the teaching note solutions rather than flounder trying to devise their own solutions. Certainly not all cases are like this, but this is an example where I think it is better for students to have suggested (albeit controversial) solutions. By the way, I think all the approaches used to estimate equity value are baloney, but this case is a great foil for delving into what’s wrong with Ohlson, Penman et al. approaches to equity valuation. One of the things I like the best is about the Questrom case is that these simplistic (read that missing variable) valuation approaches give such wildly different valuation outcomes.

 This is one of those cases where I’m absolutely convinced that it’s better to hand the teaching note out along with the case itself. My students would’ve been lost at sea trying to develop their own valuations, and I

 I’m not convinced that objective questions are better for students with lower-level knowledge than higher-level knowledge. I think it is easier to write objective questions for students with lower-level knowledge, but I’ve never seen where subjective questions are necessarily better discriminators than objective questions on licensure examinations such as CPA examinations. In fact, subjective questions on such examinations may lead to much greater grader variations.

In any case, most of the research evidence that I’ve read on objective versus subjective examinations points to no general conclusion that objective questions are worse at any level of learner knowledge. Objective questions have a drawback in giving students with no clue as to an answer a chance to guess, but with enough questions the guesses don’t count for much.

In accounting theory I’ve experimented repeatedly with essay final examinations versus huge objective question examinations, some of which merely give answer choices to short (not humungous) problems. What students hated the most was that they frequently could not derive any of the answer choices. This of course can be solved by a “none of the above” choice accompanied by an option of giving part credit for detailed “none of the above” choices that I could follow as a grader.

Bob Jensen


"6 Degrees of Wikipedia," by Catherine Rampell, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 28, 2008 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/3041/six-degrees-of-wikipedia

A researcher at Trinity College Dublin has software that lets users map the links between Wikipedia pages. His Web site is called “Six Degrees of Wikipedia,” modeled after the trivia game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Instead of the degrees being measured by presence in the same film, degrees are determined by articles that link to each other.

For example, how many clicks through Wikipedia does it take to get from “Gatorade” to “Genghis Khan”? Three: Start at “Gatorade,” then click to “Connecticut,” then “June 1,” then “Genghis Khan.”

Stephen Dolan, the researcher who created the software, has also used the code to determine which Wikipedia article is the “center” of Wikipedia—that is, which article is the hub that most other articles must go through in the “Six Degrees” game. Not including the articles that are just lists (e.g., years), the article closest to the center is “United Kingdom,” at an average of 3.67 clicks to any other article. “Billie Jean King” and “United States” follow, with an average of 3.68 clicks and 3.69 clicks, respectively.

More detailed information can be found on Mr. Dolan’s Web site

Bob Jensen's threads on Wikipedia as a knowledge base are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#KnowledgeBases


Searching for Knowledge on the Web

Finding Dulcinea --- http://www.findingdulcinea.com/home.html
Tries to be your "Librarian on the Web"

Video on How to Sell a Home Rather Than Just a House ---
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/must-see-video/2008/june/Real-Estate-the-YouTube-Way.html

Specialized Searches on the Web --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#SpecializedSearchEngines

Bob Jensen's threads on Wikipedia as a knowledge base are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#KnowledgeBases


"Beyond H-1B: An Immigration Glossary Foreign B-school students wishing to study or work in the U.S. encounter a host of terms, beyond the first visa," by Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week, May 20, 2008 ---
http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/may2008/bs20080520_571866.htm?link_position=link2

Bob Jensen's links to various glossaries can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbus.htm


"Of Mentors and Intellectuals," by Rob Weir, Inside Higher Ed, May 29, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/05/29/weir


"Scared Straight — by Poetry?" by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, June 4, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/06/04/frost

Jay Parini has taught poetry to many, many students during his 30-plus years of college teaching. But the group of teenagers for whom he has read and analyzed Robert Frost’s poems in recent weeks are unlike the young people he has encountered in the classrooms of Dartmouth and Middlebury Colleges since 1975.

“To them, Robert Frost is just a name on a plaque,” said Parini, a poet, novelist and biographer of Frost. “I can’t assume a damn thing that they have any knowledge at all” about Frost or poetry.

Parini’s students these last two weeks have not had much of a choice but to listen to the Middlebury professor. Their attendance in the two sessions, the second of which was Tuesday, was mandatory as part of a “court diversion” program they entered in lieu of going to jail. Their crime: trashing a Vermont home in which Frost summered for the last two decades of his life, as a party they held raged out of control. The high school students, who were invited to the Homer Noble Farm, an unheated farmhouse in Ripton, Vt., by a youthful former employee of Middlebury College, which owns the structure, burned furniture to keep warm, broke china and soiled the carpets. They did more than $10,000 in damage.

The local prosecutor, Addison County State’s Attorney John Quinn, contemplated sending them to jail. But he opted instead for a more creative punishment. “I guess I was thinking that if these teens had a better understanding of who Robert Frost was, and his contribution to our society, that they would be more respectful of other people’s property in the future and would also learn something from the experience,” he told the Associated Press.

Quinn’s call to Parini suggesting that he teach the wrongdoers about Frost caught the author and poet by surprise, but he embraced the idea. In two sessions, Parini said he “tried to take it down to brass tacks ... just reading some very moving Frost poems,” rather than trying to beat the young people over the head with lectures. ("I had three teenagers of my own,” he said.)

“Out Out,” which describes a teenage farmhand’s loss of his hand, seemed to resonate with the high schoolers who themselves hail mostly from farm country, Parini said. And as he read from the seemingly inevitable “The Road Not Taken,” Parini said, he could not help but suggest to his temporary students that they might be “lost in your own woods.”

“This was a very moving and emotional experience, and I think I really connected emotionally with these kids,” Parini said. “The goal was to show them why poetry matters in their lives. That it’s not just some monument on a hillside, but it has very crucial and vital things ot say about their very own lives.”

Related stories

Bob Jensen's threads on Robert Frost, including a picture of his New Hampshire house about two miles down our Sunset Hill, are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits070905.htm


Personal Financial Helpers:  From the Virginia Society of CPAs --- http://www.vscpa.com/Financial_Fitness/

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers


Association of Government Accountants Blog
Inside Government Accounting
--- http://aga.typepad.com/
There's quite a lot here on fraud and forensic accounting

Deloitte's International Accounting Blog --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
Thanks to Paul Pacter this is probably the best site in the world for international accounting news

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs and listservs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm
Note the excellent tutorial course at http://newmediaocw.wordpress.com/


Teaching Accounting With Dominos (watch the video)

May 27, 2008 message from Richard Newmark [richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM]

As I was posting my son’s latest domino knockdown video on youtube, I thought that creating domino courses could make a great teamwork exercise. Here are my observations that lead me to this conclusion:

1.       Setting up a domino course is often very frustrating. You may get it all set up and then part of it does not work. Also, you may accidentally knock down several minutes or hours work.

2.       When doing it in teams (my son and I often work together), each person is responsible for a part. Everybody’s part must work for the course to be successful.

3.       Good communication is key. You need a way to resolve disputes. Collaboration can lead to a superior solution to a problem. You need to be able to deal with failures, accidentally ruining someone else’s work.

4.       For systems courses, you have design, implementation, and control issues. Controls would refer to using “safeties” or buffers between parts of the course in the building stage to prevent an accidental knockdown from ruining the entire course. Of course at the end you have to fill in the gaps, which may be more problematic than not having safeties at all (cost-benefit analysis).

5.       You can incorporate risk/reward by weighting grades for the project by difficulty factor of the course. A straight line is easier than having branches/spirals/stairs/towers/etc. or builder’s challenges (having to complete part of the course while the dominoes are falling).

I’m teaching cost accounting this summer and I’m thinking about simulating job-order vs. process costing using domino courses. Maybe I can use it to demonstrate shop floor design differences between manufacturing cells vs. traditional layout.

You can see my son’s videos at http://www.youtube.com/phduh. In case you think this is kids’ stuff, check out this attempt at the domino world record attempt—current record is 4,079,000 dominoes knocked down http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73pTPDEQeIA.

If you want to introduce more creativity, you can give teams a bag full of materials and have them construct some type of Rube-Goldberg machine. The same element as I discussed above apply. Here are a couple of examples http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73pTPDEQeIA and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ac6DhR9B60 (interesting cooking method).

 

Rick

Richard Newmark
Associate professor, School of Acctg. and Comp. Info. Systems
Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business
2004 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winner
University of Northern Colorado
Campus Box 128 Kepner Hall, 2090G
(970) 351-1213 office
(970) 351-1078 business fax
(707) 371-1213 personal fax
http://student1.unco.edu/phduh/index.html or http://PhDuh.com/unc
http://www.youtube.com/phduh

Bob Jensen's threads on Edutainment and learning games are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

Bob Jensen's threads on free tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing of university videos and course materials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Second Life Video Tutorials --- http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Video_Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


"Microsoft Ramps Up Its Free College E-Mail Program," by Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 27, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3032&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Microsoft has decided to enlarge a service of keen interest to colleges, even as the company last week dumped another offering used by higher education, its Live Search Books program. Now Live@edu, the free Web-based e-mail and online collaboration program for students and alumni, is getting much larger inboxes, the ability to handle bigger attached files, true shared calendars, and the chance for colleges to block student e-mail containing words they deem offensive, the company announced today.

Tired of the 5 gigabyte inbox? Live@edu now offers accounts with 10 gigabytes, and the capacity to handle attachments up to 20 megabytes in size, says Bruce Gabrielle, senior product manager for the service. The boost is because the company has decided that, in addition to handing campuses Microsoft Hotmail accounts (with university-based e-mail addresses), it will offer accounts on the more powerful Microsoft Exchange Web access system. That gives users access to Windows programs like Outlook, with e-mail, full calendars, and a contact list.

It’s a solution used by many businesses, and Microsoft has been quietly offering it, in a form called Exchange Labs, to a few educational institutions since last fall. Drexel University, Hinds Community College, and the Colorado Community College system are some that have tried it.

With Exchange Labs, users at the same university can see one another’s calendars to set up meetings. E-mail tracking is enabled, so students can see whether a term paper was delivered to a professor’s inbox. They can also push e-mail to cell phones. (And they can use Exchange to wipe data from those phones if they happen to lose them.) Exchange Labs also gives university officials the ability to set up filters, like spam filters, for offensive terms in e-mail, though Mr. Gabrielle says he wasn’t sure what words, if any, that universities have tried placing on a “do not type” list.

At this point the service is not being offered to faculty members or administrators. “I think it’s a business model decision,” Mr. Gabrielle said, noting that the company may need to figure out whether it wants to allow ads on Web pages seen by those users; the student and alumni service is ad-free.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology tools and tricks of the trade are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm


Question
Why does merit money cause teachers unions to refuse free money?

"We Don't Need Your Money," The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2008; Page A20 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121184546652121307.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) was started by Bill Gates, Michael Dell and other technology titans concerned about the declining performance of American students in math and science. The public-private partnership funds efforts to increase the number of students taking advanced placement courses in those subjects. But thanks to the Washington Education Association, a teachers union, the initiative's recent efforts in Washington state have been torpedoed.

Earlier this month NMSI announced that a $13.2 million grant slated for Washington state was being scrapped. Why? The contract ran afoul of the union's collective bargaining agreement. NMSI wanted to compensate teachers directly and include extra pay based on how well students performed on AP exams. But under the teacher contracts, the union is the exclusive agent for negotiating teacher pay and union officials refused to compromise. They were willing to turn away free money for their teacher members rather than abide this kind of merit pay.

State Representative Bill Fromhold, who was helping to administer the grant, told the Seattle Times, "We worked hard to try to find middle ground." But in the end, he said, "we got caught in the middle of the grant requirements and collective bargaining laws in the state of Washington that have to be followed."

Other heavily unionized states, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, were able to reach agreements and will receive the math and science money notwithstanding similar bargaining agreements. And while the Washington union is spurning millions of dollars in grant money, it's also suing the state for the alleged inadequate funding of public schools. Hmmm. Could it be that union chiefs care more about protecting their monopoly than what students are learning?

 


From the Scout Report on June 6, 2008

Pidgin 2.4.2 --- http://www.pidgin.im/download/ 

Represented by a pluckish plum-colored pigeon, the Pidgin open-source messaging application could potentially clean up any pesky and persistent messaging conundrums. The application allows users to access multiple instant messaging networks from one window. Some of the supported instant messaging applications include Google Talk, MySpaceIM, Jabber, and Gadu- Gadu. This version of Pidgin is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP.


FeedDemon 2.7 --- http://www.newsgator.com/Individuals/FeedDemon/Default.aspx

With RSS feeds busting out all over, it can be hard to keep track of one's favorites. Feed Demon 2.7 can help ease such potential information woes by offering a newsreader that is both simple enough for neophytes and customizable enough for those who can't get enough Boing Boing or style updates from the New York Times. This version of FeedDemon 2.7 is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.


Life and Education in the Far North

Through adaptation and resilience, we overcome personal and physical challenges. We change the future by changing ourselves in the present. An extreme place is the common denominator. Inevitably extreme places sustain different life styles, new businesses and ideas. Alaska is a creative place. I am certain this trait is linked to a highly competitive environment where life’s essentials, shelter, food and community are hard won and cannot be taken for granted. Commencement at Chukchi represents the possibility of a new beginning. Life can be lonely and harsh, but it is precisely the juxtaposition of challenge, opportunity and freedom that draws us here. In extreme situations can we learn to live in harmony or test our potential as human beings.
Daniel Julius, "Graduation, Kotzebue, 2008," by Daniel Julius, Inside Higher Ed, June 10, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/06/10/julius


Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks


Education Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs and listservs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Note the excellent online course at http://newmediaocw.wordpress.com/

Bob Jensen's threads on free online tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials

Bob Jensen's Threads on Free Learning Materials
Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

 

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

National Park Service Travel Itinerary: Richmond, Virginia --- http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/index.html

New Wiki Helps Humanities Researchers Find Online Tools
A new wiki provides a directory of online tools for humanities scholars. The site, which uses software that lets anyone edit or add to the material, covers more than 20 categories, including blogging tools, specialized search engines for scholars, and software programs that can record what is on a user's screen. The site, called Digital Research Tools, or DiRT, is run by Lisa Spiro, director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University. The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University runs a similar collection of resources called Exploring and Collecting History Online, or ECHO.
Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 6, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3068&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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


Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

United States National Seismic Hazard Maps --- http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/hazmaps/

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine --- http://www.ethnobiomed.com/home/

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

International Research Network in European Political Communications --- http://www.eurpolcom.eu/

Darwin Initiative --- http://darwin.defra.gov.uk/

Tarlton Law Library in Popular Culture Collection --- http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/index.html

Knight Digital Media Center (journalism tutorials) --- http://knightdigitalmediacenter.org/

The Economics of Early Childhood Policy --- http://rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP227/

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

Tarlton Law Library in Popular Culture Collection --- http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/index.html

June 6, 2008 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY

Charles W. Bailey, Jr. recently published the second version of "The Google Book Search Bibliography." The resource provides citations and links to over a hundred English-language references to scholarly papers and newspaper articles. The bibliography presents a comprehensive examination of the Google service and the "legal, library, and social issues associated with it." The bibliography is available at http://www.digital-scholarship.org/gbsb/gbsb.htm

Bailey is a prolific compiler of scholarly communication bibliographies, notably the "Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography" (now in its 70th edition). You can access all his publications at http://www.digital-scholarship.org/

Jensen Comment
Also see http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3069&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

 

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


Math Tutorials

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


History Tutorials

A cleverly-constructed timeline on the history of the world's great religions --- http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf

The Labrador Inuit Through Moravian Eyes (video) --- http://link.library.utoronto.ca/inuitmoravian/

H-Albion (for communications among historians) --- http://www.h-net.org/~albion/

Ancient Mesopotamia: This History, Our History (video) --- http://mesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu/

Great Chicago Stories --- http://www.greatchicagostories.com/

Hidden Truths: The Chicago City Cemetery & Lincoln Park --- http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/

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

Knight Digital Media Center (journalism tutorials) --- http://knightdigitalmediacenter.org/

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


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

 


Question
Can tennis line machines see better than players and referees?
The paper suggests adding a “health warning” to virtual reconstructions created by technologies like Hawk-Eye.

"Cardiff U. Researchers Take On Wimbledon," by Catherine Rampeli, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2008 --- Click Here

Things get dangerous when tech meets tennis.

A new study from two Cardiff University researchers attacks the accuracy of a “sports decision aid”—a technology used to supplement or replace referee and umpire calls—used at Wimbledon.

Hawk-Eye, which makes calls in tennis, was previously questioned in last year’s Wimbledon tennis championship. In the final match, Roger Federer believed that a ball hit by his opponent Rafael Nadal landed well behind the baseline. But the umpire, who had initially called the ball out, deferred to Hawk-Eye’s judgment that the ball was in.

This new study indicates Federer may have been right. The researchers argue that the average error of the machine is greater than the 3.6 millimeters reported by its manufacturers, and that people can overestimate the ability of machines to settle human disagreements accurately. The paper suggests adding a “health warning” to virtual reconstructions created by technologies like Hawk-Eye.

 


"Five Best These books about cities tower above the rest, says Pete Hamill," The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2008, Page W10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121341177794274523.html?mod=djemEditorialPage 

1. Gotham By Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace Oxford, 1999

Every great city is a palimpsest, an old text upon which new texts are inscribed before the old text is completely erased. My native New York is one of those cities. This long volume (1,383 pages) is among the most valuable I own. The authors adhere to scholarly exactitude but never lose sight of the driving narrative that led eventually to the city in which New Yorkers now live. The authors tell us what is knowable about the Native Americans who were here before Europeans arrived. They remind us that we had the good fortune to be established by a company (the Dutch West India Co.) and not a king or a religious sect. After New Amsterdam was taken at gunpoint by the British in 1664, the Dutch left us a number of gifts, the most important of which was tolerance. Across the centuries, in spite of slavery, riots, bigotry and the genteel brutalities of class, tolerance prevailed. In our daily lives, for those who have lived in New York for generations or who arrived last week, one fact is triumphantly clear: We live peacefully in a grand, imperfect city of people who are not like us. This book helps explain why.

2. A Time in Rome By Elizabeth Bowen Knopf, 1959

Across a long life (1899-1973), the fine Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen produced novels and memoirs that are dense with a sense of place. By the time she decided to write about Rome and her stay there for several months in the late 1950s, she knew that there was only one way to experience the city: Read -- then get out of the house. "Knowledge of Rome must be physical, sweated into the system, worked up into the brain through the thinning shoe leather," she writes in this marvelous portrait. "Substantiality comes through touch and smell, and taste, the tastes of different dusts. When it comes to knowing, the senses are more honest than the intelligence." Bowen is not afraid to admit her ignorance (she struggles, early on, to figure out exactly where to find the Seven Hills of Rome). But through a combination of chance meetings, daily wanderings and the sheer luck of getting lost, Bowen feels Rome emerging, with all its mysteries, all its annoyances and, above all, its thrilling and humbling sense of time.

3. Where the Air Is Clear By Carlos Fuentes Obolensky, 1960

Carlos Fuentes's first novel (published in Spanish in 1958) is set in the Mexico City I knew in 1956-57, when I was a student there on the G.I. Bill. I walked some of these streets, passed some of these fine houses, dangerous cantinas and dark, seductive nightclubs. But I was a stranger, a young gringo with infantile Spanish and very little money, and I could never know these places the way Fuentes did. After reading "Where the Air Is Clear," I surely knew them better. In the novel, Fuentes does his own riffs on Dos Passos and Faulkner, the way a first-class musician would. And just as living in Mexico City made me see New York more clearly, so did this work of high literary art. Each time I return to its pages and start reading again, it's like a new book.

4. Paris By Andrew Hussey Bloomsbury, 2006

Everybody is here in this history of the "secret city" of Paris: Knights Templar, flâneurs, great whores, artistic visionaries, charlatans, revolutionists, various Napoleons, Balzac and Camus, flat-out criminals, and even Joan of Arc. The writing is clear and exuberant, with a journalist's eye for the revealing details of place and character and a scholar's scrupulous regard for meaning. After reading "Paris," you will never see Europe's most beautiful city the same way. Or Parisians. A few years ago, when reading the book, I reminded a friend that one reason I love Paris (as Faulkner once said about Mississippi: in spite of, not because) is that it was founded by Celts, from a wandering tribe called the Parisii. They saw the Île de la Cité, protected by a flowing moat on all sides. The tribe's wandering was over. "If that's the case," my friend asked, "why is the food so good?" I paused and said: "Because they had the great good fortune to be conquered by the Romans, not the Brits."

5. Invisible Cities By Italo Calvino Harcourt, 1974

In this short, delightful work of fiction, a loving prose-poem about cities, the Tartar emperor Kublai Khan, gray and full of years, sits talking with Marco Polo, the young traveler from Venice. They discuss cities, 55 of them in all: trading cities, thin cities, continuous cities, cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and signs, cities and the dead. Both men seem to know that every city begins its life as a work of the imagination. All books on cities have such a moment: the time when someone sees a harbor, a river, a protective mountain, or the Île de la Cité, and says: Here. Stop here. Forever.

Mr. Hamill is the former editor of the New York Post and Daily News. His books include the novel "North River" (2007).

 


These are great for a high school graduation speech, but Bill Gates is incorrectly credited for having written these rules --- http://www.snopes.com/language/document/liferule.asp

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel g ood about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of hi gh school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word f or burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time..

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. 

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.




We, in Ireland, can't figure out why you in the U. S . are even bothering to hold an election. On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, running against a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer. On the other side, you have a war hero married to a good looking woman who owns a beer distributorship.
Anonymous quote from Ireland forwarded by Auntie Bev
Now we know which candidate will have the best foreign relations with Ireland!

Quotations forwarded by Nancy Mills

When Insults Had Class

There was a time when words were used beautifully. These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language was boiled down to four-letter words!

 

The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor:
She said, "If you were my husband, I'd give you poison,"
And he said, "If you were my wife, I'd take it."

Gladstone, a member of Parliament, to Benjamin Disraeli:
"Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, sir," said Disraeli, "On whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure." comedian Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." - Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." - Thomas Brackett Reed

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork. - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."- Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

Jagdish Gangolly recommends Honourable Insults, by Greg Knight, Robson Books, 1990 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Knight 

 




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

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

 

 

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