Paul Pacter forwarded the above photograph of a New Hampshire black bear.
This looks like the same big bear that rips out the bird feeders on our deck.

Unlike their brown bear cousins in the West, black bears are really not very dangerous unless provoked.
They have a gentle disposition, but then again they really love bird food and dumpsters.

The best boss I ever had, Don Edwards, took the above picture of Erika and me on August 4, 2008 the American Accounting Association annual meetings in Anaheim, California. Don was the Chairman of the Department of Accounting, Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate at Michigan State University when I finished up my doctoral degree at Stanford in 1966. I had the privilege of teaching MSU doctoral seminars to some of the best doctoral students ever recruited (largely due to the efforts of Dr. Edwards). These students included Bill Kinney, Paul Pacter, Bob May, Ron Copeland, Barry Cushing, Jim McKeown, Bill Morris, Fred Davis, Pat McKinsey, Gene Sauls, and many others. You can read more about James Don Edwards in his Accounting Hall of Fame module at

Sadly in those days, I was overly enamored with mathematical programming and statistical theory to a fault. I lost sight of my way in accounting history and service to the profession of accounting. But is was so much fun playing in the sandbox of eigenvector scaling models in a Analytic Hierarch Process (AHP) world of hypothetical decision making ---

In an excellent plenary session presentation in Anaheim on August 5, Professor Zoe-Vanna Palmrose mentioned how advocates of fair value accounting for both financial and non-financial assets and liabilities should heed the cautions of George O. May about how fair value accounting contributed to the great stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. Afterwards Don and I lamented that accounting doctoral students and younger accounting faculty today have little interest in and knowledge of accounting history and the great accounting scholars of the past like George O. May ---
Don mentioned how the works of George O. May should be revisited in light of the present movement by standard setters to shift from historical cost allocation accounting to fair value re-measurement (some say fantasy land or phantasmagoric) accounting ---

In the United States, virtually all accounting doctoral programs (except for Central Florida University) are focused on "accountics" (mathematics, econometrics, and psychometrics). Alternate research methodologies of archival history, field studies, and case method disappeared from the academy of accountancy. You can read reasons for such losses at the following sites:

Whereas in humanities and science, there are experts on the history of ideas, theories, discoveries, and noted scholars throughout time, there are virtually no new scholars of accounting history and no U.S. doctoral programs offer study tracks in accounting history. In the fields of management, organization theory, and sociology, the histories of theories and theorists are central to modern-day scholarship ---

How long has it been since The Accounting Review (TAR) published an accounting history paper?
How long has it been since a TAR paper focused even in part on accounting theorists before 1960?

In the first 40 years of TAR, an accounting “scholar” was first and foremost an expert on accounting. After 1960, following the Gordon and Howell Report, the perception of what it took to be a “scholar” changed to quantitative modeling. It became advantageous for an “accounting” researcher to have a degree in mathematics, management science, mathematical economics, psychometrics, or econometrics. Being a mere accountant no longer was sufficient credentials to be deemed a scholarly researcher. Many doctoral programs stripped much of the accounting content out of the curriculum and sent students to mathematics and social science departments for courses. Scholarship on accounting standards became too much of a time diversion for faculty who were “leading scholars.” Particularly relevant in this regard is Dennis Beresford’s address to the AAA membership at the 2005 Annual AAA Meetings in San Francisco:

In my eight years in teaching I’ve concluded that way too many of us don’t stay relatively up to date on professional issues. Most of us have some experience as an auditor, corporate accountant, or in some similar type of work. That’s great, but things change quickly these days.
Beresford [2005]

Jane Mutchler made a similar appeal for accounting professors to become more involved in the accounting profession when she was President of the AAA [Mutchler, 2004, p. 3].

In the last 40 years, TAR’s publication preferences shifted toward problems amenable to scientific research, with esoteric models requiring accountics skills in place of accounting expertise. When Professor Beresford attempted to publish his remarks, an Accounting Horizons referee’s report to him contained the following revealing reply about “leading scholars” in accounting research:

1. The paper provides specific recommendations for things that accounting academics should be doing to make the accounting profession better. However (unless the author believes that academics' time is a free good) this would presumably take academics' time away from what they are currently doing. While following the author's advice might make the accounting profession better, what is being made worse? In other words, suppose I stop reading current academic research and start reading news about current developments in accounting standards. Who is made better off and who is made worse off by this reallocation of my time? Presumably my students are marginally better off, because I can tell them some new stuff in class about current accounting standards, and this might possibly have some limited benefit on their careers. But haven't I made my colleagues in my department worse off if they depend on me for research advice, and haven't I made my university worse off if its academic reputation suffers because I'm no longer considered a leading scholar? Why does making the accounting profession better take precedence over everything else an academic does with their time?
As quoted in Jensen [2006a]


The above quotation illustrates the consequences of editorial policies of TAR and several other leading accounting research journals. To be considered a “leading scholar” in accountancy, one’s research must employ mathematically-based economic/behavioral theory and quantitative modeling. Most TAR articles published in the past two decades support this contention. But according to AAA President Judy Rayburn and other recent AAA presidents, this scientific focus may not be in the best interests of accountancy academicians or the accountancy profession.

In terms of citations, TAR fails on two accounts. Citation rates are low in practitioner journals because the scientific paradigm is too narrow, thereby discouraging researchers from focusing on problems of great interest to practitioners that seemingly just do not fit the scientific paradigm due to lack of quality data, too many missing variables, and suspected non-stationarities. TAR editors are loath to open TAR up to non-scientific methods so that really interesting accounting problems are neglected in TAR. Those non-scientific methods include case method studies, traditional historical method investigations, and normative deductions.

In the other account, TAR citation rates are low in academic journals outside accounting because the methods and techniques being used (like CAPM and options pricing models) were discovered elsewhere and accounting researchers are not sought out for discoveries of scientific methods and models. The intersection of models and topics that do appear in TAR seemingly are borrowed models and uninteresting topics outside the academic discipline of accounting.

We close with a quotation from Scott McLemee demonstrating that what happened among accountancy academics over the past four decades is not unlike what happened in other academic disciplines that developed “internal dynamics of esoteric disciplines,” communicating among themselves in loops detached from their underlying professions. McLemee’s [2006] article stems from Bender [1993].

 “Knowledge and competence increasingly developed out of the internal dynamics of esoteric disciplines rather than within the context of shared perceptions of public needs,” writes Bender. “This is not to say that professionalized disciplines or the modern service professions that imitated them became socially irresponsible. But their contributions to society began to flow from their own self-definitions rather than from a reciprocal engagement with general public discourse.”

Now, there is a definite note of sadness in Bender’s narrative – as there always tends to be in accounts of the shift from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. Yet it is also clear that the transformation from civic to disciplinary professionalism was necessary.


“The new disciplines offered relatively precise subject matter and procedures,” Bender concedes, “at a time when both were greatly confused. The new professionalism also promised guarantees of competence — certification — in an era when criteria of intellectual authority were vague and professional performance was unreliable.”

But in the epilogue to Intellect and Public Life, Bender suggests that the process eventually went too far. “The risk now is precisely the opposite,” he writes. “Academe is threatened by the twin dangers of fossilization and scholasticism (of three types: tedium, high tech, and radical chic). The agenda for the next decade, at least as I see it, ought to be the opening up of the disciplines, the ventilating of professional communities that have come to share too much and that have become too self-referential.”

For the good of the AAA membership and the profession of accountancy in general, one hopes that the changes in publication and editorial policies at TAR proposed by President Rayburn [2005, p. 4] will result in the “opening up” of topics and research methods produced by “leading scholars.”

For those remaining (old time?) historians (like James Don Edwards, Dale Flesher, Gary Previts, Steve Zeff, and Dick Vangermeersch) now is a great time to preserve some accounting history in the new American Accounting Association Commons ---
I predict that the Commons will one day surpass all other resources of the American Accounting Association. Special thanks to Gary Previts, Julie Smith David, Tracey Sutherland, and the staff of the AAA that launched the Commons in August 2008.

Also on the bright side, the new Editor of TAR, Steven J. Kachelmeier, is now inviting submissions in accounting history, field studies, and accounting information systems. Times are changing in the academy of accounting educators and researchers. Amazingly, even our chronic-curmudgeon Paul Williams is impressed.

Academy of Accounting Historians ---


Tidbits on August 14, 2008
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

CPA Examination ---

On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators ---
After 2017 what we would really like is a choice between our full social security benefits or 18 Euros each month ---

Global Incident Map ---

Set up free conference calls at
Also see   

Free Online Tutorials in Multiple Disciplines ---

Google Maps Street View ---

World Clock ---

Tips on computer and networking security ---

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) ---

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  ---

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

Nature Online Video Streaming Archive (multimedia) ---

TED Video Example
Mathemajician Arthur Benjamin ---

Open Science Directory ---

Free Feature Length Documentary Films --- 

The Visual Dictionary ---

Frontline: Return of the Taliban (video) --- (for a better understanding of politics and legislation) ---

Exploring Race (multimedia) ---

Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product (video) ---

Free music downloads ---

While working on the computer, Bob Jensen often listens to (free and without commercials) ---
Even better  for this old guy from the jukebox era (just let it play through) ---

But I listen most to Soldiers Radio Live ---

Stravinsky Gets His 'Rite: Remixed' ---
This is outstanding!

Take Me Back to the 1950s ---

Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One ---

Sarah Vaughan's Unlikeliest Jazz Classic ---

Conan O'Brien - ''Pilobolus'' ---

Tribute to the Flag (Elvis) ---

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (multimedia) ---

Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health (multimedia) ---

Exploring Race (multimedia) ---

While working on the computer, Bob Jensen often listens to (free and without commercials) ---
Even better for this old guy from the jukebox era (just let it play through) ---

But I listen most to Soldiers Radio Live ---
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings ---

Photographs and Art

Phelps Miracle Win (Sports Illustrated Slide Show) ---

American Museum of Natural History: Division of Anthropology ---

Irish Museum of Modern Art ---

Internet Mission Photography Archive ---

National Gallery of Art ---

National Gallery of Art: Videos & Podcasts ---

American Geographical Society Library: Tibet ---

Louis L. McAllister Photographs --- L. McAllister Photographs


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 ---

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---

Learning Resources
Wisc-Online: Online Learning Object Repository (multimedia) ---

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: His Life, All His Works and More ---

THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES (includes drawings) ---
The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ---
Mystery Net ---

Taps (Played over dead soldiers)
The words are:

  Day is done ... Gone the sun
  From the lakes ... From the hills ...
  From the sky . All is well.
  Safely rest .. God is nigh.
  Fading light .. Dims the sight ..
  And a star ... Gems the sky
  Gleaming bright From afar ..
   Drawing nigh . Falls the night.
  Thanks and praise .... For our days
  Neath the sun ... Neath the stars....
  Neath the sky . As we go
  This we know .. God is nigh

The Atheist Version:

  Day is done ... Gone the sun
  From the lakes ... From the hills ...
  From the sky . All is well.
  Because ... There is no hell
  Fading light .. Dims the sight ..
  And a star ... Gems the sky
  Gleaming bright From afar ..
   Drawing nigh . Falls the night.
  Thanks and praise .... For our days
  Neath the sun ... Neath the stars....
  Neath the sky . As we go
  Leaving you to rot ...You're nevermore.

Save Our Trees,
Recycle Homework
Printed on a young boy's T-shirt (as seen in the Manchester, NH Airport)

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
Aristotle as quoted by Mark Shapiro at ---

I wonder whether in the rush to celebrate the virtues of openness and the fun of group learning, we’re forgetting the virtues inherent in learning in private, in reclusive Walden-like settings.
Luke Fernandez, Weber State University as quoted by Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education July 29, 2008 ---

Therein lies the real trouble. Learning is labor. We're selling the fantasy that technology can change that. It can’t. No technology ever has. Gutenberg’s press only made it easier to print books, not easier to read and understand them.
Peter Berger, "The Land of iPods and Honey," The Irascible Professor, February 26, 2007 ---  at

My favourite French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, once in exasperation asked:
now that the learned men have arrived, where are all the honest men gone?

Jagdish Gangolly

The big powers are going down," Ahmadinejad told foreign ministers of the Nonaligned Movement meeting in Tehran. "They have come to the end of their power, and the world is on the verge of entering a new, promising era.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, CNN, July 29, 2008 ---

Russia Lost the Georgian War
Andrei Illarionov , a liberal economist and former policy advisor to the Russian president, has released his conclusions on the war in Georgia. The conflict, he argues, was a “brilliant provocation carefully planned and successfully carried out by the Russian leadership.” However, the Russian leadership did not achieve its main goals– removing Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili from power and changing Georgia’s political regime. In Illarionov’s opinion, Georgia’s NATO aspirations have only been heightened. By leading forces into the territory of a foreign government, Russia has been internationally recognized as an aggressor, according to the economist. Georgia, on the other hand, became an internationally recognized victim. Illarionov believes that Russia has become completely isolated in its foreign policy, as only Cuba supported Russia’s Georgian campaign.
The Other Russia, August 13, 2008 ---

Historically, the evangelical colleges that comprise the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities have not been magnets for many black students. A new analysis from The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education suggests that’s changing, with some Protestant colleges recording staggering increases in black student enrollments over the last decade. At Montreat College, in North Carolina, undergraduate black student enrollment increased from 3.7 percent in 1997 to 23 percent in 2007, according to the analysis. At Belhaven College, in Mississippi, black student enrollment climbed from 16.9 to 41 percent. At LeTourneau University, in Texas, the figure grew from 5.7 to 22 percent. Overall, the analysis finds that the number of CCCU colleges where black enrollments are at 10 percent or higher has more than tripled to 29 over the last 10 years — even as a core group of 22 Christian colleges maintain black enrollments of 2 percent or less (a decrease, however, from 33 such colleges in 1997).
Elizabeth Redden, "Christian Colleges Grow More Diverse," Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2008 ---

Exactly what Obama is advocating here cannot be determined, but it seems to be something of an endorsement of the idea of "reparations for slavery," which is usually taken to mean cash payments. In this view, the following deeds are insufficient to balance the ledger between America and the descendants of slaves: the Civil War, the ratification of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the continuing practice of racial preferences.
James Taranto, "Check Please." The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
Upon recognizing that such reparations are unpopular with a majority of voters, Senator Obama clarified (flip flopped on?) this endorsement of reparations as cash handouts. He prefers monumental affirmative action funding for education, housing, and employment ---

Forget the glitzy restaurants of New York and London: only in Zimbabwe would a hamburger actually cost millions of dollars. The central bank of the southern African country has a issued a 10 million Zimbabwe dollar note. The move increases the denomination of the nation's highest bank note more than tenfold. Even so, a hamburger in an ordinary cafe in Zimbabwe costs 15 million Zimbabwe dollars.
"Zimbabwe bank issues $10million bill - but it won't even buy you a hamburger in Harare," London Daily Mail, January 19, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
You chuckle but the day is coming when the U.S. will print a $10 million U.S. dollar bill that won't buy a hamburger, because U.S. politicians from both parties no longer can say no to doomsday entitlements.

The Global Poverty Act (S.2433) is expected to come up for a vote in the US Senate any time before the November presidential elections, according to conservatives who fear it is a giant step towards handing over US sovereignty to the United Nations and foreign governments. This is the newest liberal-inspired plan to allow a United Nations style tax on American citizens, according to officials at the American Conservative Union. ACU officials say that this "sickening bill could potentially force the United States to spend as much as $845,000,000,000 on welfare to third-world countries." The American people will be watching and will not tolerate massive United Nations-style giveaways that are passed in the dark of night -- or in broad daylight for that matter. (Obama's) 2433 is a stealth bill and a dagger aimed at the heart of America's sovereignty.
Jensen Comment
This bill gets even worse. It's an annual entitlement to help fight poverty around the world. This money will not go to directly to those who need it, but rather to the UN for distribution. It's a big plum and cherry ripe for fraud just like the U.N.'s disastrous Oil for Food fiasco that diverted the funds to Saddam.

Just Pull the Trigger--Aiming Is Overrated
Chicago Sun-Times
, July 26
Just Give the Farm to the U.N., Aiming Directly at the Poor is Overrated
Why More Entitlements Will Destroy the U.S. Economy ---

But rather than encouraging a return of America’s productive energy, our government is responding to the growing economic crisis by simply trying to boost consumerism at all costs. Their strategy involves socializing losses among all citizens so that the depletion can’t be easily discerned. Now that the nation has chosen socialism as its economic salvation, it is worthwhile to examine some historic precedents. They are not encouraging. Europe, the former Soviet block and much of Africa and Asia, show vividly that socialism curbs individual freedom and enterprise, and leads inevitably toward economic decline.
John Browne, "The Cost of Socialism," Gold Seek, July 31, 2008 ---

On Sunday, he said on national television that to solve Social Security "everything's on the table," which of course means raising payroll taxes. On July 7 in Denver he said: "Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't." This isn't a flip-flop. It's a sex-change operation . . . What I'm asking is, does John McCain have the mental focus, the intellectual discipline, to avoid being out-slicked by Barack Obama, if he isn't abandoned by his own voters? It's not just taxes. Recently the subject came up of Al Gore's assertion that the U.S. could get its energy solely from renewables in 10 years. Sen. McCain said: "If the vice president says it's doable, I believe it's doable." What!!?? In a later interview, Mr. McCain said he hadn't read "all the specifics" of the Gore plan and now, "I don't think it's doable without nuclear power." It just sounds loopy. Then this week in San Francisco, in an interview with the Chronicle, Sen. McCain called Nancy Pelosi an "inspiration to millions of Americans." Notwithstanding his promises to "work with the other side," this is a politically obtuse thing to say in the middle of a campaign. Would Bill Clinton, running for president in 1996 after losing control of the House, have called Newt Gingrich an "inspiration"? House Minority Leader John Boehner, facing a 10-to-20 seat loss in November, must be gagging.
Daniel Henninger
, "Is John McCain Stupid?" The Wall Street Journal,  July 31, 2008; Page A13 ---

It is a salutary discipline to consider the vast number of books that are written, the fair hopes with which their authors see them published, and the fate which awaits them. What chance is there that any book will make its way among the multitude? And the successful books are but the successes of a season. Heaven knows what pains the author has been at, what bitter experiences he has endured and what heartache suffered, to give some chance reader a few hours' relaxation or to while away the tedium of a journey. And if I may judge from the reviews, many of these books are well and carefully written; much thought has gone to their composition; to some even has been given the anxious labor of a lifetime. The moral I draw is that the writer should seek his reward in the pleasure of his work and in release from the burden of his thought; and, indifferent to aught else, care nothing for praise or censure, failure or success.
W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 ---

Despite a less-than-robust economy, the overall average starting salary offer to new college graduates, regardless of major, increased by 7.1 percent over last year, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) . . . Liberal arts graduates also saw rising salaries. As a group, their average offer rose from $32,348 to $36,419 — a 12.6 percent increase.
NACE ---

When trade flares up as a political issue -- as it is likely to do in the presidential campaign this year -- one aspect of the debate is almost always neglected. There is a fierce competition among foreign countries to sell their products here, in the United States, the largest commercial market in the world. Moreover, by opening up our market to Muslim countries, we could not only help American consumers, but also serve a larger strategic goal: that of boosting the economies which now produce large pools of unemployed, embittered youth. We can make trade an effective weapon against terrorism. Our tariff regime puts many nations in the Middle East, whose young people are susceptible to the sirens of Islamic fundamentalism, at an unintended disadvantage. This works against our efforts to stamp out jihadism. Fortunately, the problem is easy to fix. The U.S. buys about a fifth of all the goods and services traded world-wide -- importing $2.63 trillion worth of the world's products last year alone. Socks come in from the Caribbean, towels from Pakistan.
Edward Gresser and Marc Dunkelman, "Free Trade Can Fight Terror," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2008; Page A15 ---

Is this a dagger we see before us, hanging over the global financial system, or a dagger of the mind, a false creation proceeding from the heat-oppressed brains of frightened investors and depositors, greedy short-sellers, short-sighted auditors, and attention-seeking analysts and journalists?
Steven Pearlstein, "Macbeth and the Market," The Washington Post, July 18, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
This is a neat way to combine English literature with accounting and finance courses.

In any other business, Senator Dodd would be begging forgiveness. But in Washington he now wants the Bush Administration to bow to his political wishes in return for protecting the financial system from the risks that Mr. Dodd long claimed Fan and Fred didn't pose. His demands include nearly $4 billion in Community Development Block Grants that are a payoff to liberal interest groups. He also wants an "affordable housing trust fund" for more such largesse that could take as much as a $1 billion a year out of Fan and Fred even as they struggle to stay solvent.
"Fannie and Freddie's Enablers," The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2008; Page A12 ---

From Stansberry & Associates Newsletter, July 18, 2008 ---

A truly colossal screw-up... Freddie to raise $10 billion, don't laugh... Muslim allies... Barney Frank cashes in... Pelosi's ethics... The Vegas gambit... Fannon calls it... The twin titan of corporate infidelity... A great mailbag and my ego...

My best estimate of Fannie and Freddie's book is that around 20% of their loans and their guaranteed loans are in some stage of default or foreclosure. It's a rough guess, admittedly. But it must be closer to the real number than the number Fannie and Freddie have admitted so far, which is less than 1%. That's laughable. More than half of their book was originated later than 2005. Fannie and Freddie expect you to believe their loans are like the kids at Lake Wobegon, all above average. But they own half the market – their loans can't all be above average. If you assume a 75% recovery on these defaults (which is incredibly optimistic given most real estate-related distressed sales are going off at 40% of peak value), then Fannie and Freddie ought to lose something around $250 billion. It's certainly possible they could lose twice as much. Easy.

All of which makes Freddie's plan to raise $10 billion in preferred stock an exercise in bad humor. A $10 billion preferred stock offering would require an additional $1.3 billion per year dividend payout, assuming the interest on the new shares is equal to the interest on the existing preferred, which has been wiped out by the crisis. With losses of $11 billion so far, how would Freddie pay anything, much less more than a billion? It can't. The common stock is already worthless. Folks just haven't accepted it yet.

And by the way, foreigners are finally waking up to the risks of buying U.S. assets – even those backed by the federal government. Kuwait – that wonderful little . . . dictatorship we saved from Iraq – is selling its dollars and will no longer buy any U.S. agency debt (i.e., Fannie and Freddie's bonds)...

Noted statesmen and former owner of a gay bordello, Barney Frank (who happens to chair the House banking committee) is using this crisis to push through his $3 billion gravy train. The bill would create "block grants" – essentially a slush fund for politicians – that would be funded "off balance sheet" by taxing Fannie and Freddie's mortgage holdings.

Bush had threatened to veto the bill because of this rider, but the crisis at Freddie and Fannie now make that impossible. Also, under cover of the crisis, our dear friend Nancy Pelosi repealed most of the new ethics rules passed to great fanfare on the Democrats' first day in power. Of course, the rollback of lobbyist disclosure rules happened late last night, when hopefully no one would notice. These are your elected officials, dear subscribers. Aren't they noble?

Jensen Comment
In fairness, the destruction of ethics rules votes for "block grant" earmarks in Congress was a bipartisan effort in the dead of night. But it was Pelosi who badly punished and demoted Rep. Jeff Flake off the Judicial Committee because of his efforts to put an end to earmark spending corruption ---
Also see

The corporate largesse is on tap despite new ethics laws and rules that both chambers of Congress adopted in 2007, aimed at weakening the links between lawmakers and lobbyists. Spearheaded by the Democratic Party, the ethics effort included an attempt to ban corporations and lobbyists from throwing lavish parties for members at the national political conventions. But in the months since the new rules took effect, lawmakers have watered down the guidelines, and Capitol Hill and K Street have teamed up to find ways around the guidelines as written. Politicians and lobbyists are now preparing about 400 of the biggest parties -- both at the Democratic gathering in Colorado and when Republicans convene the following week in St. Paul -- that conventioneers have ever seen.
Brody Mullins and Elizabeth Williamson, "Parties Skirt Rules on Gifts, Plan Lavish Conventions," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2008; Page A1 ---

An albatross Republicans must haul around this year is that voters no longer clearly see them as the party best able to control government spending and taxes. GOP pork-barrel kings such as Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young are a big reason. Now allegations of corruption are swirling around both men as they face stiff challenges in Alaska's Aug. 26 Republican primary. Messrs. Stevens and Young have done enormous damage nationally to the Republican brand. They were champions of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," a $223 million span to Gravina Island with 50 people on it, that became the butt of late-night comedians. But the jokes have been replaced with anger: Mr. Stevens was indicted last month on seven felony counts of lying about $250,000 in gifts he received from the head of the oil services company VECO, Bill Allen, who was seeking earmarks from the senator. Mr. Young has spent over $1 million in legal fees fighting a federal investigation of his ties to VECO.
John Fund, "Alaska's Congressmen Are a Bridge to Nowhere," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2008; Page A9 ---

Mutual fund managers had significantly better returns on investments made in companies led by their former classmates than they did in companies where no such connections existed, according to a recent study. Indeed, investments in so-called “connected” stocks outperformed non-connected stocks by more than 8 percent, the study found.The findings are published in the bureau’s working paper, entitled
The Small World of Investing: Board Communications and Mutual Fund Returns.”
Jack Stripling, "Another Way Education Pays," Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2008 ---

Democrats in Congress have also spooked the world with their blatant protectionism -- from their recent veto override of a farm bill jammed with trade-distorting subsidies, to their refusal to ratify bilateral trade deals even with such vital U.S. allies as Colombia and South Korea. Barack Obama's promise to repudiate Nafta if Mexico and Canada won't go along with his ideas was also a trade shock heard 'round the world. For all their talk about listening to America's partners, Democrats are the world's biggest trade bullies. Having defeated Doha, the world's protectionists will now press forward with their special-interest agendas, hoping to build a lattice-work of cartels and managed trade. One way to push back is with bilateral or regional trade pacts, but these also risk establishing regional cartels and a web of conflicting trade rules that raise business costs.
"The End of Free Trade?" The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2008; Page A14 ---

More than a million illegal immigrants have fled the country, mostly because increased immigration enforcement has discouraged them from trying to put down roots in the U.S., according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Immigration Studies. The Washington, D.C.-based group that has been pushing for stronger immigration law enforcement for years.
Patrick McGee, Quad-Cities Online, July 30, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
But the Federal immigration authorities are still hampered by U.S. cities like San Francisco that officially refuse to cooperate with discovering and processing illegal immigrants. This even applies to foreign drug dealers in San Francisco jails who, when released, often commit violent crimes ---
Is it possible to get San Francisco to secede from the Union?

Surrendering to Drug Cartel Anarchy
Mexican law enforcement officials are walking into U.S. ports of entry in increasing numbers to seek political asylum, and the flow may soon become a flood as Mexico's battle with the drug cartels intensifies. Our first instinct is to welcome them, but there is more at stake than humanitarian sentiments. The problem is that if our immigration laws are stretched to grant asylum to law enforcement personnel on the grounds that their own government cannot protect them, any Mexican threatened by these violent criminal gangs can claim the same right of asylum.
Tom Tancredo, FrontPage Magazine, July 16, 2008---

"Violence hitting Mexico's civilians," by Dudley Al Thaus,, July 14, 2008 ---

Many Mexicans have long shrugged off the violence shaking their country by telling themselves it only affects those involved in the narcotics trade and corrupt law enforcement officers.

But innocent civilians, once considered largely off-limits, now find themselves increasingly targeted.

In the past five days, two attacks in the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa claimed the lives of perhaps more than a dozen people with no apparent connection to the drug trade — including at least four teens, a 12-year-old girl and a father-and-son team of university accounting professors.

In a separate incident, dozens of people were taken hostage Saturday at a restaurant in Mazatlan, Sinaloa's premiere beach resort and seaport. The assassins killed an officer and fled the mall in a van with 10 of the hostages, later freeing them unharmed and making their escape.

"That they are killing civilians speaks to the monster that has been created," said Yudit del Rincon Castro, an outspoken Sinaloa state legislator from Guamuchil. "They used to respect women, children, innocents. Now when they go after someone they don't care who they hit along with them."

Continued in article

Before 2005, taxpayers who donated a vehicle were allowed to deduct its fair market value. Tax legislation enacted in 2004 changed the rules to generally limit vehicle donation deductions of over $500 to either the actual proceeds from a vehicle's sale or the vehicle's fair market value -- whichever is less. Recently released IRS statistics reveal the 2004 law had an immediate and drastic affect on car donations. An analysis of the new numbers by Grant Thornton's National Tax Office shows that between tax year 2004 and 2005, car donations of over $500 dropped by two-thirds. Over 900,000 tax returns claimed deductions for donated automobiles in 2004. In 2005, the last year for which the IRS has detailed data, less than 300,000 tax returns included such claims.. The total amount deducted for all car donations declined from $2.4 billion in 2004 to just a half a billion dollars the following year, a decrease of over 80 percent.
SmartPros, July 15, 2008 ---

The Show's Over and So are His Scholarship Promises
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is pulling the plug on a scholarship program he started at an Eastern North Carolina high school -- a program he once promised would be a model for the nation under an Edwards presidency. Edwards' presidential hopes have evaporated. And he recently informed Greene County officials that he would end the pilot program at Greene Central High School. "We sent a communication out to upcoming seniors and their parents," said Randy Bledsoe, principal of Greene Central High. "Some are saddened that the opportunity is not going to be there for their children.
Rob Christensen, The News & Observer, July 31, 2008 ---

Earlier this week, the California State Automobile Association, an affiliate of the national AAA, announced it is closing all three of its call centers in the state at a loss of 900 jobs. Spokeswoman Cynthia Harris was quite blunt about the reason: "It costs more to do business in California than other states." Her group will now will be answering calls from California motorists from new centers in lower-cost Arizona and Oklahoma. . . . The state's Democrats not only insist on higher taxes, but are blocking a proposal from Gov. Schwarzenegger to limit future spending increases to the growth of the state's population and inflation in an attempt to cushion the impact of future economic downturns. "I think that we have to be very, very careful about tying the hands of future governors and future legislatures," says Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones. Apparently, he and his colleagues prefer tying the hands of California businesses so they feel compelled to flee the state.
John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2008 ---

Bush's Laffer Matter:  Tax Cuts Increase Tax Revenues
Washington is teeing up "the rich" for a big tax hike next year, as a way to make them "pay their fair share." Well, the latest IRS data have arrived on who paid what share of income taxes in 2006, and it's going to be hard for the rich to pay any more than they already do. The data show that the 2003 Bush tax cuts caused what may be the biggest increase in tax payments by the rich in American history. The nearby chart shows that the top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%. Barack Obama says he's going to cut taxes for those at the bottom, but that's also going to be a challenge because Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1%. Perhaps he thinks half the country should pay all the taxes to support the other half. Aha, we are told: The rich paid more taxes because they made a greater share of the money. That is true. The top 1% earned 22% of all reported income. But they also paid a share of taxes not far from double their share of income. In other words, the tax code is already steeply progressive. We also know from income mobility data that a very large percentage in the top 1% are "new rich," not inheritors of fortunes. There is rapid turnover in the ranks of the highest income earners, so much so that people who started in the top 1% of income in the 1980s and 1990s suffered the largest declines in earnings of any income group over the subsequent decade, according to Treasury Department studies of actual tax returns. It's hard to stay king of the hill in America for long.
"Their Fair Share," The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2008; Page A12 ---

According to the Treasury Department, the number of millionaires in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2003 and 2006, from 181,000 to 354,000. Part of the reason for that increase is that favorable capital gains rates encouraged Americans to invest more, and corporations that pay lower tax rates are more able to pay dividends. But also, history shows that when taxpayers feel tax rates are fair, they are less likely to invest in tax shelters or to simply hide income, and more likely to report what they actually earned. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan both knew and proved that theory. President Kennedy said, "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now." Under his administration, the top tax rate was cut from a high of over 90 percent to 70 percent causing many naysayers to swoon. The result? Tax revenues climbed from $94 billion in 1961 to $153 billion in 1968, an increase of 62 percent. During this time, the rich saw their share of taxes increase from 11.6 percent to 15.1 percent. Under Ronald Reagan, tax revenues in the 80s climbed 99.4 percent. For the top 1 percent of taxpayers, their share of total tax rose from 17.6 percent in 1981 to 27.5 percent in 1988.
"Who bears the tax burden in the U.S.?" AccountingWeb, July 31, 2008 ---

If you've been paying attention to California's chronic budget problems, you know that they fundamentally stem from a disastrous decision in 2000 by then-Gov. Gray Davis and legislators of both parties to squander a one-time windfall of revenue on permanent spending increases and tax cuts that could not be sustained over the long haul. It was, however, just one of three similarly irresponsible decisions during Davis' governorship, which was cut short by his recall in 2003. A second was to sharply increase state worker pensions on the assurances of the union-dominated California Public Employees' Retirement System that they could be financed from investment earnings without additional burden on taxpayers. That wrongheaded move now costs state taxpayers about $2 billion a year, adding to the budget woes. The third, which garnered very little attention when it was made in 2001, was to nearly double unemployment insurance benefits, from a $230-per-week maximum to $450, because the Unemployment Insurance Fund was running a $6 billion surplus. This has turned out to be a fiscal disaster as well.
Dan Walters, "California has more than one financial mess," Sacramento Bee, August 15, 2008 ---

No Laffer Matter:  Leftists to Test Obama's Tax Plan in California
Will raising taxes to new highs bring in more or less revenue? I hope Nancy Pelosi is closely watching her "Number One" taxing home state!
"California as No. 1," The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2008; Page A14 ---

New York City has long been the highest tax jurisdiction in the United States, but California politicians are proposing to steal that brass tiara. California faces a $15 billion budget deficit and Democrats who rule the state Legislature have proposed closing the gap with a $9.7 billion tax hike on business and "the rich." There's a movie that describes this idea: Clueless.

The plan would raise the top marginal income tax rate to 12% from 10.3%; that would be the highest in the nation and twice the national average. This plan would also repeal indexing for inflation, which is a sneaky way for politicians to push middle-income Californians into higher tax brackets every year, especially when prices are rising as they are now. The corporate income tax rate would also rise to 9.3% from 8.4%. So in the face of one of the worst real-estate recessions in the state's history, the politicians want to raise taxes on businesses that are still making money.

This latest tax gambit was unveiled, ironically enough, within days of two very large California employers announcing they are saying, in the famous words of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "hasta la vista, baby" to the state. First, the AAA auto club declared it will close its call centers in California, meaning that 900 jobs will move to other states. "It costs more to do business in California," said a AAA press release, in the understatement of the year.

Then last week Toyota announced it is canceling plans to build its new Prius hybrid at its plant in the San Francisco Bay area because of the high tax and regulatory costs. Adding to the humiliation is that Toyota will now take this investment and about 1,000 jobs to a more progressive and pro-business state: Mississippi.

There is already a reverse gold rush going on in California and the evidence points powerfully toward high tax rates as a culprit. Census Bureau data show that, from 1996-2005, 1.3 million more Americans left than came to California. And the people who are leaving are disproportionately those with higher incomes: the very targets the Democrats want to tax more.

The liberal fairy tale is that the rich "don't pay their fair share." The reality is that there's no state in the country more dependent on six- and seven-figure earners to pay its bills. Those with incomes of more than $100,000 pay 83% of the state's income taxes, and the richest 6,000 of the 38 million Californians pay $9 billion in taxes. Every time a rich person like Tiger Woods departs, the state fiscal problem deepens.

The Democratic tax plan will give rich people a further incentive to flee at the very time the real-estate market is in collapse. New housing data reveals that the average California home price fell by 28% from June 2007 to June 2008, almost double the decline of any other state. The politicians in Nevada, the state with the third worst real-estate market, are hoping California raises taxes, because this could be a fast way to revive the Reno and Las Vegas housing markets.

What the politicians in California refuse to address is their own overspending. State outlays were up 44% over the past five years, meaning that California is spending at a faster pace than even Congress. Minority Republicans in the Legislature say the solution is a hard expenditure cap – like 46 other states have. Yet even in the face of the giant deficit, Mr. Schwarzenegger and the Democrats want to pass a new $9 billion water bond, a $14 billion state-run health insurance program, and the most expensive climate-change program in the country.

It may be that California Democrats are trying this now as a kind of trial run for Barack Obama next year. The Illinois Senator also believes he can solve the federal government's fiscal imbalance by imposing higher tax rates on small business employers and the wealthiest Americans. If they can get away with it in Sacramento, look for a national reprise next year.

Jensen Comment
California will soon the highest per capita state income taxes. Before these new increases in the California income tax go into effect,  there are presently three "states" with higher per capita total taxes --- Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington DC. See the tax scores state-by-state at 
(Scroll down to find the tables)
Having said this, California is the state having the lowest unemployment compensation tax, and this appeals to business firms that are labor intensive. States to avoid in this regard are Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota (believe it or not), and Iowa.
Sadly with the proposed rise in income tax rates California will now have the highest overall taxes among our 50 states plus Washington DC.
Isn't it fun to be NUMBER ONE?

Here's a bit of what it's like to be the most taxing state in the United States.

Toyota Shifts Gears To Build Prius in U.S.
The Wall Street Journal
by Norihiko Shirouzu and Kate Linebaugh
Jul 11, 2008
Page: B1
Click here to view the full article on

TOPICS: Cost Accounting, Cost Management, Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: "Toyota Motor Corp. is starting to show a milder form of the symptoms plaguing Detroit's Big three: excess manufacturing capacity, fleets of unsold trucks and a surplus of American workers. However, Toyota's woes are modest in comparison. It is still making money in North America, gaining market share in the U.S., has an array of popular small cars to offset lower truck sales and is the leader in hybrids." Toyota announced that it will close two U.S. truck plants temporarily and start assembling its Prius hybrid in Mississippi. The 4,400 workers affected by the plan won't be laid off. Instead, they will continue to report to work for training in quality, safety, and productivity.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Management accounting issues related to capital investment and relevant costs for decision-making are discussed in this article. Once financial reporting question on the impact of unanticipated plant closings on quarterly reporting also is included.

1. (Introductory) In the article, the author notes that "earlier this decade, in a bid to boost its U.S. profits and market share, Toyota launched a big push into full-size pickup trucks and sports-utility vehicles. Now, with soaring gasoline prices hurting sales of those vehicles, Toyota is stuck with more production capacity in the U.S. than it needs." Describe how the capital budgeting decisions that lead to this production capacity problem were made. What factors went into the decision? What analytical tools were used?

2. (Advanced) How is a required rate of return used in the decision-making process described above? Is it possible that Toyota met that required rate of return but still faces the issues now described in the article? How do income taxes influence these capital budgeting decisions and techniques?

3. (Advanced) What are the relevant costs for Toyota's decision-making to close certain plants and shift production processes to different locations? List all that you can think of and state your reasoning from information given in the article.

4. (Advanced) What costs that are described in the article are irrelevant to Toyota's decision-making regarding future production strategies in U.S. plants?

5. (Advanced) Consider the impact of Toyota's temporarily idle production facilities on quarterly reporting, under U.S. or international financial reporting standards, or semi-annual reporting for the second-half of the year ended March 31, 2009, under Japanese reporting. What will be the impact on these interim reports? Do you think that disclosures of the impact of these production decisions will be required? Support your answer.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island


Europe Has an Economics Lesson for Obama (apparently nobody is listening in California)
But the Europe Mr. Obama will visit is quite different from the one Americans often hear about. Over the last decade, much of Europe has very quietly embraced market-based reforms that either draw inspiration from American successes or -- on issues like retirement security -- are even more market-oriented than many U.S. Republicans support. What's more, these changes have been adopted and implemented by parties left and right. This Europe is a shining example of exactly the sort of postpartisan government action that the Obama campaign says it is about. The cutting of corporate income- tax rates is an excellent example of European market-friendly bipartisanship. Germany's right-left coalition of Christian and Social Democrats implemented a large rate cut earlier this year, reducing the top marginal corporate rate to about 30% from 39%. Spain's Socialist and Britain's Labor governments have followed suit, reducing their countries' top corporate rates. These traditionally left-of-center parties understand that in a globalized economy, wealth and investment are mobile, flowing to those countries that provide hospitable investment climates. As part of a European Union where center-right governments in Greece, Denmark, Ireland and Eastern Europe have dramatically reduced corporate tax rates, they understand that they cannot help workers if they drive away the capital that employs and pays them.
Henry Olsen, The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2008 ---

"US gets ready to blow its economy away," by Christopher Booker, London Telegraph, August 17, 2008 ---

After years when America was vilified for not taking "global warming' seriously, it was a shock to find how "environmentalism" is now threatening to transform what is still the largest and richest economy in the world.

Both candidates favour a version of the proposed "cap and trade" scheme to slash US greenhouse gas emissions to 63 per cent below 2005 levels, at an estimated cost by 2030 of more than $600 billion a year - representing a cumulative loss to the US economy, within 22 years, of $4.8 trillion.

Although America is still dependent on coal for around half its electricity, with reserves estimated as likely to last 200 years, state after state is proposing to ban new coal-fired power stations.

Environmental groups, with powerful political support, are now lobbying equally fiercely against natural gas or any new nuclear power plants.

Most dramatic of all are the implications of a Supreme Court judgment in the case of Massachussets v the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which ruled by a single vote that the EPA must treat any greenhouse gases as "pollution", to be regulated under America's Clean Air Act.

The EPA is thus mandated to impose drastic new limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases from pretty well any source, not just industry and transport but schools, hospitals, even lawn mowers.

The implications are so immense for almost every sector of the US economy that government departments -commerce, agriculture, energy and others - have been queuing up to protest, arguing that the effects of such regulation would be so damaging that it should be regarded as unthinkable.

But politicians of both parties, led by the two men vying for the presidency, are so carried away in the rush to appear "green" that it seems there is no longer any national voice powerful enough to question the sanity of such measures.

All the fashionable talk is of how fossil-fuels must be replaced by massively subsidised sources of "renewable" energy, such as vast arrays of solar panels, even though a recent study showed that a kilowatt hour of solar-generated electricity costs between 25 and 30 cents, compared with 6 cents for power generated from coal and 9 cents for that produced by natural gas.

What is terrifying is the extent to which America's leading politicians seem oblivious to the economic realities of what they are proposing. The readiness of Messrs McCain and Obama to posture in front of pictures of virtually useless wind turbines symbolises that attitude perfectly.

Here, in the EU we are only too sadly familiar with politicians floating off into cloudcuckooland over our future energy policy, with the virtual certainty that before many years this may leave us with a colossal shortfall in our electricity supplies.

But "the lights going out all over Europe" is one thing: if they go out in the richest economy in the world - while China cheerfully continues to build one new coal-fired power station a week - we may look back on the US presidential election of 2008 as a time when history really did reach a watershed; the moment when the nations of the West finally signed up to the most bizarre suicide note the world has ever seen.

Continued in article


Mixing tax hikes and trade protectionism could send the economy into a tailspin
History teaches us that high taxes and protectionism are not conducive to a thriving economy,
the extreme case being the higher taxes and tariffs that deepened the Great Depression.

Despite the rhetoric, that's not just on "rich" individuals. It's also on a lot of small businesses and two-earner middle-aged middle-class couples in their peak earnings years in high cost-of-living areas. (Obama's large increase in energy taxes, not documented here, would disproportionately harm low-income Americans. And, while he says he will not raise taxes on the middle class, he'll need many more tax hikes to pay for his big increase in spending.) . . . Now trade. In the primaries, Sen. Obama was famously protectionist, claiming he would rip up and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). Since its passage (for which former President Bill Clinton ran a brave anchor leg, given opposition to trade liberalization in his party), Nafta has risen to almost mythological proportions as a metaphor for the alleged harm done by trade, globalization and the pace of technological change. Yet since Nafta was passed (relative to the comparable period before passage), U.S. manufacturing output grew more rapidly and reached an all-time high last year; the average unemployment rate declined as employment grew 24%; real hourly compensation in the business sector grew twice as fast as before; agricultural exports destined for Canada and Mexico have grown substantially and trade among the three nations has tripled; Mexican wages have risen each year since the peso crisis of 1994; and the two binational Nafta environmental institutions have provided nearly $1 billion for 135 environmental infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. History teaches us that high taxes and protectionism are not conducive to a thriving economy, the extreme case being the higher taxes and tariffs that deepened the Great Depression. While such a policy mix would be a real change, as philosophers remind us, change is not always progress.

Michael J. Boskin (Stanford University Economics Professor)," Obamanomics Is a Recipe for Recession," The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2008 ---

 Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements are at


Stanford YouTube channel debuts ---

The university has drawn from departments and programs across campus and uploaded videos of classes, faculty interviews, panel discussions, seminars and other events in order to showcase the breadth and caliber of academic offerings at Stanford. By launching a channel on YouTube—the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos—the university is building upon its efforts to provide online access to free educational content for the Stanford community and greater public.

Stanford's Offerings on YouTube (turn you speakers on before clicking) ---

Other universities (notably UC Berkeley) beat Stanford to YouTube. You can find the links to many of them at

Forwarded by my Good Friend Tom Robinson (Emeritus AIS Professor from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks)

"Family Emmons a hit in Beijing," NBC Olympics, August 15, 2008 ---

Parents all over America rely on the judgment of Joan Graves, '63. She heads the board that determines
the G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17 ratings for Hollywood's movies.

"As head of Hollywood’s movie ratings board, Joan Graves keeps parents in the know," Sonja Bolle, Stanford Magazine, July/August 2008 --- Click Here
Also at  [pgnet_stanford_edu] 

Remedial Education:  One of the Most Costly, Frustrating, and Low Success Endeavors in Higher Education

"Questioning the Value of Remedial Education," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2008 ---

Remedial education is expensive and controversial — but is it effective?That’s the question that two education researchers have attempted to answer based on an analysis of nearly 100,000 community college students in Florida. The scholars — Juan Carlos Calcagno of the Community College Research Center, at Teachers College of Columbia University, and Bridget Long of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University — have decidedly mixed results to report. There is some positive impact of remedial education, they found, but it is limited. Their study has just been released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Florida is an ideal site for research on many education questions because the state has uniform requirements for community college students with regard to placement testing and remedial education — and the state also collects considerable data on what happens to students as they progress through higher education.

In looking at the impact of remedial education, the study found that — among those on the edge of needing remediation — being assigned to remedial math and reading courses has the effect on average of increasing the number of credits completed and the odds that students will return for a second year. But while those are important factors, the report finds no evidence that remedial education increases the completion of college-level credits or of degree completion.

“The results suggest that the costs of remediation should be given careful consideration in light of the limited benefits,” the authors write.

At the same time, however, they note that there are benefits to students and society of having people experience even one year of college, some of it remedial. Further, they note that if remedial education encourages early persistence, colleges may have the “opportunity to reach students with other types of programming and skill development” beyond that offered now. In terms of figuring out whether the trade-offs favor remedial programs, the authors say that there still isn’t enough evidence in, but that their study points to the need for more detailed analysis.

“More work is needed on the effects of remediation relative to its costs,” the authors say. The authors open their paper by noting that conservative estimates hold that public colleges spend $1 billion to $2 billion annually on remedial education — and that level of cost is sure to attract more scrutiny.

Jensen Comment
One of the most dysfunctional status symbols in the United States is a college degree. It's like you have to have a diploma or you're in a lower caste. I much prefer the German system in which only relatively small proportion of the populace completes a college education. But status is also attributed to skilled workers in the trades. Long and difficult apprenticeship programs make it difficult to become a master plumber, electrician, mechanic, bricklayer, etc. But these skilled workers have status and incomes commensurate with their worth. Up here in the mountains we have a regular UPS driver by the name of Joe. Joe has a BS in Finance from a major university, but he makes no pretense that he's any better than other UPS drivers who never went to college.  Some of them might have even had troubles with remedial courses if they had tried to go on to college. But they're darn good at their jobs or UPS would not keep them on from year to year. The same can be said for our police, firefighters, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers.

The moral issue is to what degree society has an obligation to educate (not just train) all citizens who desire, for whatever reason, an education. The next question is who should pay for those who need remedial education before they can enter college degree programs. There are no easy answers here.

There also is the factor of socialization. Some students want to get into college for reasons other than education. Many college students meet their future spouses on campus. Is there a better selection to choose from on campus vis-a-vis on the job or in a bar after work?

Too Much Need for Remedial Education, Too Little Success ---

Here's an unexpected way education pays
Mutual fund managers had significantly better returns on investments made in companies led by their former classmates than they did in companies where no such connections existed, according to a recent study. Indeed, investments in so-called “connected” stocks outperformed non-connected stocks by more than 8 percent, the study found.The findings are published in the bureau’s working paper, entitled
The Small World of Investing: Board Communications and Mutual Fund Returns.”
Jack Stripling, "Another Way Education Pays," Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2008 ---

When does education become more and more like training (or education specialization at the wrong level)?
Undergraduate accounting programs probably have a worse problem with this than any other degree programs, including other business programs such as finance, marketing, and management. Accounting has more required courses in large measure due to the number of accounting courses required to sit for the CPA Examination.

"Pre-Med Education Must Be Compatible with Liberal Arts Ideals," by Timothy R. Austin, Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2008 ---

As we approach the second decade of the century, it is fair to ask what young medical doctors should know and where and when they should learn it. But amid calls for revisions to the undergraduate premedical curriculum, undergraduate colleges must guard against being co-opted as “farm clubs” for “big league” schools of medicine.In the American system of higher education, to paraphrase the opening of a popular television series, the task of educating and training tomorrow’s doctors is shared by two separate yet equally important institutions: baccalaureate colleges of arts and sciences and professional schools of medicine. And, as the ubiquitous use of the term “pre-med” implies, undergraduate educators have long accepted their responsibility to equip students who aspire to become physicians with the knowledge and skills essential for admission to medical school. It follows from this premise that changes in the scope and focus of medical school curricula will raise legitimate questions about the courses most appropriate for premed students.

This argument furnishes the starting point for a recent contribution by Jules L. Dienstag to the New England Journal of Medicine (“Relevance and Rigor in Premedical Education”). In his essay, Dienstag notes the demands placed on medical school faculties by an ever expanding range of “new scientific material” and deplores the “widely varied levels of science preparation” among first-year medical students. As a remedy, he proposes a radical reshaping of the pre-medical science curriculum and a corresponding revision of both the Medical College Admissions Test (or MCAT) and the criteria used by medical school admissions committees. By “refocusing” and “increasing [the] relevance” of the science courses pre-med students take, Dienstag argues, undergraduate institutions could better prepare graduates for professional school while simultaneously opening up additional space in the curriculum for “an expansive liberal arts education encompassing literature, languages, the arts, humanities, and social sciences.”

Dienstag’s prescription deserves serious consideration by faculty and administrators at baccalaureate and professional institutions alike. He offers valuable suggestions on a range of issues. But Dienstag naturally approaches this topic from his own perspective — that of the dean for medical education at Harvard Medical School. In advocating for changes that would address the challenges facing his own colleagues, he ignores (or at least passes too quickly over) complications and contradictions that those changes would create at undergraduate colleges.

Each entering class at any undergraduate institution contains many more students who express their firm intention to become medical doctors than will ever apply to a medical school, let alone gain admission. Some will learn in Chemistry 101 that their intellectual gifts are not those of a scientist. Others will be seduced by the excitement of laboratory research and pursue Ph.D. rather than M.D. degrees. Still others will surprise themselves (not to mention their parents) by discovering a passion for literature or archaeology, economics or music that overwhelms their earlier conviction about their destined career paths.

Such defections are scarcely surprising, given the limited knowledge and experience that high school students rely on as the basis for forming their views about possible life goals. But it is also important to recognize that many undergraduate institutions – liberal arts colleges in particular – actively encourage their students to remain intellectually curious and open to the full range of disciplines that they sponsor. “Pursue your passion,” we advise incoming first-year students at the College of the Holy Cross. “Find what excites and fulfills you and see where it may lead.” Tracking pre-med students into what Dienstag describes as a science curriculum with “a tighter focus on science that ‘matters’ to medicine” runs counter to this liberal arts ethos. While it might better prepare the minority of those students who will one day matriculate at a school of medicine, it could handicap those whose scientific interests point them toward industry or teaching and research. It could also restrict the breadth of the scientific education that non-science majors would take with them if later decisions led them towards majors in the humanities, arts or social sciences. And even for the small number of students who would in fact emerge from such a streamlined curriculum and enter medical school, one has to question the wisdom of targeting “biologically relevant” material at the expense of courses in topics as critical to the future of our planet as ecology and population genetics.

Another way of explaining the unease that some faculty members at liberal arts colleges may feel over Dienstag’s proposal is that it implies that the study of biology, chemistry, physics and statistics is undertaken as a means — and to one very particular end. The attitude we seek to foster in our students at liberal arts institutions, by contrast, is that one studies a discipline for what it reveals about the universe we inhabit and about what the mission statement at the College of the Holy Cross calls “basic human questions.” The knowledge and skills that one acquires in the process will be equally useful in one’s career and in one’s life outside the workplace and certainly do not limit who one may become, either professionally or personally.

There is no question that the combined eight-year premedical and medical school curriculum that has served us well for decades is coming under increasing pressure. With each year that passes, society expects more of its physicians; as Dienstag notes, we now demand that they be trained not only in medical science but also in “ethics, … listening skills, and skills relevant to health policy and economics.” Unless we are to extend the already long training period by another year, changes in what we teach and how we teach it are inevitable.

Dienstag urges those of us who teach undergraduates not to “shy away from the challenge” posed by this shifting environment. I suggest that the challenge we confront can not be addressed effectively without all parties being open to possible changes in the way they contribute to the process. More importantly, our colleagues in the professional schools must understand that the term “pre-med” designates a provisional career aspiration far more often than it does a firm commitment. Undergraduate students are by definition still learning about their world and seeking out their place in it, so our institutions serve their needs when we balance the importance of effective pre-professional preparation with the equally compelling need for curricular flexibility and disciplinary breadth.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Cuil has demonstrated very well, it doesn't help you to look through the entire haystack
if it gets dumped on your head, and all you can see is a bunch of hay out there ---

"A Google Killer Stumbles Cuil's rough launch shows the difficulty of challenging major search engines," by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, July 31, 2008 ---

Boasting big plans, startup search engine Cuil (pronounced "cool") launched on Monday. The company sold itself on having indexed more pages than Google, ranking based on context rather than on popularity, and displaying results organized by concept within a beautiful user interface. There was just one problem: when the search engine launched, it didn't work very well.

Cuil's site was down intermittently throughout the day on Monday, and even when the site was up, it sometimes returned no results for common queries, or failed to produce the most relevant or up-to-date results. For example, as of Wednesday morning, searching Cuil for its own name returns nothing on the first results page that is related to the engine itself, in spite of the buckets of press it got this week.

"I've seen these sorts of things for all sorts of startups that get launched," says search-engine expert Danny Sullivan, who runs Search Engine Land. "You have issues with how it's displaying results; you have spam showing; you have a lot of duplicate results." But Cuil wasn't supposed to suffer from the common problems that all sorts of startups encounter. Its founders have impressive credentials: Anna Patterson and Russell Power both had major roles in building Google's large search index, and Tom Costello researched search architecture and relevance methods for Stanford University and IBM. On top of the company's talent, Cuil raised a reported $33 million in venture capital. "In many ways, Cuil was the exception," Sullivan says. "They were one of the few people or companies out there where you would say, 'Well, all right, I'd be dubious about anyone else, but if anyone's going to have a chance, you should have a chance.' But they didn't deliver, and I think that makes it even harder now for startups to come along."

One of Cuil's main selling points is the size of its index. Claiming to have indexed 120 billion Web pages, which it states is three times more than any other search engine, the company says, "Size matters because many people use the Internet to find information that is of interest to them, even if it's not popular." But Sullivan notes that relevance may be the most important quality of search. "When you come into the idea of size, that starts getting into the question of obscure search," he says. "The needle-in-the-haystack search sounds so very compelling--the idea that if you don't have a lot of pages, you can't search through the entire haystack. But, as Cuil has demonstrated very well, it doesn't help you to look through the entire haystack if it gets dumped on your head, and all you can see is a bunch of hay out there."

Investor Azeem Azhar, who incubated the startup search engine True Knowledge, notes that while it's useful to have a large base of knowledge, sometimes the sample that's selected matters more. "There are certain things that people expect to have, and there are certain facts that are more useful than others," he says. True Knowledge, which aims at the subset of searchers who are looking for answers to direct questions, is currently working on building up a database of relevant facts that can be used to answer questions such as, "Who was president when Barack Obama was a teenager?" The company hopes that by focusing on facts of broad interest, such as those relating to famous people and places, it will be useful to people even as it solicits responses for them by way of rounding out its database. When a user asks a question that the system can't answer, it returns, "If there are any answers, I couldn't find any"; invites the user to add to the database; and points to traditional search results.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I'm still upset that Cuil adds its own pictures to hits that have nothing whatsoever to do with the author or the documents. Jagdish is probably correct in saying that Cuil scans part of the document and tries to link a photo from its own archives that might possibly relate to content of the document. In this respect Cuil is doing a poor job picking relevant photographs. If I were a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim, I'd really be upset when Cuil added a bikini-clad porn star or an aardvark to my serious document about my religion. As for me I have a sense of humor, but I still contend that adding such useless pictures is a waste of bandwidth.

The theory is probably that, relative to text, a picture is worth a thousand words. But the wrong picture on a search hit relates to the wrong thousand words. And when it comes to searching, trying to search through a million photographs is certainly not as efficient as trying to search through a billion words for needles called "key words" or "search phrases." One can't search through a million pictures for such a thing as "FAS 133." It's pretty difficult to even sort a million faces for those with big noses. In Internet Explorer when I have a search page outcome listing 20 hits, I can quickly search the text on the page by hitting Edit, Find and typing in a search word. I cannot search the attached pictures for FAS 133. I suppose I could try to scan by eyesight for big noses. But what would this have to do with my search for FAS 133?

The only real answer to searching for needles in haystacks is indexing in a way that certain words in different terminologies (e.g., "cash" versus "money" versus "currency") or certain pictures (e.g., pictures with mountains) are given useful index magnets. More importantly, a good index system allows you to search for derivative financial instruments without getting millions of unwanted hits about mathematics derivatives or chemical derivatives.

We're already getting the highly useful index system for business financial reports. It's called XBRL ---
Especially note the illustrations at

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has been trying for years to launch a more general indexing system called RDF but that has a long, long way to go ---

The Future of Search according to IBM ---

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

Search by Logos
AllMyFaves ---

Bob Jensen's Search Helpers ---

Amazing New Facts About the Internet

I watched the history of computing in the 1990s on the History Channel on July 21, 2008 ---

Some facts mentioned concerning today in 2008 amazed me. I did not dig out independent verification of these facts.

Bob Jensen's threads on how to find Internet statistics are at
(Just scroll down a short bit)

We hear a lot about carbon footprints polluting the earth. We also have Internet servers polluting the earth.
Egads! I'm a big time polluter at

"China says its population of Internet users rises to world No. 1 at 253 million," MIT's Technology Review, July 25, 2008 ---

China's booming Internet population has surpassed the United States to become the world's biggest, with 253 million people online despite government controls on Web use, according to government data reported Friday.

The latest figure on Web use at the end of June is a 56 percent increase from a year ago, the China Internet Network Information Center said. It said the share of the Chinese public using the Internet is still just 19.1 percent, leaving more room for rapid growth.

The United States had an estimated 223.1 million Internet users in June, according to Nielsen Online, a research firm. The Pew Internet and American Life Project puts U.S. online penetration at 71 percent.

"This is the first time the number has drastically surpassed the United States, becoming the world's No. 1," a CNNIC statement said.

The communist government encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to block access to Web sites deemed pornographic or subversive. Web surfers have been jailed for posting or e-mailing material that criticizes communist rule or is deemed a violation of vague national security laws.

Beijing blocks access to Web sites run by dissidents, human rights groups and some foreign news media. Web surfers were blocked from seeing Google Inc.'s YouTube and other foreign sites with video footage of anti-government protests in Tibet in March.

That same month, the government said it would shut down 25 Chinese video sites and punish 32 others for violating new rules against carrying content that is deemed pornographic, violent or a threat to national security.

In financial terms, China's market lags those of the United States, South Korea and other economies. But online commerce, video sharing and other businesses are growing rapidly and have raised millions of dollars from investors.

The commercial boom has produced success stories such as games site and search engine, which are competing with foreign rivals for local market share. Baidu said Thursday its profits in the latest quarter soared 87 percent over the year-earlier period to 265 million yuan ($38.6 million).

Total revenues for China's Internet companies soared to 40.5 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) in 2007, up 48.6 percent from the previous year, the research firm Analysys International reported this week. It said revenues should keep growing at an annual rate of at least 30 percent in coming years, reaching 137.5 billion yuan by 2010.

By contrast, U.S. online advertising revenues alone in 2007 were $21.2 billion (145.2 billion yuan), according to a report by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The research firm BDA China Ltd. says China's online population should keep growing by 18 percent annually, reaching 490 million by 2012 -- a number larger than the entire U.S. population.

Internet companies are looking forward to a new growth spurt once Chinese mobile phone carriers roll out third-generation, or 3G, technology that can support Web-surfing and other services. No date has been announced, but with more than 500 million mobile accounts, China has a vast pool of potential wireless Internet users.

China's Internet boom has gotten a boost from a sharp slowdown in demand for fixed-line phones as more customers opt for mobile service. Fixed-line carriers have responded by expanding into broadband Internet, Web-based cable television and other services. The CNNIC report Friday said that as a result, 214 million Chinese now have high-speed access.

What states (the "Seven Sorry Sisters") in the U.S. have the most lax laws regarding diploma mills?

"Watching a Watchdog’s Words," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2008 ---

Alan Contreras is an increasing rarity these days: a knowledgeable public official who says what he thinks without worrying too much about whom he offends. That trait has him in a scrape over free speech with his superiors in Oregon’s state government. And while they backed away Thursday from the action that had most troubled him, Contreras isn’t backing down from the fight.

Contreras oversees the state’s Office of Degree Authorization, which decides which academic degrees and programs may be offered within Oregon’s boundaries. Through his position in that office, which is part of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, Contreras has become a widely cited expert for policy makers and journalists, on issues such as diploma mills, accreditation, and state regulation of higher education. He also writes widely on those and other topics for general interest newspapers and higher education publications — including Inside Higher Ed.

Some of those writings rub people the wrong way. In a 2005 essay for Inside Higher Ed, for instance, Contreras characterized a group of states with comparatively lax laws and standards on governing low-quality degree providers as the “seven sorry sisters.” Other columns have questioned the utility of affirmative action and discouraged federal intervention in higher education. In his writings about higher education topics, Contreras scrupulously notes that his comments are his own, not the state’s.

Contreras’s writings and outspoken comments over the years have earned him his share of enemies, particularly among proprietors of unaccredited institutions that he strives to shut down. And while his wide-ranging opinion making has allowed some critics to write him off as a gadfly, he testifies as an expert before Congress and delivers keynote addresses at meetings of higher education accrediting associations.

Those writings have raised some hackles in Oregon. About a year ago, Contreras says, Bridget Burns, the appointed head of the Oregon Student Aid Commission, told Contreras that she wanted him to seek her approval before he did any outside writing that identified him as a state employee. Contreras balked, and after numerous discussions among commission officials in the months that followed, he says, he was told during his annual review last December that “they realized I had the right to do my writing,” Contreras says. “I thought it was all done.”

But this week, Contreras says he was contacted by several acquaintances who had received an annual survey that the commission does, as part of his annual review, to assess the quality of his and his office’s work. In addition to the usual two questions of the “how are we doing?” variety, as Contreras calls them, the survey that began circulating last week contained two new ones:

Contreras says that several of those who contacted him asked him whether he was under fire from his superiors. The official of one institution that is involved in a case before him, he says, “asked if I was the victim of a witch hunt by my own agency.” One recipient of the survey, Michael B. Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who serves on an accreditation panel with Contreras and has appeared on conference panels with him, says he was surprised both to have been asked to assess Contreras and by the tenor of the questions.

“It’s not uncommon for people who work closely with someone to be asked to comment on his or her performance, but I have never seen it cast like this to people who are pretty far removed,” Goldstein says.

Contreras characterizes the commission’s inquiry as an attempt “to unconstitutionally interfere with my free speech rights under the Oregon Constitution,” which reads in part: “No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right.” The commission’s inquiry, he says, “damaged my reputation with the people I work with” in and around Oregon. “It’s clear that it’s perceived out there as some show of ‘no confidence’ in me.”

Contreras says that he complained Wednesday to the staff of Gov. Ted Kulongoski about the commission’s actions, and that he had asked for Burns’s resignation. Kulongoski’s higher education aide could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Public Employees’ Free Speech Rights

The legal situation surrounding the free speech rights of public employees is in a state of flux. A 2006 Supreme Court decision altered 35 years of settled jurisprudence by finding that when public employees make statements that relate to their official duties, “the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline,” as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion in Garcetti v. Ceballos. That ruling modified the court’s 1968 decision in Pickering v. Board of Education, which had mandated that public employees have a right to speak about matters of public concern that must be balanced against the government’s ability to operate effectively and efficiently.

Contreras acknowledges that, both legally (even under Oregon’s expansive constitutional provision) and otherwise, he might be on shaky ground if he “went around trashing” the Oregon Student Assistance Commission’s scholarship and other financial aid programs. “It would be completely inappropriate for me to go around saying that these programs are terrible programs and shouldn’t be supported,” he says.

But “99 percent of what I write doesn’t have to do with anything the agency is doing,” Contreras says. “So what if I said the University of Oregon’s affirmative action plan is awful, or that the level of academic planning in most colleges is insufficient. That is legitimate comment on public policy issues, and it is perfectly normal comment by a citizen.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at

Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at

"New Book by Pollster John Zogby Says Online Education Is Rapidly Gaining Acceptance," Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 23008 ---

John Zogby, president & CEO of the polling company Zogby International, says that American students are quickly warming up to the idea of taking classes online, just as consumers have taken to the idea of renting movies via Netflix and buying microbrewed beer.

In a new book by Mr. Zogby released today, he said that polls show a sharp increase in acceptance of online education in the past year. For more on the story, see a free article in today’s Chronicle.

National surveys show that a majority of Americans think online universities offer a lower quality of education than do traditional institutions. But a prominent pollster, John Zogby, says in a book being released today that it won't be long before American society takes to distance education as warmly as it has embraced game-changing innovations like microbrewed beers, Flexcars, and "the simple miracle of Netflix."

The factor that will close that "enthusiasm gap" is the growing use of distance education by well-respected universities, Mr. Zogby predicts in the book, The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream (Random House).

The book, which is based on Zogby International polls and other studies, also touches on public attitudes toward politics, consumer habits, spirituality, and international affairs, and on what men and women really do want from each other. Mr. Zogby says polls detect signs of society's emerging resistance to big institutions, and its de-emphasis on things and places. "We're redefining geography and space," he says—and a widening acceptance of online education is part of the trend.

Today there is still a "cultural lag" between the public's desire for flexible ways to take college courses and what the most-established players offer, Mr. Zogby said in an interview with The Chronicle on Monday. "There's a sense that those who define the standard haven't caught on yet," he said.

But Mr. Zogby writes that polling by his organization shows that attitudes about online education are changing fast. His polling also points to other challenges that colleges will face as they race to serve a worldwise generation of 18-to-29-year-olds that Mr. Zogby calls "First Globals."

In one 2007 poll of more 5,000 adults, Zogby International found that 30 percent of respondents were taking or had taken an online course, and another 50 percent said they would consider taking one. He says the numbers might skew a little high because this poll was conducted online and the definition of an online course was broad, including certificate programs or training modules offered by employers.

Only 27 percent of respondents agreed that "online universities and colleges provide the same quality of education" as traditional institutions. Among those 18 to 24 years old, only 23 percent agreed.

An even greater proportion of those polled said it was their perception that employers and academic professionals thought more highly of traditional institutions than online ones.

Rapid Shift in Attitude

Yet in another national poll in December 2007, conducted for Excelsior College, 45 percent of the 1,004 adults surveyed believed "an online class carries the same value as a traditional-classroom class," and 43 percent of 1,545 chief executives and small-business owners agreed that a degree earned by distance learning "is as credible" as one from a traditional campus-based program.

Mr. Zogby said that differing attitudes in two polls within a year show that "the gap was closing"—and he said that wasn't as surprising as it might seem. As with changing perceptions about other cultural phenomena, "these paradigm shifts really are moving at lightning speed."

That, says Mr. Zogby, is why he writes about online universities in a chapter—"Dematerializing the Paradigm"—that discusses the rise of car-sharing companies like Flexcar (now merged with Zipcar), the emergence of Internet blogs as a source of news and information, and the popularity of microbrewed beer.

And while it may be true that microbrews and Zipcars, at least, are still very much niche products, Mr. Zogby says they are signs of transcendent change—just like the distance-education courses that are being offered by more and more institutions across the country. "When you add up all the niche products, it's a market unto itself," he says.

In the book, Mr. Zogby also highlights the emerging influence of the First Globals, whom his book calls "the most outward-looking and accepting generation in American history." First Globals, he says, are more socially tolerant and internationally aware.

It is these First Globals, he writes, who are shaping what he says is nothing short of a "fundamental reorientation of the American character away from wanton consumption and toward a new global citizenry in an age of limited resources."

Higher education, he said in the interview, needs to take notice and adapt. These days, he said, students are much more likely to have experienced other cultures firsthand, either as tourists or because they have immigrated from someplace else. Whether college for them is a traditional complex of buildings or an interactive online message board, said Mr. Zogby, "there is a different student on campus."

"How to Be an Online Student and Survive in the Attempt," by Maria José Viñas, Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 11, 2008 --- Click Here

The lives of many online college students are not easy. They have to combine jobs, house chores, family life and, on top of all that, do some actual studying. To help online students cope with this burden, a blog sponsored by Western Governors University offers survival tips.

The Online Student Survival Guide, a program that kicked off in May, is meant to give online students tips on adjusting to online learning and staying motivated throughout the courses, while balancing life and school. Following the famous Latin maxim “mens sana in corpore sano”, the bloggers also write posts on healthy eating—not only for the online students, but for their families, too.

Once again, the link to the Survival Guide is

The Dark Side of Education Technology and Online Learning --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at the following sites:

Cloud Computing ---

Check out some recent cloud computing stories on

"Google's Cloud Looms Large: How might expanding Google's cloud-computing service alter the digital world?," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, December 3, 2007 --- 

To know how you'll be using computers and the Internet in the coming years, it's instructive to consider the Google employee: most of his software and data--from pictures and videos, to presentations and e-mails--reside on the Web. This makes the digital stuff that's valuable to him equally accessible from his home computer, a public Internet café, or a Web-enabled phone. It also makes damage to a hard drive less important. Recently, Sam Schillace, the engineering director in charge of collaborate Web applications at Google, needed to reformat a defunct hard drive from a computer that he used for at least six hours a day. Reformatting, which completely erases all the data from a hard drive, would cause most people to panic, but it didn't bother Schillace. "There was nothing on it I cared about" that he couldn't find stored on the Web, he says.

Schillace's digital life, for the most part, exists on the Internet; he practices what is considered by many technology experts to be cloud computing. Google already lets people port some of their personal data to the Internet and use its Web-based software. Google Calendar organizes events, Picasa stores pictures, YouTube holds videos, Gmail stores e-mails, and Google Docs houses documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. But according to a Wall Street Journal story, the company is expected to do more than offer scattered puffs of cloud computing: it will launch a service next year that will let people store the contents of entire hard drives online. Google doesn't acknowledge the existence of such a service. In an official statement, the company says, "Storage is an important component of making Web apps fit easily into consumers' and business users' lives ... We're always listening to our users and looking for ways to update and improve our Web applications, including storage options, but we don't have anything to announce right now." Even so, many people in the industry believe that Google will pull together its disparate cloud-computing offerings under a larger umbrella service, and people are eager to understand the consequences of such a project.

To be sure, Google isn't the only company invested in online storage and cloud computing. There are other services today that offer a significant amount of space and software in the cloud. Amazon's Simple Storage Service, for instance, offers unlimited and inexpensive online storage ($0.15 per gigabyte per month). AOL provides a service called Xdrive with a capacity of 50 gigabytes for $9.95 per month (the first five gigabytes are free). And Microsoft offers Windows Live SkyDrive, currently with a one-gigabyte free storage limit.

But Google is better positioned than most to push cloud computing into the mainstream, says Thomas Vander Wal, founder of Infocloud Solutions, a cloud-computing consultancy. First, millions of people already use Google's online services and store data on its servers through its software. Second, Vander Wal says that the culture at Google enables his team to more easily tie together the pieces of cloud computing that today might seem a little scattered. He notes that Yahoo, Microsoft, and Apple are also sitting atop huge stacks of people's personal information and a number of online applications, but there are barriers within each organization that could slow down the process of integrating these pieces. "It could be," says Vander Wal, "that Google pushes the edges again where everybody else has been stuck for a while."

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary ---

What is authorship by "CrowdSourcing?"

"Management Professor Uses 'Crowdsourcing' to Write Textbook," by Jeffrey R. Young, Inside Higher Ed, August 15, 2008 ---

Charles Wankel is gathering hundreds of co-authors from around the world to write his latest textbook -- 926 of them in 90 countries, to be exact. Mr. Wankel is an associate professor of management at St. John's University, in New York. Each of his co-authors, most of whom are also management professors, will write or edit a small portion of the final text, which is slated to be published by Routledge. They're organizing the vast effort using a wiki that lets participants see and edit each other's contributions. Mr. Wankel is essentially asking the expected audience for the book to be part of its production, since he hopes that management professors around the world will end up using the text in their courses. He found his co-authors by searching social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn for members who were management professors -- and of course he invited colleagues he had met over the years. The practice has been called "crowdsourcing," a term coined by a Wired magazine writer to describe outsourcing a project to a large group using collaborative Internet technologies. The authors are practicing what they teach, too: The book's title is Management Through Collaboration: Teaming in a Networked World. Chapter editors and others who devote significant amounts of time to the project will get a cut of the royalties, says Mr. Wankel. And the hope is that authors will do more than just write -- they'll be asked to submit test questions, case studies, and even supplementary video clips. "If each of us does a YouTube video interview with a manager where we live in the language where we are, we'll have a 1,000 of them in 90 countries," says Mr. Wankel. "It's this kind of thing that the dinosaur books can't compete with."

Jensen Comment
There's a bit of moral hazard in textbook adoption when a large proportion of the 926 authors are inclined to adopt a textbook because they have written part of the book. Hopefully, most authors are not so inclined, but in years past accounting textbook publishers used a criterion of home university market share when selecting joint authors. These publishers would first consider the colleges having the largest numbers of students in a given course (such as basic accounting where large universities may have thousands of enrollments each year in basic accounting). Suppose Universities W, X, Y, and Z qualify in this regard. The publishers would seek out co-authors in those universities.

The moral hazard became so great that some accounting programs established policies against adopting basic accounting textbooks of faculty members.

There can of course be very legitimate personalized reasons for having each author write about his or her theory development ---

Jeff McNeill commented as follows on August 15, 2008:

Why even use a “traditional publisher”? Why not simply conceive of this effort as a wiki itself? We are still in the dark ages here ...

"Eight Life Changing Ideas from the Best Graduation Speakers,"  Online Education Articles, August 11, 2008 --- Click Here

Hi Robert,

Just a wanted to send you a link to an article I did that you and your mailing list/website might be interested. I got the idea for the article in part because an email you sent with some notes from P.J. O’Rourke. Thanks! 


Ben Pfeiffer 

With over 50% of the American Accounting Association membership within five years of retirement age, this could not have come sooner.

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators ---

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers are at

Is college accountability stronger in Europe or the U.S.?

"On Accountability, Consider Bologna," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, July 28, 2008 ---

Impressed by American higher education’s embrace of accountability?

You shouldn’t be, according to a new policy brief on the Bologna Process from the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Written by Clifford Adelman, a senior associate at the institute, the document “contends that none of the major pronouncements on accountability in U.S. higher education that we have heard in the recent past – from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education to platitude pronouncements and wish lists for student learning from the higher education community — even begin to understand what accountability means.”

Meanwhile, Adelman contends that across the Atlantic, the nearly decade-old, 46-country higher education reform initiative known as the Bologna Process offers lessons for what real accountability – not “accountability light” – looks like. And out of Europe’s efforts to make colleges, continent-wide, “more compatible and comparable,” Adelman identifies a series of “reconstructive recommendations” for American higher education.

As the policy paper, entitled “Learning Accountability from Bologna: A Higher Education Policy Primer,” states, “[a]ccountability in higher education begins with the establishment of public definitions of degrees and criterion-referenced statements of academic performance so that when an institution awards a credential it can assert, with confidence: ‘This is what this degree represents, this is what the student did to earn the degree, and a warrantee has been issued on behalf of both institution and student.’”

“I want to be able to look at a degree like I’m looking through the window right now, and see what’s on the other side,” Adelman said in an interview Friday. “We can’t do that with U.S. degrees today.”

The policy paper starts with an explanation of Europe’s use of “qualifications frameworks,” defined as sets of learning outcomes and competencies that a student must demonstrate in order to receive a degree “at a specific level.” (“It is not a statement of objectives or goals. It is not a wish list. It is a performance criterion.") European nations have taken different approaches to developing qualifications frameworks that define common outcomes by degree level — and, it’s worth noting, only 7 of the 46 have completed the complex process so far. Of those that have, Ireland, for instance, created a 10-level framework, stretching “from kindergarten to doctorate.” The Netherlands tied the labor market into its framework, indicating, Adelman explained, which degrees qualify students for what sorts of jobs.

On this note, Adelman recommends that state higher education systems define common core learning outcomes for associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, “ratcheting” up the outcomes at each interval. Asked Friday why states should take the lead on this front, Adelman pointed out they hold most of the control in American higher education. ("Keep the feds out!") Asked about the role of private colleges in this proposed process, he said, “They buy in if they want to.”

Drilling down to a disciplinary level, Adelman next describes efforts to establish a set of common reference points across European colleges through what’s called a “tuning” process. For the United States, he recommends that state authorities organize the various academic departments, in each discipline, to try out a statewide tuning process, which, he writes, is different than standardization and in fact “goes to great lengths to balance academic autonomy with the tools of transparency and comparability.”

“We all know that the flagship state university has more resources and faculty depth than regional institutions, and that one school can have faculty members with very distinct specializations who offer various aspects of a discipline that another school can’t do,” Adelman said Friday, by way of example. “But here if I say that all history majors in the state have to have a program that has time depth to it – that you can’t just major in 1850 to 1900, you’ve got to have a bigger range in history – there’s nothing wrong in everybody buying into that. Everybody can buy into that, whether you’re at the flagship state university or a regional institution. Then how you fill that out, how you execute it in your own program, is your own business.”

“The metaphor I use consistently for this,” he said of the Bologna Process and accountability more generally, “is they’re singing in the same key but not necessarily the same song.”

The report also recommends that the American system of awarding credit be changed to reflect the level of academic challenge of each course (with standardized levels defined in each state). “We give three credits for introduction to sports and three credits for neuro-psychology and pretend those things are equivalent. They’re not,” Adelman said.

It also recommends that American colleges design “degree supplements,” which, attached to the student’s diploma, would offer more extensive information on the content of the degree. Adelman recommends that the supplement include, among other items, the statement of purpose for the degree, a statement of how the student came to the institution (via high school or transfer, for instance), explanations of program requirements, and a title and description of a thesis or final project.

“All we know now is that if someone earned a degree, they earned 120 credits with 40 in the major and a 2.5 minimum GPA. It says nothing about anything else, “Adelman said.

“You learn what accountability means when you look at this loop that 46 countries in Europe have agreed to,” he continued. “And the loop starts with the qualifications frameworks in the degrees, then it goes to tuning in the disciplines, then the third step is the credit system, which is very different than ours, but it’s linked to student learning outcomes.”

“When you get to that diploma supplement at the end, it’s a warranty of everything that’s happened before it. And it’s really student-centered.”

“Learning Accountability from Bologna” is the second in the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s five-part series on Measuring Global Performance. The institute released a longer essay on the Bologna Process in May.

Bob Jensen's threads on college accountability are at

Is Apple's MobileMe a good idea for you?

"Apple's MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2008; Page D1 ---

So it was a big deal when Apple announced a new service that, for $100 a year, would bring corporate-type synchronization of email, calendars and contacts to anyone. It was even better that Apple promised that the service, called MobileMe, would work on Windows computers as well as on the company's own Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPod Touch hand-helds. To top it off, Apple threw in 20 gigabytes of online storage, a suite of Web-based applications, the ability to synchronize browser bookmarks and an online photo gallery.

Unfortunately, after a week of intense testing of the service, I can't recommend it, at least not in its current state. It's a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises.

I am not referring to the launch glitches that plagued MobileMe earlier this month, such as servers that couldn't keep up with the traffic and email outages that, for some users, persist as I write this. Those were bad, but they have eased considerably. Apple already has apologized for them and is giving customers an extra 30 days on their subscriptions to make up for the poor start. The problems I am citing are systemic.

Here's how it's supposed to work. You subscribe to MobileMe and set up a new MobileMe email account, which can also suck in email from your current address. Your MobileMe email is pushed to your Windows computer using your choice of Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express or the new Windows Mail program. It's also pushed to your Mac using the built-in Apple Mail program. And it shows up instantly on your iPhone in the phone's built-in email program.

Similarly, if you add, delete or change a calendar entry or a contact on any of the devices, the change automatically is reflected on all the others. In Windows, the MobileMe calendar shows up in Outlook, and the contacts can be viewed in Outlook, the Windows Address Book or Windows Contacts. On the Mac, the calendar and contacts appear in the built-in iCal and Address Book programs. On the iPhone, MobileMe uses the built-in Contacts and Calendar programs.

Bookmarks can be synchronized using either the Mac or Windows versions of Apple's Safari Web browser, or Internet Explorer 7 on Windows.

At the MobileMe Web site, using any computer, you can send and receive email via a Web-mail program, and view and edit your calendar and contacts. Changes made on the Web site instantly show up on your computers and your iPhone, and vice versa. Also at the MobileMe Web site, you can maintain a photo gallery and view your online file storage.

But in my tests, using two Macs, two Dell computers and two iPhones, I ran into problem after problem. One big issue is that while changes made on the Web site or the iPhone are instantly pushed to the computers, changes made on computers are only synced every 15 minutes, at best. Apple has admitted that this is a problem, and says it is working on it.

But there's more. The Web site was sluggish, and occasionally calendar entries wouldn't load at all. Sometimes, you have to manually refresh the Web pages to see changes made on your devices. And when I tried to open my Web-based file-storage page directly from the MobileMe control panel on Windows, I got an error message on both Dells.

My MobileMe calendar, which originated on a Mac, didn't flow into the main Outlook calendar, but appeared as a separate calendar in Outlook, which was visible only by changing settings. My address-book groups on the Mac, which are simply distribution lists, didn't show up as distribution lists in Outlook, but as separate address books, and they also weren't immediately visible. Apple blames Outlook quirks for these issues, but in my view, it should have overcome them.

Other problems abounded. On one occasion, my synced contacts on the iPhone appeared as names only, without any information. In general, synced contacts on the iPhone loaded slowly.

When my Apple Mail program used rules I had set up to automatically file certain emails into local folders instead of leaving them in the inbox, they simply disappeared from my MobileMe account on the iPhone and the Web site. Avoiding this requires a tedious editing of all your rules.

Twice, MobileMe was unable to sync my bookmarks at all, and when it did, their order was scrambled. When I synced contacts to my iPhone, my custom ringtones for particular contacts were lost and had to be reselected.

Apple patiently explained each of my problems, sometimes helping me with workarounds, sometimes claiming they were rare, other times saying that it was working on fixes.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at

New Online PhD Program in Nursing

Jensen Comment
I have a friend who has a PhD in nursing. She's also a trauma nurse in a major medical center and a Colonel in the Army Reserves. She got her nursing PhD in a traditional manner from the University of Texas. From her I learned that doctoral degrees in nursing are infrequent relative to most other academic disciplines. Getting a nursing doctorate is less of a requirement for tenure in most nursing programs in part because they've not been required for tenure. I also suspect that defining a research niche for nursing is a bit difficult since there are so many overlapping medical research disciplines in medical and biological science.

Respectable online PhD programs in most any discipline are infrequent, although I mention a few of them at
I know of no respectable doctoral program in accountancy.

Hence it surprised me somewhat that there would be an online PhD program for nursing ---

Capella University, an accredited, online university based in Minneapolis, announced a new PhD in education specialization in nursing education that aligns with the National League for Nursing (NLN) competencies.

Capella's new specialization was developed to help address the growing shortage of nursing faculty. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), U.S. nursing schools turned away more than 40,000 qualified applicants in 2007. Nearly three-fourths of the nursing schools surveyed cited faculty shortages as one of the reasons they could not accept all qualified applicants.

"Capella has launched this new nursing education specialization to help meet this important need," said Kimberly Spoor, Ph.D., who is faculty chair of Postsecondary and Adult Education for Capella's School of Education and will lead the university's nursing education faculty. "The lack of nursing faculty is an issue that is affecting our country's ability to educate enough registered nurses to meet the needs of our health care system. The AACN projects a shortfall of 340,000 nurses by the year 2020. The U.S. Department of Education has also identified nursing as an 'area of national need.'"

Applicants to the School of Education's Ph.D. nursing education specialization must have a current license as a registered nurse and a master's degree in nursing

Click here for more of the latest news in education technology.

If a new new online PhD program is introduced for accountancy, it may well be that Capella University will be the first to offer such a degree that has a chance of being recognized (for hiring purposes) by AACSB-accredited colleges and universities. Note that the AACSB does not even accredit onsite doctoral programs and has not yet accredited any online undergraduate or masters online business programs that do not also have AACSB accreditation for their onsite programs. For example, quite a few major colleges like the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland have onsite AACSB-accredited business programs that by extrapolation apply to their own online business undergraduate and masters programs. But I do not know of any online business education program that has AACSB accreditation without first having such accreditation for an onsite program. I don't think there is even a process getting separate accreditation for the online portions of business education programs at such places as the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland.

Do schools like the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland have separate designations on the transcript whether a course like Principles of Accounting was taken onsite or online?

If a student earns an online accounting degree or MBA degree from the University of Wisconsin or the University of Maryland, do these universities even designate that the degree was earned online? Personally I doubt it, especially since some students my combine onsite courses with online courses such that it's almost impossible to designate a degree as being online versus onsite.

Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education programs are at

Some great gadgets for travelers ---  [www_computerworld_com] 
Link forwarded by Glen Gray

Calling all digital nomads -- you may not be wearing a dark suit, a tie and shiny shoes, but you're out there with at least a full day of work to get done. Chances are that, more times than not, your workspace is a table at Starbucks, a hotel lobby couch or a client's lunchroom. In other words, you labor where and when you can, without the kind of resources that a more office-bound employee can call upon.

As a result, your mobile gear has to be small, light and able to come through for you while making you look good. Regardless of whether it's a Wi-Fi smart phone, a solar-powered battery or a portable printer, it has to get the job done without making you work up a sweat. After all, appearance counts for a lot these days.

Here are a dozen great gadgets that no self-respecting digital nomad will want to be without.

Print shop to go

Printstik PS910


Forget about waiting at a Kinkos to print out that hard-copy report. Planon's Printstik PS910 is a go-anywhere print shop. At 1.5 pounds and powered by a lithium ion battery, the PS910 easily fits into a notebook bag, yet it can print from a smart phone, handheld or notebook, either through a USB cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth. The $300 printer uses thermal technology; a package of three rolls of thermal paper costs $25. It means that you only get monochrome documents, but if you need a quick sales letter, a map or a proposal, this could be just the thing.

Power central

Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger

Mini Surge Protector
Click to view larger image

So much work, so few power outlets -- it's the nomad's nightmare. Belkin's Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger turns a single AC outlet into three, delivering electricity to you and those around you (sharing that outlet may get you good karma, or even a free latte). It also provides a pair of USB ports for charging phones, handhelds or media players. At 6 ounces, the Mini Surge Protector is worth its weight in batteries, and it rotates so that it won't block the second outlet on the wall. The device costs $25, but is well worth it -- not the least because it carries a $75,000 warranty against damage from a power spike.

Clean machine



It may not be able to stop a coffee cup from tipping over, but Zagg's InvisibleShield keyboard cover can keep a spill from turning into a digital disaster. Made of an ultrathin plastic film, the type-through cover keeps liquids, dust and who knows what else out of your notebook's delicate keyboard. When it gets dirty, wipe it clean. The $35 cover has been precision-cut for a wide variety of notebooks and comes with a lifetime guarantee not to scratch or wear out.

Lean, green machines

Solio Magnesium Edition and Voltaic Backpack


Why spend valuable work time searching in vain for an AC outlet when the sun can power your phone or other equipment? Solio's Magnesium portable solar charger has three photovoltaic solar panels that slide out to provide up to 8 watts of power. It's enough to provide 15 minutes of cell phone talk-time for every hour in the sun. Solio's Magnesium charger comes with a USB tip and a coupon for another iGo power tip of your choice. If you'd rather simply power your backpack, you can go green for $249 with Voltaic's solar backpack. It puts out 4 watts of juice, has its own battery and comes with 11 power tips so it's sure to fit your equipment.

Keeping secrets

Fellowes Monitor Filter

Fellowes Monitor Filter
Click to view larger image

The Fellowes Monitor Filter is essential equipment for digital nomads trying to keep a secret. Regardless of whether it's a spreadsheet for your company's upcoming IPO or the private portion of a friend's Facebook page, the filter will prevent those around you from seeing what's on your screen. Only those looking straight at the screen can see anything, so digital Peeping Toms peering sideways over your shoulder will see only black. Available for 12.1- to 15.4-in. displays, the filter costs about $35.

Write on

Pulse Smartpen

When recording a meeting and taking notes is not enough, Livescribe's Pulse Smartpen lets you do both by linking your handwritten notes to what was said live. The Pulse Smartpen can play back exactly what was said and when by pressing the pen to any place in your notes. The only catch is that you need to use one of Livescribe's special 100-page notebooks, which cost $20 for a four-pack. The $150 charcoal blue pen looks and feels good when held, weighs 1.3 ounces and can record up to 200 hours of meetings, brainstorming sessions and contact info. The software puts it all together, along with cool apps like a translator and transcription service, but it only works with Windows computers.

A good call

iPaq 910 Business Messenger

HP's iPaq 910 Business Messenger may look like an ordinary smart phone with a screen on top and a thumb keyboard below for tapping out e-mails, quick memos and instant messages. But on top of calling and Web surfing over a 3G GSM quad-band mobile phone network, this 5.3-ounce smart phone can link with an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi network at a connected coffee shop or client's office. Other features include built-in Google Maps with Multimodal GPS navigation, mobile versions of various Microsoft apps and an alphanumeric QWERTY keyboard. An unlocked iPaq 910 handset costs about $500.

Make the connection

Ultimate Cable Kit and GearJuice


Never seem to have the right cable (or it's buried in the bottomless pit of your notebook bag)? Meritline's Ultimate Cable Kit ($26) can make the connection with retractable FireWire, USB, telephone and Ethernet cables and all the tips needed to plug just about any peripheral into your computer. It all fits into a black-padded travel case and comes with a travel mouse and headphones. For those who never seem to have the right AC adapter, IOGear's GearJuice ($40) can charge up just about any phone, anywhere. The kit includes a power adapter and seven tips that work with an assortment of popular cell phones, media players and handhelds, along with a 2,000 milli-amp hour battery; enough power for several extra hours of talk-time.

Biz flicks

Flip Mino

When it's time to pop a video clip into a presentation, onto your blog or up on YouTube, Pure Digital's Flip Mino does the trick. A mini mite of a camcorder, Mino weighs 3.3 ounces, but can capture a whole hour of TV-quality clips at 640-by-480 resolution video and 30 frames a second. For those in a hurry (and what digital nomad isn't?) the $180 Mino can transfer clips directly to online video services such as AOL Video, YouTube and myspacetv. And if you're really in a hurry, you can buy an "action mount" that lets you attach the camera to your handlebars or helmet. Pinching pennies? The Mino is actually the head of the Flip class. If you want to save a few bucks, you can opt for the slightly less sleek $150 Flip Ultra and the basic $130 Flip Video.

Quiet, please


Nomads need to work wherever and whenever they can, but the world is a noisy place. Aliph's Jawbone Bluetooth headset uses advanced digital signal processing technology to block out the racket going on around you and let your voice shine through on calls. It can't silence crying babies, traffic sounds or ringing phones, but at least with Jawbone, the people on the other end of the call won't hear them, making you sound better. Lighter and smaller than other headsets, the latest version of the $130 Jawbone weighs one-third of an ounce, yet it's stylish, with a leather-covered ear loop and a variety of finishes.


July 18, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Thanks for the new gadget link Glen.
I snipped it to  

I may order the InvisibleShield keyboard cover.
My wife says my keyboard should be quarantined --- along with my entire computer nest. I think she's like to put a shield around the entire mess with me inside.

I also will order the Mini Surge Protector.

Here's another gadget (a bit expensive) from a former tidbit:
"New Keyboard Saves Accountants Time," SmartPros, January 18, 2008 ---   
The R-Tab Keyboard homepage is at   

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at  

My favorite gadgets are external storage/backup devices ---
These are great for exchanging files between my computers as well  as for backing up files in case my main working computer crashes.

Community College Open-Textbook Project Gets Under Way
Especially note the open sharing sources being used

The Community College Open Textbook Project begins this week with a member meeting in California," by Catherine Rampell, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2008 --- Click Here

At the meeting, representatives of institutions around the country will start reviewing open-textbook models for “quality, usability, accessibility, and sustainability,” according to a news release. They will initially review four providers of free online educational resources: Connexions, run by Rice University; Flat World Knowledge, a commercial digital-textbook publisher that will begin offering free textbooks online next year; the University of California’s UC College Prep Online, which offers Advanced Placement and other courses online; and the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, which was founded by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The open-textbook project was paid for by a $530,000 grant to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Connexions at Rice University ---
"Really Open Source," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2005 ---

Few projects in academe have attracted the attention and praise in recent years of OpenCourseWare, a program in which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is making all of its course materials available online — free — for anyone to use.

In the four years since MIT launched the effort, use of the courseware has skyrocketed, and several other universities have created similar programs, assembling material from their own courses.

With less fanfare than MIT, Rice University has also been promoting a model for free, shared information that could be used by faculty members and students anywhere in the world. But the Rice program — Connexions — is different in key respects. It is assembling material from professors (and high school teachers) from anywhere, it is offering free software tools in addition to course materials, and it is trying to reshape the way academe uses both peer review and publishing. The project also has hopes of becoming a major curricular tool at community colleges.

“I was just frustrated with the status quo,” says Richard G. Baraniuk, in explaining how he started Connexions in 1999. “Peer review is severely broken. Publishing takes too long and then books are too expensive,” he says. “This is about cutting out the middlemen and truly making information free.”

“I was just frustrated with the status quo,” says Richard G. Baraniuk, in explaining how he started Connexions in 1999. “Peer review is severely broken. Publishing takes too long and then books are too expensive,” he says. “This is about cutting out the middlemen and truly making information free.”

Baraniuk is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, so many of the initial modules (which can either be materials for a course, a lecture or any other organizational unit) were in engineering and were submitted by Rice professors. But as Connexions has grown (from 200 modules in its second year to 2,300), it has attracted content in many disciplines and from many scholars.

There are materials for courses on art history, birds, business and graphic design. Offerings are particularly strong in music. And participating professors come from institutions including Cornell, Indiana State and Ohio State Universities, and the Universities of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Wisconsin at Madison. Professors from outside the United States have also started to use the site — it offers materials from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Cambridge.

Use of the materials has grown steadily — in May, more than 350,000 individuals used the site at some point, a mix of professors and students, about half of them on return visits.

Continued in article


Bob Jensen lists other free online textbooks in various disciplines, including accounting textbooks, cases, and free online tutorials, at

Bob Jensen's threads on free online tutorials in various academic disciplines are at

Jensen Comment
There are various free online mathematics and statistics textbooks linked at
(Scroll Down)

The history of Rice University's Connexions open sharing initiative is briefly described at

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

"TextMeTV Is Either Future of Television or Beginning of Its End," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 13, 2008 --- 

Late at night on a television station in Lansing, Michigan, a new kind of program tries to make the audience the main attraction. It's called TextMeTV, and it goes like this: One or two young hosts, some of them college students, sit on a couch and read text messages being sent in live from viewers, and those messages are also posted on a box in the corner of the screen. Sometimes the hosts encourage those texters to debate topics of the day, other times they offer free iPods or other prizes to viewers who can answer trivia questions. The show looks more like a YouTube page than a television show. Though moderators do edit the text messages that come in before they post them to the screen, the show is live with no tape delay, says Helena Kirby, a producer for the show and one of its 7 rotating hosts. "There's no swearing and no sexual talk -- we keep it pretty clean," she adds. Viewers pay a small fee per text message to participate. Ms. Kirby says the show's best moments have been when viewers sparred about race issues or politics. "People get fired up," she says. But this January the show -- which has been on since last year -- began focusing more on games and contests, like trivia challenges, than on debates. One entertainment blogger recently called the show "the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard," noting that the show seems empty of substance. But Ms. Kirby argues that it represents a revolutionary new format. "I think some people are just afraid of it -- that this new concept is going to do something big, and they don't want it to," she says. "I say, Out with the old, in the with the new." Amariee Woods, another host of the show who is a senior at Michigan State University, says that younger audiences want to participate, not just passively consume media. "People want to put their comments on everything, and the faster they can do that, the better." A similar show in Texas called Subtext, which features students from the University of Texas at Austin, uses a similar format but focuses on dating. The shows are essentially trying to turn television into something more like the Internet. In fact, the shows would probably work better as interactive Web pages where people could put aside their cell phones and interact with their computer keyboards. But then the show's producers would not be able to make a cut of the text-messaging fees, as they do now. Do younger viewers now see one-way broadcast television as dull? Or are these interactive shows a sign that media companies are trying to mix many kinds of media formats? Use your computer keyboard to let us know what you think.


TextMeTV (watch the video) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade are at

Missing Attribution in Controversial Book

A think tank is today publishing allegations that a prominent, controversial book released by the University of Pennsylvania Press about terror networks has two key passages that are plagiarized. While saying that the allegations are overblown, the press director said via e-mail that future editions would have attribution for the passages.The allegations come from Public Eye, a publication of Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank. Chip Berlet, a senior analyst for the group, makes the allegations as part of a broader critique of a much discussed book called Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century. Marc Sageman, the author and a counter-terrorism consultant, argues in the book that too much of a focus on al Qaeda misses the reality that terrorism has become decentralized, with various groups being inspired more than directly led by those who plotted the mass killings of 9/11. The book has received extensive press coverage and has been seen by many as significant.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 28, 2008 ---

From the Financial Rounds Blog on July 28, 2008 ---

Is There Predictive Power In The Option-Implied Volatility Smirk?

Apparently, the answer is yes. Xiaoyan Zhang (of Cornell), Rui Zhao (of Blackrock Inc.), and Yuhang Xing (of Rice University) recently conducted a study titled "What Does Individual Option Volatility Smirk Tell Us about Future Equity Returns?" Here's their abstract (emphasis mine):

The shape of the volatility smirks has significant cross-sectional predictive power for future equity returns. Stocks exhibiting the steepest smirks in their traded options underperform stocks with the least pronounced volatility smirks in their options by around 15% per year on a risk-adjusted basis. This predictability persists for at least six months, and firms with steepest volatility smirks are those experiencing the worst earnings shocks in the following quarter. The results are consistent with the notion that informed traders with negative news prefer to buy out-of-the-money put options, and that the equity market is slow in incorporating the information embedded in volatility smirks.

Basically, they calculate the "volatility smirk" (the difference between the implied volatility for At-The-Money (ATM) calls and Out-of-The-Money (OTM) puts) for individual stocks. They then sort firms into portfolios based on deciles of the smirk, and compare returns for the various portfolios (or for "hedge portfolios" constructed by shorting the "high smirk" decile and going long the "low smirk" decile) . The logic for this approach is the hypothesis that informed traders with negative news will choose to buy OTM puts, thereby causing a divergence in the IV of the puts vs for the call.

All in all, a pretty cool paper showing how information flows across markets. Given some work I'm doing with options data, I found it to be particularly timely.


Read the paper (not free) at

Read about "The Sardonic Smirk" at

An important implication of a negatively skewed volatility smile is that way out-of-the-money puts had market valuations well beyond that predicted by Black-Scholes. There are two possible explanations for this. The first explanation is that Black-Scholes is correct and, thus, the market is incorrectly over-valuing these options. This line of thinking is probably wrong since most people concede based on mounting evidence -- not the least of which is the volatility smile itself -- that the simplistic Black-Scholes option valuation model is flawed.

The better explanation is offered by Emanuel Derman in pp. 227-228 of his book:

Anyone who was around on October 19, 1987 could easily guess why [low-strike puts are so relatively expensive]. Ever since that day when equity markets around the world plunged, investors remained constantly aware of the possibility of an instantaneous large jump down in the market, and were willing to pay up for protection. Out-of-the-money puts were the best and cheapest insurance. Like stable boys who shut the barn door after the horse bolted, investors who lived through the 1987 crash were now willing to pay up for future insurance against the risks they had previously suffered.

In other words, markets are doing what the theorists had not done: attempting to price in the possibility of catastrophic risk. Standard theories -- based on the framework of the Gaussian / 'Normal' probability distribution -- tended to underestimate the risk of the bottom falling out.


Lecture Capture Technology and Copyright Problems

July 28, 2008 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Another "hat" I wear is a beta tester for Techsmith.

They have just announced another new product called "Camtasia Relay Server" which is designed to facilitate the recording of lectures and surveys, primarily by non-techies and seamlessly upload that lecture to a web server, for rendering and serving up. See: 

My main concern - as I told Techsmith - is if the server is owned by the University, who owns the intellectual property rights to the professors' lectures??

Richard J. Campbell 


July 28, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard,

Copyright ownership rights vary from college to college. Some universities (I think South Dakota) even own the copyright to books that faculty write and all lectures. Other universities lay no claims to faculty creations except in the case of funded grants that significantly draw upon university resources such as science and medical labs. Generally colleges are more aggressive with faculty patents than they are with copyrights, but this varies greatly.

The place to start is the Faculty Handbook in your college or university which in most instances is now online (access may be restricted to faculty and staff). You might also check the student handbook regarding student rights to captured lectures, exams, etc. As Jagdish once pointed out to us, it’s not necessary that a copyright be registered for the “owner” of intellectual property to have copyright rights. It is wise to intellectual property right policy section of every syllabus.

The big issue is when students capture professors’ lectures (in video or audio) and then serve them up on any server (including YouTube). I suspect faculty or college administrators can actually sue students but this would probably be advised only when financial or health damages such as mental breakdown are substantial. Problems of having students capture and serve up lectures are as follows:

1 This is a form of plagiarism, but the lecturer or college itself must actually find that the lecture has been plagiarized and is being made available on some server. This in itself is difficult because the piece may keep popping up. For example, the same video of a Barbara Streisand singing “America” might appear on a dozen or more YouTube URLs. If notice is given to YouTube to cancel one URL, the video may appear on three new URLs the same day. Back where I grew up we just say “you can’t keep a prairie dog from poppin’ up in another hole and another and another and another and another.”

2. When there is a copyright violation (in hard copy or online) standard procedure is to request that the person cease and desist from making the material available. Generally this alone will make the violator cease and desist. The problem, however, is that hundreds of other users of the material by now may have their own copies and may themselves serve it up like an entire prairie dog colony in a pasture.

There’s a great deal of information about copyright infringement (including on YouTube) at


In terms of capturing lectures, Apple Corporation may give the Camtasia Relay Server a run for its money.


“Patent Filing Suggests Apple Is Exploring New Lecture-Capture Software,” by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2008 ---

A patent application filed by an Apple employee details software that would capture video and slides from college lectures and automatically edit them into video podcasts.

The application, titled “Automatic Content Creation and Processing,” was unearthed this month by AppleInsider. The name on the patent application is Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering. An Apple spokesman could not be reached for comment Monday, but the company is notoriously tight-lipped about products that are still in development.

Apple already runs a free service called iTunes U that helps colleges around the country manage online offerings, and several companies sell software that helps capture lecture video and slides as well. One unusual feature described in the new patent application, though, is the ability to determine automatically when to run video footage of the professor speaking and when to splice in images of lecture slides. As the patent application puts it, the software would determine “a time to switch the first and second streams from the event data.”

Many college officials are looking for easy ways to record large numbers of lectures and offer video or audio recordings to students. The goal is to capture and distribute lecture podcasts without requiring professors or other staff members to perform time-consuming editing or file management.


Bob Jensen's helpers on copyright issues are at

Bob Jensen's video helpers are at

Have you checked to see if some student or fraternity has posted your tests online?
Here's one place to look, but it's certainly not the only place to find your tests online.

"Test-Answer Site Removes Professors' Ability to Block Their Tests," by Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 16, 2008 ---

A Web site that invites students to post exam answers online for others to view,, has eliminated the ability of professors to request that tests from their courses be banned from the site.

Posting answers made some professors worry that students would use them to cheat on exams. Demir A. Oral, the operator of the site, told The Chronicle last week that he allowed professors to place their courses on a “Ban List” that would exclude their materials from the site. He said that 200 professors had made such requests and he had complied.

But a notice on the site now says “the Ban List is suspended.” It says that already-made ban requests will be honored. Professors must now wait for content to be posted before requesting removal, and submit a form stipulating that they own the copyright to the material and that their request meets requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Jensen Comment
One place to start when you want to see if one of your examinations is online is to see if it was "plagiarized?" ---

Will you read the fine print on the menu before you order your Whopper or Fish Sandwich?
More importantly will you lose 30 pounds because you read this fine print?

The argument for the New York City ordinance (listing restaurant menu item calories and other details) thus comes down to the argument for social experimentation generally: that it will yield valuable information about the effects of public interventions designed to alter life styles. I therefore favor the ordinance, though without great optimism that it will contribute significantly to a reduction in obesity.
Richard Posner, "Compelled Disclosure of Food Characteristics," The Becker-Posner Blog, July 27, 2008 ---

Requiring restaurants to post calorie content of foods will have a negligible effect on demand for these foods because, as I argue above, consumers are buying these foods not mainly because they are ignorant of the effects on weight, but because of cheapness, convenience, and taste. Banning fast food restaurants would have an effect by eliminating their convenience. Still, substitutes would develop, such as prepared foods in supermarkets, or fast foods served not in chains but in individually owned restaurants (hostility to food chains is also partly responsible for the growth of legislation against them). Maybe eventually some of these substitutes would be banned too. Such continuing extensions of the power of government are a very unattractive prospect. Given all the ineptitude in government regulation, as reflected for example in the regulation of Freddie Mac and Freddie Mae, and in other housing problems, I believe it is better to tolerate some mistakes by consumers in their choice of foods. Such additional regulation of fast foods will make people worse off in the long run as well as in the short run.
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, "Compelled Disclosure of Food Characteristics," The Becker-Posner Blog, July 27, 2008 ---

What universities spend the most money recruiting athletes and what is the trend on such recruitment spending?

Don't consider the top-ranked athletics programs at the University of Southern California, Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas A&M, Kansas, or Stanford.

Nearly half of the nation's largest athletics programs have doubled or tripled their recruitment spending over the past decade, as their pursuit of elite athletes intensifies and becomes more national in scope.
Libby Sander, "Have Money, Will Travel:  the Quest for Top Athletes Budgets soar, and so do coaches, as colleges beef up recruiting efforts," Chronicle of Higher Education, August 1, 2008 ---




July 28, 2008 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Thank you for this info. I am on our faculty athletics council, so this is something that falls within our purview. However, the real cost of recruiting is facilities upgrade. UNC-CH is proposing another massive expenditure to Kenan stadium after having spent nearly $60 million just a few years ago. Luxury skyboxes, video scoreboards, and media capablility to make sure there is not one moment of silence during the entire game. NC State has spent nearly $300 million over the past dozen years building an arena for basketball (and an NHL hockey franchise, which won the Cup in 2006 making it all worth it!) and major additions to the football stadium. One condition that Duke's new football coach insisted upon was some commitment to facilities. Kay Yow, coach of the Lady Wolfpack, describes it as an "arms race." I wonder if the recruiting wars are in any way associated with the urgency to get playing time out of young athletes who will play for a year or two before entering the professional draft. NC State's top recruit two years ago, J.J. Hickson, played his freshman year and entered the NBA draft. That is a substantial blow to a program and it seems to happen with much greater frequency.


From the Scout Report on August 8, 2008

ooVoo --- 

If you are in London and you have colleagues in New London, Connecticut, what do you do? Well, you could try out this latest iteration of ooVoo for starters. ooVoo is a video conferencing and chat tool that also allows users to record their video discussions and conversations. This latest version includes a higher-resolution video chat feature along with extensive support for social networking sites. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.

Skype ---

International long-distance phone bills can be rather costly, and Scout Report readers who haven't given the Skype application a try may wish to do so now. This latest version allows users to conduct conference calls with as many as nine people and it also includes a browser plug-in that turns phone numbers on web pages into links that Skype can automatically dial. This version of Skype is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP.

Skype vs. Vonage ---

Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics ---

Education Tutorials

Learning Resources
Wisc-Online: Online Learning Object Repository (multimedia) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Nature Online Video Streaming Archive (multimedia) ---

Pakistan Research Repository ---

Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health (multimedia) ---

Science and Technology ---

Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product (video) ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (multimedia) ---

Exploring Race (multimedia) ---

American Museum of Natural History: Division of Anthropology ---

Pakistan Research Repository --- (for a better understanding of politics and legislation) ---

Christianity Missionary Archives
Internet Mission Photography Archive ---

British Museum: Power and Taboo: Sacred Objects from the Pacific 

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

Law and Legal Studies (for a better understanding of politics and legislation) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at

Math and Statistics Tutorials

New Math (Tom Lehrer)---

Mathematics for Accounting Research (Tom Lehrer) ---
(Watch until you are at or near the end of the video since it sort of has a false ending.)

"Open Textbook Meets Community Colleges," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Education, August 12, 2008 ---

Proponents of the open textbook movement have long envisioned a world of free (or almost free) educational materials, available to print or download

For one popular textbook, at least, that vision is now a reality.

Connexions, a prominent online “open educational resources” hub based at Rice University, announced Monday that it has published a statistics textbook online that’s widely used in transfer-level community college courses. Officials at the site hope the zero-dollar price tag will help students deterred by ever-increasing textbook prices.

The book, Collaborative Statistics by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean, is not only available as a full download. The content between the covers has been sliced and diced into “modules,” Connexions’ basic building blocks, that any student or instructor can rearrange or adapt for their own use. Developers of the project also plan on adding videos of class lectures by Illowsky as well as other supplementary classroom materials, effectively uploading an entire course experience to the Web.

Rice’s announcement says it is “believed to be the first complete package of free textbook and course materials available online in the United States.” (That’s an assertion that might be challenged, especially if the course materials are in the public domain already, although most proponents of textbook reform would be pleased to see competing claims on this topic.)

“This is a big deal for community colleges because there are many students who can’t afford to go to school not necessarily because of tuition but because of the costs of textbooks and what have you … it really enhances their educational opportunities,” said Joel Thierstein, Connexions’ executive director.

He expects “close to 1,000 students in the fall” to be using the free version of the book in classes across the country. The text has been used for over a decade in California community colleges in courses accepted as transfer credits by the University of California system.

“We’re anticipating that this is just the very first step of a project to provide a similar concept in other disciplines to community college students for free as well, so this is a first step of many,” Thierstein added.

The authors first reacquired the rights to their book and published it themselves for a period, he said. More recently, the rights were transferred to Rice, which obtained them with backing from the Maxfield Foundation, which is chaired by an alumnus and trustee. Connexions, which since 1999 has been a major resource for educators to upload, share and collaborate on freely available class resources, now offers the textbook content online under a Creative Commons license. Readers can also opt for an on-demand printed version, priced at $31.95.

The textbook was published in coordination with the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, a group of colleges across the country started within the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in California.

Community College Open-Textbook Project Gets Under Way
Especially note the open sharing sources being used

The Community College Open Textbook Project begins this week with a member meeting in California," by Catherine Rampell, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2008 --- Click Here

At the meeting, representatives of institutions around the country will start reviewing open-textbook models for “quality, usability, accessibility, and sustainability,” according to a news release. They will initially review four providers of free online educational resources: Connexions, run by Rice University; Flat World Knowledge, a commercial digital-textbook publisher that will begin offering free textbooks online next year; the University of California’s UC College Prep Online, which offers Advanced Placement and other courses online; and the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, which was founded by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The open-textbook project was paid for by a $530,000 grant to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

  • Connexions at Rice University ---
    "Really Open Source," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2005 ---
    Few projects in academe have attracted the attention and praise in recent years of OpenCourseWare, a program in which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is making all of its course materials available online — free — for anyone to use.

    In the four years since MIT launched the effort, use of the courseware has skyrocketed, and several other universities have created similar programs, assembling material from their own courses.

    With less fanfare than MIT, Rice University has also been promoting a model for free, shared information that could be used by faculty members and students anywhere in the world. But the Rice program — Connexions — is different in key respects. It is assembling material from professors (and high school teachers) from anywhere, it is offering free software tools in addition to course materials, and it is trying to reshape the way academe uses both peer review and publishing. The project also has hopes of becoming a major curricular tool at community colleges.

    “I was just frustrated with the status quo,” says Richard G. Baraniuk, in explaining how he started Connexions in 1999. “Peer review is severely broken. Publishing takes too long and then books are too expensive,” he says. “This is about cutting out the middlemen and truly making information free.”

    “I was just frustrated with the status quo,” says Richard G. Baraniuk, in explaining how he started Connexions in 1999. “Peer review is severely broken. Publishing takes too long and then books are too expensive,” he says. “This is about cutting out the middlemen and truly making information free.”

    Baraniuk is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, so many of the initial modules (which can either be materials for a course, a lecture or any other organizational unit) were in engineering and were submitted by Rice professors. But as Connexions has grown (from 200 modules in its second year to 2,300), it has attracted content in many disciplines and from many scholars.

    There are materials for courses on art history, birds, business and graphic design. Offerings are particularly strong in music. And participating professors come from institutions including Cornell, Indiana State and Ohio State Universities, and the Universities of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Wisconsin at Madison. Professors from outside the United States have also started to use the site — it offers materials from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Cambridge.

    Use of the materials has grown steadily — in May, more than 350,000 individuals used the site at some point, a mix of professors and students, about half of them on return visits.

    Continued in article


    Bob Jensen lists other free online textbooks in various disciplines, including accounting textbooks, cases, and free online tutorials, at

    Bob Jensen's threads on free online tutorials in various academic disciplines are at

    Jensen Comment
    There are various free online mathematics and statistics textbooks linked at
    (Scroll Down)

    The history of Rice University's Connexions open sharing initiative is briefly described at

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

    History Tutorials

    Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product (video) ---

    National Gallery of Art ---

    National Gallery of Art: Videos & Podcasts ---

    Irish Museum of Modern Art ---

    American Geographical Society Library: Tibet ---

    American Museum of Natural History: Division of Anthropology --- (for a better understanding of politics and legislation) ---

    Christianity Missionary Archives
    Internet Mission Photography Archive ---

    British Museum: Power and Taboo: Sacred Objects from the Pacific 

    Louis L. McAllister Photographs --- L. McAllister Photographs

    NSF and the Birth of the Internet (video and slide show) ---
    How Internet Stuff Works ---

    Personal Computer History
    "Forgotten PC history: The true origins of the personal computer --- The PC's back story involves a little-known Texas connection," by Lamont Wood, Computer World, August 8, 2008 --- Click Here

    This year marks an almost forgotten 40th anniversary: the conception of the device that ultimately became the PC. And no, it did not happen in California.

    For decades, histories have traced the PC's x86 lineage back to 1972, with Intel Corp.'s introduction of the 8008 chip, the 8-bit follow-on to the 4-bit 4004, itself introduced in 1971 and remembered as the world's first microprocessor (download PDF).

    But the full story was not that simple. For one thing, the x86's lineage can be traced back four additional years, to 1968, and it was born at a now-defunct firm in San Antonio. The x86 was originally conceived by an all-but-forgotten engineer, Austin O. "Gus" Roche, who was obsessed

    with making a personal computer. For another thing, Intel got involved reluctantly, and the 8008 was not actually derived from the 4004 -- they were separate projects.

    Industrial designer John "Jack" Frassanito, head of John Frassanito & Associates Inc., a NASA contractor in Houston, remembers wincing while plans for the device were drawn by Roche on perfectly good tablecloths in a private club in San Antonio in 1968. He was then a young account manager for legendary designer Raymond Lowey (who did the Coke bottle and the Studebaker Avanti, among other things). Frassanito was sent to Computer Terminal Corp. in San Antonio to help design CTC's first product, an electronic replacement for the Model 33 Teletype. CTC had been recently founded with local backing by former NASA engineers Phil Ray and Roche.

    After arriving in San Antonio -- where he soon joined CTC's staff -- Frassanito said that he quickly discovered that the teletype-replacement project was merely a ruse to raise money for the founders' real goal of building a personal computer.

    A hidden agenda

    "When writing the business plan, they decided to stay away from the notion of a personal computer, since the bankers they were talking to had no idea what a computer was or wasn't," Frassanito recalled. "So for the first product, they needed something they could get off the ground with existing technology. But the notion from the get-go was to build a personal computer firm."

    The resulting terminal, the Datapoint 3300, established CTC as a going concern, and planning began on the project that Frassanito realized was Roche's obsession. He remembers lengthy discussions with Roche about what a personal computer should do and look like. Roche often expressed himself using metaphors from various classics, such as Machiavelli's The Prince, which Frassanito found necessary to read.

    To ensure a market for the machine, Frassanito said that the CTC founders decided to promote it (with appropriate programming) as a replacement for the IBM 029 card punch machine, and they gave it a half-height display to match the aspect of an IBM punch card. To keep it from being intimidating in an office, they gave it the same footprint as an IBM Selectric typewriter.

    The resulting compact enclosure had heat problems, and in late 1969 and early 1970, the designers began looking for ways to reduce the number of components, including reducing the CPU board to one chip.

    The start of Intel's involvement

    Frassanito recalled accompanying Roche to a meeting with Bob Noyce, head of Intel, in early 1970 to try to get Intel -- then a start-up devoted to making memory chips -- to produce the CPU chip. Roche presented the proposed chip as a potentially revolutionary development and suggested that Intel develop the chip at its own expense and then sell it to all comers, including CTC, Frassanito recalled.

    "Noyce said it was an intriguing idea, and that Intel could do it, but it would be a dumb move," said Frassanito. "He said that if you have a computer chip, you can only sell one chip per computer, while with memory, you can sell hundreds of chips per computer." Nevertheless, Noyce agreed to a $50,000 development contract, Frassanito recalled.

    Frassanito's recollection of Noyce's negative reaction is echoed in the transcript of a group interview done in September 2006 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. (download PDF). The group included six people who were involved in the development or marketing of Intel's first CPU chips: Federico Faggin, Hal Feeney, Ed Gelbach, Ted Hoff, Stan Mazor and Hank Smith. They agreed that Intel's management at the time feared that if Intel put a CPU chip in its catalog, the computer vendors that were Intel's customers for memory chips would see Intel as a competitor and go elsewhere for memories.

    That fear, they indicated, was evident as late as 1973. The group also recalled that work was suspended on the CTC chip, called the 1201, in the summer of 1970 after CTC lost interest, having decided to go ahead with a CPU board using transistor-transistor-logic (TTL) circuits instead of relying on a chip-based design. TTL is the level of integration that preceded microcircuits, where a chip might have tens of transistors rather than thousands.

    Continued in article

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

    Language Tutorials

    Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

    Writing Tutorials

    Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

    Updates from WebMD ---


    "Doctors may have found a way to destroy HIV," by Lee McGuire, Fox News, July 30, 2008 ---

    Is Alzheimer’s a convenient way of forgetting that you're married?

    "Being single might raise risk for Alzheimer’s later in life, studies show." by John Fauber, JS Online, July 31, 2008 --- 

    Middle-aged married people who worry a lot have at least one thing to look forward to: Their risk of eventually developing Alzheimer's disease may be significantly less than carefree people of the same age who remain single.

    That's the take-home message from two studies presented jointly Wednesday in Chicago at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.

    One study followed 1,449 men and women in Finland for an average of 21 years. It found that those who had a partner in midlife were about 50% less likely to develop dementia in late life - ages 65 to 79 - than those who lived alone.

    The second study involved 2,604 middle-aged men in Israel who were followed for as long as three decades.

    Surprisingly, those who usually ruminated about work or family matters were significantly less likely to develop dementia when they were older than those who usually were able to forget about their difficulties.

    For instance, about 21% of those who typically were able to forget about family problems eventually developed dementia, compared with 14% of those who usually ruminated about family issues. Similar rates were found with rumination over work issues.

    Researchers are not sure why a tendency to ruminate would reduce the risk of developing dementia, although one possibility is that those people are constantly planning for their problems which, in turn, gives them more brain power later in life, said lead author Ramit Ravona-Springer, a physician with the Sheba Medical Center in Israel.

    Continued in article

    Liberal Lawyers Know More Than Psychiatrists:  Or Do They?

    "A Death in the Family Aided by advocates for the mentally ill, William Bruce left the hospital -- only to kill his mother," by Elizabeth Berstein and Nathan Koppe, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2008; Page A1

    On June 20, 2006, William Bruce approached his mother as she worked at her desk at home and struck killing blows to her head with a hatchet. Two months earlier, William, a 24-year-old schizophrenic, had been released from Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, Maine, against the recommendations of his doctors. "Very dangerous indeed for release to the community," wrote one in William's record.

    But the doctor's notes also show that William's release was backed by government-funded patient advocates. According to medical records, the advocates -- none of them physicians -- appear to have fought for his right to refuse treatment, to have coached him on how to answer doctors' questions and to have resisted the medical staff's efforts to contact his parents. As one doctor wrote, William told him his advocates believed he is "not a danger, and should be released."

    William's father, Joe Bruce, obtained his son's medical records from Riverview eight months after the killing. "I read through the records and I just remember crying all the way through," Joe Bruce says. "My God, these people knew exactly what they were sending home to us."

    Helen Bailey, one of William's advocates, declined to discuss the details of his case but says the handling of it was consistent with her professional duties. "My job is to get the patient's voice into the mix where decisions are made," says Ms. Bailey, an attorney with Maine's Disability Rights Center in Augusta. "No matter how psychotic, that voice is still worthy of being heard. I have not had the person who is so out of it that they can't communicate what they want." She added that the records reflect the doctors' perception of what happened.

    The story of William Bruce -- based on medical records made available to The Wall Street Journal -- as well as interviews with relatives, doctors, advocates and hospital administrators brings into sharp focus the impact of a little-known government-funded advocacy program for psychiatric patients.

    Attempt to Curb Abuses


    A Father's Call for Help: Excerpts from 911 call. • Congress created the national Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness program, or PAIMI, in 1986 to curb abuse and neglect of the mentally ill, primarily in institutions. In the 1960s and 1970s, many abuses were uncovered at hospitals, where patients were physically restrained, neglected or overmedicated.

    The PAIMI program, operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with a 2008 budget of $34.8 million a year, funds protection-and-advocacy agencies in each state. Typically nonprofits, these groups sometimes receive supplemental funding from states. According to a 2007 SAMHSA report, the agencies served 19,000 people in 2006.

    Some doctors, hospital administrators and mental-health veterans argue that advocates are endangering the mentally ill and the public by too often fighting for patients' right to refuse treatment. Many advocates "have a strong bias," says Robert Liberman, a director of a psychiatric rehabilitation program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    "I don't know if they are doing people a service when they assert the right of mentally-ill individuals to remain psychotic," says Ron Honberg, director of policy and legal affairs for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an education, support and advocacy group.

    Proponents of patient advocates say they're essential to protecting the rights of the mentally ill. The National Disability Rights Network, which provides lobbying and other services for the patient-advocacy system, says advocates play a critical oversight role.

    Continued in article

    Medicine and Medical History
    The Wellcome Library: Turning The Pages (video) ---

    Forwarded by Herta

    The Charlie Schulz Philosophy 

    The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

    You don't have to actually answer the questions.

    Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

    1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

    2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

    3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

    4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

    5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

    6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

    How did you do?

    The point is , none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.

    These are no second-rate achievers.

    They are the best in their fields.

    But the applause dies.

    Awards tarnish.

    Achievements are forgotten.

    Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

    Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

    1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

    2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

    3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

    4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!

    5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


    The lesson:

    The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials.

    the most money...or the most awards.

    They simply are the ones who care the most.

    Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life, like I did.

    'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!'

    ''Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!'


    Forwarded by Maureen

    One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

    Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

    He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

    A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

    As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

    Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

    Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

    Forwarded by Paula

    A man boarded a plane with 6 kids. After they got settled in their seats a woman sitting across the aisle from him leaned over to him and asked, "Are all of those kids yours?"

    He replied, "No. I work for a condom company. These are customer complaints.

    Forwarded by Auntie Bev

    Classified Advertisements in Florida

    Sexy, fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty, 80's, slim, 5'4' (used to be 5'6'), searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion. Matching white shoes and belt a plus.

    Recent widow who has just buried fourth husband, and am looking for someone to round out a six-unit plot. Dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath not a problem.

    I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, the ocean, yoga and meditation. If you are the silent type, let's get together, take our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times.

    WINNING SMILE: Active grandmother with original teeth seeking a dedicated flosser to share rare steaks, corn on the cob and caramel candy .

    I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar. If you were a groovy chick, or are now a groovy hen, let's get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.

    I can usually remember Monday through Thursday. If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let's put our two heads together.

    Male, 1932, high mileage, good condition, some hair, many new parts including hip, knee, cornea, valves. Isn't in running condition, but walks well.


    Tidbits Archives ---

    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

    World Clock ---
    Facts about the earth in real time ---

    Interesting Online Clock and Calendar ---
    Time by Time Zones ---
    Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) ---
             Also see
    Facts about population growth (video) ---
    Projected U.S. Population Growth ---
    Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- 
    Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons ---
    Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

    Three Finance Blogs

    Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
    FinancialRounds Blog ---
    Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---

    Some Accounting Blogs

    Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
    International Association of Accountants News --- and Double Entries ---
    Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs ---
    AccountingWeb ---   
    SmartPros ---

    Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
    Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

    Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
    In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
    I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

    Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities ---

    Free Textbooks and Cases ---

    Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

    Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

    Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

    Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

    Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

    Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

    Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

    Teacher Source: Math ---

    Teacher Source:  Science ---

    Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

    Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

    Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

    VYOM eBooks Directory ---

    From Princeton Online
    The Incredible Art Department ---

    Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

    National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

    Moodle  --- 

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

    Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

    Roles of a ListServ ---

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

    Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) ---


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