Sunrise, Sunset:  How Swiftly Go the Days (when you're in the autumn of life)

Carl Sandberg late in life said he would eat more ice cream and watch more sunsets.
Late in my life I watch both the sunrises and sunsets almost every day (without the fattening ice cream)
Up here I move all over inside the house when the sun changes locations with the seasons of the year.

 Sunrise

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunset

 

Sunrise, Sunset --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=nLLEBAQLZ3Q

 

Poems About Mountains --- http://www.poetseers.org/poem_of_the_day_archive/poems_about_mountains


After the rain,
the empty mountain
at dusk
is full of autumn air.
A bright moon
shines between the pines;
The clear spring water
glides over the rocks.
Bamboo leaves rustling —
the washer-girls bound home.
Water lilies swaying —
a fisher-boat goes down.
Never mind that
spring plants are no longer green.
I am here to stay
my noble friends!

From the From the Unknown Professor, Financial Rounds Blog on August 29, 2008 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

How Professors Spend Their Time
I'm in the midst of filling out my annual report (we do one every year to show the powers that be what we did over the previous year). I've got several attachments, to my report, but I'm debating adding this as one more:

 

Tidbits on September 4, 2008
Bob Jensen

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

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


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


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

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

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


Despite these noteworthy linguistic strides, the Academy presents Orwell 2008 to a college counselor who advises his clients to deliberately make mistakes on their applications so they "don’t sound like robots." After all, "if you fall into the trap of trying to do everything perfectly," without "typos" and other "creative errors," there's just "no spark left."
Fifteenth Annual Emperor's Awards, Guest commentary by Poor Elijah (Peter Berger), The Irascible Professor, August 19, 2008 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-19-08.htm
Jensen Comment
The same can be said for blogs and newsletters.

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

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

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

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

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators --- http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/
After 2017 what we would really like is a choice between our full social security benefits or 18 Euros each month --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

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

Chronicle of Higher Education's 2008-2009 Almanac --- http://chronicle.com/free/almanac/2008/?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on economic and social statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics

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

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

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm

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




Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI




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

Russian-Bar Acrobatic (the last part is truly unbelievable) --- http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=PRJxJdgc4Ng&feature=related

A Video Version of the Periodic Table (a video for each element)  --- http://www.periodicvideos.com/

Size Matters --- http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=FqfunyCeU5g
Otherwise entitled "Shift Happens"

Lunch on the Skyscraper (1930) --- http://www.slideshare.net/ronaldl/lunch-on-the-skyscraper-presentation/
(Hit the arrow buttons)

Total Solar Eclipse 2008: Live from China --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/2008/ 

Manhattan - Woody Allen (Chapter 1) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=0o6QKpNK9Cc

How to write kick-ass opening line --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=g_82MgWBkaM
Richard Sansing forwarded the link to Monty Python --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPZ5CY9KoM

Great Chicago Stories --- http://www.chicagohistory.org/greatchicagostories/ 

Why mutual funds are dangerous investments --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=irZi9YZVEyo
This is good advice to a point. However, most investors have different circumstances such as liquidity preferences, tax complications, and different ages such that there may not be a safe index fund suitable for every investor

How it All Began (Internet Humor) --- http://home.comcast.net/~singingman7777/Beginning.htm

The Boxing Cat --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=5HAf_INrFy0

Conversations with History: John Kenneth Galbraith --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=jNgfIH5pyxg

Some of the most famous series of liberal vs. conservatism debates in history were those of Galbraith vs. William F. Buckley.
Both were good speakers with skills in writing, satire, and humor, although in both cases their scholarship and research may have been overstated.
Unfortunately, I cannot find any video records of a single B-G debate on YouTube.
There are a lot of videos of the Buckley-Noam Chomsky debates, but these, in my viewpoint, were second rate relative to the B-G debates.
Charlie Rose (William F. Buckley Tribute) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=9Har3ByGiCI
Chris Matthews (William F. Buckley Tribute) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=Iix0dXVzdpw
Part 1 of the Buckley-Chomsky debates --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=VYlMEVTa-PI

William F. Buckley impression by David Frye --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=YFW17jbT9QQ


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

One of Linda Kidwell's favorite dance videos --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI

Beautiful Photographs Accompanied by the Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven) --- Click Here
Click the right arrow button after it loads.

Farmer and the Lord (Jim Reeves) --- http://home.comcast.net/~singingman777/Farmer.htm

Take Just One Minute --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=AsMkz5vSjdo

Best Motivator Quotations (video) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=CNu0g57l7RQ

Waiting In Saigon (Apocalypse Now) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=4ADTPYAEi80

New from Jessie
Whiskey for My Men, Beer for My Horses --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/beerhorses.htm
If the music does not start up after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the Play arrow.

New from Jessie
Neal and Leandra --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/fireplacemulti.htm
If the music does not start up after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the Play arrow.

Old from Jessie and still my favorite
Hope Has Its Place --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/pity.htm
If the music does not start up after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the Play arrow.

Old from Jessie
Monster Mash --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/mash.htm
If the music does not start up after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the Play arrow.
Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 


Photographs and Art

Tennessee Waltz (slide show of great photographs from Asia and elsewhere) --- Click Here
After it loads, click on the right arrow button.

Art of Being Well (Slide Show) --- Click Here
After it loads, click on the right arrow button.

The American Image: The Photographs of John Collier Jr.--- http://americanimage.unm.edu/

The Mystical Arts of Tibet --- http://www.mysticalartsoftibet.org/

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive --- http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/

"Hubble Images Solve Galactic Filament Mystery," by Kenneth Chang, The New York Times, August 24, 2008 ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/science/space/26galaxy.html?_r=1&oref=slogin \

Disturbing Slide Show --- http://www.brentstirton.com/


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

How to write kick-ass opening lines (video) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=g_82MgWBkaM
Richard Sansing forwarded the link to Monty Python --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPZ5CY9KoM

101 Best First Lines (Novels) http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0934311.html
Also see http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/topics/books_first_lines_t001.htm

Index of First Lines --- http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/lists/firstlines.html

Famous First Lines Quiz --- http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~dea22/quizjfic.htm

OEDILF The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form --- http://www.oedilf.com/db/Lim.php

We All Need a Tree --- http://home.att.net/%7Esoloshideaway/751/tree.htm

Nichita Stãnescu Poems (1933 - 1983) --- http://www.romanianvoice.com/poezii/poezii_tr/burned.php

Poets.org --- http://www.poets.org/

Best Motivator Quotations (video) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=CNu0g57l7RQ

The Comic Quote Blog --- http://wit.kitt.net/ 

Worst Analogies Written in High School Essays --- http://www.iainbrown.net/jokes/analog.htm

Writing.com writing helpers --- http://writing-world.com/
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI




Faculty members identify as liberals and vote Democratic in far greater proportions than found in the American public at large. That finding by itself won’t shock many, but the national study released Saturday at a Harvard University symposium may be notable both for its methodology and other, more surprising findings. The 72-page study — “The Social and Political Views of American Professors” — was produced with the goal of moving analysis of the political views of faculty members out of the culture wars and back to social science. The study offers at times harsh criticism of many of the analyses of these issues in recent years (both from those hoping to tag the professoriate as foolishly radical and those seeking to rebut those charges). The study included community college professors along with four-year institutions, and featured analysis of non-responders to the survey (two features missing from many recent reports). The results of the study find a professoriate that may be less liberal than is widely assumed, even if conservatives are correctly assumed to be in a distinct minority. The authors present evidence that there are more faculty members who identify as moderates than as liberals. The authors of the study also found evidence of a significant decline by age group in faculty radicalism, with younger faculty members less likely than their older counterparts to identify as radical or activist. And while the study found that faculty members generally hold what are thought to be liberal positions on social issues, professors are divided on affirmative action in college admissions.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 8, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/08/politics 
Jensen Comment
The liberal academy is already claiming that Sarah Palin will be the death of education, research, and science ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/09/02/palin


. . . (NBC's Andrea) Mitchell who said that only uneducated, female voters will be drawn to Sarah Palin, not those smart, college educated ones. At about 5:57 into this clip Andrea Mitchell was brought onto Meet the Press with Goodwin, David Gregory and host Tom Brokaw to tell us all that Sarah Palin will only appeal to uneducated women, not educated ones. At about 5:57 into this clip Andrea Mitchell was brought onto Meet the Press with Goodwin, David Gregory and host Tom Brokaw to tell us all that Sarah Palin will only appeal to uneducated women, not educated ones.
Newsbusters, August 31, 2008 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2072189/posts
Jensen Comment
Mitchell is saying that no woman with a college degree at NBC will vote for Sarah Palin. NBC has joined the ranks of MSNBC and those politically correct academic departments in universities who will not allow Republicans to join the faculty --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PoliticalCorrectnessFracture

Tensions are running high at MSNBC, at least surrounding veteran host Joe Scarborough who seems to be increasingly discontented at his network's decision to market itself as the cable net of choice for Bush haters. That hasn't sat well with the likes of the far left (Surge-hating and Bush-hating) Keith Olbermann who has played a large role in getting MSNBC to pursue this strategy The Democratic convention seems to have only exacerbated those tensions. Last night saw Olbermann caught on an open mic blurting out profane disgust at Scarborough, prompting the latter to verbally call him out while fellow MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews . . .
Newsbusters, August 25, 2008 --- http://media.newsbusters.org/stories/scarborough-mocks-shuster-msnbc-for-no-bias-claims.html
Watch the video --- http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/08/26/keith-olbermann-caught-dissing-joe-scarborough-open-mic
Also see the video --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=447YeVdqspE

At a forum on Sunday, when Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell called MSNBC "the official network of the Obama campaign," Democrat Tom Brokaw said, "I think Keith has gone too far. I think Chris has gone too far." Insiders say Olbermann is pushing to have Brokaw banned from the network and is also refusing to have centrist Time Magazine columnist Mike Murphy on his show.
P.J. Gladnik quoting from the New York Post, Newsbusters, August 27, 2008 ---
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/08/27/keith-olbermann-trying-banish-tom-brokaw-msnbc

Grandmother Can’t Grandfather Generation Skip
Journal of Accountancy, August 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/aug2008/taxmatters.htm
Refers to estate taxes.

Fannie, Freddie Find Legs in Shorts
TheStreet.com, Aug. 21
Refers to investing strategies

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
Abigail Adams to J.Q. Adams, 5/8/1780 as quoted in the bottom of an email message from Bill Ellis

Using a class project to evaluate entrepreneurial opportunities, a team of Stanford University Business School students drew up plans to launch a no-frills airline in Colombia. And just to make it really interesting, they intend to promote the new airline through a reality television show.
Michele Chandler, "Class project takes wing with proposal for no-frills Colombian airline," Stanford Report, August 2008 ---
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2008/august6/airline-080608.html 

Stanford athletes won a record 24 medals in Beijing (eight gold, 12 silver and four bronze)
http://gostanford.cstv.com/sports/olympics/spec-rel/082408aaa.html

Professors and other educators continue to be among the top donors to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of summer fund raising by Obama found that education as an industry was behind only the legal industry in contributing to the Democrat’s campaign. Further, a list of the 25 employers whose employees gave the most to Obama included 9 universities. They are (in order): University of California, Harvard University, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, University of Chicago, University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania.
Inside Higher Ed, August 27. 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/27/qt
Also see http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/08/professors-spent-their-summer.html
You can read more about the liberal bias of the academy at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#LiberalBias

The speech by Senator Obama, in front of an audience of nearly 80,000 people on a warm night in a football stadium refashioned into a vast political stage for television viewers, left little doubt how he intended to press his campaign against Mr. McCain this fall. =In cutting language, and to cheers that echoed across the stadium, he linked Mr. McCain to what he described as the “failed presidency of George W. Bush” and — reflecting what has been a central theme of his campaign since he entered the race — “the broken politics in Washington.”
Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeley, The New York Times, August 29, 2008 ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/29/us/politics/29dems.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Daytime talk show diva and billionaire businesswoman Oprah Winfrey, who played a crucial early primary role in raising the prominence of her fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama, was so moved by her man's Democratic acceptance speech Thursday night that she cried off her false eyelashes.
"Oprah so moved by Obama speech she cries her eyelashes off," Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2008 --- http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/08/oprah-obama-dnc.html

After three days of Democrats trying to portray their nominee as a normal Everyman, Barack Obama accepted their nomination on a stage fit for Superman. A Hollywood version of the White House facade plopped down in the middle of a tricked-out football stadium was a grand idea if the goal was to create a media spectacle. But to communicate a message of realistic hope for a beleaguered middle class, fake grandeur was an odd choice. Using a facade to appear presidential invites wisecracks about a nominee already derided as a messiah wanna-be. And the numerous references by warmup speakers to Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. are gratingly outsized for the 47-year-old rookie senator. The content of the speech was more sober and a better fit for the historic moment of the first African-American winning the nomination of a major party. Obama looked and sounded supremely confident in his belief that his time has come and that he can lead an American renewal.
Michael Goodwin, "Where was substance in Obama's acceptance?" New York Daily News, August 29, 2008 ---
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/08/28/2008-08-28_where_was_substance_in_obamas_acceptance.html

A looming crisis of debt and dependency will similarly tie the president's hands. Bluntly, the United States for too long has lived beyond its means. With Americans importing more than 60 percent of the oil they consume, the negative trade balance now about $800 billion annually, the federal deficit at record levels and the national debt approaching $10 trillion, the United States faces an urgent requirement to curb its profligate tendencies. Spending less (and saving more) implies settling for less. Yet among the campaign themes promoted by McCain and Obama alike, calls for national belt-tightening are muted.
Andrew J. Bacevich, "No matter who wins in November, you're going to be disappointed," Los Angeles Times via The Seattle Times, August 29, 2008 --- http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2008145401_prezop29.html

The top problem with peer review of scientific research? Incompetence, according to a survey of scientists at a federal research agency and published in the September issue of Science and Engineering Ethics. Sixty-two percent reported encountering incompetence in the process. Other problems included: bias (reported by 51 percent), being required to include unnecessary references to the peer reviewers’ publications (23 percent), and personal attacks in reviewer comments (18 percent).
Inside Higher Ed, August 27. 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/27/qt
Bob Jensen's threads on peer review are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PeerReview

The first cup of tea, you're a stranger; the second cup, a friend; and the third cup, you're family," Mortenson says. "And for the family, they're prepared to do anything, even die."
"'Three Cups of Tea' With Pakistan's Musharraf," NPR, August 23, 2008 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93902559&sc=emaf
This link was forwarded by Katy Ginanni.

Legally, analysts say this ruling is good for YouTube
On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd tossed out a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by adult video maker Io Group Inc. against Veoh Networks Inc., a Web site that streams ad-supported shows. The pornography company sued Veoh in June 2006 after it said it discovered 10 of its clips posted on the site without permission. Lloyd ruled that Veoh complied with federal law by promptly taking down the videos after being informed the clips were posted without permission. In a similar lawsuit, media giant Viacom Inc. is suing Google Inc.'s YouTube for $1 billion, alleging that YouTube's popularity is based on impermissible use of copyrighted material such as Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" cartoon. "This ruling is a big boost for YouTube," said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group that specializes in Internet civil liberties issues. Von Lohmann said that at least a dozen other video-hosting Web sites facing similar legal challenges should also be helped by the ruling. "Once content has been identified as infringing, Veoh's digital fingerprint technology also prevents the same infringing content from ever being uploaded again," the judge wrote in his decision. "All of this indicates that Veoh has taken steps to reduce, not foster, the incidence of copyright infringement on its Web site."
"SF Court Tosses Out Porn Lawsuit Against Veoh," NBC11, August 20, 2008 --- http://www.nbc11.com/news/17328999/detail.html

A Simple Thing to Try in Case of Identity Theft
James Woods, who played an LA prosecutor on Shark, has set a great example for dealing with identity theft. Woods told Michael Glynn at The Enquirer that he was horrified to learn that someone had charged thousands of dollars on his credit card. The crook had bought a computer and purchased two VIP tickets to the recent Dave Matthews concert at the Staples Centerin LA for $3,700. The fraudulent charges were deducted from his bill, but James was determined to find the guilty party. He called the Staples center and cleverly told them he hadn't received his tickets yet - that he wanted to verify the correct name and address. Incredibly, the crook had used his own real name and address. James realized he'd eaten at a restaurant just blocks from where the crook lived. He then called the restaurant and tracked down a guilty waiter. Woods handed the info to the Beverly Hills police and they arrested the guy.
Janet Charleton's Hollywood, August 28, 2008 ---
http://janetcharltonshollywood.com/gossip/james_woods/identity_theft_james_woods_proves_crime_does_not_pay_20080828.php
Identity Theft Resource Center --- http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ 
Bob Jensen's threads on how to protect yourself from ID theft are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft

Canada is one of the top three world suppliers of the psychedelic drug ecstasy, and a significant supplier of marijuana to the United States, the government admitted on Friday. A survey of organized crime by Criminal Intelligence Services Canada found that Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium were the primary sources of ecstasy, an illegal drug that's popular at clubs, raves and rock concerts.
"Canada Aadmits It's a Top Ecstasy Supplier," Newsmax, August 22, 2008 --- http://newsmax.com/international/canada_ecstacy_supplier/2008/08/22/124173.html

China specialists make a parlor game of imagining what Mao Zedong would make of the People's Republic of China today, with its capitalist-friendly Communists and young people more familiar with the theme song from Titanic than The East is Red. In China's Brave New World, for example, I ruminate on a revivified Mao's likely response to my favorite Nanjing bookstore, where the philosophy section has nary a copy of his Little Red Book, but does contain Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy and studies of abstruse French theory, like the optimistically titled Understanding Foucault. Some of my colleagues have taken this motif a step further, bringing into the mix the Chairman's arch-rival, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who died in exile on a Nationalist Party-run Taiwan that was both capitalist and authoritarian. In Modern China: A Very Short Introduction, for instance, Oxford historian Rana Mitter writes: "One can imagine Chiang Kaishek's ghost wandering around China today nodding in approval, while Mao's ghost follows behind him, moaning at the destruction of his vision."
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, "What Would Mao Think of the Games?" The Nation, August 22, 2008 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080901/wasserstrom

"Who's Responsible for Outrageous Gas Prices?" by Steve Bass, PC World via The Washington Post, August 20, 2008 --- Click Here

Are the outrageous prices caused by oil speculators, the oil producing nations, or a hyper-conspiracy by--hold the phone--the government? I'm still not sure, but I do know that lots of people--pundits, the airlines, and average Joes--are all giving me compelling stories.

I generally disregard messages from corporations pitching me to write to the legislature. The one I got recently from United Airlines caught my eye.

United claims is that oil speculators are responsible for driving up fuel prices. You can read the letter below and go to the site that walks you through sending an e-mail to your congressperson.

So I dug around the Internet, as did my buddy Paul C., and we came up with three weighty pieces that say, essentially, no, we can't blame speculators.

Some people point fingers at the Middle East countries that sell us oil.

For instance, Energy Investment Strategies says "Mideast oil producers increasingly consume their own oil to fuel their fast-growing economies, driving up oil prices," in Vicious Circle: Middle East Affluence Drive Up M.E. Oil Use and Price.

I don't know if these countries are to blame, but I found a half-dozen news stories showing how much money some of them have to throw around.

Abu Dhabi is one of seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. Gulf News said one businessmen had enough bucks to spend--sit down now, this is going to hurt--$14.5 million on a personalized license plate. The plate read "1" and the price set a new Guinness world record. According to Motor Authority, the plate with "F1" was cheap at $880,000.

There's got to be plenty of money available in Dubai, another member of the UAE. Get a load of this shape-shifting skyscraper.

How about an indoor skiing facility, also in Dubai, a sky-high tennis court atop the Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel, or plans for the Crescent Hydropolis, an underwater hotel 65 feet below the Persian Gulf.

Two reports about extravagant spending turned out to be hoaxes (thank goodness): the silver Audi and the diamond-studded Mercedes Benz.

Keep the supply low so the demand will be high, and oil company profits will skyrocket. That's the theory argued in Damning Evidence of 'Big Oil' Conspiracy to Limit Supply.

There are also people who think it's a government conspiracy to force us to pay more in taxes. Read the American Daily's So you think you know oil: maybe not.

To get more bang for the gas buck, lots of people are looking to a bunch of oh-I-hope-it'll-work devices. I saw a $10 gadget that attaches magnets to your gas line and thought, what the heck maybe it'd help. But my colleague, Tom Spring, says, no way, no how, in his Gas Crisis Fuels Dubious Online Offers.

Some people are trying outlandish and extreme tricks in order to save gas. It's called hypermiling, and it involves coasting whenever possible, sliding through stop signs, and tailgating trucks. Edmunds.com has a good piece on hypermiling and Go Green Travel Green has a list of about 450 tricks that you may want to spend a week studying.

Continued in article
Jensen Comment
The bottom line is that if anybody like Ben Stein blames futures markets speculators or evil oil company manipulators, consider them to be superficial grandstanders. The enemy is us. After state and federal taxes are excluded, the price of each gallon of gas in the U.S. has nearly always been underpriced relative to what people pay in other parts of the world. We're just catching up now because our strong dollar that contributed to cheap fuel is now badly shrunken and getting weaker each year. That's the main cause of rising fuel prices! And the main contributor to our shrinking dollar is the exploding (Bush-folly) annual Federal deficit and August 23, 2008 accumulated national debt of $9,621,462,007,286 --- http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

The estimated population of the United States is 304,593,115 so each citizen's share of this debt is $31,587.92. The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.86 billion per day since September 28, 2007! It's going to be a bumpy ride for whomever is elected to the White House in November. "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy (ride) ." --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=ea5__uUuxoU

An energy bait-and-switch.
To wit, the greens are blocking the very transmission network needed for renewable electricity to move throughout the economy. The best sites for wind and solar energy happen to be in the sticks -- in the desert Southwest where sunlight is most intense for longest, or the plains where the wind blows most often. To exploit this energy, utilities need to build transmission lines to connect their electricity to the places where consumers actually live. In addition to other technical problems, the transmission gap is a big reason wind only provides two-thirds of 1% of electricity generated in the U.S., and solar one-tenth of 1%. Only last week, Duke Energy and American Electric Power announced a $1 billion joint venture to build a mere 240 miles of transmission line in Indiana necessary to accommodate new wind farms. Yet the utilities don't expect to be able to complete the lines for six long years -- until 2014, at the earliest, because of the time necessary to obtain regulatory approval and rights-of-way, plus the obligatory lawsuits.
"Wind Jammers," The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121901822110148233.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Behind every financial crisis there is usually a crisis in the real economy, based in some underlying structural deficiency. Even if the financial crisis is bottoming out, sooner or later the real crisis must be faced. The fundamental problem in the American economy is that, for years, people treated rising asset prices as a substitute for personal savings. The thinking went something like this: As long as your home’s value rose every year, you didn’t have to set aside so much from your paycheck. If your stocks went up, too, so much the better; don’t forget that the Dow Jones industrial average stood in the 800 range in 1982 and seemed to rise almost nonstop for many year. Of course, asset prices haven’t been rising much lately, so many people will need more savings for their retirement or for possible emergencies. The need to save more sharpens a number of interrelated secondary problems. First, America is aging. More people than ever are entering the years when they stop saving and start spending their nest eggs. That means the transition to higher-than-expected savings may be drawn out and painful.
Tyler Cowen
, "Finding the Mess Behind the Mess," The New York Times, August 24, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/business/yourmoney/24view.html?ref=business
Jensen Comment
Sorry Tyler, but the "fundamental problem" is the inflationary burden inflicted on future generations by spendthrift government entitlements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm




"12 Unnecessary Vista Features You Can Disable Right Now : Tired of Vista's bloat? Reclaim your PC's performance by turning off a dozen wasteful features," by Lincoln Specter, PC World via The Washington Post, September 4, 2008 --- Click Here


Our AECM friend David Albrecht has a new blog in 2008.
The Summa:  Debits and credits of accounting --- http://profalbrecht.wordpress.com/
The September 2 and 3 tidbits are as follows (I'm serious):

A Copper Penny for Your Laugh

Do a google search on accounting and (humor or jokes or funnies), and you are bound to get a listing of some really awful stuff.  I’m willing to retell the following, but only to make a point that we accountants aren’t very funny.

  • What’s the difference between counting and accounting?  Accounting goes a-one, a-two, a-three, and so forth.
  • Did you know there are three types of accountants?  Those that can count, and those that can’t!
  • Says one accountant’s wife to her friend, “My husband is so accrual, he doesn’t depreciate me any more.”
  • If an accountant’s wife can’t sleep, what does she say to her husband?  “Darling, tell me about your work.”
  • How was copper wire invented?  Two accountants were arguing over a penny.

What do you think?  These are the best of the worst jokes ever created.

Why can’t accountant jokes be as funny as economist jokes?  Here are a few:

  • Economics is the only field in which two people can get a Nobel Prize for saying exactly the opposite thing.
  • Three econometricians went out hunting and came across a large deer.  The first econometricial fired, but missed by a meter to the left.  The second econometrician fired, but missed by a meter to the right.  The third econometrician didn’t fire, but shouted loudly in triumph, “We got it!  We got it!”
  • Talk is cheap, supply exceeds demand.
     

OK, so the economist jokes aren’t all that funny either.  So I decided to create my own accountant joke.  Can I do any worse?

  • America is in a war against terror.  An accountant decides to join the army.  After a month of basic training, the accountant has become the sergeant’s pet and is permitted to take the rest of the troop out for a march.  The accountant gets the men started, “Ready, set, march!”  The men start stomping left and right, stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp.  The accountant joins in to keep them in time, “Debit (stomp) Debit (stomp) Debit Credit Debit (Stomp)”

Over and out - - David Albrecht

In his most recent column for the Accounting Cycle (September 2008), Ed Ketz, accounting professor at Penn State University, comments on the SEC’s advisory group:  Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (August 1, 2008) < http://www.sec.gov/about/offices/oca/acifr/acifr-finalreport.pdf>.  Ed’s complete column about it can be found at <http://accounting.smartpros.com/x63030.xml>.

Ed is a throwback to an older age of accounting professors.  Not necessarily a curmudgeon, which evokes images of ill-tempered and disagreeable, he certainly is “a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas”. Nor is he afraid to call a schmuck a schmuck.  I like that.

Continued in the blog

Jensen Comment
I'm considering sending David the following for his blog:

Accountants are so tight they can debit (stomp) the poop out of the buffalo on a nickel.

I'm guessing that David's strategy is to embed serious accountancy issues amongst his bad jokes. Why not? I think it has made him a popular and effective teacher in the classroom. But do most of the accounting jokes have to be so bad? Perhaps it wins him the sympathy vote on student evaluations.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Humor
Included is this tidbit from David a while back:

Partying Accountants (video links forwarded by David Albrecht)

As far as partying accountants go, let's never forget Rich Kinder's Enron Departure Party before the meltdown of Enron (it features Jeff Skilling in the flesh speaking about Hypothetical Future Value Accounting) --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/windowsmedia/enron3.wmv
Then Texas Governor George W. Bush even makes a brief appearance in the video.

Footnote:  Rich Kinder left Enron, formed his own energy company, and became a billionaire --- http://www.mcdep.com/MR11231.PDF
See Question 2 at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm
Enron's accounting books got cooked early on under his watch while Andersen's auditors turned a blind eye. 


Almost everything that is great has been done by youth.
Benjamin Disraeli

"Old Dogs Don’t Create New Tricks," by Ron Baker, White Paper on the AccountingWeb, August 2008 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/whitepapers/old_dogs.pdf

Jensen Comment
I have to respectfully disagree with both Disraeli and Baker. People under 30 years of age have may countless innovations, made important research discoveries, and often solve old problems with a new perspective. However, the same can be said for people over 30 years of age. People over 30 have the added advantage in many disciplines of many years of accumulation of knowledge.

Neither Disraeli nor Baker properly account for important differences among academic disciplines. Josh Lederberg won a Nobel Prize in Genetics in 1958. I got to know him when we spent a year together in a think tank on the Stanford University campus in 1971. On more than one occasion he said that he was grateful that he'd chosen genetics and chemistry where years of study are such formidable prerequisites that prodigies cannot make much of a contribution like they can in mathematics and computer science. You cannot contribute to solving a problem as a prodigy in disciplines where it takes decades of scholarship to even understand the problem. In accounting, the average age of persons obtaining PhD degrees is 35. It's virtually impossible these days to become a member of the academy at a youthful age even if you are a prodigy (see a module on this below).

Observation of the ages of Nobel Prize winners at the time they published the theory leading to their award indicates that, although there are certainly differences between individuals, highly-creative research results often seem to be produced between the ages of about 30 and 45. There is increasing concern about the supply of personnel, particularly young researchers, from a quantitative perspective as the number of children in society (such as in Japan) declines. It is more important than ever to promote the activity of talented, highly-creative young researchers.
Mext, 2007 --- http://www.mext.go.jp/english/news/2007/03/07022214/001/007.htm

A great deal about aging and learning and research is available in the pages beginning at http://www.mext.go.jp/english/news/2007/03/07022214/001/001.htm


Update on the Shortage of Doctoral Faculty in Accountancy

Probably the best set of data available on accounting doctoral programs in the United States is provided by Jim Hasselback at http://www.jrhasselback.com/AtgDoctInfo.html

Especially note the bottom of the table at http://www.jrhasselback.com/AtgDoct/XDocChrt.pdf
Jim made a concerted effort recently to improve the accuracy of the data provided in this table. He points out that the Year 2007 data are incomplete such at the 116 number is understated. However, the 149 number of doctoral graduates in 2006 can be trusted and compared with the numbers in earlier years. These numbers are a bit on the rise since the number bottomed out at 105 graduates in 2003. In the 1980s and early 1990s this number hovered around 200 graduates. In a period of exploding salaries since year 2000 coupled with reductions of teaching loads to about three courses a year or less, something serious has been contributing to the declining interest in getting a doctoral degree in accounting in the United States. One reason is the shrinking of program size in such universities as Texas and Illinois that historically produced the largest numbers of accounting doctoral graduates. Another reason is the number of years that it takes (around five to six) of full-time study in an accounting doctoral program vis-à-vis the three years needed for many other doctoral degrees such as economics and psychology. But the most serious reason in Bob Jensen's viewpoint is that accounting doctoral programs are no longer attractive to accountants who want to study accounting --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

At the 2008 AAA annual meetings, Jim made a point of saying that an increasing proportions of our doctoral graduates are from outside the United States. The shortage of doctoral graduates to meet the demand in U.S. universities is affected by this since a significant number of graduates return to their home countries after graduation. Also, some graduates do not commence working for colleges and universities. Thus perhaps only 100 (rough guess) of the 2006 graduating accounting doctoral students were available to colleges and universities in the U.S. Furthermore, a serious number of those graduates had prior study in mathematics and science while having little education and experience in accounting studies. Some still have difficulties with the English language.

Two important reports on the crisis of meeting the demand for new doctoral graduates in accounting were published as follows:

Behn (2008) --- (not free) http://www.atypon-link.com/AAA/doi/pdf/10.2308/iace.2008.23.3.357
Accounting Doctoral Education—2007 A Report of the Joint AAA/APLG/FSA Doctoral Education Committee
Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 23, No. 3, August 2008, pp.357-368
Author(s): Bruce K. Behn | Gregory A. Carnes | George W. Krull Jr | Kevin D. Stocks | Philip M. J. Reckers |

Plumlee (2006) --- (not free) http://www.atypon-link.com/AAA/doi/pdf/10.2308/iace.2006.21.2.113 
Assessing the shortage of accounting faculty,”
Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 21 Number 2, May 2006, pp. 113-126
R. David Plumlee | Steven J. Kachelmeier | Silvia A. Madeo | Jamie H. Pratt | George Krull

Both the Plumlee (2006) and Behn (2008) reports conclude that shortages are more severe in some specialties than others. The crisis is critical in Accounting Information Systems (AIS), Auditing, and Tax.  Table 6 of the Behn (2008) report on Page 360 reads as follows:

TABLE 6

Student Topical Research Areas (percentage of responses by category)

Area Percentage

AIS shortages are supplemented with MIS and computer science graduates who have backgrounds in accountancy. Auditing and tax were viewed by the AICPA as being in really deep trouble, i.e., the heart and core of public accountancy has the fewest numbers of graduating accountancy doctoral students. For this reason, the large accounting firms are contributing to a newly-established AICPA Foundation fund providing $30,000 annual scholarships to selected doctoral students in auditing and tax --- http://commons.aaahq.org/files/24e4586780/ADS_Program_Overview.doc

Increased funding to attract doctoral students into accounting is important and will have an impact, especially on directing study and research into auditing and taxation. However, what is really necessary is to make accounting doctoral programs more attractive to real-world accountants who really want to teach accounting, do research in accounting, and get a doctoral degree in a reasonable amount of full-time effort for three to maybe four years instead of five to six years. I think the most important things that will reverse the decline in the numbers of doctoral students in accounting are as follows:

  1. Doctoral programs should be shortened for experienced accountants who have credentials like CPA and CMA certificates.
     
  2. Doctoral programs should offer study and research tracks apart from the limited econometrics, psychometrics, and analytical mathematics tracks that all require years of study of mathematics, statistics, and social science prerequisites. For example, at present there is virtually no university in the United States that has a doctoral studies track in accounting history. Few offer tracks in case method research.
     
  3. Universities in the U.S. need to increase the numbers of doctoral students in their programs. This, in turn, means adding more incentives for AIS, auditing, and tax professors to take on responsibilities in the doctoral programs.
     
  4. Leading accounting research journals need to invite submissions beyond the narrow band of mathematics and statistics research method criteria of the past three decades --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/395wpTAR/03MainDocumentMar2007.htm
    The Accounting Review has taken the lead in 2008 by inviting submissions in AIS, field studies, and accounting history.
     
  5. Accountancy doctoral programs need to be more concerned about pressing research problems in the practicing profession. Schools of medicine do research on problems encountered in treating patients. Law schools do research on problems encountered in the practice of law. Schools of accountancy elected to rise above issues of accounting practice by focusing on problems of economic and behavioral theory that have had little or no impact on the practicing profession.

In the academic year ended in 2006, there were 1,711 doctorates awarded in business reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education's 2008 Almanac Issue on Page 20. There's no separate category for accounting. But if Hasselback's reported 149 accounting graduates are included in the 1,711 number, then 8.7% of the business doctoral degrees for 2006 were in accounting. The AACSB can provide some further data about its member schools enrollments and graduations --- http://www.aacsb.edu/knowledgeservices/datadirect/dd-intro.asp

If the 2,848,440 total earned degrees (Associate+Bachelor's+Master's+Doctoral) are divided into the 562,435 earned degrees in business, the percentage is about 20%. If the 56,067 earned doctoral degrees in the United States are divided into the 1,711 business doctoral degrees, the percentage is about 3%. This suggests that perhaps 3% of the new business doctorates are teaching about 20% of the students, although there are wide margins for error in these percentages. I suspect that the situation is much worse in accounting education programs that are increasingly relying on adjunct faculty without doctoral degrees to teach the accounting students.

The AACSB 2002 white paper entitled "Management Education at Risk" is available at http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/dfc/default.asp

In part this led to the AACSB's Bridge Program where persons with doctoral degrees in fields other than business can enter special programs to become business professors --- http://www.aacsb.edu/bridge/graduates.asp

I recently posted the following comments at the AAA Commons:

I think that initially a few doctoral programs will find that if they break away from the accountics (i.e., econometrics, psychometrics, and advanced mathematics) prerequisites they will get some of the best high GMAT practicing accountants to apply for thier programs. For example, the University of Central Florida (one of the largest universities in the U.S.) adopted this tactic for their relatively new accoutancy doctoral program. You can read the comments of one of its leading students and a leading professor at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms 

Next I think there will be some new doctoral tracks offered in accounting history in older doctoral programs that dropped these tracks when the Chicago-type capital markets accountics hijacked their programs. Initiatives for this may be forthcoming from leading professors now in the Academy of Accounting Historians.

The new $30,000 annual doctoral program scholarships funded by the large accounting firms for auditing and tax doctoral students may inspire some doctoral programs to make some tracks available somewhat similar to the doctoral program at Central Florida --- --- http://commons.aaahq.org/files/24e4586780/ADS_Program_Overview.doc

As far as deans go, they are heavily influenced by the AACSB, and the AACSB has white paper out that notes the future of business education is jeopardized by the shortage of doctoral graduates in all business fields ---  http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/dfc/default.asp 

In most instances the deans will applaud rather than constrain offering of new tracks in business doctoral programs. The major obstacle, as Pogo said, is US. We let the mathematicians take over our doctoral programs, and now it is very hard to motivate our auditors, tax, and AIS professors to supervise doctoral students. The following quote pretty much says what it is with present-day doctoral student advisors. The quote is from
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms 

The related problem is that our leading scholars running those doctoral programs have taken a supercilious view of the clinical side of our profession. Or maybe it’s just that these leaders do not want to take the time and trouble to learn the clinical side of the profession. Once again I repeat the oft-quoted referee of an Accounting Horizons rejection of Denny Beresford’s 2005 submission

I quote from http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#AcademicsVersusProfession

*************
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?
**************

Joel Demski steers us away from the clinical side of the accountancy profession by saying we should avoid that pesky “vocational virus.” (See below).

The (Random House) dictionary defines "academic" as "pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied , as the humanities or pure mathematics." Clearly, the short answer to the question is no, accounting is not an academic discipline.
Joel Demski, "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline?" Accounting Horizons, June 2007, pp. 153-157

 

Statistically there are a few youngsters who came to academia for the joy of learning, who are yet relatively untainted by the vocational virus. I urge you to nurture your taste for learning, to follow your joy. That is the path of scholarship, and it is the only one with any possibility of turning us back toward the academy.
Joel Demski, "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline? American Accounting Association Plenary Session" August 9, 2006 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm

Too many accountancy doctoral programs have immunized themselves against the “vocational virus.” The problem lies not in requiring doctoral degrees in our leading colleges and universities. The problem is that we’ve been neglecting the clinical needs of our profession. Perhaps the real underlying reason is that our clinical problems are so immense that academic accountants quake in fear of having to make contributions to the clinical side of accountancy as opposed to the clinical side of finance, economics, and psychology.

Our problems with doctoral programs in accountancy are shared with other disciplines, notably education and nursing schools.
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm

 

 

Why must all accounting doctoral programs be social science (particularly econometrics) doctoral programs? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms


Internet users can view video either as video file downloads (that may or may not be stored on a hard drive) or as streaming video (that does not entail downloading a media file but can be captured with streaming media software).

Update from the AAA Accounting Commons --- http://commons.aaahq.org/pages/home
I thank Rick for sharing his expertise in the new VoiceThread multimedia education and communication technology.
Accounting Professor Rick Lillie Uses VoiceThread to Create Streaming Video --- http://iaed.wordpress.com/
 

If you have not yet discovered VoiceThread, I strongly recommend that you click on the link below and explore the VoiceThread website. You are in for a real technology treat!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VOICETHREAD WEBSITE

I use VoiceThread to create streaming video lectures, to create tutorials explaining how to solve problems, to explain answers to quiz and examination questions, and more. VoiceThread is easy to use, is similar to PowerPoint (but much more robust), and is web-hosted which makes it easy for you to share VoiceThread presentations with your students and colleagues.

During a presentation that I gave at the recent 2008 American Accounting Association (AAA) Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California, I talked about VoiceThread. To help participants to see how easy it is to create and share dynamic presentations with VoiceThread, I put together a short presentation that explains how to use VoiceThread. Click on the link below to view the short tutorial program.

 

I encourage you to sign up for a free account.  Learn to use VoiceThread.  If you like what you create, then you can upgrade to the “Pro” version, which is very inexpensive. To get the full benefit of using VoiceThread, you need a headset/microphone and webcam.  To begin, use the tools included in VoiceThread. If you have questions about VoiceThread, use the “Contact Me” option on the right side of the screen.  Send me a message.  Include your email and/or telephone number.  I will be happy to work with you.

Enjoy!
Rick Lillie


Jensen Comment
VoiceThread has an advantage in allowing a community of users to comment (in multimedia) comments on an instructional video.
It's drawback is that it uses a lot of storage and bandwidth for talking heads.

Some VoiceThread pricing information is given at http://voicethread.com/pricing/pro/
It is possible to get small amounts of video file storage free, but it can get really expensive when the community goes on and on with long commentaries.
In the pro version, file sizes are limited to 100 Mb. This is about one tenth the size of a 10 minute YouTube video. YouTube generally limits file sizes to 1 Gb or 10 minutes of compressed video such as mpg compression --- http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hlrm=en&answer=57924
Colleges can stream much larger videos on YouTube such as the courses that UC Berkeley makes available on YouTube with over one hour of video for each lecture in a course.

VoiceThread makes it possible to have somewhat longer videos in a 100 Mb file by using small video screens. Note how Rick does this at http://voicethread.com/#q.b173180.i923368

YouTube also allows any users to comment in text format such that commentaries can accompany videos on YouTube. The huge advantage of YouTube is that videos can be uploaded, viewed, and even downloaded for free. VoiceThread, for an annual fee, has more features.

Although I've not tried VoiceThread, it would seem that cost and file size limits make this less attractive than YouTube.

Other video streaming alternatives are summarized at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#StreamingMedia

Camtasia users should note that TechSmith will serve up streaming videos in a utility called ScreenCast --- http://www.techsmith.com/screencast.asp

You can read the following at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#StreamingMedia

However, in most instances open sharing videos are streaming (using the term loosely here) videos for which there is no file to download. In that case the video must be captured in total or in part by software designed for such purposes. The software I like for video capturing is called Camtasia Recorder --- http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/record.asp
Also see http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/education.asp
This is cheaper alternative than many more specialized products for streaming video capture. You can download my PowerPoint file about Camtasia at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/PowerPoint/
Links to examples are given in this slide show.

 

Other streaming media alternatives are summarized at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#StreamingMedia

August 31, 2008 reply from Rick Lillie at the AAA Accounting Commons --- http://commons.aaahq.org/pages/home

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your comments about VoiceThread.  I would like to expand on several points that you raised.

Regarding the way VoiceThread works

VoiceThread is a hosted service that can be used in a variety of ways.  For example, VoiceThread may be used to create

Currently, VoiceThread is offered in both free and low-fee options.  The pricing screen needs a little more explanation.

Pros vs Cons of VoiceThread

IN CLOSING

There are lots of ways to create rich-media instructional materials.  I use them extensively in my accounting courses.

Personally, I do not like Camtasia, Adobe Presenter, Camtasia Recorder and similar software programs.  For me, these programs are too complex to use.  I like processes to be as simple as possible.  This is why I prefer VoiceThread.

VoiceThread allows me to focus on creating the slides, pictures (jpeg files), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files, etc., that I want to include in a streaming presentation.  VoiceThread makes it easy to go from slides to streaming video with embedded commentary.  VoiceThread saves the file and gives me a URL to the program or the html code for embedding a player into course materials.

The overall process is simple and easy to use.

Many accounting faculty that I have talked with seem hesitant to include technology in their courses and to use technology tools when creating course materials.  When I find something that will make life easier, I share the information.

Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy this type of discussion.

Best wishes,

Rick Lillie

August 31,  2008 reply from Bob Jensen at the AAA Accounting Commons --- http://commons.aaahq.org/pages/home

Hi Rick,

I  really appreciate your detailed elaboration on video creation alternatives. Thank you so much! Please keep them coming at the AAA Commons. You obviously have unique technology skills.

The one area where I disagree with you is on Camtasia. I personally learned how to use Camtasia in less than an hour and then recorded many technical videos for my students to use outside the classroom. It cut down on the traffic through my office door by about 95% from students who just did follow the technical details in class. More importantly these videos (especially the ones about MS Access technicalities) helped me explain things that I forgot how to do over time. Examples of my Camtasia videos can be found at the following links:

ACCT 5342 (AIS videos) --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5342/

ACCT 5341 (Accounting Theory videos) at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/acct5341/ 

I even prepared a tutorial on how to record (capture) computer image videos and produce (compress) them into smaller files for storage and delivery --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/Tutorials/
(I suggest clicking on the CamtasiaTutorial.wmv file)

I hope accounting professors and students will not be scared away from Camtasia before even trying it out. A limited and free version may be attempted first. It is called Jing --- http://www.jingproject.com/ 

But an even better suggestion is to download Camtasia Studio itself on a free trial basis --- http://www.jingproject.com/ 

Another interesting product from TechSmith is called UserView. Suppose a student is located somewhere else in the world. UserView allows a professor to both see and record what is happening on a student's computer screen such that the professor can analyze the moves and suggest to the student how to do something better. Similarly, the student can see what is happening on a professor's computer while he/she narrates.  Good stuff --- http://www.techsmith.com/uservue.asp 

But for me, the best thing since grapefruit is Camtasia Studio for producing videos for my own servers, YouTube, and possibly even VoiceThread. For YouTube I suggest choosing mpg compressions after recording a wmv video.

Bob Jensen's video helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm

Thanks Rick,

Bob Jensen

 


Amazon Plans to Market Its E-Book Reader to Colleges
Amazon is considering entering the student textbook market with a new version of its Kindle e-book reader, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Most publishers now offer electronic versions of their textbooks, but so far there's not an attractive enough e-book reader, and Amazon aims to fill that void. The college-oriented new model might be larger and include student-friendly features, such as allowing making annotations, according to a technology blog. Amazon officers also said the high Kindle sales estimates calculated by TechCrunch--a popular blog on internet products and companies--are not accurate. But the electronic company refuses to make public how many e-book reader units it has sold since Kindle was launched last November.
Maria José Viñas, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 25, 2008 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3268&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en
Also see http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc20080826_932949.htm?link_position=link7

Amazon Kindle, an electronic device that he hopes will leapfrog over previous attempts at e-readers and become the turning point in a transformation toward Book 2.0 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Kindle

Then watch this video --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKUKQ7QqOHw
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$359 Amazon Kindle --- Click Here

Read This Next
The Future of Reading (beyond mere hard copy and electronic books as we know them)

"Amazon's Jeff Bezos already built a better bookstore. Now he believes he can improve upon one of humankind's most divine creations: the book itself.," Newsweek Cover Story, November 26, 2007 --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/70983

"Technology," computer pioneer Alan Kay once said, "is anything that was invented after you were born." So it's not surprising, when making mental lists of the most whiz-bangy technological creations in our lives, that we may overlook an object that is superbly designed, wickedly functional, infinitely useful and beloved more passionately than any gadget in a Best Buy: the book. It is a more reliable storage device than a hard disk drive, and it sports a killer user interface. (No instruction manual or "For Dummies" guide needed.) And, it is instant-on and requires no batteries. Many people think it is so perfect an invention that it can't be improved upon, and react with indignation at any implication to the contrary.

"The book," says Jeff Bezos, 43, the CEO of Internet commerce giant Amazon.com, "just turns out to be an incredible device." Then he uncorks one of his trademark laughs.

Books have been very good to Jeff Bezos. When he sought to make his mark in the nascent days of the Web, he chose to open an online store for books, a decision that led to billionaire status for him, dotcom glory for his company and countless hours wasted by authors checking their Amazon sales ratings. But as much as Bezos loves books professionally and personally—he's a big reader, and his wife is a novelist—he also understands that the surge of technology will engulf all media. "Books are the last bastion of analog," he says, in a conference room overlooking the Seattle skyline. We're in the former VA hospital that is the physical headquarters for the world's largest virtual store. "Music and video have been digital for a long time, and short-form reading has been digitized, beginning with the early Web. But long-form reading really hasn't." Yet. This week Bezos is releasing the Amazon Kindle, an electronic device that he hopes will leapfrog over previous attempts at e-readers and become the turning point in a transformation toward Book 2.0. That's shorthand for a revolution (already in progress) that will change the way readers read, writers write and publishers publish. The Kindle represents a milestone in a time of transition, when a challenged publishing industry is competing with television, Guitar Hero and time burned on the BlackBerry; literary critics are bemoaning a possible demise of print culture, and Norman Mailer's recent death underlined the dearth of novelists who cast giant shadows. On the other hand, there are vibrant pockets of book lovers on the Internet who are waiting for a chance to refurbish the dusty halls of literacy.

As well placed as Amazon was to jump into this scrum and maybe move things forward, it was not something the company took lightly. After all, this is the book we're talking about. "If you're going to do something like this, you have to be as good as the book in a lot of respects," says Bezos. "But we also have to look for things that ordinary books can't do." Bounding to a whiteboard in the conference room, he ticks off a number of attributes that a book-reading device—yet another computer-powered gadget in an ever more crowded backpack full of them—must have. First, it must project an aura of bookishness; it should be less of a whizzy gizmo than an austere vessel of culture. Therefore the Kindle (named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge) has the dimensions of a paperback, with a tapering of its width that emulates the bulge toward a book's binding. It weighs but 10.3 ounces, and unlike a laptop computer it does not run hot or make intrusive beeps. A reading device must be sharp and durable, Bezos says, and with the use of E Ink, a breakthrough technology of several years ago that mimes the clarity of a printed book, the Kindle's six-inch screen posts readable pages. The battery has to last for a while, he adds, since there's nothing sadder than a book you can't read because of electile dysfunction. (The Kindle gets as many as 30 hours of reading on a charge, and recharges in two hours.) And, to soothe the anxieties of print-culture stalwarts, in sleep mode the Kindle displays retro images of ancient texts, early printing presses and beloved authors like Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen.

But then comes the features that your mom's copy of "Gone With the Wind" can't match. E-book devices like the Kindle allow you to change the font size: aging baby boomers will appreciate that every book can instantly be a large-type edition. The handheld device can also hold several shelves' worth of books: 200 of them onboard, hundreds more on a memory card and a limitless amount in virtual library stacks maintained by Amazon. Also, the Kindle allows you to search within the book for a phrase or name.

Some of those features have been available on previous e-book devices, notably the Sony Reader. The Kindle's real breakthrough springs from a feature that its predecessors never offered: wireless connectivity, via a system called Whispernet. (It's based on the EVDO broadband service offered by cell-phone carriers, allowing it to work anywhere, not just Wi-Fi hotspots.) As a result, says Bezos, "This isn't a device, it's a service."

Specifically, it's an extension of the familiar Amazon store (where, of course, Kindles will be sold). Amazon has designed the Kindle to operate totally independent of a computer: you can use it to go to the store, browse for books, check out your personalized recommendations, and read reader reviews and post new ones, tapping out the words on a thumb-friendly keyboard. Buying a book with a Kindle is a one-touch process. And once you buy, the Kindle does its neatest trick: it downloads the book and installs it in your library, ready to be devoured. "The vision is that you should be able to get any book—not just any book in print, but any book that's ever been in print—on this device in less than a minute," says Bezos.

Amazon has worked hard to get publishers to step up efforts to release digital versions of new books and backlists, and more than 88,000 will be on sale at the Kindle store on launch. (Though Bezos won't get terribly specific, Amazon itself is also involved in scanning books, many of which it captured as part of its groundbreaking Search Inside the Book program. But most are done by the publishers themselves, at a cost of about $200 for each book converted to digital. New titles routinely go through the process, but many backlist titles are still waiting. "It's a real chokepoint," says Penguin CEO David Shanks.) Amazon prices Kindle editions of New York Times best sellers and new releases in hardback at $9.99. The first chapter of almost any book is available as a free sample.

The Kindle is not just for books. Via the Amazon store, you can subscribe to newspapers (the Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Le Monde) and magazines (The Atlantic). When issues go to press, the virtual publications are automatically beamed into your Kindle. (It's much closer to a virtual newsboy tossing the publication on your doorstep than accessing the contents a piece at a time on the Web.) You can also subscribe to selected blogs, which cost either 99 cents or $1.99 a month per blog.

Continued in article

"Review: Amazon Reader Needs More Juice," by Peter Svensson, PhysOrg, November 21, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news114878393.html

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic book readers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm


Drupal Might Better Be Termed: Websites for Dummies
It's free and purportedly great for novices wanting to start up a full-featured Website without having to become techies
Drupal --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drupal

"Drupal:  Simple, flexible Web publishing," by Clay Shirky, MIT's Technology Review, August 2008 ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/TR35/Profile.aspx?Cand=T&TRID=688 
Also see the video --- Click Here
http://www.technologyreview.com/video/index.aspx?id=688&brightcove=1695290092&iframe=tr35&autoplay=true


The Internet has made publishing on a global scale almost effortless. That's the rhetoric, anyway. The truth is more complicated, because the Internet provides only a means of distribution; a would-be publisher still needs a publishing tool. A decade ago, people who wanted such a tool had three choices, all bad: a cheap but inflexible system, a versatile but expensive one, or one written from scratch. What was needed was something in the ­middle, requiring neither enormous expense nor months of development--not a single application, but a platform for creating custom publishing environments. For tens of thousands of sites and millions of users, that something is Drupal.

Created as an open-source project by Dries Buytaert, Drupal is a free content management framework--a tool for building customized websites quickly and easily, without sacrificing features or stability. Site owners can choose from a list of possible features: they might, say, want to publish ­articles, offer each user a profile and a blog, or allow users to vote or comment on content. All these features are optional, and most are independent of the others.

With Drupal's high degree of individualization, users can escape cookie-cutt­er tools without investing in completely ­custom-­made creations, which can be time-­consuming, costly, and hard to maintain. The Howard Dean presidential campaign used Drupal in 2004, and today it's used by Greenpeace U.K., the humor magazine the Onion, Nike's Beijing Olympics site, and MTV U.K., among many others.

The diversity of its users has led to many improvements, Buytaert says: "The size, passion, and velocity of the Drupal community makes incredible things happen." There are tens of thousands of active Drupal installations worldwide. Thousands of developers have contributed to the system's core, and more than 2,000 plug-ins have been added by outside contributors.

Buytaert began the work that became Drupal in 2000, when he was an undergraduate at the University of Antwerp. He had a news site called Drop.org, and he needed an internal message board to host discussions. After reviewing the existing options for flexible message boards, Buytaert decided he could write a better version from scratch.

The original version of Drupal (its name derives from the Dutch for droplet) worked well enough to attract additional users, who proposed new features. Within a year, Buytaert decided to make the project open source. He released the code in January 2001 as version 1.0.

Since open-source projects tend to attract expert users, they often lack clear user interfaces and readable documentation, making them unfriendly to mere mortals. But Buytaert understood from the beginning how important usability is to the cycle of improvement, adoption, and more improvement that drives the development of open-source software. The core Drupal installation comes with voluminous help files. The central team regularly polls users as well as developers (which is unusual in an open-source project) to decide what to improve next. The process reveals not just features to add, but ones to remove, and ways to make existing features easier to understand. For example, the project's website has been redesigned to help people new to Drupal figure out how to get up and running.

Buytaert has also founded a company, Acquia, to offer support, service, and custom development for Drupal users, especially businesses. He calls Acquia "my other full-time job" and likens it to Linux distributor Red Hat, which provides custom packaging and support for its version of the open-source operating system.

With Drupal version 7, due later this year, Buytaert hopes to include technologies that will make sites running Drupal part of the Semantic Web, Tim ­Berners-­Lee's vision for making online data understandable to machines as well as people. If Drupal hosts a website containing a company's Securities and Exchange Commission profile, for example, other sites could access just the third-quarter revenues, without having to retrieve the whole profile. The goal of sharing data in smaller, better-defined chunks is to make Drupal a key part of the growing eco­system of websites that share structured data. If this effort succeeds, it will ensure Drupal's continued relevance to the still-developing Web.

Bob Jensen's links to Web technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#Web


Question
What is Zing software?

Hint
Not to be confused with Zing Technologies --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zing_Technologies

The idea, which Dell plans to unveil as early as September, is to create a broad standard, more open than Apple's, that will give people greater choice in how they buy and consume music, movies, and podcasts. Dell will give other companies the software to help establish the standard and will make its money selling PCs and other hardware. "Customers want access to content from a broad variety of sources—how, when, and where they choose," says CEO Michael Dell.
"Dell vs. Apple: Why It May Be Personal Former Apple vet Tim Bucher, now at Dell, is counting on his Zing software to give iTunes some competition," by Peter Burrows, Business Week, August 14, 2008 ---
http://www.businessweek.com//magazine/content/08_34/b4097022701166.htm?link_position=link1

Bob Jensen's links to free music and free radio are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm


Question
Where can you get free dash board graphing software for Excel?

Thanks to Zane Swanson for forwarding this link

Dial dashboard/speedometer metrics have existed in other software applications for a long time. They are well used in many Financial and Accounting management information systems. However, the chart function in Excel doesn't allow you to create these easily.
"The Original and FREE Dial Dashboard Metric for Microsoft® Excel®," --- http://www.ssff.co.uk/dial_dashboard_metrics.htm


Questions
Can Americans have dual citizenship?
Why were 1967 and 1980 such a key years in this regard?

FAQs --- http://www.richw.org/dualcit/faq.html#noway
Also see http://www.richw.org/dualcit/


"Housing bill summary includes many tax provisions," AccountingWeb, August 2008 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=105782

Grant Thornton provides an update on the housing bill that was signed recently by President Bush with over $15 billion in tax incentives and several important revenue offsets. The bill's tax provisions are aimed at both businesses and individuals and will have a significant impact on a large number of taxpayers. The changes will affect real estate investment trusts (REITs), provide incentives for first-time homebuyers, change tax rules for housing bonds and credits, allow some taxpayers to accelerate AMT and R&D credits, and, beginning in 2010, impose new payment card reporting requirements. A detailed description of the bill's tax provisions follows.

Individual tax provisions

1. Homebuyer credit The bill creates a temporary refundable tax credit for "first-time" homebuyers of 10 percent of the purchase price of a principal residence up to $7,500 to be paid back in the same manner as an interest free loan.

Any taxpayer who has not had ownership in a principal residence within three years of a home purchase will qualify for the credit, but the property cannot be purchased from a related person. The credit is available for property bought on or after April 9, 2008, and before July 1, 2009. If the home is purchased in 2009 before July 1, the credit can still be applied to 2008 taxes at the election of the taxpayer.

The credit must be paid back over the next 15 years in equal installments, beginning with the second year following the year of purchase. The credit phases out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income over $75,000 ($150,000 for joint returns). If the property is sold before the credit has been paid back, the remaining balance will be due in the tax year the property is sold, unless the property is sold at a loss.

2. Property tax deduction The bill will temporarily allow property owners who do not itemize their deductions to claim a standard property deduction of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for joint filers. The deduction is available only in taxable years beginning in 2008. Earlier versions of this provision has barred the deduction for taxpayers in local jurisdictions that raised property tax rates in 2008, but no such limitation was included in the final bill.

Tax provisions affecting businesses

The election is available for the taxpayer's first taxable year that ends after March 31, 2008. Taxpayers making the election must use the straight line method with respect to property that would otherwise be eligible for bonus depreciation.

Continued in article


Tax Breaks for College Savings:  Now may be the best time for starting to save for the college education of your children or grandchildren

"529 College Savings Plans remain a mystery to most parents," AccountingWeb, August 2008 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104018

Parents are counting on credit to counterbalance skyrocketing college costs, according to The State of College Savings, a survey to assess the state of college savings conducted by the College Savings Foundation. Fifty-four percent have saved less than $5,000 toward their goal and almost 40 percent expect to take at least 10 years to dig out of the daunting debt expected to send their children to college.

The survey of 447 parents, who span income levels and crisscross the country, revealed for the first time that American families intend to rely on long term-debt, rather than savings, to fund their children's futures. Even though 79 percent of all respondents would be highly disappointed if their children could not afford to go to college, over half, 51 percent, of that group has saved less than $5,000 per child.

Continued in article

Morningstar, the global investment research firm has published its annual list of the best and worst 529 plans – when it comes to earning long-term returns for college savers – and the overall opinion smacks of optimism. Some of the worst plans from years past have folded up and gone away, while others continually strive to improve.
AccountingWeb, August 2008 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=105846

"Twelve tips for funding that college education," AccountingWeb, August 2008 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=104016

Bob Jensen's helpers for investment and personal finance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers 


"Merrill Lynch Settlement With SEC Worth Up to $7B," SmartPros, August 25, 2008 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x62971.xml

Federal regulators said Friday that investors who bought risky auction-rate securities from Merrill Lynch & Co. before the market for those bonds collapsed will be able to recover up to $7 billion under a new agreement.

The largest U.S. brokerage will buy back the securities from thousands of investors under a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and other state regulators over its role in selling the high-risk bonds to retail investors. Under that deal, announced Thursday, Merrill agreed to hasten its voluntary buyback plan by repurchasing $10 billion to $12 billion of the securities from investors by Jan. 2.

Merrill also agreed to pay a $125 million fine in a separate accord with state regulators.

The $330 billion market for auction-rate securities collapsed in mid-February.

The SEC's estimate of a $7 billion recovery is based on its projection of the eventual amount of the bonds that will be cashed in by the affected investors, who bought them before Feb. 13. The $10 billion to $12 billion is the total amount that Merrill is committing to buy back. The firm has to offer redemptions to all investors, though not all may cash in the securities.

The SEC said the new agreement will enable retail investors, small businesses and charities who purchased the securities from Merrill "to restore their losses and liquidity."

New York-based Merrill neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in agreeing to the federal settlement, which is subject to approval by SEC commissioners.

The firm wasn't fined under the accord, but the SEC said Merrill "faces the prospect" of a penalty after completing its obligations under the agreement. The amount of the penalty, if any, would take into account the extent of Merrill's misconduct in marketing and selling auction-rate securities, and an assessment of whether it fulfilled its obligations, the SEC said.

"Merrill Lynch's conduct harmed tens of thousands of investors who will have the opportunity to get their money back through this agreement," Linda Thomsen, the agency's enforcement director, said in a statement. "We will continue to aggressively investigate wrongdoing in the marketing and sale of auction-rate securities."

Merrill, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank on Thursday brought to eight the number of global banks that have settled a five-month investigation into claims they misled customers into believing the securities were safe.

The auction-rate securities market involved investors buying and selling instruments that resembled regular corporate debt, except the interest rates were reset at regular auctions - some as frequently as once a week. A number of companies and retail clients invested in the securities because, thanks to the regular auctions, they could treat their holdings as liquid, almost like cash.

Major issuers included companies that financed student loans and municipal agencies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. When big banks ceased backstopping the auctions with supporting bids because of concerns about credit exposure, the bustling market collapsed. That left some issuers paying double-digit interest rates because of the terms under which they issued the securities.

Regulators have been investigating the collapse in the market to determine who was responsible for its demise and whether banks knowingly misrepresented the safety of the securities when selling them to investors.

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

Jensen Comment
It's unbelievable how many huge frauds there are in which Merrill Lynch has been an active participant. For example, go to the following site and do a word search for "Merrill" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
For example, Merrill Lynch was a key player in the derivatives instrument fraud that cost Orange County over a billion dollars. This is just one of the many examples.


"Eight Crazy E-Mail Hoaxes Millions Have Fallen For:  E-mail fills our in-boxes with come-ons to see celebrities naked and to get rich quick. Even though we know deep down that these are fakes, why do we contine to think, 'Maybe?'," by Nick Mediati and Anne B. McDonald, PC World via The Washington Post, August 26, 2008 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/22/AR2008082200175.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Congratulations, you won the lottery in a country whose name you can't even pronounce! A wealthy oil executive in a far-off land wants to give you millions of dollars, right now! Sexy girls want to meet you!

Now let's be honest. If someone came to your door and told you any of those things, you'd tell him to get lost. So why do people still fall for this stuff when it's in their e-mail, as if a poorly written message made a weird-sounding pitch any more legitimate?

The saddest part is, the only reason annoying e-mail keeps filing your inbox is because it works. No matter the number of reports detailing e-mail hoaxes gone bad and tales of spammers taking people for all they're worth, people just keep on clicking.

Why? It's the law of percentages. The response rate for snail-mail spam is between 0.5 and 1 percent. That might not sound like a lot, but if you apply it to e-mail, it means a spammer can send 1 million messages--without the cost of paper and postage--and 5000 to 10,000 people will answer. In fact, a study out this month indicates that nearly 30 percent of Internet users confessed to purchasing something from spam e-mail.

In 100 years, the spam boxes on our brain-implant chips will be maxed out, and we'll still be asking: Who's clicking on this stuff?

Here's PC World's list, in no particular order, of the top e-mail hoaxes that have come through inboxes and fooled millions.

It's amazing how many people were willing to believe this e-mail about a breeder in New York who raised kittens in bottles. Perhaps it's the horrible detail that outraged the recipients so much: The small animals are given a muscle relaxant to pacify them and to allow the breeder to get them in the bottle. They're fed through straws. Their skeletons take on the shape of the bottle. "Latest trends In New York, China, Indonesia and New Zealand." A bizarre case of animal cruelty? A sick joke?

Actually, it started as a fake Web site, Bonsai Kitten, the product of MIT students. The idea was so outrageous, it spread like wildfire via e-mail. Plenty of people fell for it, many begging animal-welfare organizations to help the small furry creatures. Even the FBI investigated. Perhaps it could happen--after all, you can miniaturize a tree by pruning it and shaping it. But cats? Last time we checked, it's more or less impossible (not to mention probably illegal) to stop an animal from growing simply by keeping it in a small container.

E-mail alerts outlining the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide swept the Internet in the late 1990s and still pop up today. Many ask that you sign and forward a petition to ban the chemical, which contributes to global warming, is a major ingredient in acid rain, causes metals to rust more quickly, and has been found in cancerous tumors. The chemical also contributes to the greenhouse effect and to erosion of our natural landscapes. It's even in food. Sounds pretty dangerous. You're ready to sign right now, aren't you?

Well, let us tell you one more thing about dihydrogen monoxide: It's more commonly known as water. You know, the substance that every single living being relies on to survive? The origins of this item are multifold, from flyers circulated at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1989 (so 20th century!) to a junior high school student who surveyed 50 classmates in 1997 and got 43 of them to sign his petition to ban the chemical. He then won a prize at his science fair for his project, called "How Gullible Are We?" Several Web pages touting the chemical's dangers are still live. Don't feel too bad if you've ever fallen victim to this hoax; even a government official in New Zealand took the bait last year.

With all the talk of cell phone dangers, the idea of radiation from them being powerful enough to pop popcorn doesn't seem that far-fetched, at least on the surface. Why, just this summer the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute advised its employees to limit exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones. So why wouldn't you believe the swarm of e-mail telling you to look at the incredible video of friends popping kernels of corn with their mobile phones?

The group allegedly did it by placing the kernels inside a ring of cell phones that then rang at the same time. The result: The kernels popped wildly as the cell phone owners shrieked in delight. It must be true--it was on the Internet, and the video was fun to watch. The event set off a wave of imitators attempting to film themselves re-creating it or trying to disprove it. The best of these, in our opinion, was the video where the people replaced their cell phones with Barack Obama dolls and the popcorn popped anyhow. Watch out, Senator McCain!

Unfortunately, as you might expect, it was all fake. A company called Cardo Systems made the video to promote its cell phone headsets. Abraham Glezerman, Cardo's CEO, told CNN that the phones were real and the popping popcorn was real, but the video was a composite, with the footage of the popcorn heated over a kitchen stove digitally dropped into the video of the folks with their phones. Dang. Guess the e-mail about cell phones that can cook eggs isn't accurate either.

Bill Gates Wants to Give You Money

This summer an editor at PC World received a note from a relative asking if the e-mail she had received that told her Bill Gates wanted to send her $1000 was real. Uh, no...

Although Gates is being very generous with his fortune now that he has retired from day-to-day work with Microsoft, you can get some of it only by applying to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But long before the foundation was created, back in the early days of the Internet, e-mail discussing Gates's or Microsoft's willingness to fork over free cash was widely circulated--and clearly, it's still forwarded today. Snopes.com has a list of the urban legends circulating most widely and, despite the fact that Gates and Microsoft have been the subject of phony e-mail alerts and hoaxes since the 1990s, they are still in the top 25 this month.

One version says that Microsoft wants to make sure Internet Explorer remains the dominant browser (which we're sure is true). All you need to do to help out and get money from Microsoft is to forward an e-mail to your friends. Microsoft will track the e-mail for two weeks, and you get paid for every person who receives the e-mail through you. Among the attractive details is a list of differing amounts that will come to you depending on how many referrals you make--one version of the scam says the sender received a check for $24,800 from Microsoft. Not chump change!

Hold on a second. First, if tracking an e-mail like that were even possible, the Electronic Frontier Foundation would be all over that faster than you can say "invasion of privacy." Oh, and did we mention that the technology to do such a thing probably doesn't exist? Of course, since you read PC World, you know that already. But if Microsoft ever really wanted to pay us just for forwarding an e-mail, we're game.

In 2002, Symantec supposedly issued an advisory about certain e-mail messages flying around the country about an "important virus to look out for." The antivirus-software maker, which does issue warnings on real viruses, allegedly instructed Internet users not to open any e-mail with the subject line "LAUNCH NUCLEAR STRIKE NOW." If you did open that e-mail, you would inadvertently end up sending nuclear warheads winging their way toward the former Soviet Union. That's right, you could start your very own nuclear war while in your slippers and bathrobe.

The deal was that opening the e-mail would download a virus that would tell your PC to access NORAD computers in Colorado and instruct them to launch a full-scale attack on Russia and former U.S.S.R. states. Okay, maybe Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may be thinking that way right now over the current crisis in Georgia, but let's leave that to the professionals, shall we?

Needless to say, the virus isn't real, Symantec didn't issue such a caution, and it should be painfully obvious that this one is a hoax. If that isn't clear to you, step away from your PC and don't ever touch it again.

Let us guess: At one time or another, you've received an e-mail from an earnest resident of Nigeria that starts with a hello and an introduction to the sender. The e-mail then suggests that your help is needed to claim an abandoned sum of money in a foreign account, or something similar. The message typically promises that you will receive a large amount of money if you simply send a smaller amount of money now.

You didn't fall for it, did you? These convincing missives, which may or may not be from Nigeria, are known as 419 scams (named after a section of the Nigerian criminal code that deals with fraud). Wikipedia says most of them are advance-fee frauds or confidence tricks. Not only will you not get rich, but you'll also have a very hard time getting back any money you wire the sender up front. We're sorry to report that these types of scams, which are based on versions dating back to the early 1900s, are still popular--variants purporting to be from Russia, Spain, Nigeria, and many other countries still pour in to e-mail accounts around the world.

Continued in article

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

This may be the last email you receive from me.

I'm going to leave Erika, fly to Tahiti, and spend the remainder of my days sipping on those drinks with little umbrellas served by topless native women.

It's been fun while it lasted in the Internet.

But before I make this break final, I would like to know the following:

Several questions give me pause.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Microsoft Email Promo [mailto:aherns@nb.sympatico.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 12:30 PM
To: Bob Jensen
Subject: YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WON

 Your E-Address was selected online in this week's AWARD PROMO. Your draw has a total value of £1.000.000 pounds Please acknowledge the receipt of this mail with the details below to Anderson  

Powell's e-mail( prizecordinator001@yahoo.dk )

Claims Requirements:

1.Full name:
2.Home Address:
3.Age:
4.Sex:
5.Occupation:
7.Phone Number:
8.Nationality9.Country Of Residence.

A scam email received by Bob Jensen on August 27, 2008

My name is Anderson Smith, I am an American soldier, serving in the military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq. We are being attacked by insurgents everyday with car bombs. During one of our raidings against the insurgents, we found some funds suspected to belong to Saddam Hussein Cabinet members amounting to US$4.2 Million dollars in cash of 100 dollar bills. In a Silver Metallic Box.

This money has been re-packaged in an a bulletproof Fire-Arm Box and kept somewhere outside Baghdad. Due to the recent troop increase by President Bush, we are afraid that the money will be discovered that is why we are soliciting for your assistance in moving the cash to you for safe keeping pending the completion of our assignment in Iraq.

Recently have opportunity of moving it out of Iraq to earth quake zone in China. From there the diplomat attached to oversee the delivery. Note that original content of the Package will not be disclosed to the Diplomat.

If you are in the position to accomodate this transaction, I will send you the full details

With regards from,
Sgt. Anderson Smith

 


"The SAT’s Growing Gaps," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 27, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/27/sat

The average score on the SAT remained steady for the class of 2008 — with the critical reading (502), mathematics (515) and writing (494) scores all unchanged from last year.

As is typically the case, the College Board said that the results were encouraging. “Student interest and participation in the SAT has grown to historic levels, and our outreach into minority, low-income and other underserved student groups is yielding tremendous results,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the board.

What College Board officials didn’t note, however, was that this year’s overall flat scores are the result of averaging out very different results for different ethnic and racial groups. Asian and white students saw their scores increase this year, by 5 and 4 points, respectively, across the three parts of the SAT. Score averages for minority groups other than Asians were down by 6 to 8 points across the three exams.

When the ACT the main competition for the SAT, and an alternative that appears to be capturing a larger share of the testing market — reported its scores this month, the results also showed Asian scores increasing at rates greater than those for other groups. But there was much less of a gap between the changes in average scores of other minority students and white students. The gaps among racial groups for both tests are crucial. One reason many colleges have ended requirements that all applicants submit test scores is their discomfort relying on a system that produces such different results based on race and ethnicity and on which scores continue to correlate with wealth.

On all three parts of the SAT, the scores of every income bracket are higher than all of the brackets below. And this year, while College Board officials noted an increase in the proportion of test takers receiving fee waivers, the percentage of SAT takers from the highest income bracket rose while the percentage in the lowest bracket fell.

SAT Scores by Race and Ethnicity, 2008

Group Critical Reading 1-Year Change, Reading Math 1-Year Change, Math Writing 1-Year Change, Writing Total 1-Year Change
American Indian 485 -2 491 -3 470 -3 -8
Asian American 513 -1 581 +3 516 +3 +5
Black 430 -3 426 -3 424 -1 -7
Mexican American 454 -1 463 -3 447 -3 -7
Puerto Rican 456 -3 453 -1 445 -2 -6
Other Hispanic 455 -4 461 -2 448 -2 -8
White 528 +1 537 +3 518 no change +4

SAT scores continue a longstanding pattern of following family financial income. Students with family incomes of more than $200,000 had an average math score of 570, while those in the $80,000-$100,000 cohort had an average of 525 and those with family income up to $20,000 had an average of 456.

The College Board waives SAT fees for low-income students, and board officials have noted steady increases in the number of such waivers. But the issue of wealth and SAT success has received increased attention this year because the College Board announced plans to change its policy on students who take the SAT multiple times.

Until now, students had the right to do so, but all scores were reported to colleges, so a student who made an impressive score only after taking the SAT many times and using a test-prep service would be visible for having done so. Under the new policy, the College Board will allow students to submit only one set of scores. Critics have said that this is an advantage to wealthier students in two ways. First, they are the ones who can afford coaching services to improve scores over multiple administrations of the test. Second, the fee waiver is only permitted twice, so poor students effectively have a limit while wealthier students can take the SAT again and again.

In recent years, the College Board’s annual reports have featured data showing an increasing share of the SAT test-taking population in the $100,000+ level of family income. (By contrast, the most recent federal data on household income reports a median for the United States of just over $50,000.) In past years, the $100,000+ category was the highest category, and it grew from 21 to 26 percent from 2005 through 2007. This year, the College Board broke up the category into five, while merging some of the lower income categories.

But comparing last year’s income levels to this year’s reveals that the $100,000+ cohorts combined went to 30 percent from 26 percent last year. Meanwhile, the percentage of test takers reporting family incomes of up to $20,000 fell to 10 percent from 12 percent.

College Board officials said at a briefing that the number of repeat test takers this year was “stable,” but did not provide details at the briefing or in response to multiple inquiries. The policy shift announced this year on multiple administrations of the test is similar to that of the ACT, which has been gaining in recent years in its share of the test-taking market — even as both tests have boasted about generally steady increases in the number of people taking each test.

Bob Jensen's threads on the poor record of remedial studies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#RemedialNeeds

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


Issues in Assessment

August 21, 2008 message from Andrew PRIEST [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU]

I am currently enrolled in a Graduate Certificate of Tertiary Teaching here at Edith Cowan University and one of my tasks is to discuss with my colleagues, their views on assessment and their assessment practices. So okay I can and will approach my own colleagues here within the School of Accounting and Finance, but I feel that I am limiting my opportunity to get a much better understanding of assessment thinking internationally hence this posting.

If you are interested in sharing your views can you please contact me directly at a.priest@ecu.edu.au or if it is considered okay, a wider discussion here on the list would be beneficial I am sure.

If you are interested in responding, your thoughts in response to the following questions would be much appreciated.

(1) What do you think the purpose of assessment is?

(2) What you think makes a good assessment?

(3) Do you plan your assessments? If so, how do you go about it?

(4) What do you see as the key issues with assessments?

(5) What difficulties if any do you face in assessing your students effectively?

(6) Reflecting on your recent teaching, what changes if any have you made to your assessments. If you have made changes, can you explain why?

Also if you are willing to share examples of your assessments (unit plans, assignment tasks etc) that would be appreciated too. Maybe sent directly to myself at a.priest@ecu.edu.au  would be best.

Thank you for your time.

Regards

Andrew Priest

August 22, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Andrew,

I don’t have the time to answer your questions from a personal standpoint, but you will find many in-depth answers at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 
I probably fall somewhere between Coach Graham and Coach Gazowski with respect to assessment, which of course made me an SOB with some of my students.

I suspect that you’re interested in course performance assessment, although the concept of “assessment” encompasses overall assessment of a graduate/employee (such as when writing a letter of recommendation), assessment of a teacher, assessment of a course, assessment of a program, assessment of a college, etc. like De Morgan’s fleas.

One of the major problems with assessment is the “Criterion Problem” that I first thought seriously about after taking Tom Harrell’s psychology course at Stanford --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#CriterionProblem  There are some contextual and temporal issues that are not conducive to setting success criteria let alone measure them on a ratio, interval, or even an ordinal scale.

The Criterion Problem is deeply related to the problem of finding predictors of "success" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#Predictors 

This of course is related to the assessment of concept (technical) understanding versus deep understanding. Exhibit A is the difficulty Einstein had with rote learning in the progressive Luitpold Gymnasium --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein#Youth_and_schooling 

Probably the hardest thing to assess is your own learning and education. For example, teachers that inspired you, gave you confidence, and pointed the way may not have been the SOBs who made sure you learned the lessons, although later in life you may be inclined to feel differently about the SOBs. One of these SOBs in my life was named Jerome Kesselman, CPA --- he gave me a B in my first Intermediate Accounting course. I was dumbfounded!

Lastly, I recommend reading about Coaches Graham and Gazowski --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#Randy 

You can find samples of my examinations in accounting theory at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/Calgary/CD/ExamMaterial/ 

Bob Jensen

August 21, 2008 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Andrew:

Those six questions are excellent ones to ask. One that I would add before those six, even, is the following:

"Why did the subject of assessment come up?"

In other words, why are you talking about assessment? That might give you a good starting point. Some possible answers are: because we're going up for accreditation and that process requires documentation of an assessment program; because the legislative bodies passed a law or resolution requiring it; because the institution leadership has decreed that our institution is going to implement such a program; because our faculty want more proof that we are doing the good job we think we are doing; because everyone else is doing it and we don't want to be left behind; because the education literature says it should be done; etc. etc.

The reason why you are discussing assessment will have a major impact on what your end product looks like.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a fan of the AACSB (having been through their accreditation process twice, I'm not), but I have to admit that they have a fairly good set of seminars on assessment activities and assessment programs. If your institution has some money to burn (ooops, I mean invest, hee hee) in an assessment program, you might consider one of the AACSB seminars, even if you have no plans to become accredited by them. The ones I attended (e.g., were dragged to kicking and screaming and objecting all the way) turned out to be pretty good and informative and eye-opening, much to my surprise.

Basically, their model says you start with your institution's mission: one paragraph. You then develop a few goals which you need to accomplish in order to reach that mission. For each goal, identify a few objectives you have to meet in order to accomplish the goal. For each objective, you identify the tasks it takes to meet the objective. Here's the key: Some, if not a majority, of those tasks should be stated in terms of what you want your students to be able to DO when they've finished their time in your classes.

The outcomes-based assessment perspective of the AACSB emphasizes that the learning objectives should be stated in terms of what the students should be able to *DO*, and *NOT* in terms of what you want them to learn. The rationale behind this approach is that it is very difficult to truly, honestly, determine what a student has learned, but it is very easy to observe what a student can and cannot DO.

If you have stated learning objectives in terms of what you want the students to actually DO, then it becomes fairly easy to design (or more often, simply identify existing) instruments to see whether they can or cannot DO what you want them to. These instruments are usually already in place, such as exams, assignments, projects, presentations, and other "gradable" content.

Certain parts (the most highly relevant parts) of these instruments are then selected to become your assessment "rubrics". From a typical exam, you might identify four or five key questions that test whether your students can actually DO something you've put as one of your course's key learning objectives.

You then do what you do now: you grade those assignments/exams/projects and presto, you have your assessment data.

The final portion is the feedback loop where you determine what level of performance you consider "good enough" in your students. Ideally, some of the rubrics should be hard enough that not all students can do them perfectly. What level of accomplishment is good enough? If a certain semester's crop of students doesn't meet that minimum, someone somewhere needs to ask what can be changed to bring performance up to par.

This is the ideal, as promulgated by the AACSB seminars I attended a few years ago. Again, don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of the AACSB. I jsut have to admit that their approach works. See my closing paragraphs below. However, read on a little bit first:

Some institutions have successfully implemented an assessment plan by doing it bass-ackwards. These groups start with their existing classroom rubrics: they take the existing exams, assignments, etc., and develop learning objectives based on what they already are testing their students on, identifying what their students can do at the end of each course. They then accumulate these objectives and elucidate some goals which "sum up" the objectives. They then figure out how to word a mission which sums up those goals. The rationale behind this approach is, once you've identified the mission, goals and objectives to match your rubrics and instruments, it really doesn't matter whether the chicken or the egg came first. And it doesn't seem to, either. They find that analyzing the data collected from the exams still helps them identify areas where improvement can be made, where effort can be concentrated, and in a few areas, where improvements in efficiency can be made (e.g., ! ! dropping stuff that doesn't make any difference).

One thing that amazed and astounded our faculty: we discovered that most of our excellent teachers already had some vague notions of learning objectives way back in the back of their head already, they'd just never thought of enunciating them on paper. We agreed on our mission wording, discussed our goal wording, and then had each professor word their own courses' learning objectives (just a few for each course) in terms of what they wanted their students to be able to do at the end of the course. We were astounded to discover that most of us already had a fairly good set of assessment rubrics present in our exams, assignments, etc., which were easy to document and tie directly to the stated learning objectives.

Thus, we found the entire process astoundingly easier than we'd expected. The only hard part, if you can call it hard (it isn't, it's just really time consuming) is gathering the documentation at the end of each course to show how well the students as a whole did against the standard of what composite score is good enough, way good, or not good enough, for each learning objective.

Practices: My course has half-a-dozen learning objectives, including identification of control lapses, flowchart interpretation and creation, correct utilization of documents used in certain transaction cycles, development of control procedures appropriate to certain situations, etc. I've identified a couple of "rubrics" (in my case, certain questions on my exam, certain gradable portions of the student projects, certain exercises from the homework, etc.) which match to each objective. NOTE that only about 5% of my exams, assignments, projects, etc. apply directly to the assessment program! The entire 100% is used to determine the student grade, but only about 5% is directly tied (via documentation) to the assessment criteria. (If questioned, I can easily justify how the other 95% relates to the objectives -- it isn't just off-the-wall stuff -- but a good assessment program will not necessarily require that ALL of a students' work find its way into your formal assessment ! ! program.)

I would imagine that almost any department director on this list who's undergone accreditation in the last 5 years would be happy to share their assessment structure with you. I'm not the program director here anymore, but I'm willing to share my own course data with you if you think it might help. I teach an undergrad systems course, a graduate systems technology course, and an MBA information security course, all of which have a half-dozen learning objectives stated in terms of what students should be able to do when they finish the class (IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Not everything I expect students to do in the course is covered by a learning objective! I expect students to do a lot more than just what's in the learning objectives. It's just that if they accomplish the formal learning objectives, they've accomplished the relevant goal, which leads to achieving our school's mission. THIS gets right back to the very, very first question: why are you thinking of doing assessment?! ! In our case, it was because the accreditation body wanted documentation of our effectiveness, so our assessment program is designed to that end. If we were doing assessment for a very different reason, we might have a very different-looking assessment program.)

One final epilogue: In addition to being surprised at how relatively painless the assessment program has been, we were also quite surprised at the real, honest-to-goodness improvement we've been able to identify by using the results in a formal program. By keying in on a few major learning objectives, we've been able to identify some real, honest, improvements to make in our teaching, our curriculum, and our program in general. While I repeat that I'm not a fan of the AACSB in general, I have to admit, I'm completely convinced of the wisdom of the approach, because I've seen real, tangible benefits in improving the educational experience for the students, without too much pain or agony on the part of faculty or administrators. We also identified some areas we were spending effort on which we easily dropped, allowing us time and resources to devote to more important stuff. I'm a convert, I really am. I'm not ready to enter the priesthood, but I'm totally converted.

Not to say that assessment isn't time consuming ... it is. And much of the time, you are wasting at least some time and money. But if measurable improvement is wanted at any cost, a decent assessment program might fill the bill.

Oh, as an afterthought: don't even think about it if your institutional leadership isn't behind the effort. If there isn't an identifiable reason for doing it from the perspective of the top-level administration, you'll just be going through motions. In any event, expect the faculty to be dragged along kicking and screaming, weeping and wailing, but if it's done right, and you've already got really good faculty working for your institution, it isn't as hard as it sounds. Really.

Just my $0.02 worth, which in Australian dollars might be less than a penny these days.

David Fordham
James Madison University

August 26, 2008 reply from Ramsey, Donald [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

There is one aspect of assessment that I have never seen discussed.

Assessment is in widespread use in various realms, including industrial and military training. I think this is usually done by fairly low-level managers. It would follow, then, that recent business graduates are likely to be in charge of an assessment process not long after graduating.

Do we teach business students how to conduct assessment? Should we? Or is that best done as in-service training?

If we should teach assessment techniques, are we doing it? Should it be a separate course, or perhaps included in some existing course such as operations management or organizational behavior? Should it be in the business core or only in the management major? Required or elective? Graduate or undergraduate?

OTOH, we already tend to cram too much material into the business programs.

Cheers,

Donald D. Ramsey,
University of the District of Columbia

August 28, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Don,

One problem with the term “assessment” is that it covers such a wide range of applications from achievement testing in K-12 schools, assessment of the schools themselves, assessing teachers, assessing employees, assessing managers, etc. Assessment is a big part of the curriculum in colleges of education. It is also part of the curriculum in business management courses.

One course that seems rather innovative to me is the following course in Case Western’s MBA program. It’s in the core of required courses for all MBA students --- http://weatherhead.case.edu/academics/masters/mba/curriculum.cfm 

MGMT 403: Leadership Assessment and Development Credits: 3.00
This course is designed to increase competitive attractiveness in the marketplace and maximize the added value of the M.B.A. program. The objective of the course is to have students learn a method for assessing and developing in themselves the knowledge and abilities relevant to management throughout their careers. This is accomplished by helping students develop an individualized learning plan to enhance their level of knowledge in 11 fields and 22 abilities. Students engage in a number of assessment activities, then receive feedback and interpret it. This occurs in the context of an Executive Action Team (i.e., students and a facilitator) in which students help each other assess their current capability and future development needs. This course is limited to students in the M.B.A. program.

 


Differences Between Students Who Cheat Versus Students Who Don't Cheat

"Study Examines The Psychology Behind Students Who Don't Cheat," Science Daily, August 18, 2008 --- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080817223646.htm

While many studies have examined cheating among college students, new research looks at the issue from a different perspective – identifying students who are least likely to cheat.

The study of students at one Ohio university found that students who scored high on measures of courage, empathy and honesty were less likely than others to report their cheating in the past – or intending to cheat in the future.

Moreover, those students who reported less cheating were also less likely to believe that their fellow students regularly committed academic dishonesty.

People who don’t cheat “have a more positive view of others,” said Sara Staats, co-author of the research and professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Newark campus.

“They don’t see as much difference between themselves and others.”

In contrast, those who scored lower on courage, empathy and honesty – and who are more likely to report that they have cheated -- see other students as cheating much more often than they do, rationalizing their own behavior, Staats said.

The issue is important because most recent studies suggest cheating is common on college campuses. Typically, more than half – and sometimes up to 80 percent – of college students report that they have cheated.

Staats conducted the research with Julie Hupp, assistant professor of psychology and Heidi Wallace, an undergraduate psychology student, both at Ohio State-Newark.

They presented their results Aug. 16 and 17 in Boston at two poster sessions at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Staats said this continuing research project aimed to find out more about the students who don’t cheat – a group that Staats and her colleagues called “academic heroes.”

“Students who don’t cheat seem to be in the minority, and have plenty of opportunities to see their peers cheat and receive the rewards with little risk of punishment,” Staats said. “We see avoiding cheating as a form of everyday heroism in an academic setting.”

The research presented at APA involved two separate but related studies done among undergraduates at Ohio State’s Newark campus. One study included 383 students and another 73 students.

The students completed measures that examined their bravery, honesty and empathy. The researchers separated those who scored in the top half of those measures and contrasted them with those in the bottom half.

Those who scored in the top half – whom the researchers called “academic heroes” – were less likely to have reported cheating in the past 30 days and the last year compared to the non-heroes. They also indicated they would be less likely to cheat in the next 30 days in one of their classes.

The academic heroes also reported they would feel more guilt if they cheated compared to non-heroes.

“The heroes didn’t rationalize cheating the way others did, they didn’t come up with excuses and say it was OK because lots of other students were doing it,” Staats said.

Staats said one reason to study cheating at colleges and universities is to try to figure out ways to reduce academic dishonesty. The results from this research suggest a good target audience for anti-cheating messages.

When the researchers asked students if they intended to cheat in the future, nearly half -- 47 percent -- said they did not intend to cheat but nearly one in four -- 24 percent -- agreed or strongly agreed that they would cheat.

The remaining 29 percent indicated that they were uncertain whether or not they would cheat.

“These 29 percent are like undecided voters – they would be an especially good focus for intervention,” Staats said. “Our results suggest that interventions may have a real opportunity to influence at least a quarter of the student population.”

Staats said more work needs to be done to identify the best ways to prevent cheating. But this research, with its focus on positive psychology, suggests one avenue, she said.

“We need to do more to recognize integrity among our students, and find ways to tap into the bravery, honest and empathy that was found in the academic heroes in our study,” she said.

Jensen Comment
I think cheating in school is much like accounting fraud in adulthood. The psychological factors interact heavily with situational factors such as the "tone at the top," particular pressures at the time, crowd psychology, and opportunity. In particular there's something to the statement that "since others were doing it, I also tried it."

Note in particular how many athletes, especially baseball players, succumbed to use of illegal performance enhancing drugs because they were aware that other top players were using such drugs.

There is also the circumstance of easy opportunity. I've previously mentioned that one daydream I repeatedly had, when I was riding my horse through about 100,000 acres of woods north of Tallahassee, centered on what I would do if I found suitcase full of cash hidden in those woods. This is analogous to having fraternity files of former examinations given by a professors who tend to repeat old questions and problems. Students who in most circumstances would not cheat might succumb under particularly easy opportunities that give them somewhat of an unfair advantage. Some might not even see looking at old examinations as cheating. Alas I never found a suitcase full of money.

An accounting professor at Trinity University was disturbed to learn that one student had purchased (on eBay) the examination test bank for the textbook she was using in a course. Some students shared using that test bank including some students who probably would not have cheated if the act had not become so darned easy and convenient.

One of the negative externalities of the Internet is that students now have more and more opportunities to cheat that did not exist when information at their fingertips did not double every 12 hours on the Internet.

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


"Rankings Are Useful — But Go Beyond ‘U.S. News’," by Richard Vedder, Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/08/28/vedder

The emphasis on rankings has three root causes. First, parents love their children, and want the very best for them given their financial constraints. Hence parents and students eagerly devour college rankings. Second, Americans are by nature competitive “can do” people who admire and reward merit and excellence. Where else in the world do 100,000 people pay $60 a ticket to sit in uncomfortable seats to watch college kids compete by throwing a ball around (college athletic departments have no problem with performance metrics or rankings!).

Third, the failure of colleges themselves to provide virtually any information on the value that they add to their student’s knowledge, critical thinking skills, moral character, leadership qualities or any positive attribute forces the public to look to outsiders for evaluations. Accreditation agencies could do this, but being controlled by the colleges themselves, they provide little meaningful information to the public, since accreditation reveals little about institutional quality.

Therefore, rankings are useful, trying to distinguish the great from the mediocre, the good values from the rip-offs. U.S. News & World Report’s rankings are thus popular and the public pays good money to get them. U.S. News meets a strongly felt need. Next to the purchase of a home, the decision about college is the largest non-financial investment decision most families make, and they need help in assessing what they are buying, just as Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates help us overcome the information costs associated with buying a car or television.

At the same time, given the lack of any standardized measures of “value added,” ranking colleges involves using methodologies whose appropriateness can be criticized. And different approaches yield meaningful, varying results. Let me compare the two most recent rankings, by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report. Full disclosure: I was the lead investigator in compiling the Forbes rankings. (For a critical look at the Forbes ranking, see related essay today.)

Looking at just the 133 schools that U.S. News ranks on its national research universities “tier one” list, or the similar list for 124 top ranked liberal arts colleges, I compared its rankings to those by Forbes. The correlation coefficient in both cases between the rankings was about +.67, suggesting a lot of commonality between the rankings — but important differences. too.

For example, among the national research universities, six of the top 15 schools in the U.S. News rankings did not make the Forbes top 15 — University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Dartmouth College, Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins. Forbes’s top 15, however, includes Brown, Rice, Brandeis, Boston College, Tufts and the University of Virginia. Northwestern and Washington University in St. Louis are tied for 12th in U.S. News, but Forbes ranks Northwestern much higher (6th vs. 33rd) than Wash U among national research universities.

U.S. News ranks the University of Southern California 27th among national research universities but says it is “up and coming.” While Forbes ranks USC 66th on the comparable list of national research universities, it comes in at a so-so 300 rank among all schools, including liberal arts colleges. Indeed, USC ranks well behind at least six schools in Los Angeles county alone — the five Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Scripps and Pitzer) and UCLA. Why? USC students don’t particularly like their instructors (as indicated on ratemyprofessors.com), often graduate with a fairly high debt, or worse, don’t graduate at all. USC seems better at raising and spending money than at satisfying undergraduate students.

Among the top 16 liberal arts colleges, U.S. News lists Carleton, Davidson, Claremont McKenna, Vassar, Grinnell and Harvey Mudd colleges, but Forbes does not. However, Forbes has Smith, Hamilton, Barnard, Centre, Wabash, and Whitman Colleges. The contrast with U.S. News with respect to Wabash (6th vs. 54th) and Centre (7th vs. 45th) is particularly startling. The moral of the story for prospective students: look at more than one ranking.

Even more important are two major differences in approaches. First, in compiling the Forbes rankings, both the editors and I felt strongly that all colleges belong together in a single list. When choosing a college, high school seniors often compile a short list with both liberal arts colleges and large research universities. College is college, and a good ranking system compares the undergraduate experience at all types of institutions offering the bachelor’s degree. In doing this, Forbes found on average higher rankings for the smaller schools; only one of Forbes’s top 50 schools (the University of Virginia) had more than 10,000 undergraduate students. I would hypothesize that where undergraduate education is the sole or dominant emphasis, students get more attention and thus have a better overall experience.

Continued in article

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

 


The Numerati: IBM's Mathematical Models of Employees
The 21st Century Extension of the Taylor/Gilbraith Time and Motion Studies
Watch the Video Interview and Read the Text

"Book Excerpt: The Numerati by Stephen Baker By building mathematical models of its own employees, IBM aims to improve productivity and automate management," by Stephen Baker, Business Week, August 28, 2008 ---
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_36/b4098032904806.htm?link_position=link2

Also see http://mat.tepper.cmu.edu/blog/?p=339

This book new is only $17 in hardcover at Amazon. There are also audio and CD versions.

Jensen Comment
Whereas Time and Motion studies focused on engineering standards for factory-like jobs, The Numerati focuses on mathematical matchings of people with jobs well beyond factory-like settings. For example, one purpose is to help put together task groups who most likely will work efficiently and effectively. There are many, many implications of these mathematical models for managerial accounting.

Matchmaker --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=59Hj7bp38f8


Differences Between TV Resolutions
From Walt Mossberg's Mailbox, The Wall Street Journal, August 21. 2008, Page D5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121926797124358061.html

Q. I am in the market for a new HDTV and the newspaper ads are using terminology that I'm unfamiliar with. Do TVs rated at "720p" provide the same quality picture as those rated at "1080p"?

A. Technically, the answer is no, but it may not matter. The 1080p resolution is certainly higher, but almost nobody can tell the difference between the same material shown in the two resolutions on TV screens up to around 50" in size and at the typical distances from which people watch those screens. Not only that, but most sources of video content, with the exception of Blu-ray discs, can't even fully utilize 1080p. Major TV networks don't use it yet because it requires a lot of bandwidth.

If you can afford a set that can handle 1080p, you might want to buy it so that you are ready in case a lot of 1080p content one day becomes available. You might also want a 1080p set if you are a videophile; have an enormous screen or a projector that fills a large wall; or if you play a lot of Blu-ray discs and believe you can discern the difference on a typical-sized screen. Otherwise, you could save money by buying a 720p set and you might never know the difference.


Another Case of Academic Fraud Involving Athletes

For the fourth time in a little over a year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Committee on Infractions has punished a big-time sports program for academic wrongdoing. And in punishing the University of New Mexico for engaging in academic fraud on Wednesday, the NCAA panel linked the shenanigans back to a single source, much to the dismay of the institution singled out. In its report on the case, the NCAA infractions panel found that two since-fired assistant football coaches at New Mexico, operating without the knowledge of officials at the university, had arranged in 2004 for one then-football player and three prospective players to take correspondence courses from an unidentified instructor they knew at another institution. According to the NCAA, the athlete who was already enrolled at New Mexico actually completed the work in the correspondence course, but the situation still violated NCAA rules against “extra benefits” — over and above those available to the typical student — because the former coaches arranged for him to take the course.
Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/21/newmexico

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


That Chromosomal Divide:  Understanding "Guyland"
An Interview With an Expert on Boys and Young Men

Leaders of colleges for traditional-age students spend a lot of time worrying about the behavior of male undergraduates — and specifically the misbehavior of many through excessive drinking, hazing, and abusive behavior toward women. A leading sociologist and gender scholar, Michael Kimmel, has just published a new book that offers an inside look at this young male culture, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (HarperCollins). The book covers male development from ages 16 through 26, and features extensive discussion of campus life. Kimmel responded via e-mail to questions about his work.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/21/guyland


First Sentences Are Crucial

How to write kick-ass opening lines --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=g_82MgWBkaM

Manhattan - Woody Allen (Chapter 1) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=0o6QKpNK9Cc

101 Best First Lines (Novels) --- http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0934311.html
Also see http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/topics/books_first_lines_t001.htm

Index of First Lines --- http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/lists/firstlines.html

Famous First Lines Quiz --- http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~dea22/quizjfic.htm

"I'm Sorry."
This is purportedly the first sentence of the forthcoming book by Crystal Mangum, the prostitute who falsely accused Duke soccer players of assault and rape. The book is entitled
The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story --- http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/duke-rape-accuser-peddles-her-sob-story/
Note that I've not read the book and really would not want to comment on its contents. It's scheduled to be released in October 2008. Purportedly she is looking into going to law school or some other graduate program.
Also see http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/3415717
This is an interesting first line that, perhaps, will signify much of what the book is about. Then again, who knows at this point? She does promise to give one dollar from the sale of each book to battered women.

I don’t think it applies in her case, but there’s a huge moral issue if people who commit crimes (like perjury) hoping to get rich from the media wanting to exploit his or her story. It also bothers me when criminals just luck out such as when Andy Fastow will make millions on his confessional. It's quite common for white collar criminals to make a lot of money as highly paid speakers preaching against white collar crime and as authors of books. Both a book and a speech have a "first line."

What will be Fastow’s first line?
It might be:  "Auditors are so naïve." The Andersen auditing firm helped him set up the SPEs that were used by Andy in the fraud.
 I doubt that it will be:  “I’m sorry” or "The royalties of this book will go to Enron's creditors and former employees." Andy looted about $60 million from Enron but was only fined $30 million --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm#17

Bob Jensen's threads on quotations are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Quotations

First Sentences When Critiquing a Research Paper are Crucial

From the Financial Rounds Blog on August 26, 2008 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

Once you've gone to a half dozen academic presentations, you begin to notice the same comments appearing over and over. Along those lines, here's a classic piece from George Stigler's in the 1977 Journal of Political Economy — “The Conference Handbook.” Stigler suggested that econ seminar participants could speed things up by making objections to the speaker's presentation using the following numbered list:
 
  1. Adam Smith said that.
  2. Unfortunately, there is an identification problem which is not dealt with adequately in the paper.
  3. The residuals are clearly non-normal, and the specification of the model is incorrect.
  4. Theorizing is not fruitful at this stage; we need a series of case studies.
  5. Case studies are a clue, but no real progress can be made until a model of the process is constructed.
  6. The second-best consideration would, of course, vitiate the argument.
  7. That is an index number problem (obs., except in Cambridge).
  8. Have you tried two-stage least squares?
  9. The conclusions change if you introduce uncertainty.
  10. You didn’t use probit analysis?
  11. I proved the main results in a paper published years ago.
  12. The analysis is marred by a failure to distinguish transitory and permanent components.
  13. The market cannot, of course, deal satisfactorily with that externality.
  14. But what if transaction costs are not zero?
  15. That follows from the Coase Theorem.
  16. Of course, if you allow for the investment in human capital, the entire picture changes.
  17. Of course, the demand function is quite inelastic.
  18. Of course, the supply function is highly inelastic.
  19. The author uses a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.
  20. What empirical finding would contradict your theory?
  21. The central argument is not only a tautology, it is false.
  22. What happens when you extend the analysis to the later (or earlier) period?
  23. The motivation of the agents in this theory is so narrowly egotistic that it cannot possibly explain the behavior of real people.
  24. The flabby economic actor in this impressionistic model should be replaced by the utility-maximizing individual.
  25. Did you have any trouble in inverting the singular matrix?
  26. It is unfortunate that the wrong choice was made between M1 and M2.
  27. That is alright in theory, but it doesn’t work out in practice (use sparingly).
  28. The speaker apparently believes that there is still one free lunch.
  29. The problem cannot be dealt with by partial equilibrium methods; it requires a general equilibrium formulation.
  30. The paper is rigidly confined by the paradigm of neoclassical economics, so large parts of urgent reality are outside its comprehension.
  31. The conclusion rests on the assumption of fixed tastes, but (of course) tastes have surely changed.
  32. The trouble with the present situation is that the property rights have not been fully assigned.
HT: The Freakonomics blog.

Some of the commenters on the piece added more options. Here are some of the better ones:
 
  1. How did you handle endogeneity problem?” (Note: this almost always works well at finance conferences, particularly for corporate finance pieces)
  2. Your standard errors are too small because you failed to cluster (or clustered at the improper level).
  3. At Fed banks, certainly one of the items for this list would be, “How is this of any relevance to monetary policy?”
  4. The results are driven by unobserved heterogeneity.
  5. Did you try using a Difference-in-Difference technique? Did you try using a non-parametric estimation?
  6. Experiments conducted by Kahnmen and Tversky have clearly demonstrated that people do NOT choose rationally under those conditions.
  7. Is there a weak instruments problem?
  8. But what if the actors aren’t rational?
  9. Isn’t this just Modigliani-Miller?
     
  10. How is your model identified?
  11. Have you included fixed effects?
  12. That’s ok in practice, but it won’t work in theory.
  13. This theory is only valid in the static case and won’t work in the dynamic one.
  14. Why do we care about this? or “Why is this question important anyway?"
  15. That’s true, but not very interesting
  16. That’s not a large effect you’ve found, it’s a small effect.
  17. That’s not a small effect you’ve dismissed, it’s a large effect.
  18. Did you try first-differencing?
  19. What happens if you estimate it by GMM?
  20. You just ran a bunch of regressions. What have we learned from your analysis?
  21. Here's a popular one, in the “I did this back in..” vein:“I was troubled that you didn’t cite my work in the field.”
  22. Your empirical results are obviously biased by a troubling sample selection issue.
  23. But what if we view this as a 2-stage game?.
  24. ‘In an efficient market, that type of arbitrage isn’t possible’.
  25. I believe your correlation is a spurious one unless you convince me you checked for co-integration.

 

Jensen Comment
Although the above listing is mainly intended for humor, it does remind a reviewer of things to look for, especially statistical assumption and econometrics issues.


A Possible Project for a Cost Accounting Course

January 21, 2008 message from Jon.Lee@Trinity.edu

I have been using recycled drink cartons (such as milk and juice) to make hand-made paper with my papermaking, book binding & printmaking classes. We have been recycling within the department, and I was hoping to gather materials campus-wide. If you use many juice and/or milk cartons at home we would be delighted to use those. I would however ask that the cartons be well rinsed. I prefer the juice and food cartons flattened, but will take them as a box too. If you are able to provide us with any recycables, please e-mail me and we can arrange to collect them from your department.

Materials we can use are:

1. Milk and/or Juice cartons 2. Cereal/Frozen food cartons 3. Newspaper 4. Office paper (such as from your recycle bin)

Thanks.

Jon Lee Jon.Lee@trinity.edu 
Assistant Professor Department of Art & Art History Trinity University One Trinity Place San Antonio, Texas 78212-7200
Office Phone: (210) 999-7168 Office Fax: (210) 999-8104

August 22 thoughts of Bob Jensen

When I read Jon’s message above, it dawned on me how such a project might also be used in a cost accounting course that combines technicalities of cost measurement with the current rage of recycling. One possible team assignment might be that of comparing the cost of the recycled product with the cost of manufacturing it from paper pulp derived from trees.

Of course there are likely to be huge economies of scale in this recycling process, but students could also study economies of scale as well.

TigerTalk is a listserv of faculty and staff at Trinity University.

Bob Jensen

August 22, 2008 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

I think an interesting cost accounting class project is determining the full cost of paper vs. plastic (The most common question asked in the US after, do you want fries with that?). Several cities, particularly here in Southern California, are banning plastic shopping bags. The grocery stores can use paper bags or consumers can bring their own bags. The primary issue is that paper bags are bio-degradable and plastic bags are not. However, proponents of plastic bags says that when you consider ALL costs, plastic bags win hands down. For example, it takes much more energy (bigger carbon footprint) to make, transport, and eventually dispose of paper bags. One person mentioned that in one city that banned plastic bags, the sale of store-bought plastic bags increased because people no longer had the "free" plastic bags to hold their garbage--so one kind of plastic bag (purchased) is being substituted for another plastic bag (free) going to landfills.

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems College of Business & Economics California State University, Northridge 18111 Nordhoff ST Northridge, CA 91330-8372 818.677.3948

http://www.csun.edu/~vcact00f

 


An Almost Unbelievable Ponzi Fraud at the University of Miami

Federal officials are investigating an apparent ponzi scheme in which a University of Miami alumnus is alleged to have used university employees and facilities for meetings in which he may have obtained tens of millions of dollars from investors who may now have lost their funds, CNN reported. Andres Pimstein, who reportedly has confessed to the scheme, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the university said that no funds from Miami were involved, that a few current or former employees may have been involved, and that the university was cooperating fully with the investigation.
Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/08/21/qt

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


Fantasyland Accounting and the hors de overs risk measurements

"CUOMO REACHES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH MAJOR ENERGY COMPANY, XCEL ENERGY, TO REQUIRE DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE TO INVESTORS," Press Release from Andrew M. Cuomo (New York Attorney General), August 27, 2008 --- http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2008/aug/aug27a_08.html

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the first-ever binding and enforceable agreement requiring a major national energy company to disclose the financial risks that climate change poses to its investors. Cuomo’s agreement with Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) (“Xcel”) comes as many power companies, including Xcel, are investing in new coal-burning power generation that will significantly contribute to global warming emissions.

“This landmark agreement sets a new industry-wide precedent that will force companies to disclose the true financial risks that climate change poses to their investors,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “Coal-fired power plants can significantly contribute to global warming and investors have the right to know all the associated risks. I commend Xcel Energy for working with my office to establish a standard that will improve our environment and our marketplace over the long-term.”

The agreement includes binding and enforceable provisions that require Xcel to provide detailed disclosure of climate change and associated risks in its “Form 10-K” filings, the annual summary report on a company’s performance required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to inform investors. These required disclosures include an analysis of financial risks from climate change related to:

Additionally, the agreement commits Xcel to a broad array of climate change disclosures, including:

Substantial financial risks for energy companies that emit large quantities of carbon dioxide are being created by a number of new or likely regulatory efforts, such as New York’s newly adopted regional carbon regulations for power plants, and other future regulatory efforts, including federal regulation, Congressional action, and climate-change related litigation. These risks are especially exacerbated for power companies that are building new coal-burning power plants or other large new sources of global warming pollution emissions. Knowledge of these risks is important for investors to make informed financial decisions.

Xcel Energy provides electricity and natural gas to commercial and residential customers in eight Midwestern and Western States. Its annual revenues are more than $9 billion. In 2006, Xcel was among the top ten largest emitters of global warming pollution by utilities in the United States. Xcel is building a new 750 megawatt, coal-fired power plant in Pueblo, Colorado.

In September 2007, Attorney General Cuomo subpoenaed the executives of Xcel and four other major energy companies for information on whether disclosures to investors in filings with the SEC adequately described the companies’ financial risks related to their emissions of global warming pollution. The Attorney General issued subpoenas under New York State’s Martin Act, a 1921 state securities law that grants the Attorney General broad powers to access the financial records of businesses. In addition to Xcel Energy, the companies that received subpoenas were AES Corporation, Dominion Resources, Dynegy, and Peabody Energy. The Attorney General’s investigation of the remaining companies is ongoing.

Cuomo continued, “I will continue to fight for increased transparency and full disclosure of global warming financial risks to investors. Selectively revealing favorable facts or intentionally concealing unfavorable information about climate change is misleading and must be stopped.”

The Attorney General petitioned the SEC last year to require better corporate disclosure of climate-related risks in securities filings. The petition was coordinated by Ceres, a national coalition of investors and environmental groups. It is supported by more than $6 trillion of investors, including the treasurers and comptrollers from New York, California, Florida, Maryland, Rhode Island and five additional states, and the nation’s largest public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS. The petition remains pending with the SEC.

Ceres President Mindy S. Lubber said, “This groundbreaking settlement will send ripples far beyond Xcel Energy. It serves notice that all companies face financial exposure from climate change and will be expected to better inform investors of their strategies for dealing with it.”

Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s State Climate Change Program Dale Bryk said, “As New York and other Northeastern states move forward with the nation’s first cap and trade program for global warming, investors need full disclosure of the financial risks faced by power companies and others with large carbon footprints. Attorney General Cuomo’s work to create an enforceable model for climate change disclosure is a game-changer on this important issue.”

Environmental Defense Fund Deputy General Counsel Vickie Patton said, “Investors from Wall Street to Main Street have a right to know whether publicly traded companies are responsibly addressing the financial risks due to global warming. Federal regulators should take a hard look at the Attorney General’s settlement and standardize companies’ disclosure of climate-related financial risks to ensure a fair marketplace for all investors.”

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Morgan Costello, Michael Myers, and Daniel Sangeap, under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Katherine Kennedy, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Mylan Denerstein and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Eric Corngold.

Jensen Comment
How do you predict such things as “
present and probable future climate change regulation and legislation” and counter legislation in Washington DC and the capitol buildings of all 50 states to say nothing of the United Nations? For one thing, powerful lobbies can swing a vote with great hors de overs at a political convention

Bob Jensen's threads on this and other fantasyland accounting can be found at http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2008/aug/aug27a_08.html


"Senator Grassley Pressures Universities on Conflicts of Interest," by Jeffrey Brainard, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i48/48a01201.htm

University scientists should have their grants yanked by the National Institutes of Health if they fail to report financial conflicts of interest, said U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley.

In an exclusive interview last week with The Chronicle, the Republican from Iowa said an aggressive campaign by the agency would forestall legislation forcing it to act.

"I'm on a campaign to make sure existing requirements of NIH and universities" are followed, "and I don't think we have to pass any law to do that," he said.

Recently, Senator Grassley has singled out several institutions — Harvard and Stanford Universities, and the University of Cincinnati — after his office determined that some scientists had underreported their own financial interests in research projects supported by the NIH. Senator Grassley is seeking details from about 20 more institutions about financial conflicts among scientists.

Since 1995 an NIH regulation has required scientists to report to their universities any "significant financial interests" they hold in research projects financed by the agency. The universities, in turn, are required to tell the NIH whether they were able to manage or eliminate the conflicts in order to avoid bias in the research findings.

A January report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH's parent agency, said the NIH rarely checks up on the universities' reports. Senator Grassley's investigators also found discrepancies when they asked pharmaceutical companies to list their payments to researchers and then asked universities to describe financial disclosures by those same scientists.

Mr. Grassley said that rather than leaning on the universities themselves, he expects to use the NIH as the lever to pressure them.

"If University X isn't doing their job, they pull one grant; that's all they'd have to do; it would send a very clear signal," the senator said. He added that he had little control over university practices, "but I've got oversight over the NIH, and I want them to do their job."

The agency says that it is. In a letter last week to Senator Grassley, the NIH's director, Elias A. Zerhouni, wrote that the agency was working to ensure that its oversight of financial conflicts "is both vigorous and effective."

Senator Grassley said the NIH has informed his staff that it believes it lacks the legal authority to revoke a grant for failures to report. But the senator disagrees.

"If you don't have the authority to do it, I'll work to get you the authority to do it," he said. But the NIH needn't wait for that, he said. "What university is going to sue the NIH because they pulled a grant because the university wasn't doing what NIH says they have to do anyway? … That's like being caught with your hand in the cookie jar."

Mr. Grassley said he thinks the NIH has failed to ride herd on universities adequately because the agency wishes to maintain "buddy-buddy relationships with universities and with researchers."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads about accountability and conflicts of interest in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Accountability


How to Prevent Corporate and Other Organizational Cheating

"How to Prevent Cheating," by Margaret Steen, Stanford Magazine, August 2008 --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0808/feature-preventcheating.html 

WHEN A CORPORATE SCANDAL throws a company into crisis or even destroys it, many onlookers’ reaction is that the people involved must have been immoral. Certainly they, the onlookers, would never become involved in cooking the company books, approving mortgages without proper documentation, or lying to customers about a product’s capabilities.

Yet it’s easier than most people realize for ordinary, well-meaning people to get caught up in activities they should have known were wrong. These activities do “real harm to real people,” says GSB accounting Professor Maureen McNichols, who teaches an elective course called Understanding Cheating. Among other things, the course helps students see how good leadership and the right organizational structure can cut down on the opportunities for corruption.

Creating a structure that reduces the chances of cheating requires a balancing act: between too few controls and too many, and between understanding why people cheat and intolerance for such behavior.

Many people, including students at business schools, resist discussing how the influence of a group or a situation can lead good people to do bad things. It seems to excuse the behavior, and they want individuals to be held accountable for their actions. But research indicates that leaders who don’t acknowledge that group pressure exists—so they can use that understanding to promote an ethical organizational culture and appropriate controls—may be setting their organizations up for corruption.

“I would say that there are some people who are just flat-out corrupt: They would steal the offering from the church plate,” says Douglas Brown, MBA ’61, who was named treasurer of the state of New Mexico in 2005 after a corruption scandal led to the indictment of the two previous treasurers. But there’s a much larger group who are deeply conflicted about what to do and finally “just kind of tunnel under and put up with it.”

Brown didn’t fire everyone who had had a hand in his department’s corrupt practices. For example, an employee who was asked by her boss to send out invitations to a golf tournament “which was basically lining the pockets of the state treasurer” was kept on.

Just as posting speed limit signs and exhortations that “Speed Kills!” will do little to reduce speeding if the police aren’t issuing tickets, so businesses need controls and independent auditors to rein in potential cheating. But “too many controls can breed enormous inefficiencies,” Brown says, causing business to grind to a halt. “This is a common managerial problem: You have to trust your people and empower them” while still monitoring what they’re doing.

The idea that ordinary, good people can end up involved in corruption is counterintuitive to some. “We underestimate the power of a situation to control people’s actions,” says GSB organizational behavior Professor Deborah Gruenfeld. “Most of us believe we’re much more auto-nomous than we are.”

Social science research suggests leaders need to take into account group power, organizational structure, rationalization, and fear and confusion.

• GROUP POWER. If the supervisor of the storeroom notices supplies are disappearing fast, he or she is likely to remind coworkers that too many people are stealing. That’s exactly the wrong approach to take, psychologist Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University told researchers at a recent Business School conference. In an experiment in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, Cialdini placed signs at entrances asking people not to take home petrified wood. The sign at one entrance showed three thieves with an X over them, while at another entrance, the sign depicted just one thief. The latter was far more effective at reducing theft.

“You want to alert people to the extent of a problem as a way of mobilizing them against it,” Cialdini says. But when you emphasize how common cheating is, “there’s a subtext message, which is that all of your neighbors and coworkers are doing this. And if there’s a single, most primitive lever for behavior in our species, it’s the power of the crowd.”

• ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE. “My lifetime’s work in business ethics suggests that business corruption has everything to do with culture and with incentives,” says Kirk Hanson, MBA ’71, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and an emeritus GSB faculty member.

For example, Don Moore, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, has written about how the relationship between accounting firms and their clients “makes it impossible for auditors to be objective, given what we know about human psychology.” Auditors want smooth working relationships with their clients, and they don’t want to be fired, so they have an incentive not to ask awkward questions.

Executives may also “look the other way when a salesperson overpromises,” Cialdini says. They may ignore exaggeration in the company’s marketing materials or use proprietary information gained from one vendor in negotiation with another.

Actions speak louder than words. “You can’t dupe people by saying, ‘This is what we stand for,’ when promotions are based on something else,” Gruenfeld says.

• RATIONALIZATION. Because people generally want to view themselves as ethical, they will reframe a situation to justify their actions, says Elizabeth Mullen, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the GSB, whose courses on negotiation and organizational behavior include ethics topics. “The division of labor required for much corporate work, with many people contributing a small amount to a project, makes this easier. For example, an employee can tell himself, ‘I’m not the person who falsified the safety data for the product; I just reported the data that I had,’” Mullen says.

People also accept uncritically information that confirms what they want to believe, Moore said, while poking holes in statements they wish weren’t true.

• FEAR AND CONFUSION. GSB political economy Professor Jonathan Bendor, who teaches a course on negotiation that includes discussions of cheating, thinks for most people fear is a more common cause of corrupt behavior than greed. People want to avoid conflict, and being a whistleblower can ruin a person’s career, even if the person is vindicated. So many people keep quiet.

“It takes a huge amount of courage to say ‘stop.’ Some of this stuff is a judgment call, and you may be wrong, and then you really look stupid. But you have to take the risk,” says Bowen “Buzz” McCoy, a former member of the Business School’s Advisory Council who spent 30 years at Morgan Stanley. He has written and consulted on business ethics and, with his wife, endowed a GSB chair in leadership values and helped fund the Stanford Program in Ethics in Society.

Although many cases of corruption involve behavior that anyone should know is wrong, it’s not always so clear cut. For example, says Professor Blake Ashforth of Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business, “Small gifts are ways of cementing friendships. Big gifts are bribes. How big is big?”

McCoy points out that a good salesperson may use hyperbole but doesn’t lie, and that in some cases the sophistication of the customer plays a role in how far a salesperson should go in making claims. Adds Gruenfeld: “When people say someone is entrepreneurial or resourceful, part of what they mean is that person knows how to work around constraints in the system.”

GSB Professor Emeritus James March adds that “without a certain amount of cheating—violating rules—and corruption—inducing others to violate rules—no organization can survive. It is often called ‘taking initiative’ or ‘using your head.’ That is not a justification of egregious behavior, but a reminder that the boundary between art and obscenity is often hazy.”

Tepper’s Moore describes “an endless process of co-evolution” in which businesses explore new models. Some are deemed by society to be unethical or undesirable and eventually outlawed. Others become the norm.

Moore explains how auditors can go from behavior that is technically correct but ethically borderline to outright corrupt in just a few years. First, the auditor sees the client doing something that’s just on the edge of permissibility and doesn’t say anything. The next year, the client pushes just a bit further, this time over the line. Now the auditor doesn’t confront the client about it, since the practice is so similar to the one that went unremarked the previous year. By the third year, the client’s practice is clearly wrong, but the auditor realizes that to challenge it would be to admit mistakes in previous audits. And by the fourth year, the auditor is actively engaged in a coverup with the client to prevent the corrupt practice from being discovered.

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Governance


Question
In the public accounting profession, what's a PFS
?

Hint
PFS is a new credential to put after one's name --- it looks better than Pfffssssttt

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Texas Tech University's Division of Personal Financial Planning have announced a joint agreement to develop a new educational program that will lead to the AICPA's Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential. The program will officially begin in June 2009, but the AICPA and Texas Tech have announced that they will conduct a PFS Pathway beta program or test program at AICPA offices in Dallas November 10 through 14th. The PFS beta program consists of four days of intense comprehensive personal financial planning case study in 12 technical areas, including estate planning, employee benefits, investment planning, financial independence, and income tax planning. Participants take an eight-hour multiple choice exam of approximately 200 questions on the fifth day.
"AICPA and Texas Tech announce new pathway to PFS credential," AccountingWeb, August 2008 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=105793

Personal Finance Helpers
From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, July 2008

KEEPING IT SIMPLE
www.bargaineering.com/articles
This Smart Stop’s author puts together a “Blueprint for Financial Prosperity,” working and blogging through the complexities of personal finance. Articles include “Speed Up or Shift Up: Thinking About Your Income Path” and “Do You Have an Opportunity Fund?” Also find tax and investing coverage, plus reviews of financial planning and wealth management books. Every month, the author plays “Devil’s Advocate,” where he examines the other side of “mainstream” or “common sense” personal finance ideas. Recent “Advocate” posts include “Don’t Budget to the Penny” and “Don’t Just Buy Index Funds.”

THIS WEEK IN PERSONAL FINANCE
www.carnivalofpersonalfinance.com
The Carnival of Personal Finance touts itself as “a traveling weekly showcase of the best blog articles on the topic.” The carnival is hosted by a different guest blogger each week. In every edition, you’ll find links to the guest editor’s picks of the week, typically highlighting five to 10 posts from various sources, which feature expert advice on professional sites or regular-Joe experiences on personal sites. You can submit your own post for consideration, view the schedule of upcoming hosts or just browse the wealth of archived articles.

Bob Jensen's helpers in finding financial advisors --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

The AICPA maintains a financial literacy site at http://www.aicpa.org/financialliteracy/FeedThePig/

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators --- http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator

Bob Jensen's threads on personal finance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

Bob Jensen's threads on credit reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO

Bob Jensen's helpers for finding a financial advisor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

Bob Jensen's career helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


Accountants are sought after for business advice more often than lawyers or bankers, according to a new survey of small business owners

"Survey Shows Accountants Are Most Trusted Advisers," AccountingWeb, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102608

Accountants were preferred by nearly 82 percent of the small business owners surveyed in August by online payroll service SurePayroll. Preferences for counsel from lawyers (14 percent) and bankers (4 percent) lagged far behind.

The survey also asked small business owners which of those three professionals have been most important to their success, and again, accountants came out on top. The survey said 75 percent of the 550 small business owners surveyed cited accountants, 13 percent chose bankers and 12 percent said lawyers were the key contributors to success.

SurePayroll president Michael Alter said, “The research confirms our belief that most small business owners view their accountants as trusted business advisers who can help them to grow their business.”

The August e-mail survey also revealed that not all business owners were satisfied with their accountant, however. In fact, 17 percent do not use an accountant at all, and one in 20 may change accountants. To improve service, small business owners said they wanted more frequent communication and more business advice.

There may be no better time to get good guidance than now, when small businesses are facing the triple threat of rising interest rates, ever-higher oil prices and skyrocketing health care costs. Alter told Bloomberg TV recently that 11 percent of SurePayroll customers said they may drop health care benefits next year if costs continue to rise.

“It’s a real tough time to run a business,” Alter said. He said two-thirds of small business owners believe that inflation will have a negative impact on their business this year, and that they are “extremely worried” about interest rates continuing to rise.

SurePayroll, the nation’s largest online payroll provider for small businesses, releases economic indicators every month, gathered from employee and contractor paychecks for more than 17,000 small businesses. SurePayroll, based in the Chicago area, also regularly surveys its customers on a variety of topics.

What are some of the top challenges of owning a small business? According to a SurePayroll survey conducted in July: Finding and keeping qualified employees (19.3 percent); balancing business development efforts and current workload (18.3 percent); managing their work time and priorities (14.6 percent); managing employees (11.9 percent); generating expected revenues (11.9 percent); creating a work/life balance (10.8 percent); meeting their income goals (7.3 percent); and acquiring capital to grow (5.7 percent).


Help for the younger generation's planning ahead for their financial futures

"A Glimpse of the Future: Savings and asset accumulation among Americans 25–34," Journal of Accountancy, January 2007 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2007/special2.htm

Bob Jensen's personal finance bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm


Investment Helpers
From the Journal of Accountancy January 2007 Smart Stops on the Web --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2007/news_web.htm

Onward and Upward
www.mynextphase.com

Here CPAs and financial advisers can get a free trial membership and explore some of the nonfinancial considerations of retirement, such as how to handle change and revisit past interests as future options. Retirement Resources has links to Web sites on health, recreation and working after retirement. Find books on successful retirement in Suggested Reading, get the free newsletter Next Phase News and download research findings in “Retirement Trends and Truths.”

Get the Financial Facts
http://kimsnider.blogs.com
This blog, created by the founder and president of Kim Snider Financial Communications, has dozens of posts from financial journals and Web sites on topics including annuities, bonds, cash flow investments, financial education and investment principles. Find out how Kim Snider invests her own money and learn her portfolio management strategies with a free informational session.

A Helping Hand
www.finaid.org

Personal financial planners with clients that have kids in school will want to bookmark this Smart Stop for guides on navigating financial aid, loan and scholarship information. Find links to aid programs from the military and federal and state governments, as well as resources on education tax benefits and financial aid applications. Get calculators to project college costs and help with family budgeting. Or go to Beyond Financial Aid for a financial aid checklist and links to college selection and jobs and internship sites.

Money Matters
www.pfblog.com

Follow this blogger’s personal finance journey to learn about the 10 best domestic equity fund managers and how to properly close a credit card account. Look up your life expectancy in the Archives or go to the PFBlog Digest to get the scoop on paying off student loans, starting salaries for college grads and how 529 plans affect financial aid eligibility.

Make a Clean Break
www.womansdivorce.com

Financial advisers looking for divorce resources for female clients can go to this site’s Downloadable Documents section for state-specific divorce forms, parenting, separation and property settlement agreements. The Legal Considerations for Women and Financial Information sections offer divorce strategies and advice on choosing an attorney.


"How to Prevent Investment Adviser Fraud," by Brian Carroll, Journal of Accountancy, January 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2006/carroll.htm


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
SECTION 206 OF THE INVESTMENT ADVISERS ACT OF 1940 provides guidelines for investment advisers on what constitutes fraud.

THE SUPREME COURT HAS HELD THAT THE ACT imposes a fiduciary duty on investment advisers to act in the best interest of their clients by fully disclosing all potential conflicts of interest.

INVESTMENT ADVISERS SHOULD REVIEW CAREFULLY SEC and other disclosure requirements to ensure they clearly understand potential conflicts.

INVESTMENT ADVISERS SHOULD REVIEW ALL SEC FILINGS, client marketing materials and other significant documents to ensure that they have appropriately disclosed all potential conflicts.

Brian Carroll, CPA, is special counsel with the SEC in Philadelphia and an adjunct professor at Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, N.J.

 


Helpers in planning for retirement --- http://www.plan-for-retirement.com/
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators --- http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimato

Naked Shorts:  Irreverent Investment Ideas --- http://nakedshorts.typepad.com 

Advertisement Free Personal Finance Blogs --- http://pfblogs.org/blog/29

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#Finance


"Credit-Card Rage:  Debt-strapped consumers vent their frustration with banks as they root for new rules to rein in card rates and fees," by Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Business Week, August 27, 2008 ---
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/aug2008/db20080826_832238.htm?link_position=link1

David Giantomasi says he vigilantly paid his credit-card bills each month. Even if he could only make the minimum payment, he made sure to get all his monthly payments squared away. So he was shocked when the interest rate on his Chase credit card suddenly jumped to 19.99% from 7.99%. When Giantomasi called the card issuer to demand an explanation, he was enraged. He was told that overall turmoil in the credit markets meant higher rates for a number of customers.

Chase won't comment on individual cardholder accounts. "I felt completely helpless," Giantomasi recalls. "These credit-card companies are beyond the law and should be more tightly regulated."

Giantomasi isn't alone in his desire to see the credit-card industry reined in. Lured by bank come-ons that sold a debt-fueled lifestyle of lavish vacations, sumptuous restaurant meals, and carefree shopping sprees, consumers piled up unprecedented debt during the credit boom: Consumer credit-card debt has skyrocketed to almost $1 trillion, double what it was in 1996. Unpaid credit-card debt is on the rise, too, up 22% in June from a year earlier, according to reports by the major credit-card issuers, American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), Capital One Financial (COF), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), and Discover (DFS). But when the housing bubble popped and the economy slammed on its brakes, suddenly many free-spending consumers were left holding the bag.

Now those same cardholders are rushing in to support rule changes proposed by the Federal Reserve Board back in May, to limit unfair or deceptive credit-card practices.

New Rules on Rates

The proposed rules, which could be implemented as early as yearend, would represent the first time in over 20 years that a government agency has recommended banning certain credit-card industry practices. Regulation has been left largely to the card issuers, and the Fed and other banking regulators tended to stick to forcing card companies to disclose terms and conditions clearly to customers.

Under the proposed rules, though, banks would no longer be able to hike up interest rates on existing debt, as Giantomasi experienced. Card companies would have to split required monthly payments evenly between the high- and low-rate balances on a card. (Currently, card companies allocate payments to the lowest interest-rate balance first, which leaves a lot of cardholders unable to make a dent in balances at higher interest rates. That's a recipe for rapidly accruing interest and a feeling of helplessness about managing debt, say cardholders.) And consumers would get a longer grace period before they're slammed with penalty fees.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty secrets of credit card companies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO


Question
Where can researchers obtain information about auditor fees?

Answer
A popular source is the database at Audit Analytics.  The entries in this database are extracted from proxy statements of companies --- http://www.auditanalytics.com/

There is much more about audit services at the above site.  The site is not a free site for most database items.


Worldwide Directory of Accountants and Consultants --- http://www.searchsystems.net/list.php?nid=62


"Whistle-Blowers Say California State U. Fired Them for Questioning No-Bid Contracts," by  Kathryn Masterson, Chronicle of Higher Education August 17, 2008 --- Click Here

Three senior employees at California State University say they lost their jobs after questioning whether the system’s chancellor, Charles B. Reed, misused public funds when he hired a labor-consulting firm without soliciting competitive bids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Two lawyers who worked in California State’s labor-relations office — Paul Verellen and Joel Block — said their firings were directly related to their questions over the hiring of C. Richard Barnes and Associates, a Georgia-based firm, to represent the university in negotiations with labor unions and in arbitration with faculty members.

Mr. Verellen has filed a whistle-blower complaint with California’s Bureau of State Audits and said he plans to file a lawsuit against Mr. Reed and the university. A third dismissed employee has signed a legal settlement that prevents him from discussing the case, but others told the newspaper he too had lost his job after asking questions about the Barnes contracts.

The Barnes firm, which is led by C. Richard Barnes, a former director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, has received more than $2-million so far, the newspaper reported. The university says the no-bid contracts were necessary and legitimate.

Mr. Reed said that the former employees were let go in a staff reorganization, and that the Barnes contracts had been some of the office’s “best-spent resources.” The San Francisco Chronicle quoted him as saying: “I frankly got tired of all the labor-relations problems that we were having. I asked somebody who the very best labor person was in the country, and it turned out to be a guy in Atlanta who had worked in the Clinton administration. … And I asked him if he would help us with our labor problems.”

Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing


August 22, 2008 message from Nathan Letourneau [Nathan@CampusBooks4Less.com]

Dear Professor Jensen,

My name is Nathan letourneau and as a U of M student I created a no cost textbook price comparison service for students (It's like Expedia, but for textbooks). It allows students to find the cheapest prices on college books by comparing prices across online retailers. I see you have Amazon.com listed on your website ( http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm  ). Amazon is one of the many sites I search to find the cheapest prices. Would you be willing to add a link to my site on your website or tell your class about it.

You can see a price comparison by visiting:

http://www.campusbooks4less.com/cgi-bin/bookSearch/bookstoreSearch.cgi?searchBy=isbn&searchVal=061852844X&func=submit

Also you can add your own small price comparison right on your website by adding a small snippet of code. You can see what it looks like by visiting http://www.campusbooks4less.com/professors.html 

If you would like me to send you a reminder next semester, please reply back with the email you would like me to send the reminder to.

Thanks for your consideration and time!

Nathan Letourneau Nathan@CampusBooks4Less.com  leto0023@tc.umn.edu  I did not buy your email or contact information. I found it myself on the web by looking through current syllabi and emailed you on my own. I am not going to distribute or sell your email address in any way. I am providing the following information to comply with current regulations.

To unsubscribe (even though you haven't been signed up for anything), please send an email to campusbooks4less@campusbooks4less.com. Please provide your email address in the message along with the word "unsubscribe" and I will make sure to never email you again.

Campus Books 4 Less --- http://www.campusbooks4less.com/professors.html  
808 Carmichael Road #162
Hudson, WI 54025

Bob Jensen's book price comparison links and book finder links are are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


From the Scout Report on August 22, 2008

Personal Brain 4.5.0.8 --- http://www.thebrain.com/#-53 

The Personal Brain application promises "mind mapping" and it's an intriguing idea at that. Essentially the application allows users the ability to map out key documents, contacts, files, and Web pages via a graphic user interface. It is well worth a look, and this particular version can be used for 30 days at no charge and a free edition is available to use as long as you want. Personal Brain is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. 


WavePad 3.12 --- http://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/index.html

Aspiring record producers and sound artists will enjoy learning about this latest version of WavePad. This software allows users to make and edit voice and audio recordings, and they can also add a variety of effects like echo, amplification, and noise reduction. Additionally, there are text-to-speech and speech recognition functions, which are both nice bonuses. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5.

 


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

Educational Resources from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco --- http://www.frbsf.org/education/


Education Tutorials

From the National Science Foundation
ExhibitFiles (Exhibit Design) http://exhibitfiles.org/

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


Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Size Matters --- http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=FqfunyCeU5g

Intute: Interactive Chemistry Tutorials --- http://www.intute.ac.uk/sciences/reference/chemlecs/ 

A Video Version of the Periodic Table (a video for each element) --- http://www.periodicvideos.com/ 

Interactives: The Periodic Table --- http://www.learner.org/interactives/periodic/index.html

"Hubble Images Solve Galactic Filament Mystery," by Kenneth Chang, The New York Times, August 24, 2008 ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/science/space/26galaxy.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Total Solar Eclipse 2008: Live from China --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/2008/ 

Controversial FAQs (at least some of them) about global warming --- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/FAQs.htm

Arnold Arboretum: South Central China and Tibet: Hotspot of Diversity --- http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/library/tibet/expeditions.html

From the National Science Foundation
ExhibitFiles (Exhibit Design) http://exhibitfiles.org/

European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies --- http://ec.europa.eu/european_group_ethics/index_en.htm

The Environmental Literacy Council: Teaching Resources --- http://www.enviroliteracy.org/category.php/17.html

Contagion: Historical Views of Disease and Epidemics --- http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/contagion/

Environmental Health Perspectives --- http://www.ehponline.org/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Travelers' Health --- http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx

Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health (multimedia) --- http://apps.nlm.nih.gov/againsttheodds/index.cfm

First Detailed Map of the Human Cortex --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/21042/?nlid=1190

From the Scout Report on August 22, 2008

Personal Brain 4.5.0.8 --- http://www.thebrain.com/#-53 

The Personal Brain application promises "mind mapping" and it's an intriguing idea at that. Essentially the application allows users the ability to map out key documents, contacts, files, and Web pages via a graphic user interface. It is well worth a look, and this particular version can be used for 30 days at no charge and a free edition is available to use as long as you want. Personal Brain is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer.

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


Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Size Matters --- http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=FqfunyCeU5g

Educational Resources from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco --- http://www.frbsf.org/education/

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


Law and Legal Studies

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


Math Tutorials

Mathematics Illuminated --- http://www.learner.org/resources/series210.html

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


Music  Tutorials

Mel Bay’s Creative Keyboard --- http://www.creativekeyboard.com/

West Side Story: Birth of a Classic --- http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/westsidestory/

OperaGlass (guide to arias) --- http://opera.stanford.edu/

Baker's Student Encyclopedia of Music --- http://www.enotes.com/music-encyclopedia/

Mississippi State University Libraries: The Sheet Music Collection --- http://library.msstate.edu/content/templates/?a=1496&z=392

Digital Sheet Music Collection: University of Colorado http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/music/smp/index.htm

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


History Tutorials

Size Matters --- http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=FqfunyCeU5g

National Film Preservation Foundation: The Film Preservation Guide --- http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation/film_guide.html

The American Image: The Photographs of John Collier Jr.--- http://americanimage.unm.edu/

Great Chicago Stories --- http://www.chicagohistory.org/greatchicagostories/ 

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

Humorous History of British Noblemen
The Society of Dilettanti --- http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/dilettanti/

Conversations with History: John Kenneth Galbraith --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=jNgfIH5pyxg

Some of the most famous series of liberal vs. conservatism debates in history were those of Galbraith vs. William F. Buckley.
Both were good speakers with skills in writing, satire, and humor, although in both cases their scholarship and research may have been overstated.
Unfortunately, I cannot find any video records of a single B-G debate on YouTube.
There are a lot of videos of the Buckley-Noam Chomsky debates, but these, in my viewpoint, were second rate relative to the B-G debates.
Charlie Rose (William F. Buckley Tribute) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=9Har3ByGiCI
Chris Matthews (William F. Buckley Tribute) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=Iix0dXVzdpw
Part 1 of the Buckley-Chomsky debates --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=VYlMEVTa-PI

William F. Buckley impression by David Frye --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=YFW17jbT9QQ

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


Language Tutorials

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


Writing Tutorials

Writing.com writing helpers --- http://writing-world.com/

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


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


From WebMD
Slide show on the best and worst choices for breakfast in a fast food restaurant --- http://www.webmd.com/diet/slideshow-best-and-worst-fast-food-breakfasts
The advice is in the upper right corner as you click through the pictures of the meals.


"Running slows aging and postpones disability, study finds," by Erin Digitale, Stanford Report, August 20, 2008 ---
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2008/august20/med-aging-082008.html 
Jensen Comment
Most of my friends who have been runners for many years have shifted to bicycling after their knee replacements.

Lettuce Rejoice, The Wall Street Journal Editorial, August 28, 2008, Page A14 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121988296138278119.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

These are salad days for the Food and Drug Administration, which announced last Friday that it will let food producers irradiate fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce to kill e-coli and salmonella. The decision wasn't early or broad enough to avert this summer's food scare, but it's a step in the right direction for consumers and producers who want reasonable options to ensure the produce they're taking home is safe.

Under the new regime, the leafy greens can be zapped before they are sent to market to ensure they aren't carrying bacteria that have been the source of major food scares in recent years. The method can prevent repeats of many of the major U.S. E. coli outbreaks in the past two decades in foods ranging from spinach to onions to alfalfa sprouts and jalapenos.

If it sounds like good news, not everyone was celebrating at Naderite groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which sees irradiation as a threat to regulatory oversight on issues like farm cleanliness. In response to the FDA decision, CSPI insisted that irradiation was not a "silver bullet" and "may not be the futuristic cure-all the agency is looking for." They're the moderates. During the tomato scare, a group called Food and Water Watch warned that "irradiating vegetables is impractical and dangerous" and "only serves the food industry's ever-growing appetite to cut costs and increase profits."

This is the same crowd that presumably thinks you can hire enough inspectors to look at every tomato. In the reality of a global marketplace, contamination can be almost impossible to track. On-farm inspections and other regulations have nothing on a distribution network that offers multiple opportunities for contamination at every stop along the food chain, from washing, to packing, to salsa-making.

Irradiation has already been approved in many other consumer products, including dried spices and meats, as well as the recent addition of shipments of Indian mangoes and Hawaiian papaya. The process has long since garnered the blessings of groups like the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization for its ability to limit foodborne illnesses. At the FDA, irradiation of any given food must be proven safe before it can be approved -- the strictest standard available.

In the age of organic food chic, critics may not relent easily, but consumers may soon relieve the suspense. The same arguments and hyperventilation once greeted the introduction of pasteurization for dairy products, now the rule in every American grocery store. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. has cut foodborne illness in half -- and the FDA's latest move will reduce those numbers further.

 




Forwarded by Maureen
Also at http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/shoebomb.asp

Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it?

  Did you know his trial is over?
  Did you know he was sentenced?
  Did you see/hear any of the judge's comments on TV or Radio?

  Didn't think so.!!!

 Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.

 Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court:

 Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.

 His response.  After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his 'allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah,' defiantly stating, 'I think I will not apologize for my actions,' and told the court 'I am at war with your country.'

 Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

 January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid.

 Judge Young:  'Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

 On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General.  On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7,  the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively.  (That's 80 years.)

 On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed.   The Court imposes upon
 you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million.  The Court accepts the government's recommendation with
 respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

 The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment.  The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it.
 But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

 This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence.  It is a righteous sentence.

 Now, let me explain this to you.   We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid.   We are Americans.   We have been through the fire before.  There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.  Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals.   As human beings, we reach out for justice.

 You are not an enemy combatant.  You are a terrorist.  You are not a soldier in any war.  You are a terrorist.  To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature.   Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier.   You are not.   You are a terrorist.   And we do not negotiate with terrorists.   We do not meet with terrorists.   We do not sign documents with terrorists.   We hunt them down one by one and bring them  to justice.

 So war talk is way out of line in this court.  You are a big fellow.  But you are not that big.  You're no warrior.  I've known warriors.  You are a terrorist.  A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders.   In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal."

 You are no big deal.

 What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific.  What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

 I have listened respectfully to what you have to say.  And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you   to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing?  And, I have an answer for you.  It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

 It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious.  You hate our freedom.   Our individual freedom.   Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.   Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea.   It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom.  So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.  It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your   behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

 We Americans are all about freedom.  Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.  Make no mistake though.  It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.  Look around this courtroom.  Mark it well.  The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here.   The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.

 Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.  The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refin e our sense of justice.

 See that flag, Mr. Reid?  That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten.  That flag stands for freedom.   And it always will.

 Mr. Custody Officer, stand him down.

 So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets?   We need more judges like Judge Young, but that's another subject.  Pass this around. Everyone should and needs to hear what this fine judge had to say. Powerful words that strike home. 

God Bless America!




Forwarded by Maureen
I didn't have time to verify all of these.

This has got to be one of the cleverest E-mails I've received in awhile.
Someone out there is deadly at Scrabble.
(Wait till you see the last one)!



DORMITORY:

When you rearrange the letters:

DIRTY ROOM


PRESBYTERIAN:

When you rearrange the letters:

BEST IN PRAYER


ASTRONOMER:

When you rearrange the letters:

MOON STARER


DESPERATION:

When you rearrange the letters:

A ROPE ENDS IT


THE EYES:
!
When you rearrange the letters:

THEY SEE


GEORGE BUSH:

When you rearrange the letters:

HE BUGS GORE


THE MORSE CODE
:
When you rearrange the letters:

HERE COME DOTS


SLOT MACHINES:

When you rearrange the letters:

CASH LOST IN ME


ANIMOSITY:

When you rearrange the letters:

IS NO AMITY


ELECTION RESULTS:

When you rearrange the letters:

LIES - LET'S RECOUNT


SNOOZE ALARMS:

When you rearrange the letters:

ALAS! NO MORE Z 'S


A DECIMAL POINT:

When you rearrange the letters:

IM A DOT IN PLACE


THE EARTHQUAKES:

When you rearrange the letters:

THAT QUEER SHAKE


ELEVEN PLUS TWO:

When you rearrange the letters:

TWELVE PLUS ONE


AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE:

MOTHER-IN-LAW:

When you rearrange the letters:

WOMAN HITLER

 

 


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Are you lonely?
Do you have trouble making decisions?
Do you hate working alone?

Then call a meeting!
You can spout the latest Internet jokes.
You can watch people doodle.
You can feel more important.
You can form subcommittees to do your work.
You can make meaningless recommendations.
And you can do all this on company time.

Do a good job here!
It's like wetting your pants in a dark suit.
You get a warm feeling and nobody notices.

Notice:  This Department requires no physical fitness program.
Everyone gets enough exercise:

You really should check your e-mail more often.
You were fired three weeks ago!

New job incentive program:
Work or get fired.

Complaint Department




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

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm

 

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