Winter roared in like a lion
Mt. Washington Summit Conditions at 5:56 AM, Dec. 17
Temp = -20.3°F
Steady Wind = 77.3 mph
Wind Gust = 85.2 mph
Wind Chill = -66.0°F
World Record 231 mph Wind ---
Current Conditions ---

Now all the leaves are gone from this big maple tree behind our cottage,
but before it was covered in snow it looked like this

Now it looks naked and cold

Dreaming of a white Christmas


16 years ago in our San Antonio house


These were the beautiful walnut and oak trees behind the home of my parents in Algona, Iowa

The squirrels loved the walnuts and acorns


Bob in Iowa the year my father died.


At one time in Iowa, Cousin Don Jenson and his wife LaDonna had a llama in the same pasture with their big horses
Below is a picture of LaDonna, Cousin Don, and our daughter Lisl

These are Don's two buggy horses plus his team of big beautiful Percherons

Don and LaDonna also have a useless and loveable Newfoundland named Tiny
Here's Lisl with Tiny


The pictures below were sent by Auntie Bev.
They're completely self explanatory.


It's now been proven that Frosty the Snowman was a victim of global warming.

Santa Wishing You a White Christmas ---

The Annual Ashland University Christmas ---
Ashland's Interactive Silent Night (follow the instructions) ---

Christmas Blessings Slide Show --- Click Here

Christmas in Arlington Cemetery ---

Video:  Awaken, Oh America ---



Tidbits on December 17, 2009
Bob Jensen

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

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

CPA Examination ---

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google ---

World Clock and World Facts ---

U.S. Debt/Deficit Clock ---

Free Residential and Business Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- dial 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411
 Free Online Telephone Directory ---       [www_public-records-now_com] 
 Free online 800 telephone numbers ---
 Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens

Daily News Sites for Accountancy, Tax, Fraud, IFRS, XBRL, Accounting History, and More ---

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google ---
Bob Jensen's search helpers ---
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Search for Listservs, Blogs, and Social Networks ---

Bob Jensen's essay on the financial crisis bailout's aftermath and an alphabet soup of appendices can be found at

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
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The Master List of Free Online College Courses ---

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 


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

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

Global Incident Map ---

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

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

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 ---

The Rat Pack Plus Johnny Carson ---

Thank you Paula
Video:  Amazing portable computer ----

Thank you Glen Gray
Swiss Army (PomeGranate) Phone ---

Video:  Awaken, Oh America ---

The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning --- Click Here  

Sarah Palin on The Tonight Show w/Conan O'Brien & William Shatner 12/11/09 ---

Santa Wishing You a White Christmas ---

 20 Years After: Life Beyond Communism in Central & Eastern Europe [Flash Player] ---

The Annual Ashland University Christmas ---
Ashland's Interactive Silent Night (follow the instructions) ---

Thank you Eileen
Video:  Medieval Tech Support ---
Tech support helpers must've pulled their hair out in days of old as well as today. Adult parents cannot always do things that their young children just do intuitively.
Actual Tech Support Diaries (from the New York Journal) ---

Free music downloads ---

Dogged by Christmas Video
A doggy Christmas surprise - Karácsonyi kutyás meglepetés ---

Auntie Bev forwarded this music video ---

Those Old Westerns ---

Inflation or Deflation (country music humor) ---

Video:  Awaken, Oh America ---

NPR's Choices for the Best Recordings of the Decade ---

Boston Symphony Orchestra Podcasts [iTunes] ---

Schubert's Desolate 'Winter Journey' ---

The Rat Pack Plus Johnny Carson ---

Dance Magazine ---

Web outfits like Pandora, Foneshow, Stitcher, and Slacker broadcast portable and mobile content that makes Sirius look overpriced and stodgy ---

TheRadio (my favorite commercial-free online music site) ---
Slacker (my second-favorite commercial-free online music site) ---

Gerald Trites likes this international radio site ---
Songza:  Search for a song or band and play the selection ---
Also try Jango ---
Sometimes this old guy prefers the jukebox era (just let it play through) ---
And I listen quite often to Soldiers Radio Live ---
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings ---

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- 

Photographs and Art

Banned Political Photographs (Slide Show) --- Click Here

Sitters, artists and photographers talking (portrait painters) ---

Australian Antarctic Magazine ---

Zeppelin Eureka ---

Dance Magazine ---

Chinese Anti-Malaria Posters ---

Photographs of Frank B. Snyder ---  

Banned Political Photographs (Slide Show) --- Click Here

Art for whose sake? --- 

Artnet: The Art World Online --- 

ArtTactic [iTunes] ---

Bob Jensen's threads on history, literature and art ---

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 ---

The Digital Locke Project (John Locke) --- 

The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning --- Click Here

John Donne (metaphysics, poetry, philosophy) ---

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 --- 

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Digital Archive at Bowdoin College (Longfellow) ---

Message from my good neighbors who have lived in France, Germany, and Thailand among other parts of the world

Hi All,
I just read this very thoughtful presentation of the cultural and economic changes in France. Our friend, Duke, spoke often of these issues, and now Michael Steinberger has written a coherent, well-researched, and clearly written discussion of the changes in France over the past twenty-five years. When Steinberger was interviewed on the Diane Rehm show, I was very impressed with his ideas - - even though many saddened me greatly! The book begins with a brief, but detailed history of French cuisine. Following chapters include the pros and cons of the Michelin Guide, changes in the wine and cheese industries (thanks, in part to government intervention), and competition among chefs in France as well as the rising popularity of other countries who now present good food beautifully and imaginatively, use local ingredients, and serve local as well as international tastes. Another intriguing chapter deals with the difficult beginning and then meteoric rise of the popularity of McDonald’s. Steinberger spent many hours of his research interviewing chefs and others involved with his topics. An extensive bibliography and index are included. I highly recommend this book. Let me know what you think …


Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France, Michael Steinberger. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009.

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations Between December7-17, 2009
To Accompany the November 10, 2009 edition of Tidbits     

You might want to disable JavaScript in your Adobe Acrobat Reader until Adobe figures out a security patch ---

The New York Times Magazine publishes once a year the “years in ideas,” by Dan Ariely, MIT's Technology Review, December 15, 2009 ---

I found the "Drunken Ultimatum" to be particularly interesting.

Comeback America: Turning The Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility
On January 12th, 2010, Random House will publish a new book by David M. Walker, President & CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States. Comeback America: Turning The Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility discusses a range of illustrative policy, operational and political reforms, including budget controls, health care, entitlement, tax, and defense changes.
David M. Walker (my hero) --- 
The book is available for pre-order through a variety of online sources. Mr. Walker has donated the proceeds from this book to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Bob Jensen's threads on pending collapse of the United States ---

The "Burning Platform" of the United States Empire
Former Chief Accountant of the United States, David Walker, is spreading the word as widely as possible in the United States about the looming threat of our unbooked entitlements. Two videos that feature David Walker's warnings are as follows:

David Walker claims the U.S. economy is on a "burning platform" but does not go into specifics as to what will be left in the ashes.

The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon.
David M. Walker, Former Chief Accountant of the United States ---

David Walker was appointed by President Clinton as Comptroller General of the United States and served in that position for a decade before taking his campaign to save America on the road.

"Obama Addresses Growing National Debt," SmartPros, December 9, 2009 ---

Call it the fatal arithmetic of imperial decline. Without radical fiscal reform, it could apply to America next.
Niall Ferguson, "An Empire at Risk:  How Great Powers Fail," Newsweek Magazine Cover Story, November 26, 2009 ---
Please note that this is NBC’s liberal Newsweek Magazine and not Fox News or The Wall Street Journal.

. . .

In other words, there is no end in sight to the borrowing binge. Unless entitlements are cut or taxes are raised, there will never be another balanced budget. Let's assume I live another 30 years and follow my grandfathers to the grave at about 75. By 2039, when I shuffle off this mortal coil, the federal debt held by the public will have reached 91 percent of GDP, according to the CBO's extended baseline projections. Nothing to worry about, retort -deficit-loving economists like Paul Krugman.

. . .

Another way of doing this kind of exercise is to calculate the net present value of the unfunded liabilities of the Social Security and Medicare systems. One recent estimate puts them at about $104 trillion, 10 times the stated federal debt.

Continued in article ---


Niall Ferguson is the Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University and the author of The Ascent of Money. In late 2009 he puts forth an unbooked discounted present value liability of $104 trillion for Social Security plus Medicare. In late 2008, the former Chief Accountant of the United States Government, placed this estimate at$43 trillion. We can hardly attribute the $104-$43=$61 trillion difference to President Obama's first year in office. We must accordingly attribute the $61 trillion to margin of error and most economists would probably put a present value of unbooked (off-balance-sheet) present value of Social Security and Medicare debt to be somewhere between $43 trillion and $107 trillion To this we must add other unbooked present value of entitlement debt estimates which range from $13 trillion to $40 trillion. If Obamacare passes it will add untold trillions to trillions more because our legislators are not looking at entitlements beyond 2019.



A couple of 2007 email comments on December 11, 2009 by Townhall Spotlight []

"Overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach, I was looking at the strippers by the pool, having a beer with some old friends...

"One friend told me: "I'm making a killing in the mortgage business. There's this firm in New York called Bear Stearns. These guys are f***ing stupid. They will buy any mortgage I sell them..."

Jensen Comment
It's impossible for me to believe that Bear Stearns and the other investment banks like Merrill Lynch were  "f***ing stupid." Wall Street knew it was buying poisoned mortgages (the poison was added on Main Street where mortgages were being handed to borrows with no hopes of making the payments). Bare Sterns, Merrill Lynch and the other buyers (smart as foxes) just hoped to pass the poison on by slicing up the poisoned mortgages by reassembling diversified pieces (the Gaussian Copula formula) in tainted CDO tranches before passing along the deadly mortgage investments in small pieces to their customers. In turn, Moody's sold AAA ratings on those poisoned tranches knowing full well that the tranches were deadly. And the CPA auditors simply "overlooked" substantive testing tranches and internal controls.

Now the credit rating firms and CPA auditors are now being sued by shareholders that lost everything in the Wall Street and other banks like Washington Mutual and Wachovia. Bank of America purportedly did not play this game but purportedly was "forced" by Hank Paulson to buy the poisoned Merrill Lynch that did not get all its tranches unloaded. And there are no investment banks left on Wall Street.

Bob Jensen's threads on all the sub-prime mortgage sleaze of Main Street poisons and Wall Street con games are at

This link was forwarded to me by David Albrecht
Visualizing Spatial and Social Attributes on Distorted World Maps
Beerkens' Blog, Januiary 16, 2007 ---

The Spatial and Social Inequalities Research Group of the Geography Department at the University of Sheffield have created an interesting website. Worldmapper: the world as you’ve never seen it before. It is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. I played around a bit, creating maps reflecting the participation in higher education, the amount higher education spending and the scientific research in terms of the number of scientific articles. Unsurprisingly, this creates maps where the US, Europe and East Asia is dominating. However, if you compare it with a population map, it’s clear that the dominance is especially in North America, Europe and Japan.

However, if we look at the maps (click for enlargements) that show the growth in higher education spending and the growth in scientific research over the period 1990-2001, we see some interesting things.

Bob Jensen's threads on multivariate data visualization are at
Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) --- 

Dartmouth College Fraternity Toast to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Lying, Stealing, Cheating, and Drinking
If you're going to lie, lie to a pretty girl.
If you're going to steal, steal from bad company.
If you're going to cheat, cheat death.
If you're going to drink, drink with me.

"What's right about fraternities," Chronicle of Higher Education, Back Cover, December 11, 2009, Page A76
By Ben O'Donnell, 2008 graduate of Dartmouth College

Attitudes toward women, class, and exclusion are more entrenched in fraternity culture at some universities and must be dealt with in a nuanced way from house to house. Student-aid policies within houses would deal with the latter two issues, as membership dues are often prohibitively expensive for students on financial aid, especially at national fraternities whose corporate headquarters take a cut of the money. Colleges must also match their fraternity spaces with equally robust sorority and coeducational ones so that women have an alternative to frequenting frat parties on frat terms.

Ultimately, however, universities should accept that there is value in what a fraternity essentially is: a place where, yes, guys can be guys; where rituals, power games, performances, competitions, friendships, and self-regulation can be played out; a community in which identities are cultivated. Here, in rooms of their own, young men may sometimes thumb their noses at the dictates of grown-ups, but they also grow up themselves.

On the surface, the cheers, the chants, and the frat lore can seem like silly stuff, and, indeed, some frat boys do just end up fat, drunk, and stupid. But most brothers graduate with valuable experiences in the burdens and bonds of tradition, responsibility, and especially camaraderie. Not such bad things to take away from an undergraduate education and into society.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One thing I learned while living in a fraternity house my second year of college was that "fraternity men" and "sorority women" never said "frat" instead of "fraternity." It's a little like when I lived eight years near San Francisco and discovered that it was not gosh to say "Frisco."

My experience in a fraternity was that there was just too much Mickey Mouse stuff that was only partly balanced by the great lessons in manners at dining tables (we had to wear suits and ties for every dinner except on Friday nights), manners with women (you always stood tall when one entered a room and never left one standing alone without a conversation partner), and lessons in bridge (only farmers double or redouble).

I resigned from the fraternity when the President of our fraternity asked me to share my answers with him on an examination. He was a cool and handsome and sincere friend who was dumb as a fence post. I also found the fraternity too time consuming and too stressful for a guy like me who had to study day and night for top grades. Most of the time it didn't come real easy for me.

You can read about my first year of college at the following link:
Short story entitled Mrs. Applegate's Boarding House (with Navy pictures)

December 13, 2009 reply from Will Yancey


It is even more complicated. When I was at Dartmouth in 1974-1978, I was in a coed house. The male and female members were all “ bro’ “. The women did not want to be differentiated. Every year we had marriages between male and female bro’ --- and most of them are still married to each other. At that time, it was cheaper to live in a frat house than in college housing.

Best wishes,


Dr. Will Yancey, CPA


Bravo Syracuse University
"To Get This Grant, Students Have to Take 'Personal Finances 101," by Beckie Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2009 ---

Excel's New Power Pivot

December 9, 2009 message from AECM@LISTSERV.LOYOLA.EDU

This is a free add-in from Microsoft for Excel 2010

Below are some videos discussing this powerful tool. 

Richard J. Campbell School of Business 218 N. College Ave. University of Rio Grande Rio Grande, OH 45674

Bob Jensen's video helpers for Excel and MS Access ---

Chile:  The "Chicago Boys" Experiment in Real Life
It is widely known that the Chicago School (in economics, finance, accounting, and business in general) was profoundly influenced by the free market/low taxation  scholarship of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman (along with some other offshoots such as the University of Virginia and George Mason University) ---

Last night on December 9, 2009 ABC News did a feature on the amazing successes of Chile vis-a-vis the rest of the Western Hemisphere. Chile became a laboratory study for the Chicago School theory of free markets. Unfortunately in some respects, the experiment was based, for a short but crucial period, on the brutal and vicious dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet

But now Dictator Pinochet is history and the current economic Chilean success in economic growth coupled with reducing unemployment and poverty has made the "Chicago Boys" more credible ---

December 10, 2009 reply from Leonardo [ltorresh@FEN.UCHILE.CL]

It's interesting to look at our local experience, because around the world we appear as a capitalist and succesfull country, as Chicago Boys changed our economic system. But I think that it is just a part of the tale. If we study the chilean's wealth distribution it's clear that the growth is concentrated in the 20% of the population. But it's better to show the good face of the model. Chile is the first Southamerican country adopting integrally the International Financial Reporting Standard(IFRS). USA hasn't adopted it yet. Are we a more developed country? Or is it another experiment for the neoliberal model?

Leonardo Torres
Universidad de Chile

December 10, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Thank you for the prompt and interesting reply Leonardo,

I'm curious about the "20%" comment. Clearly, in any capitalist system there will be a variations in wealth, because the entire basis of capitalism is to provide differential rewards for financial risk taking and returns from inventions and innovations. One would expect the top 20% to thrive better on average because they have more to invest.

One would hope that the Chilean Dream becomes the American Dream where the poorest people in society have an opportunity to become the wealthiest citizens.

One worry is that eventually wealthy capitalists become robber barons destroying all competition in the capitalist system that allowed them to become immensely wealthy, thereby destroying the competitive system from within. Another drawback is that capitalism cannot seem to avoid ups and downs of the economic cycle with its booms and bust periods. There are going to be downturns that become painful.

The strong argument of the Chicago School that "greed is good" in the context of how well off everybody becomes with higher economic growth. Chile has "poor people," but we would hope that Chile’s "poor people" on average are better off than most other developing nations.

The ABC News clip stresses how both poverty and unemployment have been greatly reduced in Chile relative to other South and Latin American countries. Are Chile’s poor doing relatively better as a result of the Chicago Boys?

What nation south of the United States is doing more for its poor and unemployed than Chile under the Chicago Boys in the past ten years?

It seems to me that the Chicago Boys experiment in Chile seems to be working better to help the poor than all other Marxist experiments (that never truly were able to eliminate that top 20% and offered less of a dream to be lifted from poverty into the top 20%).

Chile is a most interesting study for the future, because it will put democracy and capitalism to the test of sustainability. It is possible that capitalism and socialism can only be sustained by dictatorship.

The problem with democracy is that special interest groups keep voting themselves grabs at the public treasury.

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron (wrongly attributed to Cicero in 55 B.C.)

Bob Jensen

Chile’s youngest citizens have developed a serious case of political apathy
When Gen. Augusto Pinochet held a referendum on his rule in 1988, a surge of young voters was the decisive difference in emphatically turning the country toward democracy. But as Chileans head to the polls on Sunday, with the fate of the 20-year old governing coalition in the balance, young voters are not likely to play a major role. Even as its democracy has matured and its steady economic management has become the envy of Latin America, Chile’s youngest citizens have developed a serious case of political apathy. Just 9.2 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds are registered to vote on Sunday, the lowest number for a presidential election since democracy was restored in 1990, and slightly lower than the percentage registered in 2005 when Chileans elected Michelle Bachelet, the first woman to become president. She is not allowed to seek a second consecutive term under the Constitution. “I hope that 9 percent becomes zero percent,” said Gonzalo Castillo, an 18-year-old history major at the University of Chile, who said he refused to register. “All the candidates represent the interests of the oligarchy, of big business interests.”
Alexei Barrionuevo, "Chile’s ‘Children of Democracy’ Sitting Out Presidential Election," The New York Times, December 12, 2009 --- 

American Economist and Nobel Prize Winning Paul Samuelson died on December 13, 2009 ---
Among many other things, his textbook was perhaps the all-time best selling economics textbooks. Students in my generation were weaned on Samuelson who, in my viewpoint, was a fence sitter, albeit a scholarly fence sitter, with respect to economic theory. He was a mathematician with hundreds of scholarly papers in his craft.

Stanislaw Ulam once challenged Samuelson to name one theory in all of the social sciences which is both true and nontrivial. Several years later, Samuelson responded with David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage: That it is logically true need not be argued before a mathematician; that is not trivial is attested by the thousands of important and intelligent men who have never been able to grasp the doctrine for themselves or to believe it after it was explained to them.

"Why Everyone Read Samuelson:  The late Nobel laureate's mathematical approach to economics has been a mixed blessing," by Professor David R. Henderson, The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2009 ---

Three years after World War II drew to a close, a young professor at MIT published "Foundations of Economic Analysis." Its mathematical approach to economics would revolutionize the profession. And its author, Paul Samuelson, would go on to earn many awards and honors, culminating in 1970, when he won the Nobel Prize in economics—the second year it was awarded. Samuelson died on Sunday at the age of 94.

His influence has been profound, but the mathematization of economics has been a mixed blessing. The downside is that the math hurdle in leading U.S. economics programs is now so high that people who grasp the power of economic concepts to explain human behavior are losing out in the competition to mathematicians.

The upside is that Samuelson sometimes used math to resolve issues that had not been resolved at a theoretical level for decades. As fellow Nobel laureate Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago said in a 1982 interview, "He'll take these incomprehensible verbal debates that go on and on and just end them; formulate the issue in such a way that the question is answerable, and then get the answer."

For instance, Swedish economist Bertil Ohlin had argued that international trade would tend to equalize the prices of factors of production. Trade between, say, India and the United States would narrow wage-rate differentials between the two countries. Samuelson, using mathematical tools, showed the conditions under which the differentials would be driven to zero: It's called the Factor Price Equalization Theorem.

He contributed fundamental insights in consumer theory and welfare economics, international trade, finance theory, capital theory, general equilibrium and macroeconomics. In finance theory, which he took up at age 50, Samuelson did some of the initial work that showed that properly anticipated futures prices should fluctuate randomly.

Economists had long believed that there were goods that would be hard for the private sector to provide because of the difficulty of charging those who benefit from them. National defense is one of the best examples of such a good. In the 1954 Review of Economics and Statistics, Samuelson gave a rigorous definition of a public good that is still standard in the literature.

"Let those who will write the nation's laws if I can write its textbooks," Samuelson said during a speech at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He revised his own widely read textbook, "Economics," about every three years since 1948. One of the best and punchiest statements in the 1970 edition was his comment about a proposal to raise the minimum wage from its existing level of $1.45 an hour to $2.00 an hour: "What good does it do a black youth to know that an employer must pay him $2.00 an hour if the fact that he must be paid that amount is what keeps him from getting a job?"

This is the kind of comment that causes many on the left to grit their teeth; and yet Samuelson was a liberal Keynesian and the best-known rival of the late libertarian monetarist, Milton Friedman. The two men respected each other highly, but the intellectual influence was mainly one way. Over time, Samuelson came more to Friedman's views, especially on monetary policy.

In the 1948 edition of his textbook, Samuelson wrote dismissively, "few economists regard Federal Reserve monetary policy as a panacea for controlling the business cycle.'' But in the 1967 edition, he wrote that monetary policy had "an important influence'' on total spending. In the 1985 edition, Samuelson and co-author William Nordaus (of Yale) would write, "Money is the most powerful and useful tool that macroeconomic policymakers have,'' and the Fed "is the most important factor'' in making policy.

Paul Samuelson began teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1940 at the age of 26 and remained there, publishing on average almost one technical paper a month for over 50 years. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he also earned the John Bates Clark Award in 1947, awarded for the most outstanding work by an economist under age 40. He was president of the American Economic Association in 1961.

Samuelson, like Milton Friedman, had a regular column in Newsweek (from 1966 to 1981). Unlike Friedman, he did not have a passionate belief in free markets—or, for that matter, in government intervention in markets. His pleasure seemed to come from providing new proofs, demonstrating technical finesse, turning a clever phrase, and understanding the world better.

But not always. Samuelson had an amazingly tin ear about communism. As early as the 1960s, economist G. Warren Nutter at the University of Virginia had done empirical work showing that the much-vaunted economic growth in the Soviet Union was a myth. Samuelson did not pay attention. In the 1989 edition of his textbook, Samuelson and William Nordhaus wrote, "the Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive."

Although I was never a fan of Samuelson's textbook, an appendix on futures markets in a late 1960s edition laid out beautifully how the profit motive in futures markets causes reallocation from times of relative plenty to future times of relative scarcity. In 1990 I asked him to do an article on futures markets for "The Fortune (now "Concise") Encyclopedia of Economics." He replied quickly that he did not have time and ended graciously, "My loss."

Professor Henderson is a research fellow with Stanford University's Hoover Institution and an economics professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He is editor of "The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics" (Liberty Fund, 2008.)

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting and economic theory are at

Women Hedge Fund Managers Outperform Men
Women also, apparently, make better money managers according to another study by two professors at UC Davis [3]. That study found that overconfidence caused men to trade stocks 45 percent more often than women, thus lowering their net portfolio returns by 2.65 percent per year (compared with 1.72 percent lower returns for women traders). Moreover, several studies show a link between profit and gender. Companies with several high-ranking women at either officer or director levels tend to have higher earnings per share, return on equity and stock prices than competitors with few or no senior women.
"Women Hedge Fund Managers Outperform Men," by Cathy Arnst, Business Week, December 2009 ---
This link was forwarded by Jim Mahar
Jensen Comment
I also discovered, during the few years I played a bit of duplicate bridge, is to watch out for the old women. But, contrary to the above article, I discovered, from some of the women I played with and against in duplicate bridge, was that they often were more aggressive in playing, biding, doubling, and redoubling.

Greece admits it is riddled with corruption
George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, acknowledge to his fellow European Union leaders that the Greek public sector was riddled with corruption. At an EU summit on Thursday night, The bloc’s 26 other national leaders sat in silence as Mr Papandreou delivered a short, blunt speech on Thursday night that said everything the rest of Europe had long known, or suspected, about Greek bureaucracy. Greece is in the throes of the most serious fiscal emergency to strike the eurozone since the single currency’s launch in 1999. Mr Papandreou’s baring of the national soul capped a tumultuous week in which Greece’s creditworthiness was downgraded, its stock market plunged, the interest rate on its debt soared and even its survival in the eurozone was questioned.
Tony Barber, "Greece admits it is riddled with corruption," Financial Times, December 11, 2009 ---

Mexico's Big Oil Price Hedge
Mexico spent $1.172 billion to buy oil hedges for 2010, covering a possible revenue shortfall if production falls for the sixth straight year and prices don’t recover from about a five-year low. Mexico purchased put options that give it the option, not the obligation, to sell its oil for $57 a barrel next year, the Finance Ministry said in an e-mail statement today.
"Mexico Has Hedged Oil for 2010 at $57 a Barrel," by Andres R. Martinez and Jens Erik Gould, Bloomberg, December 8, 2009 ---

Jensen Comment
Unlike hedging with forward or futures contracts or swaps (that are portfolios of forward contracts), the downside risk of purchased options is limited to the price (premium) paid for the options. In the above case that would be a mere $1.172 billion. There is enormous risk for the option writers (sellers) of these hedges, but the sellers probably have hedged their own possible losses with other derivatives contracts. Writing naked options is scary beyond imagination in this type of huge transaction,

The biggest problem of accounting for purchased options as hedges is that they almost never satisfy the 80-125 Effectiveness Criterion of IAS 39 (and also FAS 133) such that changes in time value are seldom eligible for hedge accounting relief (and hence contribute toward earnings volatility for unrealized price movements). Most firms only take hedge accounting on changes in intrinsic value. These terms are all defined and illustrated at

History of oil spot prices in Mexico ---

Bob Jensen's free tutorials and videos on accounting for derivative financial instruments and hedging activities are at

Teaching Cases:  Hedge Accounting Scenario 1 versus Scenario 2
Two Teaching Cases Involving Southwest Airlines, Hedging, and Hedge Accounting Controversies ---


"Critical Thinking:  Why It's So Hard to Teach," by Daniel T. Willingham ---

Also see Simorleon Sense ---

“Critical thinking is not a set of skills that can be deployed at any time, in any context. It is a type of thought that even 3-year-olds can engage in—and even trained scientists can fail in.”

“Knowing that one should think critically is not the same as being able to do so. That requires domain knowledge and practice.”

So,  Why Is Thinking Critically So Hard?
Educators have long noted that school attendance and even academic success are no guarantee that a student will graduate an effective thinker in all situations. There is an odd tendency for rigorous thinking to cling to particular examples or types of problems. Thus, a student may have learned to estimate the answer to a math problem before beginning calculations as a way of checking the accuracy of his answer, but in the chemistry lab, the same student calculates the components of a compound without noticing that his estimates sum to more than 100 percent. And a student who has learned to thoughtfully discuss the causes of the American Revolution from both the British and American perspectives doesn’t even think to question how the Germans viewed World War II. Why are students able to think critically in one situation, but not in another? The brief answer is: Thought processes are intertwined with what is being thought about. Let’s explore this in depth by looking at a particular kind of critical thinking that has been studied extensively: problem solving.

Imagine a seventh-grade math class immersed in word problems. How is it that students will be able to answer one problem, but not the next, even though mathematically both word problems are the same, that is, they rely on the same mathematical knowledge? Typically, the students are focusing on the scenario that the word problem describes (its surface structure) instead of on the mathematics required to solve it (its deep structure). So even though students have been taught how to solve a particular type of word problem, when the teacher or textbook changes the scenario, students still struggle to apply the solution because they don’t recognize that the problems are mathematically the same.

Thinking Tends to Focus on a Problem’s “Surface Structure”
To understand why the surface structure of a problem is so distracting and, as a result, why it’s so hard to apply familiar solutions to problems that appear new, let’s first consider how you understand what’s being asked when you are given a problem. Anything you hear or read is automatically interpreted in light of what you already know about similar subjects. For example, suppose you read these two sentences: “After years of pressure from the film and television industry, the President has filed a formal complaint with China over what U.S. firms say is copyright infringement. These firms assert that the Chinese government sets stringent trade restrictions for U.S. entertainment products, even as it turns a blind eye to Chinese companies that copy American movies and television shows and sell them on the black market.”

With Deep Knowledge, Thinking Can Penetrate Beyond Surface Structure
If knowledge of how to solve a problem never transferred to problems with new surface structures, schooling would be inefficient or even futile—but of course, such transfer does occur. When and why is complex,5 but two factors are especially relevant for educators: familiarity with a problem’s deep structure and the knowledge that one should look for a deep structure. I’ll address each in turn. When one is very familiar with a problem’s deep-structure, knowledge about how to solve it transfers well. That familiarity can come from long-term, repeated experience with one problem, or with various manifestations of one type of problem (i.e., many problems that have different surface structures, but the same deep structure). After repeated exposure to either or both, the subject simply perceives the deep structure as part of the problem description.

"Critical Thinking: Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions," The Critical Thinking Community --- 

To be skilled in critical thinking is to be able to take one’s thinking apart systematically, to analyze each part, assess it for quality and then improve it. The first step in this process is understanding the parts of thinking, or elements of reasoning.

These elements are: purpose, question, information, inference, assumption, point of view, concepts, and implications. They are present in the mind whenever we reason. To take command of our thinking, we need to formulate both our purpose and the question at issue clearly. We need to use information in our thinking that is both relevant to the question we are dealing with, and accurate. We need to make logical inferences based on sound assumptions. We need to understand our own point of view and fully consider other relevant viewpoints. We need to use concepts justifiably and follow out the implications of decisions we are considering. (For an elaboration of the Elements of Reasoning, see a Miniature Guide to the Foundations of Analytic Thinking.)

In this article we focus on two of the elements of reasoning: inferences and assumptions. Learning to distinguish inferences from assumptions is an important intellectual skill. Many confuse the two elements. Let us begin with a review of the basic meanings:

  1. Inference: An inference is a step of the mind, an intellectual act by which one concludes that something is true in light of something else’s being true, or seeming to be true. If you come at me with a knife in your hand, I probably would infer that you mean to do me harm. Inferences can be accurate or inaccurate, logical or illogical, justified or unjustified.

  2. Assumption: An assumption is something we take for granted or presuppose. Usually it is something we previously learned and do not question. It is part of our system of beliefs. We assume our beliefs to be true and use them to interpret the world about us. If we believe that it is dangerous to walk late at night in big cities and we are staying in Chicago, we will infer that it is dangerous to go for a walk late at night. We take for granted our belief that it is dangerous to walk late at night in big cities. If our belief is a sound one, our assumption is sound. If our belief is not sound, our assumption is not sound. Beliefs, and hence assumptions, can be unjustified or justified, depending upon whether we do or do not have good reasons for them. Consider this example: “I heard a scratch at the door. I got up to let the cat in.” My inference was based on the assumption (my prior belief) that only the cat makes that noise, and that he makes it only when he wants to be let in.

We humans naturally and regularly use our beliefs as assumptions and make inferences based on those assumptions. We must do so to make sense of where we are, what we are about, and what is happening. Assumptions and inferences permeate our lives precisely because we cannot act without them. We make judgments, form interpretations, and come to conclusions based on the beliefs we have formed.

If you put humans in any situation, they start to give it some meaning or other. People automatically make inferences to gain a basis for understanding and action. So quickly and automatically do we make inferences that we do not, without training, notice them as inferences. We see dark clouds and infer rain. We hear the door slam and infer that someone has arrived. We see a frowning face and infer that the person is upset. If our friend is late, we infer that she is being inconsiderate. We meet a tall guy and infer that he is good at basketball, an Asian and infer that she will be good at math. We read a book, and interpret what the various sentences and paragraphs — indeed what the whole book — is saying. We listen to what people say and make a series of inferences as to what they mean.

As we write, we make inferences as to what readers will make of what we are writing. We make inferences as to the clarity of what we are saying, what requires further explanation, what has to be exemplified or illustrated, and what does not. Many of our inferences are justified and reasonable, but some are not.

As always, an important part of critical thinking is the art of bringing what is subconscious in our thought to the level of conscious realization. This includes the recognition that our experiences are shaped by the inferences we make during those experiences. It enables us to separate our experiences into two categories: the raw data of our experience in contrast with our interpretations of those data, or the inferences we are making about them. Eventually we need to realize that the inferences we make are heavily influenced by our point of view and the assumptions we have made about people and situations. This puts us in the position of being able to broaden the scope of our outlook, to see situations from more than one point of view, and hence to become more open-minded.

Often different people make different inferences because they bring to situations different viewpoints. They see the data differently. To put it another way, they make different assumptions about what they see. For example, if two people see a man lying in a gutter, one might infer, “There’s a drunken bum.” The other might infer, “There’s a man in need of help.” These inferences are based on different assumptions about the conditions under which people end up in gutters. Moreover, these assumptions are connected to each person’s viewpoint about people. The first person assumes, “Only drunks are to be found in gutters.” The second person assumes, “People lying in the gutter are in need of help.”

The first person may have developed the point of view that people are fundamentally responsible for what happens to them and ought to be able to care for themselves. The second may have developed the point of view that the problems people have are often caused by forces and events beyond their control. The reasoning of these two people, in terms of their inferences and assumptions, could be characterized in the following way:


Person One
Person Two
Situation: A man is lying in the gutter. Situation: A man is lying in the gutter.
Inference: That man’s a bum. Inference: That man is in need of help.
Assumption: Only bums lie in gutters. Assumption: Anyone lying in the gutter is in need of help.

Critical thinkers notice the inferences they are making, the assumptions upon which they are basing those inferences, and the point of view about the world they are developing. To develop these skills, students need practice in noticing their inferences and then figuring the assumptions that lead to them.

As students become aware of the inferences they make and the assumptions that underlie those inferences, they begin to gain command over their thinking. Because all human thinking is inferential in nature, command of thinking depends on command of the inferences embedded in it and thus of the assumptions that underlie it. Consider the way in which we plan and think our way through everyday events. We think of ourselves as preparing for breakfast, eating our breakfast, getting ready for class, arriving on time, leading class discussions, grading student papers, making plans for lunch, paying bills, engaging in an intellectual discussion, and so on. We can do none of these things without interpreting our actions, giving them meanings, making inferences about what is happening.

This is to say that we must choose among a variety of possible meanings. For example, am I “relaxing” or “wasting time?” Am I being “determined” or “stubborn?” Am I “joining” a conversation or “butting in?” Is someone “laughing with me” or “laughing at me?” Am I “helping a friend” or “being taken advantage of?” Every time we interpret our actions, every time we give them a meaning, we are making one or more inferences on the basis of one or more assumptions.

As humans, we continually make assumptions about ourselves, our jobs, our mates, our students, our children, the world in general. We take some things for granted simply because we can’t question everything. Sometimes we take the wrong things for granted. For example, I run off to the store (assuming that I have enough money with me) and arrive to find that I have left my money at home. I assume that I have enough gas in the car only to find that I have run out of gas. I assume that an item marked down in price is a good buy only to find that it was marked up before it was marked down. I assume that it will not, or that it will, rain. I assume that my car will start when I turn the key and press the gas pedal. I assume that I mean well in my dealings with others.

Humans make hundreds of assumptions without knowing it---without thinking about it. Many assumptions are sound and justifiable. Many, however, are not. The question then becomes: “How can students begin to recognize the inferences they are making, the assumptions on which they are basing those inferences, and the point of view, the perspective on the world that they are forming?”

There are many ways to foster student awareness of inferences and assumptions. For one thing, all disciplined subject-matter thinking requires that students learn to make accurate assumptions about the content they are studying and become practiced in making justifiable inferences within that content. As examples: In doing math, students make mathematical inferences based on their mathematical assumptions. In doing science, they make scientific inferences based on their scientific assumptions. In constructing historical accounts, they make historical inferences based on their historical assumptions. In each case, the assumptions students make depend on their understanding of fundamental concepts and principles.

As a matter of daily practice, then, we can help students begin to notice the inferences they are making within the content we teach. We can help them identify inferences made by authors of a textbook, or of an article we give them. Once they have identified these inferences, we can ask them to figure out the assumptions that led to those inferences. When we give them routine practice in identifying inferences and assumptions, they begin to see that inferences will be illogical when the assumptions that lead to them are not justifiable. They begin to see that whenever they make an inference, there are other (perhaps more logical) inferences they could have made. They begin to see high quality inferences as coming from good reasoning.

We can also help students think about the inferences they make in daily situations, and the assumptions that lead to those inferences. As they become skilled in identifying their inferences and assumptions, they are in a better position to question the extent to which any of their assumptions is justified. They can begin to ask questions, for example, like: Am I justified in assuming that everyone eats lunch at 12:00 noon? Am I justified in assuming that it usually rains when there are black clouds in the sky? Am I justified in assuming that bumps on the head are only caused by blows?

The point is that we all make many assumptions as we go about our daily life and we ought to be able to recognize and question them. As students develop these critical intuitions, they increasingly notice their inferences and those of others. They increasingly notice what they and others are taking for granted. They increasingly notice how their point of view shapes their experiences.

This article was adapted from the book, Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, by Richard Paul and Linda Elder.


The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning --- Click Here

The Miniature Guide To Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools --- Click Here

"Craigslist: In Praise of Primitive," by Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business School Blog, December 9, 2009 --- Click Here

Earlier this year, Gary Wolf wrote a great article in Wired magazine about Craigslist, the world's dominant classified ad site. Wolf cites astonishing statistics:

It's the most popular site in the US for dating, jobs, and apartments.

It gets more traffic than the job sites Monster, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs combined.

It also gets more traffic than either eBay or despite the fact that eBay employs more than 16,000 people, more than 20,000, while Craigslist employs — ready? — 30.

One estimate puts Craigslist's 2009 revenue at about $100 million, yet the site only charges a paltry $25 to $75 for help wanted posts in select cities, and $10 for apartments listed by real estate pros in New York, plus some similarly small charges for adult services.

Every month, it attracts 47 million unique visitors, or about 1/5 of the U.S.'s adult population.

Ask a B-school student how the company has achieved such astonishing scale and growth, and he's likely to talk about network effects and winner-take-all dynamics, two phenomena that underpin the success of so many Internet companies. But cl (as many users call it) doesn't really reflect these phenomena on any global scale. All listings and all searches are local, such that when I use the Boston section of the site it's irrelevant to me how many users there are in San Francisco (or anywhere else). In fact, cl has actively worked to thwart programmers who have tried to build third-party services for global search.

What's more, when the company launched the Boston site, it did so with no fanfare, publicity, or recognizable marketing. Instead, as Wolf writes, "Sometimes a new site grows very slowly for a long time. But eventually listings hit a certain volume, after which the site becomes so familiar and essential that it is more or less taken for granted by everybody except the distressed publishers of local newspapers."

And why do users start going to each new cl city/site? It's sure not because of the slick look, elegant user interface, or flawless user experience. Wolf writes that craigslist has "... a design straight from the earliest days of the Web, [where] miscellaneous posts compete for attention on page after page of blue links, undifferentiated by tags or ratings or even usernames...Think of any Web feature that has become popular in the past 10 years: Chances are craigslist has considered it and rejected scorns advertising, refuses investment, ignores design, and does not innovate."

So how on Earth does cl maintain its ridiculous popularity and growth? Very simply, because it works. It lets users initiate and advance a transaction with an absolute minimum of time, expense, hassle, rules, or oversight. And many times, this is exactly what we want.

Consider my behavior in these two scenarios. Scenario A: I'm having my motorcycle shipped a fair distance, and wanted to be sure that the carrier had a good reputation. So I used uship, and went through the hassle of setting up an account, giving myself a username, posting a description and picture of my bike, etc. I selected the winning bid after reviewing carriers' feedback scores and comments.

Scenario B: I had a TV I wanted to get out of my house. I didn't care at all about who came to pick it up, I just wanted it gone. So I put up a cl post, emailed the first guy that responded to it, and was TV-free after an hour. I couldn't have cared less about whether the site I used had the latest-and-greatest design elements or social features. I didn't want to participate in a community, give or receive feedback, or be impressed by any user interface guru. I just wanted one less piece of equipment in my house, and some guy wanted one more.

Craigslist gave us both what we wanted. Every time I use it I'm reminded of wiki inventor Ward Cunningham's fantastic question: "What's the simplest thing that could possibly work?"

CL CEO Jim Buckmaster understands that this is the right question to guide his company "I hear this all the time," he says. "You guys are so primitive, you are like cavemen. Don't you have any sense of aesthetic? But the people I hear it from are invariably working for firms that want the job of redoing the site. In all the complaints and requests we get from users, this is never one of them. Time spent on the site, the number of people who post — we're the leader. It could be we're doing one or two things right."

Hear, hear. And in addition to radically simple site design, one of the other things they're doing right is listening to their customers. It seems they don't really have an alternative. The company's managers and technical staff (who are one and the same group) interact directly and continuously with the site's end users — the people in a city who have something or want something. And as Wolf writes "craigslist's users are not asking for such changes" as better search, a revamped design, or other snazzy features.

What generalizable insights come out of Craigslist's example? Keep asking Cunningham's question, and keep it simple. Listen as directly as possible to the people who use your online properties (Intranets, public web sites, eCommerce sites, etc.) and prioritize their feedback way above that of opiners and designers. Put in the minimum amount of structure -- workflow, navigation aids, hurdles, safeguards, etc.-- required for a positive user experience. And until there's evidence that it's broke, resist the temptation to fix it.

I seriously doubt that this punishment would stand court tests in the United States (a site visit could be have been innocent based on a vicious tip)
"Crackdown on China GMAT:  Cheating Business school applicants who use Chinese Web sites to get a sneak peek at GMAT questions are having their scores revoked and being banned from retaking the test," by Alison Damast, Business Week, December 3, 2009 ---

Students who have tried to get a leg up on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) by visiting Web sites carrying illegally obtained test-preparation material may soon come to regret their actions. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is aggressively pursuing more and more Web sites that illegally provide copyrighted GMAT materials to test-takers, as well as using high-tech gadgets to catch "proxy" test-takers who are hired to take the exam in place of applicants, the organization says.

A key focus of GMAC's efforts is China. Already in 2009, 32 scores from China have been revoked by GMAC, while 24 Chinese test-takers have been blocked by GMAC from retaking the GMAT exam for five years, GMAC says. One of the Chinese cases that ended in disciplinary action involved a woman who took the GMAT on seven different occasions for seven different people, says Dave Wilson, president of GMAC.

The crackdown comes on the heels of an important court victory for GMAC in China, with a Chinese court ruling on Nov. 23 that a test-preparation Web site,, had infringed GMAC's copyright by providing exclusive GMAT materials to test-takers for a fee, including reconstructed "live" questions from actual GMAT exams, GMAT prep materials, and PDFs of actual test books. The legal action by GMAC is just one of a number of steps the organization is taking to make sure that students can't cheat on the exam, says Wilson.

These include heightened security measures at testing centers such as palm vein readers, which use infrared light to capture each test-taker's unique palm vein pattern, as well as digital photographs and passport scanners, he says. The organization also has Web crawling software that scans 15 million Web sites every evening, looking for sites that illegally compile "live" GMAT questions.

User Names Withheld

"This speaks to every test-taker and I think it tells them that when you take the GMAT, you are going to be observed, palm veined, and scanned," Wilson says. "It will be the fairest test and it will not be corrupted."

With the recent court ruling in China, there do not appear to be any immediate consequences for students who used the highly trafficked Web site, run by Beijing Passion Consultancy, one of China's largest GMAT preparation companies. GMAC was unable to obtain the names of the students who used the site to study for the exam, so was unable to pursue any immediate action against them, GMAC says. However, the court ruled that Beijing Passion must remove any copyrighted material from its Web site, pay GMAC $76,000 in compensation, and post a notice on its site from GMAC about the consequences of cheating.

A lawyer representing Beijing Passion, Zhou Junwu, of the Beijing-based law firm Jingcheng, Tongda & Neal, could not be reached.

The GMAC warning, already posted on Passion's test-prep site, states: "GMAC takes cheating very seriously, especially attempts to obtain access to live questions in advance of an exam." It goes on to describe the consequences for students who are found to be improperly "disclosing, accessing, or using" GMAT materials, which include cancellation of test scores, a ban on retaking the exam, and informing business schools that received the scores that they have been revoked.

Anti-Cheating Campaign

The case is just the latest in GMAC's campaign to safeguard the integrity of the exam. The organization has recently filed about 10 administrative complaints with the Chinese copyright office against Web sites illegally carrying GMAT preparation material, says Robert Burgoyne, an attorney representing GMAC from the Washington (D.C.)-based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski. This is the second time that GMAC has successfully pursued legal action against a Chinese test-preparation company for copyright violations, Burgoyne says. Back in 2003, GMAC won a case against the New Oriental School for illegally distributing GMAT preparation material in its classes. But the courts have never before made a ruling on a case exclusively involving test-preparation materials distributed via the Web, he says.

Continued in article

Here's a 2008 tidbit from
Market for Admissions Test Questions and Essay "Consulting"

This type of cheating raises all sorts of legal issues yet to be resolved for students who might've thought what they did was perfectly legal

More than 1,000 prospective MBA students who paid $30 to use a now-defunct Web site to get a sneak peak at live questions from the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) before taking the exam may have their scores canceled in coming weeks. For many, their B-school dreams may be effectively over. On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted the test's publisher, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a $2.3 million judgment against the operator of the site, GMAC has seized the site's domain name and shut down the site, and is analyzing a hard drive containing payment information. GMAC said any students found to have used the Scoretop site will have their test scores canceled, the schools that received them will be notified, and the student will not be permitted to take the test again. Since most top B-schools require the GMAT, the students will have little chance of enrolling. "This is illegal," said Judy Phair, GMAC's vice-president for communications. "We have a hard drive, and we're going to be analyzing it. If you used the site and paid your $30 to cheat, your scores will be canceled. They're in big trouble."
Louis Lavelle, "Shutting Down a GMAT Cheat Sheet:  A court order against a Web site that gave away test questions could land some B-school students in hot water," Business Week, June 23, 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
A university admissions office that refused to accept applications from the "cheating" prospective MBA students would probably be sued by one or more students. GMAC would probably be sued as well. But it's hard to sue a U.S. District Court.

There are several moral issues here. From above, this is clearly cheating. But in various parts of society exam questions and answers are made available for study purposes. For example, preparation manuals for drivers license tests usually contain all the questions that might be asked on the written test. It is entirely possible that some MBA applicants fell for a scam that they believed was entirely legitimate. Now their lives are being messed up.

I guess this is a test of the old saying that "Ignorance is no defense" in the eyes of the law. Clearly from any standpoint, they were taking advantage of other students who did not have the cheat sheets. But the cheat sheets were apparently available to anybody in the world for a rather modest fee, albeit an illegal fee. Every buyer did not know it was illegal.

Achievement test cheating in K-12 is rampant in the U.S. after school budgets and even teacher salaries are dependent upon outcomes of these achievement tests at a local level. Of course in this case the kids themselves are usually innocent beneficiaries/victims of the cheating.

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

One way to become more credible is to openly display your warts as well as your cute eyelashes
The University of Phoenix shows it's warts and all in its latest academic report ---

According to data aggregated from Diverse Issues in Higher Education, more minority students earn degrees here than from any other university in the nation ---

The train's already left the station -- the government appears to be looking for more transparency and accountability" from all colleges, including for-profit institutions, said Silber. "I would assume you'll be seeing a lot more transparency in the future."
"A For-Profit Accountability System?" by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, December 8, 2009 ---

Tom Selling recently raised some concerns about revenue accounting at the University of Phoenix (which he might be able to see from his back porch) ---

The University of Phoenix became the largest private university in the world with a combination of onsite "campuses" and a vast accredited distance education program. Among other organizations, the Chronicle of Higher Education has persistently monitored to the best of its ability the academic standards and admissions scandals (where there have been some court cases lost regarding incentive compensation to admissions counselors). One of our sons graduated from the University of Phoenix in Sacramento (onsite classes) and found it very challenging and professional.

One of the tests of the University of Phoenix online program was the enrollment of a senior Chronicle of Higher Education Senior Editor secretly in a University of Phoenix online governmental (not-for-profit) accounting course. She found the course much more challenging (almost overwhelming) and filled with communications between her online classmates. She ended up with great respect for the instructor that had a lot of on-the-job experience and good teaching materials.

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

·         All course materials (including textbooks) online; No additional textbooks to purchase

·         $1,600 fee for the course and materials

·         Woman instructor with respectable academic credentials and experience in course content

·         Instructor had good communications with students and between students

·         Total of 14 quite dedicated online students in course, most of whom were mature with full-time day jobs

·         30% of grade from team projects

·         Many unassigned online helper tutorials that were not fully utilized by Goldie

·         Goldie earned a 92 (A-)

·         She gave a positive evaluation to the course and would gladly take other courses if she had the time

·         She considered the course to have a heavy workload

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

How would you like one or more years in a think tank?

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences Think Tank ---

Some of you might consider applying for this think-tank opportunity in a pasture above the Stanford Campus. It’s rare for the CASBS to admit “business faculty” other than economists. However, I got in for two separated years by convincing the Selection Board that they had sadly neglected accounting researchers when accountancy is so vital to the functioning of literally every society.

In my day you could not even be considered by the Selection Board unless your university nominated you to be a candidate, and that would still improve your chances. The CASBS has since changed its policy by allowing a few wild card self-nominated candidates. Most of the “Fellows” at the CASBS were in fact asked by the CASBS itself to become candidates. Some years there are themes such as World Medical Systems where all admitted Fellows have done noteworthy research and writing on that theme. However, in most years there are no designated themes and researchers arrive with carte blanche specialties.

The CASBS prefers that you come with your own funding, and keep in mind that housing in California is expensive. I rented housing nearby (within walking distance across a cow pasture) in Stanford’s employee (mostly faculty) housing (where a faculty member can get a 99-year lease and build a house subject to the constraint that the house can only be sold to a Stanford employee). Bill Beaver build one of the early houses in this development and still lives in that same house. Joel Demski also built a house in that development, but he sold it when he moved on to Yale. Both Bill and Joel, however, were at Stanford during my two think tank years.

I was fortunate to be fully funded from the CASBS Endowment for one year. I later returned for a second year with outside funding from a sabbatical leave from my university plus a Guggenheim Fellowship ---

There are no duties or benchmarked expectations at the CASBS. It’s literally a think tank. The “Fellows” (including women) do have an opportunity to congregate for free lunches and occasionally a Fellow will volunteer to give a presentation (attendance is not required). Most of the Fellows have stellar credentials, including the many Nobel Prize winners that were Fellows. When I was there the first year there were to Nobel Laureates.

You are given an office without a telephone (and encouraged to turn off your cell phone), a part-time secretary who will type your papers, access to the vast Stanford system of libraries (even though the CASBS is on leased land from Stanford and is financially independent), and access to specialists in computing and data mining. The CASBS was initially funded with a Ford Foundation Grant.

There is no obligation to even show up at your office, although Fellows are strongly encouraged not to take trips during their think tank year. The first year I was there we had a really strange economist (Edward) who preferred to work in bed and only showed up twice in one year at the CASBS even though he was officially a Fellow with an assigned office. My wife often went shopping Edward’s wife who said that Edward just preferred to write while staying in bed. He did have a best-selling microeconomics textbook and was a tenured faculty position at an Ivy League University,

Like most of the Fellows who pass through the CASBS doors, I was disappointed with my productivity while at the Center. I spent most of my time trying in vain to develop new and computationally-efficient mathematical models for cluster (actually numerical taxonomy) analysis. However, each year, on the side, I did write a monograph for the “Studies in Accounting Research”  Series of the American Accounting Association.

These were published as Numbers 14 and 19 at

The first year I was at the CASBS, the scholar across the wall from me was the youngest person ever to be awarded tenure by the Harvard University Department of Philosophy. His name was Robert Nozick ---
He's best known for scholarly advocacy of a minimalist state. He was neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Republicans are hypocrites. They preach price competition but promote big government that protects and subsidizes anti-competitive oligopolies like agribusiness, oil companies, telecoms, armaments, etc. Democrats want a maximal state with entitlements for health care, minimum wages, and welfare without any viable means of paying for their egalitarian dreams. Robert Nozick advocated a minimal state but had a misunderstood view of caring for the poor. He argued for a better way, in my viewpoint, of caring for the poor.

 My economic philosophy was altered forever because of my encounters with Professor Nozick.

If you spend a year in the CASBS think tank, I’m certain that you will encounter your own Professor Nozick.

Robert E. (Bob) Jensen
Trinity University Accounting Professor (Emeritus)
190 Sunset Hill Road
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From: CASBS Secretary []
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Subject: CASBS Invites Applications for 2011-2012 Residential Fellowships


The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS) will soon be welcoming applications for residential fellowships during the 2011-2012 academic year. 
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The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS) welcomes applications for residential fellowships during the 2011-2012 academic year.  Online applications will be accepted at the Center’s website from January 12 – March 3, 2010.  For more information, guidelines, and application requirements, visit

A Professor of History at the University of Virginia Weighs in on Ayn Rand
"Ayn Rand and America’s new culture war:  From Rush Limbaugh to President Obama, Ayn Rand and her book 'Atlas Shrugged' are recalibrating America," by Jennifer Burns, Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 2009 ---  

From Fox News to the passenger sitting next to you reading “Atlas Shrugged” on your commute to work, Ayn Rand seems to be everywhere.

Since the economic collapse of 2008, the controversial novelist and philosopher has emerged as a leading intellectual on the right – and she’s been dead for nearly 30 years.

Rush Limbaugh touts Rand as a prophet of sorts. “Ayn Rand, she wrote ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ ” he told his listeners. “The sequel, ‘Atlas Puked,’ we’re in the middle of it.” At the tea parties that swept the nation last spring, protesters waved signs claiming “Ayn Rand was right” and warning “Read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ before it happens.”

The fresh appeal of 'Atlas Shrugged'

Consider this: “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s most famous novel, is set in a dystopian future America, where a socialist government has brought the country to the brink of ruin. Fleeing punitive regulations and crushing taxation, the country’s top industrialists and executives have gone on strike, virtually shutting down the economy.

For American conservatives, the significance of Rand’s message is clear. “Atlas Shrugged” is prophetic, they say, and it warns us all of the coming collapse.

It wasn’t always so. In her day, leading conservatives denounced Rand for her atheism and immorality, and her economic ideas were scarcely mentioned.

Conservative author Whittaker Chambers attacked Rand as a godless authoritarian in his famously brutal review of “Atlas Shrugged,” printed in an early issue of William F. Buckley’s seminal conservative magazine, National Review. The book’s message, according to Chambers, was “to a gas chamber – go!” Anti-ERA crusader Phyllis Schlafly stopped reading Rand’s other novel, “The Fountainhead,” as soon as she reached the infamous rape scene, horrified at the immorality and violence of what Rand once described as “rape by engraved invitation” and condoned.

But Rand did not have much patience for conservatives, calling herself instead a “radical for capitalism.” She intended her individualistic philosophy, objectivism, to be a guide to the future, not the past.

Rand identified four basic components to her philosophy: objective reality, the supremacy of reason, the virtue of selfishness, and the importance of laissez faire capitalism. She celebrated the virtue of selfishness and attacked religion for being irrational.

These aspects of Rand made her alien to an earlier generation of religious conservatives who gleefully launched a “culture war” against secular America. In the 1980s and ’90s, the culture war was waged over issues of gender and sexuality, and religious values were central.

Those religious conservatives cited biblical authority to attack controversial artists like Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe who challenged traditional gender roles. Such a conservative movement had no room for Rand, with her condemnation of all forms of “mysticism,” including religious belief, and her open support of abortion rights.

Today, these passions over culture have cooled and been replaced by an equally intense struggle over economic policies like the bailout of the financial sector, the rescue of the auto industry, and reform of healthcare.

In this current political world, even the hot-button issue of gay marriage has been sidelined for the new bogeyman of socialism.

Though she’s not religious, Rand brings a strong sense of good and evil to the debates over economic policy. Rand’s books bring the battles over government spending away from wonkdom and back to the familiar, easy terrain of culture, where there is a virtuous “us” and a conniving, evil “them.”

Two types of people

In her world, there are two types of people: producers and looters, or those who work for themselves and those who take government handouts.

Richard Nixon made a similar division when he talked about the “silent majority,” as does Sarah Palin when she praises “real Americans.” It’s a distinction that makes sense to many conservatives, particularly those who feel they are being punished for their success.

That many of Rand’s fictional heroes were far from paragons of Christian virtue is beside the point in the current struggle. What matters is the ammunition she provides and the outrage she stokes against the dreaded looters.

Does Rand’s popularity mean religion is no longer paramount to the conservative worldview? Of course not. But her ubiquity should tell us that tectonic plates are shifting under the surface of American politics. Even President Obama seems to understand Rand’s newfound influence, criticizing the “virtue of selfishness” in a recent speech. Rand’s prominence is a change from the Bush years when paleocons and libertarians like Ron Paul who stressed the evils of government spending were ignored.

Today is their moment in the sun, and it is the religious right that is being swept to the side by the rush of events. The balance of power between religious fundamentalism and market fundamentalism is being recalibrated, a development that could have far-reaching consequences for how we understand the very categories of the political left, right, and center.

Jennifer Burns, a professor of history at the University of Virginia is the author of “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.” She offers history podcasts and blogs at .

What does Amazon claim are the first and second most influential books in the world?
The book at Rank 2 will probably be a surprise!

AIG Shrugged by Ayn Rand

For Jim Mahar's Finance Professor Blog on March 25, 2009 ---

Ok, I can't make this stuff up. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is so life like that it is now as if reading (or in my case ristening) to a script.

Atlas Shrugged is a novel written in 1957 by Ayn Rand. In it, in response to a largely governmental caused "emergency" the top leaders of the business world give up and just walk away in response to taxes, regulation, and other confiscatory governmental policies. Indeed, it seems that whoever is in the hottest spotlight, is the next to go.

So without further comment, a letter from Jake DeSantis announcing his resignation from AIG.

the NY Times
"The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G."

"DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:"


"After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we...have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

.... I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down."
The only difference now between now and then, is that DeSantis (unlike Galt, Wyatt, Dannager, et al) left an explanation.

BTW if you have not
read the book, I can not give it a higher recommendation except to say it is in my Top Ten (maybe top five) of all time.

Jensen Comment
A lot of scholars, especially liberal scholars, despise Ayn Rand. But Atlas Shrugged ranks second behind The Bible in terms of influence according to a U.S. Library of Congress survey.
Library of Congress Survey: Most Influential Books ---
Link forwarded by Richard Sansing

March 26, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]


Thank you for forwarding the link to the Jake DeSantis' resignation letter. I have been appalled at some of the emotional diatribes by our elected officials regarding the "bonuses" paid to AIG employees. As someone who, in what I know refer to as a "previous life", had "at risk" salary, I know that the word "bonus" is often misinterpreted. "At risk" salary is the part of one's compensation that will only be paid if the employee meets certain goals and objectives agreed between the employee and employer. It is salary withheld and paid in a lump sum at the end of the fiscal year. It is not a "gift" given to the employee if the employer has a certain amount of net income and is not dependent (as long as the company continuesin existence) on the company's performance, only the employee's performance.

What have I learned from the comments of our congressional representatives and others from their comments in recent weeks? Unfortunately, it's a confirmation of what I initially learned having attended hearings on derivatives disclosures proposed by the SEC in the late 90s. Most of our elected official know little (or nothing) about the issue on which they opine. They are only interested in making a statement for the public record that will appeal to their constituents and get them re-elected. I was in shock at the comments of members of the congressional subcommittee back then (who made statements generally illustrating their ignorance of derivatives and simply left the hearing, not even bothering to listen to the testimony of the people invited or called to testify on the topic). Although I am no longer shocked, I am still embarrassed and appalled at what I have seen as callousness based on this ignorance.

Jake DeSantis' letter breaks my heart. How betrayed by us must the rest of the employees at AIG who have worked diligently and effectively to try to accomplish the government's objectives feel? It will serve those who have vilified them right if they all quit on masse. Perhaps our elected officials can go work at AIG for reduced salaries to get us out of this mess. I for one think they may do less harm than staying in Congress.

Regards Pat

March 26, 2009 reply from Bender, Ruth [r.bender@CRANFIELD.AC.UK]

I fell for John Galt when I was already what you’d call a ‘mature adult’! I re-read the book every few years, to remind myself that I need to try harder. (I then generally re-read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, to get the opposite view of life, even though I think that is quite badly written.)

I think Ayn Rand’s fiction is enjoyable, and Atlas Shrugged is her best. But I dislike her non-fiction books. And I really can’t take objectivism seriously. (And only have one acquaintance this side of the Atlantic who does.)

Ruth Bender
Cranfield, UK.


This is great material for a Harvard Business School Leadership, Management, and Ethics Case

Harvey Mansfield is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1962 --- 
He's one of my all time academic heroes.

F**k Up That Professor Mansfield!
And to think it was a questionable comment of women that got this President of Harvard Fired
It seems like conservative men had a better case, at least one man

"White House economist: 'F--- up' conservative prof 'I was astounded that the president of Harvard would stoop to such tactics'," WorldNetDaily, December 6, 2009 ---

According to a university colleague, former president of Harvard and current White House economist Larry Summers once asked for help to "f--- up" one of the school's conservative professors.

Summers' colleague, Cornel West, is a radical race relations instructor who is now a professor at Princeton after departing Harvard in the wake of a dispute with Summers. Obama named West, whom he has called a personal friend, to the Black Advisory Council of his presidential campaign. West was a key point man between Obama's campaign and the black community.

In his recently released memoirs, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud," West claims that Summers invited West into his office and asked him to help undermine Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield, who had professed conservative views.

"Help me f--- him up," Summers reportedly said to West without explaining further.

West writes, "For my part, I was astounded that the President of Harvard would stoop to such tactics."

West further related the details of the alleged encounter in a recent interview with Amy Goodman, host of the far-left Democracy Now Internet television network.

Said West: "And as soon as I walked into the office, [Summers] starts using profanity about Harvey Mansfield. I said, 'No, Harvey Mansfield is conservative, sometimes reactionary, but he's my dear brother.' We had just had debates at Harvard. Twelve hundred people showed up. He was against affirmative action; I was for it. That was fine. Harvey Mansfield and I go off and have a drink after, because we have a respect, but deep, deep philosophical and ideological disagreement. He was using profanity, so I had to defend Harvey Mansfield."

"Wait, so you're saying Lawrence Summers was using profanity?" Goodman asked.

Continued West: "Larry Summers using profanity about, you know, 'help me 'F' so and so up.' No, I don't function like that. Maybe he thought that just as a black man, I like to use profanity. I'm not a puritan. I don't use it myself. I have partners who do."

In response to West's claimed meeting with Summers, Mansfield told WND, "Larry Summers was not out to get me."

"I was not present at the famous interview between him and Cornel West, but in my opinion (Summers) merely used my name in a clumsy attempt to cajole Cornel West into behaving more like a professor, less like a celebrity," said Mansfield.

"Larry Summers was doing many good things at Harvard before his enemies there succeeded in ousting him," Mansfield added.

Neither Summers nor West immediately returned WND e-mail and phone requests for comment.

Mansfield is well-known for his opposition to grade inflation at Harvard, which he has publicly blamed in part on affirmative action. His views led to student protests and a well-attended debate with West.

Mansfield also defended President Bush's use of executive powers and has been criticized by some leading feminists for his views on gender roles. He has made statements that men and women have some different societal roles and wrote a book, "Manliness," in which he bemoaned the loss of the virtue of "manliness" in a "gender neutral" society.

Summers, meanwhile, continues to teach at Harvard but lost his position as president in part after a public feud in which West accused him of racism. Summers serves as director of the White House's National Economic Council.

West served as an adviser on Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March and is a personal friend of Farrakhan. He authored two books on race with Henry Louis Gates Jr., who last summer was at the center of controversy after Obama remarked on the Harvard professor's arrest.

Continued in article

College campuses display a striking uniformity of thought
Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield once famously advised a conservative colleague to wait until he had tenure and only then to "hoist the Jolly Roger." But few professors are getting around to hoisting the Jolly Roger at all. Either they don't have a viewpoint that is different from their colleagues, or they've decided that if they are going to remain at one place for several decades, they'd rather just get along. Is tenure to blame for the unanimity of thinking in American universities? It's hard to tell. But shouldn't the burden of proof be on the people who want jobs for life?
Naomi Schafer Riley, "Tenure and Academic Freedom:  College campuses display a striking uniformity of thought," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2009 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Peer Review of Articles versus Peer Review of Underlying Data (Codes),

"Whom Can You Trust on Climate Change?" by Kevin Johnson, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 8, 2009 ---

Jensen Comment
Kevin Johnson presents a reasoned commentary on the importance of peer review and the compounding of research on most any topic, especially climate change research ---

What he fails to recognize is that if the underlying data is manipulated or biased or otherwise flawed, a million peer-reviews studies using that data might be equally flawed from get go. It's important to note that the Climatic Research Unit ('CRU') at the University of East Anglia, was the United Nations. designated source for meteorological station data. It's data was widely used by thousands of scientists and other analysts.

Although there are obviously speculations about raw data was discarded and the obvious biases of the scientist (Phil Jones) who was in charge of gathering the meteorological station data, I don't think there is hard evidence that Jones modified the data used by other meteorological scientists. There is some evidence of data manipulation by a New Zealand scientist, but that data is not nearly as important as the CRU data collected for the U.N.

What struck me as more important than Johnson's article cited above is the following comment accompanying Johnson's article:

Posted by Ryan Wisnesky , Graduate Student, Computer Science at Harvard University on December 8, 2009 at 5:15am EST

How rigorous can the peer-review process be if the source code used to analyze the raw data is not also thoroughly reviewed? From looking at the leaked source code comments it appears that even the programmers who wrote the code (over a period of years) were unsure how it actually works. If nothing else, this scandal suggests the ever increasing importance of code review for all scientific disciplines.

Hence, even though scientists can point to nearly 1,000 respected peer reviewed studies using the CRU data, the peer reviewers mostly accepted the CRU underlying data as fact without challenging whether some of the most important data might have been fictionalized by Jones and his team. In fairness, some of the raw data was destroyed before Professor Jones took over as Director of the CRU.

This is consistent with my long-standing suspicion of journal policies (like those of The Accounting Review) that arm twists author willingness to make underlying data available to readers. Actually I'm in favor of the policies and was on the AAA Executive Committee when we asked my hero Bill Cooper  (then Publications Director for the AAA) to commence a policy of trying to make data available to readers of articles. What I'm worried about is that, instead of gathering confirming data, researchers will simply do further research on what might be flawed data.

The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn't statistically significant.
Note that the date of this email was July 5, 2005
Dr. Jones never imagined that his admissions would ever be made public in the 2009 Climategate
Phil Jones, Scientist Suspended in the Climategate Scandal for covering up evidence of planet cooling ---

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there. The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century [go to the link to see the graphs; the fraud is astonishing]But analysis of the raw climate data from the same temperature stations has just turned up a very different result [go to link above to see graphs]
"New Zealand Climate Scientists Faked Data, Too," Evolution News and Views, December 3, 2009 ---

How NASA is Fudging Climate Data
:"Example of Climate Work That Needs to be Checked and Replicated," by Warren Meyer, Climate Skeptic, December 5, 2009 ---

Let’s say you had two compasses to help you find north, but the compasses are reading incorrectly. After some investigation, you find that one of the compasses is located next to a strong magnet, which you have good reason to believe is strongly biasing that compass’s readings. In response, would you 1. Average the results of the two compasses and use this mean to guide you, or 2. Ignore the output of the poorly sited compass and rely solely on the other unbiased compass?

Most of us would quite rationally choose #2. However, Steve McIntyre shows us a situation involving two temperature stations in the USHCN network in which government researchers apparently have gone with solution #1.

Continued in article

"The Inconvenient Truth:  Al Gore "brushes aside" evidence of scientific misconduct,"
James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal, .December 5, 2009 --- Click Here

Here is the text of Newsweek’s 1975 story on the trend toward global cooling. It may look foolish today, but in fact world temperatures had been falling since about 1940. It was around 1979 that they reversed direction and resumed the general rise that had begun in the 1880s, bringing us today back to around 1940 levels. A PDF of the original is available here. A fine short history of warming and cooling scares has recently been produced. It is available here.
Newsweek Magazine, April 28, 1975 ---

Video:  ClimateGate Makes the Daily Show (Jon Stewart) --- Click Here
Also see
See commentary at

Also see

"A Reason To Be Skeptical The lessons of Climategate," by David Harsanyi, Reason Magazine, December 2, 2009 ---
Available for audio download

Who knows? In the long run, global warming skeptics may be wrong, but the importance of healthy skepticism in the face of conventional thinking is, once again, validated.

What we know now is that someone hacked into the e-mails of leading climate researchers at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and others, including noted alarmists Michael Mann at Pennsylvania State University and Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

We found out that respected men discussed the manipulation of science, the blocking of Freedom of Information requests, the exclusion of dissenting scientists from debate, the removal of dissent from the peer-reviewed publications, and the discarding of historical temperature data and e-mail evidence.

You may suppose that those with resilient faith in end-of-days global warming would be more distraught than anyone over these actions. You'd be wrong. In the wake of the scandal, we are told there is nothing to see. The administration, the United Nations, and most of the left-wing punditry and political establishment have shrugged it off. What else can they do?

To many of these folks, the science of global warming is only a tool of ideology. To step back and re-examine their thinking would also mean—at least temporarily—ceding a foothold on policy that allows government to control behavior. It would mean putting the brakes on the billions of dollars allocated to force fundamental economic and societal manipulations through cap-and-trade schemes and fabricated "new energy economies," among many other intrusive policies.

We have little choice but to place a certain level of trust in scientists—even when it comes to the model-driven speculative discipline of climate change. And, need it be said, most scientists take great care in being honest, principled and precise.

In the same way, a conscientious citizen has little choice but to be uneasy when those with financial, ideological, and political interest in peddling the most over-the-top ecological doomsday scenarios also become the most zealous evangelizers.

As President Barack Obama heads to Copenhagen to work on an international deal that surrenders even more of our unsightly carbon-driven prosperity to the now-somewhat-less-than-irrefutable science of climate change, shouldn't he offer more than a flippant statement through a spokesman on the scandal?

The talks, after all, will be based on the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report, which partially was put together by the very same scandal-ridden scientists.

Now, I do not, on any level, possess the expertise to argue about the science of anthropological global warming. Nor do you, most likely. This certainly doesn't mean an average citizen has the duty to do the lock step.

Yes, you apostates will be tagged "denialists"—because skepticism is synonymous with the Holocaust denial, don't you know—or some other equally unfriendly moniker.

Don't worry; you won't be alone. Gallup recently found that 41 percent of Americans now believe global warming news reports are exaggerated—the highest number in more than a decade despite the fact that this time frame has coincided with concentrated and highly funded scaremongering. That number is sure to rise as soon as word of this scandal spreads.

The uglier the names get, the more anger you see, the more that science-challenged politicians push invasive legislation, the more skeptics will join you. True believers will question your intelligence, your sanity and your intentions.

But as ClimateGate proves, a bit of skepticism rarely steers you wrong. In fact, it's one of the key elements of rational thinking.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of "Nanny State." Visit his Web site at

A better alternative to ABC''s new 20/20
"ABC Fired Stossel?," by John Stossel, Townhall,  December 9, 2009 ---

People keep forwarding me emails and blog posts saying ABC fired me. Internet forums claim I was fired because I aired a story about the downside of government-controlled health care. This is silly. It's not even logical. No one can broadcast anything on "20/20" without ABC's approval.

The truth is that my departure from ABC was by mutual consent.

I left to go to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network because I want more time to report on free markets and economic liberty, the kind of reporting I do in this column. With two 24-hour news channels, Fox has more room for that.

Tomorrow, finally, my new Fox Business show begins! It will air every Thursday at 8 p.m. (and will repeat Fridays at 10 p.m. -- opposite "20/20" -- heh, heh, heh).

My first show will be on the "climate crisis." Or it might be on Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." I've prepared both shows because I can't decide which I should do.

What do you think?

I'm partial to an "Atlas" show because I reread the novel recently and was stunned. It was as if Rand had seen the future. Writing half a century ago, she predicted today's explosion of big government in shockingly accurate detail.

The "Preservation of Livelihood Law." The "Equalization of Opportunity Law." The "Steel Unification Plan."

Don't these sound like laws passed by the current Congress?

All were creations of Rand's villain, Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat who regulates business and eventually drives the productive people out of business. Who is today's Wesley Mouch? Barney Frank? Chris Dodd. Tim Geithner? I'll ask my TV audience to vote.

"Atlas" is still a big bestseller today. This year, it reached as high as NO. 15 on Amazon's bestseller list. Pretty amazing.

Clearly there's some magic in "Atlas Shrugged." The Library of Congress once asked readers which books made the biggest difference in their lives. "Atlas" came in second, after the Bible.

Yet elites and the MSM hate Ayn Rand. When "Atlas" first came out, The New York Times wrote that "the book is written out of hate."

Maybe that's why no "Atlas" movie has been made. Angelina Jolie once wanted to play heroine Dagny Taggart, but it never happened. Rand's books still sell millions of copies, yet college "women's studies" courses rarely mention her. One professor says her department head asked, "Why would you study that fascist?"

Continued in article


Credit Rating Agencies:  Too Crooked and Too Powerful to Fail

"Debt Raters Avoid Overhaul After Crisis," by David Segal, The New York Times, December 7, 2009 ---

It wasn’t just that Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, played a crucial role in the epochal housing market collapse, affixing their most laudatory grades to billions of dollars worth of bonds that went bad in the subprime crisis.

It was the near universal agreement that potential conflicts were embedded in the ratings model. For years, banks and other issuers have paid rating agencies to appraise securities — a bit like a restaurant paying a critic to review its food, and only if the verdict is highly favorable.

So as Washington rewrites the rules of Wall Street, how is the overhaul of the Big Three coming? It isn’t, finance experts say.

“What you see in these bills are Botox shots,” says Joseph A. Grundfest, a professor of securities law at Stanford Law School. “For a little while, everyone is going to be frozen into a grin, and then the shots are going to wear off.”

What explains the timidity of Congress’ proposals? This is not a case of lobbyists beating back ideas that might hurt their clients, say those close to the discussions. Instead, Congress is worried that bold measures may backfire. The Big Three, by allowing companies and public entities to raise money by issuing debt, are an essential engine in the country’s vast credit factory, and given the still-fragile condition of the equipment, lawmakers are reluctant to try anything but basic repairs, patches and a new alarm system.

In addition, legislators say, there is little consensus about what a top-to-bottom renovation should look like.

Under bills that legislators are currently considering, the rating agencies will have to contend with greater oversight, stiffer rules about disclosure and a provision that would make it easier for plaintiffs to sue the firms. But nothing in the laws tackles the critic-for-hire problem or threatens the 85 percent market share that Moody’s, S.& P. and Fitch now enjoy.

“It’s fair to say we knew we were taking on a problem with no silver bullet,” said Representative Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Financial Services subcommittee that has led reform efforts in the House. “I’m convinced that we’re getting more control over the rating agencies than ever before but not at all sure we’ve developed the perfect system.”

Dozens of Lawsuits

While Congress may be happy with cosmetic surgery, law enforcement officials are getting more aggressive. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the rating agencies, including a case filed on Nov. 20 by the Ohio attorney general on behalf of public pension funds. The Ohio suit, as well as the earlier suits, seeks billions of dollars in damages from the rating agencies and accuses the firms of negligence and fraud.

When he filed his suit, Ohio’s attorney general, Richard Cordray, said that the “rating agencies’ total disregard for the life’s work of ordinary Ohioans caused the collapse of our housing and credit markets and is at the heart of what’s wrong with Wall Street today.”

After the suit was filed, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s attorney general, said he planned to join the suit and thought that a “coalition of states” would also jump on the legal bandwagon — a potentially grim development for the rating agencies, which could find themselves contending with a phalanx of state officials like the one that aimed at big tobacco in the 1990s.

The Big Three object that the legislation proposed by Congress could make them more vulnerable to legal action. But they otherwise do not sound particularly exercised about much else that is likely to become law.

“Moody’s shares the committees’ goal of increased transparency for the ratings process,” said Michael Adler, a Moody’s spokesman.

S.& P. is equally sanguine. “We support globally consistent, nondiscriminatory regulation that will help restore investor confidence and bring more transparency to the capital markets,” said Catherine J. Mathis, a spokeswoman for Standard & Poor’s. A spokesman for Fitch declined to comment.

Without question, the credit rating system is one of the capitalism’s strangest hybrids: profit-making companies that perform what is essentially a regulatory role. The companies serve the public, which expect them to stamp their imprimatur on safe securities and safe securities alone. But they also serve their shareholders, who profit whenever that imprimatur shows up on a security, safe or not.

To make matters more complicated, rating agencies are deeply entrenched in millions of transactions. Statutes and rules require that mutual fund and money managers of almost every stripe buy only those bonds that have been given high grades by a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization, as the agencies are officially known.

But even if there is no foolproof way to reform the rating agencies, the measures that Congress is now backing are strikingly weak, a number of critics say. There is no talk, for instance, about creating a fee-financed, independent credit rating agency, one modeled along the lines of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which was established to oversee auditors after the Enron debacle — an idea floated by Christopher J. Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman as recently as August.

That approach would attack the conflict of interest problem head on.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Be that as it may, the credit agencies still stand to lose billions in court from shareholder lawsuits, especially lawsuits driven by huge pension funds that lost billions due to alleged credit rating agency conflicts of interest and even such detestable acts as selling AAA ratings of poisonous tranches ---

Bob Jensen's threads on credit rating agencies are at

"Cisco's FlipShare TV Lets You Watch Your Videos on TV: Streaming box aims to make viewing video on your television a simple affair, but the price is a bit steep," by Yardena Arar, PC World via The Washingon Post, December 7, 2009 ---

FlipShare TV streams all of its video from your PC through a peer-to-peer 802.11n Wi-Fi connection using an included, oversize USB dongle--and Internet video must first stream to the PC. This two-step process can easily introduce artifacts, especially if your PC's network connection is also wireless.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
To date Erika and I rely on DVD mailings from NetFlix, which is one of the ways we survive long winters up here in the mountains. With FlipShare we might now consider NetFlix streaming videos (although I'd like to here more about the supposed variable quality of FlipShare). Maybe it needs a bigger dongle.

Thank you Paula
Video:  Amazing ROLLTOP portable computer ----

Do you recall that floor game “Twister” in which a person twisted about with both hands and both feet on marked places ---

I was thinking that the new amazing computer could come out in a giant model that combined the Twister and the computer. Us computer nerds would no longer have to lead a sedentary life. We could exercise and compute at the same time.

And the screen could be large enough for the whole class to see without a LCD projector.

Video:  Amazing portable computer ----

Made in Israel: Future Designer laptop - ROLLTOP. Amazing things are created in Israel and here's one of the next marvels. The flexible display allows a new concept in notebook design growing out of the traditional bookformed laptop into unfurling and convolving portable computer. By virtue of the OLED-Display technology and a multi touch screen the utility of a laptop computer with its weight of a mini-notebook and screen size of 13 inch easily transforms into the graphics tablet, which with its 17-inch flat screen can be also used as a primary monitor. On top of everything else all computer utilities from power supply through the holding belt to an interactive pen are integrated in Rolltop. This is really an all-in-one gadget.

I think versions are or will soon be marketed in Germany or so I’ve been told by a German friend.

December 7, 2009 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

The "rolltop", if it really exists, is not just a revolutionary design for a mobile computer. Far more revolutionary is the change in manufacturing technique required to make the flexible LCD/LED/plasma screen that can suffer such a sharp bend at its fold points, and maintain the touch-sensitivity.

If this thing is real, then there have been some major revolutions in design and manufacturing of the screen film technology. Current-generation LCD/LED/plasma screen technology is based on sub-sub-miniature (microscopic) electronics and wiring which are, by the very nature of their materials, extremely fragile and delicate in the sizes deployed in the screens. Plus, in addition to the display, the nature of touch-screen sensors themselves also does not lend well to flexibility. Creating a decent-resolution color touch-screen that can withstand the thousands of "foldings" and unfoldings at the creases (even assuming that the fold will only transit 33-degrees or so within the span of the half-inch or so crease as depicted in the video) is an almost-unbelievable achievement in materials science and electronic engineering.

In addition to the acknowledgement of an innovative design, someone somewhere deserves some major kudos for being able to build the thing.

David Fordham
James Madison University


Thank you Glen Gray
Swiss Army (PomeGranate) Phone ---

Blu-Ray versus DVD

Blui-ray Disc ---

How Blu-ray Discs Work ---

"At last, Blu-ray poised to change the big picture," by Tom Shales, The Washington Post, December 8, 2009 ---

What, then, is this year's big must-have electronic toy -- the Zhu Zhu hamster of the home entertainment system and the has-been of tomorrow? Maybe, just possibly, after considerable delay, it's the Blu-Ray video disc and the supposedly eye-popping high-def pictures and ear-popping stereophonic sounds it can bring into the American home.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, replete with its "Black Friday" buying day, Blu-ray discs doubled their previous sales for a total of $69 million in titles sold. Blu-ray sales were up even though overall DVD sales were down nearly 8 percent -- one sign that Blu-ray may be fulfilling its assigned role as "savior" of the DVD format.

To some of us, the DVD still seems new, its strikingly sharp and detailed picture quality a quantum leap up from even digital television as delivered by satellite (DirecTV, etc.) and fiber-optic cable (Verizon's FIOS system, which seems to be giving the cable industry fits). How can this new format already be old-hat, and in trouble? Maybe because such things simply move much more quickly than they used to, and people become accustomed to miraculous wonders overnight. Then they're ready for the next one.

Blu-ray, developed by Sony, was one of two high-def DVD formats slugging it out for a small part of the DVD market until 2008, when Sony mysteriously got Blu-ray approved as the format of choice by all DVD manufacturers. Thus was averted the kind of money- and time-wasting format war that Sony's Betamax fought valiantly but lost to VHS tape in the 1980s.

Although Blu-ray has since its introduction promised radically improved picture and sound quality, supposedly making regular DVDs look pale and puny, the difference has never seemed dramatic enough to justify the considerable increase in price. But now the players, made by Sony and others, have fallen below the $100 line in some quarters, and Sony's PlayStation 3, which plays Blu-ray discs as well as video games, also came down in price to $299 before any retailer discounting.

(Just plan on taking a graduate-level course in advanced electronics before attempting to operate the PlayStation as a Blu-ray device -- or have a 15-year-old standing by to help you through the inscrutable mess.)

The retail price of individual Blu-ray DVDs remains generally higher than the price of the old-fashioned kind, but the cost difference is now proportional to the quality difference; you'll get your money's worth if the pursuit of sharper and higher-contrast and more lustrously colorful images has been an all-consuming obsession.

Blu-ray titles, once a feeble trickle, now pour out of manufacturing plants. Not just the latest animated and action pictures but older titles, including big-time epics and splashy musicals, are also being released in the format. This is good news for movie buffs who can imagine owning a copy of "An American in Paris" or the Warner Bros. classic of classics "Casablanca" in superior Blu-ray.

Collectors' hearts, mine included, flipped when Warner Home Video, which has always been the most bountiful of DVD releasers, announced Blu-ray versions of such lustrous MGM color classics as "Gigi," the Lerner and Loewe musical set in Paris; "Quo Vadis," last of the pre-CinemaScope Biblical epics; and, recently, a 50th-anniversary edition of "North by Northwest," arguably the most sublimely entertaining film ever directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

It's a pleasure to report that the films do have added depth, shimmer and oomph when viewed via Blu-ray and its 1080p maximum high-def standard (via HDMI cable connection, of course, on an HDTV receiver, thus complicating things somewhat).

At the same time, it's clear that revisiting and restoring older films in an attempt to make them equal to today's costliest blockbusters is not, so far, 100 percent successful. Something happens to the color in the older films -- even when it's "glorious Technicolor" -- that seems to flatten it out, reducing depth of field and contrast, and lacking the glossy "snap" you get from a high-tech adventure film like "The Dark Knight" "The Day After Tomorrow" or "The Fantastic Four."

If you wander through any of the many fussbudget techie-nerd sites on the Web, you'll run into passionate and vituperative condemnation of the Blu-ray format, seeing it as not only insufficient but sinister for its invasive anti-piracy technology. It's also being speculated that eventually, downloaded movies on your computer will be as sharp and near-flawless as Blu-ray movies are now -- but don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

And in fact, the prospect of being offered a venerable movie title via its fifth or sixth video format is less than thrilling. It's quite possible to own "The Wizard of Oz" in Beta, VHS, laserdisc, several DVD iterations and now Blu-ray editions, each subsequent format supposedly superior to the previous one. (Sadly, I have the dwindling shelf space to prove it.)

And who knows but that some other hi-def format, one that will make Blu-ray images look like faded old Polaroids, won't surface in the next decade, or even before. Wait any longer to buy a Blu-ray player and the trend may be gone, the moment over, and wouldn't that just be too bad?

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at

College Rankings as to Accounting, Business, Executive Programs, Partying, Beautiful Campuses, and Sexual Health

December 11, 2009 message from Saeed Roohani [sroohani@COX.NET]

I wonder if anyone know more about this new ranking by BusinessWeek. Obviously, we are very pleased with Bryant University ranking 17th in the nation, but it was a pleasant surprise to us.


December 11, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen
Hi Saeed,

Firstly let me congratulate your college on its ranking. You have to be doing something correctly. Some have a knee jerk reaction that “rankings don’t matter,” but rankings obviously matter in terms of student and faculty recruitment. They may also matter among departments in a college competing for budget cuts. A highly ranked department almost always argues that its high ranking is in jeopardy if it does not get a lion’s share of the budgets being doled out to all departments.

Be that as it may, there are many types of rankings, and Bryant College came out relatively well in a “specialty ranking.” In general specialty rankings can vary by geographic sector and many other specialties ---



Rankings vary greatly by specialties. But they also vary by media sources of those rankings, especially those rankings of overall business programs.

The media rankings of business (and accountancy) programs vary among the top media rankers (US News, WSJ, Business Week, etc.). The reason for the variation, aside for specialty rankings, is largely due to the inputs chosen upon which the rankings are based. US News uses AACSB deans for business school rankings. Deans are heavily influenced by university-wide prestige (Harvard just has to be good at everything) and tradition (that Ivy League bias that arises often by knowing zero about some of the “unknown college” programs being rated). The deans are also influenced by AACSB faculty salary rankings on the theory that the programs having the highest-paid faculty must be better, especially when the university itself has a long standing reputation such as the Big Ten Midwestern universities and the University of Texas. 

Deans are also influenced by research and publication records of faculty, which often leans toward schools having “big name” faculty researchers and higher volume journal hits in top academic research journals. This does not always work well, however. Because it often does poorly in the US News rankings, the University of Texas at Dallas does its own college of business rankings based upon a selected number of top journal hits by school UT Dallas comes out in the Top 10 in those publication-based rankings. Of course, the journals are self-selected. But they are highly respected journals, usually very mathematically-based journals.

The WSJ uses recruiters who visit the campuses to hire students. Recruiters are often looking for those “best buy” programs where the graduates are top flight but not quite as expensive. For example, the WSJ generally ranks Dartmouth College’s Tuck School above the Harvard Business School --- not because the top graduates of Tuck are necessarily better than the top graduates of Harvard, but because the top graduates of Harvard (before the latest recession) were all going out at unbelievable salaries that recruiters considered not “best buys.”

Business Week has various categories of rankings, including full-time versus part-time MBA programs as well as undergraduate business programs. Business Week surveys alumni lists which has huge problems in having alumni favor their alma maters when ranking a large number of alternatives. This also, in my viewpoint, favors larger programs for which I think Business Week makes some adjustments that I do not fully understand and some of which I understand like having internship programs. I also think Business Week raters peek over at US News rankings by AACSB deans before publishing their own finished rankings.

I try to back up my conclusions ad nauseam at

"The Best Undergraduate B-Schools," Business Week, May 8, 2006 ---

Measuring Merit It's the kind of personal attention that landed Wharton at the top of Business Week's inaugural ranking of the nation's best undergraduate business programs. But the school's merits go well beyond that. To succeed in the ranking, which incorporates five measures -- of student engagement, postgraduation outcomes, and academic quality -- schools must be firing on all cylinders. Clearly, Wharton is, landing in the Top 10 on four of the five ranking measures. Small classes, talented faculty, top-flight recruiting -- and a four-year format that allows its ultracompetitive students to delve deeply into business fundamentals -- lofted Wharton to the No. 1 position. "They are extremely accomplished students," Souleles says. "It doesn't get any better."

Wharton celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and for much of its history has been considered among the nation's finest. Like many top schools, it has the best of both worlds: a high-quality undergraduate business program and an MBA program ranked No. 3 in BusinessWeek's 2004 "Best B-Schools" list. Indeed, nine of the Top 10 undergraduate programs have highly ranked MBA programs as well.

In many ways then, Wharton's showing among the undergraduate schools simply confirms its preeminent status. But the new ranking also shows just how much good company Wharton has these days. Schools that had never been thought of as top business programs, such as No. 18 Lehigh University's College of Business & Economics, turn out to deserve more recognition. And schools that have always enjoyed a solid reputation, such as Emory University's Goizueta Business School and the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, come in among the top five -- and in many ways rival Wharton for the mantle of best undergraduate B-school in America.

MBA-like Respect That fact underscores a curious transformation that has taken place in higher education in recent years. As the economy rebounded after the dot-com bust, students have been drawn to college business programs, and recruiters, seeking to ramp up their diminished ranks of middle managers, have followed. Under increased pressure from students and recruiters, business schools have revamped their offerings, putting more emphasis on specialized classes, real-world experience, and soft skills such as leadership. Once a refuge for students with poor grades and modest ambitions, many undergraduate business programs now get MBA-like respect. For many graduates, these programs are now so good that the MBA is almost beside the point, an academic credential for career switchers and those with corner office dreams but unnecessary for mere mortals.

The undergraduate business degree is now clearly on the path to respectability. With 54% of employers planning recruiting trips to undergraduate campuses in 2006 and undergraduate hiring expected to surge by 14.5% -- its third consecutive double-digit increase -- starting salaries for grads in all majors are rising. But business majors have fared better than any other discipline, with starting salaries up more than 49% since 1996, compared with 39% for engineering students and 29% for liberal arts grads, according to the National Association of Colleges & Employers. The typical business grad now earns $43,313, about $8,000 less than engineering students can expect. But for undergraduates at top schools, the average can easily exceed $50,000.

Hot to Hire Even with rising salaries, recruiters are relying on undergraduate degree holders to fill more jobs. In just three years, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT ) has increased its recruiting on college campuses, including some MBAs, by 60%. Defense contractor Raytheon Co. (RTN ) plans to hire nearly 1,200 new graduates this year, and 3 out of 4 will be from undergraduate programs. To keep the talent pipeline full, Raytheon maintains close relationships with 26 campuses, assigning executives to each school to work with key professors to identify the best job candidates. Even so, with Raytheon's business growing at a double-digit clip, the company plans to recruit from 120 schools this year, according to Keith Pedon, senior vice-president for human resources.

It's not just Raytheon, either. When the Big East career fair took place at New York's Madison Square Garden in March, there were 81 companies pitching to 1,000 students, and organizers had to turn away 50 more companies for lack of space.

For a better understanding of the shifting landscape of undergraduate business education, Business Week last year undertook an extraordinary research project. The goal: to rank the best college business programs in America. Among other things, the project included a survey with Boston's Cambria Consulting Inc. of nearly 100,000 business majors at 84 of the best U.S. colleges and universities, a second survey of college recruiters, and a third survey of the business programs themselves. If one thing emerges from the data, it's that the programs are, in a sense, all grown up and evolving in ways that mimic the developmental arc of the MBA itself.

Like graduate B-schools, the undergraduate programs are separating into two clearly discernible tiers, with the 50 programs in our ranking standing head and shoulders above the rest. They're also dividing along the same philosophical split that now partitions the MBA world. There are those, including many at or near the top of the list, that are following a rigorously academic model, with a heavy emphasis on economics, statistics, finance, and accounting. Programs like Wharton's fall into this group, which generally do not require -- or give credit for -- internships, even though many students get them on their own. They also use MBA teaching methods such as case studies, simulations, and team projects.

But at the great majority of business programs, students are exposed to less business theory -- too little, in the view of some experts -- and a heavy dose of practical training. A quarter century ago, virtually every business program in America followed the latter model. At top schools that's no longer the case. "What you're seeing is a polarization," says Barbara E. Kahn, director of Wharton's undergraduate business division. "This is different from what it was 25 years ago. It wasn't the academic experience it is today."

Few schools typify the scholarly approach more than Wharton, which landed in the No. 1 spot largely on the strength of its academic quality. But the same could be said for any of the schools near the top of the list. At No. 2 University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce, students said the two-year format left them two additional years to explore the school's numerous offerings but made for a tough course load in the junior year and a pressure-cooker atmosphere in which many thrived. At No. 3 Notre Dame, rigorous classes requiring teamwork skills and an intimate knowledge of economics, calculus, and corporate strategy earned the school a high grade for teaching quality. The curriculum works ethics into most classes, requires that half of all coursework be in nonbusiness subjects, and emphasizes group projects.

One reason undergraduate business programs are getting better is because the labor market is demanding it. To make graduates desirable to recruiters, many business programs have begun making changes. Several schools that had two-year programs, including No. 21 University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, have begun admitting freshmen in recent years. Such moves permit students to take demanding business courses earlier, making them more competitive internship candidates. Students are eagerly embracing these and other changes. When No. 15 Washington University's Olin School of Business, a four-year program, began offering a career management elective to sophomores in 2004, more than 70 students showed up, and a second section had to be added.

Continued in article

Business Week's Executive MBA Rankings and Profiles ---

"B-Schools Ranked on Social (Responsibility) Studies," Business Week, November 1, 2005 ---

As part of the study, the organizations rank B-schools based on how well they integrate social and environmental issues into their curriculum and research. The ranking weighs a school's commitment in four categories, including the number of courses offered, the enrollment for those courses, the quality of the content, and the depth and breadth of faculty research. Nearly 600 MBA programs participated by responding to a survey, and 1,842 courses and 828 journal articles from leading peer-reviewed business publications were analyzed to determine the top 30 schools.

The top 10 programs as ranked by "Beyond Grey Pinstripes" are:

01. Stanford University Graduate School of Business, U.S.
02. ESADE Business School, Spain
03. York University Schulich School of Business, Canada
04. ITESM (EGADE) Graduate School of Business, Mexico
05. University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, U.S.
06. The George Washington University School of Business, U.S.
07. The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, U.S.
08. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School, U.S.
09. Cornell University S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, U.S.
10. Wake Forest University Babcock Graduate School of Management, U.S.

Although the business schools surveyed are making important progress, the report's authors note that teaching and research on these topics are still limited and not widespread. Only 4% of faculty at the surveyed schools published research on related issues in top, peer-reviewed journals during the survey period, says Mark Milstein, business research director for the World Resources Institute's Sustainable Enterprise Program.



A Very Critical Article About College Rankings by the Media
"It’s the Student Work, Stupid," by Sherman Dorn, Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2008 ---

"Rankings Are Useful — But Go Beyond ‘U.S. News’," by Richard Vedder, Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2008 ---

An economist at Vanderbilt University’s business school has unveiled a new approach to business school rankings — an approach that responds to one criticism of M.B.A. education, which is that graduate schools of business are great at identifying talent, but don’t necessarily do much with it once students are enrolled. Mike Schor, the economist, took the top 50 programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and took data on inputs (college grades and scores on the GMAT) and outputs (average salaries). It is no surprise of course that some of the top ranked programs see their graduates do particularly well, but Schor noted that these schools attract some of the best students — so he compared salaries to what might have been the “predictive” salary based on GMAT scores and college grades. And he ranked the 50 in order of the gains in salary that the school appears to provide. Using this system, Cornell University comes out on top, followed by Indiana University at Bloomington and the University of Virginia. Details are at Schor’s blog.
Inside Higher Ed, June 20, 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
This does not necessarily mean that a student admitted to Wharton, Harvard, or Stanford should choose a "higher-ranked" Indiana University. There's too much snob appeal among recruiters for companies and doctoral programs to count out the prestige school halo impact on a resume. For example, Wharton opens doors on Wall Street even if Wall Street's starting salaries are a bit lower and/or based on securities sales commissions. Having said this, I once stated to a top administrator at MIT that if MIT did not mess a student up over the course of four years, the student would probably achieve great success whether or not the student graduated from MIT because admission standards are so high just to get into MIT. He nodded his head in agreement.


Trojan(R) Ranks U.S. Colleges and Universities in Second Annual Sexual Health Report Card --- Click Here

The makers of Trojan brand condoms today released their 2007 Sexual Health Report Card, the second annual ranking of sexual health resources at American colleges and universities. The study, conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces on behalf of Trojan, finds a lack of access to information and resources may prevent some students from being sexually healthy.

This year's report card arrives in the wake of Trojan's "Evolve" campaign ( ), a multimedia effort aimed at redefining the national dialogue on sexual health with an emphasis on responsible behavior and partners' respect for one another.

In total, 139 colleges and universities representing each state and major NCAA Division I athletic conference were reviewed. Placing first and second, the University of Minnesota and University of Wyoming demonstrated "well- evolved" sexual health programs and were the most sexually healthy schools according to the study. While Ohio State and the University of Florida may have recently triumphed in sports, the Trojan Report Card indicates their sexual health programs have room to improve, as OSU and UF ranked 26th and 43rd, respectively.

Yale University, which topped the rankings in 2006, came in at number 16 this year. Access to sexual health information and resources, including the schools annual Sex Week at Yale (SWAY), continue to be highly rated; however, the school's lower ranking is a result of the expanded categories and schools considered. The 2007 Sexual Health Report Card examined 139 schools, nearly 50 percent more than last year, and judged several categories not taken into consideration last year, resulting in different rankings.

    Highest- and Lowest-Ranked Schools
    1. University of Minnesota (GPA 3.91)
    2. University of Wyoming (GPA 3.91)
    3. University of Washington (GPA 3.73)
    4. Rutgers University (GPA 3.68)
    5. Purdue University (GPA 3.64)

    135. Villanova University (GPA 1.45)
    136. University of Arkansas (GPA 1.36)
    137. Arkansas State University (GPA 1.14)
    138. University of Louisiana (GPA 0.91)
    139. Louisiana Tech University (GPA 0.82)

For the first time, researchers allowed students to weigh in with an online survey that generated more than 3,300 responses. This opinion poll did not factor into the rankings, but does point to the opportunity for health centers on campus to evolve how they meet the needs of their students.

Continued in article


Where are the most beautiful college campuses in the United States?
Where are the happiest students?
Where are the most politically correct colleges?
What are the 2008 top-ranked party and or jock or weirdo schools in the United States?
Hint: Chico and North Texas State have fallen from grace.

The No. 1 ranking colleges do not want is Princeton Review’s annual designation in its college guide of the top party school. This year’s winner is West Virginia University, followed by the University of Mississippi, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Florida, and the University of Georgia. While Princeton Review’s guide is not known for the quality of its social science research (student surveys are the key tool), it does win points for creative categories — particularly in playing off of student’s studious or not-so-studious reputations, and their politics. Clemson University is named the top jock school. Eugene Lang College of New School University is named the place that educates “dodgeball targets.” Hampshire College topped Bard College for the coveted “Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging, clove-smoking vegetarians” award. Macalester College was deemed most accepting of gay students while Hampden-Sydney won for “alternative lifestyles not an alternative.” Another tradition about these rankings is for the top party school’s president to question the ranking. Mike Garrison, president elect at West Virginia, issued this statement: “I’ve talked to thousands of our students over the weekend and during the first day of classes, and their concerns are with their education, with their futures, and with the great year we have ahead at WVU. I’m focused on the way this university changes people’s lives, the research that we do, and the service we provide to the state of West Virginia. This is a special place, and the whole state is proud of it.”

Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2007 ---

Jensen Comment
There are many other categories at the Princeton Review site ---

Check out the categories!

Academics Get High Marks Discussions Encouraged Lists

Demographics Student Population Community Accepted Lists

Parties Frat and Sorority Scene Schools Lists

Schools by Type Schools Targets Lists

Politics Politically Active What Election? Lists

Quality of Life Students Beautiful Campus Lists

Extracurricular Pack the Stadiums College Radio Station Lists

Social College Towns to Do on Campus Lists


Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking systems are at

By now we've heard most all the reasons/excuses for the disappearance of all investment banking firms

The December 5, 2009 issue of The Economist magazine offers a new twist by blaming, in part, the silo databases of Wall Street firms. This is surprising since I would've assumed the big investment banks would've been early adopters of ERP system-wide communicating databases.

The term "silo computing" or "data silo" dates back to before the days of computer networking and refers to multiple databases in an organizations that are not compatible and often require duplicate computing. For example, an account sales database in the marketing department may be programmed differently than the account sales database in the accounting department. Silo computing was extremely common and extremely inefficient in COBOL days before the onset of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integrative (ERP) total enterprise interactive databases of which the German SAP systems are the best known ERP systems ---

"Silo but deadly," The Economist, December 5-11, 2009, pp. 83-84 ---

NO INDUSTRY spends more on information technology (IT) than financial services: about $500 billion globally, more than a fifth of the total (see chart). Many of the world’s computers, networking and storage systems live in the huge data centres run by banks. “Banks are essentially technology firms,” says Hugo Banziger, chief risk officer at Deutsche Bank. Yet the role of IT in the crisis is barely discussed.

It should be. Corporate IT systems—collections of computers, applications and databases—always tend to be messy, but those of banks are particularly bad. They were the first to adopt computers: decades-old mainframes are still in use. Lots of product innovation means new systems, as does merger activity, which has proliferated in the industry in recent years: Citigroup had a notoriously fragmented IT set-up going into the crisis. The need to comply with regulations, and the global presence of big banks, adds complexity.

The demands of financial markets make matters worse. Hedging positions, trading derivatives and modelling financial products all require highly sophisticated programs that are only really suited to specific asset classes. The code for new financial products has to be developed quickly. Innovation often takes place on Excel spreadsheets on traders’ desktops. “The big task of management is to manage down the number of spreadsheets,” says one risk chief, whose bank creates 1,000 product variations a year.

As a result, many banks have huge problems with data quality. The same types of asset are often defined differently in different programs. Numbers do not always add up. Managers from different departments do not trust each other’s figures. Finding one’s way through all these systems is detective work, says a former IT manager at a big British bank. “And sometimes the trail would go cold.”

This fragmented IT landscape made it exceedingly difficult to track a bank’s overall risk exposure before and during the crisis. Mainly as a result of the Basel 2 capital accords, many banks had put in new systems to calculate their aggregate exposure. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) spent more than $100m to comply with Basel 2. But in most cases the aggregate risk was only calculated once a day and some figures were not worth the pixels they were made of.

During the turmoil many banks had to carry out big fact-finding missions to see where they stood. “Answering such questions as ‘What is my exposure to this counterparty?’ should take minutes. But it often took hours, if not days,” says Peyman Mestchian, managing partner at Chartis Research, an advisory firm. Insiders at Lehman Brothers say its European arm lacked an integrated picture of its risk position in the days running up to its demise.

Whether the financial industry would have hit the brakes if it had had digital dashboards showing banks’ overall exposures in real time is a moot point. Some managers might not have even looked. And better IT would have done little to counteract the bigger forces behind the crisis, such as global economic imbalances.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the recent Wall Street woes are at

The Unknown Professor who maintains the Financial Rounds Blog recently lost his young son to cancer and is cutting back to blog entries about once each week ---

He did just post this hilarious sign.

New integrative Washington Post and New York Times news site ---
Thus far, I think this Google news site is pretty disappointing and has too few categories.
For example, where is the good stuff from Floyd Norris in The New York Times?
Maybe accounting is just not a "Hot Topic" like "Tiger Woods,"

This is somewhat of a desperation effort for big liberal newspapers to gain more readership and possibly advertising since the world mostly will not pay to subscribe to their electronic newspapers (I do like their free news generosity). In contrast, The Wall Street Journal actually has so many paying subscribers it has no need to partner with Google in this Living Story site.

"Google, Washington Post and N.Y. Times create news tool 'Living story pages' aim to change views of journalism online," by Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post, December 9, 2009 --- Click Here

Take the engineering mystique of Google, add the prestige of The Washington Post and New York Times, throw in the spice of secret meetings, and what have you got?

A new online tool that, well, isn't exactly going to revolutionize journalism. But those involved in the partnership between the California software giant and two of the nation's top newspapers see it as a first step toward changing the way news is consumed online.

It's called a living story page, and Google executives are touting it as their contribution to the beleaguered newspaper business. The idea is to simplify things for readers by grouping developing stories about a hot topic -- say, Tiger Woods -- on a single Web page, with updates automatically highlighted at the top of the screen.

"So much of what you see online today is a reflection of the way it's told in newspapers," says Josh Cohen, senior business product manager for Google News. "They haven't taken advantage of what the Web offers to tell news in a different way."

By grouping the stories at day after day under one Web address, the Times and Post could boost their Google rankings, which would tend to push those pages toward the top of the list when people search for that subject. After the Tuesday launch, the story pages will reside at Google Labs for an experimental period of two to three months, and revert to the papers' own Web sites if all goes well.

"Over the coming months, we'll refine Living Stories based on your feedback," Google says in a blog posting. If the format gains traction, Google plans to offer it to any interested newspaper, magazine or Web site, at no charge.

For now, The Post is launching three such pages, on health-care reform, D.C. schools and the Washington Redskins. The Times has five, devoted to Afghanistan, executive compensation, global warming, swine flu and health care.

R.B. Brenner, deputy editor of The Post's new Universal News Desk, which oversees its print and Web operations, says the "one-stop shopping" approach could spare readers from having to hunt for previous stories on a subject. "The idea is that users, news consumers, are interested in experiencing news in different ways, and it's important for news organizations to be experimenting. . . . The question is, when you take the car out for a spin, what are the advantages?"

Continued in article

California is Rationing Admissions:  Denying Admissions of California Citizens in Favor of Both Illegals and Legals from Other States
"U.S. Citizens Reap Unintended Benefit From California's Immigrant-Tuition Law," by Josh Keller, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2009 ---

A national battle over state laws that grant cheaper, in-state college tuition to some undocumented immigrants is now centered in California, where the state Supreme Court is expected to begin hearing arguments early next year on whether offering the benefit violates federal law.

The case is drawing close attention from both sides of the immigration debate and from other states that offer similar benefits. If the court throws out the California law, the decision could sway other states to do the same, making it more difficult for undocumented students to afford to go to college.

But the outcome of the case could also have a direct effect on another, unlikely group of students: former Californians.

In a little-known quirk of the state law, thousands of students who receive in-state tuition under the provision are not, in fact, undocumented immigrants. They are legal U.S. residents, who are able to take advantage of the law's broad language to avoid paying higher, out-of-state tuition.

Most of the unintended beneficiaries are students who left California after attending high school there and then return for college, officials say. Those students are able to take advantage of language in the state law that promises in-state tuition to any student who has a diploma from a California high school and attended high school in the state for three years or more. The law was written broadly in an attempt to avoid violating provisions of a federal immigration statute that restricts benefits for undocumented students.

At the University of California and California State University, legal residents who qualify for the tuition benefit appear to outnumber the undocumented immigrants for whom the state law was designed, according to university data and interviews with officials.

Less than 20 percent of the 1,639 recipients of the tuition benefit in the 2006-7 academic year at the University of California were undocumented, according to the system's most recent report. On the Santa Barbara campus, the student records of only three out of 72 recipients showed no sign of documentation, such as a Social Security number, the report said.

The university system would have gained an additional $18.5-million in tuition revenue in 2006-7 from students who were legal residents had they not qualified for the benefit.

The lost revenue comes as all of the state's colleges and universities struggle to meet unprecedented cuts in state support. Last month the University of California raised undergraduate tuition by 32 percent, leading to widespread student protests.

Mix of Students Some of the legal residents who receive the benefit are undergraduates from other states who attended boarding school in California. Others are graduate students who attended high school in California and then moved away. Those students would otherwise be required to pay out-of-state tuition—thousands of dollars higher than the in-state rate—for one year after they came back to the state. After their first year, they would qualify for residency.

"My sense is that these are primarily Asian students," said Elena Macías, special assistant to the president at California State University at Long Beach. "They are students who have graduated from high school here, gone to get their bachelor's degree somewhere else, maybe settled into another state. … Then they come back home."

The unintended effects of the law are not widely known, added Ms. Macías, who trains administrators in immigrant-student issues. "I have never encountered anybody who is aware of the fact that U.S. citizens take advantage of this more than undocumented students," she said.

Recipients' status is not known at the state's 110-campus community-college system, which does not collect detailed data on students who receive the benefit. A total of about 34,000 students qualified for the benefit during the 2008-9 fiscal year, system officials said.

The large number of students who have been able to qualify under the 2001 law, known as AB 540, has surprised even its supporters.

"I don't think anybody thought that the large majority of people benefited would be citizens," said Alfred R. Herrera, assistant vice provost for academic partnerships at the University of California at Los Angeles, who advocated for the state law before it was passed.

Skirting a Lawsuit The topsy-turvy dynamic in California appears to be unique among the 10 states that offer some version of the in-state tuition benefit meant to help undocumented immigrants. The other nine states all require students to live in the state for a period of time, usually a year, immediately leading up to the time they enroll in college, making it difficult to qualify for those who have left the state.

Lawmakers in California omitted the time requirement because they feared it would make the law more susceptible to a legal challenge, Mr. Herrera said. They feared the provision could be interpreted as establishing a test of residency, violating a federal statute that prohibits states from granting a postsecondary-education benefit to illegal immigrants that is denied to legal residents.

Opponents of the law sued anyway, saying the requirement that students attend a California high school itself established a test that violates federal law.

That case, which is being considered by the state Supreme Court, was brought by out-of-state students who said they were unfairly denied the ability to pay in-state tuition. In a state Court of Appeal last year, lawyers for the University of California argued, among other things, that the large numbers of legal residents who receive the tuition exemption were evidence that the law did not discriminate against U.S. citizens.

But in a major victory for opponents of the tuition benefit, the appeals court ruled in September 2008 that the California provision clearly violated federal law. In its opinion, the court took time to rebut the argument that a diversity of recipients in state colleges and universities made the law more legally acceptable, calling it "irrelevant."

Michael Brady, a lawyer for the students who challenged the law, said he did not trust numbers reported by the university that undocumented students were the minority of recipients. But regardless, he argued, "Congress meant to deter the illegals absolutely, and without qualification, from getting the benefit. There is no circumstance under which an illegal alien should receive it."

Supporters of the in-state tuition laws are divided on whether writing the law broadly, in a way that allowed former residents to benefit, was a good idea. Michael A. Olivas, a law professor at the University of Houston and a prominent proponent of such laws, said California lawmakers should have included protections, like those in other states, that prevent out-of-state students from obtaining in-state tuition.

"It's a badly written statute," Mr. Olivas said. But the laws will survive in the courts even with the additional requirement, he continued. "They were dodging a bullet that they didn't need to dodge."

Ms. Macías, the Long Beach administrator, said it was worth granting in-state tuition to all students who spent their high-school years in California, even if the benefit has been widened by accident. "In a way," she said, "what it signifies is that California has made a commitment to its children that if you go to a public high school for three years and graduate, you can go on paying in-state tuition."

From the Scout Report on December 4, 2009

Zimbra Collaboration Suite 6.0.3 --- 

The Zimbra Collaboration Suite is designed to be used in settings such as higher education, government offices, and various enterprising types. The main part of the Suite is an interactive email and calendar server that allows users in many different physical locations coordinate meetings, conferences, and even lets people link-up different email accounts. This particular version is compatible with computers running Linux or Mac OS X 10.5 and newer.

Wise Registry Cleaner 4.83 --- 

A good registry cleaner is always something nice to have around, and this latest version of Wise Registry Cleaner doesn't consume much memory and it works quickly. The Cleaner can be set up to check the registry automatically, and it also offers an undo option. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.


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

Education Tutorials

The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning --- Click Here

The Miniature Guide To Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Biomedical Search ---

Imagining Cell Biology ---

Australian Antarctic Magazine ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning --- Click Here

The Miniature Guide To Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools --- Click Here

Open Congressional Research Reports for the People ---

Governing Sourcebook --- 

Census Information --- 
Also see

20 Years After: Life Beyond Communism in Central & Eastern Europe [Flash Player] ---

The Digital Locke Project (John Locke) --- 

John Donne (metaphysics, poetry, philosophy) ---

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

The Digital Locke Project (John Locke) --- 

John Donne (metaphysics, poetry, philosophy) ---

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 --- 

Route 66 ---

Sitters, artists and photographers talking (portrait painters) ---

20 Years After: Life Beyond Communism in Central & Eastern Europe [Flash Player] ---

Australian Antarctic Magazine ---

Dallas Museum of Art.TV --- 

The Hale Scrapbook (cartoon history) ---

The Opper Project (editorial cartoons) ---

University of Nebraska Libraries Digital Collections: Government Comics Collection ---

Chinese Anti-Malaria Posters ---

Photographs of Frank B. Snyder ---  

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Digital Archive at Bowdoin College (Longfellow) ---

The Pullman State Historic Site (Florida) ---

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

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Music Tutorials

Boston Symphony Orchestra Podcasts [iTunes] ---

Dance Magazine ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at


Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---

December 8, 2009

December 9, 2009

December 10, 2009

December 11, 2009

December 12, 2009

December 14, 2009

December 15, 2009

December 16, 2009


"Brain Implant Cuts Seizures:  Epilepsy patients who don't respond to drugs may soon have a new option," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, December 9, 2009 ---

"MS sufferer walks after stem cell treatment," by Bonnie Malkin, London Telegraph, December 14, 2009 ---

An Australian man who was confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis has made a remarkable recovery after receiving a groundbreaking stem cell treatment.

Ben Leahy, 20, was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 and lost the ability to stand within a few months.

However, a new procedure to combat the disease has helped him regain his health and he is now walking again.

The treatment targets the immune system of multiple sclerosis patients, which turns in on itself causing damage to nerves which can lead to blurred vision, loss of balance and paralysis.

Doctors carried out a new technique to remove stem cells from his bone marrow before using chemicals to destroy all his immune cells.

The stem cells were then transplanted back into Mr Leahy's body to replenish the immune system – effectively resetting it.

Dr Colin Andrews, a neurologist from Canberra, said the positive results had surprised doctors.

"At the moment there's a good chance we may have arrested the disease," he said.

"He walks pretty well, there's only some mild weakness in his right leg and some visual loss in one eye and apart from that he's very intact.".

Dr Andrews said doctors had previously been reluctant to use the technique because of the risk of death was estimated to be around eight per cent several years ago.

But improvements in the techniques meant the risk was now one per cent and Dr Andrews said the outstanding results of Mr Leahy's treatment meant it could be used on more patients in the future.

"It sets another landmark for people to work towards," he said.

Continued in article

From the Reader's Digest on November 2009, Page 72

During inspection, our new company commander stopped and chatted up a corporal.

"How long have you been in the marines?" he asked.

"Two years, eight months, and 24 days Sir," the corporal responded.

"Do you plan to reenlist"

"No Sir."

"What are you going to do after discharge?"

"Cartwheels and handstands, Sir."

Jensen Comment
I sometimes saw students doing handstands and cartwheels after finishing my accounting theory and AIS courses.

From the Reader's Digest on November 2009, Page 128

You're a dumb criminal if:

You air your neighbor's dirty laundry
As she walked around her neighbor's yard sale in Severn, Maryland the woman couldn't help admiring the items. The Oriental rug,, the luggage, the shoes --- they were exactly here style. And why not? They were hers!

You let your supply of antismoking patches run out
An Indiana state trooper stopped a car for a traffic violation. When a passenger, Honesty Knight, asked if she could smoke, the officer said yes. She proceeded, police say, to light up a marijuana joint.

You don't know when to write off a loss
John Opperman-Green robbed a Kissimmee, Florida 7-Eleven, then called the cops to complain when he tried to hitch a ride with strangers, who, in ther, robbed him.
Jensen Comment
The was a similar police report in NYC about a bank robber who went running down the street and latter reported that he was mugged.

You harbor grudges
Joseph Goetz's alleged attempt to rob a York, Pennsylvania, bank met with some snags. Cops say the first teller he tried to rob fainted and the next two insisted they had no cash in their drawers. Fed up, Goetz stormed out, threatening to write an angry letter to the bank.

You can't let go of your friends
Two New Zealand prisoners had the brilliant idea of fleeing the courthouse while tethered together by handcuffs. They might have escaped had a light pole not gotten between them. Like a pare of click-an-clacks, they slammed into each other and were arrested trying to get back to their feet.


Tidbits Archives ---

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Accounting News, Blogs, Listservs, and Social Networking ---

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

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

The Master List of Free Online College Courses ---

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

Free Textbooks and Cases ---

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

Teacher Source: Math ---

Teacher Source:  Science ---

Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

VYOM eBooks Directory ---

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

Moodle  --- 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

Roles of a ListServ ---

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

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) ---


Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links ---

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) ---
The above libraries include international accounting history.
The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting ---

Academy of Accounting Historians and the Accounting Historians Journal ---

Sage Accounting History ---

A nice timeline on the development of U.S. standards and the evolution of thinking about the income statement versus the balance sheet is provided at:
"The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards (1930-1973)," by Stephen A. Zeff, CPA Journal, January 2005 ---
Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- 

A nice timeline of accounting history ---

From Texas A&M University
Accounting History Outline ---

Bob Jensen's timeline of derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting ---

History of Fraud in America ---
Also see



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