Tidbits on February 15, 2010
Bob Jensen


This is a fuzzy photo taken of Will Yancey, Erika, and Bob in October 2009
Will stayed with us a couple of nights while returning from Alumni Weekend at Dartmouth
Will's home is in Dallas, but he and Carol had a tremendous summer
home built on an ocean point overlooking Bar Harbor in Maine
On February 11, 2010 Will was found dead at the desk in his Dallas home
Our deepest sympathy goes to his wife Carol and son Michael
Michael is a first year student at Trinity University

My tribute to Will written long before his sudden and unexpected death is at

Looking toward the east at sunset

Franconia Notch as seen from our living room at sunset
The bright light points to the north end of the Notch

These are shots of Mt. Lafayette at sunset

This is a shot of Mt. Lafayette at sunrise

The views are always changing in front of my desk
The Notch is often fogged in between Lafayette and Cannon

The scar at the bottom of the picture below is
the highway as it comes out of the north side of Franconia Notch
My camera was zoomed for this fuzzy shot
This was not a retouched photo (I always tell if I retouch a photo)

This is Mt Washington in the northeast at sunset
before we had our first summer snowfall

The wild cranberry bush in front of my while awaiting the first snows of summer


Christmas lights and  icicles

Our version of Doctor Zhivago

A scene from Doctor Zhivago

These are my parents before they passed on
My father managed the Kossuth County Iowa State Liquor Store
and my mother would not let him bring any demon booze into their house

St Francis beside our garage door seems much happier in the summertime
Nature gave him this hood of snow

The first snowfall of summer as seen on our back deck

Enough Already

Outhouse in Virginia Forwarded by Paula

Washington DC Snow Capitols as pictured in The Washington Post

You can see many NYC photos of the snow at

Awesome Things to Do With Snow (Comedy)

Great Advice Comes With Great Snow Pictures (slide show) ---


James Martin is Another Accounting Professor Who Loves Photography
"What's New on MAAW?" by hugely open sharing professor James Martin, MAAW Blog, February 4, 2010 ---

I took a little time out from building management and accounting web pages to develop a photo section that includes 12 subsections. Although photos won't help you pass an accounting exam, or develop a research paper, they can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can use them as desktop wallpaper, send them in e-mail messages, print and send them as (4x6) post cards (particularly to old folks like mothers and grandmothers that don't use computers), use them in your screen saver, and even create slide shows and animations. Most of the photos you'll find on MAAW's photo sections have been or will be used as post cards to cheer up some of our old relatives stuck in nursing homes. Try it with your photos, or my photos. I expect the recipients will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

See Photos for the various photo sections --- http://maaw.info/Photos/PhotosMain.htm

Management Accounting and Accounting Web Home Page --- http://maaw.info/

San Francisco Pictures
Erika and I plan to attend the fabulous American Accounting Association Annual Meetings in San Francisco (beginning around July 31, 2010)
Here are some pictures of San Francisco --- http://home.comcast.net/~bzee1b/Zeppelin/Zeppelin.html
I have great memories of the Bay Area since I attended graduate school at Stanford for six years as a slow learner and two subsequent years in a think tank for slow learners. It will be great to return to the area for a visit.

I'm warning Erika not to go into to water in San Francisco
Sharks can creep up anywhere, even in the Hilton's swimming pool
Nah! That's just Tiger Woods searching for a lost golf ball on his rehab's golf course


 Top 10 Olympic Opening Ceremony moments ---

Cheer for our hometown hero, Bode Miller ---


Tidbits on February 15, 2010
Bob Jensen



Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on February 15, 2010
To Accompany the February 15, 2010 edition of Tidbits

U.S. Debt/Deficit Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/


Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
This week I added a module on the healthcare system of Germany (thanks to a close friend in Germany)


Tidbits on December 23, 2009
Bob Jensen

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

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

Modern Science and Ancient Wisdom  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AncientWisdom

"A Wisdom 101 Course!" February 15, 2010 ---

"Overview of Prior Research on Wisdom," Simoleon Sense, February 15, 2010 ---

"An Overview Of The Psychology Of Wisdom," Simoleon Sense, February 15, 2010 ---

"Why Bayesian Rationality Is Empty, Perfect Rationality Doesn’t Exist, Ecological Rationality Is Too Simple, and Critical Rationality Does the Job,"
Simoleon Sense, February 15, 2010 --- Click Here

Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm

Great Minds in Sociology ---
Also see Also see http://www.sociologyprofessor.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on theory and research ---

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

574 Shields Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

"Climategate's Phil Jones Confesses to Climate Fraud," by Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, February 14, 2010 ---

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

FEI Second Life Video (thank you Edith) ---
If I Were an Auditor --- http://www.youtube.com/user/feiblog#p/a/u/0/Q-FR_fkTFKY

Five for Fighting (thank you Edith)

Meteorologist Freakout on the Local News Channel (thank you Bob) ---

Charlie Bit Me (thank you Herta) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM

NOVA: Riddles of the Sphinx --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sphinx/

VetPulse (Veterinary Medicine and Surgery) ---  http://www.vetpulse.tv/

University of California; Science Today (Radio News, Audio) --- http://www.ucop.edu/sciencetoday/index.php

Check out Britain's Jenny Jones winning a snowboard gold at the X Games ---. http://bit.ly/aySA43 

Murray Hill Incorporated is Running for Congress --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHRKkXtxDRA

I'm not a fan of Steven Colbert's slap stick humor as a rule, but you might enjoy the following video
Stephen Colbert uses an iPad at the 2010 Grammy Awards --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKFBMSLFe4E
Also see http://www.engadget.com/podcast/
WSJ subscribers can get a more serious review (mostly negative) from Walt Mossberg's first impressions (video) ---

Saturday Night Live's Scott Brown Dance Party ---

Some of Jon Stewart's more famous "comedy" clips --- http://www.associatedcontent.com/topic/26395/jon_stewart.html?cat=9
Not linked are his latest clips portraying a negative image of President Obama (which surprise me greatly) ---
"Tougher Jon Stewart Obama Jokes May Signal Collapse of Remaining Vestiges of Obama Support" ---

And for More Laughs at the Party
Video:  Jon Stewart Mocks Olbermann (hilarious) ---
Olbermann reduced to name calling

Disemboweler Jon Stewart Eviscerates Blogosphere (VIDEO)
The Blogs Must Be Crazy ---

Funniest Super Bowl Adds of All Time --- Funniest Super Bowl Ads Of All Time (VIDEO)

Objectivism: friend or foe? Mike Wallace & Ayn Rand in 1959
: 1/3
--- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XC7l18RIl8
: 2/3 --- http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Mike+Wallace+%26+Ayn+Rand&search_type=&aq=f
: 3/3 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEruXzQZhNI&feature=PlayList&p=04A4E12F230C8163&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=2
"A Rand Revival Understanding the best—and worst—of Ayn Rand's philosophy," by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, February 11, 2010 ---

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

The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail [iTunes] http://www.thecrookedroad.org/default.asp

Restful --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/Restful.wma

American Trilogy Video (Elvis) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moUifEmOcbU

Fritz Kreisler's Music (And His Violin) At WGBH --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123065333

Quartet San Francisco: Brubeck On Strings --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123161226

Ahmad Zahir: The Voice Of The Golden Years --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123137188

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

Take Me Back to the 60s (thank you Jagdish) --- http://objflicks.com/TakeMeBackToTheSixties.htm

TheRadio (my favorite commercial-free online music site) --- http://www.theradio.com/
Slacker (my second-favorite commercial-free online music site) --- http://www.slacker.com/

Gerald Trites likes this international radio site --- http://www.e-radio.gr/
Songza:  Search for a song or band and play the selection --- http://songza.com/
Also try Jango --- http://www.jango.com/?r=342376581
Sometimes this old guy prefers the jukebox era (just let it play through) --- http://www.tropicalglen.com/
And I listen quite often to Soldiers Radio Live --- http://www.army.mil/fieldband/pages/listening/bandstand.html
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings --- http://bands.army.mil/music/default.asp

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

Photographs and Art

A Gallery of Forgotten Hollywood Photos (neat) --- http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/01/baby-boomers-time-machine.html

New 9/11 Aerial Photos Released: Helicopter Captured Pictures Of World Trade Center After Attack ---

Best View Ever of Pluto (video) --- http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/02/best-view-yet-of-pluto-shows-rapidly-changing-surface/

MoMA: Gabriel Orozco [Interactive Art] http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2009/gabrielorozco/

History World: History and Timelines --- http://www.historyworld.net/default.asp?gtrack=mtop1

NOVA: Riddles of the Sphinx --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sphinx/

LSU Photograph Campus Collection ---  http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org//cdm4/index_LSU_UAP.php?CISOROOT=/LSU_UAP

The Guild of Book Workers --- http://www.guildofbookworkers.org/index.php  

The Atlas of Early Printing (interactive slide show) --- http://atlas.lib.uiowa.edu/

Crop Art (Rice Fields in Japan) === http://www.hoax-slayer.com/japanese-rice-crop-art.shtml

Never Before Seen Photographs of Marilyn Monroe (video) ---

February 2, 2010 message from Montford, Kimberlyn [KIMBERLYN.MONTFORD@Trinity.edu]

It's astonishing, but they're just models. You'll see how the hobbyist manages to get such great perspective (to me, at least).


Dr. Kimberlyn Montford
Associate Professor of Music History
Co-Director of African American Studies Trinity University

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

History World: History and Timelines --- http://www.historyworld.net/default.asp?gtrack=mtop1

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on February 15, 2010
To Accompany the February 15, 2010 edition of Tidbits

Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
This week I added a module on the healthcare system of Germany (thanks to a close friend in Germany)

"William Fredrick "Will" Yancey," Dallas Morning News, February 14, 2010 ---
Thank you Arnie Barkman

Yancey, William Fredrick "Will" Will Yancey, PhD, CPA, loving husband and devoted father, resident of Dallas and Maine, passed away February 11, 2010 at home in Dallas. Will was born Aug. 30, 1956 in Boston, MA to Marianne and Joel Yancey. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College, 1978, Master of Forestry from Duke Univ., 1980, a Bachelor of Accounting, UM Duluth 1983, a Master of Business Taxation, UM Twin Cities, 1987, and a PhD in Accounting, UT Austin, 1993. He married the love of his life, Carol Gabriel, on July 5, 1986. Will, a former TCU professor, was self-employed in accounting, specializing in statistical sampling. He had many professional publications and was honored with many awards, including having his website, www.willyancey.com  being listed as 'Best of the Web' by Forbes Magazine. Will generously gave his time in service to the community. An Eagle Scout, Will actively volunteered as an assistant scout leader in Troops 2150, 86, and 751, mentoring many boys as they strived for the Eagle Scout rank, including his son, Michael. He also remained active in the Circle 10 Council, Order of the Arrow, Mikanakawa Lodge. He served as photographer for the Jesuit/Ursuline Ranger Band. Will also interviewed undergraduate applicants for Dartmouth College for 26 years. He is survived by wife, Carol, son, Michael, sister Julie and husband Kevin, sister Margaret and husband Gordon, and many nieces and nephews, including Wendy who lived several years with the Yancey family. Will was loved and admired by many and will be remembered for his love of the outdoors and kayaking, teaching spirit, generosity, and willingness to help. A funeral vigil will be held at 7:00 p.m. Sunday February 14, 2010 at All Saints Catholic Church ( Arapaho @ Meadowcreek ) in Dallas. Friends will have the opportunity to greet the family in the church following the vigil. The Funeral Mass will be at 1:00 p.m. Monday at All Saints with Rev. Phil Postel SJ - Celebrant. A reception will follow in the All Saints Parish Center. Interment will occur at a later date in Maine. If desired memorial gifts may be made in Will's name to: Order of the Arrow, Circle Ten Council, 8605 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235

Now that Will Yancey has passed on, we don’t have any idea what will become of his very, very open sharing Website at

It might be worth your while to scan over the above site and jot down the links that might be important in your life. For example, Will made a lot of money in compliance testing and his expertise on stratified sampling. If those topics interest you or are of possible interest to your students, I suggest you look carefully at all the important material (including hot links) shared by Will.

Will also consulted heavily in law and litigation support. You might also note those topics.

Will also provides a lot of helpers for studying family history and genealogy.

I really, really, really hope that Will’s valuable open sharing page will be carried on by somebody somehow. But in case it is taken down, you may not want to overlook this chance to record what is most of interest to you.

My tribute to Will written long before his sudden and unexpected death is at


February 14, 2010 reply from Francine McKenna [retheauditors@GMAIL.COM]


 You raise an interesting issue with regard to prolific writers, educators who have significant public/web presence. 

http://www.adelemcalear.com/ See her new startup DeathAndDigitalLegacy.com



View the current front pages of hundreds of daily newspapers ---
The Newseum displays these daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form. Some front pages may contain material that is objectionable to some visitors. Viewer discretion is advised.

Thanks for the heads up on this one David Albrecht.

Thank You Julie.  It appears to be Delicious.

AIS Professor Julie Smith David at Arizona State is the moving force behind the AAA Commons. She recently posted an enthusiastic tidbit about software called Delicious --- http://commons.aaahq.org/posts/b5382ec151

There are so many great tools available that it's incredibly hard to keep up with them... So I (Julie) thought I'd share one of my favorites with you - and ask for your insights into the ones that you find most helpful.

Here's my problem: I find a lot of great web sites as I'm browsing, but remembering that great site might be more difficult when I actually need it. I used to try and track sites using my bookmarks, but then they got LONG, and I'd forget what folder I had stored a site in. Does that sound like you? If so, the solution I like is delicious, and just click here to learn more  http://commons.aaahq.org/posts/b5382ec151

Jensen Comment
Since many of you do not have access to the Commons, I will take you to directly to "Delicious Social Bookmarking." I should note that I've not yet tried this software myself --- http://delicious.com/
In the top blue rectangle click on the link that reads "Learn more." That will take you to the following page:

I suggest that you first go to YouTube and enter the term "Delicious Social Bookmarking" --- http://www.youtube.com/
Watch several videos until you get the idea.
Don't necessarily watch the video links starting with the first video.
I suggest that you only consider the five-star videos in this case, because they do a better job of explaining Delicious.
For example, try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGXElviSRXM

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

Bob Jensen's threads on social networking are at

What is social networking? --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Networking

The main types of social networking services are those which contain category divisions (such as former school-year or classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages) and a recommendation system linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with Facebook widely used worldwide; MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn being the most widely used in North America;[1] Nexopia (mostly in Canada);[2] Bebo,[3] Hi5, StudiVZ (mostly in Germany), Decayenne, Tagged, XING;[4], Badoo[5] and Skyrock in parts of Europe;[ Orkut and Hi5 in South America and Central America;[7] and Friendster, Mixi, Multiply, Orkut, Wretch, Xiaonei and Cyworld in Asia and the Pacific Islands.

There have been some attempts to standardize these services to avoid the need to duplicate entries of friends and interests (see the FOAF standard and the Open Source Initiative), but this has led to some concerns about privacy.

Google Wave --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Wave

Google Wave is a self-described "personal communication and collaboration tool" announced by Google at the Google I/O conference on May 27, 2009. It is a web-based service, computing platform, and communications protocol designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking.[3] It has a strong collaborative and real-time[4] focus supported by extensions that can provide, for example, spelling/grammar checking, automated translation among 40 languages, and numerous other extensions. Initially released only to developers, a "preview release" of Google Wave was extended to 100,000 users in September 2009, each allowed to invite twenty to thirty additional users. On the 29th of November 2009, Google accepted most requests submitted soon after the extended release of the technical preview in September 2009; these users have around 25 invitations to give.

Jensen Comment
It may surprise you that I'm really not into professional or social networking yet. After getting over 700 requests from former students and friends to join their professional networks (like LinkedIn) and social networks (like Facebook)  I decided that I just do not have enough time in the day to do what I do now plus join in on so many social and professional networks. And I don't Tweet. What I like best is sticking with the listservs like the AECM for accounting educators that I've contributed to actively for years. And I add messages daily to the AAA Commons and put out my newsletters on a regular basis:

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

But I am seriously considering Delicious Social Bookmarking. Julie is really an exceptional AIS professional educator, and I highly respect her opinions.

February 11, 2010 reply from Rick Lillie [rlillie@CSUSB.EDU]

Good morning Bob,

When saving web pages, AECM readers may also wish to check out Iterasi, a browser-based tool for saving web pages (http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/dynamic_bookmarking_with_itera.php).   Iterasi does more than save a web page's location, it also captures the content of a web page.  It is dynamic.  If the content of the web page updates, the saved web page also updates.

Iterasi has a notes feature that allows the user to write comments about the web page.  The notes I write help me remember "why" I saved the web page in the first place.  You can save web pages in folders which makes organizing information an easy process.

You can tag saved web pages.  This makes it possible to quickly search web pages that you may have saved in various folders.

Iterasi is a great way to do internet research.  It is web based so it is accessible through any web browser.  It works with both IE and Firefox.

Rick Lillie

Rick Lillie, MAS, Ed.D., CPA
Assistant Professor of Accounting
Coordinator, Master of Science in Accountancy
CSUSB, CBPA, Department of Accounting & Finance
5500 University Parkway, JB-547
San Bernardino, CA.  92407-2397

 Email:  rlillie@csusb.edu
Telephone:  (909) 537-5726
Skype (Username):  ricklillie

February 11, 2010 reply from Lohrke, Cynthia [cflohrke@SAMFORD.EDU]

I have been using Delicious for about 2 years and it is wonderful.  You can tag bookmarks with numerous tags.  So I tag videos with the “video” tag and then if I found it for a particular course I tag it with the course number.  In addition  I also tag my bookmarks with subject tags.  You can also share your bookmarks with others.  If you would like to see mine.  Just add me to your network.  My user name is drlohrke.


Cynthia Frownfelter Lohrke, PhD, CPA, CISA
Brock School of Business
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL  35229
205-726-2682 o


Comparing Two Documents for Possible Plagiarism

February 8, 2010 message from Hossein Nouri [hnouri@TCNJ.EDU]

I am looking for a software that could compare two documents (pdf files) and tell me percentages of similarities and differences. In addition, The software could point to similar sentences, etc. The documents are written by different individuals and most likely not plagiarized. For example, suppose I want to compare two chapters of two different managerial accounting books on CVP analysis written by two different authors. What would be a good software to do this?

Hossein Nouri

February 9, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Hossein,

There are a number of document comparison software vendors that mostly focus on plagiarism detection in databases of documents. Most plagiarism detection programs feature enormous databases of articles and search algorithms for comparing a given document with one that is already in print in the database. I summarize some of the major vendors at

The real trick is to catch a plagiarist who has the good sense not to copy verbatim. Changes made in the plagiarized item can include substitution of synonyms or changing English letters to Cyrillic lettering. Sophisticated document comparison is becoming a real science.

But there also software (usually not free) for document comparison of two or more submitted pieces. I've not used any of these and cannot make recommendations other than to note they exist. Examples can be found at the following sites





There are many other such services.

Probably the hardest thing to detect is the borrowing of ideas or portions of writings by completely rewriting the passages. What we admire greatly in the academy are expert scholars who can read a passage and identify earlier points in time where ideas originated.

Indeed the greatest challenge for computer scientists is to write programs where computing machines can perform as well or better at detecting earlier patterns than human experts. Much of the experimenting here as been done with the game of chess when trying to get computers to identify earlier game patterns that grand masters can somehow still recall better than the machines --- although Big Blue is getting quite good at comparing patterns of chess moves with the history of chess play. Gary Kasperov has a fascinating new book on this subject:
"The Chess Master and the Computer,"  By Garry Kasparov, New York Books, February 11, 2010 ---

Sometimes rewriting can be turned into a positive learning experience and is done with full permission and transparency --- http://www.white.k12.ga.us/Intervention/Interventions-Written-Expression.html

There are also some interesting group communications experiments discussed in Duncan Luce's autobiography at

Gadgets For People Who Roam the Hard Copy Stacks Rather Than Google

These gadgets might also be useful for detail tests on audits

"Pint-Size Peripherals Scan or Print at a Price," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2010 ---

It's often said that less is more. If only this were true for computer devices like printers and scanners, which take up a lot of desktop real estate. The reality is that small, stylish, portable versions of these gadgets are often pricey and not as functional.

This week, I reviewed two products that unfortunately live up to that reality: a portable printer and mini scanner that put a premium on good looks at $300 each. I've been using Fujitsu's newest $295 mini scanner, the ScanSnap S1300 (fujitsu.com), and PlanOn System Solutions Inc.'s tiny $300 PrintStik PS905ME (http://3.ly/6QVS). There are several good printers, scanners or all-in-ones that cost significantly less or offer more functionality than these devices.

But boy, do these gadgets look good. The Fujitsu ScanSnap collapses down to a small, rectangular box with mirrored buttons. The PlanOn PrintStik resembles a box of aluminum foil in the kitchen drawer—except more compact.

Both devices are small and lightweight enough to fit in a bag or briefcase, if necessary. Either one of these could be ported around without a problem: The PrintStik weighs 1.5 pounds and the ScanSnap weighs twice as much at 3.08 pounds. Both fit well in a tiny work space or on the desktops of people like me, who don't print or scan much and don't want a device taking up a lot of space.

As is usually the case with smaller devices that lack display screens and extra buttons, one hopes they come with straightforward software or simply plug in and play. The Fujitsu ScanSnap meets that requirement with software that installs on Macs or PCs and can be used without reading complicated instructions.

The PlanOn PrintStik uses thermal printing to produce images and characters on scrolls of paper. The PlanOn PrintStik worked adequately as a basic black-and-white printer for Windows PCs (it isn't Mac compatible), but fell short as a wireless printer for smart phones. The PrintStik is meant to receive and print documents sent to it via Bluetooth from BlackBerrys, but I found the BlackBerry program to be clumsy and in the end, it didn't even work despite at least two dozen attempts. PlanOn's tech support said they thought my PrintStik's Bluetooth could be faulty, but couldn't send me a new device in time for this column.

These two devices offer some interesting design elements. The PlanOn PrintStik PS905ME uses thermal printing—an old technology that has been around for decades—rather than ink cartridges, to produce images and characters by applying heat at tiny points.

The PrintStik's thermal printing only works with special scrolls of thin, slippery paper. It comes in packs of six rolls for $23; one roll is about 23 feet long and prints roughly 30 sheets of letter-size paper. You can opt to print only as much as a document requires to save paper. But a long document prints out in one continuous scroll rather than separate pages.

The PrintStik has a rechargeable battery that lasts long enough to print about 30 pages; a wall charger is also included. It can churn out up to three pages per minute. I can imagine tossing this printer into my suitcase for business trips; it would also come in handy for printing boarding passes for use at the airport, among other things.

Documents that are supposed to be printable from the BlackBerry with a remote-printing app include Web pages, attachments including PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, JPEGs, and PowerPoint presentations. PlanOn representatives say an app will be available for Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones in about four or five months; they also are working on an iPad application. Though the PrintStik's remote-printing app for the BlackBerry is currently free, the company intends to begin charging $30 annually for its remote-printing service this summer.

Fujitsu's ScanSnap S1300 can suck in 10 pages at once, and has two cameras that can scan the front and back of printouts. This process can scan as many as eight dual-sided pages a minute. Item sizes range from 2x2-inch cards to legal documents.

The ScanSnap comes with a wall charger but also runs without being plugged into the wall: It uses a USB cord for charging from a PC in addition to the USB cord that transfers data between the scanner and computer.

Seconds after I scanned documents into the ScanSnap, colorful icons appeared on my computer screen. Choosing one of these icons let me send the documents to one of the following: email, Word, a printer, Excel, iPhoto or Cardiris—a program that exports contact information from scanned business cards into Address Book or Entourage; CardMinder on Windows exports contact information to Outlook and other programs.

If you want to scan old or precious documents, you may not like using the ScanSnap's sucking method for scanning, in case a page gets stuck or damaged. For sensitive objects or page scanning, the best bet is to use a flatbed scanner or all-in-one (that prints, scans, and faxes) with a lift-up lid that scans items on a flat surface.

Though the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 and PlanOn PrintStik PS905ME aren't the least expensive or the most functional devices of their kind, they're easy to move around and take up minimal amounts of space. For some people, that may be well worth the higher cost.

—Edited by Walter S. Mossberg.

What hand-held device can photograph close up and read aloud from books, price labels, receipts, and newspapers?

This device has far more uses beyond being a helper for sight impaired people.
For one thing, auditors might make use of this when detail testing.

Intel Reader --- http://www.intel.com/healthcare/reader/index.htm

The Intel Reader, powered by an Atom processor, is a handheld device with a five-­megapixel camera that can read aloud any printed text it is pointed at, including product labels, receipts, and pages from books and newspapers. Previously, visually impaired or dyslexic people required a desktop scanner connected to a computer to convert print into speech.
"Scan and Listen," MIT's Technology Review, December 17, 2009 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at

Are we living in the age of Botulism?

I was inspired to read a bit more about Frédéric Pagès based upon an article by Scott McLemee
"Critique of Impure Reason," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, February 10, 2010 ---

. . .

A friend who has read La vie sexuelle tells me that the author’s tongue is very conspicuously in his cheek. That BHL cited it as a serious work of scholarship would strongly suggest that he has an employee or two toiling in the erudition mines for him. If so, it is an interesting question whether the person who actually read Botul misunderstood the nature of the book -- or passed along the citation as an act of sabotage. Either way, it seems like a fireable offense. (Of course, nothing like that ever happens in the academic world.)

Finally,the incident poses an important question about intellectual history. Michel Foucault once said of Gilles Deleuze that his friend’s work was so important that one day the century might be known as Deleuzean. The convergence of judgments between Bernard-Henri Lévy and Jean-Baptiste Botul regarding Kant has important implication -- even in the United States, where BHL has, of late, been vigorously colonizing the media system. He is a regular guest on Charlie Rose, his articles appear at The Huffington Post, and Random House is publishing another of his books in a few months.

Doesn’t BHL’s prominence reveal something about the nature of the period? Are we not living, perhaps, in the age of Botulism?


Frédéric Pagès (1950 - ) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Botul

Pagès wrote two books of spoof philosophy under the name Jean-Baptiste Botul:
  • La Vie sexuelle d'Emmanuel Kant. Éditions Mille et une nuits. 1999. ISBN 2842054245. 
  • Nietzsche ou le démon de midi. Éditions Mille et une nuits. 2004. ISBN 2842058739. 

He founded the "Association of Friends of Jean-Baptiste Botul" to promote this fictious philosopher and his school of "Botulism". In 2010, the hoax caught out the well-known philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, whose book De la guerre en philosophie used Botul as the primary source for his attack on Kant.]

"What I've Been Reading, Watching, and Listening To," Bill Gates Blog ---

With more than 250 lectures from some of the world’s leading professors, The Teaching Company provides the opportunity to learn from great teachers who are true experts in their fields. Bill offers recommendations for some of the courses that he has enjoyed the most.
Great Lectures from The Teaching Company --- http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Learning/article.aspx?ID=24

The Teaching Company is adding lectures at quite a fast rate. I used to be able to say I had seen almost all of their science courses but they have added new offerings faster than I can watch them in the past year.

I wrote about some of my favorite lectures in science and in economics earlier (see Great Lectures from The Teaching Company).

I am watching Thinking about Capitalism by Jerry Muller right now which is excellent but mostly for people who want to know the history of economics. The genius of Adam Smith was really unbelievable – he foresaw a lot of the things we still argue about today.

I have not watched Economics 3rd Edition by Timothy Taylor but he is such a good teacher I might want to watch it.

In the science realm the best is probably Physics in Your Life by Richard Wolfson. He explains everything very clearly and his description of how semiconductor chips work is the best I have ever seen.

I also loved the courses on geology, starting with John Renton’s course Nature of Earth: An Introduction to Geology followed by How the Earth Works by Michael Wysession.

There is a great biology course (Biology: The Science of Life by Stephen Nowicki) and a great physics course (Particle Physics for Non-Physicists: A Tour of the Microcosmos by Steven Pollock) but those are pretty in-depth and designed more for people who want to learn the field.

Another great hard-core course is Understanding the Universe by Alex Filippenko. It is a total of 48 hours and is more in depth than most people need, but if you want to understand astronomy, there is no better way to learn it.

There is a six hour course called Earth’s Changing Climate, also by Richard Wolfson, that I recommend to people who want to learn about the science of climate change.

In medicine there are two that I like a lot. One is The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal by Anthony Goodman. He explains the different diseases that people get and the progress we have made on how to treat them. The other is Sensation, Perception, and the Aging Process by Francis Colavita. He takes all the senses and explains how they work and how they change over time.

There are two lectures on linguistics by John McWhorter that I really loved – Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language and the Story of Human Language. The history of language is far more interesting than I thought it would be – in fact it is fascinating.

The only religion course I watched was Comparative Religion by Charles Kimball. It is excellent.

In math, the best general course I’ve seen is Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas by Michael Starbird and Edward Burger.

They have a category called “High School.” I watched the Chemistry course to see if my son would like it but it ended up being a good review of the topic for me.

The category which I have not gone into but I expect to someday is "Fine Arts and Music.”

For a long time their best selling courses were the Robert Greenberg lectures on understanding music.


Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing videos and lectures from prestigious universities ---

Students from the University of Denver created this video  "parody" on technology in the classroom.
It appears, however, to be a bit more serious critique than what I would call a humorous parody.

What not to do in PowerPoint (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORxFwBR4smE

PowerPoint and Other Teaching Helpers

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side ---

"'Melting' Drywall Keeps Rooms Cool Developers think these phase-change materials could reduce the need for air-conditioning," by Katherine Bourzac, MIT's Technology Review, February 4, 2010 ---

Building materials that absorb heat during the day and release it at night, eliminating the need for air-conditioning in some climates, will soon be on the market in the United States. The North Carolina company National Gypsum is testing drywall sheets--the plaster panels that make up the walls in most new buildings--containing capsules that absorb heat to passively cool a building. The capsules, made by global chemical giant BASF, can be incorporated into a range of construction materials and are already found in some products in Europe.

The "phase-change" materials inside the BASF capsules keep a room cool in much the same way that ice cubes chill a drink: by absorbing heat as they melt. Each polymer capsule contains paraffin waxes that melt at around room temperature, enabling them to keep the temperature of a room constant throughout the day. The waxes work best in climates that cool down at night, allowing the materials inside the capsules to solidify and release the heat they've stored during the day.

In some southern European climates, for example, the materials absorb enough heat during the day to save 20 percent of the electricity needed for air-conditioning. In northern Europe, where nighttime temperatures are cooler, a building incorporating the materials may not need an air conditioner at all, says Peter Schossig, an engineer at the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany, whose research group worked with BASF to develop the capsules.

The work is part of a push in the construction industry toward greener building materials that help maintain comfortable temperatures without using electricity. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, buildings consume more than 70 percent of the electricity generated in America, and about 8 percent of that is used for air-conditioning in homes and offices. Widely used lightweight construction materials including wooden framing and drywall enable contractors to put up buildings rapidly, but they don't store much heat, so temperatures inside fluctuate throughout the day.

Phase-change materials offer a way to add thermal mass to lightweight building materials, says Leon Glicksman, professor of building technology and mechanical engineering at MIT. Since the 1950s, several companies have tried to develop passive cooling systems that take advantage of phase-change materials. But they had limited success because it's difficult to incorporate these new materials into existing building substances.

BASF makes the microcapsules by rapidly beating melted wax into hot water. Since wax and water repel one another, the wax forms small droplets. When the researchers add acrylic precursors to the mix, the repulsion between wax and water drives them to coat the droplets' surface. Finally, they add a catalyst to form an acrylic polymer shell around the wax. The resulting wet mixture can then be added to the powder that's used to make drywall or dried out and incorporated into other construction materials, including concrete and plasters.

Jensen Comment
In this era, college professors are on the lookout for "green projects" to assign for course projects such as team projects in cost accounting courses. It seems cost analysis of the benefits and costs of phase-changing a particular building might be a possible projects. Increasingly there are Web sites and other references that provide information on this new energy saving phase-change technology.

It would be really neat if a case could be developed on an actual construction project being undertaken for materials testing purposes.


"6 Emerging Technologies That Will Impact College Campuses," by Tonya Roscorla, Converge Magazine, February 2, 2010 ---

As students increasingly learn on the go, they demand that their colleges and universities stay up to date on the latest technology.

"Technology’s like the golden goose, and it’s improving at this rate that’s unprecedented, but I’m concerned that the academy will fall behind," said Adrian Sannier, vice president, university technology officer and professor of computing studies at Arizona State University.
That's where the 2010 Horizon Report comes in. The annual report of the New Media Consortium's Horizon Project describes  up and coming technologies that college campuses will likely mainstream within the next five years, as well as key trends they are experiencing and critical challenges that they will face.

6 technologies to track

 Time to adoption horizon: One year or less

  1. Mobile computing

    Smart phones, netbooks, laptops and other devices that access the Internet through cellular-based, portable hotspots and mobile broadband cards have already become mainstream on many campuses.

    At Georgetown University, the administration texts short messages to students, and profesors use screen recording software to create podcasts of their lectures that can be downloaded onto mobile phones, said
    Betsy Page Sigman, a professor who teaches management information systems, databases and electronic commerce at the university's McDonough School of Business.

  2. Open content

    As textbook prices have soared over the years, educational resources have popped up online at no cost to the students and faculty who want to use them. Open content has had a huge impact on the way colleges do business, said Brian Parish, the president of iData Inc, a higher education technology consulting and software solutions firm based in Virginia.

    However, some educators resist open content because they want to protect their
    intellectual property, not because they don't like the technology.

    “A lot of people want to use open content on the faculty and staff side, but they don’t want to make their stuff open content,” Parish said.

 Time to adoption horizon: Two to three years

  1. Electronic books

    Consumers have already mainstreamed electronic readers, including the Kindle, which was Amazon.com's best selling product in 2009. Campuses have not adapted the readers as quickly, but as more academic titles become available, they are piloting e-books.

    Eight colleges and universities are currently in the middle of a pilot program with the Kindle DX, a larger format version of the reader that is designed for academic texts, newspapers and journals. Those schools include Arizona State University, Ball State University, Case Western Reserve University, Pace University, Princeton, Reed College, Syracuse University and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. 

    And they're not the only ones. Northwest Missouri State University and Penn State have started pilot programs with the
    Sony Reader.

  2. Simple augmented reality

    When Sannier was researching augmented reality eight or nine years ago, it seemed far flung, but now it's right around the corner. Through mobile computing and cameras, people can fuse the digital world and the physical world, which is really cool, he said.

    The technology basically allows someone to point a smart phone at an object and find out information about it. For example, Sigman could take her smart phone to a place with a lot of plants, hold the camera up to one of them, and find out what kind of plant she was looking at. 

    Within a week of seeing a
    Droid phone, university President Michael M. Crow asked Sannier if he could create an augmented reality layer over the campus so that people could find out what things are, what's going on inside buildings, find their way around and really melt the walls.

    “For a university president to be as in touch with an emerging trend as that, I think it really speaks to how central technology is becoming on the academic side,” Sannier said.

 Time to adoption horizon: Four to five years

  1. Gesture-based computing

    The iPhone, iPod Touch, Nintendo Wii and other gesture-based systems have become popular in the consumer industry because they allow users to control what the device does with their body movements. Devices with these systems could make the Internet come alive and "very likely lead to new kinds of teaching or training simulations that look, feel and operate almost exactly like their real-world counterparts," the report states.

    “it’s clear that people have become more open to interacting with devices in a lot of different ways,” Sannier said. "I think the challenge there is less technology than it is practice.” 

  2. Visual data analysis

    This technology basically combines advanced computational methods with sophisticated graphics engines. Oftentimes when someone looks at a straight list of data, it's hard to see the outliers, which are the points that are farther away, Sigman said. But with visual data analysis technology, that person can put the data in a 3-D chart that will make it easy to see where the outliers are.


2 Obstacles to overcome

While universities may have an easier time replacing pens and notebooks with laptops, they will have a tougher time as they integrate technologies such as gesture-based computing, which represent a completely new way of providing information, Sannier said. These technologies will challenge the existing university structure, and universities need to respond to by accepting the idea that they don't have to control or provide these technologies.

At Arizona State University, Sannier is preparing for this switch by taking the following steps:

1. Change the culture
Preparing for the challenges that new technologies bring will require more than just a change in mindset.

“The real challenge is to change the culture of the academy," Sannier said. " We need some lighthouse institutions to do some amazing things with these technologies in classrooms and change them, and then to propagate those.”

Academies can change their culture by sharing best practices among each other and looking at how for-profit colleges and universities are able to succeed, he said. The success of the for-profit institutions will put competitive pressure on the universities for possibly the first time, and that could be a powerful change agent for universities.

2. Prepare the faculty and staff
That's not the only change that the universities will have to make. They also have bring their faculty and staff up to speed on the latest technologies because students will bring devices to school and already know how to use them, Sannier said. Parish from iData agreed.

“They expect to be able to use their mobile phone, they expect open content, they expect to use their e-books," Parish said. "It’s the staff and the organization of the university that needs to be prepared to provide that to them, and that’s the real challenge.”

At Arizona State University, Sannier is focusing on making the consumer technologies that are coming on campus easy to use instead of trying to train people how to use them. The university is also deploying online resources that allow people to push a button that will make the technology work.

Back at Georgetown University, Sigman plans on experimenting with any technology that comes along, and she sees possibilities in these emerging technologies.

“What an exciting time we live in, and what an exciting time it is for professors to be teaching," Sigman said. "There’s just so many wonderful tools that we have at our fingertips.”

Bob Jensen’s threads on education technologies are at

"6 Technologies to Watch in Education," heads up by Tracey Sutherland (Executive Director of the American Accounting Association). Her link is on the restricted-entry AAA Commons, so I will link directly to the Chronicle of Higher Education URL.

"'Horizon Report' Highlights 6 Technologies to Watch in Education," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2010 ---
The main Horizon report is at http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2010-Horizon-Report.pdf

Table of Contents

Executive Summary....................................................................................................................................... 3

Key Trends

Critical Challenges

Technologies to Watch

The Horizon Project

Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less

Mobile Computing..................................................................................................................................... 9


Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Creative Inquiry

Mobile Computing in Practice

For Further Reading

Open Content.......................................................................................................................................... 13


Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Creative Inquiry

Open Content in Practice

For Further Reading

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years

Electronic Books...................................................................................................................................... 17


Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Creative Inquiry

Electronic Books in Practice

For Further Reading

Simple Augmented Reality....................................................................................................................... 21


Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Creative Inquiry

Simple Augmented Reality in Practice

For Further Reading

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years

Gesture-Based Computing...................................................................................................................... 25


Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Creative Inquiry

Gesture-Based Computing in Practice

For Further Reading

Visual Data Analysis................................................................................................................................ 29


Relevance for Teaching, Learning, or Creative Inquiry

Visual Data Analysis in Practice

For Further Reading

Methodology................................................................................................................................................. 33

2010 Horizon Project Advisory Board.......................................................................................................... 35

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

I’ve avoided Dropbox thus far due to the high cost of storage. But others may find this service to be entirely appropriate.

Dropbox file synchronization and storage --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dropbox_(storage_provider)

Dropbox is a cross-platform cloud-based storage application and service operated by Dropbox, Inc. The service enables users to store and sync files online and between computers and share files and folders with others using file synchronization.There are both free and paid services, each with varying options.

 It is also not clear to me that Dropbox will always be able to penetrate a campus firewall if you are updating a desktop PC from your laptop at a remote site.

Dropbox has good reviews but is not truly a free service unless your college or other employer subscribes for you. I think it is free service to faculty and staff at the University of Connecticut.

For me, this would be very expensive file storage at over $1,000 per year that I instead get free from Trinity University. 50 Gb will not go far when you are serving up multimedia files on the Web.

A PC Magazine Review of Dropbox --- http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2343852,00.asp

Dropbox is the simplest, most elegant file-synchronization tool I've ever used. Dropbox Basic provides 2GB of storage free, and Dropbox Pro gives you 50GB for $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year. The service stores files with strong encryption on multiple servers in Amazon's S3 service and works equally smoothly on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. If you prefer to synchronize folders you already have on your system, or if you want to keep several folders fully synchronized between multiple machines, Dropbox may not be for you. It synchronizes only files stored in a single dedicated folder. But its smooth and hassle-free operation make it our

Bob Jensen's threads on archiving and long-term storage ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free services for sending large files over the Internet ---

Validity is Easier to Test in Gaming Tournaments
The major problem in accountics research using statistical inference is the underlying assumption of stationary-state is the real world where probabilities on constantly in transition. The major problem in accountics mathematical analytics is the assumption that the modeled systems are in equilibrium, which is essentially the same as the dubious assumption of stationary systems. I discuss these external validity problems in accounting research at

In real world games such as poker tournaments, however, the assumption of stationary states is more relevant. An example is given below.

"Universal statistical properties of poker tournaments," by Clement Sire, Physics and Society ---

Journal reference: J. Stat. Mech. (2007) P08013
DOI: 10.1088/1742-5468/2007/08/P08013
Cite as: arXiv:physics/0703122v3 [physics.soc-ph]

We present a simple model of Texas hold'em poker tournaments which retains the two main aspects of the game: i. the minimal bet grows exponentially with time; ii. players have a finite probability to bet all their money. The distribution of the fortunes of players not yet eliminated is found to be independent of time during most of the tournament, and reproduces accurately data obtained from Internet tournaments and world championship events. This model also makes the connection between poker and the persistence problem widely studied in physics, as well as some recent physical models of biological evolution, and extreme value statistics.

YouTube is Not NetFlix:  Erika and I would rather fight than switch

"YouTube’s Take From Movie Rentals: $10,709.16," by Miguel Helft, The New York Times, February 2, 2010 ---

Jensen Comment
Erika and I have the two-disk deal with disk turnaround (in nearby White River Junction, Vermont) being at most two days after we put a return DVD in the mail. We thereby watch over 20 Netflix movies per month on the cheap.  I love the vast selections of NetFlix (although we mostly watch PBS and BBC mysteries) and occasional other movies. We loved watching Grand Torino yesterday in part because we like clever and unpredictable endings.

Besides the quick turnaround, I love the keep-you-informed email messaging of Netflix. Netflix keeps you up to date the instant they receive a return disk and the instant they mail you the next disk at the top of your queue. You can easily view the entire history of your previous mailings (so you don't accidentally order something a second time unless you want to do so). And in the rare event you receive a broken disk, they will mail you a replacement disk the instant you notify them of the problem (you don't have to wait until the broken disk is returned). One time I mailed a return disk at a hotel reception desk, and the disk was most likely stolen before it was put in the mail. Perhaps because I'm such a good customer I was not billed for the missing disk by NetFlix after I explained what happened.

I don't download streaming full-feature movies from any vendor. I do not have HDTV and the other hardware needed for download to a television set.

"What Do Accounting Professors Talk About?," by David Albrecht, The Summa, February 1, 2010 ---

… when permitted to leave their offices for unsupervised free time?

Most questioners ask only rhetorically.

In response to my statement, “What is I do? I’m an accounting professor,” I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard __________ (fill in the blank with a much less than flattering comment about either accounting, accountants, or accounting classes in college).

In response to my statement, “I’m on an e-mail listserv with 1,000 other accounting professors,” I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard __________ (fill in blank with a much less than flattering comment about how little there is to talk about, and what we talk about must be exceedingly boring).

So, what did the accounting professors really talk about today?

  1. “In my opinion the Number 1 disgrace in higher education is grade inflation.”  And student evaluations of teaching are identified as the causal factor.
  2. Rankled by Rankings: The problems with the ranking of best accounting programs, best accounting departments, best college, best universities in country, best universities in world.
  3. Stephen Colbert uses an iPad at the 2010 Grammy.
  4. Designing Corporate Governance Systems
  5. Canadian Signs of IFRS Transitions to Come in the United States
  6. The enduring impact of transient emotions on decision making – being predictably irrational. I don’t think anyone believes in EMH (efficient markets hypothesis) anymore, except economists, economists advising President Obama, and corporate PR people.
  7. Could it be that some audit firms take on fewer clients when risks of negligence lawsuits increase?
  8. The major problem in accountics research using statistical inference is the underlying assumption of stationary-state is the real world where probabilities on constantly in transition.
  9. Oh, … and how Dave Albrecht uses retesting to implement mastery learning concepts in his classes. [Hey, I didn’t even bring it up.]

I love the experience.  The discussions are fodder for the educated mind.  It comes  at a cost,though.  Reading all these e-mails takes a significant portion of the three hours I daily devote to e-mail processing.  It can take an hour (or more) to craft a reply.  My reply to item #9 will take many hours and be the next blog post (or 2 or 3) to The Summa

Today test scores are up, charter schools proliferate and schools have improved to the point that Louisiana is a leading contender for Race to the Top education grants that the Obama Administration has set aside for model school systems. As tragic as Katrina was, its destruction also replaced a failed system of public education and created a political opening for reform.
"Sorry for What? Team Obama apologizes for being right," The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2010 ---

Gender Issues
"The New Math on Campus," by Alex Williams, The New York Times, February 5, 2010 ---

After midnight on a rainy night last week in Chapel Hill, N.C., a large group of sorority women at the University of North Carolina squeezed into the corner booth of a gritty basement bar. Bathed in a neon glow, they splashed beer from pitchers, traded jokes and belted out lyrics to a Taylor Swift heartache anthem thundering overhead. As a night out, it had everything — except guys.

“This is so typical, like all nights, 10 out of 10,” said Kate Andrew, a senior from Albemarle, N.C. The experience has grown tiresome: they slip on tight-fitting tops, hair sculpted, makeup just so, all for the benefit of one another, Ms. Andrew said, “because there are no guys.”

North Carolina, with a student body that is nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women’s colleges. Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education. Researchers there cite several reasons: women tend to have higher grades; men tend to drop out in disproportionate numbers; and female enrollment skews higher among older students, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students.

In terms of academic advancement, this is hardly the worst news for women — hoist a mug for female achievement. And certainly, women are primarily in college not because they are looking for men, but because they want to earn a degree.

But surrounded by so many other successful women, they often find it harder than expected to find a date on a Friday night.

“My parents think there is something wrong with me because I don’t have a boyfriend, and I don’t hang out with a lot of guys,” said Ms. Andrew, who had a large circle of male friends in high school.

Jayne Dallas, a senior studying advertising who was seated across the table, grumbled that the population of male undergraduates was even smaller when you looked at it as a dating pool. “Out of that 40 percent, there are maybe 20 percent that we would consider, and out of those 20, 10 have girlfriends, so all the girls are fighting over that other 10 percent,” she said.

Needless to say, this puts guys in a position to play the field, and tends to mean that even the ones willing to make a commitment come with storied romantic histories. Rachel Sasser, a senior history major at the table, said that before she and her boyfriend started dating, he had “hooked up with a least five of my friends in my sorority — that I know of.”

These sorts of romantic complications are hardly confined to North Carolina, an academically rigorous school where most students spend more time studying than socializing. The gender imbalance is also pronounced at some private colleges, such as New York University and Lewis & Clark in Portland, Ore., and large public universities in states like California, Florida and Georgia. The College of Charleston, a public liberal arts college in South Carolina, is 66 percent female. Some women at the University of Vermont, with an undergraduate body that is 55 percent female, sardonically refer to their college town, Burlington, as “Girlington.”

The gender gap is not universal. The Ivy League schools are largely equal in gender, and some still tilt male. But at some schools, efforts to balance the numbers have been met with complaints that less-qualified men are being admitted over more-qualified women. In December, the United States Commission on Civil Rights moved to subpoena admissions data from 19 public and private colleges to look at whether they were discriminating against qualified female applicants.

Leaving aside complaints about “affirmative action for boys,” less attention has been focused on the social ramifications.

Thanks to simple laws of supply and demand, it is often the women who must assert themselves romantically or be left alone on Valentine’s Day, staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty pizza box.

“I was talking to a friend at a bar, and this girl just came up out of nowhere, grabbed him by the wrist, spun him around and took him out to the dance floor and started grinding,” said Kelly Lynch, a junior at North Carolina, recalling a recent experience.

Students interviewed here said they believed their mating rituals reflected those of college students anywhere. But many of them — men and women alike — said that the lopsided population tends to skew behavior.

“A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,” Ms. Lynch said. “They’ll text them and say: ‘I had a great time. Want to hang out next week?’ And they don’t respond.”

Even worse, “Girls feel pressured to do more than they’re comfortable with, to lock it down,” Ms. Lynch said.

Continued in article

"The Revolution in the Economic Empowerment of Women," by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, January 4, 2010 ---

The current issue of the Economist recognizes that the dramatic change in labor force participation of women is one of the most important transformations in the economic and social worlds during the past generation. I will discuss the main forces behind this change, and also consider whether the United States needs additional public policies to accommodate women at work.

Several crucial changes have contributed to transforming the position of women. Perhaps the most fundamental during the past half century were technological advances, such as the computer, and the shift in richer countries away from manufacturing and toward services. These developments put much greater emphasis on knowledge and information as opposed to physical strength and heavy work, which in turn greatly increased the importance of higher education.

Women have shown a greater capacity than men in completing universities and four-year colleges, largely because women have greater and less variable non-cognitive skills, such as study habits. While the fraction of men with four-year college degrees in the United States has stagnated since 1970, the fraction of women with these degrees has exploded, so that now women receive almost 60% of the four-year degrees in the United States compared to only 40% in 1970. Similar shifts in higher education toward women have taken place in European countries. Related trends are occurring also in developing countries, even in fundamentalist Iran.

The increased importance of skills and knowledge has greatly affected parental fertility and investment decision. As parents have recognized the importance of a good education and other training to succeed in the modern world, they have opted for fewer children since giving extensive education to many children would be too expensive. Therefore, modern parents have lower birth rates than parents did in the past, and instead invest much more in each child. This has produced sharply declining birth rates almost everywhere, and below replacement fertility rates in about 90 countries that include all European nations, much of Asia, including China, Japan, and South Korea, and even a few mainly Moslem nations.

The declines in fertility and shift toward greater investment in children have been accelerated by the growing education of women, who tend to be particularly concerned about providing a good education to their children. This helps explain why educated women have relatively few children and invest more in the schooling of each child. In addition, the time spent by educated mothers in child rearing is more expensive since they can earn more in the labor force. This too helps explain why women who graduate from college have always tended to have fewer children than other women did.

These trends toward greater emphasis on knowledge and information, low fertility, and much greater education of women, have all contributed to the large growth in the labor force participation of women during the past several decades. For example, about 80% of American women with a college education are in the labor force compared to less than 50% for female high school dropouts. Although women are more likely to work part time than men, the gap in their labor force participation rates has greatly narrowed.

The recession affected men much harder than women since men are more likely to work in construction and manufacturing, two sectors especially hit hard. As a result, in recent months women have made up about half the labor force in the United States. This fraction will fall as the economy recovers, but the trend is still strongly toward gender equality in labor force participation, and perhaps even toward a majority of participants being women. This is partly because low skilled men have been withdrawing from the labor force.

Although women still lag by a lot in their representation in the top managerial positions, they have greatly narrowed the gap between their full time earnings and that of men. Wives earn more than their husbands in perhaps 30% of all American families with two earners,  and that percentage continues to grow. American women are starting new businesses at a much faster rate than they did in the past, and the number of female heads of large companies, although small in number, has been growing.

Although the United States has instituted various policies to help working women, unlike Sweden and other Scandinavian countries it does not provide extensive public subsidies to childcare, does not have a system of legislated paid leaves to women that allow them to care for newborn children, and does not guarantee that they can get their jobs back when they return to work. Yet, contrary to many claims, I believe that the less interventionist American approach may not have impeded, and may even have encouraged, women’s’ progress in the labor force.

Despite all the subsidies to childcare in Scandinavian countries, the US still has higher fertility rates than Sweden, Norway, or Denmark, and also than other European countries. Moreover, the labor force participation rates of women in the US are not much below those in Scandinavian countries, especially after considering that American birth rates are higher, and that some women in Scandinavian countries are counted as having jobs even when they are on paid child care leaves.

Married women in the United States with at least a high school education can “afford” to pay for childcare, and forego employment for months or even years after having children, since they are usually married to husbands who have decent to high earnings. Many of these women do leave work for a while to care for their children, even when that means they reduce their opportunities to advance when they return to work. I do not believe there is much of a case for the government to pay these married women to take leaves from work when they have children, or guarantee them their jobs when they return to work. Government policies should be rather neutral about whether women leave work to care for children or continue to work.

On the other hand, public policies to help children of poorer women, including children of many unmarried women, may be justified since these women tend to under invest in their children because they have limited incomes and often low education levels. Childcare assistance and other subsidies to investments in the young children of these women could well have a high social return. The US does subsidize childcare programs for low-income families, and could increase the subsidies to various head start programs.

But such interventions would not justify the Scandinavian approach of generously subsidizing all women, including well off women, to take paid leaves when they have children. Despite all their job guarantees after they return to work from childcare leaves, private sector opportunities for Scandinavian women, and women in several other European countries, are limited. For example, about three-quarters of employed women in Sweden work for the government compared to one-quarter of employed men, and women comprise a much larger fraction of senior managers of American companies than of Swedish companies.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

"Southern Cal Signs 13-Year-Old Quarterback," Inside Higher Ed, February 8, 2010 ---

Need more evidence of the disconnect between big-time college sports and the institutions to which they are appended? The University of Southern California's football team has committed one of its football scholarships for the 2015 entering class to David Sills, a 13-year-old quarterback at a middle school in Delaware, The News-Journal of Wilmington reported. Lane Kiffin, the new coach at Southern Cal, made a similar signing of a 13-year-old last year when he was at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and that player is presumably out of luck now that Kiffin has moved on to USC. Sills told ESPN that Southern Cal has always been his "dream school." Reports that USC's admissions office is offering slots in its 2015 undergraduate class to several very talented middle school mathematicians are false.

Jensen Comment
Quarterbacks are hard to predict at an early age, but linemen and basketball players can be signed up before conception if the mother plays for the WNBA and the father is a veteran lineman in the NFL or play the post in the NBA.

Colleges might work on attracting accounting majors among preschoolers showing exceptional signs of introversion.

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

The “Professional Judgment” Problem: Do the ends justify the means?

"The “Professional Judgment” Problem," by David Albrecht, The Summa, February 11, 2010 ---

There’s quite a discussion going on over at AECM now, centered around whether or not corporate disclosures via XBRL tagged data will be audited, and therefore receive some sort of assurance blessing.

One professor whom I respect a great deal is arguing that it is in the best interest of companies to make the best and most honest disclosures as they seek to raise capital, and it is in the best interest of auditors to associate themselves with only those companies that make the best and most honest disclosures via XBRL (and presumably via financial statements, also).

To which I say: hogwash!

I’ve seen enough corporate reporting shenanigans, and auditor “nod-and-wink” assurance, that I have concluded that there are indeed sufficient incentives in place for corporate agents to try to game the system by mis-reporting financial results. I don’t see why, if there is substantial non-compliance with GAAP, that XBRL tagging would be a refuge of purity. Moreover, there are incentives in place for auditors to fail to object to minor transgressions. Some of the times, the incentives are sufficiently large so that auditors fail to object to major transgressions. I guess I don’t see why assurance on XBRL reporting will be any different.

I certainly don’t trust corporate executives or auditors, as classes, to properly exercise “professional” judgment. Oh, proper judgment may be exercised more than half the time of the time, but given the risk averse nature of many investors, it is enough for a few bad apples to give the rest a bad name. It is the many examples of bad reporting and bad auditing (while admittedly in the minority) that are enough to destroy trust.

A spouse only need go wayward one time in order to destroy any trust the other felt. From that point on, the wayward spouse may be preceived to be untrustworthy even though a majority of days end without an unsanctioned hookup.

I believe it is not always in a company’s best interest to make an honest disclosure, and it is not always in an auditor’s interest to demand proper accounting. That is because many costs to misbehaving are long-term, but the rewards for transgressing are short term in nature. When making certain decisions, sometimes the focus of either corporate executive or auditor can shift to the short-term on a moment’s notice.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
David has entered into the very controversial "little white lie" rationalization of deception. The truth should stand on its own in financial reporting, because once we start rationalizing little white lies we never no when to stop. Pretty soon a thousand dollar white lies here and a hundred dollar white lies there begin to accumulate until we have over a billion dollar accumulation of lies --- which is exactly what happened in Worldcom.

If you really want to take up the debate of whether the ends justify the means, then have your students first watch the video of how Worldcom's Controller, David Meyers, at the time of the infractions justified his illegal actions on the premise that the ends justified the means --- because investors and employees in Worldcom would be better off by deceptive rather than honest accounting in the "short term."

June 15, 2009 message from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

I apologize if this is something that has already been mentioned but I just became aware of a very interesting video of former WorldCom Controller David Meyers at Baylor University last March - http://www.baylortv.com/streaming/001496/300kbps_str.asx 

The first 20 minutes is his presentation, which is pretty good - but the last 45 minutes or so of Q&A is the best part. It is something that would be very worthwhile to show to almost any auditing or similar class as a warning to those about to enter the accounting profession.

Denny Beresford

Jensen Comment on Some Things You Can Learn from the Video
David Meyers became a convicted felon largely because he did not say no when his supervisor (Scott Sullivan, CFO)  asked him to commit illegal and fraudulent accounting entries that he, Meyers, knew were wrong. Interestingly, Andersen actually lost the audit midstream to KPMG, but KPMG hired the same same audit team that had been working on the audit while employed by Andersen. David Myers still feels great guilt over how much he hurt investors. The implication is that these auditors were careless in a very sloppy audit but were duped by Worldcom executives rather than be an actual part of the fraud. In my opinion, however, that the carelessness was beyond the pale --- this was really, really, really bad auditing and accounting.

At the time he did wrong, he rationalized that he was doing good by shielding Worldcom from bankruptcy and protecting employees, shareholders, and creditors. However, what he and other criminals at Worldcom did was eventually make matters worse. He did not anticipate this, however, when he was covering up the accounting fraud. He could've spent 65 years in prison, but eventually only served ten months in prison because he cooperated in convicting his bosses. In fact, all he did after the fact is tell the truth to prosecutors. His CEO, Bernard Ebbers, got 25 years and is still in prison.

The audit team while with Andersen and KPMG relied too much on analytical review and too little on substantive testing and did not detect basic accounting errors from Auditing 101 (largely regarding capitalization of over $1 billion expenses that under any reasonable test should have been expensed).

Meyers feels that if Sarbanes-Oxley had been in place it may have deterred the fraud. It also would've greatly increased the audit revenues so that Andersen/KPMG could've done a better job.

To Meyers' credit, he did not exercise his $17 million in stock options because he felt that he should not personally benefit from the fraud that he was a part of while it was taking place. However, he did participate in the fraud to keep his job (and salary). He also felt compelled to follow orders the CFO that he knew was wrong.

The hero is detecting the fraud was Worldcom's internal auditor Cynthia Cooper who subsequently wrote the book:
Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 978-0-470-12429) http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0470124296/ref=sib_dp_pt#

Meyers does note that the whistleblower, Cooper, is now a hero to the world, but when she blew the whistle she was despised by virtually everybody at Worldcom. This is a price often paid by whistleblowers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#WhistleBlowing

Bob Jensen's threads on the Worldcom fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#WorldcomFraud

Pete Wilson provides some great videos on how to make accounting judgments ---

Other possible source material for ethics, independence, and professionalism courses is available at

"Behind the Adobe-Apple cold war," by Michael V. Copeland, CNN Money, January 29, 2010 ---

Trying to Distinguish Causality from Correlation?
It makes more intuitive sense when they retire early versus when they slightly cut back on patients
Could it be that some audit firms take on fewer clients when risks of negligence lawsuits increase?

"Doctors cut back hours when risk of malpractice suit rises, study shows," by Joe Hadsfield, Eureka Alert, January 28, 2010 ---

A new study shows that the number of hours physicians spend on the job each week is influenced by the fear of malpractice lawsuits.

Economists Eric Helland and Mark Showalter found that doctors cut back their workload by almost two hours each week when the expected liability risk increases by 10 percent. The study, published in the new issue of the Journal of Law and Economics, notes that the decline in hours adds up to the equivalent of one of every 35 physicians retiring without a replacement.

"The effect of malpractice risk on hours worked might seem like a small item compared to physicians moving across state borders or avoiding high-risk specialties like obstetrics," said Showalter, an economics professor at Brigham Young University. "However, when you aggregate that across all physicians, the total effect is quite large."

The analysis combined data gathered by insurers about medical liability risks in each state and medical specialty with physicians' responses to surveys about their workload and income.

When something changed the risk of medical liability – such as an adjustment in the maximum amount a jury could award in malpractice cases – doctors adjusted their workload. When liability risk went up, doctors saw fewer patients each week to minimize their chance of a lawsuit. When liability risk went down, doctors saw more patients each week.

The study also found that doctors over 55 and those that have their own practices are far more sensitive to changes in liability risk.

Some state courts are currently considering legal challenges to existing malpractice caps. Missouri and Georgia, for example, limit or cap non-economic damages that compensate for pain and suffering to $350,000. Those caps are being contested by representatives of patients.

Despite the large effects, the research does not endorse a Republican proposal to place a nationwide cap on the size of jury awards in malpractice cases, the authors note.

"If the cost of providing medical care varies by state, why should we have a national, one-size-fits-all approach?" Showalter said. "The same cap would have very different effects in Kansas than in New York."

Lead author Eric Helland is an economist at Claremont McKenna College and RAND's Institute for Civil Justice. Both Helland and Showalter have previously served on the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers.

When Texas capped its punitive damage awards, specialist physicians moved to Texas at rates higher than the licensing board could keep up with the influx/
Four years after Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, doctors are responding as supporters predicted, arriving from all parts of the country to swell the ranks of specialists at Texas hospitals and bring professional health care to some long-underserved rural areas. “It was hard to believe at first; we thought it was a spike,” said Dr. Donald W. Patrick, executive director of the medical board and a neurosurgeon and lawyer. But Dr. Patrick said the trend — licenses up 18 percent since 2003, when the damage caps were enacted — has held, with an even sharper jump of 30 percent in the last fiscal year, compared with the year before.
Ralph Blumenthal, "More Doctors in Texas After Malpractice Caps," The New York Times, October 5, 2007 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/us/05doctors.html

Bob Jensen discusses the problem of trying to adjust fees on the basis of lawsuit risks ---

In my opinion the Number 1 disgrace in higher education is grade inflation
See the grade inflation by individual colleges at http://www.gradeinflation.com/

And the Number 1 cause is giving students the power to impact their professors' tenure, promotion, and performance evaluations in a huge way

But the real underlying problem is that we made the C grade a failing grade as far as careers and graduate school admissions are concerned

At RateMyProfessor the most common issue among students is grading --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#RateMyProfessor

"Type-A-Plus Students Chafe at Grade Deflation," by Lisa Foderaro, The New York Times, January 29, 2010 ---

When Princeton University set out six years ago to corral galloping grade inflation by putting a lid on A’s, many in academia lauded it for taking a stand on a national problem and predicted that others would follow.

But the idea never took hold beyond Princeton’s walls, and so its bold vision is now running into fierce resistance from the school’s Type-A-plus student body.

With the job market not what it once was, even for Ivy Leaguers, Princetonians are complaining that the campaign against bulked-up G.P.A.’s may be coming at their expense.

“The nightmare scenario, if you will, is that you apply with a 3.5 from Princeton and someone just as smart as you applies with a 3.8 from Yale,” said Daniel E. Rauch, a senior from Millburn, N.J.

The percentage of Princeton grades in the A range dipped below 40 percent last year, down from nearly 50 percent when the policy was adopted in 2004. The class of 2009 had a mean grade-point average of 3.39, compared with 3.46 for the class of 2003. In a survey last year by the undergraduate student government, 32 percent of students cited the grading policy as the top source of unhappiness (compared with 25 percent for lack of sleep).

In September, the student government sent a letter to the faculty questioning whether professors were being overzealous in applying the policy. And last month, The Daily Princetonian denounced the policy in an editorial, saying it had “too many harmful consequences that outweigh the good intentions behind the system.”

The undergraduate student body president, Connor Diemand-Yauman, a senior from Chesterland, Ohio, said: “I had complaints from students who said that their professors handed back exams and told them, ‘I wanted to give 10 of you A’s, but because of the policy, I could only give five A’s.’ When students hear that, an alarm goes off.”

Nancy Weiss Malkiel, dean of the undergraduate college at Princeton, said the policy was not meant to establish such grade quotas, but to set a goal: Over time and across all academic departments, no more than 35 percent of grades in undergraduate courses would be A-plus, A or A-minus.

Early on, Dr. Malkiel sent 3,000 letters explaining the change to admissions officers at graduate schools and employers across the country, and every transcript goes out with a statement about the policy. But recently, the university administration has been under pressure to do more. So it created a question-and-answer booklet that it is now sending to many of the same graduate schools and employers.

Princeton also studied the effects on admissions rates to top medical schools and law schools, and found none. While the number of graduates securing jobs in finance or consulting dropped to 169 last year from 249 in 2008 and 194 in 2004, the university attributed the falloff to the recession. (Each graduating class has about 1,100 students.)

But the drop in job placements, whatever the cause, has fueled the arguments of those opposed to the policy. The grading change at Princeton was prompted by the creep of A’s, which accelerated in the 1990s, and the wildly divergent approaches to grading across disciplines. Historically, students in the natural sciences were graded far more rigorously, for example, than their classmates in the humanities, a gap that has narrowed but that still exists.

Some students respect the tougher posture. “What people don’t realize is that grades at different schools always have different meanings, and people at Goldman Sachs or the Marshall Scholarship have tons of experience assessing different G.P.A.’s,” said Jonathan Sarnoff, a sophomore who sits on the editorial board of The Daily Princetonian. “A Princeton G.P.A. is different from the G.P.A. at the College of New Jersey down the road.”

Faye Deal, the associate dean for admissions and financial aid at Stanford Law School, said she had read Princeton’s literature on the policy and continued “to view Princeton candidates in the same fashion — strong applicants with excellent preparation.”

Goldman Sachs, one of the most sought-after employers, said it did not apply a rigid G.P.A. cutoff. “Princeton knows that; everyone knows that,” said Gia Morón, a company spokeswoman, explaining that recruiters consider six “core measurements,” including achievement, leadership and commercial focus.

But Princetonians remain skeptical.

“There are tons of really great schools with really smart kids applying for the same jobs,” said Jacob Loewenstein, a junior from Lawrence, N.Y., who is majoring in German. “People intuitively take a G.P.A. to be a representation of your academic ability and act accordingly. The assumption that a recruiter who is screening applications is going to treat a Princeton student differently based on a letter is naïve.”

Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired professor at Duke who maintains a Web site dedicated to exposing grade inflation, said that Princeton’s policy was “something that other institutions can easily emulate, and should emulate, but will not.” For now, Princeton and its students are still the exception. “If that means we’re out in a leadership position and, in a sense, in a lonelier position, then we’re prepared to do that,” Dr. Malkiel said. “We’re quite confident that what we have done is right.”

February 2, 2010 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]


I agree with everything you are saying.

I also know profs who have been threatened physically by a student because of a potential grade.

Even if someone doesn't want to have such circumstances you describe affect their grading policies, it is next to impossible that these concerns won't subtly affect grading decisions.

My experience at the grad school is that if you give a student anything less than a B (for Exec MBA students often a B+), they won't get reimbursed for their tuition for that course.

Without some support from the university (like Princeton), I understand how difficult it is for someone to hold the line.

NYU's undergraduate business school also has grading guidelines similar to Princeton's. When a prof posts grades in the online system, it requires an active override to exceed the recommended percentages for each letter grade. The prof can do it, but he/she will end up on a report to the dean and dept chair.

Pat at Fordham

February 1. 2010 reply from James Martin --- http://maaw.info/

I believe the main problem is how student evaluations are used to evaluate faculty. Briefly, the thrust of the argument is that student opinions should not be used as the basis for evaluating teaching effectiveness because these aggregated opinions are invalid measures of quality teaching, provide no empirical evidence in this regard, are incomparable across different courses and different faculty members, promote faculty gaming and competition, tend to distract all participants and observers from the learning mission of the university, and insure the suboptimization and further decline of the higher education system. See the following for the full text of the paper.

Martin, J. R. 1998. Evaluating faculty based on student opinions: Problems, implications and recommendations from Deming’s theory of management perspective. Issues in Accounting Education (November): 1079-1094.

In a second reply:

Thanks Bob,

I was going to put a note here but you beat me to it. The paper is at:


I do agree with David. Student opinions should not be referred to as evaluations. I think Wanda Wallace referred to them as a happiness index or something like that. I think that's about right.



February 1, 2010 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Bob, thanks for continuing to point this out. And I'm really glad you included a note about grade inflation's cause.

But I'd like to point out to everyone that what everybody always calls "teaching evaluations" are actually *not* teaching evaluations. The more we call them by an improper name, the more we contribute to the problem.

When I was department chair, I tried to make a big deal about this, but no one listened:

"They are NOT teaching evaluations. They are not evaluating teaching. They are measures of *STUDENT PERCEPTIONS*."

Yes, I know I'm shouting, and I mean to be. And I'll continue to shout until the world recognizes the error in terminology. (... or I kick the bucket, which will undoubtedly come first.)

They are merely "Student Perceptions". It really bugs me when we are in a meeting and someone starts talking about "teaching evaluations", when what they were really referring to was a measure of *student perceptions*. Let's call them what they really are.

It is my contention that student perceptions of teaching should be ONE (1) of MANY factors which enter into a true teaching evaluation.

It's not really a valid teaching evaluation if you only use the one input (student perceptions) and not the many others.

Alas, I was a voice crying in the wilderness.

David Fordham
(But crying makes me feel better...)

February 1, 2010 reply from Leslie Kren [lkren@UWM.EDU]

This discussion reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon in which the pointy-haired boss says that he knows their data is inaccurate but they'll use it anyway because it’s the only data they have.

Students are unable to evaluate teaching simply because they don't know the body of knowledge for a course. They don’t know if content is missing or poorly presented. In my advanced course, students are often surprised when I bring up content that should have been taught in their first course.

During the faculty evaluation exercise, an instructor who scores 4.2/5.0 is often presented as a better teacher than one who scores 4.0/5.0. Yet student evals are clearly not linear. At best, student evals are merely a hurdle. Very low scores probably indicate that students are so dissatisfied that the instructor is interfering with learning. But once the hurdle is met, I don’t believe there is a linear relation (statistical or conceptual) between quality of teaching and student evals.

It is also difficult to be a champion for change. In my experience, observers too often assume that critics of the teaching eval system must be critics because they get lousy evals. In fact, the most ardent critics of the system often get the best evals. Nonetheless, this attitude probably mutes support for change. It is easier to 'play the game', even though we fail to teach students that they share responsibility for their own learning.

Leslie Kren, PhD, CPA
Associate Professor
Lubar School of Business
University of WI - Milwaukee
3202 N. Maryland office N326G Milwaukee, WI 53201
414 229-6075 fax: 414 229-6957

February 1, 2010 reply from Ed Scribner,NMSU [escribne@NMSU.EDU]

Leslie, et al.,

You may have run across the work of Raoul Arreola, (http://www.cedanet.com/info.html)  (retired from U. of Tenn. In 2009, I believe).  He wrote a great deal about student evaluations and insisted on calling them “student ratings” because, he said, students aren’t qualified to evaluate instruction.  I heard him make a pretty persuasive case that student ratings can provide reliable input for the faculty performance evaluation process, but it wasn’t particularly easy to design them to do that (although I understand there are some off-the-shelf services you can buy).  There are ways to design student ratings instruments so that the responses are highly correlated with student learning.

One interesting claim Raoul made was that no one except the instructor should be allowed access to the student comments because those tend to lead to various information processing foibles among administrators, such as weighting one negative comment more heavily than a ton of positive ones.  The argument one of our administrators gave for seeing the comments was that this is the only formal mechanism we have for learning about any abusive practices or incidents that might occur.


Ed Scribner
New Mexico State
Las Cruces, NM, USA


February 1, 2010 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Bob, What you are really saying is that the number one disgrace is the use of student evaluations by deans, department heads, colleagues, etc. to make substantive judgments about faculty members. We are old enough to remember when students didn't have the opportunity to fill out evaluations. This practice began in the late 1960s (I recall I filled out my first one at my alma mater WVU in either 1966 or 1967; my freshman year I did not get the chance to evaluate any professors).

When I was a TA at UNC, the only persons who saw the evaluations were you and the dean, who was only interested to see if someone was a disaster (the only thing the evaluations are really good for is identifying those who are clearly struggling in the classroom). Given that student evaluations are now an industry (just look at the volume of research that exists about them) yet, after nearly 50 years, we still don't have confidence in what they mean. Perhaps it is time to simply get rid of them. I just finished a term on the NC State Faculty Senate. During that time NC State went from paper and pencil evaluations to on-line evaluations and the average evaluations changed.

I was involved with the on-line assessment committee that advised on implementation and interpretation issues and I finally concluded the best thing would be to just eliminate student evaluations. They are expensive and always misused. In faculty evaluations for pay and P&T the evaluators invariably focus on only the means and completely ignore the variances. Thus, someone with a score of 4.3/5 is deemed "better" than someone with a score of 4.0/5 when, considering the variances, those two means are not different.

Hairs are split that have real consequences. We as faculty are also culpable since we tend to disparage our colleagues who don't get scores as high as we do. All of us have colleagues with swelled heads because they get extremely high evaluations from students. My suggestion to eliminate them was not summarily dismissed, particularly by the University Research and Analysis director who has the responsibility for administer the thing. Since there are now private, on-line evaluations (Rate my Professor) and, here at NC State, a student administered independent rating system, there is no longer any necessity for universities to do them.

The great disadvantage of student evaluations is the homogenization of the classroom experience. Professors I had at UNC with nicknames like "Black Jack" and "The Bulldog" are now literally verboten by student evaluations. Though the bulldog style may not be one I warmed to, I learned from these fellows. I can honestly say I never had a prof. from whom I didn't learn something of value. It was the diversity and variety of personalities that enriched the experience.

In my undergraduate major of Forestry, I had a mensuration professor (that is forest measurement with a heavy dose of statistics) with a patch on one eye who glared at the class with the one good eye and stated that, "If your reports aren't on my desk by Monday morning, your asses are grass and I'm the lawnmower." He was a "bad ass" but most of us (there were no women in my class) adored him. Can you imagine any professor making such a threat today?

There are enumerable ways to care about students and preparing them to become adults (which they aren't yet). Students are not customers, they are students and we have a responsibility to them that must be fulfilled regardless of what they think of us. Parents don't have their children fill out a form asking them to rate them as parents, because children are not their parents customers.

What student evaluations have done that is the most damaging is to fundamentally change the social relationship between professor and student to one of service provider and customer. The market analogy at work where it doesn't belong.


February 1, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Paul,

Perhaps the ideal world in relatively large classes are evaluations that are private and anonymous communications to instructors that instructors are not supposed to use in outside communications of any kind, i.e., no self-selected quotations please. I can recall the years that I received such “private” evaluations, but those times go way back. I did on occasion get useful feedback, sometimes critical feedback that made me stop and think.

After student evaluations became public, I began to wonder how sincere many of them were, especially those coming from students who anticipated low grades. They sometimes took out their frustrations with themselves on me.

This sort of thing will not work for "parent evaluations" because the classes are too small in the home.

I think that home school children should be allowed to send anonymous "instructor" evaluations to a central Website where parent-instructors can go to read anonymous evaluations (not knowing which ones came from their own students/children). This might help improve how some parents teach in home schools.

The RateMyProfessor site is becoming a bit like the idea above for home schoolers. I cannot resist following the trend in the RMP site. Early on it was primarily a gripe site for students disgruntled about grades. Lately, however, there tends to be a rising trend in positive evaluations, many of which are more along the lines of the Wanda Wallace "Happiness Evaluations." However, now there are often discussion comments that might be of help to virtually all instructors.

For example, here are a few RTM comments about one of our AECM actives:

Albrecht is a great prof. Personally I think his tests are hard because they are completely written, but like he says, as long as you know your stuff there is no reason why you shouldn't get an A. He also lets you retake tests if you have good attendance, and he sends out 3 or 4 semesters worth of previous tests as study guides. GREAT PROF!

Albrecht is a great professor. I learned a lot more from him than my 221 teachers due to the fact that we could retake exams. It took the edge off of the first exam knowing that you could retake it if you didn't like your grade. I think Albrecht is an innovative teacher and I would recommend everyone to take him.

Jensen Comment
As I look back, I never gave much thought to allowing students to retake examinations. This could be a good thing and it could be a bad thing in terms of fairness to other students. But it appears that David pulls it off in some good ways.

Thanks for the interesting reply Paul

.Bob Jensen

February 2, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

One means of mitigating grade inflation somewhat is used at Trinity University. The truckload (literally) of support materials used to support a tenure or promotion application must include the final grading distribution of each course ever taught in addition to the packet of hard copy student evaluation forms for each course. There are no established criteria for grading distributions, but from the time a faculty member joins the University he/she is informed that grading distributions will accompany tenure and promotion documentation.

Not all departments allow the head of the department to see the year-by-year grading distributions in years where tenure and/or promotion are not under consideration. However, by then the professors who tend to be more lenient graders are widely known among faculty (of course they're always identified by students no matter what).

But grading distributions can be misleading. For example, we had one Professor X in our department who had a reputation for assigning low grades at the end of each course. However, Professor X also had a reputation of being very lenient right up to the point where a killer final examination destroyed many A and B grades going into the final exam. Of course students fill out course evaluation forms before final exam so that students were feeling pretty good about their grades when they evaluated Professor X --- before they sat down for the bowel-vacating final examination.

Professor X, now fully retired, was considered an excellent classroom teacher as well as a teacher who changed a final grade about as often as George W. Bush used his veto pen --- which was virtually never ,unlike Ronald Reagan, even when a Democratic Party-controlled Congress was forwarding legislation to the Bush Oval Office. In the weeks following the end of a course Professor X always had a sign on his office door that read "No!" in enormous letters.

It’s funny how we remember some of the little incidents about a friend years after seeing or corresponding with that friend. One of the things I remember about Professor X is the morning he arrived at the office wearing one brown shoe and one black shoe. Most instructors would’ve made a joke about it when standing in front of class --- like some joke about absent minded professors. However, Professor X was so embarrassed that he called off class in order to drive home and change his shoes. He was always dressed in a suit and tie for every class.

Bob Jensen

February 2, 2010 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

I’ve been reading these emails, and have two comments…

First, what is the alternative to the student evaluations? In addition to student evaluations, for milestones (first-year review, 3-year review, tenure, etc.), we have peer reviews where two professors sit in the instructor’s class. They have to stay for the whole class (75 minutes) and they can’t visit the same class. But the problem with the peer reviews is that we stuffer the Lake Wobegone syndrome in that the performance of all faculty is above average. The peer review memos are essentially boilerplate. So, the student evaluations have a much wider distribution of opinions then you are ever going see in peer reviews. And yes, the negative student evaluations can be painful and yes the negative student evaluations can reflect the student’s revenge for a lower-than-expected grade you gave the student, but you can’t just write-off the negative comments.

Second, maybe I shouldn’t bring this up, but nobody has talked about how to manipulate the student evaluations. If they are here to stay, what can you do to improve your evaluations without really doing anything to improve your teaching? BTW I’m not encouraging these activities. And I’m not saying I do any of these activities. Let’s start with a simple one: don’t do the student evaluations the same day you return a midterm where the average grade was 53 out of 100. I know a professor who carries the evaluation forms with him to class, he quickly judges the general mood of the class, check to see if the regular troublemakers are there and if all looks good, he distributes the evaluations forms. If not, he does not and brings the forms with to the next class meeting. At his school there is a 2 week window to do the student evaluations.

Take the direct approach (don’t pussyfoot around): When I was a graduate student, the professor simply asked us to give him good evaluations. He said he was going to be up for tenure in two years and any negative evaluations would make it difficult for him to get tenure and he and his wife really wanted to stay in Los Angeles, they had a house, etc. etc….

The list goes on—bring a puppy to class, bring cookies, have pizza delivered to class (requires some planning, but does put students in a good mood), put your arm in a sling and use a crutch (creates a lot of sympathy), if you can get a wheelchair, that’s even better, bring your cute kids to class (if you don’t have cute kids, borrow some)…

Think out the box…

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

February 2, 2010 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]


You hit a few of my "hot" buttons and, of course, I can't not respond.

My university is considering changing the title of all clinical professors (regardless of rank) to lecturer. I am opposed for precisely the general view of this title aspejorative...somehow we are less qualified and/or do a poorer job or have less requirements than tenured or tenure track professors. I decline to agree.

We have 4 clinical faculty in the Accounting department. We generally teach upper level courses (and more of them) than tenured or tenure track faculty. On the financial accounting topics that means: Intermediate and Auditing (both 1 & 2) (both grad and undergrad), sometimes Advanced, International and Financial Statement Analysis (to undergrads). Two of the three full-time tax profs are clinicals. These courses are not trivial and I must keep current with both FASB and IASB pronouncements otherwise I do a disservice to my students.

I also publish (although not in referred journals to date). I am considering a blog, but truthfully, don't know how to fit it in.

I believe that universities need faculty like me. I don't believe most (not all) tenure track faculty can afford to spend the amount of time I do keeping current or they jeopardize the time they need to spend doing research and struggling to get published in AR, JAR, etc.

Sorry if I "sound" defensive on this issue.


Hi Patricia,

To my knowledge nearly all of those top accounting programs use full-time clinical accounting faculty these days in part because so many of the newer faculty are accountics scholars with little interest in teaching what students need to learn for professional careers (although there certainly are exceptions where accountics faculty can also teach top-of-the line professional courses). In some ways these top programs that also have accountancy doctoral programs keep their best accountics faculty pretty well occupied with doctoral program duties (that entail a lot more than teaching classes).

The most difficult thing is for clinical teaching faculty to be distinguished as top notch versus not-so-great teachers. Often former executive partners are neither great teachers nor great accountants if their duties were primarily executive management and client relations.

As I mentioned yesterday, if you take RateMyProfessor negative comments with an enormous grain of salt (allowing for a few students disgruntled about grades and the small number of responses in many cases), you can sometimes learn a few things about both clinical and research faculty. As a rule the students do not know the difference or care about the difference between a clinical versus a research professor.

Interestingly students often make comments about whether the course is easy/difficult and whether grading is easy/masochistic.


Clinical Professor Illustration  1

Student 1
If you want to really learn accounting, you have no other choice but to take Walters - she is one of the best! Her exams are very difficult, but she is a fair grader and her only mission is to make sure you learn the material - not to screw you over like other accounting professors at Fordham - you will work very hard but is it worth it! 5/3/08 ACGB7120 2 4 4 3

Student 2
Finally, an accounting professor at Fordham who likes to teach and is good at it. Goes over the problems in detail in class and then posts everything from the class session on blackboard. Exams are take home - NOT EASY and very time consuming, but a very fair grader. Very dedicated and highly recommend , one of the best at Fordham.

Clinical Professor Illustration 2

E&Y Executive Professor (Beresford) of Accounting at UGA. Excellent in stimulating student's interest in accounting matters. Very intelligent and dynamic. Good class to take for improving research, critical thinking, and communication skills. I highly recommend it.

Research Professor Illustration 1 --- http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=17622

Read these yourself  (I like Dick's "awesome" reviews) --- http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=17622

God bless the clinical professors as well as the research professors in accountancy who are truly outstanding at their crafts.

Bob Jensen

Concluding Jensen Comment
What puts me off most when students evaluate teachers is that they want what I wanted most of my college life. I wanted a teacher to have a very structured course that spelled out what you were expected to learn and then made the learning much easier inside class and with handouts that could be memorized or reasoned out with memorized rules. Time and time again I've seen "textbook teachers" get stellar evaluations. Sadly, the unstructured courses tend to get hammered.

The teachers that made me learn on my own probably did me the biggest favors in life but at the time I would not have given them high marks on evaluation forms. The extreme case is a BAM instructor who really guides learning without teaching ---

I love a teaching evaluation that one of my heroes, Tony Catenach, reported. The discussion part of the evaluation simply said "Everything I learned in this course I had to learn on my own." To which Tony replied:  "Case closed!"
What impressed me most about his BAM approach across two semesters of Intermediate Accounting at the University of Virginia is the marked, I mean really marked, improvement of UVA graduates on CPA examinations after students had to start doing most of the learning on their own. Case closed!

There are also those lessons from the Dead Poets Society ---


Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at

In particular note the module entitled "Where Highest Ranked Colleges Don't Excel." ---
Partly because of the clinical accounting faculty, I don't think accountancy programs in these highest-ranked colleges are as bad off as most of the other departments

Grade Inflation:  The Biggest Scandal in Higher Education ---

His lawyer, Murray Richman, told reporters in the courthouse hallway that the councilman’s conduct did not constitute a crime.

That must've been one big bagel!

Excuse me. I was just distracted by the new 66-page federal indictment of Larry Seabrook, a New York City councilman who, along with multitudinous other charges, is accused of altering a receipt from a deli so he could get a $177 reimbursement for a bagel and diet soda.
Gail Collins, The Biggest Losers, The New York Times, February 10. 2010 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/opinion/11collins.html?hpw
But his attorney says that no crime was committed. This is acceptable behavior of elected officials.

"Councilman Charged With Money Laundering," by Ray Rivera and William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times, February 9, 2010 ---

City Councilman Larry B. Seabrook, a fixture in Bronx Democratic politics for more than two decades, was charged on Tuesday with money laundering, extortion and fraud in a series of schemes that included helping a close associate win a contract to install boilers in the new Yankee Stadium and siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars in city money to himself, friends and family members.

Most of the charges in the 13-count federal indictment revolve around Mr. Seabrook’s use of Council discretionary funds, known as earmarks, to finance a string of nonprofit groups that city and federal authorities say ultimately did little for the communities they were supposed to aid.

Prosecutors say Mr. Seabrook closely controlled the groups’ budgets and personnel decisions, helping them to win city contracts and using the money to pay more than $500,000 in salaries and consulting fees to his female companion, his brother, two sisters and other family members.

Mr. Seabrook, 58, and others were able to do this, prosecutors contend, in part by repeatedly inflating expense claims to the city on the part of the nonprofit groups, including rent costs. From 2002 to 2009, Mr. Seabrook directed more than $1 million to the groups while never disclosing his close affiliation with them.

The conduct alleged in the indictment ranges from the ambitious to the nearly silly: from extorting payments from a close associate to help win the boiler contract to altering a $7 receipt for a bagel sandwich and diet soda so that Mr. Seabrook was reimbursed $177 for the purchase.

Mr. Seabrook, a former assemblyman and state senator who in November won re-election for his third Council term, pleaded not guilty. He is the second councilman charged in recent months with stealing city money through the discretionary process. In July, former Councilman Miguel Martinez, a Democrat who represented Upper Manhattan, pleaded guilty to three felony counts involving the theft of $106,000, some of which was intended for nonprofit organizations. He was sentenced in December to five years in prison.

Mr. Seabrook, who over a 26-year political career has survived scares and scrapes with a variety of investigations and audits, could face considerably more time if he is found guilty on all or some of the charges in the indictment, most of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.

In Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Mr. Seabrook, wearing gray suit pants, a matching vest and a white shirt buttoned to the neck with no tie, pleaded “not guilty” in a loud voice before United States Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman.

He was released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond. His lawyer, Murray Richman, told reporters in the courthouse hallway that the councilman’s conduct did not constitute a crime

“We have no hesitation in saying that we don’t perceive that a crime was committed,” Mr. Richman said, adding, in reference to a check that was issued to reimburse the councilman for what he said were legitimate expenses, “That’s laundering? I question that.”

At a news conference, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that through the use of discretionary funds, Mr. Seabrook “basically operated his own corrupted City Council-funded friends and family plan.”

Rose Gill Hearn, the city’s investigations commissioner, described the fraudulent schemes alleged in the indictment as “breathtaking.” Even after one of the nonprofit groups was flagged by city auditors for financial impropriety, she said, Mr. Seabrook “found ways to dodge scrutiny and keep the money flowing.”

The allegations are another blow to the embattled City Council, which over the course of a two-year investigation by federal prosecutors and the city’s Department of Investigation has been forced to take several steps to bring more transparency to the way it distributes millions of dollars in discretionary funds each year.

Speaker Christine C. Quinn said in a statement on Tuesday that all of the members of the Council “take the deeply troubling allegations” against Mr. Seabrook “very seriously,” adding that the matter was immediately referred to the body’s Standards and Ethics Committee, which will convene as early as next week.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declined to comment on the specifics of the allegations on Tuesday, saying he had not read them. At the same time he defended the Council and the administration’s efforts to clean up its discretionary financing process.

Four of the 13 counts in the indictment are based on what prosecutors allege was Mr. Seabrook’s successful lobbying effort to help his close associate win the nearly $300,000 subcontract to install two boilers at the new Yankee Stadium and his direct solicitation of $50,000 in payments from the man, much of which Mr. Seabrook then funneled through his political committee.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of governmental accounting are at

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

The Mother Father of Moral Hazards
"School creep's detention haul," by Susan Edelman and Cyntia R. Fagen, New York Post, January 31, 2010 ---

A Queens teacher who collects a $100,000 salary for doing nothing spends time in a Department of Education "rubber room" working on his law practice and managing 12 real-estate properties worth an estimated $7.8 million, The Post found.

Alan Rosenfeld hasn't set foot in a classroom for nearly a decade since he was accused in 2001 of making lewd comments to junior-high girls and "staring at their butts," yet the department still pays him handsomely for sitting on his own butt seven hours a day.

In 2001, six eighth-graders at IS 347 in Queens accused Rosenfeld, a typing teacher who filled in for an absent dean, of making comments like "You have a sexy body," asking one whether she had a boyfriend and making others feel uncomfortable with creepy leers.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/school_creep_bQL5kouK80obW5MhZRyq7J#ixzz0eIVOq8eD

Because the Department of Education could not produce all the students as witnesses, he was found guilty in only one case. A girl testified that Rosenfeld stopped at her locker, where she was standing with a friend, and "said I love him because I talk to him so much."

A DOE hearing officer gave him a slap on the wrist -- a week off without pay -- for "conduct unbecoming a teacher." He was cleared to return to teaching.

Instead, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has kept the scruffy 64-year-old in a Brooklyn rubber room, deeming him too dangerous to be near kids, officials said.

The DOE can't fire him.

"We have to abide by the union contract," spokeswoman Ann Forte said.

So Rosenfeld simply collects his $100,049 salary -- top scale for teachers -- plus full health benefits and the promise of a fat pension, about $82,000 a year if he were to retire today.

His pension will grow by $1,700 each year he remains. He could have retired at age 62, but he stays.

He has also accumulated about 435 unused sick days -- and will get paid for half of them when he retires.

With city teachers trying to negotiate a 4 percent pay hike, Rosenfeld stands to get the raise.

All this largesse comes as Mayor Bloomberg threatens to cut 2,500 teachers to help close a $4 billion budget gap.

Meanwhile, the multimillionaire Rosenfeld lords over the rubber room, where he is the oldest and most veteran of 100 teachers.

He reports promptly at 7:30 a.m. to the cavernous "reassignment center" on Chapel Street and spreads out at a table cluttered with used paper cups, plastic utensils, bags of food, news clippings and files.

He "smells like he hasn't taken a shower in months," an insider said.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/school_creep_bQL5kouK80obW5MhZRyq7J#ixzz0eIVSuucQ

Wow:  97% of Elementary NYC Public Students Get A or B Grades --- There must be higher IQ in the water!
"City Schools May Get Fewer A’s," by Jennifer Medina, The New York Times, January 28, 2010 ---

Months after handing out A’s and B’s to 97 percent of New York City elementary schools, education officials plan to change their methods for grading the city’s public schools, making it harder to receive high marks.

Under the proposed changes, schools would be measured against one another, with those where students show the most significant improvements getting the top grades. There would be set grade-distribution guidelines, with 25 percent of schools receiving A’s, 30 percent B’s, 30 percent C’s, 10 percent D’s, and the bottom 5 percent of schools getting F’s.

Currently, the progress reports measure improvements, but an unlimited number of schools can receive high grades.

The Department of Education plans to hold several sessions with principals on the proposed changes to get their views. In a memo to principals, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the chief accountability officer, acknowledged Friday that the department’s “accountability tools aren’t perfect,” and said that it would continue to do more to improve them.

“We want to be able to really show how much value a school is actually adding,” he said in an interview.

While the department is responding to criticism that the report cards rely too heavily on year-to-year changes on state tests, the new process could be more confusing to parents. Rather than simply measuring how many students improved on state exams, the new system would use what researchers call a “growth percentile model.”

Students would be compared with others who scored at the same level on the previous year’s test, and improvement would be measured on a percentile basis. So a student who scored a 3 on the test in the third grade and 3.7 in the fourth grade could be in the 95th percentile, while a student who did not improve might be in the 35th percentile.

Mr. Polakow-Suransky said the department expected to have several meetings with parents to explain the changes and would revise the progress reports given to parents to make them easier to understand.

Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, criticized the decision to reduce the number of schools that receive top grades.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Must be tough getting an A in the fourth grade and an F on the uniform achievement examination.
This does not seem to embarrass the United Federation of Teachers.

This is a little like those universities (no names mentioned) that graduate accounting majors almost never take and/or pass the CPA examination even though they had all A or B grades in accounting.

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#GradeInflation

January 30, 2010 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

Why are you surprised? NYC school system spends the most money per student of any school district. Doesn’t high dollars per student = high achievement? In California, we spend the highest dollars per prisoner of any state, so we have the “best” prisoners. At least we have the healthiest prisoners because we spend more dollars per prisoner for health care than any other state.

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


"The enduring impact of transient emotions on decision making," by Eduardo B. Andrade and Dan Ariely, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 109 (2009) 1–8 --- http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty/papers/AndradeAriely2009.pdf

People often do not realize they are being influenced by an incidental emotional state. As a result, decisions based on a fleeting incidental emotion can become the basis for future decisions and hence outlive the original cause for the behavior (i.e., the emotion itself). Using a sequence of ultimatum and dictator games, we provide empirical evidence for the enduring impact of transient emotions on economic decision making. Behavioral consistency and false consensus are presented as potential underlying processes.

  • "The Science Behind Exercise Footwear," MIT's Technology Review, January 5, 2010 ---

    A few weeks ago Reebok unveiled a walking shoe purported to tone muscles to a greater extent than your average sneaker. All you had to do was slip on a pair of EasyTone and the rest would take care of itself.

    Exercise without exercise? Great!

    Considering the abracadabra-like quality of the shoe, it’s no surprise that it’s been selling like hotcakes. The question of course is “ does it work”?

    According to a recent New York Times article on the topic Reebok has accumulated “15,000 hours’ worth of wear-test data from shoe users who say they notice the difference.” (The company also quotes a study as support, but it’s one they commissioned themselves and only carries a sample size of five.) The two women quoted in the article further echo this sentiment.

    Reebok’s head of advanced innovation (and EasyTone mastermind), Bill McInnis, says the shoe works because it offers the kind of imbalance that you get with stability balls at the gym. Unlike other sneakers, which are made flat with comfort in mind, the EasyTone is purposely outfitted with air-filled toe-and-heal “balance pods” in order to simulate the muscle engagement required to walk through sand. With every step, air shifts from one pod to the other, causing the person’s foot to sink and forcing their leg and backside muscles into a workout.

    But as the Times article proposes at the end (without explicitly using the term), the shoe’s success could instead come from the placebo effect. Thanks to Reebok’s marketing efforts, buyers pick up the shoes already convinced of their success, a mind frame that may then cause them to walk faster or harder or longer, thereby producing the expected workout – just not for the expected reason.

    And there are some reasons to suspect this kind of placebo effect: In a paper by Alia Crum and Ellen Langer. Titled “Mind-Set Matters: Exercise and the Placebo Effect.” In their research they told some maids working in hotels that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Other maids were not given this information. 4 weeks later, the informed group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before, their weight was lower and they even showed a decrease in blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.

    So, maybe exercise affects health are part placebo?

    Irrationally Yours



    A One-Hour Video on What it Means to Be Predictably Irrational (July 25, 2008) --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
    The video is also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZv--sm9XXU
    This is quite interesting!

    From the Financial Rounds Blog on January 25, 2008 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

    "Dan Ariely (Duke University) - Predictably Irrational

    Here's a video of Dan Ariely (author of "Predictably Irrational") in his recent talk for the Google Authors program. Ariely has written a fascinating book about some of the cognitive and behavioral biases that most of us exhibit. If you listen carefully, you'll find that he even gives a hint about how to increase your student evaluations --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/


    Summary of what it means to be "predictably irrational" --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictably_Irrational

    New York Times Book Review
    "Emonomics," by David Berreby, The New York Times, March 16, 2008 ---

    For years, the ideology of free markets bestrode the world, bending politics as well as economics to its core assumption: market forces produce the best solution to any problem. But these days, even Bill Gates says capitalism’s work is “unsatisfactory” for one-third of humanity, and not even Hillary Clinton supports Bill Clinton’s 1990s trade pacts.

    Another sign that times are changing is “Predictably Irrational,” a book that both exemplifies and explains this shift in the cultural winds. Here, Dan Ariely, an economist at M.I.T., tells us that “life with fewer market norms and more social norms would be more satisfying, creative, fulfilling and fun.” By the way, the conference where he had this insight wasn’t sponsored by the Federal Reserve, where he is a researcher. It came to him at Burning Man, the annual anarchist conclave where clothes are optional and money is banned. Ariely calls it “the most accepting, social and caring place I had ever been.”

    Obviously, this sly and lucid book is not about your grandfather’s dismal science. Ariely’s trade is behavioral economics, which is the study, by experiments, of what people actually do when they buy, sell, change jobs, marry and make other real-life decisions.

    To see how arousal alters sexual attitudes, for example, Ariely and his colleagues asked young men to answer a questionnaire — then asked them to answer it again, only this time while indulging in Internet pornography on a laptop wrapped in Saran Wrap. (In that state, their answers to questions about sexual tastes,, violence and condom use were far less respectable.) To study the power of suggestion, Ariely’s team zapped volunteers with a little painful electricity, then offered fake pain pills costing either 10 cents or $2.50 (all reduced the pain, but the more expensive ones had a far greater effect). To see how social situations affect honesty, they created tests that made it easy to cheat, then looked at what happened if they reminded people right before the test of a moral rule. (It turned out that being reminded of any moral code — the Ten Commandments, the non-existent “M.I.T. honor system” — caused cheating to plummet.)

    These sorts of rigorous but goofy-sounding experiments lend themselves to a genial, gee-whiz style, with which Ariely moves comfortably from the lab to broad social questions to his own life (why did he buy that Audi instead of a sensible minivan?). He is good-tempered company — if he mentions you in this book, you are going to be called “brilliant,” “fantastic” or “delightful” — and crystal clear about all he describes. But “Predictably Irrational” is a far more revolutionary book than its unthreatening manner lets on. It’s a concise summary of why today’s social science increasingly treats the markets-know-best model as a fairy tale.

    At the heart of the market approach to understanding people is a set of assumptions. First, you are a coherent and unitary self. Second, you can be sure of what this self of yours wants and needs, and can predict what it will do. Third, you get some information about yourself from your body — objective facts about hunger, thirst, pain and pleasure that help guide your decisions. Standard economics, as Ariely writes, assumes that all of us, equipped with this sort of self, “know all the pertinent information about our decisions” and “we can calculate the value of the different options we face.” We are, for important decisions, rational, and that’s what makes markets so effective at finding value and allocating work. To borrow from H. L. Mencken, the market approach presumes that “the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    What the past few decades of work in psychology, sociology and economics has shown, as Ariely describes, is that all three of these assumptions are false. Yes, you have a rational self, but it’s not your only one, nor is it often in charge. A more accurate picture is that there are a bunch of different versions of you, who come to the fore under different conditions. We aren’t cool calculators of self-interest who sometimes go crazy; we’re crazies who are, under special circumstances, sometimes rational.

    Ariely is not out to overthrow rationality. Instead, he and his fellow social scientists want to replace the “rational economic man” model with one that more accurately describes the real laws that drive human choices. In a chapter on “relativity,” for example, Ariely writes that evaluating two houses side by side yields different results than evaluating three — A, B and a somewhat less appealing version of A. The subpar A makes it easier to decide that A is better — not only better than the similar one, but better than B. The lesser version of A should have no effect on your rating of the other two buildings, but it does. Similarly, he describes the “zero price effect,” which marketers exploit to convince us to buy something we don’t really want or need in order to collect a “free” gift. “FREE! gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is,” Ariely writes. None of this is rational, but it is predictable.

    What the reasoning self should do, he says, is set up guardrails to manage things during those many, many moments when reason is not in charge. (Though one might ask why the reasoning self should always be in charge, an assumption Ariely doesn’t examine too closely.)

    For example, Ariely writes, we know our irrational self falls easily into wanting stuff we can’t afford and don’t need. So he proposes a credit card that encourages planning and self-control. After $50 is spent on chocolate this month — pfft, declined! He has in fact suggested this to a major bank. Of course, he knew that his idea would cut into the $17 billion a year that American banks make on consumer credit-card interest, but what the heck: money isn’t everything.


    An Experiment With Toilet Paper and Other Messages --- http://www.predictablyirrational.com/

    Other videos on being Predictably Irrational


    Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm

    "Stanford finds cheating — especially among computer science students — on the rise," by Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News, February 7, 2010 --- http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_14351156?nclick_check=1 

    Allegations of cheating at Stanford University have more than doubled in the past decade, with the largest number of violations involving computer science students.

    In 10 years, the number of cases investigated by the university's Judicial Panel has climbed from 52 to 123.

    Stanford, one of only 100 U.S. campuses with an "honor code," established its code in 1921 to uphold academic integrity by prohibiting plagiarism, copying work and getting outside help. Penalties for violations include denied credit for a class, a rejected thesis or a one-quarter suspension from the university. Students also pledge to report cheaters and do honest work without being policed.

    "There's been a very significant increase," although the vast majority of the school's 19,000 students are honest, said Chris Griffith, chief of the Judicial Panel. More men are reported than women, and more undergraduates than graduates.

    "Some of it is due to an increase in dishonesty," she said, "while some is due to an increase in reporting by faculty."

    The findings came from new data presented by Griffith at a meeting of Stanford faculty at the academic senate. Although computer science students represent 6.5 percent of Stanford's student body, last year those students accounted for 23 percent of the university's honor code violators.

    "My feeling is that the most important factor is the high frustration levels that typically go along with trying to get a program

    to run," said computer science professor Eric Roberts, who has studied the problem of academic cheating. He noted that most violations involve homework assignments rather than exams.

    "The computer is an unforgiving arbiter of correctness," he said. "Imagine what would happen if every time you submitted a paper for an English course, it came back with a red circle around the first syntactic error, along with a notation saying: 'No credit — resubmit.' After a dozen attempts all meeting the same fate, the temptation to copy a paper you knew would pass might get pretty high. That situation is analogous to what happens in computing courses."

    A common computer science violation occurs when students work as a team to complete an assignment, even though the rules stipulate that work must be done individually.

    Also common: students obtaining someone else's code and submitting that version, after making simple edits to disguise the work. They find copies by rooting through discarded program listings taken from a recycling bin, or checking machines in public clusters to see whether previous students left solutions lying around.

    "People know exactly what they're doing," Roberts said. "One student took code out of the 'recycle bin' of a laptop, changed the name of the original author and used it in six of the seven files that were submitted."

    As for the problem of cheating, Stanford is by no means alone. Roberts noted that the largest cheating episode in the history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology took place in a 1991 course titled "Introduction to Computers and Problem Solving," when 73 of 239 students were disciplined for "excessive collaboration."

    Today, to reveal similarities in code, Stanford computer professors use a program called MOSS (Measure Of Software Similarity). That software is boosting the number of discovered violations.

    Other violations, although fewer, were found in the departments of biology and Introduction to the Humanities. Art history had only one violation.

    Universitywide, 43 percent of violations at Stanford involved "unpermitted collaboration," where students submit work that was not done independently. About 31 percent involved plagiarism, using Internet-based work that was not cited. Another 11 percent involved copying work; 5 percent, receiving outside help; 5 percent, representing others' work as their own and 5 percent, assorted violations.

    The Judicial Panel's report also noted that cheating was uncommon in professional schools, such as law and medicine.

    "When you're in professional school at Stanford, it is foolish to cheat. If you pass, there will be good job opportunities," said law student Eric Osborne.

    "That is not as true for undergraduates in the engineering and computer science fields," said Osborne, "where in this economy, there is a lot of drive to get into grad school."

    "Admissions Weakness Exposed at Oxford University in the United Kingdom," Inside Higher Ed, February 8, 2010 ---

    The case of a first-year student at the University of Oxford, apparently admitted courtesy of a high school and testing record he didn't earn, has led to increased scrutiny of the admissions system there, Times Higher Education reported. The student in question reported 10 A-grade A-level exams, a notable accomplishment in the British system -- except that it was false. A teacher's recommendation was also forged. The Times Higher reported that the student, who has been suspended, was admitted through a program for applicants who are not sponsored by schools, and that questions have been raised by critics about whether such applicants' materials receive enough scrutiny.

    Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

    This UCLA court challenge could have very wide-reaching implications for the Fair Use safe harbor of the DMCA.
    It will, however, not affect the many UCLA lecture videos available to the public on YouTube.

    I'm really surprised that we've not had more challenges like this before now.
    The Fair Use safe harbor does not equate to permission to use copyrighted materials for free after they are "readily available" for a fee.
    It does apply to relatively short periods of time before such materials are "readily available" such as the day after a PBS broadcast.
    But when that PBS or other video can be easily purchased, it no longer falls under Fair Use.
    The huge gray zone concerns what copyrighted material that students must purchase individually as opposed to using the college's purchased copy.
    The DMCA law is one huge mess in the gray zones.
    Before you read this tidbit you may want to scan my threads on Fair Use ambiguities and the dark side of the DMCA at

    "UCLA Pulls Videos From Course Sites After Copyright Challenge," by Jill Laster, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2010 ---

    The University of California at Los Angeles has stopped posting copyrighted videos on course Web sites after complaints from an educational-media trade group, leaving other colleges worried about repercussions.

    The Association for Information and Media Equipment contacted the university in the fall, alleging that it had violated copyright laws by letting instructors use the videos, which were accessible only to students then enrolled in specific courses. The university temporarily stopped using online videos beginning this semester and is negotiating with the trade group.

    Current copyright laws allow "fair use" exceptions for teaching and research, and one specific exception in copyright law lets instructors use legally made audiovisual material in face-to-face teaching activities. The university argues that posting the material to password-protected sites falls under these exceptions and that technology is "a critical component of our instructional mission here and at a lot of other universities," according to a spokesman, Phil Hampton.

    But Allen Dohra, president of AIME, said posting those videos isn't protected and hurts the people who produce them. Mr. Dohra said his organization had three other institutions it needed to look into, although he declined to give their names.

    "Every time there is a format change, the film producer has to make large capital expenditures to bring his collection up to date," Mr. Dohra said. "The customers want our product, enough of them prove that by stealing it, but they seem to have a problem with the companies recovering those capital expenditures. That is exactly the case in the UCLA matter."

    The university could also cite the Teach Act, which allows limited use of copyrighted materials for online education, said Steven J. McDonald, general counsel for the Rhode Island School of Design. Mr. McDonald said that although the act constricts how much of a video can be posted, institutions could argue that using 100 percent of the video is necessary for the course. Mr. Dohra disputes the applicability of the Teach Act, in part because UCLA used some full-length films.

    Steven L. Worona, director of policy and networking programs at Educause, said the higher-education-technology organization had already fielded calls from universities concerned by the UCLA case. He said institutions should wait to see what happens at UCLA before they take any action.

    Mr. Worona said that posting class materials online was fairly common in higher education and that stopping institutions from posting online without paying more money could have broad implications.

    "If it becomes a requirement nationwide for streaming media to be limited to face-to-face synchronous presentation, it will be more expensive for campuses, more expensive for students, and lose many of the benefits that digital networking offers to classroom instruction," he said.

    Patricia Aufderheide, director of American University's Center for Social Media, disagrees with what she says is UCLA's decision to negotiate instead of fight, but understands why the institution did that. Universities have not joined together to find a way to deal with similar claims from media companies, she said.

    Ms. Aufderheide, a professor of film and media studies who uses film clips for all of her classes, worries about challenges to universities' ability to post videos.

    "I think this is something that really sends chills down your spine as a teacher," she said.

    Instructors at UCLA are finding alternatives to using copyrighted videos online, said Robin L. Garrell, a chemistry professor and chair of the Academic Senate there. Some tell students to use Netflix or Amazon for movies, and others have modified their curricula based on what material is easily available.

    Ms. Garrell and Patricia O'Donnell, manager of the university's Instructional Media Collection and Services, declined to give their opinions on the case. But Ms. O'Donnell did say that the discussion about posting videos has been beneficial.

    "I think it's definitely on everyone's mind," Ms. O'Donnell said. "I think the challenge [by AIME] has just sort of brought it to the forefront."

    Mr. Dohra said he felt that his group had been accused of bullying the university, and that a number of professors and librarians had been unfairly critical in online comments.

    "The copyright laws were attacked as antiquated, and AIME was castigated for standing up for its members' rights," Mr. Dohra said. "I find it all strange, especially coming from those who should consider intellectual-property rights the most sacred of rights."


    Jensen Comment
    The bad news is that most faculty members in the U.S. are probably relying on Fair Use safe harbors that are really not safe.

    The good news is that tradition generally entails first receiving a warning to "cease and desist" from the copyright holder.
    Then if faculty comply with the "cease and desist" request there usually is no lawsuit or monetary damages except in unusual circumstances where the copyright holder claims to have incurred enormous damages for a first-time violation such as pirating and widely distributing a video to the public in general. The fact that UCLA password protected the videos in question greatly reduces the damages to the copyright owner.

    So breathe easier if you've not yet received a "cease and desist" order, although this does not resolve the ethical issues for faculty who suspect they are not in compliance with the Fair Use law. In this case ignorance is bliss.

    Another ethical issue is where a faculty member requests students to view a YouTube or other online video that is itself suspect even if it's on YouTube. For example, it's perfectly all right to assign a clip from CBS Sixty Minutes if it is served up on the Sixty Minutes Web site. However, after it is no longer free from CBS it probably is a violation if you assign the same clip still being served up on YouTube. Personally, however, I would probably still assign the clip as long as it's still on YouTube. I'm not particularly upset by using anything in the public domain. But just because Bob Jensen is not concerned does not make it perfectly all right!

    Only one time did I get a complaint that I served up, on a Website, a quotation that was too long under Fair Use guidelines. I removed the entire tidbit. Afterwards the copyright owner asked me to reinstate the tidbit. Another time a student at the University of Oklahoma complained that I made an AAA teaching note available for an IAE Case. That was a total oversight mistake on my part when I had lumped a bunch of my files I make available to my FAS 133 audiences. I quickly removed the teaching note that truly should never have been served to the public by me. I featured this AAA PDF file to point out errors in the teaching note, but I really only intended to share it with my live audiences. It should never have been made available to the world, although I'm totally amazed that the OU student even found it since I never once made the URL available to the public. To me this shows the amazing power of Web crawlers like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. You can't hide anything on the Web.

    February 3, 2010 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

    Bob Jensen wrote: (abridged heavily)

    This UCLA court challenge could have very wide-reaching implications for the Fair Use safe harbor of the DMCA. ... ... ... Only one time did I get a complaint that I served up, on a Website, a quotation that was too long under Fair Use guidelines. ...


    Bob, there are two very distinct and separate issues here, and I'm amazed that the AAUP isn't getting involved in one of them.

    Your latter statement applies to placing content on the web, available to the public, even if under the auspices of education. That is indeed a valid issue and does deserve some discussion and clarification of an honest gray area.

    The former, however, is not as much a gray area; in fact, if seen from the correct perspective, the UCLA situation can be interpreted as a case falling *completely outside* the intent, if not the scope, of copyright law.

    The UCLA situation deals with content within a "locked" course, limited only to legitimate students, legimately enrolled in an educational course, being taught by a legitimate educator, where all parties are unquestionably involved in education, not entertainment. In other words, it is an educational environment without question. Here's the rub: The media companies are an outsider trying to control content of a course in which a student is enrolled, at a bonafide educational institution, being taught by a bonafide educator.

    It is this perspective that needs some attention, as I see the situation as falling completely outside the scope of copyright. Why? Because the UCLA situation is the epitome of the fundamental, indeeed primary, purpose why the "fair use" provision is there in the first place.

    Something that astounds me is that the AAUP, in its often overzealous and frequently fanatical pursuit of unlimited and unfettered academic freedom, is here letting the media companies, lawyers, etc. tell professors what they can and cannot include in their course. That the AAUP is either silent, taking a sidelines spectator approach to these proceedings, or not filing a countersuit is completely out of character for the organization's leadership.

    The AAUP is quick to bally 'round the bandwagon at the slightest infringement of a professor's rights to do what he pleases in the classroom, even when such infringement is tiny and inconsequential in the overall scheme of things -- the old camels-nose-under-the-tent or foot-in-the-door claims -- and even when the professor is obviously outside the bounds of rationality, social mores, cultural acceptability, or any other boundaries.

    Yet here we have an infringement that could potentially destroy an entire (what some call an) educational paradigm and the AAUP is not weighing in on the matter.

    Not that I'm a fan of the AAUP by a long shot, it just seems that they are so adamant about protecting professor's rights to the extreme and they generally so vocally and vehemently object to laws, regulations, rules, policies, constraints, even proposals and all other forms of interference which in any way try to govern opr restrict professors' activities in the classroom. And yet here is a blatant in-your-face example of where someone is trying to tell professors, specifically and explicitly, what they can and cannot include in their course. But the AAUP is not filing its own countersuit. (?)

    (I'm being my usual exaggerating self here; I readily admit I don't know enough about this particular case to reach a valid judgment or to judge the AAUP's response or lack thereof with any validity whatsoever... I just like to stir the pot. The AAUP may have evaluated the situation and have good reason for avoiding comment... )

    So... is there anyone else who sees this as a blatant attempt to restrict course content when protected behind locked classroom walls -- whether made of brick-and-mortar or enrollment-authorized passwords -- as an infringement on professor's rights to determine what is and is not taught in those classrooms?

    Put another way: Does this boil down to a conflict of rights between educators who are in good faith trying to improve society and mankind, versus media moguls simply trying to protect their way of making a buck?

    David Fordham
    (intending discussion stimulation rather than espousing my personal position. As usual.)
    James Madison University


    "Big government's business cronies," by John Stossel, WorldNetDaily, February 3, 2010 ---

    Many window-making companies struggle because of the recession's effect on home building. But one little window company, Serious Materials, is "booming," says Fortune. "On a roll," according to Inc. magazine, which put Serious' CEO on its cover, with a story titled: "How to Build a Great Company."

    The Minnesota Freedom Foundation tells me that this same little window company also gets serious attention from the most visible people in America.

    Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the opening of one of its plants. CEO Kevin Surace thanked him for his "unwavering support." "Without you and the recovery ("stimulus") act, this would not have been possible," Surace said.

    Biden returned the compliment: "You are not just churning out windows; you are making some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world. I would argue the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

    Gee, other window-makers say their windows are just as energy efficient, but the vice president didn't visit them.

    Biden laid it on pretty thick for Serious Materials: "This is a story of how a new economy predicated on innovation and efficiency is not only helping us today but inspiring a better tomorrow."

    Serious doesn't just have the vice president in his corner. It's got President Obama himself.

    Milton Friedman's classic "Capitalism and Freedom" explains how individual liberty can only thrive when accompanied by economic liberty

    Company board member Paul Holland had the rare of honor of introducing Obama at a "green energy" event. Obama then said: "Serious Materials just reopened ... a manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

    How many companies get endorsed by the president of the United States?

    When the CEO said that opening his factory wouldn't have been possible without the Obama administration, he may have known something we didn't. Last month, Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials. This must be one very special company.

    But wait, it gets even more interesting.

    On my Fox Business Network show on "crony capitalism," I displayed a picture of administration officials and so-called "energy leaders" taken at the U.S. Department of Energy. Standing front and center was Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, much of it for weatherization programs that benefit Serious.

    The interesting twist is that Zoi happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens to be vice president of "policy" at Serious Windows.

    Of all the window companies in America, maybe it's a coincidence that the one that gets presidential and vice presidential attention and a special tax credit is one whose company executives give thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign and where the policy officer spends nights at home with the Energy Department's weatherization boss.

    Or maybe not.

    There may be nothing illegal about this. Zoi did disclose her marriage and said she would recuse herself from any matter that had a predictable effect on her financial interests.

    But it sure looks funny to me, and it's odd that the liberal media have so much interest in this one company. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, usually not a big promoter of corporate growth, gushed about how Serious Materials is an example of how the "stimulus" is working.

    When we asked the company about all this, a spokeswoman said, "We don't comment on the personal lives of our employees." Later she called to say that my story is "full of lies."

    But she wouldn't say what those lies are.

    On its website, Serious Materials says it did not get a taxpayer subsidy. But that's just playing with terms. What it got was a tax credit, an opportunity that its competitors did not get: to keep money it would have paid in taxes. Let's not be misled. Government is as manipulative with selective tax credits as it is with cash subsidies. It would be more efficient to cut taxes across the board. Why should there be favoritism?

    Because politicians like it. Big, complicated government gives them opportunities to do favors for their friends.

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

    The Zero-Tuition Online University of the People (now working on gaining accreditation) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_the_People

    "Tuition-Free University Gains a Following:  A year since its formation, the online University of the People has attracted several hundred students, a team of top academic advisers, and growing support worldwide," by Alison Damast, Business Week, January 21, 2010 ---

    One of the higher education world's boldest experiments began in September when 180 students from nearly 50 countries around the world logged on to their computers for their first day of school at the University of the People. At first glance, the school has many of the trappings of a modern university: a provost, department heads, even an admissions committee. Yet there are glaring differences—namely, a the lack of a campus or physical classroom and just a handful of paid staff—that set it apart from its bricks-and-mortar counterparts.

    Those are shortcomings the students, most of them from developing countries and without the means to pay for college, are willing to overlook, says Shai Reshef, an Israeli entrepreneur and founder of the school, the world's first global tuition-free online university.

    "Education has become so expensive that not that many people can afford it, and in some parts of the world it just doesn't exist or there isn't a big enough supply," says Reshef, who has more than two decades' experience with Internet-based educational ventures and is chairman of Cramster.com, an online study community. "This is exactly why the Internet was invented. I thought: What can be done better with the Internet than helping people get an online education for free?"

    Backed by the U.N. It was just about a year ago that Reshef made headlines in the distance learning community with his announcement that he intended to start an online college program using open-source software that would be free to students all over the world, one of just a handful of tuition-free universities. The nonprofit venture, which he named University of the People, attracted attention not only because of its tuition-free mission but also because it had the backing of the U.N., a leadership team made up of academics from top educational institutions like Columbia University and New York University, and an innovative approach to distance education, with an emphasis on peer-to-peer learning.

    Today, the online university is fully operational, with 300 students, a growing array of course offerings, and even a recently announced research partnership with Yale University. The school is tapping into a growing market: Nonprofit institutions account for 68% of the more the more than 2 million students enrolled in online education, according to the latest estimates from Eduventures, a higher education consulting firm.

    There are still many trials ahead for the fledgling university, which is struggling to make inroads in the competitive online global education market. To stay afloat, the school will need to raise several million dollars in startup costs this year and introduce new admission and application testing fees, which could pose difficulties for students from developing countries. But perhaps its greatest challenge—and the one its success will hinge on—will be gaining accreditation, a step toward the school's goal of conferring bachelor's degrees to students. This would also allow the school to carve out a niche as a major player in a space that has so far been primarily dominated by schools like the for-profit Apollo Group's (APOL) University of Phoenix and Washington Post Co.'s (WPO) Kaplan University, both of which have broad online degree offerings, says Roger C. Schonfeld, the manager of research at ITHAKA S+R, a higher education strategy and research organization.

    Business and Computer Science "What the University of the People is offering to do is make education time- and space-neutral. They have a lot of ingredients there to be successful, and they certainly have quite a few superstars on their advisory board," Schonfeld says. Among them: a former dean at INSEAD and the current U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh. "I think that their success from a business perspective may turn on their ability to become accredited," Schonfeld notes. "With accreditation, they have a good chance of an innovative model that might see some success."

    For now, the school's academic offerings are limited. Students can pursue an associate's-degree or bachelor's-degree track in business or a bachelor's track in computer science. Those subject areas were chosen because they are professions that "are in high demand and areas where students will most likely be able to find a job," Reshef says. (A notice on the school's Web site reads: "These programs may in the future lead towards undergraduate degrees. However, no degrees will be granted until the university obtains proper authorization from relevant authorities.")

    Obtaining accreditation is a top priority for the school, says Reshef, noting that the school is incorporated in Pasadena, Calif., making it easier for the school to work with American accreditation agencies. "We intend to apply for accreditation as soon as we can," Reshef says, though he declined to specify which accreditation body the school planned to work with.

    The school's unaccredited status does not appear to be a stumbling block for students like Deema Sultan, 27, who lives in Syria and was among the first cohort of students to matriculate at the University of the People this fall. She came across the school through a news story run on a Syrian Web site last summer and immediately became intrigued. "I thought, "Oh, this is a great idea, but I doubt it is true,"" says Sultan.

    Her doubts were assuaged when she found the school's Web site and saw that she met the eligibility requirements. Now in her second semester, she is pursuing a business administration track. When not in school, she helps run her family's textile business. She hopes her education will help the business grow and help her become a more astute entrepreneur.

    "This is a great opportunity for me because, even though I'm working, I could not afford to study in Syria or the U.S.," says Sultan, who takes classes from a computer in her parent's home or at Internet cafés, when the family's connection is down. "I'm very impressed by it so far and the level of education they are offering. I've been telling my friends all about it."

    The University of the People has not launched an official marketing campaign, but word appears to be spreading quickly. In its first two semesters, the school received 3,000 applications from all over the world, the school says. Students enrolled in the current class range in age from 18 to 63; the vast majority have opted for the business program. To gain admission, students have to submit a high school diploma, have Internet access, be proficient in English, and be able to pass two mandatory courses in English and computer skills. The school has so far attracted students from 70 countries, including Afghanistan, Thailand, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Zambia, and expects to enroll several hundred more students when its third semester begins in February, Reshef says.

    Peer-to-Peer Learning Admitted students are placed in a class of 15 to 20 of their peers and given access to free online materials and social networking tools. There are five semesters throughout the school year, each lasting 10 weeks. The school is using Moodle, an open sourceware e-learning software platform, to deliver lectures, reading material, homework assignments, and tests to students, who work together in groups.

    Every class is overseen by an instructor, but the school's educational model is based on peer-to-peer learning, meaning that students are expected to learn by interacting with their peers, posting and responding to questions on lessons and reading in their online classrooms. If students can't find the answer to a question through their classmates, they can reach out for help to an online volunteer community of university professors, graduate students, retired academics, and computer specialists.

    The model appears to be working, the school says. A survey of students conducted in November by the school indicated that 90% of the class was satisfied with the classroom experience and would definitely or likely recommend the school to peers and family.

    Continued in article


    University of the People --- http://www.uopeople.org/

    Course Catalogs --- http://www.uopeople.org/ACADEMICS/CourseCatalog/tabid/197/Default.aspx

    Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education alternatives ---

    Notre Dame OpenCourseWare: Border Issues Seminar [US-Mexico Border] ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on open courseware are at

    "Taliban make children plant IEDs to thwart Army snipers," by Christopher Leake, Daily Mail, February 7, 2010 ---

    Boys as young as 12 are being used by the Taliban to plant bombs designed to kill and maim British troops in Afghanistan. Army commanders say insurgents are forcing children to lay improvised explosive devices (IEDs) because they know they will not be shot by British snipers. Senior military sources say the children’s parents and families are likely to have been threatened by the Taliban to allow their sons to carry out the dangerous task.

    Details of the new tactic were revealed last night in Sangin, Helmand Province, where soldiers of the 3 Rifles Battle Group have been fighting the Taliban for the past four months. Troops say they have seen insurgents sending out boys to lay IEDs, sometimes only 150 yards from British positions. A senior Army source said: ‘The Taliban know that if they get caught in the sights of our snipers, they don’t last long, so they have resorted to hiding behind compound walls and directing children to plant bombs for them. ‘Lots of home-made IEDs detonate before they have even been laid, but the Taliban don’t seem to care whether a child gets killed or maimed. Some boys are as young as 12.’

    Read more:

    The Number 1 Ranked University in France Comes in at Rank 40 in the World

    "Rankled by Rankings:  Criticism of global university rankings prompts major changes and new players," by Aisha Labi, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2010 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Criticism-of-Global-Rankings/63786/?sid=wb&utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en

    International university rankings have become a major force in higher education over the past decade. Institutions now highlight their standing in their advertising campaigns. Students turn to the lists for ideas on where to apply to graduate school. Some governments have even invested more in higher education when their universities' rankings don't satisfy expectations.

    Yet it's hard to find anyone who believes that the assessments themselves are sufficiently substantive.

    In response to growing criticism about ranking methodologies, several key players have pledged to shake things up by offering new or improved versions of these tables.

    Last month, for example, the European Union began moving ahead in the development of a more nuanced and complex rankings system, one they say that academics will actually approve of. And the partners behind one of the two most influential systems of rankings had an acrimonious split, with each now promising to produce a superior product.

    The development of rankings and their growing influence have both paralleled and fueled the internationalization of higher education, as universities have sought to benchmark themselves and compete with their counterparts around the world. A Russian ranking, compiled for the first time in 2009, that placed Moscow State University fifth in the world—ahead of Harvard and, Cambridge, and Stanford, among other universities—drew derision even from Russian academics, and little attention elsewhere. (The two main international rankings have never placed Moscow State higher than 66th.)

    Mobile Students The pressure to measure up is driven by a number of factors. Key among them: Worldwide enrollments in higher education have jumped by more than 50 percent in the past decade, and the number of internationally mobile students seeking information about institutions in foreign countries has soared. The growing number of universities looking to forge international ties has also driven rankings fever, as they vie for partners of similar international repute.

    Thus the 27-nation European Union's decision to create a ranking system has gained worldwide attention. Similarly, news that the London-based Times Higher Education has severed ties with the company with which it has produced its compilation for the past six years is also generating quite a bit of buzz.

    "There's a lot going on right now" in the realm of international rankings, and a great deal of interest in "what it is that the European rankings are trying to do," says Philip G. Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College.

    Thomas D. Parker, a senior associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a Washington-based nonprofit group that studies college accountability, is intrigued as well. "It is clear that the Europeans are proposing something considerably more complex" than the two main existing compilations, he says.

    As recently as 2003, there was just one international enumeration, the "Academic Ranking of World Universities," put out for the first time that year by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Institute of Higher Education. Its impact and influence were immediate—and it stirred controversy from the outset, especially over the relatively poor showing of continental European universities compared with those in the United States and Britain.

    Competition soon followed, in the form of rankings produced the following year by The Times Higher Education Supplement, as the British publication was then known. The table is now so highly anticipated that on the day the updated list was posted online in October, it generated more than one million hits to the publication's site.

    International rankings carry so much heft that they help shape higher-education policy in many countries. But as their influence has grown, so has dissatisfaction in many quarters with how the best-known tables are compiled. And the rankers themselves have come under increased scrutiny.

    Ellen Hazelkorn of the Dublin Institute of Technology studies the impact of rankings on higher-education policy. "There's no such thing as an objective ranking," she saynotes, so people end up arguing about which are the best indicators to use.

    The International Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence, a nonprofit group that was set up last year with headquarters in Warsaw, is among the growing number of organizations seeking to track, evaluate, and, yes, rank, the rankers.

    The organization, which was spun off by the International Ranking Expert Group of Unesco's European Centre for Higher Education, is working on a questionnaire that will be used to make certain that rankers are meeting certain "minimal standards," says Kazimierz Bilanow, the managing director. Those standards are meant to reflect the "Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions," which were endorsed in 2006 by many of the international educators, higher-education experts, and publishers who compose the observatory's membership.

    The rankers have taken note.

    "They all understand they're very vulnerable to criticism," says Mr. Parker. "All of them are aware that they started out with pretty simple tools, and that if they're going to satisfy anybody, they need to get a bit smarter."

    Listening to Critics Last year Times Higher Education ended its relationship with Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd., with which it had published the tables. Phil Baty, the editor who oversees the project, describes the rankings that had been published with the company as "no longer fit for purpose" and said the newspaper was "starting from scratch." It will publish new rankings in conjunction with the media conglomerate Thomson Reuters.

    Quacquarelli Symonds will continue to publish its own World University Rankings.

    "We retain the intellectual property for the existing methodology, and we also own all the data for the past six years of the rankings," says Ben Sowter, head of the company's intelligence unit. "The only difference, from our point of view, is that they will no longer be published with Times Higher Ed."

    Despite Times Higher Education's name recognition, especially in academic circles, Mr. Sowter says that "their Web site has consistently underperformed in comparison to our own in terms of tracking page views and visitors to look at the results." The rankings on Quacquarelli Symonds's site generated 4.8 million visits last year, he adds.

    For its part, Time Higher Education is focusing on producing what it says will be a much more "robust, transparent, and balanced" set of rankings. "The final methodology is still not set," says Mr. Baty, but two key improvements are under way.

    One involves the rankings' peer-review component, which has been sharply criticized. Although there were fewer than 4,000 responses to last year's global survey of academics, the peer-review element was still heavily weighted, contributing around 40 percent to the rankings.

    "This just is not good enough." Mr. Baty says in an e-mail exchange with The Chronicle. "For the new world rankings, we have decided to retain an element of 'peer review,' but we are going to ensure we have a much better sample, which will be properly targeted and properly representative of world higher-education demographics, and which will have a much higher response rate."

    The target is for a representative selection of 25,000 academics to respond to the survey. And the peer-review element is likely to be weighted much less heavily than before in the new Times Higher Education rankings.

    Although academics and administrators have long been skeptical of how effectively the input of independent academics was solicited, the inclusion of a peer-review dimension, which does not factor into the Shanghai rankings, had been one of the central selling points of the British tables.

    Peer Review Questioned However, a paper to be published next month in the American Journal of Education argues that, far from being an effective independent gauge of institutional reputation, peer review is highly susceptible to manipulation. The main culprits, the authors say, are previous rankings.

    "Over time, the primary driver of changes in the reputation scores used by U.S. News & World Report are the U.S. News & World Report rankings themselves, even when controlling for academic and financial indicators, as well as prior reputation scores," says Michael N. Bastedo, an associate professor of education at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, who is one of the paper's co-authors. The effect is even more pronounced in international rankings, he says, because academics' familiarity with foreign institutions is often even more attenuated and dependent on prior rankings.

    Mr. Sowter, of Quacquarelli Symonds, defends its continuing emphasis on a peer-review component, adding that it seeks increased input from academics and aims to increase response numbers through measures such as translated surveys for academics in non-English-speaking institutions.

    "Of all the measures that different rankings are using at a global level, from my perspective peer review is the one that is fairest to universities with different disciplines," he says. The use of peer reviews "enables institutions with great strengths in the arts and humanities to shine in a way that they are not able to in other measures."

    This year's retooled Times Higher Education rankings will also adjust how research excellence is measured, by reconfiguring how citations are calibrated.

    "The social and economic sciences have much lower citation rates than the natural sciences, so institutions with big medical schools, for example, received a massive and unfair advantage under the old method," to the detriment of institutions like the London School of Economics and Political Science, Mr. Baty says. The new collaboration with Thomson Reuters, which owns a large research-citation database, he notes, will allow Times Higher Education to "draw on much more sophisticated data, and we are confident that we can get this right."

    Shanghai Jiao Tong's rankings, too, have been criticized for their heavy reliance on research citations and Nobel Prizes as measures of excellence.

    Nian Cai Liu, director of the university's Institute of Higher Education, was the force behind the original international rankings. Its methodology will stay the same, he says in an e-mail exchange, but other changes have been made.

    "New rankings have been introduced" in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering, and economics that augment the institutional lists, says Mr. Liu, who is a professor of engineering.

    The research center that he heads is part of Shanghai Jiao Tong, but, as of last year, the rankings have been officially published by the separate Shanghai Ranking Consultancy and have no official relationship with the university.

    In response to rumors that pressure from the Chinese government—which supposedly had fielded angry questions from at least one foreign government about the performance of its country's institutions on the high-profile assessment—had prompted Shanghai Jiao Tong to officially distance itself from the rankings, Mr. Liu says the university itself never sponsored them. He declines to comment on the rumored pressure.

    Politically Driven Politics is, in fact, a prime motivator behind the newest entrant in the global rankings market.

    Frans van Vught, a former rector of the University of Twente, in the Netherlands, is one of the leaders of the European project, and he is frank about the fact that the new endeavor "is very much a politically driven thing."

    The $1.6-million budget is being paid for by the European Union, which solicited competitive bids before awarding the contract to a German-Dutch-Belgian-French consortium for "developing a ranking system that goes beyond the research performance of universities, to include elements such as teaching quality and community outreach."

    But, as Mr. van Vught emphasizes, the new project is more than just a riposte to Shanghai and Times Higher Education. "We are trying to do something very different," he says, by steering the emphasis away from research intensity and toward a handful of other indicators.

    The project will build upon a recently concluded European classification project, known as U-Map, that developed profiles of institutions in six categories: teaching and learning; the student body; research; disseminating research knowledge; international orientation; and regional engagement.

    Mr. van Vught likens the resulting classification of each institution to a sunburst, with each category contributing a ray. The European ranking project will use that approach to develop a consumer-driven ranking system.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies are at

    A New Anti-Semitic British Movie
    An Education and A Serious Man represent either vile throwbacks to Jewish stereotypes in Nazi propaganda movies or creative works of art that show Jews, like other ethnicities, as multidimensional human beings. The first attitude is expressed more often by “ordinary” moviegoers, while film critics and academics have rallied to the movies’ defense. So, surprisingly, has the Anti-Defamation League, usually the first to protest perceived slights against Jews. The British import An Education centers on the not unwilling mental and physical seduction of Jenny, a bright 16-year-old English schoolgirl, by suave and unscrupulous David, a Jewish real-estate speculator in his 30s.
    Tom Tugend, Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2010 ---

    From the Scout Report on January 29, 2010

    SyncBack Freeware 3.2.20 --- http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html 

    So what do you do if you need to back up and synchronize your files? Many options come to mind, but you might want to first look over this latest free edition of SyncBack. SyncBack allows users to save their files anywhere, and it also offers a convenient restore tool. The application gives the users the option to define multiple scheduled backup jobs, and also control the way files are compared and selected for backup. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer.

    Omek 1.1 --- http://omeka.org/ 

    Interested in creating your own digital archive? Look no further than Omeka 1.1. Created by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Omeka gives individuals and institutions the freedom to create an online exhibition in a matter of minutes. Visitors can view the "What is Omeka" video for more information, check out their blog, and also look at projects that have used Omeka thus far. This version is compatible with web servers with a Linux operating system, Apache, MySQl version 5.0 or greater, PHP 5.2.4 or greater, and ImageMagick

    Ban on playing Dungeons & Dragons in prisons upheld Appeals Court Upholds Prison Ban on Dungeons and Dragons [Free registration may be required] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/us/27dungeons.html 

    Court upholds ban on inmate playing Dungeons & Dragons  --- Click Here

    The Volokh Conspiracy: 7th Circuit Upholds Prison Rule Forbidding Inmates to Play Dungeons and Dragons --- 

    Dungeons & Dragons: Timeline http://www.wizards.com/dnd/DnDArchives_History.asp 

    GameSpy: Gary Gygax Interview http://pc.gamespy.com/articles/538/538817p1.html 

    What Kind of D&D Character Would You Be? http://www.easydamus.com/character.html


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

    Education Tutorials

    "Children's Book Series The Caring Kids Series," by Dr. Irma Ghosn ---

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

    Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

    University of California; Science Today (Radio News, Audio) --- http://www.ucop.edu/sciencetoday/index.php 
    VetPulse (Veterinary Medicine and Surgery) ---  http://www.vetpulse.tv/ 
    Northwest Architectural Archives --- http://special.lib.umn.edu/manuscripts/architect.html 

    U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration: Geotechnical Engineering --- 

    Full-Length BBC Video (I had an annoying problem with buffering of this production, but it was did not stop me from watching most of this)
    "Full Documentary: The Secret Life Of Chaos," Simoleon Sense, February 3, 2010 ---

    “Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand. It turns out that chaos theory answers a question that mankind has asked for millennia – how did we get here? In this documentary, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science – how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder? It’s a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics. Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern. The natural world is full of awe-inspiring examples of the way nature transforms simplicity into complexity. From trees to clouds to humans – after watching this film you’ll never be able to look at the world in the same way again.”

    "What I've Been Reading, Watching, and Listening To," Bill Gates Blog ---

    With more than 250 lectures from some of the world’s leading professors, The Teaching Company provides the opportunity to learn from great teachers who are true experts in their fields. Bill offers recommendations for some of the courses that he has enjoyed the most.
    Great Lectures from The Teaching Company --- http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Learning/article.aspx?ID=24

    The Teaching Company is adding lectures at quite a fast rate. I used to be able to say I had seen almost all of their science courses but they have added new offerings faster than I can watch them in the past year.

    I wrote about some of my favorite lectures in science and in economics earlier (see Great Lectures from The Teaching Company).

    I am watching Thinking about Capitalism by Jerry Muller right now which is excellent but mostly for people who want to know the history of economics. The genius of Adam Smith was really unbelievable – he foresaw a lot of the things we still argue about today.

    I have not watched Economics 3rd Edition by Timothy Taylor but he is such a good teacher I might want to watch it.

    In the science realm the best is probably Physics in Your Life by Richard Wolfson. He explains everything very clearly and his description of how semiconductor chips work is the best I have ever seen.

    I also loved the courses on geology, starting with John Renton’s course Nature of Earth: An Introduction to Geology followed by How the Earth Works by Michael Wysession.

    There is a great biology course (Biology: The Science of Life by Stephen Nowicki) and a great physics course (Particle Physics for Non-Physicists: A Tour of the Microcosmos by Steven Pollock) but those are pretty in-depth and designed more for people who want to learn the field.

    Another great hard-core course is Understanding the Universe by Alex Filippenko. It is a total of 48 hours and is more in depth than most people need, but if you want to understand astronomy, there is no better way to learn it.

    There is a six hour course called Earth’s Changing Climate, also by Richard Wolfson, that I recommend to people who want to learn about the science of climate change.

    In medicine there are two that I like a lot. One is The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal by Anthony Goodman. He explains the different diseases that people get and the progress we have made on how to treat them. The other is Sensation, Perception, and the Aging Process by Francis Colavita. He takes all the senses and explains how they work and how they change over time.

    There are two lectures on linguistics by John McWhorter that I really loved – Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language and the Story of Human Language. The history of language is far more interesting than I thought it would be – in fact it is fascinating.

    The only religion course I watched was Comparative Religion by Charles Kimball. It is excellent.

    In math, the best general course I’ve seen is Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas by Michael Starbird and Edward Burger.

    They have a category called “High School.” I watched the Chemistry course to see if my son would like it but it ended up being a good review of the topic for me.

    The category which I have not gone into but I expect to someday is "Fine Arts and Music.”

    For a long time their best selling courses were the Robert Greenberg lectures on understanding music.

     Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing videos and lectures from prestigious universities ---


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

    Social Science and Economics Tutorials

    Money Matters (international economic data) ---  http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/center/mm/eng/mm_cc_01.htm

    HUD User [Housing Data] --- http://www.huduser.org/portal/index.html

    Reform in an Age of Networked Campaigns: How to Foster Citizen Participation Through Small Donors and Volunteers ---  http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0114_campaign_finance_reform.aspx

    Pete Wilson provides some great videos on how to make accounting judgments ---

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

    Law and Legal Studies

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

    Math Tutorials

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

    History Tutorials

    NOVA: Riddles of the Sphinx --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sphinx/

    History World: History and Timelines --- http://www.historyworld.net/default.asp?gtrack=mtop1

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

    Northwest Architectural Archives --- http://special.lib.umn.edu/manuscripts/architect.html

    America's Favorite Architecture --- http://www.favoritearchitecture.org/

    African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project --- http://www3.amherst.edu/~aardoc/

    The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail [iTunes] http://www.thecrookedroad.org/default.asp

    LSU Photograph Campus Collection ---  http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org//cdm4/index_LSU_UAP.php?CISOROOT=/LSU_UAP 

    The Guild of Book Workers --- http://www.guildofbookworkers.org/index.php

    The Atlas of Early Printing (interactive slide show) --- http://atlas.lib.uiowa.edu/

    MoMA: Gabriel Orozco [Interactive Art] http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2009/gabrielorozco/

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

    Objectivism: friend or foe? Mike Wallace & Ayn Rand in 1959
    : 1/3
    --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XC7l18RIl8
    : 2/3 --- http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Mike+Wallace+%26+Ayn+Rand&search_type=&aq=f
    : 3/3 --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEruXzQZhNI&feature=PlayList&p=04A4E12F230C8163&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=2

    Ayn Rand 25 videos

    ·         Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview 1959 part 2 (9:45)

    ·         Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview 1959 part 3 (7:52)

    ·         Ayn Rand in her first television interview, Part one (9:30)

    "A Rand Revival Understanding the best—and worst—of Ayn Rand's philosophy," by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, February 11, 2010 ---

    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 jenniferburns.org .

    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 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

    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 --- http://www.amazon.com/Library-Congress-Survey-Influential-Books/lm/133GLJVXVIBLN
    Link forwarded by Richard Sansing

    Language Tutorials

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

    Music Tutorials

    The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail [iTunes] http://www.thecrookedroad.org/default.asp

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


    Writing Tutorials

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

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

    February 1, 2010

    February 2, 2010

    February 3, 2010

    February 4, 2010

    February 5, 2010

    February 6, 2010

    February 8, 2010

    February 9, 2010

    February 10, 2010

    February 11, 2010

    February 12, 2010

    February 13, 2010

    "Addictions, Bad Habits Can 'Highjack' Brain Clinically Obese, Cocaine Addicts Have Similar Brain Scans," by Christina Fiore, ABC News, January 31, 2010 ---

    By the end of January, many New Year's resolutions have been tossed out with leftover holiday cookies and unwanted gifts. It's been nearly impossible to deny that slice of cake after dinner, or to hit the treadmill instead of surfing the Internet.

    Change, especially changing bad habits, is hard -- and rightly so, as any neuroscientist will tell you.

    Advances in neuroimaging have enabled researchers to peer inside the brains of addicts and patients with addictive behaviors. They can see, in real-time, what gets patients hooked: how the brain's reward system -- based largely on the neurotransmitter dopamine -- thirsts for more, while inhibitory control centers experience a system failure.

    The pattern is similar across all kinds of behaviors -- from cocaine and tobacco addiction to overeating. That's why changing your mind may be the first step toward breaking a habit, but altering the brain's neural machinery is the real challenge.

    Highjacked Pathways
    Drugs and addictive behaviors "highjack" the brain's reward system, says Dr. Petros Levounis, director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals in Manhattan.

    In normal patients, dopamine plays a major role in motivation and reward, surging before and during a pleasurable activity -- say, eating or sex -- to make patients want to repeat a behavior that's crucial to the survival of the species.

    Dopaminergic pathways connect the limbic system, which is responsible for emotion, with the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. This combination etches rewarding behaviors into the brain with strong, even seductive, memories.

    The problem arises when the memory and the craving to recapture it take over a person's life.

    "Imagine what a stronghold these highjacked pleasure reward pathways take on our brains and our whole existence when they're so closely connected geographically and anatomically speaking with our memories and our emotions," Levounis says.

    Then, as the dopamine surge gains speed, the brakes fail. Normal function in the brain's frontal lobes, which are responsible for inhibitory control and executive functioning, or will power, tends to decrease in addicts.

    "Ultimately," Levounis says, "the war on drugs is a war between the highjacked pleasure reward pathways that push the person to want to use, and the frontal lobes, which try to keep the beast at bay. That is the essence of addiction."

    Continued in article

    Top 100 Cities Ranked in Terms of Drunken Behavior --- http://guyism.com/2010/02/fresno-named-americas-drunkest-city-according-to-study.html

    Men's Health has compiled a list of America's drunkest cities based on data such as death rates from alcoholic liver disease, booze-fueled car crashes, frequency of binge-drinking in the past 30 days, number of DUI arrests, and severity of DUI penalties.

    The Top 10
    1. Fresno, CA
    2. Reno, NV
    3. Billings, MT
    4. Riverside, CA
    5. Austin, TX
    6. St. Louis, MO
    7. San Antonio, TX
    8. Lubbock, TX
    9. Tucson, AZ
    10. Bakersfield, CA

    And the Bottom 10:
    90. Portland, ME
    91. Manchester, NH
    92. Fort Wayne, IN
    93. New York, NY
    94. Durham, NC
    95. Newark, NH
    96. Miami, FL
    97. Salt Lake City, UT
    98. Rochester, NY
    99. Yonkers, NY
    100. Boston, MA


    "Blacks with MS have more severe symptoms, decline faster than whites." PhysOrg,  February 5, 2010 ---

  • Fewer African Americans than Caucasians develop multiple sclerosis (MS), statistics show, but their disease progresses more rapidly, and they don't respond as well to therapies, a new study by neurology researchers at the University at Buffalo has found.

    Magnetic resonance images (MRI) of a cohort of 567 consecutive MS patients showed that blacks with MS had more damage to brain tissue and had less normal white and grey matter compared to whites with the disease.

    Results of the study were published ahead of print on Jan. 20 at http://www.neurology.org and appear in the Feb. 16 issue of the journal Neurology.

    Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB associate professor of neurology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is first author on the study. Weinstock-Guttman directs the Baird Multiple Sclerosis Center in Kaleida Health's Buffalo General Hospital.

    "Black patients showed more brain tissue damage and accumulated brain lesions faster than whites, along with rapid clinical deterioration," confirms Weinstock-Guttman. "The results provide further support that black patients experience a more severe disease, calling for individualized therapeutic interventions for this group of MS patients."

    "White matter" refers to the parts of the brain that contain nerve fibers sheathed in a white fatty insulating protein called myelin. The white matter is responsible for communication between the various grey matter regions, where nerve cells are concentrated and where cognitive processing occurs.

    "Initially, multiple sclerosis was considered primary a white-matter disease," says Weinstock-Guttman, "but today we know that the gray matter may be more affected than white matter."

    In general, black MS patients tend to have more severe and more frequent attacks, followed by an incomplete recovery even after the first episode. Studies on signs and symptoms of MS among populations have shown that blacks experience gait problems sooner after their diagnosis, show faster cognitive decline than whites with MS, and become dependent on a wheelchair sooner, she notes.

    The study's MRI scans were conducted at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), part of the Jacobs Neurological Institute/UB Department of Neurology. Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, a UB associate professor of neurology, is director of the center.

    Continued in article

    Forwarded by Paula

    During a recent PASSWORD AUDIT at the Bank of Ireland it was found that Paddy O'Toole was using the following password:  MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofyDublin

    When Paddy was asked why he had such a long password: he replied ''Bejazus! are yez feckin' stupid? Shore and Oi was told me password had to be at least 8 characters long and include one capital!

    Forwarded by Auntie Bev

    The Sack Lunches

    I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

    Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

    'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan

    After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...

    As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'

    His friend agreed.

    I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

    Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

    'This is your thanks..'

    After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

    Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

    Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

    When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

    Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base.. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

    Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

    As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

    A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

    That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

    May God give you the strength and courage to pass this along to everyone on your email buddy list....


    Also forwarded by Auntie Bev


    Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and
    height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them'.

    Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down..

    Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,
    whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.'

    Enjoy the simple things.

    Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

    The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person,
    who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

    Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your

    Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it.. If it is unstable,
    improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

    Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next
    county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

    Tell the people you love that you love them, at every

    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
    but by the
    moments that take our breath away.

    Forwarded by Maureen

    Little Melissa comes home from 1st grade & tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day.

    'Since Valentine's Day is for a Christian saint, and we're Jewish,' she asks, 'Will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?

    Melissa's father thinks a bit, then says: 'No, I don't think God would get mad... Whom do you want to give a Valentine to?'

    'Osama Bin Laden,' she says.

    'Why Osama Bin Laden?' her father asks in shock.

    'Well,' she says, 'I thought that if a little American Jewish girl could have enough love to give Osama a Valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit.

    And if other kids saw what I did and sent Valentines to Osama, he'd love everyone a lot. And then he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them, and how he didn't hate anyone anymore.'

    Her father's heart swells and he looks at his daughter with new found pride. 'Melissa, that's the most wonderful thing I have ever heard..'

    'I know, ' Melissa says, 'and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could shoot the fucker.'

    Forwarded by Paula

    A group of 45-year-old guys discusses where they should meet for dinner. Finally, they agree to meet at the Kelley's Restaurant because the waitresses have low-cut blouses and nice breasts.

    10 years later, at age 55, the group agrees to meet at Kelley's because the food is good and the wine selection is excellent.

    10 years later, at age 65, the group agrees to meet at Kelley's because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free.

    10 years later, at age 75, the group agrees to meet at Kelley's because the restaurant is wheel chair accessible and they have an elevator.

    10 years later, at age 85, the group agrees to meet at Kelley's because they have never been there before.


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

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

    Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

    What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

    The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


    Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

    Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

    Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---


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

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

    Free (updated) Basic Accounting Textbook --- search for Hoyle at

    CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination
    Free CPA Examination Review Course Courtesy of Joe Hoyle --- http://cpareviewforfree.com/

    Three Finance Blogs

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

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

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

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

    Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at http://www.accountingweb.com/news/college_news.html
    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   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
    AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
    AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

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

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

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


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

    Some Accounting History Sites

    Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory

    Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) --- http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy/libraries.html
    The above libraries include international accounting history.
    The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

    MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting --- http://maaw.info/

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

    Sage Accounting History --- http://ach.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/11/3/269

    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 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/105/infocus/p18.htm
    Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/205/index.htm 

    A nice timeline of accounting history --- http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2187711/A-HISTORY-OF-ACCOUNTING

    From Texas A&M University
    Accounting History Outline --- http://acct.tamu.edu/giroux/history.html

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

    History of Fraud in America --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm
    Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm



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