Tidbits on May 26, 2011
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I made a special photograph file of early springtime in the mountains
Click Here


Sunrise_Sunset --- http://www.slideboom.com/presentations/96795/Sunrise_Sunset

May  23, 2011 message from Bob Jensen
Hi Pat and Linda (in a thread about knitting accountants),

The link below shows my Grandma Jensen, at Iowa's Kossuth County Fair many years ago, demonstrating how to spin wool into yarn on her spinning wheel that I remember quite well in our Seneca farm house ---

With the yarn, she could knit sweaters and mittens faster than anybody I ever knew. My hands never went cold growing up in Iowa. Grandma Jensen generally knitted in a flurry with three needles at a time.

Regina (Ginny) Jensen was born into a Knutson family in Norway before the family emigrated to Iowa in the 1800s in search of the rich black dirt of the Iowa prairie. She was raised on her family's farm north of Swea City. When she became a young woman and a school teacher she married Julius Jensen and moved onto his farm in Seneca township. My father, Vernon, was the youngest of five sons that she raised on the Seneca farm. Julius died of pneumonia when my dad was only two years old. Thereafter my grandmother raised her family by herself on the Seneca farm.

She cooked three meals each day on a big Clarion Iron Stove, cleaned clothes on a wash board (there was no running water on the farm), milked cows, helped harness the draft horses and mules, and helped deliver calves, colts, lambs, and piglets. Baked chicken dinners were always fresh soon after she pulled their heads off with one one experienced flick of the wrist.

I don't know how she found the time to spin her yarn and knit warm clothes for family and friends amidst all her other duties raising five sons without so much as a hired hand on that farm. Of course her sons pitched in better than hired hands and gave thanks in bended knees each and every bountiful day.

The women I knew on those Iowa farms (that generally did not have running water or electricity) were tougher than most of the men I ever met in my entire life. When tragedy struck, such as losing a child or spouse or a crop, they did not have time to fall apart. They wept a bit while doing their endless daily chores --- chores like feeding a family and milking the cows and tending to livestock went on day after day even in the Great Depression when there was no cash market for the grain and livestock. Times were tough, but so were the knitters who never quit their chores in good times and bad times or in darkness or light.

In Norway, Regina's father and uncles made their livings on the cold and dangerous waters of the North Sea. See their "House Under a Rock" in Norway ---

These pioneer families would've been very cold in freezing winds of the North Sea or the howling winds coming down upon Iowa from North Dakota if these hearty women did not knit day and night to keep the family dressed in warm woolen mittens and sweaters.

Bob Jensen

I brought Erika home from the Boston therapy hospital yesterday. She's making better progress than her surgeons expected. This may be her best spine surgery recovery ever in this her 14th spine surgery. Now I have to put construction tape around her flower gardens to keep her from doing bad things to her body before she's properly healed. I planted 150 Sun Impatiens to compete with the weeds --- the weeds are thriving better than ever due to our wet weather.

This is what I hope my Sun Impatiens will look like in about six weeks

 White Mountain News --- http://www.whitemtnews.com/

Tidbits on May26, 2011
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to Thank Our Military --- http://media.causes.com/576542?p_id=92681239

NOVA: The Spy Factory --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/spy-factory.html
International Spy Museum --- http://www.spymuseum.org/

Video:  Milky Way Panorama (with a Backstory) --- Click Here

SkyView Virtual Observatory (NASA) --- http://skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/titlepage.pl

Dallas Museum of Art - Program Recordings --- http://www.dallasmuseumofart.org/Research/Archives/index.htm

A Blind Woman Who Makes Quality Quilts --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=7lfaSmDxVZQ

Video:  Stanford Graduate School of Business gets a new building --- the Knight Management Center ---

Jacques Demy’s Lyrical Masterpiece, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg --- Click Here

Health on the Net Foundation --- http://www.hon.ch/home.html

Astonishing World Record Climb --- Click Here

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

National Jukebox --- http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/
Also Click Here

The Montreal Symphony's Evolution Of Music (entire concert) ---

A More Spiritual Salome: Massenet's 'Hérodiade' (hear the introduction to this opera) ---

Carrie Underwood With Vince Gill (Hymn) ---

The Rhema Marvanne Story  (at age seven) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sewa1KkKOfc

Three Teenage Tenors (II Volo) --- http://www.interscope.com/artist/player/default.aspx?meid=6314&aid=1200

Sunrise_Sunset --- http://www.slideboom.com/presentations/96795/Sunrise_Sunset

Swan Lake --- http://www.nzwide.com/swanlake.htm

3 Dreams of Black: A Mind-blowing Interactive Music Video --- Click Here

Google Music (Beta) --- http://music.google.com/music/usernotinvited
"Google Music vs. Amazon Cloud Drive," by Sarah Parez, ReadWriteWeb, May 10, 2011 ---

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

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

Fenimore Art Museum: The Smith and Telfer Photographic Collection http://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/fenimore/collections/photography

World's Largest Cave Discovered in Viet Nam --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFWhqJeThfc

SkyView Virtual Observatory (NASA) --- http://skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/titlepage.pl

Georgia Archives Home --- http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/index.php

Bacteria Museum --- http://bacteriamuseum.org/cms/

Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative --- http://collections.mun.ca/

Colorado Plateau Archives (Geology, Art History, Native Americans) --- http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/cpa

German Easter Egg Tree --- http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/travel/intdestinations/easter-egg-tree/

Slavery in America: Image Gallery --- http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/scripts/sia/gallery.cgi

Dallas Museum of Art - Program Recordings --- http://www.dallasmuseumofart.org/Research/Archives/index.htm

Museum of Art-Rhode Island School of Design --- http://www.risdmuseum.org/

Design : Talkboard (Graphics Design) --- http://www.designtalkboard.com/

Costume History Collection --- http://www.wmich.edu/library/digi/collections/costume/

All Sewn Up: Millinery, Dressmaking, Clothing, and Costume http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/HumanEcol/subcollections/MillineryBooksAbout.html

From the University of Washington
Fashion Plate Collection (women's fashions in history) --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/costumehistweb/index.html

Textiles and Costumes: Henry Art Gallery [Flash Player] http://dig.henryart.org/textiles/

All Sewn Up: Millinery, Dressmaking, Clothing, and Costume http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/HumanEcol/subcollections/MillineryBooksAbout.h

Daphne Dare Collection (theatre costumes) --- http://drc.ohiolink.edu/handle/2374.OX/30999

Stage Costumes --- http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_performance/features/Costume/index.html

History of Costume
Fashion in Color --- 

Penn Museum: Expedition [archaeology] http://penn.museum/current-expedition.html

Knitting Together (yarn, lace, fabrics, cloth) --- http://www.knittingtogether.org.uk/cat.asp?cat=599

Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston --- http://www.artsandbusinesscouncil.org/

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

Colorado Plateau Archives (Geology, Art History, Native Americans) --- http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/cpa

NOVA: The Spy Factory --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/spy-factory.html

International Spy Museum --- http://www.spymuseum.org/

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 May 26, 2011

Peter G. Peterson Website on Deficit/Debt Solutions ---

Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm

Stanley Fish --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Fish

For many years, Stanley Fish has been one of my heroes and role models ---
The world needs more Fish tales.

Professor Fish is sometimes incorrectly given credit for the phrase "political correctness." Perhaps he should be given credit, however, for a willingness to stand up against the tide of political correctness that swamped our academy ---

Another hero is the independent thinker pushing back against the tide of political correctness is Harvey Mansfield at Harvard.

This is great material for a Harvard Business School Leadership, Management, and Ethics Case
Harvey Mansfield is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1962 ---

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (education research) --- http://www.edexcellence.net/

Online Instructional Resources: Faculty Development Programs at Michigan State University --- http://fod.msu.edu/OIR/index.asp

eLearn Magazine --- http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=best_practices&article=57-1#

First Monday --- http://firstmonday.org/

Educause --- http://www.educause.edu/

A Must Read
Educause:  Emerging Trends in Education Technology
--- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/02/09/qt#250713

Educause and the New Media Consortium have released the 2011 Horizon Report, an annual study of emerging issues in technology in higher education. The issues that are seen as likely to have great impact:

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

Accounting, Finance, and Business Graduate Average Salaries are Neither in the Top Nor the Bottom Top Ten

"Major Decisions," by Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed,  May 24, 2011--- Click Here

Jensen Comment
I always advised my students that things other than starting salaries were often more important. For example, in accounting the most important factors are client exposure (clients often make the best offers to auditors and consultants), the professional nature of interesting work, and the amount and quality of the training are more important for the long haul than starting salaries.

Advancement opportunities are also very important. Consideration should also be given to travel demands (good news to some graduates and bad news to other graduates) and pressures such as compensation based upon sales commissions or other pressure cookers.

Also give consideration to the numbers of opportunities and the locations of where those opportunities take place. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering graduates are paid well, but they are relatively few in number and face only a limited number of job opportunities and locales. One of my closest friends has a son who graduated as an engineer from Maine Maritime Academy and received all sorts of opportunities in the Merchant Marines. However, after recently getting married the romance of being stationed aboard Far East merchant vessels lost a lot of its appeal with his young and pretty wife living on a horse farm in Conway, New Hampshire. If he'd instead become a N.H. CPA he could probably have great opportunities in the Mt. Washington Valley and live each day on the farm.

And in some cases health and pension plans can be very important. Any career that provides a lifetime pension after only 20-30 years of service provides a tremendous opportunity for double dipping later in life. Consider running for the U.S. Congress where a short four-year stint can get you a lifetime pension with great medical benefits for a lifetime. Of course there's a lot of crap to wade through getting nominated and elected.

To me the most important factor is independence and freedom of time control such as those freedoms afforded to college professors. If I had it to do all over again I would get a PhD in accounting (since accounting PhDs are in such short supply for the tremendous needs of the market). I guess in the 1960s I was the maggot that was dropped by a soaring bird into the sweetest manure pile around.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

"Netflix Streaming Now the Largest Source of North American Internet Traffic," by Audrey Watters, ReadWriteWeb, May 17, 2011 ---

Netflix has made it clear that it sees its future in streaming videos not DVDs and that's having a massive impact on Internet traffic. According to Sandvine' latest Global Internet Phenomena Report, Netflix now comprises almost 30% of peak downstream traffic in North America.

But beyond the evening, primetime hours, Netflix has become the largest source of Internet traffic overall - some 22.2% of traffic.

Jensen Comment
When I was a little kid we could watch a double feature plus a serial-short for two bits at our farm town cinema on Saturday afternoons. I think each movie downloaded these days from Netflix on an optional unlimited plan can be cheaper than two-for-two bits if you're an movie addict. I wonder if those Johnny Mack Brown double feature westerns are available. I used to pack a toy gun on each hip when going to those matinees.

May 18, 2011 reply from Linda Phingst

Hi Bob, very interesting…

Amazing…when they closed down the old Flemington movie theater a couple of years ago, I was sad and saw the end of an era….

Going to the matinee taught us patience, having something to look forward to, social skills, saving, endless opportunities for growth. When you worried about seeing an ‘R’ rated movie and getting carded.

I hope that is being replaced by something just as meaningful…..but it is not Netflix Streaming….parenting is becoming an impossible challenge, as if it wasn’t hard before. Yet parents are becoming more and more ‘responsible’ for ‘children’s’ actions without any help from society (or the village.)

No Netflix streaming at our house…..ever!

Well, maybe when they go off to college in six and eight years…..


Frenchtown, NJ

Where everything is 10 miles away and a 15 minutes drive. You feel like driving slow? I got plenty of time…

Just curious, but how many new movies releases are there now compared to say 1950-60? I know, Google it!


As long as we're into nostalgia, here's the Statler Bros.
"The Strand and Other Memories" ---

"Do You Remember These?"  ---

Randolph Scott --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Scott 

"Does all this new technology make a difference? This new report from The Chronicle looks at the realities behind the hype," Special Report from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 2011 (not free at under $10 depending on option chosen) ---

Educause:  Emerging Trends in Education Technology --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/02/09/qt#250713

Educause and the New Media Consortium have released the 2011 Horizon Report, an annual study of emerging issues in technology in higher education. The issues that are seen as likely to have great impact:

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

Video:  Stanford Graduate School of Business gets a complex of new buildings--- the Knight Management Center ---

From the Absurd Measures of Performance Department

"Johns Hopkins and Texas A&M Were the Least Productive Research Universities, Study Finds," by Jeffrey Brainard, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23, 2011 ---

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins and Texas A&M Universities were among the least productive of any at large academic institutions from 1989 to 2004, measured by the money spent on their research per paper they published, according to a study to be presented at an academic conference this week.

The University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University were among the most productive.

By the same measure, private research universities were more efficient on average than public ones, and institutions with medical schools produced more papers than those without.

What's more, the collective productivity of 72 of the nation's largest research universities dropped significantly in the late 1990s and has not recovered, according to the study's author, Jeffrey M. Litwin, an associate dean at George Brown College, in Toronto.

Mr. Litwin is to present his findings on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Association for Institutional Research, which will take place in that city.

The study appears to be the first of its kind to rank institutions by this measure, which compares a university's total research spending from all sources against the number of papers its researchers publish in scholarly journals. Other prominent methods of evaluating research institutions, like the one released last year by the National Research Council, have considered, as one of many factors, a different but related yardstick—the number of papers published per faculty member.

However, at least one statistician disagrees with the spending-per-paper approach. Mr. Litwin relied on data that are "inadequate" to evaluate universities' research productivity accurately, said Scott L. Zeger, vice provost for research at Johns Hopkins.

In an interview, Mr. Litwin called his method an improvement over counts of publications per faculty member. That approach is problematic given the "vast differences in outputs per capita across disciplines, and even within individual departments," said Mr. Litwin, who is executive director of the college's capital campaign and holds an M.B.A. and a doctorate in higher-education management.

Figures on research expenditures offer a way to smooth the variation and produce a single measure reflecting faculty efforts on research that is comparable across institutions, Mr. Litwin said. "I think it's quite a bit more useful for studies in a financial or economic context," he said. A Drop in Productivity

For his study, Mr. Litwin examined expenditures data reported by institutions to the National Science Foundation from 1989 to 2004. He examined counts of published studies compiled by Thomson Reuters, a news and information company. His results are based on 72 institutions that reported the highest research expenditures and that had comparable data on publications. The median expenditure per paper was $72,020.

He acknowledged that his study raised several questions that it did not answer, which he says merit further study. One was a jump in average expenditures per paper among all institutions, from $67,000 in 1996 to $85,000 in 2002.Mr. Litwin said neither he nor his colleagues had an explanation. Nevertheless, he said, "If you have a decline in productivity, the government isn't getting the same return for its investment, assuming the quality of publications has been consistent," he said, "and that's meaningful."

Mr. Litwin conceded that his suggested approach had methodological limitations. The NSF figures on research expenditures fail to capture all of a faculty member's time spent on research because they reflect only research that is separately budgeted by the institution, such as that financed by external sponsors like the federal government. At research institutions, faculty members typically split their time between teaching and research, but the portion of their base pay that represents compensation for their research was not captured in the NSF figures.

Mr. Zeger, who has overseen research at Hopkins since 2008 and whose specialty is biostatistics, suggested some other limitations of Mr. Litwin's measure.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I'm reminded of the oft-quoted problem of managing a socialist economy with performance targets of nail production that became dysfunctional to supply and demand. When the performance measure was set at the "number of nails," the nail factories shifted high gear into producing very small nails and brads, thereby creating a shortage of larger nails. When the performance measure was set at "kilograms of nails" the nail factories shifted into producing very large nails the size of railroad spikes, thereby creating a shortage in smaller nails.

Research performance of a university is a multivariate process with many intangibles and contingencies. If we reduce this to a many-to-one to misleading metric such as "number of journal articles published" this can lead to all sorts of game playing with joint authorships and paper splitting. See
Gaming for Tenure as an Accounting Professor ---
(with a reply about tenure publication point systems from Linda Kidwell)

Even within the realm of journal articles, not all journal articles are equivalent within a discipline or between disciplines. What do you have when you add apples, oranges, peanuts, grains of sand, temples, beer cans, houses, shoes, ranches, mountains, cities, and worms into a single aggregate total?

And there is the problem of timing. A truly great historian might spend a lifetime producing a single monumental piece of work whereas a chemist might publish a research abstract once each month or even more often.

And lastly, when comparing Texas A&M with Harvard, we must realize that Harvard had a long head start and now has the largest endowment in the world. Harvard can probably attract the very top researchers of the world to live and work in the Cambridge area simply because these researchers want to be near other  top Harvard, MIT, and other researchers that have created a very scholarly environment over centuries of time. Texas A&M most likely finds it a lot more expensive to attract these same top researchers to a relatively "upstart university" in the middle of nowhere. Hence the fact that Harvard now gets more research bang for the buck is hardly surprising at the present time. However, the fact that Texas A&M is willing to spend more for each big bang will one day make Harvard wake up and take notice of Texas A&M. I wonder how much it would cost to move the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Brian, Texas?

And perhaps those Nobel Prize winning scientists who opt for Harvard relative to Texas A&M just have not had good tax advisors.

"The 10 Most Expensive Colleges In America," by Julie Zeveloff , Business Insider, May 17, 2011 ---

You want to give your child the best education money can buy. But is $235,000 for a bachelor's degree really worth it?

Click here to see the most expensive colleges >

The top dollar undergraduate program in America is Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., which charges $58,716 per term for tuition, fees, room and board -- plus a few thousand dollars for textbooks.

Sarah Lawrence president Karen Lawrence justifies the sticker price by pointing to the school's small classes where faculty have "twice the student contact as professors at other institutions."

Of course, Sarah Lawrence isn't the only university charging students insane prices. We've rounded up the costliest colleges of all from the latest figures published by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The priciest institutions are located in major cities, where costs-of-living also run high. In fact, three on this list are located in New York City, and three are just a short drive away.

  1. Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY
  2. Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
  3. Columbia University in New York, NY
  4. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD
  5. Georgetown University in Washington DC
  6. New York University in New York, NY
  7. Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif.
  8. Barnard College in New York, NY
  9. Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
  10. Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.


The Devil is in the Details Not Discussed in This Report (but then we never expected these unions to agree on learning assessment details)

"What Faculty Unions Say About Student Learning Outcomes Assessment," by Larry Gold (AFT), Gary Rhoades (AAUP), Mark Smith (NEA) & George Kuh (NILOA), Occasional Paper No. 9 ---

Faculty unions are under great pressure to become more focused on learning performance and educational reforms apart from the traditional protectionism and work rules focus of these unions. This report is an important start down the assessments road. But when it gets down to details, these unions may never agree on output assessment details (beyond having teachers subjectively grade their students without any grade inflation restraints).

To my knowledge faculty unions have not taken any significant initiatives to stop the greatest educational quality embarrassment at the K-20 levels ---
I would be more supportive of faculty unions if they set out with determination to reverse the widespread cancer of grade inflation in the United States. Instead they've contributed to the spread of this deadly disease.

I could be wrong about some of this and would greatly appreciate knowing about significant efforts of teachers' unions to reverse grade inflation.

This creates perverse incentives for professors to demand little and give out good grades. (Indeed, the 36 percent of students in our study who reported spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone still had an average G.P.A. of 3.16.) On those commendable occasions when professors and academic departments do maintain rigor, they risk declines in student enrollments. And since resources are typically distributed based on enrollments, rigorous classes are likely to be canceled and rigorous programs shrunk. Distributing resources and rewards based on student learning instead of student satisfaction would help stop this race to the bottom.
"Your So-Called Education," by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, The New York Times, May 14, 2011 ---

. . .

In a typical semester, for instance, 32 percent of the students did not take a single course with more than 40 pages of reading per week, and 50 percent did not take any course requiring more than 20 pages of writing over the semester. The average student spent only about 12 to 13 hours per week studying — about half the time a full-time college student in 1960 spent studying, according to the labor economists Philip S. Babcock and Mindy S. Marks.

¶ Not surprisingly, a large number of the students showed no significant progress on tests of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing that were administered when they began college and then again at the ends of their sophomore and senior years. If the test that we used, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, were scaled on a traditional 0-to-100 point range, 45 percent of the students would not have demonstrated gains of even one point over the first two years of college, and 36 percent would not have shown such gains over four years of college.

¶ Why is the overall quality of undergraduate learning so poor?

. . .

Fortunately, there are some relatively simple, practical steps that colleges and universities could take to address the problem. Too many institutions, for instance, rely primarily on student course evaluations to assess teaching. This creates perverse incentives for professors to demand little and give out good grades. (Indeed, the 36 percent of students in our study who reported spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone still had an average G.P.A. of 3.16.) On those commendable occasions when professors and academic departments do maintain rigor, they risk declines in student enrollments. And since resources are typically distributed based on enrollments, rigorous classes are likely to be canceled and rigorous programs shrunk. Distributing resources and rewards based on student learning instead of student satisfaction would help stop this race to the bottom.

Others involved in education can help, too. College trustees, instead of worrying primarily about institutional rankings and fiscal concerns, could hold administrators accountable for assessing and improving learning. Alumni as well as parents and students on college tours could ignore institutional facades and focus on educational substance. And the Department of Education could make available nationally representative longitudinal data on undergraduate learning outcomes for research purposes, as it has been doing for decades for primary and secondary education.

Most of all, we hope that during this commencement season, our faculty colleagues will pause to consider the state of undergraduate learning and our collective responsibility to increase academic rigor on our campuses.

Richard Arum, a professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, are the authors of “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

Possible details for outcomes assessment are discussed at

Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations and grade inflation are at

"Reader feedback: When student evaluations are just plain wrong," by Heather M. Whitney, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 17, 2011 ---

Farming & Countryside Education --- http://www.face-online.org.uk/resources-all

"The Risks of Quantification," by William Byers, Harvard Business Review Blog, May 18, 2011 --- Click Here 

Quantification — describing reality with numbers — is a trend that seems only to be accelerating. From digital technology to business and financial models, we interact with the world by means of quantification.

While we all interact with the world through more-or-less inflexible models, mathematics contributes to this lack of flexibility because it is seemingly precise and objective. Even though mathematical models can be very complex, you can use them without understanding them very well. A trader need not really understand the financial engineering models that he may use on daily basis. This uncritical acceptance amounts to the assumption that reality is identical to our rational reconstruction of reality — for example, that the economy or the stock market is captured by our latest model.

Hitting the bottom line is certainly easier when you know with precision what that bottom line is. Numbers give you this precision, making you feel more secure about where you are going — higher revenues, lower costs. Defining the risk of an unlikely event may make us feel like we've dealt with the threat. This is part of the contribution of the
"quants" on Wall Street, people with doctorates in math and physics. They bring with them a culture of quantification that they carry over from the mathematical and physical sciences and then apply to economic and financial situations. The complex mathematical models that they use may be brilliant, but the better they are the greater their potential is to misrepresent the actual, human situation that they are looking at. Because they give people like CEOs and politicians the idea that everything is understood and under control, these models often have the perverse effect of generating new, unanticipated problems.

What we misunderstand is that introducing mathematics and quantification into any situation subtly changes that situation and this needs to be taken into account. We are attached to our analytic and computational tools and have become blind to their limitations.

Consider the following four issues:

  1. Statistical models are all based on the notion of randomness, but no one can really understand randomness. Many people use the word random without realizing that random means what it says — randomness cannot be predicted or controlled. A model of randomness is no longer true randomness.
  2. Because they are logically consistent, mathematical models screen out ambiguity. Ambiguity is real, but business and financial models have little to no room for it. Ambiguity arises whenever there are two (or more) courses of action that are equally important yet conflict with one another. For example, we need nuclear reactors to solve some of our energy needs and to mitigate global warming. At the same time, nuclear power, as we see from Japan, comes with huge downsides. This same ambiguity is at the heart of most policy and business decisions, but mathematical models have taken out the ambiguity.
  3. Putting a situation into numbers enforces the belief that things are linear and events are necessarily comparable since for any two numbers one is larger and one is smaller. Suppose that you modeled teaching on a scale that goes from 1 to 10. You would conclude that a teacher with a score of 8.3 was better than one with 6.8, but this would inevitably ignore all kinds of qualitative factors. Models simplify things by ignoring certain aspects of the situation, but we can never be sure which factors should be included and which should be omitted.
  4. Any system that involves human behavior, like economics or finance, is inherently self-referential. We are all participants in, not just observers of, these systems. Self-referential systems are notoriously difficult to control and predict because they are often chaotic, not deterministic. Most mathematical models do not take this element of self-reference seriously and anyhow chaotic systems, by definition, cannot be predicted.

How do we make use of the realization that uncertainty is inevitable and our best models have blind spots? Simple acknowledgment that uncertainty is unavoidable already changes things in a fundamental way. However, this acknowledgment must be authentic and must overcome our psychological aversion to uncertainty. Uncertainty tends to make situations more complex and, therefore, projects more costly — another reason why it tends to be ignored or downplayed.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on what went wrong with accountics research ---

"Let's Give the Blind Better Access to Online Learning," by Virginia A. Jacko, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 8, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on learning aids for disabled students can be found at

Google Music (Beta) --- http://music.google.com/music/usernotinvited

"Google Music vs. Amazon Cloud Drive," by Sarah Parez, ReadWriteWeb, May 10, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's links to free online music ---

"Scrible: A New Tool for Web Annotation," by George Williams, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 9, 2011 ---

"What use is game theory?" by Steve Hsu, Information Processing, May 4, 2011 ---

Fantastic interview with game theorist Ariel Rubinstein on Econtalk. I agree with Rubinstein that game theory has little predictive power in the real world, despite the pretty mathematics. Experiments at RAND (see, e.g., Mirowski's Machine Dreams) showed early game theorists, including Nash, that people don't conform to the idealizations in their models. But this wasn't emphasized (Mirowski would claim it was deliberately hushed up) until more and more experiments showed similar results. (Who woulda thought -- people are "irrational"! :-)

Perhaps the most useful thing about game theory is that it requires you to think carefully about decision problems. The discipline of this kind of analysis is valuable, even if the models have limited applicability to real situations.

Rubinstein discusses a number of topics, including raw intelligence vs psychological insight and its importance in economics
(see also here). He has, in my opinion, a very developed and mature view of what social scientists actually do, as opposed to what they claim to do.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on analytics can be found at

A History of Entrepreneurship
"Who Are The Entrepreneurs: The Elite or the Everyday Man? A History of Entrepreneurship," by Heather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek, and Leo A Googman, UC Berkeley,  2011 ---
 Who Are The Entrepreneurs: The Elite or the Everyday Man? A History of Entrepreneurship

We trace the social positions of the men and women who found new enterprises from the earliest years of one industry’s history to a time when the industry was well established. Sociological theory suggests two opposing hypotheses. First, pioneering entrepreneurs are socially prominent individuals from fields adjacent to the new industry and later entrepreneurs are from an increasingly broad swath of society. Second, the earliest entrepreneurs come from the social periphery while later entrepreneurs include more industry insiders and members of the social elite. To test these hypotheses, we study the magazine industry in America over the first 120 years of its history, from 1741 to 1860. We find that magazine publishing was originally restricted to industry insiders, elite professionals, and the highly educated, but by the time the industry became well established, most founders came from outside publishing and more were of middling stature – mostly small-town doctors and clergy without college degrees. We also find that magazines founded by industry insiders remained concentrated in the three biggest cities, while magazines founded by outsiders became geographically dispersed. Finally, we find that entrepreneurship evolved from the pursuit of a lone individual to a more organizationally-sponsored activity; this reflects the modernization of America during this time period. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of grounding studies of entrepreneurship in historical context. Our analysis of this “old” new media industry also offers hints about how the “new” new media industries are likely to evolve.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting history ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for small business ---


"Controversial Journal Rankings in Australia Affect Research Funds and Careers," by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 8, 2011 ---

When Anna Poletti found out she'd had an article accepted by the journal Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, the young Australian scholar of life writing­—autobiography, biography, letters, and other forms of recorded experience—was thrilled. "It got me a whole lot of attention in the field," she says, because Biography is highly regarded by her peers.

It is not so esteemed, however, by the Australian government. A new journal-ranking plan—which helps the government determine how research money is doled out to universities—has dropped Biography from the highest ranking, A*, to a lowly C. Judged that way, an association with Biography looked like more of a career killer than a coup.

"I am actually dragging down the overall score of my unit by publishing in a C journal," says Ms. Poletti, a lecturer in English at Monash University—her first tenure-track job.

The ranking is part of an overall evaluation system devised by the Australian Research Council, an agency that finances scholarship and innovation in the country through grants and through advice to other government departments. At stake is a share of about $1.63-billion (U.S.), which supports a multitude of activities including academic research, says Margaret M. Sheil, chief executive officer of the council. The system, called Excellence in Research for Australia, helps the government decide how much goes to a given research unit at a university.

Journal rankings are not just an Australian phenomenon. Scholars worldwide are tangling with what Ms. Poletti calls "the culture of audit." The United States does not have such a ranking system, but U.S.-based researchers and journal editors find their work drawn into such assessments anyway.

Biography, for instance, comes out of the University of Hawaii's Center for Biographical Research. Around the world—in Britain, South Africa, New Zealand, and elsewhere—cash-strapped governments are experimenting with schemes to measure the quality of the academic research they pay to support.

In Europe, the European Science Foundation is about to release a new round of journal rankings as part of its European Reference Index for the Humanities. Ms. Sheil, who talks regularly with assessors in other countries, has recently traveled to the United States to discuss Australia's evaluation system.

Continued in article

Journal Ranking Site: Eigenfactor

Eigenfactor ranks journals much as Google ranks websites. It is somewhat similar to Thomson Scientific's (ISI) Journal Citation Index (JCI), though it's dataset is larger.

Some points to note:
* JCI only looks at the 8000 or so journals indexed by Thomson Scientific while potentially any journal could be included in Eigenfactor.
* The JCI is calculated based on the most recent 2-year's worth of citation data; Eigenfactor is based on the most recent 5 years.

* In collaboration with journalprices.com,
Eigenfactor provides information about price and value for thousands of scholarly periodicals.
* Article Influence (AI): a measure of a journal's prestige based on per article citations and comparable to Impact Factor. Eigenfactor (EF): A measure of the overall value provided by all of the articles published in a given journal in a year.
* The Eigenfactor Web site also presents the ISI Impact Factors, so it's possible to compare the
ISI's "Impact Factors" with Eigenfactor's "Article Influence"
* Both simple and advanced searching is available: "You can search by partial or full journal name, ISSN number, or you can view a selected ISI category, only ISI-listed journals, only non-ISI-listed journals or both listed and unlisted."
* Eigenfactor is Free!

From the Eigenfactor Web site:

Eigenfactor provides influence rankings for 7000+ science and social science journals and rankings for an additional 110,000+ reference items including newspapers, and popular magazines.

Borrowing methods from network theory, eigenfactor.org ranks the influence of journals much as Google's PageRank algorithm ranks the influence of web pages. By this approach, journals are considered to be influential if they are cited often by other influential journals. Iterative ranking schemes of this type, known as eigenvector centrality methods, are notoriously sensitive to "dangling nodes" and "dangling clusters" -- nodes or groups of nodes which link seldom if at all to other parts of the network. Eigenfactor modifies the basic eigenvector centrality algorithm to overcome these problems and to better handle certain peculiarities of journal citation data.

Different disciplines have different standards for citation and different time scales on which citations occur. The average article in a leading cell biology journal might receive 10-30 citations within two years; the average article in leading mathematics journal would do very well to receive 2 citations over the same period. By using the whole citation network, Eigenfactor automatically accounts for these differences and allows better comparison across research areas.

Eigenfactor.org is a non-commercial academic research project sponsored by the Bergstrom lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. We aim to develop novel methods for evaluating the influence of scholarly periodicals and for mapping the structure of academic research. We are committed to sharing our findings with interested members of the public, including librarians, journal editors, publishers, and authors of scholarly articles.

The Eigenfactor Web site --- http://www.eigenfactor.org 

In my opinion citation indices are quite unreliable since for-profit journal publishing houses often urge paid editors and referees to push for citations to journals they publish. Hence, the bibliography of many research papers becomes somewhat artificial.

For academic accounting research journals see the following (slow loading):

At the AAA annual meeting in San Francisco in August, 2005, Judy Rayburn addressed the low citation rate of accounting research when compared to citation rates for research in other fields. Rayburn concluded that the low citation rate for accounting research was due to a lack of diversity in topics and research methods:

Accounting research is different from other business disciplines in the area of citations: Top-tier accounting journals in total have fewer citations than top-tier journals in finance, management, and marketing. Our journals are not widely cited outside our discipline. Our top-tier journals as a group project too narrow a view of the breadth and diversity of (what should count as) accounting research.
Rayburn [2006, p. 4]
As quoted at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/395wpTAR/Web/TAR395wp.htm
Her data was derived from a Texas !&M study headed up by Ed Swanson.

Journal rankings greatly affect tenure and promotion decisions and annual performance evaluations in virtually all top North American universities. Many universities, however, have customized rankings developed by their own faculty members. For example, the University of Texas at Dallas has a very unique ranking system in its college of business that results in its program ranking in the top 10 in the nation with respect to research (I'm not certain if UT Dallas still publishes this controversial ranking system that, in my viewpoint, cherry picked the journals to receive highest priority).

For a specialized finance journal ranking system see

For criticisms see

The Newness Versus Rigor Tradeoff:  The "rigor" bar has been ratcheting up for the last 20-30 years

"FMA Decisions Are Out," The Unknown Professor, Financial Rounds, May 3 ---

. . .

This tale of two papers reminds me of a piece I read a while back (unfortunately, I can't recall its title). It discussed how there's a trade-off in research between "newness" and "required rigor". In other words, if you're working on a topic that's been done to death (e.g. capital structure or dividend policy), you'll be asked to do robustness tests out the yazoo. On the other hand, if it's a more novel idea, there's a lower bar on the rigor side, because the "newness" factor gets you some slack on the rigor side.

In general, however, the "rigor" bar has been ratcheting up for the last 20-30 years, regardless of the "newness" factor. To see this, realize that the average length of a Journal of Finance article in the early 80s was something like l6 pages - now it's more like 30-40. As further (anecdotal) evidence, a friend of mine had a paper published on long-run returns around some types of mergers in the Journal of Banking and Finance about 9 years back. They made him calculate the returns FIVE different ways.

Continued in article

I only wish "rigor" in accounting research demanded more independent validity research and replication ---

May 10, 2011 reply from Dan Stone

Here's a very detailed buyers/users guide to citation management software, i.e., endnote, zetero, refwords.


Thanks to the Univ. of Wisconsin (Madison) librarians for this guide. I'm glad to see their jobs haven't yet been eliminated (or have they?) by the new governor / administration :)

Dan Stone
Univ. of Kentucky

Quantitative versus Fundamental Value–Let’s get ready to RUMMMBLE!
May 8, 2011


Bob Jensen's threads on the Efficient Market Hypothesis ---


Warren Buffett did a lot of almost fatal damage to the EMH
If you really want to understand the problem you’re apparently wanting to study, read about how Warren Buffett changed the whole outlook of a great econometrics/mathematics researcher (Janet Tavkoli). I’ve mentioned this fantastic book before --- Dear Mr. Buffett. What opened her eyes is how Warren Buffet built his vast, vast fortune exploiting the errors of the sophisticated mathematical model builders when valuing derivatives (especially options) where he became the writer of enormous option contracts (hundreds of millions of dollars per contract). Warren Buffet dared to go where mathematical models could not or would not venture when the real world became too complicated to model. Warren reads financial statements better than most anybody else in the world and has a fantastic ability to retain and process what he’s studied. It’s impossible to model his mind.

I finally grasped what Warren was saying. Warren has such a wide body of knowledge that he does not need to rely on “systems.” . . . Warren’s vast knowledge of corporations and their finances helps him identify derivatives opportunities, too. He only participates in derivatives markets when Wall Street gets it wrong and prices derivatives (with mathematical models) incorrectly. Warren tells everyone that he only does certain derivatives transactions when they are mispriced.

Wall Street derivatives traders construct trading models with no clear idea of what they are doing. I know investment bank modelers with advanced math and science degrees who have never read the financial statements of the corporate credits they model. This is true of some credit derivatives traders, too.
Janet Tavakoli, Dear Mr. Buffett, Page 19


October 28, 2009 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Bob, et al,
I never cease to marvel at the powers of rationalization defenders of sacred institutions can muster. The above characterization of EMH was certainly not the version pedaled by its accounting disciples (notably Bill Beaver) back in the late 60s and early 70s. An accounting research industry was created based on a version of EMH that was decidedly more certain that securities were "properly priced." [Why else do studies to debunk the Briloff effect?].

Given the interpretation offered above, "Information Content Studies" make no sense. The whole idea of this methodology was that accounting data that correlated with prices implied market participants found it useful for setting prices based on publicly available data, which implied such prices were the ones that would exist in an idealized world of perfectly informed investors. Thus, this data met the test of being information and was to be preferred to other "non-information" to which the market did not react.

But now we are told that this latest version of EMH does not justify such sanguinity because "...the prices in the market are mostly wrong...", thus prices are not an indicator of the value of data, i.e., just because there is a price effect we still don't know if that data is truly "information." Think of the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted over the last forty years subsidizing people to search for something that is indeterminate given the methodology they are employing.

And for this the AAA awarded Seminal Contributions. Jim Boatsman had an ingenious little paper in Abacus eons ago titled, "Why Are There Tigers and Things," that cast serious doubts on the whole enterprise of "testing" market efficiency. It addressed the issue Carl Devine harped on about needing an independent definition of "information." And this is related to the logical slight of hand EMH required of surmising there is a way to know what the "true" price is since we glibly talk about over and under and mis-priced securities.

But there is no way to know this, since security prices are CREATED by the institution of the securities market. There does not exist a natural process against which market performance can be compared. "Market value," which is what a price is, is a value established by the market. The market is all there is. To paraphrase NC's current governor's favorite expression, "The price is what it is."

It isn't over or under or mis or proper or anything else, other than what a particular institution created by us at one moment in time determines it is. If we lived in a society in which mob rule settled issues of justice, it would make little sense to argue that someone the mob hung was "not guilty." Of course he was guilty, because the mob hung him!!

Paul Williams

A Fundamentals Approach to Valuing a Business

In the great book Dear Mr. Buffett, Janet Tavakoli shows how Warren Buffet learned value (fundamentals) investing while taking Benjamin Graham's value investing course while earning a masters degree in economics from Columbia University. Buffet also worked for Professor Graham.

The following book supposedly takes the Graham approach to a new level (although I've not yet read the book). Certainly the book will be controversial among the efficient markets proponents like Professors Fama and French.

Purportedly a Great, Great Book on Value Investing
From Simoleon Sense, November 16, 2009 --- http://www.simoleonsense.com/

OMG Did I Die & Go to heaven?
Just Read, Applied Value Investing, My Favorite Book of the Past 5 Years!!
Listen To This Interview!

I have a confession, I might have read the best value investing book published in the past 5 years!

The book is called Applied Value Investing By Joseph Calandro Jr. In the book Mr. Calandro applies the tenets of value investing via (real) case studies. Buffett, was once asked how he would teach a class on security analysis, he replied, “case studies”.  Unlike other books which are theoretical this book provides you with the actual steps for valuing businesses.

Without a doubt, this book ranks amongst the best value investing books (with SA, Margin of Safety, Buffett’s letters to corporate America, and Greenwald’s book) & you dont have to take my word for it. Seth Klarman, Mario Gabelli and many top investors have given the book a plug!

Here is an interview with the author of the book, Applied Value Investing ( I recommend listening to this). Who knows perhaps yours truly will interview him soon.



A fellow blogger and friend will soon post a review of this book (hint: Street Capitalist!).

Video:  Warren Buffett's Secrets To Success --- http://www.businessinsider.com/business-news/nov-24-alice1-2009-11

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

Bob Jensen's threads on how the economic crisis may have been a "math error" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

Ockham’s (or Occam's) Razor (Law of Parsimony and Succinctness) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ockham's_razor

"Razoring Ockham’s razor," by Massimo Pigliucci, Rationally Speaking, May 6, 2011 ---

Scientists, philosophers and skeptics alike are familiar with the idea of Ockham’s razor, an epistemological principle formulated in a number of ways by the English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher William of Ockham (1288-1348). Here is one version of it, from the pen of its originator:
Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora. [It is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer] (Summa Totius Logicae)
Philosophers often refer to this as the principle of economy, while scientists tend to call it parsimony. Skeptics invoke it every time they wish to dismiss out of hand claims of unusual phenomena (after all, to invoke the “unusual” is by definition unparsimonious, so there).
There is a problem with all of this, however, of which I was reminded recently while reading an old paper by my colleague Elliot Sober, one of the most prominent contemporary philosophers of biology. Sober’s article is provocatively entitled “Let’s razor Ockham’s razor” and it is available for download from his web site.
Let me begin by reassuring you that Sober didn’t throw the razor in the trash. However, he cut it down to size, so to speak. The obvious question to ask about Ockham’s razor is: why? On what basis are we justified to think that, as a matter of general practice, the simplest hypothesis is the most likely one to be true? Setting aside the surprisingly difficult task of operationally defining “simpler” in the context of scientific hypotheses (it can be done, but only in certain domains, and it ain’t straightforward), there doesn’t seem to be any particular logical or metaphysical reason to believe that the universe is a simple as it could be.
Indeed, we know it’s not. The history of science is replete with examples of simpler (“more elegant,” if you are aesthetically inclined) hypotheses that had to yield to more clumsy and complicated ones. The Keplerian idea of elliptical planetary orbits is demonstrably more complicated than the Copernican one of circular orbits (because it takes more parameters to define an ellipse than a circle), and yet, planets do in fact run around the gravitational center of the solar system in ellipses, not circles.
Lee Smolin (in his delightful The Trouble with Physics) gives us a good history of 20th century physics, replete with a veritable cemetery of hypotheses that people thought “must” have been right because they were so simple and beautiful, and yet turned out to be wrong because the data stubbornly contradicted them.
In Sober’s paper you will find a discussion of two uses of Ockham’s razor in biology, George Williams’ famous critique of group selection, and “cladistic” phylogenetic analyses. In the first case, Williams argued that individual- or gene-level selective explanations are preferable to group-selective explanations because they are more parsimonious. In the second case, modern systematists use parsimony to reconstruct the most likely phylogenetic relationships among species, assuming that a smaller number of independent evolutionary changes is more likely than a larger number.
Part of the problem is that we do have examples of both group selection (not many, but they are there), and of non-parsimonious evolutionary paths, which means that at best Ockham’s razor can be used as a first approximation heuristic, not as a sound principle of scientific inference.
And it gets worse before it gets better. Sober cites Aristotle, who chided Plato for hypostatizing The Good. You see, Plato was always running around asking what makes for a Good Musician, or a Good General. By using the word Good in all these inquiries, he came to believe that all these activities have something fundamental in common, that there is a general concept of Good that gets instantiated in being a good musician, general, etc. But that, of course, is nonsense on stilts, since what makes for a good musician has nothing whatsoever to do with what makes for a good general.
Analogously, suggests Sober, the various uses of Ockham’s razor have no metaphysical or logical universal principle in common — despite what many scientists, skeptics and even philosophers seem to think. Williams was correct, group selection is less likely than individual selection (though not impossible), and the cladists are correct too that parsimony is usually a good way to evaluate competitive phylogenetic hypotheses. But the two cases (and many others) do not share any universal property in common.
What’s going on, then? Sober’s solution is to invoke the famous Duhem thesis.** Pierre Duhem suggested in 1908 that, as Sober puts it: “it is wrong to think that hypothesis H makes predictions about observation O; it is the conjunction of H&A [where A is a set of auxiliary hypotheses] that issues in testable consequences.”
This means that, for instance, when astronomer Arthur Eddington “tested” Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity during a famous 1919 total eclipse of the Sun — by showing that the Sun’s gravitational mass was indeed deflecting starlight by exactly the amount predicted by Einstein — he was not, strictly speaking doing any such thing. Eddington was testing Einstein’s theory given a set of auxiliary hypotheses, a set that included independent estimates of the mass of the sun, the laws of optics that allowed the telescopes to work, the precision of measurement of stellar positions, and even the technical processing of the resulting photographs. Had Eddington failed to confirm the hypotheses this would not (necessarily) have spelled the death of Einstein’s theory (since confirmed in many other ways). The failure could have resulted from the failure of any of the auxiliary hypotheses instead.
This is both why there is no such thing as a “crucial” experiment in science (you always need to repeat them under a variety of conditions), and why naive Popperian falsificationism is wrong (you can never falsify a hypothesis directly, only the H&A complex can be falsified).
What does this have to do with Ockham’s razor? The Duhem thesis explains why Sober is right, I think, in maintaining that the razor works (when it does) given certain background assumptions that are bound to be discipline- and problem-specific. So, for instance, Williams’ reasoning about group selection isn’t correct because of some generic logical property of parsimony (as Williams himself apparently thought), but because — given the sorts of things that living organisms and populations are, how natural selection works, and a host of other biological details — it is indeed much more likely than not that individual and not group selective explanations will do the work in most specific instances. But that set of biological reasons is quite different from the set that cladists use in justifying their use of parsimony to reconstruct organismal phylogenies. And needless to say, neither of these two sets of auxiliary assumptions has anything to do with the instances of successful deployment of the razor by physicists, for example.

Continued in article
Note the comments that follow

Bob Jensen's threads on theory are at

Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper Series --- http://web.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/Index.aspx

"Online Courses Should Always Include Proctored Finals, Economist Warns," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2011 ---
Click Here

Online economics students do not absorb much material from homework and chapter tests during the semester—perhaps because they expect to be able to cheat their way through the final exam. That is the lesson from a study that Cheryl J. Wachenheim, an associate professor of agribusiness and applied economics at North Dakota State University, will present in July at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Ms. Wachenheim is no enemy of distance education. As The Chronicle reported in 2009, she continued to teach her online courses even during a National Guard deployment to Iraq. But she has noticed that her online students perform much worse than their classroom-taught counterparts when they are required to take a proctored, closed-book exam at the end of the semester.

In her study—a previous version of which appeared in the Review of Agricultural Economics—Ms. Wachenheim looked at the performance of students in six sections of introductory-economics courses at North Dakota State. In online sections whose final exam was unproctored and open book, students’ exam grades were roughly the same as those of classroom-based students who took proctored, closed-book finals. But online sections that were asked to take proctored, closed-book final exams performed at least 15 points worse on a 100-point scale.

Ms. Wachenheim fears that students in those unproctored online sections really weren’t learning much, even though their grades were fine. In self-paced courses, many students appeared to cram most of the homework and chapter exams into the final week of the semester. Few of them bothered to do the ungraded practice problems offered by the online publisher.

Then there is the question of cheating. Ms. Wachenheim’s study did not gather any direct evidence, but she reports anecdotally that students have told her how they work in groups to compile huge caches of the publishers’ test-bank questions. She quotes one student as saying, “We may not learn the material, but we are guaranteed an A.”

Ms. Wachenheim’s findings parallel those of a 2008 study in the Journal of Economic Education. That study found indirect evidence that students cheat on unproctored online tests, because their performance on proctored exams was much more consistent with predictions based on their class ranks and their overall grade-point averages.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Since proctors are easily distracted and often miss peeking at cribbed notes and angled vision and pass the trash kinds of cheating, well placed videos can often be better than proctoring, especially when set up in individual cubicles.

See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnsiteVersusOnline

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

How Accountants Hide the Pension Bomb in the Public Sectors

"The Hidden State Financial Crisis:  My latest research into opaque state financial statements suggests taxpayers will be surprised by how much pensions are underfunded.," by Meredith Whitney, The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2011 ---

Next month will be pivotal for most states, as it marks the fiscal year end and is when balanced budgets are due. The states have racked up over $1.8 trillion in taxpayer-supported obligations in large part by underfunding their pension and other post-employment benefits. Yet over the past three years, there still has been a cumulative excess of $400 billion in state budget shortfalls. States have already been forced to raise taxes and cut programs to bridge those gaps.

Next month will also mark the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's $480 billion in federal stimulus, which has subsidized states through the economic downturn. States have grown more dependent on federal subsidies, relying on them for almost 30% of their budgets.

The condition of state finances threatens the economic recovery. States employ over 19 million Americans, or 15% of the U.S. work force, and state spending accounts for 12% of U.S. gross domestic product. The process of reining in state finances will be painful for us all.

The rapid deterioration of state finances must be addressed immediately. Some dismiss these concerns, because they believe states will be able to grow their way out of these challenges. The reality is that while state revenues have improved, they have done so in part from tax hikes. However, state tax revenues still remain at roughly 2006 levels.

Expenses are near the highest they have ever been due to built-in annual cost escalators that have no correlation to revenue growth (or decline, as has been the case recently). Even as states have made deep cuts in some social programs, their fixed expenses of debt service and the actuarially recommended minimum pension and other retirement payments have skyrocketed. While over the past 10 years state and local government spending has grown by 65%, tax receipts have grown only by 32%.

Off balance sheet debt is the legal obligation of the state to its current and past employees in the form of pension and other retirement benefits. Today, off balance sheet debt totals over $1.3 trillion, as measured by current accounting standards, and it accounts for almost 75% of taxpayer-supported state debt obligations. Only recently have states been under pressure to disclose more information about these liabilities, because it is clear that their debt burdens are grossly understated.

Since January, some of my colleagues focused exclusively on finding the most up-to-date information on ballooning tax-supported state obligations. This meant going to each state and local government's website for current data, which we found was truly opaque and without uniform standards.

What concerned us the most was the fact that fixed debt-service costs are increasingly crowding out state monies for essential services. For example, New Jersey's ratio of total tax-supported state obligations to gross state product is over 30%, and the fixed costs to service those obligations eat up 16% of the total budget. Even these numbers are skewed, because they represent only the bare minimum paid into funding pension and retirement plans. We calculate that if New Jersey were to pay the actuarially recommended contribution, fixed costs would absorb 37% of the budget. New Jersey is not alone.

The real issue here is the enormous over-leveraging of taxpayer-supported obligations at a time when taxpayers are already paying more and receiving less. In the states most affected by skyrocketing debt and fiscal imbalances, social services continue to be cut the most. Taxpayers have the ultimate voting right—with their feet. Corporations are relocating, or at a minimum moving large portions of their businesses to more tax-friendly states.

Boeing is in the political cross-hairs as it is trying to set up a facility in the more business-friendly state of South Carolina, away from its current hub of Washington. California legislators recently went to Texas to learn best practices as a result of a rising tide of businesses that are building operations outside of their state. Over time, individuals will migrate to more tax-friendly states as well, and job seekers will follow corporations.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Some accountants naively assume that the new IASB-FASB agreement on fair value accounting will make pension obligations more transparent, especially if the GASB follows suit. What they don't really understand is that obligations that are not recognized in the first place are not going to be made more transparent with fair value accounting if they're hidden in the first place. For ten years Arnold Swartzenagger disclosed four kids and hid a fifth kid from his wife and the rest of the world. With pensions it's more like disclosing one kid and hiding four from the world.

Arnold pretty well ruined parts of his life when the that which was hidden was finally revealed. The same thing will happen to local, state, and national governments in the U.S. if hidden pension obligations are ever revealed. It will ruin everything in future elections if voters really understand how bad the hidden entitlements have really become ---

Although all 50 states are in deep financial troubles, what state is in the worst shape at the moment and is unable to pay its bills?
Hint: The state in deepest trouble is not California, although California is in dire straights!

How did accountants hide the pending disaster?

Watch the Video
This module on 60 Minutes on December 19 was one of the most worrisome episodes I've ever watched
It appears that a huge number of cities and towns and some states will default on bonds within12 months from now
"State Budgets: The Day of Reckoning Steve Kroft Reports On The Growing Financial Woes States Are Facing," CBS Sixty Minutes, December 19, 2010 ---

The problem with that, according to Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney, is that no one really knows how deep the holes are. She and her staff spent two years and thousands of man hours trying to analyze the financial condition of the 15 largest states. She wanted to find out if they would be able to pay back the money they've borrowed and what kind of risk they pose to the $3 trillion municipal bond market, where state and local governments go to finance their schools, highways, and other projects.

"How accurate is the financial information that's public on the states? And municipalities," Kroft asked.

"The lack of transparency with the state disclosure is the worst I have ever seen," Whitney said. "Ultimately we have to use what's publicly available data and a lot of it is as old as June 2008. So that's before the financial collapse in the fall of 2008."

Whitney believes the states will find a way to honor their debts, but she's afraid some local governments which depend on their state for a third of their revenues will get squeezed as the states are forced to tighten their belts. She's convinced that some cities and counties will be unable to meet their obligations to municipal bond holders who financed their debt. Earlier this year, the state of Pennsylvania had to rescue the city of Harrisburg, its capital, from defaulting on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt for an incinerator project.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that you will see a spate of municipal bond defaults," Whitney predicted.

Asked how many is a "spate," Whitney said, "You could see 50 sizeable defaults. Fifty to 100 sizeable defaults. More. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."

Municipal bonds have long been considered to be among the safest investments, bought by small investors saving for retirement, and held in huge numbers by big banks. Even a few defaults could affect the entire market. Right now the big bond rating agencies like Standard & Poor's and Moody's, who got everything wrong in the housing collapse, say there's no cause for concern, but Meredith Whitney doesn't believe it.

"When individual investors look to people that are supposed to know better, they're patted on the head and told, 'It's not something you need to worry about.' It'll be something to worry about within the next 12 months," she said.

No one is talking about it now, but the big test will come this spring. That's when $160 billion in federal stimulus money, that has helped states and local governments limp through the great recession, will run out.

The states are going to need some more cash and will almost certainly ask for another bailout. Only this time there are no guarantees that Washington will ride to the rescue.

Continued in article

"Public Pensions Cook the Books:  Some plans want to hide the truth from taxpayers," by Andrew Biggs, The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124683573382697889.html

Here's a dilemma: You manage a public employee pension plan and your actuary tells you it is significantly underfunded. You don't want to raise contributions. Cutting benefits is out of the question. To be honest, you'd really rather not even admit there's a problem, lest taxpayers get upset.

What to do? For the administrators of two Montana pension plans, the answer is obvious: Get a new actuary. Or at least that's the essence of the managers' recent solicitations for actuarial services, which warn that actuaries who favor reporting the full market value of pension liabilities probably shouldn't bother applying.

Public employee pension plans are plagued by overgenerous benefits, chronic underfunding, and now trillion dollar stock-market losses. Based on their preferred accounting methods -- which discount future liabilities based on high but uncertain returns projected for investments -- these plans are underfunded nationally by around $310 billion.

The numbers are worse using market valuation methods (the methods private-sector plans must use), which discount benefit liabilities at lower interest rates to reflect the chance that the expected returns won't be realized. Using that method, University of Chicago economists Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua Rauh calculate that, even prior to the market collapse, public pensions were actually short by nearly $2 trillion. That's nearly $87,000 per plan participant. With employee benefits guaranteed by law and sometimes even by state constitutions, it's likely these gargantuan shortfalls will have to be borne by unsuspecting taxpayers.

Some public pension administrators have a strategy, though: Keep taxpayers unsuspecting. The Montana Public Employees' Retirement Board and the Montana Teachers' Retirement System declare in a recent solicitation for actuarial services that "If the Primary Actuary or the Actuarial Firm supports [market valuation] for public pension plans, their proposal may be disqualified from further consideration."

Scott Miller, legal counsel of the Montana Public Employees Board, was more straightforward: "The point is we aren't interested in bringing in an actuary to pressure the board to adopt market value of liabilities theory."

While corporate pension funds are required by law to use low, risk-adjusted discount rates to calculate the market value of their liabilities, public employee pensions are not. However, financial economists are united in believing that market-based techniques for valuing private sector investments should also be applied to public pensions.

Because the power of compound interest is so strong, discounting future benefit costs using a pension plan's high expected return rather than a low riskless return can significantly reduce the plan's measured funding shortfall. But it does so only by ignoring risk. The expected return implies only the "expectation" -- meaning, at least a 50% chance, not a guarantee -- that the plan's assets will be sufficient to meet its liabilities. But when future benefits are considered to be riskless by plan participants and have been ruled to be so by state courts, a 51% chance that the returns will actually be there when they are needed hardly constitutes full funding.

Public pension administrators argue that government plans fundamentally differ from private sector pensions, since the government cannot go out of business. Even so, the only true advantage public pensions have over private plans is the ability to raise taxes. But as the Congressional Budget Office has pointed out in 2004, "The government does not have a capacity to bear risk on its own" -- rather, government merely redistributes risk between taxpayers and beneficiaries, present and future.

Market valuation makes the costs of these potential tax increases explicit, while the public pension administrators' approach, which obscures the possibility that the investment returns won't achieve their goals, leaves taxpayers in the dark.

For these reasons, the Public Interest Committee of the American Academy of Actuaries recently stated, "it is in the public interest for retirement plans to disclose consistent measures of the economic value of plan assets and liabilities in order to provide the benefits promised by plan sponsors."

Nevertheless, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, an umbrella group representing government employee pension funds, effectively wants other public plans to take the same low road that the two Montana plans want to take. It argues against reporting the market valuation of pension shortfalls. But the association's objections seem less against market valuation itself than against the fact that higher reported underfunding "could encourage public sector plan sponsors to abandon their traditional pension plans in lieu of defined contribution plans."

The Government Accounting Standards Board, which sets guidelines for public pension reporting, does not currently call for reporting the market value of public pension liabilities. The board announced last year a review of its position regarding market valuation but says the review may not be completed until 2013.

This is too long for state taxpayers to wait to find out how many trillions they owe.


Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of government accounting and accountability ---

Bob Jensen's threads on pension schemes to hide debt ---

"Decline of 'Western Civ'?" Inside Higher Ed, May 19, 2011 ---

Survey courses in "Western Civilization," once a common component of undergraduate curriculums, have almost disappeared as a requirement at many large private research universities and public flagships, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Association of Scholars.

The report finds that, since 1968, the number of the selected colleges that require Western Civilization courses as a component of general education curriculums and U.S. history as a component of history majors has dropped. This decrease has coincided with more focus on world history courses.

The association argues that Western Civilization courses are uniquely capable of introducing students to key themes of a liberal education. "In the absence of such an organizing principle the curriculum spins out into an all-things-to-all-people cornucopia of offerings, many of them exceptionally narrow in scope and many of them trivial in character," the report states.

Historians and curriculum researchers attribute the de-emphasis on Western Civilization courses to significant changes in higher education curriculums, student diversity, university educational goals, and how history researchers study the world and receive training. They argue that survey courses and Western Civilization courses might not be the best model for all students, and that a more complete world history course is actually better suited for the modern liberal arts education.

To develop the report, NAS examined the curriculums of a group of 50 "top" universities to compare with data it had on those colleges from 1968. The association also surveyed another 75 large public colleges to paint a more complete picture of the higher education world today.

Fifty years ago, 10 of the 50 "top" colleges mandated a Western Civ course, while students at 31 of them could choose a "Western Civilization" course from among a group of courses that would fulfill general education requirements.

The situation is different today, according to the report. None of those "top 50" colleges and only one of the 75 public universities, the University of South Carolina, mandated one semester of "Western Civ." The association did not count Columbia University and Colgate University as offering the traditional "Western Civ" course, even though those institutions require two-semester courses on Western thought, because those courses include non-Western texts. Sixteen of the "Top 50" list Western Civ among several choices for a general education curriculum, as do 44 of the 75 large public institutions.

The association acknowledged that there are limits to the conclusions that can be drawn from the study. The NAS surveyed only 125 colleges, and the survey didn't measure the extent to which students are studying the material in question, just not in required courses.

Anthony Grafton, president of the American Historical Association and a professor at Princeton University, said demographic changes and university responses to those changes account for some of the shift documented in the report. The "traditional Western Civ course" he said, was especially well suited for the student population of the 1960s. But he said today's student body is radically different and might not be as interested in such courses. He also attributed the change to an increasing specialization among professors, which affects how well they can teach broad survey courses and how much they enjoy doing so. "People do the best teaching and studying when they study and teach what they love," he said.

Brandon Hunziker, a history lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose Western Civilization syllabus was cited in the report as an exemplary model, expressed similar sentiments to Grafton's. "I teach my course in a more traditional way because that's a story I can tell well," he said. He said he and his department teach western civilization from a variety of perspectives and that he doesn't necessarily think his is the best approach for every teacher and student.

The debate about where Western Civilization and U.S. history courses fit into the greater higher-education curriculum also coincides with a debate about how best to teach such material. Whereas many colleges in the 1960s had standard core curriculums, more and more universities have moved to a model where students select from a broad range of courses in thematic areas.

"Whether or not our students are learning American history is not necessarily best measured by seat time in a large survey courses," said James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association. He said that is a question that will be explored in more detail by education researchers.

NAS President Peter Wood could cite no evidence that the removal of Western Civilization courses from university curriculums has negatively affected students, but did cite recent studies and publications that have found that students are learning relatively little in college.

Continued in article

May 19, 2011 reply from David Fordhame

Dave Albrecht wrote: Does anyone else recall their Western Civ experience?

Dave, indeed I do. It was taught in the first semester of my freshman year by what has got to be the most boring professor I ever had in the rest of my 11 years of college, a Mrs. Brown. However, the textbook was fascinating, and I loved the course. Probably to your horror, I not only still have the book, but it is right now sitting beside my La-Z-Boy chair at home because I occasionally still read from it.

I saw Western Civ as a real-live, albeit historical, version of Peyton Place, Dallas, and other soap-opera tales of intrigue, scheming, political jockeying, family problems, efforts at success and recognition, power struggles, tragedy, comedy, drama, uncertainty, dumb luck (both good and bad), intelligence and genius, and ignorance and stupidity. Even back when I was only 17 years old, I recognized a lot of congruence between my Western Civ book and the Chaucer, Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, and Thurber chapters of my Humanities literature class (which was in the hour after Western Civ in the classroom next door). I remember both of these classes quite well, in great detail.

You don't remember learning about the differences between Athens and Sparta, about Troy and the Trojan horse, about Socrates drinking the hemlock for corrupting the youth, about Icarus and Daedalus and the Iliad and Odyssey? What about the names Carthage, Alexander and Cleopatra? Romulus and Remus and their "mother"?

Remember: the European Union isn't a new idea. The Romans had the idea a long time ago. And here we are, two thousand years later, and we still use the same name as the Roman "senate". Remember good ol' Julius "crossing the Rubicon", and the circumstances surrounding that fateful ford? And for drama and intrigue, what about Agrippina and the suspicious deaths of the powerful men surrounding her throughout her life? The "story" of Nero and the fiddle and the fire? And why did a guy named Hannibal ride elephants across the Alps? Why did Constantine move the capital, and why isn't Turkey today more European as a result? Who were the Merovingians and the Carolingians? Pepin? Charlemagne? You don't remember why the Moors were in the Iberian peninsula?

Do you recognize the words "feudal", "fief", "domain", "vassal", "knight", and "manor lord"? Where does the American word "county" come from?

What was the importance of wool and cloth to the rise of modern markets? Why were East Indian spices, silk, and art so critical to the rise of the corporate form of business ownership? Do you remember the relationships between Columbus, Ferdinand and Isabella, Henry VIII, and Maximilian of Austria? What was their common denominator? How the heck did one guy (Charles V) suddenly (and very peacefully) inherit most of the known world in the early 1500s, from what had been dozens of different kingdoms, duchies, domains, and principalities, including the entire Holy Roman Empire? Why was Cortez taking so much Incan gold back to Spain?

Did you never learn why Brazil speaks Portuguese instead of Spanish? What is the connection between Gregor Mendel's works and Adolf Hitler? How did Leeuwenhoek's invention help Fleming invent penicillin? What was Tycho Brahe's contribution that led to Kepler debunking Copernicus, and at the same time led to Galileo's getting in hot water with the pope?

Ever hear of a guy named Martin Luther? How did Luther's ideas conflict with Calvin, and why didn't they agree to join forces? Why did they both disagree with Erasmus, when if the three of them could have agreed on some basic ideas, there probably wouldn't even be a pope today? If Calvin started Presbyterianism and Luther started Lutheranism, who started Episcopalianism, and why didn't his daughter marry Charles V?

You don't remember William of Orange? Gutenberg? DaVinci? Charles the Bold? Louix XIII? Jacques DeMolay? William Wallace? These were exciting guys... how can you hear about their histories without envisioning the fantastic stories behind them. Fact is more exciting than fiction. And let's not forget the girls: Joan of Arc, Lady Godiva, and more importantly for accountants, Lady Ada?

What is the difference between a serf and a vassal? Why were monks the educated members of society? Why were the second, third, and fourth sons the ones that always joined the military or went into the priesthood? And even more interesting: how does all this relate to the observation that northern Europeans had a reasonably balanced diet even in the wintertime?

Who was Bayes, and what was he doing when he "invented" statistics? Why did Beethoven write an overture honoring Egmont and Hoorne? What was Excalibur supposed to have been? What was Ponce De Leon looking for when he was waltzing around Florida? Why were England, France, Spain, and the Dutch vying with each other over the new world? And why wasn't Germany involved in any of this? Where were Norway and Sweden, who actually started the "global exploration" movement on the high seas, and why weren't they doing anything in the field at this time?

What is the Magna Carta? Why do we have "trials by jury"? Why are there two houses in Congress? Why did the pilgrims, who were supposed to be English, wear Dutch hats?

And all of this leads to the important question that no one even asks today: Why are Americans so hell-bent on forcing the rest of the world into democracy? Why do Americans put their own lives on the line to help other people overthrow their governments (which might even be functioning just fine and dandy, thank you)? Why did America even declare war on itself over that very same issue? How come the Europeans aren't quite as quick to come to the aid of countries like Bosnia and Slovenia?

No, compared to debits and credits, my Western Civ class came alive, and explained an awful lot of things, even though the professor was more boring than watching grass grow. Then again, to be quite honest... "Perhaps it's just my imagination".... eh?

David Fordham


"Decline of the Humanities," by Stephen Hsu, MIT's Technology Review, September 25, 2009 ---
From an essay by William Chace, professor of English and former president of Wesleyan and Emory. The American Scholar essay  --- http://www.theamericanscholar.org/the-decline-of-the-english-department/

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

"College Credit for Life Experience: 2 Groups Offer Assessment Services," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 16, 2011 ---

Add one more thing to the list of tasks that colleges can outsource.

This time, it's assessing "experiential learning"—that is, the skills students have gained in the workplace and other life trials—and determining how many credit hours should be awarded for that learning. Two fledgling organizations are game.

The idea of handing such decisions to outsiders might make some faculty members wince. But the services' creators say that their networks of portfolio evaluators will establish national norms that will make experiential-learning assessment more clear-cut, rigorous, and credible. And as the concept gains legitimacy, they say, it could help hundreds of thousands of people complete college.

"We're taking baby steps with our first 50 or 60 students," says Pamela Tate, president and chief executive of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. "As this comes to scale, I hope that it will have an enormous impact." Ms. Tate's organization, known as CAEL, is the driving force behind Learning Counts, the larger of the two projects.

The second portal, which went online only two weeks ago, is KNEXT, a for-profit corporate sibling of Kaplan University. "This is absolutely the right thing to do for adult students," says KNEXT's vice president, Brian Oullette. "College-level learning is college-level learning, regardless of where it's acquired. Adult students deserve to have that learning recognized and transcripted and to have it count toward a college degree."

The two services have roughly the same design. Both of them primarily focus on adult workers who earned a significant number of college credits years ago but who, for whatever reason, never finished a degree.

Each service offers interested students a free telephone-advising session to determine whether their workplace learning might warrant course credit. Students who pass that threshold are invited to sign up for an online course that will teach them to prepare portfolios that reflect their experiential learning. (Each subject area for which the student wants credit­—say, computer science or management or communications—gets a separate portfolio.) Those portfolios are then submitted to an evaluator from a national panel of subject-matter experts, who deems the portfolio worthy (or not) of course credit.

More than 80 colleges have signed up as Learning Counts pilot institutions since the service officially opened its doors in January. Those pilot colleges have pledged to accept the credit recommendations of the national evaluators, and they have agreed to award students three credit hours for successfully completing the portfolio-creation course itself.

KNEXT, meanwhile, has only a handful of participating colleges at this early date. Beyond Kaplan itself, only Grantham University and the New England College of Business and Finance have signed articulation agreements. Mr. Oullette says the project is aggressively seeking more partners.

In both systems, students are free to submit their completed portfolios to nonparticipating colleges—but in such cases there is no guarantee that any course credit will be awarded.

Show, Don't Tell

One of the Learning Counts pilot institutions is Saint Leo University, in Florida. That institution had a longstanding program for awarding credit for experiential learning. But its president, Arthur F. Kirk Jr., says the new national system should be much more efficient and transparent.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
All to often colleges give credit for life/work experience as a marketing strategy to attract students into degree programs. The intent is marketing rather than academics. I'm against all programs giving college credit for life/work experience that are not competency based, meaning that CLEP-type examinations should be administered to assess whether applicants have truly mastered the course content for which college credit is being given without having to take college courses.

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based assessment are at

Triple Bottom Reporting
"Sustainability reporting: Seven questions CEOs and boards should ask," Ernst & Young, May 2011 --- Click Here

1. Who issues sustainability reports?

More than 3,000 companies worldwide, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500.

2. Why report on sustainability if you don't have to?

Increasingly, external stakeholders such as institutional investors expect it. Reporting can also bring operational improvements, strengthen compliance, and enhance your corporate reputation.

3. What information should a sustainability report contain?

Reports should contain key performance indicators relevant to the reporter’s industry. Four principles for deciding what to include are materiality, stakeholder inclusiveness, sustainability context, and completeness.

4. What governance, systems and processes are needed to report on sustainability?

Governance requires a high-level mandate and clear reporting lines. Also needed: robust systems and processes that help companies collect, store and analyze sustainability information.

 5. Do sustainability reports have to be audited?

Not yet. But they are being more closely monitored than ever before. As this trend continues, users of sustainability information will come to expect that the information has been validated by a reliable third party.

6. What are the challenges and risks of reporting?

Sustainability reporting presents many challenges, including data consistency, striking a balance between positive and negative information, continually improving performance and keeping reports readable and concise.

7. How can companies get the most value out of sustainability reporting?

Sustainability reports should be mandatory reading for all employees, and can be a valuable tool for communicating with external audiences as well. Setting targets in the form of KPIs also forces the organization to meet publicly stated goals, which makes reporting an accountability tool.

Download the full report: Seven questions CEOs and boards should ask about triple bottom line reporting

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on triple bottom reporting are at

"Vermont Gives the 'Public Option' a Clinical Trial The governor claims it is 'all about containing costs.' The evidence is not encouraging," by David Gratzer, The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2011 ---

In America's courtrooms, ObamaCare is on trial. A majority of states have filed lawsuits arguing that its mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. But in Vermont, ObamaCare is about to get a trial of a different sort—a clinical one.

This coming Thursday, Gov. Peter Shumlin will sign a bill doing what President Obama and his allies have hoped to do all along: sell a public insurance option alongside competing private insurance as a first step toward a single-payer, government-run system. Unlike the president, Mr. Shumlin has been up-front in his support for single-payer care, even on the campaign trail last fall. At least he can say he has a mandate from voters to do what he's doing.

The last time Vermont's health system gained national attention was in 2004, when Howard Dean, then governor of the state, ran for president. As governor, Mr. Dean expanded public insurance eligibility, struggling to get as close to single-payer health care as he legally could. New regulations pushed out private insurers, reducing competition. Vermont imposed a guaranteed-issue mandate, which requires insurers to sell to any applicant, and forced insurers to use community rating, which requires them to offer the same price to everyone, regardless of age and health. Both measures also appeared in the final ObamaCare law.

The result? The number of uninsured Vermonters barely budged. But costs sure moved—in the wrong direction. From 1991 to 2004, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Vermont's health costs grew by 7.6% annually. Across the U.S. comparable costs grew only 5.5% on average. From 2005 to 2008, in data cited by Dr. William Hsaio, a Harvard consultant studying this for the state, growth in Vermont's health costs grew 8.2%, against a national average of 5.7%.

The current governor says his plan is "all about containing costs," echoing Mr. Obama's absurd claim that increased health spending would mean lower deficits. Mr. Shumlin can talk about government health care and savings in the same breath because millions of Americans still believe the myth that socialized health-care models are immune from cost inflation.

Yet data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that U.S. health inflation rates are roughly identical to those seen in European and Canadian systems. From 1990 to 2006, U.S. health costs grew an average of 1.66% faster than the economy vs. 1.62% for OECD nations.

Socialized medicine advocates say the point is moot because government-run systems start from a cheaper baseline. That's true, but that advantage is eroding quickly. A recent paper projected that Canadian health-care costs were growing so fast that they should consume 19% of GDP by 2031. The chief author of the paper is David Dodge, Canada's former deputy minister of health and a former governor of the Bank of Canada.

Single-payer countries also keep costs below U.S. levels by rationing care, not by being more efficient. Several weeks ago, the government-run, government-appointed health authority in the Canadian city where I was born admitted that a dozen patients died in the last three years while waiting for routine cardiac surgery. None was classified as an emergency case. In Canada's system, that made them "elective" surgery patients, triggering wait times that can delay treatment for weeks or even months. Yet single-payer activists persistently claim that "death by rationing" is a myth invented by insurance lobbyists.

In the U.S., Medicare hasn't seen much rationing yet, because it can rely on a privately funded reserve of resources to meet surges in demand. Whenever Congress flirts with serious cuts to Medicare fees, doctors push back. Then, Congress flinches—a sign that the program is more dependent on the private-sector than its champions admit.

Now Vermont is on course to repeat others' mistakes. For American liberals, there's no better place to test-run a public option. But if the new plan doesn't work, Vermont is so small that government-care supporters can pretend it's the state's fault and not a flaw in the concept. Darcie Johnston of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom fears the worst: "the largest tax hike in Vermont history" and a dysfunctional system.

It's a pity, because Vermont is an ideal place to run a very different experiment. Health-care policy thinkers are shifting focus to the potential benefits of a true wellness policy. Your health is as important to health outcomes as your health insurance, after all. Europeans have better life expectancy than Americans because they take better care of themselves on average, not because they get better care in their hospitals.

Through their own lifestyle choices, Vermont residents already have lower than average obesity levels and below-median smoking rates. With a more patient-centered insurance market, Vermont residents could receive, for example, cash incentives to prevent diseases caused by obesity, tobacco, and other lifestyle choices, all at a fraction of the cost of future treatments.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In this experiment Vermont suffers from a relatively small population over which to spread health insurance costs for very expensive treatments such as AIDs medications, organ transplants, premature baby care, and the costs of dying (especially extended intensive care unit confinements while dying) for patients not on Medicare. Medical cost  In the 2010 census, Vermont only had 630,337 people, many of whom are children and elderly that will not pay medical insurance premiums in Vermont's public plan --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermont

Vermont residents also rely heavily on out--of-state medical providers such as physicians and hospitals in bordering states of New Hampshire (especially the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center), Massachusetts (especially in the metropolitan area of Boston), and Canada. This greatly limits cost containment initiatives that accompany Vermont's public medical insurance plans.

"Here’s Why Health Care Costs Are Outpacing Health Care Efficacy," by Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics.com, April 18, 2011 ---

In a new working paper called “Technology Growth and Expenditure Growth in Health Care” (abstract here, PDF here), Amitabh Chandra and Jonathan S. Skinner offer an explanation:

Bob Jensen's threads on health care are at

"CEO Pay in 2010 Jumped 11%," by Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2011 ---

Chief executives at the biggest U.S. companies saw their pay jump sharply in 2010, as boards rewarded them for strong profit and share-price growth with bigger bonuses and stock grants.

The median value of salaries, bonuses and long-term incentive awards for CEOs of 350 major companies surged 11% to $9.3 million, according to a study of proxy statements conducted for The Wall Street Journal by management consultancy Hay Group.

The rise followed a year in which pay for the top boss was flat at these companies.

Viacom Inc. CEO Philippe P. Dauman topped the list. He received compensation valued at $84.3 million, more than double his 2009 pay, thanks largely to equity awards in a renewed contract.

The Journal measured CEO pay by total direct compensation, which includes salary, bonuses and the granted value of stock, stock options and other long-term incentives given for service in fiscal 2010. That figure excludes the value of exercised stock options and the vesting of restricted stock. The survey covered the 350 biggest companies that filed proxies between May 1, 2010, and April 30, 2011. Graphic: CEO Pay at Biggest 350 U.S. Public Companies

The Wall Street Journal CEO Compensation Study was conducted by Hay Group, a management-consulting firm. The study analyzes CEO pay from the biggest 350 U.S. public companies by revenue that filed their definitive proxy statements between May 1, 2010, and April 30, 2011. [CEOPAY11_promo]

Click on image to see CEO Pay at the biggest 350 U.S. public companies

For the surveyed CEOs, the sharpest pay gains came via bonuses, which soared 19.7% as profits recovered, especially in some hard-hit industries.

Profits and share prices increased even more than CEO compensation. Net income rose by a median of 17%; shareholders at those companies enjoyed a median return, including dividends, of 18%.

CEOs of media companies claimed four of the top 10 spots: Mr. Dauman at Viacom, plus the chiefs of CBS Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.

Another media CEO, News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch, ranked 52nd, with total compensation valued at $16.5 million. A spokesman for News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, declined to comment.

Mr. Dauman, Viacom's CEO since 2006, achieved his $84.3 million largely due to one-time equity awards valued at $54.3 million as part of a five-year employment contract signed in April 2010. In extending his contract, directors cited his operational and financial leadership.

CEO pay rose last year by about 11%, according to the Wall Street Journal's annual CEO pay survey. Kelsey Hubbard talks with WSJ's Erin White about the results.

"Viacom shares appreciated 33% during calendar year 2010 as compared with the 13% increase in the S&P 500,'' a Viacom spokeswoman said. The company benefited last year from a rebound in the advertising market and improved ratings at its cable networks.

Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle Corp., took second place. Long ranked among the highest-paid chiefs, he received compensation valued at $68.6 million for the year ended last May 31. It mostly consisted of options valued at $61.9 million. (The package was included in a November Wall Street Journal survey of CEO pay that slightly overlapped the current study.)

Oracle declined to comment.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves landed the No. 3 spot with compensation valued at $53.9 million. The total includes a $27.5 million bonus, which "reflected the company's remarkable year under his leadership,'' a CBS spokesman recalled. "He led CBS to results that produced extraordinary growth in shareholder value'' as returns of 37.4% outpaced media peers, the spokesman said.


Media mogul Sumner Redstone controls Viacom and CBS through National Amusements, his family holding company, although the CBS and Viacom boards set executive pay through their independent compensation committees.

Martin E. Franklin, the longtime head of Jarden Corp., was fourth highest-paid. His $45.2 million package consisted mostly of restricted shares tied to higher per-share earnings or stock price at the maker of consumer goods. (An executive gets such shares free after sticking around for several years, but they sometimes come with a performance test, as Mr. Franklin's did.)

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous compensation are at

From the Scout Report on May 6, 2011

ArtSnacks --- http://web.me.com/khoneycuttessdack/kevinhoneycutt.org/ArtSnacks.html 

The ArtSnacks site is designed to be a tool for teachers who hope to give their students access to a broad range of artworks. Currently, the site has over 21,000 artworks posted, and along the way students learn to give feedback in a polite constructive way to other students, while learning about science, history, and other topics. Visitors to the site can sign up for an account, and then they will be able to post materials and also offer comment on other pieces. This version of ArtSnacks is compatible with all operating systems.

English Companion --- http://englishcompanion.ning.com/ 

Where do English teachers go to ask questions and get help? Well, one online destination is the English Companion site. Visitors can sign up, and look through online groups that include "Digital Collaboration", "AP Lit and Language", and "Teaching Shakespeare". They can also participate in the online forums, which include forum threads like "Themed Units for Middle School" and "Interactive Notebooks". There are also a number of instructional applications and even a Twitter feed here. This site and its applications are compatible with all operating systems.

The recent seizure of the assets of online poker sites raises a number
of questions
Poker players protest government seizure

Poker websites' actions were risky, experts say

Poker Black Friday: An online poker ponders how he'll make a living

Time to legalize, tax online gambling

The official rules of card games: Hoyle up-to-date

Frontier Gamblers

Jensen Comment
Of course the U.S government lacks authority for some of the largest and most abusive gambling sites that are rooted in Canadian Native American lands (which in turn are suspected fronts for organized crime).

Bob Jensen's Fraud updates are at

From the Scout Report on May 20, 2011

StudyBlue --- http://www.studyblue.com/ 

Online flash cards held in the cloud? A way to mobilize study notes more effectively? StudyBlue can be used for both tasks and several more that will be most efficacious for students and others. First-time visitors will need to sign up for an account and then they can go ahead and get started. Among the other features is a "Set a Study" reminder, which will send users a text message to remind them to get back to their flash cards. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux.

PenZen --- http://pen.io/zen/ 

Sometimes the clutter of a desktop can prevent any writing from getting done. PenZen offers a bit of a solution to that very vexing problem. PenZen is a blank slate, and it is just a place for people to write down their thoughts with no interruptions or unnecessary distractions. Visitors can write to their heart's content and then just save the document for later. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux.

After 58 years, an icon on the Las Vegas Strip closes
Once 'jewel of the desert', Sahara entertains last weekend guests before

Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel and Casino closing after more than 58 years

Las Vegas History

Southern Nevada: The Boomtown Years

Vegas Tripping: Implosions

The Neon Museum


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

Education Tutorials

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (education research) --- http://www.edexcellence.net/

From Georgia State University
Digital Archive @GSU --- http://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/

Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston --- http://www.artsandbusinesscouncil.org/

LibraryCareers.org --- http://www.ala.org/ala/educationcareers/careers/librarycareerssite/home.cfm

Design : Talkboard (Graphics Design) --- http://www.designtalkboard.com/

4-H Youth Development Organization [pdf]

Farming & Countryside Education --- http://www.face-online.org.uk/resources-all

"Does all this new technology make a difference? This new report from The Chronicle looks at the realities behind the hype," Special Report from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 2011 (not free at under $10 depending on option chosen) ---

Educause:  Emerging Trends in Education Technology --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/02/09/qt#250713

Educause and the New Media Consortium have released the 2011 Horizon Report, an annual study of emerging issues in technology in higher education. The issues that are seen as likely to have great impact:

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Video:  Milky Way Panorama (with a Backstory) --- Click Here

SkyView Virtual Observatory (NASA) --- http://skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/titlepage.pl

Oklahoma Forestry Services --- http://www.forestry.ok.gov/

Farming & Countryside Education --- http://www.face-online.org.uk/resources-all

Penn Museum: Expedition [archaeology] http://penn.museum/current-expedition.html

Bacteria Museum --- http://bacteriamuseum.org/cms/

Health on the Net Foundation --- http://www.hon.ch/home.html

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration --- http://www.samhsa.gov

MethResources (drug addiction) --- http://www.methresources.gov/Index.html

Global Drug Reference Online --- http://www.globaldro.com/
Drug Information --- http://matweb.hcuge.ch/Medical_search/Drugs_pharmacology_pharmacy.html 
Drug Information --- http://www.coreynahman.com/medicalinfodatabases.html 
Drug Information --- http://library.pbac.edu/drug_information_databases.htm

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

Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper Series --- http://web.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/Index.aspx

Blair House: The President's Guest House --- http://www.c-span.org/BlairHouse/

WHO: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 [traffic, automobiles] --- http://www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/index.html

Farming & Countryside Education --- http://www.face-online.org.uk/resources-all

4-H Youth Development Organization --- http://www.4-h.org/

HUD Archives --- http://archives.hud.gov/

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

Penn Museum: Expedition [archaeology] http://penn.museum/current-expedition.html

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration --- http://www.samhsa.gov

MethResources (drug addiction) --- http://www.methresources.gov/Index.html

Global Drug Reference Online --- http://www.globaldro.com/
Drug Information --- http://matweb.hcuge.ch/Medical_search/Drugs_pharmacology_pharmacy.html 
Drug Information --- http://www.coreynahman.com/medicalinfodatabases.html 
Drug Information --- http://library.pbac.edu/drug_information_databases.htm


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

Knitting Together (yarn, lace, fabrics, cloth) --- http://www.knittingtogether.org.uk/cat.asp?cat=599

Fenimore Art Museum: The Smith and Telfer Photographic Collection http://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/fenimore/collections/photography

Bacteria Museum --- http://bacteriamuseum.org/cms/

National Jukebox --- http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/
Also Click Here

Idaho Yesterdays ---

Georgia Archives Home --- http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/index.php

WHO: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 [traffic, automobiles] --- http://www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/index.html

The Digital Atlas of Idaho --- http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/

Dallas Museum of Art - Program Recordings --- http://www.dallasmuseumofart.org/Research/Archives/index.htm

Museum of Art-Rhode Island School of Design --- http://www.risdmuseum.org/

Farming & Countryside Education --- http://www.face-online.org.uk/resources-all

Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative --- http://collections.mun.ca/

Colorado Plateau Archives (Geology, Art History, Native Americans) --- http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/cpa

Slavery in America: Image Gallery --- http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/scripts/sia/gallery.cgi

Blair House: The President's Guest House --- http://www.c-span.org/BlairHouse/

HUD Archives --- http://archives.hud.gov/

NOVA: The Spy Factory --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/spy-factory.html

International Spy Museum --- http://www.spymuseum.org/

Costume History Collection --- http://www.wmich.edu/library/digi/collections/costume/

All Sewn Up: Millinery, Dressmaking, Clothing, and Costume http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/HumanEcol/subcollections/MillineryBooksAbout.html

From the University of Washington
Fashion Plate Collection (women's fashions in history) --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/costumehistweb/index.html

Textiles and Costumes: Henry Art Gallery [Flash Player] http://dig.henryart.org/textiles/

All Sewn Up: Millinery, Dressmaking, Clothing, and Costume http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/HumanEcol/subcollections/MillineryBooksAbout.h

Penn Museum: Expedition [archaeology] http://penn.museum/current-expedition.html

Daphne Dare Collection (theatre costumes) --- http://drc.ohiolink.edu/handle/2374.OX/30999

Stage Costumes --- http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_performance/features/Costume/index.html

History of Costume
Fashion in Color ---  http://ndm.si.edu/EXHIBITIONS/fashion_in_colors/

Jacques Demy’s Lyrical Masterpiece, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg --- Click Here

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

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

National Jukebox --- http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/
Also Click Here

The Montreal Symphony's Evolution Of Music (entire concert) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

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/

May 9, 2011

May 10, 2011

May 11, 2011

May 12, 2011

May 13, 2011

  • Study: Early Treatment Makes HIV Less Infectious
  • Internet Popular With People Seeking Health Information
  • FDA OKs Flu Shot With Smaller Needle
  • When Do Kids Form Their First Memories?
  • Low Oxytocin Linked to Postpartum Depression
  • Marital Strife Linked to Infants’ Sleeping Woes
  • Do Bedbugs Spread MRSA?
  • Vehicle Accident Deaths Cost States Billions
  • Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity Linked to Autism
  • Child With Autism May Affect Family Income
  • May 14, 2011
  • Metal Hip Replacements: Toxic Effects?
  • Household Germs Hide in Unexpected Spots
  • Nicotine-Free 'Fake' Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit
  • Fibromyalgia Pain Takes Toll on Everyday Life
  • FDA Approves Hepatitis C Drug Victrelis
  • Alzheimer's Caregivers May Be at Risk for Dementia
  • Study: Early Treatment Makes HIV Less Infectious
  • Vitamin D Treatments Target Psoriasis
  • Internet Popular With People Seeking Health Information
  • Shooting Is No. 2 Cause of Kids’ Injury Death

    May 17, 2011

    May 18, 2011

    May 19, 2011

    May 20, 2011

    May 21, 2011

    May 23, 2011

    May 24, 2011

    May 25, 2011


    Health on the Net Foundation --- http://www.hon.ch/home.html

    "Type-2 diabetes linked to autoimmune reaction in study," by Krista Conger, Stanford University School of Medicine, April 17, 2011 ---

    MethResources (drug addiction) --- http://www.methresources.gov/Index.html

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration --- http://www.samhsa.gov

    Global Drug Reference Online --- http://www.globaldro.com/
    Drug Information --- http://matweb.hcuge.ch/Medical_search/Drugs_pharmacology_pharmacy.html 
    Drug Information --- http://www.coreynahman.com/medicalinfodatabases.html 
    Drug Information --- http://library.pbac.edu/drug_information_databases.htm


    Advice to Patricia Walters when she joins the TCU accounting faculty

    Hi Patricia,

    Texas Instruments has a special relationship with TCU. You should explore various TI resources, including visiting speakers, TI home office tours, and access to various TI software and databases. For example, you might seek out TI experts on XBRL, SSARS 19, and Sox Section 404 on internal control auditing.

    In answer to your question about auditing research courses, there's a Luleå University of Technology auditing research syllabus at

    You might take a look at the various seminars available from the Institute of Internal Auditors ---

    A major module in the course should be SSARS 19 ---

    If TCU has a student license to PwC's Comperio, I would devote a major component of an auditing research course to Comperio (which also has the FASB's Codification) --- http://www.pwc.com/comperio

    Even if your students cannot all access Comperio, I recommend it for yourself when teaching virtually all accounting and auditing courses. You may find this the best teaching and research resource you've ever encountered.

    Best if luck in your move to the land of the Horned Frogs.

    Now comes my serious advice to you:

    1. Preparing for a new auditing research course is not nearly as difficult as learning how to do high speed reverses and twirls in the Texas Two-Step. I suggest that you spend most of the summer learning the Texas honky tonk dances before you make your big move to Fort Worth ---

      Former U.S. Senator Tom Delay from Texas who discovered he can't Two-Step his way out of prison ---

    2. CPA's generally need Prozac if they're transferred out of Manhattan and have to give up Lincoln Center performances, the NYC opera season, and the live theatres on Broadway. But CPAs transferred from Fort Worth need a daily double dose of Prozac plus psychotherapy if they have to give up Billy Bob's --- the "world's largest honky tonk in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards" --- http://www.billybobstexas.com/

    3. A typical Texas "good time"  line dance at Billy Bob's stretches for 63.49% of a mile, all under one roof.---

    4. At Billy Bob's you can keep one eye on the bull rider and the other eye on the ambulance alongside the chutes. Another ambulance is available for aging accounting professors still trying the Boot Scootin' Boogie ---

    5. Patricia Walters will have to give up NYC Champaign and pet·it fours for higher calorie Fort Worth beer and BBQ and Zantac.

    6. Patricia Walters really has to learn to think football if she's serious about a move to Fort Worth. TCU stands for Tenure Credit Utility player ---

    7. TCU's head football coach, Gary Patterson, only dresses 14 players for games. The rest of his Horney Frog players have to get into their purple and white uniforms all by  themselves.


    8. The biggest divorce stumbling block in Texas is who gets custody of the Cowboy Stadium season tickets.

    9. Those guys waving sheep toward motorists late at night on Fort Worth street corners are pimps.

    10. Muslims worship Allah; Christians have Jesus; and Texas CPAs have Texas
      State Board of Public Accountancy's director, Bill Treacy.
      I recently had a call from a Bloomberg reporter asking me to comment on Big Brother Treacy.

    11. The Texas cosmetologist licensing examination has a section on how to castrate mean bulls, unruly stallions, and cowboys who never learned the meaning of the word "no." Cosmetologist stew is a popular in the far reaches of West Texas cafes.

    12. George Straight lies when he says he hangs his hat in Tennessee ---

    13. Fort Worth interior decorators don't make money innovating. How many ways can you decorate one big room with long horns over the fire place and stuffed taxidermy heads on all four walls --- wild boar heads, deer heads, eagle heads, hawk heads, turkey heads, horned frog heads, and the head of the feral hog you turned on a spit last Easter?

    14. My best advice for you, Pat Walters, is to give your students a wide array of course project options at TCU. A team project for football players could be having to alphabetize a box of Alpha-Bits cereal. If they can't handle this, try a package of M&Ms.

    15. Instead of moving your household goods from New York to Texas, fill the 54-foot moving van with bottles of water. You can get a 1,000% markup on the water and buy all new household goods. Sadly, you will eventually find yourself short of water. Think beer --- beer's probably cheaper than water in Fort Worth supermarkets.

    Bob Jensen

    Why do American workers outsource their own jobs? ---


    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/

    Find a College
    College Atlas --- http://www.collegeatlas.org/
    Among other things the above site provides acceptance rate percentages
    Online Distance Education Training and Education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm
    For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud  (College, Inc.) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

    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/

    Rick Lillie's education, learning, and technology blog is at http://iaed.wordpress.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