Tidbits on April 10, 2012
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I feature Set 1 Photographs of the Camellias and Azaleas on Our Acreage in Florida in 1980
I was the KPMG Professor of Accounting and Department Chair at Florida State University 1978-1982
Also featured in this set are pictures of Wakulla Springs and photographs submitted by Danny Sanchez



Park Finder ---

Photographs of Vergennes (Oldest Village in Vermont) http://cdi.uvm.edu/collections/getCollection.xql?pid=bixby

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories



Tidbits on April 10, 2012
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

Flight 11 on 9/11/2001 (the pilot who almost went down in this terrorist crash) ---

USS Arizona Survivors ---

Advances in Psychology --- The Phobia Workshop ---

We should wait for a safer way to get at this gas --- this is not a long term efficient solution
Hydraulic Fracturing Concerns --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fracking
Thank you Dan Gheorghe Somnea for the heads up.

Watch a Great Blue Heron Lay an Egg  ---

Richard Dawkins Rallies for Reason in Washington DC (in support of atheism) --- Click Here

I Love Lucy: An American Legend --- http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/ilovelucy/Pages/default.aspx

Ballet in Super Slow Motion (And More Culture Around the Web) --- Click Here

Female Noir Director Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker, Free Online --- Click Here

Appalachian Voices --- http://appvoices.org/

Willys Jeep --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=lgwF8mdQwlw&feature=player_embedded

The Art and Science of Violin Making --- Click Here

Monty Python’s Away From it All: A Twisted Travelogue with John Cleese --- Click Here

Orson Welles’ Last Interview and Final Moments Captured on Film --- Click Here

More Culture from Around the Web/Open Culture Twitter Stream:

Google Doodle Celebrates Mies Van Der Rohe’s Crowning Achievement

Terry Gross Talks With Matthew Weiner (‘Mad Men’ Creator) On What’s Next For Don Draper

Will One Researcher’s Discovery in the Amazon Destroy Chomsky’s Theory of Linguistics?

The Mechanical Universe: 52 Lecture Intro to Physics by Caltech. Added to the Physics section of our Free Courses List

How to be an Academic Failure: A Guide for Beginners

Recording of William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Speech

From Le Monde, “Backstage with Charlie Chaplin,” a Handful of Very Moving Stills

Kurt Vonnegut: The Paris Review Interview (1977)

A Rejected & Unpublished Kurt Vonnegut Novella Gets Released as a $1.99 Kindle Single

Advice on Advice from Literary Greats

Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

First High-Resolution Images of the Wreck of the Titanic

Ballet in Super Slow Motion (And More Culture Around the Web) is a post from: Open Culture


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

Steve Martin on the Legendary Bluegrass Musician Earl Scruggs --- Click Here

Earl Scruggs Video Documentary ---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK_nqnoWl6o&feature=pyv&ad=3780036702&kw=earl scruggs banjo

Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin Play Dueling Banjos --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqd7mXvHupU
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icMTVV5Lwaw

Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt Playing Cripple Creek ---

An offshoot of the Occupy Boston movement has begun what it says will be a ten-day protest against MTA fare hikes and service cuts ---

While Poor Charlie just keeps going round and round for decades ---

Warning:  This is America
My Name is America --- http://www.youtube.com/v/6TPgJSZf5Vw?version=3&autohide=1&autoplay=1

Bach's 'St. John Passion' At Carnegie Hall --- http://www.npr.org/event/music/149217674/les-violons-du-roy-at-carnegie-hall

Willie Nelson in 1965 (he does have a chin) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=W1bXdXWEKaE

Accordion File (music history) --- http://chronicle.com/article/Accordion-File/131277/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

Newly Discovered Piece by Mozart Performed on His Own Fortepiano --- Click Here

The Alan Lomax Sound Archive Now Online: Features 17,000 Recordings --- Click Here

Octavio Medellin: Works of Art and Artistic Processes ---  http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/all/cul/med/

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

Photos: The 65th Anniversary of D-Day on the Normandy Beaches ---

NASA’s Stunning Tour of the Moon --- Click Here

Aerial Photographs of Colorado --- https://www.cusys.edu/DigitalLibrary/aerials.htm

Big Picture: Glimpses of Life in Academe From Around the World --- http://chronicle.com/article/Silent-ProtestsMarch/131287/

John Pugh's Murals --- http://artofjohnpugh.com/default.asp

Star Gazing from the International Space Station (and Free Astronomy Courses Online) --- Click Here

Stones River Battlefield Historic Landscape Collection (Civil War)

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston --- http://mfah.org/

The Croatian Museum of Naive Art (art history) --- http://www.hmnu.org/en/default.asp

Gaugin and Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise (art history) --- http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/gauguin/

The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery ---  http://www.vggallery.com/

Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s ---

ARTStem --- http://www.artstem.org/

Picture Chicago --- http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/chicago/index.asp

Lincoln Park Architectural Photographs --- http://digicol.lib.depaul.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/lpnc1

Massachusetts Historical Society: Civil War --- http://www.masshist.org/online/civilwar/

19th Century Maps by Children --- http://www.davidrumsey.com/blog/2010/1/7/19th-century-maps-by-children

From the Scout Report on March 30, 2012

As the Tate Modern prepares to open a Damien Hirst retrospective,
critics and others offer comment
Damien Hirst retrospective: Is nothing sacred?

'Damien Hirst should not be in the Tate' says critic

Damien Hirsts are the sub-prime of the art world

Damien Hirst on death, drink and diamonds

Damien Hirst's Live Stream: Not So Very Lively

Damien Hirst


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

University of New Hampshire Library: Literature & Poetry --- Click Here

Robert Frost Recites ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ --- Click Here

Robert Frost Lectures (1947 at Dartmouth College) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87991813

James Joyce’s Ulysses: Download the Free Audio Book --- Click Here

Off-the-record discussions between Robert Frost and Dartmouth College students 60 years ago may provide new insights into the poet, as transcripts are about to be published, the Associated Press reported. The sessions were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes and are becoming public because of the work of an editor at the Poetry Foundation who came across them while an undergraduate at Dartmouth. The first transcript will be published this month in the journal Literary Imagination, whose editor described the conversations as “Frost unplugged.”
Inside Higher Ed, February 25, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/02/25/qt

Robert Frost Poem Discovered Tucked Away in Book --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6174131

Robert Frost Poems (Free) --- http://frost.freehosting.net/poems.htm

Nelson Mandela Archive Goes Online (With Help From Google) --- Click Here

The Animation of Billy Collins’ Poetry: Everyday Moments in Motion --- Click Here

Free Science Fiction, Fantasy & Dystopian Classics on the Web: Huxley, Orwell, Asimov, Gaiman & Beyond --- Click Here

Free Electronic Literature --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm
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 April 10, 2012

The booked National Debt on January 1, 2012 was over $15 trillion ---
U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Also see http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

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

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

"Google's self-driving car takes blind man on errands," by Salvador Rodriguez, PhyOrg, April 3, 2012 ---

On Thursday, Google posted a video of a modified driving Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, saying it shows one of the possibilities and benefits that could come from the technology.

"Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things," Mahan says in the video.

The took Mahan to Taco Bell for a quick meal and a dry cleaner to pick up his clothes.

"Look, Ma, no hands," Mahan says. "No hands, no feet."

Google, which posted the video on its + account, said the drive took place on a carefully programmed route in San Jose and showed one of the possibilities that self-driving cars could offer.

"There's much left to design and test, but we've now safely completed more than 200,000 miles of computer-led driving, gathering great experiences and an overwhelming number of enthusiastic supporters," the , Calif., company said in the post.

Though it's uncertain just how far off self-driving cars may be from becoming a reality, the process to getting there is certainly in motion. Just last month, Nevada became the first state to legalize self-driving cars.

Jensen Comment
This could save a lot of "human" designated drivers a lot of boring times at parties and in bars. Let Hal take you home. It might be even better when Hal can explain to your scowling wife how you had to wait in line at the church to get in your confession (hopefully not your last one).

And think of when you could yawn behind the wheel on a very long trip, flip a switch, and let Hal do the driving.

Advanced Technological Education
ATE Projects Impact --- http://www.ateprojectimpact.org/index.html

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects featured here exemplify the National Science Foundation-supported initiatives for technicians in high-technology fields of strategic importance to the nation. Two-year college educators have leadership roles in the projects, which test ways of improving technician education or of improving the professional development for the faculty who teach technicians. The projects� collaborative work with industry partners and educators from other undergraduate institutions and secondary schools perpetuate innovations that deliver highly-skilled technicians to workplaces. While each ATE project has its own goals, all the projects are part of a national effort to ensure that the technical workforce in the United States has the capacity to compete globally.


Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

Career Options for Women (developed in Canada) --- http://careeroptions.org/careeroptions/english_index.htm

GirlGeeks --- http://www.girlgeeks.org/ 

"Deloitte Commits $60 Million in Pro Bono Services to Nonprofit Organizations:  New Pledge Totals $110 Million to Make Communities Stronger and Advance Key Women/Girls, Education and Human Service Organizations," MarketWatch, April 6, 2012 ---
Thank you Eliot Kamlet for the heads up.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers ---

Baylor Law School --- http://www.baylor.edu/law/

The Baylor Law Data Dump
Baylor University School of Law Reveals Each Student's Grade Average, LSAT Score, Alma Mater, Race, Ethnicity, and Scholarship Amount

Law School Admission Test (LSAT) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LSAT


The LSAT is a standardized test in that LSAC adjusts raw scores to fit an expected norm to overcome the likelihood that some administrations may be more difficult than others. Normalized scores are distributed on a scale with a low of 120 to a high of 180.

The LSAT system of scoring is predetermined and does not reflect test takers' percentile, unlike the SAT. The relationship between raw questions answered correctly (the "raw score") and scaled score is determined before the test is administered, through a process called equating. This means that the conversion standard is set beforehand, and the distribution of percentiles can vary during the scoring of any particular LSAT.

Adjusted scores resemble a bell curve, tapering off at the extremes and concentrating near the median. For example, there might be a 3-5 question difference between a score of 175 and a score of 180, but the difference between a 155 from a 160 could be 9 or more questions. Although the exact percentile of a given score will vary slightly between examinations, there tends to be little variance. The 50th percentile is typically a score of about 151; the 90th percentile is around 163 and the 99th is about 172. A 178 or better usually places the examinee in the 99.9th percentile.

Examinees have the option of canceling their scores within six calendar days after the exam, before they get their scores. LSAC still reports to law schools that the student registered for and took the exam, but releases no score. There is a formal appeals process for examinee complaints,[16] which has been used for proctor misconduct, peer misconduct, and occasionally for challenging a question. In very rare instances, specific questions have been omitted from final scoring.

University of North Texas economist Michael Nieswiadomy has conducted several studies (in 1998, 2006, and 2008) derived from LSAC data. In the most recent study Nieswiadomy took the LSAC's categorization of test-takers into 162 majors and grouped these into 29 categories, finding the averages of each major:[17]

  1. Mathematics/Physics 160.0
  2. Economics and Philosophy/Theology (tie) 157.4
  3. International relations 156.5
  4. Engineering 156.2
  5. Government/service 156.1
  6. Chemistry 156.1
  7. History 155.9
  8. Interdisciplinary studies 155.5
  9. Foreign languages 155.3
  10. English 155.2
  11. Biology/natural sciences 154.8
  12. Arts 154.2
  13. Computer science 154.0
  14. Finance 153.4
  15. Political science 153.1
  16. Psychology 152.5
  17. Liberal arts 152.4
  18. Anthropology/geography 152.2
  19. Accounting 151.7
  20. Journalism 151.5
  21. Sociology/social work 151.2
  22. Marketing 150.8
  23. Business management 149.7
  24. Education 149.4
  25. Business administration 149.1
  26. Health professions 148.4
  27. Pre-law 148.3
  28. Criminal justice 146.0

The Baylor Law Data Dump --- http://abovethelaw.com/2012/04/the-baylor-law-data-dump-now-with-race-and-scholarships/2/
If you're interested in this data it may be best to download it now. I don't expect this to remain on the Web for long.

"The Law School System Is Broken," National Jurist, February 2012 --- Click Here
Thank you Paul Caron for the heads up

Turkey Times for Overstuffed Law Schools ---

I keep receiving messages that Snopes is a site funded by ultra liberal billionaire George Soros

History of Snopes (a validation site for truth and accuracy versus urban legends on the Web) ---

Snopes Home Page --- http://www.snopes.com/

Snopes founders are admittedly liberal in politics but insist they make every effort to avoid deception and bias. I honestly have not found any evidence that they were anything other than fair and balanced in their coverage and readily admit when they cannot verify a claim.

Snopes FAQs --- http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp

Q: Are you funded by George Soros?

A: No, we are completely independent and self-supporting; we receive no funding in any form from any person, group, agency, or organization. And we wouldn't recognize George Soros if we sat next to him on a bus.


Q: I know something listed on your site really happened (or is otherwise true), but your site doesn't list it as true. Why not?

There are several reasons why this might be so:

Other FAQs continued at http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp


The Next Thing in For-Profit Education:  Bourgeoisie (Elite) versus Proletariat (Commoner) For-Profit Universities
Both alternatives onsite or online, however, are more expensive than traditional public universities like the University of Texas for in-state students
Minerva, however, wants to serve top-of-the-line student prospects at lower costs than prestigious private universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford

"Venture-Backed Enterprise Seeks to Satisfy Global Demand for an Elite Education, Onlinem" by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3, 2012 ---

Elite American universities maintain their prestige by turning away a huge percentage of applicants every year. And the education entrepreneur Ben Nelson sees an opportunity in this demand for top-flight education: He wants to reach talented students across the world and to build a new university that could remake the image of Ivy League education.

Mr. Nelson, founder of a start-up called the Minerva Project, believes the minuscule acceptance rates at prestigious institutions leave some college-bound students without a place where they can pursue a blue-ribbon degree. So his for-profit enterprise seeks to satisfy that demand by offering a rigorous online education to the brightest students around the world who slip through the cracks of highly selective admissions cycles.

Mr. Nelson said his company, which is calling itself “the first elite American university to be launched in a century,” will disregard the barriers that might put the Ivy League beyond the reach of qualified applicants.

“We don’t care about geography, we don’t care about how wealthy you are, we don’t care if you’re able to donate or have donated in the past, or legacy or where your ancestors went to school,” he said. “We really just want to equalize the playing field.”

The start-up, based in San Francisco, plans to do so by charging tuition rates “well under half” of those at traditional top-tier institutions, Mr. Nelson said. The new university is seeking accreditation, Mr. Nelson added, and will welcome its first class in 2014. Though he did not specify how big he expects Minerva’s student body to be, Mr. Nelson said his goal is to make sure no qualified students “get rejected because we say we’re full.” He added that he expects Minerva to be “far better represented internationally than a typical American university.”

The company can afford to charge cheaper tuition, Mr. Nelson said, in part because it expects incoming students to have already mastered the material that makes up everyday introductory courses. For instance, Minerva may offer Applied Economic Theory instead of Economics 101, he said.

“What we expect to teach is how you apply and synthesize that information and how you do something with it,” Mr. Nelson said.

To create these advanced courses, Minerva will break down the role of professor into two distinct jobs instead of simply poaching faculty members from other universities. The company will award monetary prizes to “distinguished teachers among great research faculty,” Mr. Nelson said, who will team up with crews to videotape lectures and craft innovative courses when they are not teaching at their home institutions. (Mr. Nelson declined to elaborate on the size of the prizes.)

Minerva will then hire a second group of instructors to deliver the material. Mr. Nelson called them “preceptors,” who will typically be young graduates of doctoral programs—they will lead class discussions online, hold office hours, and grade assignments.

After its students graduate, Mr. Nelson said the university plans to help alumni connect with their peers to create businesses, do research, and find jobs.

“The Minerva education isn’t just about getting your four-year degree and then going to work for Goldman Sachs and crossing your fingers and hoping you’ll do really well,” he said. “It’s actually playing an active role in facilitating your success afterwards.”

Mr. Nelson’s challenge to the Ivy League is already flush with cash: The prominent Silicon Valley investment firm Benchmark Capital has pumped $25-million into Minerva’s coffers—the firm’s richest seed-stage investment ever.

And the company has attracted some high-profile advisers. Lawrence H. Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary and Harvard University president emeritus, is the chair of Minerva’s advisory board, which includes Bob Kerrey, the U.S. Senate candidate from Nebraska who is a former president of the New School, among other education luminaries.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
There are enormous hurdles that Minerva must leap over before its graduates compete with graduates of the Ivy League. Among the major hurdles are the thousands and thousands of Ivy League alumni. Many of those alumni are now in positions of hiring power, and these executives are not totally unbiased. Executives of Wall Street firms, for example, have their favorite places to recruit new employees, and these favorite places are typically their alma maters.

For example, one of the main reasons many applicants apply to the Harvard Business School or the Stanford Graduate School of Business at MBA or doctoral level is have access to the tremendous alumni networking systems of the HBS or GSB. It will take many years for elitist startups like Minerva to establish competing alumni networks.

There are other hurdles --- especially accreditation issues. For example, the AACSB just does not accredit for-profit universities in North America. This has been a tremendous barrier to for-profit university success in accounting, finance, and business degree programs.

I think Mike Milken and the Welches (Jack and Suzie) had something like Minerva elitism in mind when they established their "prestigious" online business universities, but thus far none of these elitist efforts have been very successful. Failing to get AACSB accreditation and alumni networking of note have taken their toll on Mike, Jack, and Suzie. Donald Trump's Trump University was a loser from get go.

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education education and training alternatives are at

Free University Degrees in Germany:  Good News and Bad News

Hi Ali,

College education in Germany, as in many other European nations, is mostly free. However, many students from the U.S. would be very unhappy if we adopted a similar system to German Universitäten, Technische Hochschulen/Technische Universitäten, Pädagogische Hochschulen. Firstly, getting into public Universitäten is much more competitive than in the United States with a much higher proportion of high school graduates being diverted to (excellent) trade schools. Secondly, the Universitäten pedagogy is comprised of huge student/faculty ratios relative to the United States. Lecture halls are massive and learning is pretty much very competitive with little help from teachers and tutors.

I've been a long-time advocate of diverting more U.S. students (not just the dummies) into technical (trade) schools modeled after the German system. But in the United States there are many more social and parental pressures to avoid technical schools in favor of universities. An enormous drawback of this is that trade schools often get students will lower intelligence and motivation for studying.

As a result we have an oversupply of college graduates in the United States and an undersupply of highly skilled workers for both manufacturing and service industries.

Another situation in Germany and other European countries is that educational opportunities are not equal for immigrants and women relative to white males. In Germany the immigrants are overwhelmingly Turkish. A much lower proportion of  Turks and women graduate from Universitäten. Here are studies of possible interest:

"Children of Turkish Immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands: The Impact of Differences in Vocational and Academic Tracking Systems" by Maurice Crul and Jens Schneider, Teachers College Record, 2009 --- Click Here

The findings show that more than group characteristics, systemic and institutional factors can have a decisive role in promoting or hampering the educational and labor market integration of young immigrants and the native-born second generation. The greater openness of the Dutch school system to provide “long routes” and “second chances” shows its effect in significantly higher shares of Turks in higher education. On the other side, the dual system of vocational training in Germany seems to be better suited for labor market integration, especially because apprenticeships are more practice oriented and do count as work experience for later application procedures. The Dutch system also offers better opportunities for girls than does the German system. Yet, the polarization effect between “high achievement” and “failure” of only partial integration success is greater in the Netherlands, whereas the overall advancement is slower, but also less polarizing, in Germany. In this sense, each country could learn something from its neighbor regarding those aspects.

"Second-generation Turkish youth in Europe: Explaining the academic disadvantage in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland," by Steve Song, Economics of Education Review, April 13, 2011 ---

This investigation examines the role of students’ home and school variables in producing the achievement gap between second-generation Turkish students and their native peers in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Using the data from PISA 2006, this study supports past findings that both home and school resources affect the educational outcomes of immigrant students in their host society's school system. Specifically, the findings reveal that in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, second-generation Turkish students had significant disadvantages in terms of allocated resources at home and in school. More often than not, these disadvantages were found to have significantly negative effects in terms of second-generation Turkish students’ test outcomes relative to their native peers. In all three countries, however, the differences between the second-generation Turkish students and their native peers in terms of their family/home resources were found to explain more of the achievement gap than the differences in their schooling resources.

Diversity remains a huge educational problem in Europe as it is in the United States as well. Finland is ranked as having the best education system in the world, but then again Finland has the least diversity in the world and low immigration rates.

Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate)  --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Coase

"How China Made Its Great Leap Forward:  Some observers praise its 'state-led capitalism.' But the truth is that leaders, starting with Deng Xiaoping, loosened Beijing's control," by Ronald Coase and Ning Wang, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2012 ---

China's post-Mao market transformation is one of the most dramatic and momentous events of our time. It has lifted hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty, freed one fifth of humanity from ideological radicalism, revived one of the oldest civilizations, and inspired all of us to explore the benevolence of the market.

Yet capitalism as currently practiced in China suffers a severe failing: the lack of a marketplace for ideas. China's market transformation flourished at the ground level without much help from Beijing—contrary to its leadership's claims. But the free flow of ideas has faltered. Until that changes, China will never reach its full potential.

At Mao Zedong's death in 1976, few, if any, could have foreseen that China, then one of the poorest and most isolated countries in the world, would become a dynamic market economy in just three decades. An added surprise is that all this happened under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, which was committed along the way to modernizing socialism.

When China started reforming and opening up, it had little knowledge of the market economy. Mao's grandiose but disastrous policies had gravely impoverished the country materially and intellectually. China had been isolated from the West and cut off from its own traditions. With no blueprint, it had no choice but to work within the ruins of socialism, through tinkering and improvisation. This experimental approach was helped along the way by the resuscitation of the Confucian tradition of "seeking truth from facts."

China's road to capitalism was forged by two movements. One was orchestrated by Beijing; its self-proclaimed goal being to turn China into a "modern, powerful socialist country." The other, more important, one was the gross product of what we like to call "marginal revolutions." It involved a concatenation of grass-roots movements and local initiatives.

While the state-led reform focused on enhancing the incentives of state-owned enterprises, the marginal revolutions brought private entrepreneurship and market forces back to China. Private farming, for example, was secretly engaged in by starving peasants when it was still banned by Beijing. Rural industrialization was spearheaded by township and village enterprises that operated outside state control. Private sectors emerged in cities when self-employment was allowed to cope with rising unemployment. Foreign direct investment and labor markets were first confined to Special Economic Zones.

All these marginal forces had been either harshly oppressed or heavily regulated during Mao's era. Fortunately, post-Mao Chinese leaders—most notably Deng Xiaoping—embraced change. Mao's failure taught them to stay away from ideological hubris and re-embrace pragmatism. Under their leadership, Beijing admitted its lack of experience in reform. Local initiatives were first allowed, and later encouraged, to play a leading role in market-oriented experiments.

Inadvertently, this process led to the relatively thriving market we see in China today. When Beijing still preached socialism, local authorities explored new, market-oriented approaches to revive local economies. While Beijing held tight to political power, it was no longer a central planner. As provinces, cities and counties all competed for economic development, China became a giant laboratory of regional competition.

China's leaders have never given up on socialism, which in their minds calls for public ownership to ensure shared prosperity (even though state-owned enterprises have exacerbated inequality and corrupted politics). They insist on keeping key sectors—including banking, energy, communication and education—under state monopoly. As a result, many characterize the Chinese economy as "state-led capitalism." But it was really the marginal revolutions and regional competition that ushered in China's economic rise.

In the years to come, China will continue to forge its own path, but it needs to address its lack of a marketplace for ideas if it hopes to continue to prosper. An unrestricted flow of ideas is a precondition for the growth of knowledge, the most critical factor in any innovative and sustainable economy. "Made in China" is now found everywhere in the world. But few Western consumers remember any Chinese brand names. The British Industrial Revolution two centuries ago introduced many new products and created new industries. China's industrial revolution is far less innovative.

The active exchange of thoughts and information also offers an indispensable foundation for social harmony. It is not a panacea; nothing can free us once and for all from ignorance and falsehood. But the free flow of ideas engenders repeated criticism and continuous improvement. It also cultivates respect and tolerance, which are effective antidotes to the bigotry and false doctrines that can threaten the foundation of any society.

Continued in article

The China Dream:  Rise of the Billionaire Tiger Women from Poverty
"Tigress Tycoons," by Amy Chua, Newsweek Magazine Cover Story, March 12, 2012, pp. 30-39 ---

Like a relentless overachiever, China is eagerly collecting superlatives. It�s the world�s fastest-growing major economy. It boasts the world�s biggest hydropower plant, shopping mall, and crocodile farm (home to 100,000 snapping beasts). It�s building the world�s largest airport (the size of Bermuda). And it now has more self-made female billionaires than any other country in the world.

This is not only because China has more females than any other nation. Many of these extraordinary women rose from nothing, despite living in a traditionally patriarchal society. They are a beguiling advertisement for the New China�bold, entrepreneurial, and tradition-breaking.

Four standouts among China�s intriguing new superwomen are Zhang Xin, the factory worker turned glamorous real-estate billionaire, with 3 million followers on Weibo (China�s Twitter); talk-show mogul Yang Lan, a blend of Audrey Hepburn and Oprah Winfrey; restaurant tycoon Zhang Lan, who as a girl slept between a pigsty and a chicken coop; and Peggy Yu Yu, cofounder and CEO of one of China�s biggest online retailers. None of these women inherited her money, and unlike many of the richest Chinese who are reluctant to draw public scrutiny to their path to wealth, they are proud to tell their stories.

How did these women make it to the top in the wild, wild East? Did they pay a price, either in their family or their professional lives? What was it that distinguished them from their famously hardworking compatriots? As I set out to explore these questions, my interest was partly personal. All four of my subjects lived for extended periods in the West. As a Chinese-American, and now the infamous Tiger Mom, I was curious: how �Chinese� were these new Chinese tigresses?

It turns out that each of these women, in her own way, is a dynamic combination of East and West. Perhaps this is one secret to their breathtaking success.

Zhang Xin is a rags-to-riches tale right out of Dickens. She was born in Beijing in 1965. The next year Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, and millions, including intellectuals and party dissidents, were purged or forcibly relocated to primitive rural areas. Children were encouraged to turn in their parents and teachers as counterrevolutionaries. Returning to Beijing in 1972, Zhang remembers sleeping on office desks, using books for pillows. At 14 she left for Hong Kong with her mother, and for five years she worked in a factory by day, attending school at night.

�I was a miserable kid,� she told me. With her chic cropped leather jacket and infectious laughter, the cofounder of the $4.6 billion Soho China real-estate empire is today an odd combination of measured calculation and warm spontaneity. �My mother drove me in school so hard. That generation didn�t know how to express love.

�But it wasn�t just me. It was all of China. I don�t think anybody was happy. If you look at photos from those days, no one is smiling.� She mentioned the contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang, who paints �cold, emotionless� faces. �That�s exactly how we all grew up.�

. . .

But the four women I interviewed are a new breed. Progressive, worldly, and open to the media, they are in many ways not representative of China, past or present. Perhaps they are merely the lucky winners of the 1990s free-for-all in China, a window that may already be closing. Or perhaps they are the forerunners of a China still to come, in which paths to success are far more open. Each has found a way to dynamically fuse East and West, to staggering commercial success. It may still be a long way off, but if China can achieve a similar alchemy�melding its tremendous economic potential and traditional values with Western innovation, the rule of law, and individual liberties�it would be a land of opportunity tough to beat.


Jensen Comment
Many of us were weaned on the famous Coase Theorem on economic efficiency with externality constraints ---

We should wait for a safer way to get at this gas --- this is not a long term efficient solution
Hydraulic Fracturing Concerns --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fracking
Thank you Dan Gheorghe Somnea for the heads up.

Bob Jensen on the American Dream versus the China Dream ---


April 6, 2012 message from Roger Collins

Guardian (UK paper) journalist reviews children's movie, with a dose of Political Economy thrown in...

A sample paragraph..

Unfortunately, capitalism's boast – that it accords with human nature – is actually capitalism's problem: that it rewards the most rapacious aspects of human nature, at the expense of the natural world more generally. Most of capitalism's critics understand this, and find it mightily frustrating that the right carries on regardless with the pillaging.

The real problem, however, is that as an alternative to capitalism, socialism is a turkey, far more concerned with equality of distribution of the spoils (or, at the very least, equality of opportunity to have a go at grabbing some) than it is with tackling human dependence on wealth. One could even argue that socialism is even more perverse than capitalism, nothing more or less than its dark and negative mirror. After all, it focuses as obsessively on lack of money, and denial of access to resources, as the system it opposes does on accumulation of money, and access to resources. Capitalism accentuates the positive – wealth. Socialism accentuates the negative – poverty. The supposedly opposing ideologies are merely opposite sides of the same coin. It's because wealth itself confers power that Marxism's logical, unpalatable, unworkable "solution" is redistribution by force – revolution.

More at ..





Politically correct note.. "Leprosy support groups have successfully campaigned for the removal of a gag in upcoming Aardman Animations film The Pirates! in which a victim of the disease loses a limb as a result of his condition......The scene depicts the Hugh Grant-voiced Pirate Captain storming a ship in search of booty, only to be informed by one of its occupants: "Afraid we don't have any gold, old man, this is a leper boat. See …" The speaker's arm then drops off."

Roger Collins
TRU School of Business & Economics

Knowledge Maps Versus Concept Maps

Knowledge Mapping --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_mapping

April 7, 2012 message from Scott Bonacker

While looking at references to the book "Getting to Yes" in the context of contemporary politics I came across another mapping tool.

This is the article - and information about the tool - http://litemind.com/getting-to-yes/ 

There is also a related free product - http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page 

Scott Bonacker CPA -
McCullough and Associates LLC -
Springfield, MO


The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them

Concept Maps --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_maps

Concept Mapping Software --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

Description: Concept mapping (a method of brainstorming) is a technique for visualizing the relationships between concepts and creating a visual image to represent the relationship.  Concept mapping software serves several purposes in the educational environment.  One is to capture the conceptual thinking of one or more persons in a way that is visually represented.  Another is to represent the structure of knowledge gleaned from written documents so that such knowledge can be visually represented.  In essence, a concept map is a diagram showing relationships, often between complex ideas.  With new mapping software such as the open source Cmap ( http://www.cmap.ihmc.us/download/ ), concepts are easily represented with images (bubbles or pictures) called concept nodes, and are connected with lines that show the relationship between and among the concepts.  In addition, the software allows users to attach documents, diagrams, images other concept maps, hypertextual links and even media files to the concept nodes.  Concept maps can be saved as a PDF or image file and distributed electronically in a variety of ways including the Internet and storage devices.


"The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them." by Joseph D. Novak & Alberto J. Cañas, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition Pensacola Fl, 32502 --- http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryCmaps/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.htm

Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts. We define concept as a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label. The label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used. Propositions are statements about some object or event in the universe, either naturally occurring or constructed. Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement. Sometimes these are called semantic units, or units of meaning. Figure 1 shows an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics.

Another characteristic of concept maps is that the concepts are represented in a hierarchical fashion with the most inclusive, most general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific, less general concepts arranged hierarchically below. The hierarchical structure for a particular domain of knowledge also depends on the context in which that knowledge is being applied or considered. Therefore, it is best to construct concept maps with reference to some particular question we seek to answer, which we have called a focus question. The concept map may pertain to some situation or event that we are trying to understand through the organization of knowledge in the form of a concept map, thus providing the context for the concept map.

Another important characteristic of concept maps is the inclusion of cross-links. These are relationships or links between concepts in different segments or domains of the concept map. Cross-links help us see how a concept in one domain of knowledge represented on the map is related to a concept in another domain shown on the map. In the creation of new knowledge, cross-links often represent creative leaps on the part of the knowledge producer. There are two features of concept maps that are important in the facilitation of creative thinking: the hierarchical structure that is represented in a good map and the ability to search for and characterize new cross-links.

A final feature that may be added to concept maps is specific examples of events or objects that help to clarify the meaning of a given concept. Normally these are not included in ovals or boxes, since they are specific events or objects and do not represent concepts.

Concept maps were developed in 1972 in the course of Novak’s research program at Cornell where he sought to follow and understand changes in children’s knowledge of science (Novak & Musonda, 1991). During the course of this study the researchers interviewed many children, and they found it difficult to identify specific changes in the children’s understanding of science concepts by examination of interview transcripts. This program was based on the learning psychology of David Ausubel (1963; 1968; Ausubel et al., 1978). The fundamental idea in Ausubel’s cognitive psychology is that learning takes place by the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing concept and propositional frameworks held by the learner. This knowledge structure as held by a learner is also referred to as the individual’s cognitive structure. Out of the necessity to find a better way to represent children’s conceptual understanding emerged the idea of representing children’s knowledge in the form of a concept map. Thus was born a new tool not only for use in research, but also for many other uses.

Psychological Foundations of Concept Maps

The question sometimes arises as to the origin of our first concepts. These are acquired by children during the ages of birth to three years, when they recognize regularities in the world around them and begin to identify language labels or symbols for these regularities (Macnamara, 1982). This early learning of concepts is primarily a discovery learning process, where the individual discerns patterns or regularities in events or objects and recognizes these as the same regularities labeled by older persons with words or symbols. This is a phenomenal ability that is part of the evolutionary heritage of all normal human beings. After age 3, new concept and propositional learning is mediated heavily by language, and takes place primarily by a reception learning process where new meanings are obtained by asking questions and getting clarification of relationships between old concepts and propositions and new concepts and propositions. This acquisition is mediated in a very important way when concrete experiences or props are available; hence the importance of “hands-on” activity for science learning with young children, but this is also true with learners of any age and in any subject matter domain.

Continued in article

"Using Cmap Tools to Create Concept Diagrams for Accounting," by Rick Lillie, AAA Commons --- http://commons.aaahq.org/posts/6d0b8c8402
There are many comments following this entry on the AAA Commons

"Making Computer Science a Requirement?" by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Making a new course requirement runs counter to the turf war compromises (e.g., at Harvard) of replacing required courses with required categories wherein students chose from a smorgasbord of alternative courses and even disciplines.

I like to think more in terms of required general education topics. For example, I've been a long time advocate of requiring personal finance topics, including some tax education in so far as it affects personal finance. It depresses me greatly that so many graduates have no understanding of time value of money, inflation, tax exempt income, tax deductions and strategies, pensions, financial risk, and other essentials of financial literacy. In support of my advocacy is the research that concludes financial distress is a leading cause of divorce, especially distress arising from such rudimentary mistakes as piling up more credit card debt than can be afforded or buying new cars when gently used cars may be a better strategy.
Bob Jensen's threads on requiring financial literacy (at least minimal) among all college graduates ---

Back when Bill Paton was a towering force on campus at the University of Michigan it was reported to me (I never verified this) that Accounting 101 was a required course. I suspect that this would be rare today except for selected majors such as economics, health care administration, and business.

What topics as opposed to courses should be required in gen ed?

April 8 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Tom, Jagdish, and the Others

I think at Trinity University and most other universities the "Common Curriculum" is intended to be a combination of Skills (e.g., writing and mathematics), physical fitness, multiple language proficiency, and five "Fundamental Understandings" ---

My proposal for financial literacy would be to add more into the skills components.

I think the skill and physical education components deal more with living skills (including nutrition which is becoming a larger part of physical fitness) whereas Fundamental Understandings are intended to stimulate wanting to be educated as opposed to being trained.

When I first arrived at Trinity in 1982, there was a team-taught Fundamental Understandings course called Quest which as I recall ran over multiple semesters for something like nine credits. The main purpose at the time was to give all Trinity Students a truly "common educational experience" as was typical many universities in this era.

But over the years following Common Curriculum changes at Harvard, universities replaced the "common experience" of required courses like Quest with more of a "common curriculum" comprised of smorgasbord of choices in various categories of Fundamental Understandings.

This was in part due to a movement to give students more freedom of choice. It also served some turf war issues, especially in departments with very few majors that found it increasingly difficult to justify their budgets without have courses in the Common Curriculum smorgasbord.

Thus we now have a dilemma of graduating students who may have never studied Shakespeare since high school. They may never have studies Hobbes or Marx simply because they chose other dishes in the smorgasbord such as African American history great women in literature.

I do not pretend to know what is the ideal common curriculum. One thing certain that there's far to much important knowledge to cover the waterfront in a Common Curriculum. I suspect scholars will never be totally satisfied with the Common Curriculum smorgasbord no matter what great chefs prepared the food of common knowledge to choose from.

Life would be much easier if all graduates of all universities had to take a uniform Graduate Record Examination to be certified as a college graduate. Then every university to teach to that exam much like accounting educators teach to the CPA examination for a large part of the accounting curriculum.

In fact, it has become much more difficult to write the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, and other examinations that we now use for graduate school admissions since college graduates now have smorgasbord rather than common experience in the Common Curriculum.

Bob Jensen

Ignorant Distinctions Between Training and Education

Hi Roger and Don,

I agree that employers are going to assume that students know how to use MS Office products (maybe not MS Access) and that stressing those basic skills may even be dysfunctional on a resume. However, mentioning some advanced skills like computing bond yields or making pivot tables in Excel might be worth mentioning.

There are some things, however, that most accounting students do not learn in college that set my students ahead in some CPA firms and corporations were some advanced skills that probably should not be taught in a basic computer science course but I think should be taught in an accounting or finance theory course.

The training skill my students learned was how to value interest rate swaps ---
When teaching such valuation techniques the underlying economic theory complexities and controversies of derivatives and hedging can "sneaked in" along the way.

And if your university has access to a Bloomberg or Reuters terminal, it's even better to teach students how to derive yield curves and then sneak in the underlying theory of yield curves. Believe me that they will remember the theory of yield curves better if they also learned how to derive them in the real world.

My bottom line conclusion is that professors who get on a soap box and preach that we should educate rather than train in college just do not know that one of the best ways to educate is to sneak complicated theory in while teaching some complicated training techniques. I think the General Motors Institute (GMI) that grants engineering degrees discovered years ago that a whole lot of mathematics and physics can be taught while teaching mechanical engineering.

Hence, at the collegiate level when professors rant that we should educate rather than train I chuckle under my breath that they may not know how to make students more interested in complicated and controversial theory.

The soap box distinction between training and education is often elaborated upon out of teaching and learning ignorance, especially at the collegiate level.

Bob Jensen

"How Not to Require Computer Science for All Students," by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2012 ---

So let’s suppose we decide to require computer science for all students at our university. How are we going to implement that requirement? Here’s one approach that I believe could turn out to be the wrong way to do this: Set up a collection of courses, all of which count for the CS1 requirement, that are aligned to the students’ levels of technological proficiency. STEM students take a standard intro-to-programming course, liberal arts majors take a course that focuses more on office applications, and so on.

But, wait a minute, didn’t I say last time that I liked Georgia Tech’s approach, where the single CS1 requirement was satisfied by a number of different courses that are aimed at different populations? Yes, I did. But favoring a collection courses with different populations is not the same as favoring a collection with different outcomes depending on how measure, or perceive, students’ technological skills when they matriculate. Targeting different populations is just smart curricular design; setting different learning outcomes for different students based on their incoming abilities is borderline anti-educational.

We don’t do this in writing courses, for instance. Students certainly come into college with writing skills that are all over the map. Some students are barely literate while others are highly talented writers. But we don’t say that we only expect the former to be able to put together basic paragraphs whereas the latter are expected to write novels. If we are serious about education, we set and hold high expectations for writing skills for all students that ask students to really understand the concepts and processes of writing. We do not say to a student who comes in with low writing skills, “We’ll remediate you to a basic level but otherwise we don’t expect as much from you as we do others.

We don’t do this in math, either, really. There are certainly different requirements for math courses at most universities; STEM people take calculus, business and social science people take statistics, and so on. But these differences are differences in content, not in expectations. A statistics course should be neither more nor less quantitatively rigorous than a calculus course; a liberal arts math course should be the same way. (I really mean that.) We don’t expect a lesser understanding of quantitative disciplines in this case; just a mastery of different aspects.

The reason I bring this up is that I’m hearing some say, in response to the articles about the CS requirement, that we should require a course in office applications and basic digital literacy for those who come in with lesser technological skill, and that can be their CS course. I think that’s looking at the problem from the wrong end. It seems that we might want a global CS requirement because in this era, the quantity and quality of digital skills that we should expect from students has changed. Office suite proficiency is necessary but no longer sufficient: We want students to be able to program (where “programming” is broadly defined), to articulate how computers and the internet work, and so on. The question ought to be, where do we want students to end up with respect to CS, not where are they now. If we want all students to program — which I think is the true gist of the push to require CS — then let’s aim high, set the goal, and help students get there. (Which involves asking “where are they now”, I know.) But let’s not say that students with low tech proficiencies can’t get there or shouldn’t be expected to get there.


Compassless Colleges ---


"3 Major Publishers Sue Open-Education Textbook Start-Up," by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 5, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free textbooks (not such a great alternative in most instances) ---

New Book Lists 'Best' Professors, but Skeptics Question Its Methods ---
Also read the comments

In the meantime on RateMyProfessor
Top Professors versus Hottest Professors versus Top Schools ---

I think the numerical ratings are garbage, but I've often learned quite a lot about a professor by reading the actual comments on RateMyProfessor. Usually the samples are too small and self-selected to get any numerical average that has any reliability and validity. But even small samples of comments sometimes lend insights into the way a professor teaches, grades, jokes, shows up late, dresses, scratches, mumbles, tests, dodges questions, and writes on the board.

For example, I learn a bit when a student writes such things as:
"This guy is a lousy, unprepared, and boring teacher, but virtually every student gets an A so this is an important section of the course to choose."

"An idiot can get an A+ in this course without any effort. The only students who got lower grades pestered her for a lot of outside help?"

"The only requirement to ace the course is to be on time for all the classes and pretend you're tuned in."

iPad App Video (free) :  Personalized Feedback With ScreenChomp ---
Thank you Richard Campbell for the heads up

"The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Moving Finger versus Stylus
"The iPad Isn't Ready for Working by Hand," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, April 7, 2012 ---

Last week's release of Paper for iPad was a huge boon to the cottage industry of third-party iPad styluses. It was hardly the first app for drawing or writing directly on the screen of an iOS device, but it struck a chord. It was just the right blend of skeuomorphic real-world design and familiar iOS gestures. I had never even considered a stylus before, but this seemed like my chance.

I travel the Internet in fairly Apple-obsessed early-adopter circles, so I went with the stylus I'd seen recommended most often: the Cosmonaut by Studio Neat. Studio Neat made the Glif camera mount, one of the most celebrated iPhone peripherals around, so it seemed like a safe bet.

The Cosmonaut arrived in short order in spartan, Space Race packaging. It's fairly wide to hold like a pen. It's black, grippy and dense, the exact same length as an iPhone. The business end exhibits the capacitive properties the touch screen requires: a soft touch that gives way gradually to pressure, just like a fingertip, but more precise.

Continued in article

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

Park Finder
This may be of interest to many of you, whether young or old, who are seeking new outdoor adventures during the upcoming summer months.

The link of interest is the Park Finder link ---

Of course us rugged mountain men love LL Bean products, but the accountant in me also tells me they're probably overpriced relative to my favorite online store --- Amazon.

Bob Jensen's travel helpers in general are at

After 10 years, the joint (UC Berkeley & Columbia U.) executive MBA program  is shutting its doors as both schools develop new offerings ---

"Does Income Inequality Promote Cheating?" Inside Higher Ed, April 5, 2012 ---

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

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating ---

"Student Loan Initiative: Alumni Lend To Current Scholars To Finance College," by Loren Berlin, Huff Post, April 2, 2012 ---

Can former students help solve the student loan crisis? That's the reasoning behind a new loan initiative launched last year at Stanford University, one of the nation's most elite and expensive colleges, where undergraduate tuition is now $40,050.

A handful of Stanford alumni created SoFi, a company that funds student loans with investments from alumni. The company is based on the peer-to-peer lending model popularized by microfinance organizations and websites like Kickstarter.com.

SoFi grew out of a recognition that the student loan market is "unsustainable," said SoFi CEO Mike Cagney in an interview with The Huffington Post. "You've got the government, the school, the students, and nobody is invested in another's success … If you take the government out of the equation and introduce alumni, you create those connections and that investment."

Student loan debt today totals more than $1 trillion, a 14-fold increase from 15 years ago. It dwarfs the amount of the nation's credit card debt, which is just shy of $800 million. Those in the class of 2010 graduated with an average of more than $25,000 in student loan debt, according to the Project on Student Loan Debt. In 2009, nearly 9 percent of student loan holders defaulted on their government loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

I didn't know that in this era of online courses there were still such things as "correspondence courses."
"Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Told to Repay $42 Million," Inside Higher Ed, April 4, 2012 ---

"Students Endlessly E-Mail Professors for Help. A New Service Hopes to Organize the Answers," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2012 ---

Meet the Ed-Tech Start-Ups

It's a golden age for educational-technology start-ups. The past three years have seen a spike in venture-capital investment in upstart companies, many founded by entrepreneurs just out of college. Last month The Chronicle outlined the trend ("A Boom Time for Education Start-Ups"), but we wanted to dig deeper.

Below are short features on three such companies, focusing on the problems they hope to solve and the challenges they face in selling their unusual ideas. To get a sense of the emerging field, we've included a list of a dozen other start-ups competing for a piece of the action.

Pooja Sankar may eliminate the need for professors to hold office hours, or to endlessly respond to student questions by e-mail.

Ms. Sankar, a recent graduate of Stanford University's M.B.A. program, leads a start-up focused on finding a better way for college students to ask questions about course materials and assignments online. Her company, Piazza, has built an online study hall where professors and teaching assistants can easily monitor questions and encourage students who understand the material to help their peers.

At first blush, the service seems unnecessary. Students can already e-mail questions to professors or fellow students, and most colleges already own course-management systems like Blackboard that include discussion features. But Ms. Sankar feels that such options are clunky. She says professors are finding that Piazza can save them hours each week by allowing them to post answers to a single online forum rather than handle a scattershot of student e-mails.

Piazza is a Web site that refreshes with updates as new questions or answers come in. Professors simply set up a free discussion area for their course on the service at the beginning of the term and invite their students to set up free accounts to participate. Ms. Sankar says that students typically keep Piazza open on their screens as they work on homework, often staying on the site for hours at a time.

Ms. Sankar, who is 31, was inspired to create the service based on her own experience as an undergraduate in India, where she studied at the highly selective Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur. She says she was a shy student, and one of only three women majoring in computer science, so she often found herself watching from the wings as more social students collaborated on homework assignments. She felt there had to be a way to recreate a study hall online, in a way that made it easy for shy students to ask questions anonymously.

After graduating, she got a master's degree in computer science at the University of Maryland at College Park, and then worked as an engineer for Facebook and other companies for a few years. When she decided to head to Stanford to study business, she was sure she would not try to start a company of her own, since she found the prospect "too scary." But a course on entrepreneurship made her realize that the path to a company was simply a series of "baby steps," and that she wanted to bring her vision of a better "question-and-answer platform" to life.

She wrote the original version of Piazza herself, after teaching herself the programming language Ruby on Rails from a book. By the time she first sought investors, she already had hundreds of students using the service. She raised an initial round of $1.5-million last year from the venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital, and raised an additional $6-million from investors in November.

As of yet, the site has no plans to generate revenue—the service is free and does not carry advertisements. Ms. Sankar said that she didn't write a business plan for the site, because she doesn't believe in them, and that she believes that once a critical mass of students and professors are signed up, revenue models can emerge. When pressed, she says that in the future the company may charge for advanced analytics for professors or other extra features.

She spends much of her time seeking feedback from users and obsessively tinkering with the service in hopes of improving it. "I am an engineer at heart," she explains.

To spread the word about the site, she has taken an unusually personal approach. She sends e-mail messages to professors telling her story and the goal of the site, and asking them to try it.

Greg Morrisett, a computer-science professor at Harvard University, got one of those e-mails. He said he was curious, but he was concerned that the site's policy noted that it claimed ownership over comments posted on the site, which Mr. Morrisett felt violated Harvard's policies. So he wrote back to Ms. Sankar and said he wasn't able to use it. "Ten minutes later she wrote back and said, 'We fixed the policy,'" the professor recalls. (Users now own their own posts.) So he gave it a shot.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

Streetsmart, Schoolsmart: Urban Poverty and the Education of Adolescent Boys by Gilberto Q. Conchas and James Diego Vigil (Teachers College Press; 196 pages; $76 hardcover, $33.95 paperback). A comparative study of Vietnamese, African-American, and Latino boys in Southern California; considers why some become disengaged from school and join gangs, while others do not.

Free Textbooks:  Advantages and Disadvantages

March 29, message from Ramesh Fernando

Prof. Jensen, I don't know if you have this link but it's a great site
Accounting Principles both Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting

March 29, 2012 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Ramesh,

Thank you Ramesh.
The Global Text Project seems to offer free alternatives for some textbooks that are no longer totally free on Freeload Press ---

For example the following textbook is free from the Global Text Project:
8th Edition of  Accounting Principles: A Business Perspective (Managerial) by James Edwards, Roger Hermanson, Susan Ivancevich [puff] ---
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/31779972/Accounting Principles Vol. 2.pdf

The above textbook is 1995 on Freeload Press is $16.95 ---
However, lecture and study guides are also available for a fee from Freeload Press.

My worry about book and other free textbooks in general is how often they are completely updated. The Global Text download of the 8th edition was last revised in 2006, and this is 2012. In that period of time there have been some changes in managerial accounting such as Lean Accounting ---
The Edwards, Hermanson, and Ivancevich book does not mention Lean Accounting to my knowledge.

Actually, I worry more about the updates for financial accounting textbooks than updates of managerial accounting textbooks, because the FASB and IASB are grinding out changes weekly with some things that need to be put into revised editions of financial accounting textbooks as soon as possible. Similar problems arise with auditing textbooks. It's virtually impossible to have a long-term tax textbook that's not updated at least annually is some way.

A huge problem with free or almost-free textbooks that pay no royalties to authors is that the authors have fewer incentives to slave over revisions vis-à-vis commercial textbooks that are paying tens of thousands of dollars to successful authors year after year after year.

A second huge problem is some popular supplements available from commercial publishers are not available from free or almost-free servers. These supplements include test banks, videos, and software.

Teachers who use their own handouts in place of a textbook have some of the same problems with updates. For example, think of all the financial accounting handouts (including problems and cases) that must be revised when the new joint standards ore issued on leases and revenue recognition. Professors buried in teaching duties and research for new knowledge really have to struggle to go back over 800 pages of student handouts to constantly update these handouts. My advice is to find a very current revised textbook and reduce the handouts to a more manageable 300 pages or less. Of course the "handouts" can now be digital.

There are course certain courses for which there are no good textbooks available for major modules of the course. I never found a good accounting theory textbook that I though was suitable for my accounting theory course. My students accordingly got 800 pages of my handouts ---

But for my AIS course I had a great electronic textbook (Murthy and Groomer) such that I only needed 300 pages of my handouts ---

Incidentally, most free textbooks were once high-priced commercial textbooks dropped by publishing companies that gave the copyrights back to the authors. These textbooks were dropped in the past two decades largely due to publishing company mergers and acquisitions. When Publisher A and Publisher B have competing textbooks that are virtually identical when A and B are merged a decision is usually made to drop one of the textbooks even though it has been somewhat profitable before the merger. I have a number of relatively close friends that experienced this type of copyright return including Phil Cooley who had his successful basic finance textbook copyright returned in one of these publishing house mergers

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on free textbooks are at

Bob Jensen's threads on free courses, lectures, videos, and course materials from prestigious universities ---

"Notre Dame Tops List of Best (Undergraduate) College Business Programs," by Geoff Gloeckler, Bloomberg Business Week, March 20, 2012 ---

The 2012 Rankings --- http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/ugtable_3-20.html

Bob Jensen's threads on rankings controversies ---

"Four Numbers Add Up to an American Debt Disaster," by Caroline Baum, Bloomberg, March 28, 2012 ---

Consider the following numbers: 2.2, 62.8, 454, 5.9. Drawing a blank? Not to worry. They don’t mean much on their own.

Now consider them in context:

1) 2.2 percent is the average interest rate on the U.S. Treasury’s marketable and non-marketable debt (February data).

2) 62.8 months is the average maturity of the Treasury’s marketable debt (fourth quarter 2011).

3) $454 billion is the interest expense on publicly held debt in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30.

4) $5.9 trillion is the amount of debt coming due in the next five years.

For the moment, Nos. 1 and 2 are helping No. 3 and creating a big problem for No. 4. Unless Treasury does something about No. 2, Nos. 1 and 3 will become liabilities while No. 4 has the potential to provoke a crisis.

In plain English, the Treasury’s reliance on short-term financing serves a dual purpose, neither of which is beneficial in the long run. First, it helps conceal the depth of the nation’s structural imbalances: the difference between what it spends and what it collects in taxes. Second, it puts the U.S. in the precarious position of having to roll over 71 percent of its privately held marketable debt in the next five years -- probably at higher interest rates. First Among Equals

And that’s a problem. The U.S. is more dependent on short- term funding than many of Europe’s highly indebted countries, including Greece, Spain and Portugal, according to Lawrence Goodman, president of the Center for Financial Stability, a non- partisan New York think tank focusing on financial markets.

The U.S. may have had a lot more debt in relation to the size of its economy following World War II, but the structure was much more favorable, with 41 percent maturing in less than five years, 31 percent in five-to-10 years and 21 percent in 10 years or more, according to CFS data. Today, only 10 percent of the public debt matures outside of a decade.

Based on the current structure, a one percentage-point increase in the average interest rate will add $88 billion to the Treasury’s interest payments this year alone, Goodman says. If market interest rates were to return to more normal levels, well, you do the math.

Some economists have cited the Treasury’s ability to borrow all it wants at 2 percent as an argument for more fiscal stimulus. Why not, as long as it’s cheap?

Goodman says the size of the deficit (8.2 percent of gross domestic product) or the debt (67.7 percent of GDP) is only part of the problem. The bigger threat is rollover risk: “the same thing that got countries from Portugal to Argentina to Greece into trouble,” he says. “It’s the repayment of principal that often provides the catalyst for a market event or a crisis.”

The U.S. is unlikely to go from all-you-want-at-2-percent to basket-case overnight. That said, policy makers would be wise to view recent market volatility as a taste of things to come.

Talking to Goodman, I was reminded of the Treasury’s standard sales pitch before quarterly refunding operations during periods of rising yields. Some undersecretary for domestic finance would be dispatched to tell us that Treasury expected to have no trouble selling its debt.

I had an equally standard response: At what price?

That seems particularly relevant today. The Federal Reserve purchased 61 percent of the net Treasury issuance last year, according to the bank’s quarterly flow-of-funds report. That’s masking the decline in demand from everyone else, including banks, mutual funds, corporations and individuals, Goodman says.

Of course, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke might look at the same numbers and see them as a sign of success. His stated goal in buying bonds is to lower Treasury yields and push investors into riskier assets.

Free to Borrow

Then there’s the distortion in the relative value of stocks versus bonds to worry about. Using the 10-year cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio and the inverse of the 10-year Treasury yield, Goodman says the relationship hasn’t been this out of whack since 1962.

Continued in article

Video on the History of Debt
"Debt: The First 5,000 Years," by Paul Kedrosky, Kedrosky.com, September 10, 2011 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements and debt ---

I certainly hope this isn't an April Fools Day joke..
"Texas jury slaps $195 million penalty on TaxMasters, CEO Cox (files for bankruptcy)," by Libloather, Yahoo News, March 30, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
This makes me wonder where this scum bag buried his loot.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"Did F. Lee Bailey Have A Fool For A Client?" by Peter J. O'Reilly, Forbes, April 3, 2012 ---

When I was young, if a person knew the name of only one lawyer, that lawyer was probably F. Lee Bailey. I remember once taking a phone call at 1:00 AM from someone wanting to talk to the general manager of the hotel where I was working. When you called the hotel at 1:00 AM the only person you would ever get to talk to was the night auditor, who in a 140 room hotel would also run the front desk and answer the phone on third shift, so that was a ridiculous request. The angry caller informed me that he was going to sue the hotel and he was hiring F LEE BAILEY ! I knew at the time that F. Lee Bailey was famous for being a criminal defense attorney. It was guys like this that needed him.

Probably if that caller ever received a 90 Day Letter from the IRS. He would make an angry phone call in which he would let the responsible agent know that he was going to hire F. LEE BAILEY ! to represent him in Tax Court. That would be mere rhetoric or fancy, though like the counting sheep hiring Mr. Bailey to represent them against Serta mattresses.

Seriously, would anybody actually get F. Lee Bailey to represent him in Tax Court ?  You want a tax litigator to represent you in tax court.  Who would want F. Lee Bailey ?  And why would F. Lee Bailey choose to take on a tax case ? As it turns out, there is one person who not only wanted F. Lee Bailey to represent him, but could actually persuade F. Lee Bailey to take the case.  The client in the case was F. Lee Bailey.

The proverb is that an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.  The import of the proverb is that picking yourself to be your own attorney is a foolish choice.  Now the decision in the case is on the long side and there are a number of complicated issues. It was not a total win for either Mr. Bailey or the IRS. Overall, I am not sure that the proverb was actually proved out in this case.  I don’t know that many tax litigators would have done a lot better with the mess that Mr. Bailey’s difficult client dumped on him.  It may well be that his actual foolishness might not have been so much in acting as his own lawyer as in the attempts he made to act as his own accountant.  The case could actually form the basis of a novel, so I probably won’t do it justice, but here are some highlights.

Where Bailey Won – Kind Of

The big issue in the case concerns Mr. Bailey’s handling of client funds.  It is rather on the convoluted side.  Claude DuBoc had entered into a plea agreement with the United States in a marijuana smuggling case.  His sentence was dependent, in part, in how much property the Government was able to seize from him.  Thus it was in his interest to facilitate seizures, which were complicated by legal, diplomatic and practical difficulties.  In order to address these issues:

the Government entered into a vague and unusual agreement with Mr. Bailey, under which Mr. Bailey would perform services to facilitate Mr. Duboc’s forfeiture of his assets, and Mr. Duboc would transfer 602,000 shares of Biochem Pharma stock to Mr. Bailey, to provide funds that Mr. Bailey could use to maintain and transfer Mr. Duboc’s foreign assets. Thomas Kirwin, an Assistant U.S. Attorney who worked for the Government on the Duboc case (and who later became a U.S. Attorney) testified at trial that the Duboc case was important and complex and that the nature of the work that Mr. Bailey undertook to do was “extraordinary”. Nonetheless, the agreement was completely unwritten.

That brings in my favorite legal proverb – Verbal contracts are not worth the paper they are printed on.  Like “fool for a client”, the verbal contract proverb probably does not hold up in this case.  The verbal contract did prove to be worth something.  The Government had issues with how Mr. Bailey handled the funds, which resulted in two lawsuits and his spending 44 days in jail for contempt.  So the IRS wanted to tax him on the value of the stock at the point that he received it.  Because of the agreement the Tax Court ruled that he received the stock as a trustee and was only taxed when and to the extent that he converted funds to his personal use.  When the Tax Court rules it does not keep score.  It calls the strikes and balls and sends the IRS and the taxpayer back to recompute.  Of the over four million in deficiency, though, that issue seemed to be worth about half.  So I think we can give Mr. Bailey pretty high marks for his first foray into  tax litigation.

On the other hand, he had borrowed against the stock, which the Tax Court did not find to be a taxable event, but when fees from other cases were used to pay down the debt, those fees were taxable income, even though Mr. Bailey never received them.

The Rest Of The Case Is A Mess (Bailey loses here)

Continued in article

In just the one year between filming “Elements” and filming “NOVA ScienceNow,” there has been a radical change in the equipment the cameramen (and yes, they’ve all been men) are carrying. The traditional TV cameras have been replaced by something entirely new: big-sensor tapeless camcorders.
"S.L.R. Video Cameras for the Pros," by David Pogue, The New York Times, April 3, 2012 ---

Garbage Statistics
How do law schools (read that lawyers) lie with statistics?
Why are so many lower ranking law school doing so much better in placing their graduates than the prestigious law schools?

"When True Numbers Mislead: 98% Employment "Not Fully Accurate Picture," ASU Dean Says," by Brian Tamanaha (Washington U.), Balkinization, April 2, 2012 ---

Turkey times for overstuffed law schools ---

"4G or Not 4G: A Guide to Cut Through All the 'Fast' Talk," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2012 ---

Of all the confusing technology terms used in consumer marketing today, perhaps the most opaque is "4G," used to describe a new, much faster generation of cellular data on smartphones, tablets and other devices. It sounds simple, but there are many varieties of 4G and conflicting claims.

AT&T T -0.30% claims "The nation's largest 4G network," and T-Mobile says it has "America's largest 4G network." Verizon Wireless boasts "America's fastest 4G network," and Sprint S -0.17% says it had the first 4G network.

Yet the technology used by T-Mobile, and mostly comprising AT&T's 4G network, isn't considered "real" 4G at all by some critics, and the one used by Sprint has proven to be a dead end and is being abandoned. The flavor being used by Verizon is now being adopted by its rivals, but won't be interoperable among them.

It's a headache for consumers to grasp. So here's a simplified explainer to some of the most common questions, based on interviews with top technical officials at all four major U.S. wireless carriers.

What is 4G?

It's the fourth and latest generation technology for data access over cellular networks. It's faster and can give networks more capacity than the 3G networks still on most phones. There's a technical definition, set by a United Nations agency in Europe, and a marketing definition, which is looser, but more relevant to most consumers.

Who needs 4G?

It's mostly for people with smartphones, tablets and laptops who often need fast data speeds for Web browsing, app use and email when they're out of the range of Wi-Fi networks. It can give you the same or greater data speeds as home or office Wi-Fi when you're in a taxi. In hotels and airports, it's often faster than public Wi-Fi networks.

How does 4G differ from another term being advertised, 'LTE'?

LTE, which stands for "Long Term Evolution," is the fastest, most consistent variety of 4G, and the one most technical experts feel hews most closely to the technical standard set by the U.N. In the U.S., it has primarily been deployed by Verizon, which offers it in over 200 markets. AT&T has begun deploying it, offering LTE in 28 markets so far. Sprint and T-Mobile are pivoting to LTE, though they have no cities covered by it yet.

What are these other versions of 4G?

Sprint uses a technology called WiMax. T-Mobile and AT&T deployed a technology called HSPA+, a faster version of 3G that they relabeled as 4G, and which many technical critics regard as a "faux 4G." Sprint will begin switching to LTE later this year, and T-Mobile in 2013.

How fast is 4G?

Claims vary and performance depends upon the type of device, location, and time. In my tests, 4G phones, tablets and data modems for laptops typically deliver from three to 20 times the download speeds of 3G devices. The speed king is LTE. The LTE devices I've used have typically averaged download speeds of between 10 and 20 megabits per second, with frequent instances of over 30 megabits per second. The other forms of 4G have generally produced download speeds well under 10 mbps in my tests. But all of these are better than 3G, which in my tests on all networks and many devices, averages download speeds of under 2 mbps. The Digital Solution 

How does LTE compare with common wired home Internet speeds?

Although it is wireless, LTE is often faster than most Americans' wired home Internet service. According to Akamai, a large Internet company, the average broadband speed in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2011 was a mere 6.1 mbps.

How does LTE compare with Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is usually a wireless broadcast of a wired Internet service, so, if the average U.S. broadband speed is 6.1 mbps, that's around what the average Wi-Fi speed is. But, in public places, the shared Wi-Fi is often much, much slower than LTE. In tests I did this week at Dulles Airport near Washington, and at a hotel outside Boston, the public Wi-Fi networks delivered well under 1 mbps on the new iPad. But the Verizon LTE cellular network on the iPad averaged over 32 mbps in both places.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

A Historic and Dysfunctional Alternative to Expensive Malpractice Claims

"Violent Crimes in China’s Hospitals Spread Happiness," by Adam Minter, Bloomberg, March 29, 2012 ---

Last Friday afternoon, Wang Hao, a young internist at the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in northeast China, was brutally murdered by a disgruntled patient. It was a spectacular crime, but it was not an unusual one: Violence against doctors, including murder, is commonplace and reportedly increasing. In 2006, the last year for which detailed records on patient-doctor violence was reported publicly (including violence perpetrated by patient family members and friends), the Chinese Ministry of Health stated that 5,519 medical personnel had been “injured” in disputes -- a substantial increase over previous years. And on March 29, the China Daily cited an “official source” who said that in 2010, 17,000 violent incidents took place, affecting roughly 70 percent of all public hospitals in China.

Why so much violence against one of the caring professions? Chinese media, and microblogs, are filled with theories.

In 2007, Xinhua, the state-owned news agency, explained it as a function of “patients' families and friends [becoming] more likely to use violence to vent their rage over hospital errors.” There’s some truth to that. China lacks a credible and independent medical malpractice system to determine compensation for medical errors. But that’s just the beginning. The more critical issue relates to the comically low compensation medical professionals receive (the starting salary for a doctor is around $500 per month). To supplement their income, they legally receive commissions on prescriptions and medical services. On Thursday, Shanghai media reported that the city’s doctors also commonly notify funeral homes of impending patient deaths in exchange for kickbacks.

Chinese patients often enter a hospital prepared to pay bribes for the care that they need. I’ve personally witnessed a “tip” handed to a doctor in advance of a surgical procedure at a top Shanghai hospital. They can also be tricked into undergoing unnecessary but revenue-generating procedures. Three years ago, for instance, at another Shanghai hospital, I was told I should get a CT scan so as to better understand the causes of a sinus infection, and then asked to purchase a Percocet prescription to manage my pain. I didn’t need either. Combine this norm, however, with crowded waiting rooms, high and expensive hurdles to see specialists, and a pointed lack of means to civilly contest malpractice and one can see why resentment against the Chinese medical profession has boiled for decades.

Last Friday’s murder, even in the context of other Chinese patient-doctor murders, doesn’t reveal much about the scale of patient bitterness in China. That proof is provided by an astonishing online poll posted by People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, a few hours after news of the murder went viral in China. The now deleted survey (posted as an attachment to this article) asked readers to express their feelings about Wang Hao’s murder by clicking on emoticons symbolizing feelings ranging from anger (a red fuming face) to happiness (a yellow smiley face). Shockingly, of the first 6,161 readers to respond to the poll, 4,018 --- 65 percent -- chose happiness. Anger came in a distant second with 14 percent. The third choice, sadness (a teary, yellow face) received 6.8 percent.

Continued in article

Jensen Question
What do extreme alternatives of violence versus multi-million dollar malpractice recovery claims have in common?

Both can lead to physicians and hospitals refusing high risk medical services. For example, when Romney Care was implemented in Massachusetts it made obstetrics unprofitable to hospitals having to bear enormous expenses of obstetrics malpractice insurance. It's common for courts to pass on costly judgments in sympathy for parents who had a defective baby even though the hospitals and doctors did nothing wrong. As a result of not being able to cover expenses of malpractice insurance and lawsuit risks, quite a few hospitals in Massachusetts closed down their obstetrics services. They would probably do the same under risk of being damaged by disgruntled Chinese parents.

Bob Jensen's threads on health care are at

"Professor Hopes to Support Free Course With Kickstarter, the ‘Crowd Funding’ Site," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 29, 2012 --- Click Here

Free online courses for the masses are all the rage—and many are being run by start-ups hoping to profit by selling related materials and services. Jim Groom thinks that’s too commercial, so he’s raising money for the online course he co-teaches at the University of Mary Washington using Kickstarter, the popular “crowd funding” service.

In a campaign released today, the professor makes his plea in an irreverent video that mixes in clips from a 90s true-crime show, and video interviews with students and professors shot from unusual angles. He explains that last year he ran the course, which is on digital storytelling and is called DS106, using his own equipment. But the class has grown so large that he needs a new server to keep it going, and he estimates that will cost him $2,900.

He’s asking for contributions ranging from $1 to $3,000, and those who give will get what he describes as “DS106 schwag”—a T-shirt, a bumper sticker, or a desk calendar with a different creative assignment for each day. Some of the rewards reflect the quirky nature of the course itself: For $100 you can have one of the course assignments named after you.

The campaign will run for a couple of weeks. If he hasn’t met his goal of $4,200 (a price that figures in the server cost and the price of the schwag), then the project gets nothing and all of those who pledged keep their money. If the target is met, the deal is on. If the goal is exceeded, he says he will use the extra money to add other enhancements to the course.

In an interview this week, Mr. Groom stressed that the course is “not about him,” and he criticized the way some massive online courses rely on what amounts to a celebrity professor to attract students. He used the word “community” frequently to describe the group of professors and students involved in the course.

The idea for the campaign came from Tim Owens, another instructional technologist at Mary Washington. “I’ve wanted to do a Kickstarter for so long, but I’ve never been able to think of what could we do,” he said. When he heard Mr. Groom wondering where they could come up with $2,900, he suggested the crowd-funding site.

Mr. Groom argues that crowd funding could be a model for other free online-education projects. Even some of the largest, such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare effort, have mostly relied on grants for support and have struggled to find a long-term way to stay afloat.

“It’s like a PBS model” of pledge drives, Mr. Groom said.

The Chronicle asked the folks at Kickstarter whether other educational efforts have used the site to raise money. A representative from the company pointed us to these five campaigns, all of which succeeded:

SmartHistory: Raised $11,513 for a Web site created by two art historians.

Punk Mathematics: Raised 28,701 for a book of mathematical stories.

Open Educational Resources for Typography: Raised $13,088 to develop teaching materials for courses on typography.

Trade School: Raised $9,133 to run a program that turns storefronts into temporary trade schools.

Brooklyn Brainery: Raised $9,629 to set up a collaborative school whose courses would cost $25 for four weeks.

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the growth of distance education ---

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for distance education and training ---

Arts in Accounting and Finance

I encountered the following interesting site that attempts to merge education of the arts and sciences (especially STEM) ---

It made me think about how somewhat similar experiments might be attempted with education in accounting, finance, economics, and business. For example, could we have playwrights in accounting labs and in such education centers as the Trading Rooms at Bentley College? ---

There is what I now conclude is probably a failed experiment at the University of North Texas on merging humanities into accounting courses at the University of North Texas under one of the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) experiments ---

Perhaps the UNT experiment failed because it was more of a merger in the classroom of humanities and accounting teachers. the ARTstem program mentioned above is more focused on the merger of humanities and science students in joint projects. Students in traditional accounting courses like intermediate and accounting did not want have accounting content deleted by to make room for humanities modules. On the other hand, if selected accounting, finance, economics, and business courses made an attempt to draw in humanities majors who could conduct joint projects in a manner somewhat similar to the way ARTstem works, there might be more opportunity for merging humanities and business.

This might also be one of the ways for accounting, finance, economics, and business students to become more involved in NCUR ---

"Humanities Initiatives at Duke and Stanford," Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2011 ---

In an era when many scholars worry about lack of attention and funds for the humanities, Duke and Stanford Universities on Tuesday announced separate, foundation-supported efforts in the humanities. Duke announced a five-year, $6 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the "Humanities Writ Large" initiative, which will support visiting scholars and new faculty appointments, undergraduate research, humanities labs, and support for interdisciplinary collaborations across departments and institutions. Stanford announced a $4 million endowment -- half of the funds from the family of an alumnus and the other half from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation -- to support top humanities graduate students.

Humanities Versus Business --- That is the Question ---

Jensen Comment
Nearly 20 years ago Trinity University hosted the annual NCUR conference. There were no accounting student submissions to be refereed that year and in most years. We were told that accounting students rarely contribute submissions. So I wrote a paper about this with the two Trinity University faculty members who coordinated the NCUR presentations on Trinity's campus that year.

"Undergraduate Student Research Programs: Are They as Viable for Accounting as They are in Science, Humanities, and Other Business Disciplines?" by Robert E. Jensen, Peter A. French and Kim R. Robertson, Critical Perspectives on Accounting , Volume 3, 1992, 337-357.

James Irving's Working Paper entitled "Integrating Academic Research into an Undergraduate Accounting Course"
College of William and Mary, January 2010

This paper describes my experience incorporating academic research into the curriculum of an undergraduate accounting course. This research-focused curriculum was developed in response to a series of reports published earlier in the decade which expressed significant concern over the expected future shortage of doctoral faculty in accounting. It was also motivated by prior research studies which find that students engaging in undergraduate research are more likely to pursue graduate study and to achieve graduate school success. The research-focused curriculum is divided into two complementary phases. First, throughout the semester, students read and critique excerpts from accounting journal articles related to the course topics. Second, students acquire and use specific research skills to complete a formal academic paper and present their results in a setting intended to simulate a research workshop. Results from a survey created to assess the research experience show that 96 percent of students responded that it substantially improved their level of knowledge, skill, and abilities related to conducting research. Individual cases of students who follow this initial research opportunity with a deeper research experience are also discussed. Finally, I supply instructional tools for faculty who might desire to implement a similar program.

January 17, 2010 message (two messages combined)  from Irving, James [James.Irving@mason.wm.edu]

Hi Bob,

I recently completed the first draft of a paper which describes my experience integrating research into an undergraduate accounting course. Given your prolific and insightful contributions to accounting scholarship, education, etc. -- I am a loyal follower of your website and your commentary within the AAA Commons -- I am wondering if you might have an interest in reading it (I also cite a 1992 paper published in Critical Perspectives in Accounting for which you were a coauthor).

The paper is attached with this note. Any thoughts you have about it would be greatly appreciated.

I posted the paper to my SSRN page and it is available at the following link: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1537682 . I appreciate your willingness to read and think about the paper.


January 18, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jim,


I�ve given your paper a cursory overview and have a few comments that might be of interest.

 You�ve overcome much of the negativism about why accounting students tend not to participate in the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Thank you for citing our old paper.
French, P., R. Jensen, and K. Robertson. 1992. Undergraduate student research programs:re they as viable for accounting as they are in science and humanities?" Critical Perspectives on Accounting 3 (December): 337-357. --- Click Here

This paper reviews a recent thrust in academia to stimulate more undergraduate research in the USA, including a rapidly growing annual conference. The paper also describes programs in which significant foundation grants have been received to fund undergraduate research projects in the sciences and humanities. In particular, selected humanities students working in teams in a new �Philosophy Lab� are allowed to embark on long-term research projects of their own choosing. Several completed projects are briefly reviewed in this paper.

In April 1989, Trinity University hosted the Third National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and purposely expanded the scope of the conference to include a broad range of disciplines. At this conference, 632 papers and posters were presented representing the research activities of 873 undergraduate students from 163 institutions. About 40% of the papers were outside the natural sciences and included research in music and literature. Only 13 of those papers were in the area of business administration; none were even submitted by accounting students. In 1990 at Union College, 791 papers were presented; none were submitted by accountants. In 1991 at Cal Tech, the first accounting paper appeared as one of 853 papers presented.

This paper suggests a number of obstacles to stimulating and encouraging accounting undergraduates to embark on research endeavours. These impediments are somewhat unique to accounting, and it appears that accounting education programs are lagging in what is being done to break down obstacles in science, pre-med, engineering, humanities, etc. This paper proposes how to overcome these obstacles in accounting. One of the anticipated benefits of accounting student research, apart from the educational and creative value, is the attraction of more and better students seeking creativity opportunities in addition to rote learning of CPA exam requirements. This, in part, might help to counter industry complaints that top students are being turned away from accounting careers nationwide.

In particular you seem to have picked up on our suggestions in the third paragraph above and seemed to be breaking new ground in undergraduate accounting education.

 I am truly amazed by you're having success when forcing undergraduate students to actually conduct research in new knowledge.

Please keep up the good work and maintain your enthusiasm.

Firstly, I would suggest that you focus on the topic of replication as well when you have your students write commentaries on published academic accounting research ---

I certainly would not expect intermediate accounting students to attempt a replication effort. But it should be very worthwhile to introduce them to the problem of lack of replication and authentication of accountancy analytic and empirical research.

Secondly, the two papers you focus on are very old and were never replicated.. Challenges to both papers are private and in some cases failed replication attempts, but those challenges were not published and came to me only by word of mouth.  It is very difficult to find replications of empirical research in accounting, but I suggest that you at least focus on some papers that have some controversy and are extended in some way.

For example, consider the controversial paper:
"Costs of Equity and Earnings Attributes," by Jennifer Francis, Ryan LaFond, Per M. Olsson and Katherine Schipper ,The Accounting Review, Vol. 79, No. 4 2004 pp. 967�1010.
Also see http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals/article/179269527.html
Then consider
"Is Accruals Quality a Priced Risk Factor?" by John E. Core, Wayne R. Guay, and Rodrigo S. Verdi, SSRN, December 2007 ---
This paper was also published in JAE in 2007 or 2008.
Thanks to Steve Kachelmeier for pointing this controversy (on whether information quality (measured as the noise in accounting accruals) is priced in the cost of equity capital) out to me.

It might be better for your students to see how accounting researchers should attempt replications as illustrated above than to merely accepted published accounting research papers as truth unchallenged.

Have your students attempt critical thinking with regards to mathematical analytics in "Plato's Cave" ---
This is a great exercise that attempts to make them focus on underlying assumptions.

In Exhibit 1 I recommend adding a section on critical thinking about underlying assumptions in the study. In particular, have your students focus on internal versus external validity --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TheoryTAR.htm#SocialScience .

You might look into some of the research ideas for students listed at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#ResearchVersusProfession

I suggest that you set up a hive at the AAA Commons for Undergraduate Research Projects and Commentaries. Then post your own items in this hive and repeatedly invite professors and students from around the world to add to this hive.

Accounting Research, Analytics, Empirical Research, Undergraduate Research

From Bryn Mawr College
Serendip [Often makes use of Flash Player] --- http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/

Born in 1994

First website on Bryn Mawr College campus

Hosted the Bryn Mawr College website, c. 1995-96

Hosted the College Library's first website

Over 4 million unique visitors in 2009

More than 26,000 pages

Averages more than 20,000 unique visitors per day

More than 99% of its visitors are from off-campus

Home of Center for Science in Society, 2001 - present

Hosted College Diversity Conversations, c. 2004-06

Most popular exhibit:
Mind and Body: Rene Descartes to William James
translated into Spanish and Russian

Significant exhibits from the last several years:
Serendip's Exchange (2006- present)
Ant Colonies: Social Organization Without a Director (2006)
Exploring Emergence: The World of Langton�s Ant (2005)
Education and Technology: Serendip's Experiences 1994-2004
Thinking About Segregation and Integration (2003)

Hosted the first Bryn Mawr College undergraduate course to welcome alumnae into online discussion with current students (2007)

Notable Annual Milestones:


Serendip's new materials are now created in a Content Management System (CMS), Drupal, which extends Serendip's interactivity and functionality in significant ways. Almost all pages may be appended with comments from any visitor from the web, and Serendip automatically analyzes its own content and generates related links to relevant material.

Serendip publishes an expanded collection of hands-on activities for teaching biology to middle school or high school students, a project of Dr. Ingrid Waldron, faculty member in the Biology Department of the University of Pennsylvania, and her colleagues. There are now 23 interactive activities, and its home page averages 400 visitors/day. The most popular downloads are currently Is Yeast Alive and Mitosis and Meiosis. The collection is the first search result in Google for the terms, teaching biology.

Serendip offers blog technology to K-12 teachers attending summer institutes.

Serendip hosts the first Bryn Mawr College undergraduate course to welcome alumnae into online discussion with current students.

2006: Serendip surpasses 3 million unique visitors in 2006.

Serendip becomes yet more expansive in its outreach, publishing articles by and conversations with scholars in art history, psychoanalysis, philosophy of science, writing, geology and philosophy, among others. Interacting with and publishing Serendip readers' stories grows, and storytelling across the humanities and sciences, as well as storytelling as a biological process is a major focus.

Getting it Less Wrong evolves, and is quoted in the New York Times, among other places on the web.

Serendip continues to develop partnerships with two arts organizations, the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Among several Wilma productions, Serendip offers an online forum for Brecht's The Life of Galileo, and Paul Grobstein is a panelist in a Wilma discussion series centered around the play.

2005: Serendip partners with Alice Lesnick (Education) at Bryn Mawr College to publish an online book developed in an undergraduate Education course, Empowering Learners: A Handbook for the Theory and Practice of Extra-Classroom Teaching.

A sampling of university courses around the world which use Serendip materials is compiled.

Serendip surpasses 2 million unique visitors in 2005.

2004: Serendip hosts The Story of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories: Exploring the Significance of Diversity, an undergraduate course taught by Anne Dalke (English) and Paul Grobstein (Biology) at Bryn Mawr College, the first undergraduate course that we are aware of that could be taken for English or Biology credit.

Serendip publishes Writing Descartes: I Am, and I Can Think, Therefore ... , an essay by Paul Grobstein and an ongoing experiment in story sharing and story evolution among many colleagues.

Serendip surpasses 1 million unique visitors in 2004.

2003: Serendip's Home Page changes to suggest different ways to navigate through Serendip's more than 10,000 pages in a non-hierarchical fashion.

In teacher workshops, Philadelphia-area teachers were encouraged to create their own web pages in the "experimental sandbox," using wiki technology.

Serendip partners with Ray McDermott (Stanford) and Herve Varenne (Columbia) to publish an online version of Culture as Disability supplemented by online discussion.


Bob Jensen's links to scholarly sites categorized by discipline ---
Scroll down to the "Free Tutorials"

Nepotism and Insider Trading in Washington DC

Congress is our only native criminal class.
Mark Twain --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Attributed to Aesop

Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent_Dunes_Solar_Energy_Project

Under a power purchase agreement (PPA) between SolarReserve and NV Energy, all power generated by the Crescent Dunes project in the next 20 years will be sold to Nevada Power Company for $0.135 per kilowatt-hour.[3] In late September, Tonopah received a $737 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).[

Nepotism in Washington DC

Pacific Corporate Group --- http://www.pcgfunds.com/
Financial Report --- http://www.pcgfunds.com/PDF/GIPS_PCG_Core%20Performance_Composite__123106_D&T.pdf

Ron Pelosi --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Pelosi

"$737 million in green-tech loan to company connected to Pelosi family?"

Tonapa Solar Home --- http://www.tonopahsolar.com/

The Tonopah Solar company in Harry Reid's Nevada received a $737 million loan from the Department of Energy.

* The project will produce a 110 megawatt power system and employ 45 permanent workers.

* That's only costing us $16 million per job.
One of the investment partners in this endeavor is Pacific Corporate Group (PCG).

* The PCG executive director is Ron Pelosi, who is the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi.

Nancy Pelosi Alleged Insider Trading--- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Pelosi#Allegations_of_insider_trading

In November 2011, 60 Minutes alleged that Pelosi and several other member of Congress had used information they gleaned from closed sessions to make money on the stock market. The program cited Pelosi's purchases of Visa stock while a bill that would limit credit card fees was in the House. Pelosi denied the allegations and called the report "a right-wing smear.

The Wonk (Professor) Who Slays Washington

Insider trading is an asymmetry of information between a buyer and a seller where one party can exploit relevant information that is withheld from the other party to the trade. It typically refers to a situation where only one party has access to secret information while the other party has access to only information released to the public. Financial markets and real estate markets are usually very efficient in that public information is impounded pricing the instant information is made public. Markets are highly inefficient if traders are allowed to trade on private information, which is why the SEC and Justice Department track corporate insider trades very closely in an attempt to punish those that violate the law. For example, the former wife of a partner in the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche was recently sentenced to 11 months exploiting inside information extracted from him about her husband's clients. He apparently did was not aware she was using this inside information illegally. In another recent case, hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years for insider trading.

Even more commonly traders who are damaged by insiders typically win enormous lawsuits later on for themselves and their attorneys, including enormous punitive damages. You can read more about insider trading at

Corporate executives like Bill Gates often announce future buying and selling of shares of their companies years in advance to avoid even a hint of scandal about exploiting current insider information that arises in the meantime. More resources of the SEC are spent in tracking possible insider information trades than any other activity of the SEC. Efforts are made to track trades of executive family and friends and whistle blowing is generously rewarded.

Trading on insider information is against U.S. law for every segment of society except for one privileged segment that legally exploits investors for personal gains by trading on insider information. What is that privileged segment of U.S. society legally trades on inside information for personal gains?

Congress is our only native criminal class.
Mark Twain --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Attributed to Aesop

Answer (Please share this with your students):
Over the years I've been a loyal viewer of the top news show on television --- CBS Sixty Minutes
On November 13, 2011 the show entitled "Insider" is the most depressing segment I've ever watched on television ---
Also see http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/congress-trading-stock-on-inside.html

Jensen Comment



"CONGRESS THE CORRUPT," by Anthony H. Catanach Jr. and J. Edward Ketz, Grumpy Old Accountants, January 9, 2012 ---

The Christmas and New Year’s break allows university faculty not only to enjoy family and friends, but also it supplies a moment to do some nontechnical reading.  After all, we don’t need that much time to look over our teaching notes.  Faculty need something constructive to do during the three or four weeks we have off, and catching up on our reading fits in marvelously.

We read two interesting books during this break.  The first is Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer The subtitle tells it all: “How politicians and their friends get rich off insider stock tips, land deals, and cronyism that would send the rest of us to prison.”  For example, the author discusses how Speaker Nancy Pelossi (Democrat) and her husband garnered Visa IPO shares in 2008 after intimating that she would introduce legislation which would prove very costly to Visa.  Of course, Pelosi backed off her threat once she and her husband received those IPO shares.  Schweizer also gives the example of Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican), who used his knowledge of a proposed interchange for Interstate 88 to buy acreage on the cheap and sell it for its new market value.  Hastert realized millions in profits.

Worse, the ethics rules of the House and the Senate allow these things to occur.  In some twisted logic, Congress permits its members to engage in insider trading and land deals and regulatory intimidation.  It has legalized what is criminal for the rest of us.

We also read China in Ten Words by Yu HuaThe text is part autobiographical, part historical, and part social commentary.  Mr. Hua describes China in ten chapters, each titled with a single word.  The words he chooses are people, leader, reading, writing, Lu Xun, revolution, disparity, grassroots, copycat, and bamboozle.  With these words, he describes the incredible social and economic changes in China during his life-time, starting with the Cultural Revolution from 1966 until late 1970s, which was followed by the economic revolution to the present.

The description records incredible changes in China, such as the nation’s becoming the second largest economic power in the world.  It also traces the failings of this transformation, such as ranking about 100th in the world in per capita income.  The contradiction between these two measures foreshadows social conflict that must be dealt with sooner or later.

What proved serendipitous, even ironic, in this reading is to note the connection between the books.  In certain ways the two countries show similar contradictions and shortcomings.  Yu Hua discusses “today’s large-scale, multifarious corruption” in China; but the U.S. Congress engages in similar dishonesty.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

Competency-Based College Credit --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#ECA

"Online Education Is Everywhere. What’s the Next Big Thing?" by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 2011 ---

Western Governors University (a nonprofit, competency- based online university) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Governors_University
Also see http://www.wgu.edu/home2

New Charter University (a for-profit, self-paced, competency-based online university) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Charter_University

"No Financial Aid, No Problem. For-Profit University Sets $199-a-Month Tuition for Online Courses," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 29, 2012 ---

It's a higher-education puzzle: Students are flocking to Western Governors University, driving growth of 30 to 40 percent each year. You might expect that competitors would be clamoring to copy the nonprofit online institution's model, which focuses on whether students can show "competencies" rather than on counting how much time they've spent in class.

So why haven't they?

Two reasons, says the education entrepreneur Gene Wade. One, financial-aid regulatory problems that arise with self-paced models that aren't based on seat time. And two, opposition to how Western Governors changes the role of professor, chopping it into "course mentors" who help students master material, and graders who evaluate homework but do no teaching.

Mr. Wade hopes to clear those obstacles with a start-up company, UniversityNow, that borrows ideas from Western Governors while offering fresh twists on the model. One is cost. The for-profit's new venture—New Charter University, led by Sal Monaco, a former Western Governors provost—sidesteps the loan system by setting tuition so cheap that most students shouldn't need to borrow. The price: $796 per semester, or $199 a month, for as many classes as they can finish.

"This is not buying a house," says Mr. Wade, co-founder and chief executive of UniversityNow. "This is like, do I want to get cable?"

Another novelty: New Charter offers a try-it-before-you-buy-it platform that mimics the "freemium" model of many consumer Web services. Anyone can create an account and start working through its self-paced online courses free of charge. Their progress gets recorded. If they decide to pay up and enroll, they get access to an adviser (who helps navigate the university) and course specialists (who can discuss the material). They also get to take proctored online tests for course credit.

The project is the latest in a series of experiments that use technology to rethink the economics of higher education, from the $99-a-month introductory courses of StraighterLine to the huge free courses provided through Stanford and MIT.

For years, some analysts have argued that ready access to Pell Grants and federal loans actually props up colleges prices, notes Michael B. Horn, executive director for education at Innosight Institute, a think tank focused on innovation. That's because institutions have little incentive to charge anything beneath the floor set by available financial aid.

"Gene and his team are basically saying, the heck with that—we're going to go around it. We think people can afford it if we offer it at this low a price," Mr. Horn says. "That could be revolutionary."

Yet the project faces tall hurdles: Will employers value these degrees? Will students sign on? And, with a university that lacks regional accreditation right now­—New Charter is nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, and is considering seeking regional accreditation—will students be able to transfer its credits?

Mr. Wade banks on appealing to working adults who crave easier access to education. When asked who he views as the competition, his reply is "the line out the door at community college." In California, where Mr. Wade is based, nearly 140,000 first-time students at two-year institutions couldn't get into any courses at all during the previous academic year, according to a recent Los Angeles Times editorial about the impact of state budget cuts.

Mr. Wade himself benefited from a first-class education, despite being raised without much money in a housing project in a tough section of Boston. Growing up there, during an era when the city underwent forced busing to integrate its schools, felt like watching a "train wreck" but walking away unscathed. He attended high school at the prestigious Boston Latin School. With assistance from Project REACH, a program to help Boston minorities succeed in higher education, he went to Morehouse College. From there his path included a J.D. from Harvard Law, an M.B.A. from Wharton, and a career as an education entrepreneur.

The 42-year-old founded two earlier companies: LearnNow, a charter-school-management outfit that was sold to Edison Schools, and Platform Learning, a tutoring firm that served low-income students. So far, he's raised about $8 million from investors for UniversityNow, whose New Charter subsidiary is a rebranded, redesigned, and relocated version of an online institution once called Andrew Jackson University. Breaking a Traditional Mold

To build the software, Mr. Wade looked beyond the traditional world of educational technology, recruiting developers from companies like Google. Signing up for the university feels more like creating an account with a Web platform like Facebook than the laborious process of starting a traditional program—in fact, New Charter lets you join with your Facebook ID. Students, whether paying or not, start each class by taking an assessment to establish whether they're ready for the course and what material within it they need to work on. Based on that, the system creates a pathway to guide them through the content. They skip stuff that they already know.

That was part of the appeal for Ruben Fragoso, who signed up for New Charter's M.B.A. program three weeks ago after stumbling on the university while Googling for information about online degrees. Mr. Fragoso, 53, lives in Albuquerque and works full time as a logistics coordinator for a solar power company. The Mexican-born father of two earned a bachelor's degree 12 years ago from Excelsior College. With New Charter, he mostly teaches himself, hunkering down in his home office after dinner to read and take quizzes. By week three, he hadn't interacted with any other students, and his instructor contact had been limited to a welcome e-mail. That was fine by him.

He likes that he can adjust his schedule to whatever fits—one course at a time if a subject is tough, or maybe three if he prefers. His company's education benefits—up to $5,000 a year—cover the whole thing. With years of business experience, he appreciates the option of heading quickly to a final test on a subject that is familiar to him.

Continued in article

US News Rankings --- http://www.usnews.com/rankings

US News Top Online Education Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
Do not confuse this with the US News project to evaluate for-profit universities --- a project hampered by refusal of many for-profit universities to provide data

'Honor Roll' From 'U.S. News' of Online Graduate Programs in Business

Institution Teaching Practices and Student Engagement Student Services and Technology Faculty Credentials and Training Admissions Selectivity
Arizona State U., W.P. Carey School of Business 24 32 37 11
Arkansas State U. 9 21 1 36
Brandman U. (Part of the Chapman U. system) 40 24 29 n/a
Central Michigan U. 11 3 56 9
Clarkson U. 4 24 2 23
Florida Institute of Technology 43 16 23 n/a
Gardner-Webb U. 27 1 15 n/a
George Washington U. 20 9 7 n/a
Indiana U. at Bloomington, Kelley School of Business 29 19 40 3
Marist College 67 23 6 5
Quinnipiac U. 6 4 13 16
Temple U., Fox School of Business 39 8 17 34
U. of Houston-Clear Lake 8 21 18 n/a
U. of Mississippi 37 44 20 n/a

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Jensen Comment
I don't know why the largest for-profit universities that generally provide more online degrees than the above universities combined are not included in the final outcomes. For example, the University of Phoenix alone as has over 600,000 students, most of whom are taking some or all online courses.

My guess is that most for-profit universities are not forthcoming with the data requested by US News analysts. Note that the US News condition that the set of online programs to be considered be regionally accredited does not exclude many for-profit universities. For example, enter in such for-profit names as "University of Phoenix" or "Capella University" in the "College Search" box at
These universities are included in the set of eligible regionally accredited online degree programs to be evaluated. They just did not do well in the above "Honor Roll" of outcomes for online degree programs.

For-profit universities may have shot themselves in the foot by not providing the evaluation data to US News for online degree program evaluation. But there may b e reasons for this. For example, one of the big failings of most for-profit online degree programs is in undergraduate "Admissions Selectivity."  

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education training and education alternatives are at

Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies are at

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education ---

For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud ---

Never assume that the elite, Ivy League departments are the highest-ranked or have the best placement rates. Some of the worst-prepared job candidates with whom I've worked have been from humanities departments at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Do not be dazzled by abstract institutional reputations. Ask steely-eyed questions about individual advisers and their actual (not illusory) placement rates in recent years.
See article below

Jensen Comment
I think the above quotation is more wishful thinking than fact. In my opinion the prestige of the overall university is still one of the most important factors to tenure track appointments except in disciplines have a few stars that are so respected that their doctoral students jump to the front of the placement line. More likely than not these stars are in prestigious universities even if they jumped from the Ivy League ship.

My advice is to enroll in the most prestigious university you can get into. In doctoral programs, at least in accounting, the programs are virtually free in most cases, although living costs in some locales may be problematic if the university does not provide reasonably-priced housing for doctoral students.

In accounting its more important to match your aptitude to the doctoral program. For example, if you really want to focus on accounting history and avoid much of the advanced mathematics, two programs have accounting history tracks (Case Western and Ole Miss.). In most other AACSB-accredited universities having accounting doctoral programs be prepared for advanced mathematics, statistics, and econometrics ---

"Graduate School Is a Means to a Job," by Karen Kelsky, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2012 ---

One of the most common questions I hear from graduate students, whether they are in their first or their final year, is what they can do now to prepare for the academic job market.

Excellent question. As a graduate student, your fate is in your own hands, and every decision you make—including whether to go to graduate school at all, which program to go to, which adviser to choose, and how to conduct yourself while there—can and should be made with an eye to the job you wish to have at the end. 

 To do otherwise is pure madness. I have no patience whatsoever with the "love" narrative (we do what we do because we love it and money/jobs play no role) that prevails among some advisers, departments, and profoundly mystified graduate students. But for those graduate students and Ph.D.'s who actually want a paying tenure-track job and the things that go with it—health insurance, benefits, and financial security—here is my list of graduate-school rules, forged after years of working in academe as a former tenured professor and now running my own career-advising business for doctoral students. 

Before Graduate School

Ask yourself what job you want and whether an advanced degree is actually necessary for it.

Choose your graduate program based both on its focus on your scholarly interests and its tenure-track placement rate. If it doesn't keep careful records of its placement rate, or does not have an impressive record of placing its Ph.D.'s in tenure-track positions, do not consider attending that program.

Choose your adviser the same way. Before committing to an adviser, find out how many Ph.D.'s that potential mentor has placed in tenure-track positions in recent years.

Go to the highest-ranked graduate department you can get into—so long as it funds you fully. That is not actually because of the "snob factor" of the name itself, but rather because of the ethos of the best departments. They typically are the best financed, which means they have more scholars with national reputations to serve as your mentors and letter writers, and they maintain lively brown-bag and seminar series that bring in major visiting scholars with whom you can network. The placement history of a top program tends to produce its own momentum, so that departments around the country with faculty members from that program will then look kindly on new applications from its latest Ph.D.'s. That, my friends, is how privilege reproduces itself. It may be distasteful, but you deny or ignore it at your peril.

Never assume that the elite, Ivy League departments are the highest-ranked or have the best placement rates. Some of the worst-prepared job candidates with whom I've worked have been from humanities departments at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Do not be dazzled by abstract institutional reputations. Ask steely-eyed questions about individual advisers and their actual (not illusory) placement rates in recent years.

Meet, or at least correspond, with your potential adviser ahead of time so that you understand whether he or she has a hands-on approach to professionalization training and will be personally invested in your success.

Do not attend graduate school unless you are fully supported by—at minimum—a multiyear teaching assistantship that provides a tuition waiver, a stipend, and health insurance that covers most of the years of your program. The stipend needs to be generous enough to support your actual living expenses for the location. Do not take out new debt to attend graduate school. Because the tenure-track job market is so bleak, graduate school in the humanities and social sciences is, in most cases, not worth going into debt for.

Apply to 6 to 10 graduate programs. If you are admitted with funding to more than one, negotiate to get the best possible package at your top choice.

Be entrepreneurial before even entering graduate school to locate and apply for multiple sources of financial support. Do not forget the law of increasing returns: Success breeds success and large follows small. A $500 book scholarship makes you more competitive for a $1,000 conference grant, which situates you for a $3,000 summer-research fellowship, which puts you in the running for a $10,000 fieldwork grant, which then makes you competitive for a $30,000 dissertation writing grant.

Early in Graduate School

Never forget this primary rule: Graduate school is not your job; graduate school is a means to the job you want. Do not settle in to your graduate department like a little hamster burrowing in the wood shavings. Stay alert with your eye always on a national stage, poised for the next opportunity, whatever it is: to present a paper, attend a conference, meet a scholar in your field, forge a connection, gain a professional skill.

In year one and every year thereafter, read the job ads in your field, and track the predominant and emerging emphases of the listed jobs. Ask yourself how you can incorporate those into your own project, directly or indirectly. You don't have to slavishly follow trends, but you have to be familiar with them and be prepared to relate your own work to them in some way.

Have a beautifully organized and professional CV starting in your first year and in every subsequent year. When I was a young assistant professor, a senior colleague told me that her philosophy was to add one line a month to her CV. Set that same goal for yourself. As a junior graduate student, you may or may not be able to maintain that pace, but keep it in the back of your mind, and keep your eye out for opportunities that add lines to your CV at a brisk pace.

Make strong connections with your adviser and other faculty members in your department, and in affiliated departments. Interact with them as a young professional, respectfully but confidently. Eschew excessive humility; it inspires contempt. Do not forget the letters of recommendation that you will one day need them to write.

Minimize your work as a TA. Your first year will be grueling, but learn the efficiency techniques of teaching as fast as you can, and make absolutely, categorically, sure that you do not volunteer your labor beyond the hours paid. Believe me, resisting will take vigilance. But do it. You are not a volunteer and the university is not a charity. You are paid for hours of work; do not exceed them. Teach well, but do not make teaching the core of your identity.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I also don't necessarily advise minimizing experience as a teaching assistant and/or a research assistant. These experiences can be crucial to your later quest for tenure. Firstly, there's the value of TA and RA experience in and of itself. Secondly, there's the importance of those all-important letters of recommendations from professors that you served under as a doctoral student.

Why Do They Hate Us?
Jill Kronstadt, an associate professor of English at Montgomery College, was in the middle of grading papers Sunday when she came across a Washington Post opinion piece questioning whether college professors work hard enough ---

Why do they hate us?

The Zombie Guns are Coming --- Honest and Truly They Will Make Tasar Weapons Look Like Childrens Toys
"Putin targets foes with 'zombie' gun which attack victims' central nervous system," by Christopher Leake and Will Stewart, Daily Mail, March 31, 2012 ---

Mind-bending ‘psychotronic’ guns that can effectively turn people into zombies have been given the go-ahead by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The futuristic weapons – which will attack the central nervous system of their victims – are being developed by the country’s scientists.

They could be used against Russia’s enemies and, perhaps, its own dissidents by the end of the decade.

Sources in Moscow say Mr Putin has described the guns, which use electromagnetic radiation like that found in microwave ovens, as ‘entirely new instruments for achieving political and strategic goals’.

Mr Putin added: ‘Such high-tech weapons systems will be comparable in effect to nuclear weapons, but will be more acceptable in terms of political and military ideology.’

Plans to introduce the super- weapons were announced quietly last week by Russian defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov, fulfilling a little-noticed election campaign pledge by president-elect Putin.

Mr Serdyukov said: ‘The development of weaponry based on new physics principles – direct-energy weapons, geophysical weapons, wave-energy weapons, genetic weapons, psychotronic weapons, and so on – is part of the state arms procurement programme for 2011-2020.’

Specific proposals on developing the weapons are due to be drawn up before December by a new Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Research into electromagnetic weapons has been secretly carried out in the US and Russia since the Fifties. But now it appears Mr Putin has stolen a march on the Americans. Precise details of the Russian gun have not been revealed. However, previous research has shown that low-frequency waves or beams can affect brain cells, alter psychological states and make it possible to transmit suggestions and commands directly into someone’s thought processes.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I was going to joke about thawing out K-rations but had second thoughts.

When Johnnie comes marching home he won't be much use to anybody.

"The European Higher Education Area: Retrospect and Prospect," by Kris Olds, Inside Higher Ed, March 22, 2012 ---

The Modernision of Higher Education in Europe, 2010-2012 ---

No more free NYT lunch (except for employees like college professors and students who get free access through their employers)
"NY Times Paywall Nears Half a Million Monthly Subscribers," by David Strom, ReadWriteWeb, March 23, 2012 --- 

In a year the New York Times has succeeded in gathering nearly half a million digital subscribers. Next month it will tighten things up for non-subscribers, only allowing 10 free articles per month (where 20 per month are presently allowed). It is clear that the paywall experiment for the Times is working quite well.Ryan Chittum writes about his own expectations for the paywall and mistaken assumptions in the Columbia Journalism blog today.

The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications offers programs that combine the enduring skills and values of journalism with new techniques and knowledge that are essential to thrive in a digital world.

Continued in article


List of newspapers in the United States by circulation

  Newspaper City State Daily Circulation Sunday Circulation Owner
1 The Wall Street Journal New York New York 2,117,796 1,994,121 (Dow Jones) News Corporation
2 USA Today McLean Virginia 1,829,099   Gannett Company
3 The New York Times New York New York 916,911 1,339,462 The New York Times Company
4 Los Angeles Times Los Angeles California 605,243 948,889 Tribune Company
5 San Jose Mercury News San Jose California 577,665 636,999 MediaNews Group
6 The Washington Post Washington District of Columbia 550,821 852,861 The Washington Post Company
7 Daily News New York New York 530,924 584,658 Daily News, L.P.
8 New York Post New York New York 522,874 355,784 News Corporation
9 Chicago Tribune Chicago Illinois 437,205 780,601 Tribune Company
10 Chicago Sun-Times Chicago Illinois 419,407 421,453 Sun-Times Media Group
11 The Dallas Morning News Dallas Texas 404,951 582,252 A. H. Belo Corporation
12 Houston Chronicle Houston Texas 364,724 587,984 Hearst Corporation
13 The Philadelphia Inquirer/
Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Pennsylvania 343,710 488,287 Philadelphia Media Network
14 The Arizona Republic Phoenix Arizona 337,170 511,764 Gannett Company
15 The Denver Post Denver Colorado 324,970 519,838 MediaNews Group
16 Newsday Melville New York 298,759 362,221 Cablevision
17 Star Tribune Minneapolis Minnesota 296,605 516,134 The Star Tribune Company
18 Tampa Bay Times St. Petersburg Florida 292,441 429,048 Times Publishing Company
19 The Oregonian Portland Oregon 260,248 304,739 Advance Publications
20 The Plain Dealer Cleveland Ohio 254,372 403,001 Advance Publications
21 The Seattle Times Seattle Washington 253,742 346,991 The Seattle Times Company
22 Detroit Free Press Detroit Michigan 246,169 614,226 Gannett Company
23 San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco California 235,350 292,459 Hearst Corporation
24 The Star-Ledger Newark New Jersey 229,255 337,416 Advance Publications
25 The Boston Globe Boston Massachusetts 219,214 356,652 The New York Times Company
26 The San Diego Union-Tribune San Diego California 218,614 296,272 The San Diego Union-Tribune
27 The Sacramento Bee Sacramento California 210,925 268,321 The McClatchy Company
28 The Kansas City Star Kansas City Missouri 209,258 305,113 The McClatchy Company
29 St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis Missouri 196,232 360,450 Lee Enterprises
30 The Sun Baltimore Maryland 195,561 343,552 Tribune Company


Jensen Comment
The NYT has a much lower daily rate than the WSJ and USA Today. I certainly hope the NYT succeeds in being able to employ its many reporters. Neither Bob Jensen nor the Huffington Post news aggregators pay reporters to gather news first-hand on the streets of virtually all nations. We rely on NYT, WSJ, ,the WP, London Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and other traditional media companies to pay reporters and/or pay significant fees to the Associated Press for original news.  TV networks read the newspapers and blogs of these news papers to find news to report on television.

And keep in mind that these reporters don't just listen for news on the streets. The conduct inside investigations by seeking out whistle blowers. Many of the convictions of public and private fraudsters can be traced back to newspaper investigations. In other words, if these leading newspapers fold or cut back greatly on their investigation efforts, crooked legislators, city officials, corporate criminals, and union leaders requiring kickbacks will jump for joy.

The most important ingredient of national freedom is freedom of the press. What dictatorships  fear most are news leaks.

"Why Socialist Cuba Prohibits Social Media:  The regime fears Cuban-to-Cuban chatter even more than it does communication with the outside world," by Mary Anastasia O'Ogrady, The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2012 ---

That was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio last week at a Washington conference titled "Cuba Needs a (Technological) Revolution: How the Internet Can Thaw an Island Frozen in Time." The event was sponsored by Google Ideas, a for-profit venture of the giant Internet search enterprise, and the nonprofit Heritage Foundation. I was asked to kick off things with a Rubio interview. So I began by asking him what he makes of the Cuban military's reference last year to technology that allows young people to exchange thoughts digitally as "the permanent battlefield."

Mr. Rubio responded that it isn't communication with the outside world that the regime fears the most, but Cuban-to-Cuban chatter. "I think Raúl Castro clearly understands that his regime cannot survive a Cuban reality where individual Cubans can communicate [with] each other in an unfettered manner." He called "unfiltered access to the Internet and social media" Cuba's "best hope" of avoiding "a stagnated dictatorship" for "the next 50 years that would survive even the death of Raul and Fidel."

Mr. Rubio would like to see the U.S. go after the goal of turning Cuba into a Wi-Fi hot spot—that is, finding a way to provide wireless Internet access to Cubans so they can both receive and send data in real time. "That's what U.S. policy should really begin to focus on, a 21st-century effort."

It won't be easy with today's technology. While Internet experts tell me it is possible to expand two-way Wi-Fi communications to those that the regime has not approved to use its new fiber optic cable, access would likely be quite limited. Nevertheless, Mr. Rubio's proposal goes to the heart of the Cuban government's vulnerability.

The pope on his visit to Cuba today will see and hear what the military dictatorship wants him to see and hear, not the kind of public debate he would witness in a normal country. He will not see what Mr. Rubio is talking about—emboldened Cuban dissidents who have no use for the "revolution" of a half-century ago and if given access to real-time communications would endeavor to overthrow their oppressors.

"If Cubans were able to communicate with each other, if Cubans in Santiago [de Cuba] were able to figure out what was happening in Havana and vice versa," Mr. Rubio said, there would be a real chance for change. "If these groups were able to link up with one another and coordinate efforts and conversation and so forth, the Cuban government wouldn't last very long. It would collapse under the weight of that reality."

Some of Mr. Rubio's comments suggest that he is over-optimistic about whether technology can create island hot-spots from afar. But if and when it can, there is little doubt that social media would play a role in bringing about change, as it did, for better or worse, in the overthrow of Egypt's Mubarak.

Closer to home, Mr. Rubio pointed out, it has already made a difference. Referring to the tea party movement, he said, "Fifteen years ago if you wanted to organize a group of people to do anything politically, you needed a big, burdensome organization to coordinate it. Today anyone with access to Facebook and Twitter can be an organizer, and it's happening all over this country, it's happening all over the world, and it will happen in Cuba."

Continued in article

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

Easier than Bayes
"Chances Are," by Steven Strogatz, The New York Times, April 25, 2010 ---

Learning Management Systems --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system

Blackboard Still Wants to Have a Monopoly on Learning Management Systems (LMS/CMS)
Where's the government antitrust system when it's needed?
As far as its promises to keep Moodle, Moodlerooms and NetSpot unchanged, I think that really means that they will truly remain unchanged as technology progresses such that Blackboard will become the only (expensive) source for LMS/CMS systems. Bah Humbug!!!!

"Blackboard Buys 2 Leading Supporters of Open-Source Competitor Moodle," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 26, 2012 ---
Click Here

For years, colleges looking for course-management software considered a choice between Blackboard’s dominant commercial product or an open-source alternative such as Moodle or Sakai. Now Blackboard essentially owns the open-source alternatives as well.

On Monday, Blackboard officials announced that the company has purchased two leading supporters of Moodle, Moodlerooms and NetSpot. Both deals are complete, though officials would not disclose the sale prices. The company also hired one of the founders of the Sakai project to lead its efforts to support colleges using that open-source software. The moves are part of the company’s newly announced Blackboard Education Open Source Services group.

In the past Blackboard has purchased competitors and then either disbanded them, as it did with Prometheus, or merged the competing product with its own, as it did with WebCT. This time Blackboard said it is leaving the companies alone, allowing them to run under their current brand names with their existing staffs. No layoffs are anticipated, said Ray Henderson, president of academic platforms at Blackboard.

In an unexpected move, Blackboard also announced that it will continue to sell and maintain the Angel course-management system, which it bought three years ago, indefinitely. It had previously announced that Angel would be discontinued in 2014.

Blackboard has purchased so many commercial competitors over the years that college officials have long joked that it would next buy open source, too. The funny part was that such a move would be impossible, because open-source projects are built under a license that prevents any one entity from owning the code. Of course, Blackboard hasn’t bought Moodle or Sakai, but it is doing the next best thing in purchasing leading companies that support those programs and bringing in people who helped build the alternatives.

That might not amuse college officials who chose Moodle or Sakai specifically to avoid Blackboard’s orbit, said Trace A. Urdan, an analyst at Signal Hill. “People looking to open source as an alternative to Blackboard are going to be put off by it,” he said. “This is going to turn some of the Moodlerooms customers off.”

Lou Pugliese, chief executive of Moodlerooms, said in an interview late Monday that he is not worried about defectors, and instead stressed that the move will help colleges that use other Blackboard products and want to link them to Moodle.

Bradley C. Wheeler, chief information officer at Indiana University at Bloomington who has been active in the development of Sakai, said it remains to be seen whether Blackboard’s news is good or bad for the open-source software movement in academe. “Does it cause software to mature faster” because of Blackboard’s deep pockets, he asked, “or at some point and time does a value conflict arise?”

Officials from Moodlerooms, NetSpot, and Blackboard recently traveled to Australia to tell the inventor of Moodle, Martin Dougiamas, of their plans, and in a way, to ask for his blessing. He is quoted in a press release by Blackboard as saying that he will continue to consider Moodlerooms and NetSpot official Moodle partners. “The decision of Moodlerooms and NetSpot to work under Blackboard may sound very strange at first to anyone in this industry,” said Mr. Dougiamas in a statement issued by Blackboard. “But it’s my understanding that these three companies have some good plans and synergies.”

Mr. Henderson of Blackboard wrote on his blog that the meeting was “a bit surreal for all present.”

Leaders of Blackboard, Moodlerooms, and NetSpot issued a public “statement of principles” swearing commitment to supporting open-source software development.

In an interview, Mr. Henderson highlighted Blackboard’s growing diversity of products and services beyond just providing course-management software. “We are definitely keen to grow our services businesses,” he said.

It is unclear what Blackboard’s announcements today mean to new upstart providers of learning-management systems, some of which have enjoyed support of venture capitalists excited about education-technology companies.

Josh Coates, chief executive of Instructure, argued that colleges will now see the choice as between software that began development nearly a decade ago and platforms built more recently. “Moodle’s a crappy product, so people don’t want to use it,” he said in an interview Monday. “Moodle and Blackboard came from the same decade, which was a long time ago.”

Continued in article

"Open-Source Leaders Who Backed Blackboard's Moodle Move Reassure Advocates," Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2012 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Sorry Martin! I just don't trust Blackboard promises over the long-term future, epecially after you're long gone.

"3 Reasons Why Blackboard Will Change Its Name," by Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2012 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course authoring software and LMS/CMS systems ---

What was the first LMS/CMS system sold in a box of floppy disks?

The Plato project at the University of Illinois and various military and corporate training applications entailed software development alongside applications development.  A DOS outgrowth of Plato software became known at Tencore

However, the first CMS/LMS system sold in a box of floppy disks was called Owls Guide that evolved from U.S. Navy research funding.

Following the introduction of Owl's Guide, a raft of off-the-shelf options appeared in the 1980s.  There were two types of course authoring options that are discussed below.  The Course Management System (CMS) software had many features that were not available in what Jensen and Sandlin defined as Alternative Software.  In Chapter 3, they identified ten CMS packages for computerizing complete courses.   They started with hypertext utilities and then added hypermedia authoring features in the early 1990s.  Most of the established products below have survived to 1999 with sales for corporate training, but virtually none of them ever had profitable sales to colleges and universities.  The ten leading 1994  CMS packages identified and discussed on considerable detail in Chapter 3 of Jensen and Sandlin (1994) were as follows (most of the links below probably no longer are active):

Blast from the Past
Jensen and Sandlin Book entitled Electronic Teaching and Learning: Trends in Adapting to Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Networks in Higher Education
(both the 1994 and 1997 Updated Versions)

Trying to Tax Away Inequality is Naive and Dysfunctional
"Trying to Tax Away Inequality is Naive and Dysfunctional
"Lead Essay:: What to Do about Inequality," by  David B. Grusky, Boston Review, March/April 2012 ---
http://www.bostonreview.net/BR37.2/ndf_david_b_grusky_inequality.php ," by  David B. Grusky, Boston Review, March/April 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
This does not mean that increasing taxes at all levels (including the rich) is not a bad idea to a point that brings more fairness into the tax code and raises some revenue for deficit reduction. Taxpayers at all levels of wealth and income are probably getting too much of a break with a tax code that is absurdly complex and literally being written by too many lobbyists.

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

"Why Some Multinationals Pay Such Low Taxes," by Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 26, 2012 --- Click Here

The American Dream ---

To help explain what is really going on with mortgage refinancings and foreclosures I wrote a teaching case:
A Teaching Case:  Professor Tall vs. Professor Short vs. Freddie Mac

South Carolina Governor to be Indicted Not Indicted for Tax Fraud

"Haley indictment imminent? Stay tuned…," Palmetto Public Record, March 29, 2012 ---

Two well-placed legal experts have independently told Palmetto Public Record they expect the U.S. Department of Justice to issue an indictment against South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on charges of tax fraud as early as this week.

A highly ranked federal official has also privately confirmed rumblings of an investigation and possible indictment of the governor, though the official was not aware of the specific timeframe.

Yesterday, Palmetto Public Record exclusively reported that the Internal Revenue Service has been investigating since March of 2011 the Sikh worship center run by Gov. Haley’s father. At least five lawsuits have been filed against the Sikh Society of South Carolina since 2010, alleging that the group bilked contractors out of nearly $130,000 for the construction of a new temple.

Gov. Haley is reported to have managed the temple’s finances as late as 2003, and our sources believe any indictment would center on what happened to the missing money.

Palmetto Public Record will post a story later this afternoon detailing the temple’s shady finances and the governor’s possible involvement. Stay tuned…

Tax Prof Paul Caron later amended his blog with the following links on April 1, 2012 --- http://taxprof.typepad.com/

Following up on Friday's post, Report: DOJ to Indict SC Gov. Nikki Haley on Tax Fraud Charges:  Governor Haley's office obtained this letter from the IRS.

The Palmetto Public Record, the source of the original story, issued this curious response:

We're glad the IRS stated today that they apparently found nothing untoward regarding the temple's finances, and we're glad (as Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey says) the lengthy chapter regarding Gov. Haley's involvement seems to be closed. Since no normal person would have been able to get the IRS to send them such a letter within a day of these questions hitting the blogosphere, and since the IRS certainly didn't answer our phone calls, the only way to get an answer to our questions was by taking them to the public. ... [T]he IRS certainly sent Gov. Haley's chief of staff a letter quickly regarding a situation from which she claims to be so distant. ...

As journalists, all we can do is ask questions, and tell you what we see and hear. We're glad the latest IRS letter answers some of our questions, but it definitely doesn't answer all of them -- and it may create a few more once the chips are finished falling. Until these questions (and many other outstanding ethics questions regarding the way the governor's office operates) are answered, you can bet we'll continue to ask them.

Jensen Comment
It would seem that the Palmetto Public Record violated journalism ethics by not verifying rumors before making headlines about them.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

The government frequently garnishes wages for government student loan repayments (read that deducting installments for loan repayments before employees get their paychecks). This is in fact happening now for one of our sons and his wife.

Can the government also attach Social Security retirement payments for government student loan repayments?

"Senior citizens continue to bear burden of student loans," by Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post, April 1, 2012 ---

The burden of paying for college is wreaking havoc on the finances of an unexpected demographic: senior citizens.

New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in student loans, providing a rare window into the dynamics of student debt. More than 10 percent of those loans are delinquent. As a result, consumer advocates say, it is not uncommon for Social Security checks to be garnished or for debt collectors to harass borrowers in their 80s over student loans that are decades old.

That even seniors remain saddled with student loans highlights what a growing chorus of lawmakers, economists and financial experts say has become a central conflict in the nation’s higher education system: The long-touted benefits of a college degree are being diluted by rising tuition rates and the longevity of debt.

Some of these older Americans are still grappling with their first wave of student loans, while others took on new debt when they returned to school later in life in hopes of becoming more competitive in the labor force. Many have co-signed for loans with their children or grandchildren to help them afford ballooning tuition.

The recent recession exacerbated this problem, making it harder for older Americans — or the youths they are supporting in school — to get good-paying jobs. And unlike other debts, student loans cannot be shed in bankruptcy. As a result, some older Americans have found that a college degree led not to a prosperous career but instead to a lifetime under the shadow of debt.

“A student loan can be a debt that’s kind of like a ball and chain that you can drag to the grave,” said William E. Brewer, president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. “You can unhook it when they lay you in the coffin.”

Sandy Barnett, 58, of Illinois thought she was doing the right thing when she decided to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology in the late 1980s. She had worked her way through college but said she took out a loan of about $21,000 to pay for graduate school so she would have more time to focus on her studies.

But even after earning her master’s, Barnett struggled to find a job that paid more than $25,000 a year and soon fell behind on her payments. She suffered through a layoff, a stretch of unemployment and the death of her husband — while her student loan ballooned to roughly $54,000.

Barnett filed for bankruptcy in 2005, but she couldn’t get out from under her student loan debt. She said a collection agency began garnishing the wages from her full-time job as a customer service representative a year ago, and now money is so tight that she must choose between buying gas and buying food. An air conditioner for her mobile home is an unimaginable luxury.

“I shake my head every day at the thought that I’m working for nothing,” Barnett said. “It’s really a black hole because there’s no end in sight.

Department of Labor (DOL) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Labor

"EBSA Cracks Down on Retirement Plan Advisors:  Advisors take heed: The DOL arm that rides herd over retirement plans is ramping up its enforcement efforts," by Melanie Waddell, AdvisorOne, March 26, 2012 ---

Prominent retirement planning officials are warning advisors to make sure that the retirement plans they advise are compliant with Department of Labor rules, as the DOL’s regulatory arm responsible for policing these plans is cracking down.

So far this year, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has significantly raised its enforcement efforts in what Andy Larson, director of the Retirement Learning Center, says should serve as a wake-up call to advisors who advise retirement plans and plan sponsors.

In 2011, EBSA said it had closed 3,472 civil cases and obtained monetary results of nearly $1.39 billion. EBSA also closed 302 criminal cases that resulted in 129 individuals being indicted and 75 cases being closed with guilty pleas or convictions. DOL also wants to increase the number of its enforcement personnel from 913 to 1,003 this year.

Larson says those EBSA enforcement numbers are “astonishing” and warns that many advisors are surprisingly still unaware that the DOL has jurisdiction over them.

What’s the biggest area EBSA is zeroing in on? Fiduciary negligence. EBSA is “seeing very high levels of non-compliance with fiduciary” duties. When the EBSA releases its reproposed fiduciary rule in the first half of this year, the rule “will affect advisors and their fiduciary role,” not plan sponsors, Larson says.

In light of this, Larson said, advisors should ensure they have a “strong documentable fiduciary process.”

As Larson notes, since the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was put into place, DOL and the Internal Revenue Service’s Employee Plans Unit have had joint authority “to ride herd” over retirement plans. But service providers have gotten accustomed to the IRS taking the lead in enforcement actions, and have failed to notice over the last two years that the EBSA “is showing up through the unlocked back door and finding problems,” Larson says.

Because the IRS has been the primary enforcer of ERISA rules, “service providers have developed their models to include mechanisms with IRS requirements,” but may have failed to include “DOL-type protections in their service models,” Larson says.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's helpers (not advice) for personal finance ---

Bye By Blackberry!

"The End of RIM As We Know It," by Dan Frommer, ReadWriteWeb, March 29, 2012 ---

The important bits from RIM's earnings release (PDF) include:

This is a completely different company than the one that helped lead the smartphone revolution over the past decade, and even than the one we knew just a year ago, when it was at least still profitable. (Its rise and fall, captured in the chart above, is worth a look.)

Not only is RIM in worse financial shape, but all bets are off for its recovery.

There is a very real chance that RIM will come out of this as the property of another company, or at least very different than it is today. If it stays independent, it will have to become smaller and more nimble before maybe becoming successful again.

Jensen Comment
The graph resembles those cartoon sales graphs in The New Yorker.


"The Disruptive Power of iMessage," by David Pogue, The New York Times, March 22, 2012 ---

You could argue that Apple has changed the way we do things several times. The way we buy music, use our phones, operate our computers and so on. But the world has pretty much overlooked one of Apple’s greatest ideas yet: messages.

It started with iMessages, an iPhone/iPad app that lets you send text messages between Apple hand-held gadgets without cost. Instead of using the cellphone network (and paying 20 cents each or whatever), texts you send using this little app get sent across the Internet, costing you pretty much nothing.

These Apple messages have many advantages over regular text messages. For example, the tiny word “received” appears beneath any message you send to let you know that your recipient’s gadget has received it. (If the recipient has turned on “Show read receipts” in Settings, you’ll even see the word “read” to let you know that the person has actually read the message.)

If you’re in a back-and-forth conversation, the text messages show up on a single screen, scrolling up in conversation balloons like a chat session. While the other guy is typing, you see “…” in his balloon, so you know he’s working on a response and not just ignoring you.

You can send pictures and videos through Messages. And you aren’t held to the usual 160-character limit of phone text messages.

And if you have more than one iGadget — say, an iPhone and an iPad — you’ll find the same message threads on each one. You can pick up on a chat from wherever you left off on a different machine.

Above all, Messages means that you can keep your text messages. They’re not locked onto your phone, like regular text messages. And they don’t scroll away forever, like regular text messages. You can go back and refer to them whenever, and they’re backed up every time you back up your device.

So: Messages is cool. And coolly clever, the way it cuts the cellphone company out of the revenue stream. But that’s not the big news.

Apple announced recently that this summer, it will release a new version of Mac OS X called Mountain Lion. And Mountain Lion will come with a new Mac app called Messages. You can download the beta version of Messages free, right now, even before Mountain Lion is available. (It’s actually just a beefed-up version of the previous iChat program, and still includes all of its audiochat and videochat features.)

¶O.K., this is where things get crazy. Suddenly your computer and your phone are sharing the same communications stream.

¶First, this means that you can now send text messages from your computer, using a full keyboard, which is a fairly radical change right there.

¶You’ve been able to do that computer-to-phone trick before, but it’s been tricky. For years, I’ve been using Google Voice to send text messages for that very reason: on its Web page, I can send text messages, free, to phones, with the full comfort of mouse and keyboard. And you could sent text messages from chat programs — but only with special codes, and, of course, without the ability to resume the conversation on a different device.

¶But Messages is the first time there’s been a low-friction, mass-available way to send computer-to-phone messages.

¶The second huge change is that now you have your entire hard drive full of attachments — photos, videos, documents — to send to people’s phones. From your computer.

¶Third, Messages preserves all of these exchanges, just as the iPhone did. But it’s far more useful to have your transcripts on the actual computer. Now you can archive them, search them, copy and paste them, print them, forward them and so on.

¶Finally, Messages blurs the line between text messages, chats and e-mail. Or maybe it erases the line completely, and creates something entirely new.

¶(One wild side effect: It gives birth to this frequently asked question: “Are you on the phone or the Mac?” For the first time, there’s no way to know. You can’t tell if someone’s being terse because she’s tapping out her responses with one finger on glass, or because she’s on her computer but just distracted.)

Continued in article

Free PSAT Practice Exams ---

"SAT Prep on the Web: : A) a Game; B) Online Chat; C) All of the Above," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2010 ---

This Saturday, high-school students around the country will sit for hours of silent testing that will determine some portion of their future: That's right, it's SAT time. For both parents and kids, the preparation for taking the standardized test is stressful and expensive, often involving hours of studying and several hundreds of dollars spent on classes, workbooks and tutors. And many kids will take these tests more than once.

So this week I tried a Web-based form of test prep called Grockit that aims to make studying for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE or LSAT less expensive and more enjoyable. Grockit.com offers lessons, group study and solo practice, and does a nice job of feeling fun and educational, which isn't an easy combination to pull off.

A free portion of the site includes group study with a variety of questions and a limited number of solo test questions, which are customized to each student's study needs. The $100 Premium subscription includes full access to the online platform with unlimited solo practice questions and personalized performance analytics that track a student's progress. A new offering called Grockit TV (grockit.com/tv) offers free eight-week courses if students watch them streaming live twice a week. Otherwise, a course can be downloaded for $100 during the course or $150 afterward. Instructors hailing from the Princeton Review and Kaplan, among other places, teach test preparation for the GMAT business-school admissions test and SAT.

For the sake of testing, I focused on the SAT and plunged back into the depths of reading, writing and (gulp) math to get a sense of what students see and do on Grockit.com. In a short period of time, I found myself wanting to go back to the site to get better at certain sections or to earn more Experience Points, which result in badges and unlock new levels of study, both of which can be optionally posted to outside networks like Facebook or Twitter. By default, everyone can see one another's points, which invites healthy competition; these can also be hidden if you'd rather keep them private.

I tested both the free version of Grockit.com, which includes an SAT writing diagnostic test, and the extra offerings of a $100 Premium account, including diagnostic tests for writing, reading and math to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses in taking the SAT. The free version had too many messages that constantly notified me of what I could do with a paid account and prompted me to upgrade.

Along with completing practice questions with strangers and instructors, I got a friend of mine to also use Grockit.com so we could compete together in Grockit's Speed Challenge Games. These are included in the free portion and they reward the fastest person who answers a question correctly—but also display incorrect guesses, thus narrowing the possible answers for those who don't answer first. It was more fun for me to play against someone I knew, but I can imagine kids preferring the anonymity of competing with strangers when they don't answer questions correctly.

In an introductory video, Grockit founder and chief product officer Farb Nivi describes the site by saying, "It's like having a complete multimedia textbook and workbook online, at your fingertips." But for kids (and from my experience, adults), the computer isn't an easy place to concentrate. On any given PC, especially one used by a teenager, instant-message indicators are chiming, Facebook updates and Twitter tweets are waiting to be checked, music is playing in the background and emails are flowing into inboxes. Plus, the Grockit site is just a tab away from other websites and distractions. And the site has no way of working in a distraction-free mode, like how the new Microsoft Office for Mac offers Full Screen View, which quiets any alerts or pop-up distractions.

It also isn't necessarily comfortable for students to read extensive text (like in reading questions for the SAT) on a vertical computer screen. The site will run on the iPad, which can be held on a lap for more comfortable reading, but many students don't own one of these.

Part of the way Grockit is made more fun is by purposely incorporating social networking into the experience. As people work on questions, they can instant message with one another in a right-side panel about tips for answering questions or simply for commiserating about studying. These IMs don't make indicator sounds, so they aren't too intrusive, but they can't be fully closed. I saw several chats among teens about nothing in particular, as well as some test-taking tips from instructors and other students.

Grockit encourages users to "be nice" in chats because all conversations are logged; people can also flag one another for offensive remarks. Chats are also archived on your page so you can reread them for tips and study hints. If you find someone's tip helpful or if you simply like a person, you can award him or her with Grockit Points, which show up beside a name and profile photo. Users' ages or last names aren't displayed.

Grockit offers one-on-one tutoring for a fee of $50 an hour, and I tried one session for math. My instructor and I used Skype to audio chat throughout the session and he took advantage of a whiteboard in Grockit, where he could write out the steps in an algebra problem to demonstrate how to solve for X.

Around 40 instructors are employed for Grockit, but anyone can run a practice session, even other students. I signed up for a scheduled practice session at 8 p.m. that I assumed was run by an instructor, and later found out it was run by a student. Grockit instructors can also pop into sessions at any given time to help students, and one did during my session. Grockit works on a system of transparency so users can evaluate all teachers. My tutor had five-star rating and did a great job reminding me of algebra rules.

If you're looking for an inexpensive and more enjoyable way to study for big tests, Grockit is a viable and easily accessible option. But its proximity to the rest of the Web could prove much more distracting than the old SAT workbook.

—See a video with Katherine Boehret on Web-based test-prep software at WSJ.com/PersonalTech.
Email her at mossbergsolution@wsj.com

End of the Cuban Dream
Trying to Inspire Ambition Among People Used to Free Housing and Medical Care Plus Almost Free Food, Transportation and Everything Else
"On the road towards capitalism Change is coming to Cuba at last. The United States could do far more to encourage it," The Economist, March 24, 2012 ---

IN 1998 Pope John Paul II visited Cuba, prompting outsiders to await a political opening of the kind that brought down communism in his native Poland. Sadly, even two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Cuba remains one of the handful of countries around the world where communism lives on. Illness forced Fidel Castro to step down in 2006, but his slightly younger brother, Raúl, is in charge, flanked by a cohort of elderly Stalinists. When Pope Benedict XVI visits the island next week, expectations will be more muted.

Yet a momentous change has begun in Cuba in the meantime. The country has started on the road towards capitalism; and that will have big implications for the United States and the rest of Latin America.

The journey, as our special report this week explains, will be painfully slow. No active dissent from one-party rule is allowed: dozens of opponents of the regime have been arrested ahead of the pope’s visit. Sceptics will note that Fidel Castro opened up the island’s economy a little in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of its subsidies, only to stop when he found a new benefactor in Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

But this time seems different. Raúl Castro, though no democrat, is clearly a more practical man than his brother. He recognises that time is running out for his island. The population is shrinking and ageing, the economy is hopelessly unproductive and the state can no longer pay for the paternalist social services of which Cuba was once proud. Meanwhile, Mr Chávez’s health and his hold on power are uncertain.

The changes Raúl Castro has introduced are almost certainly irreversible. Much of Cuban farming is, in effect, being privatised. In all, around a third of the country’s workforce is due to transfer by 2015 to an incipient private sector. As well as employing others, Cubans can now buy and sell houses and cars, even as the number of mobile phones and computers on the island is rising fast. This looks like a turning point similar to Deng Xiaoping’s revolution in China.

No man is an island

Reform is moving slowly partly because Mr Castro is ambivalent. He insists, as Deng did, that his aim is to sustain, not dismantle, the Communist Party’s control. There are also obstacles to reform. Bureaucrats fear losing power and perks; ordinary people fear rising prices. Popular opposition forced Mr Castro to drop a proposal to scrap the ration books that give all Cubans some subsidised food.

But going too slowly is now as dangerous for the Castros as going too fast. Cubans are unhappy. Their schools and hospitals are not as good as they were. Inequalities of income now exist alongside those of power. There is much resentment of the opportunities afforded to insiders and denied to everyone else. Having raised Cubans’ hopes of change, Raúl Castro urgently needs to create some winners from the reforms—and that means pushing ahead. Small businesses must be allowed to become medium and large ones. Foreign investment should be welcomed. And the ration books should go, with subsidies targeted at the poor.

The other reason for urgency is that the Castros have failed to groom a successor. When Fidel, who is 85, dies, change will doubtless accelerate, but the regime will not fall apart: Raúl is the important one now. Yet whoever takes over from him—and a partial handover may start as soon as 2013—will not have the brothers’ revolutionary credentials. Cubans will judge their next leader strictly on his or her present performance. The longer Raúl tarries over placing the economy on a sustainable footing, the greater the risk that a post-Castro leadership will be swept away on a tide of popular anger.

Time for America to get over its 50-year tantrum

Few will mourn this regime. But there are several reasons for all sides to prefer an orderly transition to capitalism and democracy in Cuba. The sudden collapse of communism risks civil war, or at least the danger that Cuba’s formidable security and intelligence agencies will become hired guns at the service of drug trafficking and organised crime. The presence of 1.2m Cuban-Americans in south Florida makes it likely that the United States would get dragged into any conflict.

Continued in article

The American Dream ---

Internal Control!
What's internal control?

Academic Standards Control!
What is academic standard control?

"Audit Finds Chicago State U. Lost Track of 950 Computers," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23, 2012 ---

A state audit released on Thursday found that $3.8-million worth of equipment, including 950 computers, is missing from Chicago State University, the Chicago Tribune reports. The university has come under fire in the past for questionable spending by a former president, Elnora D. Daniel, including a 2007 audit that detailed university-sponsored “leadership seminars” on Caribbean cruises. According to the latest audit, over the past four years the university has mistakenly awarded $123,000 in federal aid and $20,000 in state grants to students. The university issued a statement saying the administration of Wayne D. Watson, who took over from Ms. Daniel in 2009, was using a “proactive approach” to deal with the problems, but acknowledged that “these things take time.”

Jensen Comment
The fraud gets even worse. Because state revenues are based, in part, on enrollment it became impossible to flunk out of Chicago State University. Even David Albrecht's dog could enroll in CSU and never flunk out.

I propose changing the abbreviation from CSU to CSI.

How do you stay in college semester after semester with a grade average of 0.0?

"Chicago State Let Failing Students Stay," Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2011 ---

Chicago State University officials have been boasting about improvements in retention rates. But an investigation by The Chicago Tribune  found that part of the reason is that students with grade-point averages below 1.8 have been permitted to stay on as students, in violation of university rules. Chicago State officials say that they have now stopped the practice, which the Tribune exposed by requesting the G.P.A.'s of a cohort of students. Some of the students tracked had G.P.A.'s of 0.0.

Jensen Comment
There is a bit of integrity at CSU. Professors could've just given the students A grades like some other high grade inflation universities or changed their examination answers in courses somewhat similar to the grade-changing practices of a majority of Atlanta K-12 schools. Now that CSU will no longer retain low gpa students, those other practices may commence at CSU in order to keep the state support at high levels. And some CSU professors may just let students cheat. It's not clear how many CSU professors will agree to these other ways to keep failing students on board.

Everything is OK in context. I forgot this is Chicago (the most corrupt city in the United States)


Bob Jensen's threads on Professors Who Cheat and Allow Students to Cheat are at

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

"Rewarding Teaching," by Dean Dad, Inside Higher Ed, March 13, 2012 ---

What would it look like if, say, the Federal government were to decide to prioritize good college-level teaching at the same level that it supports university research?

This piece in IHE addressed the question, but it struck me as falling badly short of reality.  

Briefly, the piece suggests that Congress establish a National Pedagogy Foundation as a sort of counterpart to the NEH or the NSF.  By pooling a pile of money into a project to award grant funds to deserving projects that promise to advance quality teaching, it suggests, we’d be much more likely to see tenure committees take teaching as seriously as they take research.  Until then, “internal mission creep” on the ground -- in which each stratum of higher education imitates those higher -- will defeat the best intentions.

The author works at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Encouraging good teaching in the context of a research university is important, and the remedy offered here may have some limited traction in that context.  But outside that context, it misses the point.

Quick quiz: Among community colleges with tenure systems, which counts more: teaching or research?

Teaching.  That has always been true.  And that makes sense, given the mission of the institution.  Grants are lovely, of course, but they aren’t required for tenure, and they wouldn’t make much difference on the ground.  (If the good folks at Harvard would like to investigate what it means to value good teaching, I suggest a field trip to nearby Bunker Hill Community College.)  

Followup quiz: which of the following has more students taking classes: research universities or community colleges?

Community colleges, by a substantial margin.  So if you want to make a measurable difference in the quality of teaching for a broad population, you’d start here.  Harvard can wait.

So let’s say, then, that we wanted the Federal government to help improve the caliber of teaching at community colleges, and even at four-year public state colleges.  What would a National Pedagogy Foundation have to do?

My first thought is to define the mission.  Is the goal to improve actually-existing teaching quickly, or to be transformative over time?  If it’s the former, the only serious answer -- the ONLY serious answer -- is a massive, sustained infusion of operating funds into college budgets.  Not conditional funding, or “seed” funding, or funding with strings: straight-up operational funding.  And it would have to come with “matching” requirements, to keep the states and localities from cheaping out and just using the new money as an excuse to cut their own contributions.

I really can’t emphasize this enough.  Grants require project managers, and come with expiration dates.  Money with expiration dates doesn’t mesh with well with tenure; typically, any faculty hired would be on the cusp of tenure just when the money goes away.  So too much of the money is lost to administrative costs, and that which remains can’t be used for faculty.  But with committed, sustained operating funding, the existing administrative infrastructure will do, and we could actually hire faculty.  

If it’s meant to be transformative, then it needs to be both competitive, substantial, and sustained. (The competition could be based on how plausibly innovative the proposals are, and how scalable they are.  No more boutique programs.)  It needs to be long-term enough that the institution can risk failure of the first version without necessarily losing the funding.  Anything truly transformative will be high-risk; in this fiscal climate, colleges will be risk-averse because they have to be.

Continued in article

"Why Do They Hate Us? Part 2,"  by Thomas H. Benton (actually William Pannapacker), Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 2010 ---

Jensen Comment
I think this could well become another black hole for for taxpayers if for no other reason than so much will be raked off by administrators before the rewards finally trickle down to the teachers themselves. And there will be endless debates about what constitutes "good teaching." I don't equate good teaching with popularity with students. Good teachers in my opinion are teachers who challenge students to the maximum of their abilities while at the same time inspire them to want to learn more and more after the courses come to an end. Performance along these lines is very difficult to assess in part because proof of success comes so many years after the courses end.

And "Rewarding Teaching" does not just equate to entirely to paychecks and other benefits that depend upon money alone. Respected professionals generally take pride in their professionalism no matter what money flows in from a task. We should not expect every task to have a carrot for genuine professionals.

For an example of non-professionalism we can point to those hundreds of teachers in Atlanta who cheated by revising student test scores just so those teachers could receive higher paychecks. This type of cheating unprofessional because it was "cheating." But to make matters worse these cheating teachers were depriving their students of incremental money for added remedial study that could've raised their performance levels. These teachers were not robbing from the rich to give to the poor. These teachers were depriving the poor so they themselves could have higher standards of living. Even if these cheating teachers were "under paid" there self-serving actions at the expense of their weakest students are not justified.

March 27, 2012 reply from Zane Swanson

The purpose of higher education in universities and/or community college is simple to say ”learning” but difficult to measure. Whose teaching is of higher value: 1) those who started Einstein on his path or 2) the professors who offer their classes to hundreds on the internet today? Granted pedagogy has a name, but the research/value of it is to me only in its application in my classroom. I don’t mean to be egotistical on this one, but on the other hand I don’t find the politics of pedagogy metrics to be satisfying (and certainly not entertaining).

Zane Swanson

March 28, 2012 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Zane,

I discuss assessment in general at

Assessment/Learning Issues
Measurement and the No-Significant Differences (in terms of pedagogy)

Two items indirectly related to your concerns are the following:

Coaches Graham and Gazowski --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#Randy

The Criterion Problem --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#CriterionProblem

And here's a case of possible interest

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on November 17, 2006

TITLE: Colleges, Accreditors Seek Better Ways to Measure Learning
REPORTER: Daniel Golden
DATE: Nov 13, 2006 PAGE: B1
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116338508743121260.html?mod=djem_jiewr_ac 
TOPICS: Accounting

SUMMARY: The article discusses college- or university-wide accreditation by regional accreditation bodies and reaction to the Spellings Commission report. Questions extend the accreditation discussion to AACSB accreditation.

1.) What is accreditation? The article describes university-wide accreditation by regional accrediting bodies. Why is this step necessary?

2.) Does your business school have accreditation by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)? How does this accreditation differ from university-wide accreditation?

3.) Why are regional accrediting agencies planning to meet with Secretary Spellings?

4.) Did you consider accreditation in deciding where to go to college or university? Why or why not?

5.) Do you think improvements in assessing student learning are important, as the Spellings Commission argues and accreditors are now touting? Support your answer.

SMALL GROUP ASSIGNMENT: Find out about your college or university's accreditation. When was the last accreditation review? Were there any concerns expressed by the accreditors? How has the university responded to any concerns expressed?

Once these data are gathered, discuss in class in groups:

Has this information been easy or difficult to find? Do you agree with the assessment of concerns about the institution and/or the university's responses?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

TITLE: Colleges, Accreditors Seek Better Ways to Measure Learning
REPORTER: Daniel Golden
DATE: Nov 13, 2006 PAGE: B1
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116338508743121260.html?mod=djem_jiewr_ac 

At the University of the South, a highly regarded liberal-arts college in Sewanee, Tenn., the dozen professors who teach the required freshman Shakespeare course design their classes differently, assigning their favorite plays and writing and grading their own exams.

But starting next fall, one question on the final exam will be the same across all of the classes, and instructors won't grade their own students' answers to that question. Instead, to assure more objective evaluation, the professors will trade exams and grade each other's students.

The English department adopted this change -- despite faculty grumbling about losing some classroom independence -- under pressure from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. The association, one of the six regional groups that accredit nearly 3,000 U.S. colleges, told the University of the South that, to have its accreditation renewed, it would have to do a better job of measuring student learning. Without such accreditation, the school's students wouldn't qualify for federal financial aid.

The shift "does cut into the individual faculty member's autonomy, and that's disturbing," says Jennifer Michael, an associate professor. "On the other hand, it's making us think about how do we figure out what students are actually learning. Maybe having them take and pass a course doesn't mean they've learned everything we think they have."

Regional accreditors used to limit their examinations to colleges' financial solvency and educational resources, with the result that well-established schools enjoyed rubber-stamp approval. But now they are increasingly holding colleges, prestigious or not, responsible for undergraduates' grasp of such skills as writing and critical thinking. And prodded by regional accreditors, colleges are adopting various means of assessing learning in addition to classroom grades, from electronic portfolios that collect a student's work from different courses to standardized testing and special projects for graduating seniors.

The accreditors aren't moving fast enough for the Bush administration, though. In the wake of a federally sponsored study published in 2005 that showed declining literacy among college-educated Americans, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and a commission she appointed on the future of higher education want colleges to be more accountable for -- and candid about -- student performance, and they have criticized accreditors as barriers to reform.

Congress sets the standards for accreditors, and the Education Department periodically reviews compliance with those standards. Congress identified "success with respect to student achievement" as a requirement for accreditation in 1992, and then in 1998 made it the top priority. That imperative, along with the advent of online education, has spurred accreditors to rethink their longtime emphasis on such criteria as the number of faculty members with doctorates. Since 2000, several regional accreditors have revamped their rules to emphasize student learning.

"Accreditors have moved the ball forward," says Kati Haycock, a member of the Spellings commission and the director of the nonprofit Education Trust in Washington, D.C., which seeks better schooling for disadvantaged students. "Not far enough, not fast enough, but they have moved the ball forward."

An issue paper written for the commission by Robert Dickeson, a former president of the University of Northern Colorado, complained that accreditation "currently settles for meeting minimum standards," and it called for replacing regional accreditors with a new national foundation. "Technology has rendered the quaint jurisdictional approach to accreditation obsolete," Mr. Dickeson wrote.

The commission didn't endorse that recommendation, but its final report last month cited "significant shortcomings" in accreditation and called for "transformation" of the process. In a Sept. 22 speech marking the release of the report, Secretary Spellings said that accreditors are "largely focused on inputs, more on how many books are in a college library than whether students can actually understand them....That must change."

David Ward, a commission member and the president of the American Council on Education, a higher education advocacy group, declined to sign the report, in part because he objected to its criticism of accreditors as overly simplistic.

Russell Edgerton, president emeritus of the American Association for Higher Education, says "there's no question that American colleges are underachieving," but he argues that accreditors are rising to the challenge. "Ten years ago, I would have said that regional accreditors are dead in the water and asleep at the wheel," he says. But "there's been a kind of renaissance within accreditation agencies in the past five to six years. They're helping institutions create a culture of evidence about student learning."

Mr. Edgerton also thinks the federal government's emphasis on new accountability measures is flawed because it bypasses the judgment of traditional arbiters like faculty and accreditors. "The danger is that the standardized testing approach in K-12 would slop over into higher education," he says. "Higher ed is different."

Jerome Walker, associate provost and accreditation liaison officer for the University of Southern California, agrees that the administration's attacks on accreditors are unfair. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits USC, "has been extremely sensitive" to student learning, he says.

According to the Western Association's executive director, Ralph Wolff, the group revamped its standards in 2001 to require colleges to identify preparation needed by entering freshmen and the expectations for student progress in critical thinking, quantitative reasoning and other skills. Its accreditation process now takes four years, up from 1½, and it features a detailed, peer-reviewed proposal for improvement and two site visits, including one devoted to "educational effectiveness."

Historically, research universities like USC "used to blow off" accreditation, Mr. Wolff says. "Now this has become a real challenge for them in a good way."

Encouraged by Mr. Wolff, USC last year assigned the same two essay questions -- one about conformity, another based on a quotation from ethicist Robert Bellah -- to freshmen in a beginning writing course and juniors and seniors in an advanced course. A group of faculty then evaluated the essays without knowing the students' names or which course they were taking. The reassuring outcome, according to Richard Fliegel, assistant dean for academic programs, was that juniors and seniors "demonstrated significantly more critical thinking skills" than freshmen, and that advanced students who had taken the first-year course outperformed transfer students who hadn't taken beginning writing at USC.

Because the writing initiative is tailored to USC's curriculum, the results -- while helpful to administrators and accreditors -- wouldn't necessarily help the public compare USC to other schools. That is a big drawback as far as the Bush administration is concerned. "I have two kids in college now," says Vickie Schray, deputy director of the Spellings commission. "It's a huge expense. Yet there's very little information on return of investment or ability to shop around for the greatest value."

She adds, though, that it is a "misconception" to think that the administration wants to have "one standardized test for all institutions" or to extend the testing requirements of the "No Child Left Behind" law for K-12 schools to higher education.

Even so, one standardized test of critical thinking, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, is becoming popular. It adjusts for students' scores on the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams, potentially allowing more meaningful comparisons of the value added by colleges. The number of schools using the assessment has soared from 54 two years ago to 170 this year. Among those using the test this fall: the University of Texas at Austin, Duke University, Arizona State University and Washington and Lee University.

Roger Benjamin, president of the nonprofit Council for Aid to Education, which sponsors the test, says state officials and university administrators have been the principal forces behind its increasing use. "Accreditors are coming to the party, but a bit late," Mr. Benjamin says.

Meanwhile, Secretary Spellings plans to meet with accreditors in late November to discuss how to "accelerate the focus on student achievement," Ms. Schray says. Accreditors say they welcome the opportunity to tout their progress. "We have made a lot of reforms," says the Western Association's Mr. Wolff. "We'd like to bring the secretary up-to-date on the significance of these reforms and the impact they're already having on institutions."

"Looking for Solutions in a Rapidly Changing Health Care Environment," Knowledge@wharton, University of Pennsylvania, March 28, 2012 ---

While the U.S. health care system is not yet on life support, it remains a fragmented and unwieldy structure whose rising costs bear little relation to improvements in access or quality. This is despite the introduction of patient management programs, some restructuring of insurance models and efforts to adjust incentives for decision making all across the care continuum.

But during the keynote presentations and panel discussions at Wharton's 18th Annual Health Care Business Conference titled, "Innovation in a Changing Health Care Environment," the emphasis was on solutions. Participants analyzed some of the ways that individual companies are digging deep into the system to come up with approaches that rely on new technology, new business models and new marketing strategies.

Two keynote speeches served as thematic bookends to the day's discussions. The morning kickoff keynote by Glenn D. Steele Jr., president and CEO of Geisinger Health System, defined the scope of the problem in dollars and disease. Steele focused on the inverse relationship between cost and quality, citing several studies that found that more than 50% of health care spending in the U.S. is wasted or actually harmful. The conference ended with a keynote by Robert Pearl, president and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who stated that the survival of the U.S. depends on reining in health care costs. He challenged the audience to save the country from economic collapse by redesigning how health care is delivered and paid for.

Overall, conference presenters provided a ground-level view of what some of the problems, and solutions, look like in this transformative time.

Strategizing for Survival

The cost of health care is directly related to our larger national economic health, as noted by Pearl. "Our problems go back 40 years.... Costs have been rising 7% to 8% a year; health care is 18% of GDP this year, and it is set to double again, to 36% of GDP, by 2030.... That leaves no money for education, infrastructure, police and fire." The current players, he added, are strategizing for survival today because the trajectory is unsustainable, and change will come. "Currently, we are fragmented, piecemeal, paper-based and leaderless."

According to David Jones, Jr., chairman and managing director of Chrysalis Ventures, a private equity and venture capital firm, the days for tinkering around the edges are gone. "The provider side re-engineering is doomed to failure because of a fundamental governance problem. You heard in the keynote this morning that 40% to 50% of the money spent is useless or actually harmful to outcomes. All of the change initiatives are focused on solving it in an incremental way."

Jones described that as a "pants-on-fire problem.... I don't think there is a possibility in the world that a bunch of ungovernable non-profits with no motivation to change quickly will go after that problem. I think the solution ultimately -- like the Greek [economic bail-out] solution or the GM solution -- is that you must have restructuring in the traditional financial sense. Everyone talks about hospitals going bankrupt because of politics. That is nonsense. Bankruptcy is a restructuring, and the system is going to change dramatically."

This urgency, and a new economy driven by information technology, have created an environment in which change is happening no matter what laws are passed or what the courts uphold or overturn, conference participants stated.

"Good regulations, bad regulations: Change has thrown the pickup sticks into the air, and they will come down in other ways," Jones said. "The iPhones have taken over the world. More than 80% of doctors use an iPhone or a smartphone. You can't wall off change. The health plans are changing fast. As a venture capitalist, that is exciting stuff."

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the conference that his firm is evolving into a health technology company with a big insurance vehicle attached. Bertolini discussed Aetna's competitors' similar investments in electronic health record software that is transforming the nature of the health insurance industry. "UnitedHealth recently announced its Optum healthcare cloud which is meant to be a collaboration platform. It's not Epic, it's not Cerner, it's not McKesson [referring to some of the dominant electronic health record software companies]. It's got a lot of resources behind it; it's got a lot of cash flow, and I think it's worth watching."

Jones of Chrysalis also referred to insurance company investments in software that are changing the way patients are cared for. As an example, he cited Humana's platform called Vitality, an incentive system to encourage individuals to make good choices about eating, exercising and other health issues. While the problems remain, solutions are starting to emerge either through creative new business models, technological advances or creative patient engagement initiatives, he said.

Recovering Costs

According to Jones, Congress did not offer true health reform with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but instead offered health insurance reform that will address how consumers pay for health care. "Health insurance is a dysfunctional, shrinking market on the private side. Plans aren't changing voluntarily; they are changing because their old business model was crushed and destroyed. We are getting rid of the chokehold that insurance brokers have on health care. An 8% to 12% commission goes to Joe Box-of-Donuts," he said, referring to the fact that health insurance brokers get a commission that is built into the cost of the price of health insurance. The regional health insurance exchanges (HIEs) that have been established under the Affordable Care Act eliminate health insurance brokers -- and their commissions - and allow patients to buy insurance directly from a pool of health plans, Jones added. "The health exchanges will drive out that cost and will focus on brand value."

By eliminating the insurance brokers -- the middle men in the system -- patients will focus on the value of the insurance product and choose a tool that works for their situation out of a menu of options offered through a health insurance exchange, Jones said. As direct consumers of health insurance, he added, patients will be required to ascend a learning curve about their options.

According to John Keith, a principal at Deloitte, "No matter how exchanges evolve, when consumers start looking at their local networks and what they are getting for their dollar, there will be chaos for a few years. There will be a period of adjustment as people realize they are responsible for those costs, and that will drive change down the road."

Providers and suppliers will compete for business in this new paradigm, where cost and quality are expected to be in alignment, said Keith. "This is truly an opportunity for real change. ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) aren't anything new," Keith added, referring to the outcomes-based payment system being piloted by Medicare as mandated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "Bundled payment systems have been around since DRGs (Diagnosis Related Groups), and there have been lots of revolutions, like HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations). They all resulted in very minimal change. Fee for service abhorred information, but economic duress is causing price pressure, and it opens the door to an industry focused on value, and demands collaborative tools. We're going from a feudal system to a Renaissance."

Response to Consumers

Consumers as patients are still at the nexus of change, either as they gravitate toward providers who are convenient and effective, or as they learn to manage the health dollars that are spent, if not directly out of pocket, then on their behalf either by an employer or a government program, conference participants suggested. "People will behave like they do in normal consumer markets," said Ashish Kaura, a partner at Booz & Company. "What are the cornerstones of the consumer markets? Three things: One is value in product design, which is standardization and driven by what most people need. Two is simplicity: It must be easy to navigate to get the information you need. You don't want to spend five hours on the phone. Three is trust: The biggest value for payers today is trust."

Permanente's Pearl also noted the influence of consumers on the direction of health care. Consumer demands will need to drive innovation, since the current uncertainty in the regulatory and financial environment has many investors waiting on the sidelines for a clear signal, he said. "Find a single business able to achieve success if R&D and finance are fighting each other."

According to David Kirchoff, president and CEO of Weight Watchers, products like Weight Watchers' online tracking system -- which engages patients in their ongoing care -- have succeeded because they work: Patients use them, they get results and tackling obesity bends the cost curve down in a host of related diseases, especially diabetes.

"The challenges of obesity are complicated to solve," he added. "People have difficult choices surrounded by a sea of temptations. What's at stake? The future of the health care system. There is a strong link between obesity and diabetes. If you have a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30, you are 500% more likely to have diabetes." Today, 10% of Americans have diabetes, he says. "By 2050, it is expected to be one-third. This is not a vanity [issue]. This is a health condition that is a function of the choices we make in our daily lives."

Ultimately, providers and suppliers -- the pharmaceutical and medical device companies -- will be required to prove their value in the marketplace or face extinction, according to conference panelists. Payment systems continue to move at accelerated speed toward a value-based model with payment for quality and outcomes, and move away from a fee-based system that simply pays for individual services or products for which there is no proof of efficacy. Due to this proof-of-concept stringency, the pharmaceutical sector is financially riskier than it used to be, but there is still opportunity. That means bio-pharmaceutical investors are keeping their wallets buttoned until later in the clinical trial process, panelists said during a discussion about the risks of biopharma investment.

Luke Duster, a principal at Capital Royalty, a private equity firm providing royalty-based financing to health care companies, reported that "last year, there were $90 billion in royalties [paid to biopharma investors]. There are late stage investment opportunities, but smaller companies are starved for cash flow because there is less investment in early stage. We are still raising capital, but only raising one-third as much as [we did] at the peak. Only the strongest are surviving."

Duster said he sees more cooperation between the FDA and industry to move products through the pipeline. He identified drugs with companion diagnostics as a growth area. Companion diagnostics represent an opportunity in that market segment because the diagnostic test identifies genetic markers and so takes the guesswork out of whether the drug will be effective in a particular patient with an identifiable genetic mutation. This assures outcomes and, by extension, guarantees the value of the product to the payer. In companion diagnostics, a genetic test is developed to identify whether a patient has a particular marker that indicates a specific drug will work in that patient -- thus the name "companion diagnostic" -- because the diagnostic is tied directly to the efficacy of one particular pharmaceutical product.

As to the role the FDA is playing in creating a risk-averse pharmaceutical sector, Ronald W. Lennox, a partner with CHL Medical Partners, a venture capital firm that focuses on seed and early-stage companies in the medical sector, said it is the FDA's own aversion to clinical risk that is trickling down to investors. "FDA approvals ought to be a balance of risk and benefit. If one million people benefit from a drug, how many shouldn't? Are we willing to risk one adverse event? We are tilting toward no adverse events at all, with little regard to patients who will benefit. Partly it is because of the litigious U.S. population and partly because we have trials on a small population and we try to extrapolate from 2,000 clinical trial patients to millions of patients. That is hard to do."

Finding that Magic Mix of Providers

Panelists discussed the way that transformed payment models based on outcomes are half of a solution; it is incumbent on providers to transform what the payers are paying for. Moving from a fee for service system where a product or service is paid because it was delivered to an individual patient, to an outcomes-based value model -- where the payment is determined by overall performance delivered at a population level -- requires systems to generate the metrics to support reimbursement, panelists noted.

Emad Rizk, president of McKesson Health Solutions, talked about what that looks like from a provider's perspective. "Down here at the execution level, it is ugly. So let's just look at where delivery systems can go. Supposedly, you have managed populations, which means you have to have the data. You have to stratify; you have to put processes together to intervene, measure outcomes and then demonstrate those outcomes. Then you have to go show the payer that you did it.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on health care ---

"'Social-Media Blasphemy' Texas researcher adds 'Enemy' feature to Facebook," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23, 2012 ---

Dean Terry has 400 friends on Facebook, but he wants some virtual enemies.

Mr. Terry, who is director of the emerging-media program at the University of Texas at Dallas, says a major flaw of the popular social network is that it's all sunshine and no rain: The service encourages users to press the "like" button, but offers no way to signal which ideas, products, or people they disagree with. And "friend" is about the only kind of connection you can declare.

Real-world relationships are more complicated than that, so social networks should be too, the scholar argues. He's not alone—more than three million people have voted for a "dislike" feature on an online petition on Facebook.

But Mr. Terry has decided to take action, protesting the ethos of Facebook by literally rewiring the service. Or at least, adding the ability to declare "enemies."

"It's social-media blasphemy, in that we're suggesting that you share differences you have with people and share things that you don't like instead of what you do like," he told me last week. "I think social media needs some disruption. It needs its shot of Johnny Rotten."

Here's what he's done. Last month he and a student released a Facebook plug-in called EnemyGraph, which users can install free and name their enemies, which then show up in their profiles. "We're using 'enemy' in the same loose way that Facebook uses 'friends,'" Mr. Terry explained. "It really just means something you have an issue with."

The scholar would have preferred to use "dislike," but the word is literally banned by the service to prevent developers from creating a dislike button. Critics of Facebook say the social network's leaders want to keep the service friendly to advertisers who might object to users publicly scorning their products.

Mr. Terry wondered if Facebook would even allow his plug-in application to pass the company's approval process, and even though it did, he still believes administrators will shut it down if it becomes popular. The day I talked with Mr. Terry, only 300 people were using it, but at that point no national media had picked up the story.

Facebook officials declined to talk about the new app. The only response a spokesperson would give was a one-sentence e-mail addressing the company's position on creating a "dislike" button: "At some point we may consider it, but for the time being, we are working on what we believe are more high-impact features."

Who was Mr. Terry so eager to diss? "One of the first things I put was the band Journey," he said of his enemy list, "just because they annoy me, and I thought it was funny." He has also enemied Deepak Chopra and the color red.

The programming stunt might win Mr. Terry some real enemies among people who think the best thing about Facebook is its relative lack of negativity. After all, many online forums are prone to vicious flame wars that lead reasonable people to steer clear. What's wrong with keeping an online world like Facebook nice?

To Mr. Terry, that's where his role as an educator comes in. "What we all do in the program is help our students think critically about social media," he says, noting that that is the main goal of EnemyGraph. "On Facebook you're the product—it's commoditized expression," he argues, and he wants students and others to recognize that. "I'm not telling students not to use it, I'm just telling them to understand what's happening when they use it."

A graduate research assistant, Bradley Griffith, did the actual coding, and he made an even stronger case for the service than Mr. Terry did. "It's dangerous for us as a society to move in this direction where everything has its worst qualities removed from it," Mr. Griffith told me.

Virtual Dissent

EnemyGraph points to a new form of social protest, one that could only happen in a virtual realm. In the physical world, scholars calling for social change might write up their suggestions, or stage symbolic protests, and hope their arguments prompt leaders to make changes. In online communities, it is possible to promote change by creating a new technical feature or service.

As Mr. Griffith put it, "academics have always had ideas about society, but we could only really talk about it, and now we can do it."

Consider another work of online protest by Mr. Terry and Mr. Griffith. Last fall they built a searchable Web archive of Twitter messages that had been deleted by users. The service was possible because while deleting a Twitter message stops it from being distributed, it can live on, since in some cases it has already been captured by archival services that mine Twitter for information. Called Undetweetable, the service disturbed many observers, some of whom criticized its creators for giving new life to comments that users had chosen to remove.

The goal of Undetweetable was to raise awareness of how persistent anything posted online can be—and how easy it is for outsiders to secretly pluck those messages to analyze them in various ways.

"Someone said, These are the nicest people who will ever steal your data," said Mr. Terry, referring to one of the bloggers who wrote about the service. "Because we're not going to do anything nefarious with it."

Undetweetable did start a conversation. It attracted a stream of users after being mentioned by The Wall Street Journal and popular technology blogs including Gizmodo. It operated for only five days—until Mr. Terry got an e-mail from Twitter asking that he shut down the service because it violated Twitter's rules. He complied.

"This is the way you call attention to certain kinds of things on the Net," he said. "You have to make something that people can use. Some of these things need to be experienced firsthand."

Alex Halavais, an associate professor of communications at Quinnipiac University and president of the Association of Internet Researchers, said he expected to see more of this kind of high-tech intervention by scholars as more researchers in the humanities gain skills in programming and comfort using social media. "Increasingly there are faculty who feel confident doing this," he said.

A Tool for Cyberbullies?

A social critique is one thing. But what if adding an "enemy" button leads to increases in cyberbullying, bringing real harm to users uninterested in the scholars' points?

Mr. Terry believes that the feature will not spark hateful speech. "It's not necessarily going to make us fight, it's just going to make us have a conversation," he argues.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on social media are at

Selling the debt in the left pocket to the right pocket:  The Fed is all smoke and mirrors

"Fed Is Buying 61 Percent of U.S. Government Debt," by Bob Adelmann, The New American, March 29, 2012

In his attempt to explode the myth that there is unlimited demand for U.S. government debt, former Treasury official Lawrence Goodman explained that there is high perceived demand because the Federal Reserve is doing most of the buying.

Wrote Goodman,

Last year the Fed purchased a stunning 61% of the total net Treasury issuance, up from negligible amounts prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

This not only creates the false impression of limitless demand for U.S. debt but also blunts any sense of urgency to reduce supersized budget deficits.

What about Japan and China? Aren’t they the major purchasers of U.S. debt? Not any more, notes Goodman. Foreign purchases of U.S. debt dropped to less than 2 percent  of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) from almost 6 percent just three years ago. And private sector investors — banks, money market and bond mutual funds, individuals and corporations — have cut their buying way back as well, to less than 1 percent of GDP, down from 6 percent. This serves to hide the fact that the government can’t find outside buyers willing to accept rates of return that are below the inflation rate (“negative interest”) given the precarious financial condition of the government. It also hides the impact of $1.3 trillion deficits from the public who would likely get much more concerned if real, true market rates of interest were being demanded for purchasing U.S. debt, as such higher rates would increase the deficit even further. Finally it takes pressure off Congress to “do something” because there is no public clamor over the matter, at least for the moment. 

One of those promoting the myth that buyers of U.S. debt must exist because interest rates are so low is none other than one of those recently seated at the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee table, Alan BlinderNow a professor of economics at Princeton University, Blinder was vice chairman of the Fed in the mid-nineties and should know all about the Fed’s manipulations and machinations in the money markets. Apparently not. 

On January 19 Blinder wrote in the Wall Street Journal that

Strange as it may seem with trillion-dollar-plus deficits, the U.S. government doesn’t have a short-run borrowing problem at all. On the contrary, investors all over the world are clamoring to lend us money at negative real interest rates.

In purchasing power terms, they are paying the U.S. government to borrow their money!

Blinder repeated the error in front of the Senate Banking Committee just one week later: "In fact, world financial markets are eager to lend the United States government vast amounts at negative real interest rates. That means that, in purchasing power terms, they are paying us to borrow their money!"

Aggressive promotion of a myth never makes it a fact. All it does is hide, for a period, the reality that the world isn’t willing to lend to the United States at negative interest rates. This places the burden on the Fed to make the myth appear real by expanding its own balance sheet and gobbling up U.S. debt. 

There are going to be consequences. As Goodman put it,

The failure by officials to normalize conditions in the U.S. Treasury market and curtail ballooning deficits puts the U.S. economy and markets at risk for a sharp correction…. [Emphasis added.]

In other words, budget deficits often take years to build or reduce, while financial markets react rapidly and often unexpectedly to deficit spending and debt.

The recent release by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of future inflation expectations provides little assurance either as it mimics the line that inflation will stay low for the foreseeable future: "In CBO’s forecast, the price index for personal consumption expenditures increases by just 1.2 percent in 2012 and 1.3 percent in 2013."

With the Fed continuing to buy U.S. government debt, which keeps interest rates artificially low, when will reality set in? Amity Shlaes has the answer. Writing in Bloomberg last week, Shlaes explains:

The thing about [price] inflation is that it comes out of nowhere and hits you….

[It] has happened to us before. In World War I … the CPI [Consumer Price Index] went from 1 percent for 1915 to 7 percent in 1916 and 17 percent in 1917….

In 1945, all seemed well. Inflation was at 2 percent, at least officially. Within two years that level hit 14 percent.

All appeared calm in 1972, too, before inflation jumped to 11 percent by 1974 and stayed high for the rest of the decade….

One thing is clear: pretty soon, we’ll all be in deep water.

Doug Casey agrees: “Don’t think there are no consequences to our unwise fiscal and monetary course; a potentially ugly tipping point is more likely than not at some point.”

Coninued in article

The Zimbabwe School of Economics:  In effect printing $2 trillion
"The High Cost of the Fed's Cheap Money Encouraging consumption at the expense of saving inhibits long-term economic growth," by Andy Laperriere, The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2012 ---

During the past three years, the Federal Reserve has tripled the size of its balance sheet—in effect printing $2 trillion—something it had never done in its nearly 100-year history. The Fed has lowered short-term interest rates to zero and signaled that it will keep them at that level for years. Inflation-adjusted short-term rates, or real rates, have been in the minus 2% range during the past couple of years for the first time since the 1970s.

The unfortunate fact is, as Milton Friedman famously observed, there is no free lunch. After the Fed's loose monetary policy helped spur the boom-bust in

Artificially reducing Treasury yields provides a near-term benefit as federal borrowing costs are lower, but this unusually low cost of borrowing is enabling Congress and the president to run an unsustainable fiscal policy that could eventually lead to an economic calamity. Governments like Greece and Italy benefited from artificially low rates for years, and those low rates undoubtedly played a key role in those governments not confronting their serious fiscal imbalances.

Low rates have helped those who have been able to borrow or refinance their debts at lower rates, especially homeowners. But this has come at a high cost to savers. Zero rates are a major problem for any saver, but it is especially difficult for those in or near retirement. Government bonds are investments that now offer return-free risk.

The Fed is hoping the lack of return in certificates of deposit and bonds (or more accurately, negative returns, adjusted for inflation) will prompt investors to take on more risk by investing in stocks, high-yield corporate bonds and other investments. This is pushing people who have a low risk tolerance to take on more risk than may be advisable.

Moreover, QE and ZIRP are specifically designed to discourage saving and encourage people to consume more now to boost near-term gross domestic product. But saving is deferred consumption—people save to earn a return so that they may consume more in the future (say, for retirement or a major purchase). Scores of economists have testified before Congress for decades that Americans don't save enough and that this inhibits long-term economic growth. Prosperity does not come from spending; it comes from work, saving and investment.

Defenders of QE and ZIRP would say that rather than borrowing economic growth from the future, these policies merely smooth the economic cycle and reduce the economic dislocation associated with deep recessions or weak recoveries. Of course, that was the rationale for the exceptionally low rates during the 2002-2004 period, which, like today, were specifically aimed at depressing saving and encouraging consumption. Rather than smooth the economic cycle, that strategy helped create an historic boom-bust.

Some say we must encourage higher consumption because it accounts for more than 70% of GDP, and the recovery is too fragile to risk allowing a rise in the savings rate. But the recession was officially over two years ago. For at least the past decade, monetary policy has consistently punished prudent savers.

Worse, the Fed is promising to keep these policies in place for years to come. When do we ever get to the point where we allow interest rates to return to some kind of natural equilibrium and allow the economy to gradually rebalance in a way that would boost long-term economic growth?

There is no doubt the Fed is doing what it believes is best. But in addition to the risk of inflation inherent in QE and ZIRP, which Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he is 100% confident he can prevent, Fed officials are dismissive of the notion that there are significant costs or trade-offs associated with the policy they are pursuing.

This is disconcerting. Is there really no chance, zero chance, the Fed will be late to pick up signs of inflation? What accounts for such confidence—given that the Fed dismissed criticisms from 2002-2004 that its policies would distort economic decisions and cause hard-to-predict imbalances, that it was oblivious to the housing collapse well into 2007, and that to this day many Fed officials refuse to accept that monetary policy played any role in creating the housing bubble?

During the bubble, Fed officials argued they couldn't spot bubbles in advance, but that an aggressive monetary policy response could limit the downside impact if a bubble were to burst. As it turns out, the dislocation from the housing bust and the financial crisis have been far more costly than almost anyone imagined. Shouldn't that cause policy makers inside and outside of the Fed to ask hard questions as it pursues its unprecedented campaign of quantitative easing and zero rates?housing, it's remarkable how little attention has been devoted to exploring the costs of Fed policy.

A few critics of quantitative easing (QE) and the zero interest rate (ZIRP) have correctly pointed out that these policies weaken the dollar and thereby reduce the purchasing power of American paychecks. They increase the risk of future inflation, obscure the true cost of the unsustainable fiscal policy the federal government is running, and transfer wealth from savers to debtors.

But QE and ZIRP also reduce long-term economic growth by punishing savers, reducing saving and investment over the long run. They encourage the misallocation of resources that at a minimum is preventing the natural rebalancing of our economy and could sow the seeds of another painful boom-bust.

One intended effect of a loose monetary policy is a weaker dollar, which can help gross domestic product by boosting exports. But a weaker dollar also raises import prices (such as oil prices) for American consumers. For the average American family, this adverse impact has likely outweighed any positive impact from QE and ZIRP.

The cost of a weaker dollar for most people is not offset by temporarily higher stock prices for two reasons. First, most Americans don't own much stock. Second, stock prices are not going to be higher 10 years from now because of the Fed's policies, so the effect is to bring forward equity returns, not increase long-term returns.

Bob Jensen's threads on the pros and cons of the bailout as it evolved ---


The video is a anti-Bernanke musical performance by the Dean of Columbia Business School ---
Ben Bernanke (Chairman of the Federal Reserve and a great friend of big banks) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bernanke
R. Glenn Hubbard (Dean of the Columbia Business School) ---

"I Said It Before and I Still Believe It: There Are No Short Cuts," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, March 19, 2012 ---

Before I ever started this blog, I wrote a short little teaching book titled “Tips and Thoughts on Improving the Teaching Process in College--A Personal Diary.” I wanted to push myself to think about teaching and I wanted to encourage other folks to think about teaching. The book was a bit of work but it seemed like everyone would benefit. When finished, I put it up on web at https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~jhoyle/ and forgot about it. However, the book got a very nice review in The Chronicle of Higher Education and people started sending me questions or suggestions. For a while, I got emails from teachers around the world. What fun.

Eventually, I wanted to add to those original essays. I had more thoughts on teaching. Plus, I missed the writing. But, instead of starting a second book, I created this blog which has allowed me to stretch out the thinking and writing process indefinitely.

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a former student of mine who has gone on to get a Ph. D. and is now beginning her first tenure-track position. She recently joined the faculty of a major university. She told me that she had gone back to my original Teaching Tips book and that one essay in particular had been extremely meaningful to her as she began her career as a teacher. I was touched that she had consulted my writings as she started her teaching. So, I decided to reprint the essay that she said was helping her. So, JPD, this one is for you.

Continued in article


"FTC releases final privacy report, says ‘Do Not Track’ mechanism may be available by end of year," by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post, March 27, 2012 --- Click Here

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday outlined a framework for how companies should address consumer privacy, pledging that consumers will have “an easy to use and effective” “Do Not Track” option by the end of the year.

The FTC’s report comes a little over a month after the White House released a “privacy bill of rights” that called on companies to be more transparent about privacy and grant consumers greater access to their data but that stopped short of backing a do-not-track rule.

The FTC also said it plans to work with Web companies and advertisers to implement an industry-designed do-not-track technology so as to avoid a federal law that mandates it. The Digital Advertising Alliance, which represents 90 percent of all Web sites with advertising, is working with the Commerce Department and FTC to create an icon that would allow users an easy way to stop online tracking.

But the enforcement agency said that if the companies aren’t able to get the technology launched by the end of the year, lawmakers should force those companies to offer consumers a similar option to stop tracking.

“Although some companies have excellent privacy and data securities practices, industry as a whole must do better,” the FTC said.

In its report, the agency called on companies to obtain “affirmative express consent” from consumers before using data collected for a different purpose and encourage Congress to consider baseline privacy legislation and measures on data security and data brokers.

The FTC also reiterated its recommendations that Congress pass legislation to provide consumers with access to their personal data that is held by companies that compile data for marketing purposes.

The 73-page report focuses heavily on mobile data, noting that the “rapid growth of the mobile marketplace” has made it necessary for companies to put limits on data collection, use and disposal. According to a recent report from Nielsen, 43 percent of all U.S. mobile phone subscribers own a smartphone.

The commission called on companies to work to establish industry standards governing the use of mobile data, particularly for data that reveals a users’ location.

Commissioner Thomas Rosch dissented from the other commissioners in a 3-1 vote on the privacy report. Rosch said that while he agrees with much of what the agency released Monday, he disagrees with the commission’s approach to the framework, which focuses more on what consumers may deem “unfair” as opposed to actual deception perpetrated by companies.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on computer and networking security ---

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 30, 2012

Tax Breaks Exceed $1 Trillion: Report
by: John D. McKinnon
Mar 24, 2012
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Tax Laws, Tax Reform, Taxation

SUMMARY: The article reports on a "...new report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service [which] underscores how far-reaching..." are many of the most costly tax provisions in the U.S. tax code. As highlighted in the related video, these items are likely to become a focused issue in this election year. "House Republicans proposed in their new budget this week to reduce or eliminate an unspecified array of tax breaks in order to offset the costs of lowering top tax rates for both corporations and individuals to 25% from the current 35%." President Obama proposed reducing the top corporate tax rate only, from 35% to 28%, with corresponding proposals to eliminate certain corporate tax breaks, such as deductibility of the cost of corporate jets and tax treatment of foreign earnings.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article is useful to summarize the types of items considered to be "tax breaks," and the current, election-year proposals to simplify the U.S. tax code.

1. (Introductory) Who produced the report on which this article is based? How do you think the information was obtained?

2. (Introductory) Why is this report useful in considering ways to overhaul the U.S. tax code?

3. (Advanced) What kinds of items are characterized as "tax breaks" in the document on which this article reports?

4. (Advanced) Specifically describe the tax treatment of each of the items listed in the graphic entitled "Popular Provisions." Who benefits from each of these items?

5. (Advanced) Based on your answer to question 2, explain why "House Republicans dismissed the report's significance saying it only confirms that overhauling the tax code will be politically challenging."

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island


"Tax Breaks Exceed $1 Trillion: Report," by: John D. McKinnon, The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2012 ---

A congressional report detailing the value of major tax breaks shows they amount to more than $1 trillion a year—roughly the size of the annual federal budget deficit—and benefit wide swaths of the population.

The figures could be useful to lawmakers of both parties and President Barack Obama, who are looking for ways to shrink future deficits and offset the anticipated cost of overhauling the much-criticized U.S. tax code, an effort likely to include tax-rate cuts. Both parties are looking to trim or eliminate tax breaks to achieve those goals.

Mr. Obama has suggested eliminating breaks for corporate jets and oil and gas companies to reduce deficits. He also has raised the possibility of reducing tax breaks for U.S. multinationals that ship jobs overseas, as a way to offset the cost of lowering the corporate tax rate to 28% from the current 35%. Research Report


House Republicans proposed in their new budget this week to reduce or eliminate an unspecified array of tax breaks in order to offset the costs of lowering top tax rates for both corporations and individuals to 25% from the current 35%.

The new report, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, underscores how far-reaching many of the tax breaks are, which makes changing them a politically daunting task.

They include the exclusion from taxable income for employer-provided health insurance, the biggest break, at $164.2 billion a year in 2014; the exclusion for employer-provided pensions, the second-biggest, at $162.7 billion; and the exclusions for Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Other big breaks include the mortgage-interest deduction, third-largest; taxing capital-gains income at lower rates than other income; the earned-income credit for the working poor; and deductions for state and local taxes.

The report, citing political opposition, technical challenges and other reasons, said that "it may prove difficult to gain more than $100 billion to $150 billion in additional tax revenues" by eliminating tax breaks. That likely would leave little for reducing tax rates, perhaps only enough for one or two percentage points in the top individual rate, while maintaining the same level of revenue, the report said.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I'm suspicious that this greatly underestimates the so-called "tax breaks" by not mentioning exclusions from revenue. For example, hundreds of billions of interest  revenue from municipal bonds are excluded from taxable revenue (federal). Many types of life insurance payments are tax exempt. Clerics get some generous exemptions for housing allowances. And there are capital gains exemptions in Roth IRAs and scores of other exclusions.

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws

The SEC is doing a big favor for tort lawyers

The SEC prides itself on ensuring that U.S. markets are transparent, but in ruling out arbitration it has said no without any explanation. The matter deserves a fair hearing.
"The Alternative to Shareholder Class Actions:  The SEC blocks arbitration without any explanation," by Hal Scott and Leslie Silverman, The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2012 ---

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected attempts by the Carlyle Group, and proposals by stockholders of Pfizer and Gannett, to mandate arbitration rather than litigation in disputes between investors and management. The SEC gave no explanation for its action on Carlyle (related to an upcoming public offering), and it said opaquely the Pfizer and Gannett proposals might violate the securities laws.

Arbitration has opponents inside the agency, of course, and among plaintiffs lawyers. They claim stockholders will receive less for management wrongdoing, and that this will lead to less deterrence of such wrongdoing. But this argument ignores some important facts. And it does not address the problem identified by the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation—that securities class-action litigation may be the most burdensome feature of U.S. capital markets.

From 2000 through 2011, the total value of all U.S. securities class-action settlements was approximately $64.4 billion, according to NERA Economic Consulting. These settlements do little to accomplish the class action's traditional goals of compensation and deterrence.

Unlike mass tort litigation, securities class actions involve stockholders who are often both plaintiffs and investors in the defendant corporation. The suits are invariably settled before trial, generally for pennies on the dollar. Small investors recover so little they often do not bother to file for their money: 40%-60% of settlement funds generally go unclaimed, according to research prepared for the Committee on Capital Markets. Regardless, plaintiffs attorneys take up to 35% of the total settlement.

The lawsuits do little to deter wrongdoing. The stockholders funding a settlement generally have no knowledge of management misdeeds—they simply held the wrong stock at the wrong time. Managements—the actual wrongdoers and proper objects of deterrence—rarely pay a dime, as the corporation's directors' and officers' insurance picks up the settlement cost.

Real deterrence comes from whistleblowers and the media, whose reports of fraud send share prices plunging. Deterrence also comes from the strongest public-enforcement system in the world—administered by the Department of Justice, the SEC and the state officials.

Securities class actions undercut the competitiveness of the U.S. capital markets. Plaintiffs attorneys have demonstrated a clear tendency to target the largest public companies, and because insurance firms will not provide settlement coverage over a few hundred million dollars, public companies face substantial risk. Further, foreign corporations are reluctant to list and trade here, while private U.S. corporations have grown wary of going public.

In 2011, 7% of U.S. companies that did go public did so abroad. They were no doubt motivated in part by the litigiousness they can avoid under the Supreme Court's decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank (2010), which does not permit securities claims by private plaintiffs for shares purchased or sold on a foreign exchange. Historically, it was almost unheard of for American companies to go public outside the U.S.

It does not have to be this way. Companies and their stockholders have recently begun exploring mechanisms by which disputes must be settled in individual, private arbitration, taking advantage of the lower costs and quicker results such arbitration affords. They are following the national policy in favor of arbitration embodied in the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 and confirmed by the Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (2011), which struck down a California anti-arbitration law. Other important Supreme Court cases include Rodriguez de Quijas v. Shearson American Express (1989), which held that arbitration does not violate federal securities laws that prohibit waivers of substantive rights guaranteed by law, such as anti-fraud provisions.

Despite arbitration's endorsement by Congress and the Supreme Court, the SEC has rebuffed efforts to substitute arbitration for securities class actions. So in the recent cases cited above, investors—prospective, in the case of Carlyle, and existing, in the case of Pfizer and Gannett—were deprived of the opportunity to decide upon the dispute-resolution procedure they preferred.

The SEC prides itself on ensuring that U.S. markets are transparent, but in ruling out arbitration it has said no without any explanation. The matter deserves a fair hearing.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Mary Shapiro's SEC repeatedly brings down tiny and insignificant punishments on wrongdoers. My guess is that she fears arbitrators will be too tough on wrongdoers that have a lot of clout with her bosses in Congress.

From the Scout Report on March 26, 2012

Comunitee --- http://www.comunitee.com/ 

Did you ever want to share some commentary on the news with your friends quickly? Communitee can make this happen via a novel approach to the "social news network." After signing up for a free account, visitors can find other users in their respective "community." Visitors can select their preferred news sources and the short explanatory video on the homepage gives a nice introduction to the particulars of how things work. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

Shelfster --- http://shelfster.com/ 

If you like physical shelves for storing books, DVDs, and other items, you'll probably enjoy the digital equivalent for storing documents, photos and the like: Shelfster. This application can be used to capture just about anything from any medium, including photos, spreadsheets, charts, and documents. Users will find that Shelfster can be used to bookmark websites, save images from the web, clip and move text blocks, and also record audio (with a smartphone device). This version is compatible with all operating systems as well as iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Apple, the Media, and Working Conditions in China

After a tempest of controversy regarding a popular theater production, a retraction and conversation. Defending 'This American Life' and Its Mike Daisey Retraction

Daisey revises 'Steve Jobs' Monologue After Dispute Over Facts

Mike Daisey speaks out against media in Apple controversy

This American Life: Retraction

This American Life: Mr. Daisey And The Apple Factory

Mike Daisey --- http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/

From the Scout Report on March 30, 2012

BrandMyMail --- http://www.brandmymail.com/ 

Have you ever wanted to tweak the appearance of your Gmail account? This is now possible, courtesy of BrandMyMail. First-time users can watch the short video on the homepage to learn about the functionality of the program, gather some insights into how one might best utilize its primary features. Visitors can add social media links to their emails, create different layouts, and tweak the colors for individual expression and uniqueness. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

TextImages --- http://www.sttmedia.com/textimages 

Those persons who do their own website design will find TextImages most useful. Developed by Stefan Trost, this helpful tool allows users to integrate text written on images into their websites. Visitors can create single text images with this application, along with a wide range of pictures. Visitors also have the ability to precisely adjust the writing, design, format, style, colors, fonts, margins, and spacing as they see fit. The tool is particularly useful for those who want headings or other recurring text to look the same regardless of browser or available fonts. This version is compatible with Windows 7, XP, and Vista.



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

Education Tutorials


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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

NASA's Space Biology Outreach Program - Web of Life http://weboflife.nasa.gov/

NASA’s Stunning Tour of the Moon --- Click Here

Star Gazing from the International Space Station (and Free Astronomy Courses Online) --- Click Here

Pathways to Science --- http://www.pathwaystoscience.org/

Cyberlearning at Community Colleges: 21st Century Biology Education --- http://c3cyberlearning.ning.com/

Biological Evolution: Evolutionary Theory --- http://www.bioedonline.org/slides/slide01.cfm?tk=60

Biological Evolution: Evolutionary Theory --- http://www.bioedonline.org/slides/slide01.cfm?tk=60 Virtual Textbook of Organic Chemistry --- http://www.cem.msu.edu/~reusch/vtxtindex.htm

3D Organic Chemistry Animations --- 
3D Organic Chemistry Animations --- http://www.chemtube3d.com/ 


Pure and Applied Chemistry --- http://www.iupac.org/publications/pac/

The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science --- http://www.learner.org/resources/series209.html

NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) --- http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/

Northwest Association for Biomedical Research --- http://www.nwabr.org/

ARTStem --- http://www.artstem.org/

Digital Morphology (science and medicine) ---  http://www.digimorph.org/index.phtml

National Renewable Energy Laboratory --- http://www.nrel.gov/learning/

The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science

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

Advances in Psychology --- The Phobia Workshop ---

Richard Dawkins Rallies for Reason in Washington DC --- Click Here

New England Public Policy Center Working Papers (banking) ---  http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/neppc/wp/

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

History News Network --- http://hnn.us/

A Look Back at UNIVAC (computer history) --- http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/infographic_a_look_back_at_univac.php
This first computer (as we define computers today) was also the first computer to predict Eisenhower's election to the U.S. Presidency.

University of New Hampshire Library: Literature & Poetry --- Click Here

The Art and Science of Violin Making --- Click Here

AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials --- http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adviews

I Love Lucy: An American Legend --- http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/ilovelucy/Pages/default.aspx

Portland State University Digital Repository --- http://dr.archives.pdx.edu/xmlui/

Stones River Battlefield Historic Landscape Collection (Civil War)

Nelson Mandela Archive Goes Online (With Help From Google) --- Click Here

Photos: The 65th Anniversary of D-Day on the Normandy Beaches ---

Octavio Medellin: Works of Art and Artistic Processes ---  http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/all/cul/med/

The Croatian Museum of Naive Art (art history) --- http://www.hmnu.org/en/default.asp

James Joyce’s Ulysses: Download the Free Audio Book --- Click Here

Orson Welles’ Last Interview and Final Moments Captured on Film --- Click Here

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston --- http://mfah.org/

Gaugin and Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise (art history) --- http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/gauguin/

Aerial Photographs of Colorado --- https://www.cusys.edu/DigitalLibrary/aerials.html

John Pugh's Murals --- http://artofjohnpugh.com/default.asp

Picture Chicago --- http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/chicago/index.asp

Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s ---

Lincoln Park Architectural Photographs --- http://digicol.lib.depaul.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/lpnc1

Massachusetts Historical Society: Civil War --- http://www.masshist.org/online/civilwar/

Appalachian Voices --- http://appvoices.org/

19th Century Maps by Children --- http://www.davidrumsey.com/blog/2010/1/7/19th-century-maps-by-children

From the Scout Report on March 30, 2012

As the Tate Modern prepares to open a Damien Hirst retrospective,
critics and others offer comment
Damien Hirst retrospective: Is nothing sacred?

'Damien Hirst should not be in the Tate' says critic

Damien Hirsts are the sub-prime of the art world

Damien Hirst on death, drink and diamonds

Damien Hirst's Live Stream: Not So Very Lively

Damien Hirst

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

Ballet in Super Slow Motion (And More Culture Around the Web) --- Click Here

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

Music Tutorials

Accordion File (music history) --- http://chronicle.com/article/Accordion-File/131277/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

The Art and Science of Violin Making --- Click Here

Steve Martin on the Legendary Bluegrass Musician Earl Scruggs --- Click Here

Earl Scruggs Video Documentary ---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK_nqnoWl6o&feature=pyv&ad=3780036702&kw=earl scruggs banjo

Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin Play Dueling Banjos --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqd7mXvHupU
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icMTVV5Lwaw

Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt Playing Cripple Creek ---

The Alan Lomax Sound Archive Now Online: Features 17,000 Recordings --- Click Here

The Historic Landscape of Nevada: Development, Water, and the Natural Environment ---

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/

March 26, 2012

March 27, 2012

March 28, 2012

March 29, 2012

March 30, 2012

March 31, 2012

April 2, 2012

April 3, 2012

April 5, 2012

April 6, 2012

April 7, 2012

April 9, 2012


Metformin appeared to slow prostate cancer growth ---

Monty Python’s Away From it All: A Twisted Travelogue with John Cleese --- Click Here

Advances in Psychology --- The Phobia Workshop ---

I Love Lucy: An American Legend --- http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/ilovelucy/Pages/default.aspx

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

All I need to know
I learned from the Easter Bunny!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There's no such thing as too much candy.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.

Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.

The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.

To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

May the joy of the season fill your heart.


Happy Easter!



Forwarded by Paula
Bob Jensen did not check to see if some of them are urban legends.

Thought you knew everything?
Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

And 'lollipop' is the longest word typed with your right hand.
(Bet you tried this out mentally, didn't you?)

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

' Dreamt' is the only English word that ends in the letters 'mt'.
(Are you doubting this?)

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.

The sentence: 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' uses every letter of the alphabet.
(Now, you KNOW you're going to try this out for accuracy, right?)

The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).
(Yep, I knew you were going to 'do' this one.)

There are only four words in the English language which end in 'dous': tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
(You're not possibly doubting this, are you ?)

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: 'abstemious' and 'facetious.'
(Yes, admit it, you are going to say, a e i o u)

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
|(All you typists are going to test this out)

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds
(Some days that's about what my memory span is.)

A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second. A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes. A snail can sleep for three years.
(I know some people that could do this too!)

Almonds are a member of the peach family.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
(I know some people like that also . Actually I know A LOT of people like this!)

Babies are born without kneecaps They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite!

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.

The cruise liner, QE 2,

moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns. The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
(Good thing he did that.)

The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid .

There are more chickens than people in the world.

Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Now you know more than you did before!!

Forwarded by Jim

'Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.

She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.'



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/

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.

Accounting  and Taxation News Sites ---


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://listserv.aaahq.org/cgi-bin/wa.exe?HOME
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.

Over the years the AECM has become the worldwide forum for accounting educators on all issues of accountancy and accounting education, including debates on accounting standards, managerial accounting, careers, fraud, forensic accounting, auditing, doctoral programs, and critical debates on academic (accountics) research, publication, replication, and validity testing.


CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/  (Closed Down)
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
FEI's Financial Reporting Blog
Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2008/smart_stops.htm

Find news highlights from the SEC, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board on this financial reporting blog from Financial Executives International. The site, updated daily, compiles regulatory news, rulings and statements, comment letters on standards, and hot topics from the Web’s largest business and accounting publications and organizations. Look for continuing coverage of SOX requirements, fair value reporting and the Alternative Minimum Tax, plus emerging issues such as the subprime mortgage crisis, international convergence, and rules for tax return preparers.
The CAlCPA Tax Listserv

September 4, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@bonackers.com]
Scott has been a long-time contributor to the AECM listserv (he's a techie as well as a practicing CPA)

I found another listserve that is exceptional -

CalCPA maintains http://groups.yahoo.com/taxtalk/  and they let almost anyone join it.
Jim Counts, CPA is moderator.

There are several highly capable people that make frequent answers to tax questions posted there, and the answers are often in depth.


Scott forwarded the following message from Jim Counts

Yes you may mention info on your listserve about TaxTalk. As part of what you say please say [... any CPA or attorney or a member of the Calif Society of CPAs may join. It is possible to join without having a free Yahoo account but then they will not have access to the files and other items posted.

Once signed in on their Yahoo account go to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxTalk/ and I believe in top right corner is Join Group. Click on it and answer the few questions and in the comment box say you are a CPA or attorney, whichever you are and I will get the request to join.

Be aware that we run on the average 30 or move emails per day. I encourage people to set up a folder for just the emails from this listserve and then via a rule or filter send them to that folder instead of having them be in your inbox. Thus you can read them when you want and it will not fill up the inbox when you are looking for client emails etc.

We currently have about 830 CPAs and attorneys nationwide but mainly in California.... ]

Please encourage your members to join our listserve.

If any questions let me know.

Hemet, CA
Moderator TaxTalk





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

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

All my online pictures --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/


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