Tidbits on January 24, 2013
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I feature Set 1 of my favorite birch tree photographs


Tidbits on January 24, 2013
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/

The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy --- http://plato.stanford.edu/

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

International Space Station Tour --- http://www.wimp.com/orbitaltour/

You Are Here by Carl Sagan --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9TIeuBF9Ss 

Rocky Mountain Elk --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=BUOQ_yPW_0s

Cornell Launches Archive of 150,000 Bird Calls and Animal Sounds, with Recordings Going Back to 1929 --- Click Here

"A Tale of Four Tax Returns," NPR, January , 2013 --- http://video.pbs.org/video/2324404112
These are 2010 tax returns. The examples mention that the Earned Income Tax Credit allows some low and middle-income taxpayers not only avoid income taxes but receive cash refunds in excess of what was withheld from paychecks. The "Tale" seems reasonably well balanced except for its failure to mention how many low, middle, and high income taxpayers avoid taxes by participating in the underground economy ---
Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---
As I've mentioned repeatedly I'm in favor of eliminating lower rates on capital gains tax rates provided capital gains are indexed for inflation losses.


J. Howard Pyle Radio Broadcasts, 1944-1952 (Arizona, Geology) ---  http://repository.asu.edu/collections/139

Everything You Wanted to Know About Going to the Bathroom in Space But Were Afraid to Ask --- Click Here

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

Debussy Plays Debussy: The Great Composer’s Playing Returns to Life ---

Ravel Plays Ravel: The Haunting, Melancholy ‘Oiseaux Tristes,’ 1922 ---

Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff: Three Famous Pieces, 1919-1929 ---

Louis Armstrong and His All Stars Live in Belgium, 1959: The Full Show --- Click Here

Previously Unreleased Jimi Hendrix Recording, “Somewhere,” with Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills --- Click here

1950s Rock and Roll Nostalgia --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=sDc0ID6PJeg&feature=youtu.be

USS Arizona Memorial --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgE2KiPd3xg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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 (with commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on nearly all types of free music selections online ---

Photographs and Art

Watch as National Geographic Photographer Steve McCurry Shoots the Very Last Roll of Kodachrome --- Click Here

The ABC of Architects: An Animated Flipbook of Famous Architects and Their Best-Known Buildings --- Click Here

The Wonder, Thrill & Meaning of Seeing Earth from Space. Astronauts Reflect on The Big Blue Marble --- Click Here

The Becker Collection and First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection --- http://idesweb.bc.edu/becker/

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy (art history) ---

Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Portraits --- http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/caption/captionliljenquist.html

Wyman Meinzer's West Texas --- http://player.vimeo.com/video/22132017?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

The Steven Enich Serbian Orthodox Culture Slide Collection (photographs) ---

Down to Earth: Herblock and Photographers Observe the Environment --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on Texas pictures
Texas Wildflowers Set 1 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/Wildflowers/Texas/WildflowersTexas.htm
Texas Wildflowers Set 3 ---

Invisible-animals-These-Incredible-images-animals-doing-disappearing-act-predators-near.html  ---
file:///C:/Documents and Settings/rjensen/My Documents/My Web Sites/Jennings01.jpg

George Bellows (Art History, Paintings ---  http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/bellows

Tupper Scrapbook Collection (historic travel in Europe, Egypt, and Africa) ---

Trains and the Brits Who Love Them: Monty Python’s Michael Palin on Great Railway Journeys --- Click Here

Parks Canada --- http://www.pc.gc.ca/progs/np-pn/pr-sp/index_e.asp

The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project --- http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/countyatlas/searchmapframes.php

Los Angeles Public Library Photograph Collection --- http://photos.lapl.org/carlweb/jsp/photosearch_pageADV.jsp


Los Angeles City Archives, 1836-1872 --- http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15799coll88


From the Scout Report on January 11, 2013

EasyDrop --- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/easydrop/flogpfmjdekjoilcnmmchanikomlidie 

No doubt many Scout Report readers have enjoyed using Dropbox as a convenient way to store large files to share with colleagues, friends, and others. This handy Dropbox widget can be used with Google Chrome to access these files quickly. Visitors can use the program to download files from Dropbox, see recent changes, and also learn about updates of note. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP and newer.

Photo Raster 1.2 --- http://photoraster.com/ 

There are hundreds of free online photo editors available, and Photo Raster is one of the better ones. This application features dozens of filters, masks, layers, adjustments, selections, and paint tools. On the site, visitors can peruse a number of tutorials, check out their blog and learn about each of their features in detail. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and newer.

Can a new online art collection website change the nature of this volatile market?

Art market online: Out with the old, in with the new

Art.sy has permanently moved to Artsy.net

Artsy Press Release

Warhol Tops Picasso Sales, Richter Leading Living Artist

Art Market Bubble Dialogue


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

Listen to Robert Frost Read ‘The Gift Outright,’ the Poem He Recited from Memory at JFK’s Inauguration --- Click Here

Stony Brook Press (poetry, history, geography) --- http://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/1951/25510

Hannah Arendt’s Original Articles on “the Banality of Evil” in the New Yorker Archive --- Click Here

Broadside Verses Collection --- http://epfl.mdch.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/mdbv

Shmoop is an online study guide for English Literature, Poetry and American history --- http://www.shmoop.com/

"The Hazards of Inaugural Poetry," by Randy Malamud, Inside Higher Ed, January 22, 2013 ---


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 January 24, 2013

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

Bankers bet with their bank's capital, not their own. If the bet goes right, they get a huge bonus; if it misfires, that's the shareholders' problem.
Sebastian Mallaby. Council on Foreign Relations, as quoted by Avital Louria Hahn, "Missing:  How Poor Risk-Management Techniques Contributed to the Subprime Mess," CFO Magazine, March 2008, Page 53 --- http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/10755469/c_10788146?f=magazine_featured
Now that the Fed is going to bail out these crooks with taxpayer funds makes it all the worse.

PBS Frontline:  Why don't some of biggest fraudsters in history go to prison?
"The Untouchables," Frontline, January 22, 2013 ---
Thank you Dennis Huber for the heads up.

"Should Some Bankers Be Prosecuted?" by Jeff Madrick and Frank Partnoy, New York Review of Books, November 10, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Why White Collar Crime Pays Even If You Know You're Going to Get Caught ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Rotten to the Core ---

Jensen Comment
I highly respect this video, although it tends to not blame the major source of the fraud on Main Street --- that blame that falls on government for pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddy Mack to buy up millions of mortgages generated on Main Street without having any recourse to the banks and mortgages companies who knowingly granted mortgages without to borrowers who could never repay those loans. This was compounded by granting loas way in excess of collateral value such as when Fannie Mae had to buy a fraudulent loan of $103,000 on a shack that Marvene (a woman on welfare and food stamps) purchased for $3,000.
Barney's Rubble --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Sleaze

Caterpillar got burned to the tune of $580 million due to blatant accounting fraud
"Accounting Fraud Prompts $580 Million Write-Down at CAT," by Frank Byrt, AccountingWeb, January 23, 2013 ---

"The Internet, a Decade Later [infographic]," by Chelsey Kilzer, Daily Infographic, January 8, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Sort of boggles the mind of this old farm boy who once drove a team of draft horses. On that farm we did not even have a telephone ---

His 63% marginal tax rate is a disincentive to carry on as a professional golfer
"Mickelson plans 'drastic changes' in response to tax hikes," by Mike Walker, Sports Illustrated, January 20, 2013 ---
Thank you Paul Caron for the heads up

Jensen Comment
I think Phil needs to sit down for a long chat with Mitt Romney or outgoing Treasury Timothy Geithner ---

"Armstrong Becomes ‘Madoff on a Bike’ as Cheating Shatters Lives," By Mason Levinson, Bloomberg, January 21, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Mason Levinson phoned me twice before writing this article. He did not, however, quote any of my comments. One point that I made was that there are many similarities between the Madoff's Ponzi fraud and the Lance Armstrong's doping fraud. There is, however, one major difference. Lance Armstrong could've easily stopped doping at any time. He might have no longer won his races, but he may have gained enough respect from insiders such that his previous frauds would've remained a secret to the world forever. It seems that insiders just got fed up with his continued doping combined with his mean control over protecting his secrets.

Bernie Madoff, like all Ponzi schemers, reached a point of no return. All Ponzi fraudsters reach a point of no return --- that point where quitting means getting caught and facing both public embarrassments and real penalties for earlier crimes ---

Another type of fraud that reaches a point of no return is collections kiting ---

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud ---



How to Save Money (and Stress) When Moving  ---

Jensen Comment
Most of these suggestions are obvious, although some people may not think of the middle ground solution of packing yourself using moving van materials such as wardrobes for clothing. It's amazing how those wardrobes can be stuffed to where it strains two men to lift the cardboard wardrobe. I keep thinking that we should have reduced the nearly $40,000 we spent moving to New Hampshire from Texas even though we gave away so very many books, clothes, suitcases, and household items.

A lot of "precious items" in our San Antonio home are now junk items in our New Hampshire barn.

I was so worried that a 54-foot Mayflower Van would not hold all of our stuff that I shipped over 100 boxes via the U.S. Mail. Even then Mayflower had to build a 10-foot plywood extension on the back of the Van to handle overflow.

If you're moving from one university to another university as a faculty member, try to negotiate a moving expense allowance.

And don't forget the tax breaks you might get if you're relocating while being employed (not retired). Moving expense deductions can cover a whole lot more than what you pay to the moving van company ---

Ubiquitous computing --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitous_computing

Are you old enough to remember Dick Tracy's wrist watch?
Also see Alfred Gross --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_J._Gross

"Pebble: A Transitional Form of Wearable Computer:  The e-ink wristwatch is useful precisely because it DOESN’T try to be a full computer–just a screen," by John Pavlus, MIT's Technology Review, January 11, 2013 --- Click Here

"PC makers hope that new ways of interacting with computers will boost sales"  PC makers hope that new ways of interacting with computers will boost sales," by Tom Simonite. MIT's Technology Review, January 10, 2013 --- Click Here

"Touch Screens that Curve, Bend, and Even Touch Back:  New technology could let the screens on future devices wrap around corners, act like paper, and sense touch on the rear as well as the front," by Tom Simonite, MIT's Technology Review, January 11, 2013 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on ubiquitous computing ---

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets ---

"Ten Technology Trends to Watch in 2013:  Ten things nonprofits should consider as they develop their technology strategy in the new year," by Mark Tobias, Stanford Social Innovation Review , December 18, 2013 ---

"Women Challenge Male Philosophers to Make Room in Unfriendly Field," by Robin Wilson, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2013 ---

America's philosophy professors are having a party, the sort of gathering that has become an institution at the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association. In a ballroom on the lowest level of a sprawling downtown hotel here, clumps of men sit talking, laughing, and drinking beer at big, round tables.

The association calls the gathering a reception, but everyone here knows it as the "smoker," even though no one is allowed to smoke anymore. It caps the first day of sessions at the association's Eastern Division meeting and is not only an occasion for old friends and colleagues to catch up but also a time for young job candidates to talk informally with professors at campuses that have faculty openings.

The smoker is also notorious for making women uncomfortable. Tales abound of how, two decades ago, drunken male faculty members at the event chased young female job candidates and, more recently, of female junior professors getting propositioned by their senior colleagues there.

Some female philosophers who attended the association's meeting here late last month did not even give the reception a chance. They skipped it in favor of their own gathering over Domino's pizza and red wine. "We avoid it at all costs," said Shay Welch, an assistant professor of philosophy at Spelman College who held the "woman friendly" party at her home with a couple of dozen people. "It's almost like there is this tiny parallel universe women have created where women in philosophy hibernate."

The two gatherings in Atlanta are emblematic of what's happening in philosophy, where a small group of female professors is trying to shake up the field. The women want to broaden the discipline to embrace feminist ideas, raise the number of women in the faculty ranks, and put an end to sexist remarks and behavior.

But they have found the field more resistant to change than are many others in academe.

Most philosophy departments and conference meetings are still saturated with men. More than 80 percent of full-time faculty members in philosophy are male, compared with just 60 percent for the professoriate as a whole, according to 2003 data compiled by the U.S. Education Department, the latest available.

Women at the conference here didn't miss opportunities to observe how isolated they felt: One who waited in line at the hotel's Starbucks said she had counted 10 men in the line, plus her. The 16.6 percent of all full-time faculty members in philosophy who are female constitutes the lowest proportion of women in any of the humanities and is lower than the proportion of women in traditionally male fields like mathematics and computer science.

At the meeting in Atlanta, the association's Committee on the Status of Women sold black-and-white buttons that said: "Philosophy: Got Women?" A very explicit blog, "What is it like to be a woman in philosophy?," publishes horror stories by women describing sexual harassment and gender bias on their campuses and at scholarly meetings. A new petition, started by men, encourages senior male philosophers to refuse to speak at philosophy conferences that include few, if any, female presenters; it has about 1,000 signatures.

"There is a groundswell of movement right now," said Linda Martín Alcoff, a professor of philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York, who is president of the association's Eastern Division.

'Jerks in Philosophy'

Ms. Alcoff and other women say that despite the overwhelmingly male nature of their discipline, faculty members picked her as president in part because those who vote in the association's elections are more likely than others to endorse change, and because the association's nominating committee assembled a diverse slate of presidential candidates, including a black male and two feminist philosophers. "One of my goals is to increase diversity," Amy Ferrer, the association's new executive director, told The Chronicle.

She is hardly the first to try. The Society for Women in Philosophy has been promoting women's work in the field since 1972, and Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy was established in the mid-1980s. In November the philosophy association created a new Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Harassment to study the problem. The action came exactly 20 years after the organization first issued a statement condemning sexual harassment. While complaints of harassment may have dropped to a trickle in most academic fields, in philosophy the issue remains a major problem.

"Where else but in the U.S. military are women the targets of such regular abuse by their own close colleagues?" Ms. Alcoff wrote in a 2011 issue of the association's Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy.

While Ms. Alcoff said she doesn't like the way women have historically been treated at the smoker, she has not endorsed abandoning it, because all association meetings have social gatherings. But the harassment, she said, must stop.

Next fall the association's Committee on the Status of Women will begin visiting campuses to evaluate the treatment of women in philosophy departments and recommend changes.

Some prominent men in the field say sexual harassment is real. "There are some jerks in philosophy," said Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, a professor of philosophy at Duke University who sits on the association's Board of Officers and supports the committee to study sexual harassment. "I have seen people hitting on female philosophers where I thought they shouldn't."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Philosophy Departments now tend to have the lowest numbers of majors on campus:

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

... Here is how the numbers have changed from 1970/71 to 2003/04 (the last academic year with available figures):

English: from 7.6 percent of the majors to 3.9 percent
Foreign languages and literatures: from 2.5 percent to 1.3 percent
Philosophy and religious studies: from 0.9 percent to 0.7 percent
History: from 18.5 percent to 10.7 percent
Business: from 13.7 percent to 21.9 percent

In one generation, then, the numbers of those majoring in the humanities dropped from a total of 30 percent to a total of less than 16 percent; during that same generation, business majors climbed from 14 percent to 22 percent. Despite last year’s debacle on Wall Street, the humanities have not benefited; students are still wagering that business jobs will be there when the economy recovers.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Since philosophy graduates from undergraduate programs in the past often opted for Law Schools it can only hurt philosophy departments even worse with the decline in opportunities of law graduates ---

Some philosophy departments have experienced such declines in the numbers of majors that those departments are among the first departments in their humanities divisions to offer online degrees:
A Fully Online Philosophy Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
"Virtual Philosophy," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, May 17, 2012 ---

This begs the question of whether top Ph.D. candidates in general, men and women, are opting for disciplines other than philosophy such as medicine, science, education, and business.  It would be interesting to see research on whether one reason for the miniscule number of female philosophy professors is due in large measure to self selection of other Ph.D. program alternatives for women. Since female graduates on average have higher grade averages than men, it may well be that the proportion of female philosophy professors to male philosophy professors would soar if the student demand for undergraduates in philosophy soared across the USA,

Bob Jensen's threads on gender ---

"Women in Business School: Why So Few?" by Matt Symonds, Bloomberg Business Week, January 15, 2013 ---

"MBA Gender Pay Gap: An Industry Breakdown," by: Alison Damast, Bloomberg Business Week, January 7, 2013 ---

Ross School (University of Michigan) Nearly Erases MBA Gender Pay Gap -(for graduates) ---

At the University of Texas women MBAs beat out the men ---

Bob Jensen's threads on gender issues in higher education ---

"MILLIONS OF LESSONS LEARNED ON ELECTRONIC NAPKINS," by Rick Lillie, AAA Commons, January 2, 2013 ---
Most AAA Commons postings are only available to AAA members. However, this may be one of the freebies

Bob Jensen's threads on ubiquitous computing are at

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

"David Byrne’s Hand-Drawn Pencil Diagrams of the Human Condition," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, January 2013 ---

. . .

Social Information Flow

More than half a century after Vannevar Bush's timeless meditation on the value of connections in the knowledge economy, Byrne echoes Stanford's Robert Sapolsky and contributes a beautiful addition to history's finest definitions of science:

f you can draw a relationship, it can exist. The world keeps opening up, unfolding, and just when we expect it to be closed – to be a sealed sensible box – it shows us something completely surprising. In fact, the result and possibly unacknowledged aim of science may be to know how much it is that we don't know, rather than what we do think we know. What we think we know we probably aren't really sure of anyway. At least if can get a sense of what we don't know, we don't be guilty of the hubris of thinking we know any of it. Science's job is to map our ignorance.


. . .

Bob Jensen's threads on visualization are at

"Can Money Buy Happiness? The Science of Materialism, Animated,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, January 17, 2013 ---

January 20, 2013 message from Richard Sansing

This looks like an important book for anyone interested in educational achievement. Here is an excerpt from a book review in The Economist.

"But new research from a spate of economists, psychologists, neuroscientists and educators has found that the skills that see a student through college and beyond have less to do with smarts than with more ordinary personality traits, like an ability to stay focused and control impulses. The KIPP students who graduated from college were not the academic stars but the workhorses, the ones who plugged away at problems and resolved to do better."


Richard Sansing

"'Noncognitive' Measures: The Next Frontier in College Admissions:  Admissions offices want to know about traits, like leadership, initiative, and grit, that the SAT doesn't test," by Eric Hoover, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 14, 2013 ---

The handyman has a tool for everything, but the admissions dean is not so lucky: He must make do with just a few.

Every year, presidents and professors expect freshmen who are curious, determined, and hungry for challenges. The traditional metrics of merit, however, can't reveal such qualities. Standardized-test scores may or may not predict a given student's long-term potential. Grade-point averages present only a partial view of an applicant's talents and work habits. And so, some admissions officers say, it's time for a new set of tools.

Over the last decade, a handful of colleges have designed "noncognitive" assessments to measure attributes—like leadership and the ability to meet goals—that content-based tests do not. Succeeding in college often requires initiative and persistence, or what some researchers call "grit." Noncognitive measures are an attempt to gauge such qualities. If the SAT asks what a student has learned, these assessments try to get at how she learned it.

Long an afterthought in academe, alternative indicators of student potential have captured the interest of instructors, testing companies, and enrollment chiefs. As science unspools the secrets of how we learn, it inspires new approaches to assessment. The way most colleges have long evaluated applicants reflects beliefs about what counts most. If those beliefs evolve, it follows, so, too, should the admissions process.

Imagining a new system, however, is easier than building one. What should the 21st-century college consider? How much can noncognitive assessments—typically in the form of self-evaluations and short essays—really tell a college? And are they reliable?

Admissions officials plan to weigh those questions this week at a national conference sponsored by the University of Southern California's Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice. The conference, "Attributes That Matter: Beyond the Usual in College Admission and Success," will include experts in noncognitive aspects of learning, which represent the next frontier in holistic admissions.

Jerome A. Lucido, the center's executive director, predicts that new measures of student potential will eventually become fixtures in higher education, allowing admissions officers to conduct more-robust reviews of applicants, while giving colleges valuable data on those who enroll.

"We don't do enough work to understand why one student with a 3.5 GPA was successful and another one wasn't," he says. "We've ignored this realm because it was more difficult, less understood. Now we're at a point where noncognitive measures can take their place alongside other things."

What's in a Name?

For the last century, cognitive measures have ruled the educational roost. College-entrance tests were established as "hard" measures of knowledge and ability.

As David T. Conley explains in a forthcoming commentary piece in Education Week, researchers and psychometricians once paid relatively little attention to aspects of learning deemed noncognitive, the default term for "everything that was not grounded in or directly derived from rational thought." So educators saw a hierarchy, with cognitive skills on top and noncognitive attributes at the bottom.

Mr. Conley, a professor of education at the University of Oregon, is one of several researchers who hope to change that perception. The relationship between the what and how of learning, he argues, is less hierarchical and more symbiotic. Sure, he says, students use their brains when they recall how to solve a mathematics problem. Just as they did to achieve the difficult and frustrating task of learning the math formula in the first place.

"It's time to think about noncognitive dimensions of learning as forms of thinking in and of themselves," Mr. Conley writes.

To that end, he proposes replacing "noncognitive" with the term "metacognitive learning skills." A name change, he argues, could help legitimize the development of new assessments.

Neuroscience supports the idea that so-called cognitive and noncognitive attributes are, in fact, interwoven. The age-old distinction between mind and heart, brain and body, much research suggests, may not be a useful or even accurate way to think of ourselves. Language, reasoning, and other high-level cognitive skills taught in schools "do not function as rational, disembodied systems, somehow influenced by but detached from emotion and the body."

Those words appeared in a paper published in 2007 by the journal Mind, Brain, and Education and co-written by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an assistant professor of education at Southern California who is scheduled to speak at the conference. A neuroscientist and human-development psychologist, she has studied the neural roots of learning, creativity, and morality.

In the paper, "We Feel, Therefore We Learn: the Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education," Ms. Immordino-Yang and Antonio Damasio, a professor of neuroscience at the university, boil a complex discussion down to a simple conclusion: Logical-reasoning skills and factual knowledge are only so valuable on their own. Students also need an "emotional rudder"—an ability to transfer skills and knowledge to real-world situations—to succeed. "Simply having the knowledge," they wrote, "does not imply that a student will be able to use it advantageously."

If that's true, then colleges annually accrue an abundance of input variables that may have little bearing on the long-term outcomes their marketing materials and mission statements so often describe.

'Diamond in the Rough'

The notion that test scores and GPAs tell too little of an applicant's tale has long worried admissions officers. Even those who groan at reading a zillion personal statements and letters of recommendation insist that such documents can provide helpful insights, a glimpse behind all those numbers.

Although noncognitive assessments are supposed to do the same, there's no consensus on how best to get at students' intangible qualities. With no gold standard, researchers are dabbling in an array of approaches. The College Board has tested a standardized way to measure 12 qualities, such as artistic and cultural appreciation, and integrity. The Educational Testing Service has created the Personal Potential Index, an online system allowing evaluators to rate applicants in six categories, including communication skills and teamwork. A means of standardizing letters of recommendation, the index has caught on at some graduate schools and may have a future in undergraduate admissions.

For now, most noncognitive assessments are homegrown experiments, exciting yet challenging. Just ask Noah Buckley, director of admissions at Oregon State University.

In 2004 the university added to its application the Insight Résumé, six short-answer questions based on the research of William E. Sedlacek, a professor emeritus of education at the University of Maryland at College Park and pioneer of noncognitive assessment. One prompt asks applicants to describe how they overcame a challenge; another, to explain how they've developed knowledge in a given field.

The answers, scored on a 1-to-3 scale, inform admissions decisions in borderline cases, of applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA. "This gives us a way to say, 'Hey, this is a diamond in the rough,'" Mr. Buckley says. For students with GPAs of 3.75 or higher, the scores help determine scholarship eligibility.

The Insight Résumé is a work in progress, Mr. Buckley says. Reading 17,000 sets of essays requires a lot of time and training. Meanwhile, he believes the addition has helped Oregon State attract more-diverse applicants, but it's hard to know for sure. A recent analysis found that although the scores positively correlated with retention and graduation rates, they did not offer "substantive improvements in predictions" of students' success relative to other factors, especially high-school GPAs.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

On being stalked by a former student
''I Will Ruin Him'' How it feels to be stalked," by James Lasdun, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
I was never stalked by a former student. But a former student of mine who went on to earn a Ph.D. was stalked by one of her former students after she was a faculty member. That stalker was eventually barred from setting foot on campus by the university police. Life was still frightening for her.

"Boy, 9, becomes world’s youngest Microsoft certified specialist," Your Jewish News, January 19, 2013 ---

(Scroll down for video) While his friends were out playing games, this nine-year-old, was busy writing computer code.

Pranav Kalyan, who lives in California, became the world’s youngest person to pass the examination to become an authorised Microsoft technology specialist.

Now, the fourth grader, who is of Indian origin, has become the youngest Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist.

The previous record was held by a 12- year-old boy named Babar Iqbal, from Dubai, who also managed to pass the test.

"As a young child, Pranav was more fascinated by computers than toys. He began writing small software programs at six-years-old," his proud father, who hails from Tamil Nadu, India, said. Kalyan, was born in Madurai India, and moved to California with his family.

When he grows up, Kalyan wants to be a scientist. His love of mathematics and the challenge of solving complicated problems, helped him get to where he is today.

She did not understand laws and ethics about plagiarism until she got caught:  Promises to stop doing it
"School board: We're satisfied superintendent accused of plagiarism 'understands her mistake'," New Jersey Independent News, January 19, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Makes you wonder what she got away with during her years in school when she thought plagiarism was acceptable.

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at

"Teaching Generation Z," by Eliza Woolf  (pseudonym), Inside Higher Ed, January 16, 2013 ---

"We like it when there’s a movie we can watch, along with the assigned reading for the course; otherwise, how can we be sure that what we’re picturing in our mind is right? Or I guess you can just tell us. That would be even easier."

A freshman spoke these words to me earlier this semester during a rare office-hours visit. I say rare because so few of my undergraduate students bother to talk to me in person, unless the interaction occurs directly after class, as I’m packing up to leave. Although my office hours are listed on the syllabus, and I repeatedly dole out detailed how-to-find-me instructions in class, the vast majority of my students, whether freshmen or juniors and seniors, have absolutely no idea where my office is located.

Instead of dropping by to ask questions or discuss their progress in a course, most students at our large state university send urgent e-mails at 2 a.m. or minutes before class. Or not at all. I think they find interacting in person with another human, not to mention a human in a position of (relatively minimal) authority, both intimidating and awkward. Only pure desperation drives them to my office. I will step out to use the bathroom and find them wondering, zombie-like, around the department, trying in vain to find my "secret" lair.

And I’m not the only one. Although our building sits directly adjacent to the university’s student center and central library, departmental colleagues report receiving frantic student e-mails that sound something like this:

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/01/16/essay-teaching-students-who-seem-unengaged#ixzz2IEReonUT Inside Higher Ed

. . .

Do positive evaluations make me feel like all is right in the world after all? Honestly, no. So much work remains to be done. There are times, like the office visit I opened this piece with, when I realize that vital aspects of the creative process — A) the ability to analyze information and B) the ability to think independently — are missing from many of my students’ brains. Never has a young person told me, until now, that they dislike reading, not because it’s boring but because they fear the images conjured in their mind might be incorrect or misleading in some way. Have we entered Orwell’s 1984? Is vacuity the primary, lasting result of the No Child Left Behind Act, with its "revolutionary" motto: "every child can learn"?

All of this may sound overly harsh and, to be fair, there are plenty of engaged and thoughtful undergraduates out there attending state universities. A few of them are enrolled in my courses. But it seems to me that a disturbing tendency to zone out has become the norm among undergraduates. No wonder video games featuring zombie apocalypses are so popular.

Jensen Comment
Since Eliza Woolf  is a pseudonym I cannot find what some of her students are saying about her on www.RateMyProfessor. That is one way of identifying professors who get high ratings because they are easy graders. However, the real Eliza Woolf may well be one of those professors who can get high teaching evaluations without giving grades away.

More importantly I think she's saying that among the population of her former students she's detecting a difference between Generation Y versus Generation Z.

"Boston College Sees a Sharp Drop in Applications After Adding an Essay," by Eric Hoover, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2013 ---

Boston College saw a 26-percent decrease in applications this year, a drop officials largely attribute to a new essay requirement.

Last year the private Jesuit institution received a record 34,051 applications for 2,250 spots in its freshman class. This year approximately 25,000 students applied, and all of them had to do one thing their predecessors did not: write a supplemental essay, of up to 400 words, in response to one of four prompts.

Although some enrollment officials have nightmares about big one-year declines, John L. Mahoney, director of undergraduate admissions at Boston College, described the numbers as good news. After all, he said, the quality of this year's applicants—as measured by their ACT and SAT scores—did not go down, compared with last year. "Probably what we've done is right-size our applicant pool," he said.

In an era when many colleges are asking applicants to do less, some institutions have asked them to do more, purposely thinning the ranks of prospective students. If nothing else, Boston College's move reveals the slipperiness of application tallies, widely viewed as a meaningful metric. If the addition of one short essay can drain a quarter of a college's pool in one year, how much did those numbers say in the first place?

"The big question is, How many apps are enough?" Mr. Mahoney said. "It's diminishing returns."

For the last decade, selective colleges have operated according to their own laws of nature: Each year, applications rise, acceptance rates fall, and the trends seem as inevitable as gravity. In the competition for high-achieving students, bigger applicant pools have long been understood as better. And "more, more, more" is often the mantra of recruitment.

The boom has brought plenty of challenges, too. A deluge of applications has made the admissions process less predictable, for applicants and colleges alike. More students applying to more colleges means more questions about who's a serious applicant and who's not.

As Mr. Mahoney watched his applications swell by more than 50 percent over the last 10 years, he saw the college's yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who enroll—sink. In 2004, Boston College's yield was 32 percent. It fell to 23 percent in 2011, then rose to 25 percent last year.

Some of the forces that have long driven application increases were beyond any college's control. The long-term surge in high-school graduates. The rise in foreign applicants. The growth of Web-based communications.

Yet colleges do control the content of their applications, and how quickly a student can apply. The 'Why Not?' Applicant

Years ago, Boston College asked applicants to respond to a handful of essay prompts, including "Why Boston College?" Then, in 1998, the college joined the Common Application. After that, applicants were asked to write only the personal essay it required.

Recently, Mr. Mahoney and his staff discussed the potential benefits of adding an essay. They wanted more than they were getting from responses to the Common Application's prompts, something that might provide better insights into each applicant. "We wanted to identify students who were more serious, more thoughtful, and more deliberate about applying to BC," he said.

The admissions staff invited several students to participate in focus groups. They were asked if an additional essay would have deterred them from applying.

The consensus: no, because they had been serious about enrolling. In fact, some students recalled wishing that the college had required an essay allowing them to express themselves further—and to convey their interest in the college.

One of the new questions mentions St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, and asks how applicants plan to serve others in the future. Another quotes the author and historian David McCullough, who said during a recent commencement speech there that "facts alone are never enough." The question asks applicants to describe a time when they "had all the facts but missed the meaning."

The college's regular-decision application deadline was on January 6, and Mr. Mahoney expects the new questions to inform many discussions of applicants. It's too soon, he said, to say how a smaller pool might shape admissions decisions or enrollment outcomes (presumably, the college's yield will rise).

Mr. Mahoney describes the essay as an evaluative tool, as well as a means of suppressing frivolous applications. The overall decline—which included a 15-percent drop in early-action applicants—did not cost the college many of the most-competitive students, he has determined. "It seems that we've lost the 'Why Not?' applicant," he said. Less Is More

Ursinus College has sought to do the same thing. In 2005 the college, in Pennsylvania, embraced "fast track" applications, waiving both essay requirements and its $50 application fee. At the time, the strategy made sense, said Richard G. DiFeliciantonio, vice president for enrollment. After all, the college needed to increase its freshman class by about 100 students—the faster, the better.

In one year, applications doubled. Within a few years, Ursinus went from 1,700 applications to more than 6,000. Yet Mr. DiFeliciantonio saw a problem: The yield rate plunged below 15 percent. Fast-rising applications had filled his funnel with thousands of applicants who would never come. He had to hire additional staff members to help process a wave of dead-end documents. "If you think about it in terms of efficiency, it didn't make much sense," he said.

A couple of years ago, Ursinus, having enlarged its freshman class, ditched fast-track applications. It started requiring students to submit teacher recommendations and a graded writing sample. "We erected a significant hurdle," Mr. DiFeliciantonio said.

Applications fell, from 6,000 to 4,500 to 3,500, before rising again, to about 4,000 (for a class of 450). Mr. DiFeliciantonio insists that the quality of enrolling students has not changed, even though the college's acceptance rate has risen again. "You can start to kid yourself when you look at these app numbers," he said. "You look more selective, but a lot of it's not real."

Continued in article

"Accountant pleads guilty to stealing $432,000 from employer, using it to build lake house," by Ed Stych, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, January 16, 2013 ---

An accountant pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $432,000 from his employer and using the money to build a lake house, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Ronald Leo Schaeffer, 39, of Faribault, faces up to 30 years in prison at a future sentencing hearing, the government said.

The government said Schaeffer wrote 127 false checks to himself while working as an accountant for Environmental Tillage Systems Inc. from August 2008 to April 2012. The amounts on the checks ranged from $400 to $12,000, the government said.

Schaeffer allegedly forged the signatures of the agricultural manufacturing company's CEO or chief financial officer on some of the checks, prosecutors said.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
How can an accountant fail to realize that detection is inevitable in these types of accounting fraud? You might be able to fool the IRS for a lifetime, but certainly your employer is going to detect check forgeries unless the employer is not of sound mind.

I wonder if Mr. Schaeffer reported these 127 false checks on his IRS 1040. Oops!

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

What is one of the most regressive taxes in the United States?

"The Al Bundy Tax Rule: New Hampshire Governor Pledges to Veto Beer Tax," by Joseph Henchman, Tax Foundation, January 16, 2013 --- Click Here

New Hampshire Rep. Charles Weed (D), newly in the majority, has introduced a bill to raise the state's beer tax from 30 cents per gallon to 40 cents per gallon. That brought a swift veto promise from Gov. Maggie Hassan (D): "I want to let the people of New Hampshire know I oppose increasing the beer tax and I will veto it if it gets to my desk."

Beer taxes are incredibly unpopular. My rule of thumb is that the more a tax hits most people, the more unpopular it is, and that's why beer taxes remain low and most politicians don't dare raise them. The last tax that will be raised in any state is the beer tax. Call it The Al Bundy Tax Rule:

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
New Hampshire has no sales tax with certain exceptions such as for restaurant meals, motels, and hotels. Until I read the above article I was not even aware of a NH beer tax. NH makes a lot of money on liquor, but that's because the State owns and operates all of the liquor stores. Liquor is priced much lower than in surrounding states, which is why some interstate exits only lead to NH liquor stores on I-95 and I -93.

If you plan your trip up to New Hampshire via I-91.you might think twice since I-91 mostly runs through Vermont where liquor is not so cheap.

In addition to liquor, New Hampshire makes a lot of money with big ticket item sales to non-residents. All NH border towns have lots of tire stores, Wal-Mart Stores, building supply stores, computer stores (e.g., Apple), and malls. Hotel chains like Hampton Inns and Comfort Inns locate within walking distance to a Wal-Mart. Cars from Vermont generally are towing trailers to haul back cases of beer, air conditioners, boots, coats, HDTV sets, etc.

The biggest sigh of relief about the NH Governor's veto of an added beer tax probably is sounding in Canada, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

A Bad Penny Always Returns

From the CFO Morning Ledger on January 15, 2013

Ex-Enron CFO to speak at fraud conference. Former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow is back on the radar. The Going Concern blog’s Caleb Newquist notes that Fastow will be one of the keynote speakers at the ACFE’s annual conference in Las Vegas later this year. He won’t be getting paid for his appearance, though. The ACFE notes that it “does not compensate convicted fraudsters.”

Among other things, Andy lined his own pockets by creating over 3,000 phony Special Purpose Entities (SPEs) with the assistance of Andersen's partner in charge of the Enron Audit, David Duncan

How much did Andy steal from his employer (Enron)?

See the answer to Question 17 at
Hint:  Think in terms of tens of millions of dollars.

Bob Jensen's threads on the felon CFO nobody liked in Enron, including CEO Jeff Skilling ---

"Selling Banana Slicers (and More!) With Gag Reviews," by Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Business Week, January 15, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
My first reaction was that a similar gag review ploy might be attempted for obscure accounting articles and books.

Then I had second thoughts about how academic accounting articles are generally confronted by humorless promotion and tenure committees. So much for gag reviews that for good reason would not be kind to authors seeking advancement in our Academy.

What sells to the public does not always sell to humorless professors and university administrators. For example, lingerie attracts millions of viewers to Lady Gaga's blog. This same ploy would by dysfunctional for granting university tenure to Lady Gaga.

We do see a bit of this (gags) in the Freakonomics blog where there is sometimes humor in big databases and mining thereof.

Some great tips on preparing multiple choice examinations
"Multiple Choice Exam Theory (Just In Time For The New Term)," by Jonathan Sterne, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2013 ---

[This is a guest post by Jonathan Sterne, an associate professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. His latest books are MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke University Press) and The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge). Find him online at http://sterneworks.org and follow him on Twitter @jonathansterne.--@JBJ]

Every summer, before I assemble my fall courses, I read a book on pedagogy. Last summer’s choice is Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It (except I read it in the spring). Those who are familiar with critiques of mainstream educational practice will find many familiar arguments, but Now You See It crucially connects them with US educational policy. The book also challenges teachers who did not grow up online to think about what difference it makes that their students did. In particular, Davidson skewers pieties about attention, mastery, testing and evaluation.

The one part of the book I couldn’t make my peace with was her critique of multiple choice testing. I agree in principle with everything she says, but what can you do in large lecture situations, where many of the small class principles—like the ones she put into practice for This Is Your Brain on the Internet—won’t work simply because of the scale of the operation?

When I asked her about it, we talked about multiple choice approaches that might work. Clickers are currently popular in one corner of pedagogical theory for large lectures. Like many schools, McGill promotes them as a kind of participation (which is roughly at the level of voting on American Idol – except as Henry Jenkins shows, there’s a lot more affect invested there). I dislike clickers because they eliminate even more spontaneity from the humanities classroom than slideware already does.  I prefer in-class exercises built around techniques like think-write-pair-share.

Multiple-Choice Testing for Comprehension, Not Recognition

I’ve got another system I want to share here, which is admittedly imperfect. Indeed, I brought it up because I was hoping Cathy knew a better solution for big classes. She didn’t, so I’m posting it here because it’s the best thing I currently know of.

It’s based on testing theory I read many years ago, and it seems to work in my large-lecture introduction to Communication Studies course.  It is a multiple choice system that tests for comprehension, rather than recognition.  As Derek Bruff explained in a 2010 ProfHacker post, multiple-choice works best when it operates at the conceptual level, rather than at the level of regurgitating facts. This works perfectly for me, since Intro to Communication Studies at McGill is largely concept-driven.

A couple caveats are in order here: 1) students generally don’t like it. It looks like other multiple choice tests but it’s not, so skills that were well developed in years of standardized testing are rendered irrelevant. 2) multiple choice is only one axis of evaluation for the course, and as with Bruff’s final, multiple-choice makes up only part of the exam, with the other part being free-written short answers. Students must write and synthesize, and they are subject to pop quizzes, which they also dislike (except for a small subset that realizes a side-effect is they keep up with readings). On the syllabus, I am completely clear about which evaluation methods are coercive (those I use to make them keep up with the reading and material) and which are creative (where they must analyze, synthesize and make ideas their own).

So, here’s my multiple choice final exam formula.

Step 1: Make it semi-open book. Each student is allowed to bring in a single sheet of 8.5″ x 11” paper, double sided, single-layered (don’t ask). On that sheet, they can write anything they want, so long as it’s in their own handwriting. They must submit the sheet with the exam.

The advantage of this method is it allows students to write down anything they have trouble memorizing, but it forces them to study and synthesize before they get to the moment of the test.  Even if they copy someone else, they still have to expend all that energy writing down the information.  And most students turn in very original, very intricate study guides.

Step 2: Eliminate recognition as a factor in the test.

Most multiple choice questions rely on recognition as the path to the right answer. You get a question stem, and then four or five answers, one of which will be right. Often, the right answer is something the student will recognize from the reading, while the wrong answers aren’t.

But recognition isn’t the kind of thinking we want to test for. We want to test if the student understands the reading.

The answer to this problem is simple: spend more time writing the wrong answers.

Pretty much all my multiple choice exam questions take this form:

Question stem.
–> Right answer
–> True statement from the same reading or a related reading, but that does not correctly answer the question
–> Argument or position author rehearsed and dismissed; or that appears in another reading that contradicts the right answer.

From here, you’re basically set, though I often add a 4th option that is “the common sense” answer (since people bring a lot of preconceptions to media studies), or I take the opportunity to crack a joke.

Step 3: Give the students practice questions, and explain the system to them. I hide nothing. I tell them how I write the questions, why I write them the way I do, and what I expect of them. I even have them talk about what to write on their sheets of paper.  I use my university’s online courseware, which as Jason Jones explained in a 2010 ProfHacker post, takes the practice quiz out of class time, and lets students have multiple cracks at it as they get ready for the exam.

A few other guidelines:

Step 4 (optional): For the first time in 2012, I had students try to write questions themselves. Over the course of about 10 weeks, I had groups of 18 students write up and post questions on the discussion board (that follow the rules above) that pertained to readings or lectures from their assigned week. A large number of them were pretty good, so I edited them and added them to my question bank for the final exam. So for fall 2012, my COMS 210 students wrote about half the questions they were likely to encounter on the final. If they were exceptionally lucky, their own question might wind up on their own exam (we used 4 different forms for the final).

Here are links to my syllabus and to a copy of the write your own multiple choice assignment (with the names removed).


  1. This is an imperfect system, but it’s the best I’ve found that combines an economy of labor, vigorous testing, analytical thinking (rather than recognition) and expansiveness—the students need to engage with all of the readings. It is certainly not, as Cathy says, a “boss task” – that’s the term paper.
  2. McGill undergraduates are generally very strong students.  This format, or the optional assignment, may be less appropriate for undergrad populations who don’t arrive at university “already very good at school.”
  3. The optional assignment was definitely more work than just writing new questions myself.  And not all the students will appreciate it (or that fact–though I only got one complaint out of 187 students).  It did seem to reduce test anxiety among the students I talked with, though, which is always a good thing.

I think a lot about large-lecture pedagogy and I’d be delighted to hear from other profs—in any university field—who teach big classes and who find ways to nurture student learning and intense evaluation in an environment structured by limited resources and large numbers.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at

"Finance Professor Ulrike Malmendier Receives 2013 Fischer Black Prize," Haas School Newsroom (UC Berkeley), January 7, 2013 ---
Thank you Jim Mahar for the heads up. This year Jim has five preps teaching finance at St. Bonaventure University.

"Should You Store Batteries in the Freezer?" by Lee Falin, Everyday Einstein, January 11, 2013 ---

. . .

It turns out to be true that putting batteries in colder temperatures can slow the self-discharge rate of their cells, however just how effective this is depends on the type of battery. Modern alkaline batteries have such a low self-discharge rate that storing them in the freezer is nearly ineffective. Lithium batteries (both standard and rechargeable) are even better.

On the other hand, rechargeable nickel cadmium (NiCd) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have really high self-discharge rates that are drastically reduced by storing them in colder temperatures.

However, most battery manufacturers recommend against storing batteries in the freezer or refrigerator for several reasons.

First, excess moisture can significantly degrade battery life by causing corrosion around the anode and cathode contacts.

In addition, the extreme cold temperatures can cause seals in the battery to rupture, which greatly reduces battery performance.

Finally, a cold battery has to be at room temperature before it can operate at maximum performance.

So it turns out that as usual, my wife’s intuition was correct. My family has been shortening the life of their batteries for years all because we didn’t understand the science behind batteries. Hopefully this episode will save your family from a similar fate. Now please excuse me while I go and take the batteries out of my freezer and put them in a drawer where they belong.


"California Will Announce Big Online Push," Inside Higher Ed, January 15, 2013 ---

California officials will today announce a program in which San Jose State University and Udacity, a provider of massive open online courses, to create online courses in remedial algebra, college-level algebra, and introductory statistics, The New York Times reported. The courses will be offered to San Jose State and community college students. In the pilot stage, only 300 students will be enrolled, but the effort is seen as a way to potentially reach large numbers of students in a state where many public colleges and universities don't have room for eligible students.

"California State U. Will Experiment With Offering Credit for MOOCs," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2013 ---

"Georgia State U. to Grant Course Credit for MOOCs," by Jake New, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2013 ---

"Lessons learned from wrestling with (taking a course on R computer software) a MOOC, by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 15, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, and MITx from prestigious universities ---

Stanford Makes Open Source Platform, Class2Go, Available to All; Launches MOOC on Platform on January 15. 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, and MITx are at

"Coursera Announces Details for Selling Certificates and Verifying Identities," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2013 ---

"eCornell Offers a MOOC That Steers Students to a Paid Follow-Up," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 8, 2013 ---

"Texas MOOCs for Credit?" by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, October 16, 2012 ---

"Elite Online Courses for Cash and Credit," by Steve Kolowich , Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2012 ---

Free Online Certificate Courses & MOOCs from Great Universities: A Complete List ---

65 MOOC Certificate Courses starting in January 2013 ---

Videos from the company that developed Camtasia for the PC and the Mac
Revolutionary Ideas in Learning:  News, stories, and training from TechSmith ---

Teaching Channel --- https://www.teachingchannel.org/

Michael Sandel’s Famous Harvard Course on Justice Now Available as a MOOC (free) --- Click Here

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/ 

Free online courses (some for credit) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Other online course and degree alternatives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

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

"Rethink Robotics invented a $22,000 humanoid (i.e. trainable) robot that competes with low-wage workers," by Antonio Regalado, MIT's Technology Review, January 16, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
What companies are having trouble deciding is whether to buy RobotCare insurance or whether to force Baxter to buy his own RobotCare insurance.

"The End of Labor: How to Protect Workers From the Rise of Robots," by Noah Smith, The Atlantic, January 14. 2013 ---

. . .

Now of course this is an extreme measure, for an extreme hypothetical case. It may turn out that the "rise of the robots" ends up augmenting human labor instead of replacing it. It may be that technology never exceeds our mental capacity. It may be that the fall in labor's income share has really been due to the great Chinese Labor Dump, and not to robots after all, and that labor will make a comeback as soon as China catches up to the West.

But if not - if the age of mass human labor is about to permanently end - then we need to think fast. Extreme inequality may be "efficient" in the Econ 101 sense, but in the real world it always leads to disaster.

Is Technological Inequality Exacerbating Income Inequality?

"The Smartphone Have-Nots," by Adam Davidson, The New York Times, January 16, 2013 ---

Earlier this month, Larry Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute, stood at a lectern in a small hotel conference room in San Diego and fiddled with a computer until his PowerPoint presentation flashed on the screen. Mishel then composed himself, paid tribute to his intellectual opponent sitting in the front row and began a speech that, he hopes, will reorient the U.S. economy away from the 1 percent or the 0.1 percent and toward the rest of us.

¶ Mishel’s session at this year’s meeting of the American Economic Association, titled “Inequality in America,” tellingly coincided with other sessions called “Extreme Wage Inequality” and “Taxes, Transfers and Inequality.” As the financial crisis wanes, economists are shifting their attention toward a more subtle, possibly more upsetting crisis in the United States: the significant increase in income inequality.

¶ Much of what we consider the American way of life is rooted in the period of remarkably broad, shared economic growth, from around 1900 to about 1978. Back then, each generation of Americans did better than the one that preceded it. Even those who lived through the Depression made up what was lost. By the 1950s, America had entered an era that economists call the Great Compression, in which workers — through unions and Social Security, among other factors — captured a solid share of the economy’s growth.

¶ These days, there’s a lot of disagreement about what actually happened during these years. Was it a golden age in which the U.S. government guided an economy toward fairness? Or was it a period defined by high taxes (until the early ’60s, the top marginal tax rate was 90 percent) and bureaucratic meddling? Either way, the Great Compression gave way to a Great Divergence. Since 1979, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the bottom 80 percent of American families had their share of the country’s income fall, while the top 20 percent had modest gains. Of course, the top 1 percent — and, more so, the top 0.1 percent — has seen income rise stratospherically. That tiny elite takes in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income and controls nearly half its wealth.

¶ The standard explanation of this unhinging, repeated in graduate-school classrooms and in advice to politicians, is technological change. The rise of networked laptops and smartphones and their countless iterations and spawn have helped highly educated professionals create more and more value just as they have created barriers to entry and rendered irrelevant millions of less-educated workers, in places like factory production lines and typing pools. This explanation, known as skill-biased technical change, is so common that economists just call it S.B.T.C. They use it to explain why everyone from the extremely rich to the just-kind-of rich are doing so much better than everyone else.

¶ For two decades, Mishel has been a critic of the S.B.T.C. theory, and that morning in San Diego, he argued that broad technological innovation has been taking place so steadily for so long that the rise of computers simply can’t explain the recent explosion in inequality. After all, when economists talk about technological innovation, they are thinking beyond smartphones; they’re usually considering innovations that affect production. Business innovations — like the railroads, telegraph, Henry Ford’s conveyor belt and the plastic extruders of the 1960s — have occurred for more than a century. Computers and the Internet, Mishel argued, are just new examples on the continuum and cannot explain a development like extreme inequality, which is so recent. So what happened?

¶ The change came around 1978, Mishel said, when politicians from both parties began to think of America as a nation of consumers, not of workers. President Jimmy Carter deregulated the airline, trucking and railroad industries in order to help lower consumer prices. Congress chose to ignore organized labor’s call for laws strengthening union protections. Ever since, Mishel said, each administration and Congress have made choices — expanding trade, deregulating finance and weakening welfare — that helped the rich and hurt everyone else. Inequality didn’t just happen, Mishel argued. The government created it.

¶ After Mishel finished his presentation, David Autor, one of the country’s most celebrated labor economists, took the stage, fumbled for his own PowerPoint presentation and then explained that there was plenty of evidence showing that technological change explained a great deal about the rise of income inequality. Computers, Autor says, are fundamentally different. Conveyor belts and massive steel furnaces made blue-collar workers comparatively wealthier and hurt more highly skilled crafts­people, like blacksmiths and master carpenters, whose talents were disrupted by mass production. The computer revolution, however, displaced millions of workers from clerical and production occupations, forcing them to compete in lower-paying jobs in the retail, fast-food and home health sectors. Meanwhile, computers and the Internet disproportionately helped people like doctors, engineers and bankers in information-intensive jobs. Inequality was merely a side effect of the digital revolution, Autor said; it didn’t begin and end in Washington.

¶ For all their disagreements, Autor and Mishel are allies of sorts. Both are Democrats who have advised President Barack Obama, and both agree that rampant inequality can undermine democracy and economic growth by fostering despair among workers and corruption among the wealthy. This places them in opposition to some right-leaning economists like Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize-winning professor at the University of Chicago, who told me a few years ago that “inequality in earnings has been mainly the good kind,” meaning it rewards those people with the education and skills most needed, helping the economy.

¶ How are we to make sense of these competing claims? I asked Frank Levy, the M.I.T. labor economist who hasn’t fully committed to any one particular view. Levy suggested seeing how inequality has played out in other countries. In Germany, the average worker might make less than an American, but the government has established an impressive apprenticeship system to keep blue-collar workers’ skills competitive. For decades, the Finnish government has offered free education all the way through college. It may have led to high taxes, but many believe it also turned a fairly poor fishing economy into a high-income, technological nation. On the other hand, Greece, Spain and Portugal have so thoroughly protected their workers that they are increasingly unable to compete in the global economy.

Continued in article

"Rethink Robotics invented a $22,000 humanoid (i.e. trainable) robot that competes with low-wage workers," by Antonio Regalado, MIT's Technology Review, January 16, 2013 --- Click Here

"Rise of the Robots," by Paul Krugman, The New York Times, December 8, 2012 ---

Catherine Rampell and Nick Wingfield write about the growing evidence for “reshoring” of manufacturing to the United States. They cite several reasons: rising wages in Asia; lower energy costs here; higher transportation costs. In a followup piece, however, Rampell cites another factor: robots.

The most valuable part of each computer, a motherboard loaded with microprocessors and memory, is already largely made with robots, according to my colleague Quentin Hardy. People do things like fitting in batteries and snapping on screens.

As more robots are built, largely by other robots, “assembly can be done here as well as anywhere else,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst based in San Jose, Calif., who has been following the computer electronics industry for a quarter-century. “That will replace most of the workers, though you will need a few people to manage the robots.”

Robots mean that labor costs don’t matter much, so you might as well locate in advanced countries with large markets and good infrastructure (which may soon not include us, but that’s another issue). On the other hand, it’s not good news for workers!

This is an old concern in economics; it’s “capital-biased technological change”, which tends to shift the distribution of income away from workers to the owners of capital.

Twenty years ago, when I was writing about globalization and inequality, capital bias didn’t look like a big issue; the major changes in income distribution had been among workers (when you include hedge fund managers and CEOs among the workers), rather than between labor and capital. So the academic literature focused almost exclusively on “skill bias”, supposedly explaining the rising college premium.

But the college premium hasn’t risen for a while. What has happened, on the other hand, is a notable shift in income away from labor:.

"Harley Goes Lean to Build Hogs," by James R. Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2012 ---

If the global economy slips into a deep slump, American manufacturers including motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. that have embraced flexible production face less risk of veering into a ditch.

Until recently, the company's sprawling factory here had a lack of automation that made it an industrial museum. Now, production that once was scattered among 41 buildings is consolidated into one brightly lighted facility where robots do more heavy lifting. The number of hourly workers, about 1,000, is half the level of three years ago and more than 100 of those workers are "casual" employees who come and go as needed.

All the jobs are not going to Asia, They're going to Hal --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Space_Oddessey
"When Machines Do Your Job: Researcher Andrew McAfee says advances in computing and artificial intelligence could create a more unequal society," by Antonio Regalado, MIT's Technology Review, July 11, 2012 ---

Are American workers losing their jobs to machines?

That was the question posed by Race Against the Machine, an influential e-book published last October by MIT business school researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. The pair looked at troubling U.S. employment numbers—which have declined since the recession of 2008-2009 even as economic output has risen—and concluded that computer technology was partly to blame.

Advances in hardware and software mean it's possible to automate more white-collar jobs, and to do so more quickly than in the past. Think of the airline staffers whose job checking in passengers has been taken by self-service kiosks. While more productivity is a positive, wealth is becoming more concentrated, and more middle-class workers are getting left behind.

What does it mean to have "technological unemployment" even amidst apparent digital plenty? Technology Review spoke to McAfee at the Center for Digital Business, part of the MIT Sloan School of Management, where as principal research scientist he studies new employment trends and definitions of the workplace.

Every symphony in the world incurs an operating deficit
"Financial Leadership Required to Fight Symphony Orchestra ‘Cost Disease’," by Stanford University's Robert J Flanagan, Stanford Graduate School of Business, February 8, 2012 ---

 What if you sat down in the concert hall one evening to hear Haydn’s Symphony No. 44 in E Minor and found 5 robots scattered among the human musicians? To get multiple audiences in and out of the concert hall faster, the human musicians and robots are playing the composition in double time.

Today’s orchestras have yet to go down this road. However, their traditional ways of doing business, as economist Robert J. Flanagan explains in his new book on symphony orchestra finances, locks them into limited opportunities for productivity growth and ensures that costs keep rising.

"Patented Book Writing System Creates, Sells Hundreds Of Thousands Of Books On Amazon," by David J. Hull, Security Hub, December 13, 2012 ---

Philip M. Parker, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD Business School, has had a side project for over 10 years. He’s created a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes. The patented algorithm has so far generated hundreds of thousands of books. In fact, Amazon lists over 100,000 books attributed to Parker, and over 700,000 works listed for his company, ICON Group International, Inc. This doesn’t include the private works, such as internal reports, created for companies or licensing of the system itself through a separate entity called EdgeMaven Media.

Parker is not so much an author as a compiler, but the end result is the same: boatloads of written works.

"Raytheon's Missiles Are Now Made by Robots," by Ashlee Vance, Bloomberg Business Week, December 11, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Historically, graduates who could not find jobs enlisted in the military. Wars of the future, however, will be fought largely by drones, robots, orbiting orbiting satellites. This begs the question of where graduates who cannot find work are going to turn to when the military enlistment offices shut down and Amazon's warehouse robotics replace Wal-Mart in-store workers.

If given a choice, I'm not certain I would want to be born again in the 21st Century.

The Sad State of Economic Theory and Research ---

"Record Taxpayer Cost Is Seen for Crop Insurance," by Ron Nixon, The New York Times, January 16, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Corporate megafarms have it pretty good in the USA. Taxpayers subsidize their profits while, at the same time, also bear the risk of their crop failures. The above article also shows how the crop insurance is a windfall for private sector insurers. If climate change persists with drought disasters it can only get worse for taxpayers. Oops I forgot, the government will simply print new money to pay off the megafarm corporations.

Oops I forgot, the government will simply print new money to pay off the megafarm corporations. Who cares if it rains or shines?

US News:  Colleges Falsifying Reported Data to Obtain Higher Media Rankings: Who, How, and Why
"FAQs on Recent Data Misreporting by Colleges," by Robert Morse, US News, January 10, 2013

"Law Deans in Jail," by Morgan Cloud and George B. Shepherd, SSRN, February 24, 2012 ---

A most unlikely collection of suspects - law schools, their deans, U.S. News & World Report and its employees - may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News' ranking of law schools. The possible federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents' crimes.

Some law schools and their deans submitted false information about the schools' expenditures and their students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. Others submitted information that may have been literally true but was misleading. Examples include misleading statistics about recent graduates' employment rates and students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores.

U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors.

Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"A Tale of Four Tax Returns," NPR, January , 2013 --- http://video.pbs.org/video/2324404112
These are 2010 tax returns. The examples mention that the Earned Income Tax Credit allows some low and middle-income taxpayers not only avoid income taxes but receive cash refunds in excess of what was withheld from paychecks. The "Tale" seems reasonably well balanced except for its failure to mention how many low, middle, and high income taxpayers avoid taxes by participating in the underground economy ---
Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---
As I've mentioned repeatedly I'm in favor of eliminating lower rates on capital gains tax rates provided capital gains are indexed for inflation losses.

Ask yourself why high income taxpayers in northern New England prefer living in New Hampshire as opposed to Vermont and Maine?
Factors other than tax of course impact more seriously on states with much higher populations and warmer climates.

What can a marriage proposal tell you about underlying tax motives?

Hint:  note the colored graph to see when marriage saves tax dollars.

"Effects of Marriage on Tax Burden Vary Greatly with Income Level, Equality," by Nick Kasprak, Tax Foundation, January 10, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Always remember, however, in the case of marriage termination she gets the gold mine and you get the shaft ---

Why do some charities fear elimination of home mortgage and real estate tax deductions even if charitable deductions are retained in the tax code?

Itemized deductions need to exceed a certain threshold to be a tax advantage relative to the standard deduction. If too many itemized deductions are eliminated while the charitable contribution deduction is retained, it may no longer be advantageous for many taxpayers to opt for taking itemized deductions. Incentives to make charitable contributions thereby decline even if charitable contributions are still allowed. Even if itemized deduction minimums are eliminated, the incentives to make charitable contributions for tax purposes may be destroyed unless taxpayers are contemplating enormous contributions to charities. This will not be the case for most taxpayers.

"Charitable groups fear tax victory in ‘fiscal cliff’ deal will prove hollow," by Bernie Becker, The Hill, January 13, 2013 ---

Charitable groups notched a big victory in the year-end tax deal but say the fight to preserve their tax deductions is only beginning.

The “fiscal cliff” agreement preserved the tax deduction structure for charitable contributions, a policy that both Republicans and Democrats have sounded open to changing in recent months.

In fact, the deal signed into law would actually help spur more donations, according to a study by the Tax Policy Center. But charitable groups say they fully expect their deduction to be under threat in the weeks and months to come.

“We are viewing this as an interim victory,” Steve Taylor, senior vice president at United Way Worldwide, said about the fiscal cliff deal. “We recognize that it was really good for us, but we also didn’t spend any time celebrating."

Negotiations over the debt ceiling and looming automatic spending cuts have yet to heat up, nonprofit officials say, and Democrats and Republicans still remain deeply divided over how to proceed on fiscal matters.

“We don’t feel like anything’s secure for this year,” said Alison Hawkins, the director of external affairs for the Philanthropy Roundtable, told The Hill. “The sequester cuts, the debt ceiling — we view all of those as potential threats to the charitable deduction.”

The fiscal cliff deal is just the latest twist in a debate over the charitable deduction that has lasted throughout President Obama’s term in office, with the administration consistently pressing to limit how much of a deduction wealthy taxpayers can take.

At the same time, the White House pressed charitable groups to stand with Obama during last year’s battle over raising tax rates on the highest earners, and charitable groups have been fighting against deduction caps they say would limit donations from the wealthy.

In addition to preserving the charitable deduction, the tax deal raised rates on family income above $450,000 a year to 39.6 percent, and increased the top capital gains rate to 20 percent.

Those changes, the Tax Policy Center says, are projected to increase charitable giving by $3.3 billion, or just over 1 percent, in 2013. Under current law, higher tax rates mean a healthier deduction for taxpayers who itemize.

The Tax Policy Center also said that another provision in the cliff deal that worried some non-profits — the reinstatement of the so-called “Pease” limitation on deductions — would have “negligible effects on the tax incentive for charitable giving.”

The Pease limitation cuts itemized deductions for taxpayers over a certain threshold — $300,000 for couples. Pease was reinstated, along with a reduction of personal exemptions for the wealthy, after being phased out in the 2001 tax deal.

But Hawkins said that her group would seek an exemption for charitable donations from the Pease limitations, and that reinstating Pease could set the stage for further chipping away at deductions.

“Anything that could potentially tinker with or limit deductions, we’re opposed to,” she said.

Taylor said United Way Worldwide had expected Pease to come back, and predicated that the combination of a preserved charitable deduction and higher tax rates would lead to more robust donations this year.

But Taylor also said that local United Ways had already expressed concern about the Pease limitations, and that the mere enactment of a limit on deductions could lead to fewer donations. Local United Way officials are scheduled to come to Washington to discuss tax issues with policymakers next month.

Charitable groups are also concerned that the cliff deal checked off some of the more high-profile proposals, especially on the tax side, with negotiations over the debt ceiling, the sequester cuts and even a government spending agreement still looming.

Almost immediately after the recent deal, Obama started pushing for further tax changes that he said would take away deductions that are available to the rich, yet out of reach for most taxpayers.

“I guess to the extent that Congress may be unwilling to revisit tax rates, that does seem to put limits on deductions even more in the forefront,” Taylor said.

And with both Democrats and Republicans continuing to press for changes to the tax code, albeit in different ways, charitable groups say they have no idea when their fight will be over.

The White House, for instance, has said its proposal to cap deductions at 28 percent, instead of the top marginal tax rate, is about fairness as well as finding new revenues.

“If they continue to put forward the 28 percent proposal, we’re not going to consider this over,” Hawkins said.

Taylor said that he felt more confident about congressional support for the charitable deduction. But he also acknowledged that the deduction could be on the chopping block until the debate over tax reform is done, and Washington’s search for revenue is over.

Continued in article

Teaching Case from The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on January 11, 2013

Deductions Limits Will Affect Many
by: John D. McKinnon
Jan 03, 2013
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Cash Flow, Governmental Accounting, Income Tax, Individual Income Taxation, Individual Taxation

SUMMARY: "The bill that cleared Congress Tuesday boosts the tax rate for single filers making more than $400,000 and married couples filing jointly making more than $450,000, or roughly the top 1% of filers. But provisions that reduce the value of personal exemptions as well as most itemized deductions, including those for mortgage interest and state income-tax payments, will affect about twice as many people since they carry a lower income threshold-$250,000 for singles and $300,000 for married couples."

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article can be used in a tax class covering individual taxation. One question addresses a graphic that can be used in a governmental accounting class.

1. (Introductory) Based on your reading of the article, list the major changes to individual income taxes coming in 2013, due to the legislation designed to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

2. (Advanced) What is the "fiscal cliff"? Has its economic impact been avoided via the legislation signed into law on January 1, 2013? Explain your answer.

3. (Introductory) Access the graphic entitled 'Cash Flow' in the online version of the article. To whom is the cash identified in the graph flowing? Over what time period will the cash flow occur?

4. (Advanced) Click on the related video in the article. What payroll tax changes will be implemented in 2013 as a result of the legislation implemented on January 1, 2013? In your answer, state the difference between payroll taxes and income taxes from both an individual taxpayer's perspective and from the perspective of the government use of the tax receipts.

5. (Advanced) When will these law changes impact practicing accountants' workloads?

6. (Advanced) One of the goals often stated by U.S. leaders is tax simplification. Based on your understanding of the tax law changes, do you think this goal is being supported or achieved? What factors in the article hinder attempts at tax simplification?

7. (Introductory) Based on statements in the article, when is Congress expected to renew efforts at tax code simplification?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

"Deductions Limits Will Affect Many," by: John D. McKinnon, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2013 ---

One of the biggest tax increases in the fiscal-cliff bill is also one of the least understood: a set of limits on tax deductions and other breaks that will hit far more households than the bill's rate increases for top earners.

The bill that cleared Congress Tuesday boosts the tax rate for single filers making more than $400,000 and married couples filing jointly making more than $450,000, or roughly the top 1% of filers.

But provisions that reduce the value of personal exemptions as well as most itemized deductions, including those for mortgage interest and state income-tax payments, will affect about twice as many people since they carry a lower income threshold—$250,000 for singles and $300,000 for married couples.

Those new limits drew complaints from some groups that benefit from deductions, particularly charities that depend on tax-deductible donations. They worry that new curbs on deductions, coupled with other taxes on higher-income Americans, will put a damper on giving.

"We are concerned," said Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, a coalition of foundations, nonprofits and other charitable groups. "The big question for us now is, if we are [also] increasing rates on folks…does the combination create a greater disincentive for people to give?"

Enlarge Image image image

The debate foreshadows bigger fights in 2013, when Congress likely will try to overhaul the federal tax code, in part by further narrowing tax breaks.

The new limits are "like another cannonball being fired across our bow," said Jerry Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Home Builders. "Clearly, it shows that the notion of limiting deductions is still one that's being considered by policy makers."

But a J.P. Morgan analyst, Michael Feroli, predicted that the new tax-break limits "should not directly affect…giving to charities or taking on more mortgage debt."

The limits—known as PEP and Pease—were originally part of a budget deal passed by Congress in 1990, and were in effect for more than a decade. The Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 gradually got rid of PEP (which stands for "personal exemption phaseout") and Pease (named for a Democratic congressman who pushed for the deduction limit).

Now the fiscal-cliff bill calls for their return, at least for higher-income people.

The PEP and Pease limits work on the same basic principle, limiting the value of exemptions and deductions for households that exceed a threshold. For example, the Pease limitation reduces a household's itemized deductions by 3% of the amount over the threshold. The reduction can't exceed 80% of the total deductions.

A couple with income of $400,000 average about $50,000 in itemized deductions, according to IRS statistics. Because their income would exceed the $300,000 threshold by $100,000, their allowed deductions would be reduced by about $3,000 to $47,000—potentially boosting their tax bill by about $1,000.

The original proponent of the deduction limit, the late Rep. Donald Pease of Ohio, viewed it as "the best available means…to ensure that nobody could game the system," given the growing number of tax breaks that were being passed by Congress, said William Goold, his former chief of staff. The limit might be viewed now as dated, but "the goal remains as valid now as it did then," he added.

From a political standpoint, the limits allow the Obama administration to achieve its long-sought goal of raising taxes on people making more than $250,000. PEP and Pease represent about $150 billion of the tax increase of about $620 billion over 10 years, making them a key element of the deal.

But some groups that benefit from itemized deductions—charities, for example—worry that the Pease provision might cause donors to be less generous.

Continued in article



The national taxpayer advocate has recommended that taxpayers be allowed to tell the IRS to accept their return only when filed on paper, thus preventing e-file tax-identity theft. So far the IRS has failed to allow this. Less effective methods are to request an "electronic filing PIN," available at www.irs.gov, and file Form 14039, "Identity Theft Affidavit," so that the IRS might apply additional return-screening procedures. Sadly, conventional credit-monitoring services are useless against income-tax identity theft.
"E-Filing and the Explosion in Tax-Return Fraud Identity-theft cases rocketed to 1.1 million in 2011 from 51,700 in 2008. The IRS has a backlog of 650,000," by Jay Starkman, The Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2013 ---

Now that Americans finally know the tax rate they'll be paying, it's time to start thinking about the annual drudgery of filing their returns. It's also the season when identity thieves begin ripping off those returns and stealing billions in false or misdirected refunds. Tax fraud, amazingly, is now the third-largest theft of federal funds after Medicare/Medicaid and unemployment-insurance fraud.

Tax-identity theft exploded to more than 1.1 million cases in 2011 from 51,700 in 2008. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration last summer reported discovering an additional 1.5 million potentially fraudulent 2011 tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2 billion.

Why has identity theft rocketed through the Internal Revenue Service? Because American taxpayers, urged on by the IRS, have taken to filing their income-tax returns electronically and arranging for refunds to be directly deposited into bank accounts. E-filing is appealing because it provides an electronic postmark confirmation that the return was filed on time. When it is combined with direct deposit, a refund can arrive in as little as seven days. In 2012, 80% of individual returns were e-filed, fulfilling an initial goal Congress set in 1998. The result is an automated system in which the labor burden is transferred to the taxpayer.

E-filing contributes to tax complexity as the IRS demands ever more data for reporting of wage, interest and brokerage income with more tax forms. A discrepancy may result in a rejection code, a letter from the IRS Automated Underreporting Unit, or a computerized audit out of a centralized IRS office in Ogden, Utah. There's no cost to the IRS for requesting extra information when it's received electronically.

Targeting taxpayers for audit is a major factor behind the IRS's push for e-filing. E-filed returns are available for audit several months sooner than paper returns, allowing more time before the three-year statute of limitations expires. The IRS has even boasted that its e-file database is "a rich and fertile field" for selecting audits and has estimated that if its "screeners could be reallocated to performing audits, they could bring an additional $175 million annually."

Fraudulent tax returns can come in the form of tax-identity theft, refund fraud, or return-preparer fraud and are difficult to prosecute. With e-filing, evidence of fraud is difficult to find. There are no signed tax forms, envelopes or fingerprints, and e-filing promises quick refunds.

It's easy for criminals to e-file using a real name and Social Security number combined with a phony Form W-2 (wages) or fabricated Schedule C (business income). The refund can be posted to an anonymous "Green Dot" prepaid Visa or MasterCard MA +0.20% purchased at a drugstore. Such cards have a routing and account number suitable for direct deposit. The IRS may even correct a fraudulent return to refund the estimated taxes that the real taxpayer already remitted, as happened to one of my victimized clients.

Another form of fraud is when an unscrupulous return preparer modifies the bank-routing information on a return so the direct-deposit refund will wind up in his own bank account. He might increase the deductions so a return will show a larger refund due, with only the increase routed to his bank account. The victim will know nothing unless the IRS sends an audit notice.

Other preparers have abused the return information of former clients to file false refund returns in subsequent years. Criminals have established physical offices and websites displaying names of major tax-preparation franchises in order to gain genuine return documents and signatures from unsuspecting victims.

The IRS will replace a lost or stolen refund check. However, a stolen refund using an altered or erroneous routing number on a tax return will generally not be refunded until the bank returns the funds to the IRS. Otherwise, the taxpayer's sole recourse is a lawsuit against the return preparer.

Millions of Americans now pay the IRS via an Electronic Federal Tax Payment System debit. Unlike ordinary creditors paid electronically, the IRS is in the business of sending refunds but it doesn't compare names on bank records against its own files. So, with just the routing information from a personal check, a skilled criminal can use the electronic tax-payment system to transfer funds from a victim's bank account as an estimated-tax payment to another stolen name and Social Security number, then file a refund claim transferring the stolen funds to his own account. (This can be prevented by having your bank place an "ACH debit block" on your account.)

Fraud is a major problem for states, too. Using TurboTax, a 25-year-old woman e-filed a fraudulent 2011 Oregon return reporting wages of $3 million and claiming a $2.1 million refund—and the Oregon Department of Revenue sent her the refund. In October, a hacker stole 3.8 million unencrypted tax records from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Georgia reports that 4% of its returns are fraudulent.

If you become a tax-identity theft victim, immediately seek a referral to the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit or the Taxpayer Advocate Service using Form 911. Keep in mind that it can take over a year to resolve. The IRS has a backlog of 650,000 cases.

The national taxpayer advocate has recommended that taxpayers be allowed to tell the IRS to accept their return only when filed on paper, thus preventing e-file tax-identity theft. So far the IRS has failed to allow this. Less effective methods are to request an "electronic filing PIN," available at www.irs.gov, and file Form 14039, "Identity Theft Affidavit," so that the IRS might apply additional return-screening procedures. Sadly, conventional credit-monitoring services are useless against income-tax identity theft.

Continued in article

Why do thieves want taxpayer ID numbers?

The most obvious reason is to collect your tax refund before you get around filing for it. They would also like our earned income credits to flow to them in tens of billions of dollars in cash that does not belong to them. The primary reason nearly half the taxpayers collect tax refunds rather than pay any income tax is due to those earned income credits. And the Cliff Prevention and NASCAR Racetrack Construction Bill passed on January 1 restored those earned income credits big time.

This worked wonders in preventing credit card number thieves from sifting through trash containers
"To fight identity theft, IRS proposes rules for truncating identifying numbers," by Sally P. Schreiber, J.D., Journal of Accountancy, January 3, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

Bob Jensen's tax helpers ---

"Annual Inflation Adjustments for 2013," IRS, January 11, 2013 ---

The Internal Revenue Service announced today annual inflation adjustments for tax year 2013, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes from the recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.  

The tax items for 2013 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following changes.

Details on these inflation adjustments and others are contained in Revenue Procedure 2013-15, which will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-5 on Jan.28, 2013. Other inflation adjusted items were published in October 2012 in Revenue Procedure 2012-41.


Bob Jensen's tax helpers ---

"Why Are Some Sectors (Ahem, Finance) So Scandal-Plagued?" by Ben W. Heineman, Jr., Harvard Business Review Blog,  January 10, 2013 ---
Click Here

Greatest Swindle in the History of the World ---

The trouble with crony capitalism isn't capitalism. It's the cronies ---

Subprime: Borne of Greed, Sleaze, Bribery, and Lies (including the credit rating agencies) ---

History of Fraud in America --- 

Rotten to the Core ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

Bad Things Leading to Tenure-Time Extensions = serious illness (including depression), death of a child, divorce, home wipeouts from storms and fires, and so on down the line. Even good things can become problematic for attaining tenure such as having five children in a seven-year tenure probationary period.

"When Bad Things Happen to Untenured People," by Jana von Stein, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, January 12, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
One of my favorite blogs used to be the blog of the "Unknown Finance Professor" in the Financial Rounds blog. He shared his identity and university privately with me. His blog is virtually ended these days, although he still posts very infrequent items ---

Several years ago he shared with us readers of his blog the long-term saga and eventual cancer death of his young son. To my knowledge he did not ask for or receive extended time for tenure when his young son was becoming more and more ill. It was also a terrible strain on his wife, his other child (a younger daughter), his new baby, and his struggle to both teach and get top journal hits required for tenure. Sometimes his blog posts brought tears to my eyes.

Although he's never mentioned it, I think the virtual ending of his excellent Financial Rounds blog is due to the amount of time that this blog took amidst his other family and faculty demands.

"The Real Problem With The Windows 8 User Interface - And It Isn't Touch," by David Sobotta, ReadWriteWeb, January 14, 2013 ---

. . .

Touch Is Not the Problem

The problem is not that Microsoft is dragging us kicking and screaming into the world of touch interfaces.

The real challenge is more complexity. To a certain extent I see some similar challenges - albeit on a smaller scale - in Apple’s Mac OS X Lion. They both offer too many different ways of accomplishing the same thing.

One of the first things that I do when setting up a Windows computer is to get rid of the free trial subscription to some bloatware security program. Windows Defender is free and has worked well for me. We all know security programs have big enough egos that using two at the same time will cause problems.

Uninstalling a program on Windows requires you to go to the Control Panel. That used to be fairly straight forward on Windows 7 and earlier operating systems. You went to the Start Menu. When I tried setting up my first Windows 8 computer, I had not figured out that you could get to the Control Panel multiple ways. Even once I figured it out, I learned that getting there was context-sensitive - and confusing.

Complexity With Strange Options

If I am on the Windows 8 Start screen with the tiles and I move my mouse or finger to the upper right corner of the screen, the soon-to-be-famous Windows 8 "charms" come out. One is Settings - which you might think would take you directly to the control panel, but it doesn’t. At least not in that context.

When I am using a regular Windows desktop application like Firefox, going to the upper right corner of the screen also reveals the charms. Select Settings here and you will find the Control Panel listed as the number two item on the right of your screen.

Just to make it a little more confusing, if I am running an application like Google’s Chrome in its Windows 8 mode when I do the same thing, the Settings charm that shows up is for Google Chrome - and there is no Control Panel anywhere around. However, if I run Google Chrome in desktop mode, the Setting’s charm that shows up does lead to the control panel.

As I was working on my new tower PC, I also discovered that if you go to the lower left corner of your screen and right click with your mouse, you will get a pop-up menu which has the Control Panel.

It would be far easier have one simple, consistent way to get to the control panel. It does not matter to me if I get to it with the mouse or my fingers. That choice I can handle. Among my current choices I will likely remember going to the lower left corner and right clicking. It makes the most sense to me.

When I first started using Mac OS X Mountain Lion, I had some similar concerns. If I want to open and application, I am not exactly sure why I need Launch Pad, the dock on my screen, recent applications under the Apple menu, the Finder sidebar, and the ability to double click on an application icon. However, I have learned to ignore the ways that don’t work for me.

Learning Curve On Windows 8 Not So Bad

That's slowly happening with Windows 8, as well. When I started working on my first Windows 8 system, I got so frustrated that I finally installed Start8 from Stardock. It gave me back the old Start Menu and let me gradually become accustomed to Windows 8. I did not bother installing Start8 on my second system. I learned enough to not need it. (For more, see Could Restoring The Windows 8 Start Button Fix Everything?)

Having used Windows 8 very successfully with a mouse, I’m not very concerned about being stuck if the touchscreen capability is not there in a system. The Intel Core i5 Windows 8 desktop tower that I bought came with a 1TB hard drive and 8GB of memory and a nice keyboard. The cost before taxes was $499. That is a lot of computer for less than $500. Who cares it if doesn't have a touchscreen?

All-In-One Computers Are Wasteful

I am more worried about all-in-one computers than touch interfaces. I have seen some reports that LCD screens could last for up to 20 years. We all know that even the best of computers become functionally obsolete in three to five years. If you buy an all-in-one computer, your screen is going to outlast your computer by more than a decade.

Our family has purchased seven iMacs since 1998. All have been retired except my iLemon which is just waiting for my new Mac Mini’s arrival to give up the ghost. All the screens were functioning perfectly when we gave up on the computers and recycled them.

When my new MacMini shows up this week it will be hooked up to an Apple 20-inch flat panel Cinema Display that I purchased in December 2004 for close to $1,000. I suspect the old screen will outlast the new MacMini. The iMac I bought in 2010 will be our last all-in-one computer.

Touchscreen Price/Reliability Not A Big Issue

I doubt that touchscreen pricing and reliability are issues that are going to heavily weigh on the success of Windows 8. Touchscreens have proven themselves in some very rugged scenarios and the prices are dropping quickly.

The key point for the Windows 8 user interface isn't worrying about too much dependence on touch vs. the mouse. It's about whether the user interface is simple to use and doesn’t confuse us with too much choice.

So far I am not enthusiastic about the latest releases from either Microsoft or Apple in that regard. Maybe I will go have a look at KDE in the Linux world. It is hard to believe that Linux has come so far that I might be looking at it as relief from Mac OS X or Windows 8, but who knows?

Continued in article

"Windows 8: Not for Old-at-Heart PCs," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2013 ---

If you're thinking of upgrading your PC to the new Windows 8, be prepared for hassles and disappointment, especially if the computer is more than a year or two old—even if it technically meets the basic requirements to run the new version.

I know this, because I've spent big chunks of the past week trying to upgrade to Windows 8 two big-name, well-regarded PCs—a 2008 Lenovo laptop and a 2009 Hewlett-Packard HPQ +3.47% touch-screen desktop. The process was painful, and it resulted in lost capabilities, even though both PCs ran Windows 7 quite well and met the minimum requirements for running Windows 8.

To be sure, people upgrading newer PCs, whose makers anticipated Windows 8 or have software patches ready to accommodate it, will likely have a much better experience. I learned—too late—that neither of the computers I was upgrading was on the list of models for which their manufacturers provided such patches. This may be because, in both cases, aspects of their hardware weren't up to snuff for Windows 8's more demanding requirements.

For instance, the touch pad on my Lenovo ThinkPad X301 laptop can't be used to scroll in the new tabletlike Start Screen environment in Windows 8, or to perform certain Windows 8 gestures. And, on the HP TouchSmart 300, the touch screen isn't precise or sensitive enough to reliably perform Windows 8's touch gestures every time. Plus, the microphone doesn't work. Oh, and to get the HP to stop freezing, I had to perform a procedure that wiped out most of my installed software, including HP and Microsoft MSFT +0.15% programs.

It isn't unusual for somewhat older PCs to be unable to take full advantage of a new version of an operating system. And Windows 8 is a big change. But I was surprised by how hard it was to discover that my two PCs weren't going to be able to fully work with the new system. I assumed Microsoft's installer would let me know, but it didn't.

Part of this problem was my fault, I guess. If I had thought to burrow through the Lenovo or HP websites, I might have found that my models weren't considered by their own makers to be fit for upgrading.

For instance, HP's information page, at http://bit.ly/SdTCVp, said this about my TouchSmart, after I located and entered its obscure, official product number: "HP has not tested this PC. For this reason, HP is unable to provide upgrade instructions or Windows 8 drivers. You may lose basic functionality & stability if you try to upgrade." Alas, I learned this only after I had upgraded.

A spokeswoman for HP explained: "With any PC, it's critical that the hardware and software work well together and some older PCs in our portfolio, including the TouchSmart 300 which was introduced in 2009, are simply not able to take advantage of the extensive new features Windows 8 has to offer."

And a Lenovo spokesman said: "The X301 is five years old and Lenovo decided not to support it for Windows 8 upgrades. The touch pad hardware really can't support all the features of Windows 8."

Microsoft does offer Upgrade Assistant software that might have warned me of the problems, available at http://bit.ly/SdUxFo. But the box for the Windows 8 Pro DVD I was using only suggested running this utility and checking with the manufacturer's website, in tiny type at the bottom of its back cover.

My problem was that I had too much confidence in Microsoft's Windows 8 installer software. I had expected the installer, which also checks a PC to see if it can handle the new operating system, to tell me if there were key incompatibilities. It found exactly one: the Bluetooth utility in each machine. It told me to uninstall these before proceeding, and I dutifully did so.

I asked Microsoft why the installer didn't warn me of the other incompatibilities I ran into, and an official said it simply doesn't know how every model might perform and that's why it recommends users look for the manufacturer's instructions and warnings.

Also, I had problems with the installer itself. On the HP, it wouldn't work with either the DVDs or a downloaded version of Windows 8. So I had to transfer the downloaded version to a 4 gigabyte USB flash drive to get it to work. (It requires at least a 3 gigabyte drive.)

For a limited time, until the end of this month, you can buy an upgrade to Windows 8 for $40 via download or $70 via DVD. This gets you only the high-end Pro version, with added features that let users tap into certain corporate networks. Microsoft hasn't announced the eventual regular pricing, but I expect it to be at least $100 for standard Windows 8, and around $200 for Pro.

The basic requirements for running Windows 8 are a processor running at 1 gigahertz or faster, and at least 1 or 2 gigabytes of memory, depending on whether your PC is a less demanding 32-bit or more demanding 64-bit system (the installer tells you). You'll also need at least 16 or 20 gigabytes of free storage, again depending on whether the PC is 32-bit or 64-bit, and a graphics system that can handle a Microsoft graphics standard called "DirectX 9 with WDDM driver."

In my tests on both machines, the actual installation took about two hours, but a full workday or more was spent tweaking each machine, and getting updates to Windows 8 and its built-in apps. For instance, after the installation seemed done, I discovered I had lost the Wi-Fi Internet connection on both machines and had to temporarily turn off the firewall to restore it and then upgrade my antivirus software.

Continued in article

"(Consumer Electronic Show) CES 2013: Tech Weekly Recap," by Chris Ciaccia, The Street, January 12, 2013 ---

"Winner! The Worst Product At Consumer Electronic Show (CES)  2013, by Jon Mitchell, Read Write Web, January 11, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
This article also lists the honorable mention products.

"C.E.S. 2013: What’s New in TVs," by David Pogue, The New York Times, January 10, 2013 ---

. . .

¶This year, 3-D is still around, but only in dark corners of the enormous, glitzy, stadium-sized, multimillion-dollar electronics-company booths.

¶But that doesn’t mean the TV industry has quit trying to get us to buy new TV sets. This year, the push is “4K,” called Ultra HD by some companies. It means more pixels — four times as many as HDTV. I’ll be writing more about the 4K push later this week, but for now, here’s a hint: the sets cost tens of thousands of dollars. There’s not a single cable TV show broadcast in 4K, and not a single movie available on disc in 4K. So what you may watch mostly on your 4K TV is the reflection of your own “I’ve been scammed” expression.

¶There’s all kinds of experimentation going on. Sony and Samsung both have big, hyper-expensive, not-yet-available flat-panel OLED sets on display that can show two 3-D shows simultaneously. (Viewers must wear special glasses that “tune in” to one or the other, and play the audio through the earpieces.) The Samsung can also play four 2-D shows simultaneously. Everyone on the couch can be watching a different program. Or two youngsters can be playing video games while their parents are watching a movie.

¶Samsung’s also exhibiting the world’s first curved TV set. I know, right? What the heck?

¶But sure enough, it has a slight bend to it, as though it were sliced from a circular wall around you. I wasn’t aware of the general populace complaining that their TV screens were too flat. So why did Samsung bother?

¶The company says that the curve provides more viewing angles where the picture looks dead-on. Which I find to be nonsense; the curve is so subtle, it can’t possibly make any difference.

The real reason Samsung made this screen? Because it can, I guess.

According to Hoyle
"AN INTERESTING WRITING ASSIGNMENT," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, January 13, 2013 ---

Joe adds multimedia to his FlatWorld textbook
"HELPING YOUR AUDITORY LEARNERS,"  by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, January 18, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
It would be even better to add Camtasia videos.

Another Accounting Blogger Calls it Quits (sort of in Adrienne's case)

Adrienne Gonzalez appears to be ending here four-year blog entitled Jr, Deputy Accountant ---

For those of you who have emailed and commented checking in on me the last few weeks to make sure the black helicopters didn't get me, thanks but I'm fine. I guess.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I'm over it. A girl can only yell so much before she gives up. I'm putting my energies into
saving cats these days. Why not? Sure beats sitting around waiting for someone to realize how fucked we all are, right?

The can will keep getting kicked down the road. We'll keep pretending like everything is OK. The Fed will keep pumping out the free money indefinitely. Why bother?

Give me a good reason and I'll try. Otherwise, it might be time to move on. Sucks but that's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

I'm still here. And maybe I'll feel like yelling some more one of these days but for now, I'm pretty much over it. No one is listening. It gets old after four years, you know.

Just know I miss you all at least twice as much as you miss me.

If you miss me that bad, I still have a daily column
over at Going Concern. Otherwise, I'm not really into much else... what's the point? No one listens anyway.

Jensen Comment
Adrienn intends, as mentioned above, to continue contributing to Going Concern where many of her modules deal with the CPA Exam trends and outcomes. I've never been sure that she herself ever took the exam. That neither matters here nor there. She still reports interesting trends in the CPA Exam along with occasional juicy tidbits on Going Concern.

Adrienne has the distinction of having created the accounting blog filled with the most distasteful four letter words. This has a shock appeal but is just not too promising when addressing an audience of accountants, most of whom are not very colorful or get turned on by gutter talk. However, it's unfair to characterize the Jr. Deputy Accountant's blog as a gutter blog. In the midst of her colorful language were some very good news items and commentaries. I'm happy that she will continue to contribute to Going Concern and save cats.

Adrienne is not the first to give up writing an accounting blog. Larry Tomassini had one of the first accounting blogs called something with the word Coach or Coach's Corner or whatever. I think his coaching "blog" died. This started and ended early on before the terms "Weblog" and "Blog" were invented. Now Larry does run something that he calls a "Newsletter" featuring a very old (high school?) picture ---

Nadine Sabai (Fraud Girl) was one of the first accounting bloggers to fall by the way when she closed her Sleight of Hand Blog ---

I suspect there have been other accounting blogs to come and go without my even noticing that they came and went. More often accounting bloggers don't quit entirely but just slow way down of blogging frequency. This seems to be happening with Francine McKenna's re:Auditors blog, although the reason for this might be Francine's increased frequency of writing about audit firms (bad news only) for Forbes.

Recently long-time accounting blogger Ed Ketz at Penn state hung up his "grumpy" blogging shoes, but his grumpy partner Tony Cantanach at Villanova is carrying on with the Grumpy Old Accountant's blog ---
I liked the Ed and Tony show because their approach to carry on in the financial statement analysis tradition of Abe Brilof when Abe was writing for Barron's  Abe had an almost-impossible act to follow, but Ed and Tony took over this act about as well as anybody else.

An excellent site that was more focused on behavioral economics and finance (but rarely accounting) was Miguel Barbosa's Simoleon Sense blog ---
I was very sorry to learn that Miguel stopped maintaining this wonderful blog after losing his job and his significant other.

What I conclude by reading the messages of bloggers who closed down their blogs is that maintaining an active blog just proved to be too time consuming. I'll vouch for that even though I still have my "hands on the throttle and my eyes on the rails."

My Theme Song for Life Slide Show ---

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

There are many accounting blogs that carry on, including accounting professor blogs ---

"Bowling Green State Will Cut Faculty Slots by 11%," Inside Higher Ed, January 21, 2013 ---

"CEOs want to raise the retirement age to 70," by Suzy Khimm, The Washington Post, January 18, 2013 ---

A lot of CEOs have gotten on the deficit-reduction bandwagon, but they’ve often been loath to push for specific proposals, endorsing instead an overall “framework” for fiscal consolidation that’s big and bipartisan.

That’s now starting to change: A group of the country’s leading CEOs from the Business Roundtable has put out an entitlement reform plan that proposes to raise the eligibility age for both Social Security and Medicare to 70.

Leading Republicans have long rallied to raise the eligibility age for Social Security to 70, but the Business Roundtable’s recommendations for Medicare go significantly further than the GOP consensus: During the fiscal cliff negotiations, for instance, Boehner proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 years, while the CEOs want to push it three years higher.

The group wants a slew of other changes as well: higher premiums for wealthy beneficiaries, chained CPI and more private competition for Medicare and private retirement programs.

“Even though most of these modernization initiatives would be phased in gradually, the immediate benefits would be enormous. First, they would put Medicare and Social Security on the sound financial footing needed to provide a sustainable retirement safety net. This would represent a major step forward in reducing the growth of government spending,” Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Business Roundtable participant, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

The Business Roundtable believes its proposals would save the government $300 billion in Medicare spending and extend Social Security’s solvency for 75 years. But the changes would also come with costs to others as well. By eliminating Medicare coverage for those between 65 and 70 years old, the plan would send more individuals into Medicaid and the newly created health-insurance exchanges, as not everyone would continue to work or be covered by their employers’ insurance, explains Tricia Neuman, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That would drive up health-care premiums overall in the exchanges, as there would be older, sicker people getting coverage, says Neuman. In states that don’t elect to participate in the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, lower-income people in their mid- to late-60s could also become uninsured, particularly those who are in physically demanding jobs they might not be able to continue until they’re 70. Overall, raising the eligibility age “would reduce federal spending but would do so in a way that shifts costs to other payers and raises overall health care costs,” says Neuman, who’s examined the impact of raising the age to 67.

On the flip side, proponents of the changes argue that raising the retirement age makes sense given the rise in life expectancy, and that sacrifices are necessary to ensure the solvency of entitlement programs. “What has happened to Social Security over years is because people are living much more longer, it’s moved more toward a middle-aged retirement system,” says Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.

Continued in article

World Life Expectancy Map --- http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/index.php

Life Expectancy Trend for the United States --- http://www.aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf


As a result of falling age-specific mortality, life expectancy rose dramatically in the United States over the past century . Final data for 2003 (the most recent available) show that life expectancy at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high level, 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years at the turn of the 20th century. Record-high life expectancies we re found for white females (80.5 years) and black females (76.1 years), as well as for white males (75.3 year s) and black males (69.0 years). Life expectancy gaps between males and females and between whites and blacks persisted.

In combination with decreasing fertility, the life expectancy gains have led to a rapid aging of the American population, as reflected by an increasing proportion of persons aged 65 and older. This report documents the improvements in longevity that have occurred, analyzing both the underlying factors that contributed to mortality reductions and the continuing longevity differentials by sex and race. In addition, it considers whether life expectancy will continue to increase in future years. Detailed statistics on life expectancy are provided. A brief comparison with other countries is also provided.

While this report focuses on a description of the demographic context of life expectancy change in the United States, these trends have implications for a wide range of social and economic programs and issues that are likely to be considered by Congress.

From the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton):  The U.S. Deficit is Tremendously Understated
"A Proper Accounting: The Real Cost of Government Loans and Credit Guarantees," Knowledge@Wharton, December 5, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements ---

"France Proposes an Internet Tax," by Eric Pfanner, The New York Times, January 20, 2013 ---

How can you get a tour package in China that will give U.S. citizenship to your new babies?

"The Ethics of ‘Birthing Tourism':  U.S. Maternity Hotels Cater to Pregnant Chinese Women," by Accounting Professor Mintz, Ethics Sage, January 21, 2013 ---

One of my  all-time favorite authors is Sherwood Anderson. He's one of the authors I've read and re-read and re-read again in my dreams of becoming a great fiction writer. Sigh!

Bob Jensen's Helpers for Writers  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries

Sherwood Anderson --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherwood_Anderson

"Sherwood Anderson on Art and Life: A Letter of Advice to His Teenage Son, 1927,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, January 9, 2013 ---

. . .

The following year, after Anderson and his wife took eighteen-year-old John and his sister Marion to Europe, the boy remained in Paris to study painting. Drawing on his own artistic experience and the parallels between writing and painting, Sherwood sent John another poignant letter of advice in April of 1927, adding to history’s finest definitions of art and stressing the importance of discipline in cultivating “talent”:

In relation to painting.

Don’t be carried off your feet by anything because it is modern — the latest thing.

Go to the Louvre often and spend a good deal of time before the Rembrandts, the Delacroixs.

Learn to draw. Try to make your hand so unconsciously adept that it will put down what you feel without your having to think of your hands.

Then you can think of the thing before you.

Draw things that have some meaning to you. An apple, what does it mean? The object drawn doesn’t matter so much.

It’s what you feel about it, what it means to you.

A masterpiece could be made of a dish of turnips.

Draw, draw, hundreds of drawings.

Try to remain humble. Smartness kills everything.

The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.

Any cleanness I have in my own life is due to my feeling for words.

The fools who write articles about me think that one morning I suddenly decided to write and began to produce masterpieces.

There is no special trick about writing or painting either. I wrote constantly for 15 years before I produced anything with any solidity to it.


The thing of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor.

The point of being an artist is that you may live.


You won’t arrive. It is an endless search.

I write as though you were a man. Well, you must know my heart is set on you. It isn’t your success I want.

There is a possibility of your having a decent attitude toward people and work. That alone may make a man of you.

Jensen Comment
Sherwood Anderson has a long bibliography of great works and a long posting on Wikipedia. His son John remained an unknown, which shows that great works take more than great advice. One interesting point is how Sherwood Anderson's talent interacted with his mental health.

Anderson moved to Chicago near his Brother Karl's home and worked as a manual laborer until near the turn of the century, when he enlisted in the United States Army. He was called up but did not see action in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. After the war, in 1900, he enrolled at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Eventually he secured a job as a copywriter in Chicago and became more successful.

In 1904, he married Cornelia Pratt Lane (1877-1967), the daughter of Robert Lane, a wealthy Ohio businessman. The couple had three children—Robert Lane (1907-1951), John Sherwood (1908-1995), and Marion (aka Mimi, 1911-1996)—while living in Cleveland, Ohio, and later Elyria, Ohio, where Anderson managed a mail-order business and paint manufacturing firms.

In November 1912 he suffered a mental breakdown and disappeared for four days. He was found in a drugstore in Cleveland, having walked almost thirty miles. Soon after, he left his position as president of the Anderson Manufacturing Co. in Elyria, Ohio, and left his wife and three small children to pursue the writer's life of creativity. Anderson described the entire episode as "escaping from his materialistic existence," which garnered praise from many young writers, who used his courage as an example.

Anderson moved back to Chicago, working again for a publishing and advertising company. In 1916, he divorced Cornelia and, three days later, married his mistress, sculptor Tennessee Claflin Mitchell (1874—1929).

I like to think that I'm not a famous author because I could not escape my materialistic existence. But something in my brain admits that it takes a whole lot more than such an escape from one's self and one's dependents. History is replete with bums on the rails who remained bums on the rails.

Bob Jensen's Helpers for Writers  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries

"Declines in Tuition Revenue Leave Many Colleges Financially Squeezed," by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
What will help private non-profit universities like Rice, SMU, TCU, Trinity University, and other high-tuition universities in Texas will be a U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of the University of Texas Affirmative Action Program, including the controversial 10% rule that admits many low SAT/ACT students because they were in the to 10% of their graduating classes in high school. These students are automatically admitted to public universities in Texas without even having to take admission tests like the SAT or the ACT. And most of them opt for the elite public universities in the State of Texas.

If the University of Texas should lose this Supreme Court affirmative action case allowing for added admission discretion based on skin color, a higher number of high SAT/ACT students from affluent families in Texas will opt for the always-popular University of Texas and Texas A&M. Many of those high SAT/ACT students are now in private universities because they were turned away from UT and Texas A&M due of the 10% Rule and other affirmative action policies that filled the admissions openings at elite state universities. And most of the "top 10% students" now admitted to UT and Texas A&M cannot afford the higher tuition prices of private universities if they are not automatically admitted to state universities.

"Texas Limits '10%' Admissions," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed,  June 1, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/01/texas

The "10 percent" plan in Texas has been one of the most successful experiments ever tried to get more minority students into top public universities with race-neutral criteria. It spawned similar (if less ambitious) programs in California and Florida and prompted numerous debates about equity in higher education admissions. At the behest of the University of Texas at Austin and suburban politicians, and following several years of debate, the Texas Legislature on Saturday agreed to a plan that will limit the use of the system so that Austin is required to fill only 75 percent of its freshman slots for Texans under the program.

Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has pushed for changes in the admissions system and is expected to sign the legislation.

"10 percent" refers to a law adopted in Texas in 1997 that requires all public colleges and universities to admit any Texas applicant who graduated from the top 10 percent of his or her high school class. The law was adopted in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling -- since superseded by a Supreme Court ruling in another case -- that barred public colleges from considering race and ethnicity in admissions decisions.

Texas has many high schools that are overwhelmingly Latino or black -- so the thinking of those who crafted the law was that 10 percent admissions would ensure that diversity would be maintained at competitive universities like UT-Austin, which would admit the top graduates of such high schools. As time has gone on, the system has worked as predicted, increasing minority enrollments at UT-Austin and also resulting in the admission of rural white students who attended high schools that previously didn't send many students to the flagship.

While the University of Texas at Austin now has the legal right to practice affirmative action in admissions (and does so), many advocates for minority students have viewed percent plans as a key tool for promoting diversity because these plans are race neutral and because they result in admissions decisions being based on class rank, not on the SAT or ACT, standardized tests on which black and Latino students score, on average, at lower levels than do white and Asian students.

The problem with percent admissions, according UT-Austin, is that it's too popular. "We were going to lose control over our class," William Powers Jr., president of the university, said in an interview Sunday. He called the Legislature's action "a very positive development."

In the admissions process for the class that will enter in the fall, 86 percent of Texans admitted were admitted on the basis of being in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Even at a university where out-of-state admissions are minimal (only 7 percent this year), Powers said that's not enough flexibility for the university.

Even though the university attracts outstanding students through 10 percent admissions, Powers said, there are gaps. There are not enough students enrolling that way who want to major in key areas such as geosciences, computer engineering and education. Earlier this year, Powers also suggested (in an argument that received plenty of attention from non-academics in Texas) that 10 percent was making it difficult to recruit athletes in key sports, since many of the best athletes are not in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

To those who question why there is any need to tinker with a system that has resulted in considerable diversity (45 percent this year are members of minority groups), Powers said that "there is a capacity problem." Texas has nearly 50,000 students in all. Without a change in the admissions law, "we'd have to become a 55,000 student university, or 60,000 or 65,000 and there are no resources to do that." (The original law applied statewide, but UT-Austin, the focus of the changes in the law, is the only university where admissions under 10 percent have become a major issue.)

While Powers stressed the educational and capacity issues, much of the controversy about changing 10 percent arose from the strong push for change from suburban legislators whose (generally white) constituents were frustrated by the law. Since the law was enacted, there have been steadily growing complaints from suburbs with well financed and academically rigorous high schools that their students below the top 10 percent but in the top 20 percent (or some other figure) were more qualified than some of those being admitted from other high schools, without the same academic resources. Parents and counselors talked about talented students in the top 11 percent who might have been accepted previously, but were now losing out.

Those arguments set up an interesting political dynamic in Austin, where the Legislature at the last minute two years ago failed to change the 10 percent law, but this year did so only after considerable negotiations between the Senate (which would have scaled back the law further) and the House, which resisted. The current version of 10 percent has strong support not only from minority lawmakers, but also from white rural legislators.

Michael Olivas is among those concerned about changes in 10 percent, although he noted that "it could have been worse," given the desire of some legislators to repeal the law entirely or let it apply only to a small percentage of UT students. Olivas is director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston, and he advised the late Irma Rangel, the state legislator who led the efforts to enact the law in the first place.

Olivas said he was troubled by the "racially coded" comments made by those talking about outstanding suburban students losing slots at the state's flagship. He noted that the well prepared white students who were not in the top 10 percent of their classes had many other options, and that not getting into UT was not as much of a disaster as some implied. "It wasn't as if they were thrown off into the streets," he said. "Some of the arguments that have been used against 10 percent have been ridiculous and demeaning."

The challenge for the University of Texas now, he said, will be to demonstrate that the change it wanted in the admissions law was not an attempt to step back on diversity. Olivas said he and others will be looking to see what happens in the years ahead.

The overlooked reality, Olivas said, was the success of 10 percent in not only getting students in, but in identifying a more diverse group of students who also succeeded at Austin. He said that many high schools in Texas, prior to 10 percent, just assumed that their students wouldn't get in to UT-Austin and didn't bother to try. The law, he said, encouraged them to apply, and when they not only were admitted, but graduated, these local communities started to see the flagship as a real possibility.

"The ironic thing here is that 10 percent has been so successful," Olivas said. "Every internal study that UT Austin has done or that the UT system has conducted and every external study have shown that the 10 percent students, relative to others, have done better by any measure -- lower attrition rates, graduate in shorter time periods -- and the law has widened the base of high schools from which students come." The university and legislators have spent years pushing to change a law that "by any measure of public policy is a success."

Jensen Comment
The Texas Legislature upheld the 10% Rule that is still in place in Texas, thereby allowing top high school students to not even bother taking admission tests unless they are also seeking scholarships for admission to higher priced colleges and universities. Some top students fear grading competition in public universities ---


"Affirmative Action Challenged Anew," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 8, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/04/08/affirm

The lawsuit was filed in federal court Monday on behalf of a white high school senior, Abigail Noel Fisher, who was rejected from UT Austin. Like other challenges to affirmative action, the suit charges that Fisher would have otherwise been admitted — but for affirmative action as practiced by the university. Where the argument differs is that it is based on a portion of the 2003 Supreme Court decision, Grutter v. Bollinger, that upheld the right of the University of Michigan’s law school to consider race in admissions decisions. The decision noted the obligation of public universities to consider race-neutral alternatives to the explicit consideration of race and ethnicity. That obligation is typical of court decisions upholding affirmative action, and most colleges have argued that race neutral measures alone — such as affirmative action based on class, for example — would not produce a diverse class of students.

This is where things could get tricky for the University of Texas, the plaintiffs hope, because they are pointing to numerous statements from university officials praising the 10 percent plan for helping to admit classes of students with as much or more diversity than the university had before a ban on affirmative action. For example, this statement from the university — cited in the court filings — says that “the law is helping us to create a more representative student body and enroll students who perform well academically.”

The Project on Fair Representation, which is handling the suit against the university, is not attacking the legality of affirmative action or of the 10 percent law, said Edward Blum, who is involved in the case and has worked for several efforts against affirmative action. “The court in Grutter very distinctly said that you’ve got to try race-neutral means before you use affirmative action, and the University of Texas is not,” he said. “One of the results of this lawsuit may be that other colleges and universities may be put on notice that they must use race-neutral means.”

One irony of the suit is that the University of Texas has been pushing hard since 2003 to have the state repeal the 10 percent law. At the time the law was adopted, a federal appeals court decision banning affirmative action was in place in Texas. But when the Supreme Court upheld affirmative action’s legality, the university resumed consideration of race. University officials have said that they now have enough tools available to assure a diverse class that they don’t need the top 10 percent law and fear it deprives them of flexibility. Last year, it looked like the Texas Legislature was poised to repeal the law, but at the last minute, the repeal effort failed — with many advocates for minority students saying that the 10 percent plan was still needed.

Continued in article

Also see "Lawsuit Accuses U. of Texas of Illegally Reintroducing Race-Based Admissions," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2008

Jensen Comment
This affirmative action case now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court most likely will impact all USA universities now having affirmative action policies. Private universities across the USA will get clobbered if the University of Texas should lose its affirmative action lawsuit now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Personally, I think Texas will win its case. Private universities can then breathe a sigh of relief in terms of increased demand from high SAT and ACT students turned away from elite state universities. This is not exactly a win-win solution for those students having to borrow ten times more to pay higher tuition prices at private universities.

And minority students with lower admission test scores can breathe a sigh of relief because they will have a better shot at being admitted to low-tuition elite state universities. They may borrow less unless they seek out private universities in anticipation of higher grade averages.
"Want a Higher G.P.A.? Go to a Private College:  A 50-year rise in grade-point averages is being fueled by private institutions, a recent study finds," by Catherine Rampell. The New York Times, April 19, 2010 ---

I am very close to student who opted for a very expensive local private university with a six-year full-time undergraduate and graduate Ph.D. program in pharmacy as opposed to a local elite state university where she could attend free because her father is on the faculty. Her reasoning was and still is that it's much easier to get a high g.p.a. in the private university. But it's now estimated that she will almost hit retirement age before her student loans are paid off ---

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in college admissions and academic standards ---


Business School Rankings

Hi Wes,

Thank you for this since it was a ranking I had not seen ---

I do track rankings of other media outlets like US News, Bloomberg Business Week, the WSJ, Forbes, and The Economist ---

This has to be the best one since Stanford comes out on top.
Just kidding of course.

It 'sa helpful site in the sense that for each of the 50 ranked programs it shows the ranks that were also given by US News, Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes, and The Economist.

Feel free to send me some new pictures. I maintain a file on your professional photographs.


Bob Jensen's threads about ranking controversies ---

The Continuing Free-Fall in LSAT Takers and Law School Applicants, January 9, 2013 ---


Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States
The Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, 2012

Some key report findings include:

Full Report Now Available.
(PDF and several eBook formats)

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education ---

Why not also require teachers to wear gang colors and tattoos as a symbol of gang loyalty?

"Gangs are Latest Excuse for Not Closing Failing, Half-Empty Chicago Schools," by Kyle Olson, Townhall, January 14, 2013 --- Click Here

Instead of appropriately dealing with gang-related violence, an independent Chicago school closure commission is recommending no school closures because such a move could force students to cross gang lines.

So in Chicago, gang violence is the “new normal” and instead of combating and gaining some control over the problem, city leaders are simply accommodating it.

Wow. Gangs of street punks are now influencing public policy and million dollar decisions. It looks like they really have won.

Of course the Chicago Teachers Union, which stands to lose money if schools close, agrees with the recommendation.

The CTU has been arguing against school closures for some time, as the union is looking to stave off an increase in the number of non-union charter schools, which serve about 50,000 students. A moratorium on school closures would naturally mean that more union teachers will be needed and their dues money will keep flowing to the CTU.

Chicago Public Schools are facing a $1 billion budget deficit and now that the district has locked in an expensive three-year collective bargaining agreement with the CTU, reducing labor costs is not really an option. But consolidating schools and streamlining operations is.

But now taxpayers might have to continue to pay to operate half-empty schools because city leaders don’t seem to be willing to deal with gangs. The Chicago Tribune reported there are 100,000 empty seats in schools in a district that has 400,000 students.

“CPS built new schools to relieve overcrowding in some communities but failed to close enough of the older, emptier ones, often caving to community pressure,” the newspaper reported.

Those half-empty schools are among the city’s worst performers academically.

The latest excuse shows the CTU will stop at nothing to protect the miserable status quo, regardless of the consequences for Chicago’s children.

"7 Technology Issues that Higher Education Faces," by Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, January 2, 2013 ---

"Online Education Proves Critical to University Strategy," by Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, January 9, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education technology ---

"Five of Steve Jobs's Biggest Mistakes," by Peter Sims, Harvard Business Review Blog, January 21, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
To this I might add that Steve's biggest mistake was not in early-on licensing of the Mac operating system to other hardware vendors like IBM and Dell. Steve Jobs thereby let Bill Gates gain traction with the Microsoft Windows operating system which then captured the lion's share of the personal computer market. Steve Jobs always did want monopoly power of hardware that ran his operating systems. This was an enormous mistake in terms of the Mac operating system.


"A Way to Share Photos, Files And Money in Black & White:  Walt Mossberg reviews Xsync, an iPhone app that uses QR codes to transfer photos, songs, videos and even money, The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2019 ---

Say you want to quickly transfer a file, like a photo or a contact entry, from your smartphone to a friend's. Most people would email or text the file. But a number of technologies have come along to make the process quicker and simpler.

On some Android phones, you can "beam" files like photos from phone to phone by tapping one phone to another, or bringing them very close. But that requires that both phones have a special chip, called NFC, which isn't yet universal on Android phones and doesn't exist at all in iPhones.

Another approach is to use an app called Bump, which transfers files between iPhones and Android phones when those holding them do a sort of sideways fist bump. It works pretty well, but you have to make contact with the other person.

This week, I've been testing a different approach—an iPhone app called Xsync. It doesn't require any special chip and instead uses a free app and a hardware feature almost every smartphone possesses—the camera. While it is primarily meant, like Bump, for transfers between phones in proximity, it works over long distances. I was able to almost instantly send and get photos, videos and songs using Xsync between two iPhones held up to computer webcams during a Skype video call.

The key to Xsync is the QR code, that square symbol found seemingly everywhere these days—online, in print newspapers and magazines, on posters and other places. These codes typically just contain text—often, a Web address. But Xsync, a tiny company based in Seattle, generates QR codes that initiate the transfer of whole files, or in the case of photos, even groups of files. It has a built-in QR code scanner to read these codes using the phone's camera.

The biggest drawback to Xsync is that it is currently only available for the iPhone. An Android version is planned for sometime this quarter. Meanwhile, you can use an Android phone with any QR code reader to receive, though not send, files sent via Xsync.

The Xsync app is something of a teaser for the underlying technology, which the company calls the Optical Message Service. The company's goal isn't to build its own apps, but to license the technology to cellphone makers so it becomes a built-in way to transfer files.

Here's how it works. Once you install Xsync on your iPhone, you select an audio file, photo, video, contact, or calendar appointment, each of which is represented by a simple icon. The app creates a QR code representing the intended transfer of that file and temporarily sends the file to Xsync's server. Your friend uses Xsync to scan the QR code you've created with his or her iPhone's camera, and the files are sent to your friend's iPhone.

In my tests, it was easy, quick and reliable. I successfully used Xsync to send and receive all the included types of files with an iPhone 5, an iPhone 4S, and an iPad Mini. I was also able to receive files on an Android phone, a Google GOOG -0.96% Nexus 4, via a QR code generated by Xsync.

You can even generate a QR code using Xsync that will allow you to transfer money from your PayPal account to another person's, though that requires an added authentication step for security. But it worked, and would be a good way to, say, split a bill at a restaurant. (This PayPal feature of Xsync doesn't work with Android, for now.)

The company says the file transfers are secure, for two reasons. First, they are encrypted. More important, each code is generated for a specific transfer and expires after a relatively short time. For instance, codes for photos expire after 24 hours, according to the company.

You can use Xsync to transmit certain kinds of files—including documents—you've stored in your Dropbox account, though, oddly, the Xsync app hides this document-transfer feature under an icon for sharing calendar appointments.

And you don't have to be close to make the transfer. In addition to my Skype example, you can send a QR code generated by Xsync via email or text message, or even post the code to Facebook FB -1.59% . Another person can then scan the code to get the file.

Xsync can generate codes that represent either existing files on your phone, or files you create on the spot. If you don't want to use an existing one, the audio, photo, video and calendar icons in the app invite you to create a new file to be transferred.

Continued in article

Big Brother is Watching Your Kid
"Texas Schools Win Right To Track Students With Creepy, Invasive RFID Locators," by Adam Popescu, ReadWriteWeb, January 10, 2013

Jensen Comment
I wonder if similar devices will one day be implanted in every child at birth. Think of the good and bad possibilities.

"Finally, a Path Toward Solutions to the Crisis in Higher Ed," by Jeff Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

"The digital challenge, I: Loss & gain, or the fate of the book," by Anthony Daniels, The New Criterion, November 2012 ---

Why read books?
To learn, yes. But also to escape the messiness of life, to establish a sense of superiority, to distract ourselves from ourselves

Jensen Comment
As I grew older and am now retired, I find very few scholarly books that I want to read in terms of every page from cover-to-cover. Perhaps it's because I've found other ways distract myself from myself --- notably the Internet. Perhaps it's because at this stage of my life in the lonely mountains there's nobody around to display my sense of superiority that's so common among scholars on college campus. And real life in many ways is less messy in retirement --- no need to commute to and from work everyday; no need to go to meetings for the major purpose of adding a line to a resume; no need to ferry kids about from soccer to swimming to theater practice, movies, pizza parlors, etc.

Some of the books books I do read from cover-to-cover are entertainment books that relieve the boredom of waiting around in hotels and medical offices when I have to take Erika for her various medical treatments in Boston, Concord, and the Dartmouth Medical Center in Hanover. In this regard I'm still a mystery book buff with little concern about scholarly messages in the mostly paperback old and new books I read for such purposes.

And when Erika and I do watch our one Netflix movie of the day inside our cottage we choose the movies we find entertaining that are not movies to brag about on a listserv of professors. New movies are generally so horrible that we often repeat movies as long as we've forgotten the murderer. One of the blessings of old age memory is that it's surprisingly easy to forget the murderer revealed at the end of the movie. For example, Erika and I just completed re-watching every episode of Foyle's War. Seldom did either of us remember the endings even though it's only been about two years since we watched this BBC series for the first time. Maybe this is one of the first signs of senility.



From the Scout Report on January 11, 2013

EasyDrop --- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/easydrop/flogpfmjdekjoilcnmmchanikomlidie 

No doubt many Scout Report readers have enjoyed using Dropbox as a convenient way to store large files to share with colleagues, friends, and others. This handy Dropbox widget can be used with Google Chrome to access these files quickly. Visitors can use the program to download files from Dropbox, see recent changes, and also learn about updates of note. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP and newer.

Photo Raster 1.2 --- http://photoraster.com/ 

There are hundreds of free online photo editors available, and Photo Raster is one of the better ones. This application features dozens of filters, masks, layers, adjustments, selections, and paint tools. On the site, visitors can peruse a number of tutorials, check out their blog and learn about each of their features in detail. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and newer.

Can a new online art collection website change the nature of this volatile market?

Art market online: Out with the old, in with the new

Art.sy has permanently moved to Artsy.net

Artsy Press Release

Warhol Tops Picasso Sales, Richter Leading Living Artist

Art Market Bubble Dialogue


From the Scout Report on January 18, 2013

BrowserBite --- http://www.browserbite.com/ 

The BrowserBite application gives web designers the ability to test out their designs on different browsers without much fuss. This application uses complex image processing algorithms to detect differences in snapshots captured through different browsers. It's a rather useful tool, and the free version gives users access to browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

Colorific 4.0 --- https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/colorific-1/ 

The Colorific add-on for Mozilla Firefox can be used to turn a webpage into a horse of a different color. Visitors can use the add-on to invert colors, adapt brightness and apply color filters. This version of Colorific is compatible with all computers running Windows and Firefox version 17.0 and newer.

In an era of declining fortunes, cities and regional authorities look
around for tax revenue

Airlines Accused of Gaming Tax Rules

RTA alleges United, American Airlines using 'sham' office for fuel

Lawsuit: 'Sham' United office dodges sales taxes

The Impact of the Great Recession on Local Property Taxes

Tax Policy Center

The Urban Institute: Economy and Taxes

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

Education Tutorials

Codeacademy (computer programming tutorials) ---  http://www.codecademy.com

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

National Science Foundation: Resources for STEM Education --- http://www.nsfresources.org/topic.cfm?topic=IM

International Space Station Tour --- http://www.wimp.com/orbitaltour/

You Are Here by Carl Sagan --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9TIeuBF9Ss 

Society of Physics Students --- http://www.spsnational.org/cup/resources.html

Science in Focus: Force and Motion (Astronomy and Astrophysics) ---  http://www.learner.org/resources/series136.html

The Wonder, Thrill & Meaning of Seeing Earth from Space. Astronauts Reflect on The Big Blue Marble --- Click Here

BioEdOnline: Teaching Strategies --- http://www.bioedonline.org/presentations/index.cfm#category32

BioSciEdNet --- http://www.biosciednet.org/portal/

GetBodySmart (anatomy and physiology) --- http://www.getbodysmart.com/

BioDigitalHuman (anatomy) ---  https://www.biodigitalhuman.com/

BioDigitalHuman (anatomy) ---  https://www.biodigitalhuman.com/

BioDigitalHuman (anatomy) ---  https://www.biodigitalhuman.com/

Cornell Launches Archive of 150,000 Bird Calls and Animal Sounds, with Recordings Going Back to 1929 --- Click Here

Guided Discovery Problems (Geology and Earth Science) ---  http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/guided_discovery/index.html

AP Environmental Science Online Course

Down to Earth: Herblock and Photographers Observe the Environment --- 

Engineering Resources --- http://www.asme.org/groups/educational-resources/engineering-resources

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

A Window into China: Carnegei-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy --- 

Marketing Science Institute --- http://www.msi.org/

U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian: Historical Documents (foreign relations) ---

Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing Proceedings --- http://faculty.quinnipiac.edu/charm/cumulative_proceedings.htm 

Advertising Age --- http://adage.com/

Social Media and Marketing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

The Archive of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change --- http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive

AFSCME, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike --- http://www.afscme.org/about/1029.cfm

Bob Jensen's neglected threads on advertising and marketing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#Marketing

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

Codeacademy (computer programming tutorials) ---  http://www.codecademy.com

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

History Tutorials

The Archive of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change --- http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive

Listen to Robert Frost Read ‘The Gift Outright,’ the Poem He Recited from Memory at JFK’s Inauguration --- Click Here

Shmoop is an online study guide for English Literature, Poetry and American history --- http://www.shmoop.com/

Broadside Verses Collection --- http://epfl.mdch.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/mdbv

The Steven Enich Serbian Orthodox Culture Slide Collection (photographs) ---

AFSCME, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike --- http://www.afscme.org/about/1029.cfm

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy (art history) ---

The Enigma Machine: How Alan Turing Helped Break the Unbreakable Nazi Code ---

The ABC of Architects: An Animated Flipbook of Famous Architects and Their Best-Known Buildings --- Click Here

Trains and the Brits Who Love Them: Monty Python’s Michael Palin on Great Railway Journeys --- Click Here

U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian: Historical Documents (foreign relations) ---

The Becker Collection and First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection --- http://idesweb.bc.edu/becker/

Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Portraits --- http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/caption/captionliljenquist.html

Fairfield University Digital Archives --- http://digital.fairfield.edu/

Central Connecticut State University: Digital Collections --- http://content.library.ccsu.edu/

Stony Brook Press (poetry, history, geography) --- http://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/1951/25510

Pennsylvania State University Libraries: Maps --- http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/digital/maps.html

Tupper Scrapbook Collection (historic travel in Europe, Egypt, and Africa) ---

J. Howard Pyle Radio Broadcasts, 1944-1952 (Arizona, Geology) ---  http://repository.asu.edu/collections/139

Basque Digital Collection --- http://contentdm.library.unr.edu/digitalprojects/BasqCollPages/BasqColl-about.html

George Bellows (Art History, Paintings ---  http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/bellows

Florida Memory Spanish Land Grants --- http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/SpanishLandGrants/

Parks Canada --- http://www.pc.gc.ca/progs/np-pn/pr-sp/index_e.asp

The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project --- http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/countyatlas/searchmapframes.php

Los Angeles Public Library Photograph Collection --- http://photos.lapl.org/carlweb/jsp/photosearch_pageADV.jsp


Los Angeles City Archives, 1836-1872 --- http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15799coll88

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

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

Debussy Plays Debussy: The Great Composer’s Playing Returns to Life ---

Ravel Plays Ravel: The Haunting, Melancholy ‘Oiseaux Tristes,’ 1922 ---

Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff: Three Famous Pieces, 1919-1929 ---

Yiddish Sheet Music --- http://library.brown.edu/cds/sheetmusic/yiddish/

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

Jack Kerouac’s 30 Revelations for Writing Modern Prose ---

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

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

January 10, 2013

January 11, 2013

January 12, 2013

January 14, 2013

January 15, 2013

January 16, 2013

January 17, 2013

January 18, 2013

January 22, 2013

January 23, 2013

January 24, 2013


What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

"Is Nectresse a Safer No-Calorie Sweetener?" by Monica Reinagel, Nutrition Diva, January 20, 2013 ---

Diet doctor urges intermittent fasting (BBC News) ---

Scholars Propose Tax Reform to Prevent a Healthcare Disaster
"The $86 Billion Fix:  A group of scholars propose a plan that could put a brake on health care spending," Stanford Graduate School of Business, January 7, 2013 ---


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


Jokes are a vital part of teaching and learning. Jokes serve many purposes in academe, and most of these purposes are not taken up in the book reviewed below. But the book does delve into humor and cognition.

Some famous authors built their serious messages within humor, notably Mark Twain, PG Wodehouse, Charles Dickens (sometimes), Shakespeare (sometimes), Will Rogers, and many, many others ---
Their messages in many cases live on because of the humor.

The Science of Jokes (and Riddles)
What’s so funny?" Tim Lewens , The Times Literary Supplement ---

Review of Inside Jokes:  Using humor to reverse-engineer the mind
by Matthew M. Hurley, Daniel C. Dennett and Reginald B. Adams, Jr.
359pp. MIT Press. £20.95 (US $29.95).
December 2012
978 0 262 01582 0

A Dissertation Recommendation
The Effects of Humor on Cognitive Learning in a Computer-Based Environment
by Whisonant, Robert Dowling
Virginia Tech, 1998
Free Download

Previous studies on humor in education have focused on the use of humor embedded in the presentation of content material. Some research, however, suggests that humor is an effective tool for increasing divergent thinking and information acquisition if the humor is given prior to the presentation of content material. This study used an experimental design to test if humor given prior to content presentation was more effective in helping students understand and remember information and enjoy the presentation than a control group treatment. Statistical tests did not support either hypothesis.

Jensen Comment
One of the biggest mysteries in teaching and writing is how some teachers/authors can pull humor off amazingly well while others in similar circumstances perform terribly.

Also be aware that subjects of humor are much more restrained in recent decades by evolving political correctness. Particularly puzzling is how people who are from a particular racial, ethnic, gender, or religious cohort may tell jokes about themselves and their cohort friends that become offensive retold by humorists outside the cohorts in question. There are very few cohorts for which there is open season for humor --- except for the elderly, politicians, and Scandinavians Americans named Ole, Lena, and Sven ---

Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment ---

Archie Bunker is Called to Give Eulogy --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=MnignqBw4CY

Forwarded by Dick Haar

This would be the best Super Bowl advertisement of all time if it could just pass the censors ---

Forwarded by Jim Kirk


A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbor and says, "Please come over > here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her neighbor asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The little silver haired lady says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says,  "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Secondly, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then," he said with a deep sigh "Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."

Forwarded by Paula

She walked up and tied her old mule to the hitching rail. As she stood there, brushing some of the dust from her face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old woman and laughed, saying, "Hey, old woman! Have you ever danced?"

The old woman looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance. . . never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old bag, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old woman's feet.

The old woman prospector, not wanting to get her toes blown off, started hopping around. Everybody was laughing.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old woman turned to her pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.

The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening.

The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old woman and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old woman's hands, as she quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No, ma'am . . . but . . . I've always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for all of us here.

1 - Never be arrogant..
2 - Don't waste ammunition.
3 - Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.
4 - Always, always make sure you know who has the power.
5 - Don't mess with old women; they didn't get old by being stupid.



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 ---

The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

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