Tidbits on October 15, 2009
Bob Jensen

In the autumn of my life up here in these beautiful mountains
My days are filled with sunrises, sunsets, and rainbows
Sometimes while I work at my computer I'm just above the clouds
And other times I see air force jets drawing lines in my sky

Sometimes Erika and I each have our own rainbow
These rainbow pictures were taken on different days this October


The colors of autumn in the foothills

The gray scar in the picture below is where the highway comes out of Franconia Notch pass
At night we can see the lights of the moving vehicles

Erika got some of her roses inside just before the snow and cold hit
Winter weather hit us earlier than usual


I did not take the fun pictures shown below


Who wrote those delightful Maxine cartoons? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Maxine/Maxine.htm


Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations Between October 6 and October 15, 2009
To Accompany the October 15, 2009 edition of Tidbits

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

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




Tidbits on October 15, 2009
Bob Jensen

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

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

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/

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google --- http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/coolsearchengines

World Clock and World Facts --- http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

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

Free Residential and Business Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- dial 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411
 Free Online Telephone Directory --- http://snipurl.com/411directory       [www_public-records-now_com] 
 Free online 800 telephone numbers --- http://www.tollfree.att.net/tf.html
 Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to www.google.com and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google --- http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/coolsearchengines
Bob Jensen's search helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm
Education Technology Search --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm
Distance Education Search --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
Search for Listservs, Blogs, and Social Networks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stanford University and Al Gore do not want you to see this video ---
Al Gore’s global warming research backing came mostly from Stanford.

Mr. McAleer, whose film premiers this weekend, says he's more disappointed in the environmental journalists who give Mr. Gore cover than in the former vice president. Mr. Gore is simply doing what any propagandist with a weak case would do -- avoiding serious debate or exchange. To quote the late William F. Buckley, "There is a reason that baloney rejects the grinder."
John Fund, "Al Gore's First (and Probably Last) Q&A A Nobel Prize winner takes a few questions," The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2009 --- Click Here

Two videos side by side:
Video 1 showing that Jimmy Carter said Obamacare protesters were racists" and
Video 2 Jimmy Carter denying what he said in video 1

Video:  Address by President Obama on NBC's Saturday Night Live
What have I accomplished almost one year as your President

The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered the biggest but never-before-seen ring around the planet Saturn, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced late Tuesday ---

Eugene Fama Lecture: Masters of Finance, Oct 2, 2009
Videos Fama Lecture: Masters of Finance From the American Finance Association's "Masters in Finance" video series, Eugene F. Fama presents a brief history of the efficient market theory. The lecture was recorded at the University of Chicago in October 2008 with an introduction by John Cochrane.
Bob Jensen's threads on the EMH --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#EMH

Fama Video on Market Efficiency in a Volatile Market
Widely cited as the father of the efficient market hypothesis and one of its strongest advocates, Professor Eugene Fama examines his groundbreaking idea in the context of the 2008 and 2009 markets. He outlines the benefits and limitations of efficient markets for everyday investors and is interviewed by the Chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors in Europe, David Salisbury.

Other Fama and French Videos --- http://www.dimensional.com/famafrench/videos/

Stanford University does not want you to see this video ---

AMAZING Jump Rope Performance by US Naval Academy "Kings Firecrackers"
Halftime show at this year’s Army-Navy basketball Game http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqI7cGM9mWs

David Letterman gives air time to one of his employee-paramours dancing ---

Eavesdropping (humor) --- Click Here

Video:  Interesting look at 8 common investment mistakes that uses Big Brown (the horse, not the delivery company). ---

Last night's (October 7, 2009) PBS NewsHour took a look at the bearish obsession du jour, the commercial real estate market. Real estate analyst Bob White took them around to show some of the ugliest cases out there. (via Square Feet)


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

Essentials of Music --- http://www.essentialsofmusic.com/

Bach Duo --- Click Here

Claude Debussy's Painterly Preludes:  The subtle, elusive quality of Debussy's 24 preludes is captured perfectly by pianist Paul Jacobs --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111654948

Alan Jackson says its “alright to be a redneck” --- Click Here 

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

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

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

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

Photographs and Art

Over his years and years of world travel, my great friend Paul Pacter must’ve taken 100,000 high quality photographs. Paul’s photo gallery is at http://www.whencanyou.com/index.htm

Sword History --- http://www.solarnavigator.net/history/swords.htm

What art pieces did the Obamas bring to the White House?
"A Bold and Modern White House," by Carol Vogel, The New York Times, October 6, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
And poor Winston. The Obamas did not just relegate his bust to the White House attic. They insulted Churchill by making a public point about sending his bust back to England.

From Time Magazine
Assignment Detroit --- http://www.time.com/time/detroit

Forgotten Detroit (History, Photography) --- http://www.forgottendetroit.com/

The Virtual Museum of Canada --- http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/index-eng.jsp 

Cincinnati Art Museum --- http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/

Alberto del Pozo (Cuban Art History) --- http://scholar.library.miami.edu/pozo/ 

A New Graphical Representation of the Periodic Table But is the latest redrawing of Mendeleev's masterpiece an improvement? --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/24204/?nlid=2410
Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of data --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm

Tiny Cameras Capture Albatross's Feeding Secrets:  New footage suggests the birds follow killer whales ---

Nazi Invasion of Poland in 1939: Images and Documents from the Harrison Forman Collection ---  http://www.uwm.edu/Library/digilib/pol/index.html

My digital photographs will always be free online --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/
But some of you who have greater photography skills may be interested in selling your photographs

Snapixel offers several account types: Free, Pro and Seller
"Snapixel Lets You Share, Sell Photos," by Robin Waulters, Tech Crunch, October 8, 2009 --- Click Here

Snapixel is a relatively new photo sharing service combined with a straight-forward buying and selling platform for stock photography. It's almost like Flickr got married to iStockphoto and they had a love child!

Yes, it's yet another photo sharing service. And yes, it's yet another stock photography marketplace. But both of the services rolled into one website results in a pretty decent combined offering, especially considering the fact that the whole thing was built by a completely bootstrapped venture based out of San Francisco.

Update: the company gave us some free coupons for TC readers! (see below where we discuss account types)

So what gives? On the photo sharing side, users get a bunch of features and storage for free. There's no maximum file size (although the only format you can upload is JPEG for now), and you can store up to 5GB of photos without paying a dime. You get multiple upload options, geo-tagging and mapping features, easy organization and management tools and multiple ways to share images with your friends on other social networks in just a few clicks.

If you feel like you've seen this type of design before, it's probably because you have. The screenshots below show that the whole look and feel of the Snapixel website was heavily inspired by Flickr, but frankly I see it as as a good thing because it works. Like Flickr, there's a community aspect to the site, and the service lets you easily organize uploaded images into groups and sets, with the added ability of assigning the appropriate Creative Commons license to them. You can add tags, edit descriptions and titles, assign geo-information to photos and interact with other members.

But what Flickr lacks, Snapixel offers: a marketplace where users can go to buy and sell photos. Sure, Yahoo-owned Flickr once had serious plans for such an embedded service ¿ it made, and still makes a lot of sense ¿ and has a partnership with Getty Images in place that allows the latter company to market select images that Flickr users upload online.

Snapixel offers several account types: Free, Pro and Seller. The Pro account (currently $9.95/year) has all the features of the free offering but removes any advertising and comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth. When you sign up as a Seller, you get a Pro account with the extra ability to participate in the Snapixel Marketplace.

Continued in article


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

Internet Archive: Naropa Poetics Audio Archives --- http://www.archive.org/details/naropa 

Off the Page [iTunes poetry] --- http://poetry.eprints.org/

PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf (Pennsylvania History) --- https://secureapps.libraries.psu.edu/digitalbookshelf/

A Historic and Frightening Short Story
The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/literatureofprescription/

She had a long, rangy frame and looked to be made of wire and gristle underneath the plaid shirt and jeans. Maybe 50 years old with yellowing hair and brown teeth. "Y’all queers trying to see how long you can last in a hick town?"
Richard Hammond, "Top Gear in America's redneck country:   Of all the hair-raising escapades in the show, being chased by murderous Alabamans was the scariest says presenter in new boo," London Times, October 4, 2009 ---
Link forwarded by Roger Collins.

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 Between October 6 and October 15, 2009
To Accompany the October 15, 2009 edition of Tidbits

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

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

Nobel Winners Who Probably Changed Your Life,” by David Brown, The Washington Post, October 12, 2009 --- http://snipurl.com/wbnobel

"Phishing Scam Spooked FBI Director Off E-Banking," by Brian Krebs, The Washington Post, October 9, 2009 ---
Click Here

In announcing a crackdown on "phishing" e-mail scams that netted one of the FBI's largest cyber crime cases ever, FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday offered a candid revelation: A personal close call with a phishing scam has kept his family away from online banking altogether.

Addressing the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, Mueller spoke at length about the insidiousness of cyber crime, and how cyber criminals had affected him personally.

Not long ago, the head one of our nation's domestic agencies received an e-mail purporting to be from his bank. It looked perfectly legitimate, and asked him to verify some information. He started to follow the instructions, but then realized this might not be such a good idea.

It turned out that he was just a few clicks away from falling into a classic Internet "phishing" scam--"phishing" with a "P-H." This is someone who spends a good deal of his professional life warning others about the perils of cyber crime. Yet he barely caught himself in time.

He definitely should have known better. I can say this with certainty, because it was me.

After changing all our passwords, I tried to pass the incident off to my wife as a "teachable moment." To which she replied: "It is not my teachable moment. However, it is our money. No more Internet banking for you!"

So with that as a backdrop, today I want to talk about the nature of cyber threats, the FBI's role in combating them, and finally, how we can help each other to keep them at bay.

Mueller's comments are an interesting contrast to the views expressed by the former director of the FBI's cyber division, James Finch, who said he wasn't going to let cyber thugs deprive him of the efficiencies and convenience that online banking have to offer.

The following is an excerpt from an interview I had with Finch last August:

Q: Do you do online banking?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: How long have you been doing that?

A: Maybe 10 years?

Q: And you don't get freaked out by what you see every day? I certainly do.

A: Yeah, so does my wife. I do online banking. I pay my bills online. I file my taxes online. I truly believe in the Internet. Do I believe it's a scary place? Without a doubt. I'm in law enforcement, and I run the cyber division for the FBI. I don't want to say that I'm so intimidated by the bad guys that I am going to allow them to dictate taking full advantage of what I consider to be the benefits of the Internet. Yes, there are people who are targeting online bank accounts on a regular basis, but not to the point where it's going to cause me to stop using it.


As a consumer, having your online banking account credentials stolen -- either via phishing or through password-stealing malicious software -- can be a harrowing experience, but it is usually not a costly one. The federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act ("Regulation E"), limits consumer liability for unauthorized transactions to $50, provided notice is given within 10 business days, or to $500 provided notice is given within 60 business days. Even so, retail banks often will work to make whole those customers who are victims of cyber fraud.

On the other hand, business that bank online enjoy hardly any such protection. The precise obligations of a commercial bank and their business customers are spelled out in the agreement that those companies sign, but generally business customers agree to notify their bank of any suspicious or unauthorized transactions on the same day that the transaction in question occurs. Even then, there is no guarantee that the bank will be able to block or reverse any fraudulent transfers.

Regardless of whether you bank online as a consumer or business customer, here are a few recommendations to help avoid becoming a victim of cyber thieves.

-Do not click on links or attachments in unsolicited e-mail.

-Junk any e-mail communications that claims to come from your bank alerting you that you need to sign in or update your information. Due to threats like phishing e-mails, few banks use this medium any more to communicate with customers. But If you find yourself wondering whether an e-mail you received really was about a problem with your account, pick up the phone and call your bank.

-Keep your computer, Web browser and other software up-to-date with the latest software security updates: Many data-stealing malware threats arrive via hacked Web sites that leverage outdated or insecure browser plug-ins.

-Keep a close eye on your checking and savings account balances. Notify your bank immediately of any suspicious charges.

A copy of Director Mueller's remarks is available here.

When might you want to run Linux on your Windows computer?

"E-Banking on a Locked Down (Non-Microsoft) PC," by Brian Krebs, The Washington Post, October  --- Click Here

In past Live Online chats and blog posts, I've mentioned any easy way to temporarily convert a Windows PC into a Linux-based computer in order to ensure that your online banking credentials positively can't be swiped by password-stealing malicious software. What follows is a brief tutorial on how to do that with Ubuntu, one of the more popular bootable Linux installations.

Also known as "Live CDs," these are generally free, Linux-based operating systems that one can download and burn to a CD-Rom or DVD. The beauty of Live CDs is that they can be used to turn a Windows based PC into a provisional Linux computer, as Live CDs allow the user to boot into a , Linux operating system without installing anything to the hard drive. Programs on a LiveCD are loaded into system memory, and any changes - such as browsing history or other activity -- are completely wiped away after the machine is shut down. To return to Windows, simply remove the CD from the drive and reboot.

More importantly, malware that is built to steal data from Windows-based systems simply won't load or work when the user is booting from LiveCD. Even if the Windows installation on the underlying hard drive is completely corrupted with a keystroke-logging virus or Trojan, the malware can't capture the victim's banking credentials if that user only transmits his user name and password after booting up into one of these Live CDs.

There are dozens -- if not hundreds of these LiveCD distributions -- each with their own flavor or focus: Some try to be as small or lightweight as possible, others - like Backtrack - focus on offering some of the best open source hacking and security tools available. For this project, however, I'm showcasing Ubuntu because it is relatively easy to use and appears to play nicely with a broad range of computer hardware.

A few words of advice before you proceed with this project:

-LiveCDs are easiest to use on desktop PCs. Loading a LiveCD on a laptop sometimes works fine, but often it's a bit of a hassle to get it to boot up or network properly, requiring the use of cryptic "cheat codes" and a lot of trial and error, in my experience.

-If you do decide to try this on a laptop, I'd urge you to plug the notebook into a router via an networking cable, as opposed to trying to access the Web with the LiveCD using a wireless connection. Networking a laptop on a wireless connection while using an LiveCD distribution may be relatively painless if you are not on an encrypted (WEP or WPA/WPA2) wireless network, but attempting to do this on an encrypted network is not for the Linux newbie.

-I conceived this tutorial as a way to help business owners feel safer about banking online, given the ability of many malware strains to evade standard security tools, such as desktop anti-virus software. Consumers who have their online bank account cleaned out because of a keystroke-sniffing Trojan usually are made whole by their bank (provided they don't wait more than 10 business days before reporting the fraud). Not so for businesses, which generally are responsible for any such losses. I'm not saying it's impossible to bank online securely with a Windows PC: This advice is aimed at those who would rather not leave anything to chance.

-The steps described below may sound like a lot of work, but most of what I'll describe only has to be done once, and from then on you can quickly boot into your Ubuntu Live CD whenever you need to.

With that, let's move on. To grab this package, visit the Ubuntu site, pick the nearest download location, and download the file when prompted (the file name should end in ".iso"). Go make a sandwich, or water your plants or something. This may take a while, depending on your Internet connection speed.

After you've download the file, burn the image to CD-Rom or DVD. If you don't know how to burn an image file to CD or don't know whether you have a program to do so, download something like Ashampoo Burning Studio Free. Once you've installed it, start the program and select "create/burn disc images." Locate the .iso file you just downloaded, and follow the prompts to burn the image to the disc.

When the burn is complete, just keep the disc in the drive. We next need to make sure that the computer knows to look to the CD drive first for a bootable operating system before it checks the hard drive, otherwise this LiveCD will never be recognized by the computer. When you start up your PC, take note of the text that flashes on the screen, and look for something that says "Press [some key] to enter setup" or "Press [some key] to enter startup." Usually, the key you want will be F2, or the Delete or Escape (Esc) key.

When you figure out what key you need to press, press it repeatedly until the system BIOS screen is displayed. Your mouse will not work here, so you'll need to rely on your keyboard. Look at the menu options at the top of the screen, and you should notice a menu named "Boot". Hit the "right arrow" key until you've reached that screen listing your bootable devices. What you want to do here is move the CD-Rom/DVD Drive to the top of the list. Do this by selecting the down-arrow key until the CD-Rom option is highlighted, and the press the "+" key on your keyboard until the CD-Rom option is at the top. Then hit the F10 key, and confirm "yes" when asked if you want to save changes and exit, and the computer should reboot. If you'd done this step correctly, the computer should detect the CD image you just burned as a bootable operating system. [Unless you know what you're doing here, it's important not to make any other changes in the BIOS settings. If you accidentally do make a change that you want to undo, hit F10, and select the option "Exit without saving changes." The computer will reboot, and you can try this step again.]

When you first boot into the Unbuntu CD, it will ask you to select your language. On the next screen, you'll notice that the default option - "Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer" - is already selected. Hit the "return" or "enter" key on your keyboard to proceed safely.

Bob Jensen's phishing threads are at

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

How a Student Laid Up With a Broken Back Learned From Free Open Sharing Ivy League Courses
The big issue is how to get transcript credit for his accomplishments?

The Year 1858

When the University of London instituted correspondence courses in 1858, the first university to do so, its students (typically expatriates in what were then the colonies of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa), discovered the programme by word of mouth and wrote the university to enrol.  the university then despatched, by post-and-boat, what today we would call the course outline, a set of previous examination papers and a list of places around the world where examinations were conducted.  It left any "learning" to the hapless student, who sat the examination whenever he or she felt ready:  a truly "flexible" schedule!  this was the first generation of distance education (Tabsall and Ryan, 1999):  "independent" learning for highly motivated and resourceful autodidacts disadvantaged by distance. (Page 71)
Yoni Ryan who wrote Chapter 5 of
The Changing Faces of Virtual Education --- http://www.col.org/virtualed/ 
Dr. Glen Farrell, Study Team Leader and Editor
The Commonwealth of Learning

Of course students paid for correspondence courses and they got credit (often they took exams proctored by the village vicar. In days of old, the University of Chicago granted credit via onsite examination --- students did not have to attend courses but had to pay for college degrees earned via examinations. In modern times we usually insist that even online students do more for course credits than merely passing examinations. Examples of other work that's graded include term papers and team projects. which, of course, can be required of online students in addition to examinations that might be administered at test sites like Sylvan testing sites or community colleges that administer examinations for major universities.

In modern times, countless courses are available online, often from very prestigious universities for credit for students admitted to online programs. Courses from prestigious universities are also free to anybody in the world, but these almost never award degree credits since examinations and projects are not administered and graded. For links to many of the prestigious university course materials, videos lectures, and complete courses go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

One Business Model from Harvard
The Harvard Business School has a basic accounting course that can be purchased and administered online by other colleges. Of course the credits granted are from College X and not Harvard such that College X must provide instructors for coordinating the course and administering the examinations and projects.
Financial Accounting: An Introductory Online Course by David F. Hawkins, Paul M. Healy, Michael Sartor Publication date: Nov 04, 2005. Prod. #: 105708-HTM-ENG

"Open Courses: Free, but Oh, So Costly:  Online students want credit; colleges want a working business model," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 11, 2009 --- Click Here

Steven T. Ziegler leapt to MIT off a mountain.

He was on a hang glider, and he slammed the ground hard on his chin. Recovery from surgery on his broken back left the 39-year-old high-school dropout with time for college courses.

From a recliner, the drugged-up crash victim tried to keep his brain from turning to mush by watching a free introductory-biology course put online by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hooked, he moved on to lectures about Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian from an English course at Yale. Then he bought Paradise Lost.

A success for college-made free online courses—except that Mr. Ziegler, who works for a restaurant-equipment company in Pennsylvania, is on the verge of losing his job. And those classes failed to provide what his résumé real ly needs: a college credential.

"Do I put that I got a 343 out of 350 on my GED test at age 16?" he says, throwing up his hands. "I have nothing else to put."

Related ContentCountries Offer Different Takes to Open Online Learning Students Find Free Online Lectures Better Than What They're Paying For Table: How 4 Colleges Support Free Online Courses Video: A Family Man Dabbles in Ivy-League Learning Enlarge Photo Stan Godlewski At Yale U., technicians record John Geanakoplos, a professor of economics, giving a lecture that will be available free online. Stan Godlewski At Yale U., technicians record John Geanakoplos, a professor of economics, giving a lecture that will be available free online. Enlarge Photo John Zeedick Steven Ziegler cooking dinner at home with his family. John Zeedick Steven Ziegler cooking dinner at home with his family. Colleges, too, are grappling with the limits of this global online movement. Enthusiasts think open courses have the potential to uplift a nation of Zieglers by helping them piece together cheaper degrees from multiple institutions. But some worry that universities' projects may stall, because the recession and disappearing grant money are forcing colleges to confront a difficult question: What business model can support the high cost of giving away your "free" content?

"With the economic downturn, I think it will be a couple of years before Yale or other institutions are likely to be able to make substantial investments in building out a digital course catalog," says Linda K. Lorimer, vice president and secretary at Yale, which is publishing a 36-class, greatest-hits-style video set called Open Yale Courses. Over the long term, she argues, such work will flourish.

Maybe. But Utah State University recently mothballed its OpenCourseWare venture after running out of money from the state and from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which has financed much of the open-content movement. Utah State had published a mix of lecture notes, syllabi, audio and video recordings from more than 80 courses, a collection thought to be the country's second-largest behind the pioneering, 1,940-class MIT OpenCourseWare project. The program needed only $120,000 a year to survive. But the economy was so bad that neither the university nor the state Legislature would pony up more money for a project whose mission basically amounted to blessing the globe with free course materials.

'Dead by 2012' More free programs may run aground. So argues David Wiley, open education's Everywhere Man, who set up the Utah venture and is now an associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University. A newspaper once likened him to Nostradamus for claiming that universities risked irrelevance by 2020. The education oracle offers another prophecy for open courseware. "Every OCW initiative at a university that does not offer distance courses for credit," he has blogged, "will be dead by the end of calendar 2012."

In other words: Nice knowing you, MIT OpenCourseWare. So long, Open Yale Courses.

"I think the economics of open courseware the way we've been doing it for the last almost decade have been sort of wrong," Mr. Wiley tells The Chronicle. Projects aimed for "the world," not bread-and-butter clientele like alumni and students. "Because it's not connected to any of our core constituencies, those programs haven't been funded with core funding. And so, in a climate where the economy gets bad and foundation funding slows, then that's a critical juncture for the movement."

Stephen E. Carson, external-relations director of MIT's OpenCourseWare, chuckles at the 2012 prediction and chides Mr. Wiley as someone who "specializes in provocative statements." But ventures around the country are seriously exploring new business strategies. For some, it's fund raising à la National Public Radio; for others, hooking open content to core operations by dangling it as a gateway to paid courses.

For elite universities, the sustainability struggle points to a paradox of opening access. If they do grant credentials, perhaps even a certificate, could that dilute their brands?

"Given that exclusivity has come to be seen by some as a question of how many students a university can turn away, I don't see what's going to make the selective universities increase their appetite for risking their brands by offering credits for online versions of core undergraduate courses," says Roger C. Schonfeld, research manager at Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit group focused on technology in higher education that is studying online courseware.

The answer may be that elites won't have to. Others can.

Ever since MIT made its curriculum freely available online, its philanthropic feat has become a global trend. Colleges compete to add new classes to the Web's ever-growing free catalog. The result is a world where content and credentials no longer need to come from the same source. A freshman at Podunk U. can study with the world's top professors on YouTube. And within the emerging megalibrary of videos and syllabi and multimedia classes—a library of perhaps 10,000 courses—proponents see the building blocks of cheaper college options for self-teachers like Mr. Ziegler.

The Great Unbundling How? When open-education advocates like MIT's Mr. Carson peer into their crystal balls, the images they see often hinge on one idea: the unbundling of higher education.

The Great Higher Education Unbundling notion is over a decade old. It's picked up buzz lately, though, as media commentators compare the Internet's threat to college "conglomerates" with the way Web sites like Craigslist clawed apart the traditional functions of newspapers.

Now take a university like MIT, where students pay about $50,000 a year for a tightly knit package of course content, learning experiences, certification, and social life. MIT OpenCourseWare has lopped off the content and dumped it in cyberspace. Eventually, according to Mr. Carson's take on the unbundling story, online learning experiences will emerge that go beyond just content. Consider Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative, another darling of the movement, whose multimedia courses track students' progress and teach them with built-in tutors—no professor required.

"And then, ultimately, I think there will be increasing opportunities in the digital space for certification as well," Mr. Carson says. "And that those three things will be able to be flexibly combined by savvy learners, to achieve their educational goals at relatively low cost."

And social life? Don't we need college to tailgate and mate?

"Social life we'll just forget about because there's Facebook," Mr. Wiley says. "Nobody believes that people have to go to university to have a social life anymore."

Genre-Benders If the paragraphs you just read triggered an it'll-never-happen snort, take a look at what futurists like Mr. Wiley are trying—today—on the margins of academe.

In August a global group of graduate students and professors went live with an online book-club-like experiment that layers the flesh of human contact on the bones of free content. At Peer 2 Peer University, course organizers act more like party hosts than traditional professors. Students are expected to essentially teach one another, and themselves.

In September a separate institution started that also exploits free online materials and peer teaching. At University of the People, 179 first-term freshmen are already taking part in a project that bills itself as the world's first nonprofit, tuition-free, online university.

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's threads on online assessment for grading and course credit ---

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


Free Lectures from PBS and NPR --- http://forum-network.org/lectures/popular

From Simoleon Sense on October 7, 2009 --- Click Here

For our most avid learners I often recommend visiting Ted & Fora.Tv now there is something else….

PBS & NPR are offering free online lectures. This is  a gold mine of material….below we have embedded  several sample lectures.

Click Here To Access The PBS & NPR Forum Network Online Lecture Collection

(H/T OpenCult

Introduction & Excerpt (Via OpenCulture)

PBS and NPR are now posting taped interviews and videos of lectures by academics, adding to the growing number of free lectures online.

Their site, called Forum Network, says it makes thousands of lectures available, including the Harvard professor Michael Sandel’s take on calculating happiness in a lecture called “How to Measure Pleasure,” and a discussion by a Northeastern University professor, Nicholas Daniloff, about the difficulties of reporting in Russia in a lecture called “Of Spies and Spokesmen: The Challenge of Journalism in Russia.”

Lecture 1: Free to Choose / Who Owns Me?

About: Libertarians believe the ideal state is a society with minimal governmental interference. Sandel introduces Robert Nozick, a libertarian philosopher, who argues that individuals have the fundamental right to choose how they want to live their own lives. Government shouldn’t have the power to enact laws that protect people from themselves (seat belt laws), to enact laws that force a moral value on society, or enact laws that redistribute income from the rich to the poor. Sandel uses the examples of Bill Gates and Michael Jordan to explain Nozick’s theory that redistributive taxation is a form of forced labor.

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing course materials and free lecture videos ---

Why single out capitalism for immorality and ethics misbehavior?

Making capitalism ethical is a tough task – and possibly a hopeless one.
Prem Sikka (see below)

The global code of conduct of Ernst & Young, another global accountancy firm, claims that "no client or external relationship is more important than the ethics, integrity and reputation of Ernst & Young". Partners and former partners of the firm have also been found guilty of promoting tax evasion.
Prem Sikka (see below)

Jensen Comment
Yeah right Prem, as if making the public sector and socialism ethical is an easier task. The least ethical nations where bribery, crime, and immorality are the worst are likely to be the more government (dictator) controlled and lower on the capitalism scale. And in the so-called capitalist nations, the lowest ethics are more apt to be found in the public sector that works hand in hand with bribes from large and small businesses.

Rotten Fraud in General --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
Rotten Fraud in the Public Sector (The Most Criminal Class Writes the Laws) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#Lawmakers

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

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

Why should members of Congress be allowed to profit from insider trading?
Amid broad congressional concern about ethics scandals, some lawmakers are poised to expand the battle for reform: They want to enact legislation that would prohibit members of Congress and their aides from trading stocks based on nonpublic information gathered on Capitol Hill. Two Democrat lawmakers plan to introduce today a bill that would block trading on such inside information. Current securities law and congressional ethics rules don't prohibit lawmakers or their staff members from buying and selling securities based on information learned in the halls of Congress.
Brody Mullins, "Bill Seeks to Ban Insider Trading By Lawmakers and Their Aides," The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114351554851509761.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

The Culture of Corruption Runs Deep and Wide in Both U.S. Political Parties:  Few if any are uncorrupted
Committee members have shown no appetite for taking up all those cases and are considering an amnesty for reporting violations, although not for serious matters such as accepting a trip from a lobbyist, which House rules forbid. The data firm PoliticalMoneyLine calculates that members of Congress have received more than $18 million in travel from private organizations in the past five years, with Democrats taking 3,458 trips and Republicans taking 2,666. . . But of course, there are those who deem the American People dumb as stones and will approach this bi-partisan scandal accordingly. Enter Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi, complete with talking points for her minion, that are sure to come back and bite her .... “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents.
Bob Parks, "Will Nancy Pelosi's Words Come Back to Bite Her?" The National Ledger, January 6, 2006 --- http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_27262498.shtml 

And when they aren't stealing directly, lawmakers are caving in to lobbying crooks
Drivers can send their thank-you notes to Capitol Hill, which created the conditions for this mess last summer with its latest energy bill. That legislation contained a sop to Midwest corn farmers in the form of a huge new ethanol mandate that began this year and requires drivers to consume 7.5 billion gallons a year by 2012. At the same time, Congress refused to include liability protection for producers of MTBE, a rival oxygen fuel-additive that has become a tort lawyer target. So MTBE makers are pulling out, ethanol makers can't make up the difference quickly enough, and gas supplies are getting squeezed.
"The Gasoline Follies," The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page A20  --- Click Here

Once again, the power of pork to sustain incumbents gets its best demonstration in the person of John Murtha (D-PA). The acknowledged king of earmarks in the House gains the attention of the New York Times editorial board today, which notes the cozy and lucrative relationship between more than two dozen contractors in Murtha's district and the hundreds of millions of dollars in pork he provided them. It also highlights what roughly amounts to a commission on the sale of Murtha's power as an appropriator: Mr. Murtha led all House members this year, securing $162 million in district favors, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. ... In 1991, Mr. Murtha used a $5 million earmark to create the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence in Johnstown to develop anti-pollution technology for the military. Since then, it has garnered more than $670 million in contracts and earmarks. Meanwhile it is managed by another contractor Mr. Murtha helped create, Concurrent Technologies, a research operation that somehow was allowed to be set up as a tax-exempt charity, according to The Washington Post. Thanks to Mr. Murtha, Concurrent has boomed; the annual salary for its top three executives averages $462,000.
Edward Morrissey, Captain's Quarters, January 14, 2008 --- http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/016617.php

"Several Democrats, including some closed allied to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are the subject of ethics complaints," by Holly Bailey, Newsweek Magazine, October 3, 2009 --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/216687

Nancy Pelosi likes to brag that she's "drained the swamp" when it comes to corruption in the House, but ethics problems could come back to haunt Democrats in 2010. Democrats are currently the subject of 12 of the 16 complaints pending before the House ethics committee. Two of the lawmakers under scrutiny—Reps. Jack Murtha and Charlie Rangel—have close ties to Pelosi, who has come under criticism for not asking them to resign their committee posts. Murtha, chairman of a key defense-appropriations subcommittee, is is not formally under investigation but the ethics committee is reviewing political contributions he and other House lawmakers received from lobbying firm whose clients received millions of dollars in Defense earmarks. Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is facing scrutiny for not fully disclosing assets. The ethics committee is also looking into ties between Rangel and a developer who leased rent-controlled apartments to the congressman, and whether Rangel improperly used his House office to raise funds for a public policy institute in his name. Rangel and Murtha deny any wrongdoing. (Another lawmaker under investigation: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who, according to the committee, "may have offered to raise funds" for then–Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for the president's Senate seat—a charge Jackson denies. The panel deferred its probe at the request of the Justice Department, which is conducting its own inquiry.)

Pelosi has said little about Rangel's ethics problems, or those involving other Democrats; a Pelosi spokesman, Brendan Daly, e-mails NEWSWEEK, "The speaker has said that [Rangel] should not step aside while the independent, bipartisan ethics committee is investigating."

But watchdog groups, not to mention Republicans, are calling Pelosi hypocritical (as if they weren't equally hypocritical) since Democrats won back control of the House by, in part, trashing the GOP's ethics lapses. Republicans already plan to use the ethics issue against Democrats in 2010. Though Rangel and Murtha aren't as known as Tom DeLay, the GOP poster boy for scandal in 2006, the party aims to change that: this week the House GOP plans to introduce a resolution calling on Rangel to resign his committee post.

Pelosi "promised to run the most ethical Congress in history," says Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, "and instead of cracking down on corruption, she promotes it (to garner votes in Congress)." Daly responds, "Since Democrats took control of Congress, we have strengthened the ethics process." (Daly has some magnificent ocean front property for sale in Arizona.)

Can you believe this from The New York Times (Editorial)?
Instead, House Democrats have again shielded Representative Charles Rangel from his serial ethical messes and ducked their responsibility to force him from the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, maintaining her tunnel vision on behalf of a powerful colleague, led the majority to defeat the Republicans’ latest call to depose the New York lawmaker. She does the nation no favor.
"Sinking with Mr. Rangel," The New York Times, October 8, 2009 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/opinion/09fri1.html?_r=1&hpw

"Can morality be brought to market?" by Prem Sikka, The Guardian, October 7, 2009 ---

The BAE bribery scandal has once again brought discussions of business ethics to the fore. Politicians also claim to be interested in promoting morality in markets, but have not explained how this can be achieved.

There is no shortage of companies wrapping themselves in claims of ethical conduct to disarm critics. BAE boasts a global code of conduct, which claims that "its leaders will act ethically, promote ethical conduct both within the company and in the markets in which we operate". In the light of the revelations about the way the company secured its business contracts, such claims must be doubted.

BAE is not alone. There is a huge gap between corporate talk and action, and a few illustrations would help to highlight this gap. KPMG is one of the world's biggest accountancy firms. Its global code of conduct states that the firm is committed to "acting lawfully and ethically, and encouraging this behaviour in the marketplace … maintaining independence and objectivity, and avoiding conflicts of interest". Yet the firm created an extensive organisational structure to devise tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes. Former managers have been found guilty of tax evasion and the firm was fined $456m for "criminal wrongdoing".

The global code of conduct of Ernst & Young, another global accountancy firm, claims that "no client or external relationship is more important than the ethics, integrity and reputation of Ernst & Young". Partners and former partners of the firm have also been found guilty of promoting tax evasion.

UBS, a leading bank, has been fined $780m by the US authorities for facilitating tax evasion, but it told the world that "UBS upholds the law, respects regulations and behaves in a principled way. UBS is self-aware and has the courage to face the truth. UBS maintains the highest ethical standards."

British Airways paid a fine of £270m after admitting price fixing on fuel surcharges on its long-haul flights while its code of conduct promised that it would behave responsibly and ethically towards its customers.

These are just a tiny sample that shows that corporations say one thing but do something completely different. This hypocrisy is manufactured by corporate culture, and unless that process is changed there is no prospect of securing moral corporations or markets.

The key issue is that companies cannot buck the systemic pressures to produce ever higher profits. Capitalism is not accompanied by any moral guidance on how high these profits have to be, but shareholders always demand more. Markets do not ask any questions about the quality of profits or the human consequences of ever-rising returns. Behind a wall of secrecy, company directors devise plans to fleece taxpayers and customers to increase profits, and are rewarded through profit-related remuneration schemes. The social system provides incentives for unethical behaviour.

Within companies, daily routines encourage employees to prioritise profit-making even if that is unethical. For example, tax departments within major accountancy firms operate as profit centres. The performance of their employees is assessed at regular intervals, and those generating profits are rewarded with salary increases and career advancements. In time, the routines of devising tax avoidance schemes and other financial dodges become firmly established norms, and employees are desensitised to the consequences.

With increasing public scepticism, and pressure from consumer groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), companies manage their image by publishing high-sounding statements. Ethics itself has become big business, and armies of consultants and advisers are available for hire to enable companies to manage their image. No questions are raised about the internal culture or the economic incentives for misbehaviour. It is far cheaper for companies to publish glossy brochures than to pay taxes or improve customer and public welfare. The payment of fines has become just another business cost.

Making capitalism ethical is a tough task – and possibly a hopeless one. Any policy for encouraging ethical corporate conduct has to change the nature of capitalism and corporations so that companies are run for the benefit of all stakeholders, rather than just shareholders. Pressures to change corporate culture could be facilitated by closing down persistently offending companies, imposing personal penalties on offending executives and offering bounties to whistleblowers.

Rotten Fraud in General --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

Rotten Fraud in the Public Sector (The Most Criminal Class Writes the Laws) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#Lawmakers

"When half gives and half takes," by John Stossel, WorldNetDaily, October 7, 2009 ---

"The government who robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul," George Bernard Shaw once said.

For a socialist, Shaw demonstrated good sense with that quotation. Unfortunately, America has become a laboratory in which his hypothesis is being tested.

The theory of government I was taught says that government provides benefits, primarily security, to the entire population. In return we pay taxes. But lately the government has been a distributor of special privileges, taking money from some and giving it to others. America is now about evenly split between those who pay income taxes and those who consume them.

The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center recently disclosed that close to half of all households will pay no income tax this year. Some will pay less than zero – that is, they'll get money from those of us who do pay taxes.

The Tax Policy Center adds that this year the average income-tax rate for the bottom 40 percent of earners will be negative and that their cash subsidy will equal 10 percent of the total amount the income tax brings in, thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit and President Obama's "Making Work Pay" program.

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

The view from the top also shows the lopsidedness of the tax system. The top 20 percent of earners makes about 53 percent of the income in America but pays 91 percent of the income tax. The top 1 percent pays 36 percent. The IRS says the bottom half of earners pays less than 3 percent.

This presents a serious problem because government has such vast powers to dispense favors. As Shaw suggested, people who pay no tax will not hesitate to vote for politicians who promise big spending. Why not? They will get stuff without having to pay for it.

Yes, working people who pay no income tax still pay taxes: sales tax and payroll (Social Security and Medicare) taxes. But the income tax is big and visible, so it's a problem that a growing number of people don't pay, but get benefits from those who do.

Frederic Bastiat, the great 19th-century French economist, defined the state as "that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else." I don't know if he envisioned one half of the population living off the other half.

It's important not to confuse the interests of the taxpayers with the interests of the politicians and other tax consumers. Yet that is done all the time. When the government bought toxic assets (of zero market value) from the banks, it said taxpayers would profit when the economy recovered and the assets once again commanded a positive price in the market. Even if we make the dubious assumption that the government is savvy enough to buy low and sell high, it's not the taxpayers who would benefit from any profits. The politicians will spend every penny, rather than cutting taxes.

To put it bluntly, we are not the government.

The built-in unfairness of the tax system has prompted a range of tax-reform proposals, such as a flat tax and replacing the income tax with a sales tax. These alternatives are better, but they have their drawbacks, too. For that reason, there is something more urgent than tax reform: spending reform.

The true burden of government, the late Milton Friedman said, is not the tax level but the spending level. Taxation is just one way for the government to get money. The other ways – borrowing and inflation – are also burdens on the people. The best way to lighten the tax burden is to lessen the spending burden. If government spends less, it takes less. And if it takes less, the tax system will weigh less heavily on us all.

Once again, we find wisdom in Adam Smith: "Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things."

CBS is not on the verge of bankruptcy. The company is, however, highly leveraged, and its cash flows have been deteriorating rapidly.
Henry Blogett, "Is CBS Really Going Bankrupt?" Business Insider, October 6, 2009 ---

After David Letterman announced that he secretly had sex with some female subordinates that he supervised, his employer, CBS, announced that this alone did not violate policy at CBS. It appears that some universities have different policies on this matter.

David Letterman gives air time to one of his employee-paramours dancing ---

Consider the hypothetical chain of command Dean X supervising Department Chair Y supervising Assistant Professor Z. Assume that Y and Z have an adult consensual sexual relationship.

It appears at the University of Texas, the sexual relationship between Y and Z must be reported to Dean X ---

1. Consensual Relationships
1.1 Romantic or sexual relationships between a supervisor and a person under his or her supervision create situations that may lead to sexual harassment, conflicts of interest, favoritism, and low morale. Therefore, such relationships are discouraged. This policy is not intended to discourage the interaction of supervisors and employees where it is appropriate and ethical.

1.2 If a romantic or sexual relationship exists between a supervisor and an employee under his or her supervision,
the supervisor must immediately inform his or her supervisor of the relationship. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. Additionally, displays of affection in the work environment are strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action. A display of affection includes but is not limited to kissing, handholding and other behavior identified in this policy.

1.3 Complaints concerning consensual relationships impacting the work environment by non-participating individuals will be treated as third-party sexual harassment complaints.

I found a number of other universities have similar policies. It appears that the policy at the University of Florida is a bit more prohibitive --- http://www.hr.ufl.edu/eeo/sexharassment.htm

Consensual Relationships
Participation of a supervisor, faculty member, advisor, or coach in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with a subordinate employee or student always creates a prohibited conflict of interest that must be reported to the appropriate hiring authority for proper disposition. A conflict of interest is created when an individual evaluates or supervises or has decision making power affecting another individual with whom he or she has an amorous or sexual relationship. Moreover, such relationships, even when consensual, may be exploitative and imperil the integrity of the work or education environment.

I did not search for court cases on this matter.

What is not clear to me is that the marriage or non-marital status of a supervisor should have any bearing on policy. It should be noted that David Letterman's media defenders claim that he never had sexual relations with subordinates when he was married. However, on air he apologized to his wife.
"When Can Consensual Sex Create a Hostile Workplace Environment? The California Supreme Court Weighs In on the Claim of Sexual Favoritism," by Johanna Grossman, FindLaw, July 28, 2005 ---

When a married supervisor conducts longstanding, concurrent affairs with three female subordinates at work and grants them professional favors over more deserving candidates, does it constitute unlawful sexual harassment?

In Miller v. Department of Corrections, the California Supreme Court has held that it does, despite a longstanding reluctance by courts to recognize claims of so-called "sexual favoritism."

The Plaintiffs' Allegations About Working Conditions at the Valley State Prison for Women

The case was brought by two former employees at the Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) -- Edna Miller, a correctional officer, and Frances Mackey, a records manager who passed away while the litigation was pending. Miller and Mackey alleged that they were subjected to discrimination and harassment as a result of the chief deputy prison warden's multiple workplace affairs and related conduct.

Although the case involved numerous allegations, the crux of the complaint is its allegation that the deputy warden, Lewis Kuykendall, openly carried on three affairs with female employees at the prison (Bibb, Patrick, and Brown), all subordinate to him, and granted those women undeserved privileges and promotions because of his relationship with them. At the same time, the suit alleges, female employees who complained about these relationships were punished, and retaliated against, for their objections.

Although the facts of the case are too numerous and complicated to recount here, a few notable examples will provide a sense of the ways in which, according to the plaintiffs' allegations, these sexual relationships pervaded the workplace and disadvantaged those not involved in them.

When Kuykendall was transferred from another facility to VSPW, the plaintiffs allege that he gradually had all three of his paramours transferred so they would once again be working under him. Once there, the paramours all allegedly benefited in tangible ways from their relationship with Kuykendall.

One paramour, for example, was allegedly granted a promotion over the objection of the committee appointed to make the decision because Kuykendall ordered them to "make it happen." A second paramour was allegedly permitted to report directly to Kuykendall in lieu of her immediate supervisor. A third was allegedly given a series of promotions over more qualified applicants, and, according to plaintiffs, remarked that Kuykendall had no choice but to give them to her lest she "take him down" by revealing "every scar on his body." The culture at the facility, the plaintiffs claim, was such that employees repeatedly questioned whether this was the kind of workplace in which they would have to "'F' my way to the top".

The sexual relationships allegedly affected the workplace in other undesirable ways as well. Kuykendall allegedly engaged in open displays of affection with at least one of the women at work, and the three women allegedly were sometimes heard to be squabbling over their competing affairs, in emotional scenes.

Complaints about the sexual relationships, the plaintiffs allege, were met with derision or worse. Allegedly, when plaintiff Miller confronted one of the paramours, Brown, about the relationship and the harm it had caused other employees, Brown physically assaulted her and held her captive in a closed office for two hours.

Then, when Miller complained to Kuykendall and threatened to file a harassment suit, he allegedly said there was nothing he could do to control Brown because of his relationship with her, and told Miller he should have "chosen" her instead. The other plaintiff, Mackey, allegedly had her pay reduced when she complained about the sexual affairs.

Sexual Favoritism as a Form of Sex Discrimination: The Title VII Issue

First recognized as a potentially valid claim in the 1980s, sexual favoritism has proved an elusive cause of action for most plaintiffs. Courts have struggled with the question whether the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII - the main federal antidiscrimination statute applying to the workplace -- is violated when, for example, a supervisor grants preferential employment treatment to a paramour based on their intimate relationship. Does this conduct render other employees victims of sex discrimination?

The struggle comes because Title VII does not apply to all conduct that is immoral, unethical, distasteful, or even demonstrably unfair; it applies only to discrimination. The New York Times' "Ethicist" would surely find it objectionable for a supervisor to hand out promotions only to subordinates he was sleeping with, at the expense of more deserving candidates. But under the law, more analysis is necessary: To prove a violation of Title VII, a plaintiff must show the act was discriminatory - that it was taken because of sex, race, or some other protected characteristic.

When a male supervisor grants favors to his female girlfriend, all other employees - both male and female - are disadvantaged. But, arguably, none are disadvantaged by their gender per se. So it's not the case that such favoritism is always sex discrimination.

However, a variety of theories have developed under which a sexual relationship between two employees might constitute discrimination against other employees.

Circumstances When a Sexual Relationship May Constitute Discrimination

First, if the sexual relationship is coerced, it may constitute implicit "quid pro quo" harassment for other employees. "Quid pro quo" harassment occurs when a supervisor demands sexual favors in exchange for an employee's gaining job benefits or avoiding adverse employment actions, and it is a clear and serious violation of Title VII. An "implicit" quid pro quo might exist if employees understand, after learning of a coerced relationship between their supervisor and another subordinate, that sexual submission is expected of them as a condition of job advancement.

If the sexual relationship is consensual, then other theories might apply instead. Men, for example, might claim that they were discriminated against in that they were deprived of the opportunity to use sex to get ahead, since male supervisors are presumably, at least in most cases, only interested in sexual relationships with female subordinates. The men's lost opportunity could thus be considered discriminatory on the basis of sex. (The same argument could work, of course, for claims by female subordinates deprived of opportunities by female supervisors who have sexual relationships with men, and then favor them in the workplace.)

When a male supervisor favors a particular female employee with whom he has a sexual relationship, do other female employees face discrimination?

One might contend that they have been denied access to job benefits not because of their sex, but because the boss happened to choose a different woman to have an affair with. That, in our conventional understanding of Title VII, does not constitute unlawful discrimination. And a few courts have denied sexual favoritism claims on this reasoning.

But what if favoritism based on sexual favors is so widespread, in a given workplace, that women as a group are demeaned? That, according to a Policy Guidance published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1990, constitutes a form of illegal gender-based harassment.

The EEOC's Policy Guidance, approved during the period when now-Justice Clarence Thomas served as EEOC Chairperson, states the agency's position on when sexual favoritism constitutes illegal harassment or discrimination. It recognizes the potential for an implicit quid pro quo claim, discussed above, but it also recognizes the possibility that widespread favoritism can create a hostile environment for both male and female employees.

Isolated incidences of sexual favoritism, while clearly inappropriate, are not considered unlawful by the EEOC. Employers should be careful when it comes to such conduct, though; city or state antidiscrimination provisions could still be interpreted to reach these instances. The safe thing, then, for employers to do is prohibit such favoritism, just as they often have policies banning nepotism.

The Court's Reasoning in Miller v. Department of Corrections

The California Supreme Court followed the EEOC in determining that widespread sexual favoritism can create an actionable hostile work environment.

The case was brought under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). And California has always erred on the side of broader protection for victims when construing its anti-discrimination statutes than federal courts tend to grant when construing Title VII.

(For example, the California Supreme Court showed greater empathy for victims than federal law, as I have explained in a previous column, when it granted employers a much more limited affirmative defense to liability for supervisory harassment than is available under Title VII.

California law also gives discrimination plaintiffs access to compensatory and punitive damages without caps. In contrast, Title VII caps combined damages at $300,000 for even the largest employer-defendants - meaning that employees who are high-salaried, unable to find other work for a long time, and/or treated so horribly that punitive damages are appropriate, can be seriously undercompensated. )

Considering the validity of a FEHA sexual favoritism claim, the California Supreme Court held that "when such sexual favoritism in a workplace is sufficiently widespread it may create an actionable hostile work environment in which the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as 'sexual playthings' or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct with their supervisors or management."

Given the facts alleged - many of them uncontested - the Court remanded the case for a jury trial to see whether the legal standard could be met.

The Plaintiffs in the Miller/Mackey Case Are Likely To Win At Trial

I suspect the plaintiffs will meet with success at trial, assuming that they can convince a jury of the truth of the allegations of their complaint. Rightfully so, given that if their allegations are proven, they would establish a rather extreme clash between Kuykendall's personal relationships at the workplace, and workplace conditions for those around him who were not engaged in such relationships.

As the California court noted, according to plaintiffs, "Kuykendall's sexual favoritism not only blocked the way to merit-based advancement for plaintiffs, but also caused them to be subjected to harassment at the hands of [his girlfriend], whose behavior Kuykendall refused or failed to control even after it escalated to physical assault."

Sexual favoritism, as a claim, is often met with skepticism because of fear that it might require employers to monitor, or even restrict, consensual office romances. But that is a misunderstanding.

Office romances are not, standing alone, problematic - and certainly are not illegal, or discriminatory. Indeed, it would be a shame to prevent all such relationships, given the increasing time and importance of work in our daily lives. Sexual relationships, including those begun at work, can be a positive force in women's and men's lives. But such relationships should not go beyond providing personal fulfillment to the participants, to providing a free ticket to career success at the expense of others equally, or more, deserving. In an egalitarian workplace, sex is no way to get ahead; good work is.

Society's interest in preventing exploitation and abuse of subordinates provides an important counterweight to the value of allowing office romances to flourish. Fortunately, given the way both the EEOC's and California's standard is crafted, both interests can be served. Employers need not prohibit office romance. It is only an office romance (or, perhaps, two or three) combined with repeated and widespread instances of favoritism, to the detriment of other employees, that begins to near the threshold for sex discrimination liability.

Common-sense policies by employers designed to guard against abuses of power like those committed by Kuykendall ought to be par for the course - and, as noted above, cautious employers will often have such policies or informal norms in place. As Law Professor Martha Chamallas has suggested, little sexual liberty is lost when an employer prohibits "amorous relationships in which one party has direct authority to affect the working . . . status of the other."

The dangers of permitting such obvious conflicts of interest to flourish are amply demonstrated by the Miller case. An environment like the one alleged to have existed at VSPW not only makes life miserable for women who work there, but also reinforces deeply entrenched stereotypes about women sleeping their way to the top.

When sexual favoritism is as pervasive and unfettered as it is alleged to have been at VSPW, no woman can get a fair evaluation based on her abilities and work-related talents. That is the essence of sex discrimination, and the Miller court was right to put a stop to it.

Joanna Grossman, a FindLaw columnist, is a professor of law at Hofstra University. Her columns on family law, trusts and estates, and discrimination, including sex discrimination and sexual harassment, may be found in the archive of her columns on this site.

Jensen Comment
It would seem to me that CBS is suddenly much more vulnerable to lawsuits from employees anywhere within the corporation who can demonstrate that "can get a fair evaluation based on her abilities and work-related talents." I think CBS will find its defense of Letterman to ultimately be very costly and will lead to a change in the policy that now allows Letterman to continue on an employee and as a role model for supervisor-subordinate relationships.

One thing is certain, that David Letterman's public confession will lead to an explosion of academic and/or legal studies and publication and lawsuits.

As an aside, I might note that before his latest public confessional, David Letterman was already inducted into the National Organization of Women (NOW) Hall of Shame. The following is a quotation from the NOW Website:

National Organization for Women (NOW) places David Letterman in NOW's Hall of Shame
The sexualization of girls and women in the media is reaching new lows these days -- it is exploitative and has a negative effect on how all women and girls are perceived and how they view themselves. Letterman also joked about what he called Palin's "slutty flight attendant look" -- yet another example of how the media love to focus on a woman politician's appearance, especially as it relates to her sexual appeal to men. Someone of Letterman's stature, who appears on what used to be known as "the Tiffany Network" (CBS), should be above wallowing in the juvenile, sexist mud that other comedians and broadcasters seem to prefer. On that point, it's important to note that when Chelsea Clinton was 13 years old she was the target of numerous insults based on her appearance. Rush Limbaugh even referred to her as the "White House dog." NOW hopes that all the conservatives who are fired up about sexism in the media lately will join us in calling out sexism when it is directed at women who aren't professed conservatives.
National Organization for Women (NOW) places David Letterman on NOW's Hall of Shame, June 8, 2009  ---
Jensen Comment
After Letterman's aired confession NOW was at first easy on him by stating sex between supervisors and subordinates is too commonplace for an exceptional reaction. However, later NOW made a much stronger statement singling out Letterman's escapades with females he supervised ---  http://www.now.org/press/10-09/10-06.html

Every woman -- and every man -- deserves to work in a place where all employees are respected for their talents and skills. The National Organization for Women calls on CBS to recognize that Letterman's behavior creates a toxic environment and to take action immediately to rectify this situation. With just two women on CBS' Board of Directors, we're not holding our breath.

"NOW Goes After David Letterman Over Affairs With Female Staffers," Fox News, October 7, 2009 ---

NOW President Terry O'Neill blasted the late-night funnyman, saying the affairs were classic examples of sexual harassment in the workplace.

"As 'the boss,' he is responsible for setting the tone for his entire workplace — and he did that with sex," O'Neill said. "This places all employees — including employees who happen to be women — in an awkward, confusing and demoralizing situation."

A powerful man with a public forum like Letterman, O'Neill said, can get away with turning women into sex objects because "he can crack a few jokes and publicly apologize for his mistakes."

"It is this kind of hypocrisy that perpetuates the image of men in power preying on women, while many look the other way," O'Neill said.

NOW urged CBS to take immediate action against Letterman for his lewd behavior — but so far, it has stopped short of calling on the network to drop his show.

"The National Organization for Women calls on CBS ... to take action immediately to rectify this situation," O'Neill said.

But, she added: "With just two women on CBS' board of directors, we're not holding our breath."

Continued in article

October 5, 2009 reply from Linda A Kidwell, University of Wyoming [lkidwell@UWYO.EDU]

A department chair and a subordinate in a relationship fall pretty clearly into the danger zone. But what about a full professor and an untenured assistant professor? I'd argue the same risk exists unless the full professor recuses him or herself from any tenure and promotion discussions. And if another faculty member in the department is aware of the relationship but those involved have not made their relationship public, what is the obligation of the knowledgable other?



Whether of not you will pay a state (not Federal) tax on the clunker you traded in depends upon where you live ---

States Charging Tax on the Clunkers Credit

Remember, this is not an income tax. It’s a State sales tax. The Cash for Clunkers credit is included in the price of the vehicle when the State calculates the sales tax.

States Charging NO Tax on the Clunkers Credit

Also see http://salestax.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/cash-for-clunkers-taxable-or-not/
Sales tax rates (by state) --- http://salestax.wordpress.com/us-sales-tax-rates/
Jensen Comment
These state taxes on clunker credits are not set in stone and could change before year end. Remember the good news is that even if your state does not charge a sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon) you can still get a sales tax deduction on your Federal tax if you live in one of those states --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x66796.xml

College Grads See Greatest Job Losses
New data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that the recession is hitting college graduates harder than high-school dropouts, the Boston Herald reports. People with college diplomas are still much less likely to be unemployed, but since December 2007 the number of jobless college graduates has risen by 136 percent, compared with a 99 percent increase among adults who did not finish high school. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee economist says the figures show that "recessions are becoming a bit more egalitarian."
Chronicle of Higher Education, October 3, 2009 --- Click Here

An Online Learning Experiment Overwhelms the University of Southern California
"An Experiment Takes Off," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 7, 2009 ---

When Karen Symms Gallagher ran into fellow education deans last year, many of them were "politely skeptical," the University of Southern California dean says (politely), about her institution's experiment to take its master's program in teaching online.

Many of them seemed to appreciate Gallagher's argument that the traditional model of teacher education programs had largely failed to produce the many more top-notch teachers that California (and so many other states) desperately needed. But could a high-quality MAT program be delivered online? And through a partnership with a for-profit entity (2Tor), no less? Really?

Early results about the program known as MAT@USC have greatly pleased Gallagher and USC. One hundred forty-four students enrolled in the Rossier School of Education program's first full cohort in May, 50 percent more than anticipated and significantly larger than the 100 students who started at that time in the traditional master's in teaching program on the university's Los Angeles campus.

And this month, a new group of 302 students started in the second of three planned "starts" per year, meaning that USC has already quadrupled the number of would-be teachers it is educating this year and, depending on how many students enroll in January, is on track to increase it a few times more than that.

It will be a while -- years, probably, until outcomes on teacher certification exams are in and the program's graduates have been successful (or not) in the classroom -- before questions about the program's quality and performance are fully answered (though officials there point out that the technology platform, like much online learning software, provides steady insight into how successfully students are staying on track). But USC officials say that short of quantitative measures such as those, they believe the online program is attracting equally qualified students and is providing an education that is fully equivalent to Rossier's on-ground master's program -- goals that the institution viewed as essential so as not to "dilute the brand" of USC's well-regarded program.

"So far, we've beaten the odds," says Gallagher. "We're growing in scale while continuing to ensure that we have a really good program."

"Scale" is a big buzzword in higher education right now, as report after report and new undertaking after new undertaking -- including the Obama administration's American Graduation Initiative -- underscore the perceived need for more Americans with postsecondary credentials. Many institutions -- especially community colleges and for-profit colleges -- are taking it to heart, expanding their capacity and enrolling more students. The push is less evident at other types of colleges and universities, and almost a foreign concept at highly selective institutions.

That's what is atypical, if not downright exceptional, about the experiment at USC, which Inside Higher Ed explored in concept last fall. At that time, some experts on distance learning and teacher education -- not unlike some of Gallagher's dean peers -- wondered whether students would be willing to pay the tuition of an expensive private university for an online program, among other things.

Officials at the university and 2Tor -- the company formed by the Princeton Review founder John Katzman, which has provided the technology and administrative infrastructure for the USC program -- were confident that they would be able to tap into the market of Ivy League and other selective college graduates who flock to programs like Teach for America in ever-growing numbers each year but are also interested in getting a formal teaching credential right away.

While those students certainly have other options -- major public universities such as the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Virginia, and private institutions like Columbia University's Teachers College and Vanderbilt University, among others -- all of them require students to take up residence in way that doesn't work for everyone.

Haley Hiatt, a 2005 graduate of Brigham Young University, actually does reside in Los Angeles -- but she's also a relatively new mother who "didn't want to have to put [her nearly 2-year-old daughter] in day care all the time," she says. So after first contemplating master's programs in history at institutions like Vanderbilt and George Washington University, and then weighing a series of graduate programs at institutions in and around Los Angeles, Hiatt entered the first cohort of the MAT@USC program. She now joins her fellow students in "face to face" meetings (on the Internet, using video chat technology) twice a week, but otherwise does most of her other course work on her own time. "I find it takes more discipline than I needed when I was in the classroom" every day at BYU, she says.

Of the initial cohort of 144 students, about 5 percent got their bachelor's degrees from Ivy League institutions, and about 10 percent came from the crosstown rival University of California at Los Angeles, says Gallagher. About 10 percent hail from historically black colleges and universities -- the proportion of students in the online program who are black (about 11 percent) is about double the proportion in the on-ground program, though the campus program has slightly higher minority numbers overall. Students in the online program are somewhat older (average age 28 vs. 25 for the face-to-face program) and the average college grade point average is identical for both iterations of the program: 3.0, USC officials say.

Other numbers please Gallagher even more. A greater proportion of students in the online program are in science-related fields than is true in the campus-based program, a heartening sign given the pressure on American teacher education programs to ratchet up the number of science teachers they produce.

Continued in article

"Teaching Under Fire and Online From 'Mortaritaville' in Iraq," by Ben Terris, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Teaching-Online-From/48677/

When Cheryl J. Wachenheim, an associate professor of agribusiness and applied economics at North Dakota State University, says she taught her courses last year from a remote location, she means a desert nearly 7,000 miles away from her Fargo campus.

A captain in the Minnesota Army National Guard, Ms. Wachenheim deployed to Balad, Iraq, just north of Baghdad, in August 2008, for a 10-and-a-half-month stay. She continued teaching courses in micro- and macroeconomics online, from a fortified trailer crammed with medical supplies, body armor, the M-16 rifle she was required to carry wherever she went, and a computer.

Online courses have long been a boon for soldiers who want to participate in college despite geographic displacement. It's usually a student, however, and not the professor, working from the far-flung location.

Using her personal laptop to run the courses, Ms. Wachenheim posted discussion questions and assignments using the Blackboard course-management system, and even video lectures using the audio and video software Wimba.

During her tour of duty, which included training at Fort Sill, in Oklahoma, in June and July, she taught four courses that enrolled 20 to 75 students—two in the summer of 2008, one in the fall of 2008, and one in the spring of 2009.

To get Internet access, she and nine other soldiers on her base in Iraq chipped in for a satellite dish and dug holes in the sand all over the base so they could run wires underground and into each of their trailers.

Ms. Wachenheim served as a medical-logistics officer of the 834th Aviation Support Battalion of Task Force 34. She worked out of Joint Base Balad, one of the largest American military bases in Iraq, dubbed "Mortaritaville" because of its location in the line of fire. Ms. Wachenheim says that when she walked around the base after hours, C-RAM (counter rocket, artillery, and mortar) weapons would light up the night sky.

In that kind of environment, running her classes was more like rest and recreation than work, Ms. Wachenheim says. Without the teaching duties, she would have felt like an economist at loose ends.

"Some people like to read on the base, some like to watch movies," she said in a telephone interview from Fargo, where she returned to teach this semester. "I like to interact with students. People in the unit didn't want to discuss the idiosyncrasies of the economy. This gave me that outlet."

Helping Her Department By teaching the courses, Ms. Wachenheim not only gave herself a channel to discuss her passion, she also filled what could have been a major void in her department.

"When she got called for duty, it became a question of 'Gee, who can continue to teach these online courses?' Because we needed [them] available," says David M. Saxowsky, interim chair of the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. Ms. Wachenheim had taught those courses for a number of years, so in spite of the challenges of increased distance, Mr. Saxowsky says, she was still the best person for the job.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The key to this kind of explosion in online enrollments is mostly triggered by reputation of the university in general.

Many universities are finding online programs so popular that they are now treating them like cash cows where students pay more for online tuition than for onsite tuition. One university that openly admits this is the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (UMW).

Bob Jensen's threads on why so many students prefer online education to onsite education (even apart from cost savings) ---
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnlineVersusOnsite

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

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

How to Detect and Report Internet Scams

October 12, 2009 message from amym@study-buddies.org

Hi Bob,

 My name is Amy Martin. I'm a criminal justice major researching Internet fraud for a school project and found your page: http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudreporting.htm to be very helpful, thank you!

Sorry to bother you, but I wanted to let you know of a broken link:

 I also wanted to return the favor by suggesting a replacement/ additional resource for you: http://www.ultimatecoupons.com/how-to-report-internet-fraud.html. I've been using this page and it provides a ton of resources on Internet fraud including common scams, tips for spotting scams, how to file a complaint, the agencies that deal with fraud, etc.  I've incorporated these sources into my project as well.

Thanks Again,

Amy Martin

October 13, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Amy,

Thank you for the heads up tips.

I found a changed URL for the FBI's Crime Complaint Center ---
I hate it when anybody changes a URL without leaving behind a link to the new URL.

I will add your Ultimate Coupon site to my consumer fraud reporting site at
It may take a few days before I get the updated file transferred to my Web server in Texas.

Bob Jensen

(Poker) exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made our country so great.
Walter Matthau

What poker can teach us about learning and life
"What Poker Can Teach Us," by James McManus, Chronicle of Higher Education's The Chronicle Review, October 5, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/article/What-Poker-Can-Teach-Us/48641/

Since 1996 I've been teaching a course on the literature of poker at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The reading list varies but usually includes The Biggest Game in Town, by Al Alvarez; Big Deal, by Anthony Holden; David Mamet's American Buffalo; Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire; Oskar Morgenstern's "The Cold War Is Cold Poker"; Herbert O. Yardley's The Education of a Poker Player; Poker Faces: The Life and Work of Professional Card Players, by David M. Hayano; Poker Face, by Katy Lederer; and The Poker Face of Wall Street, by Aaron Brown. To keep textbook costs manageable, we read selections from primers by David Sklansky, Dan Harrington, Doyle Brunson, and Daniel Negreanu, and the anthology Read 'Em and Weep.

Talking points from outside the reading list include the role the game played in Barack Obama's early elective career. As a writer, professor, and community organizer, Obama was greeted coolly by some of his fellow legislators when he arrived in Springfield in 1998 to take a seat in the Illinois Senate. How was this ink-stained, poshly educated greenhorn supposed to get along with Chicago ward heelers and conservative downstate farmers? By playing poker with them, of course.

"When it turned out that I could sit down at [a bar] and have a beer and watch a game or go out for a round of golf or get a poker game going," Obama recalled, "I probably confounded some of their expectations." He was referring to the regular Wednesday night game, called the Committee Meeting, that he and another freshman Democrat started. While the stakes were kept low, the bottom line politically was that poker helped Obama break the ice with people he needed to work with in the legislature. His favorite physical games were basketball and golf, but he seems to have understood that, as a networking tool, poker is a more natural pastime.

Its tables have long served as less genteel clubs for students, teachers, soldiers, businessmen, and politicians of either sex and every rank and persuasion. Instead of walking down fairways 40 yards apart from each other, throwing elbows in the paint, or quietly hunting pheasant or muskie, poker buddies are elbow to elbow all night, competing and drinking and talking. In my class, we discuss how Obama's Committee Meeting continued a tradition going back to Henry Clay, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, and scores of other generals, justices, and presidents.

Then there's the seminal influence of poker on Bill Gates during his four semesters at Harvard (1973-75). Twenty years later, in The Road Ahead, Gates recalled the marathon dorm sessions he believes were at least as productive and intellectually stimulating as his time spent in class. Dorm-mate Steve Ballmer calls Microsoft's early business plan "basically an extension of the all-night poker games Bill and I used to play back at Harvard." Gates put it this way: "In poker, a player collects different pieces of information—who's betting boldly, what cards are showing, what this guy's pattern of betting and bluffing is—and then crunches all that data together to devise a plan for his own hand. I got pretty good at this kind of information processing." Indeed, he won a substantial portion of Microsoft's start-up costs in those dorm games. But it wasn't just dollars reaped to be parlayed a millionfold; it was mainly, says Gates, that "the poker strategizing experience would prove helpful when I got into business."

That sort of strategizing is now being studied more formally at a few universities, and not just in M.B.A. programs. The Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society was founded in 2006 by the Harvard Law School professors Charles Nesson and Lawrence Lessig, the communications maven Jonathan Cohen, and Andrew Woods, a law student. Nesson had cofounded Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Lessig had started the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University. Lessig was author of The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, while Cohen had built a variety of software and communications companies. Woods had graduated magna cum laude from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he started the Bruin Casino Gaming Society, the first officially recognized student organization devoted to the study and teaching of poker.

Even a quick browse of the society's Web page, at gpsts.org, makes clear poker's relevance to the ways we educate ourselves, make laws and contracts, and communicate online and in person. The society promotes it as "an exceptional game of skill that can be used as a powerful teaching tool at all levels of academia." The goal is "to create an open online curriculum centered on poker that will draw the brightest minds together, both from within and outside of the conventional university setting, to promote open education and Internet democracy."

Above all, Nesson makes the case for using poker as a means to helping students understand the world from others' points of view. In his own classes, he trains lawyers "to see in the game a language for thinking about and an environment for experiencing the dynamics of strategy in dispute resolution." At the simplest level, he shows how the game can help middle-school students understand percentages and budget making, as well as how to "read" their opponents.

The larger—and perhaps more surprising—pedagogical fact is that while poker has gone hand in hand with pivotal aspects of our national experience for a couple of centuries now, you'd never guess it from the curricula of our history, anthropology, and English departments, or even from browsing most dictionaries. The latest edition of the New Oxford American, for example, fails to include flop (as a poker term), hold 'em, Omaha (as a game), and World Series of Poker. (Terms deemed fit to appear include floptical, holdall, Pokemon, and World Heritage Site.) Similar omissions occur in Merriam-Webster, thefreedictionary.com, encarta.msn.com, and other online lexicons. Such cultural blind spots persist in the face of poker's expanding global popularity, as well as abundant evidence that the game has helped not only ordinary citizens but numerous movers and shakers make their way in the world.

Humanities professors should recognize that the ways we've done battle and business, made art and literature have echoed, and been echoed by, poker's definitive tactics, as well as its rich lore and history. The long list of questions that students might ponder include: Why would poque, an 18th-century parlor game played by French and Persian aristocrats, take hold and flourish in kingless, democratic America? Why did poque evolve into our national card game, some say our national pastime, instead of piquet or cribbage or whist? How did poker inspire game theory, which in turn has helped our leaders think through every nuclear standoff? How is it useful in research into artificial intelligence? In what ways do its ethos and lingo underscore Stanley's brutality in A Streetcar Named Desire, or does its honor-among-thieves morality play out in American Buffalo? How much does our love for this game have to do with bluffing and cheating, or with the fact that money is its language, its leverage, its means of keeping score?

American DNA is a notoriously complex recipe for creating a body politic, but two strands in particular have always stood out in high contrast: the risk-averse Puritan work ethic and the entrepreneur's urge to seize the main chance. Proponents of neither m.o. like to credit the other with anything positive; huggers of the shore tend not to praise explorers, while gamblers remain unimpressed by those who husband savings accounts. Yet blended in much the same way that parents' genes are in their children, the two ways of operating have made us who we are as a country.

That's not just a metaphor, either. Geneticists have shown that there is literally such a thing as American DNA, not surprising when nearly all of us are descended from immigrants. We therefore carry an immigrant-specific genotype, a genetic marker expressing itself—in some environments, at least—as energetic risk-taking and competitive self-promotion. Even when famine, warfare, or another calamity strikes, most people stay in their homeland. The self-selecting group that migrates, seldom more than 2 percent, is disproportionally inclined to take chances. They also have above-average intelligence and are quicker decision makers. Something about their dopamine-receptor systems, the neural pathway associated with a taste for novelty and risk, sets them apart from those who stay put.

While the factors involved are numerous and complex, the migratory syndrome has been deftly summarized by the journalist Emily Bazelon: "It's not about where you come from, it's that you came at all." The migratory gene must have been even more dominant among those Americans who first moved west across the Appalachians, up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, then out to California during the gold rush. Their urge to strike it rich, often at the risk of their lives, made poker more appealing than point-based trick-taking games like whist, bridge, or cribbage.

The national card game still combines Puritan values—self-control, diligence, the slow accumulation of savings—with what might be called the open-market cowboy's desire to get very rich very quickly. The latter is the mind-set of the gold rush, the hedge fund, the lottery ticket of everyday wage-earners. Yet whenever the big-bet cowboy folds a weak hand, he submits to his Puritan side. As Walter Matthau drily put it, poker "exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made our country so great."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
There are obvious differences between playing poker (online or onsite) and investing on Wall Street. If both systems are honest, poker is a stationary with stochastic process whereas even honesty on Wall Street cannot overcome the non-stationarity problem of predicting with models. Of course both systems can become dishonest, but it is much more common on Wall Street to rig the game (except possibly in the case of online poker where cheating is purportedly rampant). Furthermore investing can be a long-term hold (e.g., investing in GE stock for 30 years) whereas poker only lasts until somebody wins the current pot.

Whereas it is common in accounting, especially basic accounting, to attempt to teach accountancy with games like Parker Bros. Monopoly, Jeopardy, etc., it is less common to teach accounting with poker. Devising poker learning games for college courses could have some negative externalities if students complain to their parents that they are playing poker in courses. Poker is considered sinful by some people even if it's not played for real money.

But it is interesting to think about how poker might be adapted to the teaching of accounting. I doubt, however, that it offers as many possibilities as Monopoly or Jeopardy or crossword puzzles.

Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment are at

Moody's downgrades TIAA debt to Aa1; affirms Aaa IFSR; changes outlook to negative ---

Some Things You May Not Know About Your TIAA Portfolio

A TIAA investor has sent me several messages advocating that the Oversight Board of TIAA needs to be overturned. I don’t know enough about that situation to comment other than to say I did not know that TIAA was so heavy into the types of tranches that brought down some banks.

If the messaging below seems a bit incoherent it’s probably because I deleted some portions.

From: Larry XXXXX
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2009 11:53 AM
To: Jensen, Robert
Subject: Re: TIAA-CREF Overseer, Stanley Ikenberry


It was an eye opener to me too. I don't know when TIAA loaded up on structured securities, but it's got to be something the trustees and overseers knew about, especially Ikenberry who's been on the board since 1998.

I've had a TIAA Traditional Annuity since 1977, satisfied to take lower returns for for lower risk. It once cranked out great returns, but not any more. I never paid much attention to my TIAA literature either, until last spring when they abruptly cut my interest-only payments by 30%.

So far, I understand annuitants like you haven't been cut back. You'll be last to get hit since they sure don't want to upset so many retirees. I've had three annuity payout illustrations done in the past three years. Each one has dropped my guaranteed income significantly. Who knows what's going to happen down the road? 

I forced myself this year to read TIAA's 2008 annual and audited statements. Their summary investment schedule is summarized on page S101 and bond distributions on pages S105-S110 of the annual report. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Especially troubling is the fact that the carrying value of top-rated NAIC 1 commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) was $18,736 million, but the fair value was $10,029 million at the end of 2008. In NAIC 2 rated CMBS, the carrying value was $2,075 million, but the fair value was $621 million (see pages: 19-20 of the audited report). 

Overall, at the end of 2008, the carrying value of all bonds was $135,680 million versus a fair value of $118,902 million. Contrast that to the end of 2007, when the carrying value was $131,859 million versus a fair value of $133,020 million (see pages: 35-36 of the audited report). 

I don't know why residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) didn't drop as much as CMBS. It may have something to do with government bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. See the following in a
TIAA-CREF press release on September 11, 2008:

Bond and mortgage-backed securities holdings

Total exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-issued debt and agency-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities totaled about $36 billion as of July 31, 2008 and represented a substantial portion of assets for a number of funds and accounts, including the TIAA General Account as well as the CREF Bond Market, Social Choice, and Money Market accounts and the following TIAA-CREF Institutional Mutual Funds: Bond, Bond Plus, Short-Term Bond, High-Yield II, and Money Market. This reflects the fact that, as of March 31, 2008, U.S. mortgage-backed securities, much of it issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, totaled $7.4 trillion, or nearly one quarter of the nation's total bond market.

The Fed and Treasury have been pumping billions into Fannie and Freddie to keep them afloat. It may be that TIAA-CREF doesn't have to show more RMBS loses, long as those companies are getting federal support.

TIAA's June 2009 quarterly statement is posted, but I haven't had a chance to review it. I'll get to it soon. All of TIAA-CREF's recent reports are posted at this link.


Here’s a follow up message from Larry that tells us that TIAA is far more complicated than a corporate bond fund.

You're quite welcome, Bob. Thanks to you too for taking an interest in the information.

I've started wading through TIAA's June '09 quarterly. Lots of derivatives listed in Section DB - Part F - Section 1, including default swaps on foreign countries like the Philippines, Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Egypt and so on. Derivatives are beyond my pay grade, but maybe you can make sense of them. I was surprised to see so many in the portfolio.

I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow so I won't be online. I'll be back on Thursday and would like to forward you some more information if that's ok with you.


Jensen Comment
In addition to becoming more concerned about the direction of TIAA investing, it dawned on me that, given the added complexity of the TIAA/CREF audit, Ernst & Young may not be all that upset over having lost this audit client due to a conflict of interest in the Steve Ross mess.

By the way, derivatives are not bad per se, but financial risk depends a lot upon the hedging effectiveness. Hopefully, TIAA is not speculating stark naked in derivatives.

Bob Jensen's threads on the current economic mess ---

Way out there on (or beyond) the leading edge
"Caltech Scientists Develop Novel Use of Neurotechnology to Solve Classic Social Problem, September 10, 2009 --- http://media.caltech.edu/press_releases/13288
Jim Mahar clued me into this link

Economists and neuroscientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have shown that they can use information obtained through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurements of whole-brain activity to create feasible, efficient, and fair solutions to one of the stickiest dilemmas in economics, the public goods free-rider problem—long thought to be unsolvable.

This is one of the first-ever applications of neurotechnology to real-life economic problems, the researchers note. "We have shown that by applying tools from neuroscience to the public-goods problem, we can get solutions that are significantly better than those that can be obtained without brain data," says Antonio Rangel, associate professor of economics at Caltech and the paper's principal investigator.

The paper describing their work was published today in the online edition of the journal Science, called Science Express.

Examples of public goods range from healthcare, education, and national defense to the weight room or heated pool that your condominium board decides to purchase. But how does the government or your condo board decide which public goods to spend its limited resources on? And how do these powers decide the best way to share the costs?

"In order to make the decision optimally and fairly," says Rangel, "a group needs to know how much everybody is willing to pay for the public good. This information is needed to know if the public good should be purchased and, in an ideal arrangement, how to split the costs in a fair way."

In such an ideal arrangement, someone who swims every day should be willing to pay more for a pool than someone who hardly ever swims. Likewise, someone who has kids in public school should have more of her taxes put toward education.

But providing public goods optimally and fairly is difficult, Rangel notes, because the group leadership doesn't have the necessary information. And when people are asked how much they value a particular public good—with that value measured in terms of how many of their own tax dollars, for instance, they’d be willing to put into it—their tendency is to lowball.

Why? “People can enjoy the good even if they don’t pay for it,” explains Rangel. "Underreporting its value to you will have a small effect on the final decision by the group on whether to buy the good, but it can have a large effect on how much you pay for it."

In other words, he says, “There’s an incentive for you to lie about how much the good is worth to you.”

That incentive to lie is at the heart of the free-rider problem, a fundamental quandary in economics, political science, law, and sociology. It's a problem that professionals in these fields have long assumed has no solution that is both efficient and fair.

In fact, for decades it's been assumed that there is no way to give people an incentive to be honest about the value they place on public goods while maintaining the fairness of the arrangement.

“But this result assumed that the group's leadership does not have direct information about people's valuations,” says Rangel. “That's something that neurotechnology has now made feasible.”

And so Rangel, along with Caltech graduate student Ian Krajbich and their colleagues, set out to apply neurotechnology to the public-goods problem.

In their series of experiments, the scientists tried to determine whether functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) could allow them to construct informative measures of the value a person assigns to one or another public good. Once they’d determined that fMRI images—analyzed using pattern-classification techniques—can confer at least some information (albeit "noisy" and imprecise) about what a person values, they went on to test whether that information could help them solve the free-rider problem.

They did this by setting up a classic economic experiment, in which subjects would be rewarded (paid) based on the values they were assigned for an abstract public good.

As part of this experiment, volunteers were divided up into groups. “The entire group had to decide whether or not to spend their money purchasing a good from us,” Rangel explains. “The good would cost a fixed amount of money to the group, but everybody would have a different benefit from it.”

The subjects were asked to reveal how much they valued the good. The twist? Their brains were being imaged via fMRI as they made their decision. If there was a match between their decision and the value detected by the fMRI, they paid a lower tax than if there was a mismatch. It was, therefore, in all subjects' best interest to reveal how they truly valued a good; by doing so, they would on average pay a lower tax than if they lied.

“The rules of the experiment are such that if you tell the truth,” notes Krajbich, who is the first author on the Science paper, “your expected tax will never exceed your benefit from the good.”

In fact, the more cooperative subjects are when undergoing this entirely voluntary scanning procedure, “the more accurate the signal is,” Krajbich says. “And that means the less likely they are to pay an inappropriate tax.”

This changes the whole free-rider scenario, notes Rangel. “Now, given what we can do with the fMRI,” he says, “everybody’s best strategy in assigning value to a public good is to tell the truth, regardless of what you think everyone else in the group is doing.”

And tell the truth they did—98 percent of the time, once the rules of the game had been established and participants realized what would happen if they lied. In this experiment, there is no free ride, and thus no free-rider problem.

“If I know something about your values, I can give you an incentive to be truthful by penalizing you when I think you are lying,” says Rangel.

While the readings do give the researchers insight into the value subjects might assign to a particular public good, thus allowing them to know when those subjects are being dishonest about the amount they'd be willing to pay toward that good, Krajbich emphasizes that this is not actually a lie-detector test.

“It’s not about detecting lies,” he says. “It’s about detecting values—and then comparing them to what the subjects say their values are.”

“It’s a socially desirable arrangement,” adds Rangel. “No one is hurt by it, and we give people an incentive to cooperate with it and reveal the truth.”

“There is mind reading going on here that can be put to good use,” he says. “In the end, you get a good produced that has a high value for you.”

From a scientific point of view, says Rangel, these experiments break new ground. “This is a powerful proof of concept of this technology; it shows that this is feasible and that it could have significant social gains.”

And this is only the beginning. “The application of neural technologies to these sorts of problems can generate a quantum leap improvement in the solutions we can bring to them,” he says.

Indeed, Rangel says, it is possible to imagine a future in which, instead of a vote on a proposition to fund a new highway, this technology is used to scan a random sample of the people who would benefit from the highway to see whether it's really worth the investment. "It would be an interesting alternative way to decide where to spend the government's money," he notes.

In addition to Rangel and Krajbich, other authors on the Science paper, “Using neural measures of economic value to solve the public goods free-rider problem,” include Caltech's Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics, and John Ledyard, the Allen and Lenabelle Davis Professor of Economics and Social Sciences. Their work was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Human Frontier Science Program.

Jensen Comment
Are Rangel and Kribich overlooking a fundamental problem in economic theory or are they overcoming that problem?
In particular note Economic Theory Errors. Simoleon Sense, September 23, 2009

It would seem to me that the pattern recognition approach suggested by Rangel and Kribich is a far out way of overcoming the scaling problem of utility models.

Could Google Wave Replace Course-Management Systems?

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

Video:  Internet Real Time Communication and Collaboration (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Google Wave --- http://code.google.com/apis/wave/
Google Wave is a product that helps users communicate and collaborate on the web. A "wave" is equal parts conversation and document, where users can almost instantly communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. Google Wave is also a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services and to build extensions that work inside waves.
Developer Preview --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ

Course Management Systems (like Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, ToolBook, etc.) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Course_Management_System

A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a software system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment, (MLE) where the focus is on management. A VLE will normally work over the Internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for assessment (particularly of types that can be marked automatically, such as multiple choice), communication, uploading of content, return of students' work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc. New features in these systems include wikis, blogs, RSS and 3D virtual learning spaces.

While originally created for distance education, VLEs are now most often used to supplement traditional face to face classroom activities, commonly known as Blended Learning. These systems usually run on servers, to serve the course to students Multimedia and/or web pages.

In 'Virtually There', a book and DVD pack distributed freely to schools by the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning Foundation (YHGfL), Professor Stephen Heppell writes in the foreword: "Learning is breaking out of the narrow boxes that it was trapped in during the 20th century; teachers' professionalism, reflection and ingenuity are leading learning to places that genuinely excite this new generation of connected young school students - and their teachers too. VLEs are helping to make sure that their learning is not confined to a particular building, or restricted to any single location or moment."

"Could Google (Wave Replace Course-Management Systems?" by Jeff Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 7, 2009 --- Click Here

Google argues that its new Google Wave system could replace e-mail by blending instant messaging, wikis, and image and document sharing into one seamless communication interface. But some college professors and administrators are more excited about Wave's potential to be a course-management-system killer.

"Just from the initial look I think it will have all the features (and then some) for an all-in-one software platform for the classroom and beyond," wrote Steve Bragaw, a professor of American politics at Sweet Briar College, on his blog last week.

Mr. Bragaw admits he hasn't used Google Wave himself -- so far the company has only granted about 100,000 beta testers access to the system. Each of those users is allowed to invite about eight friends (who can each invite eight more), so the party is slowly growing louder while many are left outside waiting behind a virtual velvet rope. But Google has posted an hour-long video demonstration of the system that drew quite a buzz when it was unveiled in May. That has sparked speculation of how Wave might be used.

Greg Smith, chief technology officer at George Fox University, did manage to snag an invitation to try Wave, and he too says it could become a kind of online classroom.

That probably won't happen anytime soon, though. "Wave is truly a pilot right now, and it's probably a year away from being ready for prime time," he said, noting that Wave eats up bandwidth while it is running. Google will probably take its time letting everyone in, he said, so that it can work out the kinks.

And even if some professors eventually use Wave to collaborate with students, colleges will likely continue to install course-management systems so they know they have core systems they can count on, said Mr. Smith.

Then again, hundreds of colleges already rely on Google for campus e-mail and collaborative tools, through a free service the company offers called Google Apps Education Edition. Could a move to Google as course-management system provider be next?

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course authoring and management systems ---

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

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

Why do banks, like airlines, keep raising prices on everything imaginable?
In particular, why are overdraft fees so high these days?

"Why are bank fees on the rise?" AccountingWeb, October 8, 2009 ---

When a bank’s income from overdraft fees is higher than net income, eyebrows tend to rise. That’s the case in nearly 45 percent of banks, according to the research firm of Moebs Services. By the end of this year, total overdraft fees collected is projected to exceed $38.5 billion, and the President and some members of Congress are fighting mad. The Obama Administration has been vocal about its desire to create a mammoth watchdog agency to oversee many of the details of our financial lives, including bank fees. Now two bills, one in the House, and another one introduced by Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) will seek – among other things -to force banks to get the customer’s permission before charging an overdraft fee. Meanwhile, critics ask… whatever happened to personal responsibility?

How high are bank fees?

Overdraft charges are nothing new, and certainly anyone with a checking account should be aware of them and how to avoid them. Moebs Services says that this year, the average overdraft fee has bounced from $25 to $26, higher at Wall Street banks. At banks with more than $50 billion in assets the average overdraft fee is $35.

Whether the fed should protect us from ourselves or not is a matter of opinion. Still, it does seem like a good idea to ask a simple question… why are bank fees on the increase? One banking official sees it this way:

“It’s a balance sheet problem. Banks have to generate revenue to make up for the losses in other areas,” he says. Most banks are publicly traded entities, not unlike WalMart or Macy’s. They have to return value to their stockholders, and with revenue plummeting through low interest rates and high mortgage defaults, they have to replace the income just like any other business that hopes to keep its doors open. “Banks look at a negative account balance as a short term unsecured loan. There’s a risk attached. Banks have the right to charge for a loan.”

Taking a critical view of his own industry, this banking official added that banks aren’t particularly friendly, and he wouldn’t be surprised if regulation did occur. If that happens, he says, a lot of consumers who aren’t currently getting adequate information might be able to benefit from increased government involvement. Speaking for himself, he spends a great deal of time with new accountholders making sure that they understand what transactions will trigger fees and how to avoid them. If there are regulatory changes, he would like to see the fees disclosed in layman’s terms so that bank customers don’t end up underwater.

Whatever your attitude about this subject, when customers overdraw their accounts, there is a real cost to the bank, and the bank has to:

· Be able to recoup the expense · · And have a meaningful vehicle to discourage customers from overdrafting. · If banks cannot recoup the cost of overdrafts by charging the customers who create them, they will have to make up the losses in other areas. That could mean punishing the wrong customers, by paying lower rates on savings accounts and CDs.

Even so, those who say we need a literal act of Congress to reverse the trend of rising fees seem unconcerned about the fate of banks.

"People out there are getting whacked," Senator Dodd told reporters. "They should have the right to say, 'Deny me the transaction.' "

In other words, Dodd wants banks to have to alert the customer that a pending purchase will throw them into an overdraft situation. It used to be that banks refused to pay transaction if the customer didn’t have the funds. With the rise in debit card use, the sheer number of bank card transactions has soared, and with it, the tendency to overspend available funds. At some point, banks began to pay transactions whether or not the funds were there (up to a preset limit) and then charge for what amounted to a short-term loan in the form of an overdraft fee. Dodd would like to see a reversal of that trend, forcing banks to get permission to pay the transaction.

So, let’s say you enjoy a lavish meal in a fine restaurant and attempt to pay with your debit card, but your account balance is insufficient. Chances are, the purchase would still be paid (within limits) and you’d later find out you were overdrawn and hit with a bank fee for the privilege of borrowing money. If Dodd has his way, when you attempt to pay from insufficient funds you would receive a message alerting you to that fact and giving you the option to “pay anyway” and accept the fee. You could of course, find an alternate way to pay like using a credit card or cash or … washing stacks and stacks of dirty dishes in the restaurant kitchen.

How can accountants help clients avoid high bank fees?

The obvious answer is, advise them how to keep better track of their money so they don’t overdraft.

Bank account holders can opt out of overdraft protection, meaning, if they don’t have the money, the check or debit will not be honored. Or, they can go elsewhere. Money-rate.com allows consumers to shop around for a better deal.

Al Manbeian, founding partner of GPS foreign currency brokerage firm, comes from years of experience with some of the nation’s top financial institutions. According to Manbeian, banks have some room to negotiate. Like any business, they need to compete in order to attract and maintain strong clients. That means clients who are coming from a position of financial strength should be able to ask for better rates, on everything from residential mortgages to business working capital lines of credit.

For customers who are less financially strong, Manbeian still recommends they try to negotiate with their current lenders to bring their rates down. Or, they can look at alternatives to commercial banks. Some institutions are able to charge lower fees because they have less of an overhead burden. GPS is a prime example. Through a combination of economies of scale and streamlined overhead, they are able to offer clients an attractively priced product set for foreign currency exchange transactions. CPAs with clients who deal in foreign currencies can help clients avoid excessive fees and add value to those clients by connecting them with a banking alternative like GPS.


"10 Seriously Ridiculous Hacks, "Sarah Jacobsson, PC World, October 4,  2009 ---
Link forwarded by David Albrecht

Jensen Comment
Years ago in my office at Trinity University I had gadgets of various types plugged into 17 power strips. I kept tripping circuit breakers in the building until I ran a power cord from my secretary's office into my office. I wonder if the new occupant of my old office ever wonders why the corner is cut off the bottom of the door? It looks like it was cut to be a mouse hole, but in reality it was cut so the door would not rub on the power cord.

Why so many gadgets?
For example, in those days it took about six gadgets to digitize analog video from the TV set into an external CD burner (before computers even had CD readers, let along burners). The TV set was on a bracket bolted to the font one of my bookcases.

You might want to consider one of the design features of my desk. I had two big computer monitors (no flat screens in those days) facing in opposite directions. I also had a signal splitter such that what I saw on my screen a student could also see on his/her screen while sitting on the opposite side of the desk. This was great for helping students. The drawback is that I could barely see the student in the "tunnel" between the two monitors.

I also had keyboard and mouse splitters such that I could have the student on the other side of my desk attempt an exercise (such as a MS Access database task) and then I could interject a correction whenever needed.

This all worked great as long as I tolerated the loss of desk space for two monitors, two keyboards, and two mouse pads. Fortunately, I really had two desks in a giant L configuration. At one point I also had a table for a U configuration and another  table along the wall behind my chair. I went back to the L configuration after I grew tired of having to crawl under a table to get to my desk.

"Former student sues Texas A&M over grades," by Matthew Watkins, The Eagle, October 7, 2009 ---

A student who transferred from Texas A&M is suing her former university, saying an academic counselor recommended that she intentionally fail three classes.

The classes were taken in the fall of 2007, the first semester of her freshman year, according to the suit, and the student approached the counselor because she was having trouble understanding her professors.

The student, Jennifer Temple, wanted to Q-drop the classes, but she contends in her suit that the adviser told her that she would lose her parents' health benefits if she did. Students are given a limited number of Q-drops, which allow them to drop a class from their schedule within the first 50 days of classes.

The counselor, Sofie Fuentes, told Temple that she should fail the classes because of an A&M rule allowing freshmen to exclude as many as three grades of D, F or U (unsatisfactory) from their transcripts, the suit alleges.

"Having no reason to doubt Ms. Fuentes' guidance, [Temple] quit attending classes, as advised, so that she would be eligible to exercise the grade exclusion policy," the suit says.

Temple wasn't told that other schools might not accept the grade exclusions when reviewing her transcript, her suit says. She attempted to transfer to the University of Texas and was rejected "because of the two F's and one D on her grade performance ratio," the suit states.

She is currently a student at Texas State University and still hopes to transfer to the University of Texas and study interior design, said her attorney, Gaines West.

Continued in article

"The Next Big Thing: Crisis and Transformation in American Higher Education," by John V. Lombardi, Inside Higher Ed, August 3, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/reality_check#

Data Tables
"Asian Universities on the Rise: a Comparison With U.S. Institutions," Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Asian-Universities-on-the/48691/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

"Asia Rising: Countries Funnel Billions Into Universities," by Mara Hvistendahl, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2009 --- Click Here

Across East Asia, governments are funneling resources into elite universities, financing basic research, and expanding access to vocational and junior colleges, all with the goal of driving economic development.

Hong Kong and Singapore, compact port cities that have lost their traditional importance as logistics and manufacturing centers, are rushing to turn themselves into centers of innovation.

China has invested in a group of select universities that it hopes will become globally renowned hubs of technological and scientific research, while in South Korea, leaders are spending billions of dollars on projects designed to spawn top-notch laboratories and attract foreign universities as partners. And as Taiwan's economy loses ground to China, it is trying to draw top talent through aggressive international recruitment.

Asia's approach to higher education contrasts markedly with that of the United States, where, even before the global recession hit, the percentages of state budgets dedicated to higher education have been in steady decline.

"Out here the government is looking at education as a driver of the country's future, so it isn't last in line," says Rajendra K. Srivastava, provost of Singapore Management University, who spent 25 years at the University of Texas at Austin.

In Texas, he recalls with dismay, "when they were allocating the state budget, education was one of the last things to get approved."

But while the government-led push is quite different from America's decentralized approach, Asian college and government officials say they are taking cues from the United States. Specifically, they hope to replicate America's post-World War II path to growth.

"Asians have studied very carefully the reasons why Western populations are now successful," says Kishore Mahbubani, a dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and author of The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. "They realize that unless you create good universities and attract the best minds in the world, you can't move into the next phase of development."

All this is against the backdrop of declining American dominance in global research. A 2008 National Science Foundation report found that patents filed by inventors living in the United States had dropped from 55 percent in 1996 to 53 percent in 2005. The foundation attributed the change to an increase in filings by Asian inventors.

The U.S. share of "highly influential" papers published in peer-reviewed journals also fell, from 63 percent in 1992 to 58 percent in 2003—a drop that reflects the rise of China, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, the report's authors noted.

"Innovation and its handmaiden, R&D, is driving the global economy," they continued, "and we are seeing more nations recognize this by creating their own version of U.S. research institutions and infrastructure."

The United States continues to lead the world by most measures, including financial support for higher education, top scholarly work, and the production of patents. But Asia is emerging as an increasingly strong competitor.

"It's not so much that the U.S. is on the decline but that the Asian universities are rising," says Gerard A. Postiglione, an expert on Chinese education at the University of Hong Kong. "They're rising along with their economies."

A Shift in Power Those economies, like their Western counterparts, have foundered in the past year. The South Korean won plunged to an 11-year low in March. Singapore's economy is in a crippling slump, with its Trade and Industry Ministry predicting a contraction of 4 to 6 percent by the end of the year. Hong Kong will probably show a similar drop, and Taiwan has seen a double-digit dip in exports over the previous year. Only China posts continued growth, but the country's future is uncertain, with development likely to augur the death of its manufacturing economy as China prices itself out of the cheap-labor market.

But while many U.S. states slash their higher-education budgets, East Asian countries have faced the crisis by funneling more resources into the future. Certainly the stimulus bill approved by the U.S. Congress this year earmarked millions of dollars for higher education. But that money will run out in the next couple of years.

In contrast, recovery financing in China, South Korea, and Singapore supports basic research and the creation of programs in key fields for innovation. The assumption is that such projects will boost economic growth.

"What we see out here is that if we can get a better educated population it will attract the higher-value industries," says Mr. Srivastava. "We're trying to move up the growth ladder."

Inviting Partners Whether investment in higher education directly translates into a robust economy, which also depends on factors like tax and trade policies, and an overall culture of innovation, is debatable. But Asia is steaming ahead on faith.

Intent on repositioning its economy around biotechnology and medical sciences, Singapore has invited graduate programs from leading American universities, including the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Duke University, to set up in the tiny city-state, housing them in campuses near state-of-the-art science parks to facilitate the development of spin-off companies.

Continued in article

"America Falling: Longtime Dominance in Education Erodes," by Karen Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2009 --- Click Here

Although the situation has been grimmest in California, higher education across the United States is in a period of retrenchment. That decline has been greeted with dismay by many higher-education experts, who say the United States can ill afford to scale back investment in colleges when Singapore and many of its Asian neighbors are plowing money into higher education and research.

The recent economic crisis, they say, at once exacerbates and masks a continuing and more systemic problem: While the United States remains a world leader in virtually every measure of academic and research quality, its dominance is eroding.

The American share of "highly influential" papers published in peer-reviewed journals fell to 58 percent in 2003, from 63 percent in 1998. Just 4 percent of American college graduates major in engineering, compared with 13 percent of European students and 20 percent of those in Asia. The United States ranks 10th in the proportion of its adults ages 25 to 34 who hold at least an associate degree, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Despite the disturbing trends, many observers fear that there is little appetite to confront the challenges facing U.S. higher education. Even before the current financial troubles, public colleges were chronically at the back of the budgetary line, among the first to be cut in difficult times. What's more, with 50 state systems and 4,400 public and private institutions, responsibility for dealing with problems like college access or completion is diffuse, and finding a comprehensive approach to tackling such issues can be difficult, if not impossible.

Whether the current system, if unchanged, can weather recessionary storms and increased competition from overseas is an open question. Unlike their counterparts in Asia, Americans have simply not felt the same sense of urgency to reinvigorate and reinvest in higher education as a means of better positioning the country in a competitive and shifting global economy, says Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and a former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"China, Korea, Singapore—they're going for broke because they're hungry. They know they have to do it," says Mr. Vest, who served on a national panel that produced a widely cited report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," which warned that America was slipping behind other countries in science and technology.

"I'm worried we won't realize what's at stake until it's too late, that we'll be too slow on the draw. Look what happened in the manufacturing sector when the Japanese got serious. We've only partially caught back up."

From Upstart to Superpower It was not long ago that the United States was the hungry one. Already an accomplished upstart, the country cemented its position as an academic superpower in the years after World War II, its laboratories staffed by European scientists who fled the conflict and its classrooms filled with former GI's. Research spending, spurred by wartime defense needs, shot up again after the Soviet launch, in 1957, of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. Federal support for academic research quadrupled in the seven years following Sputnik, while doctoral ranks swelled, from 8,611 degrees awarded in 1957 to 33,755 in 1973.

In many ways, the United States remains pre-eminent: Its scholarly papers are still the most cited, and it remains the top destination for foreign students. American universities dominate international college rankings.

When countries like China, Korea, and Singapore seek to build up their higher-education systems, their model is the United States. "The United States is overwhelmingly the reference point for what they want to happen," says Aims C. McGuinness Jr., a senior associate at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, who has advised both states and countries on educational reform.

Indeed, some observers say warnings that the United States is losing its global standing are unduly alarmist. Some measures, such as the numbers of engineers produced in India and China, are overstated, they say, because the course work there often does not meet American standards. They say that, as a whole, indicators suggest that other countries have raised their performance, not that the United States is slumping.

"It's not a zero-sum game," says Philip G. Altbach, director of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education. "It's not as if they grow, we get weaker. It's good for the world for more countries to do better."

Thus far, in fact, the United States has largely been a beneficiary of the educational advances made in Asia and elsewhere. Half of all students who earn doctorates in key science and technology fields come from overseas. (Two Chinese universities, Tsinghua and Peking, supply more students to American Ph.D. programs than any other institution, foreign or domestic.) A quarter of American college faculty members today are foreign-born.

But educators worry about what will happen if more top international students elect to remain in or return to universities in their home countries, as those institutions improve. Deepening their concern is evidence that the American talent pipeline has sprung leaks, and in many places: American high-school students post below-average scores on international science tests. Those who do well are less likely today to go to college—just half of low-income high-school seniors who were "highly qualified" in mathematics enrolled in a four-year institution in 2004, twenty percentage points lower than the Class of 1992.

Even at the graduate level, many students who start doctoral programs, particularly women and members of minority groups, fail to finish.

Part of the problem, says Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, based in California, is that the U.S. system was never designed to educate most Americans. That orientation leads Americans to measure success based on the performance of its institutions. But attention to evaluations like college rankings, Mr. Callan argues, deflects the focus from the very real weaknesses in the system's foundation.

"We're still stuck on having the best higher-education system of the 20th century, when it's almost a decade into the 21st century," says Mr. Callan, whose nonprofit group publishes a biennial report card on the higher-education performance of the states and the country as a whole.

By contrast, he says, "many of the countries that have made the biggest gains are those that see institutions as a means to an end, of achieving social and economic policy."

There are some signs of a shift in American thinking. The economic-stimulus bill approved by Congress this year included money for student aid and academic research. "Economists tell us that strategic investments in education are one of the best ways to help America become more productive and competitive," stated a summary of the plan distributed by Congressional leaders.

In a speech to Congress, President Obama urged all Americans to pursue "a year or more" of higher education, or career training, and set a goal for the nation to have the world's highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. Education, said Mr. Obama, who has proposed spending $12-billion to improve programs, courses, and facilities at community colleges, is one of "three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future."

In state capitals, governors and legislatures also are embracing the concept that higher education can be an economic driver. A panel appointed by New York's governor called for establishing a $3-billion academic-research fund to support economic development. North Carolina's public universities have adopted economic outreach as a central mission.

International Competition Still, economists and others say the belief, embraced in Asia, that educational investment leads to economic growth is overly simplistic and fails to account for other ingredients, like fiscal and trade policies, that nourish a financial system. The Soviet Union produced a lot of scientists, notes Michael S. Teitelbaum, a program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, "but it was hardly a productive economy."

What's more, the United States has never set economic-development or educational policy at the national level, seeing each as falling under state or local purview. Indeed, many Americans have a profound mistrust of federal involvement in education, at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.

But as countries in Asia and elsewhere improve their universities and modernize their economies, that approach can undercut America's standing. "These are national concerns," says Irwin Feller, an emeritus professor of economics at Pennsylvania State University's main campus, "but we're not having a national discussion about what the stakes are for the country as a whole."

As a result, Mr. Feller says, the competition is not just international, but internal, as states and institutions vie with one another for talent and resources. Universities in states that are weathering the current recession, for example, may take the opportunity to poach top researchers from institutions in hard-hit states. Such actions might benefit individual states but not the country's relative position.

The mobility of talent also can act as a disincentive for states to spend more to train the next generation of Ph.D.'s, says Ronald G. Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. "Every university's economic-impact statement talks about the economic benefit of their graduates," says Mr. Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial and labor relations and economics, "but the argument doesn't really hold if the graduates don't stay in the state."

And whatever rhetorical support higher education receives risks being undermined by fiscal reality. Even before the current recession, public colleges have been among the last to get increases and one of the first to be cut, as federal and state requirements put other government programs, like Medicaid and elementary and secondary education, largely off-limits to reductions.

Over time, shaky state support for higher education could weaken American universities, says Mr. Feller. "It's like deferred maintenance—one day the roof caves in," he says.

There's evidence that that has already happened. James D. Adams, an economist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has documented the link between a slowdown in scientific publications by American researchers and sluggish growth in state appropriations to public research universities. No other variable accounted for the fact that growth in papers by researchers at public universities came to a standstill in the 1990s, the period Mr. Adams studied, despite the fact that scientists at these institutions pulled in more new federal research dollars than their private-college counterparts.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Be that as it may, China still faces huge obstacles in attracting foreign students. Corruption at all levels of society is still rampant in China. Living conditions are overcrowded, and the language barrier is formidable. In some areas of study like MBA degrees, China is experimenting with islands of Western education where reputable instructors from outside China conduct classes in English and foreign students are given financial incentives to study in China.

Meanwhile, greatly increased numbers of Chinese are coming to America for college education.
"'The Chinese Are Coming'," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 28, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/09/28/china

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

Options Valuation --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Options_pricing

Who solved the third-order partial differential solution that Black and Scholes used in their option-pricing formula?

In case you didn't know, in addition to Richard Feynman being a Nobel-prize winning physicist, also found the Feynman-Kac solution to the third-order partial differential solution that Black and Scholes used in their option-pricing formula. So, he's actually about a Nobel-Prize winner and maybe a quarter (once on his own, and once for being useful to B&S.
Financial Rounds Blog, October

Jensen Comment
I learned about the famous and free Feynman videos from Simoleon Sense and again from Jagdish Gangolli
Bill Gates purchased the rights to lectures by Richard Feynman and has initially made seven of them available free at http://research.microsoft.com/apps/tools/tuva/index.html
The catch is that you must install the Microsoft Silverlight browser add on (at no charge).
Richard Feynman is a very famous physicist --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman

As Amy Dunbar mentioned on the AECM, Richard Feyman was not only a famous physicist, but he was also a bit of a comedian in his lectures. That probably would never happen in accounting lectures (just kidding). As the saying goes the punch line to an accounting lecture is the introductory line:  "Today we have an well-known accounting speaking to us."

So what's wrong with the Black and Scholes Options Pricing Model in practice?
A lot --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AccentuateTheObvious
More often than not it is not sufficiently robust in terms of violations of its assumptions.
See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm 

You can read about better lattice models in Excel for valuing options at

Before reading the tidbit below, I remind you that specialized business accreditation of colleges by the AACSB, IACAB, or some other accrediting body costs a lot of money initially and every year thereafter for maintaining accreditation.

If colleges do not have specialized accreditation in a given discipline, they should especially think twice before seeking specialized accreditation. It's a little like getting a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. Getting one is relatively easy, but getting rid of one can be costly and highly traumatic. It may not be quite as costly to voluntarily drop accreditation, but all hell breaks loose if the accrediting body puts a college on probation or suspension of accreditation. The publicity of lost accreditation can be far more devastating than the loss of accreditation itself.

Specialized accreditation by prestigious schools has always been somewhat a waste of money except for public relations purposes among other business schools. For purposes of student recruiting and faculty hiring, who cares about AACSB accreditation at Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Cornell, USC, the University of Texas, or the University of Illinois? In really tough financial times, these universities could easily save money by dropping accreditation, but their budgets are probably not so miserable as to consider dropping accreditation.

Specialized accreditation in a given discipline typically matters more to lesser-known, especially regional, colleges that have a more difficult time recruiting highly talented students and faculty. Sadly, these are often the schools that can least afford the cost of maintaining accreditation. Saving money by dropping accreditation becomes a much tougher decision if accreditation is deemed to matter in recruitment of students and faculty.

"Struggling Colleges Question the Cost—and Worth—of Specialized Accreditation," by Eric Kelderman, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2009 --- Click Here

In thinking about selecting a new dean for its business school this year, Southern New Hampshire University considered whether the new leader should guide the school to gain accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, as more than 500 colleges have done.

But after seeing estimates that the costs of meeting those standards could top $2-million annually, Paul J. LeBlanc, president of the university, decided that approval from the business-college association wasn't worth the institution's time or money.

While accreditation from a federally recognized organization is required for an institution's students to receive federal financial aid, colleges have often sought additional specialized accreditation to meet professional-licensing standards or to bolster their reputations.

But in the uncertain economic climate, some institutions are struggling with whether they can maintain the levels of financial support or the numbers of highly qualified faculty members needed for the associations' stamps of approval. And some campus leaders are deciding that the costs of such endorsements outweigh the benefits.

An Expensive Business The price of becoming accredited includes annual dues and the expenses of peer reviewers who visit the campus every few years. Annual membership fees for business-school accreditation range from $2,500 to $7,300, and one-time fees for initial accreditation are as much as $18,500.

But a much greater cost usually comes with having to meet an association's standards for hiring a sufficient number of qualified faculty members. This has added to the intense competition for professors in fields such as pharmacology, nursing, and business, where instructors are scarce because jobs outside academe do not usually require a terminal degree, and teaching at a university might mean a big pay cut.

Rather than compete with the nation's best business colleges for a limited number of people with doctoral degrees, Mr. LeBlanc said his institution would be better off creating business-degree programs with practical applications, in areas like supply-chain management. Seeking accreditation would also have tied up the new dean with duties other than running the school, he said.

Jerry E. Trapnell, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, says that so far, the economic downturn has not led to an unusually high number of colleges dropping out of the accreditation process. But the long-term effect of the downturn is hard to predict, he said.

Other business-school leaders say the costs of accreditation from the business-college association are a problem not just because of the economy. The cost, some experts argue, has "stunted the growth" of continuing-education programs that typically attract nontraditional students who may not have the time or money to pursue a college degree full time.

Business and management courses are indispensable for continuing-education programs, said Jay A. Halfond, dean of Metropolitan College at Boston University, and Thomas E. Moore, dean of the College of Business Administration at Northeastern University, in an article they wrote this year in the journal Continuing Higher Education Review. But to meet the accreditation standards, undergraduate programs that have more than a quarter of their courses in business and graduate programs with at least half of their courses in that field must be taught primarily by "full-time, conventional faculty, with advanced research credentials and an active record of ongoing scholarship," the authors wrote.

To keep continuing-education programs affordable for part-time students, some colleges have sidestepped the standards by using "euphemistic" names for their programs, the article said, or by making sure that the proportion of business courses is just under the accreditor's threshold.

Mr. Halfond doesn't think business-school accreditors are "the evil empire," he said in an interview. "But it can be very painful for some institutions to reach their standards, and they're not very forgiving."

A Mark of Credibility Officials at Georgia Southwestern State University, however, say the business school's accreditation has improved the reputation of its program. John G. Kooti, dean of the School of Business Administration there, said the goal of accreditation inspired greater support from the university and attracted better-qualified faculty members and more students. "We used accreditation to build a program," he said. "It brought us credibility."

Georgia Southwestern, which earned accreditation from the business-college association this spring, doubled the amount of the business school's budget over the past five years to meet the accreditor's standards, Mr. Kooti said. The school has also increased the size of its faculty to 19 from 11. And Mr. Kooti anticipates hiring two more faculty members next year to keep up with enrollment, which has grown 20 percent over the past two years.

Georgia Southwestern has also spent nearly $500,000 to renovate the space that the business school uses, Mr. Kooti said. Feng Xu, an assistant professor of management, said potential faculty members look more favorably on job offers from accredited business colleges. Even institutions without that accreditation look for instructors who have degrees from accredited colleges, he said.

International students are also concerned about accreditation because they may have little other information about the quality of an institution before coming to the United States, said Mr. Xu, a native of China who earned graduate degrees at South Dakota State University and George Washington University, both of which are accredited by the business-school association.

Eduardo J. Marti, president of Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York, said that the real value of accreditation accrued to students. "The only thing our students leave the college with is a certificate of stock, a diploma, which is worth only the reputation of the college," he said.

"I think a lot of presidents cry about the cost of accreditation and the things they have to do to meet the standards, when what they are really saying is they are concerned about someone coming from outside and trying to run their programs," he said.

However, Mr. Halfond, of Boston University's Metropolitan College, said that whether or not an institution has earned a specialized accreditation is probably not a major concern of most students and applicants. Because of that, he said, some colleges may calculate that the cost of seeking and maintaining accreditation is far greater than that of losing a few potential students.

In fact, Steven F. Soba, director of undergraduate admissions at Southern New Hampshire, said that during his 17 years as an admissions officer he could think of only a couple of instances where parents had inquired about any kind of accreditation.

Accreditors' Concerns As state budget cuts and other drops in revenue take their toll on colleges, some accrediting groups are trying to ease the financial burdens on institutions or at least give them a chance to wait out the recession without being penalized.

Sharon J. Tanner, executive director of the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, said that losing existing or potential members is a concern for many accrediting bodies, though they are unlikely to admit publicly that it is happening for fear of damaging their reputations.

The nursing-accreditation group is still benefiting from the booming demand for health-care workers, Ms. Tanner said. Forty-one institutions entered the initial phase of nursing accreditation during the past year. At the same time, however, a small number of colleges have asked to delay campus visits by peer reviewers, she said, and several other institutions have sought advice on how to remain accredited while making cuts in their programs.

James G. Cibulka, president of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, said many of his member institutions accepted the association's offer to delay their accreditation cycle by one year.

The council has also redesigned its accrediting standards to focus more on how well education students perform as teachers rather than on the specifics of the college's academic program. In addition to improving teacher education, the new standards are expected to be less costly for colleges, Mr. Cibulka said.

Cynthia A. Davenport, director of the Association of Specialized & Professional Accreditors, said concerns about the economy and its effect on the quality of academic programs were widely discussed at a recent meeting of her association, which represents about 60 organizations that assess programs such as acupuncture, landscape architecture, and veterinary medicine.

The poor economy, however, is no excuse to let accreditation standards slip, she said. At a time when students are flocking back to college to improve their job skills, the public needs to be assured that colleges are providing quality education, she said.

If the college can't afford to hire the same number of faculty members for an accredited program as they have in the past, for instance, then they could reduce the enrollment in that area, she said.

"Members know that some institutions may be faced with difficult choices," she said, "but if they can't meet the standards, then maybe they shouldn't be offering that program."

October 9, 2009 reply from Barbara Scofield [barbarawscofield@GMAIL.COM]

Yet accreditation can't be ignored in accounting education

NASBA's UAA Model at
uses accreditation to differentiate the level of reliance state boards place on business education at universities. Some states (Texas) pride themselves on their adherence to NASBA, seeing it as a "best practices" measure.

I'm interested in knowing if any of the states represented by members of this list already have accreditation issues in their state board of accountancy rules.

TSBPA adopted requirements for business communications and accounting research this January for a future effective date solely (in my opinion) to be able to say that they are following the NASBA model. In the rules adopted in Texas, there can be no joint credit towards CPA candidacy for a credit hour that provides both accounting research and communication skills. So I have little faith in their actually understanding the research process, despite the presence of academics on the board.

I had a CPA, former chair of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, board member (perhaps chair at that time) of NASBA speak in my class, and he spoke plainly about the intent by both bodies (TSBPA and NASBA) to dictate changes in accounting education without having a clue that I might disagree with him.

Barbara W. Scofield, PhD, CPA
Chair of Graduate Business Studies and Professor of Accounting
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
4901 E. University Dr. Odessa, TX 79762
432-552-2183 (Office) 


The NASBA homepage is at http://www.nasba.org/nasbaweb/NASBAWeb.nsf/WPHP?OpenForm

Accreditation: Why We Must Change
Accreditation has been high on the agenda of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education and not in very flattering ways. In “issue papers” and in-person discussions, members of the commission and others have offered many criticisms of current accreditation practice and expressed little faith or trust in accreditation as a viable force for quality for the future.
Judith S. Eaton, "Accreditation: Why We Must Change," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/01/eaton

Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation issues are at

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm

Binging, but not cha chaing, Fraud Updates

For nearly eight years I’ve updated (usually daily) a log on fraud. This is like a chronological journal from which I also posted to various sites that I maintain on fraud.

The September 30, 2009 log has been added to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

One of the best ways to search these logs is via Bing (or Google, Yahoo, etc.). For example, suppose you are interested in Bill and Hold fraud. You can enter the search terms [“Bob Jensen” AND “Fraud Updates” AND “Bill and Hold”] (without the square brackets) at http://www.bing.com/

It may seem surprising, but I’m having better results in most cases these days using Microsoft’s Bing search engine than either Google or Yahoo --- http://www.bing.com/

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

Bing Update:  When I recommended Bing I was not aware of the following:
"Bing! So That's What A Swizzle Stick Is," by Michael Arrington, Tech Crunch via The Washington Post, October 7, 2009 --- Click Here

Microsoft's new Bing search engine just can't seem to stay out of the red light district, no matter how hard they try.

There's no denying it is hands down the best porn search engine on the planet (although ChaCha is pretty good too). But Bing also had a snafu with Google ads that showed the search engine for "pornography" queries. Google took the blame for that one (see updates to that post), and at least it only showed up for people actually querying the adult term.

Now, a new controversy has popped up around a Microsoft ad unit that scrapes a page for content and then shows relevant Bing queries. The ads normally work fine. But last week Bing started showing an ad unit that contained sexually explicit terms, including at least one that I had never heard of before (the swizzle stick). Best of all, the ads were displayed on a WonderHowTo web page showing only Home & Garden content.

You can see the queries that were self-generated by Bing for the ad unit in the image. This isn't just R-rated run of the mill porn stuff. This is stuff that's still illegal in some states. Particularly that top query.

Microsoft is saying this is a bug, and they've taken down all of these ad units on all sites until they understand what happened. The unit is supposed to scrape only the page being viewed. In this case, WonderHowTo has sexually explicit content on other areas of the site, which may be triggering the ad content.

Said Microsoft's Senior Director Online Audience Business Group Adam Sohn, who wasn't too happy with the ad: "We are very cognizant of what we want the Bing brand to stand for, and this is not it."

My response ¿ "well, at least it's educational."

Jensen Comment
Nevertheless Bing is a good search engine, and you can avoid the porn by not looking for it and ignoring advertisements (that I never look at anyway in Google or Bing or Yahoo). Google still has the huge advantage of cached documents that can be found after they are no longer posted at their original Websites. I assume that all the major search engines will step up controls on the appropriateness of advertising for the general public (that includes children using search engines).

But Cha Cha is not a major search engine and may lag in such controls. I really don't cha cha on the dance floor or on the computer.

But instead of a computer spitting out answers (see Google, etc.), real (cha chaing) human beings answer instead.
"The Mystery Of The ChaCha Eiffel Tower Fail Pic," by Michael Arrington, Tech Crunch, October 29, 2008 ---

I’ve aimed a lot of criticism at human powered search engine ChaCha over the last couple of years. The service lets users ask questions, just like a normal search engine. But instead of a computer spitting out answers (see Google, etc.), real human beings answer instead.

The ChaCha service was absurd in its original web version, which has since been discontinued. The mobile version is actually very useful, although we questioned its scalability when it launched. New information from the company suggests they’re keeping costs low enough to make a business model out of it. More on that soon.

Now about this image.

Some fairly funny answers occasionally come back from the human guides, who early on at least had to deal with a lot of prank queries. But none of the ones we’ve seen compare to the one to the right, which is a Digg favorite tonight. It describes the Eiffel Tower sexual position (yes, you learn something new every day) in response to a completely unrelated query about a Randy Newman show in Seattle.

I contacted the company about it and got the following message:

I appreciate your reaching out to me regarding this iPhone prank. We researched this as soon as it came to our attention and our logs indicate that the answer displayed was definitely to a question previously asked by this same user. So yes, this is a fake as this person is misrepresenting what actually occurred. They actually asked one question (to which the answer was sent) and then a second question shortly thereafter and then received the answer to the first question which, due to the way messages are threaded on an iPhone display, the answer is appearing below a different question than the one that was asked to spawn the answer that is displayed.

So in the end this was a bit of a trick apparently used to misrepresent what happened in order to get some laughs – which appears to be working as this is getting some serious play across the Web!

Ok that sounds more than reasonable. But when I go to the URL in the image, it shows the question and answer linked (see below). I understand how text messages back and forth can get out of order, but not how the wrong answer can be linked to the wrong question in ChaCha’s own database. I also note the guide was on the job for one whole day before this happened. I’ve emailed the company for further clarification.

I still recommend Bing when you’re not fully satisfied with your Google hits. I can't say I recommend Cha Cha, but then I've never tried it.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm

With Google Sky Map for your Android phone you can discover and browse the night sky just by pointing your phone to space. By using your Android phone's orientation sensors, we can show you a star map for your location. Explore planets, stars, constellations, and more! Learn the name and location of space objects and impress your friends.
Watch the Video --- http://www.google.com/sky/skymap.html

Richard Campbell forwarded the above link. He also forwarded the link to the video below:

Losing Chicago's Olympic bid is just the tip of the iceberg
Is UC Berkeley really as low as Rank 39 (at that was below this year's budget crunch in California)?
"U.S. Decline or a Flawed Measure?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 8, 2009 ---

Most higher education leaders say that institutional rankings are highly questionable, given the many intangibles in what make a college or university “best” for a given person or course of study. But what about national trends? Can international rankings of universities provide a picture of the relative rise and fall of nation’s universities?

The Times Higher Education/QS rankings, out today, suggest that there are national patterns that can be discerned – and the picture is one of decline for American institutions. Since narratives about American decline always attract attention, these rankings are likely to cause a stir.

Some of the patterns are striking, and there is abundant evidence that the rise of universities in other countries will inevitably broaden the global leadership. But some experts on rankings say that this study shouldn’t be taken too seriously because of its reliance (even more than the rankings of U.S. News & World Report) on reputational surveys. And even a top editor at the Times Higher acknowledged in an interview that some of the measures used favor institutions in Europe and Asia over those of the United States.

Here’s what this year's Times Higher rankings found:

In ranking universities, Times Higher uses this formula:

The 50 percent of the formula based on reputation exceeds even the much-criticized percentage used by U.S. News (25 percent).

And that’s part of why rankings experts question the methodology. The Institute for Higher Education Policy has conducted extensive research both on rankings and on the evolution of a global higher ed infrastructure in which the U.S. is not as dominant as it once was. Alisa F. Cunningham, vice president of research for the institute, said that the Times Higher’s rankings are of “limited value” and that all the much discussed flaws of reputation surveys (voting based on old information, voting to favor your own institution, voting on criteria that aren’t those being used, etc.) are only accentuated in international surveys.

“You’ve got entirely different contexts in different parts of the world, and you don’t know what those contexts are,” she said.

Reputational surveys are “the least reliable way to do these comparisons,” she added.

Another reason to be wary of these rankings, Cunningham said, is their volatility (which is of course what gets them more attention). Cunningham said that the great universities of the world – whether in the United States or elsewhere – change gradually, not radically, from year to year. So any methodology that suggests that universities that are centuries old are notably better or worse from year to year is questionable, she said. “They don’t change that way,” she said.

Phil Baty, Deputy Editor of the Times Higher, said in an e-mail interview that some of the measures do favor certain regions. For example, he noted that the citations index favors institutions where most faculty members are in medicine or hard sciences, while putting at a disadvantage institutions where much of the faculty scholarship is in the humanities or social sciences (a characteristic that applies to most American universities). Likewise, he noted that European and Asian universities are more likely than others to have large percentages of foreign faculty members.

But as to the criticism about relying on surveys, Baty said that was a strength of the Times Higher rankings.

“When the rankings were conceived six years ago, a guiding principal was that academics know best when it comes to identifying the world’s best universities. So we were happy to include a heavy element of opinion in the rankings formula," Baty said. "In some ways, giving a strong weighting to the academic opinion survey helps meet some of the biggest criticisms of the university rankings in general – that you can’t reduce all the wonderful and less tangible things that a university does into a simple scientific formula. Universities are always about more than the sum of their parts."

Robert M. Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities, said that at his association (which includes research universities in the United States and Canada), "we don’t generally place a great deal of stock in the public rankings of universities, but we don’t ignore them either. They are important to the extent that shape public perceptions of the qualitative hierarchy of institutions, but they all have flaws and biases."

Berdahl said that a "heavy reliance on reputational surveys, for example, is not terribly reliable, in part because it depends so heavily on who is surveyed."

The best way to do international comparisons, he said, is "program by program, using the most objective criteria possible."

The issue raised by the Times Higher about an erosion of U.S. dominance is an important one, Berdahl said, even if he doesn't agree with the findings about specific universities or the methodology.

"The United States has to be concerned about this. We know that other nations are investing substantial amounts in building research universities, while the U.S. has been disinvesting," he said. "If we cease to be the nation of choice for the best and brightest international students, or even the best American students, we will quickly cease to have the universities that are the choice for the best faculty and we will be caught in a downward spiral."

But Berdahl, a former chancellor at the University of California at Berkeley, said he just can't buy the numbers in the Times Higher's survey. "While I think that there has been some relative slippage as a result of a decline in funding in the U.S. and the investment elsewhere, the rankings indicated by the Times seem to me to be wildly off the mark," he said. "No one I know would rank Berkeley anywhere near as low as 39th in the world. I admit I’m biased; but this is too far from the mark to be taken terribly seriously."

A Very Critical Article About College Rankings by the Media
"It’s the Student Work, Stupid," by Sherman Dorn, Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/04/07/dorn

Last week, my dean touted our college’s rise in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate colleges of education. As the anonymous author of Confessions of a Community College Dean explains, even administrators who dislike rankings have to play the game, and in many ways it’s an administrator’s job to play cheerleader whenever possible. But as two associations of colleges and universities gear up support for a Voluntary System of Accountability, it’s time to look more seriously at what goes into ratings systems.

We all know the limits of the U.S. News rankings. My colleagues work hard and deserve praise, but I suspect faculty in Gainesville do, too, where the University of Florida explained its college of education’s drop in the rankings. U.S. News editors rely heavily on grant funding and reputational surveys to list the top 10 or 50 programs in areas they have no substantive knowledge of. That selection is why the University of Florida ranking dropped; the dean recently decided it was a matter of honesty to exclude some grants that came to the college’s lab school instead of the main part of the college. (My university does not have a lab school.) But the U.S. News rankings do not honor such decisions. The editors’ job is to sell magazines, and if that requires one-dimensional reporting, so be it.

In addition to the standard criticisms of U.S. News, I rarely hear my own impression voiced: the editors are lazy in a fundamental way. They rely on existing data provided by the institutions, circulate a few hundred surveys to gauge reputation, and voila! Rankings and sales.

The most important information on doctoral programs is available to academics and reporters alike, if only we would look: dissertations. My institution now requires all doctoral students to submit dissertations electronically, and within a year, they are available to the world. Even before electronic thesis dissemination, dissertations were microfilmed, and the titles, advisors, and other information about each were available from Dissertations Abstracts International. Every few months, my friend Penny Richards compiles a list of dissertations in our field (history of education) and distributes it to an e-mail list for historians of education.

Anyone can take a further step and read the dissertations that doctoral programs produce. With Google Scholar available now, anyone see if the recent graduates from a program published the research after graduating. With the Web, anyone can see where the graduates go afterwards. All it takes is a little time and gumshoe work ... what we used to call reporting.

But reading dissertations is hard work, and probably far more boring than looking at the statistics that go into the U.S. News rankings. But even while some disciplines debate the value and format of dissertations, it is still the best evidence of what doctoral programs claim to produce: graduates who can conduct rigorous scholarship. (I’m not suggesting people interested in evaluating a program spend weeks reading dissertations cover to cover, but the reality is that it doesn’t take too long with a batch of recent dissertations to get a sense of whether a program is producing original thinkers.)

Suppose the evaluation of doctoral programs required reading a sample of dissertations from the program over the past few years, together with follow-up data on where graduates end up and what happens to the research they conducted. That evaluation would be far more valuable than the U.S. News rankings, both to prospective students and also to the public whose taxes are invested in graduate research programs.

I do not expect U.S. News editors to approve any such project, because their job is to sell magazines and not produce any rigorous external evaluation of higher education. But the annual gap between the U.S. News graduate rankings and the reality on the ground should remind us of what such facile rankings ignore.

That omission glares at me from the Voluntary System of Accountability, created by two of the largest higher-ed associations, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In many ways, the VSA project and its compilation of data in a College Portrait comprise a reasonable response to demands for higher-education accountability, until we get to the VSA’s pretense at measuring learning outcomes through one of three standardized measures.

What worries me about the VSA is not just the fact that the VSA oversight board includes no professors who currently teach, nor the fact that NASULGC and AASCU chose three measures that have little research support, nor the fact that their choices funnel millions of dollars into the coffers of three test companies in a year when funding for public colleges and universities is dropping.

My greatest concern is the fact that a standardized test fails to meet the legitimate needs of prospective students and their families to know what a college actually does. When making a choice between two performing-arts programs, a young friend of mine would have found the scores of these tests useless. Instead, she made the decision from observing rehearsals at each college, peeking inside the black box of a college classroom.

Nor do employers want fill-in-the-bubble or essay test scores. The Association of American Colleges and Universities sponsored a survey of employers that documented that employers want to see the real work of students in situations that require the evaluation of messy situations and problem-solving. And I doubt that legislators and other policymakers see test statistics as a legitimate measure of learning in programs as disparate as classics, anthropology, physics, and economics. Except for Charles Miller and a few others — and it is notable that despite the calls for accountability, the Spellings Commission entirely ignored the curriculum — I suspect legislators will be more concerned about graduation rates and addressing student and parent concerns about college debt.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on college rankings controversies are at

"CSI: Plagiarism," by M. Garrett Bauman. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2009 ---

It's the final week of class. Two colleagues and I pant following an hour of racquetball that should have released the tension. But it's not enough for the youngest man, who declares he uncovered a dozen cases of plagiarism in his final set of papers. He smashes his fist into a metal locker. "What's the matter with these kids!" he roars. "I want to kill them!"

I understand his rage. Cut-and-paste theft saps time and energy, insults professors, creates distasteful confrontations, and damages the integrity of education. Almost as maddening, our culture's tolerance of dishonesty in business, government, sports, and the arts makes academic ethical standards seem quixotic. Perhaps we need to approach plagiarism differently to spare ourselves apoplexy, moral nausea, and bruised knuckles.

In my first plagiarism case, more than 30 years ago, when I confronted the burly perpetrator, I expected him to hang his head and apologize. Instead, he glowered: "I came to college to get a job, not write papers. I don't need this bull. You give me D's for my ideas, so here's the fancy crap you want." I was so dumbstruck by his response—his belief that I played an unfair game that deserved a reply in kind—that I ended up letting him redo the paper and lowered his final grade by only one letter.

To document cases back then, one hiked to the library to pore through volumes of the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature and other indexes. If a student purloined from an obscure magazine that indexes didn't include, then tough luck. Teachers recognized plagiarized work but often could not nail the felon. I recall one frustrated professor interrupting a department meeting for help locating the source of a plagiarized paper on Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." She read long passages from the paper until a bored, waggish professor announced, "Whose words these are, I think I know. …"

Today, Google and Turnitin crack cases in minutes. Most plagiarists are pitifully inept. They steal work that doesn't match the assignment. They leave Web addresses at the bottom of the page. My department chair received a paper with a receipt for the purchase stapled as the final page. Two of my students collaborated on source stealing and then used the same paragraphs in their papers. Of course, detection engines rarely catch college papers actually sold online. Vendors block scanning because if they let prospective buyers read papers first, students would (gasp!) steal from them.

Today's plagiarists grew up believing they had a right to steal music through Napster and paste other people's photographs and private information into their own blogs. Appropriating other people's ideas seems an established cultural norm.

One woman in my Shakespeare class turned in a professional article as "her" final paper. (Never mind that the Bard "borrowed" the plots to all of his plays.) Unlike my first plagiarizing student, she was motivated and literary-minded. She had earned a B-plus average on surprise quizzes and participated in class. She didn't want to escape college; she wanted an A. But after I gave her a final grade of F, she didn't contact me. Was she too ashamed?

Foolish me. When I ran into her the next semester, she glared and hissed, "Why did you fail me?" She stood with hands on hips as the aggrieved party. Did she think cheating merited only a penalty, like a speeding ticket? I suggested she visit my office. "It's too late. I'm taking the course over." She snorted as if it were my fault.

After long wrestling with how I should react emotionally to academic theft, I have concluded that since we can't alter the cultural climate, and since becoming furious upsets only us, we professors should entertain ourselves with plagiarism cases. Let's respond to plagiarists' self-righteousness and trickery with some of our own. You could indulge your puritanical side by delivering a passionate lecture on plagiarism. Appeal to the integrity of the intellectual community and threaten, threaten, threaten! Propose penalties worthy of Torquemada. Why settle for a simple F when you can drum a student out of class in a ceremony designed to inspire terror and honesty? Tell them you will display a "Wanted" poster with their picture online and around campus. You will notify their professors next semester and any future colleges they attend. You will tell their fiancés that they cheat.

After students plagiarize anyway, release your inner crime-scene investigator and make catching them a sport instead of a chore. For example, you can amuse yourself by directing your own morality play to lead a felon to his fate. Here's how I did it once:

David's shoulder-length hair, trimmed beard and mustache, soft eyes, and mild manner were reminiscent of Jesus. His writing was clichéd and immature. Then he handed in a scintillating paper containing words like "winsome," "beguiling," and "Krishna." I called him to my office. "This is quite a paper, David."

"Thank you." He blinked his Jesus eyes and stroked his long, soft hair.

"I do have a few tiny questions. Here on Page 2, you used the word 'charlatan.' What does that mean?"

"Don't you know?"

"Enlighten me."

"Uh, well, it's like an idol that people worship. I think he was a king."

"Kind of like Charlemagne?"


"I see. How about 'salutary' here on Page 3?"

He shrugged. "That's being alone."

"I think that's 'solitary.' This is 'salutary.' See?"

"I guess I typed it wrong. I meant 'solitary.'"

"'Solitary' makes no sense. 'Salutary' fits perfectly."

"It does?"

"Yes. Actually, it's quite professional." I tapped the paper, leaned closer, and whispered confidentially: "How is it that you use such words and don't know their meaning?" Delightful little beads formed on David's forehead.

He blinked several times. "Uh, I guess the right word just comes to me."

"Like, you're inspired?"

"Exactly!" He hugged the word "inspired."

"Amazing. You must have been catatonic when you wrote it."

"Well—" He smiled, hoping I had complimented him.

"I'm sure the dean would love to chat with you about this—um—ability."

"Aw, no, he wouldn't." David glanced at the door.

"Oh, he would. You wrote this with no help whatsoever." I shook my head. "Amazing."

David snapped his fingers. "You know what? I just remembered that I used the computer thesaurus a few times. You know, to build up my vocabulary."

"Ah! But isn't it odd you forgot the definitions?"

"I wrote the paper a while ago." He shrugged off his weak memory.

"Strange, I read something on this topic recently." I pulled the download from my drawer. "The author uses many vocabulary words you do. Whole passages, in fact. Look here. See? And here." His head bent pretending to read, but his eyes were squeezed shut, awaiting the ax. I couldn't resist one last little twist. "David, do you think some unscrupulous author saw your paper somewhere and copied it?"

His head shot up. "Really?"

I smiled beatifically.

M. Garrett Bauman is an emeritus professor of English at Monroe Community College and author of Ideas and Details: A Guide to College Writing (7th ed., Wadsworth, 2008). He can be reached at mbauman@monroecc.edu

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating and plagiarism are at

Walt compares Windows 7 with the new Mac OS

"A Windows to Help You Forget Microsoft's New Operating System Is Good Enough to Erase Bad Memory of Vista," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2009 --- Click Here

After using pre-release versions of Windows 7 for nine months, and intensively testing the final version for the past month on many different machines, I believe it is the best version of Windows Microsoft has produced. It's a boost to productivity and a pleasure to use. Despite a few drawbacks, I can heartily recommend Windows 7 to mainstream consumers.

. . .

In recent years, I, like many other reviewers, have argued that Apple's Mac OS X operating system is much better than Windows. That's no longer true. I still give the Mac OS a slight edge because it has a much easier and cheaper upgrade path; more built-in software programs; and far less vulnerability to viruses and other malicious software, which are overwhelmingly built to run on Windows.

Now, however, it's much more of a toss-up between the two rivals. Windows 7 beats the Mac OS in some areas, such as better previews and navigation right from the taskbar, easier organization of open windows on the desktop and touch-screen capabilities. So Apple will have to scramble now that the gift of a flawed Vista has been replaced with a reliable, elegant version of Windows.

Here are some of the key features of Windows 7.

New Taskbar: In Windows 7, the familiar taskbar has been reinvented and made taller. Instead of mainly being a place where icons of open windows temporarily appear, it now is a place where you can permanently "pin" the icons of frequently used programs anywhere along its length, and in any arrangement you choose. This is a concept borrowed from Apple's similar feature, the Dock. But Windows 7 takes the concept further.

For each running program, hovering over its taskbar icon pops up a small preview screen showing a mini-view of that program. This preview idea was in Vista. But, in Windows 7, it has been expanded in several ways. Now, every open window in that program is included separately in the preview. If you mouse over a window in the preview screen, it appears at full size on your desktop and all other windows on the desktop become transparent—part of a feature called Aero Peek. Click on the window and it comes up, ready for use. You can even close windows from these previews, or play media in them.

I found this feature more natural and versatile than a similar feature in Snow Leopard called Dock Expose.

You can also use Aero Peek at any time to see your empty desktop, with open windows reduced to virtual panes of glass. To do this, you just hover over a small rectangle at the right edge of the taskbar.

Taskbar icons also provide Jump Lists—pop-up menus listing frequent actions or recent files used.

Desktop organization: A feature called Snap allows you to expand windows to full-screen size by just dragging them to the top of the screen, or to half-screen size by dragging them to the left or right edges of the screen. Another called Shake allows you to make all other windows but the one you're working on disappear by simply grabbing its title bar with the mouse and shaking it several times.

File organization: In Windows Explorer, the left-hand column now includes a feature called Libraries. Each library—Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos—consolidates all files of those types regardless of which folder, or even which hard disk, they live in.

Networking: Windows 7 still isn't quite as natural at networking as I find the Mac to be, but it's better than Vista. For instance, now you can see all available wireless networks by just clicking on an icon in the taskbar. A new feature called HomeGroups is supposed to let you share files more easily among Windows 7 PCs on your home network. In my tests, it worked, but not consistently, and it required typing in long, arcane passwords.

Touch: Some of the same kinds of multitouch gestures made popular on the iPhone are now built into Windows 7. But these features won't likely become popular for a while because to get the most out of them, a computer needs a special type of touch screen that goes beyond most of the ones existing now. I tested this on one such laptop, a Lenovo, and was able to move windows around, to resize and flip through photos, and more.

Speed: In my tests, on every machine, Windows 7 ran swiftly and with far fewer of the delays typical in running Vista. All the laptops I tested resumed from sleep quickly and properly, unlike in Vista. Start-up and restart times were also improved. I chose six Windows 7 laptops from different makers to compare with a new MacBook Pro laptop. The Mac still started and restarted faster than most of the Windows 7 PCs. But the speed gap has narrowed considerably, and one of the Lenovos beat the Mac in restart time.

Nagging: In the name of security, Vista put up nagging warnings about a wide variety of tasks, driving people crazy. In Windows 7, you can now set this system so it nags you only when things are happening that you consider really worth the nag. Also, Microsoft has consolidated most of the alerts from the lower-right system tray into one icon, and they seemed less frequent.

Compatibility: I tried a wide variety of third-party software and all worked fine on every Windows 7 machine. These included Mozilla Firefox; Adobe Reader; Google's Picasa and Chrome; and Apple's iTunes and Safari.

I also tested several hardware devices, and, unlike Vista, Windows 7 handled all but one smoothly. These included a networked H-P printer, a Canon camera, an iPod nano, and at least five external flash drives and hard disks. The one failure was a Verizon USB cellular modem. Microsoft says you don't need external software to run these, but I found it was necessary, and even then had to use a trick I found on the Web to get it to work.

System Requirements: Nearly all Vista PCs, and newer or beefier XP machines, should be able to run Windows 7 fine. Even the netbooks I tested ran it speedily, especially with the Starter Edition, which lacks some of the powerful graphics effects in the operating system. (Other netbooks will be able to run other editions.)

If you have a standard PC, called a 32-bit PC, you'll need at least one gigabyte of memory, 16 gigabytes of free hard-disk space and a graphics system that can support Microsoft technologies called "DirectX 9 with WDDM 1.0." You'll also need a processor with a speed of at least one gigahertz. If you have a newer-style 64-bit PC, which can use more memory, you'll need at least two gigabytes of memory and 20 gigabytes of free hard disk space. In either case, you should double the minimum memory specification.

Continued in article

Oh No! My wife buys at least one of everything from QVC

"Kindle Rival Cool-er to Hit QVC," by Lauren Goode, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2009 ---

The e-reader is going home-shopping for the holidays.

Shortly after Amazon cut the price of its Kindle e-reader, Interead, maker of the rival Cool-er device, said it has signed on with home-shopping network QVC to help it launch Cool-er in the U.S.

QVC will offer the e-reader, at an undisclosed price, as part of its “Today’s Special Value” program, commonly referred to as “TSV,” in early December.

The deal “offers more of a mass-market approach,” said Neil Jones, Interead’s chief executive. “We’ve been looking at non-traditional retail channels for our e-readers, as opposed to just doing deals with bookstores.”

Forrester Research said Wednesday that the e-reader market is outpacing expectations, and Mr. Jones said his biggest concern is ensuring that Interead has enough Cool-er supply for the holiday shopping season. The device will still be available for purchase through the company’s Web site.

It currently retails in the U.S. for $250, about what a Kindle costs. The Amazon device’s price cut is its second in three months, though it is still more expensive than its biggest competitor, the Sony E-Reader.

Mr. Jones started Interead in May with the goal of being a “people’s e-reader,” after his novel was rejected by agents and publishers. The Cooler has attracted attention for its colorful looks and lightweight feel but received mixed reviews in terms of functionality.

He said the company is on target to sell 160,000 to 200,000 units by the end of year, more than it initially expected but far less than some Wall Street estimates that Amazon will sell as many as 1.5 million Kindles.

In September, Interead announced a Google partnership that Mr. Jones said boosted sales and Web traffic, though he declined to give specific numbers.

Interead plans to unveil new features, including wireless capabilities and color electronic ink, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, he said.

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books ---

October 9, 2009 message from Amy Dunbar to the AAA Commons

I love my Kindle DX.  I was won over when I discovered you could make the text larger (but not in the pdf files) and, best of all, when you place your cursor in front of a word you see the definition at the bottom of the page. Reading with the detachable light is great at night. 

I was going to wait until Amazon put in a decent file mechanism so that all the books aren't in one folder, but after borrowing a friend's Kindle and seeing how easy it is to read, I had to have one.  Zero regrets!  Of course, there is research to say that buyers generally don't have regret to avoid post-purchase dissonance.  ;-)

And yes, I do store research papers in pdf format on the Kindle so I don't have to lug them around. 

"Discovery E-Book Filing Raises Eyebrows:  Md. Firm Mum on Patent Application," Mike Musgrove, The Washington Post, August 29, 2009 --- Click Here

Is Discovery Communications gearing up for a jump into the suddenly hot e-book space? A filing made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office raises that possibility.

According to the filing, the Silver Spring-based media company applied in February for a patent on a product it describes as an "electronic book having electronic commerce features."

The company did not respond to a call Friday seeking comment on the matter.

Whatever Discovery's plans are, the electronic book market is shaping up to be this year's most sought-after space by consumer electronics makers. In the wake of considerable buzz for Amazon's Kindle, consumer electronics giant Sony has been aggressively courting the market, with a $200 version of its electronic reader announced this month and set for a release any day now. What's more, the tech industry abounds with rumors about a new tablet-shaped computer possibly on the way from Apple, a product that many think will incorporate some e-book features.

Discovery, by comparison, surprised the tech world earlier this year when it filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming that the online retailer's popular Kindle product infringes on an electronic book patent held by the media company, which is better known for its cable offerings such as the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Amazon has since countersued Discovery, claiming that the cable TV company is infringing on some of its own e-commerce patents.

Discovery had not -- and still has not -- made many public statements about moving into the consumer electronics arena. But according to the company's patent application, the device would be able to play audio and video files. While other e-readers currently on the market can play audio files, they typically don't play video clips.

Discovery's filing describes the device as being shaped like a paperback book and containing "a novel combination of new technology involving the television, cable, telephone and computer industries."

Continued in article

In comparison with Kindle and Apple e-Book readers, Google will sell books over the Internet that can be read on any Internet browser.

"Preparing to Sell E-Books, Google Takes on Amazon," by Motoko Rich, The New York Times, May 31, 2009 ---

Google appears to be throwing down the gauntlet in the e-book market.

In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New York over the weekend, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program by that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against Amazon.com, which is seeking to control the e-book market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device.

. . .

Google’s e-book retail program would be separate from the company’s settlement with authors and publishers over its book-scanning project, under which Google has scanned more than seven million volumes from several university libraries. A majority of those books are out of print.

. . .


Mr. Turvey said Google’s program would allow consumers to read books on any device with Internet access, including mobile phones, rather than being limited to dedicated reading devices like the Amazon Kindle. “We don’t believe that having a silo or a proprietary system is the way that e-books will go,” he said.

He said that Google would allow publishers to set retail prices. Amazon lets publishers set wholesale prices and then sets its own prices for consumers. In selling e-books at $9.99, Amazon takes a loss on each sale because publishers generally charge booksellers about half the list price of a hardcover — typically around $13 or $14.

Jensen Comment
I've always claimed that the best device for e-Book reading is a computer. This allows laptop users to have access to new books without having to lug about another device. It also gives more wide ranging screen sizes, including the largest computer screens available. Eventually, these books will probably be available on HDTV


College Publishers and Electronic Books
Publishers Weekly --- http://www.publishersweekly.com/

"Man Bites Dog," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, November 21, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic book readers are at

Brooke Astor’s Son Guilty in Scheme to Defraud Her
Anthony D. Marshall was convicted of stealing from the matriarch as she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in the twilight of her life. He could face from 1 to 25 years behind bars . . . Mr. Marshall was found guilty of 14 of the 16 counts against him, including one of two first-degree grand larceny charges, the most serious he faced. Jurors convicted him of giving himself an unauthorized raise of about $1 million for managing his mother’s finances. Prosecutors contended that Mrs. Astor’s Alzheimer’s had advanced so far that there was no way she could have consented to this raise and other financial decisions that benefited Mr. Marshall. A second defendant in the case, Francis X. Morrissey Jr., a lawyer who did estate planning for Mrs. Astor, was convicted of forgery charges.
John Eligon, The New York Times, October 8, 2009 ---

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

Quiz:  Who said what?
CFO Magazine, October 1, 2009 ---

It's been an interesting year, to say the least. In fact, "say the least" would have been very good advice to offer to various newsmakers over the past 12 months. An economic crisis has a way of inspiring all kinds of interesting observations, many of which become instant classics. Can you match the quotable quote to the person who uttered that particular pearl?

1) "With the benefit of hindsight I can now say that I and many others were wrong."
A. Alan Greenspan
B. Henry Paulson
C. Richard Fuld
D. Angelo Mozilo

2) "The market did so bad, instead of a closing bell they played 'Taps'."
A. Jay Leno
B. Jim Cramer
C. Barney Frank
D. Jack Welch

3) "Accounting standards aren't just another financial rudder to be pulled when the economic ship drifts in the wrong direction…they are the rivets in the hull, and you risk the integrity of the entire economy by removing them."
A. Ben Bernanke
B. Barack Obama
C. Christopher Cox
D. Sir David Tweedie

4) "People are understandably looking for promising investment opportunities to grow the largest nest egg possible…[but] this strategy can't work if every six or seven years the nest egg gets broken and scrambled."
A. John Bogle
B. Robert Herz
C. Ted Kennedy
D. Dr. Phil

5) "Lately, a lot of clients are businesspeople who need quick money for their businesses."
A. Patent attorney William F. Heinze
B. Pension expert Ronald Richman
C. Exotic car dealer Tom LaPointe
D. Pawnshop owner Yossi Dina

6) "Many of our traditional competitors have retreated from the marketplace…due to financial distress, mergers, or [a] shift in strategic priorities."
A. Ford CFO Lewis Booth
B. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar
C. Delta Air Lines CFO Hank Halter
D. Playboy Enterprises CFO Linda Havard

7) "I went back to college and took a two-year certificate program in turf management. I have a lawn-service business — it's one man and a lawn mower."
A. Former Minnesota congressman Larry Craig
B. Former Martha Stewart financial adviser Peter Bacanovic
C. Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski
D. Former HealthSouth CFO Aaron Beam

Answers: 1–C; 2–A; 3–C; 4–B; 5–D; 6–B; 7–D

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

Video:  Interesting look at 8 common investment mistakes that uses Big Brown (the horse, not the delivery company). ---

Last night's (October 7, 2009) PBS NewsHour took a look at the bearish obsession du jour, the commercial real estate market. Real estate analyst Bob White took them around to show some of the ugliest cases out there. (via Square Feet)

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at

From the Scout Report on October 9, 2009

RadioSure 2.0 --- http://www.radiosure.com/ 

Are you looking for pop music from Senegal? The latest news from Romania? It's a fairly safe bet that you can use RadioSure to locate radio stations that will fit the bill. With this program, users can search over 12,000 radio stations, and even use a record button to save audio segments for later use. The stations are categorized by style of programming, city, and language. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2003 and newer.

PhotoViz 3.1 --- http://www.picsalive.com/ 

PhotoViz provides a way for users to improve their photo images by offering a bevy of features, including tools that can be used to adjust contrast, saturation, and sharpness. The real novel feature here is the ability to embed text messages and file attachments within images. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer.

In rules issued this week, the Federal Trade Commission declares that bloggers must disclose the receipt of free products and existing financial interests F.T.C. to Rule Blogs Must Disclose Gifts or Pay for Reviews [Free registration may be required] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/business/media/06adco.html?hp

Bloggers face disclosure rules --- http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-bloggers6-2009oct06,0,4733519.story

 FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined

 FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

 Concurring Opinions: FTC and Blogger Disclosure Rules

 Google Blog Directory --- http://www.google.com/press/blogs/directory.html

Education Tutorials

The Pew Hispanic Center --- http://www.pewhispanic.org/index.jsp 

The Pew Hispanic Center's mission is to improve understanding of the diverse Hispanic population in the United States and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation. The Center strives to inform debate on critical issues through dissemination of its research to policymakers, business leaders, academic institutions and the media.

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings --- http://frontera.library.ucla.edu/

Modeling Hispanic Serving Institutions
A new report released Wednesday,Modeling Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): Campus Practices that Work for Latino Students,” explores strategies used by institutions with significant Latino enrollments. The report was released by Excelencia in Education and examined six community colleges and six public universities — in California, New York and Texas.
Inside Higher Ed, June 19, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/06/19/report
Jensen Comment
In particular note the "Lessons Learned" section on Page 19.

Smithsonian Education: Hispanic Heritage Month http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/heritage_month/hhm/index.html

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Expert Voices Gateway (information exchange service for science teachers) --- http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/ 

Researchers at the University of Utah have created new iPhone applications that help people study anatomy and medicine ---

Anatomy and Physiology Resources from Professor Jim Swan of the University of New Mexico
WebAnatomy.net --- http://webanatomy.net/

Human Physiology Animations Homepage at Connecticut College ---

Emerging Infectious Diseases --- http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/index.htm 

Anatomy: The Foundation of Medicine: From Aristotle to Early Twentieth- Century Wall Charts --- http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/anatomical/index.html

Index of Medieval Medical Images --- http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/

A Historic and Frightening Short Story
The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/literatureofprescription/

Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics --- http://bioethics.stanford.edu/

Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems --- http://www.cares.missouri.edu/ 

"A New Graphical Representation of the Periodic Table:  But is the latest redrawing of Mendeleev's masterpiece an improvement?" MIT's Technology Review, October 6, 2009  ---

The periodic table has been stamped into the minds of countless generations of schoolchildren. Immediately recognised and universally adopted, it has long since achieved iconic status.

So why change it? According to Mohd Abubakr from Microsoft Research in Hyderabad, the table can be improved by arranging it in circular form. He says this gives a sense of the relative size of atoms--the closer to the centre, the smaller they are--something that is missing from the current form of the table. It preserves the periods and groups that make Mendeleev's table so useful. And by placing hydrogen and helium near the centre, Abubakr says this solves the problem of whether to put hydrogen with the halogens or alkali metals and of whther to put helium in the 2nd group or with the inert gases.

That's worthy but flawed. Unfortunately, Abubakr's arrangement means that the table can only be read by rotating it. That's tricky with a textbook and impossible with most computer screens.

The great utility of Mendeleev's arrangements was its predictive power: the gaps in his table allowed him to predict the properties of undiscovered elements. It's worth preserving in its current form for that reaosn alone.

However, there's another relatively new way of arranging the elements developed by Maurice Kibler at Institut de Physique Nucleaire de Lyon in France that may have new predictive power.

Kibler says the symmetries of the periodic table can be captured by a group theory, specifically the composition of the special orthogonal group in 4 + 2 dimensions with the special unitary group of degree 2 (ie SO (4,2) x SU(2)).

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of data ---

October 7, 2009 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [gangolly@GMAIL.COM]


You may like to add these sites to your data visualisation page. 

My favourite, which I require my students in Statistics to read, is:








Jagdish S. Gangolly
Department of Informatics
College of Computing & Information
State University of New York at Albany
Harriman Campus, Building 7A, Suite 220
Albany, NY 12222
Phone: 518-956-8251, Fax: 518-956-8247

October 5, 2009 message from Amy Jennings [IEEE@teknicks.com]

Hi Bob

I’m writing to you on behalf of IEEE Spectrum, the award-winning flagship publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s foremost professional association for the advancement of technology. Since 1964 Spectrum has been a leading voice among tech publications.

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With a history spanning 125 years, IEEE continues to serve as an authoritative resource for individuals in the tech sectors of government, industry, and academia worldwide. We hope you find value in linking to IEEE Spectrum.

We suggest adding our link on the following page:


Please use the following link and text:

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The phrase “Robots” should be the clickable link to http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/ and the text “on IEEE Spectrum” should just be text, and not part of the clickable link.

Thank you for taking the time out to update your site and add our link. We appreciate your efforts in supporting IEEE Spectrum. Please let me know if and when these updates can be made. Feel free to reply to this email with any questions, comments or concerns.


Amy Jennings
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IEEE Spectrum

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

Eugene Fama Lecture: Masters of Finance, Oct 2, 2009
Videos Fama Lecture: Masters of Finance From the American Finance Association's "Masters in Finance" video series, Eugene F. Fama presents a brief history of the efficient market theory. The lecture was recorded at the University of Chicago in October 2008 with an introduction by John Cochrane.
Bob Jensen's threads on the EMH --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#EMH

Fama Video on Market Efficiency in a Volatile Market
Widely cited as the father of the efficient market hypothesis and one of its strongest advocates, Professor Eugene Fama examines his groundbreaking idea in the context of the 2008 and 2009 markets. He outlines the benefits and limitations of efficient markets for everyday investors and is interviewed by the Chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors in Europe, David Salisbury.

Other Fama and French Videos --- http://www.dimensional.com/famafrench/videos/

MetroDC Monitor: Tracking Economic Recession and Recovery in the Greater Washington Region ---

A Historic and Frightening Short Story
The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/literatureofprescription/

Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics --- http://bioethics.stanford.edu/

From Time Magazine
Assignment Detroit --- http://www.time.com/time/detroit

Forgotten Detroit (History, Photography) --- http://www.forgottendetroit.com/

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

Sword History --- http://www.solarnavigator.net/history/swords.htm

Internet Archive: Naropa Poetics Audio Archives --- http://www.archive.org/details/naropa

Off the Page [iTunes poetry] --- http://poetry.eprints.org/

The Virtual Museum of Canada --- http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/index-eng.jsp 

From Time Magazine
Assignment Detroit --- http://www.time.com/time/detroit

Cincinnati Art Museum --- http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/

Alberto del Pozo (Cuban Art History) --- http://scholar.library.miami.edu/pozo/ 

PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf (Pennsylvania History) --- https://secureapps.libraries.psu.edu/digitalbookshelf/

A Historic and Frightening Short Story
The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/literatureofprescription/

Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics --- http://bioethics.stanford.edu/

Nazi Invasion of Poland in 1939: Images and Documents from the Harrison Forman Collection ---  http://www.uwm.edu/Library/digilib/pol/index.html

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

IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana --- http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/inharmony/welcome.do

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

Music Tutorials

Essentials of Music --- http://www.essentialsofmusic.com/

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

Writing Tutorials

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

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

October 5, 2009

October 6, 2009

October 7, 2009

October 8, 2009

October 10, 2009

October 11, 2009

October 14, 2009


A Historic and Frightening Short Story
The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Yellow Wall-Paper" http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/literatureofprescription/

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: H1N1 Flu --- http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/

"Portable dialysis machines: A clean break," The Economist, October 1, 2009 ---

DIALYSIS is not as bad as dying, but it is pretty unpleasant, nonetheless. It involves being hooked up to a huge machine, three times a week, in order to have your blood cleansed of waste that would normally be voided, via the kidneys, as urine. To make matters worse, three times a week does not appear to be enough. Research now suggests that daily dialysis is better. But who wants to tied to a machine—often in a hospital or a clinic—for hours every day for the rest of his life?

Victor Gura, of the University of California, Los Angeles, hopes to solve this problem with an invention that is now undergoing clinical trials. By going back to basics, he has come up with a completely new sort of dialyser—one you can wear.

A traditional dialyser uses around 120 litres of water to clean an individual’s blood. This water flows past one side of a membrane while blood is pumped past the other side. The membrane is impermeable to blood cells and large molecules such as proteins, but small ones can get through it. Substances such as urea (a leftover from protein metabolism) and excess phosphate ions therefore flow from the blood to the water. The good stuff, such as sodium and chloride ions, stays in the blood because the cleansing water has these substances dissolved in it as well, and so does not absorb more of them.

Both water and blood require a lot of pumping. Those pumps are heavy and need electrical power. The first thing Dr Gura did, therefore, was dispose of them. The reason for using big pumps is to keep dialysis sessions short. If machines are portable that matters less. So Dr Gura replaced the 10kg pumps of a traditional machine with small ones weighing only 380 grams. Besides being light, these smaller pumps use less power. That means batteries can be employed instead of mains electricity—and modern lithium-ion batteries, the ones Dr Gura chose, are also light, and thus portable.

To reduce the other source of weight, the water, Dr Gura and his team designed disposable cartridges containing materials that capture toxins from the cleansing water, so that it can be recycled. The upshot is a device that weighs around 5kg and can be strapped to a user’s waist. Indeed, at a recent demonstration in London, one patient was able to dance while wearing the dialyser—for joy, presumably, at no longer having to go to hospital so often.

Who wrote those delightful Maxine cartoons? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Maxine/Maxine.htm

Forwarded by Paula

Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica - where do they go?

Wonder no more!!! It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life. If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried. The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

"Freeze a jolly good fellow."

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/

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.

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trites'eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

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

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

The Master List of Free Online College Courses --- http://universitiesandcolleges.org/

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Free Textbooks and Cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Free Education Discipline Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/arts_lit.htm

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/health.htm

Teacher Source: Math --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm

Teacher Source:  Science --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/sci_tech.htm

Teacher Source:  PreK2 --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/prek2.htm

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/library.htm

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

VYOM eBooks Directory --- http://www.vyomebooks.com/

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- http://www.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/doc/intro.jsp

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at http://www.accountingweb.com/news/college_news.html
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

Roles of a ListServ --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm


Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trites'eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/
Management and Accounting Blog
--- http://maaw.info/

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



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