Tidbits on July 8, 2010
Bob Jensen

This was an unusual cloud bank over the Three Graces Mountains south of Cannon Mountain
The bright light is the reflection of my camera flash on the window in front of my desk

Erika bringing in the mail

It was an exceptional year for the wild roses on the fence of our front lawn (facing east)
I will feature these in this edition of Tidbits

One of Erika's garden roses

A nearby Percheron draft horse

This is an old photograph of my Grandfather Dourte's 1910 Iowa State Fair Grand Champion Percheron

Zenias in our wild flower field

On Sunday, June 6 while I was pruning our wild roses out front, a man introduced himself
and asked permission to photograph our wild roses and other wild flowers
He's a retired school teacher named Wes Lavin from Ashland, NH
He carries a huge camera on a tripod and does professional-quality photography
Here's a beautiful picture he took in his neighbor's garden (I cannot name the plant).

More July 8 photographs at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2010/tidbits070810.htm

The pictures below were sent to me by Auntie Bev and Paula

Ten Awesome Vacation Spots for Geeks ---
Thank you David Albrecht for the heads up.

Spectacular USAF Photo of the Day: F-22A Raptors Fly Over Langley AFB, Virginia, USA --- Click Here

Lightning Hitting the Sears Tower --- Click Here
Or was this simply some Rolling Stone messaging from Afghanistan to Chicago?

Bring Back the 50s (Carolyn) --- http://carolynspreciousmemories.com/50s/sitemap.html
Bob Jensen's other music links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Music.htm


Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on July 8, 2010

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


Tidbits on July 8, 2010
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

Facts Clock --- 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

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

Daily News Sites for Accountancy, Tax, Fraud, IFRS, XBRL, Accounting History, and More ---

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
Microsoft's Bing --- http://www.bing.com/
Computational Search With Wolfram Alpha --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/
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 ---

149 Interesting People to Follow on Twitter (but I don't have time to follow them) ---
I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsdirectory.htm

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaming for Tenure as an Accounting Professor ---
(with a reply about tenure publication point systems from Linda Kidwell)

"So you want to get a Ph.D.?" by David Wood, BYU ---

Do You Want to Teach? ---

Jensen Comment
Here are some added positives and negatives to consider, especially if you are currently a practicing accountant considering becoming a professor.

Accountancy Doctoral Program Information from Jim Hasselback ---

Why must all accounting doctoral programs be social science (particularly econometrics) "accountics" doctoral programs?

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?



Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---


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

BBC: A History of the World [Flash Player, Video] --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/ 

Muybridge Stop-Motion Sequences, Animated --- http://chronicle.com/article/Muybridge-Stop-Motion/66041/

Video:  Kings of Camouflage (cuttlefish) --- http://video.pbs.org/video/1150618835/program/979359664   

Video:  Wolfram Alpha has gotten much better --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html
It is best described as a search engine that will perform complicated computations

Opera Company of Philadelphia "Flash Brindisi" at Reading Terminal Market (April 24, 2010)  ---

Wolfram Alpha --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum (videos)
V&A Channel --- http://www.vam.ac.uk/channel/ 

You can order your restaurant meal in advance on your iPad and even have it vary with the weather ---

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

Opera Company of Philadelphia "Flash Brindisi" at Reading Terminal Market (April 24, 2010)  ---

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

Wonders in Breathtaking Photographs --- http://listverse.com/2007/09/10/7-new-wonders-in-breathtaking-photographs/

Hedgelink (lawn hedges) --- http://hedgelink.org.uk/ 

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

Project Gutenberg --- http://www.gutenberg.org/ 

BBC: A History of the World [Flash Player, Video] --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/ 

Ten Awesome Vacation Spots for Geeks ---
Thank you David Albrecht for the heads up.

Free online books library for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast --- http://www.readprint.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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on July 8, 2010

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

How Do Scholars and Researchers Search the Web?

Bob Jensen's threads on how researchers/scholars search the Web are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm#Scholars

"Automating Research with Google Scholar Alerts," by Ryan Cordell, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1. 2010 ---

This post is something of a public service announcement. Two weeks ago the Google Scholar team announced that users could now create alerts for their favorite queries.

I would explain how to set up a Google Scholar Alert, but both Google and Resource Shelf have already done so. Instead, I'll discuss how this new featuer might be useful to the ProfHacker community.

Google Alerts have been around for awhile. Users can set up a Google Alert for any query, and Google will automatically email them a digest of all new hits for that query. Users can set how many results they'd like included in the emails, how often the emails should be sent, and what email address(es) different alerts should be sent to. Google Alerts can help you stay abreast of a particular topic, such as a developing news story. Many folks also set up Google Alerts for their name, their company, or a particular project, so they can track how those topics are being discussed across the net.

Google Alerts pull from Google's entire index, however, which is not always useful for research questions. I could set up a Google Alert for an author I write on—say, Nathaniel Hawthorne—but I'd likely have to wade through many high schoolers complaining about reading The Scarlet Letter before finding any new scholarly work on the author. Google Scholar Alerts pull results only from scholarly literature—"articles, theses, books, abstracts," and other other resources from "academic publishers, professional societies, "online repositories, universities," and other scholarly websites. In other words, Google Scholar Alerts provide scholars automatic updates when new material is published on research topics they're interested in. A Google Scholar Alert for "Nathaniel Hawthorne" would email me whenever a book or article about Hawthorne was added to Google Scholar's index.

I worded that last sentence carefully in order to point to some problems with Google Scholar, and by extension with the new Google Scholar Alerts. Peter Jacso wrote last September about serious errors in Google Scholar's metadata, particularly with article attribution. What counts as "new" in Google Scholar is also problematic. An article will appear in a Google Scholar Alert when it's indexed—that is, when it's new to Google Scholar, even if it's actually an older article.

As Jacso points out, however, Google Scholar remains valuable for "topical keyword searches," which is what most folks will set up Alerts to track. No one should set up a Google Scholar Alert and consider their research complete‐but Alerts can be a good way to keep abreast of new scholarship on a variety of topics, or on the wider context of a particular research interest. I work on nineteenth-century apocalyptic literature, for example, and I've set up a Google Scholar Alert for several variations on the word "apocalyptic." The emails I've received comprise work on apocalypticism from a variety of periods and geographical areas. Even if I can't read most of these works in full, I've found it useful to get this larger overview of scholarship on the topic.

Bob Jensen's threads on how researchers/scholars search the Web are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm#Scholars

The Cius --- Click Here
Relative to iPad, I like the fact that Cisco's new tablet connects to a docking station.
The iPad has zero USB ports, whereas the Cius has three USB ports
Relative to iPad, I like the fact that Cisco's new tablet has a port for external display such as an LCD Projector
Unlike an iPad, the Cius will play Adobe's Flash Videos served up at millions of sites in the world
Why didn't Steve Jobs think of these for the iPad (I suspect he did but feared that an iPad with these would blast a hole in Mac laptop sales)

Expanded capabilities through:  Click Here

• 3 USB ports
• 3.5-mm headset jack
• 10/100/1000-Gbps switch ports for wired connections and Power over Ethernet (PoE)
• Additional speaker for wideband hands-free communications
• DisplayPort to connect to a larger display for an immersive video experience and for a virtualized desktop experience
• Two handset options: standard and slimline


The Cius is also much more friendly toward applications developers than the greedy iPad's Orwellian Big Brother
I’ve been an open-source advocate from get go!

Video --- Click Here

"Cisco Debuts Android-Based Tablet," by Jeffrey Schwartz, T.H.E. Magazine, July 1, 2010 ---

Cisco Systems is the latest vendor to enter the tablet device market and, like other players, the company is looking at its entry as an alternative to traditional Windows-based PCs.

The Cius, announced this week, is a device that to some degree looks like Apple's iPad, though it is based on Google's Android platform. Cisco becomes the second major vendor to launch an Android-based tablet in as many months: Dell in late May launched the Streak. With its 5-inch display, it was described by Dell as a hybrid smartphone and tablet.

But that's where the similarities end. Cisco's Cuis is clearly targeted at professional, not consumer use. It will support an optional docking station, enabling individuals to mount it to the IP-based handset.

When undocked, the Cuis can connect to an enterprise network or the Internet via 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi or 3G cellular services. Ultimately it will support 4G services as they become more broadly available, Cisco said. Through Bluetooth and USB communications, the device will be able to share data with a PC, Cisco said.

The Cius is not slated to be available until the first quarter of next year, though Cisco said customer trials will begin in the third quarter of this year, which begins July 1. The company has not set pricing though a spokeswoman said it will carry a street price of less than $1,000.

Cisco is pitching the Cius as a virtual desktop that will allow for data collaboration and communication. It will support real-time HD video, messaging, and Web browsing, allowing users to share content in cloud-based services, Cisco said.

Weighing slightly more than 1 pound, it will have a front-mounted 720p camera and a 5 megapixel rear-mounted camera, dual noise-cancelling microphones, and a 7-inch Super VGA display.

The Cius will be designed to cork with Cisco's various lines of collaboration products and services, including WebEx Connect, Cisco Presence, and its high-end TelePresence videoconferencing systems.

Cisco said it will also reach out to developers with an SDK that includes its Collaboration APIs. The Cius will be made available through Cisco's network of Unified Communications and Collaboration partners, according to the spokeswoman.

With all these features, Cius owners may only have to carry the Cius tablet from conference-to-conference or class-to-class. The unfortunate iPad users will most likely have to lug their laptops along with their iPads.

Wow, Watch the Two Videos:  The Swype Virtual Keyboard is Really Helpful

Google's Android Operating System --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Android

Smart Phone --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone

Swype is a virtual keyboard for Android devices. In this post, the author discusses the use of this keyboard as a way to increased productivity with her super smartphone, and suggests alternatives for iPhone users.

"Using Swype (for Android) for Increased Smartphone Productivity," by Julie Meloni, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 28, 2010 ---

I've written before about Using Super Smartphones for Productivity (and then an update on the same topic), but by far my smartphone productivity increased dramatically simply by using Swype, an input method for Android-based devices.

[The remainder of this post discusses an Android-only application, so you iPhone users are out of luck...except I do talk about Swype for the iPhone and an iPhone Swype alternative.]

My super smartphone of choice is the Motorola Droid; I've had one for almost eight months now. When I upgrade, I will upgrade to either the HTC Incredible or the Motorola Droid X—I haven't thought much about it, because my Droid is dandy. One of the selling points of the original Droid was the slide-out physical keyboard, but I rarely used it because I became quickly (and completely) enamored of a beta version of the Swype virtual keyboard.

I demoed Swype to everyone I met. "Hey, you have to see this!" I would say as I shoved my phone in their faces, opened up my mobile Evernote to a blank note, and quickly "swyped" my demo words: obnoxious, ridiculous, elephant. At that point I would be lucky if the phone was still in my hand, as the person usually grabbed it to try it on their own. That's how "sandwiches" became a demo word; a co-worker grabbed it, swyped quickly, and exclaimed "sandwiches!" in the time it would have taken to tap out half that word on a typical virtual keyboard. Swype learns words, too, which is handy for usernames and e-mail addresses like "nowviskie" and "kfitz"—not words you'd typically find in the dictionary.

What is Swype?

Swype is a virtual keyboard by which words are generated by tracing the path of the letters in the word in one continuous finger or stylus motion across the screen. The company claims one can swype in over 40 words per minute; I haven't tested it, but I believe that number. That's the point of this post: Swype has enabled me to be incredibly productive on my phone by quickly writing e-mails, sending tweets, and even commenting on student work (in Word doc files).

The basic "How to Swype" video explains the fundamentals:

[Two videos in the article]

To learn more about Swype, take a gander at their page of links to videos of tips and tricks.

How to Get Swype

As I noted above, Swype is currently available for Android devices only. It is preinstalled on a few phones such as the Motorola i1, Motorola CliqXT, Samsung Omnia II, myTouch 3G, HTC HD2, and the Nexus One (and it will be preinstalled on the upcoming Droid X), but is available for download by becoming a beta tester. If you have an Android device that does not already have Swype installed, I urge you to become a beta tester and give this a whirl.


Swype wants to be on the iPhone and they are working on a version; it remains to be seen if Apple will pick up the licensing for it. I have shown numerous iPhone users my Droid running Swype, and every single person has been deeply impressed and wanted it on their phone. I don't blame them.

ShapeWriter is a similar application, available for Android as well as the iPhone. Additionally, some have suggested SlideIT, also available for Android, iPhone, and other devices. I have not used either application, because I am absolutely in love with Swype and tend to be very loyal to applications that fundamentally alter my relationship with my devices. However, if you try either alternative, do let us know about your experiences in the comments section below.

The Future

The folks behind Swype are no strangers to ground-breaking text entry methods; Cliff Kushler was part of the team that invented T9. T9 is the predictive text technology currently installed on billions of phones, smart or otherwise. Two years ago, Wired.com's Gadget Lab published "Future Phones to Read Your Voice, Gestures", in which the "speedier keypads" section featured Swype. In the post, Swype founder Cliff Kushler said "This is a game-changer"—which is exactly what I say in my demos...because it just is. However, Kushler has actual reasons while I just have enthusiasm and experience with the software: "You have a subconscious awareness of where things are on the keyboard." Focusing on that subconscious ability and swype methodology rather than the need to tap out words (and hit the keys precisely) has exponentially increased my productivity.

On a day-to-day basis, I'm not a user of Apple products. I've held an iPad and worked with it for a little bit, but I'm no Kathleen Fitzpatrick. But my dream device right now isn't necessarily an Android tablet (although that would be great). It's a Swype-enabled iPad (and actually, kfitz expresses a similar sentiment in her second iPad post.

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at

Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, 2010 Global Fraud  --- http://www.acfe.com/rttn/rttn-2010.pdf
Thanks to Jim McKinney for the heads up.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

Fraud Reporting ---

Informative and Concise
"INFORMS Guidelines for Copyright & Plagiarism ," InformsOnline --- Click Here
Thank you Dan Stone for the heads up.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dreaded DMCA ---

"How Sharia-compliant is Islamic banking?:" by John Foster, BBC News, December 11, 2009 ---

The Islamic finance industry has often battled with the question: How Islamic is Islamic banking?

The question's pertinence was raised in March last year, when Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Finance Institutions (AAOIFI), a Bahrain-based regulatory institution that sets standards for the global industry, said that 85% of Sukuk, or Islamic bonds, were un-Islamic.

Usmani is the granddaddy of modern-day Islamic finance, so having him make this statement is synonymous with Adam Smith saying that free-markets are inefficient.

Because Sukuk underpin the modern-day Islamic financial system, one of its pre-eminent proponents arguing that the epicentre of the system was flawed sent shockwaves through the industry.

It also gave ammunition to the many critics who see Islamic finance as an industry more driven by cultural identity than practical problem solving: as a hodgepodge of incoherent, incomplete, impractical and irrelevant ideas.

Recognisable products

The products that modern-day Islamic bankers have created are very similar to conventional products.

This immediately creates a problem for Islamic banks, as conventional banks charge borrowers an interest rate through which they can reward their depositors and make some profit for being the broker.

With interest ruled out it is harder to make money.

The modern Islamic banker has found a way around this prohibition, however.

As in many Islamic products, the bank enters a partnership with its depositors and invests his money in a Sharia compliant business.

The profit from this investment is then shared between the depositor and the bank after a set time.

In many cases this "profit rate" is competitive with the conventional banking system's interest rate for savers.

Lease agreements

Alternatively, an Islamic banker might enter into a lease agreement for a car or a house with an individual.

The bank would buy a vehicle outright and then lease it back to the person who wanted it, over a time period that would ensure that the capital was repaid and the bank made a profit.

Alternatively the bank would enter into a partnership with a person wanting to buy a house. The bank would buy 70% of the house, the individual 30%.

The bank then rents its share of the house back to the individual until the house is fully paid for.

The bank makes a profit on the rent, which would be higher than equivalent rents in the area, but on an annualised percentage basis, would look very much like a conventional mortgage interest rate.

To the casual observer, a spade is a spade.

Whether the product is dressed up in Arabic terminology, such as Mudarabah, or Ijarah, if it looks and feels like a mortgage, it is a mortgage and to say anything else is semantics.

Sophisticated finance

The potential wealth locked up in oil-rich Gulf states encouraged the conventional banks to enter Islamic finance.

HSBC established the Amanah Islamic Finance brand in 1998 and Deutsche Bank, Citi, UBS and Barclays quickly joined the fray, all offering interest-free products for wealthy Arabs.

However, this new generation of Islamic bankers had cut their teeth in the City and Wall Street, and were used to creating sophisticated financial products.

They often bumped heads with the Sharia scholars who authorised their products as Sharia compliant.

However, these bankers had a way of dealing with this, as one investment banker based in Dubai, working for a major Western financial organisation explains:

"We create the same type of products that we do for the conventional markets. We then phone up a Sharia scholar for a Fatwa [seal of approval, confirming the product is Shari'ah compliant].

"If he doesn't give it to us, we phone up another scholar, offer him a sum of money for his services and ask him for a Fatwa. We do this until we get Sharia compliance. Then we are free to distribute the product as Islamic."

No consensus

This "Fatwa shopping", which was carried out by some institutions, brings us back to the Sharia scholars.

Even these scholars do not agree all the time, which means that in some cases a product is deemed Sharia compliant in one market and not in another.

This is especially the case with Malaysian products, which are often deemed not Sharia complaint in the more austere Gulf.

"Often no rulings exist for modern day problems, such as use of narcotics," Alamad explains.

"In Islam intoxication by wine is forbidden, but at the time of the Prophet Mohammed there was no crack cocaine."

Modern scholars had to interpret the rules on intoxication, and the consensus was that crack should also be forbidden to Muslims, as it is a dangerous intoxicant.

"This is how we make rulings, whether in finance or societal," Alamad says. "The consensus rules, which usually will become mandatory for all Muslims to follow, but there are some opinions and sometimes scholars are not in the consensus."

Banking is banking

This makes it more important to be in the consensus, and so getting a favourable ruling from a leading Sharia scholar is important for a product manager.

That is why the top scholars can earn so much money - often six-figure sums for each ruling.

The most creative scholars are the ones in the most demand, says Tarek El Diwany, analyst at London-based Islamic financial consultancy Zest Advisory.

"To date, most Islamic financiers have been looking at examples of financing in Islamic history and figuring out how to apply them to today's financial products."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Islamic accounting are at

Ray Williams --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Williams_(basketball)
"Nobody wants you when you're down and out" --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsrA2fMn0sk&feature=fvst

A Sad, Sad Case That Might Be Used When Teaching Personal Finance:  Another Joe Lewis Example
"Desperate times:  Ex-Celtic Williams, once a top scorer, is now looking for an assist," by Bob Hohler, Boston Globe, July 2, 2010 ---

Every night at bedtime, former Celtic Ray Williams locks the doors of his home: a broken-down 1992 Buick, rusting on a back street where he ran out of everything.

The 10-year NBA veteran formerly known as “Sugar Ray’’ leans back in the driver’s seat, drapes his legs over the center console, and rests his head on a pillow of tattered towels. He tunes his boom box to gospel music, closes his eyes, and wonders.

Williams, a generation removed from staying in first-class hotels with Larry Bird and Co. in their drive to the 1985 NBA Finals, mostly wonders how much more he can bear. He is not new to poverty, illness, homelessness. Or quiet desperation.

In recent weeks, he has lived on bread and water.

“They say God won’t give you more than you can handle,’’ Williams said in his roadside sedan. “But this is wearing me out.’’

A former top-10 NBA draft pick who once scored 52 points in a game, Williams is a face of big-time basketball’s underclass. As the NBA employs players whose average annual salaries top $5 million, Williams is among scores of retired players for whom the good life vanished not long after the final whistle.

Dozens of NBA retirees, including Williams and his brother, Gus, a two-time All-Star, have sought bankruptcy protection.

“Ray is like many players who invested so much of their lives in basketball,’’ said Mike Glenn, who played 10 years in the NBA, including three with Williams and the New York Knicks. “When the dividends stopped coming, the problems started escalating. It’s a cold reality.’’

Williams, 55 and diabetic, wants the titans of today’s NBA to help take care of him and other retirees who have plenty of time to watch games but no televisions to do so. He needs food, shelter, cash for car repairs, and a job, and he believes the multibillion-dollar league and its players should treat him as if he were a teammate in distress.

One thing Williams especially wants them to know: Unlike many troubled ex-players, he has never fallen prey to drugs, alcohol, or gambling.

“When I played the game, they always talked about loyalty to the team,’’ Williams said. “Well, where’s the loyalty and compassion for ex-players who are hurting? We opened the door for these guys whose salaries are through the roof.’’

Unfortunately for Williams, the NBA-related organizations best suited to help him have closed their checkbooks to him. The NBA Legends Foundation, which awarded him grants totaling more than $10,000 in 1996 and 2004, denied his recent request for help. So did the NBA Retired Players Association, which in the past year gave him two grants totaling $2,000.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

More on the For-Profit University Saga
Kaplan is a for-profit mostly online university (with limited onsite alternatives) that includes a law school ---

"Justice Department Weighs In for Whistle-Blowers in Cases Against Kaplan," by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 6, 2010 ---

The U.S. Department of Justice weighed in Tuesday on the side of several whistle-blowers who have alleged in lawsuits that various colleges owned by Kaplan Higher Education defrauded the government of hundreds of millions of dollars by paying incentives to recruiters and lying to obtain accreditation.

The three cases, all filed under the federal False Claims Act, were consolidated before the same federal judge in Miami last year. Kaplan has been arguing to have two of the cases, one filed in Illinois and the other filed in Florida, dismissed on grounds that under a "first to file" provision of the act, only the earliest lawsuit filed should proceed. Kaplan is also arguing that the suit that was filed first, in Pennsylvania, should be dismissed on grounds that it lacks the specificity required in a federal fraud case.

(A fourth suit out of Nevada initially was considered as part of this consolidation, but it never was included).

The Justice Department, however, has urged the judge to allow the allegations against Kaplan to proceed based on the various "first-filed" claims from each of the cases, as long as the cases don't substantially piggyback on one another.

As a condition of participating in federal student-aid programs, colleges and universities owned by Kaplan affirm that they will abide by the rules of a "program participation agreement," or PPA, with the Department of Education. Each of the lawsuits alleges that Kaplan fraudulently obtained millions in federal student-aid funds by violating various provisions of that agreement—allegations that the company denies.

The False Claims Act allows individuals to sue on behalf of the government for alleged fraud. The Justice Department has a stake in such lawsuits because the government shares in any damages that may eventually be recovered.

A memorandum it filed on Tuesday, at the request of Judge Patricia A. Seitz of the U.S. District Court in Miami, suggests that the department is eager to keep that option open in all three cases. To best serve the purposes of the False Claims Act, the memo says, "there is no reason why an allegation of a violation of one provision of a PPA should act as a first-to-file bar against unrelated allegations of a violation of a wholly different provision."

Bob Jensen's threads on for-profit colleges and universities are at

Evernote --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evernote

"A Brief Word from an Evernote Convert," by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 6, 2010 ---

I take notes. A lot of notes. I take notes when I read, when I'm in meetings, when I'm listening to lectures, when I'm figuring out what I need to do any given day. In fact, if I ever tell you that I'm going to do something, but you don't see me make myself a note about it, don't believe me.

Notes are the key to remembering, for me. Or, more precisely: the act of taking notes is the key to remembering. Something about the act of taking notes helps make an idea, or an issue, or a plan more real to me.

I used to take these notes longhand, in various notebooks, some devoted to particular projects, some to more general notetaking. Several years back, though, I began shifting my notetaking to the computer, so that those notes would be more easily searchable and repurposeable.

Originally, I used Word for this purpose, but after one MS Office upgrade too many, requiring that all of my documents be converted (and thus become unreadable to the older version of the software), I decided that I wanted something more lightweight. The purpose of these notes, after all, was the text that went into them, and not their formatting; plain vanilla ".txt" files were likely to remain highly flexible into the future.

But those .txt files started proliferating on my machine, and so did the folders I used to organize them. And while Mac OS X's search capabilities via Spotlight aren't all that bad now, that wasn't always the case. So when I stumbled across Steven Johnson's post about how he used DEVONthink, I was sold.

DEVONthink is an extraordinarily powerful information management system -- a bit too powerful, quite honestly, for what I needed it to do. So back in May, when Shawn Miller guest-posted here on ProfHacker about how he uses Evernote, I was persuaded to give it a try.

One might begin to think I'm too easily swayed, but honestly, I test out a lot of software that doesn't stick with me long. I've been using Evernote for just shy of two months now, though, and I'm fairly sure I'll be using it for a while. A few reasons why:

1. Automatic. I have Evernote installed on my office desktop, my home desktop, my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone. And each of those instances automatically connects to the Evernote server to keep my notes synchronized across all my devices. I've had one incident in which I accidentally overwrote a more recent version of a note by editing an old version before my iPhone had finished downloading the most recent updates to my notebooks, but now I'm more cautious to be sure everything has synchronized before I start typing in an existing note.

2. Web accessible. My notes are also of course directly accessible from the Evernote server, should I not have one of those five devices with me.

3. Lightweight. The Evernote application itself has a very small footprint, using the teeniest amount of memory and disk space. It's also quite nice in terms of response time. And as most of my notes are just plain text, the database doesn't take up much in the way of space.

4. Flexible. Of course, I don't have to confine my notes to text with Evernote: I can easily capture entire web pages with the Chrome (or other browser) extension, I can import images and PDFs, and any number of other things I haven't even tried yet. And, as Shawn pointed out, images are OCRable, so that the text within them becomes searchable just like the rest of my notes.

5. Free. As I was just experimenting with Evernote over the last two months, I haven't committed to the paid version as yet. But the free version is thus far everything I need. I've never come anywhere near using all of the monthly data allowance of the free version, and the little ad in the corner of the application is inoffensive. At some point, I'll probably upgrade to the paid version, partially for a bit more flexibility in the kinds of files I can attach to notes, and partially to support the team developing a really great project.

I do perhaps wish that my text files were really stored as text files (Evernote saves them in its own proprietary XML-based format, as well as in HTML format), but for what I'm doing, just being able to find and copy the notes is enough. And overall I've had a great experience with Evernote so far, which is allowing my notetaking habit to become more productive and more organized than before.

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

Semantic Web --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web

DBPedia --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dbpedia

Freebase --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freebase_(database)

"Wikipedia to Add Meaning to Its Pages The online encyclopedia is exploring ways to embrace the semantic Web," by Tom Simonite, MIT's Technology Review, July 7, 2010 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/web/25728/?nlid=3210&a=f

As a global resource built from the spare time of millions of volunteers, Wikipedia may be the epitome of Web 2.0. But the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that runs Wikipedia, among other projects, is now thinking about how to make it a linchpin of Web 3.0, or the semantic Web.

That means making some of the data on Wikipedia's 15 million (and counting) articles understandable to computers as well as humans. This would allow software to know, for example, that the numbers shown in one of the columns in this table listing U.S. presidents are dates. That could, in turn, allow applications that draw on Wikipedia to automatically generate historical timelines or answer the kind of general knowledge questions that would usually entail a person finding and reading a relevant entry on the site.

At the 2010 Semantic Technology conference in San Francisco last month, the foundation's deputy director, Erik Möller, and colleague Trevor Parscal, a user-experience developer for Wikimedia, showed some first steps taken by the foundation to explore how more semantic structure might be added to Wikipedia. They also appealed to the semantic Web community to help develop ways to make Wikipedia's knowledge more accessible to computers and software.

"Semantic information already exists in Wikipedia, and people are already building on it," says Möller. "Unfortunately, we're not really helping, and they have to use extensive processing to do so."

One example is DBPedia, a semantic database built using software collect data from the site's pages, and maintained by the Free University of Berlin and the University of Leipzig, both in Germany. Another is Freebase, a for-profit knowledge database, much of which was also sourced by scraping Wikipedia. Freebase is the data source used by question-answering search engine PowerSet, which was acquired by Microsoft to be part of its Bing search engine

Bob Jensen's threads on LinkedIn and the SematicWeb ---

"Universities Help Companies Bypass Earmark Ban," Inside Higher Ed, July 6, 2010 ---

The House of Representatives has banned earmarks of funds directly to companies, but many corporations that have received earmarks in the past and that want to keep them coming are working through nonprofit groups -- including colleges and universities -- to do so, The New York Times reported. The earmarks technically go to the nonprofit group, which then subcontracts much of the work to a corporate entity. Among the universities cited in the article are Eastern Kentucky University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Toledo.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

"To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery," by Trip Gabriel, The New York Times, July 5, 2010 ---
Thank you David Albrecht for the heads up.

The frontier in the battle to defeat student cheating may be here at the testing center of the University of Central Florida.

No gum is allowed during an exam: chewing could disguise a student’s speaking into a hands-free cellphone to an accomplice outside.

The 228 computers that students use are recessed into desk tops so that anyone trying to photograph the screen — using, say, a pen with a hidden camera, in order to help a friend who will take the test later — is easy to spot.

Scratch paper is allowed — but it is stamped with the date and must be turned in later.

When a proctor sees something suspicious, he records the student’s real-time work at the computer and directs an overhead camera to zoom in, and both sets of images are burned onto a CD for evidence.

Taylor Ellis, the associate dean who runs the testing center within the business school at Central Florida, the nation’s third-largest campus by enrollment, said that cheating had dropped significantly, to 14 suspected incidents out of 64,000 exams administered during the spring semester.

“I will never stop it completely, but I’ll find out about it,” Mr. Ellis said.

As the eternal temptation of students to cheat has gone high-tech — not just on exams, but also by cutting and pasting from the Internet and sharing of homework online like music files — educators have responded with their own efforts to crack down.

This summer, as incoming freshmen fill out forms to select roommates and courses, some colleges — Duke and Bowdoin among them — are also requiring them to complete online tutorials about plagiarism before they can enroll.

Anti-plagiarism services requiring students to submit papers to be vetted for copying is a booming business. Fifty-five percent of colleges and universities now use such a service, according to the Campus Computing Survey.

The best-known service, Turnitin.com, is engaged in an endless cat-and-mouse game with technologically savvy students who try to outsmart it. “The Turnitin algorithms are updated on an on-going basis,” the company warned last month in a blog post titled “Can Students ‘Trick’ Turnitin?”

The extent of student cheating, difficult to measure precisely, appears widespread at colleges. In surveys of 14,000 undergraduates over the last four years, an average of 61 percent admitted to cheating on assignments and exams.

The figure declined somewhat from 65 percent earlier in the decade, but the researcher who conducted the surveys, Donald L. McCabe, a business professor at Rutgers, doubts there is less of it. Instead, he suspects students no longer regard certain acts as cheating at all, for instance, cutting and pasting a few sentences at a time from the Internet.

Andrew Daines, who graduated in May from Cornell, where he served on a board in the College of Arts and Sciences that hears cheating cases, said Internet plagiarism was so common that professors told him they had replaced written assignments with tests and in-class writing.

Mr. Daines, a philosophy major, contributed to pages that Cornell added last month to its student Web site to bring attention to academic integrity. They include a link to a voluntary tutorial on avoiding plagiarism and a strongly worded admonition that “other generations may not have had as many temptations to cheat or plagiarize as yours,” and urging students to view this as a character test.

Mr. Daines said he was especially disturbed by an epidemic of students’ copying homework. “The term ‘collaborative work’ has been taken to this unbelievable extreme where it means, because of the ease of e-mailing, one person looking at someone else who’s done the assignment,” he said.

At M.I.T., David E. Pritchard, a physics professor, was able to accurately measure homework copying with software he had developed for another purpose — to allow students to complete sets of physics problems online. Some answered the questions so fast, “at first I thought we had some geniuses here at M.I.T.,” Dr. Pritchard said. Then he realized they were completing problems in less time than it took to read them and were copying the answers — mostly, it turned out, from e-mail from friends who had already done the assignment.

About 20 percent copied one-third or more of their homework, according to a study Dr. Pritchard and colleagues published this year. Students who copy homework find answers at sites like Course Hero, which is a kind of Napster of homework sharing, where students from more than 3,500 institutions upload papers, class notes and past exams.

Another site, Cramster, specializes in solutions to textbook questions in science and engineering. It boasts answers from 77 physics textbooks — but not Dr. Pritchard’s popular “Mastering Physics,” an online tutorial, because his publisher, Pearson, searches the Web for solutions and requests they be taken down to protect its copyright.

“You can use technology as well for detecting as for committing” cheating, Dr. Pritchard said.

The most popular anti-cheating technology, Turnitin.com, says it is now used by 9,500 high schools and colleges. Students submit written assignments to be compared with billions of archived Web pages and millions of other student papers, before they are sent to instructors. The company says that schools using the service for several years experience a decline in plagiarism.

Cheaters trying to outfox Turnitin have tried many tricks, some described in blogs and videos. One is to replace every “e” in plagiarized text with a foreign letter that looks like it, such as a Cyrillic “e,” meant to fool Turnitin’s scanners. Another is to use the Macros tool in Microsoft Word to hide copied text. Turnitin says neither scheme works.

Some educators have rejected the service and other anti-cheating technologies on the grounds that they presume students are guilty, undermining the trust that instructors seek with students.

Washington & Lee University, for example, concluded several years ago that Turnitin was inconsistent with the school’s honor code, “which starts from a basis of trusting our students,” said Dawn Watkins, vice president for student affairs. “Services like Turnitin.com give the implication that we are anticipating our students will cheat.”

For similar reasons, some students at the University of Central Florida objected to the business school’s testing center with its eye-in-the-sky video in its early days, Dr. Ellis said.

But recently during final exams after a summer semester, almost no students voiced such concerns. Rose Calixte, a senior, was told during an exam to turn her cap backward, a rule meant to prevent students from writing notes under the brim. Ms. Calixte disapproved of the fashion statement but didn’t knock the reason: “This is college. There is the possibility for people to cheat.”

A first-year M.B.A. student, Ashley Haumann, said that when she was an undergraduate at the University of Florida, “everyone cheated” in her accounting class of 300 by comparing answers during quizzes. She preferred the highly monitored testing center because it “encourages you to be ready for the test because you can’t turn and ask, ‘What’d you get?’ ”

For educators uncomfortable in the role of anti-cheating enforcer, an online tutorial in plagiarism may prove an elegantly simple technological fix.

That was the finding of a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in January. Students at an unnamed selective college who completed a Web tutorial were shown to plagiarize two-thirds less than students who did not. (The study also found that plagiarism was concentrated among students with lower SAT scores.)

The tutorial “had an outsize impact,” said Thomas S. Dee, a co-author, who is now an economist at the University of Virginia.

“Many instructors don’t want to create this kind of adversarial environment with their students where there is a presumption of guilt,” Dr. Dee said. “Our results suggest a tutorial worked by educating students rather than by frightening them.”

Only a handful of colleges currently require students to complete such a tutorial, which typically illustrates how to cite a source or even someone else’s ideas, followed by a quiz.

The tutorial that Bowdoin uses was developed with its neighbor colleges Bates and Colby several years ago. Part of the reason it is required for enrollment, said Suzanne B. Lovett, a Bowdoin psychology professor whose specialty is cognitive development, is that Internet-age students see so many examples of text, music and images copied online without credit that they may not fully understand the idea of plagiarism.

As for Central Florida’s testing center, one of its most recent cheating cases had nothing to do with the Internet, cellphones or anything tech. A heavily tattooed student was found with notes written on his arm. He had blended them into his body art.

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

Better to watch porn at the SEC (you might get fired, however, for merely doing your job)

"SEC Settles Firing Claim For $755,000," by Kara Scannell, The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2010 ---

The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to pay $755,000 to an enforcement lawyer who said he was fired for aggressively pursuing an insider-trading case involving the hedge fund Pequot Capital Management.

The settlement, approved Tuesday by a judge with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, ends the wrongful termination claim brought by Gary Aguirre. The dispute had triggered a congressional investigation into the agency's handling of the matter and brought a black eye to the federal securities regulator.

Mr. Aguirre said he was fired after seeking permission to interview a senior Wall Street executive in connection with the Pequot probe. Mr. Aguirre said the executive, John Mack, received special treatment because of his powerful position and high-profile attorney. Mr. Mack at the time was under consideration to become CEO of Morgan Stanley, a job he ultimately took. The SEC denied the allegation and a review by the agency's inspector general said it conducted a thorough investigation. Mr. Mack was never alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing.

In May, after new information surfaced in a divorce case, Pequot founder Arthur Samberg agreed, without admitting or denying wrongdoing, to pay $28 million to settle allegations he engaged in insider trading of Microsoft stock.

The SEC also sued former Microsoft Corp. employee David Zilkha, who worked a short time at Pequot. He is contesting the allegations. Mr. Aguirre expressed regret that his firing prevented him from staying on the Pequot case. "Had we not been stopped in 2005, we may have been able to enforce the law in a way that would have told Wall Street that the SEC also was looking at big fish, which was a message it needed to hear at that time," he said. Mr. Aguirre added that his lawsuit "wasn't about money really. I felt more vindication really from the SEC's decision to file against Pequot and their willingness to pay $28 million."

Mr. Aguirre said he didn't seek to return to the SEC and that he will re-enter private practice after a two-month vacation.

The settlement equals Mr. Aguirre's pay for the years since his termination in September 2005 plus attorneys' fees, said the Government Accountability Project, a whistle-blower organization. Mr. Aguirre also agreed to drop two related cases against the SEC.

SEC spokesman John Nester said, "The settlement resolves all outstanding litigation between the parties and reflects the agency's determination to focus on its core mission of protecting investors."

"SEC porn investigation nets dozens," by Ed O'Keef, The Washington Post ---

Dozens of Securities and Exchange Commission staffers used government computers to access and download explicit images and many of the incidents have occurred since the global financial meltdown began, according to a new watchdog investigation.

The SEC inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees, 31 of which occurred in the last two and a half years, according to a summary of the cases requested by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) that first surfaced Thursday evening.

Several of employees held senior positions, earning between $99,300 and $222,418 per year, the inspector general's summary said. Three of the incidents occurred this year, ten in 2009, 16 in 2008, two in 2007 and one each in 2006 and 2005.

In one instance, a regional office staff account admitted viewing pornography on his office computer and on his SEC-issued laptop while on official government travel. Another staff account received nearly 1,800 access denials for pornography Web sites in a two-week period and had more than 600 images saved on her laptop’s hard drive, the report said.

A senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington admitted he sometimes spent as much as eight hours viewing pornography from his office computer, according to the report. The attorney’s computer ran out of space for the downloaded images, so he started storing them on CDs and DVDs that he stored in his office.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it was “nothing short of disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation's economy to the brink of collapse."

"This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority," Issa said in a subtle jab at ongoing financial reform efforts.

Grassley’s decision to release the summary comes as SEC investigators have filed a fraud case against Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs. But a spokeswoman cautioned against reading too much into the timing.

"The IG findings that Grassley released underscore the importance of good IG work," said Grassley spokeswoman Jill Kozeny.

The behavior exposed in the watchdog report violates government ethics rules, but illegal pornography access by federal workers is nothing new:

Continued in article

"Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2010," by Converge Staff," Converge Magazine, June 14, 2010 ---

School districts and college campuses across the country are trying to grab students' attention and teach them in ways they learn best. That means they're adding social media features to learning management systems, offering more online and blended courses, and taking advantage of mobile devices.

Check out the top  trends in learning management systems, online learning and mobile computing identified in a 2010 Software & Information Industry Association report released this month.

Learning management systems

In 2008, 35 percent of the K-12 schools surveyed said they had no plans to buy a learning management system, but lower prices and higher federal accountability requirements will change their minds, according to the report. And when they do change their minds, they'll be looking for digital content and professional development to go along with the systems.

They'll also be looking for tools including curriculum planning and lesson management. These tools allow them to create detailed lesson plans for individual students and assign digital curriculum lessons to students.

In higher education, professors increasingly rely on digital content and use social media to teach their students. They're also adding more online classes and reducing administrative costs. As a result, learning management systems should be incorporating rich Internet applications, social media, user-generated content, mobile devices, Software as a Service and business process management systems.

Faculty members expect to do a number of tasks in learning management systems:

Online learning

The e-learning market has been expanding steadily, and over the next four years, forecasters predict that K-12 online learning will advance at a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent, while higher education will grow at 8 percent.

In online learning, blended or hybrid classes that combine face-to-face and online instruction are popping up, particularly in higher education. And the expansion of open source content on sites such as Flatworld Knowledge, Curriki and CK12 give teachers and professors more options to potentially save money.

Mobile devices, WiMAX technology, podcasts and software tools allow students to learn any time, anywhere. And that mobile computing experience is what they're looking for.


Mobile computing

In the past two years, netbooks have arrived on the scene, but their sales are already growing more than 200 percent per year.  K-12 schools adopt them at a higher rate because many of them provide devices for their students. Netbook trends include 10-inch screens, faster processors, longer battery life and built-in wireless wide area networks.

Laptop use is still growing steadily, but not as fast as it was previously. Laptop trends include LED backlights, backlit keyboards, more rugged mechanical designs, larger hard drives, newer processor designs and increased availability of 3G/4G wireless wide area network support.

Meanwhile, tablet computers are becoming more popular in postsecondary education, and companies are creating smartbooks that have long battery lives of about two days.

More people view Web pages through smart phones and cell phones than through computers. Cell phones have become widely accepted in postsecondary education, while many K-12 districts still ban them in the classroom.

As far as operating systems go, Microsoft Windows leads the pack on desktop and laptop systems. But Mac OS X from Apple, Windows Mobile, iPhone OS, Symbian, Linux and Android have entered the mobile market.

On the connectivity side, most postsecondary campuses have robust WiFi, but less than 30 percent of K-12 classrooms have robust WiFi access. While WiFi has been around for more than 10 years, WiMAX is coming on the scenes as a 4G wide area data service in the U.S. And don't forget the cellular 3G and 4G data services for smart phones.

While these are some trends that are happening now and in the next year or two, the report also forecasts what education technology will look like in the future. In the next five years, the report predicts that cloud computing, cell phone use and 3G and 4G data plans will become mainstream in education.

Will these forecasts come true?

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

The dark side of education technology ---

It might be summarized as: Finance Professors have a long ways to go before fully understanding capital structure!
Jim Mahar

"The Pecking Order, Trade-Off, Signaling, and Market-Timing Theories of Capital Structure: A Review," by Anton Miglo, SSRN, March 23, 2010 ---

This paper surveys 4 major capital structure theories: trade-off, pecking order, signaling and market timing. For each theory, a basic model and its major implications are presented. These implications are compared to the available evidence. This is followed by an overview of pros and cons for each theory. A discussion of major recent papers and suggestions for future research are provided.

"The Economics of Structured Finance," by Joshua D. Coval,  Jakub Jurek, and  Erik Stafford, Working Paper 09-060, Harvard Business School, 2008 ---

The essence of structured finance activities is the pooling of economic assets (e.g. loans, bonds, mortgages) and subsequent issuance of a prioritized capital structure of claims, known as tranches, against these collateral pools. As a result of the prioritization scheme used in structuring claims, many of the manufactured tranches are far safer than the average asset in the underlying pool. This ability of structured finance to repackage risks and create “safe” assets from otherwise risky collateral led to a dramatic expansion in the issuance of structured securities, most of which were viewed by investors to be virtually risk-free and certified as such by the rating agencies. At the core of the recent financial market crisis has been the discovery that these securities are actually far riskier than originally advertised.

We examine how the process of securitization allowed trillions of dollars of risky assets to be transformed into securities that were widely considered to be safe, and argue that two key features of the structured finance machinery fueled its spectacular growth. First, we show that most securities could only have received high credit ratings if the rating agencies were extraordinarily confident about their ability to estimate the underlying securities’ default risks, and how likely defaults were to be correlated. Using the prototypical structured finance security – the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) – as an example, we illustrate that issuing a capital structure amplifies errors in evaluating the risk of the underlying securities. In particular, we show how modest imprecision in the parameter estimates can lead to variation in the default risk of the structured finance securities which is sufficient, for example, to cause a security rated AAA to default with reasonable likelihood.

A second, equally neglected feature of the securitization process is that it substitutes risks that are largely diversifiable for risks that are highly systematic. As a result, securities produced by structured finance activities have far less chance of surviving a severe economic downturn than traditional corporate securities of equal rating. Moreover, because the default risk of senior tranches is concentrated in systematically adverse economic states, investors should demand far larger risk premia for holding structured claims than for holding comparably rated corporate bonds. We argue that both of these features of structured finance products – the extreme fragility of their ratings to modest imprecision in evaluating underlying risks and their exposure to systematic risks – go a long way in explaining the spectacular rise and fall of structured finance.

For over a century, agencies such as Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch have gathered and analyzed a wide range of financial, industry, and economic information to arrive at independent assessments on the creditworthiness of various entities, giving rise to the now widely popular rating scales (AAA, AA, A, BBB and so on). Until recently, the agencies focused the majority of their business on single-name corporate finance—that is, issues of creditworthiness of financial instruments that can be clearly ascribed to a single company. In recent years, the business model of credit rating agencies has expanded beyond their historical role to include the nascent field of structured finance.

From its beginnings, the market for structured securities evolved as a “rated” market, in which the risk of tranches was assessed by credit rating agencies. Issuers of structured finance products were eager to have their new products rated on the same scale as bonds so that investors subject to ratings-based constraints would be able to purchase the securities. By having these new securities rated, the issuers created an illusion of comparability with existing “single-name” securities. This provided access to a large pool of potential buyers for what otherwise would have been perceived as very complex derivative securities.

During the past decade, risks of all kinds have been repackaged to create vast quantities of triple-A rated securities with competitive yields. By mid-2007, there were 37,000 structured finance issues in the U.S. alone with the top rating (Scholtes and Beales, 2007). According to Fitch Ratings (2007), roughly 60 percent of all global structured products were AAA-rated, in contrast to less than 1 percent of the corporate issues. By offering AAA-ratings along with attractive yields during a period of relatively low interest rates, these products were eagerly bought up by investors around the world. In turn, structured finance activities grew to represent a large fraction of Wall Street and rating agency revenues in a relatively short period of time. By 2006, structured finance issuance led Wall Street to record revenue and compensation levels. The same year, Moody’s Corporation reported that 44 percent of its revenues came from rating structured finance products, surpassing the 32 percent of revenues from their traditional business of rating corporate bonds.

By 2008, everything had changed. Global issuance of collateralized debt obligations slowed to a crawl. Wall Street banks were forced to incur massive write-downs. Rating agency revenues from rating structured finance products disappeared virtually overnight and the stock prices of these companies fell by 50 percent, suggesting the market viewed the revenue declines as permanent. A huge fraction of existing products saw their ratings downgraded, with the downgrades being particularly widespread among what are called “asset-backed security” collateralized debt obligations—which are comprised of pools of mortgage, credit card, and auto loan securities. For example, 27 of the 30 tranches of asset-backed collateralized debt obligations underwritten by Merrill Lynch in 2007, saw their triple-A ratings downgraded to “junk” (Craig, Smith, and Ng, 2008). Overall, in 2007, Moody’s downgraded 31 percent of all tranches for asset-backed collateralized debt obligations it had rated and 14 percent of those nitially rated AAA (Bank of International Settlements, 2008). By mid-2008, structured finance activity was effectively shut down, and the president of Standard & Poor’s, Deven Sharma, expected it to remain so for “years” (“S&P President,” 2008).

This paper investigates the spectacular rise and fall of structured finance. We begin by examining how the structured finance machinery works. We construct some simple examples of collateralized debt obligations that show how pooling and tranching a collection of assets permits credit enhancement of the senior claims. We then explore the challenge faced by rating agencies, examining, in particular, the parameter and modeling assumptions that are required to arrive at accurate ratings of structured finance products. We then conclude with an assessment of what went wrong and the relative importance of rating agency errors, investor credulity, and perverse incentives and suspect behavior on the part of issuers, rating agencies, and borrowers.

Manufacturing AAA-rated Securities

Manufacturing securities of a given credit rating requires tailoring the cash-flow risk of these securities – as measured by the likelihood of default and the magnitude of loss incurred in the event of a default – to satisfy the guidelines set forth by the credit rating agencies. Structured finance allows originators to accomplish this goal by means of a two-step procedure involving pooling and tranching.

In the first step, a large collection of credit sensitive assets is assembled in a portfolio, which is typically referred to as a special purpose vehicle. The special purpose vehicle is separate from the originator’s balance sheet to isolate the credit risk of its liabilities – the tranches – from the balance sheet of the originator. If the special purpose vehicle issued claims that were not prioritized and were simply fractional claims to the payoff on the underlying portfolio, the structure would be known as a pass-through securitization. At this stage, since the expected portfolio loss is equal to the mean expected loss on the underlying securities, the portfolio’s credit rating would be given by the average rating of the securities in the underlying pool. The pass-through securitization claims would inherit this rating, thus achieving no credit enhancement.

By contrast, to manufacture a range of securities with different cash flow risks, structured finance issues a capital structure of prioritized claims, known as tranches, against the underlying collateral pool. The tranches are prioritized in how they absorb losses from the underlying portfolio. For example, senior tranches only absorb losses after the junior claims have been exhausted, which allows senior tranches to obtain credit ratings in excess of the average rating on the average for the collateral pool as a whole. The degree of protection offered by the junior claims, or overcollateralization, plays a crucial role in determining the credit rating for a more senior tranche, because it determines the largest portfolio loss that can be sustained before the senior claim is impaired.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting for financial instruments and hedging activities are at

Bob Jensen's threads on fair value accounting are at

"The Financial Reform Law: A 'Fig Leaf' It won't prevent bad bets by banks, and hence won't prevent the next financial crisis, say the experts," by Christine Harper and Bradley Keoun, Business Week, July 1, 2010 ---

The financial reform bill will change the way banks do business in everything from credit cards to credit default swaps. What it won't do is fundamentally reshape Wall Street, and it doesn't seem likely to prevent bad bets by bankers from causing another crisis. The legislation is "largely a fig leaf," says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic & Policy Research in Washington. "Given where we were when this got started, I'd have to imagine the Wall Street firms are pretty happy."

The overhaul allows banks to remain in the profitable derivatives business and won't shrink those deemed "too big to fail," leaving largely intact a U.S. financial industry dominated by six companies with a combined $9.4 trillion of assets. The changes also do little to address the danger posed by banks relying on the fickle credit markets for funding that can evaporate in a panic, like the one that spread in late 2008.

A deal reached by members of a House and Senate conference just after dawn on June 25 diluted provisions from the tougher Senate bill, limiting rather than prohibiting the ability of banks to trade derivatives and invest in hedge funds or private equity funds. Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) made his support conditional on a loosening of restrictions on hedge fund and private equity fund ownership by banks. Brown won another concession when he demanded that the committee remove a $19 billion fee on banks and hedge funds that had been tacked on at the last minute. The June 28 death of Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.), who supported the bill, means a final vote won't take place until mid-July.

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) had originally advocated forbidding banks from trading swaps if they receive federal support such as deposit insurance. That could have forced banks to spin off those businesses. In the final legislation, bank holding companies such as JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) will be required to move less than 10 percent of the derivatives in their deposit-taking banks to a broker-dealer division over the next two years. Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), the two biggest U.S. securities firms before they converted into banks in 2008, have smaller deposit-taking units and already hold most of their derivatives in their broker-dealer arms. The derivatives rules are "nowhere near as bad as what the banks might have feared," William T. Winters, former co-chief executive officer of JPMorgan's investment bank, told Bloomberg Television on June 25.

Another portion of the legislation that was amended in the final conference was the so-called Volcker rule, named for Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who championed it. Originally the rule would have prevented any systemically important bank holding company from engaging in proprietary trading, or betting with its own money, as well as investing its own capital in hedge funds or private equity funds.

In the final version, the banks will be allowed to provide no more than 3 percent of a fund's equity and will be limited to investing up to 3 percent of their Tier 1 capital—which includes common stock, retained earnings, and some preferred stock—in hedge funds or private equity funds. That represents a ceiling of about $3.9 billion for JPMorgan, $3.6 billion for Citigroup, and $2.1 billion for Goldman Sachs, according to the companies' latest quarterly reports.

Further diluting its impact, the Volcker rule doesn't take effect for 15 to 24 months after the law is passed. Then the banks have two years to comply, with the potential for three one-year extensions after that. They could seek five more years to withdraw money from funds that invest in "il- liquid" assets such as private equity and real estate, says Lawrence D. Kaplan, an attorney at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Washington. "I don't think it will have any impact at all on most banks," Winters said of the amended Volcker rule.

Some provisions of the new law may require banks to raise more capital as a buffer against setbacks. But they will still be able to borrow heavily in the short-term credit markets to fund their operations, rather than rely on deposits, which are more stable. Their dependence on market-based funding made firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley vulnerable to the panic of 2008. "Something has to be put in place to cause banks to have deposit-based liabilities and not market-based liabilities," says Benjamin B. Wallace, a securities analyst at money manager Grimes & Co.

The legislation will make the financial system safer, says James Ellman, president of Seacliff Capital, a hedge fund that specializes in financial industry stocks. Even so, he says, "It won't satisfy anybody who wanted really strict additional regulation of banks."

The bottom line: The financial reform bill imposes a raft of new rules, but critics say it does not go to the heart of the problems that created the crisis.

Bob Jensen's threads on the current financial crisis and its aftermath ---

"Neutered Watchdog Dreams of Its Missing Parts," by Jonathan Weil, Bloomberg News, June 30, 2010 ---

Now that the Supreme Court has said the auditing profession’s main regulator can continue to exist, here’s a knottier question: Should it?

The case for preserving the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in its current form just got much weaker. This week the court ruled that, for the board’s structure to be constitutional, the Securities and Exchange Commission must be able to fire its members at will. Previously, under the statute that created the board, the SEC could remove them only for good cause once it had appointed them to their five-year terms.

The ruling in effect transforms the board into a wholly controlled, off-balance-sheet subsidiary of the SEC. Before, the commission mainly had the authority to reject the PCAOB’s decisions. Now it has the power to tell the board what it must do, as well. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion, “the power to remove officers at will and without cause is a powerful tool for control of an inferior.”

While the court’s decision may be sound constitutionally under the separation of powers, it probably doesn’t make for good public policy when it comes to regulating auditors. If the board in substance will be nothing more than a division of the SEC, it’s hard to justify why it shouldn’t be one in form, too.

Congress established the PCAOB when it passed the Sarbanes- Oxley Act in 2002, stripping the auditing profession of the authority to regulate itself. The board’s duties include setting auditing standards for firms that certify the books of companies with U.S.-registered securities. It inspects audit firms to see if they are complying with those standards. The board also has an enforcement division that can issue subpoenas and bring disciplinary actions against auditors for misconduct.

Government Interference

Ideally, the one PCAOB function that should be largely free from government interference is the responsibility for setting auditing standards, although it wasn’t that way in practice even before the court’s ruling.

The SEC requires that accounting standards, for instance, be set by an independent body. That’s the Financial Accounting Standards Board, whose members are picked by a private, nonprofit foundation. Auditing standards should get similar treatment. Both processes need to be insulated from political meddling as much as possible to ensure they result in fair and objective standards based on expert analysis.

Back in February 2008, shortly after Kayla Gillan, one of the PCAOB’s inaugural members, left the board after a five-year term, she gave an interview to the trade paper Compliance Week in which she blasted the SEC for pressuring the board to gut its standard for auditing companies’ internal controls. The SEC, then chaired by Christopher Cox, “pushed, pushed, pushed and really tried very hard to get something different than what” the board ended up producing, she said.

Do as You’re Told

Now the commission simply can fire board members who refuse to do as they’re told. (Gillan joined the SEC as a senior adviser last year.)

One reason the PCAOB was established as a private nonprofit corporation was so it could pay salaries to its members and staff far above the government pay scale, although practically speaking it functions like a federal agency. Bowing to pressure from the accounting profession, Congress also required that the board conduct much of its business in secret.

Its internal records aren’t subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Disciplinary hearings are closed to the public; the proceedings become public knowledge only after an auditor has been sanctioned. And when the board releases inspection reports on individual firms, it keeps most of the contents confidential, including the names of companies where it found the firms’ audits were deficient.

Little Work

Open government, this is not. That’s reason enough to shutter the board’s enforcement division, which merely supplements the SEC’s own efforts. The board has issued just 31 disciplinary orders since its formation. Only one was against a Big Four accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, which paid a $1 million fine in 2007 over its audit work at a small company called Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.

As for the board’s inspections, maybe they’ve helped improve audit quality, maybe not. Because the inspection reports are shrouded in secrecy, there’s no way for the public to tell.

Here’s my suggestion for Congress: Disband the PCAOB -- this neutered watchdog won’t be growing back what it just lost. Create a foundation independent of the accounting industry to oversee a new private-sector board that would set U.S. auditing standards. And put the PCAOB’s other units inside the SEC, along with the fees the board now collects to fund their budgets.

Multiple Failures

The quality of the firms’ inspections might suffer if the inspectors were paid less. Yet the same argument could be made for employees at other agencies who do important work, such as inspecting nuclear power plants. There’s been no rush to take them off government pay scales. Accountants are no more special than those people.

For all the PCAOB’s efforts, we still had what seemingly must have been massive audit failures at Ernst & Young, which audited Lehman Brothers; PricewaterhouseCoopers, which audited Freddie Mac; Deloitte, which audited Fannie Mae; and KPMG, which audited Citigroup. Those companies and many others blew up in 2008 sporting clean audit opinions. Yet there hasn’t been any explanation by the PCAOB or anyone else in government of whether their auditors did their jobs appropriately.

If the PCAOB can’t even do that, it’s time for a do-over.

From the Scout Report on July 2, 2010

Foxit Reader 4 ---  http://www.foxitsoftware.com/ 

Designed as a free alternative to other proprietary software programs, Foxit Reader allows users to view, modify, and print pdf documents. Visitors will find helpful support documents, along with the ability to mark-up text, replace text, and also insert images and drawings. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

Picnik 2.3 --- http://www.picnik.com/ 

Unlike other photo software editing packages, Picnik 2.3 doesn't need to be downloaded onto one's computer. Visitors can just open their photos via the site, and they can go ahead and crop, resize, and modify them to their heart's content. Also, visitors are welcome to use a number of popular hosting services via their site, including Flickr and PhotoBucket. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

100 years after his birth, Broadway remembers one of its own How to Succeed in Showbiz: The Frank Loesser Story http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128115247 

Loesser deserves more

Frank Loesser at 100 http://www.artsjournal.com/jazzbeyondjazz/2010/06/frank_loesser_at_100.html 

Broadway: Frank Loesser http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway/stars/loesser_f.html 

IBDB: Frank Loesser http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=5613 

Frank Loesser http://frankloesser.com/

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

Education Tutorials

Video:  Wolfram Alpha has gotten much better --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html
It is best described as a search engine that will perform complicated computations

Wolfram Alpha --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Project Gutenberg --- http://www.gutenberg.org/ 

Free online books library for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast --- http://www.readprint.com/


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

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

HarvardScience: Science and Engineering at Harvard University --- http://harvardscience.harvard.edu/

Benthic Marine Algal Herbarium of L.I. Sound --- http://www.algae.uconn.edu/

Muybridge Stop-Motion Sequences, Animated --- http://chronicle.com/article/Muybridge-Stop-Motion/66041/ 

Video:  Wolfram Alpha has gotten much better --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html
It is best described as a search engine that will perform complicated computations

Video:  Kings of Camouflage (cuttlefish) --- http://video.pbs.org/video/1150618835/program/979359664 

International Society for Horticultural Science --- http://www.ishs.org/ 

The World Federation for Mental Health Africa Initiative on Mental Health & HIV/AIDS --- http://www.wfmhafricainitiative.org/

IRC International Water Centre --- http://www.irc.nl/

Virtual Mentor: American Medical Association Journal of Ethics --- http://virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/

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

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

World Social Science Report, United Nations, 2010 ---

Sociology Databases and Other Great Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/ 

African-American Women: Duke University Libraries --- http://library.duke.edu/specialcollections/collections/digitized/african-american-women/

Video:  Wolfram Alpha has gotten much better --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html
It is best described as a search engine that will perform complicated computations

The Real Estate Collection (University of Wisconsin) --- http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/RealEstate/

Virtual Mentor: American Medical Association Journal of Ethics --- http://virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/

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

Helpguide --- http://www.helpguide.org/

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

The Real Estate Collection (University of Wisconsin) --- http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/RealEstate/

Child Rights Information Network --- http://www.crin.org/

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

Math Tutorials

Video:  Wolfram Alpha has gotten much better --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html
It is best described as a search engine that will perform complicated computations

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

History Tutorials

BBC: A History of the World [Flash Player, Video] --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/ 

Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum (videos)
V&A Channel --- http://www.vam.ac.uk/channel/ 

Hedgelink (lawn hedges) --- http://hedgelink.org.uk/ 

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

The Real Estate Collection (University of Wisconsin) --- http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/RealEstate/

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

Music Tutorials

Video:  Wolfram Alpha has gotten much better --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html
It is best described as a search engine that will perform complicated computations

From the Scout Report on June 2, 2010

100 years after his birth, Broadway remembers one of its own How to Succeed in Showbiz: The Frank Loesser Story http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128115247 

Loesser deserves more

Frank Loesser at 100 http://www.artsjournal.com/jazzbeyondjazz/2010/06/frank_loesser_at_100.html 

Broadway: Frank Loesser http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway/stars/loesser_f.html 

IBDB: Frank Loesser http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=5613 

Frank Loesser http://frankloesser.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/

June 29, 2010

June 30, 2010

July 1, 2010

July 2, 2010

July 6. 2010

July 7, 2010

July 8, 2010



Helpguide (various types of health tips) --- http://www.helpguide.org/

What We Still Don’t Know About Sunscreens --- 

Tanning and melanoma.--- http://www.aad.org/media/psa/index.html 

"Save Your Own Life," by Dan Ariely, MIT's Technology Review, June 26, 2010 ---

What would you think if someone told you: Do the right thing because your life may depend on it. Or more accurately, that you better start making better decisions because it is a matter of life and death. This may sound like something an over protective parent would tell their child) but in reality it’s the way most of us should start to think about our day to day decisions and their potential to lead to harmful habits and fatal consequences. It is hard to believe that this is true, but recently, researchers have done some interesting analysis on this topic and the results support the idea that personal decisions, and often fairly mundane ones, are a leading cause of premature death in the United States (and I suspect that similar numbers are also the reality in the rest of the developed world).

One of the most interesting analyses on the ways in which our decisions kill us is one by Ralph Keeney (Operation Research, 2008), where Ralph puts forth the claim that 44.5% of all premature deaths in the US result from personal decisions – decisions that involving among others smoking, not exercising, criminality, drug and alcohol use, and unsafe sexual behavior. In his analysis Ralph carefully defines the nature of both the type of personal decision and what is considered premature death. For instance, dying prematurely in a car accident caused by a drunk driver is not considered premature in this framework because the decision to drive somewhere is not one that can logically be connected to the premature death. Unless, of course, the person who dies is also the drunk driver, in which case this counts as a premature death caused by bad personal decisions. This is because the decision to drive drunk, and dying as a result, are clearly connected. In this way you can examine a large set of cases where multiple decision paths are available (the drunk driver also has the option to take a cab, ride with a designated driver, or call a friend), and where these other decision paths are not chosen despite the fact that they won’t directly result in the same negative outcome (i.e fatality). As other types of examples, consider the decisions to smoke (when not smoking is an option), to overeat (when watching our weight is an option), or for people with long term medical conditions to skip taking insulin or asthma medication when these are important to their ongoing health.

Using the same method to examine causes of death in 1900, Keeney finds that during this time only around 10% of premature deaths were caused by personal decisions. Compared to our current 44.5% of premature deaths caused by personal decisions, it seems that on this measure of making decisions that kill ourselves we have “improved” (of course this means that we actually got much worse) dramatically over the years. And no, this is not because we’ve become a nation of binge-drinking, murderous smokers, it’s largely because the causes of death, like tuberculosis and pneumonia (the most common causes of death in the early 20th century) are far more rare these days, and the temptation and our ability to make erroneous decisions (think about driving while texting) has increased dramatically.

What this analysis means is that instead of relying on external factors to keep us alive and healthy for longer, we can (and must) learn to rely on our decision-making skills in order to reduce the number of dumb and costly mistakes that we make.

Continued in article



I don't want to brag or make anybody jealous or anything, but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.
Herbert Hoover --- http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/herberthoo110353.html

Video:  The Italian Clock --- http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80461036/

Forwarded by Col. Booth

Billy Bob and Luther were talking one afternoon when Billy Bob tells Luther, "Ya know, I reckon I'm 'bout ready for a vacation. Only this year I'm gonna do it a little different. The last few years, I took your advice about where to go.

“Three years ago you said to go to Hawaii . I went to Hawaii and Earlene got pregnant.

“Then two years ago, you told me to go to the Bahamas , and Earlene got pregnant again.

“Last year you suggested Tahiti and darned if Earlene didn't get pregnant again."

Luther asks Billy Bob, "So, what you gonna do this year that's different?"

Billy Bob says, "This year I'm taking Earlene with me!"

Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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

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

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---


World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Free (updated) Basic Accounting Textbook --- search for Hoyle at

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination
Free CPA Examination Review Course Courtesy of Joe Hoyle --- http://cpareviewforfree.com/

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

Accounting News, Blogs, Listservs, and Social Networking ---

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

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

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


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

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) --- http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy/libraries.html
The above libraries include international accounting history.
The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting --- http://maaw.info/

Academy of Accounting Historians and the Accounting Historians Journal ---

Sage Accounting History --- http://ach.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/11/3/269

A nice timeline on the development of U.S. standards and the evolution of thinking about the income statement versus the balance sheet is provided at:
"The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards (1930-1973)," by Stephen A. Zeff, CPA Journal, January 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/105/infocus/p18.htm
Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/205/index.htm 

A nice timeline of accounting history --- http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2187711/A-HISTORY-OF-ACCOUNTING

From Texas A&M University
Accounting History Outline --- http://acct.tamu.edu/giroux/history.html

Bob Jensen's timeline of derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting ---

History of Fraud in America --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm



Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu