Tidbits on August 2, 2011
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

To cool you off this week I provide a special collection of my favorite Ice Pictures


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories



Tidbits on August 2, 2011
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Inside the International Space Station --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=H8rHarp1GEE

Improv With New Yorker Cartoonists --- Click Here

Mims's Bits The Best Space Shuttle Tribute Video --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27023/?nlid=nldly&nld=2011-07-25

Saving Valentina.6.8.11.h264.mov --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBYPlcSD490

Brain: The Inside Story --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/brain/

The Future of Grocery Shopping (stores come to the people)  --- http://www.flixxy.com/virtual-grocery-store.htm

Gin, the Dancing Dog --- http://www.familytiez.com/video/gin.htm

EurekAlert! - Multimedia Gallery (science news) ---  http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/

When Things Get Small --- http://www.ucsd.tv/getsmall/

Wounded Warriors & President Bush (July 4th, 2011) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TiGYDvc4lU&sns=fb

EDSITEment! [Education Helpers from the National Endowment for the Humanities] ---  http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plans

"Video: Economist Vernon Smith on the Housing Bubble, Adam Smith, and Libertarianism," Simoleon Sense, July 21, 2011 ---

Revisit Havana, the “Paris of the Caribbean,” in the 1930s --- Click Here

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

Billie Holiday Sings “Strange Fruit” --- Click Here

Stile Antico Asks: A Different Kind Of Love? (English Choral Group's Full Concert) ---

'Taint No Sin - Scott Philbrick with the Seacoast Stompers --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p4RjAJT-u4

Classic Jazz Album Covers Animated, or the Re-Birth of Cool --- Click Here

Thumbnail2:31 Buddy Holly on the Arthur Murray Dance Party 12/29/57 ---

Battle Hymn of the Republic (the music is slow to load) --- http://www.greatdanepro.com/Battle Hymn/index.htm

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

Photography by Wittgenstein (this was really clever in history) --- Click Here

Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011) --- http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/07/21/arts/design/Lucianfreudss.html?ref=arts

National Gallery of Art - NGAkids (folk art) --- http://www.nga.gov/kids/kids.htm

Virtual Museum of Textile Arts --- http://www.museocaprai.it/en/index.php

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

Walter Gordon Collection of Photographs (African American History) ---

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (art, sculpture) --- http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/

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

Orson Welles Narrates Animation of Plato’s Cave Allegory --- Click Here
In the end it's an allegory about open sharing.

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 August 2, 2011

The booked National Debt on August 2, 2011 was slightly over $14 trillion ---
U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

The January 2010 Booked National Debt Plus Unbooked Entitlements Debt
The GAO estimated $76 trillion Present Value in January 2010  unless something drastic is done.
Click Here |

There are many ways to describe the federal government’s long-term fiscal challenge. One method for capturing the challenge in a single number is to measure the “fiscal gap.” The fiscal gap represents the difference, or gap, between revenue and spending in present value terms over a certain period, such as 75 years, that would need to be closed in order to achieve a specified debt level (e.g., today’s debt to GDP ratio) at the end of the period.2 From the fiscal gap, one can calculate the size of action needed—in terms of tax increases, spending reductions, or, more likely, some combination of the two—to close the gap; that is, for debt as a share of GDP to equal today’s ratio at the end of the period. For example, under our Alternative simulation, the fiscal gap is 9.0 percent of GDP (or a little over $76 trillion in present value dollars) (see table 2). This means that revenue would have to increase by about 50 percent or noninterest spending would have to be reduced by 34 percent on average over the next 75 years (or some combination of the two) to keep debt at the end of the period from exceeding its level at the beginning of 2010 (53 percent of GDP).

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

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

Edutainment Idea for Class
This might be a fun thing to try in class.

The instructor could identify three students in the class that have some cartoon drawing skills.

Then the three-column Jeopardy-like listing of choices could be presented to the class where the choices relate to accounting issues.
Students pick one issue from each column.

The cartoon-drawing students could then commence their cartoons.

While they're drawing, the instructor could show New Yorker's accounting cartoons to the class. At The New Yorker Website it is possible to drill down to accounting cartoons.

Video:  Improv With New Yorker Cartoonists --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on Edutainment are at

Most faculty serve up video from their university's servers, YouTube, and Tech Smith's Screencast, but there are other alternatives

"How to Choose the Right Host For Your Online Video," By Robin Miller, ReadWriteWeb, July 25, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's video helpers are at

Also see

Financial Education in the Math Classroom --- http://mathforum.org/fe/

A Government Website for Helpers in Personal Finance
MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you will find important information from 20 federal agencies government wide.
My Money.gov --- http://www.mymoney.gov/

PBS Television will now answer your personal finance questions ---

Bob Jensen's helpers in personal finance --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/BookBob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

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

Feed43 --- http://feed43.com/
"How To Turn Any Page into a Feed with RSS Scraping," by Jason B. Jones, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 26, 2011 ---

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

What's the Saddest Movie of All Times?
ABC News Answers --- http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/saddest-movie-time/story?id=14164889

1) "Old Yeller"

2) "Imitation of Life"

3) "Steel Magnolias"

4) "Terms of Endearment"

5) "Sophie's Choice"


What’s the Saddest Scene in Cinema?
Click Here

According this fascinating piece in The Smithsonian, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1979 weepfest The Champ ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078950/  ) is the most consistently effective tearjerker in the history of film. It’s also the tearjerker most often used in scientific studies of grief and sadness:

The Champ has been used in experiments to see if depressed people are more likely to cry than non-depressed people (they aren’t). It has helped determine whether people are more likely to spend money when they are sad (they are) and whether older people are more sensitive to grief than younger people (older people did report more sadness when they watched the scene). Dutch scientists used the scene when they studied the effect of sadness on people with binge eating disorders (sadness didn’t increase eating).

We would have gone with either the last scene of West Side Story or that devastating 1989 Negro College Fund commercial with the pennies. Feel free to post your own candidates in the comments.

Jensen Comment
More kids cried in the scene where Bambi gets shot ---

My vote for saddest movie is "All Quiet on the Western Front" staring Lew Ayres ---
Interestingly the book itself was a German book such that the book and the movie focus on the horrors of this horrible war from both sides of the trenches

July 29, 2011 reply from Denny Beresford

I thought "Bang the Drum Slowly" was the saddest movie I ever saw ---

Denny Beresford

July 30, 2011 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

"Brian's Song" (1972) was a tear jerker true story having a similar theme ---
Who can have dry eyes after watching this film?

July 30, 2011 reply from Steve Doster,

My vote for the saddest movies are Mars Needs Moms and All the Queens Men because the former holds the record for “Biggest Money Loser, Based on Absolute Loss on Worldwide Gross” and the latter the “Biggest Money Loser, Based on Return on Investment”

Steve Doster,
Professor of Accounting & Management

July 31, 2011 reply from Tom Selling

For me, it was Gallipoli – and nothing else comes close. The final scene of the futile and senseless attack leaving thousands of once-idealistic and vibrant men slaughtered was numbing. It seemed like not a word was spoken as the full theater emptied out.

Thomas I. Selling PhD, CPA
Weblog: www.accountingonion.com 
Website: www.tomselling.com
Email: tom.selling@grovesite.com


Now This is Truly Sad!
College Students Not Knowing Whether to Multiply or Divide

July 23, 2011 reply from Bill Dent

Hi Bob

Surely you jest! How can you overlook the fine football programs at the primary and secondary school levels all over the state and the magnificent facilities in which they perform outstanding feats of athletic ability to the delight of thousands.

And, of course, with such fine athletic programs you must have an outstanding bands, drill teams and a large cheer squads.

If you believe the local administrators and school boards, these programs are self-sufficient and require no tax dollars. For example, I just read in our local paper yesterday that the high school was installing a new scoreboard at the stadium for the measly sum of $66,000 which will be paid for by selling advertising on the board. The last time I looked at the old scoreboard a couple of years ago it told me all I needed to know about the game in progress.

Oh, it just dawned on me! When you used the word “worst,” you meant the kids can’t read, write, solve simple math problems, know very little history, science, etc. Well who cares--as long as that new score board reads Home Team 50—Visitors 0.

Thanks for giving me a chance to vent on education in Texas on a hot Texas morning.

Bill Dent

July 24, 2011 message from Barbara Scofield

I live in the town of Friday Night Lights, and I have just completed my advising of freshmen accounting majors during freshman orientation last week.

High school students typically have their required "math credits" earned by the time they are juniors in high school, take no math in their senior year, take the math placement test during freshman orientation, and get placed into developmental math with 1-2 semesters of work ahead of them before beginning precalculus.  And these are the students who like math and want to be accounting majors.

I don't typically work freshman orientation or teach principles classes, so the advising experience provided understanding for my teaching of Principles of Managerial Accounting right now during summer school.  I can't count the number of times I have explained the following problem to these "sophomores" who have completed precalculus:

If the company had a total of $10,000 of  costs (direct material, labor, whatever) in total and produced 1,000 widgets, what is the ___ cost per widget?

When the brave, confused student asks, "
Should I multiply or divide?", I set up the equation again and describe how to solve a problem with one unknown.  I refuse to just say divide because I'm afraid then they will divide for every question -- even those when they should multiply.

Barbara W. Scofield, PhD, CPA
Chair of Graduate Business Studies
Professor of Accounting
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
4901 E. University Dr.
Odessa, TX   79762
432-242-2123 (Work)
817-988-5998 (Cell)

Can you think of a good name for this LSU beer?

"LSU Prepares to Launch Its Own Beer," Inside Higher Ed, July 21, 2011 ---

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge is working with a local microbrewery, Tin Roof Brewing, to launch a beer, the Associated Press reported. The blonde ale should be available during the next football season. The name has not been revealed yet. It will relate to LSU but not be called LSU Beer.

Jensen Suggestions
Here are some possible names off the top of my head.

Richard Sansing suggests Bayou Brew.

Prison psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple asks why we feel compelled to understand monsters like Anders Breivik, but no need to explain others' righteous behavior.

"Unraveling the Mystery of Murderous Minds," by Brian M. Carney, The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2011 ---  

Theodore Dalrymple worked as a prison doctor and psychiatrist in Britain for 15 years. He's known serial killers, petty thieves and everything in between. As he puts it, with a mischievous grin, "I've probably spent more time in prison than the average murderer."

It's a beautiful summer day in the south of France, and Dr. Dalrymple is holding forth on what we can—and can't—know about the mind of a mass murderer like the Oslo shooter, Anders Behring Breivik. "I don't think we'll ever understand" what makes a person capable of this kind of premeditated murder, Dr. Dalrymple tells me over lunch. What's more, he says, "we don't even know what it is to understand. At what point do you say, 'Aha! Now I understand!'" he asks.

Dr. Dalrymple is the pen name of Anthony Daniels, author of more than a dozen books of scathing social commentary on everything from crime to travel to, most recently, what he calls "the toxic cult of sentimentality" in modern society. In his writing and in conversation, he returns frequently to the criminals he's known and treated.

Your garden-variety convicts, he contends, are much simpler subjects than a man like Breivik. To ask them why they steal, he says, "is like asking you why you have lunch." They want something, so they take it. "And since in Britain," he adds with a smirk, "the state does very little to discourage [thieves]," or to incarcerate them when they are caught, "the question is not why there are so many burglars, but why there are so few."

A Breivik is a deeper mystery. Of him, "you can say, 'This man is highly narcissistic, paranoid and grandiose,'" and this may lead you to seek reasons for that in his past—"his father disappeared at the age of 15 and so on and so forth." But uncovering such facts doesn't solve the mystery because "whatever you find, you would also find among hundreds or thousands or even millions of people who didn't do what he did." There is, he says, "always a gap between what is to be explained and your alleged explanation. So there's always a mystery, and I think that's going to remain."

Even so, we find irresistible the urge to understand an atrocity like Breivik's, even as we are repulsed by it. When asked whether we hope thereby to understand something about ourselves, the former prison doctor offers an arch denial: "Well, he doesn't tell me much about me." And then, with a morbid chuckle and wary look—"I can't say for you," before adding: "I suppose the only thing one can say is that he tells us about the range of human possibility. But we knew that already."

The human impulse to explain the inexplicably horrific is revealing, according to Dr. Dalrymple, in two respects—one personal, one political. First, it says something about us that we feel compelled to explain evil in a way that we don't feel about people's good actions. The discrepancy arises, he says, "because [Jean-Jacques] Rousseau has triumphed," by which he means that "we believe ourselves to be good, and that evil, or bad, is the deviation from what is natural."

For most of human history, the prevailing view was different. Our intrinsic nature was something to be overcome, restrained and civilized. But Rousseau's view, famously, was that society corrupted man's pristine nature. This is not only wrong, Dr. Dalrymple argues, but it has had profound and baleful effects on society and our attitude toward crime and punishment. For one thing, it has alienated us from responsibility for our own actions. For another, it has reduced our willingness to hold others responsible for theirs.

"Most people," Dr. Dalrymple says, "now have a belief in the inner core of themselves as being good. So that whatever they've done, they'll say, 'That's not the real me.'" He recalls an inmate he once encountered: "I remember one particular chap who'd thrown ammonia at his girlfriend's face because he was jealous. He denied he'd done it. And the evidence was overwhelming that he had done it. So I said, 'Why did you say you didn't do it?'"

He delivers the convict's response in a convincing working-class English accent quite different from his own, more refined, speech: "Well, I'm not like that," the man told him. "I don't do them things." Dr. Dalrymple explains that "for him, his core was more real than what he'd actually done." It turned out that the man had been to prison before—"and it was for throwing acid in his girlfriend's face."

Dr. Dalrymple suggests that a similar self-detachment could have been at work in the mind of Anders Breivik. As the world now knows, courtesy of his 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik "did actually have, perverse as it was, a political purpose." He had a worldview and a vision, however deranged, of what was needed to achieve it. And, says Dr. Dalrymple, "I assume that when he was shooting all those people, what was in his mind was the higher good that he thought he was doing. And that was more real to him than the horror that he was creating around him."

In itself, having a worldview that shapes our attention, informs even what we believe to be real, is perfectly normal. It may even be essential. "After all," Dr. Dalrymple says, "having a very consistent worldview, particularly if it gives you a transcendent purpose, answers the most difficult question: What is the purpose of life?"

Having a purpose is usually a good thing. "One of the problems of our society," Dr. Dalrymple says, "is that many people don't have a transcendent purpose. Now it can come from various things. It can come from religion of course. But religion in Europe is dead."

Dr. Dalrymple argues that the welfare state, Europe's form of civic religion, deprives its citizens even of the "struggle for existence" as a possible purpose in life. One alternative, then, is "transcendent political purpose—and that's where what [Breivik's] done comes in." Such a political purpose doesn't lead inexorably to fanaticism, violence and murder. "But my guess," Dr. Dalrymple offers, "is that this man, who was extremely ambitious, didn't have the talent" to realize his ambitions, whether in politics or other fields. "So while he's intelligent he didn't have that ability or that determination to mark himself out in a way that might be more—constructive, shall we say."

Some have sought to link Breivik's violence to his political thinking. The New York Times ran a story Monday about Breivik's fondness for certain American anti-Islamist blogs. And a parade of politicians on the European right have felt compelled to step forward and condemn Breivik's killing spree—as if afraid that silence might somehow imply sympathy. Dr. Dalrymple himself, he says, is quoted indirectly "several times" in Breivik's manifesto, "and that," he says, "is slightly anxiety-provoking." In the first place, it's never pleasant to find yourself in the company, however unwillingly or unwittingly, of a man like Breivik.

He has another worry, "that what he's done will be taken as a reason to close down all kinds of debate," or to delegitimize the views of anyone who, as Dr. Dalrymple puts it, "question[s] anything that the current prime minister of Norway says or believes."

"Here is a man," Dr. Dalrymple says, "behaving like this and quoting all kinds of people, some of whom I admire or agree with." But to suggest that the views of those thinkers (including himself) somehow contributed to the killing in Oslo, he argues, makes no sense. "It's like somebody saying that if you believe, for example, that bankers were irresponsible during the [2008 global financial] crisis, you are leading inexorably to the killing of three bankers in the bank in Athens," as happened during one of the recent anti-austerity protests there.

Another modern impulse in trying to understand men like Breivik is what Dr. Dalrymple calls "a kind of neuroscientific investigation combined with Darwinism, which tries to persuade us that we understand something that perhaps Shakespeare didn't understand" about human nature. "And of course," he allows, "there are things we understand that we didn't understand in Shakespeare's time. But the idea that we have finally plucked out the heart of the mystery of existence is drivel."

He notes that so far at least, the explanatory power of sociobiology combined with neuroscience is entirely "retrospective." Experts can draw correlations between this and that, "but they can't even tell you what's going to happen on the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow. So, there's a feeling that we have finally achieved some kind of understanding that our poor benighted ancestors didn't have. But this is nonsense." Human action remains mysterious, and what's more, "it's dangerous to think we do have that kind of understanding," because in the worst case, it could lead to a kind of scientific dictatorship.

"Supposing," he says of Breivik, "you examine him and you come to the conclusion that this, that and the other factor went to create the situation. You wouldn't have any more than a statistical generality." But if that statistical correlation could be verified, could it lead to "locking up people before they've done anything"?

This is not quite as far-fetched as it might seem, according to Dr. Dalrymple. At one point, "the British government . . . wanted doctors to speculate on what people might do" and to offer law enforcement their views about who was likely to become dangerous. But human knowledge, and even more so human judgment, being fallible, "any factor you find that makes them likely to become dangerous isn't going to be 100%. It's unlikely to be even 20%. So in order to prevent one incident, you'd probably have to lock up hundreds of people.

'So actually there's a potentially extremely totalitarian or at least authoritarian aspect to this drive to understand what essentially is not finally understandable."

Continued in article


"Extreme Heat: 10 Worldwide Spots With Tough Temperatures," by Tim Newcomb,  Time Magazine, August 8, 2011 ---
Note that this is a slide show. Hit the Red "Next" button.
Great photographs!

Hottest Place in North America --- Death Valley (average 115F in summer months)

Hottest U.S. City --- Yuma, Arizona

Hottest Place on Earth --- Dallol, Ethiopia (average 94F year around)

Hottest Big City --- Bangkok, Thailand (also a very humid city)

Hottest City (Average Warm Season) --- Kuwait City, Kuwait

Hottest City --- Ahvaz, Iran

Hottest City at Night --- Samail, Oman (The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce disputes this)

Hottest South American City --- Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

Hotest Recorded Temperature (disputed) --- Al’Aziziyah, Libya at a purported 136F

Hottest City in Europe --- Athens, Greece

On Page 2 of the August 1&8, 2011 issue of Newsweek Magazine a listing of the Daily Beasts Hottest 2011 U.S. Cities is quoted
But "hottest" is defined in terms of the 2011 first derivative such that Lubbock is not necessarily the "hottest" in terms of high temperature per se
"This Summer’s Hottest Cities," Daily Beast, July 2011 ---

This is a slide show so hit the red "Next" Button to progress through the slide show

Rank  01:  Lubbock, TX
Rank  02:  Oklahoma City, OK
Rank  03:  Raleigh, NC
Rank  04:  Tulsa, OK
Rank  05:  Austin, TX
Rank  06:  Colorado Springs, CO
Rank  07:  Dallas, TX
Rank  08:  Wichita, KS
Rank  09:  San Antonio, TX
Rank  10:  Memphis, TX

Jensen Comment
I lived in San Antonio for 24 years. In no way does it have average higher summer temperatures than in cities like Tucson, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
San Antonio often has uncomfortable humidity, but in no way is the humidity as uncomfortable as in Houston, New Orleans, Miami, and Memphis.
San Antonio has notable afternoon breezes allegedly due in large part to the Balcones Fault --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balcones_Fault
Before the days of air conditioners, people in San Antonio cooled off outdoors in the afternoon breezes.
What I don't miss in San Antonio are the mosquitoes. Parts of San Antonio have no mosquito problem. Where I lived near Salada Creek we had swarms of  mosquitoes for many moths of the year. Parts of New Hampshire have a lot of mosquitoes, but for some reason where I live now the mosquitoes are no big deal even though I live near the White Mountain National Forest and have a lot of trees on my own property.

Many people have a knee jerk reaction to the Summer 2011 heat (which has not really been a problem where I now live) is going to be a continuing event due to "global warming." This may or may not be the case depending upon which scientists you go to for the unproven theories and the dating of their research findings.

Four Years Ago
"New Clues to Global-Warming Dangers: Scientists are using gene chips to monitor the effects of global warming on marine life. It's time to get worried," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, March 5, 2007 ---

Update in 2011
"NASA Study: Global Warming Alarmists Wrong," by Sylvia Hubbard, Newsmax, July 28, 2011 ---

NASA has released a new study that may prove global-warming alarmists have been wrong all along.

Data from NASA's Terra satellite covering the period 2000 through 2011 shows that when the earth's climate heats up, the atmosphere appears to be better able to channel the heat to outer space.

The satellite data call into question the computer models favored by global warming believers and may put to rest controversy over the discrepancy between the computer models and actual meteorological readings.

Co-author of the study, Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama's Earth System Science Center, said in a press release, "The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show. There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In an Op-Ed in Forbes, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute James M. Taylor, said, "In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth's atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space.

"Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth's atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space that the alarmist computer models predict."

The new research further shows that not only is more energy released to space than had been theorized, but also that the energy is released at an earlier point in a cycle of warming than previously documented.

In fact, the new data reveal, energy is discharged beginning at a point about three months before a cycle peaks. "At the peak," Spencer said, "satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained."

The research was published in the journal Remote Sensing.

Read more on Newsmax.com: NASA Study: Global Warming Alarmists Wrong

Jensen Comment
I still believe there is global warming and am no expert on the causes. And I will change my mind only if the winters up in these mountains start getting colder like in the good old days. Last winter we had tons of snow (too much) but very, very few days where the temperature dropped below 0F. In the good old days in these mountains there would be many nights and days were the temperature dropped well below zero in places other than our mountain tops.

We had some warm days in the upper 80s this summer (especially a few days in mid-July) but on average it has been relatively cool with no need to turn our air conditioner on day or night. We also had a couple of weeks without rain, but for the most part there have been good rains this summer. Our flower gardens are the best ever. For some unknown reason the Japanese beetles are not eating up Erika's roses this year.

I do feel very sorry for those of you having an exceptionally hot summer, and I'm really saddened by the crop failures in the southwest. It is really sad that Texas ranchers hare selling off their herds.

Let's hope NASA's Terra satellite data hold up under scientific scrutiny!

"Great Colleges to Work For 2011," Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
I cannot find the rankings of the 111 colleges and universities. Only the top winners seem to be identified in various categories.

I cannot quite understand the "Four-Year" category of universities since such schools as USC and Harvard show up in this category. It would seem that universities like Yale and Stanford that do not show up are not excluded because they have graduate programs.

These various rankings are based on employee interests rather than student and student recruiter interests, although there are obviously external impacts on students and recruiters. There are also unmentioned conflicts. For example, Many unionized colleges and universities have egalitarian pay grades such that compensation is deemed relatively equitable irrespective of employee supply and demand by discipline. Hence, a new tenure track employee chosen among 300 qualified applicants will get roughly the same salary and benefits as a tenure track employee chosen among three applicants in another discipline. This is deemed equitable by most faculty unions, but there's some question whether students are harmed when a university is unable to hire among the top prospects in disciplines in short supply such as accounting, finance, architecture, engineering, nursing, etc.

For example, an extremely high proportion of the top accounting graduates choose universities that offer them higher salaries, research support, and lower teaching loads. Those universities are typically R1 research universities that tend not to be unionized and do not have egalitarian salary categories across academic disciplines. This is probably why top research universities like Ohio State, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin (Madison), Stanford, Yale, etc. are not even mentioned under the "Compensation" category at http://chronicle.com/article/Great-Colleges-to-Work-For/128312/
There are exceptions such as Harvard Michigan, Notre Dame, and USC.

What would be interesting is to find out is the extent to which humanities faculty at universities like Stanford and Yale are disgruntled because they are paid less than faculty in the professional disciplines even though they may in fact receive higher pay and benefits than their counterparts in unionized egalitarian colleges and universities.

Of course other factors enter into disgruntlement over compensation. For example, Faculty at the University of Chicago, Princeton, NYU, and Stanford receive very high compensation, but there may be disgruntlement, apart from lack of egalitarianism, over the high living costs that eat up this higher pay.

The bottom line is that I question the results of any study that concludes that Eastern Kentucky University employees are more satisfied with their compensation than employees of the University of Kentucky, Stanford, Yale, Texas, and Texas A&M. Yeah Right!

I also question whether the Eastern Kentucky University offers more in the way of career development than the University of Kentucky, Stanford, Yale, Texas, and Texas A&M. Yeah Right!

I only pick on EKU because it comes out so very high in compensation and career development categories. I've really nothing against EKU and congratulate this university for being so outstanding in this Chronicle of Higher Education 2011 study. I question the biases and competence of the investigators in this study.

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

"How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education," by Clive Thompson, Wired News, July 15, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing and the Khan Academy (a free, non-credit site with hundreds of learning modules) ---

"The Abysmal Recovery in Employment." by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, Becker-Posner Blog, July 24, 2011 ---

. . .

Recognizing the waste of such an overall wage subsidy, another approach subsidizes new hires only. This approach does avoid subsidizing all employment, but it fails to appreciate the magnitude of new hires even during bad times. The JOLTS data published by the federal government indicate that over 4 million persons are newly hired each month even during the current post recession period. Therefore, subsidizing new hires would pay subsidies for about 50 million new hires annually. If the subsidy per hire were $3000 (about 10% of their annual earnings), this would cost some $150 billion per year.

This is not chicken feed even for the federal government. Moreover, employers would try to game the system by laying off some workers so they can hire other workers and gain the new-hire subsidy. The result would be an increase in the number of persons becoming unemployed along with greater exits from the unemployment state. The net effect on employment would probably be positive and overall unemployment would tend to decrease, but the employment bang for the substantial bucks involved would be quite small.

Aside from the depth of the financial crisis, I believe the main source of slow hiring initially were the many anti-business proposals voiced by some members of Congress and even by the president. Many of these were discarded or tamed down, but Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have raised the prospects of higher and less certain health care costs for businesses, and greater regulation and more uncertainty about government policy in the financial and consumer areas. Neither Act gives employers an incentive to expand their payrolls.

Adding to this is the huge uncertainty about what Democrats and Republicans can agree to on taming the large fiscal deficits, the looming entitlement crisis, and the exploding debt. No wonder that businesses are playing it close to their chests by keeping their payrolls down, and by their reluctance to commit to long-term investments.

The analysis in this post to me implies that the most effective solution to the weak recovery is not further stimulus packages, nor subsidies to employment or hiring, but an agreement between Congress and the president to cut trillions of dollars from federal spending during the next decade, and to reform the tax system toward a much broader and much flatter personal and corporate tax structure. The report of Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a starting point, and Representative Ryan’s Roadmap also has excellent proposals on how to do this.

"What to Do about Unemployment in the Short Term?" by Richard Posner, Becker-Posner Blog, July 24, 2011 ---

Becker is pessimistic that much can be done in the short term to stimulate employment. That is doubtless correct in a realistic sense, but I think it worth pointing out that if politics were not what they are much could probably be done and at low net cost and possibly even with net cost savings.

The simplest short-term (but also long-term) stimulant to employment would be to reduce the minimum wage, which has risen greatly in recent years. This would reduce the cost of labor to employers and hence encourage the substitution of labor for capital inputs. The minimum-wage appears to have its greatest disemployment effects among blacks and teenagers, moreover, and those are two of the groups with the highest unemployment rates.

True, the reduction of the minimum wage would reduce some incomes by increasing the supply of labor, and reduced incomes would result in reduced consumption which could in turn reduce production and therefore employment. But this effect would probably be offset by the effect of lower labor costs in stimulating production.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, which imposes the federal minimum wage, also requires that overtime wages be at least 50 percent higher than the employer’s normal hourly wage for the workers asked to work overtime. The reason for the rule (a Depression measure) is to discourage overtime and thus spread the available work among more employees. If this is the effect, it is an argument for making the overtime wage an even higher percentage of the normal wage than the current 150 percent. The counterargument is that regular pay would fall to compensate an increase in the overtime wage, so employers would not hire additional workers.

A simple way to stimulate employment would be suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal government contractors to pay “prevailing wages” often tied to inflated union-negotiated pay scales. And along with that, reversal of efforts by the Democratic-controlled National Labor Relations Board to enourage unionization, which by driving up wages reduces the demand for labor. Unionization also reduces the efficiency with which labor is employed by imposing the restrictions typically found in collective bargaining contracts, such as requiring that layoffs be in reverse order of seniority and limiting employers’ authority to switch workers between jobs.

Unemployment benefits, which normally last for only six months, have been progressively extended during the current depression (I do not accept the proposition that the financial crisis of 2008 merely triggered a “recession” that ended two years ago when GDP stopped falling in nominal terms) to almost two years. The longer the benefits period (and the higher the benefits), the slower are unemployed workers to obtain new employment; and the longer they are out of work the less likely they are ever to return to work, because their work skills and attitudes erode over time. With so many two-income households nowadays, the decision of one spouse to give up on looking for a market job and instead becoming a full-time household producer (“housewife” or “house husband”) becomes an attractive option.

. . .

Nevertheless the stimulus doubtless had some positive effect on employment, since it did inject more than $800 billion into the economy in a short period, most of which would otherwise have remained in rather inert savings. But as with many issues in macroeconomics this one cannot be resolved with any confidence. But if government expenditures were reduced in ways that did not significantly increase unemployment, and the savings allocated to a stimulus program focused entirely on creating labor-intensive public projects promptly implemented, there would be a positive effect on employment with no net increase in government spending.

But all these are pipe dreams, because of the politics of U.S. economic policy. The government is likely to do anything to stimulate employment. Eventually the economy will recover on its own, as consumers dissave and thus increase consumption, and with the increased consumption will come increased production and hence increased employment.

Jensen Comment
I do not offer these as my solutions to short-term unemployment. I merely quote the opinions of two University of Chicago esteemed scholars. Judge Posner, by the way, was a plenary speaker some years ago at the annual meetings of the American Accounting Association. However, at that time his topic was not short-term unemployment solutions.

To be honest, I can think of no solutions that I like to reduce unemployment. Massive spending and even printing money (highly inflationary) ala Paul Krugman would probably reduce short-term unemployment, but the the long-term impact on the U.S. economy could be devastating, including the virtual drying up of our being able to borrow at reasonable rates from other nations like China. Nor is doing nothing in the short-term appealing to fathers like myself who have unemployed sons and daughters caring for our children and grandchildren. As I pointed out in previous messages, FDR's massive spending on WPA did little to relieve unemployment --- which was 18% at the start of WPA programs in the 1930s and remained at 18% until WW II commenced to change our economy forever.

The current credit cap crisis is a speed bump compared to the towering mountains of economic hurdles waiting for the United States on roads leading into the future. We're only beginning to realize that even great nations cannot survive on trillions of dollars in annual budget deficits. And reneging of promises made to poor people, disabled people, sick people, brave warriors. and old people is indeed hurtful to those we should not punish for our previous spendthrift and borrowing addictions. We lose respect for nations that do not honor their contracts.

The booked National Debt on August 2, 2011 was slightly over $14 trillion ---
U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

The January 2010 Booked National Debt Plus Unbooked Entitlements Debt
The GAO estimated $76 trillion Present Value in January 2010  unless something drastic is done.
Click Here |

There are many ways to describe the federal government’s long-term fiscal challenge. One method for capturing the challenge in a single number is to measure the “fiscal gap.” The fiscal gap represents the difference, or gap, between revenue and spending in present value terms over a certain period, such as 75 years, that would need to be closed in order to achieve a specified debt level (e.g., today’s debt to GDP ratio) at the end of the period.2 From the fiscal gap, one can calculate the size of action needed—in terms of tax increases, spending reductions, or, more likely, some combination of the two—to close the gap; that is, for debt as a share of GDP to equal today’s ratio at the end of the period. For example, under our Alternative simulation, the fiscal gap is 9.0 percent of GDP (or a little over $76 trillion in present value dollars) (see table 2). This means that revenue would have to increase by about 50 percent or noninterest spending would have to be reduced by 34 percent on average over the next 75 years (or some combination of the two) to keep debt at the end of the period from exceeding its level at the beginning of 2010 (53 percent of GDP).

"America's Deeper Debt Crisis," by Hamair Qaeue, Harvard Business Review Blog, July 26, 2011 --- Click Here

How big would America's "debt crisis" be if we looked not merely at (largely artificial) financial costs, but at real economic — social, human, natural, personal, emotional, and more — costs? You probably don't want to know.

But grit your teeth and let's do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation just for fun.

To begin with, America's gross public debt as a percentage of its GDP is around 98ish (aka, its debt/GDP ratio). But there's a whole lot of costs that measure doesn't begin to count. They're the costs of restoring and rebooting the bare beginnings of an authentic, meaningful prosperity. They mean we might begin to have meaningful work and play (instead of work that destroys our souls and leisure that dumbifies us), a thriving environment (instead of one that's withering), markets that work (instead of blow up), society that connects (instead of fractures and polarizes) and infrastructure that works (instead of crumbling airports, battered buildings, and roads that, at this point, look like the set for an end-of-days zombie apocalypse flick). How high would America's debt/GDP ratio be if we added these costs?

Here are some mildly educated guesses (please note: since this isn't a 300-page book or even a 5,000 word article, I won't fully explicate them, but leave them open for discussion and for future blog posts. You're more than welcome to challenge them, add your own, or even add or subtract entire categories).

Now, let me emphasize that I've made plenty of simplifications on the quick and dirty napkin of a worksheet above. But the not-so-secret dirty secret is that, well, so does GDP itself. The point is in the thought experiment itself: you can swap in or out whatever categories you like, but the point is that the "debt" we owe, if real prosperity is the destination we seek, is bigger than we think. For the above are essentially off-balance-sheet liabilities — a set of hidden costs brushed under the rug in the economic equivalent of a ginormous, ongoing national Enron.

By these rough estimates, while the official debt to GDP ratio is approaching 100%, our debt-to-prosperity ratio is probably higher — maybe much higher. Just by considering an incomplete set of real economic costs very imperfectly, we've arrived at a number closer to 145%. I'd say just a slightly fuller, more nuanced, less conservative take could easily the push "the number" closer to 200% — if not past it.

America's real economic crisis is one of what, in the Manifesto, I call deep debt.

Think about it this way. 100% debt as a percentage of GDP is a number that's got the (mostly) old (mostly) dudes that run the world in brow-beating hysterics, crying: "Armageddon!!" But they're missing the point. A large portion of the 100% of GDP that's financial debt is public debt — which for all its many sins, is mostly covered.

While there's talk of America "defaulting," no one takes seriously the idea that America's going to leave financial creditors without a penny on the dollar — just that it might have liquidity issues for a brief while. Yet, real default — a few pennies on the dollar of debt — is exactly what America's been doing to its economic creditors, parties who I'd argue should have, at least in some cases, self-evident priority over financial markets: people, communities, society, and tomorrow's generations. For the very real, human, natural, and social costs owed them — at least if a higher level of prosperity is what you're after — have been pushed aside and left largely unfunded and underpaid, when they're paid for at all. Result? This Great Stagnation: not merely a financial crisis, but deep in it's heart, a crisis of squandering and underinvesting in human potential itself.

Consider it a tiny, imprecise exercise in what I call "eudaimonics" — the art and science of rebuilding a prosperity that matters in human terms: the pursuit not merely of mass-made, lowest-common-McDenominator, faux-designer opulence, but of lives meaningfully well lived. If we conceive of "debt" not merely as an accounting device meaningless in human terms, a financial fiction owed to nominal creditors — but as a real economic burden owed to the eudaimonic promise of a meaningfully good life, then our economy isn't just underperforming: it's dysfunctional.

Igniting eudaimonic prosperity isn't about paying off financial debt. We can manage that perfectly for decades and never get any closer to mastering the art of lives lived meaningfully well. Rather, it's about the ability of a nation to pay down and pay off its deep debt to the authentic creditors that create and sustain that nation.

So here's my conclusion — and my catch.

America might never master eudaimonics. But here's what's for certain: there are nations, perhaps wiser, perhaps just hungrier — who will. It's to them that a meaningful prosperity will accrue — and from them the lion's roar of advantage will be heard.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Entitlements are at

"Last Chance, America (Increase Taxes Now)," Joseph Isenbergh, University of Chicago Law School, SSRN, July 18, 2011 ---

This essay addresses the current fiscal situation of the U.S. economy – in particular the federal budget deficit and mounting public debt. The essay argues that the most urgent step to be taken is to raise federal taxes, despite the possible dampening effect on short-term growth (which can be palliated in other ways). Failure to raise taxes substantially, and soon, will greatly compound the harm to the U.S. economy from the profligate fiscal policies of the past decade.

Also see
Thanks Jagdish Gangolly for the heads up.

"Why I don’t like Larry Summers," by Massimo Pigliucci, Rationally Speaking, July 22, 2011 ---

I have to admit to a profound dislike for former Harvard President and former Obama (and Clinton) advisor Larry Summers. Besides the fact that, at least going by a number of reports of people who have known him, he can only be characterized as a dick, he represents precisely what is wrong with a particularly popular mode of thinking in this country and, increasingly, in the rest of the world.
Lawrence was famously forced to resign as president of Harvard in 2006 because of a no-confidence vote by the faculty (wait, academics still have any say in how universities are run? Who knew) because of a variety of reasons, including his conflict with academic star Cornel West, financial conflict of interests regarding his dealings with economist Andrei Shleifer, and particularly his remarks to the effect that perhaps the scarcity of women in science and engineering is the result of innate intellectual differences (for a critical analysis of that particular episode see Cornelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender and the corresponding Rationally Speaking podcast).
Now I have acquired yet another reason to dislike Summers, while reading Debra Satz’s Why Some Things Should not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets, which I highly recommend to my libertarian friends, as much as I realize of course that it will be entirely wasted on them. The book is a historical and philosophical analysis of ideas about markets, and makes a very compelling case for why thinking that “the markets will take care of it” where “it” is pretty much anything of interest to human beings is downright idiotic (as well as profoundly unethical).
But I’m not concerned here with Satz’s book per se, as much as with the instance in which she discusses for her purposes, a memo written by Summers when he was chief economist of the World Bank (side note to people who still don’t think we are in a plutocracy: please simply make the effort to track Summers’ career and his influence as an example, or check this short video by one of my favorite philosophers, George Carlin). The memo was intended for internal WB use only, but it caused a public uproar when the, surely not left-wing, magazine The Economist leaked it to the public. Here is an extract from the memo (emphasis mine):
“Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the less developed countries? I can think of three reasons:
1. The measurement of the costs of health-impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health-impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.
2. The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost ... Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world-welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.
3. The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity ... Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing.
The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in least developed countries (intrinsic rights to certain goods, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization.
Now, pause for a minute, go back to the top of the memo, and read it again. I suggest that if you find nothing disturbing about it, your empathic circuitry needs a major overhaul or at the very least a serious tuneup. But it’s interesting to consider why.
As both The Economist (who called the memo “crass”) and Satz herself note, the economic logic of the memo is indeed impeccable. If one’s only considerations are economic in nature, it does make perfect sense for less developed countries to accept (for a — probably low — price) the waste generated by richer countries, for which in turn it makes perfect sense to pay a price to literally get rid of their shit.
And yet, as I mentioned, the leaking of the memo was accompanied by an outcry similar to the one generated by the equally infamous “Ford Pinto memo back in 1968. Why? Here I actually have a take that is somewhat different from, though complementary to, that of Satz. For her, there are three ethical objections that can be raised to the memo: first, she maintains that there is unequal vulnerability of the parties involved in the bargain. That is, the poor countries are in a position of marked disadvantage and are easy for the rich ones to exploit. Second, the less developed countries likely suffer from what she calls weak agency, since they tend to be run by corrupt governments whose actions are not in the interest of the population at large (whether the latter isn’t also true of American plutocracy is, of course, a matter worth pondering). Third, the bargain is likely to result in an unacceptable degree of harm to a number of individuals (living in the poor countries) who are not going to simultaneously enjoy any of the profits generated from the “exchange.”

Continued in article

Wave Goodbye to this nation's top economic advisor
"Lawrence Summers Will Leave White House Post and Return to Harvard," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 21, 2010 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the economic collapse and jobless recovery ---

"Boston U. Scientists Retract Controversial Study," Inside Higher Ed, July 22, 2011 ---

Boston University researchers have retracted a paper, originally published in Science, in which they claimed to have identified a genetic signature for human longevity, The Boston Globe reported. A new analysis found that some of the data they used were incorrect. A statement from Science said: "Although the authors remain confident about their findings, Science has concluded on the basis of peer review that a paper built on the corrected data would not meet the journal's standards for genome-wide association studies. The researchers worked exhaustively to correct the errors in the original paper and we regret the outcome of the exhaustive revision and re-review process was not more favorable."

Bob Jensen's threads on research replication and validity studies ---

"Why Spotify Will Kill iTunes," by Maxwell Wessel, Harvard Business Review Blog, July 22, 2011 --- Click Here

For another look at the Spotify launch, see "Why I'm Not Going Near Spotify (and Why You Shouldn't Either)."

iTunes as we know it is over. It is walking, talking, and continuing to pretend it's alive, but Spotify, Europe's outrageously successful streaming music product, has just shown us the future.

Though you might not even be aware of the competitor that is attacking the music titan of the past decade, that iTunes business model is about to be blown up completely and swiftly. And it could even be thought of as fitting; iTunes accomplished the exact same thing during its early-2000s attack on the bricks-and-mortar retail music industry. Apple set the stage to decimate Tower Records and Sam Goody before either had a clue their industry was about to revolt. But innovation theory can provide a crystal ball; theory could have predicted iTunes' success and it's currently predicting Spotify's success.

To appreciate the truth of this claim, it's vital to understand one of Clayton Christensen's theories on marketing and product development: Jobs-to-be-done. Jobs-to-be-done suggests that in order to predict how to develop, compare, and position our products, we should be driven by a fundamental understanding of what that product is hired to do. For example, every day I hire a Coke to be a wake-me-up mid-afternoon break in my workday. To get the Coke, I walk from my building to a store next door and pay $1.25. I could substitute a free cup of coffee from my own office, which would provide my much-needed caffeine at no cost. But because the job is to break up the afternoon, I value both the caffeine in the product and the distance I walk to pick up the product. I am happy to pay for the Coke because it completes the job I hire a mid-day beverage to complete. To disrupt the purchase of my afternoon Coke, a product would has to be fundamentally advantaged in one of the two areas I value for that product; caffeine and time away from my desk.

When it comes to the music industry, I used to hire Tower Records to deliver my music. For that job, I valued Tower's music selection, the store's convenient locations, the fact that its music was compatible with my Discman, and the low prices. When I compared Tower to other options to fulfill that job, it was pretty well positioned.

Enter iTunes. After iTunes was introduced, its online model beat Tower in selection, convenience, and price. As an online storefront it had a fundamental advantage. It was in your home, had no shelf space limiting its inventory, and could beat Tower on price because of its lower fixed costs. The only thing that might have kept Tower treading water at first was its ability to be compatible with Discmen, which we know now disappeared quickly. With a basic grasp of technology innovation trends, Tower should have known as much and immediately begun running around with its hair on fire.

Now, a decade later, enter Spotify (at least, enter the U.S. market). Based on the job of delivering music, Spotify completes the job of delivering music in much the same way as iTunes does. Spotify is conveniently located, has a wonderful selection, is compatible with my computer, smartphone, and tablet (which are in turn compatible with my stereo and car), and is backward-compatible to play music from my existing iTunes library.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

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

"Apple's Lion Brings PCs Into Tablet Era," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2011 ---

. . .

Now, Apple is bringing those concepts and others to the personal computer via its most radical new Macintosh operating system version in years. It's called Lion and it goes on sale Wednesday for $29.99—a price that allows installation on as many personal Macs as you own.

Lion is a giant step in the merger of the personal computer and post-PC devices like tablets and smartphones. It demotes the venerable scroll bar at the side of windows and documents, relying primarily on direct manipulation of documents and lists. It eliminates the need to save your work, automatically saving every version of every document. It resumes programs right where you left off. It can display programs, or an array of all your app icons, in multiple full screens you simply swipe through. And it elevates the role of multitouch gestures and adds new ones.

The new system doesn't turn a Mac into a tablet. It retains traditional computer features not present on smaller devices—like the usual file system, multiple windows, the mouse and physical keyboard. It still runs traditional Mac programs, still can handle Adobe Flash, and doesn't run iPhone or iPad apps. It doesn't use a touch screen, instead continuing to rely on the touch pad to perform finger gestures.

But it's a big change. Lion also is a harbinger of things to come. Apple's historic rival, Microsoft, is working on its own radical overhaul of the dominant Windows PC operating system, due next year, which is also aimed at putting multitouch and other concepts borrowed from smartphones and tablets front and center.

I've been testing Lion on four Macs, and I like it. I believe its many new features—250 in all—make computing easier and more reliable. I found upgrading easy, and compatibility with existing apps to be very good. Only one app I use frequently proved incompatible, and its maker says a new revision solves that problem.

I only suffered one crash in Lion. It occurred on one of many occasions I used iTunes, but Apple says a forthcoming version of iTunes made for Lion should eliminate that.

Continued in article

"States Where People Pay the Most (and Least) in Taxes," by Charles B. Stockdale, Michael B. Sauter, Douglas A. McIntyre, Yahoo Finance, July 21, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
But we're only operating in the narrow range of 6.3% (Alaska) to 12.2% (New Jersey) for state and local taxes, including property taxes. One would hope that, by adding to a state's tax burden, the quality of education would be the result of higher taxes. This, however, is not the case for most states. For example, South Dakota comes in at Rank 3 with a very low 7.6% tax burden and manages to have one of the very best K-12 rural and urban education systems among the 50 states. Unfortunately, this does not extend to higher education in South Dakota. New Jersey has the highest taxation rate of 12.2% but does not get a whole lot of K-12 bang for the buck in terms of education compared with the low taxation states of South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.

The largest cities in the U.S. face the most daunting problems in K-12 education. Problems with rural versus urban may be greater than problems with high state taxation versus low state taxation. For example, rural New York has some very nice rural K-12 schools that exist apart from troubled NYC schools. On the other hand, rural Texas has some of the worst rural K-12 schools in the nation. Mississippi has some of the worst urban and rural schools in the nation, but Mississippi is neither a high nor a low taxation state total state and local taxation rankings. However, in terms of local property taxation, Mississippi has low property tax burdens. Quality of schools in rural communities correlates highly and negatively with degree of poverty in those communities. Quality of urban schools is more complicated. New York City and Chicago are quite wealthy and prosperous in ways that do not translate in to quality of K-12 inner city public schools. Minneapolis is less prosperous and wealthy but probably has somewhat better public schools. although in every large U.S. city the inner city schools are lower in quality than schools in their suburbs.

Bob Jensen's threads on taxation are at

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

Bipartisan Game Playing:  Efforts to increase taxes for the wealthy re offset by efforts to guarantee their jumbo mortgages at historic low rates
"Fannie Mae's Revivalists:  A scheme is afoot to keep taxpayers guaranteeing $700,000 mortgages," The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2011 ---

If you think a taxpayer bailout of $164 billion (and counting) is enough to convince politicians to stop guaranteeing mortgages, then you don't know Washington. A bipartisan effort is now underway in Congress to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dominating the mortgage market even for affluent borrowers.

On Wednesday the Capitol Hill publication CQ Today quoted Barney Frank saying that the White House is ready to repudiate a February reform proposal and support this effort. An Obama Administration official tells us that its position hasn't changed, and we hope they mean it.

The issue concerns the so-called conforming loan limit, or the size of mortgages that the two government housing giants are allowed to guarantee. The amount was $417,000 before the housing meltdown, but in February 2008 President George W. Bush bowed to the Pelosi Congress and increased it to $729,750 for homes in the most expensive parts of the country. This was sold as a temporary measure, but in 2009 President Obama extended it.

The limit is now scheduled to decline on October 1 to $625,500, which is still far above the average U.S. sale price for existing homes of $236,200. The White House position, outlined in a February white paper and affirmed to us Thursday evening, is to reduce the limit on schedule.

Even this small reduction in taxpayer exposure is too much for the housing lobby, and right on time Republican John Campbell of California and Democrat Gary Ackerman of New York have proposed a bill to maintain the current limit for another two years. This would keep Fan and Fred in their dominant position in the U.S. mortgage market, while continuing to provide a taxpayer guarantee to an already heavily subsidized corner of the economy. Together with the Federal Housing Administration, these toxic twins now control 90% of the U.S. mortgage market.

For Mr. Campbell, this is becoming a bad habit. In May he sponsored a plan to create multiple "private" government-backed guarantors of mortgage securities in the unlikely event that Congress ever gets rid of Fannie and Freddie.

Sounding like Mr. Frank, the Orange County Republican now says the free market isn't ready to finance mortgages without government guarantees. He says that people looking for "nonconforming" loans face almost impossible terms, including required down payments of up to 50%, plus additional cash in the bank as further protection for the lender.

But LendingTree LLC, which allows consumers to comparison-shop for mortgages, tells a different story. A company spokesman reports that nonconforming borrowers with excellent credit can put as little as 10% down, while rates are "incredibly low" by historical standards, typically below 5%, and not that much higher than the rates on taxpayer-backed loans. The company also doesn't see any lack of lenders willing to make loans without a federal guarantee.

What about the secondary market? Will investors ever again buy mortgage-backed securities without taxpayer backing? We would refer Mr. Campbell to the May testimony of Redwood Trust CEO Martin Hughes before the Senate Banking Committee. In April 2010 Redwood brought to market the first securitization of new home mortgages without a government guarantee since the crisis. Another deal followed this year and more are in the pipeline.

Letting Fan and Fred's conforming-loan value decline gradually is the best way to restore a private mortgage market without disrupting the larger housing market. Mr. Campbell says the private market isn't ready, but how does he know if the government doesn't even attempt to get out of the way?

We suspect the real housing-lobby game here is to delay any reform of Fan and Fred until political memories of their bailout fade. Then they can emerge again from government conservatorship as profit-making ventures, lathering campaign contributions on Members of both parties to continue to dominate the housing market.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the bailouts (that constitute the biggest fraud in world history) ---

Creative accounting at Fannie Mae ---

"How to Save the Traditional University, From the Inside Out," by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 24, 2011 ---

Clayton Christensen, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and Henry Eyring, advancement vice president at Brigham Young University-Idaho, are authors of The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education From the Inside Out (Jossey-Bass, July 2011)

A survey of media reports on higher education might easily lead those of us working in the field to wonder: When did students and their parents start seeing college as a gantlet rather than as an exciting pathway to opportunity? When did policy makers stop seeing higher education as a valuable public investment? When did tenure become a guarantee only of a declining real wage? When did I start playing for a losing team?

We believe that the answer to these questions is "never," or at least "not yet." Traditional colleges and universities continue to play an invaluable role in our society, all the more so as the world changes. Three of their functions are, for now, irreplaceable.

One is the discovery of knowledge. Though the proportion of basic research performed by businesses continues to grow, university-based research remains powerfully innovative. That was true when the first computers and the Internet were pioneered, and it remains true in the age of Google and Facebook, both spawned in universities.

Even as traditional institutions of higher education advance the boundaries of knowledge, they also preserve and share the best discoveries of the past. They serve as conservators and promulgators of our cultural memories. This matters to everyone, not just future academics. As Harvard's Louis Menand said recently in The New Yorker, "College exposes future citizens to material that enlightens and empowers them, whatever careers they end up choosing."

In a related vein, traditional colleges and universities serve as mentoring grounds for the rising generation. When young students go to college, they join a community of fellow learners and scholars unlike any other. The value of what happens on a campus is hard to quantify, but it can be life-changing. That's true for most of us who have chosen to work in higher education, as it is for many former students who pursued work in "the real world." Our lives were shaped by mentors who changed not just what we knew, but the way we thought and felt.

The parents of today's students get that, and they're willing to pay for it. But for many the cost is becoming prohibitive. Public-policy makers likewise see the value of the college experience, and of the research discoveries of universities. However, health-care costs and other nondiscretionary expenditures increasingly constrain what they can spend on higher education. As they try to make limited dollars go further, they naturally push back on policies such as publication-driven tenure. No one has created a better mechanism for discovery, memory, and mentoring than the one devised by innovative American academics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But as costs rise and resources shrink, something has to give.

The people best-qualified to decide which traditions must give way are those of us inside the higher-education community. One thing we've got to come to grips with is the power of online technology and the opportunity to enhance the way we teach. It's not just about saving money by employing low-paid online instructors and freeing up classroom space. Undergraduate students who prepare for face-to-face classes via online lectures, problem sets, and discussion boards can take Socratic discovery to levels like those of the best graduate business and law schools. This kind of hybrid learning holds the potential to create not only the equivalent of an Industrial Revolution in higher education, but also a learning renaissance. We can serve more students not just at lower cost but also at higher quality.

We've also got to take a hard look at what each institution can do uniquely well. Even schools of relatively small size and modest means have overstretched themselves, often in an attempt to be more like Harvard and the other great research institutions, although few schools engage in overt competition with these behemoths. But even if the drive to be bigger and better isn't explicitly focused on Harvard, whether the goal is as bold as breaking into the Association of American Universities or as parochial as offering more graduate programs than an in-state rival, moving up means looking incrementally more like Harvard. That inevitably means spending more per degree granted.

Even if the world were as full of high-paying out-of-state and international students as some university administrators seem to believe it is, there's no future in a strategy of consistently raising tuition at rates in excess of inflation and the earning power of the average college degree. Online degrees are steadily getting better, and the cost of providing them is a small fraction of what traditional institutions spend per graduate. Faced with an either-or choice, many young college students will follow the lead of adult learners: They'll take the affordable online option over the socially preferable but financially inaccessible traditional college experience.

But there's another alternative. It is a brick-and-mortar campus that makes good use of online learning technology and limits its activities to what it does best. Rather than equating bigger with better, this kind of institution will make focused choices in three critical areas: the students it serves, the subjects it offers, and the scholarship it performs. The conventional logic is that enhancing the stature of an institution means serving elite students, especially graduate students. More academic departments and degree programs are preferable to fewer, and scholarship is measured by publication and citations: That's the way the leaders of Harvard and other big research universities defined greatness. Some institutions, notably liberal-arts and community colleges, have resisted this definition, but its sway on those that bear the university label has been great. Along with the well-intentioned resistance of dedicated professors to online instruction, it has brought much of traditional higher education to the brink of competitive disruption.

In addition to adopting online learning as what we call a sustaining innovation, avoiding disruption will require incumbent institutions to effectively change their DNA. Most will need to become more focused on undergraduate students, cutting back on graduate programs that serve relatively few students while consuming much faculty time and generating little of the prestige hoped for when they were created. Programmatic offerings need to be more focused: Some majors should be dropped, and many should be shortened, making it more feasible for students to complete a degree in four years. The number of departments and centers at most institutions needs strategic shrinking.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Bad Habits of Misleading Prospective Students are Hard to Break
"Law Schools Pump Up Classes and Tuition, Though Jobs Remain Scarce," Chronicle of Higher Education, July 16, 2011 ---

Even as their graduates face a shriveled job market, law schools have raised tuition four times as fast as colleges and enrolled increasingly large classes, reports The New York Times in an article that puts New York Law School under special scrutiny.

Though it ranks in the bottom third of all law schools in the country, New York Law School charges more than Harvard, and in 2009 increased its class size by 30 percent. That same year, its dean, Richard A. Matasar, urged his colleagues at other law schools to change the standard business model and focus more on helping students.

What happens at New York Law School is, “for the most part, standard operating procedure,” writes the Times. “What sets N.Y.L.S. apart is that it is managed by a man who has criticized many of the standards and much of the procedure.”

Turkey Times for Overstuffed Law Schools ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

Not too surprising that students who did well on the SAT would also perform well on the vaguely similar GMAT, especially since as a rule colleges don't teach the material on the GMAT.
Parnassus (See Below)

"Which College Scores Best on the GMAT?" by Geoff Gloeckler, Bloomberg Business Week, July 12, 2011 ---

A few weeks ago we were discussing the correlation between undergraduate institution and GMAT scores. We knew which B-schools boast the highest scoring MBA students (Stanford, Yale). What we didn’t know is which undergraduate institutions produce grads who fare the best on the test. It was a statistic none of us had seen before.

Thanks to the mountain of data we collect in our various ranking projects—specifically the graduate surveys from the MBA Class of 2010we had the information necessary to find the answer. So here it is: By and large, the elite, private institutions fare the best, with Harvard (738.0 GMAT average), Yale (732.0), and MIT (731.7) leading the way.

In fact, of the 30 universities whose grads average a 700 or higher on the test, only three—UC Berkeley (711.1), University of Washington (707.5), and UCLA (707.2)—are public schools.

We started with about 200 schools then removed those with fewer than 12 grads in the sample. This left a total of 107 universities, with scores ranging from 738 at Harvard to 633 at Louisiana State. The average score, overall, was 686. The average number of respondents for each school was 39.

Obviously, for MBA applicants who have already earned their undergraduate degree, this information isn't of much value, but for high school juniors and seniors who see an MBA in their futures, this list might be something to take into consideration.

(Note: Scores are not limited to students who graduated with an undergraduate degree in business.)

Here's the top 30:

1. Harvard 738.0
2. Yale 732.0
3. MIT 731.7
4. Rice University 731.3
5. Brandeis University 729.4
6. Princeton 727.7
7. Stanford University 724.0
8. Brown University 722.2
9. Williams College 721.6
10. Carnegie Mellon 720.9
11. Duke University 720.2
12. Dartmouth 716.7
13. Wesleyan University 716.2
14. Amherst College 714.4
15. Carleton College 714.2
16. University of Chicago 712.9
17. Columbia University 712.2
18. University of Pennsylvania 712.2
19. Northwestern 712.0
20. UC Berkeley 711.1
21. Claremont McKenna 708.6
22. Middlebury College 707.6
23. University of Washington 707.5
24. UCLA 707.2
25. University of Notre Dame 702.5
26. Cornell University 702.0
27. Davidson College 701.5
28. Southern California 701.0
29. Johns Hopkins 700.8
30. Bowdoin College 700.5



Reader Comments


July 12, 2011 4:45 PM

Not too surprising that students who did well on the SAT would also perform well on the vaguely similar GMAT, especially since as a rule colleges don't teach the material on the GMAT.


July 12, 2011 6:43 PM

An interesting statistic would be the absolute number of students scoring above certain thresholds. I believe you would see many more large public universities on that list.

Jensen Comment
Interestingly, the GMAT testing service was one of the very first services to use computers to grade essay questions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies ---

"Tax Scams Targeting Poor, Elderly," SmartPros, July 2011 ---

Taxpayers beware: Scammers are out there and they're digging for your personal information and for money.

The IRS is reporting an increase in tax return related scams that typically involve taxpayers who normally do not have to file federal taxes. The scammers con the taxpayers into believing they should file a return with the IRS for tax credits, refunds or rebates for which they are not entitled.

Some unscrupulous tax return preparers have been deceiving people into paying for advice about how to file false claims and some charge unreasonable amounts for preparing legitimate returns that could have been prepared for free by the IRS or by IRS sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance partners.

Many of the scammers are targeting taxpayers in the Midwest and in the South, according to Sue Hales, spokeswoman for the IRS for Illinois. Some are stealing the identities of conned taxpayers and they most often prey on low income individuals and the elderly.

Taxpayers should be wary of any of the following claims:

-- Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits;

-- Claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS, enabling a payout from the IRS;

-- Unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches. Flyers and advertisements for free money from the IRS, suggesting the taxpayer can file with little or no documentation, have been appearing in community churches around the country. Promoters are targeting church congregations and exploiting their good intentions and credibility. These schemes often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting, well-intentioned people telling friends and relatives;

-- Home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility;

-- Promises of refunds for "Low income -- No Documents Tax Returns."

-- Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit;

-- Advice on using the Earned Income Tax Claims based on exaggerated reports of self-employment income;

-- In some cases, non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates have been the bait used by the con artists. In other situations, taxpayers deserve the tax credits they are promised but the preparer uses fictitious or inflated information on the return which results in a fraudulent return.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds ---

"The B-School Case Study Gets a Digital Makeover:  Tablet technology is beginning to transform case studies from straightforward narratives into complex and changeable plots—a metamorphosis nearly a century in the making," by Erin Zlomek, Business Week, July 25, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
The question in my mind is why case writers supposedly had to wait for tablet computing for some of these cases. As a point of fact, interactive cases are even better on the more powerful laptop computers that students have been using for years. As a matter of fact it may be a mistake to write interactive cases only for tablet computing since many (most?) tablet apps will not run on laptop computers.

In history, interactive cases have been around for over 20 years ---
For updates see
See the Michigan State University Case Depositories at http://aib.msu.edu/resources/casedepositories.asp

In history, interactive case-computer simulations have been around for decades
Inspiration: Games versus Teachers
"Creator of 'The Sims' Talks Educational Gaming," Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2009 ---
Introduction to (video) Game Design 2009 --- http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml 
Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment and learning games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Bob Jensen's threads on virtual worlds in education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#SecondLife

May 2, 2009 reply from dekalmte [dekalmte@XTRA.CO.NZ]


We use a simulation called Mikes Bikes Advanced through http://www.smartsims.com/ 

Most of the administration can be undertaken by the helpful staff at Smartsims. The multiplayer version is housed on their servers and can be accessed by anyone (who has paid the requisite fee) with an internet connection.

I have run in it our Strategic Management Accounting course for five years. Students find it easy to access and use. I form them into teams and they compete against each other to manufacture and sell bicycles (no knowledge of bicycle manufacture required).

Assessment is around a business plan and establishing KPI (along the lines of a 'balanced score card'). Each team is 'in business' for a number of years and they are to report on successes and failures. It doesn't necessarily focus on the technical skills of 'management accounting' - we cover and assess through other mechanisms - but does really open their minds to the strategic, and integrated, nature of decision making. It requires that they develop the soft skills that accounting bodies expect to be squeezed into the curriculum. Students do enjoy the competitive nature of the challenge.

Good Luck,

Frank Weterman
Faculty of Business Manukau Institute of Technology
Auckland New Zealand

May 2, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Roger,

The Mike's Bikes author is Pete Mazany. Pete's one of Frank's colleagues on the faculty at the University of Auckland. In the past, In the past I've used Pete in my technology workshops. If management accounting is to be emphasized to students who are relatively advanced in management accounting, the Mike's Bikes case may be too superficial in terms of accounting content, although this is an excellent policy decision making simulation. The case is networked and online. Pete spent a lot of money and time in programming this simulation. Pete earned his doctorate at Yale under one of the top game theory scholars of the world.

There is an excellent case study directory at Michigan State University --- http://aib.msu.edu/resources/casedepositories.asp
Most cases are not simulations. However, enter "simulation" in the search box on the left margin of the AIB home page and see what you find.

It is not common to find simulation cases with good accompanying textbooks. One problem is that if the simulation cases are updated quite often, the accompanying textbook may be a little out or date. If neither the simulation case nor the textbook is updated quite often, then I become dubious about using such material over time. Updating financial accounting simulations is probably a bigger problem relative to managerial accounting because of the way financial accounting standards are amended monthly.

Bob Rubin at Depaul has a video of possible interest, but it's more of a teaser. You would have to contact Bob or Gayle for more information (and may not have enough accounting content) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz1VNyJpmQw 
Also see Gayle Landuyt's video --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Oo2jaCN-v8 

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on case research, case writing, and case teaching are at


NYU Professor Surrenders to Cheating Students: "
Forget about cheating detection,” he said in an interview. “It is a losing battle.”

"NYU Prof Vows Never to Probe Cheating Again—and Faces a Backlash," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21, 2011

A New York University professor’s blog post is opening a rare public window on the painful classroom consequences of using plagiarism-detection software to aggressively police cheating students. And the post, by Panagiotis Ipeirotis, raises questions about whether the incentives in higher education are set up to reward such vigilance.

But after the candid personal tale went viral online this week, drawing hundreds of thousands of readers, the professor took it down on NYU’s advice. As Mr. Ipeirotis understands it, a faculty member from another university sent NYU a cease-and-desist letter saying his blog post violated a federal law protecting students’ privacy.

The controversy began on Sunday, when Mr. Ipeirotis, a computer scientist who teaches in NYU’s Stern School of Business, published a blog post headlined, “Why I will never pursue cheating again.” Mr. Ipeirotis reached that conclusion after trying to take a harder line on cheating in a fall 2010 Introduction to Information Technology class, a new approach that was driven by two factors. One, he got tenure, so he felt he could be more strict. And two, his university’s Blackboard course-management system was fully integrated with Turnitin’s plagiarism-detection software for the first time, meaning that assignments were automatically processed by Turnitin when students submitted them.

The result was an education in “how pervasive cheating is in our courses,” Mr. Ipeirotis wrote. By the end of the semester, 22 out of the 108 students had admitted cheating.

Some might read that statistic and celebrate the effectiveness of Turnitin, a popular service that takes uploaded student papers and checks them against various databases to pinpoint unoriginal content. Not Mr. Ipeirotis.

“Forget about cheating detection,” he said in an interview. “It is a losing battle.”

The professor’s blog post described how crusading against cheating poisoned the class environment and therefore dragged down his teaching evaluations. They fell to a below-average range of 5.3 out of 7.0, when he used to score in the realm of 6.0 to 6.5. Mr. Ipeirotis “paid a significant financial penalty for ‘doing the right thing,’” he wrote. “The Dean’s office and my chair ‘expressed their appreciation’ for me chasing such cases (in December), but six months later, when I received my annual evaluation, my yearly salary increase was the lowest ever, and significantly lower than inflation, as my ‘teaching evaluations took a hit this year.’

Continued in article

Under threads of student retaliation, Profession
Ipeirotis later changed his mind and asserted he will continue to search for plagiarism in his courses. It's still not clear that NYU will not punish him with lower raises if his student evaluations continue to take a hit because of this.

Jensen Comment
Sadly it's the honest students who pay part of the price when professors let students cheat. Honest students are bringing marshmallows to throw in a gunfight.

Bob Jensen's threads on professors who let students cheat ---

Professors and Teachers Who Let Students Cheat

From Infobits on November 29, 2001

"Forget About Policing Plagiarism. Just Teach" (THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, vol. 48, issue 12, November 16, 2001, p. B24) by Rebecca Moore Howard, associate professor of writing and rhetoric, and director of the writing program, at Syracuse University.

Howard argues that "[i]n our stampede to fight what The New York Times calls a 'plague' of plagiarism, we risk becoming the enemies rather than the mentors of our students; we are replacing the student-teacher relationship with the criminal-police relationship. Further, by thinking of plagiarism as a unitary act rather than a collection of disparate activities, we risk categorizing all of our students as criminals. Worst of all, we risk not recognizing that our own pedagogy needs reform. Big reform." The article is online to CHE subscribers at http://chronicle.com/weekly/v48/i12/12b02401.htm 

Jensen Comment
I can't buy this argument. It would bother my conscience too much to give a higher grade to a student that I strongly suspect has merely copied the arguments elsewhere than the grade given to a student who tried to develop his or her own arguments. How can Professor Howard in good conscience give a higher grade to the suspected plagiarist? This rewards "street smart" at the expense of "smart." It also advocates becoming more street smart at the expense of real learning.

I might be cynical here and hope that Professor Howard's physicians graduated from medical schools who passed students on the basis of being really good copiers of papers they could not comprehend.

What is not mentioned in the quote above is the labor-union-style argument also presented by Professor Howard in the article.  She argues that we're already to overworked to have the time to investigate suspected plagiarism.  Is refusing to investigate really being professional as an honorable academic?

Student Plagiarism, Faculty Responsibility
A review by two Ohio University officials has found “rampant and flagrant plagiarism” by graduate students in the institution’s mechanical engineering department — and concluded that three faculty members either “failed to monitor” their advisees’ writing or “basically supported academic fraudulence” by ignoring the dishonesty. The report by the two-person review team called for the dismissal of two professors, and university officials said they would bring in a national expert on plagiarism to advise them.
Doug Lederman, "Student Plagiarism, Faculty Responsibility," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/01/plagiarism

June 2, 2006 reply from Linda Kidwell, University of Wyoming [lkidwell@UWYO.EDU]

Bob's post reminded me of an interesting article I recently read:

Woessner, M.C. (2004). "Beating the house: How inadequate penalties for cheating make plagiarism an excellent gamble." PS: Political Science & Politics, 37 (2): 313 – 320.

His article is interesting in two ways. First, he argues that "it is unethical for faculty to knowingly entice students to plagiarize by promoting policies that actually reward dishonesty." He maintains that we may entice our students by anything from active neglect to ineffective enforcement, and he even throws in some Biblical support from Leviticus: You shall not place a stumbling block before the blind.

Second, he uses expected value functions to illustrate how ineffective policies make it an excellent gamble for students to plagiarize, using different combinations of probabilities of being caught, severities of punishment, and weighting of plagiarized assignments. I fault the paper for assuming all students are value neutral, in that he does not include any factor for the cost of compromising your standards (internal social control in some studies) or, for that matter, the benefit of going along with the crowd (culture conflict theory in others).

Nonetheless, if we assume away any moral or ethical component to the decision to cheat, he demonstrates that unless probabilities of detection are high due to vigilence and penalities are severe (F in the course, not just on the assignment), students have a strong incentive to cheat.

So back to Bob's post, Woessner certainly implies that the faculty are at least as culpable as the students when massive cheating such as that in the engineering department at Ohio University takes place.

I'm not sure I agree on an individual student level, but it's food for thought.


June 2, 2006 message from John Brozovsky [jbrozovs@VT.EDU]

Faculty are only culpable if you accept the premise that students are inherently amoral. If our accounting students are amoral then Enron is the tip of the iceberg as they will all behave the same way in a similar circumstance (you would have to assume they are just waiting on the ideal time to pull shenaigans).

[We do have a fairly decent honor code with reasonable penalties for those judged guilty by a jury of their peers (4 students 1 faculty member). The peers are typically very willing to find for guilt in the juries I have served on.]


June 3, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Trinity University adopted an honor code that has a student court investigate cheating and assess penalties. The students are more apt to be tougher on cheating students.

But for faculty it has been a little like rape in that the hassle involved in reporting it discourages the reporting in some suspected instances of cheating (in truth I've not made a formal study of this).

On several occasions in the past (before the new Honor Code) I've simply flunked the student and reported the incident to the Academic Vice President who maintained a file of reported incidents and could, for repeat offenders, inflict more serious punishments. Now faculty must appear in "court." More significantly, the authority to sign the F grade for cheating is thereby taken out of the hands of the faculty member responsible for grades in a course.

Bob Jensen

June 2, 2006 reply from Jagdish S. Gangolly [gangolly@INFOTOC.COM]

I have been following this thread with some interest.

Medical schools have a pompous ceremony for orientation for all entering students. It is usually called "white coat" ceremony.

While the pomp and circumstance at such a ceremony is incidental, the main objective is to make sure that the students are being inducted into a noble and learned profession, that their behaviour after should be different, that they have responsibilities that transcend averything else, life is precious, their ethical behaviour determines the future of the profession, etc., etc.,,,

In my own department, I have for a long time suggested that we desperately need something like that. This is especially important to accounting, since unlike medical schools that get mature adults (22-30+ years old), we get juveniles who are less worldly experienced and more prone to making wrong choices simply because they are younger (if one agrees with Kohlberg).

The question is, what do we do in such a pompous but solemn ceremony? What do we call it? Where is our equivalent of the Hippocratic oath?

I reproduce below both the classic oath and the modern oaths below. May be we can come up with one of our own.


Hippocratic Oath -- Classical Version

"I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot."

Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943. ____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________ Hippocratic Oath—Modern Version

"I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help."

Accounting Instructor Catches UW Students Cheating --- http://www.smartpros.com/x38003.xml 

Apr. 29, 2003 (Associated Press) — As many 60 University of Wisconsin accounting students apparently cheated on take-home exams, school officials say.

The students were told to take the midterm tests individually but some worked in groups, accounting department chairman John Eichenseyer said.

The instructor had allowed the students to take the tests home so they could attend a presentation April 2 by Sherron Watkins, the Enron employee who blew the whistle on its questionable accounting practices.

Students who had done their own work told the instructor they had heard about widespread cheating on the test, Eichenseyer said this week.

The instructor, whom Eichenseyer declined to name, made all students retake the test and it turned out many didn't know the material.

Many students have admitted cheating since the instructor confronted them, Eichenseyer said. Students who did much worse on the in-class test will get that score as their grade for the test.


Bob Jensen's threads on professors who let students cheat ---

July 23, 2011 message from a graduate student in the Philippines

Thank you so much for sharing some write-ups about higher education controversies such as grade inflation. I'd like to be clarified, 

1) What actions constitute grade inflation? Some state universities like Central Mindanao University of Bukidnon, Philippines, incorporate a grading system that allows students to pass the exam if they get correct answers in at least 50% of the total items. This is because of the term "teacher factor" where teaching effectiveness is also considered as a contributing factor to the failure of the students to fully understand the subject matter. In accountancy, however, the standard is much higher at 65% zero-based as passing rate in order to maintain the quality of students allowed to graduate to ensure good school performance in the CPA Board Exams. But with the grading this high at 65% zero-based, often the students, including the brightest ones, hardly even reach 50% in total raw scores. Because of this, the teacher evaluates first the overall test results to see if a decent number of students got passing grades, and if not, subjectively lowers the passing rate to allow a certain percentile range to pass. Is this considered as grade inflation?

2) What programs or policies would you recommend to deal with grade inflation?

July 23, 2011 reply from Bob Jensen

Grade inflation is usually defined in terms of the trends in median course grades.

In the 1940s a median grade was a C.

With respect to the present times see the attached graph.

"Grades on the Rise," by Jennifer Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, March 5, 2010 ----

Grades awarded to U.S. undergraduates have risen substantially in the last few decades, and grade inflation has become particularly pronounced at selective and private colleges, a new analysis of data on grading practices has found.

In “Grading in American Colleges and Universities,” published Thursday in Teachers College Record, Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University professor of geology, and Christopher Healy, an associate professor of computer science at Furman University, illustrate that grade point averages have risen nationally throughout most of the last five decades. The study also indicates that the mean G.P.A. at an institution is “highly dependent” upon the quality of its students and whether it is public or private..

“There’s no doubt we are grading easier,” said Rojstaczer, the founder of GradeInflation.com, where he’s built a database of grades at a range of four-year institutions since 2003. The findings are based on historical data dating back at least 15 years at more than 80 colleges and universities, and contemporary data from more than 160 institutions with enrollments totaling more than 2,000,000.

Since the 1960s, the national mean G.P.A. at the institutions from which he’s collected grades has risen by about 0.1 each decade – other than in the 1970s, when G.P.A.s stagnated or fell slightly. In the 1950s, according to Rojstaczer’s data, the mean G.P.A. at U.S. colleges and universities was 2.52. By 2006-07, it was 3.11.

Though there’s “not a simple answer as to why we grade the way we do,” Rojstaczer speculated on several reasons why mean G.P.A.s have increased. One factor, he said, is that faculty and administrators “want to make sure students do well” post-graduation, getting into top graduate schools and securing jobs of their choice. Particularly since the 1980s, “the idea that we’re going to grade more leniently so that our students will have a leg up has really seemed to take hold.”

Grades have also been pushed up by “pervasive use of teacher evaluation forms,” Rojstaczer said. “You can tell a professor that grading easy has no impact on their evaluations … and there are many arguments that say that’s the case, but the perception is that it does, so professors behave in a certain way,” giving higher grades to their students than they might if there were no evaluation forms. (This might prove especially true at institutions with high proportions of adjuncts, who are particularly vulnerable to losing teaching assignments if they don't receive high student evaluations.)

Another possible reason: students’ expectations. At private institutions, students are consumers expecting that their diplomas and transcripts be worth what they (or their parents) have paid for them. At more selective institutions, students enter with ever-higher high school G.P.A.s and “you don’t want the student to come to your office in tears for a B or C,” Rojstaczer said.

In their analysis of contemporary grading data, he and Healy found that, on a 4.0 scale, G.P.A.s at private colleges and universities were 0.1 point higher than at publics admitting students with identical combined math and verbal SAT scores. Among institutions with equal selectivity – measured by the average of the percentage of students with high school G.P.A.s above 3.75, the percentage of students who graduated in the top decile of their high school class and the percentage of applicants rejected – students at privates had G.P.A.s 0.2 higher than their peers at publics.

The data also support the commonly-held opinion that engineers’ G.P.A.s tend to be lower than those of students who major in the humanities or social sciences.

But the study does not take into account economic factors or broader national data, which is problematic to Clifford Adelman, a senior associate at the Institution for Higher Education Policy, who in the past has been critical of GradeInflation.com.

Adelman authored a chapter in 2008’s Grade Inflation: Academic Standards in Higher Education in which he argued that longitudinal data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics suggested that grade inflation was not a major trend of the last few decades. “Unobtrusive national data are of no interest to folks who labor to build what are essentially quantitative anecdotes into a preferred story, and the unobtrusive national data tell a very different story.”

Rojstaczer and Healy’s study, he added, “doesn’t cite anything that doesn’t support a position based on fragmentary, fugitive data … and (with the exception of one article) completely ignores the economic literature."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation ---


"University of Iowa bucks national grade inflation trend," by Juliana Fabiano, Daily Iowan, July 22, 2011 ---
Thank you David Albrecht for the heads up.

University of Iowa officials said despite recent evidence of grade inflation across the country, UI instructors and administrators still have a strict academic policy when it comes to final grades.

The study, "Where A is Ordinary: The Evolution of American College and University Grading," tracked the grade distribution of more than 200 schools from 1940-2009. Results suggested the recent number of As given totaled 43 percent— the highest percentage of grades given. The percent is the highest from the duration of the study.

Christopher Healy, a coauthor and an associate professor at Furman University, said that while public institutions such as the UI have significantly fewer As and Bs given out than private institutions, there has been a constant increase in grade-point averages for the past 40 years.

"When you're a professor, you don't necessarily think about GPAs but you might notice which grades were actually given out," Healy said. "Percentages, not the averages, are easier for people to understand. Up until now, research collected was usually regarding GPAs, and we thought that was too abstract."

While Healy stated that the A has become the most common grade on American college campuses — and the campuses do not have strong grading guidelines, UI officials do not believe this is the case.

Helena Dettmer, the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences associate dean for undergraduate programs and curriculum, said the suggested distribution guidelines are intended for courses with representative enrollments and different education approaches. The college makes adjustments based on sections and courses of different sizes, formats, and levels of ability.

The number of As given out for elementary courses in the liberal-arts school are 15 percent of grades distributed compared with 18 percent in intermediate courses and 22 percent in advanced courses, she wrote in an e-mail.

Dettmer said the Educational Policy Committee strongly discourages instructors from assigning the A-plus grade — noting few or no grades of A-plus should ever be awarded except for truly extraordinary work.

Still, the study implies 28 Midwestern universities having the second highest As distribution — 45.0, compared to the West's 44.6 and the South's 39.7, though the UI is not one of those institutions.

Healy said he believes the cause of this is the changing in nature of higher education and is not a positive attribute.

"I don't think this rise of As is a good thing at all," he said. "Let's say you're finding candidates for an award, and you want to identify the No. 1 student in the class. How are you going to do this when all the students look the exact same on paper? You can't call in thousands of applicants for an interview."

At the UI, liberal-arts officials also regulate grade distribution by asking the heads of departments to review the grades of the faculty before approving them. The heads then speak with faculty if they notice grades are too high.

Dettmer said as an associate dean of the college, she monitors grades and speaks with department heads if a trend of high grades is noticed.

Professor Dan Anderson, the head of the UI Mathematics Department, said he recognizes the GPA increase. However, he doesn't believe his department awards too many As.

"The math department is a tougher grading department," he said. "Certainly, grades have gone up, but I don't see the high grade distribution as a general problem."

While Anderson believes the department is one of the stricter grading sections, the percentage of grades given out follows the guidelines of the liberal-arts school.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation ---

"Community-College Students Perform Worse Online Than Face to Face," by Ryan Brown, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 18, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
All these studies show is that having a kid on each knee and one crawling at your feet is not conducive to studying from a computer monitor.

Studies like this compare apples to butterflies. If we we created a class-like environment for the online student at home the results might be entirely different. The first task would be to take away the distractions of the telephone, television, radio, pets, children in the house (not just the room since parents often have to break up tiffs between children in another room). The second task would be to have a camera on the monitor so the online instructor/proctor can see the online student at all times to do such things as preventing a tired online student from dozing off or sipping on a beer can or puffing on a joint.

So much depends upon the motivation of the student. The SCALE experiments using online versus onsite samples of students across 30 courses for five years at the University of Illinois found that motivated online students performed better than onsite students if they were A, B, or high C students online or onsite. For D and F students there was not much hope for being online or onsite in a classroom ---

"Textbook Rentals Come to the Kindle: Probably Not a Money-Saver," by Audrey Watters, ReadWriteWeb, July 18, 2011 ---

Amazon unveiled a Kindle Textbook Rental, giving students the ability to rent instead of buy digital textbooks. Amazon says that "tens of thousands" of titles from some of the major textbook publishers - including John WIley & Sons, Wlsevier, and Taylor & Francis - will be available for this school year.

It's not just the selection that the company is touting, of course, it's the savings: "now students can save up to 80% off its textbook list prices by renting from the Kindle Store." Amazon's boasted savings for students has put the company at odds with brick-and-mortar college bookstores, and the National Association of College Stores has accused the online retailer of misleading students about the potential for savings when buying textbooks from Amazon.

But renting textbooks has becoming a popular alternative to buying recently, with companies like Chegg offering students the ability to rent books just for the duration of a semester. Amazon's new program is similar, but with the added bonus of being digital rather than physical, letting students read the e-books on Kindles and on Kindle apps.

Buying Used Textbooks, Still Cheaper Than Renting

The Kindle Textbook Rental program also lets students configure the length of the rental, from 30 days to 360 days. Of course, the longer you rent, the more expensive it becomes. A $100 Kindle purchase can be rented for $40 for a month, but that quickly increases the longer you keep the book - and most students will keep it for at least a semester. It's still cheaper to buy used textbooks in most cases, and when you buy a physical book, of course, you can keep the book or sell it back as you deem fit.

To make this option more appealing, Amazon has added a new feature to the Kindle Textbook Rental program, the ability for students to keep any of the notes they make in the textbooks they've rented. Typically, when you borrow an e-book, any marks you make in the text disappear when you return them. But Amazon says you'll be able to keep your highlights and notes "in the Amazon Cloud," and should you buy or rent the book again, the notes will be "just where you left them."

College Students Lukewarm about Kindles

The Kindle itself hasn't gained much traction among college students, and several studies have found that students say that they don't find e-readers to be very useful for their note-taking and studying needs. It's worth noting that on Amazon's page announcing the new program that an actual Kindle isn't depicted. Instead, there's an e-book on a laptop and displayed on a large monitor. You needn't use a Kindle, the message seems to suggest, just a Kindle app.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It's a little unfair to only compare eBooks with hard copy (including used hard copy) books on the basis of price or rental fees alone. Electronic books are different on other criteria. Word searches are easier in electronic books whereas hard copy books don't crash and burn. All the electronic textbooks for all courses ever taken can be carried in one reader weighing less than two pounds. Try stuffing the hard copy textbooks for more than two courses into a backpack.

Rentals in electronic books or hard copy have some drawbacks. I wish I could have had all the textbooks for every course I ever took in college stored for access today. But I took some of those courses before printing presses were invented.

"Amazon Announces Digital-Textbook Rentals," by Jie Jenny Zou, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2011 ---

Amazon has rolled out an e-textbook-rentals program, which could bring more attention to the emerging model of treating textbooks like online subscriptions.

Students can now download temporary copies of textbooks on Amazon’s Web site for reading on a Kindle e-book reader or on a computer, tablet, or smartphone running free Kindle software. The system lets customers specify rental periods lasting anywhere from a month to a year. Amazon argues that the digital rentals can save students up to 80 percent compared with traditional print textbooks.

For example, one textbook, Intermediate Accounting, which retails at $197 in print and $109 as an e-book, would cost $57 to rent from Amazon for three months. Students have the option to purchase the e-book during or after a rental period, and can extend rental period in daily increments.

Students will also be able to refer to any margin notes and highlights they made in their digital textbooks after the rental period is over. Amazon has tens of thousands of titles available for digital rental from major publishers like John Wiley & Sons and Elsevier and Taylor & Francis.

“Textbooks by nature are a disposable product,” said Sarah L. Glassmeyer, a faculty services and outreach librarian at Valparaiso University School of Law, in Indiana.

Ms. Glassmeyer, who is also an assistant professor of law at the university, said she supports the move by publishers to offer more digital-textbook options, which she says can save students money and lighten their backpacks—especially when it comes to heavy case-law books.

She said the ability for students to quickly and cheaply access textbooks and margin notes appeals to a generation of students she described as “digital learners,” and she expects digital rentals to catch on.

CourseSmart, a digital-textbook seller started by major textbook publishers, allows rentals but only for periods of six months or more. “CourseSmart has found that the current rental periods offered are those preferred by students as they align with the length of a course,” said Emily Peck, senior account executive at CourseSmart, noting that the company is not planning to change its rental periods.

Jensen Comment
Richard Campbell tells us that formatting is lousy for Kindle books. Other professors like Amy Dunbar, however, tell me they love their Kindles. I really have not yet bought into a eBook reader to replace my Rocket eBook that I can no longer even find. Personally, I'm a big fan of Amazon's used book deals.

But mostly I'm a huge fan of free eBooks that I read on my laptops --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLIterature.htm 

The world's great library is free with open sharing. In retirement I read books for entertainment than to impress others with my readership of the latest lousy books. I do try to impress others with my scholarship of blogs and current journal articles --- most are free, but I do subscribe to quite a few journals including AAA journals, The Economist, Chronicle of Higher Education, the WSJ expensive version, Time, Newsweek (what a bummer under Tina's editorship), and various expensive items that I can access free via Trinity University's fantastic library subscription databases. I could access the WSJ via Trinity's library, but I enjoy the convenience of having my own educational subscription arrive in hard copy as well as having electronic access.

I use Trinity's library databases a lot! I also get free hard copy on occasion from Trinity's fantastic Interlibrary Loan Service that will provide me with free photocopies (as an emeritus professor) of journal articles and selected chapters of books.


"The Bookstore at the End of the World," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed,  July 20, 2011 ---

The walk from my front door to Inside Higher Ed’s grand new offices takes about 10 minutes – or 15, if I am following the route that runs past a couple of unmarked graves. So I’ve come to think of the plots of commercial real estate where good bookstores used to be. One was a locally owned shop. It went out of business after years of competition from a behemoth national chain that opened its doors a few blocks away. The other, of course, was the behemoth national chain bookstore itself, which left a vast, empty cavern when its holdings were sold off not long ago.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
When I was on the Campus Bookstore Committee at Trinity University years ago when it was still owned by Trinity rather than Barnes & Noble, the business would've been a real loser if it sold only books. What kept it above water was the sale of sweatshirts, jackets, shorts, tennis shoes, school supplies, computers, food, and all the other non-book merchandise for which margins between costs and prices are much higher than margins for textbooks.

What dragged textbook profits down in some respects, aside from low textbook margins, was not having nearby competition for textbook sales (there is no "campus town" near the campus even though all students must live on campus for the first three years). This made the campus bookstore totally responsible for always having enough textbooks available for each and every course. As competition heated up from online book sellers like Amazon, it became very hard to both have enough textbooks available for each course and having to handle a great many piles of overstocked new and used textbooks. Textbooks take up a lot of shelf space, sell only at the beginning of each semester, and are labor intensive in terms of shelving and unshelving for returns to the publishers.

But textbook sales contributed greatly toward recovery of fixed costs of operations, and the bookstore would've probably not broke even if it relied totally on the sales of non-book merchandise. Now of course Amazon and other online retailers are competing heavily for the non-book merchandise as well as the hard copy textbooks and the electronic books. When Amazon and other online retailers do not have to charge sales taxes, the costs of shipping in a sense become "free."

I used to like to browse in the bookstore's stacks of textbooks. It was interesting to see what books were being required or recommended by my colleagues teaching in other disciplines. By the way, books that were "recommended but not required" also presented problems for bookstore managers for obvious reasons.

It would seem that bookstores surviving in the future will be in nooks and crannies of musty antique stores that sell non-book merchandise as well. Current "books" may not even be available in hard copy. And book stores on the streets probably won't be able to compete with Amazon pricing even when hard copy is available. What may kill off bookstores more than anything else is the clever way Amazon sells used books at very cheap prices (except when new and used copies are rare).

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at

Normally I do not forward this type of commercial message unless it entails free open sharing. However, these workshops appear to meet a special niche for those of you who really want to create innovative learning materials.

There are, of course, other alternatives such as ToolBook that makes life a bit easier by providing pre-scripted templates. But this stifles creativity somewhat compared with writing your own Javascripts. Writing Javascripts does not require the degree of programming skill that Java programming itself requires (definitely for geeks). The worlds of Javascripting versus Java are entirely different worlds. I found Javascripting to be relatively easy compared to Java programming (I'm definitely not a Java programmer).

Bob Jensen

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 2:42 PM
Subject: Javascript Tutorials and Training
To: rjensen@trinity.edu

Hello Bob,

While browsing your site

(http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/helpersvideos.htm), I came upon your javascript tutorials and resource page.  I was very impressed with the quality of links presented on this page.  I wanted to recommend to you the Ascend Training Javascript Tutorials and Training site at
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We offer training resources and tutorials for anyone looking to learn or improve their skills on the computer, ranging from web design to adobe software to even apple software.  I think our site would be a great educational resource for  anyone who visits your site and is looking to learn new skills or enhance their skills.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

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The Infamous Stanford Prison Experiment --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

The Behavior Experiment That Changed the Rules of the Game for Behavioral Research
"The Menace Within:  What happened in the basement of the psych building 40 years ago shocked the world. How do the guards, prisoners and researchers in the Stanford Prison Experiment feel about it now?" by Romesh Ratnesar, Stanford Magazine, July 2011 ---

 . . .

One thing that I thought was interesting about the experiment was whether, if you believe society has assigned you a role, do you then assume the characteristics of that role? I teach at an inner city high school in Oakland. These kids don't have to go through experiments to witness horrible things. But what frustrates my colleagues and me is that we are creating great opportunities for these kids, we offer great support for them, why are they not taking advantage of it? Why are they dropping out of school? Why are they coming to school unprepared? I think a big reason is what the prison study shows—they fall into the role their society has made for them.

Participating in the Stanford Prison Experiment is something I can use and share with students. This was one week of my life when I was a teenager and yet here it is, 40 years later, and it's still something that had enough of an impact on society that people are still interested in it. You never know what you're going to get involved in that will turn out to be a defining moment in your life.

How powerful and enduring is "functional fixation?"

"Windows Will Be the Minority Platform by 2013, Says Analyst"  If Microsoft can't build market share in tablets, it could be the end of 30 years of Redmond's dominance," by Christopher Mims, MIT's Technology Review, July 14, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
I think there is a definitional problem here. Defining "minority platform" on the basis of number of machines sold is somewhat misleading. Many people and companies buying tablet computers like the iPad are not using them as replacements of their windows-based PCs. They're using them for other purposes such as eBook reading, game playing, email, and social networking. But when it comes to sophisticated computing for word processing, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and MS Access, these same people are not reaching for their tablets.

Millions of users are still highly dependent upon MS Office products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. And cloud computing is still too much in the clouds. MS Office software will run on the Mac, but these are often not the latest versions of MS Office. Virtual Office is on the rise, but this is not yet the equivalent of MS Office. Predicting the decline of Windows may be more wishful thinking than reality at this point --- computer scientists always tended to hate Microsoft but that alone was not enough to prevent Microsoft's operating system from becoming dominant in the market.

What wishful thinkers often fail to recognize is the power of "functional fixation" in the brains of office workers. After 30 years of ever-increasing functionality of software like Excel with such innovations as pivot tables and compatibility with other MS Office software, it's not easy to either teach old dogs new tricks or write software for tablet operating systems that can do sophisticated things that are already built into MS Office software such as all the many features of MS Word for word processing and publishing..

Microsoft may indeed be on the decline, but don't count it out by Year 2013. Also never underestimate the power of billions sitting in idle cash and cash equivalents waiting to gobble up the best innovations down the road. Of course Microsoft itself may choose to eventually steer away from developments beyond Windows 8. But there will be many folks like me still having our old XP computers kept constantly in good repair. Talk about a functional fixation!

Accounting History Trivia
What accounting professors coined the phrase "functional fixation" in 1966 and in what particular accounting context?

Hint 1
One of the professors was also one of my professors, a former Dean of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, and the last Chairman of Enron's Audit Committee.

Hint 2
Bob Ashton did some cognitive experimentation of functional fixation that was published in the Journal of Accounting Research a decade later in 1976.

"Who Will Be Held Responsible in the Atlanta Public School Cheating Scandal?" by Lori Drummer, Townhall, July 19, 2011 ---

"Georgia lawmaker wants cheating educators to return bonuses,"  WRDW TV, July 19, 2011 ---

Under the proposed legislation, any educator found guilty of cheating would forfeit all promised salary increases or bonuses and would have to repay any money handed out based on test results.

"Cory Booker: High School Education is the Key to America's Success," by Michelle Chandler, Stanford GSB News, July 2011 ---

"Education Is Worse Than We Thought," by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, July 20, 2011 ---

Last December, I reported on Harvard University professor Stephan Thernstrom's essay "Minorities in College -- Good News, But...," on Minding the Campus, a website sponsored by the New York-based Manhattan Institute. He was commenting on the results of the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, saying that the scores "mean that black students aged 17 do not read with any greater facility than whites who are four years younger and still in junior high. ... Exactly the same glaring gaps appear in NAEP's tests of basic mathematics skills." Thernstrom asked, "If we put a randomly-selected group of 100 eighth-graders and another of 100 twelfth-graders in a typical college, would we expect the first group to perform as well as the second?" In other words, is it reasonable to expect a college freshman of any race who has the equivalent of an eighth-grade education to compete successfully with those having a 12th-grade education?

Maybe this huge gap in black/white academic achievement was in the paternalistic minds of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals justices who recently struck down Michigan's ban on the use of race and sex as criteria for college admissions. The court said that it burdens minorities and violates the U.S. Constitution. Given the black education disaster, racial preferences in college admissions will become a permanent feature, because given the status quo, blacks as a group will never make it into top colleges based upon academic merit.

The situation is worse than we thought. U.S. News & World Report (7/7/2011) came out with a story titled "Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal," saying that "for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history, according to a scathing 413-page investigative report released Tuesday by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal." The report says that more than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated cheated on the 2009 standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress. Eighty-two teachers have confessed to erasing students' answers. A total of 178 educators, including 38 principals, many of whom are black, systematically fabricated test scores of struggling black students to cover up academic failure. The governor's report says that cheating orders came from the top and that widespread cheating has occurred since at least 2001. So far, no Atlanta educator has been criminally charged, even though some of the cheating was brazen, such as teachers pointing to correct answers while students were taking the tests, reading answers aloud during testing and seating low-achieving students next to high-achieving students to make cheating easier.

Teacher and principal exam cheating is not restricted to Atlanta; it's widespread. The Detroit Free Press and USA Today (3/8/2011) released an investigative report that found higher-than-average erasure rates on tests taken by students at 34 schools in and around Detroit in 2008 and 2009. Overall, their report "found 304 schools where experts say the gains on standardized tests in 2009-10 are so statistically improbable, they merit further investigation. Besides Michigan, the other states (where suspected cheating was found) were Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and California." A Dallas Morning News investigation reported finding high rates of test erasures in Texas. Six teachers and two principals were dismissed after cheating was uncovered.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education controversies are at

If they can vote in California, why can't dead people work for the Government?
"Workers for Contractors at Government Lab Used Dead People's SSNs," by Terry Jeffrey, Townhall, July 20, 2011 ---

What happens when there's an opening in a university's Education Department and there are 200 qualified applicants versus an opening in the Medical School for which there are no applicants at fixed, egalitarian pay scales?

"Canadian Faculty Union Adopts Egalitarian Bargaining Principles," Inside Higher Ed, July 19, 2011 ---

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of British Columbia, which represents more than 10,000 faculty members at universities, colleges, institutes and private sector institutions in that province, recently adopted a new statement of bargaining principles. The statement follows a wave of conversions of several area colleges into universities, which "has brought with it pressures to convert working conditions to the stratified tenure, non-tenure track realities of many old-line universities in Canada," an e-mail last week from at-large executive committee member Frank Cosco to union members read. "Conditions which seem to be the norm in the US."

The new set of principles was adopted at the union's general meeting in May but not distributed to many adjuncts until last week. It calls for bargaining policies to be based on a "collectivist, egalitarian, and equitable university workplace model as opposed to a competitive, stratified model of employment." More specifically, the principles embrace -- for both full- and part-time faculty members -- broad access to tenure and academic freedom regardless of the number of hours they work on a given campus, job protection and a single salary scale. Many adjunct faculty members in the U.S. chafe at their uncertain status in each of these areas.

Jensen Comment
Defying the law of supply and demand in favor of fixed pay scales is not necessarily optimal. There may be fewer Education Department teachers (since paying more to each teacher may force cutbacks on the number of teachers and increases in class size). And the Schools of Accountancy and Medicine may have virtually no applicants or only applicants of questionable professional qualifications.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

The Future of Grocery Shopping (stores come to the people)  --- http://www.flixxy.com/virtual-grocery-store.htm

Latin American Business History: Resources and Research --- http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/laoh/

Edison State College (Florida) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edison_State_College

Avoiding Required Accounting Courses at Edison State

"Edison admits class swaps Some graduated without required courses," News-Press, July 14, 2011 ---

. . .

Course substitution forms were filed as late as graduation day in past semesters so students could receive diplomas. Edison's graduation rate historically has been low, with 8 percent of students completing an associate degree program in two years.

The college will have to explain the situation to its accrediting body this fall.

All told, Edison allowed 3,605 course substitutions over a five-year period, affecting 2.5 percent of students. Not all of those were improper, but Edison did not provide an exact number. College policy allows substitutions, so long as students take all required core courses.

A majority of inappropriate substitutions were in accounting, business management, and drafting and design.

Bill Roshon and Dennette Foy, dean and associate dean for professional and technical studies, respectively, oversaw those programs, and were placed on paid leave Thursday. Both have been employed by Edison for two decades. Roshon earned $119,415 in 2010, while Foy made $75,659.

Neither dean could be reached for comment, nor could any members of the Board of Trustees.

The investigation

Atkins said he began looking at course substitutions last fall following a tip about a stack of forms dropped at the registrar's office. After a few weeks of perusing documents, he penned a strongly worded memo Dec. 2 - one he had notarized - that called substitutions "blatant and egregious" violations so serious Edison could be breaking the law.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Higher Education Controversies ---


From the Scout Report on July 15, 2011

Photry --- http://www.photry.com/ 

Are you running out of space on your computer for your many photos? If so, it may be worth checking out Photry for a potential solution to this problem. Photry gives users the ability to place their photo in their "cloud" and effectively free up space on their own home computer. Visitors just need to sign up for a free account, and they can go ahead and get started creating their own photo albums and such. This version is compatible with computers running all operating systems.  

MyWebCareer --- http://www.mywebcareer.com/ 

In an interconnected world, more and more employers are checking out on potential job candidates' online profiles. Some of this data may include references to former employers via press releases, blog posts, and so on. MyWebCareer is a free service that allows individuals to gather data on these materials in order to help their career prospects and to better understand their own online presence. Visitors can sign up here to get started and they will be able to uncover their online footprint and also explore their own existing connections with other people, companies, and themes. This version of MyWebCareer is compatible with all operating systems.

As the Shuttle <i>Atlantis</i> orbits Earth for the last time, questions
arise about the future of space exploration
The Last Space Shuttle Launches Safely Into Orbit

Our Place In Space After the Shuttle Program Wraps

End of space shuttle program launches major challenges for NASA

NASA Chooses Space Shuttles’ Retirement Homes

Dismantling the Space Shuttle Program

Private Spaceflight Ready to Take Off in 2011

Tracking the Space Shuttle in Google Earth

From the Scout Report on July 22, 2011

Photograbber  --- http://code.google.com/p/photograbber/ 

Those persons looking for a way to quickly move their Facebook photographs to another social network or location will enjoy Photograbber. This application can be modified to download all tagged photos, albums, and even comments. Visitors can read the FAQ section for more details, and this particular version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux.

Beatlab --- http://www.beatlab.com/ 

Have you ever wanted to enter an online lab of beats and music? If so, your wish will be fulfilled by this fun and energetic exploration of online beats and sounds. There are fourteen different sounds (bass drum, high hat, "PolyArp", etc.) that visitors can add to their beat. Also, they can adjust the speed of each sound and save their beat to share with their friends. Finally, visitors can explore the Beatlab community and learn what other users are doing with their beats. This version is compatible with all operating systems

Continuing cost overruns on the F-35 Strike Fighter raise questions about the aircraft and its production
The last manned fighter

Air Force to start operational testing of F-35

F-35 Lightning II Program

GAO: Joint Strike Fighter-Restructuring Places Program on Firmer Footing,
but Progress Still Lags [pdf]

United States Senate Armed Services Committee

National Museum of the USAF

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

"How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education," by Clive Thompson, Wired News, July 15, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing and the Khan Academy (a free, non-credit site with hundreds of learning modules) ---


Education Tutorials

EDSITEment! [Education Helpers from the National Endowment for the Humanities] ---  http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plans

The University of Iowa: Center for Teaching --- http://centeach.uiowa.edu/

When Things Get Small --- http://www.ucsd.tv/getsmall/

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science --- http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/

PEPNet Northeast at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf - RIT --- http://www.netac.rit.edu/index.html

"Signing Up for a Video Dictionary for Deaf People," by Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 27, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3033&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Bob Jensen's helpers for the education of handicapped/disabled learners ---

Inside the International Space Station --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=H8rHarp1GEE

Mims's Bits The Best Space Shuttle Tribute Video --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27023/?nlid=nldly&nld=2011-07-25

"How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education," by Clive Thompson, Wired News, July 15, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing and the Khan Academy (a free, non-credit site with hundreds of learning modules) ---


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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Advanced Lab Teaching Resources: Physics & Astronomy http://www.haverford.edu/physics/Amador/AdvancedLabTeachingResources.php

STEM Career (science careers)  http://stemcareer.com/

EurekAlert! - Multimedia Gallery (science news) ---  http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/

Brain: The Inside Story --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/brain/

When Things Get Small --- http://www.ucsd.tv/getsmall/

eFluids --- http://www.efluids.com/

National Weather Service: Weather Education --- http://www.weather.gov/om/edures.shtml

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science --- http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Corporate Document Repository http://www.fao.org/documents/en/docrep.jsp

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

Textbook: Key Concepts in Geomorphology --- http://www.uvm.edu/~geomorph/textbook/

University of Michigan Population Studies Center: Survey Methodology Paper Series --- http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/series-list.html?sc=ng

Mississippi Freedom Summer Project (Civil Rights) --- http://digital.lib.muohio.edu/fs/

Daily Egyptian Diversity News Index (Diversity, Gender) --- 

Center for Civic Education --- http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=home

Harvard Family Research Project (opportunities for children) --- http://www.hfrp.org/

Walter Gordon Collection of Photographs (African American History) ---

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Corporate Document Repository http://www.fao.org/documents/en/docrep.jsp

"Video:Economist Vernon Smith on the Housing Bubble, Adam Smith, and Libertarianism," Simoleon Sense, July 21, 2011 ---

Vernon Smith is a pioneer, discovering a whole new way to study economics and winning a Nobel Prize for doing so.

Smith sat down with Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie to discuss a variety of topics, including growing up in Kansas during the Great Depression, his ideological journey from socialist to libertarian, how and why some of Adam Smith’s most important intellectual contributions are overlooked, and what experimental economics has to say about the collapse of the housing market.

Bob Jensen's threads on the housing bubble ---

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

Financial Education in the Math Classroom --- http://mathforum.org/fe/

A Government Website for Helpers in Personal Finance
MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you will find important information from 20 federal agencies government wide.
My Money.gov --- http://www.mymoney.gov/

PBS Television will now answer your personal finance questions ---

Bob Jensen's helpers in personal finance --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/BookBob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

Loci: Modeling the Mirascope Using Dynamic Technology

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

History Tutorials

Virtual Museum of Textile Arts --- http://www.museocaprai.it/en/index.php

Latin American Business History: Resources and Research --- http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/laoh/

The Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography --- http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/digital/encpabio.html

Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011) --- http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/07/21/arts/design/Lucianfreudss.html?ref=arts

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

National Gallery of Art - NGAkids (folk art) --- http://www.nga.gov/kids/kids.htm

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (art, sculpture) --- http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/

Walter Gordon Collection of Photographs (African American History) ---

Revisit Havana, the “Paris of the Caribbean,” in the 1930s --- Click Here

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

Lee Family Digital Archive (includes Robert E. Lee) --- http://leearchive.wlu.edu/

Photography by Wittgenstein (this was really clever in history) --- Click Here

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

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

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

July 18, 2011

July 19, 2011

July 20, 2011

July 21, 2011

July 22, 2011

July 23, 2011

July 25, 2011

July 26, 2011

July 28, 2011

July 29, 2011

July 30, 2011

"Age-Related Memory Loss Reversed in Monkeys: Research uncovers the cellular defects that cause this type of forgetfulness," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, July 27, 2011 ---

It happens to the best of us: you walk into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee but get distracted by the mail, and then forget what you were doing in the first place. Aging makes people particularly vulnerable to this kind of forgetfulness, where we fail to maintain a thought in the face of distractions.

New research from Yale University uncovers cellular changes that seem to underlie this type of memory loss in monkeys, and shows that it can be reversed with drugs. By delivering a certain chemical to the brain, researchers could make neurons in old monkeys behave like those in young monkeys. Clinical trials of a generic drug that mimics this effect are already underway.

The findings support the idea that some of the brain changes that occur with aging are very specific—rather than being caused by a general decay throughout the brain—and can potentially be prevented. "It helps us understand that the age-related changes in the brain are malleable," says Molly Wagster, chief of the Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute on Aging, which funded the research. "That's a crucial piece of information, and extremely hopeful."

In the study, Amy Arnsten and collaborators recorded electrical activity from neurons in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, a region especially vulnerable to aging in both humans and primates. It is vital for our most high-level cognitive functions, such as working memory and the ability to multitask and inhibit distractions. "The prefrontal cortex is a mental sketch pad, keeping things in mind even if nothing in the environment is telling us what to do," says Arnsten. "It's the building block of abstract thought."

Previous research has shown that neural circuits in this region are organized to create a sustained level of activity that is crucial for working memory. "By exciting each other, the neurons are able to maintain information that isn't currently in the environment," says Arnsten.

By analyzing activity recorded from young, middle-aged, and old monkeys, the researchers found that the firing rate of the neurons in this area declines with age. They found that other neurons, such as those that respond to cues in the environment, still fired normally even as the monkeys aged. The research was published today in the journal Nature

Continued in article

"Alzheimer's Detected 20 Years before Symptoms Show: People with rare, inherited forms of the neurological disease have early markers—which researchers can use to test preventive treatments," by Emily Singer, MIT's Techology Review, July 20, 2011 ---

The Broken Zipper --- http://www.youtube.com/user/billybobjr705

Video:  Improv With New Yorker Cartoonists --- Click Here

Forwarded by Gene and Joan

It's Soooo Hot!
The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.
The trees are whistling for the dogs.
The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
Hot water now comes out of both taps.
You can make sun tea instantly.
You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.
You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.
You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.
You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 am.
Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"
You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add
butter, salt and pepper. and of course sour cream, diced onions and a few serving spoons of chile.
Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
The cows are giving evaporated milk.

Forwarded by Paula


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO : No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT : Your computer?

COSTELLO : I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou .

ABBOTT : What about Windows?

COSTELLO : Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT : Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO : I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT : Wallpaper.

COSTELLO : Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT : Software for Windows?

COSTELLO : No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT : I just did.

COSTELLO : You just did what?

ABBOTT : Recommend something.

COSTELLO : You recommended something ?


COSTELLO : For my office?


COSTELLO : OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO : Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT : I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO : I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT : Word.

COSTELLO : What word?

ABBOTT : Word in Office.

COSTELLO : The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT : The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO : Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT : The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO : I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO : That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT : It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO : What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT : Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO : I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT : One copy.

COSTELLO : Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT : Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO : They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT : Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT : Click on 'START'...


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

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

All my online pictures --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/


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