Tidbits on November 28, 2011
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

In 1977 after the Sunset Hill Hotel Resort was nearly all demolished in 1973, our cottage (before it was ours)
was moved from the golf course across a tennis court and up to where the former hotel site.
This week I show pictures of the preparation work prior to the moving the cottage and its four fireplaces


What's the largest building ever moved as an intact structure?

I don't know about building moves in general, but when we were living in San Antonio I think the move of the brick Fairmount Hotel was the largest building ever moved (1986) across a bridge --- A link to the move pictures is provided at


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

My Favorite Hiking Trails in the White Mountains
Cannon Mountain Rim Trail, Flume Gorge, Bridal Falls, Lost River Gorge and Caves, and the Livermore, NH Ghost Town

 White Mountain News --- http://www.whitemtnews.com/


Tidbits on November 28, 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

NPR Video Infographic:  Visualizing population growth (in full color) ---

Infographic Video: The Story of Broke: An Animated Look at US Federal Spending and Values --- Click Here

Conception to Birth Visualized --- Click Here

Old Time Radio Researchers Group --- http://www.otrr.org/index.htm 

The Museum of Broadcast Communications --- http://www.Museum.TV/index.shtml 
(Includes the Radio Hall of Fame for us old timers)
The above site has free audio and video downloads.  I downloaded a free video of Steve Allen highlights..

"Medal Of Honor: Portraits Of Valor" Tells Incredible Stories Of Military Bravery --- Click Here

Nova Video:  The Fabric of the Cosmos ---

NOVA: scienceNOW: Explore Teacher's Guides ---

Solar Bottle Lights --- http://wimp.com/lightenup/

Encounter with a Dark Star ---

Mathematics in Movies: Harvard Prof Curates 150+ Scenes --- Click Here

Irish Ladies on Cheap Flights --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

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

The WWII/Korean War Version of "Before You Go"
A tribute and thank-you to Veterans of WWII and Veterans of the Korean War ---

A Big Bach Download: The Complete Organ Works Free --- Click Here

Copenhagen Philharmonic Plays Ravel’s Bolero at Train Station --- Click Here

Silent Monks singing the Hallelujah Chorus (humor) --- http://voxvocispublicus.homestead.com/Index.html

Moosic (the audience walked away) --- http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/lXKDu6cdXLI?rel=0

Merry Christmas from the ACLU --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWrrvQ_3-40&feature=colike

Placido Domingo: The Spellbinding Voice Of A Titan Tenor --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131042430

Newport Jazz Festival --- Click Here

Video of the Skin Gun --- http://www.thatvideosite.com/video/the_skin_gun

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

Richard Benson: The Printed Picture (historical alternatives for printing pictures) --- http://www.benson.readandnote.com/

Mankind’s First Steps on the Moon: The Ultra High Res Photos --- Click Here

Butchart Gardens --- http://www.butchartgardens.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
Thank you Mindy Morales for the heads up.

Alpine Wildflowers of Glacier National Park, Montana, and Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta ---

Ernest Clayton Collection of California Wild Flowers ---

Waterworks Museum --- http://www.waterworksmuseum.org/

Striking Posters From Occupy Wall Street: Download Them for Free --- Click Here

The MacKinney Collection of Medieval Medical Illustrations --- http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/mackinney/

Images from the History of Medicine --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/ihm/ 

Brooklyn Memories --- http://www.screanews.us/NewYork/BrooklynOld.htm

The Creators Project (Creativity, Innovation, Art, Music, Arts, Culture) --- http://thecreatorsproject.com/

Who's Who and What's What in the Books of Dr. Seuss --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/ocm45408191/

Single Line Drawing: Mona Lisa And Other Masterpieces Recreated By Artist Chan Whee Chong (VIDEO, PHOTOS) ---

PICTURES: Lockheed rolls out UK's first Joint Strike Fighter  ---

The Best of Life Magazine
Free --- http://www.life.com/archive/gallery
Cover Pictures --- Click Here
2011 Book (not free) --- http://www.amazon.com/s/?keywords=1603202129&index=books&tag=LIFE0c-20

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

Children's Library --- http://www.archive.org/details/iacl

Who's Who and What's What in the Books of Dr. Seuss --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/ocm45408191/

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 November 28, 2011

From NPR
Visualizing Population Growth ---
Infographic Video: Visualizing population growth (in full Color)  

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

My good friend, former colleague, and long-time accounting faculty member named Paul Walthall passed away ---
"Walthall had passion for teaching," by Michele Gualano, San Antonio Express News, November 20, 2011 ---

As a longtime accounting professor at Trinity University, Paul Walthall gained popularity among students for his patient and dedicated teaching style.

His enthusiasm for numbers and helping others grasp formulas was evident in his classroom and made for a non-conventional accounting course.

His daughter, Kathleen Fry recalls being a pupil in two of his classes.

“He made what could be a boring course very interesting, because he was a genuine teacher who loved to teach and listen to his students and help them in any way he could,” Fry said.

It was the norm for Walthall to stay after class and tutor students, until they felt comfortable with material. His commitment to giving students the abilities to pass difficult courses garnered Walthall a professor of the year award.

Walthall died Nov. 12. He was 87.

It was also important for Walthall to remain connected to the university community. He fulfilled this by serving as acting dean to the Business Administration Department and sponsoring the Bengal Lancer Fraternity.

During his teaching career, Walthall ran a private practice where he assisted clients with tax services for low fees or no charge.

“He would get up every morning at 4 o'clock, so he could work on people's taxes before starting his day at the university,” Fry said. “He really loved helping people, and one of his outlets to do that was through accounting.”

Another outlet for serving others came from Walthall's involvement with dozens of non-profit organizations including Visiting Nurses Association, Texas Military Institute and Community Guidance Center.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Paul was a very long-time faculty member of Trinity University dating back to just after the Trinity University campus was moved from near Dallas to San Antonio. He dates back to days when Trinity sometimes had trouble meeting its payroll and faculty had to teach upwards of four preparations each semester. Gratefully, Trinity later became a very wealthy university that now ranks 39th (the last time I looked) in the nation in terms of endowment funds per student ---

Paul and Doris Walthall were exceptionally friendly towards us when we arrived at Trinity in 1982. Paul was a tax expert who consulted  with some clients, although he mostly taught in courses where he was needed the most --- basic accounting and intermediate accounting. Paul was a very giving man with a deep conscience, high integrity, and open sharing of his talents among poor people who could not afford to pay him for professional services (mostly tax) rendered pro bono. Paul was also a passionate man who spoke his mind when he felt something was not right --- he feared nobody!

Paul's wife Doris tragically died decades before Paul passed on in 2011. For many years she taught  in a K-12 school and later became active in a school for hearing impaired children. Both Paul and Doris were leaders in their Episcopal Church. Both Paul and Doris served on the boards of various charitable organizations in San Antonio.

Although I'm a loyal emeritus faculty member with utmost admiration for Trinity University over my 24 years on the faculty, Trinity had one policy that I disagreed with completely. After 30 years of Paul's full-time teaching, I talked Paul into applying for a sabbatical leave. He wrote up a plan to update his accounting knowledge and teaching skills out of town at the University of Texas. Paul was turned down by a Trinity faculty committee that pointed to a clause in the leave policy that declared sabbatical leaves would only be granted for research (new knowledge) proposals. I received four sabbatical leaves from Trinity University, but it always seemed to me that I never deserved such leaves nearly as much as Paul Walthall who never had one sabbatical leave in over 40 years of teaching at Trinity.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the children and grandchildren.

You can read more about Paul at

Paul Trimble Walthall, 87, lifelong resident of San Antonio, passed away November 12, 2011. He was born on February 8th to Wilson Jones Walthall and Nina Trimble Walthall. Paul graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1941 and served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He graduated from Trinity University in 1948 with a BS in Business Administration. Paul continued his education at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his Masters of Business Administration degree in 1954. He then obtained his CPA license.

He spent his 41year career teaching accounting at Trinity University while also having a CPA practice on the side. His achievements at Trinity included heading the Bengal Lancers men's association, being elected Professor of the Year, and serving as acting dean of the Business Administration Department for three years. Paul was a lifelong member of Christ Episcopal Church.

His generous spirit and emphasis on community involvement led him to serve on several non-profit boards including Community Guidance Center, Visiting Nurses Association, Texas Military Institute, and National Alumni Board at Trinity University.

For over 50 years he was an active member of a local stock investing association, The Peso Club. In the past few years he also provided homemade desserts to patients at the nearby Aids Hospital. Throughout his adult life, Paul loved to cook for and entertain his family and friends, and they loved and admired his generous spirit and kind heart.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilson Jones Walthall and Nina Trimble Walthall; infant son, Paul T. Walthall, Jr.; wife, Doris Leary Walthall; sister, Marjorie T. Walthall and brother, Wilson J. Walthall. Paul is survived by his children, Anne Wright and husband, Robert, Kathleen Fry and husband, Roger and son, Paul L. Walthall and wife, Susan; grandchildren, Robert Wright, Kate Wright, John Heard IV and Meg Heard; great-grandson, Austin Heard.

NOVEMBER 22, 2011
4:00 P.M.

You can read the following at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits071017.htm

October 14, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I was on the faculty of a university where I encouraged a senior colleague accounting professor to apply for a sabbatical leave. He'd not taken a single leave of absence in over 30 years.

His proposal was to leave town and take several professional courses (not all in accounting) in residence at the University of Texas. This would have done him a lot a good aside from giving him a breather from teaching three of the largest sections of students in the entire university.

A "professional leave" sabbatical, in my viewpoint, would've made him much better able to serve our students with fresh material and renewed enthusiasm.

In spite of my repeated appeals with the rest of our faculty who voted on leave proposals, he was turned down because a professional scholarship proposal was not a research proposal. If he'd proposed running a stupid survey on whether hair color made a difference on passage of the CPA examination in the first sitting among our alumni, he'd have gotten the only sabbatical in his entire career.

This professor was a good teacher but he was not a researcher. He could've conducted a stupid hair color survey, but he refused on principle.

Bob Jensen

This is an illustration of long-term electronic friendship

November 24, 2011 message from friends we've never met face-to-face
But we've had hundreds of email conversations over the years.

Hi Emeritus Professor Bob Robert,

Has anything happened over there ?
Prayers for you,

Diana and Dan
Bucharest ROMANIA
0: Have a Happy Thanksgiving
1 : You have a unique page now here: http://dansomnea.tripod.com/TOUR/_tidbits.html


Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (Diversity, Minorities, Gender) --- http://diverseeducation.com

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in higher education ---

"How a Professor Gave a Blind Student a New Outlook on Science," by Alexandra Rice, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 2011 ---
Click Here

Amanda Lacy was frustrated with her physics class and ready to drop it.

Ms. Lacy, a blind student at Austin Community College, is a computer-science major who loves her classes but often struggles in them, not because she doesn’t understand the material, but because she doesn’t have access to adequate textbooks. And when she started taking the introduction-to-physics class, things got even worse, until a professor stepped in with a solution.

The college provides blind students with digital copies of textbooks so they can listen to them on the computer or read them using an electronic Braille display. But the figures and graphs in Ms. Lacy’s physics book don’t easily translate the same way that text does.

“There are many symbols that the computer doesn’t recognize,” Ms. Lacy said, “so it just comes out as gibberish.” For example, Ms. Lacy said in an interview, the computer will read ‘X squared’ simply as ‘X2′.

When Ms. Lacy showed her digital textbook to her computer-science professor, Richard Baldwin, he was shocked, she said. He told her if someone didn’t take her problem seriously there was no way she would make it through the course.

So Mr. Baldwin started working with Ms. Lacy for a few hours each week, slowly going through the textbook and trying to explain the graphics to her in a way that she understood. “He’d do whatever he could to get these concepts across,” Ms. Lacy said. “He’d scratch them out on paper, draw them on my hand, things like that.” While they were working together, Mr. Baldwin began creating an open-access online tutorial for blind students learning physics.

In Mr. Baldwin’s tutorials, equations are written using only symbols found on keyboards so that everything is one-dimensional and presented in a format that blind people can read. Using the tutorials, Ms. Lacy excelled in her physics class and received an A in the course.

Working with Ms. Lacy taught Mr. Baldwin many things, too, such as that blind people can’t draw with much accuracy. So he came up with a new software for that as well. “I sent this thing to her at home, and the next time I saw her she was pretty elated,” Mr. Baldwin said. “She told me, ‘Finally, I can doodle.’” Before that, her physics professor would just allow her to skip the problems that required sketches for answers. Now, Ms. Lacy says, she is working with the software so that when she takes Physics II she can turn in her completed homework with the rest of the students.

Sometimes people ask her why she doesn’t just study something easier for blind students, like English or history, Ms. Lacy says. What does she tell them? “Because I’ll get bored.”

Bob Jensen's threads on tools to aid disabled learners ---

"Apple’s AssistiveTouch Helps the Disabled Use a Smartphone," by David Pogue, The New York Times, November 10, 2011 ---

Plenty has been written about the new iPhone 4S, with its voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri, and about iOS 5, its software.

But in writing a book about both, I stumbled across an amazingly thoughtful feature that I haven’t seen a word about: something called AssistiveTouch.

Now, Apple has always gone to considerable lengths to make the iPhone usable for people with vision and hearing impairments. If you’re deaf, you can have the LED flash to get your attention when the phone rings. You can create custom vibration patterns for each person who might call you. You can convert stereo music to mono (handy if you’re deaf in one ear).

If you’re blind, you can literally turn the screen off and operate everything — do your e-mail, surf the Web, adjust settings, run apps — by tapping and letting the phone speak what you’re touching. You can also magnify the screen or reverse black for white (for better-contrast reading).

In short, iPhone was already pretty good at helping out if you’re blind or deaf. But until iOS 5 came along, it was tough rocks if you had motor-control problems. How are you supposed to shake the phone (a shortcut for “Undo”) if you can’t even hold the thing? How are you supposed to pinch-to-zoom a map or a photo if you can’t even move your fingers?

One new feature, called AssistiveTouch, is Apple’s accessibility team at its most creative. When you turn on this feature in Settings->General->Accessibility, a new, white circle appears at the bottom of the screen. It stays there all the time.

When you tap it, you get a floating on-screen palette. Its buttons trigger motions and gestures on the iPhone screen without requiring hand or multiple-finger movement. All you have to be able to do is tap with a single finger — even a stylus you’re holding in your teeth or fist.

For example, you can tap the Home on-screen button instead of pressing the physical Home button. If you tap Device, you get a sub-palette of six functions that would otherwise require you to grasp the phone or push its tiny physical buttons. There’s Rotate Screen (tap this instead of turning the phone 90 degrees), Lock Screen (tap instead of pressing the Sleep switch), Volume Up and Volume Down (tap instead of pressing the volume keys), Shake (does the same as shaking the phone to undo typing), and Mute/Unmute (tap instead of flipping the small Mute switch on the side).

If you tap Gestures, you get a peculiar palette that depicts a hand holding up two, three, four, or five fingers. When you tap the three-finger icon, for example, you get three blue circles on the screen. They move together. Drag one of them, and the phone thinks you’re dragging three fingers on its surface. Using this technique, you can operate apps that require multiple fingers dragging on the screen.

To me, the most impressive part is that you can define your own gestures. In Settings->General->Accessibility, you can tap Create New Gesture to draw your own gesture right on the screen, using up to five fingers.

For example, suppose you’re frustrated in Google Maps because you can’t do the two-finger double-tap that means “zoom out.” On the Create New Gesture screen, get somebody to do the two-finger double-tap for you. Tap Save and give the gesture a name—say, “2 double tap.”

From now on, “2 double tap” shows up on the final AssistiveTouch panel, called Favorites, ready to trigger with a single tap by a single finger or stylus. (Apple starts you off with one predefined gesture already in Favorites: Pinch. That’s the two-finger pinch or spread gesture you use to zoom in and out of photos, maps, Web pages, PDF documents, and so on. Now you can trigger it with only one finger.)

I doubt that people with severe motor control challenges represent a financially significant number of the iPhone’s millions of customers. But somebody at Apple took them seriously enough to write a complete, elegant and thoughtful feature that takes down most of the barriers to using an app phone. I, for one, am impressed.

"Obama signs technology access bill for disabled," MIT's Technology Review, October 8, 2010 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on technologies for the disabled are at

"The Next Economic Revolution," by Alex Planes, Financial Education Daily, November 23, 2011 ---

In one of the buildings at NASA's Ames Research Center, within walking distance of the Googleplex, elite groups of very smart people are trying to prepare for a future so advanced we can't even predict what it'll look like. This Singularity University is a hub for forward-thinking experts to learn about robotics, artificial intelligence, and other key technologies of the next century.

What's conspicuously absent is a serious discussion of this future's economy. For hundreds of years people have brushed aside Luddite complaints and kept on creating new jobs out of the ashes of dead industries. However, the link between technological gains and employment growth is becoming frayed.

The singularity for which the university is named is one theoretical end result of all human technological progress. It's a point at which we finally create machines that vastly exceed human ability in every possible way, starting a runaway process of computer self-improvement that ends in sci-fi utopia. Man and machine will merge. Angels will sing, perhaps in binary code. Underpinning this is Ray Kurzweil's assertion, backed by numerous statistics, that
technological progress is exponential, and thus gets faster and more dramatic over time.

The inconceivably computational future, Kurzweil says, is going to be our ultimate achievement, a networked nirvana. That is, if we're ready for it.

See the article to view the graph!

The data divide
Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for the future. Many people are barely ready for the present. Pundits talking about the possibility of a lost decade often overlook the previous decade, which was the first since the Great Depression with no net job creation. Despite the lack of hiring, real GDP grew by nearly $2 trillion, adjusted for inflation -- to put that in perspective, it's about the size of Italy's economy. What made up the difference? Productivity.

This optimistic productivity trajectory may be underestimated in many ways, since it's virtually impossible to calculate the productivity society gains from free digital resources like Google and Wikipedia. But wages simply haven't kept up. I showed in a previous article that average income grew far less than the income at the top of the scale over this period of time, but median income -- which may be closer to the reality for most workers -- actually fell in the last decade.

Rise of the machines
Productivity growth that doesn't correspond to a rise in employment or income has to come from somewhere. Are the workers still on the job that much more productive with fewer coworkers? The explanation, according to MIT researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, coauthors of
Race Against the Machine, is rising automation. The trend's gotten more pronounced since the recession, as you can see on the chart. Equipment and software spending is up 26% since the recession, though payrolls are essentially flat.

When you stop to consider the many things automated processes can now accomplish that were once thought exclusive to humans, this isn't so surprising:

Continued in article


Open Sharing Between Nations
"OpenScout supports the collaborative reuse and adaptation of Portuguese and Brazilian OER," by Alexander Mikroyannidis, The Financial Education Daily, November 16, 2011 ---

The OpenScout Tool Library is a social network of individuals and collectives who are developing or using learning resources and want to share their stories and resources from different countries.

The OpenScout Tool Library is currently hosting the activities of the COLEARN community of research in collaborative learning and educational technologies in the Portuguese language. This group is run by Alexandra Okada (The Open University UK) and consists of learners, educators and researchers from academic institutions in Brazil, Portugal and Spain. Their interests focus on collaborative participation through social media, colearning (collaborative open learning) using Open Educational Resources (OER), Social Media and Web 2.0 research. There are 26 research groups from Brazilian and Portugal universities - 115 people currently registered in the Tool Library.

At the moment, this community is developing a book project called "Web 2.0: Open Educational Resources in Learning and Professional Development". From January to February 2012, three workshops will be run in the Tool Library for improving OER skills: image, presentation and audio/visual material. These collaborative activities and workshops aim at engaging people in developing their skills and discussing concepts as well as preparing themselves to be OER users who are able to produce, remix and share open resources and open ideas.


Related Links:

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

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing ---


Remember when the 2007/2008 severe economic collapse was caused by "street events":
Fraud on Main Street         --- issuance of "poison" mortgages (many subprime) that lenders knew could never be repaid by borrowers.
                                                                    Lenders didn't care about loan defaults because they sold the poison mortgages to suckers like Fannie and Freddie.
                                                                    For low income borrowers the Federal Government forced Fannie and Freddie to buy up the poisoned mortgages ---

Math Error on Wall Street --- issuance of CDO portfolio bonds laced with a portion of healthy mortgages and a portion of poisoned mortgages.
                                                                   The math error is based on an assumption that risk of poison can be diversified and diluted using a risk diversification formula.
                                                                   The risk diversification formula is called the
Gaussian copula function
                                                                   The formula made a fatal assumption that loan defaults would be random events and not correlated.
                                                                   When the real estate bubble burst, home values plunged and loan defaults became correlated and enormous.

 Fraud on Wall Street          --- all the happenings on Wall Street were not merely innocent math errors
 Banks and investment banks were selling CDO bonds that they knew were overvalued.
                                                                    Credit rating agencies knew they were giving AAA high credit ratings to bonds that would collapse.
                                                                    Auditing firms gave clean going concern opinions on banks they knew were going to fail.
                                                                    The banking industry used powerful friends in government to pass its default losses on to taxpayers.

                                                                    Greatest Swindle in the History of the World ---

Can the 2008 investment banking failure be traced to a math error?
Recipe for Disaster:  The Formula That Killed Wall Street --- http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant?currentPage=all
Link forwarded by Jim Mahar ---

Some highlights:

"For five years, Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.

His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.

Then the model fell apart." The article goes on to show that correlations are at the heart of the problem.

"The reason that ratings agencies and investors felt so safe with the triple-A tranches was that they believed there was no way hundreds of homeowners would all default on their loans at the same time. One person might lose his job, another might fall ill. But those are individual calamities that don't affect the mortgage pool much as a whole: Everybody else is still making their payments on time.

But not all calamities are individual, and tranching still hadn't solved all the problems of mortgage-pool risk. Some things, like falling house prices, affect a large number of people at once. If home values in your neighborhood decline and you lose some of your equity, there's a good chance your neighbors will lose theirs as well. If, as a result, you default on your mortgage, there's a higher probability they will default, too. That's called correlation—the degree to which one variable moves in line with another—and measuring it is an important part of determining how risky mortgage bonds are."

I would highly recommend reading the entire thing that gets much more involved with the actual formula etc.

The “math error” might truly be have been an error or it might have simply been a gamble with what was perceived as miniscule odds of total market failure. Something similar happened in the case of the trillion-dollar disastrous 1993 collapse of Long Term Capital Management formed by Nobel Prize winning economists and their doctoral students who took similar gambles that ignored the “miniscule odds” of world market collapse -- -


History (Long Term Capital Management and CDO Gaussian Coppola failures) Repeats Itself in Over a Billion Lost in MF Global

"Models (formulas) Behaving Badly Led to MF’s Global Collapse – People Too," by Aaron Task, Yahoo Finance, November 21, 2011 ---

"The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse," Ann Barnhardt, founder and CEO of Barnhardt Capital Management, declared last week in a letter to clients.

Whether that's hyperbole or not is a matter of opinion, but MF Global's collapse — and the inability of investigators to find about $1.2 billion in "missing" customer funds, which is twice the amount previously thought — has only further undermined confidence among investors and market participants alike.

Emanuel Derman, a professor at Columbia University and former Goldman Sachs managing director, says MF Global was undone by an over-reliance on short-term funding, which dried up as revelations of its leveraged bets on European sovereign debt came to light.

In the accompanying video, Derman says MF Global was much more like Long Term Capital Management than Goldman Sachs, where he worked on the risk committee for then-CEO John Corzine.

A widely respected expert on risk management, Derman is the author of a new book Models. Behaving. Badly: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life.

As discussed in the accompanying video, Derman says the "idolatry" of financial models puts Wall Street firms — if not the entire banking system — at risk of catastrophe. MF Global was an extreme example of what can happen when the models — and the people who run them -- behave badly, but if Barnhardt is even a little bit right, expect more casualties to emerge.

Jensen Comment
MF Global's auditor (PwC) will now be ensnared, as seems appropriate in this case, the massive lawsuits that are certain to take place in the future ---

The Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Studies (CASBS think tank) on the Stanford Campus has a new Website ---

"Foreign Tax Profile of Top 50 U.S. Companies," by Martin A. Sullivan, Tax Analysis 2011 ---

"Apple's 'high' tax rate may be deceiving," by Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle, November 22, 2011 ---

Does Apple really pay its fair share of U.S. taxes?

In a Nov. 3 report, Citizens for Tax Justice estimated that Apple paid an average effective U.S. tax rate of 31 percent between 2008 and 2010. That is close to the ostensible corporate income tax rate of 35 percent. Out of 280 companies in the study, only 49 had a higher effective tax rate than Apple.

Various bloggers and columnists seized on the report to put Apple on another pedestal, praising it as one of the few tech giants paying its fair share of U.S. taxes.

But in an overlooked report published in the journal Tax Notes in August, economist Martin Sullivan said Apple is no better than other multinationals that have been "painted as corporate tax dodgers by major media outlets."

He said that "despite outward appearances, Apple enjoys enormous foreign tax benefits, just as GE and Google do. By taking advantage of lax U.S. and foreign tax laws, Apple has been able to book a large share of its foreign profits in low-tax jurisdictions and greatly reduce its tax liability in the United States and other major countries where it conducts most of its real business activity."

He estimated that by shifting profits overseas, Apple is costing the U.S. government more than $1 billion a year.

Can both of these reports be right? The answer is yes and no.

Remember that companies keep one set of books for shareholders and another for the Internal Revenue Service. The books can be quite different and only the shareholder reports are made public.

The Citizens for Tax Justice report looked only at Apple's U.S. tax rate, which it had to estimate because Apple does not break it out. It only reports a worldwide effective rate, which was 24.4 percent in 2010.

CTJ took Apple's current federal income tax expense, made a couple of adjustments for items such as employee stock option expenses, and divided that number by what Apple reported as its U.S. profits. The result was the lofty-sounding 31 percent average U.S. tax rate.

Sullivan says that number is misleading because Apple books a relatively small percentage of its worldwide profits in the United States, even though most of its profit-making operations take place here.

Like many multinationals, it takes advantage of lax transfer pricing rules to book a disproportionately large and growing portion of its profits overseas. Most of these overseas profits are booked not in the foreign countries where Apple has major operations but in countries with ultra-low or no corporate taxes.

Even if its effective U.S. tax rate is high, it is applied to a disproportionately small percentage of Apple's worldwide income. "If Apple paid 50 percent U.S. tax on 1 percent of its worldwide profit, that does not make it a good corporate citizen," Sullivan says.

The numbers are not that dramatic; Sullivan is trying to illustrate his point. Shifting profits

In reality, Apple booked 70 percent of its worldwide profits overseas in 2010, even though 75 percent of its retail stores, 44 percent of its sales and 86 percent of its long-term assets (such as property, plants and equipment) were in the United States, Sullivan said in his report. (It also booked 70 percent of its profit overseas in 2011, according to its recently filed annual report.)

More importantly, Sullivan notes that most of Apple's intellectual property - the real source of its profits - is created in the United States. Apple does not break out research and development by country. Sullivan based this assertion on several outside sources. He noted, for example, that in late July, 86 percent of the job openings for hardware engineers on Apple's website were in the United States.

Sullivan argues that if most of Apple's product development takes place in the United States, it ought to book a lot more than 30 percent of its profits in the United States and pay tax on it here.

He adds that Apple is not booking most of its overseas profits in foreign countries where it has a large physical presence. Its European headquarters are in Ireland and its Asian headquarters are in Singapore, where the corporate tax rates are 12.5 percent and 17 percent, respectively. But he calculates that Apple's foreign effective tax rate was only 1.2 percent in 2010 and 2.5 percent in 2011.

Apple does not disclose its foreign income and taxes by country, but this low number has to mean Apple is booking most of its overseas profits in countries with zero or near-zero corporate tax rates.

Sullivan stresses that Apple is not doing anything illegal. "It demonstrates how messed up the transfer pricing rules are," he says. Transfer pricing tricks

These rules give companies a lot of leeway in allocating profits across borders. Most multinationals have armies of accountants and lawyers figuring out how they can legally shift profits from high-tax to low-tax countries.

One way a company can do this is by placing its intellectual property - such as patents, trademarks and trade names - in a subsidiary in a tax haven country. When the company's U.S. subsidiary makes a sale, it pays a royalty to the subsidiary in the tax haven. The tax haven subsidiary reports the royalty payment as income, but it is taxed very lightly or not at all. Meanwhile the U.S. subsidiary deducts the payment as an expense, which reduces its U.S. tax.

CTJ knew this when it wrote its report. It said it omitted some companies, such as Google and Microsoft, because almost all of their pretax profits were reported as foreign, even though most of their revenue and assets were in the United States. It called such geographic allocations ridiculous.

CTJ said in a footnote that it included, "with grave reservations," some companies that also seemed to be shifting a disproportionate share of their profits overseas, including Apple, Amgen, Gilead Sciences and EMC. "We urge our readers to treat these companies' true 'effective U.S. income tax rates' as possibly much lower than what we reluctantly report," it said.

CTJ President Robert McIntyre told me he agrees with Sullivan's analysis and regrets keeping Apple in the report. "I shouldn't have reported it," he said. "I stand by almost all the report except for Apple, EMC, Amgen, etc." Apple's foreign tax

Sullivan's report focused on Apple's worldwide effective tax rate, which is also inflated because Apple does something almost no other U.S. multinational does - it recognizes a deferred U.S. tax expense on some of the profits it has parked overseas.

This is a hot issue as Congress debates pleas from U.S. companies to give them another giant tax break on repatriated profits, like it did in 2004.

U.S. companies are required to pay U.S. tax on all of their worldwide profits, not just those generated here, although they can deduct from U.S. taxes any foreign taxes paid. For example, if a firm pays 12.5 percent on a dollar earned in Ireland, it typically owes 22.5 percent in U.S. tax on that dollar (that's the U.S. rate of 35 percent minus 12.5 percent).

Companies don't actually have to pay this 22.5 percent tax until they repatriate the profit or bring it back to the United States. But they generally must deduct it as a deferred tax expense on the financial statements they provide shareholders.

Companies can avoid recognizing this deferred U.S. tax expense if they declare that their foreign earnings are permanently invested overseas. In this case, "they only book the foreign tax, not the additional U.S. tax," Sullivan says.

Continued in article

"Sarbanes-Oxley Could Save Colleges From Themselves," by Benjamin Ginsberg, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 20, 2011 ---

Since the early 20th century, America has boasted the world's finest universities. In recent years, however, questions have begun to emerge about the quality of American college graduates, the shift of foreign students to Asian and European universities, and a slippage in the global rankings of American universities.

One reason for this change is a transformation within the academic community. Today's great universities were built by members of the faculty who—contrary to the myth of the impractical professor—often were excellent entrepreneurs and managers. Over the last several decades, however, America's universities have been taken over by a burgeoning class of administrators and staffers who seem determined to transform colleges into top-heavy organizations run by inept executives.

To professors, the purpose of the university is education and research, and the institution is a means of accomplishing these ends. To many of the professional administrators, though, the means has become the end. Teaching and research seem to have been relegated to vehicles for generating revenue by attracting customers to what administrators view as a business—an emporium that under their management may be peddling increasingly shoddy goods.

Between 2001 and 2010 at Purdue University, for example, the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty increased 12 percent, the number of graduate teaching assistants declined by 26 percent, and student enrollments increased by about 5 percent, according to research by the Purdue chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Meanwhile, the number of university administrators increased by an astonishing 58 percent, and resident tuition rose from just under $1,400 to nearly $9,000 per year in a pattern that appears highly correlated with administrative growth. These data suggest that hard-pressed parents are being asked to pay more and more to support a growing army of administrators who make no direct contribution to the education of their children.

But administrative bloat is more than a matter of numbers. It also manifests itself in the form of administrative irresponsibility and pathology, and on campuses across the country professors can point to cases at their own institutions in a never-ending if demoralizing game of "Can you top this?" On many of those campuses, administrators have found that they can brush off faculty charges of mismanagement—but one entity managers cannot ignore is the board of trustees or regents.

The board selects the institution's president, approves the budget, and, at least formally, exercises enormous power over campus affairs. If it so desired, the board could even halt or scale back the expansion of managerial numbers and authority on its campus and put an end to toxic administrative practices. Of course, many board members serve for social reasons or out of a sense of loyalty to the institution and are loath to become involved in campus governance issues about which they often feel poorly informed. Yet it is precisely those trustees who have a sense of loyalty to the colleges from which they graduated who should want to prevent those institutions from sinking into the ever-expanding swamp of administrative mediocrity.

Before they can police the administration, however, boards must police themselves. If they are to be effective, they must be held accountable for the administrators they appoint and must, especially, be subject to tough conflict-of-interest rules. To this end, let me offer a proposal: Sarbanes-Oxley. Colleges (and perhaps other nonprofits as well) should be subject to all the requirements of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, from which they are now largely exempt. For most of them, this would entail enhanced board accountability for administrative actions, the creation of an independent audit committee, a formal process for the identification and selection of new board members, and a strengthening of conflict-of-interest rules.

Although some college boards have voluntarily adopted the principles of the law, that's simply not enough. If boards were legally required to be more accountable for administrative conduct, they might be more cautious about whom they hire to manage the institution and might also pay closer attention to what those people do once hired. Indeed, boards might even find it useful to fully consult the faculty on hiring.

Through its contacts, the faculty usually knows more about an administrator's past record, including problems at previous colleges and inflated résumés, than the often shockingly uninformed corporate headhunters now employed to direct presidential and other searches. And the faculty can certainly alert a board to issues of mismanagement before problems become crises. Since the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley, increased board scrutiny has led to a rise in involuntary turnover among corporate managers. Colleges might benefit from the same sort of mandatory scrutiny—and the same result.

As to conflict-of-interest rules, board members and companies in which they have significant financial interests should not be permitted to do business with the college. Federal and state conflict-of-interest laws deal with issues of overcharging stemming from insider dealing, but the problem with business relationships between boards and college administrators is not that the college will pay too much for goods and services. The problem is one of power rather than money.

Board members who profit from their relationship with the college will not provide effective oversight of its administration and will resist efforts to remove even clearly inept administrators. Unfortunately, boards everywhere include members whose insurance firms, construction companies, food-service enterprises, and the like do business with the college. Such board members cannot possibly provide proper managerial oversight. Perhaps a strict conflict-of-interest rule would discourage many persons from undertaking board service; so be it.

Continued in article

Are accounting internal controls at universities lax?

"This person was a dean," says Ms. Willihnganz, the provost. "And deans here have a very wide breadth of control. They have a lot of authority. I think, in fact, no one else here at this university could have gotten some of those things through. Because he was a dean, he was trusted."

"Education Dean's Fraud Case Teaches U. of Louisville a Hard Lesson:  The former official now awaits trial. Some colleagues say the university should have caught him earlier," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12,. 2009 ---


Bob Jensen's threads about corporate governance are at

Bob Jensen's threads about higher education controversies are at

When Stanford announced last August (2011) that it would be opening to the online public a course on artificial intelligence, more than 70,000 people signed up within a matter of days. The course’s two professors say they were inspired to disseminate their lessons by the example of Salman Khan. Khan Academy’s own videos now go well beyond basic algebra to teach college-level calculus, biology and chemistry.
Annie Murphy Paul, "Salman Khan: The New Andrew Carnegie?, Time Magazine, November 16, 2011 --- Click Here

Stanford Opens Seven New Online Courses for Enrollment (Free) --- Click Here

Starting in January and February 2012, Stanford will offer seven new courses, and they’re all open for enrollment today. Here’s the new list (and don’t forget to browse through our collection of 400 Free Online Courses):

Computer Science 101
Software Engineering for SaaS
Human Computer Interfaces
Natural Language Processing
Game Theory
Probabilistic Graphical Models

Related Content:

Create iPhone/iPad Apps in iOS 5 with Free Stanford Course

An MIT Open Sharing (Open Courseware) Course
Principles of Chemical Science --- http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/chemistry/5-111-principles-of-chemical-science-fall-2008/  


Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey (Free Course) --- Click Here

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

Bob Jensen's many links to free learning materials in various academic disciplines ---

Math Tutorials

Adults Learning Mathematics --- http://www.alm-online.net/

MathBench [undergraduate math curriculum and content] --- http://mathbench.umd.edu/

Teaching College Math --- http://teachingcollegemath.com/

Mathematics in Movies: Harvard Prof Curates 150+ Scenes --- Click Here

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

"Could Apprenticeships Replace College Degrees?" by Liz Sawyer, Good Education in Partnership with The University of Phoenix, November 16, 2011 ---
Thank you Ramesh Fernando for the heads up

With college costs skyrocketing and the number of jobs for new grads on the decline, it’s no wonder that students are questioning whether a degree is worth the investment. But given that the jobs of the future are projected to require some form of post-secondary education, a key question is how to provide academic knowledge and industry-specific training that will prepare students for the future. The answer might come from a throwback to the Middle Ages: apprenticeships.

Traditionally, we think of interning as the way for students to get on-the-job experience. But internships vary in quality and often aren’t paid, which means that students from low-income backgrounds are unable to take advantage of the opportunity. Apprenticeships offer a new model, combining paid on-the-job training with college or trade school classes.

The demand for apprenticeships is particularly acute in the United Kingdom, where a recent BBC survey of high schoolers revealed that two-thirds say they'd forgo attending college in favor of entering an apprenticeship. Businesses there also support the apprenticeship revival. Adrian Thomas, head of resourcing for Network Rail, a company that maintains the U.K.’s rail infrastructure told The Independent that "the investment that we make in our apprentices is driven by needing people with the right skills coming in to support our maintenance teams." Thomas says organizing an apprenticeship program makes "both economic and safety sense," because without the trainees, his company would be in the position of having to look outside the country for employees, or retrain workers from other industries.

Here in the United States, the Department of Labor is trying to expand apprenticeship models in high-demand fields like health care, green jobs, transportation, and information technology. One obstacle to the success of such programs is the need for students to commit to a field at a young age. It’s tough for a teenager, especially one from a low-income urban neighborhood, to sign up for a health care track if she doesn’t know whether the sight of blood will make her sick, or a computer apprenticeship if she’s never had any exposure to technology. And there's no easy way for students to figure out which employers are accepting apprentices or get in contact with them.

That’s where tweaking the apprenticeship model to better align schools and employers could help. For example, a place like "P-Tech", a new high school in New York City that's the result of a partnership between IBM and the City University of New York, could prove to be a viable apprenticeship model. P-Tech students have the option of enrolling for six years of study—by graduation, they have hands-on experience, an associate’s degree in computer science, and a possible job offer from IBM.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This is not a completely new idea, although in most cases at the undergraduate level it's typically a combination of semesters on campus and apprenticeship/internship semesters on the job. Probably the best known (and now defunct) internship/apprenticeship degree program was that of Antioch College where students spent a term on campus and a term or more in apprenticeship during each year college ---
A new Antioch College has been conceived with mostly new faculty and must seek new accreditations. It's not really a revival of the historic accredited Antioch College that ceased operations in bankruptcy.

There are a lot of speculations as to why Antioch College eventually failed, one being that it became a liberal hotbed of faculty that hated businesses supplying many of the apprenticeships. However, what led to its fall is that Antioch was failing to attract enough students to break even with expenses. The new Antioch College refuses to take on most of the faculty losing jobs in the former Antioch College.

There are, I think, various schools, sometimes African American colleges, that have some programs that are quite similar to Antioch College. Florida A&M University, for example, years ago made extensive use of corporate internships in undergraduate accounting and business programs where students spent a term on campus and them an internship term in a major corporation such as IBM and GE every other semester. FAMU today is emerging from some deep financial fraud scandals and has such an inadequate Website that it's hard to find updated information on its current apprenticeship/internship model.

Schools like Antioch and FAMU try to attract students who cannot afford traditional degree programs without having substantial on-the-job financial support. The key difference between being a part-time student an most any college and an apprenticed student at Antioch and FAMU is that the job training is for college credit and must have qualified academic content, including the writing of papers about the internship experiences.

In accounting, however, there can be serious drawbacks. Must full-time campus accounting programs are geared toward passage of the CPA examination. It becomes much more difficult for students getting half their college credits in internships to pass the CPA examination. The CPA examination is an academic examination and not an examination on practical experience.

I would contend that the early PhD programs in Europe, particularly in Germany, were essentially apprenticeship programs more than education and research programs as we know them today. Instead of having today's core courses and major courses, a doctoral student at Humboldt University was largely a slave doing the grunt work, including teaching, for Herr Professor Takingadvantageberg. The Herr Professor would assign research projects and even request that books be written that, when published, sometimes did not even give credit to the doctoral student authors of the books. A doctoral student's work was considered the work and property of his (I don't think there were many women doctoral students in those historic days) Herr Professor until that professor decided to confer a doctorate upon his slave that was required to write a final dissertation contributing to new knowledge (research). The route to becoming one of those Herr Professors was, and still is, a very lengthy process that can take upwards of 18 years after obtaining an undergraduate degree.

One of the highlights of my life was an invitation to speak at a conference in Humboldt University in formerly East Berlin. I think Humboldt University is credited with being the first "university" in the world to depart from Medieval Europe ---

You can read the following at

In the universities of Medieval Europe, study was organized in four faculties: the basic faculty of arts, and the three higher faculties of theology, (canonical and civil) law and medicine. All of these faculties awarded intermediate degrees (bachelor of arts, of theology, of laws, of medicine) and final degrees. Initially the titles of master and doctor were used interchangeably for the final degrees, but by the late Middle Ages the terms master of arts and doctor of theology/divinity, doctor of laws and doctor of medicine had largely become standard. The doctorates in the higher faculties were quite different from the current Ph.D. degree in that they were awarded for advanced scholarship, not original research. No dissertation or original work was required, only lengthy residency requirements and examinations

This situation changed in the early nineteenth century through the educational reforms in Germany, most strongly embodied in the model of the Humboldt University. The arts faculty, which in Germany was labeled the faculty of philosophy, started demanding contributions to research, attested by a dissertation, for the award of their final degree, which was labeled Doctor of Philosophy (abbreviated as Ph.D.). Whereas in the Middle Ages the arts faculty had a set curriculum, based upon the trivium and the quadrivium, by the nineteenth century it had come to house all the courses of study in subjects now commonly (sic) referred to as sciences and humanities.

These reforms proved extremely successful, and fairly quickly the German universities started attracting foreign students, notably from the United States. The American students would go to Germany to obtain a Ph.D. after having studied for a bachelor's degrees at an American college. So influential was this practice that it was imported to the United States, where in 1861 Yale University started granting the Ph.D. degree to younger students who, after having obtained the bachelor's degree, had completed a prescribed course of graduate study and successfully defended a thesis/dissertation containing original research in science or in the humanities.. The current triple structure of bachelor-master-doctor degrees in one discipline was therefore created on American soil by fusing two different European traditions - the medieval B.A. and M.A. degrees, awarded after a course of study and inherited from the British Universities, and the research based Ph.D. taken over from the early nineteenth century German educational reforms. Even though in Germany the name of the doctorate was adapted accordingly after the philosophy faculty started being split up - e.g. Dr. rer. nat. for doctorates in the faculty of natural sciences - in the Anglo-Saxon world the name of Doctor of Philosophy was retained for research doctorates in all disciplines.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of the major problems with apprenticeship/internship programs lies in maintaining consistent academic standards across all internships. Some are really academic learning experiences. I would imagine most computer science apprenticeships might be wonderful where students are required to become sophisticated programmers and systems analysts. Other internships might be more like part-time clerical jobs with deficient learning experiences.

Maintaining academic standards across multiple companies and non-profit agencies is really, really difficult and sensitive. Accounting internship programs in place at most universities these days face problems of varying academic quality of those programs. But poor quality is not such a serious matter since the typical accounting  internship these days is only for one semester or only a half semester (in the Texas CPA firm internship model). These internships are vastly different from the Antioch College alternating semester model. There's a huge difference between graduating with eight internship credits versus 60 internship credits.

October 20, 2011 reply from Jagdish Gangolly

Ramesh, Bob,

Around 1910 there were about 155 medical schools in the US, but only sixteen of those required at least two years of college and only 5 required at least one year of college. The rest required only high school, and beoeve it or not there were schools that required no nore than middle school education for entry into medical school. (See Flexner Report, http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/sites/default/files/elibrary/Carnegie_Flexner_Report.pdf) .

And the average income of a first year practice for physicians in 1910 was $1,237 (American Medicine, vol 26, pp.596).

Medical education before the early 20th century was considered supplmental to the apprenticeship as the Flexner report stated. Since then, there has been a revolution in medical education mainly because of the basis of later practice in science that necessitated the knowledge of basic sciences before one could understand the practice of medicine.

The state of accounting education today, in my humble opinion, is in the same as medical education was a century ago. Accounting as taught today at best provides perfunctory appreciation of what accounting is, and at worst acts as a rite of passage that the initiate can not get around. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Having taught accounting for over 30 years, I can confidently state that a background beyond high school is not really a necessity for practice as taught in accounting programs today. Post high school apprenticeship based entry would be adequate provided some university education prior to licensing would bestow the profession a modicum of respectability. Whatever knowledge one needs one could easily obtain through apprenticeship. (I myself really "learnt" accounting when, as an industrial engineer I was asked by my company to design an accounting system. Not in a classroom taking accounting 101).

On the other hand, I am not sure we have asked the question what is our analogue of science to medicine. Hopefully we can discuss this on AECM.

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

Jensen Comment
Not being a student on a college campus takes away too much of the serendipity of life.

One of the enormous problems of apprenticeships is that, in really complex professions, they are not likely to cover the range of basics that should be learned such as what scholars have determined are basics in a curriculum.

Medicine in 1910 and earlier was so primitive that physicians did not need to learn the basics of such things as genetics, DNA, electron microscopy, computer diagnostics, and on and on and on. Years of study perhaps was not necessary for the horse and buggy doctor making house calls with a black bag. On the other hand, such a doctor in the 21st century would be of more danger than benefit to ill patients.

Similarly, there's a huge problem with apprenticeship learning in accounting. An accounting apprentice at Morgan Stanley will probably learn an immense amount about trillions of dollars of contracting and trading of derivative financial instruments. An accounting apprentice at a local plumbing distributor may never even hear one of the thousands of types of contracts written for derivative financial instruments and hedging activities.

I think the major purpose of core requirements in the curricula of onsite and online education is to expose students to a very broad spectrum of the world that they may or may not ever encounter in real life. Another purpose early on is to expose them to alternative paths of life. We probably would have 99% fewer accounting majors if students chose a trade as seniors in high school and then tracked into apprenticeships immediately after graduation from high school.

What proportion of first year college students arrive on campus with even an inkling that they will major in accounting or possibly even business. At Trinity University well over half the arriving first year students declare pre-med as a major. Maybe one student declares accounting as a major when first arriving on campus. But after taking the first year core curriculum and communicating a great deal with sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students on campus, accounting and business majors are declared in such great numbers that the Business Administration Department (that includes accountancy) becomes the highest proportion of majors on campus.

So what do I think are the biggest losses from students who commence apprenticeships rather than college education immediately following high school graduation?

In conclusion, I think apprenticeships are extremely valuable if they come after at least three years of college and preferably after four years of college. When they come earlier in life they lead students down certain career paths before the students are exposed to alternative paths in life.

There would be almost no accountants and a vast oversupply of medics, nurses, medical technicians who were hospital apprentices after high school wanting to become physicians but never got admitted to medical school. There might even be an oversupply of physicians who are very unhappy in life when they discover that being a medical service provider is not necessarily what they want in life. For example, perhaps they really would prefer to solve problems as electrical engineers, computer scientists, or accountancy professors rather than remove cataracts day in and day out for 50 years.

Not being a student on a college campus takes away too much of the serendipity of life.


Can we learn more from a football team that's 0-10 instead of 10-0?

"What The Colts Can Teach Us About Team Building,"  by Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Harvard Business Review Blog, November 17, 2011 --- Click Here

For the last nine seasons, the Colts have made the Playoffs. Under the leadership of their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, they won the Super Bowl in 2007 and lost one in 2010. This team has been a perennial contender in the League. From the coaching crew to the players, people have considered the Colts a solid and balanced ball club. And yet, they've lost ten games and won none this season in the National Football League (NFL).

This season, something happened. Their four-time MVP quarterback had neck surgery and has not played a game in the regular season. It turns out that without him, this solid team is not really a stellar one. They have already been eliminated from 2011 Playoff contention, and the main remaining goal for them is to perhaps avoid finishing 0-16. It turns out that the Colts are a team built around one person, and the team is collapsing because that man is not working. They suffered a 62-7 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints this October. What's happening to the Colts happened to the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan left the franchise. The New England Patriots had a similar experience in 2008 when Tom Brady was injured in the season opener and the NFL Team of The Decade missed the Playoffs. All of these teams suffered because they relied too heavily on one lone star.

This "lone star" model in teams doesn't just apply to sports clubs. It happens in companies all the time, as most are structured in similar ways. And yet, discovering and nurturing talent is vital for success in any organization. No matter how good a strategy is, at the end of the day, talent will be needed to execute it. Great companies need to spend time and resources to develop and reward talent.

Simply put, plenty of corporations are using this model of identifying top performers and surrounding them with largely average colleagues, trusting that the top talent's sheer energy will sustain the team. Resources are hard to come by, and most times, this type of model could be an effective cost containment strategy, since it's often difficult to keep top minds working together. It's common to see a law firm or an investment bank lose focus because of the departure of one key partner. It's also common in the high tech industry where teams are built around a few key players. Whenver the legends depart, businesses go into crises. Think of Apple after Steve Jobs was exiled!

In the knowledge economy, one of the most important risks companies must manage is the one related to team building. A strong team is not the one where a single person disproportionally influences the team's results. We treasure the project champion and team leaders, but if we want business continuity, there must be structures in place to ensure that the other members are ready to lead if the commander is not available. Every organization must examine its continuity management, especially startups and SMEs, and simulate what can happen if that lone star in the team decides to leave. Can the company continue to exist? Mr. Manning is not playing and the Colts have had their first losing season in a decade.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of the best comments following this article reads as follows:

It may not be simply that Peyton Manning is the sole reason for the Colts change of fortune. The teams are so competitive that results can vary widely year-to-year.

The above observation is important because it points out that time and time again when dealing with human beings and organizations, so much cannot be extrapolated into the future when circumstances change so dramatically. Also what professional skiers like Bode Miller know is that the difference between a winner and a loser can be one thousandth of a second. And professional golfers know that the difference between a winner and a loser in a tournament of 54 holes of golf is that one out of bounds shot on one hole can make all the difference in the world.

Having said this, a better team to learn from about team building and team collapse is probably the story of the Boston Red Flops baseball team in 2011. That had to be more of a team failure in the face of circumstances that did not change all that much between the beginning and the ending of the season since the reason for the team's collapse cannot truly be attributed to injuries.

The Wall Street Journal, in an investigational piece (December 20, 2010), reported that five spine surgeons at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, who performed the third-most spinal fusions of Medicare patients in the country, had received more than $7 million in “royalties” from Medtronic, the nation’s biggest manufacturer of spinal implants.
"Physician Payment Sunshine Act Signals New Dawn for Compliance," by Joseph J. Feltes, MD News, November 14, 2011 ---

Once upon a time, physicians and their families used to be able to enjoy exotic cruises sponsored by pharmaceutical companies where their only obligation, it seems, was to sign in briefly at sparsely attended meetings before embarking on offshore adventures. It’s been awhile since the sun slowly set on the wake of the last ship’s 
sybaritic junket.

Today, the Federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act — part of national healthcare reform — signals a new dawn of transparency, compliance obligations, and regulatory scrutiny. Beginning January 1, 2012, manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals or medical supplies, covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare program, must report to the Department of Health and Human Services all payments or transfers of value they make to physicians or 
teaching hospitals.

The Sunshine Act applies to payments or transfers of value covering a broad array of activities, including: consulting fees; compensation for services other than consulting; honoraria; gifts; entertainment; food; travel (including specified destinations); education and research; charitable contributions; royalties or licenses; current or prospective ownership or investment interests (other than through publicly traded securities or mutual funds); direct compensation for serving as faculty or as a speaker for medical education programs; grants; or falling within the catchall “any other nature of payment or other transfer of value as defined by the Secretary of HHS.” Additionally, if the payment or transfer of value relates to marketing, education, or research which pertains to a covered drug, biological, device or supply, that also must be reported, along with the name of the covered product.

Remaining outside the aura are certain excluded items that need not have to be reported, such as the transfer of items having a value of less than $10 (unless the items exceed an annual aggregate of $100); product samples for patient use not intended to be sold; educational materials that directly benefit patients or are intended for patient use; the loan of a covered device for 90 days or less for evaluation purposes; items or services provided under a contractual warranty; certain discounts and rebates; and in-kind items used to provide charity care, to name a few.

Covered manufacturers must disclose to the Secretary in electronic form the name of the physician (or teaching hospital); the physician’s business address, specialty and National Provider Identifier; the amount of payment or value of transfer; the dates on which payments or transfers are made; a description of whether payment or transfer was made in cash or cash equivalents, in-kind items or services, or stocks or stock options. This information will be stored in a database.

While the burden of reporting rests with covered manufacturers, access to and use of the electronic information stored in the database can be accessed by the media, consumers, the Office for Inspector General, and by prosecutors. That could pose potential liability risk to physicians for non-compliance with federal Anti-Kickback (illegal remuneration), the Stark laws (financial interest), or the False Claims Act (ill-gotten gain). It also could create potential reputational damage — fairly or unfairly — if it were to appear that research was flawed or a physician’s choice of drug was influenced by payments or other transfers of value.

The Wall Street Journal, in an investigational piece (December 20, 2010), reported that five spine surgeons at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, who performed the third-most spinal fusions of Medicare patients in the country, had received more than $7 million in “royalties” from Medtronic, the nation’s biggest manufacturer of spinal implants.

The WSJ indicated that it had “mined” certain Medicare databases as the source of its exposé. The new Sunshine Act likely will eliminate the need to dig deeply, since the information will be collected in one database, there for the picking. Critics of the law, including Thomas Peter Stossel, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, objects that the term “Sunshine” carries with it the “implicit aura of corruption,” which indeed is unfortunate.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

Bob Jensen's healthcare news threads are at

 Researchers Rate RateMyProfessors, and Find It Useful, if Not Chili-Pepper Hot

If you, like me, frequently read RateMyProfessor student evaluations of instructors and courses, what are you most interested in finding?

The main criticism of RateMyProfessors is that, unlike course instructor evaluations on campus, only a miniscule subset of students send in course/instructor evaluations to RateMyProfessors. And more importantly, this is not a randomly selected subset. Many of the self-selecting students who do respond are negative about their grades and course workloads. I also know of some instances where instructors have singled out friendly students in private and requested that they send in RateMyProfessor evaluations. Bummer!

What has Bob Jensen found exciting about RateMyProfessor evaluations?


"Researchers Rate RateMyProfessors, and Find It Useful, if Not Chili-Pepper Hot," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 18, 2011 ---

Small Sample Outcomes on RateMyProfessor
October 18, 2011 reply from XXXXX

So, Bob, I checked my ratings and I have a red hot chili pepper so I think RateMyProfessor.com is both accurate and awesome. Never mind that only 1 student rated me. I love my chili pepper!

hope you are well.



November 19, 2011 reply from David Albrecht

Marsha Huber (now of Youngstown State) presented a paper about verbatim comments on RateMyProfessors from several Ohio region accounting professors. It's been a year or two since I heard her presentation, but I remember a bit.

She found the upper level UGs left more sophisticated responses, and lower level UGs tended to be fixated on amount of work and easiness of grade. In other words, junior/senior level class ratings might reveal more about learning/teaching.

She found that some students comment on learning, but not many. She shared with me that many such students came from my classes.

Marsha's paper is fantastic (e-mail her for a copy), but she has had difficulty in finding a home. I don't know the reason why (and she never said), but I've always wondered if it's because of a professor-reviewer bias against RMP.

I don't like it when a student with an axe to grind rails against me on RMP. Fortunately, I've not had many students dissatisfied from taking my classes.

In a related issue, I know that Bob has previously commented on the assignment of high grades at private colleges. I've taught at two private colleges in my life (am now at Concordia College), and three public unis. Generally, the private college students have had higher ACT scores and much better study/work habits. This results in better tests, papers and projects--to a degree. Now at a private college, I've grown to expect more. I withhold good grades until I get it.

Since the end of the semester iis fast approaching, I've been starting to look at potential grade assignments. My class GPAs will be about 3.0, and I'll have more grades of B than of A. Bob, are you proud of me?

David Albrecht

November 19, 2011 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I'm proud that your median undergraduate grades are not A-, which is about where the median grades are in non-public universities this days. These medians are slightly lower in public universities, although public universities do more weeding out with low grades --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#GradeInflation 

In terms of subjective comments, I find that students pick up on things that I know about some professors personally. Students will tend to pick up on professors with intense political prejudices (to the right or left) even though this is is not supposed to happen under AAUP rules where politics are not part of the courses such as in accounting or mathematics courses. In political science there are a few professors who are respected from all sides of the spectrum. David Crockett is one such great professor at Trinity who manages to pull this off. Some of his closest colleagues do not, which creates greater bifurcation of evaluations in their courses, especially the controversial "Hate America" and "Hate Business" social science instructors.

Politics aside, what truly amazes me when reading the student comments about some professors (say in a mathematics or statistics or computer science course) how the opinions of students can be so divergent from "best teacher on campus" to "worst teacher on campus." There may be some grade disgruntlement coming through here, but this divergence of opinion seems to be much too pervasive to be only due to grades. I experienced this divergence somewhat in my own student evaluations, although in my case some of my best students despised what they considered to be totally unfair workloads. Sigh!

What students seem to commonly despise is what they perceive as a professor "playing favorites" throughout a course. A few students in every course may have such a feeling, but for certain professors, who are generally rated very low by students, this "playing favorites" seems to be more pervasive. For example, I've found over my career that there are some really male-hating professors and some female-hating professors. Karen Pincus once told me about one of her female-hating colleagues. Some of my students at Trinity complained about a particular male-hating colleague (not in accounting or business). I don't think this type of hate is at all common, but there may be more subtle prejudices about gender, sexual orientation, hair styles, dress, tattoos, race, creed, color, etc. Things like race and color may lead to greater leniency on grading.

One of the most difficult things to deal with is illness. For example, has a counselor or administrator ever asked you to give special considerations to students diagnosed with depression or psychoses of students who miss a lot of class? It's really tempting to go easier on ill students, but at the same time we have a duty to respect academic standards. In my case I leaned toward integrity of academic standards in spite of Illness in some students. However, I totally respected requests from counselors that certain students be allowed more time on examinations, such as students with dyslexia.

One added observation about RateMyProfessor
I think that there's a marked difference between responsiveness of undergraduate versus graduate students. There is a special category for the Harvard Business School, but the response rates (usually less than five students) are too low to rely upon since most courses at the HBS are very large. What does it mean when two students out of 90 in a course send evaluations to RateMyProfessor?

In universities that do not have special categories for graduate studies programs, response rates are really low (usually zero) for instructors teaching graduate courses. Graduate students don't seem to bother with RateMyProfessor.

Then again, many graduate schools require a B grade average to graduate such at most grades given out are A and B grades. When most grades are A or B, there seems to be less incentive to air gripes on RateMyProfessor.

Bob Jensen

November 19, 2011 message from Roger Collins

Hi Bob.

I couldn't resist submitting this - a comment on an Accounting prof at OSU..

"I don't care about the class because it was not that bad. XXX is truly a bad person though and is most likely the love child of Satin and Medusa." (Yes, that's spelt "Satin") .

Still, I should talk. A 2003 comment on me reads "Might as well shoot yourself now, keep yourself out of the misery. BORING"

A comment - given that OSU Intro courses (Acct 212) take in about 700 students each term I'm surprised at the low number who've rated their profs over the years.The highest number of ratings in the entire university - 312 - go to a Fine Arts prof . The highest number of ratings for an Accounting prof are 160, with the median for Accounting profs around 16. It would be interesting to know what prospective students make of this; obviously the stats are non-random, but do students make any allowance for either non-randomness or small sample size when choosing to take a class with a particular prof? (Of course, we make decisions based on small, biased samples all the time, so maybe students don't see this as a big issue)

Roger Collins
TRU School of Business & Economics

November 19, 2011 reply from Steve Hornik

Great thread.

To start I need to say I'm very jealous of anyone having a chili pepper. I start each semester lamenting to my students that I have none and alas at the end of each semester I'm still chililess. I agree with everyones comments in this thread but thought I'd share how I take advantage of some of the students posts. I add them to my 1st day introduction to the class lecture - this is for the financial accounting course 1000+ now at UCF. I find that if I tell them the class is hard and go over everything required for them to do well or at least pass they don't believe me (sometimes not until its too late) so I share with them former student posts like:

“Do NOT take professor Hornik! In order to do well on the tests you need to do all the homework, read and MEMORIZE all the chapters, and remember everything from previous tests.” I think this is my all time favorite, I mean the notion of having to do all the homework! remember things from previous tests, honestly I must be the biggest jerk ever to teach accounting, right :-)

Here's another good one:

“he uses way too many programs and the class is quite confusing. I studied for about 3 hours for a test to receive an F, so there you go. Avoid him and all his silly programs.” Can you imagine studying for 3 hours for an accounting test and NOT passing it, I mean come on man!

Anyway I share others but you get the idea.


November 19, 2011 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Steve,

My daughter Lisl teaches biology to seniors at the Hampden Academy, which is now a public high school on the outskirts of Bangor, Maine.

"Mrs, Moody is absolutely horrible! All she wants is to make us learn, learn, and learn."

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

Do you remember that old quip about the ugly woman who could be seen wearing transparent dress and nobody wanted to?

"Google Is Trying to Beat JPEG & PNG Images with WebP," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, November 18, 2011 ---

Google developers announced some improvements to the WebP image format they're building as an alternative to JPEG, which has become a standard across the Web. Today's updates add transparency, which JPEG does not support, so WebP will take on the PNG format as well.

The first version used lossy compression, so users would sacrifice some quality in exchange for small files that load faster on webpages. Today's changes introduce "lossless" compression, meaning users get smaller files without losing image quality. However, only Opera and Google's Chrome browser support the format natively, so it's a long way from becoming a standard.

Sanebox fixes email overload. It keeps important emails in the inbox, puts ones that can wait in a separate folder, and aggregates them in a daily digest. It's super secure, doesn't require training, and works on any email service or client. Sign up for a free 30 day trial today! 

The team reports that WebP gets 25-34% better compression than JPEG images. Compared to PNG images, which are needed for anything with transparency, WebP image files are 28% smaller than even the best, most compressed PNGs. And most websites don't bother with that compression; from a sample of PNGs pulled from the Web, WebP images were 45% smaller. That means they load 45% faster.

Continued in article

Stewart Baker: Why Privacy Will Become a Luxury

November 19, 2011 message from David Albrecht

Here's a link to a WSJ interview with Stewart Baker, former Assistant Director of the Department of Homeland Security.

It's an interesting talk. I don't agree with some things, and I don't like a good many more. But it's worth the 21 minute view.


David Albrecht


What's the difference between the following search lines in Google ---
Give both a try https://www.google.com/

Bob AND Jensen AND Accounting AND Onion AND Grumpy AND Old

Bob + Jensen + Accounting + Onion + Grumpy + Old .

"How To Google Your Exact Words," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, November 18, 2011 ---

Google has been making lots of tweaks to search lately. Search is why we all came to Google in the first place, but these days it's taking the product we knew and loved in a different direction. It's changing the way queries work, turning "+" into a social search instead of an "and," and it's taking away chronological features in favor of what's hot right now.

In response to user feedback about the changes, Google gave us a new feature this week called "verbatim search." In its blog post, the Google search team warns that verbatim mode will take away all kinds of helpful things they've built for us. But users wanted a way to search for exactly what they want, and Google has built it. Here's what it does and how to use it.

To understand how different verbatim search is, it's important to know what features of Google search it turns off:

In other words, Google's serious when they say verbatim search looks for your exact words. If you have a specific query you'd like to search for verbatim, here's how you do it:

Jensen Comment
I will really miss the above non-verbatim search features mentioned above. Boo on Google this time.

But I'm a little confused by the spelling corrections feature.
Search for the following (with the quotation marks) at Google --- https://www.google.com/

"Nataly Wood"

Nataly AND Wood

Nataly + Wood

It seems like I'm getting some suggested spelling corrections in each case. By the way Natalie Wood is back in the news today since the circumstances of her death are now being investigated by the police all over again after all these years. Reasons for opening the case are not yet clear, although her husband Robert Wagner is not a murder suspect.

But spelling corrections are not clear in all circumstances. Compare the following (with the quotation marks) at

"Bog Jensen"

"Boob Jensen"


Bob Jensen's search helpers are at


"Kindle Fire, a Grown-Up E-Reader With Tablet Spark," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2011 ---

It's often said that there isn't really a tablet market, just an Apple iPad market with a bunch of other contenders fighting over the remnants. But, starting this week, that is likely to change, because Amazon is adding a multifunction color tablet to its popular Kindle line that costs less than half as much as an iPad 2.

This new $199 device is called the Kindle Fire, and after testing it for a week, I think it's a good—though not a great—product and a very good value. It doesn't just add color to the Kindle, it adds a robust ability to store and stream music, TV shows and movies—and a weaker ability to store and display color photos. And it offers about 8,500 apps at launch, including Netflix, Angry Birds and QuickOffice. [PTECH-JUMP] Amazon

Amazon's Kindle Fire, pictured, has a more developed content ecosystem than Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet. A Guide to Tablets and E-Readers

See specs for some e-readers and tablets on the market.

View Interactive Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

The new Nook Tablet

More photos and interactive graphics

To be clear, the Kindle Fire is much less capable and versatile than the entry-level $499 iPad 2. It has a fraction of the apps, a smaller screen, much weaker battery life, a slower Web browser, half the internal storage and no cameras or microphone. It also has a rigid and somewhat frustrating user interface far less fluid than Apple's.

But the Fire has some big things going for it. First, the $199 price, though the Fire's seven-inch screen is less than half the surface area of the iPad's display. Second, the Amazon and Kindle brands, already known and loved for e-readers and more. Third, Amazon is the only major tablet maker other than Apple with a large, famous, easy-to-use content ecosystem that sells music, video, books and periodicals. The Fire can be thought of as a hardware front end to all that cloud content. More

Digital Solution: How a Basic Kindle Fares Mossberg's Mailbox B&N Nook Takes on Fire (11/8/2011) Amazon Bets Apps Light Up 'Fire' Sales (11/15/2011) B&N Unveils New Nook (5/25/2011) Video: First Look at Nook E-Book Reader

Finally, while the Fire, like many other tablets, is based on Google's Android operating system, Amazon has taken the bold step of hiding Android. It shuns its user interface and nearly all of Google's apps and services, including Google's app store. The Fire's software is all about the content and apps Amazon has sold you and the easy purchase of more.

When compared to the iPad 2, I suspect the Fire will appeal to people on a budget and to those who envision using the iPad mainly to consume content, as opposed to those who see the larger tablet as a partial laptop replacement. For instance, while the Fire has a decent Web browser and a rudimentary email program, it lacks basic built-in apps, such as a calendar, notepad or maps. However, for people primarily interested in reading books and periodicals, the Fire may seem too heavy and costly when compared with a low-end Kindle or Nook. [PTECH-JUMP] Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet

The Fire isn't only competing with the iPad and other general-purpose tablets. It has to contend with a new, low-price, similar-size color tablet out this week from e-reader rival, Barnes & Noble. This device, the Nook Tablet, is B&N's second-generation color slate and costs $249, still less than an iPad. I've also been trying it out for a few days and found it has some pluses and minuses compared with the Fire.

The Nook Tablet boasts double the internal storage and a slot to expand it. It has better battery life and a more interactive approach to children's books. But beyond books and magazines, it lacks either Amazon's or Apple's large, simple, built-in ecosystem for other kinds of content, such as music, movies and TV shows.

Instead, Barnes & Noble boasts it offers choice, by including video apps like Netflix and music apps like Pandora. However, these same apps also appear on the Fire and the iPad, along with the Amazon and Apple stores.

Continued in article

"A Kindle Swipes Fine, but Still Hooked on a Nook," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, November

Despite the advantages of full-featured touch screen tablets like the iPad, plenty of people opt for e-readers like Amazon's Kindle, finding them more comfortable in the hand and easier on the eyes.

This week, I tested the new Kindle Touch in a head-to-head comparison with Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch. The Kindle Touch includes several features that Kindle fans have been waiting for, particularly better navigation. The Nook Simple Touch, which came out last summer, dropped in price to $99 and received a software update last week.

Navigating these touch screens is a breeze, and you'll be happy reading with either the Kindle Touch or Nook Simple Touch. Both feature E-ink, nonreflective screens without backlights—great for long stretches of reading. These smaller devices are also lighter than a tablet. More

Kindle Fire: A Grown-Up E-Reader Amazon Bets Apps Light Up 'Fire' Sales (11/15/2011) B&N Nook Takes on Fire (11/8/2011) Judging E-Readers by Their Book Readability (6/29/2011) B&N Unveils New Nook (5/25/2011) Video: First Look at Nook E-Book Reader

Overall, I prefer the Nook for its better price and usability.

Each e-reader costs $99, but the Kindle Touch comes pre-loaded with so-called special offers—ads that take over the device's screen when it's in sleep mode and appear whenever you touch its Menu button. A Kindle Touch without on-screen ads is $139, or $40 more than the ad-free Nook. A Kindle Touch with a 3G Internet connection costs $149; Barnes & Noble doesn't offer a 3G Nook Simple Touch.

Amazon has finally released three new models of its popular Kindle e-reader: the $199 Kindle Fire, the $99 Kindle Touch and the $79 basic Kindle. WSJ's Katherine Boehret put the Kindle Touch in a head-to-head comparison with Barnes And Noble's Nook.

Physically, the Kindle Touch is a bit taller, while the Nook is slightly wider with a contoured back that's easier to hold. The Kindle Touch relies solely on tapping or swiping on the left or right of the device's touchscreen to turn pages. Nook users can turn pages using these methods or physical buttons on the left and right sides of the screen.

I prefer the option of physical buttons so I can hold the device and not move my hand each time I want to turn the page. These buttons are also handy at times when touching the screen isn't ideal, like after using suntan lotion at the beach.

Though the Kindle does a lot of the same things the Nook does, Amazon's clever terms make these same actions sound more whimsical. When using the cloud to sync content and page location across devices, Amazon calls this Whispersync. Amazon's community-generated encyclopedia is named Shelfari.

Three notable new features work with Amazon's Kindle Touch.

X-Ray is a feature that displays book-report-like data points when someone taps the screen at any point while reading one of "thousands" (Amazon wouldn't give a more specific number) of titles.

This could be a real boon for non-fiction readers, but since I don't read a lot of non-fiction, X-Ray wasn't too useful in my books. While reading John Grisham's "The Litigators," I used X-Ray to read Wikipedia descriptions of Chicago and Big Pharma. This data can also come from Shelfari.

The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is available to Amazon Prime members—Prime costs $79 a year—and lets users borrow from over 5,000 titles. People who use this can borrow one book each month with no due date. I tried this and found books in the Kindle store listed with "borrow for free" icons where a price would normally display. I tapped this option beside "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, and the book was sent to my Kindle. An on-screen message notified me that I couldn't borrow again until Dec. 1.

Finally, Kindle users can borrow books from their public library via easy, wireless downloads, though these are bound by the same lending rules as physical library books. I borrowed a book from my Washington, D.C., public library by browsing available Kindle books on the library's website and virtually checking out a book after entering my library card number. I followed a link from there to Amazon.com, where I selected the "Get Library Book" box, which appeared where "Add to Cart" is normally found. Your Kindle must be using a Wi-Fi connection—not 3G—to get these books.

The Nook can only load library books via a clumsy USB cord transferring process. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman said the company plans to offer Wi-Fi downloading of library books early next year.

If you'd rather lend books to fellow e-reader users, Kindle and Nook can do this. Books can be lent to friends for 14 days, during which time the book's owner can't read them.

Continued in article

"Amazon Lights the Fire With Free BooksL  Today, Amazon unveiled something radical: the Kindle Lending Library," by David Pogue, The New York Times, November 2, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books ---

"Fraud Scandal Fuels Debate Over Practices of Social Psychology:  Even legitimate researchers cut corners, some admit," by Christopher Shea, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 13, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
This leads me to wonder why in its entire history, there has never been a reported scandal or evidence of data massaging in accountics (accounting) science. One possible explanation is that academic accounting researchers are more careful and honest than academic social psychologists. Another explanation is that accountics science researchers rely less on teams of student assistants who might blow the whistle, which is how Professor Diederik A. Stapel got caught in social psychology.

But there's also a third possible reason there have been no scandals in the last 40 years of accountics research. That reason is that the leading accountics research journal referees discourage validity testing of accountics research findings ---

Yet a fifth and more probable explanation is that there's just not enough interest in most accountics science findings to inspire replications and active debate/commentaries in either the academic journals or the practicing profession's journals.

There also is the Steve Kachelmeir argument that there are indirect replications taking place that do not meet scientific standards for replications but nevertheless point to consistencies in some of the capital markets studies (rarely the behavioral accounting studies). This does not answer the question of why nearly all of the indirect replications rarely point to inconsistencies. It follows that accountics science researchers are just more accurate and honest than their social science colleagues.

Yeah Right!
Accountics scientists "never cut corners" except where fully disclosed in their research reports.
We just know what's most important in legitimate science.
Why can't real scientists be more like us --- ever honest and ever true?

The Wonk (Professor) Who Slays Washington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jensen Comment

Watch the "Insider" Video Now While It's Still Free ---

"They have legislated themselves as untouchable as a political class . . . "
"The Wonk (Professor) Who Slays Washington," by Peter J. Boyer, Newsweek Magazine, November 21, 2011, pp. 32-37 ---

In the Spring of 2010, a bespectacled, middle-aged policy wonk named Peter Schweizer fired up his laptop and began a months-long odyssey into a forbidding maze of public databases, hunting for the financial secrets of Washington’s most powerful politicians. Schweizer had been struck by the fact that members of Congress are free to buy and sell stocks in companies whose fate can be profoundly influenced, or even determined, by Washington policy, and he wondered, do these ultimate insiders act on what they know? Yes, Schweizer found, they certainly seem to. Schweizer’s research revealed that some of Congress’s most prominent members are in a position to routinely engage in what amounts to a legal form of insider trading, profiting from investment activity that, he says, “would send the rest of us to prison.”

Schweizer, who is 47, lives in Tallahassee with his wife and children (“New York or D.C. would be too distracting—I’d never get any writing done”) and commutes regularly to Stanford, where he is the William J. Casey research fellow at the Hoover Institution. His circle of friends includes some bare-knuckle combatants in the partisan frays (such as conservative media impresario Andrew Breitbart), but Schweizer himself comes across more as a bookish researcher than the right-wing hit man liberal critics see. Indeed, he sounds somewhat surprised, if gratified, to have attracted attention with his findings. “To me, it’s troubling that a fellow at Stanford who lives in Florida had to dig this up.”
It was in his Tallahassee office that Schweizer began what he thought was a promising research project: combing through congressional financial-disclosure records dating back to 2000 to see what kinds of investments legislators were making. He quickly learned that Capitol Hill has quite a few market players. He narrowed his search to a dozen or so members—the leaders of both houses, as well as members of key committees—and focused on trades that coincided with big policy initiatives of the sort that could move markets.

While examining trades made around the time of the 2003 Medicare overhaul, Schweizer experienced what he calls his “Holy crap!” moment. The legislation, which created a new prescription-drug entitlement, promised to be a huge boon to the pharmaceutical industry—and to savvy investors in the Capitol. Among those with special insight on the issue was Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the health subcommittee of the Senate’s powerful Finance Committee. Kerry is one of the wealthiest members of the Senate and heavily invested in the stock market. As the final version of the drug program neared approval—one that didn’t include limits on the price of drugs—brokers for Kerry and his wife were busy trading in Big Pharma. Schweizer found that they completed 111 stock transactions of pharmaceutical companies in 2003, 103 of which were buys.

“They were all great picks,” Schweizer notes. The Kerrys’ capital gains on the transactions were at least $500,000, and as high as $2 million (such information is necessarily imprecise, as the disclosure rules allow members to report their gains in wide ranges). It was instructive to Schweizer that Kerry didn’t try to shape legislation to benefit his portfolio; the apparent key to success was the shaping of trades that anticipated the effect of government policy.

Continued in article

Jensen Questions
If all these transactions were only by chance profitable, why is it that the representatives, senators, and their trust investors always profited and never lost in dealings connected to inside information?

More importantly why did representatives and senators who write the laws have to write themselves in as exempt from insider trading laws?

Why aren't national leaders like Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and John Boehner who vigorously deny inside trading actively seeking to overturn laws that exempt representatives and senators from insider trading lawsuits? Why do they still hold themselves above their own law?

Why have representatives and senators buried reform legislation concerning their insider trading exemption so deep in the legislative process that there's zero hop of reforming themselves against abuses of insider trading and exploitation of other investors?

Watch the "Insider" Video Now While It's Still Free ---

If you agree with the above, pass it on.
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum oftwenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.*Congressional Reform Act of 2011......
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2.. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system,and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose..

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do...

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care insurance and participates in the same health care plan as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people..

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor,not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take
three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is


Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7387951n&tag=contentMain;contentBody#ixzz1dfeq66Ok

Holman Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal contends that in total representatives and senators do not perform better (possibly even worse) than average investors in the stock market ---
What he does not mention is that opportunities to trade on inside information is generally infrequent and often limited to a few members of a particular legislative committee receiving insider testimony or preparing to release committee recommendations to the legislature.

Jenkins misses the entire point of insider trading. If it was a daily event in the public or private sector it would be squashed even harder than it is now being squashed, because rampant insider trading would drive the public away from the financial and real estate markets. The trading markets survive this cancer because it is relatively infrequent when it does take place among corporate executives (illegally) or our legislators (legally).

"Murky Signals for Congress on Insider Trading," by Peter J Henning, The New York Times, November 25, 2011 ---

. . .

An insider trading investigation typically requires the S.E.C. to subpoena records to determine what information a person who traded or tipped had at a particular point in time, and who the person communicated with. Once it gathers the relevant documents, the S.E.C. usually takes the testimony of those who may have been involved in the transaction, which could require questioning representatives and senators about the likelihood of legislative action to establish the information was material.

The House and Senate bills specifically prohibit trading on “pending or prospective legislative action,” which means a focal point of any insider trading inquiry will be on information generated as part of the legislative process. But that information is at the heart of the Speech or Debate Clause protection, which prevents any questioning of members of Congress or their staff about that process to preserve the independence of the legislative branch.

Passing the legislation would do little good if the S.E.C. and the Justice Department would be stymied in trying to conduct an investigation by an assertion of the Speech or Debate Clause to stop the case dead in its tracks. Congress could try to waive the constitutional protection in advance as part of any law it passes, but it is not clear whether that would prevent an individual member from asserting it in a particular case in the future. Opening Congress to the possibility of a wide-ranging S.E.C. or Justice Department inquiry is unlikely to go over well with members suspicious of the motives of the executive branch.

Passing a law for the sake of public perception when it could not be enforced would be the height of cynicism. Before extending the prohibition on insider trading based on legislative information, Congress will have to grapple with the question whether it is willing to open itself up to being investigated if any of its members and their staff misuse that information for personal gain.



Feeling cynical?
They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings.
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king.
There's only one step down from here, baby,
It's called the land of permanent bliss. 
What's a sweetheart like you doin' in a dump like this?

Lyrics of a Bob Dylan song forwarded by Amian Gadal [DGADAL@CI.SANTA-BARBARA.CA.US

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

"The Best States For Business," by Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes, November 22, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
These rankings are very misleading in part because they seem to ignore twp of the most important reasons why businesses locate plants and corporate offices in a given location --- public schools and non-hostile unions. Given the high rankings of militant union states like Washington (Rank 7), Iowa (Rank 10), Massachusetts (Rank 18), and New York (Rank 22) points to the possibility that union hostility was somewhat overlooked.

There is a "Quality of Life" factor in these rankings, but in my viewpoint this does not correlate with quality of public schools. For example, South Dakota is ranked in the middle (for Quality of Life) while having one of the best K-12 school systems in the nation. New Hampshire has Rank 5 in terms of Quality of Life as compared with Vermont at Rank 15 and Maine at Rank 17. I think that both Vermont and Maine probably have better schools that New Hampshire that has no sales tax or income tax for funding better schools. Ohio at Rank 13 comes in higher than Maine and Vermont on Quality of Life. I don't see a lot of folks in New England headed for Cleveland, Akron, Dayton, etc. for better schools or a better Quality of Life in Ohio.

My point here is that when locating factories and office buildings, I think companies want to locate where there are excellent school systems. Hence placing Vermont at a very low rank of 45 and Maine on the bottom at Rank 50 really puzzles me.

In terms of overall rank, the states of New York (Rank 22), Taxachussets (Rank 18), and California (Rank 39) ahead of so many other states since businesses now in those states are leaving in droves for states that are lower ranked by Forbes.  Delaware at Rank 33 seems to me to have a much lower rank that this state should be ranked.

But then nobody asked me. I think Forbes overlooked quality of public schools completely when making out these rankings. Give me the Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont any day for K-12 schools relative to Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, New Mexico, Arkansas, Alabama, and Arizona.

Ranking states, colleges. and most anything else faces the same problem as ranking vegetables in terms of nutrition ---
Companies are not going to relocate based upon this Forbes ranking any more than a single vegetable is the most nutritious. The best vegetable varies with nutrition needs in terms of an overall diet and body factors. The best state for locating a business depends upon a few factors and constraints that are probably not well correlated with the overall Forbes ranking of states. Oil companies are going to locate new operations where the new oil is located, especially in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Oklahoma. They might locate in Florida if Florida was more open to off-shore rigs.

High tech companies are going to locate in parts of the nation with outstanding universities nearby, which gives Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, and Cambridge, Mass. an edge. Agribusiness will build plants near where the food sources are raised. High labor companies will avoid states with hostile unions which gives the southern states an edge over Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois,  New York, Ohio, Washington, Massachusetts, and most of the rest of New England.

Hoopla is the German translation for Oops!
"Germany Discovers Extra $78 Billion On Major Accounting Error," Reuters via Huffington Post, October 29. 2011 ---

"Paying Students To Quit Law School:  An unorthodox solution to the problem of too many graduates unable to repay their loans," by Akhil Reed Amar and Ian Ayres. Slate, November 18, 2011 --- Click Here

A crisis is threatening legal education. In constant dollars, tuition at private law schools nearly tripled over the last quarter centuryMany a graduate faces a six-figure debt and can’t find a job paying enough to service that debt. Especially troubling are allegations that some schools admit students they know are unlikely to repay their loans—leaving taxpayers (who guarantee some of these loans) holding the bag.


Some of these problems are not unique to law schools—they apply to much of American higher education. But law schools are engaged in a specific program of instruction, with a specific goal—passing the bar—as its purpose. Measuring and even predicting this dimension of success is more straightforward. Besides, as law professors, we know law schools best. So we have a few ideas for dramatic reform.


First, give applicants better information about how past graduates have fared. All students who received federal loans should be required to report whether they passed the bar as well as their annual salary for the first 10 years after graduation. Law schools should be required to disclose this information in a standardized format, enabling applicants to better assess what their degree will be worth, long-term. This reform directly addresses the current problem of woefully incomplete disclosure. Law schools usually only report how well their most successful students do, and only for the first year after graduation.

Continued in article

Turkey Times for Overstuffed Law Schools ---

"Campaign Planned to Stop Student Loan Repayments," Inside Higher Ed, November 17, 2011 ---

Part of the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning to announce on Monday a campaign to encourage people repaying student loans to stop doing so. The idea is that people will pledge to stop repaying their loans when 1 million people agree to do so. The hope is that such a volume of non-repayment would make it difficult to punish those who opt to stop paying. The repayments could continue, however, if certain conditions are met. Those conditions include making public higher education free to students. The campaign was described to Inside Higher Ed by Andrew Ross, a prominent humanities scholar at New York University, who has been involved with the efforts to start the drive.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed



Jensen Comment
This seems to be a conditional (contingency) boycott. It's obvious who is helped by the boycott. But not so obvious is who the boycott hurts. If this boycott was against the private sector, such as refusal to pay credit card balances, the courts would probably keep prosecuting with punishments (including jail time) that seriously hurt many who built up credit card purchase by thousands of dollars before joining the boycott. Even lenders that go bankrupt could continue prosecuting with mean-dog attorneys and bad debt collectors that can make life for credit defaulters really miserable.

In the case of this particular boycott of student loan repayments, this obviously hurts the government and would contribute to our annual trillion dollar deficits.

What Andrew Ross does not anticipate is the probable reaction of employers and graduate schools (including law schools, business schools, and medical schools). These entities may simply refuse to hire/admit student loan defaulters. Also students needing more loans for graduate studies would be denied thos loans.

The boycotters may be forced to live with very long-term miserable credit scores that prevent them from buying homes, getting credit cards, starting up businesses with bank loans, getting car loans, etc.

And future students may well have very difficult or impossible chances of getting student loans.

And worst of all, the Tea Party would most certainly take control of the legislature, executive branch, and eventually even the judicial branch of government.

This is really an Andrew Ross Horror Show.

Human Resource Accounting for Financial Statements

The value of human resource employees in a business is currently not booked and usually not even disclosed as an estimated amount in footnotes. In general a "value" is booked into the ledger only when cash or explicit contractual liabilities are transacted such as a bonus paid for a professional athlete or other employee. James Martin provides an excellent bibliography on the academic literature concerning human resource accounting ---

Bob Jensen's threads on human resource accounting are at

What turned into a sick joke was the KPMG Twist applied to valuing the executives of Worldcom who later went to prison:

KPMG’s “Unusual Twist”
While KPMG's strategy isn't uncommon among corporations with lots of units in different states, the accounting firm offered an unusual twist: Under KPMG's direction, WorldCom treated "foresight of top management" as an intangible asset akin to patents or trademarks.
See  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#WorldcomFraud

Punch Line
This "foresight of top management" led to a 25-year prison sentence for Worldcom's CEO, five years for the CFO (which in his case was much to lenient) and one year plus a day for the controller (who ended up having to be in prison for only ten months.) Yes all that reported goodwill in the balance sheet of Worldcom was an unusual twist.


Early experiments to book human resource values into the ledger usually were abandoned after a brief experiment. Investors and analysts placed little, if any faith, in human resource value estimates such as the R.G. Barry experiments years ago.

There are many problems with assigning an estimated value to human resources. Aside from being able to unattribute future cash flow streams to particular employees, there's the enormous problem that employees are no longer slaves that can be bought, sold, and traded without their permission. And employees may simply resign at will outside the control of their employers, although in some cases they do so by paying contractual penalties that they agreed to when signing employment contracts.

Another problem is bifurcation of the value of a valuable employee from the subset of other employees and circumstances such as group esprit de corps ---
A great pitcher needs a great catcher and seven other players on the field that can make great defensive plays. The President of the United States may be less important than the staff surrounding that President. A bad staff can do a lot to bring down a President. This had a lot to do with the downfall of President Carter.

Another problems is that greatness of an employee may vary dramatically with circumstances. Winston Churchill was a great leader and inspiration in the darkest days of World War II. But his value should've been subject to very rapid accelerated depreciation. He was a lousy leader after the end of the war, including making some awful choices such as chemical weapons use on some tribes in Iraq.

"Power From the People:  Can human Capital Financial Statements Allow Companies to Measure the Value of Their Employees?," by David McCann, CFO Magazine, November 2011, pp. 52-59 ---

If a company's most important assets are indeed its people, as corporate executives parrot endlessly, that's news to investors, analysts, and even, as it turns out, many companies.

It is hardly a secret that the industrial economy that prevailed for two centuries has evolved into a talent-driven, knowledge-based economy. Still, extant accounting standards define "assets" mostly in terms of cash, receivables, and hard goods like property, equipment, and inventory, even though the value of many companies lies chiefly in the experience and efforts of their employees.

Public companies are required to disclose virtually nothing about their human capital other than the compensation packages of top executives, and most are happy to report only that. The furthest most companies will go in reporting on human capital within their public filings is to mention "key-man" risks and executive succession plans.

More than two decades ago, Jac Fitz-enz and Wayne Cascio separately pioneered the idea that metrics could shine a light on human-capital value. From their work grew the notion that formal reporting of such metrics could add value to financial statements. That discussion simmered quietly for many years, but recently it has grown more bubbly, as some of the best minds in human-capital management and workforce analytics work hard to influence the acceptance of such reporting.

Some are crafting detailed structures for what they generally refer to as human-capital financial statements or reports, which would complement (but not replace) traditional financial reporting. Their goal is to quantify a company's financial results as a return on people-related expenditures, and express a company's value as a measure of employee productivity.

To be sure, finance and human-resources executives alike have long considered many important aspects of human-capital value to be unquantifiable. That's why an effort by the Society for Human Resource Management, less-granular than some similar efforts but very well organized, shows promise to have a sizable impact. SHRM's Investor Metrics Workgroup, in conjunction with American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is developing recommendations for broad standards on human-capital reporting. The group plans to release its recommendations for public comment early in 2012. Should ANSI certify the standards, the next phase would be a marketing campaign aimed at investor groups and analysts, encouraging them to demand that companies provide the information.

If demand for that data were to reach a critical mass, then presumably accounting-standards setters would eventually look at adopting some type of human-capital reporting, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators would subsequently get involved. Of course, that's a grand vision, and even its most optimistic proponents admit that it will take at least a decade, and probably twice that long, to fully materialize.

But the SHRM group's chair, Laurie Bassi, is confident that the effort will succeed, however long it may take. "It's going to serve as a catalyst for change," says Bassi, a labor economist and human-capital-management consultant. "When investors start to demand this information, it's going to be a wake-up call for many, many companies. For some well-managed, well-run firms it won't be a stretch, but others will be hard-pressed to produce the information in a meaningful way."

Bassi says that the driving forces behind the effort boil down to two things: "supply and demand, or, you might say, opportunity and necessity."

On the supply/opportunity side, advancing technology and lower computing costs have greatly eased the collection and crunching of people-related data, enabling companies to get their arms around what's going on with their human capital in a much more analytic, metrics-driven way than was possible a few years ago. The demand/necessity side is that, driven by macroeconomic forces, human-capital management is emerging as a core competency for employers, particularly those in high-wage, developed nations.

Something for (Almost) Everyone Investors and analysts aren't demanding human-capital reporting yet, but they might not need much prodding. Upon hearing for the first time about SHRM's project, Matt Orsagh, director of capital-markets policy for the CFA Institute, says that "it sounds fabulous. I want all the transparency and inputs I can have. Quantifying the worth of human capital would be fantastic, because right now you have to take it on faith, and I don't know if I can trust it."

Predictably, some CFOs are less enthusiastic. "It's a fair point that the balance sheet doesn't recognize the value of human capital, and certainly not the full value of your intellectual property," says John Leahy, finance chief at iRobot, a publicly traded, $400 million firm. "For a high-growth technology company like ours, there is significant intrinsic value in the know-how and innovation of our people, which is why we've traded over the last couple of years at a fairly attractive multiple.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on human resource accounting are included at

"The 50 Most Influential Management Gurus," by Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business Review Blog, November 2011 ---
Of course there's no Harvard bias whispering into this selection --- no it's shouting!
Watch the video --- http://www.thinkers50.com/

King Ranch Saddle Shop Catalog and Robert Salas (Trinity University Employee)

November 16, 2011 message from Mike Schweitzer of Trinity University

We (Sharon and I ) just received in the mail the holiday gift catalog from the King Ranch Saddle Shop. On page 42 there is an article and picture of the King Ranch Master Saddlemaker, Roberto Salas. This fine craftsman is the father of our very own Robert Salas, who heads up the Service Center at Facilities Service. As my Dad and Grandad were the saddlemakers in Matador, Texas for many years, Robert and I share a family commonality few folks can claim.

Having been raised on the King Ranch, Robert is very familiar with the saddle business there, and has many interesting stories to tell. If you don't already know Robert; you need to get acquainted with him. He is a truly remarkable Trinity employee.

The King Ranch Saddle Shop link ---

"From the Archives: On Evaluations," by Natalie Houston, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on dysfunctional teaching evaluations and grade inflation are at

Arts and Letters Daily --- http://www.aldaily.com/
Thank you Robert Walker for the heads up.

"Video:  Behavioral Finance from PBS Nova," by Jim Mahar, Finance Professor Blog, March 27, 2011---

An excellent similar site (to Arts and Letters Daily) that is more focused on behavioral economics and finance (but rarely accounting) is Miguel Barbosa's Simoleon Sense blog ---

If Miguel has political leanings he hides them pretty well when giving balance coverage about the bon bons and turds of economics and finance.

From Jim Mahar's Blog
Behavioral Economics Reading List --- http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2010/04/behavioral-economics-reading-list/

Bob Jensen's threads on behavioral accounting, economics, and finance are at

"The 50 Most Influential Management Gurus," by Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business Review Blog, November 2011 ---
Of course there's no Harvard bias whispering into this selection --- no it's shouting!
Watch the video --- http://www.thinkers50.com/

CFO Magazine Bibliography (by James Martin) --- http://maaw.info/CFO.htm

CFO site see http://www.cfo.com/magazine/

"Jack Welch Moves His Online M.B.A. Program to Strayer U.," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 11, 2011 ---

Jack Welch’s online M.B.A. program began with a bang two years ago, heralded as an unprecedented venture that could shake up online education.

Now Mr. Welch is shaking up his own program.

The former CEO of General Electric said on Friday that his management institute would move to Strayer University from its current home at a struggling Ohio for-profit institution called Chancellor University. The Wall Street Journal reports that Strayer is paying about $7-million for the program, with Mr. Welch kicking in $2-million of his own.

In an interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Welch sounded like a baseball player who had been traded to a wealthier team with a better chance of making the playoffs.

“We needed a bigger game,” he said. “We’re going from 500 students with limited resources to 55,000 students with 82 campuses and much more reach.” Strayer’s advertising and technology budgets were part of the appeal, he added.

The Jack Welch Management Institute offers executive M.B.A.’s as well as certificates in subjects like “becoming a leader.” For students, part of the attraction is weekly Webcam sessions with Mr. Welch, who weighs in on current events like the situations in Greece and Italy.

Or baseball: One discussion focused on the umpire whose botched call spoiled a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. The umpire, Jim Joyce, admitted his error. ”We use that as a wonderful teaching tool about coming forward when you make a mistake,” Mr. Welch said.

Mr. Welch doesn’t call his deal with Chancellor a mistake, saying he is “pleased as hell” with a venture that has attracted 200 students in its first 20 months. He described those students as “high-ambition middle managers” in companies that include Microsoft, Merck, and ESPN. Seventy percent of them either pay full tuition or have the cost covered by their employers, he said.

Robert S. Silberman, chairman and CEO of Strayer Education, said Mr. Welch raised the idea of a purchase to him in a telephone call in April: “He was looking for a new academic home.”

In the course of evaluating the institute, Strayer also looked into acquiring all of Chancellor, which was once a nonprofit university and is now owned by private investors. But Mr. Silberman said his company determined that the only part of the university it wanted was Mr. Welch’s institute.

Strayer was attracted to the curriculum of the executive-M.B.A. program and the short leadership courses. Strayer now offers similar courses on a limited basis but is looking to offer more of them, said Mr. Silberman. Such courses, typically paid for by students’ employers, help Strayer University keep its proportion of revenues from federal student-aid programs well below the 90-percent maximum allowed.

The purchase will very likely be a plus for Strayer. Unlike some of its for-profit competitors, the university has not been tarnished by allegations of wrongdoing. And its recent declines in enrollment—it has just reported that new-student enrollment fell by 21 percent—have been smaller than those of many other providers.

But at a time when many students are becoming increasingly conscious of colleges’ academic reputations and averse to high-cost educational programs, some analysts have questioned whether Strayer’s brand is strong enough to outweigh the competitive challenges it faces from for-profit and nonprofit colleges alike. The Welch institute could add some luster.

"Jack Welch Launches Online MBA:  The legendary former GE CEO says he knows a thing or two about management, and for $20,000 you can, too," by Geoff Gloeckler, Business Week, June 22, 2009 --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/jun2009/bs20090622_962094.htm?link_position=link1

A corporate icon is diving into the MBA world, and he's bringing his well-documented management and leadership principles with him. Jack Welch, former CEO at General Electric (GE) (and Business Week columnist), has announced plans to start an MBA program based on the business principles he made famous teaching managers and executives in GE's Crotonville classroom.

The Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) will officially launch this week, with the first classes starting in the fall. The MBA will be offered almost entirely online. Compared to the $100,000-plus price tag for most brick-and-mortar MBA programs, the $600 per credit hour tuition means students can get an MBA for just over $20,000. "We think it will make the MBA more accessible to those who are hungry to play," Welch says. "And they can keep their job while doing it."

To make the Jack Welch Management Institute a reality, a group led by educational entrepreneur Michael Clifford purchased financially troubled Myers University in Cleveland in 2008, Welch says. Welch got involved with Clifford and his group of investors and made the agreement to launch the Welch Management Institute.

Popularized Six Sigma For Welch, the new educational endeavor is the latest chapter in a long and storied career. As GE's longtime chief, he developed a management philosophy based on relentless efficiency, productivity, and talent development. He popularized Six Sigma, wasn't shy about firing his worst-performing managers, and advocated exiting any business where GE wasn't the No. 1 or No. 2 player. Under Welch, GE became a factory for producing managerial talent, spawning CEOs that included James McNerney at Boeing (BA), Robert Nardelli at Chrysler, and Jeff Immelt, his successor at GE.

Welch's decision to jump into online education shows impeccable timing. Business schools in general are experiencing a rise in applications as mid-level managers look to expand their business acumen while waiting out the current job slump. The new program's flexible schedule—paired with the low tuition cost—could be doubly attractive to those looking to move up the corporate ladder as the market begins to rebound.

Ted Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, agrees. "I think it's a good time for someone to launch a high-profile online degree," Snyder says. "If you make the investment in contentthat allows for a lot of interaction between faculty and students and also among students, you can get good quality at a much more reasonable tuition level."

Welch's Secret Weapon That being said, there are challenges that an online MBA program like Welch's will have a difficult time overcoming, even if the technology and faculty are there. "The integrity and quality of engagement between faculty and students is the most precious thing we have," Snyder says. "Assuming it's there, it dominates. These things are hard to replicate online."

But Welch does have one thing that differentiates his MBA from others: himself. "We'll have all of the things the other schools have, only we'll have what Jack Welch believes are things that work in business, in a real-time way," he says. "Every week I will have an online streaming video of business today. For example, if I was teaching this week, I would be putting up the health-care plan. I'd be putting up the financial restructuring plan, talking about it, laying out the literature, what others are saying, and I'd be talking about it. I'll be doing that every week."

Welch and his wife Suzy are also heavily involved in curriculum design, leaning heavily on the principles he used training managers at GE.

Continued in Article

Jensen Comment
There are enormous obstacles standing in the way of the super-confident Jack Welch on this one. I should mention that I've never been a Jack Welch fan and am especially disturbed that he is the world's leader in platinum retirement perks that, in my opinion, go way beyond his value in the past and future to GE. But I will try to not let my prejudices bias my remarks below.

In any case it will be interesting to track the progress of the Jack Welch Management Institute. I would applaud if it becomes one of the best online degree programs in the world, because I highly support the development of more and better online training and education programs in the world --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

The Official Website of the Jack (and Suzi) Welch Management Institute is at http://www.welchway.com/

The competition is listed at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

"The Chronicle's special report on Online Learning explores how calls for quality control and assessment are reshaping online learning," (Not Free), Chronicle of Higher Education, November 2011 ---

The Chronicle's special report on Online Learning explores how calls for quality control and assessment are reshaping online learning. As online learning spreads throughout higher education, so have calls for quality control and assessment. Accrediting groups are scrambling to keep up, and Congress and government officials continue to scrutinize the high student-loan default rates and aggressive recruiting tactics of some for-profit, mostly online colleges. But the push for accountability isn't coming just from outside. More colleges are looking inward, conducting their own self-examinations into what works and what doesn't.

Also in this year's report:
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning ---

Bob Jensen's threads on online course and degree programs ---


"Wi-Fi security do's and don'ts," by: Eric Geirer, IT Canada, November 7, 2011 --- Click Here
Link found in the IS Assurance Blog of Jerry Trites

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

"NPR's New Pandora-Style "Infinite" Radio Player Now Available," by John Paul Titlow, ReadWriteWeb, November 15, 2011 ---

The digital product team over at NPR is always busy tinkering away and creating new ways for people to consume the news organization's rich library of content. Their latest innovation, called the Infinite Player, is a stripped-down, browser-based tool for listening to NPR content in a serendipitous, yet personalized fashion.

If the player's interface reminds you of Pandora, it's no accident. The team deliberately borrowed from personalized media services like Pandora, Flipboard and Zite when building out the Infinite Player. Its controls are sparse, containing only a few buttons. Among them are a pair of icons for voting stories up and down, much as one would on Pandora. In time, the player learns what you're interested in and plays back content accordingly.

The Infinite Player gets its name from the fact that it plays content endlessly, or at least until the user tells it to stop. In that sense, it's sort of like a real radio station. The modern twist comes in its ability to deliver audio content based on the listener's preferences.

This experience provides more of an opportunity what the NPR team calls "distracted listening" - that is, consuming content while doing other things and not necessarily having to make any decisions about it (aside from voting it up or down, if you're so inclined). This is in contrast to the type of "engaged listening" experience that podcasts and audio clips offer.

The player, which launched yesterday, is in beta mode and currently works only in Safari and Chrome. Its functionality is driven by HTML5 and JavaScript, rather than relying on Flash for playback. It doesn't appear to be optimized for the iPad just yet, but it is a brand new feature and presumably the team is working on cross-device compatibility. You can give it a shot here.

Jensen Comment
The Infinite Player is great for seeking archived NPR content, but for most browsing needs I use Firefox. For music I'm a slacker who stays with Slacker.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

Why did Joe Paterno sell his home to his wife for $1?"

"Paterno Passed On Home to His Wife for $1," by Mark Viera and Pete Thamel, The New York Times, November 15, 2011 ---

Joe Paterno transferred full ownership of his house to his wife, Sue, for $1 in July, less than four months before a sexual abuse scandal engulfed his Penn State football program and the university.

Documents filed in Centre County, Pa., show that on July 21, Paterno’s house near campus was turned over to “Suzanne P. Paterno, trustee” for a dollar plus “love and affection.” The couple had previously held joint ownership of the house, which they bought in 1969 for $58,000.

¶ According to documents filed with the county, the house’s fair-market value was listed at $594,484.40. Wick Sollers, a lawyer for Paterno, said in an e-mail that the Paternos had been engaged in a “multiyear estate planning program,” and the transfer “was simply one element of that plan.” He said it had nothing to do with the scandal.

¶ Paterno, who was fired as the football coach at the university last week, has been judged harshly by many for failing to take more aggressive action when he learned of a suspected sexual assault of a child by one of his former top assistants.

¶ Some legal experts, in trying to gauge the legal exposure of the university and its top officials to lawsuits brought by suspected victims of the assistant, Jerry Sandusky, have theorized that Paterno could be a target of civil actions. On Nov. 5, Sandusky, Penn State’s former defensive coordinator, was charged with 40 counts related to the reported sexual abuse of eight boys over 15 years. Paterno, 84, was among those called to give testimony before a grand jury during the investigation, which began in 2009.

¶ Experts in estate planning and tax law, in interviews, cautioned that it would be hard to determine the Paternos’ motivation simply from the available documents. It appears the family house had been the subject of years of complex and confusing transactions.

¶ Lawrence A. Frolik, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who specializes in elder law, said that he had “never heard” of a husband selling his share of a house for $1 to his spouse for tax or government assistance purposes.

¶ “I can’t see any tax advantages,” Frolik said. “If someone told me that, my reaction would be, ‘Are they hoping to shield assets in case if there’s personal liability?’ ” He added, “It sounds like an attempt to avoid personal liability in having assets in his wife’s name.”

¶ Two lawyers examined the available documents in recent days. Neither wanted to be identified because they were not directly involved in the case or the property transaction. One of the experts said it appeared to be an explicit effort to financially shield Joe Paterno. The other regarded the July transaction, at least on its face, as benign.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Ruth Madoff was not allowed to keep assets in her name except for assets that were not gifts from her husband or passed through her husband's financial transactions. For example, I think she was allowed to keep her family inheritance.

This kind of "fraud" is extremely common, albeit illegal, where home titles and other assets of a parent are passed on to children in anticipation of having Medicaid pay for the parent's eventual nursing home care. Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing home care, and Obamacare just eliminated this extremely expensive benefit that would've greatly driven up the price of medical insurance.

Bloomberg Business Week loves to rank business education programs ---


Jensen Comment
Media rankings of colleges, universities, and degree programs (like accounting) are heavily influenced by both attributes selected as important for the rankings, the weightings of those attributes, and the people themselves who do the rankings. The above Bloomberg Business Week rankings are based heavily upon opinions of alumni.

The US News rankings are based upon responses presidents, deans, or other administrators on selected criteria. The US New Rankings probably the rankings influenced based heavily upon research reputations of universities and programs within universities. The non-media rankings of university programs and faculty based upon academic studies of journal hits such as the BYU (David Wood) studies are even more heavily based upon research publications.

The Wall Street Journal Rankings of business and accounting programs are based upon opinions of recruiters.

The Economist rankings are based upon opinions of student applicants based upon why they chose to apply to particular programs.

Various ranking outcomes and controversies are summarized at

If I declare bankruptcy to get out of debts without paying them off in full, should the debts I owe myself get priority claims in bankruptcy over debts I owe to third parties?

When you invest in domestic or foreign securities, first become knowledgeable about the default rules in jurisdictions where you invest.

"Apocalypto for Bondholders? A Mexican bankruptcy ambushes U.S. investors," The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2011 ---

Investors frustrated by paper-thin U.S. bond yields are increasingly looking south of the border, where returns on Mexican corporate debt can be muy gordo. But a restructuring plan from bankrupt glass-maker Vitro S.A.B. should make potential buyers beware: When a business fails in Mexico, the creditor isn't king. Vitro appears ready to set a dangerous precedent in Mexico's 11-year-old bankruptcy regime.

Institutional investors have come to expect that legal systems in emerging markets are not kind to bondholders when a business goes bust. Among Latin American countries, Mexico is among the kindest, thanks to its Concurso Mercantil law enacted in 2000. But Mexican legislators may want to consider a rewrite as Vitro takes a historically hard line with its bondholders. A Mexican judge recently ruled that the company can consider its own subsidiaries as creditors, allowing them to outvote the actual investors who bought the company's bonds.

The idea that a borrower could essentially count debts it owes to itself as equivalent to debts owed to third parties for the purpose of approving a settlement with creditors is understandably infuriating to current holders of Vitro debt. Adding injury to insult, Vitro's restructuring plan also preserves some value for equity holders, even as bondholders could lose 50 cents or more on the dollar.

This is unbelievable to investors used to operating under U.S. bankruptcy laws, where creditors come first and (except in rare instances such as the government-backed restructuring of Chrysler) the outcome of a bankruptcy proceeding is fairly predictable. The U.S. system offers a clear logic: Shareholders take more risk and enjoy the upside when a business grows, while bondholders accept a lower potential return and enjoy protection on the downside.

This isn't the first time a Mexican company has counted intra-company debts in bankruptcy, but in the past it was a negotiating tactic to secure an agreement with outside lenders. Assuming the Vitro plan is blessed by Mexican courts, the company will likely complete its restructuring over the objections of most of its outside creditors. Those who object will get nothing until they consent or win a legal appeal.

So far, U.S. investors to Mexico don't seem too concerned, with spreads on Mexican corporate debt actually tightening during the Vitro drama and robust issuance of new bonds. But when U.S. interest rates return to somewhere close to normal and bond investors can enjoy good yields without venturing abroad, Mexican companies may have a harder time finding investors willing to overlook the rough treatment of creditors in bankruptcy.

To be clear, some Vitro bondholders argue that the company's plan is illegal even under Mexican law. They promise to appeal and may even prevail. Regardless, Mexican politicians have an opportunity here to clarify their law, affirm the rights of bondholders and gain a competitive advantage as one of the most investor-friendly of the world's emerging markets.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
If Vitro S.A.B. succeeds in screwing bond investors under Mexican law, Mexico can kiss investors north of the Rio Grande goodbye except for investors in drugs, women, and weapons. Those latter investors have their own repayment enforcement routines.


From the Scout Report on November 11, 2011

TickCounter --- http://www.tickcounter.com/ 

Would you like to countdown? Or count up? Well then TickCounter might be worth checking out. TickCounter lets users create their own countdown clock so that they can keep tabs on important events and dates. Visitors can customize the clock for the time zone of their choice, and they can also give each event or date a name for easy reference. TickCounter is compatible with all operating systems.

Wajam --- http://www.wajam.com/ 

Wajam allows visitors the ability to use their social networks to look for information. Visitors just need to install the Wajam Social Search extension in their browser, and then go ahead and search normally. The results that are returned will be based on what their friends share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. It's an interesting way to search around the web, and this version is compatible with all operating systems.

A new archaeological discovery in Libya attracts international attention Lost cities discovered after Gadhafi http://www.torontosun.com/2011/11/07/libyas-lost-cities-discovered-after-gadhafi--researchers  

Lost castles of forgotten civilization found in Libyan desert

Castles in the desert

Archaeologist grateful NATO raids spared Libyan ancient sites, but some old coins stolen --- Click Here 

NPR: Hope Amid Ruins: Clues To The Future In Libya's Past

Herodotus: On Libya --- http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/herod-libya1.asp

From the Scout Report on November 24, 2011

Pinterest --- http://pinterest.com/

Ever want to just "pin" stuff online and share it with people quickly? Now you can, with the help of Pinterest. Pinterest lets you organize items of interest on the web just by adding a "pin" to each item. Users can make multiple bulletin "boards" with any subject or theme they desire. It is a great way to organize (with images) all of those online bookmarks you have collected over the years. First-time visitors will need to request a free invitation and they can get started after that. Pinners use their boards to share fashion tips, decorating ideas, home improvement projects, recipes, technology news, real estate properties, vacation scrapbooks, and much more. This version is compatible with all operating systems.  

YourListen --- http://yourlisten.com/ 

Do you want to download your own lectures, talks, or musings for others to listen to? YourListen is a great way to make this happen. Visitor can sign up for a free account that will let them upload their own audio files to this sharing service, and they can also add tags to each individual file. The site also includes a number of channels that are worth a look, and some of them may serve as a bit of inspiration. Additionally, visitors can recommend their tracks to other users. This version is compatible with all operating systems.




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

Education Tutorials

Problem-Based Learning at the University of Delaware --- http://www.udel.edu/inst/

MathBench [undergraduate math curriculum and content] --- http://mathbench.umd.edu/

Digital Dictionaries of South Asia --- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/list.html

Teaching College Math --- http://teachingcollegemath.com/

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (Diversity, Minorities, Gender) --- http://diverseeducation.com

The Creators Project (Creativity, Innovation, Art, Music, Arts, Culture) --- http://thecreatorsproject.com/

Who's Who and What's What in the Books of Dr. Seuss --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/ocm45408191/

Children's Library --- http://www.archive.org/details/iacl

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in higher education ---


Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey (Free Course) --- Click Here

Stanford Opens Seven New Online Courses for Enrollment (Free) --- Click Here

Starting in January and February 2012, Stanford will offer seven new courses, and they’re all open for enrollment today. Here’s the new list (and don’t forget to browse through our collection of 400 Free Online Courses):

Computer Science 101
Software Engineering for SaaS
Human Computer Interfaces
Natural Language Processing
Game Theory
Probabilistic Graphical Models

Related Content:

Create iPhone/iPad Apps in iOS 5 with Free Stanford Course

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

Bob Jensen's many links to free learning materials in various academic disciplines ---

"Mexico's Largest University to Post Online Nearly All Publications and Course Materials," by Steven Ambrus, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 13, 2011 ---

The National Autonomous University of Mexico, better known as UNAM, has said it will make virtually all of its publications, databases, and course materials freely available on the Internet over the next few years—a move that some academics speculated could push other universities in the region to follow suit.

Campus officials at UNAM, Mexico's largest university, said the program, known as All of UNAM Online, could double or triple the institution's 3.5 million publicly available Web pages, as the largest collection of its kind in Latin America.

They also said it was key to UNAM's social mission as a public institution: providing educational resources to populations usually underrepresented in the university system—really, to anyone who desires access to them.

"As the national university, we must assume a national mission and give back to society what we are doing with its financial support," said Imanol Ordorika, a professor of social sciences and education at UNAM and a key force behind the effort. "That means providing open access and being accountable and transparent."

Mr. Ordorika said the university has set no specific goal as to how many Web pages will be made available or a fixed budget for bringing the endeavor to fruition.

But he said it would include all magazines and periodicals published by UNAM, and, if negotiations with outside publishers went well, all research published by UNAM employees.

He also said the university would provide online access to all theses and dissertations as well as materials for its approximately 300 undergraduate and graduate courses.

Experts from outside Mexico said those two components alone would make the venture a milestone in the region.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on universities that share entire courses, tutorials, videos, and course materials ---

Also see  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#EducationResearch

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Nova Video:  The Fabric of the Cosmos ---

NOVA: scienceNOW: Explore Teacher's Guides ---

Mankind’s First Steps on the Moon: The Ultra High Res Photos --- Click Here

Pathways to Science: STEM

An MIT Open Sharing (Open Courseware) Course
Principles of Chemical Science --- http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/chemistry/5-111-principles-of-chemical-science-fall-2008/ 
Other open sharing courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Chemistry Tutorials http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~coursedev/Online tutorials/chemtutorials.htm

Solar Bottle Lights --- http://wimp.com/lightenup/

Encounter with a Dark Star ---

Flash Tutorials for Biological Sciences [Flash Player] --- http://telstar.ote.cmu.edu/biology/

Nuclear Threat Initiative Research Library --- http://www.nti.org/e_research/e_index.html

Biomolecules at Kenyon: Molecular Tutorials by Students [Flash Player]
The Problem of Regeneration (body parts, biology) --- 

Conception to Birth Visualized --- Click Here

Alpine Wildflowers of Glacier National Park, Montana, and Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta ---

Ernest Clayton Collection of California Wild Flowers --- http://sfpl.lib.ca.us/librarylocations/sfhistory/clayton/clayton.htm 

Ocean Flowers: Anna Atkins’s 19th Century Cyanotypes of British Algae --- Click Here

CancerQuest: Cancer Education Curriculum --- http://www.cancerquest.org/cancer-education-curriculum-introduction.html

Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention --- http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/Goldberg/index

The Life Cycle of Plants --- http://www2.bgfl.org/bgfl2/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks2/science/plants_pt2/index.htm#

The MacKinney Collection of Medieval Medical Illustrations --- http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/mackinney/

Images from the History of Medicine --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/ihm/ 

Richard Benson: The Printed Picture (historical alternatives for printing pictures) --- http://www.benson.readandnote.com

Problem-Based Learning at the University of Delaware --- http://www.udel.edu/inst/

Video of the Skin Gun --- http://www.thatvideosite.com/video/the_skin_gun

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

NPR Video Infographic:  Visualizing population growth (in full Color) ---

Infographic Video: The Story of Broke: An Animated Look at US Federal Spending and Values --- Click Here

Louisiana Works Progress Administration (WPA) --- http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/LWP

Nuclear Threat Initiative Research Library --- http://www.nti.org/e_research/e_index.html

Design with the Other 90%: Cities (the cities of smaller size) --- http://designother90.org/cities

Problem-Based Learning at the University of Delaware --- http://www.udel.edu/inst/

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (Diversity, Minorities, Gender) --- http://diverseeducation.com

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in higher education ---

Who's Who and What's What in the Books of Dr. Seuss --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/ocm45408191/

Children's Library --- http://www.archive.org/details/iacl

The Creators Project (Creativity, Innovation, Art, Music, Arts, Culture) --- http://thecreatorsproject.com/

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

Law and Legal Studies

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (Diversity, Minorities, Gender) --- http://diverseeducation.com

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in higher education ---

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

Math Tutorials

Adults Learning Mathematics --- http://www.alm-online.net/

MathBench [undergraduate math curriculum and content] --- http://mathbench.umd.edu/

Teaching College Math --- http://teachingcollegemath.com/

Mathematics in Movies: Harvard Prof Curates 150+ Scenes --- Click Here

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

History Tutorials

Brooklyn Memories --- http://www.screanews.us/NewYork/BrooklynOld.htm

Old Time Radio Researchers Group --- http://www.otrr.org/index.htm 

Waterscape (British canals and waterways) --- http://www.waterscape.com/

Louisiana Works Progress Administration (WPA) --- http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/LWP

Nuclear Threat Initiative Research Library --- http://www.nti.org/e_research/e_index.html

The Problem of Regeneration (body parts, biology) ---

Waterworks Museum --- http://www.waterworksmuseum.org/

Richard Benson: The Printed Picture (historical alternatives for printing pictures) --- http://www.benson.readandnote.com

Timeline of Art History (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art) --- http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htm

Children's Library --- http://www.archive.org/details/iacl

Who's Who and What's What in the Books of Dr. Seuss --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/ocm45408191/

Mankind’s First Steps on the Moon: The Ultra High Res Photos --- Click Here

"The 50 Most Influential Management Gurus," by Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business Review Blog, November 2011 ---
Of course there's no Harvard bias whispering into this selection --- no it's shouting!
Watch the video --- http://www.thinkers50.com/

The Best of Life Magazine
Free --- http://www.life.com/archive/gallery
Cover Pictures --- Click Here
2011 Book (not free) --- http://www.amazon.com/s/?keywords=1603202129&index=books&tag=LIFE0c-20

From the Scout Report on November 22, 2011

What did happen at the first Thanksgiving?
Revisiting the feast

Plymouth Rock: More Than A Homely Boulder

Thanksgiving History: Plimoth Plantation

Dining Together

The Food Timeline: Thanksgiving Food History

Nature: My Life as A Turkey

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

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

A Big Bach Download: The Complete Organ Works Free --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

Digital Dictionaries of South Asia --- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/list.html

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

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

November 14, 2011

November 15, 2011

November 16, 2011

November 18, 2011

November 21, 2011

November 22, 2011

November 23, 2011

November 25, 2011

November 26, 2011


Video of the Skin Gun --- http://www.thatvideosite.com/video/the_skin_gun


If you're interested in causes of pain, you might find this fascinating
 "How coral snakes cause excruciating pain," Discover Magazine ---

When we lived in Florida, our cat dragged a dying coral snake onto the front porch. I'm not sure if it was her or something else that injured the snake.

Quiz Question
How did I know the difference between a poisonous coral snake and a harmless king snake?

Answer --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_Snake

Coral snakes are most notable for their red, yellow/white, and black colored banding. (However, several nonvenomous species have similar coloration, including the scarlet snake, genus Cemophora, some of the kingsnakes and milk snakes, genus Lampropeltis, and the shovelnose snakes, genus Chionactis.) In some regions, the order of the bands distinguishes between the non-venomous mimics and the venomous coral snakes, inspiring some folk rhymes — "Red on yellow, kill a fellow; "Red on black, friend of Jack"; and "Red into black, venom lack; red into yellow, kill a fellow." However, this reliably applies only to coral snakes native to North America: Micrurus fulvius (Eastern or common coral snake), Micrurus tener (Texas coral snake), and Micruroides euryxanthus (Arizona coral snake), found in the southern and western United States. Coral snakes found in other parts of the world can have distinctly different patterns, have red bands touching black bands, have only pink and blue banding, or have no banding at all.

Most species of coral snake are small in size. North American species average around 3 feet (91 cm) in length, but specimens of up to 5 feet (150 cm) or slightly larger have been reported. Aquatic species have flattened tails acting as a fin, aiding in swimming.


Jensen Comment
Since I lived on an acreage in Florida, I learned some things about snakes. For example, you can tell the difference between a rattlesnake and a common non-poisonous oak snake (my neighbor called it an oak snake, but this was not the same as the venomous copperhead) by the bluntness of the rattlesnake's nose. And we loved having black snakes live under the house since black snakes drive off rattle snakes. And in my horse barn I loved the rat snakes because they are colorful  and keep the rodents down.

If you leave shoes, boots, sleeping bags, or something similar outdoors, you learn to turn them upside down and shake them before using them --- primarily because coral snakes often seek such comforts.

I learned in Florida and Texas that if you shoot a golf ball into the deep rough, don't risk looking for it. And about half my shots end up in the rough. Thankfully, there are no poisonous snakes in New Hampshire. Vermont has small rattlesnakes along Lake Champlain, but they're now very rare.


CancerQuest: Cancer Education Curriculum --- http://www.cancerquest.org/cancer-education-curriculum-introduction.html

Silent Monks singing the Hallelujah Chorus (humor) --- http://voxvocispublicus.homestead.com/Index.html

Amish Centerfold (surprise ending) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqThH1lz_nU

Irish Ladies on Cheap Flights --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

Forwarded by Paula

Irish Dreaming

Paddy was waiting at the bus stop with his mate when a lorry went by loaded up with rolls of turf.

Paddy said, 'I gonna do that when I win the lottery.'

'What's dat?' says his mate.

'Send me lawn away to be cut,' says Paddy.

I especially like Number 01 and 26 below

Quotations forwarded by Maureen

01. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
- John Adams
My favorite
02. If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
- Mark Twain
03. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress, but then I repeat myself.
- Mark Twain
04. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
- Winston Churchill
05. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
- George Bernard Shaw
06. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
- G. Gordon Liddy
7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University
9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian
10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
- Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)
11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
- Ronald Reagan (1986)
12. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
- Will Rogers
13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
 - P.J. O'Rourke
14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
- Voltaire (1764)
15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
- Pericles (430 B.C.)
16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
- Mark Twain (1866)
17. Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.
- Anonymous
18. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
- Ronald Reagan
19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
- Winston Churchill
20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
- Mark Twain
21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
22. There is no distinctly Native American criminal class...save Congress.
- Mark Twain
23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
- Thomas Jefferson
25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
- Aesop
26. Politicians who arrive in Washington as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires. Why?
Sarah Palin, "How Congress Occupied Wall Street," The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2011 --- 


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