Tidbits on June 14, 2012
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I feature photographs of yet another Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill


Photographs of Vergennes (Oldest Village in Vermont) http://cdi.uvm.edu/collections/getCollection.xql?pid=bixby

What Goes on in a Garden? --- http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xHkq1edcbk4?rel=0

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


Blogs of White Mountain Hikers (many great photographs) ---

Especially note the archive of John Compton's blogs at the bottom of the page at

Are their trails in our White Mountains of New Hampshire that have ice in summer as well as winter?
See "The Ice Gulch, Would I do it Again" by John Compton, August 5, 2011 ---

Okay, you might ask, is there really ice in the Ice Gulch, even in August? Yes, there is! The next photo shows one small patch of ice. There were many larger patches, but they were at the bottom of some of those deep gaps that I mentioned above. I took some photos, but none of them really turned out, even with using a flash to illuminate these dark, dank, deep spots.

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

Tidbits on January 24, 2012
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

TEDxGeorgiaTech - Ravi Bellamkonda - Technology to dance with nature... ---

TED Talk:  Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world ---

Transit of Venus: A Quick Guide to Tomorrow’s Last-of-a-Lifetime Event --- Click Here

Great Underwater Video --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/mcbHKAWIk3I

Derrida: A 2002 Documentary on the Abstract Philosopher and the Everyday Man --- Click Here

Listen to Your Heart (About Penguins) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=SkY03n0_sD8&vq=medium

Bulldog Surfer (also on a skateboard) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=cqxTUxzOceE&feature=youtube_gdata_plaJ

This is Coffee!: A 1961 Tribute to Our Favorite Stimulant --- Click Here

The Nude Man Clock --- http://lovedbdb.com/nudemenClock/index2.html
It's time to put on some clothes.

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

A Young (Fifth Grade) Composer Gets His Chance At The New York Philharmonic --- Click Here

Carnegie Hall Live: Lang Lang Plays Bach, Schubert And Chopin ---

Spring For Music: The Houston Symphony's Subversive, Sardonic Shostakovich ---

Rembrandt’s Facebook Timeline --- Click Here

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

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

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

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

Photographs and Art

The “Collapse” of the Sydney Opera House Sails --- Click Here

11 famed US sites named to annual 'most endangered places' list ---

Railroad Picture Archives --- http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

Flying Over The Earth At Night in the Space Station! --- http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120305.html

Transcontinental Railroad Pictures and Exhibits --- http://cprr.org/Museum/Exhibits.html

Los Angeles Public Library: Fashion Plates --- http://digital.lapl.org/Browse.aspx?s=3

Building the Golden Gate Bridge: A Retro Film Featuring Original Archival Footage --- Click Here

From the University of Washington
Fashion Plate Collection (women's fashions in history) --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/costumehistweb/index.html

When Respected Authors, from Goethe to Henry Miller, Try Their Hand at Painting --- Click Here

Best of the Scout Report for 2011-12 Academic Year

Best of 2011–2012
- The Walters Art Museum
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- National Science Foundation: Predicting Seasonal Weather
- Torn in Two: 150th Anniversary of Civil War
- University of Idaho Library: The Map Room
- Saylor.org: Free Education
- Forgotten Detroit
- Sid Lapidus '59 Collection on Liberty and the American Revolution
- Science Museum: Brought to Life
- Get the Math


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

Rare 1959 Audio: Flannery O’Connor Reads ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ --- Click Here

Author Flannery O’Connor Captured on Film at Age 5, with Her Chickens --- Click Here

Explorer David Livingstone’s Diary (Written in Berry Juice) Now Digitized with New Imaging Technology --- Click Here

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on June 14, 2012

The booked National Debt on June 14, 2012 was over $15.7 trillion ---
U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Also see http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

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

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

"Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings," Google, May 16, 2012 ---

How Scholars Search the Web ---

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at ---

DNS Changer Malware

Forwarded by Jim Martin

These links are in the July 2012 issue of PC World

For a DNS Changer Check-Up see: www.dns-ok.us

That site provides a link to the FBI's site at

For infected systems see http://www.dcwg.org/fix/

or Avir's repair tool at

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

Google warns hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July (July 9 to be exact) ---

Windows Live is Dead
Microsoft is finally killing off the confusing "Windows Live" brand. It's being replaced with a renewed focus on Microsoft's biggest piece of software - the Windows OS - together with a new and all-encompassing identity system named "Microsoft account."
"Why Microsoft Killed Windows Live," by Richard MacManus, ReadWriteWeb, May 28, 2012 ---

If you wanted to be like my hero David Pogue, what would you buy?

"What Pogue Actually Bought," by David Pogue, The New York Times, June 8, 2012 ---

I get plenty of reader e-mail, and if I had to graph the question categories, “What should I buy?” would be the tallest bar by far.

If you could hold your finger down on that bar to explode it into sub-bars, “What do you own?” would be a pretty tall one. Imagine, in other words, if your job let you test and try every single brand of camera, tablet, phone, laptop and GPS, which would you buy for you and your own family?

That’s why, every couple of years, I write the following post: What Pogue Actually Bought. Hope it’s useful to somebody.

Main computer. A 13-inch MacBook Pro. I also have a Windows desktop and laptop, and there’s an iMac in the kitchen for the kids, but the laptop is my main machine.

I’d love to get a MacBook Air, which is just as fast and far lighter and thinner. My problem is storage. The Air uses a chunk of memory, a solid-state drive (SSD) as its hard drive, rather than a physical, spinning disk. That’s great. Fewer moving parts, faster start-up, better battery life. But SSD’s are very expensive, and come in small capacities. The biggest one you can get in an Air is 256 gigabytes, compared with 750 gigs on the traditional hard drive on a MacBook Pro. I traffic in photos and videos; I’d run out of space quickly on a 256-gig drive.

I’ve been experimenting with other solutions: keeping my main photo and video collections at home on an external drive, for example, and having only the latest on my laptop. For now, though, I’m hauling around two extra pounds and a DVD drive I never use.

Camera. I bought the amazing Canon S100, a tiny pocket camera with the biggest sensor on the market. I wrote about my reasons here. But in two weeks, I’ll be switching my allegiance. You cannot believe what’s about to come down the photographic pike. Trust me: If you’re in the market for a small camera with astonishing photographic results, hold off for a few weeks.

I also have a Nikon D80 with three lenses, an SLR that’s showing its age. It still takes fantastic pictures, but I ache for better speed and to be able to capture video. Truth is, I use it less and less in the age of big-sensor, pocketable cameras. But I’m thinking of replacing it one of these days with a D5100, which is just about at my prosumery level.

Phone. I have an iPhone 4S. I’m constantly looking at and testing Android phones, which are just getting better and better  — the imminent Samsung Galaxy S III looks positively juicy — but for now, features like Siri and the whole iCloud thing are keeping me in the Apple camp.

It’s a Verizon phone. As an East Coaster, my fondness for the Verizon network’s ubiquity led me to overcome my cynicism regarding Verizon, the company.

Phone case. None. I know I’m tempting fate, but the Gorilla glass hasn’t yet let me down, and if you’re going to buy a phone for its slimness and beauty, why bury it in plastic?

GPS. We own two cars: a Honda Fit and a Toyota Prius V. They’re absolutely fantastic cars; I’m so proud of myself for choosing them. They both have built-in GPS.

In general, the Honda’s GPS is light-years better than the Toyota’s. For one thing, it doesn’t lock you out when the car is in motion, so the passenger can program in your address while you drive. For another thing, it’s simply better designed. The Prius’s GPS weirdly lists my town as being in “NY Metro Region” instead of Connecticut, for example.

But the Prius’s built-in GPS has a perk that, let’s hope, will soon come to all cars: the ability to speak your destination address instead of painstakingly tapping it in on the touchscreen. And you can do it while you’re driving. “200 West Hartley Extension, New Rochelle, New York.” Bingo: you’re on your way. I’ve waited years for this.

Software. My family relies upon BusyCal for our calendar, which is just about one of the best programs I’ve ever used for anything. Fast, crashproof, simple, attractive, and it speaks to all the online calendars like Google’s and iCloud’s.

The rest of my life is spent in Mail, Word, Excel, Photoshop, FileMaker and this ancient freeform database cards program called iData. My notes, lists, brainstorms, phone numbers, driving directions, recipes, Christmas gift ideas and other thoughts have been happily trapped in that program and its predecessors for 20 years.

I also use TextExpander, which expands typed abbreviations for better speed and accuracy, and a little free macro program called Spark, which lets me open various programs and perform other functions with keystrokes of my choosing. And Dropbox. Wow, I love Dropbox, although I’ve added SkyDrive (7 free gigabytes instead of 2) to my desktop, too.

Online. Almost every day, I stop in to Twitter (I’m @pogue) to post a link to my latest column, or, if I don’t have one, to post a joke of the day. I usually manage a Facebook visit, too, to see what’s going on in my social circle.

What else is on my bookmarks bar? NYTimes.com, Techmeme, Google Voice, my kids’ school homework assignments site, my blog and the local commuter train schedule site.

I’ve just moved my online photo galleries to SmugMug, for the reasons I wrote about in the Times today. I’m really excited; I feel as though MobileMe’s demise, in this regard, was good for me.

Noise-canceling headphones. In January, I reviewed the latest noise-canceling headphones — a must gadget for anyone who’s a passenger in planes, trains or automobiles. I wound up buying my favorite of the lot: the AKG K495 NC. Expensive, but holy fuselage, did I make the right call. These things pack down smaller than the rivals, sit so much more comfortably on the ears (six-hour flight? no problem), and block sound so much more effectively.

Continued in article

Note that there are many interesting comments to David's post.

"Ingenious New Earbuds From Arriva," by David Pogue, The New York Times, May 31, 2012 ---

"A New G-Shock Watch Awaits a New Bluetooth," by David Pogue, The New York Times, January 24, 2012 ---

"Videotape to DVD, Made Easy," by David Pogue, The New York Times, January 27, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/27/technology/circuits/27stat.html?oref=login 

"Dropbox Will Simplify Your Life," by David Pogue, The New York Times, October 20, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets ---

Have a nice life while the getting is good!
"Earth Is Headed for Disaster, Interdisciplinary Team of Scientists Concludes," by Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 6, 2012 ---

"Getting to Zero, by Elephant or F-18," by John Elkington, Harvard Business Review Blog, June 7, 2012 ---

"Gender Gaps in Performance: Evidence from Young Lawyers," by Rosa Ferrer and Ghazala Azmat, SSRN, May 2, 2012 ---

This paper documents and studies the gender gap in performance among associate lawyers in the United States. Unlike most high-skilled professions, the legal profession has widely-used objective methods to measure and reward lawyers’ productivity: the number of hours billed to clients and the amount of new-client revenue generated. We find clear evidence of a gender gap in annual performance with respect to both measures. Male lawyers bill ten-percent more hours and bring in more than double the new-client revenue. We show that the differential impact across genders in the presence of young children and the differences in aspirations to become a law-firm partner account for a large part of the difference in performance. These performance gaps have important consequences for gender gaps in earnings. While individual and firm characteristics explain up to 50 percent of earnings gap, the inclusion of performance measures explains most of the remainder

Bob Jensen's threads on gender issues in academe ---

One of the real dangers of capitalism is that it is self-defeating when it evolves into oligopoly and monopoly

"Google's Monopoly and Internet Freedom: When one company controls nearly 82% of the global search market and 98% of the mobile search market, it's time for serious changes," by Jeffrey Katz, The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2012 ---

It's a position all business leaders would love to find themselves in—a massive IPO, dominance in the marketplace, and a blank slate from policy makers to do practically anything they please.

Google has enjoyed this unrivaled position for nearly a decade. It is the most popular search engine in the world, controlling nearly 82% of the global search market and 98% of the mobile search market. Its annual revenue is larger than the economies of the world's 28 poorest countries combined. And its closest competitor, Bing, is so far behind in both market share and revenue that Google has become, effectively, a monopoly.

The company has used its position to bend the rules to help maintain its online supremacy, including the use of sophisticated algorithms weighted in favor of its own products and services at the expense of search results that are truly most relevant.

Google is so powerful that the European Union recently announced that the company must alter its business practices or face charges for violating antitrust law.

At my company, Nextag, a comparison shopping site for products and services, we regularly analyze the level of search traffic we get from Google. It's easy to see when Google makes changes to its algorithms that effectively punish its competitors, including us. Our data, which we shared with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 21, 2011, shows without a doubt that Google has stacked the deck. And as a result, it has shifted from a true search site into a commerce site—a commerce site whose search algorithm favors products and services from Google and those from companies able to spend the most on advertising.

Most people believe that when they type "convection microwave oven" or "biking shorts" into Google, they will receive a list of the most relevant sites. Not true. That's how Google used to work. Now, when someone searches for these items, the most prominent results are displayed because companies paid Google for that privilege. In addition, Google often uses its prime real estate to promote its own (often less relevant and inferior) products and services, prohibiting companies from buying its best advertisements.

As a result, by controlling which companies, organizations and causes get exposure, Google has become a brand killer. If Google pushes a merchant or company to page three of its search results—let alone page 40—it is life altering. This "cloak of invisibility" for less-favored brands flies in the face of Google's original mission to "organize the world's information"—or at least organize it in a manner that is in the best interest of consumers, rather than of Google.

As the CEO of a price-comparison company that benefits from Google's search results, I openly admit that we—along with everyone else in the industry—have been impacted by these changes to Google's search platform. In the past, we have benefited precisely because we've provided one of the best shopping sites on the Web—and Web traffic from Google used to follow accordingly. Google highlighted our services in search results over their own, because our services were better—and they still are. But Google's latest changes are clearly no longer about helping users.

We're at a pivotal moment. Google has spent years trying to monopolize every avenue through which a company can reach users online—whether it is through search, advertising, email, mobile devices or browsers. But now that European Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia has given Google a July 2 deadline to respond to the EU's antitrust concerns, let's hope the company's directors wake up and take corrective action for the sake of Internet freedom.

If I were Mr. Almunia, here's what I'd be pushing for:

First, Google needs to be transparent about how its search engine operates. Today Google hides behind forked-tongued gobbledygook that is meant to obfuscate. Google should disclose, clearly and in plain English, when advertisers receive better placement in search results and when a result is a Google-owned property. And when a competitor's service is the best response for the user, Google should highlight it instead of its own service.

Second, Google should provide consumers with access to the unbiased search results it was once known for—regardless of which company or organization owns the service. It should also allow users to reduce the number of ads shown or incorporate a user's preferred services in search results.

And third, Google should grant all companies equal access to advertising opportunities regardless of whether they are considered a competitor. Given its market share and public commitment to providing users with the most relevant, helpful information, Google has an obligation to provide a level playing field.

Continued in article

Outstanding Student Loans Now Exceed $1 Trillion in the U.S.
"A No-Cost Interest Rate Fix," by Jason Delisle, Inside Higher Ed, June 7, 2012 ---

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

An Excellent Presentation on the Flaws of Finance, Particularly the Flaws of Financial Theorists

A recent topic on the AECM listserv concerns the limitations of accounting standard setters and researchers when it comes to understanding investors. One point that was not raised in the thread to date is that a lot can be learned about investors from the top financial analysts of the world --- their writings and their conferences.

A Plenary Session Speech at a Chartered Financial Analysts Conference
Video: James Montier’s 2012 Chicago CFA Speech The Flaws of Finance ---
Note that it takes over 15 minutes before James Montier begins

Major Themes

  1. The difference between physics versus finance models is that physicists know the limitations of their models.
  2. Another difference is that components (e.g., atoms) of a physics model are not trying to game the system.
  3. The more complicated the model in finance the more the analyst is trying to substitute theory for experience.
  4. There's a lot wrong with Value at Risk (VaR) models that regulators ignored.
  5. The assumption of market efficiency among regulators (such as Alan Greenspan) was a huge mistake that led to excessively low interest rates and bad behavior by banks and credit rating agencies.
  6. Auditors succumbed to self-serving biases of favoring their clients over public investors.
  7. Banks were making huge gambles on other peoples' money.
  8. Investors themselves ignored risk such as poisoned CDO risks when they should've known better. I love his analogy of black swans on a turkey farm.
  9. Why don't we see surprises coming (five excellent reasons given here)?
  10. The only group of people who view the world realistically are the clinically depressed.
  11. Model builders should stop substituting elegance for reality.
  12. All financial theorists should be forced to interact with practitioners.
  13. Practitioners need to abandon the myth of optimality before the fact.
    Jensen Note
    This also applies to abandoning the myth that we can set optimal accounting standards.
  14. In the long term fundamentals matter.
  15. Don't get too bogged down in details at the expense of the big picture.
  16. Max Plank said science advances one funeral at a time.
  17. The speaker then entertains questions from the audience (some are very good).


James Montier is a very good speaker from England!

Mr. Montier is a member of GMO’s asset allocation team. Prior to joining GMO in 2009, he was co-head of Global Strategy at Société Générale. Mr. Montier is the author of several books including Behavioural Investing: A Practitioner’s Guide to Applying Behavioural Finance; Value Investing: Tools and Techniques for Intelligent Investment; and The Little Book of Behavioural Investing. Mr. Montier is a visiting fellow at the University of Durham and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Portsmouth University and an M.Sc. in Economics from Warwick University

There's a lot of useful information in this talk for accountics scientists.

Bob Jensen's threads on what went wrong with accountics research are at

"Ingenious New Earbuds From Arriva," by David Pogue, The New York Times, May 31, 2012 ---

. . .

Well, Arriva is back.

Here again are the bendable, back-of-the-head earbuds. Here again are the big, finger-friendly volume and play/pause buttons at the nape of your neck. The Arriva Leo, as it’s called, however, doesn’t need an iPod Shuffle. Instead, it has Bluetooth. So it plays the music from an iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phone, BlackBerry, iPad, laptop or anything else with Bluetooth.

The idea now is that you can keep the phone in your pocket while you run or work out. It transmits your music to the earbuds on this comfortable, nearly weightless headband while you work, jog or run.

As a newly minted runner — I’ve been at it for only a month — I’m a strong believer in the concept of listening to music or podcasts while running. (Yes, yes, I know this is not exactly a world-shaking observation.)

But I had two problems with the standard iPhone earbuds cord. First, I have weirdly shaped ears that can’t hold earbuds in place. I’m deformed; I’m missing the antitragus. Second, that cord is a hassle when you’re running, and even when you’re not. So I figured that the Leo would be the perfect solution to both problems.

And it is.

During my first run with these things, they kept slipping out of my ear sockets. I spent some time on the company’s fairly amateurish Web site, though, and found videos that explain how to customize them. The entire headband is made of bendable metal with a couple of squiggles along the way, which you can pinch to tighten or pull apart to enlarge. You can also bend the stalks that have the actual earbuds on them.

By turning those stalks almost 90 degrees, forcing the earbuds straight into my ears, I managed to sculpt the Leos into a shape that doesn’t budge during runs.

Unfortunately, I find myself having to repeat these bendy tweaks before every run. That’s about the only time you can use “hassle” and “Leo” in the same sentence.

The sound is very good; the Leos are sweatproof and splashproof; they play for five hours on a charge; and they let you take phone calls, too. When you tap the power button behind your head, you answer the call, which comes in on only the right earbud. I was about to object to the arrangement, when it occurred to me that you use your regular cellphone only on one ear, too! This one-ear calling thing is a drawback only when compared with regular Android or Apple earbuds, which bring the call to both ears.

By learning which of the three big buttons do what functions when you tap or hold them, you can skip tracks, adjust volume and even operate Siri voice control (“play some Beatles”).

The Leos come with a pocket carrying case and a set of “Acoustibuds,” silicone snap-on cones for earbuds that go deeper into your ear. There are other Bluetooth earphones, of course, but I haven’t found any others that have both Bluetooth and a behind-your-head design, instead of over it. That style means you can wear them with glasses, sunglasses, helmets or hats — and even if you’re wearing nothing at all on your head, it doesn’t mess up your hair. Note to spies or people in boring meetings: If you have long hair, this design means that you can even listen to music without anybody realizing it.

The Leos cost $75, and I’m happy to say that they continue the old Arriva’s tradition of cleverness and smart design.

A Mobile Phone and Tablet in One Device
"Mobile Device That's Better for a Jotter Than a Talker," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2012 ---

Lots of folks carry a smartphone, and, at least some of the time, tote a second mobile device—an iPad or other tablet. But some people might prefer a product that combines the two. Similarly, many have come to love the finger-controlled interface popularized by Apple, but might prefer at times to use a stylus, a common tool in the pre-iPhone days.

Samsung is hoping to offer all of the above. On Sunday, it's introducing to the U.S. a phone-tablet hybrid with a large 5.3-inch screen that uses a stylus as well as your fingers. It's called the Galaxy Note and costs $300 with a two-year AT&T contract.

While the Note could be mistaken for a small tablet, Samsung insists it's a phone that merely offers some of the roominess of a tablet. And in fact, it runs the last purely phone-oriented version of Google's Android operating system, called Gingerbread. This product positioning may be due to bad memories of another company's effort to sell such a 'tweener: Dell's 5-inch Streak, which was marketed as a tablet that could make calls and failed miserably in 2010.

After testing the Galaxy Note, I have decidedly mixed feelings about it. It isn't a very practical phone and, as a tablet, it can't match the experience of the iPad, which is more spacious and has over 150,000 apps designed for it. However, I can see where some folks might consider the 5-inch screen a good trade-off for much better portability than other tablets, and Samsung has done some very interesting work in making the stylus, which is stored in a slot on the device, useful.

As a mobile phone, the Galaxy Note is positively gargantuan. It's almost 6 inches long and over 3 inches wide. When you hold it up to your ear, it pretty much covers the entire side of your face. You look like you're talking into a piece of toast.

The Note is so big, an iPhone can almost fit within its display. And it dwarfs even the more-bloated crop of recent Android phones, like Samsung's own Galaxy S II series, whose screen can be as large as 4.5 inches. And while it can fit into a large pocket or handbag, the Note isn't going to slip unobtrusively into your jeans or a small purse. It weighs 6.28 ounces, nearly 30% more than the iPhone and nearly 50% more than some Galaxy S II models.

For people who use Bluetooth earpieces all the time, or who primarily use the speakerphone function, the Note's size may not be a problem. But for the rest, the Note is just too large to go without a more reasonably sized phone, which defeats the one-device argument.

Voice quality in normal use was good. But, in my limited tests of its Bluetooth voice capabilities, the caller on the other end felt the Note sounded significantly worse than the iPhone or other Android models I've tested.

However, as a data device, I liked the Note a lot. Its screen sports a high resolution that made photos, videos and text look very good. It uses AT&T's high-speed LTE data network, where available, and in my tests it was very fast. The larger screen enabled more of a Web page to be visible without scrolling than on typical phones.

Like all Android devices, it has fewer, and, in my opinion, generally lower-quality third-party apps than the iPhone. But those I tried worked well. The Note was consistently speedy and responsive.

The 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera both did a good job. Photos and videos I shot from the rear camera were excellent. But I found the sheer size of the Note undercuts its convenience as a camera and there's no dedicated camera button or quick way to launch the camera when the screen is locked, as there is on some other phones.

In moderate mixed use, where I played music and videos, surfed the Web, texted, used email constantly and took pictures, the Note's battery lasted more than a full day between charges.

Unlike Apple, Samsung allowed AT&T to load a bunch of its own apps you might not want on the Note, like a $10 to $15 a month program for locating family members via cellphone GPS. A particularly egregious example is a Yellow Pages app that's jammed into the very top of your contact list.

Another drawback: While other Android phones I've tested can be plugged into either a PC or a Mac so you can manually transfer files onto them, I couldn't get the Note to do this with either of two Macs I tested with it. It did work with Windows machines.

The stylus is a big plus, at least for users who like to jot down notes, create sketches or annotate documents in a way that's much more precise than using a fingertip. Even on the iPad, which wasn't designed for a stylus, third-party styli have become quietly popular, but Samsung has taken the idea much further.

The Note's stylus, called the S Pen, can be used instead of a finger to launch and operate apps. But that isn't its main purpose. It's meant to work closely with a special app called S Memo that allows you to take notes or make sketches. These can be saved or shared via email or text messaging, or uploaded to sites like Facebook. They can include photos or typed text.

The software allows the stylus to draw in different colors and widths and to emulate a brush or marker.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at

Absurdly Successful Tax Frauds
"Woman's Absurdly Unsophisticated Tax Scheme Still Managed to Dupe The Oregon Department of Revenue," by Caleb Newquist, Going Concern, June 8, 2012 ---

As we've witnessed, perpetrators of tax fraud oftentimes utilize very simple methods. Slapping a dead person's name, birthdate, social security number, isn't terribly difficult once the data is obtained; throw some minors on there as dependents and you've got yourself a nice little refund at the expense of some grieving family members. Not complicated. You don't even have to breathe free air to do it!

Typically these frauds are small and repeated dozens, sometimes hundreds of times for a nice little haul. This, however was not the preferred technique for Krystle Marie Reyes of Salem, Oregon who couldn't be bothered with such tedious processes (allegedly!):

According to the affidavit, Reyes used Turbo Tax, a popular tax preparation software package, to file a faked 2011 income tax return that reported wages of $3 million and claimed she was owed a $2.1 million refund. The state authorized the refund, and Turbo Tax issued Reyes a Visa debit card with the full refund amount. [...] State revenue officials did not discover the fraud until Reyes reported the card as lost or stolen. In the meantime, she racked up more than $150,000 in purchases. Reyes, according to the affidavit, paid $2,000 in cash for a 1999 Dodge Caravan and used the card to buy $800 worth of tires and wheels.

Continued in article

Absurdly Successful Mortgage Fraud
Marvene Halterman, an unemployed Arizona woman with a long history of creditors, took out a $103,000 mortgage on her 576 square-foot-house in 2007. Within a year she stopped making payments. Now the investors with an interest in the house will likely recoup only $15,000.
The Wall Street Journal slide show of indoor and outdoor pictures --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123093614987850083.html#articleTabs%3Dslideshow
Jensen Comment
The $15,000 is mostly the value of the lot since at the time the mortgage was granted the shack was virtually worthless even though corrupt mortgage brokers and appraisers put a fraudulent value on the shack. Bob Jensen's threads on these subprime mortgage frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
Probably the most common type of fraud in the Savings and Loan debacle of the 1980s was real estate investment fraud. The same can be said of the 21st Century subprime mortgage fraud. Welcome to fair value accounting that will soon have us relying upon real estate appraisers to revalue business real estate on business balance sheets --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#FairValue

The Rest of Marvene's Story --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudMarvene.htm

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"Grassroots Justice:  Paralegals can be critical in countries that are short on courts and lawyers. Vivek Maru is bringing them there," Stanford Graduate School of Business, June 2012 ---

How would you treat the issue of plagiarism below?

I received this featured message below from one of those wearisome for-profit college promotion sites that tries to hide behind a link to an accounting history essay at

Suppose that we pretend that one of your students (Jaime) submitted this essay to you as part of an assignment in your course.

Without taking the time and trouble to find the original source of this essay using plagiarism detection software, suppose that you performed a simple text stream check on Google --- as I often did when I was still teaching.

Further suppose that one of the text stream hits led to
http://www.robertnowlan.com/pdfs/Pacioli, Luca.pdf 

Firstly, are the essays similar enough to call Jaime to your office to discuss the possibility of plagiarism?

How likely is it that both essays were plagiarized?
Actually, when backing up the Robert Nowlan link it appears that the Robert Nowlan site is likely to be legitimate

Would you pursue a charge of plagiarism against your student who submitted the essay at

Note that these two essays are not duplicates. But there are terms that lead to suspicion in my devious mind --- terms and phrases like the following:



"came under the influence of the artist Piero della Francesca from whose work he freely"

"Pacioli went to Venice to become a tutor to the sons of a wealthy merchant. In 1471 he arrived in Rome and entered the brotherhood of St. Francis. Pacioli traveled extensively, wandering through Italy and possibly to the Orient and lectured on mathematics at Perugia, Rome, Naples, Pisa, and Venice. He was at the court of Ludovico Sforza, known as the Moor, at Milan with Leonardo da Vinci. It was here, at the most glittering court in Europe, that Pacioli became the first occupant of the chair of mathematics. Pacioli spent the last years of his life in Florence and Venice, returning to the place of his birth to die.."

I think that by now you probably get the picture.

Bob Jensen's threads on Pacioli are at

Bob Jensen



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jaime
Date: Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 3:05 PM
Subject: Broken link on your page
To: Bob

Hi Bob,

I came across your website and wanted to notify you about a broken link on your page in case you weren't aware of it. The link on
http://cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/Calgary/CD/Theory/theory01.htm which links to http://acct.tamu.edu/smith/ethics/pacioli.htm is no longer working. I've included a link to a useful page on Luca Pacioli, the father of accounting that you could replace the broken link with if you're interested in updating your website. Thanks for providing a great resource!

Link: http://www.onlineaccountingdegree.net/resources/luca-pacioli-the-father-of-accounting/



Is the earned-income tax credit dysfunctional in that it actually discourages working?

"Do Tax Credits Encourage Work," by Casey Mulligan, The New York Times, May 20, 2012 ---
Thank you Paul Caron for the heads up.

The earned-income tax credit is often said to encourage work, but it may do just the opposite. ... The chart below shows the credit’s schedules for the 2011 tax year as a function of annual earned income for a given family situation (other family situations have the same basic shape). The schedule shown illustrates the mountain-plateau pattern described above: an increasing portion for the lowest incomes, a flat portion, a decreasing portion and then finally a flat portion of zero.

Continued in article

"Online Courses Should Always Include Proctored Finals, Economist Warns," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2011 ---
Click Here

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

Pearson PLC --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearson_PLC

"Udacity to partner with Pearson for testing: What does this mean?" by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 2, 2012 --- Click Here

Online educational startup Udacity, with whom I had a very positive experience while taking their CS 101 course, is taking things a bit further by partnering with Pearson. They’ll be using Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide to provide proctored final exams for some of their courses (presumably all of their courses will be included eventually), leading to an official credential and participation in a job placement service.

Before, students watched the videos and did homework assignments online and then took a final exam at the end of the semester. In the first offering of CS 101, the “grade” for the course (the kind of certificate you got from Udacity) depended on either an average of homework scores and the final exam or on the final exam alone. Most Udacity courses these days just use the final exam. But the exam is untimed and unproctored, and there’s absolutely nothing preventing academic dishonesty apart from the integrity of the student.

That’s not a great recipe for viable credentialing. For people like me, who want the knowledge but don’t really need the credentials, it’s enough, and I found their CS 101 course to be exactly the right level for what I needed to learn. But if you’re an employer, you’d want to have something a little more trustworthy, and so this is a logical move for Udacity. It’s also a significant step towards establishing themselves as more than just a web site with instructional videos.

The natural question for people like me is, what does this mean for traditional higher education? Personally, I’m not worried, because I teach at an institution that provides way more than just credentialing for job placement. That’s not to downplay the importance of credentialing or job placement — but that sort of thing is fundamentally different than a university education, or at least a university education that hasn’t forsaken its mission. Higher ed is a rich and complex ecosystem, and universities don’t really compete in the same space as providers like Udacity even with the sort of credentialing they’re describing. In fact there could be opportunities for useful partnerships between universities and online providers. Udacity certainly makes use of the university professoriate to power its content delivery.

On the other hand, Udacity’s move should be a warning to those institutions who have moved toward a credentialing + job placement model: Your space is being invaded by a viable competitor who can offer the same product for much less money.

Onsite Versus Online Education (including controls for online examinations and assignments) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Udacity and other alternatives for educating the masses ---

MOOC --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooc

"Who Takes MOOCs?" by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2012 ---

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are popular. This much we know.

But as investors and higher ed prognosticators squint into their crystal balls for hints of what this popularity could portend for the rest of higher education, two crucial questions remains largely unanswered: Who are these students, and what do they want?

Some early inquiries into this by two major MOOC providers offer a few hints.

Coursera, a company started by two Stanford University professors, originated with a course called Machine Learning, which co-founder Andrew Ng taught last fall to a virtual classroom of 104,000 students. Coursera surveyed a sample of those students to find out, among other things, their education and work backgrounds and why they decided to take the course.

Among 14,045 students in the Machine Learning course who responded to a demographic survey, half were professionals who currently held jobs in the tech industry. The largest chunk, 41 percent, said they were professionals currently working in the software industry; another 9 percent said they were professionals working in non-software areas of the computing and information technology industries.

Many were enrolled in some kind of traditional postsecondary education. Nearly 20 percent were graduate students, and another 11.6 percent were undergraduates. The remaining registrants were either unemployed (3.5 percent), employed somewhere other than the tech industry (2.5 percent), enrolled in a K-12 school (1 percent), or “other” (11.5 percent).

A subset (11,686 registrants) also answered a question about why they chose to take the course. The most common response, given by 39 percent of the respondents, was that they were “just curious about the topic.” Another 30.5 percent said they wanted to “sharpen the skills” they use in their current job. The smallest proportion, 18 percent, said they wanted to “position [themselves] for a better job.”

Udacity, another for-profit MOOC provider founded by (erstwhile) Stanford professors, has also conducted some initial probes into the make-up of its early registrants. While the company did not share any data tables with Inside Higher Ed, chief executive officer David Stavens said more than 75 percent of the students who took the company’s first course, Artificial Intelligence, last fall were looking to “improve their skills relevant for either current or future employment.”

That is a broad category, encompassing both professionals and students, so it does not lend much nuance to the questions of who the students are or what they want. And even the more detailed breakdown of the students who registered for Ng’s Machine Learning course cannot offer very much upon which to build a sweeping thesis on how MOOCs might fit into the large and diverse landscape of higher education.

Coursera has since completed the first iterations of seven additional courses and opened registration for 32 more beyond that. Many of those courses — which cover poetry, world music, finance, and behavioral neurology — are likely to attract different sorts of people, with different goals, than Machine Learning did. “I'm expecting that the demographics for some of our upcoming classes (Stats One, Soc 101, Pharmacology, etc.) will be very different,” said Daphne Koller, one of Coursera’s founders, in an e-mail.

Continued in article

"Online Courses Should Always Include Proctored Finals, Economist Warns," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2011 ---
Click Here

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

Pearson PLC --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearson_PLC

"Udacity to partner with Pearson for testing: What does this mean?" by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 2, 2012 --- Click Here


Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs ---

"The New GMAT: Thanks, But No Thanks," Business Week, May 31, 2012 ---

The future can be scary, especially if you’re headed to B-school. And if you haven’t taken the GMAT yet, the future can be downright terrifying. On June 2 the old GMAT will be consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced on June 5 (after a two-day blackout period) with a new version of the B-school entrance test. The new and improved exam replaces one of the existing writing sections with a new integrated reasoning section that apparently is giving test takers the night sweats.

There’s been a mad rush on the part of students to register for the test before June 5. The Graduate Management Admission Council, which publishes the exam, isn’t saying exactly how mad, but if you charted test registrations it would look a lot like a bell curve. “We expected volumes to go up in April and May, and they have,” wrote GMAC spokesman Bob Ludwig in an e-mail. “Quite significantly.”

What that means for test takers is that, according to test-prep companies, registering for the GMAT just got a lot more difficult, especially if you’ve waited until the last minute. To take the test before the big changeover, some students are driving an hour or two out of their way to less popular testing centers and taking the test mid-week rather than on the weekend.

Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs at Kaplan Test Prep, says a surge in test registrations before substantive changes is not unusual. In a recent survey, 38 percent of Kaplan GMAT students said they were trying to beat the June 2 deadline and take the old test. Many of them hadn’t even seen the new integrated reasoning questions yet—they were worried about the new section, sight unseen.

Test takers have now had several months to eyeball the new section using sample questions supplied by GMAC and test-prep materials. Mitchell says students equate the new integrated reasoning section’s level of difficulty with that of the GMAT’s data sufficiency questions—some of the test’s toughest—which ask test takers to determine if the information supplied is enough to answer the question.

“A business school student is generally going to want to take the easier path if there’s no disadvantage to doing so,” Mitchell says. “Integrated reasoning is all about working with data. Quant data is displayed graphically, and that’s intimidating to a lot of people. It makes sense that people would be apprehensive.”

But it’s not like prospective MBAs were without options. It’s worth noting that the usual prescription for apprehension when it comes to the GMAT—hitting the books—was and is available for anyone contemplating the new test. Kaplan test-prep books that went on sale in January have material related to integrated reasoning, and integrated reasoning sections have been added to five of Kaplan’s nine full-length practice tests.

At Veritas Prep, the number of website visitors using “integrated reasoning” as a search term has doubled every month since January. “We’re definitely seeing a lot of traffic,” says Brian Galvin, director of academic programs at Veritas. “It’s an exponential increase in interest.”

Continued in article

The New GMAT:  Part 1
"The New GMAT: Questions for a Data-Rich World,: by: Alison Damast, Business Week, May 14, 2012 ---

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series on the new GMAT, which makes its official debut on June 5. In this article, we examine the conceptual building blocks for the test’s new Integrated Reasoning section.

On a blustery day in February 2009, a group of nine deans and faculty members from U.S. and European business schools huddled together in a conference room in McLean, Va., at the Graduate Management Admission Council’s headquarters. They were there to discuss what would be some of the most radical changes to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) in the exam’s nearly 60-year history.

Luis Palencia, then an associate dean at Spain’s IESE Business School, was eager to press his case for the skills he thought today’s MBAs needed to have at their fingertips. Business students must be able to nimbly interpret and play with data in graphs, spreadsheets, and charts, using the information to draw swift but informed conclusions, he told his colleagues.

“The GMAT was not becoming obsolete, but it was failing to identify the skills which might be important to warrant the success of our future candidates,” he said in a phone interview from Barcelona three years later.

By the time the faculty advisory group commenced two days later, they had come up with a set of recommendations that would serve as a framework for what would eventually become the new “Integrated Reasoning” section of the Next Generation GMAT, which has been in beta testing for two years and will be administered to applicants for the first time on June 5.

Until now, the B-school entrance exam, which was administered 258,192 times worldwide in 2011, was made up of verbal, quantitative, and two writing sections. The new section, which replaces one of the writing sections, is the biggest change to the GMAT since the shift to computer-adaptive testing 15 years ago, and one that has been in the works since 2006, when GMAC first decided to revisit the exam and the skills it was testing, says Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officer of GMAC.

“At that time, we got a pretty good handle that the GMAT was working, but we wanted to know if there was anything that we weren’t measuring that would provide real value to the schools,” Wilson says.

It turned out there was a whole slew of new skills business school faculty believed could be added to the exam. The recommendations put forth by Palencia and the rest of the committee that convened in 2009 served as the conceptual building blocks for what a new section might look like. Later that year, GMAC surveyed nearly 740 faculty members around the world, from business professors to admissions officers, who agreed with many of the committee’s findings and suggested that students needed certain proficiencies to succeed in today’s technologically advanced, data-driven workplaces.

For example, they gave “high importance” ratings to skills such as synthesizing data, evaluating data from different sources, and organizing and manipulating it to solve multiple, interrelated problems, according to the Next Generation GMAC Skills Survey report.

Those are all examples of skills that can now be found on the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, which GMAC has spent $12 million developing over the past few years, Wilson says. It will have 12 questions and include pie charts, graphs, diagrams, and data tables. The section employs four different types of questions that will allow students to flex their analytical muscles.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

"Offering a Helping Hand on Retirement Savings:  New Website Provides Investment Novices Free Portfolio Recommendations; Asking Questions of the CEO," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2012 ---

How often do you tinker with your retirement savings? Many people think about this when starting a job or opening a 401(k), but sometimes not again until they are ready to retire. According to financial advisers, that's too late.

This week, I forced myself to look at accounts I rarely monitor as I tested FutureAdvisor.com, a website founded by two former Microsoft engineers who are also a registered investment adviser and chartered financial analyst, respectively. They wanted to create an easy way for people to manage their retirement savings, primarily using index funds, and they based the site's suggestions on what they consider to be the best practices in the industry and in academia.

FutureAdvisor, which has no ads, bills itself as a free alternative to paying a lot for financial advice from professionals, who often charge a 1% annual fee or work on commission. Many big investment firms offer retirement-savings services, but these generally don't offer step-by-step advice for an investor's complete portfolio. FutureAdvisor expects to make money when it introduces later this year an optional premium service, which will charge an annual fee of less than 0.25% of your assets to rebalance and maintain your portfolio, automatically. It says suggestions offered on the site are made solely on merit, with no kickbacks or commissions to FutureAdvisor.

The site differs from budgeting sites like Mint.com that don't specialize in retirement savings. Instead, Mint makes money through recommendations for users, like which credit cards carry lower fees.

I'm not a financial expert; rather, I looked at FutureAdvisor through the lens of an average person who might want to use the site. Its investment philosophy may not be right for everybody.

FutureAdvisor is easy to use and walks users through a set of simple steps. There's no asset minimum to use the site, though people who are already in retirement can't use it. Pop-up explanations and options to submit questions to the site's CEO and co-founder, a registered investment adviser, are available as you go.

For security purposes, FutureAdvisor uses bank-level, 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption for all communications. It can't move money or make transactions; instead, people do this by clicking on links that send them to their financial institutions where they may pay a fee for certain transactions. Login information is never stored on the website; rather, it's handled by partner company Yodlee.

To get started with FutureAdvisor, I entered my email and a password to create an account and then answered questions about myself. These included birthday, current annual income, desired retirement age, desired retirement income, age when I started consistently saving for retirement, approximate value of my retirement investments and marital status. Thankfully, messages that say, "What is this?" appear beside each question, explaining why it's asked.

Next, you enter the names of brokerage firms that handle your accounts, like Fidelity for a 401(k) or T. Rowe Price for a Roth IRA. If you don't already have online accounts with each of these firms, you must set up accounts on their websites so you can return to FutureAdvisor, enter your username and password and access your data.

FutureAdvisor recognized a lot of different brokerage firms that I searched for, and this week it added Thrift Savings Plans, or TSPs, which are used by government employees, including military personnel. If a brokerage firm isn't on the site, you can suggest it in a feedback box. I did this, and my requested firm was added within hours.

When personal questions are answered and brokerage-firm information is retrieved, FutureAdvisor asks you to choose a conservative, moderate or aggressive approach with explanations of each. I chose an aggressive option because of my relatively young age. Various charts filled the screen showing recommendations for my stock/bond split, equity style, diversification split and glide style. Terms like this may lose average users, but brief explanations beside them helped, and I read a References and Citations pop-up menu filled with sources from which the advice was generated.

The most helpful section of the site showed recommendations for my portfolio.

Continued in article

FutureAdvisor --- https://www.futureadvisor.com/

Bob Jensen's investment helpers ---

"Bing Goes Sleek And More Social," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2012 ---

If you've ever cleaned off a cluttered desk, replacing messy stacks of paper with framed photos of people who really matter, you have a rough idea of what Microsoft MSFT -0.03% did with its new Bing search engine this week. Gone are the distracting, multicolored search results. Gone are the lists of recently searched terms that you never looked at anyway. Gone are the search results mingled with Facebook FB -3.39% "likes."

What's left? A lot of white space, which creates a calmer environment for reading and digesting information. A new middle column, which Microsoft calls Snapshot, displays task-oriented content to help people do things like making restaurant reservations, getting directions or seeing movie times. And Bing's most unusual new feature is a flush-right column called Sidebar designed to automatically surface names of relevant Facebook friends and others around the Web who could best help you with a specific query.

Image Here

Bing's Snapshot column helps users do things like make a hotel reservation. Its Sidebar column, far right, shows friends who may have answers to help with a person's current search.

The new Bing is automatically available to about 20% of users starting Tuesday. If you're not one of the 20%, you can see the new interface and Sidebar on Bing.com/new. By June 1, all features will be automatically available to everyone.

I've had access to this revamped Bing for the past week, and its prospects are promising. It feels cleaner and clearer. Sidebar's integrated social knowledge of friends linked to Bing through a person's Facebook account—or people from Twitter and blogs who are suggested by Bing—can turn the solitude of Web searching into a group activity. For example, a search for Napa Valley restaurants smartly brings up the name of a friend who recently posted a photo album from Napa, a colleague who lists Napa Valley as his hometown as well as a well-known blogger who reviews restaurants in that area. Sidebar maintains a neat list of your queries and the responses, saving you the trouble of hunting through past Facebook posts.

Compared with the way Google integrated Google+ "personal results" with regular search results—which ruffled a lot of feathers—Sidebar is more sophisticated.

But Bing's Sidebar faces a challenge: People aren't used to searching like this.

As fun as it is to poll people—even specifically suggested people—in queries, we usually search alone. Many of the things I type into Bing are quick ask-a-question-get-an-answer searches, and Sidebar's format requires waiting for someone's response. It's possible that it just takes time to adjust to this new way of searching, but I'm comfortable with the Web sources that I already know and trust. (No offense, Facebook friends.)

Additional partners, including LinkedIn, Foursquare and Quora, will eventually be included to help with queries in Bing's Sidebar. Some of these will work later this summer. For now, Twitter provides the biggest source of people from around the Web who might know the answer to your query.

Bing will continue to make improvements, according to Stefan Weitz, senior director of Bing search. By late June or early July, you'll be able to tag friends in queries even if Bing doesn't suggest those people as relevant to a query. This would have helped me when I searched for restaurants in Boston, where my foodie sister has lived for 11 years, though she didn't automatically appear as a suggested source. Then again, when I searched for a Mexican restaurant in Kirkland, Wash., called Cactus, a friend who "liked" another Mexican restaurant in nearby Seattle popped up in my Sidebar.

I didn't realize this friend had ever visited Seattle or that he enjoyed one of Seattle's Mexican restaurants enough to "like" it on Facebook. These helpful, serendipitous experiences may be enough to keep people using the Bing Sidebar.

Bing's Sidebar queries currently have a clumsy way of working with Facebook. If I query three people who are auto-suggested as friends who might know the answer to my question, the query only shows up on my Facebook page, not on the pages of people who were questioned. They must visit my Facebook page to see responses, an extra step that may discourage ongoing conversations. An Activity feed in the Bing Sidebar shows all Facebok friends' query activity, but people look at Facebook more often.

The middle column of the rebuilt Bing, called Snapshot, doesn't always display content. When it does, it is geared toward helping people accomplish specific tasks, like booking a hotel room or restaurant table. In a search for the Oval Room, a Washington, D.C., restaurant, Snapshot showed a map of its location, four ratings from websites like TripAdvisor, hours of operation and a link to OpenTable for making a reservation.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's search helpers ---

Does this appear to be deception using statistics (whether intentional or unintentional)?
It might be interesting for students to debate how rate of change (the first derivative) differs from absolute change.
Professor Krugman in this and many instances appears to be somewhat deceptive in his choice of graphs and tables.

"1937," by Paul Krugman, The New York Times, June 3. 2012 ---

Remember all the talk a few years back about how we wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of 1937, when FDR pulled back too soon on support for the economy? Here, from FRED, is the rate of change of real government spending per capita (federal, state, and local):

Gosh, I wonder why the economy is underperforming?

Continued in Krugman's update

Jensen Comment
There were over 160 comments on this piece. The one that caught my eye from the standpoint of teaching statistics reads as follows:

weston ct


"...rate of change" is a misleading statistic as a large increase in any one period can lead to declining rate of change even though absolute spending is still higher than before. That is exactly what has happened here. Let's face it, the massive government spending/stimulus of the first two years of Obama's presidency (the 6%+ increase following a prior 6% increase) have skewed any 'rate of change' numbers. There has to be a reason why we aren't shown absolute per capita spending figures for the same time period.


My purpose of this is not really to debate the politics of government spending in this election year or even to enter into a Keynesian versus Austrian School debate at this point in time. My sole purpose at this moment, however, is to question whether a rate of change graph in this case should've been accompanied by an absolute per capita spending chart to avoid suspicions of an academic playing with statistics to deceive readers.

There are a few other comments on this issue but they appear to be more political and less interesting to me.

Federal government spending has been increasing in absolute terms ---
But I don't have a reference for total inflation-adjusted government spending (including towns, counties, states, and public schools) in those same years. The negative growth rate in 2010 was most likely impacted heavily by steep declines in tax revenues in some states like California, New York, and New Jersey. The Federal Government has not reduced absolute spending in those same years ---

My point is that an academic journal would probably be more demanding than the NYT of data presentation and analysis.

"Ward Churchill Will Get Another Day in Court," Inside Higher Ed, June 4, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
The outcome of this appeal could have wide-ranging implications in terms of a college's authority to terminate a plagiarizing tenured faculty member. I hope that the University of Colorado appeals this to the U.S. Supreme Court if the Colorado Supreme Court rules in favor of Churchill.

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

Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at

"Law School Innovators," The National Law Journal, June 4, 2012 ---
Thank you Paul Caron for the heads up. The following appears in Paul's TaxProf Blog on June 4, 2012 ---

The foundation of modern legal education dates to the late 1800s, when Christopher Columbus Langdell introduced the case method as dean of Harvard Law School. Law schools have tweaked their curriculum models since then. Clinics gained in popularity during the 1970s, and some law schools now take a more interdisciplinary approach. Still, "innovation" is not a term often applied to law schools. Lawyers are by nature risk-averse, and legal education has been relatively slow to change when compared with other professional programs.

That said, the pressure for change will not be denied. Comprehensive reports issued in recent years have faulted legal education for doing too little to teach ethics and professionalism. More importantly, the changing legal marketplace is putting pressure on schools to update their curricula and ­better prepare students to actually practice law. Students and prospective students are more savvy than ever about the cost of attending law school and are better informed about their post-graduation employment prospects. The American Bar Association, meanwhile, is revamping its accreditation standards to require schools to lay out what they aim to teach students.

During the past two years alone, a number of law schools have voluntarily reduced enrollment; many others have added masters of law programs or programs for nonlawyers; some have launched much more comprehensive ethics and professionalism programs emphasizing real-world business skills; still others have gotten creative about helping students land jobs.

In this special report, we highlight a few law schools, students and professors who are pushing the boundaries of traditional legal education and legal theory.


Jensen Comment
Years ago the AACSB dramatically changed accreditation to "mission driven" standards that allow business schools to be evaluated in terms of stated missions rather than fixed standards of the past. This has, in my opinion, allowed greater innovation in business education. For example, the University of Denver adopted a very non-traditional mission having customized curricula for accounting majors ---

This "mission driven" policy of the AACSB allowed the University of Connecticut to design the AACSB-accredited (including accounting program accreditation) of a masters-degree distance education degree even though the AACSB has never accredited a college program that is primarily a distance education degree program:
The University of Connecticut has an online MSA program --- http://www.business.uconn.edu/msaccounting/

Law schools have not been nearly as innovative as business schools. Perhaps this luddite policy is part of the the huge set of problems facing law schools today ---
Law schools are accredited by the American Bar Association and the ABA is not noted for innovation in accreditation in terms of technology, distance education, or innovative curriculum design.

"The Launch of Scholrly: new search engine seeks to change the way people find research," by Brian Mathews, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 1, 2012 --- Click Here

I spent time in California interviewing graduate students about their work processes. Something that stood out to me was how science and engineering students typically looked for people (rather than subject headings) during the information gathering stage. The objective was to find researchers working in particular areas and then mine their websites for additional papers. That’s exactly the approach that Scholrly hopes to improve upon.


I first came across Scholrly about a year ago when a friend of a friend liked them on Facebook. I explored and this is what I found:


“Scholrly aims to give its users, from the garage inventor to the tenured professor, a single stop for finding research connections and insights faster than ever before.”


I spoke with co-founder Corbin Pon last August and followed their development. Over the past year they’ve worked with faculty at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing to build out the idea. And in early June they’ll open up their software to beta testers.


What’s most interesting to me is
Scholrly’s people-centric emphasis. When you search with a keyword you not only get relevant citations but relevant people as well. The goal is to let users search for people and to figure out who is important within the subject context. And not only that, but what else have those people worked on, who have they worked with, and other related connections.


The idea sparked during a conversation with a physician at Emory who expressed frustration at not being able to find people with the skill set he needed. He assumed that researchers at nearby Georgia Tech probably had the expertise, but he wasn’t sure how to identify or contact them.


This led the co-founders to thinking about how researchers are connected bibliographically and how they could also be connected through an online tool. They mapped different knowledge networks and built a search engine around the data with the objective of making the people part much more accessible.


When searching Scholrly the results are returned on two separate panels: publications & authors. While the author component isn’t too radically different, in fact many databases provide author lists/limiters in the results, Scholrly places a great emphasis on this feature. Author profiles will include career information, affiliations, publication listings, common co-authors, top publishing venues, and impact metrics. Authors are also able to claim their profile, similarly to how twitter verifies celebrity identities, and then edit/upload additional information.


Ontological Neighborhoods
Corbin often talks about scholarly neighborhoods:

“When we talk about neighborhoods, we know that there are communities of related research that are not always easy to see and explore. These researchers are reading and contributing to work from all different fields. In one project, someone might be contributing to their own self-defined field, and in another project, there could of experts for all sorts of fields. Scholrly connects papers and researchers based on the citation graph and co-authorship right at this moment, and we are developing other techniques of finding similarities. This makes it easier to identify titles and faces that appear in clusters regardless of their self described field and shows series of related papers that might suggest long term projects worth investigating. This idea of neighborhoods, we feel, better describes the structure of research than strict collections that classify work from the top-down.”


And the team doesn’t view academics are their only audience. One of their goals is to make research materials more accessible to people who don’t have access to big libraries or Fortune 500 budgets. “We really want to change the way that people find research materials” But listening to Corbin talk you realize it’s not just search behavior that he hopes will change, but the entire way people think about and approach their research process.


Oh and Google Scholar? “Our goal is to compete with Google Scholar, or replace it.”

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
When I searched for "Accounting" there were four categories, including Accounting Issues and Accounting Theory. However, there were no hits available under those categories. It's probably too early to try this search engine for accounting topics.

Bob Jensen's threads on how scholars search the Web ---

"Online Classes See Cheating Go High-Tech," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 3, 2012 ---

Easy A's may be even easier to score these days, with the growing popularity of online courses. Tech-savvy students are finding ways to cheat that let them ace online courses with minimal effort, in ways that are difficult to detect.

Take Bob Smith, a student at a public university in the United States. This past semester, he spent just 25 to 30 minutes each week on an online science course, the time it took him to take the weekly test. He never read the online materials for the course and never cracked open a textbook. He learned almost nothing. He got an A.

His secret was to cheat, and he's proud of the method he came up with—though he asked that his real name and college not be used, because he doesn't want to get caught. It involved four friends and a shared Google Doc, an online word-processing file that all five of them could read and add to at the same time during the test.

More on his method in a minute. You've probably already heard of plenty of clever ways students cheat, and this might simply add one more to the list. But the issue of online cheating may rise in prominence, as more and more institutions embrace online courses, and as reformers try new systems of educational badges, certifying skills and abilities learned online. The promise of such systems is that education can be delivered cheaply and conveniently online. Yet as access improves, so will the number of people gaming the system, unless courses are designed carefully.

This prediction has not escaped many of those leading new online efforts, or researchers who specialize in testing. As students find new ways to cheat, course designers are anticipating them and devising new ways to catch folks like Mr. Smith.

In the case of that student, the professor in the course had tried to prevent cheating by using a testing system that pulled questions at random from a bank of possibilities. The online tests could be taken anywhere and were open-book, but students had only a short window each week in which to take them, which was not long enough for most people to look up the answers on the fly. As the students proceeded, they were told whether each answer was right or wrong.

Mr. Smith figured out that the actual number of possible questions in the test bank was pretty small. If he and his friends got together to take the test jointly, they could paste the questions they saw into the shared Google Doc, along with the right or wrong answers. The schemers would go through the test quickly, one at a time, logging their work as they went. The first student often did poorly, since he had never seen the material before, though he would search an online version of the textbook on Google Books for relevant keywords to make informed guesses. The next student did significantly better, thanks to the cheat sheet, and subsequent test-takers upped their scores even further. They took turns going first. Students in the course were allowed to take each test twice, with the two results averaged into a final score.

"So the grades are bouncing back and forth, but we're all guaranteed an A in the end," Mr. Smith told me. "We're playing the system, and we're playing the system pretty well."

He is a first-generation college student who says he works hard, and honestly, in the rest of his courses, which are held in-person rather than online. But he is juggling a job and classes, and he wanted to find a way to add an easy A to his transcript each semester.

Although the syllabus clearly forbids academic dishonesty, Mr. Smith argues that the university has put so little into the security of the course that it can't be very serious about whether the online students are learning anything. Hundreds of students took the course with him, and he never communicated with the professor directly. It all felt sterile, impersonal, he told me. "If they didn't think students would do this, then they didn't think it through."

A professor familiar with the course, who also asked not to be named, said that it is not unique in this regard, and that other students probably cheat in online introductory courses as well. To them, the courses are just hoops to jump through to get a credential, and the students are happy to pay the tuition, learn little, and add an A.

"This is the gamification of education, and students are winning," the professor told me.

Of course, plenty of students cheat in introductory courses taught the old-fashioned way as well. John Sener, a consultant who has long worked in online learning, says the incident involving Mr. Smith sounds similar to students' sharing of old tests or bringing in cheat sheets. "There is no shortage of weak assessments," he says.

He cautions against dismissing online courses based on inevitable examples of poor class design: "If there are weaknesses in the system, students will find them and try to game it."

In some cases, the answer is simply designing tests that aren't multiple-choice. But even when professors assign papers, students can use the Internet to order custom-written assignments. Take the example of the Shadow Scholar, who described in a Chronicle article how he made more than $60,000 a year writing term papers for students around the country.

Part of the answer may be fighting technology with more technology, designing new ways to catch cheaters.

Countering the Cheaters

When John Fontaine first heard about the Shadow Scholar, who was helping students cheat on assignments, he grew angry. Mr. Fontaine works for Blackboard, and his job is to think up new services and products for the education-software company. His official title is senior director of technology evangelism.

"I was offended," he says. "I thought, I'm going to get that guy." So he started a research project to do just that.

Blackboard's learning-management software features a service that checks papers for signs of plagiarism, and thousands of professors around the country use it to scan papers when they are turned in.

Mr. Fontaine began to wonder whether authors write in unique ways that amount to a kind of fingerprint. If so, he might be able to spot which papers were written by the Shadow Scholar or other writers-for-hire, even if they didn't plagiarize other work directly.

"People tend to use the same words over and over again, and people have the same vocabulary," he says. "I've been working on classifiers that take documents and score them and build what I call a document fingerprint." The system could establish a document fingerprint for each student when they turn in their first assignments, and notice if future papers differ in style in suspicious ways.

Mr. Fontaine's work is simply research at this point, he emphasizes, and he has not used any actual student papers submitted to the company's system. He would have to get permission from professors and students before doing that kind of live test.

In fact, he's not sure whether the idea will ever work well enough to add it as a Blackboard feature.

Mr. Fontaine is not the only one doing such research. Scholars at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they are looking for new ways to verify the identity of students online as well.

Anant Agarwal is head of MIT's Open Learning Enterprise, which coordinates the university's MITx project to offer free courses online and give students a chance to earn certificates. It's a leading force in the movement to offer free courses online.

One challenge leaders face is verifying that online students are who they say they are.

A method under consideration at MIT would analyze each user's typing style to help verify identity, Mr. Agarwal told me in a recent interview. Such electronic fingerprinting could be combined with face-recognition software to ensure accuracy, he says. Since most laptops now have Webcams built in, future online students might have to smile for the camera to sign on.

Some colleges already require identity-verification techniques that seem out of a movie. They're using products such as the Securexam Remote Proctor, which scans fingerprints and captures a 360-degree view around students, and Kryterion's Webassessor, which lets human proctors watch students remotely on Web cameras and listen to their keystrokes.

Research Challenge

Researchers who study testing are also working on the problem of cheating. Last month more than 100 such researchers met at the University of Kansas at the Conference on Statistical Detection of Potential Test Fraud.

One message from the event's organizers was that groups that offer standardized tests, companies developing anticheating software, and researchers need to join forces and share their work. "Historically this kind of research has been a bit of a black box," says Neal Kingston, an associate professor of education at the university and director of its Center for Educational Testing Evaluation. "It's important that the research community improve perhaps as quickly as the cheating community is improving."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating issues somewhat unique to distance education ---


The University of Chicago Centennial Catalogues --- http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/centcat/

These catalogues provide a wealth of information about changes in higher education across over 100 years. For example, today business administration is a a big deal in the Booth School of Business, but in the late 19th Century business administration really did not exist apart from economics and economics studies did not really focus on studies of business management, leadership, organization behavior, marketing, and accounting.

Household administration, however, did exist as an academic division of the University of Chicago until the middle of the 20th Century.

What I found interesting about Household Administration at the University of Chicago is how it became the centerpiece of the struggle of women for academic opportunity. However, the struggle extended to far more than just academic opportunity.

Marion Talbot | Household Administration ---

One of the most important commitments made by the founders of the University of Chicago was to equal educational opportunities for men and women at the new institution. Marion Talbot, head of the Department of Household Administration and Dean of Women, constantly reminded the three presidents under whom she served of that pledge.

Marion Talbot held firm convictions about education and the role of women in education. One of only a handful of women in American university administration, she advised female students at the University of Chicago to take full advantage of their academic opportunities. Always concerned about the distracting temptations of campus life, she urged women to limit their involvement in extracurricular activities and cultivate a strong sense of culture. In assuming a new role in society, women needed both personal self-confidence and the best professional education. Marion Talbot expected the University of Chicago to provide these in an environment in which they could be enhanced and develope

Although Talbot advocated a continuing role for women in the home, her views were not traditional. Borrowing from progressive models of efficiency and scientific management and exploiting the new technology appearing at the time, modern women had the domestic tools to escape the drudgery of the past. Marion Talbot taught that a home could be "administered" in an effective way without compromising its vital role as a cultural hearth.

Crucial to this view was access to academic opportunity. When the University appeared to renege on its early promises of equal education by promoting sexually segregated instruction at the turn of the century, Talbot challenged the administration to abandon its plan. Later, she pointed out the inequity of preponderently male faculty appointments and the overwhelming focus on men in University events, eloquently and precisely identifying the problem and leaving no doubt as to a solution. Despite her reputation as an advocate for women, Talbot argued that equality should mean simply that and nothing else. She expected no more and no less than anyone else received. Her courses in household administration were specifically open to both men and women, and she criticized decisions that she felt patronized any specific group. Marion Talbot asked only that everyone be given equal opportunities, a goal she vigorously pursued.

Bob Jensen's threads on gender issues are at

Jensen Comment
The Marion Talbot module is only a small part of the wealth of historical information provided by the University of Chicago Centennial Catalogues --- http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/centcat/

Teaching Case from The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on May 25, 2012

How Women Can Get Ahead: Advice from Female CEOs
by: John Bussey
May 18, 2012
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Ethics, Nonfinancial performance measures, Work

SUMMARY: The article begins by referencing Jack Welch's clash with a group of female executives at a forum on issues facing women executives that was held in the beginning of May. The author has written this article after discussing two issues with the 18 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies; what factors, personal or in the workplace, fueled their careers and what myths about the advancement of women did they encounter along the way? The related video shows Jack Welch's participation in the WSJ's Women in the Economy conference.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article is useful to discuss equality in career aspirations and ethics in any business course

1. (Advanced) Who is Jack Welch? What points did Mr. Welch make at a recent WSJ forum about women's advancement to the highest levels of executive leadership?

2. (Introductory) What factors do the women CEO's mentioned in the article concur with Jack Welch's assessment?

3. (Introductory) What experiences of gender bias do women CEOs say they faced during their career advancement? How did they address these biases and related experiences?

4. (Introductory) What steps are women leaders taking to help their organizations improve on the factors that lead to gender bias?

5. (Advanced) Do you think that these organizational improvements also can help men in their career advancement? Explain.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

Women, Welch Clash at Forum
by John Bussey
May 04, 2012
Page: B1


"How Women Can Get Ahead: Advice from Female CEOs,"  by: John Bussey, The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2012 ---

Our recent recounting of how Jack Welch clashed with a group of female executives over how best to advance to the top of corporate America touched a raw nerve in the business world.

Readers fired off a barrage of comments. "He's right," one wrote about the former CEO of General Electric GE +0.36% . "RESULTS—that's all that counts, period."

Not so, wrote another: "Mr. Welch's notion that his career, or anyone's, is a result of a single androgynous metric—'performance'—is false." The workplace is still an "old boys' network."

So I went to the 18 women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies—a record number but still just 3.6% of the total—and asked their opinion. What factors, personal or in the workplace, fueled their careers and what myths about the advancement of women did they encounter along the way? Eleven gave their thoughts.

Alan Murray talks with Jack and Suzy Welch at the Women in the Economy conference about what steps need to be taken to eliminate the cultural biases against women advancing in business.

Their advice is practical. And notably, it echoes much—but not all—of what Mr. Welch had to say, albeit with a bit more nuance and finesse.

A recap: Mr. Welch was speaking at The Wall Street Journal's Women in the Economy conference and said that, to get ahead, focus laserlike on performance. Mentoring programs, he said, are a bad idea; everyone on staff should be your mentor. Support groups, such as women's employee groups, can be likened to "victims' units," which the best women tend to avoid. And there is no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices that have consequences you need to accept. To get ahead, he said, raise your hand for line jobs and tough, risky assignments. And take advantage of rigorous performance reviews, which are the best time to get coaching and address

"The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn't your gender, it's you," argues Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint WLP +1.63% . "Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control."

"I have stepped up to many 'ugly' assignments that others didn't want," says KeyCorp's KEY +0.13% CEO, Beth Mooney.

Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox, XRX -3.48% says it's wise for aspiring leaders to cultivate risk-taking. "There were lots of reasons for Xerox not to acquire Affiliated Computer Services," she says, by way of example. But the company took the gamble. "In the two years after we purchased ACS, we are transforming our company—more than half of our revenue comes from our services business and we continue to maintain a leadership position in the technology that made Xerox great."

Along the career path, the CEOs say, pursue new skills relentlessly. Change jobs after you've mastered the current one. Be willing to tack sideways on the career track, or even backward, to pick up key expertise or command a business unit.

"I knew from an early age that I wanted to lead a company," says Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup CPB +0.43% . "I developed a strategic process for my career plan that set the final destination, developed the career track, identified skills to build, took line positions to gain experience, and sought leadership and management training on the job, through special assignments, coaching and networking. For example, as VP of Marketing for Nestlé, NESN.VX +0.55% I actually worked in a manufacturing plant which gave me a deep appreciation for how the supply chain works."

"In order to lead an organization, you have to be incredibly comfortable in your own skin," says Gracia Martore of Gannett, GCI +2.18% "and the only way to do that is to be confident in who you are."

Look for opportunities to stand out from the crowd and ask for what you want, the CEOs advise. And when you hit a goal, speak up and toot your horn. Don't wait to get noticed. "For a lot of women, they think the myth is true, that if they just do a good job and work hard, they'll get recognized. That's not the case," says Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications, FTR -2.00% and the sister of Ms. Morrison.

Mentors were key in the careers of several of the CEOs. They endorse the idea of mentorship. Ms. Wilderotter says she regularly picked the brains of a range of senior execs. "I had many mentors, and they didn't know it."

As for the sanctity of performance, Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont, DD -0.14% says it drove her career: "Accountability, performance and external benchmarking."

"I had a very strong work ethic," adds Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, MYL +1.87% "and was willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success."

"I don't disagree with Jack Welch that performance is the ticket to the dance," says Frontier's Ms. Wilderotter. "Unless you're delivering value, there is no right to move forward. I do disagree that all is fair in the workplace."

"Men selectively listen," Ms. Wilderotter says. She recalls making points in boardrooms, then watching the group take note of a male later saying the same thing. "When that happened, I'd stop the conversation and say, 'Do you realize I said that 10 minutes ago?' Women have to take responsibility for the dynamic around them; you can't just say 'Woe is me.' "

"My experiences with gender bias are probably the norm," says Ms. Bresch of Mylan. "What I found was that expectations of women were simply lower, and this resulted in being overlooked for certain opportunities. Now as a leader, I strive to create an environment different than the one I faced, an environment where good ideas can come from anyone—young, old, men, women, assistant, executive—and opportunities are open to everyone."

Continued in article

"The endangered public company:  The rise and fall of a great invention, and why it matters," The Economist, May 19, 2012 ---

AS THIS newspaper went to press, Facebook was about to become a public company. It will be one of the biggest stockmarket flotations ever: the social-networking giant expects investors to value it at $100 billion or so. The news raises several questions, from “Is it worth that much?” to “What will it do next?” But the most intriguing question is what Facebook’s flotation tells us about the state of the public company itself.

At first glance, all is well. The public company was invented in the mid-19th century to provide the giants of the industrial age with capital. That Facebook is joining Microsoft and Google on the stockmarket suggests that public listings are performing the same miracle for the internet age. Not every 19th-century invention has weathered so well.

But look closer and the picture changes (see article). Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s young founder, resisted going public for as long as he could, not least because so many heads of listed companies advised him to. He is taking the plunge only because American law requires any firm with more than a certain number of shareholders to publish quarterly accounts just as if it were listed. Like Google before it, Facebook has structured itself more like a private firm than a public one: Mr Zuckerberg will keep most of the voting rights, for example.

The number of public companies has fallen dramatically over the past decade—by 38% in America since 1997 and 48% in Britain. The number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in America has declined from an average of 311 a year in 1980-2000 to 99 a year in 2001-11. Small companies, those with annual sales of less than $50m before their IPOs—have been hardest hit. In 1980-2000 an average of 165 small companies undertook IPOs in America each year. In 2001-09 that number fell to 30. Facebook will probably give the IPO market a temporary boost—several other companies are queuing up to follow its lead—but they will do little to offset the long-term decline.

Companies are like jets; the elite go private

Mr Zuckerberg will be joining a troubled club. The burden of regulation has grown heavier for public companies since the collapse of Enron in 2001. Corporate chiefs complain that the combination of fussy regulators and demanding money managers makes it impossible to focus on long-term growth. Shareholders are also angry. Their interests seldom seem to be properly aligned at public companies with those of the managers, who often waste squillions on empire-building and sumptuous perks. Shareholders are typically too dispersed to monitor the men on the spot. Attempts to solve the problem by giving managers shares have largely failed.

At the same time, alternative corporate forms are flourishing. Once “going public” was every CEO’s dream; now it is perfectly respectable to “go private”, like Burger King, Boots and countless other famous names. State-run enterprises have recovered from the wreck of communism and now include the world’s biggest mobile-phone company (China Mobile), its most successful port operator (Dubai World), its fastest-growing big airline (Emirates) and its 13 biggest oil companies.

No doubt the sluggish public equity markets have played a role in this. But these alternative corporate forms have addressed some of the structural weaknesses that once held them back. Access to capital? Private-equity firms, helped by tax breaks, and venture capitalists both have cash to spare, and there are private markets such as SecondMarket (where $1 billion-worth of shares has changed hands since 2008). Limited liability? Partners need no longer be fully liable, and firms can have as many partners as they want. Professional managers? Family firms employ them by the HBS-load and state-owned ones are no longer just sinecures for the well-connected.

Make capitalism popular again

Does all this matter? The increase in the number of corporate forms is a good thing: a varied ecosystem is more robust. But there are reasons to worry about the decline of an organisation that has spread prosperity for 150 years.

First, public companies have been central to innovation and job creation. One reason why entrepreneurs work so hard, and why venture capitalists place so many risky bets, is because they hope to make a fortune by going public. IPOs provide young firms with cash to hire new hands and disrupt established markets. The alternative is to sell themselves to established firms—hardly a recipe for creative destruction. Imagine if the fledgling Apple and Google had been bought by IBM.

Second, public companies let in daylight. They have to publish quarterly reports, hold shareholder meetings (which have grown acrimonious of late), deal with analysts and generally conduct themselves in an open manner. By contrast, private companies and family firms operate in a fog of secrecy.

Third, public companies give ordinary people a chance to invest directly in capitalism’s most important wealth-creating machines. The 20th century saw shareholding broadened, as state firms were privatised and mutual funds proliferated. But today popular capitalism is in retreat. Fewer IPOs mean fewer chances for ordinary people to put their money into a future Google. The rise of private equity and the spread of private markets are returning power to a club of privileged investors.

All this argues for a change in thinking—especially among the politicians who have heaped regulations onto Western public companies, blithely assuming that businessfolk have no choice but to go public in the long run. Many firms now go (or stay) private to avoid red tape. The result is that ever more business is conducted in the dark, with rich insiders playing a more powerful role.

Public companies built the railroads of the 19th century. They filled the world with cars and televisions and computers. They brought transparency to business life and opportunities to small investors. Because public companies sell shares to the unsophisticated, policymakers are right to regulate them more tightly than other forms of corporate organisation. But not so tightly that entrepreneurs start to dread the prospect of a public listing. The public company has long been the locomotive of capitalism. Governments should not derail it.


The Problem in a Nutshell is the Age-Old Problem of Accounting Itself --- Inability to Value Intangibles (including the enormous Facebook audience)
"The Facebook IPO: What Went Wrong?" Knowledge@Wharton, May 23, 2012 ---

"DOES FACEBOOK STILL DESERVE AN (Our) “A” FOR ITS FINANCIAL REPORTING?" by Anthony H. Catanach and J. Edward Ketz, Grumpy Old Accountants, May 23, 2012 ---

"Crony Capitalism for Intellectuals," by Luigi Zingales, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation of intangibles and contingencies ---

"Why Yahoo's Axis Is Going to Fail," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, May 24, 2012 ---

"The Education of Dasmine Cathey," by Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
This is an article that each of us will probably react differently to after reading it carefully. Some readers will see this as another case, in a long list of cases, where a NCAA Division 1 university makes a sham out of college education of a star, albeit learning disabled, athlete. By sham I mean where the main goal is to make that athlete able to read after four years --- whereas the goal for non-athletes in the university is much higher. As a non-athlete he probably would have flunked out of the university in the first year. The coaches helped pull him through courses while he was still eligible to play football only to leave him hanging out to dry in completing the requirements for a diploma.

Other readers will see this as a case where a learning disabled student was pushed beyond what he might have otherwise been without special treatment as an athlete in college. The tragedy is that his non-athlete counterparts receive no such special treatment from "coaches."

As a retired college professor I question the commitment of any student who does not care enough to try by attending class every day and by seeking help from the teachers.

Personally, I think if Dasmine Cathey gets his diploma it makes a sham out of that diploma. Dasmine deserves better in life, but why does it have to be at the expense of lowered academic standards in higher education?

"Big Sports Programs Step Up Hiring to Help Marginal Students," by Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2012 ---

As my cover story in this week’s Chronicle illustrates, major-college athletics programs are investing more time and money to help players who have serious reading, writing, and learning problems.

While some may question the cost—and whether colleges have lowered their academic standards by moving such low-functioning students through the system—others defend the spending, saying that specialized academic advisers have helped athletes and could help other students, too.

Over the past year, nearly one in five big-time athletic departments has created a new learning-specialist position to work with at-risk athletes, according to a recent national survey of academic advisers. Baylor, Maryland, Missouri, Purdue, and UCLA are but a few of the 23 Football Bowl Subdivision programs that have added a learning specialist in that time (see the full list here).

There are approximately 150 learning specialists in the FBS, according to the survey of academic advisers, which was done last month by Bradley R.H. Bethel, a reading and writing specialist in the athletic department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And while there are still far more academic advisers (roughly 740 at FBS programs), jobs for learning specialists are growing much faster, he found.

“All these student-athletes are coming to campus who are really underprepared, which is why the need for learning specialists has arisen,” says Bethel, who got responses from 53 of 120 FBS programs.

This week, at the annual meeting of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, Bethel will present recommendations for a new set of professional standards for learning specialists, whose job descriptions can vary greatly. Most are trained to teach basic reading and writing skills and to work with students who have learning disabilities and other academic deficiencies. But Bethel’s goal is to help define the profession more clearly so he and his colleagues across the country understand what is expected of them.

For good or ill, Bethel says, our society puts a high value on sports—and because colleges play to win, they are accepting students who might not otherwise make it into their institutions. Bethel sees that as an opportunity, both for those students and for the learning specialists who help them.

Continued in article

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

What law schools are classified under the following categories?

Answers:  Scroll down deeply in the following document
"Tough Choices for Some High-Ranked Law Schools." by Matt Leichter, June 4, 2012 ---

"The Shrinking Law School," by Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed, May 1, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads regarding Turkey Times for Overstuffed Law Schools ---

"THE MOST-CITED LAW REVIEW ARTICLES OF ALL TIME," by Fred R. Shapiro and Michelle Pearse, Michigan Law Review, 2012 ---
Thank you Paul Caron for the heads up.

This Essay updates two well-known earlier studies (dated 1985 and 1996) by the first coauthor, setting forth lists of the most-cited law review articles. New research tools from the HeinOnline and Web of Science databases now allow lists to be compiled that are more thorough and more accurate than anything previously possible. Tables printed here present the 100 most-cited legal articles of all time, the 100 most-cited articles of the last twenty years, and some additional rankings. Characteristics of the top-ranked publications, authors, and law schools are analyzed as are trends in schools of legal thought. Data from the all-time rankings shed light on contributions to legal scholarship made over a long historical span; the recent-article rankings speak more to the impact of scholarship produced in the current era. The authors discuss alternative tools and metrics for measuring the impact of legal scholarship, running selected articles from the rankings through these tools to serve as points of illustration.

The authors then contemplate how these alternative tools and metrics intersect with traditional citation studies and how they might impact legal scholarship in the future.

Table of Contents

I. Previous Studies and Rationale (Shapiro) .............        ..   .. . .. 1484

II. Current Methodology (Shapiro) ...........................     ......     ... 1486

III. Analysis (Shapiro) .............................................     ........     .. 1503

A. The Effect of the Social Sciences on Legal Citation Analysis      1504

B. Top Authors, Top Law Reviews, and Top Schools .....     .     .. 1504

C. Reflections ......................................................... ....     ....      . 1506

IV. Comparing Shapiro’s Lists with Modern Methods (Pearse) ..... 1508


"The Facebook Phone: Why Facebook Has to Try, and Why It Will Probably Fail," by Dan Frommer, ReadWriteWeb, June 7, 2012 ---

Each Week ReadWriteWeb will feature a dying product or entire company --- This week it's RIM and the Blackberry
"ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Research In Motion," by Cormac Foster, ReadWriteWeb, June 1, 2012 ---

Question About Grade Inflation
Is college too easy?

"We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us," by Joe Hoyle, Accounting Education Blog, May 22, 2012 ---

"Debate at Minnesota Over Grade Inflation," Inside Higher Ed, May 30, 2012 ---

Faculty members at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are debating whether too many students are earning A grades, The Star Tribune reported. One proposal under consideration is that transcripts should indicate the share of each class receiving a particular grade, so that an A might have less value in courses in where many such grades are awarded.

"Making the Grade," by Laurie Fendrich, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 22, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Readers of the above article about the advantages and disadvantages of assigning letter grades in courses should also read the many and varied comments that follow the article.

One commenter praises having narrative summaries of each student's performance replace a letter grade. I see several problems with this evaluation approach. For example, most of us have had some students who worked night and day sweating blood in a course and still scored in the bottom ten percent of the the class in terms of examination averages. It doesn't make sense to write that these students would have done much better if they tried harder. And if we are honest and write that they probably just did not have the intellect/aptitude for the course there might be all sorts of bad ramifications, including getting sued. The bottom line is that instructors can become very good graders of performance. They are less likely to be good at explaining the reasons for bad or good performance since they most likely do not know enough about each student to assess reasons for good, average, or poor performance.

For entertainment I sometimes read what students write about their instructors on RateMyProfessor ---
Students tend to report that they don't put much effort into courses where getting a top grade is relatively easy. Hence, instructors who really want their students to put in effort are probably defeating themselves by making top grades easy to get and/or by making it almost impossible for students to fail a course.


Bob Jensen's threads on the national disgrace of grade inflation ---

"High-Income Tax Returns for 2009,"  by Justin Bryan, IRS, Spring 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Less than three percent of all taxpayers have an AGI of $200,000. Can we really depend on increasing their taxes to wipe out the deficit and the National Debt? Get real!

Taxes will never be "fair" until the middle class stops getting so many tax breaks:
Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

Alan Blinder --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Blinder

I've never been a fan of the progressive scholarship of Alan Blinder. He's been a promoter of low (virtually zero) interest rates for megabanks that I think are turning into a disaster in this economic recovery. Ben Bernanke can do no wrong in the eyes of Professor Blinder. In my opinion, the real Bernanke-Blinder disaster is their support of restraining the government budget deficit with Zimbabwe economics that entails printing more greenbacks (over $2 trillion to date) rather than taxing or borrowing what is needed to fight the deficit. Actually the government does not add to the money supply by literally printing greenbacks. But having the Fed buy up over 60% of the new government debt is tantamount to printing greenbacks.

Taxing and borrowing to support government spending are going out of style.
The main problem with Zimbabwe economics is that it does little to restrain the excesses of government spending --- which we are now witnessing in the economic mess in Greece. Greece, of course, cannot simply print Euros to continue to feed government spending excesses. Greece has to get out of the Euro Zone to engage in the Zimbabwe economics of Benanke and Blinder. Of course all of Europe might soon engage in Zimbabwe economics to pay its debts. Taxing and borrowing to support government spending is going out of style.

The video is a anti-Bernanke musical performance by the Dean of Columbia Business School ---
Ben Bernanke (Chairman of the Federal Reserve and a great friend of megabanks) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bernanke
R. Glenn Hubbard (Dean of the Columbia Business School) ---

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron (wrongly attributed to Cicero in 55 B.C.)

But under my philosophy of sharing all sides of arguments, I forward the following case.
Teaching Case from The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on May 25, 2012

The Long and Short of Fiscal Policy
by: Alan S. Blinder
May 22, 2012
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Governmental Accounting, Income Tax, Tax Laws, Tax Policy, Taxation

SUMMARY: Alan S. Blinder "...is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve [and is now] a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University." This opinion page piece provides a clear explanation of macroeconomic effects of budget deficits, tax cuts, and spending cuts, emphasizing the "macroeconomic effects of budget deficits in the short and long runs."

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article is useful in either a tax course or a governmental accounting class. The related article presents letters to the editor with more Republican viewpoints than Mr. Blinder's.

1. (Advanced) What are budget deficits?

2. (Introductory) Why can budget deficit spending be beneficial for the U.S. economy in the short run?

3. (Introductory) Why are budget deficits bad for the U.S. economy in the long run?

4. (Advanced) What tax law changes are imminent in January 2013? How do they relate to the comic graphic associated with this opinion piece? In your answer, comment on the size of these changes relative to the total economy.

5. (Introductory) How might specific choices in spending be more helpful than other possible choices? In your answer, explain the use of return on investment in these decisions, defining that finance concept as well.

6. (Introductory) What is the biggest cost component that could most readily reduce the long term budget deficit problem we face in the U.S.?

7. (Introductory) What does Mr. Blinder recommend as a plan for our national fiscal policy?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

Perhaps the 2013 Fiscal Cliff Presents an Opportunity
by Letters to the Editor: Carroll Hoke, Frank Peel, and Keith Colonna
Mar 23, 2012
Page: A14

"The Long and Short of Fiscal Policy," by: Alan S. Blinder, The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2012 ---

Can we talk about the federal budget deficit? Better yet, can we think about it? For there has been a lot more talking than thinking. One persistent point of confusion arises from the radically different macroeconomic effects of larger budget deficits in the short and long runs.

In the short run—let's say within a year or so—a larger deficit, whether achieved by spending more or taxing less, boosts economic growth by increasing aggregate demand. It's pretty simple. If the government spends more money without raising anyone's taxes to pay the bills, that adds to total demand directly.

That's true, by the way, whether you like the specific expenditures or hate them. Similarly, cutting somebody's taxes without also cutting spending raises spending indirectly—again, whether you like the tax cut or not.

A second layer of subtlety recognizes that some types of spending and some types of tax cuts have larger effects on spending than others, and similarly, that some types are more sharply targeted on job creation than others. Such details matter in designing a cost-effective stimulus package. But for present purposes, let's keep it simple: Higher spending or lower taxes speed up growth by adding to demand.

So, as long as the government can borrow on reasonable terms, the crucial short-run question is: Does the economy need more or less demand? For the last several years, the answer has been clear: more. Bolstering demand was the rationale for fiscal stimulus under President Bush in 2008 and under President Obama in 2009. It remains a persuasive rationale for further stimulus today.

But that's not going to happen. Instead, the operational budget objective for the coming months is to ensure that we don't shoot ourselves in the collective foot with fiscal austerity while the economy is still weak. Sounds foolish, but we could make that grievous error either by letting ourselves fall off the so-called fiscal cliff that awaits us in January (tax increases and spending cuts amounting to 3.5%-4% of GDP), or by crashing headlong into the national debt ceiling, as we almost did last summer.

But don't we need to reduce the deficit—and by large amounts? Yes, we do, but that's in the long run, where the effects of larger deficits are mostly harmful to economic growth. In the jargon, more government borrowing tends to "crowd out" private borrowers by pushing interest rates up. Those crowded-out borrowers include both consumers who want to buy cars and businesses that want to buy equipment. In the latter case, higher government budget deficits take a toll on growth by slowing down capital formation.

There is an important exception, however, which is highly germane to today's situation. Suppose government borrowing is used to finance productive investments in public capital—such as highways, bridges, and tunnels. Right now, the U.S. government can borrow for 10 years at under 2% per annum. At these super-low interest rates, you don't have to be a genius to find many public infrastructure projects with strongly positive net present values. Borrowing to make such investments will enhance long-run growth, not retard it. And I can't, for the life of me, understand why we are not doing more of it.

But other types of spending, and any tax cut that does not boost capital formation enough, will slow down growth. And that's the fundamental indictment of large deficits.

To think clearly about how to shrink the long-run deficit, we must understand its origins. Looking ahead, the lion's share of projected future deficits comes from rising health-care expenditures.

Some of this cost escalation stems from heavier usage—consuming more health services per capita. But most of it comes from ever-rising relative prices; health care just keeps getting more expensive relative to almost everything else. The good news is that, if we could somehow limit health-care inflation to the overall inflation rate, much of the long-run budget problem would virtually vanish. The bad news is that nobody knows how to do that.

Given this ignorance, President Obama's health-care reform law, which Republicans want to repeal and the Supreme Court may vacate, takes a sensible approach to cost control. It includes—either on an experimental, small-scale, or pilot basis—virtually every cost-containment idea that has been suggested. The pragmatic attitude is: Let's try everything and go with what works.

But what about the middle, between the short run and the long run? When should the federal government get serious about paring its deficit? There is no formulaic answer, but U.S. Treasury borrowing rates will provide a clue. When they start rising on a sustained basis, it will be time to push deficits down. Another important clue will be the health of the economy. The government should stop supporting aggregate demand when the economy is strong enough to stand on its own two feet.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
What Blinder does not admit to is that government borrowing rates are not allowed to go up as long as the Fed buys over 60% of the new debt issues in its Zimbabwe economic policy. I think I'm going to throw up!

Alan Blinder is all smoke and mirrors in an election year.

Bob Jensen's threads on The Greatest Swindle in the History of the World ---

I received this promotional advertisement from Amazon"

Amazon.com recommends
The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy
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Jensen Comment
There are only three reviews thus far, and all of them think this is a good story but a poor book for teaching/learning about Bayes' Rule. I've not read the book.

May 25, 2012 reply from David Johnstone

Dear all, the intuition in Bayes theorem should be taught to all kids and jury members.....

Bayes has a simple but life altering connotation. If you have observed some fact or sign S and you are wondering what S means for the chance that proposition H is correct (e.g. H might be that it will rain or that your partner has secretly won the lottery, or is about to leave you, or both) you must think this way: you ask yourself how likely is sign S if H is true and how likely is S if H is not true. If S is RELATIVELY (very) likely when H is true then H is (strongly) supported (which does not necessarily mean that H is now very likely true, just that its much more likely to be true than it was before S).

Thus to find prob(H|S) you must think via prob(S|H). To a very few people this comes instinctively at least sometimes.

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong via Bayes but lawyers dont push it. e.g. there has been a case in Sydney where a man was put in jail for apparently throwing his girlfriend-model off The Gap at Sydney heads. He has recently been released as there was some technical dispute about evidence that a physicist put in the court case. A remaining piece of evidence, namely that the man claimed that he "had a vision while sitting at home that his girlfriend was at the foot of this particualr 200ft cliff" and could then see her there in the pitch black from the cliff top when no police could at about 2am" remains uncontested. His claim of a (i) vision and of (ii) great night vision might plausibly appear (as a concoction) under H that he was there when she fell, but is otherwise RELATIVELY highly unlikley to occur.

Note that the logic in Bayes theorem is what really matters, not arguments about subjective prior beliefs. I expect that Bayes will come naturally to many people on this blog, as its very human. It does not have any pretence that objectivity is possible, yet it gives the intuition by which inferences stand as more or less reliable. Frequentist methods sometimes agree with Bayes methods, thankfully. e.g. standard frequentist confidence intervals are very commonly nearly identical to Bayesian ones based on weak subjective prior information. But frequentist hypothesis tests are the main villain in the piece, and are commonly exploited to dress up research which really didnt find anything (which is a great shame for that research which did find something and is still described the same way e.g. as "significant at 5%")

Other good stories for probability-interested folk are the two books Fortunes Formula and The Lady Tasting Tea.

According to Hoyle:  The Number One Piece of Advice to Become a Better Teacher
"On the Other Side of the Desk," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, June 1, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
I'm not certain this can be done independently of circumstances, especially where circumstances dictate different needs and priorities. What works best in a Harvard Business School case course of 90 students is not what will work best in an online corporate tax course of 15 students or a basic accounting lecture hall of 860 young sophomore students.

Alan Dershowitz --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dershowitz

How liable is a university for personal opinions of faculty expressed to the media?

"Dershowitz: Zimmerman Prosecutor Threatening to Sue Harvard for My Criticism," by Alan Dershowitz, Newsmax, June 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
I really do not want to get into any debate over the Zimmerman case. However, this is a rather interesting sidebar concerning academic freedom.

There are both AAUP rules and policies in most universities that discourage engaging politics in courses where politics are not part of the curriculum plan such as the debate over the use of drone aircraft against terrorists in Yemen when teaching a basic accounting or calculus course. However, nothing to my knowledge prevents any professor from discussing politics outside the classroom even though fund raisers for the universities may be unhappy with certain outbursts of faculty to the media.

Generally, responsible professors will make an opening statement that the views expressed to the media are not necessarily the views of their employers. This probably comes as some relief to the employers of The Grumpy Old Accounting Professors ---

This essay reflects the opinion of the authors and not necessarily the opinions of The Pennsylvania State University, The American College, or Villanova University.

However, I doubt that something similar to the above statement would've sufficed to quell Florida State Attorney Angela Corey's outburst toward Harvard University. It would really be sensational if she lived up to her threats to file a lawsuit against Harvard University.

I once spent a year with Alan in a think tank. By his own admission he's probably best described as more of a Brooklyn-born pit bull than a library scholar. I have no doubt he's thrilled that Angela Corey was dumb enough to threaten to sue Harvard University. He'd be overjoyed if she sued him personally with or without Harvard as a co-defendant.

Alan Dershowitz --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dershowitz

What is the difference between political/religious indoctrination versus education?

"Freedom in the Classroom (2007)," AAUP ---

The report that follows, prepared by a subcommittee of the  , was approved in June 2007 by the committee for publication. Comments are welcome and should be sent to the Washington office by ground mail or e-mail.

I. Introduction

The  1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure affirms that "teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject." This affirmation was meant to codify understandings of academic freedom commonly accepted in 1940. In recent years these understandings have become controversial. Private groups have sought to regulate classroom instruction, advocating the adoption of statutes that would prohibit teachers from challenging deeply held student beliefs or that would require professors to maintain "diversity" or "balance" in their teaching.1 Committee A has established this subcommittee to assess arguments made in support of recent legislative efforts in this area.

II. The Contemporary Criticism

Critics charge that the professoriate is abusing the classroom in four particular ways: (1) instructors "indoctrinate" rather than educate; (2) instructors fail fairly to present conflicting views on contentious subjects, thereby depriving students of educationally essential "diversity" or "balance"; (3) instructors are intolerant of students' religious, political, or socioeconomic views, thereby creating a hostile atmosphere inimical to learning; and (4) instructors persistently interject material, especially of a political or ideological character, irrelevant to the subject of instruction. We address each of these charges in turn.

A. "Education, Not Indoctrination!"

The caption is taken from a statement of the Committee for a Better North Carolina, which in 2003 condemned the assignment of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America to incoming students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We agree, of course, that indoctrination is to be avoided, but the question is how education is to be distinguished from indoctrination.

It is not indoctrination for professors to expect students to comprehend ideas and apply knowledge that is accepted within a relevant discipline. For example, it is not indoctrination for professors of biology to require students to understand principles of evolution; indeed, it would be a dereliction of professional responsibility to fail to do so. Students must remain free to question generally accepted beliefs if they can do so, in the words of the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, using "a scholar's method and . . . in a scholar's spirit." But professors of logic may insist that students accept the logical validity of the syllogism, and professors of astronomy may insist that students accept the proposition that the earth orbits around the sun, unless in either case students have good logical or astronomical grounds to differ.

This process is instruction, not indoctrination. As John Dewey pointed out a century ago, the methods by which these particular conclusions have been drawn have become largely uncontested.3 Dewey believed that it was an abuse of "freedom in the classroom" for an instructor to "promulgate as truth ideas or opinions which have not been tested," that is, which have not been accepted as true within a discipline.4

Dewey's point suggests that indoctrination occurs whenever an instructor insists that students accept as truth propositions that are in fact professionally contestable. If an instructor advances such propositions dogmatically, without allowing students to challenge their validity or advance alternative understandings, the instructor stands guilty of indoctrination.

Under this test, however, the Committee for a Better North Carolina could not possibly have known whether the assignment of Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, which explores the economic difficulties facing low-wage workers in America, was an example of indoctrination or education. It is fundamental error to assume that the assignment of teaching materials constitutes their endorsement. An instructor who assigns a book no more endorses what it has to say than does the university library that acquires it. Assignment of a book attests only to the judgment that the work is worthy of discussion; it says nothing about the kind of discussion that the work will provoke or inspire. Classroom discussion of Nickel and Dimed in North Carolina could have been conducted in a spirit of critical evaluation, or in an effort to understand the book in the tradition of American muckraking, or in an attempt to provoke students to ask deeper questions about their own ideas of poverty and class.

Even if the University of North Carolina's assignment of Nickel and Dimed were to be understood as in some sense endorsing the book, moreover, the charge of indoctrination would still be misplaced. Instructors indoctrinate when they teach particular propositions as dogmatically true. It is not indoctrination when, as a result of their research and study, instructors assert to their students that in their view particular propositions are true, even if these propositions are controversial within a discipline. It is not indoctrination for an economist to say to his students that in his view the creation of markets is the most effective means for promoting growth in underdeveloped nations, or for a biologist to assert her belief that evolution occurs through punctuated equilibriums rather than through continuous processes.

Indoctrination occurs when instructors dogmatically insist on the truth of such propositions by refusing to accord their students the opportunity to contest them. Indoctrination occurs when instructors assert such propositions in ways that prevent students from expressing disagreement. Vigorously to assert a proposition or a viewpoint, however controversial, is to engage in argumentation and discussion-an engagement that lies at the core of academic freedom. Such engagement is essential if students are to acquire skills of critical independence. The essence of higher education does not lie in the passive transmission of knowledge but in the inculcation of a mature independence of mind.

"Freedom in the classroom" is ultimately connected to freedom of research and publication. Freedom of research and publication is grounded in the exercise of professional expertise. Investigators are held to professional standards so that the modern university can serve as "an intellectual experiment station, where new ideas may germinate and where their fruit, though still distasteful to the community as a whole, may be allowed to ripen until finally, perchance, it may become part of the accepted intellectual food of the nation or of the world."5 Academic freedom therefore includes the freedom to publish research results on controversial questions of public policy. A faculty committee at the University of Montana put it well in 1918:

If professors of economics and politics can discuss none of these questions, their departments should not be permitted to continue in the University, for the very fact that we have faculty employed in these subjects implies that they must make a study of them and give the result of their investigations to the people of the state. It does not follow that their conclusions must be accepted, for the opinions of members of the faculty are worthy of consideration only so far as they are supported by indisputable facts and sound logic. In case their arguments are weak, the weakness can be detected and exposed.6

It follows that if an instructor has formed an opinion on a controversial question in adherence to scholarly standards of professional care, it is as much an exercise of academic freedom to test those opinions before students as it is to present them to the public at large. Josiah Royce stressed this point more than a century ago in response to the assertion of the regental right to control what is said in the classroom:

Advanced instruction aims to teach the opinions of an honest and competent faculty member upon more or less doubtful questions. . . . The advanced instructor . . .has to be responsible not only for his manner of presenting his doctrines, but for the doctrines themselves, which are not admitted dogmas, but ought to be his personal opinions. But responsibility and freedom are correlatives. If you force me to teach such and such dogmas, then you must be responsible for them, not I. I am your mouthpiece. But if I am to be responsible for what I say, then I must be free to say just what I think best.7

Some instructors may prefer to dissect dispassionately every question presented, maintaining a studied agnosticism toward them all. Some may prefer to expound a preferred theory. Dewey regarded the choice of teaching style as a "personal" matter. One style may resonate better with some students than with others. Much depends on the "chemistry" of a particular class, as all seasoned instructors recognize. The fundamental point is that freedom in the classroom applies as much to controversial opinions as to studied agnosticism.8 So long as opinion and interpretation are not advanced and insisted upon as dogmatic truth, the style of presentation should be at the discretion of the instructor.

B. Balance

Current charges of pedagogical abuse allege that instruction in institutions of higher education fails to exhibit a proper balance. It is said that instructors introduce political or ideological bias in their courses by neglecting to expose their students to contrary views or by failing to give students a full and fair accounting of competing points of view.

We note at the outset that in many institutions the contents of courses are subject to collegial and institutional oversight and control; even the text of course descriptions may be subject to approval. Curriculum committees typically supervise course offerings to ensure their fit with programmatic goals and their compatibility with larger educational ends (like course sequencing).9 Although instructors are ethically obligated to follow approved curricular guidelines, "freedom in the classroom" affords instructors wide latitude to decide how to approach a subject, how best to present and explore the material, and so forth. An instructor in a course in English Romantic poetry is free to assign the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance so long as the course remains focused more on John Keats than on Countee Cullen.

To make a valid charge that instruction lacks balance is essentially to charge that the instructor fails to cover material that, under the pertinent standards of a discipline, is essential. There may be facts, theories, and models, particularly in the sciences, that are so intrinsically intertwined with the current state of a discipline that it would be unprofessional to slight or ignore them. One cannot now teach biology without reference to evolution; one cannot teach physical geology without reference to plate tectonics; one cannot teach particle physics without reference to quantum theory. There is, however, a large universe of facts, theories, and models that are arguably relevant to a subject of instruction but that need not be taught. Assessments of George Eliot's novel Daniel Deronda might be relevant to a course on her Middlemarch, but it is not a dereliction of professional standards to fail to discuss Daniel Deronda in class. What facts, theories, and models an instructor chooses to bring into the classroom depends upon the instructor's sense of pedagogical dynamics and purpose.

To urge that instruction be "balanced" is to urge that an instructor's discretion about what to teach be restricted. But the nature of this proposed restriction, when carefully considered, is fatally ambiguous. Stated most abstractly, the charge of lack of balance evokes a seeming ideal of neutrality. The notion appears to be that an instructor should impartially engage all potentially relevant points of view. But this ideal is chimerical. No coherent principle of neutrality would require an instructor in a class on constitutional democracy to offer equal time to "competing" visions of communist totalitarianism or Nazi fascism. There is always a potentially infinite number of competing perspectives that can arguably be deemed relevant to an instructor's subject or perspective, whatever that subject or perspective might be. It follows that the very idea of balance and neutrality, stated in the abstract, is close to incoherent.

The ideal of balance makes sense only in light of an instructor's obligation to present all aspects of a subject matter that professional standards would require to be presented. If a professor of molecular biology has an idiosyncratic theory that AIDS is not caused by a retrovirus, professional standards may require that the dominant contrary perspective be presented. Understood in this way, the ideal of balance does not depend on a generic notion of neutrality, but instead on how particular ideas are embedded in specific disciplines. This is a coherent idea of balance, and it suggests that balance is not a principle that can be invoked in the abstract but is instead a standard whose content must be determined within a specific field of relevant disciplinary knowledge.

There is another sense in which critics of higher education use the idea of "balance" to circle back to the question of indoctrination. It is hard to escape the impression that contemporary calls for "balance" imagine that an instructor's "freedom in the classroom" is merely the freedom to offer a neutral summary of the current state of a discipline, abjuring controversial and individual views. But this is to misunderstand the nature of higher education. More than fifty years ago, Edward C. Kirkland, a former chair of the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, observed that departments of economics often housed professors of sharply conflicting views—views that simply could not be reconciled. It seemed to follow that some of them had to be teaching error. But, he concluded,

Colleges and universities do not possess or teach the whole truth. They are engaged in the quest for truth. For that reason their scholars must be free to examine and test all facts and ideas, the unpleasant, the distasteful, and dangerous ones, and even those regarded as erroneous by a majority of their learned colleagues.10

If scholars must be free to examine and test, they must also be free to explain and defend their results, and they must be free to do so as much before their students as before their colleagues or the public at large. That is the meaning of "freedom in the classroom." To charge that university and college instruction lacks balance when it does more than merely summarize contemporary debates is fundamentally to misconstrue the nature of higher learning, which expects students to engage with the ideas of their professors. Instructors should not dogmatically teach their ideas as truth; they should not indoctrinate. But they can expect their students to respond to their ideas and their research. As students complete different courses taught by different professors, it is to be hoped that they will acquire the desire and capacity for independent thinking.

C. Hostile Learning Environment

Contemporary critics of the academy have begun to deploy the concept of a "hostile learning environment," which was first developed in the context of antidiscrimination law. The concept has been used in universities to support speech codes that suppress expression deemed offensive to racial, ethnic, or other minorities. The concept is now being used in an attempt to suppress expression deemed offensive on religious or political grounds.

The statement On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes, adopted as Association policy in1994, acknowledges the need to "foster an atmosphere respectful of and welcoming to all persons." An instructor may not harass a student nor act on an invidiously discriminatory ground toward a student, in class or elsewhere. It is a breach of professional ethics for an instructor to hold a student up to obloquy or ridicule in class for advancing an idea grounded in religion, whether it is creationism or the geocentric theory of the solar system.11 It would be equally improper for an instructor to hold a student up to obloquy or ridicule for an idea grounded in politics, or anything else.

But the current application of the idea of a "hostile learning environment" to the pedagogical context of higher education presupposes much more than blatant disrespect or harassment. It assumes that students have a right not to have their most cherished beliefs challenged. This assumption contradicts the central purpose of higher education, which is to challenge students to think hard about their own perspectives, whatever those might be. It is neither harassment nor discriminatory treatment of a student to hold up to close criticism an idea or viewpoint the student has posited or advanced. Ideas that are germane to a subject under discussion in a classroom cannot be censored because a student with particular religious or political beliefs might be offended. Instruction cannot proceed in the atmosphere of fear that would be produced were a teacher to become subject to administrative sanction based upon the idiosyncratic reaction of one or more students.12 This would create a classroom environment inimical to the free and vigorous exchange of ideas necessary for teaching and learning in higher education.

D. Persistent Irrelevance

The 1940 Statement of Principles provides that teachers "should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject." The origin of this admonition lies in the concern of the authors of the 1925 Conference Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure for immature youth or, more accurately, a concern by the administrators of small and often denominational colleges for potential adverse parental reaction to their children's exposure to thought contrary to the conventional pieties.13 The admonition was reconsidered and addressed in an interpretive comment to the 1940 Statement, appended by the joint drafting organizations in 1970:

The intent of this statement is not to discourage what is "controversial." Controversy is at the heart of the free academic inquiry which the entire statement is designed to foster. The passage serves to underscore the need for teachers to avoid persistently intruding material which has no relation to their subject.

The 1940 Statement should not be interpreted as excluding controversial matter from the classroom; any such exclusion would be contrary to the essence of higher education. The statement should be interpreted as excluding "irrelevant" matter, whether controversial or not.

The question, therefore, is how to determine whether material is "irrelevant" to classroom discussion. In some contexts, the meaning of "irrelevance" is clear. Students would have every right to complain if an instructor in ancient history dwelled on internecine conflict in her department or if an instructor in American literature engaged in lengthy digressions on his personal life. But such irrelevance is not the gravamen of the contemporary complaint.

The group calling itself Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), for example, has advised students that "your professor should not be making statements . . . about George Bush, if the class is not on contemporary American presidents, presidential administrations or some similar subject."14 This advice presupposes that the distinction between "relevant" and "irrelevant" material is to be determined strictly by reference to the wording of a course description. Under this view, current events or personages are beyond the pale unless a course is specifically about them. But this interpretation of "relevance" is inconsistent with the nature of higher education, in which "all knowledge can be connected to all other knowledge."15 Whether material is relevant to a better understanding of a subject cannot be determined merely by looking at a course description.

Continued in article

Liberal Bias in the Media and in Academe ---

What's the difference between  "signature" new PC and a "Crapware" new PC?

"Microsoft Gives Windows a Clean Sweep," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2012 --- "

For a long time, some Microsoft officials have privately griped that PC makers don't present Windows in its best light. They clutter desktops with icons that are often little more than ads for third-party products; include confusing utilities that duplicate functions already in Windows; require lengthy setup; and configure PCs in ways that slow them down.

One consequence, in the eyes of these Microsoft executives, is to confer an advantage on the company's main operating-system rival, Apple AAPL +1.60% .

Now, Microsoft is doing something about the situation. In a program unknown to most computer users, the company has been using its small chain of retail stores and its online computer store to sell customized versions of popular PC models that have been streamlined for a cleaner look and better performance. It calls these machines "Signature" PCs. They retain the maker's brand, but sport a special Signature desktop and configuration. And they cost about the same as the identical stock version of the machine sold elsewhere.

Microsoft also offers a program that, for $99, will turn users' Windows 7 PCs into Signature versions, if the owner brings the computer into one of its 16 stores, due to grow to 21 outlets in coming months. All Signature computers come with 90 days of free phone support, as well as help at the stores' "Answer Desks," which are like the Genius Bars at Apple stores.

I've been testing three Signature models and comparing them with the same machines as sold elsewhere without the Signature modifications. I found the Signature versions much cleaner and easier to navigate and faster in a variety of tests.

I'd recommend that prospective Windows PC buyers who live near a Microsoft store, which are mostly in the West, or are willing to shop at the company's online store, consider a Signature machine. Information on store locations, as well as a link to online PC shopping from Microsoft, is at microsoftstore.com. Information on Signature is at signature.microsoft.com.

Some important caveats are in order. The hardware makers presumably believe, and some consumers may well agree, that the extra software, utilities and settings, which Microsoft removes or buries, are beneficial. Some of these, like offers to join game or music services, may be viewed as welcome bonuses. Others, like customized networking utilities, or launchers for the PC makers' own media software, may be viewed as better matched to the hardware, or superior to Microsoft's approach, even though they duplicate Windows functions. Many can be turned off, or removed, by a user with sufficient skill and time.

Also, Microsoft loads Signature machines with its own add-on software, such as its free email, photo and video programs, its Zune music and video program, and a stripped-down "Starter" version of Microsoft Office, that includes only Word and Excel, plus ads, and an offer to buy the full version.

However, the company says the stores will remove any of these a customer doesn't want and even help the customer install competing software, such as Google's Chrome browser, or Apple's iTunes for Windows.

Continued in article

Watch the Video ---

UCLA Proposes Privatizing the MBA Program, Thereby Depriving This Program of State Subsidies
Is this more of a cash cow strategy than a true privatization strategy?

"Self-Sufficiency or Privatization?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, June 8, 2012 ---

The Academic Senate at the University of California at Los Angeles voted 53 to 46 Thursday to approve a proposal to stop accepting any state funds for the university's M.B.A. program, and to replace those funds with tuition revenue and private support. The proposal -- the subject of intense debate for nearly two years -- now goes to Mark Yudof, president of the university system, for final approval, which is expected.

Thursday's action reversed the decision of the university's Graduate Council, the faculty body for graduate programs, which in March rejected the proposal, potentially dooming it. But faculty supporters of the plan asked for a review by the full Academic Senate, setting up Thursday's vote. The votes by the Graduate Council and then by the Academic Senate reflect competing visions for how the university should respond to a series of cuts in state funds (with more reductions looming).

A report by the Graduate Council on its decision to reject the plan said: "By responding [to cuts] with a call for changing a program’s funding model, rather than with a campaign to convince the state of the value of the University of California and its academic programs, members worry about the message such a conversion would send to the state legislature, the potential marginalization of programs entirely dependent on state funding, and the disparities that could very well result among campus programs following conversion to a self-supporting model and those that do not or cannot. Indeed, many of us feel, the proposed conversion offers a quick-fix to the current crisis, but it also compromises the virtues that we expound of a 'public education' and our commitment as UCLA faculty to the citizens of the State of California and beyond."

But in an interview shortly after the Academic Senate vote, its chair offered a different take. Asked if UCLA was letting the state off the hook, Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, said, "The state has not seemed to need any encouragement or permission from us to disinvest in higher education. That process is ongoing. We need to adapt to it or to sacrifice the quality of our educational programs." He said that, to most faculty members at the University of California, sacrificing quality was a terrible option. He added that "we had to make some very difficult choices regarding the funding model going forward because of the massive disinvestment in public higher education."

The Academic Senate at UCLA meets behind closed doors, and votes are by secret ballot. Leuchter characterized the debate before the vote as "spirited," with many professors having very strong feelings.

The language used to describe the plan reflects the split at the campus. UCLA's press release announcing the vote said the vote was "not a proposal for privatization." (Supporters of the plan say it is a plan for "self-sufficiency" for the M.B.A. program and note that other some programs at the business school would retain state support.) But Leuchter acknowledged that in Thursday's meeting "there were a number of people concerned about abandonment of our commitment to public education. and that was spoken of again and again. There were some people saying this was tantamount to privatization."

Giving Up on the State

When she proposed the idea in 2010, Judy D. Olian, dean of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, said that she needed to do something to compete with top business schools that have more control over their financial futures, and that it was clear California was not going to restore adequate levels of support.

Under the plan, the M.B.A. program would see a net gain in its budget by giving up the small fraction of its budget from the state and replacing those funds with philanthropy and higher tuition rates. Current tuition rates in the M.B.A. program at UCLA are hardly cut-rate: California residents paid $45,385 in tuition this academic year. But there may be plenty of room for UCLA to raise tuition under the new system. The M.B.A. programs at Stanford University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will next year be charging $57,300 and $62,034, respectively.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This seems to be a bit naive from an accounting standpoint. The move allows UCLA to raise prices of a prestigious MBA program, but it does not necessarily put that program on a par with truly private MBA programs like those of Stanford and Harvard.

Firstly, UCLA's MBA program is not likely to have a totally stand-alone faculty. It's much more likely that some faculty will be shared with the UCLA accounting and business PhD programs and some undergraduate programs.

Secondly, UCLA's MBA program is not likely to have a totally stand-alone plant. Classrooms, air conditioning, maintenance, and other building costs will still be subsidized by taxpayers unless the MBA Program is charged enormous rent for using campus facilities.

Thirdly, UCLA's MBA program will have subsidized services such as the campus police and fire services. It will also have other shared services all the way up to the President's Office.

Fourthly, UCLA's MBA program will likely at times allow students to take courses in state-subsidized departments such as economics courses, health care administration courses, statistics courses, computer science courses, etc.

If done properly, UCLA could invest heavily in an elaborate transfer pricing scheme. Personally, I doubt that this will happen. The so-called "privatization" move is mostly an excuse to raise tuition on a popular program, thereby turning the MBA program into more of a cash cow for the campus.

Best of the Scout Report for 2011-12 Academic Year

Best of 2011–2012
- The Walters Art Museum
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- National Science Foundation: Predicting Seasonal Weather
- Torn in Two: 150th Anniversary of Civil War
- University of Idaho Library: The Map Room
- Saylor.org: Free Education
- Forgotten Detroit
- Sid Lapidus '59 Collection on Liberty and the American Revolution
- Science Museum: Brought to Life
- Get the Math


Bob Jensen's threads on Scout Report sites over many years ---

Free Tutorials
| Educational Disciplines
| Arts, Entertainment, History, Literature, Museums, etc.
| Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy
| Grammar, Spelling and English | Languages
| Law and Legal Studies
| Mathematics and Statistics
| Miscellaneous Educational Disciplines
| Movies and Video
| Music
| Science, Engineering and and Medicine
| Education Statistics (Data)
| Aids to Handicapped and Disabled Learners
| Education Technology Tools
| Writing Helpers |


From the Scout Report on May 25, 2012

Eraser 6.0.9 --- http://eraser.heidi.ie/ 

If you're looking for a security tool to remove sensitive data from your hard drive, you should give this version of Eraser a try. The program ensures that files are permanently deleted from the hard drive in question and it can be customized to operate at certain times for greater convenience. The user interface is quite easy to use. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 7 and newer.

Browshot --- http://www.browshot.com/ 

If you're looking to create screenshots of web page for just about any screen size, Browshot will be worth your time. The application allows users the ability to see how their own professional website (or any other site) looks on a variety of devices, such as an iPhone, Android, or Nook. Visitors can use the trial version here at no cost, although it has some limits on its functionality. This version is compatible with all operating systems.


From the Scout Report on June 1, 2012

Page Stickies --- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mmakgnpnjinfdglkfgbolcgpeiomdhop 

Looking for a way to create helpful visual reminders on a webpage? You may find Page Stickies most useful and it's available for free on this site. Visitors can use the program to create stickies for any webpage and also save them to the cloud. It's a compelling way to create notes about items of interest and it is compatible with all operating systems running Google Chrome. 

BringFocus --- http://www.bringfocus.net/index.php 

Everyone knows that it is easy to go down the proverbial rabbit hole while working online. One minute you could be checking on some higher education statistics and you might end up at IMDB.com for a solid hour. BringFocus helps users stay on task by helping them stay focused on one task at a time. Visitors can view screenshots of the program and also view a short demonstration video for more information on how BringFocus works. This version is compatible with Windows operating systems

As summer travel ramps up, there is hope and some uncertainty for the
peak travel season in the United States.
Location is key to sting of summer gas prices

Summer leads to shifts in economy

Orlando tourism businesses look ahead to summer vacation travel season

Jack Darin: Hope for Illinois State Parks and Great Outdoors

Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Series

U.S. Travel Association

Bob Jensen's travel helpers ---







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

Education Tutorials

MIT OpenCourseWare: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

NASA: Higher Education --- http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/postsecondary/index.html

Blogs: The Chronicle of Higher Education --- http://chronicle.com/section/Blogs/164/

Do Lectures (inspiration lectures from Wales) --- http://thedolectures.co.uk/

Teaching with Maps --- http://library.buffalo.edu/maps/mapresources/researching_maps.php

National Geographic: Maps --- http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

TED Talk:  Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world ---

TEDxGeorgiaTech - Ravi Bellamkonda - Technology to dance with nature... ---

Transit of Venus: A Quick Guide to Tomorrow’s Last-of-a-Lifetime Event --- Click Here

NASA: Higher Education --- http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/postsecondary/index.html

Flying Over The Earth At Night in the Space Station! --- http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120305.html

California Academy of Sciences: Discover Science --- http://www.calacademy.org/science/

Great Underwater Video --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/mcbHKAWIk3I

The Amazing Cucumber --- http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/cucumber.asp

Instant Anatomy --- http://www.instantanatomy.net/

Reproductive Physiology Animations --- http://drc.libraries.uc.edu/handle/2374.UC/6

BioEd: Naturalist Journals --- http://www.bioedonline.org/resources/files/Naturalist_Journals_s.pdf

National Oceanographic Data Center --- http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/

Ocean Data Viewer --- http://data.unep-wcmc.org/

New Mexico Waters --- http://econtent.unm.edu/cdm4/index_NewMexicoWaters.php

Living without Oil --- http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=4541

National Renewable Energy Laboratory --- http://www.nrel.gov/learning/

Teachers' Place: Monterey Bay Aquarium --- http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/lc/teachers_place/

Building the Golden Gate Bridge: A Retro Film Featuring Original Archival Footage --- Click Here

From the Scout Report on May 25, 2012

The Falcon 9 rocket takes off on its way to the International Space Station SpaceX Launches for Space Station-Like "Winning the Super Bowl"

Milestone mission to space station lifts off

SpaceX Begins History Making Journey to ISS

Q&A: Former SpaceX Executive on Historic Launch


NASA: International Space Station http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html


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

Blogs: The Chronicle of Higher Education --- http://chronicle.com/section/Blogs/164/

Living without Oil --- http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=4541

National Renewable Energy Laboratory --- http://www.nrel.gov/learning/

North Carolina Humanities Council --- http://www.nchumanities.org/

Interactive: Locating American Manufacturing

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

TED Talk:  Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world ---

Mean and Median Applet --- http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/47/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=3204
Thank you for sharing  Professor Kady Schneiter of Utah State University

This applet consists of two windows, in the first (the investigate window), the user fills in a grid to create a distribution of numbers and to investigate the mean and median of the distribution. The second window (the identify window) enables users to test their knowledge about the mean and the median. In this window, the applet displays a hypothetical distribution and an unspecified marker. The user determines whether the marker indicates the postion of the mean of the distribution, the median, both, or neither. Two activities intended to facilitate using the applet to learn about the mean and median are provided.

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

Interactive: Locating American Manufacturing

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics and statistics tutorials are at

History Tutorials

Rare 1959 Audio: Flannery O’Connor Reads ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ --- Click Here

Rembrandt’s Facebook Timeline --- Click Here

Explorer David Livingstone’s Diary (Written in Berry Juice) Now Digitized with New Imaging Technology --- Click Here

Derrida: A 2002 Documentary on the Abstract Philosopher and the Everyday Man --- Click Here

Los Angeles Public Library: Fashion Plates --- http://digital.lapl.org/Browse.aspx?s=3

From the University of Washington
Fashion Plate Collection (women's fashions in history) --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/costumehistweb/index.html

Fashion Institute of Technology: Teaching & Learning Resources --- http://www.fitnyc.edu/5966.a

Fashion Design & Merchandising Resources Online --- http://www.library.kent.edu/page/11285

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (fashion and costumes) ---

Costume History Collection --- http://www.wmich.edu/library/digi/collections/costume/

Alcohol, Temperance & Prohibition http://library.brown.edu/cds/temperance/

Railroad Picture Archives --- http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

The Countryside Transformed: The Railroad and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, 1870-1935 ---

Transcontinental Railroad Pictures and Exhibits --- http://cprr.org/Museum/Exhibits.html

Delaware Historical Society --- http://www.hsd.org/

Delaware: Digital Archives --- http://archives.delaware.gov/exhibits/exhibits-toc.shtml

The University of Chicago Centennial Catalogues http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/centcat/

Lincoln Park Neighborhood Collection (Chicago) --- http://digicol.lib.depaul.edu/cdm/search/collection/lpnc6

Lincoln Park Architectural Photographs --- http://digicol.lib.depaul.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/lpnc1

Armenian History http://www.electpress.com/books/armenia.htm

Knox County Black History Archives --- http://drc.kenyon.edu/handle/2374.KENY/3650

"To Know Wisdom and Instruction": The Armenian Literary Tradition ---

North Carolina Humanities Council --- http://www.nchumanities.org/

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


Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

Writing Across the Curriculum: George Mason University http://wac.gmu.edu/

At our large state institution, we are proud of the culture of writing that has been created and fostered over the years by faculty, academic departments, and higher administration, all of whom share a commitment to student writers and writing in disciplines. Central to our WAC mission is the belief that when students are given frequent opportunities for writing across the university curriculum, they think more critically and creatively, engage more deeply in their learning, and are better able to transfer what they have learned from

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

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

May 24, 2012

May 25, 2012

May 26, 2012

May 28, 2012

May 29, 2012

March 30, 2012

May 31, 2012

June 1, 2012

June 4, 2012

June 6, 2012

June 7, 2012

June 8, 2012

June 9, 2012

June 11, 2012


Don't Push the Red Button --- http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/316AzLYfAzw%26autoplay=1%26rel=0

Still Chasing Birds
Video: Dead cat turned into remote-controlled helicopter ---

Forwarded by David Fordham

Jagdish: thanks for sharing the video.

His talk about bio-engineering reminds me of the story of the four engineers who were arguing about what kind of engineer God might be. The electrical engineer said "God is obviously an electrical engineer. Look at the human body, how perfectly it is designed with the nervous system, based on electrical impulses, the feedback mechanisms, the sensory system, the brain... God is obviously an electrical engineer."

The chemical engineer said, "That's all well and good, but God is obviously a chemical engineer. Look at the human body. The chemical processes which go on in the liver, the cells, the stomach, the muscles... even the brain and nervous system... they all show amazing application of chemistry. God is obviously a chemical engineer."

The mechanical engineer said, "Well, I admit you have a point, but God is obviously a mechanical engineer. Look at the human body. Look at all the mechanical systems, the levers without fulcrums in the elbows and knees, the hinges, the glide joints in the wrists, the three-way hinge of the ankles, the dual design, the counterpoise systems, and movement is all based on balance, center of gravity... why, just walking is an amazing feat of mechanical engineering. God is obviously a mechanical engineer."

The three of them looked at the fourth engineer, and one of them said with a smirk, "I guess you think God is a civil engineer?"

"Obviously," replied the civil engineer. "God has to be a civil engineer. Look at the human body. Who else but a civil engineer would ever think of running a waste pipeline right through the middle of a recreational area?"

Forwarded by Jim Kirk


  for Bright People

There are

  only nine questions.

This is a quiz for people who know  everything!
I found out in a hurry that I didn't. These are not trick questions.
They are straight  questions with straight answers..

1. Name the one sport in  which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the  leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only  two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in  standard English begin with the letters ' dw' and they are all common  words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'


Answers To Quiz:

1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing.

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls . The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that
 rush over it every minute.

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOz0HE5Uygk

6. Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle...

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets,
parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form  but fresh: Lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S': Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers,
slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.



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

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

Online Distance Education Training and Education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm
For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud  (College, Inc.) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

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

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

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

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

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


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

Accounting  and Taxation News Sites ---


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

Over the years the AECM has become the worldwide forum for accounting educators on all issues of accountancy and accounting education, including debates on accounting standards, managerial accounting, careers, fraud, forensic accounting, auditing, doctoral programs, and critical debates on academic (accountics) research, publication, replication, and validity testing.


CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/  (Closed Down)
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM
FEI's Financial Reporting Blog
Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2008/smart_stops.htm

Find news highlights from the SEC, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board on this financial reporting blog from Financial Executives International. The site, updated daily, compiles regulatory news, rulings and statements, comment letters on standards, and hot topics from the Web’s largest business and accounting publications and organizations. Look for continuing coverage of SOX requirements, fair value reporting and the Alternative Minimum Tax, plus emerging issues such as the subprime mortgage crisis, international convergence, and rules for tax return preparers.
The CAlCPA Tax Listserv

September 4, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@bonackers.com]
Scott has been a long-time contributor to the AECM listserv (he's a techie as well as a practicing CPA)

I found another listserve that is exceptional -

CalCPA maintains http://groups.yahoo.com/taxtalk/  and they let almost anyone join it.
Jim Counts, CPA is moderator.

There are several highly capable people that make frequent answers to tax questions posted there, and the answers are often in depth.


Scott forwarded the following message from Jim Counts

Yes you may mention info on your listserve about TaxTalk. As part of what you say please say [... any CPA or attorney or a member of the Calif Society of CPAs may join. It is possible to join without having a free Yahoo account but then they will not have access to the files and other items posted.

Once signed in on their Yahoo account go to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxTalk/ and I believe in top right corner is Join Group. Click on it and answer the few questions and in the comment box say you are a CPA or attorney, whichever you are and I will get the request to join.

Be aware that we run on the average 30 or move emails per day. I encourage people to set up a folder for just the emails from this listserve and then via a rule or filter send them to that folder instead of having them be in your inbox. Thus you can read them when you want and it will not fill up the inbox when you are looking for client emails etc.

We currently have about 830 CPAs and attorneys nationwide but mainly in California.... ]

Please encourage your members to join our listserve.

If any questions let me know.

Hemet, CA
Moderator TaxTalk





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


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

Some Accounting History Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

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


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