Tidbits on November 13, 2012
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

My Favorite Annuals in My Gardens --- New Guinea Impatiens
Life Cycle from Seedlings to Death Every Summe


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

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


Tidbits on November 13, 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

Romancing the Wind --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nr9KrqN_lIg

Caught Mapping: A Cinematic Ride Through the Nitty Gritty World of Vintage Cartography ---

Watch the Great Russian Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff in Home Movies ---

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

Taps (beautiful) --- http://www.flixxy.com/trumpet-solo-melissa-venema.htm

Romancing the Wind --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nr9KrqN_lIg

Music flashmob (Verdi, La Traviata) --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/XAXAs03xsI8?rel=0

Gidon Kremer's Bach Makeover --- http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2012/10/30/163881196/gidon-kremers-bach-makeover

Lula Belle and Scotty Wiseman Home Movies --- http://mirc.sc.edu/fedora/repository/usc-test%3A170

Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener try to make beautiful music (classical) ---

Brubeck Oral History Project

Russell Brand and Tracey Ullman Sing the Wonders of “Asstrology” in Eric Idle’s What About Dick? ---

FolkStreams Presents a Big Film Archive on American Folk Art and Music ---

I Remember It Well ☆ Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQxM5rJ-uiY

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 History of Western Architecture in 39 Free Video Lectures ---

Illustrated Classics of Engineering from the William Barclay Parsons Collection and Others ---

Hurricane Sandy Seen from Outer Space, in Timelapse Motion ---

The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art ---

The Oswegonian (student newspaper of SUNY at Oswego)

The Douglas Oliver Collection (Hawaii People) --- http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/oliver/index.php?c=1

Arts of Citizenship --- http://artsofcitizenship.umich.edu/

Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London ---

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam --- http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/index.jsp

Florida Documents Collection (from Miami University) --- http://merrick.library.miami.edu/specialCollections/asm0567/

Miami Metropolitan Archive --- http://miami.fiu.edu/index.htm

University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections: University of Miami Archives (over 500,000 photographs) ---

International Architecture Database --- http://eng.archinform.net/index.htm

The Art of African Exploration --- http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/ArtofAfricanExploration/

National Museum of African Art: Webcasts --- http://af

Lalla Essaydi Revisions: Introduction (African Art) --- http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/revisions/index.h

Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art http://www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/grassroots/index.html

Virginia Emigrants to Liberia --- http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/liberia/index.php?page=Virginia Emigrants To Liberia 

Benin-Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria (video) --- http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/benin/index


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

University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library Digital Collections (Literature History) --- 

"A History of Reading," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 26, 2012 ---

"Our acknowledged Queen of Sorrows"
For Sylvia Plath’s 80th Birthday, Hear Her Read ‘A Birthday Present’ --- Click Here

Find more blog posts full of comic existential angst over at The New Yorker, and then, if you want to get serious and bone up on Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist philosophy, check out these fine resources:

Sartre, Heidegger, Nietzsche: Three Philosophers in Three Hours

Walter Kaufmann’s Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

55 Free Philosophy Courses from Great Universities

Sartre’s famous lecture Existentialism is a Humanism (1946) that otherwise appears in our collection of Free eBooks.

Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre Discovered is a post from: Open Culture.

Pacifica Radio Archives (American Literature and Politics) --- http://archive.org/details/pacifica_radio_archives

"The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 7, 2012 ---

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 November 13, 2012

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 ---

My Political Quotations and Commentaries Directory and Log ---

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

View and/or Print Windows 8 for Dummies  (147 Pages)
Dummies can access for free, at least for the time being

This site is absolutely unbelievable in providing pictures of homes, businesses, and government offices around the world ---

It often does not zero in precisely on the address, including my address. However, with use of the arrow buttons you can easily find the address your are seeking.

What I find interesting is that my home images seem to be taken at street level rather than aerial views. This is more like the views you get when driving by car to a site. I'm told that not everybody gets a street view. Perhaps aerial views are used in more congested urban areas.

When you are in a city and going to take a taxi to some address, it might help you and the taxi driver if you become familiar in advance of the buildings on the block where you're headed.

If you know a phone number, first Google that phone number to get the address. Then use showmystreet.com to see the buildings around that address.

College campuses and other complexes of buildings having only one mailing address are more difficult in terms of drilling down to a particular building in the complex.

I'm not certain how frequently the database is updated. For example, we have daughter in a new subdivision in a rural area of Wisconsin. I've not yet found, after several years, a mapping service that can zero in on her address. Showmystreet.com, however, gets into the general vicinity and shows us a bunch of trees and corn and lake shoreline.

November 15, 2012 reply from Patricia Doherty

This really is cool – my husband has tried the Google views before and says this one is better than any he's seen.  By the way, ours is an aerial view.
Patricia A. Doherty
Senior Lecturer in Accounting
Coordinator, Managerial Accounting
Boston University School of Management
595 Commonwealth Ave.
Room 524A
Boston, MA  02215

November 15, 2012 reply from Wes Lavin

Try this site for maps instead. You can be more specific with your search.

Make sure you click on the Birds Eye tab.


Jensen Comment
I use Bing for maps, but I like picture resolution and global coverage of ShowMyStreet to get the feel of what the neighborhood really looks like.



When I see all those Sandy-victims complaining about FEMA on TV, I wonder if they haven't applied for their $30,000 payments for alternative housing. Perhaps they're just afraid of losing what what's left of their homes and contents.

I do understand that in almost any part of the U.S. there's a genuine risk of being vandalized if victims leave what's left of their home and home contents when they move to hotels and apartments elsewhere using housing payments from FEMA. It was so refreshing to see that after the Japanese tsunami disaster there was virtually no looting of vacant homes and homeowner property. Why do we have such a criminal culture that exploits disaster victims?

In addition to FEMA Flood Insurance FEMA provides substantial assistance to disaster victims who were not insured ---

Other FEMA grants and assistance programs ---

Hi Pat, 

Interestingly, a few weeks ago we could feel a very, very rare earthquake that was centered in Maine's mountains. There was no damage but it most definitely shook us up!

Whether I would accept a $60,000+ FEMA grant for Erika and me to move into a remote hotel would depend entirely on the extent of the damage to our cottage and the temperature during an anticipated long-term power outage.

If the cottage was still livable and we were not going to freeze to death I would prefer to stay our damaged cottage just to discourage looters who would race up from Boston just for the pickings, including the copper wiring throughout the cottage.

But Erika and I do not have school children living in our cottage. If we had children and expected their schools to be knocked out for a year we would take our Katrina grant and move to a hotel where our children could continued schooling.

Even before Katrina, New Orleans K-12 public schools were arguably the worst in the nation.

Using FEMA grants, thousands of Katrina victims poured into hotels in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. One of the heart-warming thing I witnessed is how Texas schools reacted instantly to admit Katrina's children. School buses even added stops in front of the hotels.

One of the major reasons so many Katrina victims stayed on in Texas after all these years was to avoid returning to those awful New Orleans schools.

Of course Katrina was far worse than Sandy. Katrina had many more victims that were totally wiped out. Medical, schooling, and other services were knocked out in the entire city of New Orleans for months on end. Whereas some Sandy victims are staying behind to keep their jobs, Katrina victims had no jobs left to keep them in New Orleans.

Here's a module that I published in Bob Jensen's Tidbits on September 5, 2012 ---

Bravo America:  Where are the Katrina victims now (September 2005)? 
86% are outside the State of Louisiana.

"A Look at the Refugee Situation Around the Country," TBO, September 10, 2005 --- http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBFOQPDFDE.html

An estimated 377,700 Hurricane Katrina refugees are in shelters, hotels, homes and other housing in 33 states and Washington, D.C., according to the Red Cross and state officials:


TEXAS: An estimated 205,000 in shelters and homes

LOUISIANA: About 54,000 in 240 shelters, 659 in special needs shelters

ARKANSAS: About 50,000 in shelters, motels and homes


MISSISSIPPI: 13,262 in 104 Red Cross shelters

MISSOURI: Nearly 6,100 in homes, hotels and church camps

FLORIDA: 3,472 in 48 shelters

ALABAMA: 2,183 in shelters; 660 in hotels; 116 in state parks; more in homes

KENTUCKY: 116 at Murray camp in western Kentucky, plus estimated 3,100 statewide

OKLAHOMA: 2,352 in four shelters

INDIANA: At least 70 in two shelters; more than 2,000 statewide

ILLINOIS: More than 2,000

MARYLAND: About 2,000 seeking Red Cross or local assistance


NORTH CAROLINA: 450 in shelters, at least 1,381 in other housing

GEORGIA: 1,384 staying in 11 Red Cross shelters

OHIO: About 20 in two Red Cross shelters, at least 1,357 staying in hotels and with family and friends

MINNESOTA: 1,000, plus 54 families with Red Cross chapters

COLORADO: About 350 in one Red Cross shelter, plus more than 700

SOUTH CAROLINA: 239 in one shelter, 800 in hotels, 228 in Charleston hotels

CALIFORNIA: 807 families in hotels and one Red Cross shelter

KANSAS: About 800, mostly in hotels and homes.

MICHIGAN: 216 at Fort Custer Training Center, Red Cross assisting 300 families

NEW MEXICO: 28 at the Albuquerque Convention Center, more than 450 statewide

NEW JERSEY: About 400 staying with relatives or in motels.

UTAH: About 300 people at Utah Army National Guard's Camp Williams

ARIZONA: 347 in two shelters

WEST VIRGINIA: 308 at National Guard Camp Dawson

NEW YORK: 303 cases in Red Cross shelters

MASSACHUSETTS: 209 at Camp Edwards, plus more than 40 families

PENNSYLVANIA: At least 200 in homes, shelters, other locations

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: About 200 people at a Red Cross shelter

WISCONSIN: 200 people in one shelter

RHODE ISLAND: 106 in Navy housing, 75 in hotels and homes

The United States is a very caring nation.

Bob Jensen

When asked about the meaning of life, how should Siri reply?

One the AECM I recently asked Barry Rice what happens when he asks Siri about the meaning of life ---
Siri's answer was too superficial.

Now there is a Website that should probably programmed by Apple into Siri software.

"Scientists and Philosophers Answer Kids’ Most Pressing Questions About How the World Works"" by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 5, 2015 ---

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,” Carl Sagan famously observed in Cosmos, you must first invent the universe.” The questions children ask are often so simple, so basic, that they turn unwittingly yet profoundly philosophical in requiring apple-pie-from-scratch type of answers. To explore this fertile intersection of simplicity and expansiveness, Gemma Elwin Harris asked thousands of primary school children between the ages of four and twelve to send in their most restless questions, then invited some of today’s most prominent scientists, philosophers, and writers to answer them. The result is Big Questions from Little People & Simple Answers from Great Minds (public library) — a compendium of fascinating explanations of deceptively simple everyday phenomena, featuring such modern-day icons as Mary Roach, Noam Chomsky, Philip Pullman, Richard Dawkins, and many more, with a good chunk of the proceeds being donated to Save the Children.

Big Questions from Little People ---
One child's question I might ask is why used copies cost a penny more than new copies as of November 12, 2012?

Bob Jensen's links to the meaning of life ---
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 |

What is the difference between education and indoctrination? 

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

Indoctrination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoctrination
Where many voices of education are silenced

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

"Noam Chomsky Spells Out the Purpose of Education," by Josh Jones, Open Culture, November 2012 ---

E + ducere: “To lead or draw out.” The etymological Latin roots of “education.” According to a former Jesuit professor of mine, the fundamental sense of the word is to draw others out of “darkness,” into a “more magnanimous view” (he’d say, his arms spread wide). As inspirational as this speech was to a seminar group of budding higher educators, it failed to specify the means by which this might be done, or the reason. Lacking a Jesuit sense of mission, I had to figure out for myself what the “darkness” was, what to lead people towards, and why. It turned out to be simpler than I thought, in some respects, since I concluded that it wasn’t my job to decide these things, but rather to present points of view, a collection of methods—an intellectual toolkit, so to speak—and an enthusiastic model. Then get out of the way. That’s all an educator can, and should do, in my humble opinion. Anything more is not education, it’s indoctrination. Seemed simple enough to me at first. If only it were so. Few things, in fact, are more contentious (Google the term “assault on education,” for example).

What is the difference between education and indoctrination? This debate rages back hundreds, thousands, of years, and will rage thousands more into the future. Every major philosopher has had one answer or another, from Plato to Locke, Hegel and Rousseau to Dewey. Continuing in that venerable tradition, linguist, political activist, and academic generalist extraordinaire Noam Chomsky, one of our most consistently compelling public intellectuals, has a lot to say in the video above and elsewhere about education.

First, Chomsky defines his view of education in an Enlightenment sense, in which the “highest goal in life is to inquire and create. The purpose of education from that point of view is just to help people to learn on their own. It’s you the learner who is going to achieve in the course of education and it’s really up to you to determine how you’re going to master and use it.” An essential part of this kind of education is fostering the impulse to challenge authority, think critically, and create alternatives to well-worn models. This is the pedagogy I ended up adopting, and as a college instructor in the humanities, it’s one I rarely have to justify.

Chomsky defines the opposing concept of education as indoctrination, under which he subsumes vocational training, perhaps the most benign form. Under this model, “People have the idea that, from childhood, young people have to be placed into a framework where they’re going to follow orders. This is often quite explicit.” (One of the entries in the Oxford English Dictionary defines education as “the training of an animal,” a sense perhaps not too distinct from what Chomsky means). For Chomsky, this model of education imposes “a debt which traps students, young people, into a life of conformity. That’s the exact opposite of what traditionally comes out of the Enlightenment.” In the contest between these two definitions—Athens vs. Sparta, one might say—is the question that plagues educational reformers at the primary and secondary levels: “Do you train for passing tests or do you train for creative inquiry?”

Chomsky goes on to discuss the technological changes in education occurring now, the focus of innumerable discussions and debates about not only the purpose of education, but also the proper methods (a subject this site is deeply invested in), including the current unease over the shift to online over traditional classroom ed or the value of a traditional degree versus a certificate. Chomsky’s view is that technology is “basically neutral,” like a hammer that can build a house or “crush someone’s skull.” The difference is the frame of reference under which one uses the tool. Again, massively contentious subject, and too much to cover here, but I’ll let Chomsky explain. Whatever you think of his politics, his erudition and experience as a researcher and educator make his views on the subject well worth considering.

Josh Jones is a doctoral candidate in English at Fordham University and a co-founder and former managing editor of Guernica / A Magazine of Arts and Politics.

Bob Jensen's threads on the liberal bias of the major media and higher education ---

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

Ann Coulter --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Coulter

Michael Moore --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Moore

I'm not a huge Ann Coulter fan, and I seriously do not recall ever quoting her on the AECM or on my Website. However, the article below illustrates another way progressives on campus in the past are silencing conservative voices on campus. It's not just that the conservatism speakers that are being silenced, it's a message to conservative students that they should not be advocating conservatism.

It's OK to invite Michael Moore but not Ann Coulter.

It's not so much that both Coulter and Moore often violate the principles of good scholarship. The point is why is Moore so easily invited by liberal students on campus and Coulter repelled so often by faculty and administration on college campuses?

"A Different Ann Coulter Debate," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2012 ---

"Moving Further to the Left," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 24, 2012 ---

Academics, on average, lean to the left. A survey being released today suggests that they are moving even more in that direction.


Among full-time faculty members at four-year colleges and universities, the percentage identifying as "far left" or liberal has increased notably in the last three years, while the percentage identifying in three other political categories has declined. The data come from the University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute, which surveys faculty members nationwide every three years on a range of attitudes.


Here are the data for the new survey and the prior survey:

  2010-11 2007-8
Far left 12.4% 8.8%
Liberal 50.3% 47.0%
Middle of the road 25.4% 28.4%
Conservative 11.5% 15.2%
Far right 0.4% 0.7%


Gauging how gradual or abrupt this shift is complicated because of changes in the UCLA survey's methodology; before 2007-8, the survey included community college faculty members, who have been excluded since. But for those years, examining only four-year college and university faculty members, the numbers are similar to those of 2007-8. Going back further, one can see an evolution away from the center.


In the 1998-9 survey, more than 35 percent of faculty members identified themselves as middle of the road, and less than half (47.5 percent) identified as liberal or far left. In the new data, 62.7 percent identify as liberal or far left. (Most surveys that have included community college faculty members have found them to inhabit political space to the right of faculty members at four-year institutions.)


The new data differ from some recent studies by groups other than the UCLA center that have found that professors (while more likely to lean left than right) in fact were doing so from more of a centrist position. A major study in 2007, for example, found that professors were more likely to be centrist than liberal, and that many on the left identified themselves as "slightly liberal." (That study and the new one use different scales, making exact comparisons impossible.)


In looking at the new data, there is notable variation by sector. Private research universities are the most left-leaning, with 16.2 percent of faculty members identifying as far left, and 0.1 percent as far right. (If one combines far left and liberal, however, private, four-year, non-religious colleges top private universities, 58.6 percent to 57.7 percent.) The largest conservative contingent can be found at religious, non-Roman Catholic four-year colleges, where 23.0 percent identify as conservative and another 0.6 percent say that they are far right.


Professors' Political Identification, 2010-11, by Sector

  Far left Liberal Middle of the Road Conservative Far right
Public universities 13.3% 52.4% 24.7% 9.2% 0.3%
Private universities 16.2% 51.5% 22.3% 9.8% 0.1%
Public, 4-year colleges 8.8% 47.1% 28.7% 14.7% 0.7%
Private, 4-year, nonsectarian 14.0% 54.6% 22.6% 8.6% 0.3%
Private, 4-year, Catholic 7.8% 48.0% 30.7% 13.3% 0.3%
Private, 4-year, other religious 7.4% 40.0% 29.1% 23.0% 0.6%


The study found some differences by gender, with women further to the left than men. Among women, 12.6 percent identified as far left and 54.9 percent as liberal. Among men, the figures were 12.2 percent and 47.2 percent, respectively.


When it comes to the three tenure-track ranks, assistant professors were the most likely to be far left, but full professors were more likely than others to be liberal.


Professors' Political Identification, 2010-11, by Tenure Rank

  Far left Liberal Middle of the Road Conservative Far right
Full professors 11.8% 54.9% 23.4% 9.7% 0.2%
Associate professors 13.8% 50.4% 24.0% 11.5% 0.4%
Assistant professors 13.9% 48.7% 25.9% 11.2% 0.4%


So what do these data mean?


Sylvia Hurtado, professor of education at UCLA and director of the Higher Education Research Institute, said that she didn't know what to make of the surge to the left by faculty members. She said that she suspects age may be a factor, as the full-time professoriate is aging, but said that this is just a theory. Hurtado said that these figures always attract a lot of attention, but she thinks that the emphasis may be misplaced because of a series of studies showing no evidence that left-leaning faculty members are somehow shifting the views of their students or enforcing any kind of political requirement.

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's threads on liberal biases in the media and academe ---

Hi again Tom,

CBS Sixty Minutes on November 11, 2012 had an interesting module noting that with 20 million people in the U.S. unemployed or underemployed there are 3 million jobs that are chronically unfilled because of a shortage of skilled labor --- Click Here

Sometimes these skills require college education, but in most cases the jobs require only technical training by workers who will then be dedicated to their craft. An example, is a dashboard mechanic who sometimes now commands $100 per hour. New vehicles are terribly complicated behind the dashboard.

Three million open jobs in U.S., but who's qualified?

The balance of power in Washington didn't change this week as President Obama and most members of Congress kept their jobs. They'll go back to work and face an unemployment problem that also hasn't changed very much. Every month since January 2009, more than 20 million Americans have been either out of work or underemployed. Yet despite that staggering number, there are more than three million job openings in the U.S. Just in manufacturing, there are as many as 500,000 jobs that aren't being filled because employers say they can't find qualified workers.

It's called "the skills gap." How could that be, we wondered, at a time like this with so many people out of work? No place is the question more pressing than in Nevada. The state with the highest unemployment rate in the country. A place where there are jobs waiting to be filled.

Karl Hutter: Yeah, we hear way too much about the United States manufacturing, we don't manufacture anything anymore. Not true. Not true.

Byron Pitts: Sure, it's Mexico, it's in China--

Karl Hutter: Yeah, yeah, that all went to China, that all went to Mexico. Not true, whatsoever.

Karl Hutter is the new chief operating officer of Click Bond in Carson City, Nev., a company his parents started in 1969.

Karl Hutter: We're still technically a small business, but we're growing quickly.

Byron Pitts: So, you're hiring?

Karl Hutter: We are hiring. We're hiring and we need to find good people. And that's really what the challenge is these days.

Three hundred and twenty-five people work at Click Bond, making fasteners that hold cables, panels and pretty much everything else inside today's planes, ships and trains. Their customers include the Defense Department. The F-35 has 30,000 Click Bond fasteners.

The workhorses in this factory may look old, but they're computer controlled machines that make precision parts, accurate to a thousandth of an inch; the thickness of a piece of paper. Click Bond needs employees who can program the computers, operate the machines, fix them and then check to make sure the results are up to spec.

Ryan Costella: If you look at the real significant human achievements in this country a lot of them have to do with manufacturing or making something.

Ryan Costella is head of Strategic Initiatives at Click Bond. That's another way of saying he's looking ahead to both opportunities and problems facing the company.

Byron Pitts: Sure. So the skill gap, is it across the board? Is it at all levels? Or is it the entry level?

Ryan Costella: I would honestly say it's probably an entry level problem. It's those basic skill sets. Show up on time, you know, read, write, do math, problem solve. I can't tell you how many people even coming out of higher ed with degrees who can't put a sentence together without a major grammatical error. It's a problem. If you can't do the resume properly to get the job, you can't come work for us. We're in the business of making fasteners that hold systems together that protect people in the air when they're flying. We're in the business of perfection. .

Costella says Click Bond ran into trouble when it expanded production and went to buy these machines from a factory in Watertown, Conn. The company didn't have enough skilled labor back home in Nevada to run them, so it bought the entire factory just to get the qualified employees and kept the plant running in Connecticut.

[Conn. worker: You just have to be careful that you don't hit the side.]

Nationwide, manufacturers say the lack of skilled workers is the reason for hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs; a number Ryan Costella says is about to get bigger.

Continued at


November 11, 2012 reply from Glen Gray

Somewhat related to this discussion was an article that appeared in Monday's L.A. Times:
It says Basque area of Spain is one of the bright spots in Europe. Spain (outside of Basque area) encourages people to go to college--and the unemployment rate for college graduates is 50%. In Basque, people are encouraged to learn a trade via apprenticeships and unemployment is much lower. A major business in Basque is making train cars that are sold all over the world, including to Amtrak.
Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA


Jensen Comment
Today I had conversations with two skilled small business owners. One is a carpenter building a sunroom on my neighbor's house. The other is a woman who is building a stone retaining wall around one of my flower gardens. Both are very skilled at their craft.

I asked each one of them why they don't hire at least one laborer to help them in these in their businesses. Both replied that they were sick and tired of hiring workers who were unreliable about showing up for work and not good workers when they did show up from work. There are various reasons lousy workers, but even up here drug and alcohol abuse is one of the most common problems among men and women laborers.

I think those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s are just not aware how many of those 20 million unemployed really are not good workers. And yes I do know that many of them are good workers who cannot find work suited for their skills and geographic preferences.

Geographic preferences are an issue. For example, some rural teachers and other workers who are laid off refuse to take on the living costs, crime risks, traffic congestion, and other drawbacks of moving to large cities, especially if the work compensation in urban settings is relatively low given the costs of moving to and living in urban areas. Instead they prefer to draw unemployment compensation followed by odd jobs and/or living on spousal income.

The Case Against College Educacation ---

"The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 7, 2012 ---

This is a Tidbit that I wrote earlier in the year. When I stumbled upon it, it struck me as being useful to share with your students and advisees who will eventually be seeking jobs or admission to graduate schools.

I don't like Joe's question.
It's too simplistic and demands a complicated answer.

"What Is the Best Book You Ever Read?" by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, June 23, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Firstly I don't like this question because many readers who answer this question, especially in public, will be trying to say something about themselves instead of the book. To your Mom and your kids, the best book you ever read had better be The Bible or The Quran.

To your blog audience the best book you ever read from cover to cover had better be Toynbee's ten-volume set ---

Secondly, such a question should be asked in one of a hundred or more contexts. What is the best book you ever read in accounting history, financial accounting, cost accounting, tax accounting, accounting information systems, history of computing, learning and cognition, etc.

What is the best mystery novel you've ever read, the best romantic novel you ever read, the best biography you ever read, and on and on and on.

Beware of those oral interviews when applying for a job or college admission or membership in an exclusive club. Be prepared for those trick questions such as the examples given below:


In the end the choices at the top and bottom of your lists on most any topic are just too close together to rank. And your choices are not locked in time or place.


Of course my favorite set of books is Toynbee's ten-volume set.
Oops! Sorry Mom, I overlooked The Bible.


Did you ever wonder how strange it is that Microsoft years ago chose the name "Windows" for the most ubiquitous operating system in the world?

The Future of Glass in Ubiquitous Computing
The future is not in HDTV or laptop, tablet, and even smart phone computers as we know them today
Corning is betting that the future is in glass

Watch the Video ("A Day Made of Glass") --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38&vq=medium
Thanks to my Romanian friend Dan Gheorghe Somnea for the heads up

Jensen Comment
Let your imagination run wild. Imagine smart windows that can see in both directions for surveillance and Webcams. Imagine windows that will adjust to light conditions. And imagine having your main computer and cameras being built into your eyeglasses with headphones on the frames. Imagine being able to watch your student activities in learning labs around the world?

Imagine seeing exactly what your children are seeing when they are miles from home.

Did you ever wonder how strange it is that Microsoft years ago chose the name "Windows" for the most ubiquitous operating system in the world?

Bob Jensen's Threads on  Invisible Computing, Ubiquitous Computing, Nanotechnology, and Microsoft.Net

Why are accounting professors and medical school professors likely to receive higher compensation in the Academy?

The answer is not the same in both of the above cases.

"Eating an Elite Education at McDonald's," by Jerry Dickens, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 7, 2012 ---

. . .

As I bite into my first Big Mac, all of that resonates along with some intriguing and basic facts. I can readily obtain the average salaries for academics at public universities across America. I can categorize the salaries by field and university profile. I can understand the metrics for pay in many cases. I can imagine why different academics receive different salaries. I also can read my university's extraordinary goals, lofty visions, and glossy brochures, filled with crisply manufactured blurbs espousing greatness, several with exclamation points. I can pull all the sticky tabs within this framework. I can even dig deep into the garbage for more data.

However, no matter how one minces the patties, my salary is significantly below average compared with those of commensurate positions across public research universities, including in my state. Other than a few good colleagues, who have assured me that they make slightly less or slightly more than me, I have no direct information on how my salary compares with other faculty members' pay at my university or other private universities. What several of us know, however, is that we, at least in earth science, make about 10 to 12 percent less than what's reported for similar positions in our field at public universities.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I wonder if this article would've ever been written by an accounting professor or a medical school professor at Rice?

I say this remembering that Emory recently dropped its Geology (Earth Science) Program due to lack of majors to sustain advanced courses. In turn, the program lacked majors due to a surplus of geology graduates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels across the U.S.

I conclude that the article may well have been written by an accounting professor or medical school professor even if they are on the high end of compensation due to shortages of faculty to meet increase majors in those programs. But for them it might be more of an academic exercise rather than a total gut experience at McDonalds. You have to read the entire article to really, really appreciate the McDonalds metaphor.

Why do accounting professors and medical school professors probably make more than geology professors on average for professors who are successful in research and publication in their respective disciplines?

The answer varies after factoring out the necessary condition of having rising student demand.

Medical school professors make more largely because they have so many opportunities to make enormously higher salaries and benefits by going to work in private practice.

Accounting professors make higher salaries because accounting Ph.D. programs artificially restrain supply with length of time (over five years to graduate) and by discouraging solid accountants from applying unless they are also interested in becoming mathematicians and statisticians.

"Exploring Accounting Doctoral Program Decline:  Variation and the Search for Antecedents," by Timothy J. Fogarty and Anthony D. Holder, Issues in Accounting Education, May 2012 ---
Not yet posted on June 18, 2012

The inadequate supply of new terminally qualified accounting faculty poses a great concern for many accounting faculty and administrators. Although the general downward trajectory has been well observed, more specific information would offer potential insights about causes and continuation. This paper examines change in accounting doctoral student production in the U.S. since 1989 through the use of five-year moving verges. Aggregated on this basis, the downward movement predominates, notwithstanding the schools that began new programs or increased doctoral student production during this time. The results show that larger declines occurred for middle prestige schools, for larger universities, and for public schools. Schools that periodically successfully compete in M.B.A.. program rankings also more likely have diminished in size. of their accounting Ph.D. programs. Despite a recent increase in graduations, data on the population of current doctoral students suggest the continuation of the problems associated with the supply and demand imbalance that exists in this sector of the U.S. academy.

September 5, 2012 reply from Dan Stone

This is very sad and very true.

Tim Fogarthy talks about the "ghettoization" of accounting education in some of his work and talks. The message that faculty get, and give, is that if a project has no chance for publication in a top X journal, then it is a waste of time. Not many schools are able to stand their ground, and value accounting education, in the face of its absence in any of the "top" accounting journals.

The paradox and irony is that accounting faculty devalue and degrade the very thing that most of them spend the most time doing. We seem to follow a variant of Woody Allen's maxim, "I would never join a club that would have me as a member." Here, it is, "I would never accept a paper for publication that concerns what I do with most of my time."

As Pogo said, "we have met the enemy and they is us."

Dan Stone

Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of accountancy doctoral programs in North America ---

Freeman Dyson --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson

Jensen Comment
When I taught First Year Seminar (not accounting), one of the assigned readings I selected was Dyson's Phi Beta Kappa Lecture.

"Has Philosophy Really Lost Its Bite?" by Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
I was not aware, until I saw a link in the above article, that Freeman Dyson (a physicist) is a climate warming denier, although climate change is not at the heart of the "Philosophy Lost Its Bite" article.

Why do Islamic cultures vary so with respect to wanting women to be ignorant versus highly educated?

"The path through the fields:  Bangladesh has dysfunctional politics and a stunted private sector. Yet it has been surprisingly good at improving the lives of its poor,"
by Dhaka and Shibaloy, Manikaganj District
The Economist, November 3-9, pp. 23-26 ---

 . . .

In some ways, those who doubted Bangladesh’s potential were right. Economic growth since the 1970s has been poor; the country’s politics have been unremittingly wretched. Yet over the past 20 years, Bangladesh has made some of the biggest gains in the basic condition of people’s lives ever seen anywhere. Between 1990 and 2010 life expectancy rose by 10 years, from 59 to 69 (see chart 1). Bangladeshis now have a life expectancy four years longer than Indians, despite the Indians being, on average, twice as rich. Even more remarkably, the improvement in life expectancy has been as great among the poor as the rich.

Bangladesh has also made huge gains in education and health.
More than 90% of girls enrolled in primary school in 2005, slightly more than boys. That was twice the female enrolment rate in 2000. Infant mortality has more than halved, from 97 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 to 37 per thousand in 2010 (see table). Over the same period child mortality fell by two-thirds and maternal mortality fell by three-quarters. It now stands at 194 deaths per 100,000 births. In 1990 women could expect to live a year less than men; now they can expect to live two years more.

The most dramatic period of improvement in human health in history is often taken to be that of late-19th-century Japan, during the remarkable modernisation of the Meiji transition. Bangladesh’s record on child and maternal mortality has been comparable in scale.

These improvements are not a simple result of increases in people’s income. Bangladesh remains a poor country, with a GDP per head of $1,900 at purchasing-power parity.

For the first decades of its independent history Bangladesh’s economy grew by a paltry 2% a year. Since 1990 its GDP has been rising at a more respectable 5% a year, in real terms. That has helped reduce the percentage of people below the poverty line from 49% in 2000 to 32% in 2010. Still, Bangladeshi growth has been slower than India’s, which for most of the past 20 years grew at around 8% a year. Nevertheless the gains in its development have been greater. The belief that growth brings development with it—the “Washington consensus”—is often criticised on the basis that some countries have had good growth but little poverty reduction. Bangladesh embodies the inverse of that: it has had disproportionate poverty reduction for its amount of growth.

How has it done it?

Four main factors explain this surprising success. First, family planning has empowered women. If you leave aside city states, Bangladesh is the world’s most densely populated country. At independence, its leaders decided that they had to restrain further population growth (China’s one-child policy and India’s forced sterilisation both date from roughly the same time). Fortunately, Bangladesh’s new government lacked the power to be coercive. Instead, birth control was made free and government workers and volunteers fanned out across the country to distribute pills and advice. In 1975, 8% of women of child-bearing age were using contraception (or had partners who were); in 2010 the number was over 60% (see chart 2).

In 1975 the total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime) was 6.3. In 1993 it was 3.4. After stalling, it resumed its fall in 2000. After one of the steepest declines in history the fertility rate is now just 2.3, slightly above the “replacement level” at which the population stabilises in the long term. When Bangladesh and Pakistan split in 1971, they each had a population of 65m or so. Bangladesh’s is now around 150m; Pakistan’s is almost 180m.

Because of this Bangladesh is about to reap a “demographic dividend”; the number of people entering adulthood will handsomely exceed the number of children being born, increasing the share of the total population that works.

Continued in articl

So why do Islamic cultures vary so with respect to wanting women to be ignorant versus highly educated?

I don't have a clue other than to say ignorance often breeds ignorance. Those cultures wanting women to be forever ignorant probably have been more isolated in the evolution of mankind.

"A Sincere Question About LinkedIn," by George Williams, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 9, 2012 ---

Here's the reply Bob Jensen posted to the Chronicle for this article.

Do you want your college's students to leave campus without knowledge of what is, according to Forbes Magazine, "the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today?"

Linked in may not be useful to you if you're not interested in seeking a job in a non-academic career or in seeking professional employees for your business or government agency, but that's no excuse for not letting your graduates and alumni know about this important site.

Bob Jensen

November 11, 2012 reply from Scott Dell

Hi Bob,

Agree with you!
VERY Powerful.  Not only does LinkedIn act as an online Rolodex (though my students under 22 have no idea what that is...), it is an incredibly valuable tool for my students who want to get a job or for me to help keep in touch with fellow professionals.  Useful applications of LinkedIn include:
1.  Researching backgrounds of interviewers at companies.  Most HR professionals, and many business professionals, are frequent users and post their own resumes.  Gaining insight about who you will be talking to is part of your due diligence in researching an organization/company when interviewing.
2.  Groups, personal and professional, offer a terrific opportunity to stay current on what is happening in the world - from my Harley group, to my Wharton Alumni group to my Big 4 group, it is nice to keep tabs on your industries and areas of interest, not to mention a student will get exposure to the latest trends in their area of choice that YOU might be quite aware of, but is new news to them.
3.  I urge my students to have their LinkedIn reference on their resume, in the same place as their email and phone number, as recruiters, even if they don't check out the page directly (though most will), will know that you are connected to the professional social media world.  I suspect that sending recruiters to their Facebook page, which they check anyway, is not where they would want recruiters using as a primary source of information.  And yes, I also include the reference in my signature block on ALL emails.

4.  Although as a matter of personal policy, I will NOT friend  students through Facebook, I will without hesitation or reservation (ok, military background showing through), Link via LinkedIn.
5.  I have used LinkedIn as a recruiting tool for adjuncts - with which I have had amazing responses from people inside and outside my network, as requests have been forwarded to contacts that were not directly part of my professional contacts, but were friends of friends.  I have also used LinkedIn to recruit volunteers for charitable activities.  Additionally, it has also given me the excuse to occasionally refer information and connect to folks that I have not really been in touch with for a LONG time.
6.  It is also a quick way to maintain email addresses and other contact information (a la Rolodex) in a central source, and if traveling nationally or abroad, can quickly sort who in my network might be nearby.
Would be happy to link with any of my fellow professionals that find this of interest or value: 
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ScottDell also reachable at SDell18@MarianUniversity.edu

Scott Dell, CPA, MBA
Assistant Professor
Accounting Program Director
School of Business & Public Safety
Marian University
45 South National Ave
Fond du Lac, WI  54935
PH: 920.923.8722  M: 608.446.1000 Fax: 920.926.2102
“Great is Study for it leads to Action”
The Talmud-Kiddushin


Bob Jensen's threads on social networking ---

What critics don't realize that one of the selling points of carrots is that they allegedly improve vision in a movie theater.

Anybody want a carrot? In Spain, carrots are being sold in place of theater tickets as a way to avoid a 21 percent tax on the tickets. Many Spaniards say the "Carrot Rebellion" is a creative response to the country's unpopular austerity measures, but some simply call it tax evasion.
WGBH Television News, November 12, 2012 ---

I have the same criticism of Dan Ariely and President Obama --- they both suffer from overexposure in the media. They have good messages, but sometimes we tire hearing about it. A psychology top researcher friend of mine also criticizes Dan Ariely of conducting some research that seems to be more replication of earlier studies in the social sciences, particularly psychology. This would be great except that Professor Ariely purportedly does not always cite those earlier studies.

Be that as it may, Dan Ariely is certainly value added to our Academy.

Dan Ariely Presents “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior” in Upcoming MOOC, Open Culture, November 12, 2012 ---

Here’s one thing you can look forward to early next year. Dan Arielya well-known professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, will present A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). If you’ve been with us for a while, you’re already familiar with Ariely’s work. You’ve seen his videos explaining why well-intentioned people lie, or why CEOs repeatedly get outsized bonuses that defy logic. And you know that economics, when looked at closely, is a much messier affair than many rational choice theorists might care to admit.

Now is your chance to delve into Ariely’s research and discover precisely how emotion shapes economic decisions in financial and labor markets, and in our everyday lives. The six-week course (described in more detail here) doesn’t begin until March 25th, but you can reserve your seat today. It’s all free. And keep in mind that students who master the materials covered in the class will receive a certificate at the end of the course.

Other potentially interesting MOOCs coming early next year include:

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, MITx, and EdX courses available from prestigious universities ---

Bob Jensen's threads on behavioral and cultural economics and finance ---

"The UK's Most Disturbing Number: Total Unfunded Pension Obligations = 321% Of GDP," by Tyler Derden, Zero Hedge, November 12, 2012 ---
Can Illinois and California be far behind?

"Is Britain the Next Greece? The U.K. debt plight is worse than the worst. And there’s nothing that politicians or John Maynard Keynes can do about it," by Andrew Sawers, cfo.com, November 7, 2012 ---

The great economist John Maynard Keynes is a much-misunderstood man. More than that, Keynes himself didn’t understand how international economies work, and he took far too optimistic a view about the ambitions of those in government. The result? Highly indebted countries are pursuing to their detriment what they mistakenly believe to be Keynesian policies.

That’s the argument recently put forward by Guy Fraser-Sampson, a former investment manager at the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and now an investment and economics consultant who teaches at Cass Business School in London.

Speaking at the recent Finance Directors’ Forum, Fraser-Sampson told an audience of CFOs and other senior business executives that “there is a deep and instinctive view that something has gone horribly wrong. A lot of people are very frustrated that they know something has gone wrong but are not really sure how or why or when.”

Fraser-Sampson said that since the Second World War, politicians have been adopting what he called a “bastard Keynesian” model. Keynes himself took the view that, in times of recession, governments should, indeed, intervene in the economy by running budget deficits: “They should boost public spending and that public spending will lift the economy out of recession,” Fraser-Sampson explained.

But what most people apparently don’t know is that Keynes called such deficits “abnormal spending.”

Such spending isn’t something “he envisaged governments doing all the time. It was something he envisaged them doing occasionally. As soon as good times returned, they would make good that money by running a surplus in the good years,” said Fraser-Sampson.

But what nation can actually do that? In the United Kingdom, he said, a structural surplus has been recorded only five times since 1945, “and if you talk about a real surplus — a surplus that actually reduces the amount of public debt outstanding — that’s only happened once: right at the very end of the [1979–1990] Thatcher era.”

Keynes, said Fraser-Sampson, “was a warm, wonderful generous human being and he made the classic mistake of believing that everyone else was the same as he was. He thought politicians were essentially fine, good, upstanding public-spirited people who went into public office for the good that they could do for the country, and that it was perfectly OK to trust them with running a budget deficit. As we’ve seen, he was tragically misguided.”

The world Keynes inhabited was quite different in other ways, too. It was a world of fixed exchange rates, and where most currencies were linked at least indirectly to gold. It was also a world in which there just wasn’t anywhere near as much reliance on international trade as there is today. “Keynes, himself, in [his major work] The General Theory, quite candidly admits that he doesn’t know how to model the effect of international trade — and therefore he’s left it out.”

Where all of this leads to is that a fundamental plank of Keynes’s theory starts to fall apart. He developed the idea of the income multiplier: money spent becomes income in someone else’s hands; he then spends some of that income, which in turn becomes income for others, and so on. But, said Fraser-Sampson, research suggests that in open, international economies where there are floating exchange rates and the burden of net debt is greater than 60% of GDP, the income multiplier is actually negative over the medium term.

What does this mean? “If you are a heavily indebted government in a modern environment and you try to spend your way out of recession, you will actually make things worse rather than better,” Fraser-Sampson said.

That doesn’t prevent many from trying. Look at the euro zone, he said: “We see lots of phony growth that’s been pumped in, and now the day of reckoning is at hand. You have to have very dramatic economic contraction such as you’re seeing in Greece and soon in Spain to try to squeeze all that out [of] the system.”

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It's just not true that there's nothing the U.K. can do about its debt. The U.K., unlike Greece, can simply print more money to pay its bills following the lead of the Weimar Republic, Zimbabwe, and the Federal Reserve of the United States under Bernanke. If a country prints its own currency there's really no longer a need to tax or borrow.

Here's how the U.S. printed over $2 trillion with the Fed's Quantitative Easing program ---
Countries still trying to tax or borrow are just ignorant of Quantitative Easing.

"How to Keep Electronics Going With No Power," by David Pogue, The New York Times, November 1, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
A few of my neighbors have those generators about the size of wheel barrows that they pull out from their garages, plug into an outlet, pour in gasoline, and run a few hours each day to charge computer batteries, run refrigerators, and heat a little food. And if temperatures are really cold, they have to run them many more hours each day and hope they can buy enough gasoline in nearby towns still having power. Most village power outages up here are locally caused by trees falling on power lines.

The real drawback of the portable generator solution is that you have to be home to tend the generator. Your house is in deep trouble up here if the power goes out, and you're getting a suntan in Florida while the temperature in the White Mountains plunges below zero. One of my neighbors with a beautiful finished basement discovered what a pipe freeze leak can do to carpets, furniture, and wall paper.

As for me, I went for a larger automatic generator system costing around $16,000. I could head south in the winter without a care in the world other than having somebody check on the cottage three or four times each week. But travel is difficult for Erika, so we mostly take our trips to England on Netflix these days. I don't mind. As the saying goes:  "Been there, done that."

Besides. What would the AECM do without me?

November 8, 2012 message from Bob Jensen

Hi Pat,

Bring on the snow. I hated last winter because we had so little of the white stuff after December.

The problem last winter was that the jet stream hung far south and brought unusually heavy snows south of us. It's very unusual for us to get so little snow in the north.

With the price of heating oil I'm more concerned with temperatures. Since moving here we seem to be experiencing some regional warming. The first year I lived here I recall winter days where temperatures plunged to almost 40 below zero. Natives did not consider that unusual. Here's a weather report sent to the AECM after we bought the cottage in 2003 (the former owner rented from us for a time since I was still teaching in Texas):

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Are we nuts?  Next year we will be viewing Mt Washington from our new home--- 
  Conditions at 5:00 a.m. on January 22, 2003  


  Weather: Blowing snow and freezing fog  

  Temperature: -34°   Visibility: 100 feet  

  Wind Chill Index: -79°F   Relative Humidity: 100%  

  Wind: Northwest at 117 gusting to 142 MPH   Station Pressure: 22.80" and falling  

Average snowfall:  40 inches per month  
Where are the palm trees?

What caught my attention was the wind chill of -79F degrees.

In the past five years it's been rare to have the temperature drop below -10F at the cottage, and wind chills below -20F are also rare. Mostly our winter days fluctuate between 0F and +30F. Until 2012, however, we enjoyed very deep snow, romantic blizzards, and NetFlix. When you're retired you don't have to leave home unless there are nice days.

For the forthcoming Winter 2013 I'm hoping for warm days and deep snow. In Winter 2012 the nearby Sunset Hill House Hotel suffered badly from poor cross country ski conditions. The religious owners are literally praying for deep snow in 2013.

Snowfall does not have such an impact on the down hill skiing operations like those at Cannon Mountain, Mt. Washington, Loon Mountain, and scores of other downhill ski resorts in the White Mountains of NH and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Virtually all of them make their own snow.

For example, from my desk I can see skiers (really tiny black dots) moving down the slopes of Cannon. The State of NH runs this operation and pumps over a million gallons from Echo lake on some days to make snow. The amazing thing is that taking all that water from this deep mountain lake never seems to lower the surface by even an inch.

I attached a picture taken from my desk while I watched snow making on one of the 60 ski trails on Cannon. The plumes of snow are from the ski guns throwing new snow from water pumped up from Echo Lake.

I also attached a picture of my snow thrower. It's fun to be a mountain man in deep snow and relatively warm sun.

Bob Jensen


Why do even prestigious colleges universities fudge upward when reporting where new students ranked in their high school or undergraduate classes?

It has to do with media rankings of universities and Lake Woebegone

"Another Rankings Fabrication," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2012, ---

George Washington University on Thursday became the third private university this year to admit that it has been reporting incorrect information about its new students -- both on the university's website and in information provided to U.S. News & World Report for rankings.

In the case of GW, the university -- for at least a decade -- has been submitting incorrect data on the class rank of new students. For the most recent class of new students, George Washington reported that 78 percent of new students were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. The actual proportion of such students is 58 percent.

According to the university, the problem was identified over the summer when a new provost reorganized admissions functions, and reviewed admissions statistics. The university found that for applicants whose high schools don't calculate ranks (a growing trend among high schools), the university estimated the class rank, based on grades and other factors. That policy is not permitted by U.S. News. After finding out what had been going on with class rank, the university had an outside audit done of all admissions data that is reported (including SAT scores) and found no other problems.

George Washington's announcement follows the news this year that Claremont McKenna College and Emory University also reported incorrect data for years.

The guide that U.S. News sends to colleges specifically states that the institutions -- in calculating the percentage of students in the top 10 percent of their classes -- should include only students for whom the information is supplied by high schools.

In an interview, Forrest Maltzman, the senior vice provost who has been overseeing admissions since July, said that the university believes that the submission of incorrect class rank scores started more than a decade ago. but that the impact of this approach was minimal at first. Over the last 10 years, more high schools have stopped producing class ranks. Further, as GW has become more competitive in admissions, so more admitted students would have had high class ranks (or the grades that would have led GW to estimate that they were in the top 10 percent of their classes).

Continued in article

 'U.S. News' Moves George Washington U. to 'Unranked' Category," Inside Higher Ed, November 15, 2012 ---
 Presumably some college applicants are more dubious about colleges and universities that are in the "Unranked" category.

Bob Jensen's threads about media rankings of colleges and universities ---

Another Lake Woebegone Issue
"Is Grade Integrity a Fairness Issue?" by Jane Robbins, Inside Higher Ed, November 8, 2012 ---

A few weeks ago I received a survey invitation through an association listserve asking for information on faculty experiences with and responses to student requests for special treatment. Beyond a raw request for a grade change, many other types of request would affect grades: requests for extra credit, do-overs, late submissions, and so on that are outside of stated course policy.  Some survey questions asked about institutional attitudes toward offering/denying student requests.

I was glad to see this because its emphasis on policy and behavior—student, faculty, and institution—highlights that grades (and grade inflation) may be grounded in decisions that have little do with student performance or a belief in grading systems as a set of standards for differentiation. We’ve all heard anecdotal stories about adjuncts who give good grades to get good evaluations, or of an administrator changing a professor’s grade for a complaining student (or parent) who made no headway with the professor; there are several studies and books that provide support for these stories. Many schools allow students to “appeal” their grade, as if a grade is a punishment or a clear wrong to be righted (a not impossible, but likely rare, occurrence). At the extreme, law schools have retroactively raised grades for all studentsor softened their grading parameters—in an effort to make students from their schools look, hmm, what?  As good as those from less rigorous schools?  The remarkable thing in this form of grade inflation is the sense that they “had” to do this to make students more competitive—that students were at an “unfair” disadvantage without easier grades.

Some schools, like Princeton, Cornell, and University of Minnesota, have made efforts in the opposite direction to try to curb grade inflation. Within these efforts is recognition of some of the many pressures, internal and external, that affect grades. You may have others to add, but at a minimum they include related pressure to:

Resisting pressure to let go of values is at the heart of all challenges to integrity. It can seem like more trouble than it’s worth, especially when the “cost” seems small (a B+ to an A-?) and the return seems high. Or it can seem like an insurmountable effort: many challenges to integrity, including to grade integrity, can look like no-win collective action problems when they are placed in the context of the larger, competitive environment. So it is helpful to come back to the question, is it fair?

Of course, fair to whom? Or, put another way, does grade integrity matter?

It seems that when we stop looking at our own (internal) interests for raising grades—and this would include all the pressures listed above­—it becomes harder to justify grade inflation because the benefits to us become a cost to others. If we lower the bar so that our students are in a more competitive position, does that make it unfair to those who earned the higher grades, or who went to schools that maintain higher standards? To employers who can no longer rely on us for an authentic—fair—representation of relative student achievement? To funders or policymakers who want graduates not merely in name? To students who will be left with an unrealistic sense of accomplishment, an arrogant sense of entitlement, or both, which may be a barrier to them in the future? To faculty themselves, who may feel coerced by the pressures to be lenient?

Behavior is the measure of integrity. We can say we have high standards, or the best students, but if we cheat on that for own interest, and don’t defend our standards, then our behavior conflicts with our espoused values, and is bound to harm others. Eventually, we may harm ourselves, in the form of lost trust from those who count on us for the very things we are set up—and claim—to do.

Continued in article

A Professor Asks Former Students to Pump Up His RateMyProfessor Scores
"UNC Law Prof Sends a ‘Rather Embarrassing’ Request, Asks Former Students to Help His Online Rating," by Christopher Danzig, Above the Law, February 23, 2012 ---

With the proliferation of online rating sites, an aggrieved consumer of pretty much anything has a surprising range of avenues to express his or her discontent.

Whether you have a complaint about your neighborhood coffee shop or an allegedly unfaithful ex-boyfriend, the average Joe has a surprising amount of power through these sites.

Rating sites apparently even have the power to bring a well-known UNC Law professor to his electronic knees.

It’s not every day that a torts professor sends his former students a “rather embarrassing request” to repair his online reputation. It’s also certainly not every day that the students respond en masse….

On Tuesday, Professor Michael Corrado sent the following email to 2Ls who took his torts class last year, basically pleading for their help (the entire email is reprinted on the next page):

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RateMyProfessor Site ---

The Number One Scandal in Higher Education is Grade Inflation
And RateMyProfessor is one of the main causes of grade inflation

November 1, 2012 Respondus message from Richard Campbell

Is the student taking your class the same one who is taking your exams??

Keep an eye on www.respondus.com

Bob Jensen's threads about online cheating ---

Software for online examinations and quizzes ---

November 9, 2012 Popcorn message from Richard Campbell

The video demo is intriguing, but only works in Firefox.




Slide Show From Bloomberg Business Week, November 2012
Top B-Schools With the Highest-Paid MBAs --- http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-11-01/top-b-schools-with-the-highest-paid-mbas

Jensen Comment
This is one of those reports where it pays to look at the variance and kurtosis as well as a measure of central tendency (mean or median).

Also it's not clear how variable compensation (sales commissions and bonuses) are factored in with fixed portions of salaries. For example, many of the best entry-level jobs on Wall Street are variable, performance-based compensation jobs.

And how are benefits factored into the study?
For example, some employees who travel most of the time don't make big sacrifices for personal housing. I know one, for example, who uses her parent's address for "home" since she's almost never home. In reality, she lives most of the year in luxury hotels at the expense of her employer and dines in the finest restaurants. Is this added "compensation?"

And note that if your NYC employer sends you to London or Los Angeles for a long-term consulting engagement, your luxury hotel bill may be paid for seven days a week even if you only work five days a week. This is because paying taxi and travel expenses to bring you back to NYC every week end is more expensive than paying your luxury hotel bill for those days when your not on the job.



Best and Worst 2012 MBA Job Placement - Job Offers Abundant, for Most - Business Week

Jensen Comment
Placement data can be somewhat misleading, especially for very small programs. For example, before Trinity University dropped its MBA program a significant proportion of the graduates were full-time military employees. At the time San Antonio's major employers were five military bases, two of which like Lackland and Kelly were enormous, although many of our MBA students were medical military from the Brooke Army Hospital. But placement of other graduates was really problematic. Also the MBA program did not coincide with Trinity's goal of having only full-time students in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Enrollments and placements of full-time MBA students were weak, and the MBA program was dropped. Later a MS program in accountancy was added after Texas passed the 150-credit rule.

The above Bloomberg Business Week link has a somewhat dubious advertisement from Thunderbird. In that advertisement, Thunderbird rightly claims to be the Number 1 School for Global Business in various international-specialty rankings ---
But Thunderbird does not even make the Top 30 in terms of the above MBA placement rankings where Thunderbird advertises itself as being Number 1.


Bob Jensen's threads on business school rankings by Bloomberg Business Week, US News, the WSJ, The Economist, Financial Times, etc. ---

"S.C. taxpayers’ Social Security numbers, credit cards hacked," by Paul Bonner, Journal of Accountancy, November 1, 2012 ---

"My Adviser Stole My Research," by Stacy Patton, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 11, 2012 ---

Much of the conversation about plagiarism in academe focuses on professors who steal from their scholarly equals. But growing pressures to publish, particularly in the sciences, can also increase the temptation for professors to defraud their graduate students, some scholars say.

Graduate students and their advisers spend long, intense stretches of time working together on research experiments and publications. But those collaborations sometimes disintegrate into competition over intellectual property, and the resulting disputes can be as murky as the student-adviser relationship itself.

Universities' research-misconduct processes may not protect vulnerable graduate students from retaliation, but the systems can also be ill-equipped to protect faculty from disgruntled advisees. Since discussions between students and their advisers are often private, it can be hard to judge who originated an idea. And courts and juries often fail to understand the nuances of graduate student-faculty relationships.

John M. Braxton, one of the authors of Professors Behaving Badly (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), says advisers have sometimes plagiarized student dissertations and lab notes to support their own articles, grant proposals, and applications for lucrative patents. He has seen cases where professors remove students' names from research projects when they begin to show innovative results, or publish articles without offering co-authorship to a student who has made substantial conceptual or methodological contributions.

Padmapriya Ashokkumar and Mazdak Taghioskoui are two former graduate students who say that happened to them. And they have both found themselves in precarious positions after accusing their advisers of plagiarizing their research projects. Both are suing their former universities and are hopeful that the courts will help compensate them for how their allegations derailed their academic ambitions, they say.

Ms. Ashokkumar, who studied computer science and is from India, attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Mr. Taghioskoui, who studied electrical engineering and is from Iran, attended George Washington University and got his Ph.D. there.

Ms. Ashokkumar first became concerned about an adviser stealing her work in January of 2007, when she Googled her own name. She wanted to see how many Web sites had picked up two papers she'd written with Scott Henninger, then an associate professor at Nebraska, who had been her adviser. Together, they had developed a tool to help software engineers create user-friendly Web sites for consumers.

As she scrolled down the computer screen, she saw that an article she'd written with Mr. Henninger for a university publication in 2005 had, unbeknownst to her, been presented by him a year later at a conference workshop in Georgia. On the site, she saw that her name had been removed as a co-author. Instead, she was listed in an acknowledgments section. Only a small portion of the original article, she says, had been revised.

Mr. Henninger, she says, had once told her that the co-authored research wasn't good enough to publish off campus or present at conferences.

"For him to tell me that the work was not good enough, then turn around and submit it without my name, was a stab in the back," she says.

Ms. Ashokkumar and Mr. Henninger already had a rocky relationship; she had changed advisers before making her Web discovery. After she saw the reference to her research without her name on it, she complained to the graduate chair and then to the department chair, who reviewed the evidence and advised her to file a formal complaint with the university's research-integrity officer.

Ms. Ashokkumar says that after Mr. Henninger was informed that the university was investigating him for misconduct, he accused her of plagiarizing his work in another paper. He did so, she says, when he discovered that she and her new advisers intended to present that paper for an international software-engineering symposium. According to court documents provided by the university, the paper was based on a research topic that Mr. Henninger and Ms. Ashokkumar had proposed, and that he had previously written about alone.

"My future was under question," she says. "He told me, 'I have the power to make sure you are thrown out of the university.'"

The university's research-misconduct committee finished its investigation in April 2007 and upheld Ms. Ashokkumar's plagiarism complaint against her former adviser. The committee also dismissed his complaint against her.

In the wake of the dispute, the university proposed calming the turmoil surrounding Ms. Ashokkumar in her department by asking her to allow Mr. Henninger to serve on her dissertation committee. She refused.

The two advisers she had been working with refused to continue with her, she says. She tried to find a new adviser, but no other faculty member agreed to take her on.

"I was seen as somebody who was difficult to work with and created trouble," she says, "because I stood up for my rights." When she couldn't find a new adviser, she says she was told she would have to start a new dissertation project, despite five years of work. In limbo, with no adviser or committee, she was dropped from her program, she says.

A spokeswoman for the university said officials there could not comment on a matter that involved pending litigation.

"The university had an obligation to restore her to the department," says Gene Summerlin, Ms. Ashokkumar's lawyer. "Padma got caught in an academic turf war, and the university put the professor's interests ahead of the graduate student."

Ms. Ashokkumar, who now works as a software engineer for a company in Austin, Tex., is seeking $150,000 in damages, which she says represents the difference in pay she would have received with a Ph.D. and what she now earns without one. She also wants the university to provide her with an adviser and committee so she can return to her program and earn a doctorate.

Mr. Henninger, who resigned from his position in July 2008, according to court documents, could not be reached for comment. The university has argued in briefs it filed in the case that Ms. Ashokkumar's allegations of retaliation contain false and defamatory statements against Mr. Henninger, and that he was "denied fundamental due-process rights by not being fully informed of the charges and evidence against him in order to be able to identify and effectively present rebutting evidence."

'Known to Break Legs'

When graduate students say an adviser stole their work, it can be hard for universities to decipher right from wrong, says Barbara A. Lee, a labor-relations professor at Rutgers University.

"It can be very difficult for an institution to determine whether the faculty member had the idea and the student developed it, or the student developed the idea and shared it with the faculty member and the faculty member improved it," Ms. Lee says.

Allegations of retaliation can also be hard to sort out. There may be good reasons, she adds, why a student who has had a problem with an adviser can't find a new one.

Jensen Comment
One of my former colleagues, a professor of business and department chair, was called back by one of the most prestigious universities in the United States to give reason why his PhD should not be revoked due to plagiarism, in his thesis, of published works of an accounting professor at that prestigious institution. My colleague was totally shocked and confused. During the hearings on this matter it became evident that the accounting professor had instead plagiarized my friend's dissertation and not vice versa.

It's important to note that the university was prepared to punish the student severely by revoking his PhD degree. But in the case of the cheating faculty member there was no punishment. I know this professor and know that he continued to teach for that institution as a tenured professor. Perhaps punishment for cheating only works in one direction.

Bob Jensen's threads on professors who plagiarize or otherwise cheat ---

From the Chronicle of Higher Education: Diversity in Academe 2012
$6.95 for the electronic edition and $9.95 for the print edition

The Chronicle’s annual Diversity in Academe supplement examines the range of gender issues existing on college campuses.

Not long ago, women were the focus of most discussions of gender in academe. But now it's more complicated, with each sex drawing attention for different reasons. In this special report, we look beyond the data and explore gender issues among undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members on campuses across the country.

Also in this report:

"A History of Reading," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 26, 2012 ---

"Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong," The Atlantic, November 1, 2012 ---

. . .

People tend to study what you know how to study, I mean that makes sense. You have certain experimental techniques, you have certain level of understanding, you try to push the envelope -- which is okay, I mean, it's not a criticism, but people do what you can do. On the other hand, it's worth thinking whether you're aiming in the right direction. And it could be that if you take roughly the Marr-Gallistel point of view, which personally I'm sympathetic to, you would work differently, look for different kind of experiments.

Continued in article

"A.I. Gone Awry The Futile Quest for Artificial Intelligence," by Peter Kassan, Skeptic, June 2010 ---
 Thanks to Roger Collins for the Heads Up

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Flat World Knowledge will no longer publish versions of its textbooks at no charge ---

Jensen Comment
At $19.95 a Flat World book may sound like a real deal compared with a competitor's $180 alternative. But keep in mind that the higher priced textbook may be more current and have much better exhibits, end-of-chapter material, and multimedia supplements. As a rule the more expensive versions have value added unless there are some unfair marketing tactics employed (such as giving instructors 20 free copies that they can sell in the lucrative cash market offered by the sleazy guys prowling around faculty offices).

Also keep in mind that students may sell the $180 textbooks back to campus bookstores for as much as $90. There's not much a used book market for books published by Flat World.

"Textbooks for Tightwads:  As classes start, business students are in for a shock: Textbook prices are higher than ever. A word to the wise: It pays to shop around," by Rachel Z. Arndt, Business Week, August 26, 2009 ---

Shopping for textbooks can be burdensome at best, painful at worst. And it's no different for business students. By the time students get to B-school, they're probably well-versed in the tricks of the textbook trade. They need to be, with some books required at top B-schools retailing for well over $200.

Although textbook shopping is as inevitable as picking classes or group projects, spending tons of money on books doesn't have to be part of the process. The catch is knowing what you're doing, which isn't as obvious as it sounds, even for students with top-of-the-line spreadsheet skills. Of course, you can still look for the least beat-up copy in the campus bookstore, but that should be just the beginning.

The Web is overflowing with sites claiming to offer the cheapest textbooks around. So, with book prices rising, the cost of higher education higher than ever, and a dreary economy to boot, it'll certainly pay off to spend some time shopping around. Publishers may be resourceful, but students are, too.

An Oligopoly
To say they have to be is an understatement. The General Accounting Office says textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation since 1986. And today, students spend on average about $700 per year on required course materials, according to a 2008 survey by the National Association of College Stores (NACS).

Part of the problem is rising production costs, but the textbook market itself plays a role. The industry is an oligopoly, says James V. Koch, president of Old Dominion University, in a 2006 report by the U.S. Education Dept. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. According to Koch, five publishers—Thomson, Wiley, Houghton-Mifflin, Pearson, and The McGraw-Hill Companies (Businessweek's parent)—control the market, putting out about 80% of all college texts.

What's more, Koch says, the textbook market is unique. Unlike markets for most consumer products, where demand is generated by consumers themselves, textbook demand is created by another group: the faculty choosing texts for their classes. That makes it possible for publishers to introduce higher prices without much&mdashlif any—loss in revenue.

Publishers can also introduce "bundled" versions of books—books sealed with additional CD-ROMs or other materials—for higher prices. This means, even if just the book itself is required, students are stuck buying a more expensive version.

Tricks of the Trade
But the situation for students isn't as dire as it sounds. First of all, as some economists point out, students are smart and know how to consume. Yes, textbooks are expensive. But they are expensive at list price—usually the highest price a student can find. The prices charged by most bookstores, online retailers, and even online trading posts are well under this publisher-set price.

As BusinessWeek found out, those retail prices can vary wildly, which is why it pays to shop around. One of the easiest and fastest ways to find the best prices is to use a site that aggregates prices from many retailers. Booksprice.com and allbookstores.com are good places to start. They both list prices from the most popular Web retailers, such as alibris.com, half.com, bookbyte.com, and even Amazon.com. If aggregated searches aren't turning up the results you want, you can go to individual retailers' sites. Make sure to know the edition, author, and publisher of the book you're looking for—some books, on topics such as microeconomics, share the same title for completely different products.

Expect some surprises. Sometimes a retailer will sell the new version of a textbook for much less than a used copy. Abebooks, for example, charges $69.99 for a new copy of Jonathan Berk's and Peter DeMarzo's Corporate Finance and $120.54 for a used one. It's unclear why this happens, but one possibility might be that the owners of the used books simply overpriced their product.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Keep in mind that the campus bookstore probably will buy back a book that they did not sell originally.

Bob Jensen's threads on textbooks and cases ---

"Adjuncts Look for Strength in Numbers:  The new majority generates a shift in academic culture," by Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 5, 2012 ---

Caroline W. Meline stood at the front of her classroom one day last month and began reading from a red paperback, Karl Marx: Selected Writings. A few sentences in, she paused and closed her eyes.

"I just have to catch my breath," she told her students.

She was 15 minutes into a philosophy class at Saint Joseph's University. "This is my third class of the day. I need to regroup my energy."

The breakneck pace that drove Ms. Meline to take the brief respite is, for her, the cost of being an adjunct here, where two-thirds of the faculty is now off the tenure track.

In the philosophy department, adjunct faculty are teaching close to half of the 82 class sections offered this semester. "We do a lot of teaching," says Ms. Meline, who earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from Temple University in 2004 and has taught at Saint Joseph's for eight and a half years. "That's just the way it is in our department."

That's the way it is in many departments at Saint Joseph's, where Ms. Meline is one of more than 400 part-time faculty members. At the private, Jesuit institution, the number of nontenure-track faculty members has more than doubled over the past decade. Ten years ago, less than half of the university's faculty was off the tenure track.

Across the nation, colleges have undergone similar shifts in whom they employ to teach students. About 70 percent of the instructional faculty at all colleges is off the tenure track, whether as part-timers or full-timers, a proportion that has crept higher over the past decade.

Change has occurred more rapidly on some campuses, particularly at regionally oriented public institutions and mid-tier private universities like Saint Joseph's.

Community colleges have traditionally relied heavily on nontenure-track faculty, with 85 percent of their instructors in 2010 not eligible for tenure, according to the most recent federal data available. But the trend has been increasingly evident at four-year institutions, where nearly 64 percent of the instructional faculty isn't eligible for tenure.

At places like Eastern Washington University and Oakland University, part-time faculty and professors who worked full time but off the tenure track made up less than half of the instructional faculty a decade ago. Now nontenure-track faculty make up roughly 55 percent at both institutions.

The University of San Francisco saw the proportion of its nontenure-track faculty rise to 67 percent from 57 percent. At Kean University, nontenure-track professors now account for 78 percent of the faculty, up from 63 percent.

Not Sustainable

When professors in positions that offer no chance of earning tenure begin to stack the faculty, campus dynamics start to change. Growing numbers of adjuncts make themselves more visible. They push for roles in governance, better pay and working conditions, and recognition for work well done. And they do so at institutions where tenured faculty, although now in the minority, are still the power brokers.

The changing nature of the professoriate affects tenured and tenure-track faculty, too. Having more adjuncts doesn't provide the help they need to run their departments, leaving them with more service work and seats on more committees at the same time that research requirements, for some, have also increased.

At many institutions with graduate programs, a shrinking number of tenured and tenure-track faculty members are left to advise graduate students—a task that typically does not fall to adjuncts.

The shift can also affect students. Studies show that they suffer when they are taught by adjuncts, many of whom are good teachers but aren't supported on the job in the ways that their tenured colleagues are. Many adjuncts don't have office space, which means they have no place on campus to meet privately with students.

And some adjuncts themselves say their fears about job security can make them reluctant to push students hard academically. If students retaliate by giving them bad evaluations, their jobs could be in jeopardy.

Many adjuncts are also cautious about what they say in the classroom, an attitude that limits the ways they might engage students in critical thinking and rigorous discussion.

"I think the tipping point is now," says Ms. Meline. She is among those adjuncts pressing for higher pay and a voice in governance at Saint Joseph's. "What they're doing is not sustainable."

Elsewhere, Patricia W. Cummins, a professor of world and international studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, is worried about the sustainability of her university's growing use of adjuncts.

When she arrived, in 2000, about three-quarters of the faculty in the foreign languages were tenured or on the tenure track, with one-quarter teaching part time or in nontenure-track full-time positions. Now the percentages have flipped, much as they have in foreign-language departments nationwide.

In French, her discipline, there are four tenured professors and eight who work off the tenure track, all but one of them part time.

Ms. Cummins says administrators have big ambitions for Virginia Commonwealth, which is striving to be a top research university. But it will be nearly impossible to achieve that goal, she argues, without reversing the trend of adding adjuncts to the payroll at every turn.

"If we want to solve the world's problems, we can't do that with adjunct faculty, who, however competent they may be, are just keeping body and soul together," says Ms. Cummins, who coordinates the French program. "Virtually everything they want to accomplish with our strategic plan requires tenured and tenure-track faculty members. I definitely think the president is on the right track, but we have a long way to go."

Full-time faculty members who are not on the tenure track at Virginia Commonwealth constitute 54 percent of the faculty, which a decade ago was the proportion of tenured and tenure-track professors. Taking part-timers into account, the share of non-tenure-track faculty at the institution is 70 percent.

The dwindling number of professors with tenure or who are on the tenure track has forced Ms. Cummins's colleagues to widen the circle of faculty who take part in certain service work. Faculty off the tenure track are usually paid only for their teaching, but many do service work because they're committed to their jobs.

In the foreign-languages department, says Ms. Cummins, they have also stepped up to work on grants with tenured faculty, direct the university's annual Arab Film Festival, and play host to various events for foreign-language students and nearby residents.

"They do all kinds of things," Ms. Cummins says. "But these are not the kinds of things you can expect somebody to do if you've asked them to come in and teach a three-hour French class." Most part-time faculty in the humanities at Virginia Commonwealth earn about $2,500 per course, Ms. Cummins says.

Even as part-timers play an integral role in their programs and departments, they often feel that their continued employment as instructors requires maintaining a low profile. In fact, several adjunct professors in the School of World Studies who were contacted for this article didn't respond to requests for an interview.

Robert L. Andrews, an associate professor in the department of management at Virginia Commonwealth, says he can understand their fear. "They're not in the position to be raising their voices," he says. "I would like to see that change."

Research and Mentoring

Michael Rao, Virginia Commonwealth's president, says he has made clear that he wants to stem the growing use of adjuncts there.

Not long after he arrived, in 2009, Mr. Rao increased tuition by 24 percent and used the new revenue, in part, to hire nearly 100 tenured and tenure-track faculty. Thirty more professors have joined the institution since then.

He plans to add a total of 560 professors, a figure he came up with, he says, by looking at the proportion of tenured and tenure-track at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

"What I saw when I came was a research university that had 33,000 students and way too few, in comparison to peers, faculty members on the tenure track," Mr. Rao says. "We need those people to do research and to do a lot of the mentoring of students at all levels."

Virginia Commonwealth's full-time, nontenure-track faculty and part-time professors are "incredible resources to the university," the president says. "A lot of them, on their own, are doing a lot of the mentoring of students. You don't want to count on that forever."

What's likely to remain the same at Virginia Commonwealth, and other institutions, is the way adjuncts are used to teach high-demand courses in some disciplines, such as English composition and introductory courses in biology and math.

"One of the things that is important to students is the ability to get classes," Mr. Rao says. "That's correlated with the number of faculty you have to teach them.

"When you have required courses that everyone has to take, can you front-load those courses with all regular faculty members?" he asks. "No, you can't. But can you make some progress along those lines? Certainly."

Some colleges have made progress in improving the work life of adjuncts.

At Colorado State University at Fort Collins, nontenure-track English faculty members have gained representation on the literature committee, the composition committee, and the committee that hires faculty who work off the tenure track.

"We have representation on pretty much everything that doesn't involve the promotion and tenure and periodic performance view of tenured and tenure-track faculty," says Laura Thomas, who is an instructor in upper-division composition, a salaried position that comes with a course release that allows her to lead workshops for other writing instructors and provide them with additional professional-development opportunities.

Colorado State's English department has 47 full-time faculty members who aren't on the tenure track. Nearly all of them teach four courses a semester, and they outnumber the tenured and tenure-track faculty by more than a dozen. Almost 20 years ago, the number of nontenure-track faculty in English was in the low single digits.

Adjuncts who work in departments with a long history of using nontenure-track faculty can sometimes see the resulting connections lead to better working conditions and pay—more so than when adjuncts try to use their large numbers as leverage, says Adrianna Kezar, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Southern California who studies adjuncts.

Expanding Adjuncts' Role

"English departments on a lot of campuses are likely to be leaders for broader changes, since they have used nontenure-track faculty for such a long time. There are relationships there," she says.

"Sometimes large numbers of adjuncts can create a negative dynamic. The tenured professors could see this as a threat and instead of saying, Why don't you join us in governance?, they might dig in and actively campaign against them having a voice."

Ms. Thomas says "there is still plenty of work to do" on the university level when it comes to expanding adjuncts' role in governance. Contingent faculty can serve on an advisory committee of the Faculty Council at Colorado State, but they are not allowed to vote and they can't serve on the council itself.

Sue Doe, an assistant professor of English at Colorado State, is an ally of adjunct faculty like Ms. Thomas. Ms. Doe worked as an adjunct for more than 20 years, mostly as she followed her husband, an Army officer, around the country. After he retired, she earned a Ph.D. at the university in 2001, and became a tenure-track faculty member in 2007.

She helped write a report on a universitywide survey of contingent faculty at Colorado State. The findings shed new light on the sometimes-tense dynamics between the different sectors of the faculty, she says.

"At the end of the day, we all have to realize that we're working side by side, and in order for our units to work effectively, we have to be respectful of one another," Ms. Doe says. "Instead of having this sort of underlying mistrust of what the other group is up to, I think we're at the place where we need to get past that."

Ms. Meline, of Saint Joseph's, doesn't know how far the good will of administrators can take adjuncts like her.

Last year, complaining of low pay and a lack of job security and health benefits, contingent faculty at the university formed an adjunct association. The group, whose executive committee includes Ms. Meline, met with the provost, Brice R. Wachterhauser, to talk about their concerns.

The association was able to get raises for adjuncts this academic year—highest for new hires, who will now start at $3,230 per course—plus a total of $6,000 in grant money, in 30 parcels of $200 each, to tap if they need financial assistance to go to a conference to present a paper.

"The provost, so far, has been extremely accommodating," but what he did isn't enough, Ms. Meline says. "Now we're looking to go forward from this platform and negotiate something better."

Forming a union, members of the group say, is a possibility. "People are realizing just what a majority we are," says Ms. Meline.

The group's membership, however, still comprises only about one-third of the adjuncts on the campus. Their lack of job security, Ms. Meline and other adjuncts say, keeps many from being advocates for their own cause. That fear bleeds over into the classroom, they say, to the detriment of students.

"If almost 70 percent of the faculty at an expensive private university is watching what they say in the classrooms because they don't want to be controversial in any way, is that university really promoting critical thinking?" says Eva-Maria Swidler, who earned a Ph.D. in history eight years ago and now teaches semester by semester at Saint Joseph's.

"Adjuncts are not going to teach controversial courses," she added. "They are looking to fly beneath the radar so they can be renewed next semester."

Ms. Swidler, who along with Ms. Meline is among the most outspoken leaders of the adjunct association, isn't worried herself about repercussions.

She expects her career at St. Joseph's will end this semester. The course she teaches, an evening survey course about Western civilization, is being phased out under the university's new general-education requirements.

Continued in article

"One-Third of Colleges Are on Financially 'Unsustainable' Path, Bain Study Finds," by Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2012 ---

An analysis of nearly 1,700 public and private nonprofit colleges being unveiled this week by Bain & Company finds that one-third of the institutions have been on an "unsustainable financial path" in recent years, and an additional 28 percent are "at risk of slipping into an unsustainable condition."

At a surprising number of colleges, "operating expenses are getting higher" and "they're running out of cash to cover it," says Jeff Denneen, a Bain partner who heads the consulting firm's American higher-education practice.

Bain and Sterling Partners, a private-equity firm, collaborated on the project. They have published their findings on a publicly available interactive Web site that allows users to type in the name of a college and see where it falls on the analysts' nine-part matrix.

The methodology is based on just two financial ratios, and they produce some findings that may seem incongruous with conventional views on colleges' financial standing. The tool classifies wealthy institutions such as Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton Universities as being on an "unsustainable path" alongside tuition-dependent institutions like Central Bible College, in Missouri. But the very public nature of the findings is sure to bring some attention to the analysis. Bain and Sterling provided advance copies of the analysis and the tool to The Wall Street Journal and The Chronicle.

Overly Alarmist?

Mr. Denneen allows that the analysis may be skewed, particularly for the wealthiest institutions, because the period studied, 2005 through 2010, concludes with a fiscal year in which endowments were hit with record losses. One of the two ratios used in the analysis, called the "equity ratio," is based on the change in value of an institution's assets, including its endowment, relative to its liabilities. Since 2010 the value of many endowments has rebounded. The other, the "expense ratio," looks at changes in expenses as a percentage of revenue.

Still, Bain and Sterling maintain the analysis sends a sobering signal, even if some might see the findings as overly alarmist and self-serving. "Financial statements have gotten significantly weaker in a very short period of time," says Tom Dretler, an executive in residence at Sterling, a firm that is a major investor in Laureate Education Inc. and other educational companies.

Besides the credit ratings and reports produced by bond-rating agencies and the Education Department's controversial annual listing of colleges' financial-responsibility scores, there are few public sources of information on colleges' financial health.

The new analytic tool classifies colleges based on whether their expense ratios increased or their equity ratios decreased, giving the harshest rankings to those with changes of more than 5 percent, moderate rankings to those with changes of 0 to 5 percent, and good rankings to those where expense ratios didn't increase and equity ratios didn't decrease.

For example, it lists Bennington and Rollins Colleges along with California State University-Channel Islands and Georgia Southwestern State University as being on an unsustainable financial path for several years because their ratios of expenses relative to revenues spiked up while their equity ratios fell. (For all four, the expense ratio increased by 25 percent or more.) Hundreds of other colleges were classified with that same designation if only one of the ratios changed by more than 5 percent.Higher-education leaders who say the Education Department's scores can be a flawed way of measuring a college's health say the Bain-Sterling analysis may suffer the same weaknesses.

"Places that are viewed by some as having an unsustainable way of operating may not be," says Richard H. Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges. Analyses like this, which rely on data from a particular period of time, he says, "may not tell the full story."

Susan M. Menditto, an expert on accounting matters at the National Association of College and University Business Officers, notes that even the way colleges account for their endowments—in some cases counting restricted gifts, in other cases not—might not be reflected in the analysis.

Mr. Denneen says the simple tool serves a different purpose than does a report on the creditworthiness of an institution from Moody's Investors Service, which uses 36 criteria to formulate its ratings. "This does provide a useful lens," he says. "This is really a guidepost for how hard you ought to be thinking about pushing on your financial model."

Disconcerting Trends

Along with the tool, Bain and Sterling are publishing a paper, "The Financially Sustainable University." It is their take on what they view as several disconcerting trends in spending, and it puts the two firms among an ever-growing list of analysts, pundits, and policy makers who have been calling on higher-education leaders to rethink how colleges are administered. (Jeffrey J. Selingo, The Chronicle's vice president and editorial director, contributed to the paper.)

The paper covers familiar ground, although some of the fresher recommendations and findings could resonate with the college administrators, campus leaders, and trustees who are its intended audience. Most notably, it suggests that colleges tap into their real estate, energy plants, and other capital assets more creatively to generate revenue for new academic investments, and it concludes that colleges have too many middle managers.

While it fails to make distinctions between different kinds of colleges, as do other respected analyses such as those of the Delta Project on College Costs, the Bain-Sterling paper shows that, over all, the growth in colleges' debt and the rate of spending on interest payments and on plant, property, and equipment rose far faster than did spending on instruction from 2002 to 2008 for the colleges studied.

It says long-term debt increased by 11.7 percent, interest expenses by 9.2 percent, and property, plant, and equipment expenses by 6.6 percent. Meanwhile, instruction expenses increased by just 4.8 percent.

Continued in article


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

"The Idiocy of Promotion-and-Tenure Letters," by Don M. Chance, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2012 ---

Ah, autumn. The falling of leaves. A new batch of excited freshmen and graduate students. Some different faces among colleagues, perhaps. The roar of a football crowd. And alas, the reading and writing of promotion-and-tenure letters.

For some fortunate reason, I have none to write this year, which must be a first, but unfortunately, I have 11 to read. And after many years of serving on promotion-and-tenure committees, I have finally come to the conclusion that these letters are nearly worthless. The ones I read and the ones I have written.

Think about it. We hardly need letters to evaluate candidates within our own discipline. We are capable of evaluating their research. Letters are strictly for the members of collegewide and universitywide committees, who, through lack of discipline-specific knowledge but mostly lack of time, cannot evaluate the research of candidates outside of their fields. So we call on experts, those renowned scholars from distinguished and preferably higher-ranked institutions, who can vouch for the quality of the candidate's record. They have, for lack of a better term, letterhead value.

And they write so well and so cogently. Today I have read the expressions "highly commendable," "groundbreaking," "impeccably rigorous," "carefully designed," and "recognized nationally"—all phrases I wish I could think of when I am the writer. Instead, I come up with "doing good work," "interesting," and "innovative." At least I didn't say "cool."

This process is absurd. Consider that the evaluators are selected by the candidate's department, sometimes with input from the candidate. They are not a random sampling of experts. Indeed, they are far from random and are often biased, whether subtly or blatantly. The most egregious cases of bias involve choosing the candidate's former professors or the department head's former colleagues and friends, but other, subtler forms exist as well.

Suppose the candidate has an article accepted for publication in the most prestigious journal in her field. Her department head asks the journal's editor to write a letter on her behalf. The editor, of course, believes that the paper he accepted is excellent. What else would he think? Is he going to change his mind and say he made a mistake in accepting the paper? Ideally the editor would look at the candidate's entire corpus of work, but that is too much trouble. The editor, after all, has numerous letter requests, not to mention many manuscripts, awaiting his attention. So in addition to a few casual observations about the candidate's other research, he writes a detailed review of the paper he accepted, heaping dollops of laudation, knowing that any future success of the paper is a shared success. Kind of like having your kid get into Harvard when you went to a third-tier state university. You, too, get credit.

I once read a letter from a journal editor concerning a candidate up for promotion to full professor who had published four articles in that journal and was on its editorial board. The editor noted that the journal was A-level (in fact it was clearly B-level), and that the candidate had done an extensive amount of refereeing for the editor. Naturally the letter was favorable. Naturally I wanted to transfer it into the "stuff that should never have been written" folder, also known as my recycle bin.

Not only are external letters nearly useless, but the whole process is flawed.

At least half of all academics are exposed to the scientific method of research: stating a testable hypothesis, collecting data, analyzing those data, and drawing a conclusion with the admission that we could be wrong. That process is widely accepted as the correct way to investigate an issue.

In the promotion-and-tenure process, we try to do the same thing. Whereas a scientist might hypothesize that a drug has no positive benefit, we might hypothesize that someone should not be promoted. Whereas the scientist goes about collecting data, we do the same thing in gathering information about the candidate's research record. Whereas the scientist, upon obtaining statistical evidence that admits only a small possibility of error, concludes perhaps that a drug is effective, we often likewise analyze the data and conclude that the candidate should be promoted. In our case, there is no admission of a margin of error.

The scientist does it correctly. We do not. Our margin of error in evaluating tenure candidates is pretty high, because our sample is not random and far too small. Nonetheless, on that basis, we make a case to the higher authorities that this candidate should be promoted.

If we conducted our research like that, we would be laughed out of the profession.

What we ought to do is make the process more random. For example, each department could compile an extensive list of experts, perhaps at least 100. It could then randomly choose a set. A random sample of experts would at least attempt to remove the subtle biases.

Naturally, I cannot tell you what percentage of letters I have read that are favorable, but my estimate is more than 90 percent. Random letters would very likely produce favorable percentages a good bit lower. Would that result in a smaller percentage of candidates being tenured? Possibly, but after all, tenure is a lifetime contract. The hurdle should be high.

If promotion to full professor is not granted, it is not the end of the world for the candidate. Could a good candidate get three or four negative letters simply because the luck of the draw chose some hard-nosed experts? It could. I suspect that four letters is not enough. Frankly, I would prefer to see six to 10. I cannot imagine a deserving candidate's being denied promotion with 10 letters.

Perhaps there are other solutions, and I would like to hear some. I just know that we are trying to answer an important question, and doing it poorly.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Not only do I agree with this article, I think that tenure has become dysfunctional to long-term teaching and research performance. It's like the newlywed thinking about sex:  "Now that I'm married I won't have to do that anymore, at least not as often or as enthusiastically."

When I participated in a study (Jean Heck and Phil Cooley) of top accounting journals, rates of publication tumbled dramatically after tenure. There are of course exceptions, but all too often accounting professors game the tenure system and then back off the game after tenure.

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

Teaching Excellence Secondary to Research for Promotion, Tenure, and Pay

Bob Jensen's threads on Rethinking Tenure ---


MathGrapher --- http://www.mathgrapher.com/

The mathematical graphing tool for students, scientists and engineers. Draw and analyse Functions and Data in 2D and 3D. Draw surface graphs, contour plots and cross-sections through contour plots. Includes linear and nonlinear curve fitting, integration and analysis of coupled ordinary differential equations, iteration and analysis of multi-dimensional maps, matrix operations, Lindenmayer systems and soms cellalar automata.

Mathgrapher contains many demonstrations covering most of the things you can do with it. Just start a demonstration, lean back and see what Mathgrapher can do for you

Wolfram Alpha (one of my all-time favorite sites) --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Some Things You Might Want to Know About the Wolfram Alpha (WA) Search Engine:  The Good and The Evil
as Applied to Learning Curves (Cumulative Average vs. Incremental Unit)

Bob Jensen's threads on learning resources in mathematics and statistics ---

"Harvard Grad Starts Math Museum Helped by Google, Hedge Funder," by Patrick Cole, Bloomberg Business Week, November 1, 2011 ---  http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-01/harvard-grad-starts-math-museum-helped-by-google-hedge-funder.html

What is "deep research-based learning for MOOCs" ala Carnegie-Mellon University?

Carnegie Mellon Takes Online Courses to Another Level with Its Open Learning Initiative --- Click Here

Open online courses—massive or otherwise—are revolutionizing higher education by making learning more and more accessible.

Carnegie Mellon University has taken online courses to another level, offering virtual classroom environments based on deep research into how adults learn.

The courses are free. Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative currently offers 15 courses through a platform that provides targeted progress feedback to students.

The program doesn’t offer course credit or certificates but the courses are sophisticated. CMU spent anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million for each course to write the software, which includes a course builder program for instructors and a system of feedback loops that send student learning data to the instructor, the student and the course design team.

More than 10,000 students enrolled in OLI courses last year. So far CMU promotes OLI courses as supplementary to traditional classroom instruction. But the courses are certainly rich enough to be enjoyed by anyone. They’re mostly in the sciences but include a few language and social science classes too.

The list of currently-available courses appears below. We also have them listed in our complete list of Massive Open Online Courses from Great Universities (many of which happen to offer certificates too):

Kate Rix writes about digital media and education. Read more of her work on thenifty.blogspot.com and katerixwriter.com.

Experiment in Ultra Learning (some amazing stories) --- Click Here

MITx, EdX, and MOOCs
Bob Jensen's threads on free courses, tutorials, video, and course materials from prestigious universities ---

Techmeme Technology News Site from Carnegie Mellon University --- http://www.techmeme.com/
Thank you Rick Lillie for pointing to this site on the AAA Commons

The site is more extensive in terms of computing news than is MIT's Technology Review, but TR is carries more science news. Also TR sends me email summaries.

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs ---

Apple paid 1.9% income tax on $36.8 billion in 2012 (fiscal-year) profits outside the U.S., down from the 2.5% paid in 2011 ---

Virtually all those iPhones are made in China, and Macs are made in such places as tax-friendly Ireland. In order not to rile Congress too much, some parts are expensively made in the United States.

Eliminating the Corporate income tax in the U.S. probably would not bring all those jobs back to the U.S. due to wage differentials and unions in the U.S.

The president of Ohio State University tries hard to be a man of the people. But he lives higher on the hog than most aristocrats in history ---

Drake Tax Software --- http://www.drakesoftware.com/site/

Download a free copy of this software for individuals and businesses (registration required) ---

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers ---

"As GM Volt Sales Increase, That Doesn't Mean It's Successful (sales of the car have improved, but not enough to turn the tide for advanced battery factories)," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, November 2, 2012 --- Click Here

Sales figures for the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle are in for October, and once again sales figures have increased dramatically compared to last year. Chevrolet sold 2,961 of the cars, compared to just 1,108 last October.

The Chevrolet Volt is interesting in part because anticipated sales of the car helped justify a massive, more-than-$2-billion-dollar push by the U.S. government to help companies build advanced lithium ion battery factories in the United States. But the companies that built those plants are struggling, in part because of lower than expected sales of cars like the Volt. A123 Systems recently declared bankruptcy (see, “A123’s Technology Just Wasn’t Good Enough” and “What Happened to A123?”). Dow said it would take an accounting charge because of a drop in value of its advanced battery venture, Dow Kokam. And LG Chem—which currently supplies battery cells for the Volt from a factory in Korea--has furloughed workers and hasn’t yet started building battery cells at a new factory in Holland, Michigan (see, “Too Many Battery Factories, Too Few Electric Cars”).

By some measures, the car is now doing well. About half of Chevrolet’s models sold more than the Volt, and about half sold less. It outsold the Corvette (1,167), for example. Sales accelerated this year after GM started offering attractive lease rates ($199 a month).

But the Volt far undersold the Cruze (19,121), a sedan about the size of the Volt. And GM isn’t coming close to a goal, set at the end of last year, to sell 60,000 Volts this year.

And most crucially, the factory LG Chem built to make batteries for the Volt in Holland, Michigan, still isn’t making batteries.

Yet it’s too early to write off plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Many automakers have just started to introduce battery-powered cars. Toyota’s Prius also had a slow start, and now it’s become a centerpiece of Toyota’s strategy—and a profitable car.

Continued in article

Jensen Question
And what other car model gives $7,500 of taxpayer cash to each buyer to boost sales?

Many of us agree with Keynesians Paul Krugman and Alan Blinder that there are some benefits to massive government spending at the start of a severe economic crash. But the trouble with most Keynesians these days is that they don't know when to stop. There's now a perpetual excuse that the economy is just too fragile to stop printing money to pay government's bills. Confiscating the wealth of the 1% won't make a dent in the weak economy. And hence the money presses just keep rolling and rolling until one morning you wake up and guess what? You're in Zimbabwe that is now printing million dollar bills, two of which it takes to by one chicken egg.

In the media, Peter Schiff is the best-known financial analyst who publically predicted the economic collapse of 2008 long before it happened, including his predictions of the bursting of the real estate bubble. He did not, however, make as many millions on his predictions as several others who quietly gambled on the crash. Some of those heavily leveraged winnings, however, might've been due more to luck than the deep analysis of Peter Schiff ---

I might note that "Quantitative Easing" QE1-QE3 in the U.S. is short hand for when the Fed cranks up printing presses for money so the U.S. Government can pay its bills without having to either tax or borrow. Sounds like a good idea since these have been trillions of dollars that do not add to the trillion-dollar deficit or National Debt or rile taxpayers ---

I might also note that I personally think the government is now lying about inflation since with a wave of the magic wand it took fuel, food, and other consumer items out of the calculation of inflation. The current calculation of inflation is also distorted by the crash in the housing market that does not reflect the rising costs of materials going into new and rebuilt homes. For your students, when you want to illustrate how to lie with statistics show them how inflation is calculated by the government.

"When Infinite Inflation Isn't Enough," by Peter Schiff, Townhall, November 9, 2012 ---

If no one seems to care that the Titanic is filling with water, why not drill another hole in it? That seems to be the M.O. of the Bernanke Federal Reserve. After the announcement of QE3 (also dubbed "QE Infinity") created yet another round of media chatter about a recovery, the Fed's Open Market Committee has decided to push infinity a little bit further. The latest move involves the rolling over of long-term Treasuries purchased as part of Operation Twist, thereby more than doubling QE3 to a monthly influx of $85 billion in phony money starting in December. I call it "QE3 Plus" - now with more inflation!

Inflation By Any Other Name

In case you've lost track of all the different ways the Fed has connived to distort the economy, here's a refresher on Operation Twist: the Fed sells Treasury notes with maturity dates of three years or less, and uses the cash to buy long-term Treasury bonds. This "twisting" of its portfolio is supposed to bring down long-term interest rates to make the US economy appear stronger and inflation appear lower than is actually the case.

The Fed claims operation twist is inflation-neutral as the size of its balance sheet remains constant. However, the process continues to send false signals to market participants, who can now borrow more cheaply to fund long-term projects for which there is no legitimate support. I said it last year when Operation Twist was announced, and I'll continue to say it: low interests rates are part of the problem, not the solution.

Interventions Are Never Neutral

Just as the Fed used its interest-rate-fixing power to make dot-coms and then housing appear to be viable long-term investments, they are now using QE3 Plus to conceal the fiscal cliff facing the US government in the near future.

As the Fed extends the average maturity of its portfolio, it is locking in the inflation created in the wake of the '08 credit crisis. Back then, we were promised that the Fed would unwind this new cash infusion when the time was right. Longer maturities lower the quality and liquidity of the Fed's balance sheet, making the promised "soft landing" that much harder to achieve.

The Fed cannot keep printing indefinitely without consumer prices going wild. In many ways, this has already begun. Take a look at the gas pump or the cost of a hamburger. If the Fed ever hopes to control these prices, the day will inevitably come when the Fed needs to sell its portfolio of long-term bonds. While short-term paper can be easily sold or even allowed to mature even in tough economic conditions, long-term bonds will have to be sold at a steep discount, which will have devastating effects across the yield curve.
It won't be an even trade of slightly lower interest rates now for slightly higher rates in the future. Meanwhile, in the intervening time, the government and private sectors will have made a bunch of additional wasteful spending. When are Bernanke & Co. going to decide is the right time to prove that the United States is fundamentally insolvent? Clearly this plan lays down an even stronger incentive to continue suppressing interest rates until a mega-crisis forces their hands. 

Also, when interest rates rise - the increase made even sharper by the Fed's selling - the Fed will incur huge losses on its portfolio, which, thanks to a new federal law, will become a direct obligation of the US Treasury, i.e. you, the taxpayer! 

Of course, the Fed refuses to accept this reality. Even though a painful correction is necessary, nobody in power wants it to happen while they're in the driver's seat. So Bernanke will stick with his well-rehearsed lines: the money will flow until there is "substantial improvement" in unemployment.

Does Bernanke Even Believe It?

Even Bernanke must have a hunch that there isn't going to be any "substantial improvement" in the near term. I suggested before QE3 was announced that a new round of stimulus might be Bernanke's way of securing his job, but recent speculation is that he may step down when his current term as Fed Chairman expires. Perhaps he is cleverer than I thought. He'll be leaving a brick on the accelerator of an economy careening towards a fiscal cliff, and bailing before it goes over the edge. Whoever takes his place will have to pick up the pieces and accept the blame for the crisis that Bernanke and his predecessor inflamed.

Don't Gamble Your Savings on Politics

For investors looking to find a safe haven for their money, QE3 Plus is a strong signal that the price of gold and silver are a long way from their peaks. Gold hit an eleven-month high at the beginning of October after the announcement of QE3, but the response to the Fed's latest meeting was lackluster. When the Fed officially announces its commitment to QE3 Plus in December, I wouldn't be surprised to see a much bigger rally. For that matter, many are keeping an eye on the election outcome before making a move on precious metals.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Many of us agree with Keynesians Paul Krugman and Alan Blinder that there are some benefits to massive government spending at the start of a severe economic crash. But the trouble with most Keynesians these days is that they don't know when to stop. There's now a perpetual excuse that the economy is just too fragile to stop printing money to pay government's bills. Confiscating the wealth of the 1% won't make a dent in the weak economy. And hence the money presses just keep rolling and rolling until one morning you wake up and guess what? You're in Zimbabwe that is now printing million dollar bills, two of which it takes to by one chicken egg.

"A Billion People in the Dark:  Solar-Powered Micro Grids Could Bring Power to Millions of the World's Poorest," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, October 24, 2012 --- Click Here

The village of Tanjung Batu Laut seems to grow out of a mangrove swamp on an island off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. The houses, propped up over the water on stilts, are cobbled together from old plywood, corrugated steel, and rusted chicken wire. But walk inland and you reach a clearing covered with an array of a hundred solar panels mounted atop bright new metal frames. Thick cables transmit power from the panels into a sturdy building with new doors and windows. Step inside and the heavy humidity gives way to cool, dry air. Fluorescent lights illuminate a row of steel cabinets holding flashing lights and computer displays.

The building is the control center for a small, two-year-old power-generating facility that provides electricity to the approximately 200 people in the village. Computers manage power coming from the solar panels and from diesel generators, storing some of it in large lead-acid batteries and dispatching the rest to meet the growing local demand. Before the tiny plant was installed, the village had no access to reliable electricity, though a few families had small diesel generators. Now all the residents have virtually unlimited power 24 hours a day.

Many of the corrugated-steel roofs in the village incongruously bear television satellite dishes. Some homes, with sagging roofs and crude holes in the walls for windows, contain flat-screen televisions, ceiling fans, power-hungry appliances like irons and rice cookers, and devices that need to run day and night, like freezers. On a Saturday afternoon this summer, kids roamed around with cool wedges of watermelon they'd bought from Tenggiri Bawal, the owner of a tiny store located off one of the most unstable parts of the elevated wooden walkways that link the houses. Three days before, she'd taken delivery of a refrigerator, where she now keeps watermelon, sodas, and other goods. Bawal smiled as the children clustered outside her store and said, in her limited English, "Business is good.

Continued in article

Jensen Question
Will this also become a giant market for specially-designed MOOC courses?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Go International ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs ---

Samsung Galaxy Smartphone --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S_III

"Samsung’s Galaxy S III tops 30 million sales, adding 10 million in less than two months," The Next Web, November 3, 2012 ---

Samsung predicted that its Galaxy S III flagship would pass 30 million sales by the end of 2012, and with November and December still largely ahead of it, the Korean manufacturer has reached that milestone, seeing more than 10 million sales in less than two months.

In a tweet posted to its Polish account (via GSMArena), Samsung shared that it had passed the 30 million sales mark, attaching a congratulatory photo showing various employees jumping for joy on an athletics track (embedded below).

Back in September, Samsung announced that the Galaxy S III had surpassed 20 million sales, with the company’s IT and Mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun stating: “The Galaxy S3 is expected to sell more than 30 million units within this year.”

Shin also commented on the launch of the new Galaxy Note 2 (a device unveiled last month at IFA 2012 in Berlin), believing the smartphone-cum-tablet will double the sales of its predecessor — which has sold more than 10 million units. Just this week, Samsung said that the Galaxy Note 2 had already sold more than 3 million units in less than 40 days.

It’s been a hugely successful year for Samsung, with the Korean vendor posting record profits in its last quarter. The Galaxy S III is still set to add to its huge sales tally as the holiday season approaches, where smartphone sales get an anticipated boost.

Home Ownership Rate Nearly Half of What it Was in 2004 Even With Mortgage Rates Now Under 3%
Some readers have been asking how one can reconcile positive signs in the housing market with declining rates of homeownership. Indeed, homeownership is falling at an even faster pace than during the 08-10 period (look at the chart).

Sober Look, November 18, 2012 ---

Student Loans Financed at Low Interest Rates Directly by the U.S. Government ---

When I see all those Sandy-victims complaining about FEMA on TV, I wonder if they haven't applied for their $30,000 payments for alternative housing. Perhaps they're just afraid of losing what what's left of their homes and contents.

I do understand that in almost any part of the U.S. there's a genuine risk of being vandalized if victims leave what's left of their home and home contents when they move to hotels and apartments elsewhere using housing payments from FEMA. It was so refreshing to see that after the Japanese tsunami disaster there was virtually no looting of vacant homes and homeowner property. Why do we have such a criminal culture that exploits disaster victims?

In addition to FEMA Flood Insurance FEMA provides substantial assistance to disaster victims who were not insured ---

Other FEMA grants and assistance programs ---

How the Federal Government takes care of many property owners (for of business property and homes) following natural disasters?
"Sandy-Struck Companies Can Seek FEMA Buyouts:  Business owners with heavy damage located in flood plains may want to consider an option that has worked for homeowners," by Caroline McDonald,  CFO.com, November 6, 2012 ---

Homeowners with homes devastated by superstorm Sandy can take advantage of a decades-old FEMA grant program that buys damaged property in flood-ravaged areas. Yet although corporate executives and business owners may not know it, their companies may be eligible too.

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) indeed may be the way to go, rather than pursuing insurance claims under the National Flood Insurance Program. The HMGP is commonly called a “buyout” program because a mix of federal and other funds are used to buy the damaged property from the home or business owner, demolish it, and return the land to its natural state.

That takes the damaged structure out of the flood plain and eliminates the risk of future personal injury or property damage. The property owner can take the money from the sale, use it to pay off the mortgage, and relocate elsewhere—usually on higher ground. (According to Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a flood plain is "any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source.)

Marshall Gilinsky, an insurance-recovery attorney at Anderson, Kill, & Olick who represented some Vermont homeowners after Hurricane Irene, says the program may be a good option for businesses of all sizes that suffered extensive damage from Sandy and are located in a flood plain.

“I don’t know historically how many businesses have availed themselves of it. But I bet there will be a number of businesses for whom this might be their best option from an economic perspective,” he says, adding that it is a “business judgment. It all comes down to the relocation and the displacement associated with that.”

Businesses that have relatively low limits of coverage under their flood insurance policies – coverage inadequate to the task of rebuilding – may find it a viable solution. The key is whether the damaged structure qualifies, Gilinsky says. The simplest determinations are whether the property is located in a flood plain, and that the cost to repair or replace the existing damage is at least 50% of the pre-storm fair market value of the structure.

After Hurricane Irene, he says, he worked with homeowners having difficulty collecting in full on their flood insurance policies, and looking at homes badly damaged by flood. Moreover, the flood recovery from the National Flood Insurance Program would have left them with a house that they were unable to repair to the extent they would have liked. The grant option, on the other hand, afforded them a way to buy a new house in a better location, he says.

Small or large businesses alike may qualify under this standard, depending on the extent of the damage, he adds. In general, the worse the damage is, the more likely it is that the business owner will want to relocate and qualify.

For those businesses that want to use the HMGP to relocate, another consideration may be the time it takes to get the grant money. “It has been over a year since Irene and grant money is only now on the verge of being disbursed,” the lawyer says. Business owners interested in pursuing the option must approach officials of the town where the company is located, because it's the town or city, rather than the business owner that applies for the grant.

To apply, the business owner fills out a grant application with the town or city, which signs off on the plan. The town buys the property from the owner, pays for the transaction using grant money—which tends to be 75% from FEMA and 25% from matching, non-government grants, such as community development grants. The town then agrees not to rebuild on the property. Transaction costs, including site investigations for hazardous materials and demolition and closing fees are included in the grant money.

Jensen Comment
It occurs to me that this is somewhat of a problem for condo owners. Suppose there are 30 condos in a destroyed building. Presumably there's a majority rule regarding disaster buyouts unless there's a contract to the contrary. Hence a minority number of condo owners may be forced into or out of a buyout contrary to their personal interests.

Note the clause:
That takes the damaged structure out of the flood plain and eliminates the risk of future personal injury or property damage

The fact that this happens so seldom for vacation home owners that keep rebuilding after each and every hurricane indicates that they may be hard core refusniks when it comes to FEMA buyouts.

Labor unions and construction companies must despise these buyouts.

If these questions wasted your time, blame me since I just made them up watching the sun set on the White Mountains (that are now powdered with white snow that looks pink at sunset.
Bob Jensen

Microsoft's Surface Tablet --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Surface

Video on Use of the Surface --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfzjcCzdtCk
Love that USB Port

"Mysteries and Clues from a Microsoft Surface Teardown:  The Surface tablet is not exactly DIY-friendly.," by David Zaz, MIT's Technology Review, October 29, 2012 --- Click Here

Imagine you’re a surgeon who spends all day cutting up bodies and sewing them back up. Then one day, you open up a patient to find--a kidney up near the shoulder.

That extremely imprecise analogy is a little bit like what iFixit found when they tore up a Microsoft Surface. Among other things, they found a small “speaker-looking thing” next to the display in the Surface’s front case. Since there’s no direct path from the speaker-y thing to the Surface’s surface, iFixit wasn’t sure what the doohickey does exactly. Perhaps it makes the muted faux-clicking noises of the Touch Cover, they speculate.

That was just one of several curious findings in iFixit’s teardown of the Microsoft tablet. The DIY-friendly site calls the device a quirky cat.”

Mainly, though, iFixit wasn’t excavating in search of hidden treasure. The site’s main aim was to figure out how easy the device would be to fix on your own, if you were so inclined. The answer? Not that easy. (Though a tad easier than comparable Apple products.)

iFixit ultimately gives the device a “repairability” rating of a 4 out of 10, where 10 is super-repairable. To begin with, it’s just really difficult to get elements of the Surface apart. “You’ll have to use a heat gun and lots of patience to gain access to the glass and LCD,” iFixit writes at one point. To give you some context, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire scored 7’s out of 10. iFixit’s score puts Microsoft much closer to Apple’s strategy of tightly locking down their gear: the latest iPad earned a measly 2 for iFixit. In a way, the Surface’s non-DIY-friendliness is another instance of Microsoft nudging it’s way towards a more Apple-like strategy, generally (see Beyond the Surface: Microsoft Goes Apple.”)

The fact that that Surface is not friendly to makers will only affect a small majority of us--but in a sense, that’s the larger problem. We live in a generation that is increasingly happy not to think about how our devices are made or function, a generation that is happy to think of its computing devices as magic black boxes. This is one of the ideas behind the Raspberry Pi computing device: a clear casing exposes its guts, and it compels a level of elementary understanding of how the device works in order to use it. In a sense, it’s not surprising that the Surface should be difficult to open--since by anointing an in-house tablet as a standard-bearer for the next generation of Windows software, Microsoft becomes a competitor with its longstanding hardware partners. This is an era of decreasing openness in hardware, in many senses. 


"Dirty money cost China $3.8 trillion 2000-2011: report," Reuters, October 25, 2012 ---

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (TrustLaw) - China has lost $3.79 trillion over the past decade in money smuggled out of the country, a massive amount that could weaken its economy and create instability, according to a new report.

And the outflow - much of it from corruption, crime or tax evasion - is accelerating. China lost $472 billion in 2011, equivalent to 8.3 percent of its gross domestic product, up from $204.7 billion in 2000, Global Financial Integrity, a research and advocacy group that campaigns to limit illegal flows, said in a report on Thursday.

"The magnitude of illicit money flowing out of China is astonishing," said GFI director Raymond Baker. "There is no other developing or emerging country that comes even close to suffering as much in illicit financial flows."

The lost funds between 2000 and 2011 significantly exceeded the amount of money flowing into China as foreign direct investment. The International Monetary Fund calculated FDI inflows at roughly $310 billion between 1998 and 2011.

Illicit capital flows rob a government of tax revenues and potential investment funds. Capital flight on this scale can be politically destabilizing by allowing the rich to get richer through tax evasion, GFI said.

China has a low level of tax collection given the size of its economy, according to the IMF. Beijing has recognized that corruption and bribery is a significant problem, an issue brought into sharp focus recently by the Bo Xilai scandal. The country has announced a major crackdown as it prepares for its once in a decade leadership transition.

GFI calculates how much money leaks out of a country unchecked by analyzing discrepancies in data filed with the IMF on import and export prices between trade partners and calculating discrepancies in a country's balance sheet.

The developing world overall lost $903 billion in illicit outflows in 2009, with China, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia in that order showing the largest losses, it said.

Trade mispricing was the major method of smuggling money out of China, accounting for 86.2 percent of lost funds, the GFI report found. This scheme involves importers reporting inflated prices for goods or services purchased. The payments are transferred out and the excess amounts are deposited into overseas bank accounts.

Trade mispricing is most common for nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and electrical equipment, the report said.

The bulk of the money ends up in tax havens - on average, 52.4 percent between 2005 and 2011. Much of this money eventually makes its way back to China as foreign direct investment for a double hit to the economy.

FDI benefits from special tax breaks and subsidies, essentially setting up an elaborate form of money laundering for Chinese businesses, GFI added.

Jensen Comment
Would this be as serious in the U.S. under the Ben Bernanke/PaulKrugman/AlanBlinder Keynesian Theory of Economics where, like Zimbabwe, we just print trillions of more dollars at virtually zero cost?

"Cliff Confusions," by Paul Krugman, The New York Times, October 29, 2012 ---

While I have access, let me point you to an excellent post by Suzy Khimm making a point I should have made: the only reason to worry about the fiscal cliff is if you’re a Keynesian, who thinks that bringing down the budget deficit when the economy is already depressed makes the depression deeper. And the same logic actually says that we should not just avoid spending cuts, we should raise spending right now.

What Khimm doesn’t mention is that a lot of the Very Serious People don’t seem to get that. As Jon Chait pointed out, finance bigwigs published an utterly ludicrous letter claiming that the risk from the fiscal cliff is that interest rates might spike — which is completely off base. The only way I can make sense of that letter is cognitive dissonance — they’re so wedded to the notion that the danger is that the invisible bond vigilantes will scare off the confidence fairy that they can’t admit, even to themselves, that what’s really worrying them right now is straight Keynesian concerns.

And the supposed deficit hawks, who should be celebrating the prospect of such a big move in their direction, aren’t. Why? As Khimm suggests, this isn’t the deficit reduction they wanted — it was supposed to involve hurting the working class, not raising tax rates at the top (which were supposed to be cut!).

Jensen Comment
I wonder if Professor Krugman continues to support this unlimited Keynesian spending for Greece --- a nation that cannot seem to enforce its own tax laws and would have almost no government spending discipline without externally-imposed austerity pressures from the EU?

The Keynesian spending approach of unrestrained spending is more worrisome for nations and states (like Illinois and California) that have almost no government spending disciplines unless such disciplines are applied from the outside. Both California and Illinois have very nearly the highest tax rates in the United States. How high can they keep going up and up and up to support progressive spending in those states and their unfunded public pension funds? The problem is that Greece, Illinois, and California cannot print their own currencies.

There's no such spending restraint under the Bernanke/Krugman/Blinder Keynesian Theory of Economics for nations like the U.S. and China that can crank up the currency printing presses.

And more good news for China
"Jeep, an Obama favorite, looks to shift production to China," Washington Examiner, October 25, 2012 ---

. . .

Well it appears that the taxpayer bailed-out Chrysler is looking back and now considering cutting costs by shifting production of all Jeeps to China, which has a strong desire for Jeeps.

In a Bloomberg interview, Jeep's president said the automaker plans to restore Jeep production in China, suspended in 2009, and is considering making all Jeeps in China. "Fiat SpA, majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country, according to the head of both automakers' operations in the region," reported the business wire service.

Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia and president of the Jeep brand, told Bloomberg, "We're reviewing the opportunities within existing capacity" as well as "should we be localizing the entire Jeep portfolio or some of the Jeep portfolio" to China.

Chrysler builds Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley said the firm is in talks with China's Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.

Having, with the help of Penn State, found himself fully aware inside of a whorehouse, Feeney now proposes that we do a sort of Las Vegas, a sort of Italy, on big-time college sports.
Kentucky is the ugly truth the NCAA wants to hide, and Duke is the hysterical lie they hide it with," Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on athletics scandals in colleges and universities ---

What a surprise. I thought she could gallop faster than the posse.
"U.S. Attorney: Ex-Dixon comptroller to plead guilty," Chicago Tribune, November 13, 2012 ---

Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell plans to plead guilty Wednesday to a federal fraud charge that alleges she siphoned more than $53 million from the small northwestern Illinois city’s coffers, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The office released a statement saying Crundwell will change her plea to guilty at a hearing Wednesday morning before U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard in federal court in Rockford.

It was unclear from the release how Crundwell’s guilty plea to the federal charge will impact separate state charges she faces for the same wrongdoing. She also faces 60 counts of theft tied to her alleged embezzlement from the city's accounts.

Crundwell is accused of stealing the money over two decades and using it to sustain a lavish lifestyle and a nationally renowned horse-breeding operation.

Federal authorities have auctioned off about 400 horses and a luxury motor home that Crundwell allegedly bought with the stolen city funds. If Crundwell is convicted, much of the money will be returned to Dixon – after the federal government takes its cut for caring for the horses for months.

How true can you get?
As (Commissioner) Bridgeman left office last year, he praised (Controller) Rita Crundwell for being an asset to the city and said she "
looks after every tax dollar as if it were her own," according to meeting minutes.

As quoted by Caleb Newquest on April 27, 2012 ---

She was mostly just horsing around
"Somehow the City of Dixon, Illinois Just Noticed (after six years) That $30 Million Was Missing," Going Concern, April 19, 2012 ---

"Why using cash may not protect your privacy in the future–game theory," Mind Your Decisions, November 11, 2012 --- Click Here

Jensen's Comment
This stretches the point to fit into a game theory context. For example, I use cash in restaurants and gas stations. I figure that in those places the odds are quite high of geting a credit card number stolen. Using cash protects my privacy.

But I use a credit card for Amazon, but I do use a credit card with a relatively low credit ceiling.

I think using cash protects my privacy except in places where I cannot do business without a credit card such as for rental cars, hotels, 800 numbers (Erika), and Amazon (me).

Surprise Victory of Business Over Government
Canadian "Supreme Court backs Glaxo in transfer-pricing dispute," by Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail, October 18, 2012 ---

The Supreme Court of Canada has sided with GlaxoSmithKline PLC in a lengthy tax fight the drug giant has been waging with the federal government, in a ruling that some say expands the ability of multinationals to use a technique known as “transfer pricing” to shift profits outside of Canada’s borders.

The court, weighing in for the first time on transfer pricing, handed a defeat to the Canada Revenue Agency in its battle with Glaxo over the way multinationals account for the profits they report to Canada’s taxman and those they send to other, often lower-tax, jurisdictions.

Queen’s University law professor Art Cockfield said Thursday’s ruling could embolden companies that use transfer pricing: “They can take a more aggressive stance, and create these sorts of structures that shift profits to countries like tax havens.”

But Prof. Cockfield and other tax law experts also acknowledge that the decision largely reinforces practices already used by multinationals, while beating back a CRA attempt to much more narrowly interpret the rules.

“This does not give taxpayers carte blanche, at all,” said Claire Kennedy, a tax lawyer with Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto. “... It’s not as though it’s creating a huge opening in terms of transfer pricing.”

Multinationals with local subsidiaries that sell their imported products in Canada must set a price, for tax purposes, that the subsidiary pays its parent for those goods. If the multinational wants to move more of its profits out of Canada, it can increase this “transfer price” that it charges its own subsidiary.

But according to tax laws in Canada and other countries, the prices subsidiaries pay must be equal to the “reasonable” cost an arm’s-length business would pay. At the centre of the Glaxo fight was just how this should be defined.

From 1990 to 1993, the Canadian subsidiary of British-based Glaxo Group Ltd. told Ottawa it had paid a Swiss affiliate $1,512 and $1,651 a kilogram for the ingredient ranitidine, which it packaged as the stomach ulcer drug Zantac.

That price was five times the cost paid by generic producers for the same drug. This difference attracted Ottawa’s attention, and it reassessed the company for $51-million in unpaid taxes, starting a complex and lengthy legal battle. Glaxo beat back the reassessment at the Federal Court of Appeal, and the government took it before the Supreme Court in January.

Glaxo argued the price made business sense, since it was dictated by a licensing agreement that gave its Canadian subsidiary access to all of its other drugs and the right to sell brand-name Zantac for a much higher price. The local subsidiary was still making, and declaring, a 60-per-cent profit margin, the company said.

But lawyers for the Canadian government argued that tax laws mean only the comparable generic price should be taken into account.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court disagreed, saying other factors, such as licensing agreements, should be considered when determining a reasonable arm’s- length price. But it declined Glaxo’s request to actually decide whether the price its Canadian subsidiary paid was fair, referring that question back to the Tax Court of Canada.

Continued in article

In 2012,  The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, and scores of other print media have take life-threatening hits on loss of subscription and advertising revenue. Newsweek is phasing out of hard copy printing. The New York Times is laying off people while having no business plan for the future. The WaPo took a double whammy in 2012 and is now considering diversification into health care.

"Will Buying a Hospice Keep the Washington Post Co. Off Life Support?" Knowledge@Wharton, October 24, 2012 ---

The Washington Post was an icon during the heyday of print journalism. Whether it was stories based on the Pentagon Papers or its investigative reporting on the Watergate scandal, the Post was a powerful national voice. Over the last decade, however, the newspaper has been buffeted by the same brutal forces besetting its print competitors: declining ad revenues and a shrinking subscriber base.

These days, the Washington Post Co., owner of the Post, is struggling to find a new direction as print continues to wither and its education business, Kaplan, shrinks in the wake of questions about the business practices of for-profit universities. The company's recent deal to acquire a hospice company may have left some observers scratching their heads. But the move was clearly a signal that the firm is looking for new sources of growth as its two core businesses decline.

"Clearly the print-to-digital shift is a major cataclysmic event across the board," says Wharton management professor Daniel Levinthal. "But the real challenge isn't just a technological shift. The problem is that the business model in that industry is changing. How you can profit from the original content that the Post and others were created to develop is now problematic." Among the casualties in that shift: Newsweek magazine, once owned by the Washington Post Co., which announced on October 18 that it will shutter its print operation at the end of the year and move to an all-digital format.

The magnitude of the challenge facing the Washington Post Co. is evident in its stock price. Five years ago, shares in the firm, which is controlled by the Graham family and led by CEO Donald Graham, were at $850. Today, the stock trades at just over $360. The precipitous drop reflects the double whammy of the falloff in revenues at the newspaper and setbacks at the once highly profitable Kaplan education division. In 2011, the company posted net income of $116 million, a 58% decline from the previous year.

The ongoing headaches in print have caused the Washington Post Co.'s newspaper publishing operation, which includes WashingtonPost.com and Slate, to rack up steady losses in recent years. For the first six months of 2012, the newspaper division's operating loss was $38 million. As advertising spending has shifted to the web and as readers have increasingly found other sources for news, the Post and other regional papers have contracted. "[Newspapers] were like local monopolists," Levinthal notes. "There was a certain amount of local advertising, and some went to television, radio and print -- [newspapers] were guaranteed some of that. But the web blew up those geographic boundaries and there went the economic model."

Wharton professor of business economics and public policy Michael Sinkinson says the challenge facing journalism outlets like the Post is exacerbated by the tendency of readers to favor news sources that reflect their personal opinions. Research by Sinkinson and others has shown that "people like reading news that conforms to their own views," he notes. And with the growth of digital media, "now there is a huge variety of viewpoints online, and consumers can seek out a source that matches their own perspective."

The Post has had some digital successes, including its popular Social Reader application that allows users to share what they are reading on Facebook. But critics argue that the Post failed to exploit the brand equity the paper built up during its glory days. While digital advertising was up 8% in the most recent quarter to $26.3 million, Bradley Safalow, founder and CEO of PAA Research based in New York City, says that it is still a small slice -- about 17% -- of the newspaper division's total revenues. "They didn't take advantage of their brand awareness 10 or 12 years ago. Politico, The Hill and Huffington Post have taken tremendous mindshare in terms of where people go for political information. I would argue that [these media outlets are] really who the Post competes with." Ken Doctor, a Santa, Cruz, Calif.-based media industry analyst for Outsell and Newsonomics, agrees that the Post should have been more aggressive about staking out its turf when it comes to online information about politics. "I think they missed a big opportunity," he states.

According to Wharton management professor Daniel Raff, online retailer Amazon is a great example of a company that has successfully capitalized on its brand equity. "There are ways for newspapers to generate revenue that are not confined to [charging readers for access to the site]," Raff says. "Amazon started out selling books and got itself in the position of being the most prominent address on the web. They then ... started renting that address and became a mall in which they owned some of the stores, but also leased space to others." While that approach may not translate directly to journalism, it clearly suggests that the key to survival for the Post and other media outlets is to think beyond the model as it existed in print, Raff notes. "The question is, 'Are there new ways of taking advantage of their brand equity in this setting?'"

As readers shift to the web, the Post has faced a critical decision on whether to join The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in charging for access to its content. So far, the paper has declined to do that. Doctor says the Post has resisted out of fear that it will lose too many national readers, losses that would hurt online ad revenues. This concern, he adds, reflects an even bigger problem -- the Post remains a regional publication. "The Post is not benefitting from the same economies of scale as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times," Doctor points out. "Those [outlets] can monetize national and global audiences through advertising and digital subscriptions. But the Post is focused on the Washington, D.C., metro area so there is a relatively small digital upside it can wring out of that market. It is a regional paper with national ambitions." PAA Research's Safalow contends that the Post would have difficulty charging for access to its site. "Are they bringing anything to the market that is truly differentiated?" he asks. "The answer is 'no.'"

A Two-way Conversation

As suggested above, and echoed in a recent Knowledge@Wharton interview with Raju Narisetti, managing director of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, the print-to-digital shift is changing the ways that content is reported and presented. "The interplay of technology and content is becoming more and more critical because in The New York Times, The Washington Post, WSJ, Financial Times, and USA Today, 70% to 80% of what we write and what we cover is fairly common," says Narisetti, who formerly was managing editor of The Washington Post, where his responsibilities included mobile and tablet initiatives. "In the newspaper world, we had a geographically captive audience. In some sense, they did not have much of a choice if they lived in Washington but to read The Washington Post in print."

But when it comes to digital, he says, "there is immense portability of your reader. And they have become more promiscuous in where they can go and what they can sample. So the only way you're going to be competitive, the only way you're going to build engagement and loyalty, is if you take your great journalism and create an amazing experience around it. By that I mean give readers a much more visual experience, whether it's video or galleries or audio, or the ability to engage with your content, co-create content, or use the databases more effectively. None of this could be done in print. That whole experience is what will bring them back to you versus going to another site. And I think that requires journalism to be hand in glove with technology. That hasn't been the case all these years in most media houses."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In the meantime, the common stock of The New York Times plunged from $10.87 before Halloween to a close of $8.19 on Friday --- scary! The NYT pins its hopes on downsizing and its new electronic subscriptions plan. But the future of electronic subscriptions is scary given all the free electronic news services, including those that make Associate Press articles free to the public.

From London to New York:  Go West young textbook, go West!
"Supreme Court Hears Case Involving Textbook Pricing," Inside Higher Ed, October 30, 2012 ---

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a case that explores whether re-sellers can hawk cheaper versions of textbooks, produced for students overseas, to U.S. students at a discount. The case, the second the court has heard in two years involving what is known as the "first sale" doctrine, could have major implications for how much publishers charge for their textbooks, both in the United States and abroad. Accounts in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal of the court's hearing in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. described justices divided over the arguments made by publishers and by the former graduate student whose resale of foreign-made textbooks earned him $1 million in a year and brought the wrath of the publishers.

"Episode 100: How Colleges Talk About (Tech) Reinvention," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 31, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

Fulbright Fellowships, Including the Fulbright-Hays Program  --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulbright_Program

"Fulbright Tries Out Short-Term Fellowships," by Ian Wilhelm, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 28, 2012 ---

After more than 60 years of sending American scholars overseas, the U.S. State Department's Fulbright International Educational Exchange Program is getting a tune-up. To better accommodate the workloads of today's scholars and respond to changes in how research is conducted, the department is experimenting with new types of awards.

The program sends some 1,100 academics outside the United States annually to teach, do research, or serve as advisers to faculty and officials at foreign universities. They are a small but significant portion of the 8,000 Fulbright awards each year, which also support international exchanges of students, artists, elementary and secondary schoolteachers, and other professionals.

Traditionally, Fulbright has sent American scholars abroad for a semester or an academic year. The majority of the grants will continue to do that, but the department is looking at new approaches, says Meghann Curtis, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs in the department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

"We're constantly having to look at our program and the various options within it," she says. "We ask ourselves: Is this feasible for an academic on an American college campus these days, whether they're an adjunct, a postdoc, or a tenured faculty member?"

A few years ago, the department began the Fulbright Specialist Program, which sends academics for two to six weeks to provide assistance on curriculum development or other educational projects at foreign institutions.

The department is also starting to offer a small number of "serial grants." They allow a scholar to travel between home and abroad several times for short stints over three years. When the international-exchange program started in the 1940s, such an approach would not have worked, says Ms. Curtis, but now, with online tools like Skype, a Fulbright winner can stay in touch with overseas partners while at home. "While you aren't physically there, you can continue to be in very close contact," she says.

While both newer programs lack the cultural immersion of the traditional program, they give more options to scholars, who face ever-increasing demands on their personal and professional lives, says Ms. Curtis.

She also hopes the new flexibility appeals to colleges and universities, where some deans and department leaders frown on giving a professor an extended leave of absence, even for an award as prestigious as the Fulbright.

"That's the direction we're moving in: to make it more feasible for your typical academic and frankly also to make it more appealing for U.S. universities to endorse their faculty to go."

The department also wants to respond to changes in how research is conducted. In the future, it may provide awards to international teams of scientists to facilitate travel among their countries, a shift meant to appeal in part to engineers and others in the STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fields. "We'd love to bring together cohorts so folks from the U.S. and, say, India, China, and Thailand, would be working together on a team," says Ms. Curtis.

Continued in article

Top 20 Destinations for Fulbright Scholars 2012-2013 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Fulbright-Tries-Short-Term/135420/ 

Most GMAT critical reasoning questions contain hidden assumptions, and learning how to recognize them is key

"GMAT Tip: Loaded Questions," Bloomberg Business Week, October 24, 2012 ---

The GMAT Tip of the Week is a weekly column that includes advice on taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, which is required for admission to most business schools. Every week an instructor from a top test-prep company will share suggestions for improving your GMAT score. This week’s tip comes from Andrew Mitchell, director of prebusiness programs and GMAT instructor at Kaplan Test Prep.

As the U.S. presidential election continues, the world around us teems with “arguments.” Arguments conveyed through TV ads, debates, stump speeches, and newspaper editorials attempt to persuade us to subscribe to a particular world view, vote for a certain candidate, even donate money to a specific campaign. That’s what all arguments are: attempts to convince. In real life, arguments make this attempt using a variety of tactics, some more honorable than others. While some arguments are based on solid evidence and reasoning, others rely on appeals to emotion or distorted facts.

Fortunately for GMAT test takers, the arguments found in questions that appear in the test’s Critical Reasoning section follow a specific pattern. Keep these things in mind as you evaluate GMAT arguments:

• All GMAT arguments contain evidence, which is used to support a conclusion.

• On the GMAT, all evidence is accepted as true. No exceptions, no “fact checkers.”

• All GMAT arguments are designed to contain a key point of vulnerability: a gap between the evidence and the conclusion, which must be bridged by an assumption.

• An assumption is defined as “something the author doesn’t state but that must be true in order for the argument to hold.”

Finding the assumption is the key to Critical Reasoning success. Questions can ask you to identify the central assumption, point out a flaw in the argument (by showing why the assumption is unreasonable), or recognize potential facts that would strengthen or weaken the argument (by supporting or undermining the assumption, respectively).

Practice identifying assumptions as you listen to the candidates’ arguments. Consider this one: “My administration would create more jobs, since my policies will cut taxes on corporate profits.”

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Note that the GMAT was among the first certification examinations to have computers grade essay questions ---

Sociology professor designs SAGrader software for grading student essays
Student essays always seem to be riddled with the same sorts of flaws. So sociology professor Ed Brent decided to hand the work off to a computer. Students in Brent's Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Missouri-Columbia now submit drafts through the SAGrader software he designed. It counts the number of points he wanted his students to include and analyzes how well concepts are explained. And within seconds, students have a score. It used to be the students who looked for shortcuts, shopping for papers online or pilfering parts of an assignment with a simple Google search. Now, teachers and professors are realizing that they, too, can tap technology for a facet of academia long reserved for a teacher alone with a red pen. Software now scores everything from routine assignments in high school English classes to an essay on the GMAT, the standardized test for business school admission. (The essay section just added to the Scholastic Aptitude Test for the college-bound is graded by humans). Though Brent and his two teaching assistants still handle final papers and grades students are encouraged to use SAGrader for a better shot at an "A."
"Computers Now Grading Students' Writing," ABC News, May 8, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment:  Aside from some of the obvious advantages such as grammar checking, students should have a more difficult time protesting that the grading is subjective and unfair in terms of the teacher's alleged favored versus less-favored students.  Actually computers have been used for some time in grading essays, including the GMAT graduate admission test --- http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=723

References to computer grading of essays --- http://coeweb.fiu.edu/webassessment/references.htm

You can read about PEG at http://snipurl.com/PEGgrade

Bob Jensen's threads on the CPA and CMA examinations are at

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

Make Your Own Computer Games

Invent with Python (make your own computer games)  --- http://inventwithpython.com/

Bob Jensen's threads on Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

"In Disaster Relief, Bigger Government Isn't Always Better:  FEMA spent $878 million on prefabricated homes after Hurricane Katrina. Thousands were left to rot," by Michael Tanner, The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
I disagree with writers like Tanner that each of the 50 states should take over responsibility for disaster relief. That in itself is a disaster if the states have to raise their own funding from taxation or borrowing. It's better to have the Federal government pay for FEMA disaster relief since the Federal government under Bernanke learned out to simply crank up the money printing presses to generate revenue without have to tax or borrow. When the government prints trillions of dollars to help pay its bills there's no reason to become efficient about a spending discipline. Bring on the greenbacks with the blessings of Keynesian theorists Paul Krugman and Alan Blinder.

What's most important for future generations is to stop rebuilding in high risk flooding zones. If you believe the global warming scientists the ocean levels are going to rise two feet in a few decades and storms will be more ferocious (even if we're presently in what oceanic scientists call a drought of hurricanes relative to years past). Should we really rebuild all those houses on the outer banks of New Jersey and North Carolina and rebuild their beaches time and time again? When will we learn to turn lowlands into wild wetlands once again? Is cost-efficient to rebuild all of Staten Island or New Orleans with ever-higher dikes?

Instead we should use Staten Island more efficiently --- as a landfill for New York and New Jersey trash. If done properly, in 100 years Staten Island will be a mountain where we can safely build luxury condos with fabulous views of hurricanes down below. I'm serious here. Bangor, Maine and many other towns are building what I consider to be outstanding mountains built on landfills. As soon as there is an efficient way to capture the underground methane these mountains will one day be outstanding building sites and ski resorts.

Free PSAT Practice Exams ---

"SAT Prep on the Web: : A) a Game; B) Online Chat; C) All of the Above," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2010 ---

This Saturday, high-school students around the country will sit for hours of silent testing that will determine some portion of their future: That's right, it's SAT time. For both parents and kids, the preparation for taking the standardized test is stressful and expensive, often involving hours of studying and several hundreds of dollars spent on classes, workbooks and tutors. And many kids will take these tests more than once.

So this week I tried a Web-based form of test prep called Grockit that aims to make studying for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE or LSAT less expensive and more enjoyable. Grockit.com offers lessons, group study and solo practice, and does a nice job of feeling fun and educational, which isn't an easy combination to pull off.

A free portion of the site includes group study with a variety of questions and a limited number of solo test questions, which are customized to each student's study needs. The $100 Premium subscription includes full access to the online platform with unlimited solo practice questions and personalized performance analytics that track a student's progress. A new offering called Grockit TV (grockit.com/tv) offers free eight-week courses if students watch them streaming live twice a week. Otherwise, a course can be downloaded for $100 during the course or $150 afterward. Instructors hailing from the Princeton Review and Kaplan, among other places, teach test preparation for the GMAT business-school admissions test and SAT.

For the sake of testing, I focused on the SAT and plunged back into the depths of reading, writing and (gulp) math to get a sense of what students see and do on Grockit.com. In a short period of time, I found myself wanting to go back to the site to get better at certain sections or to earn more Experience Points, which result in badges and unlock new levels of study, both of which can be optionally posted to outside networks like Facebook or Twitter. By default, everyone can see one another's points, which invites healthy competition; these can also be hidden if you'd rather keep them private.

I tested both the free version of Grockit.com, which includes an SAT writing diagnostic test, and the extra offerings of a $100 Premium account, including diagnostic tests for writing, reading and math to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses in taking the SAT. The free version had too many messages that constantly notified me of what I could do with a paid account and prompted me to upgrade.

Along with completing practice questions with strangers and instructors, I got a friend of mine to also use Grockit.com so we could compete together in Grockit's Speed Challenge Games. These are included in the free portion and they reward the fastest person who answers a question correctly—but also display incorrect guesses, thus narrowing the possible answers for those who don't answer first. It was more fun for me to play against someone I knew, but I can imagine kids preferring the anonymity of competing with strangers when they don't answer questions correctly.

In an introductory video, Grockit founder and chief product officer Farb Nivi describes the site by saying, "It's like having a complete multimedia textbook and workbook online, at your fingertips." But for kids (and from my experience, adults), the computer isn't an easy place to concentrate. On any given PC, especially one used by a teenager, instant-message indicators are chiming, Facebook updates and Twitter tweets are waiting to be checked, music is playing in the background and emails are flowing into inboxes. Plus, the Grockit site is just a tab away from other websites and distractions. And the site has no way of working in a distraction-free mode, like how the new Microsoft Office for Mac offers Full Screen View, which quiets any alerts or pop-up distractions.

It also isn't necessarily comfortable for students to read extensive text (like in reading questions for the SAT) on a vertical computer screen. The site will run on the iPad, which can be held on a lap for more comfortable reading, but many students don't own one of these.

Part of the way Grockit is made more fun is by purposely incorporating social networking into the experience. As people work on questions, they can instant message with one another in a right-side panel about tips for answering questions or simply for commiserating about studying. These IMs don't make indicator sounds, so they aren't too intrusive, but they can't be fully closed. I saw several chats among teens about nothing in particular, as well as some test-taking tips from instructors and other students.

Grockit encourages users to "be nice" in chats because all conversations are logged; people can also flag one another for offensive remarks. Chats are also archived on your page so you can reread them for tips and study hints. If you find someone's tip helpful or if you simply like a person, you can award him or her with Grockit Points, which show up beside a name and profile photo. Users' ages or last names aren't displayed.

Grockit offers one-on-one tutoring for a fee of $50 an hour, and I tried one session for math. My instructor and I used Skype to audio chat throughout the session and he took advantage of a whiteboard in Grockit, where he could write out the steps in an algebra problem to demonstrate how to solve for X.

Around 40 instructors are employed for Grockit, but anyone can run a practice session, even other students. I signed up for a scheduled practice session at 8 p.m. that I assumed was run by an instructor, and later found out it was run by a student. Grockit instructors can also pop into sessions at any given time to help students, and one did during my session. Grockit works on a system of transparency so users can evaluate all teachers. My tutor had five-star rating and did a great job reminding me of algebra rules.

If you're looking for an inexpensive and more enjoyable way to study for big tests, Grockit is a viable and easily accessible option. But its proximity to the rest of the Web could prove much more distracting than the old SAT workbook.

—See a video with Katherine Boehret on Web-based test-prep software at WSJ.com/PersonalTech.
Email her at mossbergsolution@wsj.com

Dangers of Becoming Dependent Upon the Chinese Markets
Japan Plunges Into Deep Recession; GDP Shrinks 3.5% Annualized --- Click Here

"Which B-School Has the Most Global Student Body?" by Louis Lavelle, Bloomberg Business Week, October 24, 2012 ---

There’s growing recognition that today’s MBA graduates, whatever path they take after commencement, will need a knowledge of global business practices and cultures to operate effectively. And there are few better ways to develop those skills than in a classroom surrounded by students who are nothing like you—from the languages they speak to their religious beliefs.

So it should come as no surprise that when judging MBA programs, one of the factors many applicants examine is the student body mix, paying particular attention to the percentage of students who hail from foreign shores. In that spirit, Bloomberg Businessweek has assembled a list of the schools with the most, and least, international student bodies among more than 100 participating in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 ranking of the top full-time MBA programs, scheduled for release on Nov. 15.

For an apples-to-apples comparison, we limited this ranking to U.S. schools, where the share of students from abroad averaged 35.4 percent, a far cry from the 74.8 percent among international programs. But for the record: The non-U.S. programs with the most international students were IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, where 98 percent of MBA students are from somewhere else. The Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, at 97 percent, wasn’t far behind.

And the least “international” international program? That would be the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, where only 31 percent of the student body comes from outside Canada. The China-Europe International Business School, with a student body that’s 42 percent international, came in second, with two Canadian programs, HEC Montreal and the Queen’s School of Business, tied for third at 45 percent.

See table in article for the most international U.S. MBA Programs topped by

  1. Syracuse University (68%),
  2. Purdue University (67%),
  3. Hofstra University (59%),
  4. Babson College (59%), and
  5. Thunderbird (55%).

Business Schools With the Best Teachers Are Not Necessarily the Highest Ranked Domestic or International Business Schools

What hurts the top-ranked business schools in terms of teaching reputations?
Hint: Think class size

But don't even mention the unthinkable:  Research stress does not always allow top-ranked business school teachers to perform at their best in classrooms.

And don't even think the other unthinkable:  Having teachers who hate capitalism and business does not really help, especially outside the U.S.

"B-Schools With Five-Star Teachers," by Louis Lavelle, Bloomberg Business Week, November 12, 2012 ---

What qualities make for a great teacher? Like beauty, that’s very much in the eye of the beholder. But in business school, students almost universally praise certain attributes: a compelling classroom presence, an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, easy availability after class, and a research record second to none.

As part of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 Best B-Schools ranking, scheduled for publication on Nov. 15, we asked recent MBA graduates to judge the quality of their business school’s faculty. When the ranking is published, we’ll award letter grades, from A+ to C, to each of the ranked schools based on how well each program fared in this area. The letter grades are based on an actual numerical ranking, which we used to create the ranking below.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this list is that it doesn’t include any of the schools typically considered the best of the best—including Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School, and Wharton, which took the top three spots in our 2010 ranking. In fact, the highest-ranked school on the “best” list is Virginia’s Darden School of Business, which ranked 11th in 2010 and came in at No. 3 for teaching. It’s possible that Booth, Harvard, and Wharton were the victims of high expectations. Their reputations for excellence may be impossible to live up to. Very large classes probably don’t help, either. All three have somewhat crowded classrooms, with Harvard tipping the scales at an average of 90 students in core courses.

The “worst” list is dominated by international schools, including two top 10 programs, No. 4 ESADE in Barcelona and No. 9 York’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto. There does not appear to be a universal explanation for this.

See the article itself for a ranking of business schools with the best teachers.

Jensen Question
If Indiana and Maryland universities have the best business school teachers, why do highest GMAT applicants still prefer
Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School, and Wharton if they can swing the prices of these top ranked business schools?

Bob Jensen's threads on the media rankings of business schools and accounting programs ---

A Health Cost Savings Idea from Two Tuck Graduate School of Business Professors at Dartmouth
"Quality Health Care at 3% of the Cost," by Vijay Govindarajan and Anant Sundaram, Harvard Business Review Blog, November 2, 2012 --- Click Here

Every so often, good ideas to lower health care costs in the US will come from unlikely sources.

Consider organ transplants. Approximately 30% of the world's 100,000 transplants performed annually are done in the US. Nine out of 10 of these involve kidney, liver, or pancreas.

One important problem in organ transplantation is the immune system's adverse reaction to foreign objects, leading to organ rejection. Transplant nephrologists use induction therapy to deal with this problem. In this therapy, the physician introduces antibodies (typically, polyclonal as opposed to monoclonal) into the patient's system to help suppress rejection.

The most common process in the US involves induction using polyclonal antibodies derived from rabbits. In a typical kidney transplant, for example, therapy using rabbit-derived antibodies costs up to $20,000 per patient.

Yet, evidence — from a team of nephrologists led by Dr. K. S. Nayak at Lazarus Hospitals in Hyderabad, India — shows that use of an equine-derived antibody can lower this cost to $600 to $800 per patient. This cost reduction is achieved by using a product made by an Indian company, Bharat Serums & Vaccines Ltd., and switching to a carefully-managed protocol that administers the equine-derived antibody in a single dose, as opposed to a multiple-dose protocol common in the US. (A smaller dose is given just prior to surgery since it aborts the initiation of rejection, and predisposes the patient to fewer post-surgical infections.) This approach has now been adopted in many developing countries.

In published research, Dr. Nayak and his team show that success rates from the use of such a single-dose, equine-derived, $600- $800 induction therapy are no different from those from the $20,000 procedure. If adopted across the 30,000 transplants in the US, this protocol could conceivably save hundreds of millions of US health care dollars, annually.

Interestingly, product development and testing of the equine-based product was originally done decades ago by researchers at the University of Minnesota, but use of the antibody failed to get FDA approval and its production stopped in 1994.

This raises two nettlesome questions. First, why did it take a team from emerging markets to adopt this US innovation? Second, why do cost-saving innovations like these fail to get adopted in the US health care system?

Our take on the question of why this was first adopted in an emerging market and not in the US? Contrast per capita incomes in the US and India: The average American earns $50,000 per year, while the average Indian earns one-thirtieth of that. Indeed, incomes of the majority of Indians lie below that already-low average. Add to that a lack of social safety nets or health insurance. Such severe economic constraints can, counter-intuitively, be an advantage in the innovation game. Why? Health care providers in countries like India are forced to push the price-performance paradigm. They are pressed to offer quality care at an ultra-low price.

But what might explain the US health care system's inability to adopt and widely diffuse such low-cost solutions? Is it the incentives inherent in a fee-for-service system that compensates providers based on quantity rather than quality of services? Is it the delinking of the consumption of health care from price signals — i.e., providing a service to those who almost never have to see a bill, let alone pay for it out-of-pocket? Is it the way in which we train medical professionals, training that places no emphasis on cost of care?

How can high quality-low cost innovations be adopted in the US? What needs to change?


Jensen Comment
The above article illustrates how to mislead with aggregations. The above article claims about 30% of the 100,000 global transplants are performed in the U.S. However, if we delete the relatively simple kidney transplants from the aggregation the proportion for the U.S. skyrockets, especially in terms of the much more complicated heart and heart-liver transplants ---

One of my good friends (an attorney) in Bangor, Maine has lived with a heart transplant for over 30 years and is still doing very well in his retirement years. I wonder how long he would've lived on the less expensive equine-derived antibody therapy? One of the problems with major new cost cutting innovations in the area of organ transplantation is that survival studies take many years.

The article does not mention the fact that Texas is prospering with the simple cost saving idea of passing a constitutional amendment to cap punitive damage awards in the State of Texas. The major heart transplantation center in Houston benefits greatly from the resulting decline in malpractice insurance.

A major problem with transplantation is the shortage of donors having genetic matches with patients awaiting transplants. This makes kidneys less of a problem since a relative can donate a kidney and still live on with a full and happy life. But awaiting a heart transplant often becomes futile. I think there should be some kind of government program to significantly reward people while living for agreeing to donate organs immediately after death. Perhaps there could also be a program to reward their estates, although this presents some moral hazards of terminating Uncle Joe before his time.

Bob Jensen's threads on health care ---

"Many Complaints of Faculty Bias Stem From Students' Poor Communicating, Study Finds," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 29, 2012 ---

College students would be less inclined to see their instructors as politically biased and more inclined to deal well with such bias if they were taught better communication and argumentation skills, a new study has found.

How students communicate when confronted with opposing viewpoints, the study found, has a lot to do with how likely they are to see instructors as politically biased or to react to perceptions of bias in ways that undermine their own learning. In a nutshell, students who are predisposed to verbally attack people with other viewpoints are more likely than others to perceive their instructors as ideologically biased. Students who are predisposed to enjoy a good, reasoned argument are less likely than others to react to perceptions of instructor bias by withdrawing from classroom discussions or censoring themselves to hide their true beliefs.

An article on the study, scheduled to be published in January in the journal Communication Education, argues that some perceptions of classroom bias would decline, and students would benefit more from exposure to opposing viewpoints, if colleges did more to teach argumentation and debate skills.

Teaching undergraduates such skills "can help them deal with ideological questions in the classroom and elsewhere in a civil way, and in a way that can discriminate between when professors are expressing a bias and when they are expressing a perspective that they may, or may not, actually be advocating," said Darren L. Linvill, an assistant professor of communication at Clemson University who is one of the article's co-authors.

The study's findings, however, were criticized as ideologically biased themselves by Peter W. Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, a group that has frequently accused colleges of liberal or leftist indoctrination.

The article summarizing the study, Mr. Wood said on Friday, "seems to me to have a flavor of 'blaming the victim,'" and appears "intended to marginalize the complaints of students who have encountered bias in the classroom."

'A Little Backbone'

The study was conducted by Mr. Linvill and by Joseph P. Mazer, also an assistant professor of communication at Clemson. They based their analysis on the results of three separate surveys administered to a total of 226 undergraduates—45 freshmen, 65 sophomores, 84 juniors, and 32 seniors—from a randomly generated list of students enrolled at a large Southeastern university that the researchers do not name. Although the students came from just one institution, Mr. Linvill said the study's limited scope did not matter. The study does not make generalizations about other institutions, but instead examines relationships between variables, which presumably "would be the same no matter what group of students we are looking at."

One of the three surveys measured a trait called "argumentativeness," a tendency to seek out, rather than avoid, situations where one can argue a point of view. The researchers characterized that trait as generally positive. A second survey measured a trait called "verbal aggression," which the researchers characterized as generally negative. That trait was defined as a tendency to engage in ad hominem attacks or otherwise attack the self-concept of people who hold opposing views. The third survey measured how students perceive and respond to instructor bias, asking questions related to students' general attitude toward the faculty as opposed to their experience with particular instructors.

The researchers found a substantial correlation between high scores for verbal aggressiveness and the likelihood that students would see instructors as biased. The researchers found a substantial negative correlation between high scores for argumentativeness and the likelihood that students would respond to perceived instructor bias by keeping quiet in class or offering only the answers they thought their instructors wanted to hear.

Mr. Wood took issue with how the study had characterized students. He argued that those who publicly accuse their instructors of bias might not be exhibiting any negative trait so much as "a little backbone." While agreeing with the two Clemson researchers' assertion that colleges should better teach students how to argue and debate, he said it is naïve to dismiss students' fears that they will suffer repercussions for expressing views their instructors find objectionable.

"I uphold the principle of good, open discussion, but it does not stop with the assertion that this is what we want," said Mr. Wood, who added that he hears "virtually every day" from undergraduate or graduate students who believe their grades suffered as a result of instructors' biased responses to their classroom statements.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Instead of engaging a biased professor who is willing to have a public or private debate, many students just fire off complaints to RateMyProfessors ---
Seems sort of nasty and not in the spirit of the article above by Peter Schmidt..

One example of a liberal role model is the Robert Jensen who still serves as a Professor Of Journalism at the University of Texas

Read the many student comments about him on RateMyProfessor  --- that I don't generally trust for the numerical ratings since the sample is self-selected. But sometimes the written comments are revealing. He appears to be an inspiring teacher teaching absurdly easy courses. The most frequent opinions given by students concern how easy the course is throughout the semester.

Here's a sampling of over 50 student comments:

He made his entire class work on organizing a demonstration against the school, which I thought was way out of line. On top of that, it turned out that the reason behind all of this was so he could get media coverage at the demonstration, which made him look good since it seemed like he had a lot of supporters. So exploitative and opportunistic!!

I expected to learn about journalism, not to be indoctrinated in left-wing ideologies. A waste of my time. It's alright to disagree with the war in Iraq but to openly state that you want the insurgents to win in Iraq is traitorious. Look elsewhere for a journalism class.

He is likes to express his opinions in class..A LOT.

Great teacher. Holds interest level. Socialist? cool. whatever. liberal? awesome. vegetarian? hell yes."

It's easy to tell which reviewers went to his class and which ones are just angry conservatives who heard that there was a liberal professor in the journalism dept (shocking!).

Nice enough guy, but so liberal he's practically a socialist. He likes to preach (a.k.a. give people something to think about). I fell asleep in the class almost every day, but it was interesting.

Jensen Comment
Yes I know the evidence above is anecdotal. But there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence of professors like the above UT Journalism professor.

So often we envision a biased professor shedding his/her biases outside the classroom door, but this is probably a myth, especially if you take the entire semester into account. There may be many classes where he/she leaves biases outside the classroom door. But by the end of the term there are usually enough slip ups that students generally know what kind of political and economic role model taught the course.

By the way, one reason to search RateMyProfessor is for the laughs. Students have so many ways of expressing their opinions that sometimes it's hilarious.

CyberEconomics (multimedia textbook) --- http://ingrimayne.com/econ/

Best and Worst 2012 MBA Job Placement - Job Offers Abundant, for Most - Business Week ---

Jensen Comment
Placement data can be somewhat misleading, especially for very small programs. For example, before Trinity University dropped its MBA program a significant proportion of the graduates were full-time military employees. At the time San Antonio's major employers were five military bases, two of which like Lackland and Kelly were enormous, although many of our MBA students were medical military from the Brooke Army Hospital. But placement of other graduates was really problematic. Also the MBA program did not coincide with Trinity's goal of having only full-time students in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Enrollments and placements of full-time MBA students were weak, and the MBA program was dropped. Later a MS program in accountancy was added after Texas passed the 150-credit rule.

The above Bloomberg Business Week link has a somewhat dubious advertisement from Thunderbird. In that advertisement, Thunderbird rightly claims to be the Number 1 School for Global Business in various international-specialty rankings ---
But Thunderbird does not even make the Top 30 in terms of the above MBA placement rankings where Thunderbird advertises itself as being Number 1.

It's extremely rare for a business professor to be ranked Number 1 on RateMyProfessor.
So for International Business Professor Andy Gold (Iona College) to be ranked Number 1 is noteworthy

I might also note that the following are in the Top 25 among University Professors:

"THE MISSING COMPONENT," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, October 11, 2012 ---

College education has numerous critics these days. I believe the recent fascination with MOOCs comes – at least in part – from dissatisfaction with the perceived quality of the current educational experience. We promise development of critical thinking skills in our students but often appear to deliver little more than well-rehearsed memorization. The argument then follows that we don’t need small classes and individual attention simply to teach memorization. Massive online courses can achieve that goal with much less cost.

In my spare time, I often ponder how modern college education can become better. For example, is the education that a college student gets today really superior in any way to the norm 40 years ago? Cars get more miles per gallon of gas than they did back then. Computers run thousands of times faster. But, has college education gotten better during that same period? We are certainly able to teach more students but has the average education actually improved in any significant way?

About 20 years ago, I read an article that I remember well to this day. The article argued that society’s best teacher was the drill sergeant in charge of new Marine recruits during their stay in basic training. This officer gets paid a relatively small amount but will work 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, for weeks on end to make sure the new recruits are properly trained. The drill sergeant will push, cajole, and drive each person toward success. At the end of that time, the recruit will be basically a new person – gone are laziness and bad habits. The person is now a well-trained soldier.

Why does the drill sergeant work so hard without much real compensation? According to the article, the sergeant is training each new recruit on how to stay alive during combat and other dangerous situations. For the drill sergeant, the very life of the recruit is on the line. A properly trained soldier stays alive whereas a poorly trained one might not. Failure to teach the young soldier well can possibly lead to an avoidable death. It is the urgency of the education that pushes the drill sergeant to go all out, night and day, to train the recruit. The recruit might actually hate the sergeant but also might owe his life to that teacher.

I was reminded of this article recently. My wife and our daughters occasionally watch a television show called “The Biggest Loser.” I have never seen a complete episode but I will sometimes watch a few minutes as I pass through the room. As you might know, a group of very heavy contestants are chosen. These folks typically weigh between 280 to 500 pounds and their lives are in jeopardy simply because of their extreme heaviness.

Over a period of weeks, these contestants eat less and exercise so much that they often lose hundreds of pounds. They become new people ready to resume more active rolls in society.

My favorite characters on this show are the trainers who work with each of the contestants. I know that one of them is named Jillian. Jillian will get in the contestant’s faces and push them unmercifully to do their exercises. She will beg them; she will yell at them; she will use whatever trick it takes to get them to work harder and harder so that the excess weight is lost. From what I have seen, no one does more than Jillian to get the results she wants. I often wonder what college would be like if we had a few people like Jillian on our faculty.

By the end of the television season, these folks have had their lives completely turned around. They might have weighed 390 pounds at the start of the competition but be down to 180 by the end.

Clearly, they do not like the amount of pushing that Jillian does. The work can be incredibly hard. They are used to being lazy; she wants them to do real work. They have always made excuses; she won’t let them make any excuses. I am always expecting one of the contestants to pick Jillian up one day and throw her out the window. However, at the last week of each show, almost every contestant will hug Jillian and tell her thanks. Thanks for not giving up on them. Thanks for continuing to push them to get better and stronger. Thanks for guiding them to lose so much weight. She is not their best buddy and doesn't want to be but she has helped them to change their lives for the better.

Why does Jillian push these people so hard? Well, like the drill sergeant, there is a real urgency present. Improvement is needed and improvement is needed immediately. These people are so heavy that they will likely die before their time if they don’t make a change right now. Today. Each contestant is hundreds of pounds overweight and could have a heart attack at any moment.

This is what I call “educational urgency.” The teacher imparts an urgency that requires serious work and lots of it and all of it right now. No procrastination. No laziness. No excuses. There is work to be done and it needs to be done now.

How many teachers have you ever had that seemed to indicate that there was any urgency at all in the learning of class material? I have had dozens of teachers and I don't remember ever having any urgency. I meandered forward at my own leisure.

Students are human beings (believe it or not). Ask yourself this question: How much real work will they do without a sense of urgency?

Most teachers want their students to learn and most do become annoyed if the students don’t learn. But, is there ever any real urgency? And, if there is not, why would in teacher expect a college student to do the work or even care about the class?

I believe that one of the reasons college teaching is under attack is that our classes often don’t ring with any urgency at all. If the student learns the material, that is great but, if not, it is really no big deal. In the end, it really doesn’t make much difference. That's an attitude that can lead to general dissatisfaction.

Whether you teach Shakespeare or philosophy or political science or, even, accounting, is there any urgency at all to the learning process? If there is no urgency, why should your students really do anything for you? Of course, there are always a few great students who love the material and do the work because of that interest. Trust me, they are not the problem. It is the other students we need to reach and spur on to better habits and deeper thinking.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Is there grade inflation in the Marines by having recruits evaluate their teaching drill sergeants?

Is there a RateMySergeant Website?

Grade Inflation and Dysfunctional Teaching Evaluations (the biggest scandal in higher education) ---

"A Windows 8 Cheat Sheet," by David Pogue, The New York Times, October 25, 2012 ---

In my New York Times column on Thursday, I pointed out that Microsoft’s new Windows 8 feels like two operating systems in one. There’s the traditional desktop Windows, best for mouse and keyboard, and the new TileWorld (as I call it), best for touch screens.

Why “best”? Because desktop Windows has tiny buttons, menus and controls that are generally too small for finger manipulation, and TileWorld is filled with gestures that make sense only on touch screens.

¶If you install Windows 8, you’ll have to learn both environments, like it or not; you can’t live in just one environment or the other. So the question arises: how are you supposed to operate TileWorld if you have a nontouch computer?

¶Answer: There are mouse and keyboard equivalents for the touch gestures.

¶Surprisingly, you have to dig around a bit online to find out what they are. So here, for the benefit of Windows 8 adopters, is your centralized cheat sheet: all of the most important touch/mouse/keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8.

¶Open the Start screen. The colorful rectangular tiles that make up the new Start screen are easy to reach.

¶Touch screen: Swipe your finger into the screen from the right border to make the Charms panel appear (described next); tap Start.

¶Mouse: Point to the lower-left corner of the screen; when the Start screen icon appears, click.

¶Keyboard: Press the Windows key.

¶Many new tablets and laptops have a dedicated Windows-logo button under the screen. Pressing it also opens the Start screen.

¶Open the Charms panel. The Charms menu is a thin vertical panel of important icons like Search, Share, Start and Settings.

¶Touch screen: Swipe your finger into the screen from the right border.

¶Mouse: Point to the top right corner of the screen.

¶Keyboard: Press the Windows key+C.

¶You can also jump directly to one of the buttons on the Charms panel.

¶Share button: Windows+H

¶Settings button: Windows+I

¶Devices button: Windows + K

¶Open the App menu. Programs designed for TileWorld often have a few options, represented as icons in a hidden horizontal bar. In Internet Explorer, for example, this bar shows all your open browser tabs.

¶Touch screen: Swipe into the screen a short distance from the top or bottom of the screen.

¶Mouse: Right click anywhere in the window.

¶Keyboard: Press the Windows key+Z.

¶Next app. Here’s how you jump from one TileWorld app to the next. (The Desktop, and all of its own programs, are represented as one jump.)

¶Touch screen: Swipe into the screen from the left border.

¶Mouse: Point to the upper left corner of the screen.

¶Keyboard: Press and release the Windows key+Tab.

¶App Switcher. In regular Windows, Alt+Tab (and hold down the Alt key) shows you a little dashboard displaying the icons of all open programs, so you can jump directly to the one you want.

¶Touch screen: Swipe into the screen from the left border, then back out again. A vertical column of open app icons appears.

¶Mouse: Point to the lower left corner of the screen.

¶Keyboard: Press Windows key+Tab, but keep the Windows key pressed.

¶Or press Alt+Tab (hold down Alt) as you always have. That brings up the traditional horizontal row of open-app icons. This app switcher includes open desktop apps (traditional Windows apps).

¶Split the screen between two apps. This feature made its debut with Windows 7; it lets you split your screen between two programs’ windows.

¶Touch screen: Swipe your finger slowly into the screen from the left or right border. Or swipe down from the top edge, then to right or left.

¶Mouse: Drag a window’s title window to the left or right side of the screen until its outline changes to a full-height, half-width window. Release.

¶Keyboard: Press Windows key plus the left or right arrow key.

¶Close an app. Here’s how to exit a program in TileWorld.

¶Touch screen: Swipe down from the middle of the top border, almost all the way down the screen.

¶Mouse: Point to the top of the window to make the grabber handle appear; drag it all the way down the screen.

¶Keyboard: Press Alt+F4.

¶Right click. In Windows, right clicking an item summons a shortcut menu — a short menu listing commands relevant only to the object you clicked. In Windows 8, that menu takes the form of a horizontal strip at the bottom of the Start screen, offering options like Uninstall and Unpin (from the Start screen).

¶Touch screen: Swipe down from a tile on the Start screen.

¶Mouse: Right click, of course.

¶Keyboard: Press the little menu key.

¶Zooming in or out. To magnify or shrink your view of a photo, map or Web page, proceed like this:

¶Touch screen: Spread or pinch two fingers on the screen, just as on an iPad.

¶Mouse: While pressing the Ctrl key, turn your mouse’s scroll wheel.

¶Keyboard: Press Ctrl and the + or – key.

¶Zooming fully out. On the Start screen, you can zoom out so far that your tiles become little icons; in this mode, you can group them or move them en masse.

¶Touch screen: Pinch two fingers on the screen.

¶Mouse: While pressing the Ctrl key, turn your scroll wheel. Or point to the bottom right, and then click the Summary View icon that appears. (To zoom out again, click any blank area.)

¶Keyboard: Press Ctrl+the minus key.

¶Search for files or settings. The new TileWorld Search command requires that you specify what you’re looking for: an app, a file and so on. But there are shortcuts for file searches and settings searches.

¶Touch screen: Swipe in from the right border; tap Search; tap Files or Settings.

¶Mouse: Point to the top right corner of the screen; tap Search; tap Files or Settings.

¶Keyboard: Press the Windows key+F for files, Windows key+Q for settings.

¶Search for apps. This one’s really best with the keyboard: you can jump to an app on the Start screen, even if it’s several horizontal scroll-pages away.

¶Touch screen: Swipe in from the right border; tap Search.

¶Mouse: Point to the top right corner of the screen; tap Search.

¶Keyboard: At the Start screen, just start typing.

¶External monitor/projector options. Do you want your main screen mirrored on the external screen, or extended onto it? You can open a handy panel that lists your options.

¶Touch screen: Swipe in from the right border; tap Devices; tap Second Screen.

¶Mouse: Point to the top right corner of the screen; tap Devices; tap Second Screen.



"Windows Pushes Into the Tablet Age New-Style Apps and Touch Interface Modernize Old-School Operating System," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2012 ---

Microsoft MSFT -2.29% is giving Windows its most radical overhaul since 1995 and even its most devoted users won't recognize the venerable computer operating system in this new incarnation, called Windows 8, when it appears Oct. 26.

The minute you turn it on, the difference is apparent. Instead of the familiar desktop, you see a handsome, modern, slick world of large, scrolling tiles and simpler, full-screen apps best used on a touch screen and inspired by tablets and smartphones.

This is called the Start screen and it replaces the Start Menu every Windows user knows. But it's not just a menu, it's a whole computing environment that takes over the entire display, with its own separate apps and controls. The old desktop and old-style apps are still there. But in Windows 8, the desktop is like another app—you tap or click on a Start screen icon or button to use it.

This is a bold move and in my view, the new tile-based environment works very well and is a welcome step. It feels natural, especially on a touch screen, and brings Windows into the tablet era. It may even mark the beginning of a long transition in which the new design gradually displaces the old one, though that will depend on how fast Microsoft can attract new-style apps.

Windows will now consist of two very different user experiences bound into a single package. The idea is it's a one-size-fits-all operating system, which can run on everything from older, mouse-driven PCs to touch-controlled tablets without compromise. Everything from a touch-based weather app to mouse-driven Excel will run on it. That's a big contrast to Apple's approach, which uses separate operating systems for its iPad tablets and more standard Mac computers. Potential for Confusion

By adopting the dual-environment strategy, Microsoft risks confusing traditional PC users, who will be jumping back and forth between two ways of doing things. Both the new and old environments can work via either touch or a mouse and keyboard, but the former works best with touch, the latter best with the mouse or track pad.

There are even two different versions of Internet Explorer. And many functions are different. For instance, Start-screen apps typically lack the standard menus, toolbars, resizing and closing buttons at the top that older apps do.

The company is gambling that the confusion will be brief and will be offset by the ability, via the old desktop, to run traditional productivity apps like Microsoft Office, which can't be run on the iPad or its Android brethren. Different Versions and Abilities

But wait, there's even more potential for confusion. Windows 8 will come in two versions, one for standard Intel-based PCs and one, called RT, for tablets that run on the same type of processor that powers competing smartphones and tablets.

. . .

Microsoft deserves credit for giving Windows a new, modern, face. And the company will surely please existing users by maintaining the old one and the ability to run older apps. But the combination will require re-learning the most familiar computing system on the planet.

—Find all of Walt Mossberg's columns and videos at walt.allthingsd.com. Email him at mossberg@wsj.com.


Jensen Comment
Walt Mossberg is one of the world's most independent commentators on technology. While being one of Steve Job's best personal friends in life, Walt has always shown his independence when reviewing Apple, Microsoft, and other technology products.

MOOCs from Blackboard and Instructure CMS Providers
"Course-Management Companies Challenge MOOC Providers," by Alisha Azevedo, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 1, 2012 ---

Two software companies that sell course-management systems, Blackboard and Instructure, have entered the race to provide free online courses for the masses.

On Thursday both companies plan to announce partnerships with universities that will use their software to teach massive open online courses, or MOOC’s. The companies hope to pull in their own college clients to compete with online-education players like Udacity and Coursera.

Instructure has released a new platform called Canvas Network, which allows colleges and universities that already use the company’s learning-management system to offer free courses. A dozen institutions have already agreed to deliver courses on the platform, including Brown University and the University of Washington.

The courses, which will begin in January, are a “response to the MOOC phenomenon that’s been going on,” said Josh Coates, chief executive of Instructure. The courses—20 of them, for starters—will cover a wide range of topics, including one on college algebra and another on gender in comic books that will be co-taught by Stan Lee, who helped create Spider-Man and other characters.

“EdX and Coursera and some of the other MOOC platforms are quite exclusive,” Mr. Coates said. “They only allow Ivy League schools or research institutions to participate. We see this as a democratization of MOOC’s—we want to allow anybody to participate in online learning, and we also want them to do it their way.”

Some universities using Canvas have expressed interest in charging tuition for the online courses in the future or offering course credit for them, Mr. Coates said. The company may also expand the new Canvas Network into secondary education.

Though Blackboard’s CourseSites platform has been available for more than a year to individual instructors interested in putting their courses online free, the company planned to announce on Thursday that three universities had decided to designate Blackboard as their “default option” for MOOC’s.

Unlike Instructure, Blackboard allows any university to offer MOOC’s on its platform, even if the institutions are not Blackboard clients. Arizona State University, the State University of New York’s Buffalo State College, and the University of Illinois at Springfield chose Blackboard after considering other MOOC providers.

Instructors may be drawn toward teaching MOOC’s on those platforms rather than Udacity or Coursera because they are already familiar with the companies’ course-management software.

Because the Springfield campus has used Blackboard for years, instructors will be able to teach MOOC’s more comfortably, said Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning and director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service. “There are plenty of challenges with MOOC’s, aside from just the technical challenges,” he said. “The different languages, the different cultures, serving thousands of students at a time—this platform allows us to focus our energies on those things instead.”

But some universities may decide instead to experiment to see which platform works best for them. The University of Washington and Brown University already offer MOOC’s through Coursera.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on MITx, EdX, and MOOCs from prestigious universities ---

"The Case for Blending the Liberal Arts with Professional Training," by William H. Weitzer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 30, 2012 ---

I have a narrative to tell. It will sound familiar to those of you who know the history of American higher education and who are concerned about the challenges we face today and in the near future. In the first three entries of this blog, I will establish my premise that blending the liberal arts with professional training is one of the key strategic directions in which many institutions of higher education should go. To get to this point, I need to begin with some of the current challenges that we face…

Much has been written about what is wrong with higher education. The litany is familiar to all. We have lost our world-wide advantage. Students are not learning. Faculty are not teaching. We have accommodated student demand in a way that has watered down the education we provide. Our costs have increased at a rate far beyond the inflation rate. Institutions spend too much money on dormitories and fitness centers. Students are leaving with far too much debt. The increased economic “value” of higher education is not being realized by our graduates. We have abandoned true education and are providing training for the professions.

While each of these critiques has some validity, it is also true that American higher education continues to be valued and revered. Perhaps the more accurate assessment is that American higher education has earned its reputation, but serious challenges lie ahead.

As if the problems confronting traditional higher education were not enough, the economic downturn in the first decade of the century presents a significant new challenge. Criticism about the price of higher education was already on the rise. With the economic crisis that began in 2008, students are even more unsure of their ability to pay for college, are worried about the debt that they and their families are accruing, and are questioning the value of a college degree.

It appears that the “value proposition” in the minds of prospective students and their families has shifted. There was a time when families believed in the value of a college degree and would save and sacrifice to have their students earn a degree at the “best” college. With more constrained resources, consumers of higher education are understandably concerned about price. Many are no longer looking for the “best” college for their students, but instead looking for the “best bargain” for marketable skills. While no one can be certain about where higher education is headed, it is not likely that student choices will return to the “value proposition” that existed prior to 2008.

* * * * * * * * * * *

How can higher education adapt? Often, the critics of higher education fail to offer sufficient corrective measures or new solutions. I offer a more positive approach: to identify the components of an institution’s liberal arts and professional training programs and to take the strategic actions necessary to “mash up” the liberal arts and professional training. My basic premise is that rather than presenting students with a choice between the liberal arts and professional training, students would benefit greatly from a blend of the two approaches.

A liberal arts degree might prepare graduates for life, but there is too little focus on the first job out of college. A professional education may do a good job preparing graduates for their first job, but that training is not likely to give the flexibility to prepare them for their second and third jobs. A program that combines these two approaches prepares graduates for the first job, their second job, and beyond. Students (and the parents of traditional age students) who are concerned about beginning their careers (and paying off their loans) should find this combination to be an attractive option. Employers should also prefer students who arrive as career-ready and prepared for life, in other words, with important professional skills but who are also prepared to advance in and contribute more to their businesses, institutions and communities.

* * * * * * * * * * *

My research and observations are not meant to promote one type of institution over another. Rather, I have been identifying and examining “markers” that help strengthen efforts by institutions to blend the liberal arts and professional training, for example, interdisciplinary first-year seminars, service-learning courses, electronic portfolios, community service, and capstone courses. I have also visited institutions that demonstrate “best practices” around the confluence of the liberal arts and professional education and I will be sharing my experiences in future blog entries.

If one visualizes a continuum of institutions from “pure” liberal arts at one end and concentrated professional training at the other, a graph of these “markers” and “best practices” would approximate a “normal curve.” To put it simply, the extreme tails of this continuum will have fewer opportunities to blend the liberal arts and professional training. The greatest confluence of these two approaches will occur at colleges and universities whose missions are about blending the liberal arts and professional training. I contend that based on student and employer demands today and in the future, all types of institutions will need to continually examine how their missions and programs support students both in obtaining their first jobs and preparing them for life.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I'm a strong believer that the difference between training and education concerns the breadth and depth of humanities and science in a professional curriculum such as engineering, computer science, accounting, finance, marketing, management, nursing, etc. I'm also became disheartened when virtually all North American universities followed Harvard's trend of replacing a relatively fixed general education core with a smorgasbord of hundreds of courses such that it's no longer clear what a "core" really means in general education. Sometimes I think the Harvarde smorgasbord is intended to protect faculty turf more than provide a genuine education core.

I don’t have any answers to the liberal-core curriculum dilemma. At Trinity we once had a Quest program where all first year students took the same overview course on history, religion, philosophy, etc. That did not meet evolutionary success and gave way to categories of courses in things like “Western Civilization” and a number of other categories for qualified general education courses. That is pretty much the system still in place, but it has become more and more like a Harvard smorgasbord.

The trouble with smorgasbord humanities is that there’s literally no consistency between graduates in terms of what they learned about humanities. Another problem is the turf wars that go on between humanities departments. If you don’t have any majors (e.g., Southern Mississippi has something like three economics majors) then departments fight for survival by attracting general education course enrollments. The Economics Department at Southern Mississippi is currently on the chopping block. Really!

A two-year MBA program works quite well for students who do not take business courses in the first two years. But an MBA program does not work well for non-accounting students wanting to become CPAs due to the many undergraduate pre-requisites for students to enter masters of accounting programs. Similarly, engineering graduate programs do not work well for students who did not major in engineering as undergraduates.

As a rule professional schools of accounting, business, engineering, and nursing rely upon the general education core plus an allowance of upper division electives (possibly even minors) for the humanities and science education components of a curriculum.

A noteworthy Accounting Education Change Commission funded experiment took place at North Texas State University where students could choose either traditional accounting courses or non-traditional accounting courses team-taught by humanities and accounting instructors. My informal feed back is that students overwhelmingly preferred traditional accounting courses. The moral of the story may be that when it comes to the professional courses in the curriculum, students want the courses to be entirely devoted to professional content. Similarly, when it comes to humanities and science courses those same students might prefer more narrow focus on humanities and science (this was not part of the NTSU experiment) ---



From the Scout Report on October 26, 2012

Crowdspottr --- http://www.crowdspottr.com/ 

Looking for an application to keep tabs on your social activities and related matters? Crowdspottr may be worth a look, as it allows visitors to use existing social networking sites to find out who is doing what, where, and when. Visitors can download the application and check out the online tutorial to get started with their explorations. This program is compatible with all operating systems.

Remote Desktop Organizer 1.4.4 --- http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Remote-Utils/Remote-Desktop-Organizer.shtml 

If you are looking for a way to clean up your desktop remotely, you'll want to give this handy desktop organizer a try. This application allows users to move their files around and perform important tasks like creating and modifying existing folders and other functional tweaks for your system cleanup. This particular version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and up.



From the Scout Report on November 2, 2012

QuicklyChat --- http://www.quicklychat.com/ 

Are you looking to have a quick chat with a coworker or other party? QuicklyChat can help you do that, as it features fully customizable smart status updates and other bells and whistles. The video linkup emphasizes quicker and more efficient communication; it does so by detecting if the other party is currently available or not by detecting one’s current system activity. This application is compatible with all operating systems.

Streaming Audio Recorder --- http://www.recordstreamingaudio.org/

The Streaming Audio Recorder application allows users to record any type of streaming audio via their computers' speakers or microphone. It's a simple way to record audio from sites such as Grooveshark,YouTube, BBC and others. The program is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer.

Even in a digitized world, the importance of place continues

A sense of place

Place Matters ---

Place Matters: Joint Center Health Policy Institute ---

Project for Public Spaces ---

Toward a Cultural Economic Geography of Creative Industries and Urban Development ---

Silicon Valley History ---

From the Scout Report on November 9, 2012

Retranstwitter --- http://retranstwitter.com/en 

The Retranswitter application gives users the ability to automatically retweet posts from your Twitter stream according to a set of rules that create. Users can elect to have tweets retreated by author, hashtag, or a combination of both. This version of Retranstwitter is compatible with all operating systems.

Track My Life --- http://track-my-life.ceseros.de/ 

Where does all the time go? It's a good question, and Track My Life can help you learn more about how and where your time is spent. The application runs in the background of a user's phone and tracks how much time they spend in any given location. At the end of each day, users can look at a full report to see a breakdown of the places they were and how long they spent in each location. This version is compatible with iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, communities are asking questions
about their levees

Levee Rebuilding Questioned After Sandy Breach

In Flooded New Jersey, No Oversight for Levees

Sandy's Power Dwarfed by Katrina's Gutting of the Gulf

State of New Jersey: Hurricane Sandy Information Center

New Orleans Since Katrina: Before and After

National Hurricane Center


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

Education Tutorials

Wiley Teams Up With TED to Create Lecture Materials for Big-Idea Videos ---
Jensen Warning:  Watch out for some TED speakers who know the difference between causation and correlation but don't reveal what they know in the videos.
Many of these videos are more suited to debate seminars than lecture courses.

YouTube Education Channels --- http://www.youtube.com/education?b=400

An Absolute Must Read for Educators
One of the most exciting things I took away from the 2010 AAA Annual Meetings in San Francisco is a hard copy handout entitled "Expanding Your Classroom with Video Technology and Social Media," by Mark Holtzblatt and Norbert Tschakert. Mark later sent me a copy of this handout and permission to serve it up to you at

Experiment in Ultra Learning (some amazing stories) --- Click Here

MITx, EdX, and MOOCs
Bob Jensen's threads on free courses, tutorials, video, and course materials from prestigious universities ---


Arts at the Core --- http://advocacy.collegeboard.org/preparation-access/arts-core

Invent with Python (make your own computer games) --- http://inventwithpython.com/

Computer Science for Dummies
Computer Science Unplugged --- http://www.youtube.com/csunplugged

According to Hoyle:  Advice to Teachers

"EDUCAUSE WEEK," by Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed, November 10, 2012 ---
In addition to short summaries of leading presenters, you may want to just note what speakers were given the great honor of speaking at plenary sessions. You can then do Google and other searches on these speakers.
For example, look up Clay Shirky --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Shirky


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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Santa Fe Institute --- http://www.santafe.edu/
Principles of Complexity --- http://www.santafe.edu/research/videos/play/?id=36aa0138-7141-4770-9f97-708f2fa09ac3
Free Course:  Introduction to Complexity ---

Frank Potter's Science Gems (over 14,000 science resources) --- http://www.sciencegems.com/

12 Mobile Learning Science Applications for the iPod Touch --- http://www.teachscienceandmath.com/tag/digital-science-applications/

TeacherLink: NASA Instructional Units and Lesson Plans --- http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlnasa/units/index.html

Green Chemistry Teaching Resources --- Click Here

BioEd Online: Lessons - Safety and Lab Techniques (from the Baylor University School of Medicine) ---

Biofrontiers Institute (University of Colorado) --- http://biofrontiers.colorado.edu/

Renal System Reading and Lab Activities --- http://www.apsarchive.org/collection.cfm?collectionID=2185#resources

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education --- http://science.education.nih.gov/home2.nsf/feature/index.htm

Shortest Paths, Soap Films, and Minimal Surfaces --- http://www.maa.org/news/2012ch-dorff.html

Introduction to Electric Power Systems

Transforming Cities With Transit --- 

K-Gray Engineering Pathway Digital Library: Higher Education Community (encouraging students to study engineering) ---

International Architecture Database --- http://eng.archinform.net/index.htm

Dream, Design, Build: The UW Architecture Student Drawing Collection, 1914-1947 ---

The History of Western Architecture in 39 Free Video Lectures ---

Buffalo Architecture Foundation Building Stories Collection --- http://ubdigit.buffalo.edu/cdm/search/collection/LIB-APL001

The History of Western Architecture in 39 Free Video Lectures ---

The Architecture Centre: Teaching Resources --- http://www.architecturecentre.co.uk/education-teaching-resources

Building Inside/Studio Gang (Chicago Architecture) --- http://extras.artic.edu/studiogang

Richard and Dion Neutra Papers, 1925-1970 (architecture) ---

Try Engineering --- http://www.tryengineering.org

Illustrated Classics of Engineering from the William Barclay Parsons Collection and Others ---

American Society for Engineering Education: Blogs & Newsletters ---

Computer Science for Dummies
Computer Science Unplugged --- http://www.youtube.com/csunplugged

MIT OpenCourseWare: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

Computer Science Teachers Association --- http://csta.acm.org/Resources/sub/HighlightedResources.html

Computational Science Education Reference Desk --- http://www.shodor.org/refdesk/

From the Scout Report on November 9, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, communities are asking questions
about their levees

Levee Rebuilding Questioned After Sandy Breach

In Flooded New Jersey, No Oversight for Levees

Sandy's Power Dwarfed by Katrina's Gutting of the Gulf

State of New Jersey: Hurricane Sandy Information Center

New Orleans Since Katrina: Before and After

National Hurricane Center

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

Arts of Citizenship --- http://artsofcitizenship.umich.edu/

Better Data, Better Health ---

Healthfinder.gov --- http://www.healthfinder.gov/

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: 2011 Holiday Lectures [Flash Player] --- 

Internet Archive: TV News --- http://archive.org/details/tv

People, Places and Planning in Boston --- http://planningboston.org/

Boston's Latino Community History --- http://archives.neu.edu/latinohistory

Latino Settlement in the New Century --- http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/96.pdf 

American Latino Heritage --- http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/American_Latino_Heritage/

CyberEconomics (multimedia textbook) --- http://ingrimayne.com/econ/

Transforming Cities With Transit --- 

Imagine the Unimaginable: Ending Genocide in the 21st Century --- http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/endgenocide/

Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation --- http://igcc.ucsd.edu/ 

Preventing Genocide [Flash Player] http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/

Children and War --- http://www.childrenandwar.org/

Pacifica Radio Archives (American Literature and Politics) --- http://archive.org/details/pacifica_radio_archives

Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs --- http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu


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

Computer Science for Dummies
Computer Science Unplugged --- http://www.youtube.com/csunplugged

Computer Science Teachers Association --- http://csta.acm.org/Resources/sub/HighlightedResources.html

MIT OpenCourseWare: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

Computational Science Education Reference Desk --- http://www.shodor.org/refdesk/

12 Mobile Learning Science Applications for the iPod Touch --- http://www.teachscienceandmath.com/tag/digital-science-applications/

"Harvard Grad Starts Math Museum Helped by Google, Hedge Funder," by Patrick Cole, Bloomberg Business Week, November 1, 2011 ---  http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-01/harvard-grad-starts-math-museum-helped-by-google-hedge-funder.html

Transition Mathematics Project (between high school and college) --- http://www.transitionmathproject.org/

Video on the Beauty of Mathematics --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

MathGrapher --- http://www.mathgrapher.com/

Wolfram Alpha (one of my all-time favorite sites) --- http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Some Things You Might Want to Know About the Wolfram Alpha (WA) Search Engine:  The Good and The Evil
as Applied to Learning Curves (Cumulative Average vs. Incremental Unit)

Shortest Paths, Soap Films, and Minimal Surfaces --- http://www.maa.org/news/2012ch-dorff.html

History of Computing
Internet Archive: Computers & Technology --- http://archive.org/details/computersandtechvideos

The History of Computing --- http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/ 

Silicon Valley History ---

Steve Jobs at the Smithsonian --- http://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/stevejobs

American University Computer History Museum --- http://www.computinghistorymuseum.org/ 

The Apple (Computer) Museum  --- http://www.theapplemuseum.com/ 

A History of Microsoft Windows (slide show from Wired News) --- http://www.wired.com/gadgets/pcs/multimedia/2007/01/wiredphotos31

Oldcomputers.com  --- http://www.old-computers.com/news/default.asp

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory --- http://acg.media.mit.edu/projects/

National Museum of African Art: Webcasts --- http://africa.si.edu/webcast.html

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

History Tutorials

The History of Western Architecture in 39 Free Video Lectures ---

University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library Digital Collections (Literature History) --- 

"The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 7, 2012 ---

"Our acknowledged Queen of Sorrows"
For Sylvia Plath’s 80th Birthday, Hear Her Read ‘A Birthday Present’ --- Click Here

Internet Archive: TV News --- http://archive.org/details/tv

Caught Mapping: A Cinematic Ride Through the Nitty Gritty World of Vintage Cartography ---

Illustrated Classics of Engineering from the William Barclay Parsons Collection and Others ---

Women's World in Qajar Iran (1796-1926) --- http://www.qajarwomen.org/

International Museum of Women --- http://imow.org

History News Network --- http://hnn.us/

Houston Area Digital Archives --- http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/cdm/

Historic Houston Photographs --- http://digital.lib.uh.edu/cdm4/about_collection.php?CISOROOT=/p15195coll2

The Douglas Oliver Collection (Hawaii People) --- http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/oliver/index.php?c=1

Boston's Latino Community History --- http://archives.neu.edu/latinohistory

American Latino Heritage --- http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/American_Latino_Heritage/

Latino Settlement in the New Century --- http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/96.pdf 

Lula Belle and Scotty Wiseman Home Movies --- http://mirc.sc.edu/fedora/repository/usc-test%3A170

The Art of African Exploration --- http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/ArtofAfricanExploration/

National Museum of African Art: Webcasts --- http://af

Lalla Essaydi Revisions: Introduction (African Art) --- http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/revisions/index.h

Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art http://www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/grassroots/index.html

Virginia Emigrants to Liberia --- http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/liberia/index.php?page=Virginia Emigrants To Liberia 

Benin-Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria (video) --- http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/benin/index


The Oswegonian (student newspaper of SUNY at Oswego)

Florida Documents Collection (from Miami University) --- http://merrick.library.miami.edu/specialCollections/asm0567/

University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections: University of Miami Archives (over 500,000 photographs) ---

Miami Metropolitan Archive --- http://miami.fiu.edu/index.htm

Boston Public Library: Sound Archives --- http://soundarchives.bpl.org/

Pacifica Radio Archives (American Literature and Politics) --- http://archive.org/details/pacifica_radio_archives

Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs --- http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu

Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London ---

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam --- http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/index.jsp

The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art ---

Crace Collection of Maps of London --- http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/crace/index.html

The UT Theatre Playbills --- http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/playbills/main.php

Personal Computer History
"Forgotten PC history: The true origins of the personal computer --- The PC's back story involves a little-known Texas connection," by Lamont Wood, Computer World, August 8, 2008 --- Click Here

Steve Jobs at the Smithsonian --- http://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/stevejobsputational Science Education Reference Desk --- http://www.shodor.org/refdesk/

Timeline of Computing History --- http://www.computer.org/computer/timeline/ 

Making the Macintosh --- http://library.stanford.edu/mac/index.html

History of Computing
Internet Archive: Computers & Technology --- http://archive.org/details/computersandtechvideos

"A History of Reading," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 26, 2012 ---


History of Computing
Internet Archive: Computers & Technology --- http://archive.org/details/computersandtechvideos

The History of Computing --- http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/ 

Silicon Valley History ---

Steve Jobs at the Smithsonian --- http://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/stevejobs

American University Computer History Museum --- http://www.computinghistorymuseum.org/ 

The Apple (Computer) Museum  --- http://www.theapplemuseum.com/ 

A History of Microsoft Windows (slide show from Wired News) --- http://www.wired.com/gadgets/pcs/multimedia/2007/01/wiredphotos31

Oldcomputers.com  --- http://www.old-computers.com/news/default.asp

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory --- http://acg.media.mit.edu/projects/

FolkStreams Presents a Big Film Archive on American Folk Art and Music ---

From the Scout Report on October 26, 2012

50 years after the Sino-Indian war, a reconsideration of the border between India and China

India and China: Unsettled for a long time yet

The Sino-Indian War: 50 Years Later, Will India and China Clash Again?

China lauds Ratan Tat's 'positive' role in Sino-India ties

Remembering the India-China border war

India's remote northeast: the road to Tawang

China and India, 2025


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

Existentialism is the philosophical and cultural movement which holds that the starting point of philosophical thinking must be the experiences of the individual. Moral and scientific thinking together do not suffice to understand human existence, so a further set of categories, governed by "authenticity", is necessary to understand human existence. ("Authenticity", in the context of existentialism, is being true to one's own personality, spirit, or character.)

Existentialism began in the mid-19th century as a reaction against the then-dominant systematic philosophies, such as those developed by Hegel and Kant. Søren Kierkegaard, generally considered to be the first existentialist philosopher, posited that it is the individual who is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and for living life passionately and sincerely ("authentically"). Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II and influenced a range of disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.

Existentialists generally regard traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Scholars generally consider the views of existentialist philosophers to be profoundly different from one another relative to those of other philosophies. Criticisms of existentialist philosophers include the assertions that they confuse their use of terminology and contradict themselves

Continued in article

Find more blog posts full of comic existential angst over at The New Yorker, and then, if you want to get serious and bone up on Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist philosophy, check out these fine resources:

Sartre, Heidegger, Nietzsche: Three Philosophers in Three Hours

Walter Kaufmann’s Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

55 Free Philosophy Courses from Great Universities

Sartre’s famous lecture Existentialism is a Humanism (1946) that otherwise appears in our collection of Free eBooks.

Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre Discovered is a post from: Open Culture.


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

Brubeck Oral History Project

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

FolkStreams Presents a Big Film Archive on American Folk Art and Music ---

Watch the Great Russian Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff in Home Movies ---

It's Showtime! Sheet Music from Stage and Screen

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

"Joy Williams on Why Writers Write," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 1, 2012 ---

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

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

October 30, 2012

October 31, 2012

November 1, 2012

November 2-5 WebMD did not update its new links. Perhaps it was Sandy's fault.

November 6, 2012

November 7, 2012

November 8, 2012

November 9, 2012

November 10, 2012

November 12, 2012

November 13, 2012

November 14, 2012

November 15, 2012


Stem Cells Help Md. Boy With Cerebral Palsy To Walk ---

What do your car battery and your heart pacemaker have in common?

An engine powered battery recharger (generator).

"A Heartbeat-Powered Pacemaker," by David Zax, MIT's Technology Review, November 8, 2012 --- Click Here

New study reveals that every single junk food meal damages your arteries ---

Better Data, Better Health ---

Healthfinder.gov --- http://www.healthfinder.gov/

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: 2011 Holiday Lectures [Flash Player] --- 

The Rain

It was a busy
Morning, about 8:30, when an elderly

Gentleman in his 80's arrived to have
Stitches removed from his thumb.

He said he was in a hurry as he had an
Appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital
Signs and had him take a seat,

Knowing it would be over an hour

Before someone
Would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and

Decided, since I
Was not busy with another patient,

I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was
Well healed, so I talked to one of the

Doctors, got the needed supplies to
Remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of
His wound, I asked him if he

Had another doctor's appointment

This morning, as
He was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he

Needed to go to
The nursing home to eat breakfast

With his wife. I enquired as to her

He told me that
 she had been there
For a while and that she

Was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we
Talked, I asked if she would be

Upset if he was a bit late.

Replied that she no longer knew

Who he was, that she had not

Recognized him in
Five years now

I was surprised, and asked him,

'And you still go every
Morning, even though she

Doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he
Patted my hand and said,

'She doesn't
Know me, but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back
Tears as he left, I had goose bumps

On my arm, and thought,

'That is
The kind of love I want in my life.'

True love is
Neither physical, nor romantic.

True love is an
Acceptance of all that is,

Has been, will be, and will not

With all the jokes
And fun that are in e-mails,

Sometimes there is one that comes

Along that has an
Important message..

This one I thought I could share with you.

Happiest people don't necessarily

Have the best of everything;

They just make 
The best of everything they have.

I hope you share this with someone you
Care about. I just did.


"The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 7, 2012 ---

Do you ignore those safety briefings between when you leave the gate and before the airliner's wheels leave the ground?
Maybe, but not on Air New Zealand.
I don't know how the airline managed to get this sampling of new U.S. members of Congress to cooperate for this video.

Russell Brand and Tracey Ullman Sing the Wonders of “Asstrology” in Eric Idle’s What About Dick? ---

Forwarded by Paula

The Arrogance of Authority

A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas, and talked with an old rancher. He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs."

The rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there.....", as he pointed out the location.

The DEA officer verbally exploded, saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!"

Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.

"See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish.... On any land!! No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?!!"

The old rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull.

With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.

The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs.....

(I just love this part....)

"Your badge! Show him your BADGE!!"



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