Tidbits on December 21, 2012
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Set 2 of My All Time Favorite Photographs


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


Tidbits on December 21, 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

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy --- http://plato.stanford.edu/

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

17 Animations of Classic Literary Works: From Plato and Shakespeare, to Kafka, Hemingway and Gaiman ---

Ohio State Trooper's Christmas --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxjZB5S_g7s&feature=youtu.be

Norway's, Atlantic Ocean Road --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/4T4vc1QqiPM

BBC Commercial (What a Wonderful World) --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/auSo1MyWf8g?rel=0

Crawl Inside a Cave to Tag a Hibernating Black Bear --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vJRDpTUIrJI&vq=medium

Goats at Christmas Time --- http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/b4_EdJ-XkUA?rel=0

Sweet Mama dog interacting with a Beautiful Downs Syndrome Child.--- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg&sns=fb

Jean-Paul Sartre Writes a Script for John Huston’s Film on Freud (1958) ---

What Makes Us Tick? Free Stanford Biology Course by Robert Sapolsky Offers Answers ---

National Geographic Gives Us Intimate Moments with a Leopard Seal ---

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

Beatboxing Bach’s Goldberg Variations ---

Andre Rieu On The Allure Of The Waltz --- http://www.npr.org/2012/12/15/167294665/andre-rieu-on-the-allure-of-the-waltz

Gustavo Dudamel Leads The Simon Bolivar Symphony At Carnegie Hall ---

Make Me Happy in this World --- https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=oXvJ8UquYoo&vq=large
With a bit of jitterbug if you watch long enough. Makes me wish I could have danced like that even if I was young.

My Favorite Boogie Woogie
For Boogie Woogie Piano Dancers (GREAT!) --- http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=26579077
More free Boogie Woogie by Sylvan Zingg (on piano, Hit the Play All Songs Button) --- http://cdbaby.com/cd/zinggtrio
Other Boogie Woogie Sites (including free lesson sites) --- http://www.boogiewoogiepiano.net/piano-jukebox/other-web-sites/other-websites.html

More free Boogie Woogie by Sylvan Zingg (on piano) --- http://cdbaby.com/cd/zinggtrio While working on the computer, Bob Jensen mostly listens to (free and without commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/

Bring Back the 50s (Carolyn) --- http://carolynspreciousmemories.com/50s/sitemap.html

Kate Smith sings God Bless America --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=TnQDW-NMaRs

Amazing Grace (10-year old Brazilian boy's rendition) --- http://www.youtube.com/user/strongtower27

Merry Christmas Comedy Video --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

Great Chinese State Circus (Swan Lake) ---  www.nzwide.com/swanlake.htm

The Best Illustrated Children’s Books and Picturebooks of 2012 ---

Miles Davis and His ‘Second Great Quintet,’ Filmed Live in Europe, 1967 ---

BBC Commercial (What a Wonderful World) --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/auSo1MyWf8g?rel=0

10 Great Performances From 10 Legendary Jazz Artists: Django, Miles, Monk, Coltrane & More ---

Joni Mitchell: Singer, Songwriter, Artist, Smoking Grandma ---

Enthralled By Jazz, Joni Mitchell Sets New Moods ---

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

In 1942, Disney released “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” an anti-Nazi propaganda movie that bolstered support for the war, and eventually won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Then, a year later, came The Spirit of ’43, which features Donald Duck helping Americans to understand why they need to pay their taxes. Other wartime Disney shorts include Donald Gets Drafted (1942), The Old Army Game (1943), and Commando Duck (1944) ---

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 (with commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on nearly all types of free music selections online ---

Photographs and Art

From the Museum of Science and Industry
Christmas Trees from Around the World --- http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/christmas-around-the-world/

National Geographic Best Pictures of 2012 --- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/best-news-pictures-2012-most-popular/
Also see the Photography page at http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/?source=NavPhoHome

The Wonder, Thrill & Meaning of Seeing Earth from Space. Astronauts Reflect on The Big Blue Marble ---

Norway's, Atlantic Ocean Road --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/4T4vc1QqiPM

World War I Photographic History in a French Village
Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt ---

World War One ( World War I ) Color Photos --- http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

BBC Commercial (What a Wonderful World) --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/auSo1MyWf8g?rel=0

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

The True Story of Rudolph
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
by Robert L. May and Denver Gillen

  • ISBN-10: 1557091390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557091390
  • In 1939 Robert L. May, a copywriter working at Chicago's Montgomery Ward & Co., wrote a holiday story at the request of his employer. Almost two and a half million copies of the little tale about a reindeer with a shiny red nose were given away to all the children who visited Montgomery Ward stores that year. The rest is history. Over seventy years later, the beloved classic is once again available in a hardcover faithful facsimile of the 1939 Rudolph, with original text and original Denver Gillen illustrations.

    17 Animations of Classic Literary Works: From Plato and Shakespeare, to Kafka, Hemingway and Gaiman ---

    The Best History Books of 2012 (not free) --- http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/10/best-history-books-2012/

    A Crash Course in English Literature: A New Video Series by Best-Selling Author John Green ---

    Emily Dickenson --- http://www.emilydickinson.org/  
    Watch an Animated Film of Emily Dickinson’s Poem ‘I Started Early–Took My Dog’ ---

    Bill Murray Reads Poetry at Construction Site ---

    The Guardian Books Podcast --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/books

    The Enduring Mystery of Dickens's 'Dear Girl' ---

    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Told in a Beautifully Animated Film by Piotr Dumala --- Click Here

    The Complete Sherlock Holmes Now Free on the Kindle ---

    THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES (includes drawings) --- http://www.bakerstreet221b.de/canon/
    The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ---
    Mystery Net ---

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: His Life, All His Works and More --- http://sirconandoyle.com/index.php

    A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here  

    The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here

    The Adventures of Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

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

    Now in Another Tidbits Document
    Political Quotations on December 21, 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 ---

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

    "Top 10 Myths About Mass Shootings," by James Alan Fox, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 18, 2012 ---

    Even before the death toll in last Friday’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn., was determined, politicians, pundits, and professors of varied disciplines were all over the news, pushing their proposals for change. Some talked about the role of guns, others about mental-health services, and still more about the need for better security in schools and other public places. Whatever their agenda and the passion behind it, those advocates made certain explicit or implied assumptions about patterns in mass murder and the profile of the assailants. Unfortunately, those assumptions do not always align with the facts.

    Myth: Mass shootings are on the rise.
    Reality: Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.

    Myth: Mass murderers snap and kill indiscriminately.
    Reality: Mass murderers typically plan their assaults for days, weeks, or months. They are deliberate in preparing their missions and determined to follow through, no matter what impediments are placed in their path.

    Myth: Enhanced background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of these madmen.
    Reality: Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally. Certainly, people cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner. Besides, mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.

    Myth: Restoring the federal ban on assault weapons will prevent these horrible crimes.
    Reality: The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault-weapons ban. In fact, semiautomatic handguns are far more prevalent in mass shootings. Of course, limiting the size of ammunition clips would at least force a gunman to pause to reload or switch weapons.

    Myth: Greater attention and response to the telltale warning signs will allow us to identify would-be mass killers before they act.
    Reality: While there are some common features in the profile of a mass murderer (depression, resentment, social isolation, tendency to blame others for their misfortunes, fascination with violence, and interest in weaponry), those characteristics are all fairly prevalent in the general population. Any attempt to predict would produce many false positives. Actually, the telltale warning signs come into clear focus only after the deadly deed.

    Myth: Widening the availability of mental-health services and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness will allow unstable individuals to get the treatment they need.
    Reality: With their tendency to externalize blame and see themselves as victims of mistreatment, mass murderers perceive the problem to be in others, not themselves. They would generally resist attempts to encourage them to seek help. And, besides, our constant references to mass murderers as “wackos” or “sickos” don’t do much to destigmatize the mentally ill.

    Myth: Increasing security in schools and other places will deter mass murder.
    Reality: Most security measures will serve only as a minor inconvenience for those who are dead set on mass murder. If anything, excessive security and a fortress-like environment serve as a constant reminder of danger and vulnerability.

    Myth: Students need to be prepared for the worst by participating in lockdown drills.
    Reality: Lockdown drills can be very traumatizing, especially for young children. Also, it is questionable whether they would recall those lessons amid the hysteria associated with an actual shooting. The faculty and staff need to be adequately trained, and the kids just advised to listen to instructions. Schools should take the same low-key approach to the unlikely event of a shooting as the airlines do to the unlikely event of a crash. Passengers aren’t drilled in evacuation procedures but can assume the crew is sufficiently trained.

    Myth: Expanding “right to carry” provisions will deter mass killers or at least stop them in their tracks and reduce the body counts.
    Reality: Mass killers are often described by surviving witnesses as being relaxed and calm during their rampages, owing to their level of planning. In contrast, the rest of us are taken by surprise and respond frantically. A sudden and wild shootout involving the assailant and citizens armed with concealed weapons would potentially catch countless innocent victims in the crossfire.

    Myth: We just need to enforce existing gun laws as well as increase the threat of the death penalty.
    Reality: Mass killers typically expect to die, usually by their own hand or else by first responders. Nothing in the way of prosecution or punishment would divert them from their missions. They are ready to leave their miserable existence, but want some payback first.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    As I walked my treadmill this morning I watched a friend of the Lanza family surmise that Adam snapped when he learned that his mother was leaning toward having him committed to a psychiatric hospital.

    "Mother may have wanted Adam Lanza committed," by Teresa Priolo, myfoxny, December 19, 2012 ---

    As the days drag on details are emerging about the life Adam Lanza led prior to his murderous spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. While some may say "forget Adam, these details can't bring his 27 victims back," but maybe they will help all of us understand how to prevent something this horrific from happening again.

    What made Lanza unhinge and mercilessly slaughter 20 innocent children and six adults? The answer may lie in his past, in the relationship he had with his mother.

    FoxNews.com reports exclusively that Adam knew that his mother, Nancy Lanza, was planning to have him committed to a psychiatric facility.

    Adam, reportedly diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and suffering from mental health issues, lived with his single mother, who was his primary caregiver.

    A neighbor described as a family friend told Fox that Adam knew Nancy was feeling overwhelmed and feared she could no longer care for him so she began the process of petitioning the court for conservatorship. Previous reports have suggested Nancy considered moving with her son to Washington State so that he could attend a special school that could address his issues.

    She had the sole right to make these decisions as part of her divorce agreement with Peter Lanza.

    They both were only required to consult each other on decisions related to Adam's care, but Nancy had final say.

    Divorce paperwork suggests the Lanzas were required to complete a parenting education class, which the decree shows she did.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    I have a loaded pistol and shotgun in the house that have never been fired. I don't like guns and would vote for banning sales of assault rifles and high capacity shell magazines. I do support the right to carry, because I think this strikes fear in many would-be rapists, muggers, robbers, kidnappers, car jackers, and terrorists. It won't, however, be me doing the carrying.

    In the wake of this tragedy, the new ploy by potentially violent young people being medicated and treated as mental health outpatients might be threatening terrorism if care givers don't give them exactly what they want in terms of video games, sex, porn, and spending money. Could we possibly incarcerate them even though only one in a million will actually carry out acts of terrorism on innocent children? What do you do when neither Theory X nor Theory Y is working on a troubled kid?

    When it comes to allocating scarce resources, I think priority should be given to very common crimes (e.g., child abuse, spousal abuse, sexual assault) relative to very rare crimes except when those rare crimes might kill thousands in a single incident.

    "22 Stats That Prove That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With Young Men In America," by Michael, The Economic Collapse Blog, December 17th, 2012 ---

     . . .

    So why is all of this happening?

    Well, there are a whole host of reasons. But certainly parents and our education system have to bear much of the blame. In the old days, young men were taught what it means to "be a man", and morality was taught to young men both by their parents and in the schools. But today, most young men have very little understanding of what "manhood" is, and our society has taught them that morality doesn't really matter. Instead, television and movies constantly portray young men as sex-obsessed slackers that just want to party all the time, so that is what many of our young men have become.

    How much better off would our society be if we had trained this generation of young men to love, honor, protect and take care of others?

    How much better off would our society be if we had nurtured the manhood of our young men instead of teaching them to be ashamed of it?

    How much better off would our society be if we had disciplined our young men and taught them morality when they were getting off track instead of just letting them do whatever they wanted?

    The following are 22 stats that prove that there is something seriously wrong with young men in America today...

    #1 Males account for approximately 70 percent of all Ds and Fs in U.S. public schools.

    #2 About two-thirds of all students in "special education programs" are boys.

    #3 The average American girl spends 5 hours a week playing video games.  The average American boy spends 13 hours a week playing video games.

    #4 The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

    #5 One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that video game addiction is approximately four times as common among boys as it is among girls.

    #6 At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

    #7 In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.

    #8 According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find the nation of Iraq on a map.

    #9 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all young people enrolled at U.S. colleges are women.

    #10 It is being projected that women will earn 60 percent of all Bachelor's degrees from U.S. universities by the year 2016.

    #11 Even if they do graduate from college, most of our young men still can't find a decent job.  An astounding 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor's degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed during 2011.

    #12 Pornography addiction is a major problem among our young men.  An astounding 30 percent of all Internet traffic now goes to pornography websites, and one survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access in the United States even visit sex websites while they are at work.

    #13 In the United States today, 47 percent of all high school students have had sex.

    #14 The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate on the entire planet.  If our young men behaved differently this would not be happening.

    #15 In the United States today, one out of every four teen girls has at least one sexually transmitted disease.  If our young men were not sex-obsessed idiots running around constantly looking to "score" these diseases would not be spreading like this.

    #16 Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 year old age bracket are living at home with their parents.

    #17 According to one survey, 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.

    #18 Young men are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as young women the same age are.

    #19 Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.

    #20 Today, an all-time low 44.2% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.

    #21 Back in 1950, 78 percent of all households in the United States contained a married couple.  Today, that number has declined to 48 percent.

    #22 Young men are about four times more likely to commit suicide as young women are.

    "Sen. Lieberman: Adam Lanza had ‘hypnotic’ involvement with violent video games," Beltway Confidential, December 18, 2012 --- Click Here

    Jensen Comment
    I did not verify these statistics.

    One of the things that bothers me is the proportion of D and F grades going to males in public schools since grade inflation is so severe that almost nobody gets a D or F grade in a public school --- those low grades are reserved mostly for students who did not try in the least to pass.

    "Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber," by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, June 3, 2009 --- http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/06/03/dumbest_generation_getting_dumber 

    The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparison of 15-year-olds conducted by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that measures applied learning and problem-solving ability. In 2006, U.S. students ranked 25th of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science. McKinsey & Company, in releasing its report "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools" (April 2009) said, "Several other facts paint a worrisome picture.

    First, the longer American children are in school, the worse they perform compared to their international peers. In recent cross-country comparisons of fourth grade reading, math, and science, US students scored in the top quarter or top half of advanced nations. By age 15 these rankings drop to the bottom half. In other words, American students are farthest behind just as they are about to enter higher education or the workforce." That's a sobering thought. The longer kids are in school and the more money we spend on them, the further behind they get.

    While the academic performance of white students is grossly inferior, that of black and Latino students is a national disgrace. The McKinsey report says, "On average, black and Latino students are roughly two to three years of learning behind white students of the same age. This racial gap exists regardless of how it is measured, including both achievement (e.g., test score) and attainment (e.g., graduation rate) measures. Taking the average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for math and reading across the fourth and eighth grades, for example, 48 percent of blacks and 43 percent of Latinos are 'below basic,' while only 17 percent of whites are, and this gap exists in every state. A more pronounced racial achievement gap exists in most large urban school districts." Below basic is the category the NAEP uses for students unable to display even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level.

    The teaching establishment and politicians have hoodwinked taxpayers into believing that more money is needed to improve education. The Washington, D.C., school budget is about the nation's costliest, spending about $15,000 per pupil. Its student/teacher ratio, at 15.2 to 1, is lower than the nation's average. Yet student achievement is just about the lowest in the nation. What's so callous about the Washington situation is about 1,700 children in kindergarten through 12th grade receive the $7,500 annual scholarships in order to escape rotten D.C. public schools, and four times as many apply for the scholarships, yet Congress, beholden to the education establishment, will end funding the school voucher program.

    Any long-term solution to our education problems requires the decentralization that can come from competition. Centralization has been massive. In 1930, there were 119,000 school districts across the U.S; today, there are less than 15,000. Control has moved from local communities to the school district, to the state, and to the federal government. Public education has become a highly centralized government-backed monopoly and we shouldn't be surprised by the results. It's a no-brainer that the areas of our lives with the greatest innovation, tailoring of services to individual wants and falling prices are the areas where there is ruthless competition such as computers, food, telephone and clothing industries, and delivery companies such as UPS, Federal Express and electronic bill payments that have begun to undermine the postal monopoly in first-class mail.

    At a Washington press conference launching the McKinsey report, Al Sharpton called school reform the civil rights challenge of our time. He said that the enemy of opportunity for blacks in the U.S. was once Jim Crow; today, in a slap at the educational establishment, he said it was "Professor James Crow." Sharpton is only partly correct. School reform is not solely a racial issue; it's a vital issue for the entire nation.

    PBS Short Video “Bad Behavior Online” Takes on the Phenomenon of Cyberbullying ---

    Science is Filled With Urban Legends
    "The Scientific Blind Spot:  Knowledge is less a canon than a consensus." by David A. Shaywitz, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2012 ---

    In 1870, German chemist Erich von Wolf analyzed the iron content of green vegetables and accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook. As a result, spinach was reported to contain a tremendous amount of iron—35 milligrams per serving, not 3.5 milligrams (the true measured value). While the error was eventually corrected in 1937, the legend of spinach's nutritional power had already taken hold, one reason that studio executives chose it as the source of Popeye's vaunted strength.

    The point, according to Samuel Arbesman, an applied mathematician and the author of the delightfully nerdy "The Half-Life of Facts," is that knowledge—the collection of "accepted facts"—is far less fixed than we assume. In every discipline, facts change in predictable, quantifiable ways, Mr. Arbesman contends, and understanding these changes isn't just interesting but also useful. For Mr. Arbesman, Wolf's copying mistake says less about spinach than about the way scientific knowledge propagates.

    Copying errors, it turns out, aren't uncommon and fall into characteristic patterns, such as deletions and duplications—exactly the sorts of mistakes that geneticists have identified in DNA. Using approaches adapted from genetics, paleographers—scientists who study ancient writing—use these accumulated errors to trace the age and origins of a document, much in the same way biologists use the accumulation of genetic mutations to assess how similar two species are to each other. For example, by analyzing the oddities and duplicated errors in the 58 surviving versions of "The Wife of Bath's Prologue" from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," researchers deduced the content of the original version.

    Mr. Arbesman's interest in the spread of knowledge also leads him to the story of Brontosaurus, the lovable, distinct herbivore we all grew up with—only it never existed. Originally described in 1879 by Othniel Marsh, the Brontosaurus was soon determined to be a type of dinosaur that Marsh had already discovered in 1877, the Apatosaurus. But since the original Apatosaurus was just "a tiny collection of bones," while the Brontosaurus that Marsh named "went on to be supplemented with a complete skeleton, beautiful to behold," the second discovery captured the public's imagination and the name "Brontosaurus" stuck for nearly a century. Only recently has the name "Apatosaurus" started to gain traction.

    Knowledge, then, is less a canon than a consensus in a state of constant disruption. Part of the disruption has to do with error and its correction, but another part with simple newness—outright discoveries or new modes of classification and analysis, often enabled by technology. A single chapter in "The Half-Life of Facts" looking at the velocity of knowledge growth starts with the author's first long computer download—a document containing Plato's "Republic"—journeys through the rapid rise of the "@" symbol, introduces Moore's Law describing the growth rate of computing power, and discusses the relevance of Clayton Christensen's theory of disruptive innovation. Mr. Arbesman illustrates the speed of technological advancement with examples ranging from the magnetic properties of iron—it has become twice as magnetic every five years as purification techniques have improved—to the average distance of daily travel in France, which has exponentially increased over the past two centuries.

    To cover so much ground in a scant 200 pages, Mr. Arbesman inevitably sacrifices detail and resolution. And to persuade us that facts change in mathematically predictable ways, he seems to overstate the predictive power of mathematical extrapolation. Still, he does show us convincingly that knowledge changes and that scientific facts are rarely as solid as they appear.

    In some cases, the facts themselves are variable. For example, the height of Mount Everest changes from year to year, as colliding continental plates push up and erosion wears the mountain down. The mountain even moves laterally at a rate of about six centimeters a year, thus making both its height and location a "mesofact"—a slowly changing piece of knowledge.

    More commonly, however, changes in scientific facts reflect the way that science is done. Mr. Arbesman describes the "Decline Effect"—the tendency of an original scientific publication to present results that seem far more compelling than those of later studies. Such a tendency has been documented in the medical literature over the past decade by John Ioannidis, a researcher at Stanford, in areas as diverse as HIV therapy, angioplasty and stroke treatment. The cause of the decline may well be a potent combination of random chance (generating an excessively impressive result) and publication bias (leading positive results to get preferentially published).

    If shaky claims enter the realm of science too quickly, firmer ones often meet resistance. As Mr. Arbesman notes, scientists struggle to let go of long-held beliefs, something that Daniel Kahneman has described as "theory-induced blindness." Had the Austrian medical community in the 1840s accepted the controversial conclusions of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis that physicians were responsible for the spread of childbed fever—and heeded his hand-washing recommendations—a devastating outbreak of the disease might have been averted.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    What science has never been able to explain is why Popeye's vaunted strength was real after he ate spinach even if the spinach should not have made him so powerful. This is that part of human behavior that makes fact more strange than fiction.

    A rare voice for conservatism in our liberal Academy
    Luigi Zingales at the University of Chicago --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Zingales

    Video on A Captitalism for the People (ISBN-13: 9780465029471 ) for the ," by Luigi Zingales ---

    William F. Buckley, Jr. --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Buckley,_Jr.

    William A. Rusher --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rusher

    Bill Buckley, a great and entertaining debater, for decades was the leading spokesman of contemporary conservatism as founder and editor of The New Republic.
    William Rusher was “the other Bill.” But in many ways it’s Rusher, not Buckley, who shaped contemporary conservatism.

    "The Syndicate," by Geoffrey Kabaservice, The New Republic, August 27, 2012 ---

    If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement
    by David B. Frisk
    ISI Books, 517 pp., $34.95

    ON APRIL 15, 1974, A DEBATE failed to take place at Yale University, even though the speakers were present and the auditorium was full. William Shockley, the Nobel laureate physicist turned eugenicist crank, faced William A. Rusher, the publisher of the leading conservative magazine, National Review. Shockley came to argue that, since black people were intellectually deficient for genetic reasons, the government should support their sterilization. Rusher did not have a problem with Shockley’s racism: “I have no objection to Shockley’s premise,” he wrote. He intended to criticize Shockley only for his misplaced (“liberal”) faith in government’s ability to cure the problem of racial IQ inferiority.

    Predictably, the students in the audience shouted down both speakers. The university was overwhelmed by negative publicity, and criticized for blocking free speech. The media made much of the students’ rudeness toward Rusher—didn’t they realize that he was there to oppose the racist viewpoint? (The media reaction was evidence of the success of Rusher’s effort—and the laziness of the press.) The whole episode, in short, was a work of conservative-movement performance art that bore Rusher’s characteristic hallmarks: it was media-savvy, cynical, manipulative, embarrassing to the establishment, possessed of a nasty racial edge, and too clever by half.

    The Shockley brouhaha isn’t mentioned in David B. Frisk’s new biography of Rusher. Like most books about the movement that are blurbed, reviewed, published, and read almost exclusively by conservatives, the biography is generally uncritical of its subject and skirts episodes that might discredit the cause. The book is instead concerned with presenting an engaging portrait of the man who spent most of his life known as “the other Bill,” overshadowed by National Review’s flamboyant editor-in-chief, William F. Buckley, Jr. It also makes the case that Rusher strengthened the conservative movement by providing political intelligence and perspective that Buckley lacked. Yet Frisk’s unwillingness to grapple with the grittier details of Rusher’s career curiously undervalues his subject, for in many ways it was Rusher, not Buckley, who was the founding father of the conservative movement as it currently exists. We have Rusher, not Buckley, to thank for the populist, operationally sophisticated, and occasionally extremist elements that characterize the contemporary movement.

    Rusher was born in Chicago in 1923, and although he grew up in the New York City area he remained skeptical of the East Coast and its liberal ways for all of his life. Rusher’s parents argued viciously before they divorced, perhaps ruining him for marriage, while also—according to Frisk—teaching him how to win debates by taking advantage of opponents’ weak spots. Rusher mastered his debating skills as an undergraduate at Princeton in the early 1940s, where he acquired another lifelong trait: his resentment of the establishment. Aristocratic swells at pre-war Princeton deemed him an un-clubbable middle-class striver (“black shoe,” in the terminology of the day), instilling a lifelong hatred of liberal elites.

    Rusher’s introduction to practical politics began in the early 1950s, not long after his graduation from Harvard Law School, when his involvement in the national Young Republican (YR) federation connected him with the strategic genius F. Clifton White. Rusher and White went on to create a political machine that held the YRs in thrall for decades to come. The Syndicate, as the White-Rusher nation-wide network of low-level Republican operatives became known, allowed the two men to extend their influence beyond the YRs to the broader Republican Party—imitating the structure of New York governor Thomas Dewey’s tightly run national Republican network, which helped to deliver the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections to Dewey’s favored candidate, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    As Rusher’s anti-Communist feelings intensified and he became increasingly aligned with National Review (which he joined as publisher in 1957), the Syndicate began to siphon off power from the Dewey organization and to turn the party away from Dewey-Eisenhower moderation. White and Rusher masterminded the delegate-hunting operation that led to Barry Goldwater’s seizure of the GOP presidential nomination in 1964, and Syndicate alumni went on to high positions in Republican administrations. Many are still active in party politics today.

    Scholars, including Frisk, have yet to analyze the Syndicate adequately, mostly because its activities were necessarily sub rosa and directed against moderates inside the GOP rather than Democrats. (Conservatives, by and large, do not write about the movement as impartial scholars, and the internal developments of the Republican Party were out of academic vogue until quite recently.) But the Syndicate provided much of the conservative movement’s ideological content and personnel, as well as its tactics and tone. Many of those tactics were borrowed directly from the Communist Party: manipulation of elections, the creation of front groups, intimidation, slander, agit-prop techniques, and an ends-justify-the-means approach. Rusher was rather proud of his mastery of what he called “the black art of winning conventions” and other political contests, but the darker side of the Syndicate’s influence is still felt today: it provided a template for a movement that knows very much about how to incite resentments and oppose establishments, but very little about how to govern.

    Frisk averts his gaze from the Syndicate’s unsavory activities and focuses on more pleasant and often quite fascinating matters, such as Rusher’s relations with Buckley, his debates with other National Review colleagues, his extensive travels to anti-Communist bastions, and his connoisseurship in food and wine. Frisk describes Rusher’s generous mentorship of generations of right-wing activists and his indefatigable correspondence with movement participants. Though Rusher achieved some public prominence through his nationally syndicated column “The Conservative Advocate” (published from 1973 to 2009), his speeches, and his appearances on the PBS television show The Advocates during the ’70s, Frisk’s account suggests that his more significant role may have been as a movement nexus and motivator, a sort of Allard Lowenstein of the right.

    In fact, Rusher was something of a sage, outlining the conservative future in 1963 in his essay “Crossroads for the GOP,” which called for the joining of white Southern populists with traditional-minded economic conservatives—a prophetic glimpse of the Southern Strategy that began under Richard Nixon and has continued to the present day. But he had little confidence in his vision. He was quite skeptical that the Republican Party could ever be converted, and devoted much of his energies to a quixotic quest for a conservative third party. As late as 1979, he called the Republican Party “that putrefying corpse,” and asked a friend, “Do you see the slightest evidence that the GOP is really going anywhere?” Ironically, it is Rusher’s polarizing caricature of an America divided into “producers” and “non-producers” that has lived on in the Tea Partiers today.

    But Frisk makes a strong case that Rusher was not a mere populist propagandist. Though he was passionately opposed to abortion, for example, he warned pro-lifers that American democracy “requires constant compromise among people who differ passionately.” Still, Rusher was, as he put it (paraphrasing Napoleon), “not very fond of women or games. ... 100 percent a political animal.” Partisan politics colored his whole life, and he apparently had only a single Democratic friend. And he was, ultimately, a hard-shelled conservative warrior.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    Sadly conservatism is mostly a topic of history as the Academy surrounds itself with a liberal choir these days. Rusher may be one of the reasons vocal conservatives re despised on campus. Sadly when a scholar wears the Scarlet C around his/her neck that scholar is deemed to accept even the most objectionable extremes of conservatism. Similarly, when a radical liberal wears a Scarlet L around his/her neck that scholar is deemed to accept even the most objectionable extremes of conservatism. Scholars that think for themselves should be afforded more respect.

    Sadly on college campuses the liberals built politically correct walls to shut out debate that is not politically correct. The days of civil debate on some topics are over..

    96% of the faculty and staff at Ivy League colleges that contributed to the 2012 presidential race donated to President Obama's campaign, reveals a Campus Reform investigation compiled using numbers released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). From the eight elite schools, $1,211,267 was contributed to the Obama campaign, compared to the $114,166 given to Romney. The highest percentage of Obama donors came from Brown University and Princeton, with 99 percent of donations from faculty and staff going towards his campaign.
    Oliver Darcey, November 24, 2012 --- http://www.campusreform.org/blog/?ID=4511

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

    "The Academic Mob Rules Instead of encouraging wide discussion, the Chronicle of Higher Education fires a blogger," by Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2012 ---

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

    The Nobel Prize for Political Literature:  Tolstoy and Twain never won, but many obscure writers have. Criteria other than high art seem to be involved," by Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2012 ---

    "The Liberal Skew in Higher Education," by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 30, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

    "The Difference Between Political Journalists and B-School Profs," by Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 9, 2010 ---

    "New View of Faculty Liberalism:  Why are professors liberal?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, January 18, 2010 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads about the liberal bias of the media and the Academy are at ---

    "Top 10 Epic Tech-Gadget Failures," by Robyn Tippins, ReadWriteWeb, December 14, 2012 ---

    1. Minidisc

    2. Highway Hi-Fi

    3. DivX

    4. Web TV

    5. The Audrey Internet Appliance

    6. Palm Foleo

    7. Panasonic Jungle

    8. Solar Bath Apparatus

    9. Flobee

    10. Walking Toaster (The Aristocrat of Toasters, The Toast-O-Lator)

    Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets ---


    Editing is "the lifeblood of the profession," Hutner remarked. He emphasized that tasks like putting out new editions, compiling anthologies, and editing journals, among other things, "matter to members of the professoriate as much as, if not more than, writing thesis-length books," which are otherwise the gold standard in the humanities.
    "The Editor as Power Broker," by Jeffrey J. Williams, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, December 17, 2012 ---

    Jensen Comment
    As I read this piece I kept thinking that this is not about Gordon Hutner. It's about Tony Hopwood who founded Accounting, Organizations and Society in 1976 and was the AOS Editor until just before he died ---

    Tony published quite a few accountics science articles, but the main contribution of AOS was to go beyond the limits of big data and limiting assumptions of mathematics to encompass a much more scholarly view of accounting, organizations, and society. He was willing to publish accounting research papers that contained no equations and statistical inference tables

    But having a good idea is only the start. What you have to do is make it
    into a story. Some people think that all they need in order to be a writer is
    inspiration. Not a bit of it! Plenty of people have good ideas, but very few of them
    actually go on and write  story. That's where the hard work starts.

    Phillip Pullman, "How do Writers Think of Their Ideas?"
    Big Questions From Little People, Edited by Gemma Elwin Harris, Faber & Faber, Ltd., ISBN 978-0-16-222322-7, 2012, Page 168
    Also see the video at

    Every today that is, and that will be, Is sculptured by all that was
    Bob Schlag - January 24, 1982

    "Fresh Design Brightens Evernote 5," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2012 ---

    Ever miss the simplicity of file cabinets and manila folders? Although today's digital lifestyle is supposed to be easier, it can quickly turn into a muddled mess of out-of-sync devices, forgotten account passwords and misplaced files.

    Since its debut in 2008, Evernote has tried to change that. This free service gives people a place to store all kinds of documents and uses a system of virtual notebooks to sort things like PDFs, text notes, audio snippets and drawings. One of Evernote's strongest features has been its usability on almost all devices and operating systems, including Macs, Windows PCs, BlackBerrys, devices running iOS (Apple's AAPL -0.96% mobile operating system) or Android, and browsers and printers.

    But like a ho-hum, reliable car that merely got you where you wanted to go, Evernote hasn't always been a particularly delightful thing to use.

    Meet Evernote 5, a revamped version of the service that purrs with fluid features and playful design elements. In place of a dull list view of notes and notebooks, a handsome Cards view shows better images and details for saved items; on iOS, each card spins around and floats toward you when it's selected.

    A new Atlas section sorts all Evernote entries by where they were captured, displaying attractive maps that bring life to boring notes. Searching has improved. And a handy left-side panel includes new sections for Shortcuts to notebooks or notes, which you set up, and Recent Notes, which displays the five most recent things saved to your Evernote account.

    Evernote 5 recently launched on Apple's Mac computers and iOS mobile devices, and the company will bring out versions for Windows, Android and the Web early next year. A free Evernote account gives you 60 megabytes of usage a month, while a Premium account includes 1 gigabyte of usage each month, no ads, offline usage and other extras. Premium costs $45 a year or $5 monthly.

    Last summer, when I finished my final project for graduate school, I relied on Evernote to organize all of my notes, files, emails, photos and interviews. It did the job, but Evernote 5 is simply better looking, more functional and more enjoyable to use.

    If you like collaborating with other people on notes, you can share anything from your Evernote account with others via Facebook, FB -0.69% Twitter, LinkedIn LNKD -0.81% or email. Evernote 5 has a smarter way of displaying notebooks, with a small people icon in the top right of each shared notebook. The covers of these notebooks also tell who owns them, and notebooks can now be sorted by Name, Note Count or Owner in one simple step.

    Evernote makes seven different apps and works with various products from other companies. To keep track of all these offerings, a Trunk section in Evernote 5 sorts them and directs people to links where they can buy or download products.

    My favorite app is the Evernote Web Clipper, which works with browsers including Google GOOG -0.36% Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari to help you save anything you find on the Web. This can include entire Web pages or just a particular image or selection of text. I used Evernote to gather gift ideas for family and friends, keeping them all in a notebook labeled Christmas 2012.

    I also like using Evernote's Clearly, which is a browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that works like the Reader tool in Apple's Safari browser. I use it with Chrome, and anytime I click on the Clearly icon, the text of the blog page or website that I'm reading appears without cluttered ads and other distractions. I can adjust the background color and text size on the page, or clip pages directly to Evernote.

    A few keyboard shortcuts are extra helpful when using Evernote on your computer. Pressing Control + N on Windows, or Command + N on Macs, will instantly create a new note. On Macs, tapping Command + Z will undo your last action in Evernote and pressing Command + ; will check spelling.

    One of the little-known Evernote features is its integration with email. Each account, free or Premium, is assigned an email address. This address is your account name added to a forgettable string of letters and numbers, but it can be added to your email contacts. Anything you email to your Evernote account gets saved just like a note would.

    Continued in article

    "Zotero vs. EndNote," by Brian Croxall, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 3, 2011 ---

    "Taking Better Notes in Zotero," by Lincoln Mullen, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 10, 2011 ---

    Bob Jensen threads on Zotero and EverNote ---



    "Every Apple-Made App On Your iPhone Can Be Replaced By A Better App," by Steve Kovach, Business Insider, December  14, 2012 ---

    With yesterday's launch of Google Maps for iOS, I reached the point where I no longer use any of Apple's built-in apps on my iPhone.

    Well, there are three very basic exceptions: Clock, Messages* (the texting app), and Phone. Other than that, every app I use on my iPhone was made by a third-party developer who pulled off something better than Apple's default app for the same task.

    And now, all of the Apple-made apps are now in a folder labeled with an Emoji of a smiling pile of poop.

    Here's my current setup:

    Continued in article

    Daughter Maria sent a cartoon with the caption:
    "Reading is how people install software in their brains."

    Why does gold lose it's luster when the Fed prints money to pay government's bills?

    Precious Metals Prices Hit Hard by Fed's Evans' Rule ---

    "Google Maps is now available for iPhone." Google, December 12. 2012 ---

    Note the Student Comment About Availability of Test Banks Via Google
    Posting by Rick Lillie on the AAA Commons December 12, 2012

    Using Google Search to find publisher test banks on the Internet -- Do your students do this?

    I teach several online courses.  I use timed exams for some of the courses, while others are open-book, research-type exams without time limits.  Sometimes, I use publisher provided test banks as a source of multiple-choice type questions.  I tend to select questions that are rather difficult and not readily found in text material.  In other words, students have to really think in order to answer the questions.

    I'm fully aware that many test banks are readily available via the Internet.  Until recently, this did not bother me too much.  However, this past term, a couple of grad students showed me how to search for specific questions using Google SearchThe students simply copy/pasted a test question into the Google Search line or typed in the question.  The search process quickly opened the test databank for a specific chapter and damn near took students right to the question and suggested answer.

    I'm reasonably savvy when it comes to technology.  However, I did not realize the extent to which test banks and other supposedly restricted publisher-provided support materials were readily available online via Google Search.  To see how pervasive this situation might be, I applied the Google Search technique to several questions from several exams.  Each search result produced the test bank by chapter, question, and answer.

    I've used a variety of techniques to protect exams (both traditional and online formats) and overall course assessment strategies and I've felt pretty comfortable with test results.  However, this latest approach to using Google Search has caused me to rethink how I approach testing in traditional, blended, and online course formats.

    I am interested in your experiences with this issue.  I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

    Rick Lillie (CSU San Bernardino)

    Anonymous Student Comment -- Interesting

    I took an online course (from a state university) that was set up similarly in that I had 30-50 questions from a test bank and a limited amount of time to take the test. I would go through and answer as many questions as I could from my memory, but the ones I wasn't sure on or didn't know at all, I'd go to Google and, almost always, find someone who had used the question (and answer) as part of the study sheet somewhere. 

    Turned a lot of would-be Bs and Cs into As


    Jensen Comment
    My question is why the student is allowed to do a Google search during an examination? It's one thing to study a purloined test bank before an examination and quite another to be able to look up specific answers during an examination. There are various ways to maintain testing integrity among online students ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at



    University of California Research --- http://research.universityofcalifornia.edu/
    News and stories (including videos) about research in the University of California system
    Categories:  Berkeley,  Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence, Livermore, Los Alamos, Agriculture, and Natural Resources

    This site includes profiles of researchers, including active and emeritus accounting researchers, at the various campus locations.

    The University of Georgia takes this a step further by putting faculty profiles on Wikipedia.

    Profiles of Scientists and Engineers ---

    Social Offender = A + S2

    "Social Offender for Our Times," by Evan R. Goldstein, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, December 17, 2012 ---

    Julie Smith David, who is now a full-time administrator in the American Accounting Association, posted the following on the AAA Commons: She needs to update her profile following her move to Sarasota --- http://commons.aaahq.org/people/687f7dcd30

    I always enjoy reflecting on the year, and finding out what others think has made a difference...so from many of the "best of" lists that come out  at this time of year, the one that first caught my eye:

    7 Most Important Tech Trends Of 2012 posted on CIO's web site...

    What struck me as interesting was how many of these technologies (5 out of 7) have implications for accountants:

    1.  Big data - if we're not analyzing it, are we doing our job?

    3.  Near-field communications - what are the audit implications?  Privacy issues?

    4.  Biometrics - sure it helps with security, but, again, what about privacy?

    6.  Bring Your Own Device (BYOD—oh, don't I wish it was a "---B"?) - the technology challenges with consumer devices are huge, as are implications for processes (and SOX compliance), security, and potentially privacy

    7.  3-D Printing - We have entered the Enterprise and can have replicators in our homes!  Think how this could turn manufacturing on its head: no more "work in progress" and a lot less inventory!  Would ABC costing still be needed?

    My questions to all of you - are you including these in your classes and your research?  Do you think the accounting profession sees these initiatives as ones they should be involved in?  Do you think the article missed anything important?

    And if these aren't too interesting, here are a few more "best of's" for 2012:

    Happy New Year to you, and yours!


    Bob Jensen's threads on technology trends are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on education technology trends are at


    "The Woman Charged With Making Windows 8 SucceedIn a Q&A, Julie Larson-Green explains why Microsoft felt it was necessary to rethink an operating system used by 1.2 billion people," by Tom Simonite, MIT's Technology Review, December 13, 2012 --- Click Here

     As the head of Windows product development at Microsoft, Julie Larson-Green is responsible for a piece of software used by some 1.3 billion people worldwide. She’s also the person leading the campaign to introduce as many of those people as possible to Windows 8, the dramatic redesign of the iconic operating system that must succeed if Microsoft is to keep pace with a computing industry now shaped more by phones and tablets than desktop PCs.

    Windows 8 throws out design features familiar to Windows users since 1995, swapping in simpler, bolder interfaces designed to be operated using a touch screen. The release of the Surface, a device somewhere between a tablet and laptop, also sees Microsoft break its tradition of leaving the building of hardware to other companies.

    Larson-Green took over the role a few weeks ago, after Microsoft veteran Steven Sinofsky left amid rumors of personal disputes with other Microsoft executives. However, Larson-Green has long been a senior figure inside the Windows division and even took the lead on drawing up the first design brief for Windows 8. An expert in technical design, she also led the introduction of the novel, much copied “ribbon” interface for Microsoft Office, widely acknowledged as a major improvement in usability.

    Larson-Green met last week with Tom Simonite at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington.

    Why was it necessary to make such broad changes in Windows 8?

    When Windows was first created 25 years ago, the assumptions about the world and what computing could do and how people were going to use it were completely different. It was at a desk, with a monitor. Before Windows 8 the goal was to launch into a window, and then you put that window away and you got another one. But with Windows 8, all the different things that you might want to do are there at a glance with the Live Tiles. Instead of having to find many little rocks to look underneath, you see a kind of dashboard of everything that’s going on and everything you care about all at once. It puts you closer to what you’re trying to get done.

    Windows 8 is clearly designed with touch in mind, and many new Windows 8 PCs have touch screens. Why is touch so important?

    It’s a very natural way to interact. If you get a laptop with a touch screen, your brain clicks in and you just start touching what makes it faster for you. You’ll use the mouse and keyboard, but even on the regular desktop you’ll find yourself reaching up doing the things that are faster than moving the mouse and moving the mouse around. It’s not like using the mouse, which is more like puppeteering than direct manipulation.

    In the future, are all PCs going to have touch screens?

    For cost considerations there might always be some computers without touch, but I believe that the vast majority will. We’re seeing that the computers with touch are the fastest-selling right now. I can’t imagine a computer without touch anymore. Once you’ve experienced it, it’s really hard to go back.

    Did you take that approach in Windows 8 as a response to the popularity of mobile devices running iOS and Android?

    We started planning Windows 8 in June of 2009, before we shipped Windows 7, and the iPad was only a rumor at that point. I only saw the iPad after we had this design ready to go. We were excited. A lot of things they were doing about mobile and touch were similar to what we’d been thinking. We [also] had differences. We wanted not just static icons on the desktop but Live Tiles to be a dashboard for your life; we wanted you to be able to do things in context and share across apps; we believed that multitasking is important and that people can do two things at one time.

    Can touch coexist with a keyboard and mouse interface? Some people have said it doesn’t feel right to have both the newer, touch-centric elements and the old-style desktop in Windows 8.

    It was a very definite choice to have both environments. A finger’s never going to replace the precision of a mouse. It’s always going to be easier to type on a keyboard than it is on glass. We didn’t want you to have to make a choice. Some people have said that it’s jarring, but over time we don’t hear that. It’s just getting used to something that’s different. Nothing was homogenous to start with, when you were in the browser it looked different than when you were in Excel.

    I wonder if you’re experiencing a little déjà vu, after previously leading a radical change to the interface for Office that initially met with complaints.

    Yes! A lot of it is familiar. Some people who review it for a shorter period of time may not feel how rich it really is. We’re going for the over time impression rather than the first 20 minutes out of the box. We’ve found that the more invested you were in the old way, the more difficult the transition is, which is unfortunate because we first hear about everything in the tech press. Those are the ones that we knew up front are going to have the most challenge.

    How long does it take people to adjust?

    Two days to two weeks is what we used to say in Office, and it’s similar in Windows 8. We do a “living with Windows” program where we watched people over a series of months in their household. A lot of people don’t have trouble upfront.

    What data do you have on how people buying Windows 8 are reacting?

    When you sign into your Windows PC, one of the things you get asked is whether you’ll be part of our customer experience improvement program, and if you will, then you’re sending some data to us. Everyone gets asked that. We get terabytes and terabytes of data every day, and we can’t possibly use it all. So far we’re seeing very encouraging things. Over 90 percent of customers, from our data, use the charms and find the start screen all in the first session. Even if you’re a desktop user, over time there’s a cutover point around six weeks where you start using the new things more than the things you’re familiar with.

    Microsoft has chosen to make its own hardware for Windows 8 with the Surface tablets. Why not leave that to the equipment manufacturers, as you’ve done in the past?

    It was a way to test our hypothesis of a new way of working. It takes time for individuals to adjust, but it also takes time for the industry to adjust to new things—all the complicated things about the supply chain and issues like what sizes of glass gets cut. Surface is our vision of what a stage for Windows 8 should look like, to help show consumers and the industry our point of view on what near perfect hardware would look like. We believe in Surface as a long-term product, but we know that partners will have other innovations and ideas. One of the things that’s always been nice about Windows is choice—you’re not locked into one size, one shape, one color, one version.

    Your predecessor, Steven Sinofsky, was widely credited with driving Microsoft to create Windows 8 through sheer force of will. Is that true?

    Steven is an amazing leader and an amazing brain and an amazing person, but one person can’t do everything. It’s really about the team that we created and the culture that we created for innovation.

    Continued in article

    As robots take increasingly displace labor in almost any market, are writers and music composers safe?

    "Patented Book Writing System Creates, Sells Hundreds Of Thousands Of Books On Amazon," by David J. Hull, Security Hub, December 13, 2012 ---

    Philip M. Parker, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD Business School, has had a side project for over 10 years. He’s created a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes. The patented algorithm has so far generated hundreds of thousands of books. In fact, Amazon lists over 100,000 books attributed to Parker, and over 700,000 works listed for his company, ICON Group International, Inc. This doesn’t include the private works, such as internal reports, created for companies or licensing of the system itself through a separate entity called EdgeMaven Media.

    Parker is not so much an author as a compiler, but the end result is the same: boatloads of written works.

    Now these books aren’t your typical reading material. Common categories include specialized technical and business reports, language dictionaries bearing the “Webster’s” moniker (which is in the public domain), rare disease overviews, and even crossword puzzle books for learning foreign languages, but they all have the same thing in common: they are automatically generated by software.

    The system automates this process by building databases of information to source from, providing an interface to customize a query about a topic, and creating templates for information to be packaged. Because digital ebooks and print-on-demand services have become commonplace, topics can be listed in Amazon without even being “written” yet.

    The abstract for the U.S. patent issued in 2007 describes the system:

    The present invention provides for the automatic authoring, marketing, and or distributing of title material. A computer automatically authors material. The material is automatically formatted into a desired format, resulting in a title material. The title material may also be automatically distributed to a recipient. Meta material, marketing material, and control material are automatically authored and if desired, distributed to a recipient. Further, the title may be authored on demand, such that it may be in any desired language and with the latest version and content.

    To be clear, this isn’t just software alone but a computer system designated to write for a specific genre. The system’s database is filled with genre-relevant content and specific templates coded to reflect domain knowledge, that is, to be written according to an expert in that particular field/genre. To avoid copyright infringement, the system is designed to avoid plagiarism, but the patent aims to create original but not necessarily creative works. In other words, if any kind of content can be broken down into a formula, then the system could package related, but different content in that same formula repeatedly ad infinitum.

    Parker explains the process in this nearly 10-minute video:

    Scroll down to the video ---

    Continued in article

    Jensen Questions
    If you publish an average of 1,267 books per year in your discipline can you possibly be denied promotion and tenure?

    Will you continued to require a single essay that counts 50% of the grade in your theory course?

    How do you sue an anonymous computer for plagiarism?

    Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

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

    Taxes:  Navigating the Fiscal Cliff? AICPA Can Help ---

    According to Hoyle
    "EVERYONE CHANGES OVER TIME," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, December 14, 2012 ---

    . . .

    I am always shocked by how many well intentioned faculty members turn testing over to a textbook test bank. I want to run screaming into the night when I hear that. In my opinion, an overworked graduate student who does not know you or your students is not in any position to write a legitimate test for your students. When writing this blog, I sometimes discuss what I would do if I were king of education. Burning all test banks would be one of my first royal acts.

    Yes, I know you are extremely busy. But abdicating this valuable task to a person who might never have taught a single class (or a class like yours) makes no sense. Any test in your class should be designed for your students based on what you have covered and based on what you want them to know. It should not be composed of randomly selected questions written by some mysterious stranger. To me, using a test bank is like asking Mickey Mouse to pinch hit for Babe Ruth. You are giving away an essential element of the course to someone who might not be up to the task.

    Over the decades, I have worked very hard to learn how to write good questions. During those years, I have written some questions that were horrible. But, I have learned much from that experience.

    --The first thing I learned about test writing was that a question that everyone could answer was useless. --The second thing that I learned was that a question that no one could answer was also useless.

    As with any task, you practice and you look at the results and you get better. You don’t hand off an essential part of your course to a test bank.

    As everyone who has read this blog for long probably knows, one of the things I started doing about 8 years ago was allowing students to bring handwritten notes to every test. That immediately stopped me from writing questions that required memorization because the students had all that material written down and in front of them.

    That was a good start but that was not enough. Allowing notes pushed me in the right direction but it did not get me to the tests I wanted. It takes practice and study.

    About 3 weeks ago, I wrote a 75 minute test for my introduction to Financial Accounting class here at the University of Richmond. This test was the last one of the semester (prior to the final exam). By that time, I surely believed that everyone in the class had come to understand what I wanted them to accomplish. So, I wanted to test the material in such a way as to see how deeply they really did understand it.

    I wrote 12 multiple-choice questions designed to take about 4-8 minutes each. For accounting tests that are often numerically based, I like multiple-choice questions because I can give 6-8 potential answers and, therefore, limit the possibility of a lucky guess.

    In writing the first four of these questions, I tried to envision what an A student could figure out but that a B student could not. In other words, I wanted these four questions to show me the point between Good and Excellent. These were tough. For those questions, I really didn’t worry about the C, D, or F students. These questions were designed specifically to see if I could divide the A students from the B students.

    The next four questions were created to divide the B students from the C students. They were easier questions but a student would have to have a Good level of understanding to figure them out. I knew the A students could work these questions and I knew the D students could not work them. These four were written to split the B students from the C students.

    The final four questions were created to divide the C students from those with a lesser level of understanding. They were easier but still not easy. I wanted to see who deserved a C and who did not. If a student could get those four questions correct, that (to me) was average work. Those students deserved at least a C. But, if a student could not get those four, they really had failed to achieve a basic level of understanding worthy of a C.

    Then, I shuffled the 12 questions and gave them to my students.

    How did this test work out in practice? Pretty well. When it was over, I put the papers in order from best to worse to see if I was comfortable with the results. I genuinely felt like I could tell the A students from the B students from the C students from everyone else. And, isn’t that a primary reason for giving a test?

    Okay, I had to create a pretty interesting curve to get the grades to line up with what I thought I was seeing. But I am the teacher for this class. That evaluation should be mine. I tell my students early in the semester that I do not grade on raw percentages. Getting 66 percent of the questions correct should not automatically be a D. In fact, in many cases, getting 66 percent of the questions correct might well be a very impressive performance. It depends on the difficulty of the questions.

    After the first test, students will often ask something like, “I only got four questions out of 12 correct and I still got a C, how can that be?” My answer is simple “by answering those four questions, you have shown me how much you have understood and I thought that level of understanding deserved a C.”

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    I think professors who use publisher test banks are totally naive on how easy it is to get publisher test banks. Some who aren't so naive contend that learning from memorizing test banks is so tremendous that they want to give student A grades for memorizing a test bank. I think that's a cop out!

    The following appears in RateMyProfessor for a professor that will remain unnamed ---

    She is a really easy teacher-especially if you have old tests!! There are always repeat questions from the year before! It is always easy to see what will be on the test if you go to class...she always picks one question from each topic she talked about in class! You won't even need to buy the book bc everything is from her lecture!

    She tries to indoctrinate all of her pupils with her liberal views on the the environment, business, and religion. She's patronizing, rude, her voice is annoying, and she NEVER speaks on econ. she pushes her views on us daily. cares more about the environment than econ and won't listen to other opinions. treats students like they're idiots.

    "How You Test Is How They Will Learn," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Financial Accounting Blog, January 31, 2010 ---

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

    "Fantasy Academe: a Role for Sabermetrics Fantasy Academe: a Role for Sabermetrics 1," by Robert Zaretsky, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2012 ---

    Jensen Comment
    The above article was triggered by an unfavorable accreditation review at the University of Houston. Interestingly, before the 1990s the AACSB accreditation standards were filled with bright lines that were essentially "sabermetrics," such as student/faculty ratio thresholds and the minimum proportion of terminally qualified faculty in each department, with "terminally qualified" defined as not being doctoral faculty with degrees outside the field of business such as non-qualifying doctoral degrees in education, economics, mathematics, statistics, history, etc.

    Then, for complicated reasons and excuses, the AACSB moved toward eliminating bright line sabermetrics with squishy standards rooted in mission-driven criteria. AACSB mission-driven accreditation standards are analogous to principles-based accounting standards. Now business administration departments may define "terminally qualified" in terms of the unique missions of the college of business.

    I might add that top university officials hate bright line, rules-based accreditation standards. In the old days some astute college presidents (I know one personally)  absolutely refused to allow a college of business to seek AACSB accreditation. This is because when the number of business major credit hours soar relative to humanities and science, business deans would blackmail the college president for increased budgets on the basis that the falling behind the bright lines of the AACSB would result in losing accreditation. Losing accreditation is much more serious than not having had such accreditation in the first place. It's a bit like getting a divorce versus not ever having been married in the first place. Divorces can be expensive. As Jerry Reed sang, "she got the gold mine and I got the shaft."

    Mission-based AACSB standards are a bit more like bypassing rules-based marriage laws with squishy standards where the business school in College A has a much different faculty-student profile than business school B. My college president friend mentioned above readily funded our quest for AACSB accreditation when the AACSB restated its standard setting to be mission-based. This meant that this president couldn't be blackmailed out of using his own discretion in setting budgets for all departments on campus.

    I might add that the AACSB has not been at all flexible with regard to the distance education mission. Distance education cannot be the primary mission, and no for-profit university is accredited by the AACSB whether or not it has onsite campuses to supplement its distance education degree alternatives.

    What should be the role of sabermetrics in accreditation?

    "New Business-School  (AACSB) Accreditation Is Likely to Be More Flexible, Less Prescriptive," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2012 ---

    New accreditation standards for business schools should be flexible enough to encourage their widely divergent missions without diluting the value of the brand that hundreds of business schools worldwide count among their biggest selling points.

    That message was delivered to about 500 business deans from 38 countries at a meeting here this week.

    The deans represented the largest and most geographically diverse gathering of business-school leaders to attend the annual deans' meeting of AACSB International: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

    The association is reviewing its accreditation standards, in part to deal with the exponential growth in the number of business schools overseas, many of which are seeking AACSB accreditation.

    The committee that is drawing up proposed new standards gave the deans a glimpse at the changes under consideration, which are likely to acknowledge the importance of issues like sustainable development, ethics, and globalization in today's business schools. A council made up of representatives of the accredited schools will have to approve the changes for them to take effect, and that vote is tentatively scheduled for April 2013.

    Joseph A. DiAngelo, the association's chair-elect and a member of the committee reviewing the standards, said that when the rules are too prescriptive, schools' mission statements, which drive their curricula and hiring patterns, all start to look the same.

    "It's all vanilla. I want to see the nuts and the cherries and all the things that make your school unique," said Mr. DiAngelo, who is also dean of the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph's University, in Philadelphia.

    The last time the standards were revised, in 2003, schools were put on notice that they would have to measure how much students were learning—a task some tackled with gusto. One business school Mr. DiAngelo met with on a recent accreditation visit "had 179 goals and objectives, and they only have 450 students," he said. "I said, You can't be serious."

    The committee's challenges include providing a more flexible accreditation framework to allow schools to customize their approaches without angering members that have already sweated out the more rigorous and prescriptive process.

    And even though many schools outside the United States have trouble meeting the criteria for accreditation, especially when it comes to having enough professors with Ph.D.'s, "We don't think it's appropriate to have dual standards for schools in the U.S. and those outside the U.S.," said Richard E. Sorensen, co-chair of the accreditation-review committee and dean of the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation issues ---

    Makes you think twice about what you report to the Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, Facebook, and other media outlets
    "Could You Be Sued For That Negative Yelp Review?" by Dana Rousmaniere, Harvard Business Review Blog, December 11, 2012 --- Click Here

    When Fairfax, Virginia, resident Jane Perez took to the internet to post a scathing review of a contractor’s work on her home, she had no idea that it would result in a $750,000 defamation lawsuit. The contractor, Christopher Dietz, claimed that Perez’s review was false and cost him $300,000 in lost business. Justin Jouvenal at the Wall Street Journal says that it’s just one of a growing number of defamation lawsuits over online reviews on sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List and TripAdvisor, where the freewheeling world of acerbic Web speech is colliding with the ever-growing importance of online reputations for businesses. “It’s snark vs. status,” writes Jouvenal.

    Free-speech advocates say the lawsuits are heavy-handed attempts to stifle critical — but valuable — consumer information. Business owners argue that a defamatory review can devastate a business. Lawyers say such cases are a cautionary tale for a new era: Those who feel targeted by defamation on the Web are more likely to file suit, and judges and juries are more likely to take such claims seriously than in years past, raising the legal stakes over vitriolic reviews, nasty blog comments and Facebook feuds.

    Jensen Comment
    But I think it's unlikely that you will be sued by ranting and raving over Nigerian frauds. I saw a CBS news report on the latest Nigerian scam --- selling dogs for cash upfront for dogs andpuppies that are never delivered ---
    These Nigerians scammers don't want any confrontations in court.

    Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

    "Controller finds more accounting problems in parks payroll," Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2012 ---

    A review of the scandal-plagued California parks department found that managers were circumventing payroll policies and boosting employee salaries, according to the state controller's office on Tuesday.

    "The deliberate disregard for internal controls along with little oversight and poorly trained staff resulted in improper payouts to parks' employees," said Controller John Chiang in a statement. "When security protocols and authorization requirements so easily can be overridden, it invites the abuse of public funds."

    One of the apparent abuses involved "out of class" payments, which is extra money paid to employees for handling duties outside their regular responsibilities. The controller's office said managers were circumventing proper procedures to award payments totaling $520,000 to 203 employees from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2012.

    Although a lack of paperwork made it impossible for officials to determine exactly how much of that money was wrongfully paid, some policies were violated, resulting in excessive payments, according to the controller's office.

    A spokesman for the parks department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    [Updated, 11:58 a.m. Dec. 18: "We acknowledge and it is widely known that some very unfortunate events occurred at the Department of Parks and Recreation, in particular with the mismanagement of payroll systems and data," said Roy Stearns, a parks spokesman, in a statement. He said the department is using the controller's findings to "continue to improve and safeguard our payroll systems."]

    The controller's review was launched after officials revealed the parks department had hidden away $54 million in two accounts over a period of several years. The department's director, Ruth Coleman, was ousted, and Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a retired Marine general, Anthony Jackson, to replace her last month. Jackson is awaiting Senate approval.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

    "U. of Michigan’s Social-Media Director Quits Over Résumé Controversy," Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2012 ---

    Jensen Comment
    I posted this mostly to note that the whistle blower in this instance remained anonymous. We had a recent discussion on the AECM about the ethics of anonymous whistle blowing. I find nothing controversial about anonymous whistle blowing regarding facts that can be easily verified. There's a gray zone in such instances as conduct that is not as easily proven such as what exactly went on behind locked doors of the oval office when President Clinton was locked inside with an intern.

    The Best Illustrated Children’s Books and Picturebooks of 2012 ---

    "The Top Five Career Regrets," by Daniel Gulati, Harvard Business Review Blog, December 14, 2012 --- Click Here

    I had just finished a guest lecture on business and innovation at Parson's School for Design, and a particularly attentive front-row audience member kicked off question time with the curliest one of the day. I answered quickly with the hope of getting back on target. But judging from the scores of follow-up questions and the volume of post-lecture emails I received, a talk on career regret would have been the real bull's-eye.

    Ever since that afternoon, I've been on a mission to categorically answer the awkward but significant question of exactly what we'd do if we could magically rewind our careers. The hope? That by exposing what others are most disappointed about in their professional lives, we're maximizing our chances of minimizing regret in our own.

    To this end, I sat down with 30 professionals between the ages of 28 and 58, and asked each what they regretted most about their careers to date. The group was diverse: I spoke with a 39-year-old managing director of a large investment bank, a failing self-employed photographer, a millionaire entrepreneur, and a Fortune 500 CEO. Disappointment doesn't discriminate; no matter what industry the individual operated in, what role they had been given, or whether they were soaring successes or mired in failure, five dominant themes shone through. Importantly, the effects of bad career decisions and disconfirmed expectancies were felt equally across age groups.

    Here were the group's top five career regrets:

    1. I wish I hadn't taken the job for the money. By far the biggest regret of all came from those who opted into high-paying but ultimately dissatisfying careers. Classic research proves that compensation is a "hygiene" factor, not a true motivator. What was surprising, though, were the feelings of helplessness these individuals were facing. Lamented one investment banker, "I dream of quitting every day, but I have too many commitments." Another consultant said, "I'd love to leave the stress behind, but I don't think I'd be good at anything else." Whoever called them golden handcuffs wasn't joking.

    2. I wish I had quit earlier. Almost uniformly, those who had actually quit their jobs to pursue their passions wished they had done so earlier. Variable reinforcement schedules prevalent in large corporations, the visibility of social media, and the desire to log incremental gains are three reasons that the 80% of people dissatisfied with their jobs don't quit when they know they should. Said one sales executive, "Those years could have been spent working on problems that mattered to me. You can't ever get those years back."

    3. I wish I had the confidence to start my own business. As their personal finances shored up, professionals I surveyed yearned for more control over their lives. The logical answer? To become an owner, not an employee in someone else's company. But in the words of Artful Dodger, wanting it ain't enough. A recent study found that 70% of workers wished their current job would help them with starting a business in the future, yet only 15% said they had what it takes to actually venture out on their own. Even Fortune 500 CEOs dream of entrepreneurial freedom. Admitted one: "My biggest regret is that I'm a 'wantrepreneur.' I never got to prove myself by starting something from scratch."

    4. I wish I had used my time at school more productively. Despite all the controversy currently surrounding student loans, roughly 86% of students still view college as a worthwhile investment. This is reflected in the growing popularity of college: In writing Passion & Purpose, my coauthors and I found that 54% of Millennials have college degrees, compared to 36% of Boomers. Although more students are attending college, many of the group's participants wished they had thoughtfully parlayed their school years into a truly rewarding first job. A biology researcher recounted her college experience as being "in a ridiculous hurry to complete what in hindsight were the best and most delightfully unstructured years of my life." After starting a family and signing up for a mortgage, many were unable to carve out the space to return to school for advanced study to reset their careers.

    5. I wish I had acted on my career hunches. Several individuals recounted windows of opportunity in their careers, or as one professional described, "now-or-never moments." In 2005, an investment banker was asked to lead a small team in (now) rapidly growing Latin America. Sensing that the move might be an upward step, he still declined. Crushingly, the individual brave enough to accept the offer was promoted shortly to division head, then to CEO. Recent theories of psychology articulate the importance of identifying these sometimes unpredictable but potentially rewarding moments of change, and jumping on these opportunities to non-linearly advance your professional life.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comments
    Outside the realm of mathematics and the natural sciences, writers should probably avoid use of the words "proof" and "proves." In the social sciences and business about the only things that can be "proven" are tautologies. Classic research does not prove compensation is not a true motivator in many (most?) instances. Ask any prostitute on the streets? Ask most (not all) any con men or women? Ask most any bank robber? Ask most any Wall Street executive selling out the best interest for shareholders so he can get a bigger bonus?

    Some of the above "career regrets" can be turned inside out. For example, I know a number of professors who gave up tenured faculty positions to follow business interests that turned into disasters. Now the best they can do is struggle in life with low-paid and part-time adjunct teaching contracts.

    The term "using school more productively" has various meanings. For example, it might be confused with not choosing a major having more career opportunities. This can also vary. Some students have such high GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores that they can turn around most any undergraduate major into a successful graduate school major in an Ivy League university. Most other students are not so successful on admissions tests. Using "school more productively" can even mean something apart from academics and grades. Some Harvard Business School graduates with average grades maximized career success by making use of student and alumni networking opportunities afforded by the HBS.

    And many other workers quit or retired too soon. Ask most any old person in a second career as a Wal-Mart greeter.


    The University of Wisconsin Professor Althouse has the most popular law professor blog in the USA ---
    Her blog postings vary across the board and are not just devoted to law or academe.

    From TaxProf (Paul Caron) on December 13, 2012 ---

    Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings

    Below are the updated quarterly traffic rankings (page views and visitors) of the Top 35 blogs edited by law professors with publicly available SiteMeters for the most recent 12-month period (October 1, 2011 - September 30, 2012), as well as the percentage change in traffic from the prior 12-month period:

      Blog Page Views Change
    1 Althouse 17,765,378 -1.5%
    2 Legal Insurrection 12,767,013 +83.0%
    3 Hugh Hewitt 6,411,500 +14.6%
    4 Leiter Reports: Philosophy 5,689,919 +0.4%
    5 Patently-O 3,479,729 -1.9%
    6 Jack Bog's Blog 3,223,336 +14.9%
    7 TaxProf Blog 3,203,552 -14.8%
    8 PrawfsBlawg 1,843,279 +16.2%
    9 Sentencing Law & Policy 1,357,636 -9.6%
    10 The Faculty Lounge 1,246,610 -6.6%
    11 Concurring Opinions 1,129,607 -16.1%
    12 Lawfare 1,107,726 n/a
    13 The Incidental Economist 1,066,656 n/a
    14 Harvard Law  Corp Gov 1,041,407 +40.4%
    15 Balkinization 1,025,291 -1.9%
    16 Leiter's Law School Reports 1,020,418 -3.0%
    17 Opinio Juris 1,005,429 +22.4%
    18 Election Law Blog 896,154 +158.6%

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on accounting professor blogs ---

    "Leading British Universities Join New MOOC Venture," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 13. 2012 ---

    Jensen Comment
    Break out the Champaign for MOOCs, but hold back the really expensive stuff for when Oxford and Cambridge announce their new MOOCs.

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

    College, Reinvented --- http://chronicle.com/section/College-Reinvented/656

    "For Whom Is College Being Reinvented? 'Disruptions' have the buzz but may put higher education out of reach for those students likely to benefit the most," by Scott Carlson and Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2012 ---

    Last year, leading lights in for-profit and nonprofit higher education convened in Washington for a conference on private-sector innovation in the industry. The national conversation about dysfunction and disruption in higher education was just heating up, and panelists from start-ups, banking, government, and education waxed enthusiastic about the ways that a traditional college education could be torn down and rebuilt—and about how lots of money could be made along the way.

    During a break, one panelist—a banker who lines up financing for education companies, and who had talked about meeting consumer demands in the market—made chitchat. The banker had a daughter who wanted a master's in education and was deciding between a traditional college and a start-up that offered a program she would attend mostly online—exactly the kind of thing everyone at the conference was touting.

    For most parents, that choice might raise questions—and the banker was no exception. Unlike most parents, however, the well-connected banker could resolve those uncertainties, with a call to the CEO of the education venture: "Is this thing crap or for real?"

    In higher education, that is the question of the moment—and the answer is not clear, even to those lining up to push for college reinvention. But the question few people want to grapple with is, For whom are we reinventing college?

    The punditry around reinvention (including some in these pages) has trumpeted the arrival of MOOC's, badges, "UnCollege," and so on as the beginning of a historic transformation. "College Is Dead. Long Live College!," declared a headline in Time's "Reinventing College" issue, in October, which pondered whether massive open online courses would "finally pop the tuition bubble." With the advent of MOOC's, "we're witnessing the end of higher education as we know it," pronounced Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, in The Boston Globe last month.

    Read beneath the headlines a bit. The pundits and disrupters, many of whom enjoyed liberal-arts educations at elite colleges, herald a revolution in higher education that is not for people like them or their children, but for others: less-wealthy, less-prepared students who are increasingly cut off from the dream of a traditional college education.

    "Those who can afford a degree from an elite institution are still in an enviable position," wrote the libertarian blogger Megan McArdle in a recent Newsweek article, "Is College a Lousy Investment?" For the rest, she suggested, perhaps apprenticeships and on-the-job training might be more realistic, more affordable options. Mr. Aoun, in his Globe essay, admitted that the coming reinvention could promote a two-tiered system: "one tier consisting of a campus-based education for those who can afford it, and the other consisting of low- and no-cost MOOC's." And in an article about MOOC's, Time quotes David Stavens, a founder of the MOOC provider Udacity, as conceding that "there's a magic that goes on inside a university campus that, if you can afford to live inside that bubble, is wonderful."

    But if you can't, entrepreneurs like him are creating an industrialized version of higher education that the most fervent disruptionists predict could replace mid-sized state institutions or less-selective private colleges. "I think the top 50 schools are probably safe," Mr. Stavens said.

    A 'Mass Psychosis'

    Higher education does have real problems, and MOOC's, badges—certificates of accomplishment—and other innovations have real potential to tackle some of them. They could enrich teaching, add rigor, encourage interdisciplinarity, reinforce education's real-world applicability, and make learning more efficient—advances all sorely needed.

    But the reinvention conversation has not produced the panacea that people seem to yearn for. "The whole MOOC thing is mass psychosis," a case of people "just throwing spaghetti against the wall" to see what sticks, says Peter J. Stokes, executive director for postsecondary innovation at Northeastern's College of Professional Studies. His job is to study the effectiveness of ideas that are emerging or already in practice.

    He believes that many of the new ideas, including MOOC's, could bring improvements to higher education. But "innovation is not about gadgets," says Mr. Stokes. "It's not about eureka moments. ... It's about continuous evaluation."

    The furor over the cost and effectiveness of a college education has roots in deep socioeconomic challenges that won't be solved with an online app. Over decades, state support per student at public institutions has dwindled even as enrollments have ballooned, leading to higher prices for parents and students. State funds per student dropped by 20 percent from 1987 to 2011, according to an analysis by the higher-education finance expert Jane Wellman, who directs the National Association of System Heads. States' rising costs for Medicaid, which provides health care for the growing ranks of poor people, are a large part of the reason.

    Meanwhile, the gap between the country's rich and poor widened during the recession, choking off employment opportunities for many recent graduates. Education leading up to college is a mess: Public elementary and secondary systems have failed a major segment of society, and the recent focus on testing has had questionable results.

    Part of the problem is that the two-tiered system that Mr. Aoun fretted about is already here—a system based in part on the education and income of parents, says Robert Archibald, an economics professor at the College of William and Mary and an author of Why Does College Cost So Much?

    "At most institutions, students are in mostly large classes, listening to second-rate lecturers, with very little meaningful faculty student interaction," he says. "Students are getting a fairly distant education even in a face-to-face setting."

    If the future of MOOC's as peddled by some were to take hold, it would probably exacerbate the distinction between "luxury" and "economy" college degrees, he says. Graduates leaving high school well prepared for college would get an even bigger payoff, finding a place in the top tier.

    "The tougher road is going to be for the people who wake up after high school and say, I should get serious about learning," Mr. Archibald says. "It's going to be tougher for them to maneuver through the system, and it is already tough."

    That's one reason economists like Robert B. Reich argue for more investment in apprentice-based educational programs, which would offer an alternative to the bachelor's degree. "Our entire economy is organized to lavish very generous rewards on students who go through that gantlet" for a four-year degree, says the former secretary of labor, now a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. As a country, he says, we need to "expand our repertoire." But it's important that such a program not be conceived and offered as a second-class degree, he argues. It should be a program "that has a lot of prestige associated with it."

    With few exceptions, however, the reinvention crowd is interested in solutions that will require less public and private investment, not more. Often that means cutting out the campus experience, deemed by some a "luxury" these days.

    Less Help Where It's Needed

    Here's the cruel part: The students from the bottom tier are often the ones who need face-to-face instruction most of all.

    "The idea that they can have better education and more access at lower cost through massive online courses is just preposterous," says Patricia A. McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University. Seventy percent of her students are eligible for Pell Grants, and 50 percent come from the broken District of Columbia school system. Her task has been trying to figure out how to serve those students at a college with the university's meager $11-million endowment.

    Getting them to and through college takes advisers, counselors, and learning-disability experts—a fact Ms. McGuire has tried to convey to foundations, policy makers, and the public. But the reinvention conversation has had a "tech guy" fixation on mere content delivery, she says. "It reveals a lack of understanding of what it takes to make the student actually learn the content and do something with it."

    Amid the talk of disruptive innovation, "the real disruption is the changing demographics of this country," Trinity's president says. Waves of minority students, especially Hispanics, are arriving on campus, many at those lower-tier colleges, having come from schools that didn't prepare them for college work. "The real problem here is that higher education has to repeat a whole lot of lower education," Ms. McGuire says. "That has been drag on everyone."

    Much of the hype around reinvention bypasses her day-to-day challenges as a president. "All of the talk about how higher education is broken is a superficial scrim over the question, What are the problems we are trying to solve?" she says. The reinvention crowd has motivations aside from solving higher education's problems, she suspects: "Beware Chicken Little, because Chicken Little has a vested interest in this. There is an awful lot of hype about disruption and the need for reinvention that is being fomented by people who are going to make out like bandits on it."

    Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies and law at the University of Virginia and a frequent commentator on technology and education, believes that some of the new tools and innovations could indeed enhance teaching and learning—but that doing so will take serious research and money.

    In any case, he says, the new kinds of distance learning cannot replace the vital role that bricks-and-mortar colleges have in many communities.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, and MITx ---

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

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb

    I had lunch with Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It didn't go well.
    Bom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, December 17, 2012 ---

    Jensen Common
    This interview may have been an outlier. One problem was that roasted black swan was not on the menu.

    The "I-Series," have spread campuswide after a two-year pilot --- imagination, inspiration, and innovation.
    "At U. of Maryland, an Effort to Make Introductory Courses Extraordinary," by Dan Berrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2012 ---

    Required introductory courses are as important as they are unloved.

    They are a key part of the general-education curriculum, which makes up as much as one-third of the typical baccalaureate student's education, and they are the subject of seemingly never-ending revitalization efforts.

    Many senior faculty members avoid teaching such courses because they see them as being filled with callow students with little interest in the subject. Students often see them as the curricular equivalent of eating their vegetables, the unappetizing fare they must endure before they get to the interesting parts of their educations.

    Critics argue that such distaste is well founded. These courses typically take the form of a slog through a discipline's "greatest hits," can prove to be deadly to students' curiosity, and often serve as gatekeepers that keep them from advancing.

    The University of Maryland at College Park thinks it may have found a way to make these courses more engaging and rigorous. New and retooled introductory courses, called the "I-Series," have spread campuswide after a two-year pilot. This fall, all incoming freshmen must take at least two I-Series courses as part of a new set of core requirements.

    The "I" refers to a litany of higher-education buzzwords beginning with that letter, including imagination, inspiration, and innovation.

    Jargon aside, the courses are organized around provocative questions or propositions. They have titles like, "Is America Destined to Fall by 2076?," "Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence Comes of Age," and "Economics and the College Affordability Crisis."

    "They are not run-of-the-mill, staid introductory courses with a set body of knowledge the students memorize and regurgitate," says Donna B. Hamilton, the university's associate provost for academic affairs and dean for undergraduate studies, and the driving force behind the I-Series.

    The courses bring the meaty stuff of a discipline—its debates, approaches to problems, and ways of viewing the world—to freshmen and sophomores, rather than reserving such intellectual pleasures for upperclassmen and graduate students. And many of them are taught by senior faculty who have not led an introductory course in years.

    But reality has a way of intruding on ambitions, as Ms. Hamilton is aware. While many colleges have created small freshman seminars as a way of revitalizing their general-education curricula, such an effort would be prohibitively expensive at College Park, with its 26,000 undergraduates.

    Ms. Hamilton hopes the I-Series will offer the best of both worlds: large class sizes that are affordable at a big institution but taught in a way that offers more engagement than a typical lecture. She hopes her institution's strategy will ultimately prove realistic and long-lasting. Administrators and faculty committees set the expectations. Faculty members decide how best to retool their courses or to invent new ones, for which they earn $5,000. The budgets of departments, colleges, or programs also receive $110 for each student enrolled in a course.

    "It took a force of will to say, 'We're going to make an impact on our undergraduates,'" Ms. Hamilton says, "and make clear that this really, really counts and this really matters." Kindling Interest

    Many administrators have made similar pronouncements only to see their efforts stymied by institutional inertia and complexity, says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a membership organization that advocates for high-quality liberal education.

    Such frustrations do not seem to have discouraged the perpetual effort to improve general education. More than half of the 433 chief academic officers surveyed by the association in 2009 said general education had increased in priority at their institutions, and 89 percent were making some change in this part of the curriculum.

    The general-education curriculum generates such intense interest, Ms. Schneider says, because it usually represents the largest academic endeavor on a campus, and it tends to serve as the vehicle for many academic expectations. General-education courses are supposed to be distinctive and reflect the college's values while also providing students with core skills like quantitative reasoning, oral and written ability, and critical thinking. Maintaining focus on such disparate goals can be difficult, though, especially after the faculty committee and provost's office start rethinking other parts of the curriculum.

    The factor that will ultimately determine whether College Park's efforts pay off, Ms. Schneider says, is how well faculty members are supported in changing how they teach. Ms. Hamilton's office approves I-Series syllabi and offers faculty members help in revising them. Workshops and teaching consultations are also available.

    "There's no reason why in a class of 60 you can't have collaborative learning going on," Ms. Schneider says. But "it's harder, and it takes skill."

    To help develop these skills, faculty members teaching the I-Series courses have been meeting throughout the semester to share strategies and exchange ideas. At a recent session, several faculty members described their plans to "flip," in whole or in part, their courses the next time they taught them. Students might watch lectures online outside class and spend time in class working together to apply what they learn.

    Other faculty members have tried more incremental methods.

    David B. Sicilia, an associate professor of history, said he wondered at first how he could make his course, "Moneyland: Business in American Culture," which bore all the hallmarks of a lecture, feel less like one.

    He also wanted the 100 students in his course to feel history on a visceral level. He tried role-playing, casting some of his students as employees of Chemical and Chase Manhattan banks during their merger in the mid-1990s.

    During his lecture, he called on several students. Using company documents as primary sources, he explained that "business units" had been reorganized and the students had either not been "selected" for a position or their job had been "eliminated."

    Some were speechless, he recalls. Others asked how they could keep their jobs. Mr. Sicilia stuck to the antiseptic text laid out in the documents. To flesh out the context, he quoted the statements made by the bank's top executive at the time and cited reactions of fired employees.

    "That became very experiential for the students," he told his colleagues during the faculty meeting. "That starts to feel to me to be really different from what we do in regular lecture courses."

    While he has tried similar exercises in other courses, Mr. Sicilia says he might not have attempted it in a large introductory course had he not been teaching in the I-Series. "There's just an overall cultural message that we get from administration to try to be more innovative and creative," he says. "It's made our general-education curriculum a lot more interesting and a lot more relevant." Unexpected Results

    Large class sizes can make innovation more difficult, say many faculty members in the history department at College Park. As course sections grow to more than 100 students, discussion sections become unwieldy, which places a burden on teaching assistants.

    In such cases, the pedagogical shifts can be relatively modest, though still effective. Richard Bell, an associate professor of history, started incorporating field trips to sites of historical interest for his course, "Pursuits of Happiness: Ordinary Lives in the American Revolution," which teaches the social and cultural history of the time.

    He also earns high praise from his students for a simple tactic: He stops his lectures every five or 10 minutes to ask them questions, and he listens to their answers.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    One enormous problem with the I-series is cost. Each of two basic courses in accounting may have as many as 3,000+ students each semester and these are not usually part of the general education core courses.

    My daughter's first chemistry course at the University of Texas completely filled a lecture room holding 600+ students. It would be very expensive to hire added faculty to teach this course in sections of 100 students or less. And if the instructors in all those sections had wide I-Series discretion, courses using these sections at prerequisites could not entirely sure that students having the first chemistry course all had the same course.

    "An Introduction to College Giving:  Four simple rules to make sure donations to your alma mater have the biggest impact," by Nicole Hong, The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2012 --- Click Here

    Feeling nostalgic toward your alma mater? Want to show your old college how much you appreciate it?

    Well, better do some studying first.

    Colleges and universities are much larger and more complex than your average nonprofit, and miscommunication about a donation's intended use can occur. In recent years a number of high-profile lawsuits have been filed that claimed schools didn't respect a donor's intent when using a gift. More in Wealth Management

    Should We End the Tax Deduction for Charitable Donations? Investment Advice for 2013 An Introduction to College Giving How to Avoid Problems That Can Derail Home Sales Investing in Sports Art Read the complete report .

    Wealth advisers and university officials say the easiest way to avoid such problems is with a written agreement up front that clearly establishes a gift's intended use. Many schools also issue annual reports for donors to outline exactly how their gifts are being used.

    Beyond that, here are four other ways to maximize the impact of a donation of any size to a college or university: 1. Add modest restrictions to the gift.

    Universities generally prefer donations without restrictions. That way, they can put the money in their general endowment fund and use it any way they choose. But directing gifts to an area of personal significance can be more gratifying for the donor.

    Enlarge Image image image Lloyd Miller

    In 2000, Richard Rogel, president of investment firm Tomay Inc., set up a scholarship with his wife, Susan, specifically for out-of-state University of Michigan students. He attended Michigan as a New Jersey native and had to work several jobs to pay for the out-of-state tuition. The scholarship fund has already helped more than 430 students, says Jerry May, vice president for development at the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based university.

    Donors, however, should be careful not to restrict gifts so narrowly that they go unused. If you're from Greenville, S.C., and want to create a scholarship fund just for students from Greenville, you might want to add a clause that says the scholarship can be given to any student from the South if a Greenville native can't be found. Similarly, if you're passionate about Spanish history and want to endow a professor of prehistoric Iberian art, you could allow the endowment to go to any art-history professor if no Iberian specialist exists.

    "Modest restrictions are helpful," Mr. May says. But "the worst thing in the world is when the money has so many restrictions that it goes unused," he adds. 2. Give a nonmonetary donation.

    While donors can give anything from fine art to real estate, universities say some of the most practical nonmonetary donations they receive are scientific equipment and musical instruments.

    Enlarge Image image image

    Gary Calton, president of scientific research firm Calton Research Associates, donated more than $500,000 in scientific equipment, including incubators and DNA-analyzing thermocyclers, to his alma mater, Eastern New Mexico University, in 2005. Without the donation, "it would have been a long time until the university could have afforded equipment like this," says Manuel Varela, a biology professor at the Portales, N.M.-based school. "It was like Christmas Day opening up the boxes and distributing the equipment to very grateful people."

    In January, West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va., received a new Steinway piano from WVU physics professor Arthur Weldon and his wife, Barbara, to put in a student practice room. The donation was aimed at allowing students to practice on the same piano they use for concerts.

    Keep in mind that if you donate art or real estate that can't be directly used, the school typically will sell it and use the proceeds to fund scholarships. 3. Consider donating to a school you didn't attend.

    While your first impulse may be to donate to your alma mater, giving to another university might actually cater better to your interests. An Olympics fan, for example, might find it gratifying to donate to athletic programs at the University of Southern California, which has sent more athletes to the Games than any other university. New York City residents might donate to New York University if they frequent performances from the Tisch School of Arts.

    Donating to a smaller university, meanwhile, can maximize the impact of a big gift. A gift like a new science library or fitness center can be "transformative" for a small school, says Rebecca Chopp, president of 1,500-student Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa. "At a larger university, it's just one gift among many," she says. "There's very much a specialness at small schools. Donors feel like they're key stakeholders shaping the destiny of the school." 4. Compare the tax treatment of different gifts.

    Tax advantages are important to consider because they allow donors to make more generous gifts, says Anne McClintock, executive director of the planned giving team at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

    Some donors give schools appreciated stock instead of cash to avoid paying income tax on the capital gains. Say you have $50,000 in stock that had appreciated from $5,000. If you sell the shares and donate the remaining cash, the university would only get $43,250 due to a 15% long-term capital-gains tax on the $45,000 gain. But if you donate the shares directly, the university gets the entire $50,000, and you get a tax deduction for the full $50,000.

    For donations of more than $1 million, consider creating a charitable remainder trust, says Tom Abendroth, a partner at Chicago-based law firm Schiff Hardin LLP, who focuses on estate planning and charitable issues. This method allows donors to convert appreciated securities or real estate into lifelong income without incurring capital-gains tax.

    Continued in article

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

    "Mortgages in Reverse:  Taxpayers get hit by another federal housing money loser," The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2012 ---

    Spare a thought for Shaun Donovan, who must be tired of crafting nuanced explanations of how his agency costs taxpayers billions of dollars. The latest example came this month when the Housing and Urban Development Secretary told the Senate that the Federal Housing Administration's once-modest reverse-mortgage program is the latest drain on taxpayers thanks to gross mismanagement.

    Or as Mr. Donovan delicately put it to Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the FHA's reverse-mortgage business is an "important" issue that the agency needs "to make changes on." You don't say.

    HUD's independent actuary estimated last month that the FHA will lose $2.8 billion this fiscal year on reverse mortgages, and in the worst case $28.3 billion, with the losses stretching through 2019. The feds have no idea how big the pool of red ink might be.

    For those who haven't seen former Senator Fred Thompson's TV ads, reverse mortgages are a type of home-equity loan for Americans age 62 and older who have mostly or fully paid off their mortgage. If the borrower can pay real-estate taxes, insurance and other fees, he can borrow against the home and stay in it until death. Then the lender demands repayment with interest.

    The problem is that taxpayers, via the FHA, insure lenders against the funds they advance plus accrued interest, and borrowers can also borrow to pay the fees. FHA did fewer than 50,000 reverse-mortgage deals a year until 2006, when the housing mania went galactic. By 2007, the agency was insuring more than 100,000 reverse mortgages, and by 2009 the average FHA-backed reverse mortgage reached $262,763, often paid in a lump sum.

    At least FHA guarantees for home purchases foster Congress's professed goal of homeownership—though we've seen in the housing bust how that misallocates capital. But guarantees for reverse mortgages go to people who are already homeowners who want to cash out of a real-estate asset. That's fine if they want to do it at their own risk. FHA's guarantees are essentially a subsidy for older Americans to spend down their savings. FHA crowded out competitors and now accounts for 90% of outstanding reverse mortgages.

    The FHA's analysts didn't foresee an extended period of house price declines and didn't price mortality risk properly. Many loans are now worth more than the house itself, and heirs decided to walk away. FHA has to foot the bill for selling the house and make good on the shortfall between the net proceeds and what lenders are owed on the insurance. Taxpayers are ultimately on the hook.

    So now comes the usual Beltway talk about reform to try to save a program that shouldn't exist. The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association wants to limit the amount that borrowers can draw upfront and have lenders do more stringent underwriting and set aside money to cover taxes and insurance. Mr. Donovan told the Senate he wants to make the program "much more effective and safe."

    Continued in article

    The sad state of governmental accounting (it's all done with smoke and mirrors) ---

    "New Platform Lets Professors Set Prices for Their Online Courses," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2012 ---

    Professors typically don't worry about what price point an online course will sell at, or what amenities might attract a student to pick one course over another. But a new online platform, Professor Direct, lets instructors determine not only how much to charge for such courses, but also how much time they want to devote to services like office hours, online tutorials, and responding to students' e-mails.

    The new service is run by StraighterLine, a company that offers online, self-paced introductory courses. Unlike massive open online courses, or MOOC's, StraighterLine's courses aren't free. But tuition is lower than what traditional colleges typically charge—the company calls its pricing "ultra-affordable." A handful of colleges accept StraighterLine courses for transfer credit.

    Instructors who offer courses on Professor Direct will be able to essentially set their own sticker prices, as long as they are higher than the company's base price. One professor teaching an online mathematics course with a base price of $49, for example, plans to charge $99. For each student who signs up, the company will pocket the $49 base price, and the professor gets the remaining $50.

    The instructor in that math course is Dan Gryboski, who has previously taught as an adjunct at the University of Colorado but is taking the year off from traditional teaching so he can stay home and take care of his three young children. He views Professor Direct as a way to keep up his teaching within the time windows he now has for professional work.

    It's also up to each professor using Professor Direct to decide what services to offer students in addition to a core set of materials prepared by the company. Mr. Gryboski says he is promising students who sign up for his two math courses that he will quickly respond to any e-mail questions they have about the material, that he will be available for online office hours for two hours a week, and that he will create additional tutorial videos to supplement the existing materials for the courses. Valuing Their Own Work

    The instructor thinks he can do that e-mailing in short bursts throughout the day, and handle the other tasks when his children are napping or after they've gone to bed at night. He decided to cap enrollment in his courses at 50 students each—which he makes clear on the course pages so students know that he won't be spread too thin. It is up to each professor to set the caps for their courses.

    "Students pay a premium to have professor contact," Mr. Gryboski explains. He sees two major selling points: that students can talk with someone who knows the specifics of the course they are taking, rather than an outside tutor, and that students can consult someone who is familiar with exactly what will be on the tests in the course. "I know from teaching that's what students want the most," Mr. Gryboski adds.

    The service puts instructors in the novel position of setting the value of their work, even as they seek to reach students who can't afford traditional options. Mr. Gryboski says he decided to start by seeking to make about what he has been paid as an adjunct, but he hopes to raise how much he earns in the future if things go well. "I see it kind of like an introductory offer," he says of his current pricing strategy.

    StraighterLine also offers professors commissions for students they attract to the courses, says Burck Smith, the company's chief executive.

    Mr. Smith adds that he hopes professors will devise a number of teaching models at a variety of prices. "You'll have very expensive high-touch, high-cost courses. You'll have low-touch, low-cost courses. You'll have everything in between," he says. "You'll have branded people who can charge premiums."

    Think tanks and associations have also expressed an interest in using the platform, he says.

    For instance, the Ashoka Foundation, which hopes to create a new generation of social entrepreneurs, is considering running four courses with StraighterLine and offering an entrepreneurship certificate to those who complete the bundle of courses. "It allows them to be a college in a way but not have to do all the stuff that colleges do," Mr. Smith says.

    A post on the company's blog describing the new service argues that the idea "draws remarkably on the earliest history of the university, when outstanding scholars attracted a following of students and were paid directly by students." All Kinds of Instructors

    StraighterLine is not the first to try such an approach. A company called Udemy also runs a platform that lets professors teach courses for personal profit—though none of the company's courses are approved for college credit.

    Most people teaching on Udemy have no connection to colleges or universities. Many are book authors, consultants, or just people passionate about a topic or discipline. They can charge any price they want; 30 percent of any fees go to Udemy, and the rest to the instructors.

    More than 35 professors at traditional colleges are using the platform so far, though most of them are offering their courses at no charge, Eren Bali, a co-founder of Udemy, said in an interview this fall.

    One professor who has put a price on his Udemy course is David Janzen, an associate professor of computer science at the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He priced his course at $89 per student. His goal was not to rake in money, he says, but to bring in about the same amount per hour as he does with his consulting work. And his price is lower than that of the typical Udemy course, many of which cost $99.

    "It seemed to be a good, reasonable price," Mr. Janzen says.

    His course builds on a series of online labs he has created as part of his research, using what he calls "step based" exercises. "You can't go to the next step until you pass this step," he explains.

    Continued in article

    "Elite Online Courses for Cash and Credit," by Steve Kolowich , Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2012 ---


    Jensen Comment
    It would seem that demand will depend upon the reputation of the instructor combined with accreditation of the program that offers the courses for a fee. Students might pay for courses for learning sake, but they probably won't pay much unless the course credits are accepted for transfer credit in most colleges and universities. For respect, the courses must have rigorous academic standards where grades are assigned on the basis of competency and not just effort.

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

    "Open-Book, Closed-Book, or 'Cheat Sheet'? Researchers Test the Merits of Different Exam Types," by Dan Berrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2012 ---

    Like many faculty members, Afshin M. Gharib and William L. Phillips have strong preferences for giving certain types of examinations.

    Both men, associate professors of psychology at Dominican University of California, have kept up a running debate on the topic. Mr. Gharib likes open-book tests because the scores result in a normal, bell-shaped distribution curve and do not stress out his students.

    Mr. Phillips favors tests in which students can prepare a crib sheet with material from the course. He has held fast to the belief that the act of preparing a crib sheet produces an added educational benefit.

    Most professors, they acknowledge, go with a third option, the traditional closed-book style, which many see as the most-rigorous of test types.

    To help settle their debate, Mr. Gharib and Mr. Phillips conducted a study of their students. The results appear in their paper, "Cheat Sheet or Open-Book? A Comparison of the Effects of Exam Types on Performance, Retention, and Anxiety," on which they collaborated with Noelle Mathew, an undergraduate student at Dominican. The article was published recently in Psychology Research.

    They studied 297 students who took eight sections of an introductory psychology course and 99 students in four sections of a statistics course. Mr. Gharib taught the psychology sections and Mr. Phillips instructed in statistics. They used the same texts, assignments, and exams in each of their sections.

    Students in the psychology course took all three forms of tests—open-book, closed-book, and one in which they could prepare a letter-size piece of paper with as much information as they wanted, an approach the researchers called a "cheat sheet" exam.

    Students in the statistics course took the open-book and cheat-sheet exams. They did not take a closed-book test because it seemed unrealistic to expect students to remember long formulas, said Mr. Phillips.

    Students in the psychology course scored best on the open-book exam, with cheat-sheet test scores coming in slightly lower, and closed-book exams last. Statistics students fared better on the open-book exams than they did on the cheat-sheet test.

    "I think I won," said Mr. Gharib.

    Pop Quiz

    Two weeks after taking the second of the three tests, the students were given a surprise closed-book quiz to measure how well they had retained the material. To the researchers' surprise, students retained the material equally well, regardless of the type of exam they had originally taken.

    The researchers also found that students who do well on one type of exam also fare well on the other two, a finding that Mr. Gharib said was particularly important.

    "Type of exam, it turns out, really is not important," he said. "You can measure students' learning and their ability on any type of test you want."

    Mr. Phillips agrees. "It kind of depends on what you want the student to get out of the class and what your expectations are," he said.

    Students also completed a three-question survey about which type of test they thought they would fare best on, which type they would study for, and which they preferred. Students took a pretest measure of anxiety on open-book and cheat-sheet tests.

    Not surprisingly, students preferred open-book and cheat-sheet exams over closed-book ones and reported the lowest levels of anxiety when taking open-book exams.

    But, again, the results yielded a surprise. Students thought they would study most for the closed-book exams, but that view was not reflected in reports of their actual habits. Students in the psychology class spent the most time studying for the cheat-sheet exam, or more than four hours. Open-book exams yielded slightly fewer hours of study, while closed-book exams resulted in the least amount of time studying, 3.32 hours.

    Statistics students, who took only two types of tests, also spent more time studying for cheat-sheet exams.

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    I usually found take-home examinations did not separate my best students from free riders.

    So I generally alternated between cheat sheets and open-book examinations. Probably most often I let students use their hand-written note books (typically the note book of choice was a ring binder). If students had photocopied material or computer printouts in their notebooks they could not use such notebooks on cheat-sheet examinations. My students usually sat a class room with computer stations. Computers remained turned off during cheat-sheet examinations. They could be turned on during open-book examinations, but I usually did not allow Web searching during examinations. I could monitor what was on a student's screen at any time during any class period, including examination periods. Sometimes examination answers were only placed in computer files.

    My students consistently reported that the examinations they liked the least were open-book examinations. That's because the questions were harder.

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

    "Doctoral Degrees Rose in 2011, but Career Options Weren't So Rosy," by Stacey Patten, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 5, 2012 ---

    American universities awarded a total of 49,010 research doctorates in 2011, a 2-percent increase from 2010, according to an annual survey by the National Science Foundation.

    A report describing the survey's findings, released on Wednesday, says that almost three-quarters of all doctorates awarded last year were in science and engineering fields, a proportion that increased by 4 percent from the previous year. During the same period, the number of doctorates awarded in the humanities declined by 3 percent.

    That decline was attributed in part to the reclassification of most doctor-of-education degrees as professional rather than research doctorates. Without that decrease in education degrees, the overall number of research doctorates awarded would have exceeded 50,000, said Mark K. Fiegener, a project officer at the NSF.

    Mr. Fiegener noted that certain trends were continuing. "There's increased representation of women in all fields, with greater numbers in the hard sciences and engineering," he said. "The same is true with race and ethnicity, but to a lesser degree."

    Women continue to become more prevalent with each cohort of doctorate recipients, according to the report. They earned 42 percent of doctorates in science and engineering in 2011, up from 30 percent 20 years ago. The share of doctorates awarded to black students rose to over 6 percent in 2011, up from a little over 4 percent in 1991. And the proportion of Hispanic doctorate recipients increased from a little over 3 percent in 1991 to just over 6 percent last year.

    Despite the gains in degree attainment, trends on postgraduate career opportunities appear to reflect the broader economic malaise. The proportion of new doctoral recipients who reported having definite job commitments or a postdoctoral position fell in both the humanities and sciences, and was at the lowest level in the past 10 years.

    Meanwhile, the proportion of students who planned to pursue postdoctoral positions continued rising, especially in engineering and social-science fields. Last year more than two-thirds of doctoral graduates in the life sciences, and over half of those in engineering, took postdoctoral positions immediately after graduation.

    Five years ago 33 percent of graduates in the humanities had no employment or postdoctoral commitments upon completion; that number rose to 43 percent in 2011.

    The report, "Doctorate Recipients From U.S. Universities: 2011," is available on the National Science Foundation's Web site.


    "Chemistry Ph.D. Programs Need New Formula, Experts Say," by Stacey Patton, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 10, 2012 ---

    The humanities disciplines are not alone in grappling with how to stay relevant and prepare graduate students for jobs that meet the demands of a rapidly changing labor market. Doctoral programs in chemistry need to be overhauled, too, including by reducing students' time to degree, the American Chemical Society says in a new report.

    The chemical society released the report on Monday at news conference here at which speakers discussed ways that doctoral training needed to change to meet pressing societal needs and play a greater role in producing new jobs. The report, "Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences," focuses on five key areas of graduate education the society says need to be overhauled: curricula, financial support, laboratory safety, career opportunities, and mentoring of postdoctoral students.

    Among the recommendations are that programs need to be changed so that students can complete their Ph.D.'s in less than five years and that the chemical society collect and publish data on student outcomes in Ph.D. and postdoctoral programs.

    The report is the result of a yearlong review that was conducted by 22 scientists and other experts, mostly from universities but also from industry, that the chemical society appointed to a commission. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, the chemical society's president, said at the news conference that the report was "long overdue."

    According to data from the society, nearly 25,000 jobs have been lost in chemical-manufacturing companies in the United States since 2008, and layoffs continue. Employment patterns are also changing, as chemical companies are hiring fewer new graduates of chemistry Ph.D. programs than in the past. Small businesses are continuing to hire more new chemistry Ph.D.'s but at slow rates.

    Experts in the field say they face a conundrum: Innovation in chemistry is declining at the very time that society needs scientists to come up with solutions to problems like climate change and obesity, to further drug discoveries, and to help find ways of improving food generation, infrastructure, and water supplies.

    Graduate education in the American sciences, speakers at the news conference said, has not kept pace with global economic, social, and political changes since World War II, when the current graduate-education system evolved.

    Among the members of the commission that drafted the recommendations were Larry R. Faulkner, president emeritus of the Houston Endowment and former president of the University of Texas at Austin, who was the panel's chair; Paul L. Houston, dean of the College of Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, who was the panel's executive director; Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities; and Peter J. Stang, a professor at the University of Utah, the 2013 Priestley Medal winner, and editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


    The commission recommended that:

    "This won't be a report that sits on the shelf," said Mr. Shakhashiri. "The ultimate goal is to have action taken."

    The chemical society's board has already committed $50,000 for "dissemination activities" to get the word out to faculty, deans, college presidents, policy makers, agencies that provide financial support, industries that employ chemical scientists and engineers, and professional societies. The next phase will begin in 2013

    An English professor worries as his daughter decides to seek a Ph.D. in his discipline.
    "Following the Family Trade," by David Chapman, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12. 2012 ---

    The Old English "ceapman" wandered from village to village, peddling his wares from a bag or pushcart. Like all medieval trades, it was expected that the children would take over the family business from the parents, and Ceapman the Elder begat Ceapman the Younger. From that trade name came the common surname "Chapman," which I myself bear from some ancient unknown ancestor. And since, at some point, "chapmen" were identified particularly with the selling of cheap pamphlets or small books—"chapbooks"—it seems a particularly fitting name for an English professor.

    I had, of course, no idea that my daughter would choose to follow in the same profession as my own. It is true that there are pictures of me reading to her in utero, and that we bought her countless books in her early childhood. But this was true for her brother as well, and he always felt that classic literary works were the curse of a malicious god on unsuspecting children.

    In college, when my daughter decided to major in English, I experienced both joy and apprehension. Of course, I was pleased to be a part of her discovery of so many works that had enriched my own life. And we shared that secret knowledge that was at the heart of the medieval guild. We instantly understood why someone would wear a T-shirt that said, "My mother is a fish." Spending a long afternoon in a good used bookstore seemed like nirvana to both of us. We watched film adaptations with the studious eye of experienced critics: "Can you believe they chose her to play Jane Eyre? Did the screenwriters actually read A Christmas Carol?" We were literary soulmates.

    But I also had misgivings about what following her father's trade might mean to her economic future. Sure, it was fine for me to break away from my father's path—engineering—to pursue what I loved, but I didn't want my daughter to worry constantly about making ends meet as I had through graduate school and into my early years of teaching. Back then, our idea of splurging was buying a boxed pizza at the grocery store and renting a move on videotape. We clipped coupons, cut corners, and prayed that the car wouldn't break down. When the liner came loose on the roof of my old station wagon, I used thumb tacks to hold it in place and kept on driving. The shiny tacks on the billowing red liner made it look like a rolling Victorian bordello.

    In spite of my dire warnings about poverty and unemployment, my daughter decided to pursue a doctoral degree in English with the hope of eventually landing a college teaching job. When she kept getting a steady stream of doomsday articles about employment prospects for college English teachers from everyone she knew (including her father), she naturally grew a little defensive. She recently wrote to me explaining her reason for persisting despite all the negative publicity:

    "I am reminded of a scene in Tootsie where Dustin Hoffman is auditioning for a role and frantically saying, 'You want taller? I can be taller!' I think as students we all hit a hyper-obsessive mode where we scan each document we write [in job applications] for minute changes and fret over every revision. We try to possess some sort of psychic knowledge that will let us read between the lines of every job ad. At the end of the day, however, I just try to remind myself that first, I love what I do. Whether I get a job or not, I'm glad I decided to study the Victorian novel. And secondly, if I don't get a job the world does not end. As I often tell my students, there are so many opportunities for English majors, and even more for Ph.D.'s. And if that doesn't work, I could try to make a living as a castaway on a Pacific island. Reading Robinson Crusoe 10 times should have prepared me for something."

    In an odd quirk of fate, my daughter is actually earning her Ph.D. from the same university where I received my first graduate degree. Since we moved away from that area before she was born, and she grew up in an entirely different region of the country, I was quite surprised when she made that choice. It certainly had nothing to do with any influence I possessed since all of my former professors have either gone on to their reward or entirely forgotten me. The young guns of the department that I knew in the 1980s are now the Old Guard.

    When I was a graduate student there, our classes met on the edge of the campus in a renovated old house that lent a bohemian air to the program. I remember my old technical-writing professor would bring his dog to class and talk about everything from ancient Roman engineering manuals to analytic philosophy. When the dog began to whimper and scratch at the door, he was expressing openly what many of us were feeling on the inside. The department brought in a steady stream of outstanding poets like Seamus Heaney and William Stafford. It was the first time I had met someone in person whose work had been anthologized, and I didn't know whether to shake hands or bow down to them like some medieval saint.

    My daughter's classes meet in one of those corporate-looking classroom buildings, the kind that could readily be converted into a field hospital in a time of natural disaster. Her own experiences, although uncolored by the haze of nostalgia, focus on people as well:

    "I think it's the personalities, both of the faculty and my fellow students, that make graduate school so enjoyable for me. I know that in a Victorian film class you can mock the movies unceasingly, but you mustn't bring popcorn. I know that in an 18th-century class if you're willing to take a position, you will be asked to defend it both with the text and with a full range of historical knowledge. I know that in the Milton class you may be asked to act or sculpt scenes from clay. It will be those moments—the unique ones that defined a class or a person in a way I wouldn't have expected—that will stay with me. The show-offs, the long-winded lecturers, the theory-obsessed philosophers, and the impractical dreamers will always be part of any university, but it was my friends and teachers who immersed me in meaningful conversation around great books that are my fondest memories."

    I've been curious in my discussions with my daughter about what has changed in the narrative of English studies over the past 30 years. Having graduated during the Golden Age of continental theory, when Derrida reigned on the Olympian heights of deconstructionism and Terry Eagleton was his Hermes, I've been surprised to learn that there is no new theorist that has dominated the profession in the way Derrida and Foucault did in the 1980s, as Northrop Frye did in the 1950s, or Brooks and Warren in the pre-WWII years. Perhaps a victim of its own deconstruction, English studies has found, as Yeats prophesied, "the center will not hold." Of course, there are certainly the remnants of New Historicism and deconstruction, with a smattering of gender criticism, postcolonial studies, digital humanities, ecocriticism, film studies, food studies, animal studies, and so on. At times, it seems more like a cable television guide than an academic discipline.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on proposals for radical changes in doctoral programs ---

    "Oklahoma State Didn't Report Sexual Assaults, Citing FERPA," Chronicle of Higher Education, December 13, 2012 ---

    An Oklahoma State University spokesman said administrators declined to notify police about allegations that a fraternity member had sexually assaulted nearly a dozen new members because it believed the alleged perpetrator was protected under the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act, Oklahoma’s News On 6 reported. The university waited nearly three weeks to go to police, handling the allegations through its own disciplinary procedures at first. FERPA, which explicitly states that the rule should not prevent institutions from approaching police with personally identifiable information about a possible crime, prohibits colleges from releasing identifying information in students’ private educational records. Further, as Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, pointed out on the FERPA Fact blog, universities are required under the Clery Act to issue timely warnings to campus whenever criminal behavior “represents a threat” to people there. Oklahoma State said it found a male student responsible for four sexual misconduct violations; the student has been suspended for three years. Local police are investigating the case.

    Jensen Question
    Why isn't this felon in jail?
    He must've been a football star.

    December 11, 2012 message from Dan Stone

    Forthcoming in the Fall, 2012 AAA IS section newsletter

    The following is a work of fiction. It represents the (probably mistaken) views of the author and not necessarily those of any saner, more reasonable person or persons, including members of the IS section of the AAA, or, any other member or officer of the IS section, or, of the AAA.

    The mad clockmakers’ guild labors in the mountain kingdom of Strayhorn, near the clear waters of Lake Mystine. Clockmakers do two tasks: (1) making hand-crafted artisan clocks and (2) evaluating and approving the clocks made by other guild members. Membership in the guild is restricted to those who labor as apprentices to master clockmakers for four to six years, and who survive the (sometimes) harsh treatment by clockmakers of their apprentices. Constructing a single clock requires two to seven years and is usually done in teams of clockmakers. Clockmakers are handsomely rewarded for clocks that their fellow clockmakers approve. They receive nothing for clocks that are rejected by fellow clockmakers, and, they receive no compensation for evaluating and approving the clocks of others.

    Competing teams of clockmakers use different tools and methods. Therefore, it is unsurprising that clockmakers, when evaluating clocks, favor those constructed using similar tools and methods as they use in making their own clocks. As in any guild, petty rivalries abound that lead the clocks of some teams to be favored by other teams, and eschewed by rivals - usually independent of their quality, craftsmanship, or accuracy. Although there are no substantive differences in their clocks, the clocks of clockmakers who live closer to the lake, i.e., in more beautiful and desirable locations, are approved more often than those who live in the more remote, less hospitable regions.

    The citizens of Strayhorn consider the clockmakers mad because the clockmakers waste most of the resources provided to them, including time, metals, wood, and tools. Guild members approve less than 10% of the clocks made by their fellow craftsmen. The other 90% are burned, in large bonfires, in winter, to heat the clockmaker’s homes and studios. Clockmakers’ opinions in evaluating and approving clocks are sacred. They cannot be questioned or challenged without punishment by the Guild’s leaders, who are appointed by committees of clockmakers. This is another point on which the clockmakers are considered mad: clockmakers receive little training in evaluating the clocks of others; many know little or nothing about the tools and methods used by clockmakers who work in other areas. But these same clockmakers, when making clocks, at which they are highly skilled, have over 90% of their clocks rejected by their fellow Guild members.

    Periodically, the citizens of Strayhorn call upon the Guild to reform, and to stop its remarkable waste of resources. In addition, in their darker moments, often in winter, the citizens ask why guild members are paid handsome salaries from the public treasury despite wasting 90% of their time on failed clocks. Guild leaders inevitably argue that this is the best possible system of clock making, that any reforms or changes would threaten the Guild’s vitality and viability, and that, after all, the citizens should be happy that they, now and then, actually get a working, accurate clock that is sometimes also beautiful. The Guild’s leaders have also created a new rule that requires Guild members to burn their discarded clocks only during daylight hours so that the citizens of Strayhorn are less likely to see the flames produced by the resources wasted by the Guild’s members. However, many guild members, particularly the older ones, are well paid, comfortable, and delight in walking, on cold winter days, by the houses warmed by the fires produced by their competing guild members’ burning clocks. They share the view of another learned Professor, Dr. Pangloss, that “all is for the best in the best of all possible <clockmaker> worlds” (Voltaire 1829)


    My (obvious, I hope) contention is that the above parable opines on the manuscript submission and review process that we employ in academe. Some of the assertions of this parable, which are supported by published evidence, or my experiences, include:

    1. PhD education requires 4-6 years to complete,

    2. PhD students are sometimes mistreated by their supervisors (Fine and Kurdek 1993),

    3. The criteria for acceptance in journals are capricious (Gans and Shepard, 1994); reviewers generally disagree in their evaluations of manuscripts (Fiske and Fogg 1990; Fogg and Fiske 1993).

    4. An approximate 10% acceptance rate at journals (see AAA editor’s reports – which indicate acceptance rates of ~ 7 to 20%),

    5. Scholars receive little (i.e., inadequate) training in a very difficult task: reviewing manuscripts.

    6. The rejection of manuscripts is sometimes motivated by petty competitions among teams of rival authors (from my experience as an editor; see also Moizer 2009; Frey 2003).

    7. Schadenfreude, i.e., pleasure derived from the misfortune of others, i.e., the rejection of competing researchers’ papers, is an important but largely unacknowledged motivator in manuscript evaluations (Frey 2003)

    Reforms to ameliorate some of the above problems include:

    1. Widely available online reviewer, submitting author, and reader evaluations of academic journals, using Yelp and eBay like evaluations that are universally accessible.

    2. Removal of abusive reviewers from the peer evaluation system through activist editors and public disclosure of their abusive behavior by editors and other scholars.

    3. Training in writing constructive reviews for scholarly communities.

    4. Ethical education of young scholars regarding the morale obligations of the review process, including fairness, objectivity, and constructive comments.


    Blank, R. M., 1991, "The effects of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," The American Economic Review, 81: 5 (December), 1041- 1067.

    Fine, M. A. and L. A. Kurdek (1993). "Reflections on Determining Authorship Credit and Authorship Order on Faculty-Student Collaborations." American Psychologist 48(11 (November )): 1141- 1147

    Fiske, D. W. and L. Fogg (1990). "But the Reviewers Are Making Different Criticisms of My Paper - Diversity and Uniqueness in Reviewer Comments." American Psychologist 45(5): 591-598.

    Fogg, L. and D. W. Fiske (1993). "Foretelling the Judgments of Reviewers and Editors." American Psychologist 48(3): 293-294.

    Frey, B. S. "Publishing as Prostitution? - Choosing between One's Own Ideas and Academic Success.", Public Choice 116, no. 1-2 (Jul 2003): 205-23.

    Gans, J. S., and G. B. Shepard, 1994, "How are the mighty fallen: rejected classic articles by leading economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8: 1 (Winter), 165-179.

    Moizer, P. "Publishing in Accounting Journals: A Fair Game?" Accounting Organizations and Society 34, no. 2 (Feb 2009): 285-304.

    Voltaire. 1829. Candide. 2 vols Paris,: Caillot.

    +++ AECM Home Page (View archives, unsubscribe, etc.): http://www.aecm.org +++ Dan Stone

    3:13 PM (15 hours ago)

    to AECM Forthcoming in the AAA IS section fall 2012 newsletter


    A Reply: Baking Better Bread by Roger Debreceny

    Guilds are an important part of the functioning of a modern economy. When managed well, guilds bring theoretical and applied learning to a knowledge domain. There is no comparison between the products of a German master guild baker (for example) with those of their counterparts in the USA. The same can be said for many other disciplines including medicine. The problem is not necessarily with the notion of a guild but with the training in the guild. Our problems often arise as a result of tenure and promotion performance metrics influencing our learning and knowledge production systems. The need to rush out two or three papers in a handful of accepted journals leads to PhD dissertations made up of three papers ready to go to journals. This leads in turn to concentrated and narrow PhD preparation that discourages the wide reading that was typical of earlier iterations of PhD study.

    Within our section there is probably little that we can do to change now strongly entrenched PhD factories. We can, however, change the way that we do business within the section and the Journal of Information Systems. We can do more to improve the flow of papers through the JIS. We must not forget that reviews often significantly improve the quality of papers. I have observed this as author, reviewer and editor. Further, I think that we generally have more flexible reviewers in the accounting information systems domain than elsewhere in the discipline. There is more that we can do, however. Here are some suggestions that might improve the process:

    • Pre-submission screening .. offer authors the opportunity to get informal feedback on a near to final draft. This might ensure that papers going to reviewers would be of higher quality. Talking about metrics – would a paper that came in for screening and was not subsequently completed count as a rejection? It is curious, that we revel in poor quality: “Look at me! I’m a high quality journal. I reject 90% of submissions!” That would never be acceptable in other areas of knowledge creation or use.

    • Naming reviewers on the paper (some MIS journals are doing this already)

    • Rating reviewers on consistent metrics

    • Rewarding reviewers (financially or in some other tangible way) -- why just have one best reviewer award? Why not as many awards as reviewers meet five star ratings in the year? Why not give a complimentary mid-year meeting registration for each five star reviewer?

    • Clearly stating expectations of reviewers.

    • Working with authors to get the paper to publishable form (our current editor, Miklos Vasarhelyi excels in this)

    • Clearly stating expectations of authors

    • Taking risks on papers and theme issues

    • Experimenting with production processes



    Jensen Comment on Defense Mechanisms
    The publication hurdles combined with publish-or-perish obstacles to promotion and tenure have led to some questionable defenses, especially in accountics science.


    Accounting is not alone as a discipline questioning its doctoral programs and its promotion and tenure criteria. The most vocal discipline seeking change is the Modern Languages Association (MLA) ---

    Rethinking Tenure, Dissertations, and Scholarship


    A Dramatic Proposal for Change in Humanities Education
    A panel of some of the top professors of foreign languages has concluded that the programs that train undergraduate majors and new Ph.D.’s are seriously off course, with so much emphasis on literature that broader understanding of cultures and nations has been lost . . . The implications of this call for change are, several panel members said, “revolutionary” and potentially quite controversial. For example, the measures being called for directly challenge the tradition in which first and second-year language instruction is left in many departments to lecturers, who frequently play little role in setting curricular policy. The panel wants to see tenure-track professors more involved in all parts of undergraduate education and — in a challenge to the hierarchy of many departments — wants departments to include lecturers who are off the tenure track in planning the changes and carrying them out.
    Scott Jaschik, "Dramatic Plan for Language Programs," Inside Higher Ed, January 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/01/02/languages


    A ‘Radical’ Rethinking of Scholarly Publishing

    "Upgrading to Philosophy 2.0," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/apa

    There was no theorizing about ghosts in the machine at an annual meeting of philosophers last Friday. Instead, they embraced technology’s implications for their field, both within the classroom and beyond.

    . . .

    Harriet E. Baber of the University of San Diego thinks scholars should try to make their work as accessible as possible, forget about the financial rewards of publishing and find alternative ways to referee each other’s work. In short, they should ditch the current system of paper-based academic journals that persists, she said, by “creating scarcity,” “screening” valuable work and providing scholars with entries in their CVs.

    “Now why would it be a bad thing if people didn’t pay for the information that we produce?” she asked, going over the traditional justifications for the current order — an incentive-based rationale she dubbed a “right wing, free marketeer, Republican argument.”

    Instead, she argued, scholars (and in particular, philosophers) should accept that much of their work has little market value ("we’re lucky if we could give away this stuff for free") and embrace the intrinsic rewards of the work itself. After all, she said, they’re salaried, and “we don’t need incentives external [to] what we do.”

    That doesn’t include only journal articles, she said; class notes fit into the paradigm just as easily. “I want any prospective student to see this and I want all the world to see” classroom materials, she added.

    Responding to questions from the audience, she noted that journals’ current function of refereeing content wouldn’t get lost, since the “middlemen” merely provide a venue for peer review, which would still happen within her model.

    “What’s going to happen pragmatically is the paper journals will morph into online journals,” she said.

    Part of the purpose of holding the session, she implied, was to nudge the APA into playing a greater role in any such transition: “I’m hoping that the APA will organize things a little better.”

    This could just have easily have been a Joe Hoyle blog
    "How am I doing? Reflections on What Teaching Entails," by Rosalie Arcala Hall, Inside Higher Ed, December 13, 2012 ---

    Jensen Comment
    I agree with Professor Hall states, but I think she has not perhaps studied or experienced the power of intense electronic communications that are both more spontaneous and often more revealing than face-to-face office hour encounters. The power of such electronic communications was discovered early on in the SCALE experiments at the University of Illinois ---

    Tax Professor Amy Dunbar also demonstrated the power of such online communications between an instructor and her students ---

    Obviously such intense online communications are not generally feasible when there are hundreds or thousands of student online or onsite. There may, however, be smaller recitation sections with teaching assistants who communicate intensely with students.

    Academic Publishing in the Digital Age:  Scott McLemee claims this is a "must read"

    "Sailing from Ithaka,"  By Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, August 1, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/08/01/mclemee 

    It’s not always clear where the Zeitgeist ends and synchronicity kicks in, but Intellectual Affairs just got hit going and coming.

    In last week’s column, we checked in on a professor who was struggling to clear his office of books. They had been piling up and possibly breeding at night. In particular, he said, he found that he seldom needed to read a monograph more than once. In a pinch, it would often be possible to relocate a given reference through a digital search – so why not pass the books along to graduate students? And so he did.

    While getting ready to shoot that article into the Internet’s “series of tubes,” my editor also passed along a copy of “University Publishing in a Digital Age” – a report sponsored by Ithaka and JSTOR.

    It was released late last week. On Thursday, IHE ran a detailed and informative article about the Ithaka Report, as I suppose it is bound to be known in due time. The groups that prepared the document propose the creation of “a powerful technology, service, and marketing platform that would serve as a catalyst for collaboration and shared capital investment in university-based publishing.”

    Clearly this would be a vaster undertaking than JSTOR, even. The Ithaka Report may very well turn out to be a turning point in the recent history, not only of scholarly publishing, but of scholarship itself. And yet only a few people have commented on the proposal so far – a situation that appears, all things considered, very strange.

    So, at the risk of being kind of pushy about it, let me put it this way: More or less everyone reading this column who has not already done so ought (as soon as humanly possible) to get up to speed on the Ithaka Report. I say that in spite of the fact that the authors of the report themselves don’t necessarily expect you to read it.

    It’s natural to think of scholarship and publishing as separate enterprises. Each follows its own course – overlapping at some points but fundamentally distinct with respect to personnel and protocols. The preparation and intended audience for the Ithaka Report reflects that familiar division of things. It is based on surveys and interviews with (as it says) “press directors, librarians, provosts, and other university administrators.” But not – nota bene! — with scholars. Which is no accident, because “this report,” says the report, “is not directed at them.”

    The point bears stressing. But it’s not a failing, as such. Press directors and university librarians tend to have a macroscopic view of the scholarly public that academic specialists, for the most part do not. And it’s clear those preparing the report are informed about current discussions and developments within professional associations – e.g., those leading to the recent MLA statement on tenure and promotion.

    But scholars can’t afford to ignore the Ithaka Report just because they were not consulted directly and are not directly addressed as part of its primary audience. On the contrary. It merits the widest possible attention among people doing academic research and writing.

    The report calls for development of “shared electronic publishing infrastructure across universities to save costs, create scale, leverage expertise, innovate, extend the brand of US higher education, create an interlinked environment of information, and provide a robust alternative to commercial competitors.” (It sounds, in fact, something like AggAcad, except on steroids and with a billion dollars.)

    The existence of such an infrastructure would condition not only the ability of scholars to publish their work, but how they do research. And in a way, it has already started to do so.

    The professor interviewed for last week’s column decided to clear his shelves in part because he expected to be able to do digital searches to track down things he remembered reading. Without giving away too much of this professor’s identity away, I can state that he is not someone prone to fits of enthusiasm for every new gizmo that comes along. Nor does he work in a field of study where most of the secondary (let alone primary) literature is fully digitalized.

    But he’s taking it as a given that for some aspects of his work, the existing digital infrastructure allows him to offload one of the costs of research. Office space being a limited resource, after all.

    It’s not that online access creates a substitute for reading print-based publications. On my desk at the moment, for example, is a stack of pages printed out after a session of using Amazon’s Inside the Book feature. I’ll take them to the library and look some things up. The bookseller would of course prefer that we just hit the one-click, impulse-purchase button they have so thoughtfully provided; but so it goes. This kind of thing is normal now. It factors into how you do research, and so do a hundred other aspects of digital communication, large and small.

    The implicit question now is whether such tools and trends will continue to develop in an environment overwhelmingly shaped by the needs and the initiatives of private companies. The report raises the possibility of an alternative: the creation of a publishing infrastructure designed specifically to meet the needs of the community of scholars.

    Continued in article

    Also see "New Model for University Presses," The University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog, July 31, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

    As posted in Open Access News...
    It’s the nightmare-come-true scenario for many an academic: You spend years writing a book in your field, send it off to a university press with an interest in your topic, the outside reviewers praise the work, the editors like it too, but the press can’t afford to publish it. The book is declared too long or too narrow or too dependent on expensive illustrations or too something else. But the bottom line is that the relevant press, with a limited budget, can’t afford to release it, and turns you down, while saying that the book deserves to be published.

    That’s the situation scholars find themselves in increasingly these days, and press editors freely admit that they routinely review submissions that deserve to be books, but that can’t be, for financial reasons. The underlying economic bind university presses find themselves in is attracting increasing attention, including last week’s much awaited report from Ithaka, “University Publishing in a Digital Age,” which called for universities to consider entirely new models.

    One such new model is about to start operations: The Rice University Press, which was eliminated in 1996, was revived last year with the idea that it would publish online only, using low-cost print-on-demand....

    Rice is going to start printing books that have been through the peer review process elsewhere, been found to be in every way worthy, but impossible financially to publish....

    Some of the books Rice will publish, after they went through peer review elsewhere, will be grouped together as “The Long Tail Press.” In addition, Rice University Press and Stanford University Press are planning an unusual collaboration in which Rice will be publishing a series of books reviewed by Stanford and both presses will be associated with the work….

    Alan Harvey, editor in chief at Stanford, said he saw great potential not only to try a new model, but to test the economics of publishing in different formats. Stanford might pick some books with similar scholarly and economic potential, and publish some through Rice and some in the traditional way, and be able to compare total costs as well as scholarly impact. “We’d like to make this a public experiment and post the results,” he said.

    Another part of the experiment, he said, might be to explore “hybrid models” of publishing. Stanford might publish most of a book in traditional form, but a particularly long bibliography might appear online…

    University Publishing in a Digital Age

    In case you've not seen the notices, the non-profit organization Ithaka has just released a report on the state of university press publishing today, University Publishing in a Digital Age. Based on a detailed study of university presses, which morphed into a larger examination of the relationship among presses, libraries and their universities, the report's authors suggest that university presses focus less on the book form and consider a major collaborative effort to assume many of the technological and marketing functions that most presses cannot afford; they also suggest that universities be more strategic about the relationship of presses to broader institutional goals.


    The Digital Revolution and Higher Education --- http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/College-presidents.aspx

    What is "scholarship" as a substitute for "research" as a tenure criterion?


    Scholarship = the mastery of existing knowledge, including writing and sharing via review articles, tutorials, online videos, Website content, etc.


    Research = the production of new knowledge from conception to rigorous analysis, including insignificant fleecing to new knowledge that overturns conventional wisdom.



    "‘Scholarship Reconsidered’ as Tenure Policy," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/wcu


    In 1990, Ernest Boyer published Scholarship Reconsidered, in which he argued for abandoning the traditional “teaching vs. research” model on prioritizing faculty time, and urged colleges to adopt a much broader definition of scholarship to replace the traditional research model. Ever since, many experts on tenure, not to mention many junior faculty members, have praised Boyer’s ideas while at the same time saying that departments still tend to base tenure and promotion decisions on traditional measures of research success: books or articles published about new knowledge, or grants won.

    Scholarship Reconsidered may make sense, but the fear has been that too many colleges pay only lip service to its ideas, rather than formally embracing them — at least that’s the conventional wisdom. Indeed, a trend in recent years has been for colleges — even those not identified as research universities — to take advantage of the tight academic job market in some fields to ratchet up tenure expectations, asking for two books instead of one, more sponsored research and so forth.

    Western Carolina University — after several years of discussions — has just announced a move in the other direction. The university has adopted Boyer’s definitions for scholarship to replace traditional measures of research. The shift was adopted unanimously by the Faculty Senate, endorsed by the administration and just cleared its final hurdle with approval from the University of North Carolina system. Broader definitions of scholarship will be used in hiring decisions, merit reviews, and tenure consideration.

    Boyer, who died in 1995, saw the traditional definition of scholarship — new knowledge through laboratory breakthroughs, journal articles or new books — as too narrow. Scholarship, Boyer argued, also encompassed the application of knowledge, the engagement of scholars with the broader world, and the way scholars teach.

    All of those models will now be available to Western Carolina faculty members to have their contributions evaluated. However, to do so, the professors and their departments will need to create an outside peer review panel to evaluate the work, so that scholarship does not become simply an extension of service, and to ensure that rigor is applied to evaluations.

    Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (through which Boyer did much of his work), said Western Carolina’s shift was significant. While colleges have rushed to put Boyer’s ideas into their mission statements, and many individual departments have used the ideas in tenure reviews, putting this philosophy in specific institutional tenure and promotion procedures is rare, he said. “It’s very encouraging to see this beginning to really break through,” he said. What’s been missing is “systematic implementation” of the sort Western Carolina is now enacting, he said.

    What could really have an impact, Shulman said, is if a few years from now, Western Carolina can point to a cohort of newly tenured professors who won their promotions using the Boyer model.

    John Bardo, chancellor at Western Carolina, said that a good example of the value of this approach comes from a recent tenure candidate who needed a special exemption from the old, more traditional tenure guidelines. The faculty member was in the College of Education and focused much of his work on developing online tools that teachers could use in classrooms. He focused on developing the tools, and fine-tuning them, not on writing reports about them that could be published in journals.

    “So when he came up for tenure, he didn’t have normal publications to submit,” Bardo said. Under a trial of the system that has now been codified, the department assembled a peer review team of experts in the field, which came back with a report that the professors’ online tools “were among the best around,” Bardo said.

    The professor won tenure, and Bardo said it was important to him and others to codify the kind of system used so that other professors would be encouraged to make similar career choices. Bardo said that codification was also important so that departments could make initial hiring decisions based on the broader definition of scholarship.

    Asked why he preferred to see his university use this approach, as opposed to the path being taken by many similar institutions of upping research expectations, Bardo quoted a union slogan used when organizing workers at elite universities: “You can’t eat prestige.”

    The traditional model for evaluating research at American universities dates to the 19th century, he said, and today does not serve society well in an era with a broad range of colleges and universities. While there are top research universities devoted to that traditional role, Bardo said that “many emerging needs of society call for universities to be more actively involved in the community.” Those local communities, he said, need to rely on their public universities for direct help, not just basic research.

    Along those lines, he would like to see engineering professors submit projects that relate to helping local businesses deal with difficult issues. Or historians who do oral history locally and focus on collecting the histories rather than writing them up in books. Or on professors in any number of fields who could be involved in helping the public schools.

    In all of those cases, Bardo said, the work evaluated would be based on disciplinary knowledge and would be subject to peer review. But there might not be any publication trail.

    Faculty members have been strongly supportive of the shift. Jill Ellern, a librarian at the university (where librarians have faculty status), said that a key to the shift is the inclusion of outside reviews. “We don’t want to lose the idea of evaluations,” she said. “But publish or perish just isn’t the way to go.”

    Richard Beam, chair of the Faculty Senate and an associate professor of stage and screen in the university’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, said that the general view of professors there is that “putting great reliance on juried publication of traditional research didn’t seem to be working well for a lot of institutions like Western. We’re not a Research I institution — that’s not our thrust.”



    Bob Jensen's threads on tenure can be found in the following links:


    (Teaching vs. Research) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#TeachingVsResearch


    (Micro-level Research) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MicroLevelResearch


    (Co-authoring) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#JointAuthorship

    (Scholarship in the Humanities) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MLA


    (Obsolete and Dysfunctional Tenure) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Tenure


    Bob Jensen's threads on the flawed peer review process are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PeerReviewFlaws




    College campuses display a striking uniformity of thought
    Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield once famously advised a conservative colleague to wait until he had tenure and only then to "hoist the Jolly Roger." But few professors are getting around to hoisting the Jolly Roger at all. Either they don't have a viewpoint that is different from their colleagues, or they've decided that if they are going to remain at one place for several decades, they'd rather just get along. Is tenure to blame for the unanimity of thinking in American universities? It's hard to tell. But shouldn't the burden of proof be on the people who want jobs for life?
    Naomi Schafer Riley, "Tenure and Academic Freedom:  College campuses display a striking uniformity of thought," The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124571593663539265.html#mod=djemEditorialPage

    The Digital Revolution and Higher Education --- http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/College-presidents.aspx

    Controversies in the anonymous blind review process of research journals
    "Kill Peer Review or Reform It?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, January 6, 2011 ---
    Thank you Ron Huefner for the heads up.

    "Blind peer review is dead. It just doesn’t know it yet." That's the way Aaron J. Barlow, an associate professor of English at the College of Technology of the City University of New York, summed up his views here on the future of the traditional way of deciding whose work gets published in the humanities.

    Barlow didn't dispute that most of the top journals in the humanities continue to select papers this way. But speaking at a session of the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, he argued that technology has so changed the ability of scholars to share their findings that it's only a matter of time before people rise up against the conventions of traditional journal publishing.

    While others on the panel and in the audience argued for a reformed peer review as preferable to Barlow's vision of smashing the enterprise, and some questioned the practicality of simply walking away from peer review immediately, the idea that the system needs radical change was not challenged. Barlow said that the system might have been justified once when old-style publishing put a significant limit on the quantity of scholarship that could be shared. But in a new era, he said, the justifications were gone. (Reflecting the new technology era, Barlow and one other panelist spoke via Skype, to an audience that included two tables and wireless for bloggers and Twitter users -- and this journalist -- to write about the proceedings as they were taking place.)

    To many knowing nods in the room, Barlow argued that the traditional system of blind peer review -- in which submissions are sent off to reviewers, whose judgments then determine whether papers are accepted, with no direct communication with authors -- had serious problems with fairness. He said that the system rewards "conformity" and allows for considerable bias.

    He described a recent experience in which he was recruited by "a prestigious venue" to review a paper that related in some ways to research he had done. Barlow's work wasn't mentioned anywhere in the piece. Barlow said he realized that the journal editor figured Barlow would be annoyed by the omission. And although he was, Barlow said he didn't feel assigning the piece to him was fair to the author. "It was a set-up. The editor didn't want a positive review, so the burden of rejection was passed on to someone the author would not know."

    He refused to go along, and said he declined to review the paper when he realized what was going on. This sort of "corruption" is common, he said.

    Barlow has a long publishing record, so his frustrations with the system can't be chalked up to being unable to get his ideas out there. But he said that when one of his papers was recently rejected, he simply published it on his blog directly, where comments have come in from fans and foes of his work.

    "I love the editorial process" when comments result in a piece becoming better, he said, and digital publishing allows this to happen easily. But traditional peer review simply delays publication and leaves decision-making "in the dark." Peer review -- in the sense that people will comment on work and a consensus may emerge that a given paper is important or not -- doesn't need to take place prior to publication, he said.

    "We don't need the bottleneck or the corruption," he said. The only reason blind peer review survives is that "we have made appearance in peer reviewed journals the standard" for tenure and promotion decisions. That will change over time, he predicted, and then the traditional system will collapse.

    Peer Review Plus

    While Barlow noted the ability of digital publishing to bypass peer review, the idea of an intense, collaborative process for selecting pieces and improving them came at the session from the editor of Kairos, an online journal on rhetoric and technology that publishes work prepared for the web. Kairos has become an influential journal, but Cheryl Ball, the editor and an associate professor of English at Illinois State University, discussed how frustrating it is that people assume that an online journal must not have peer review. "Ignorance about digital scholarship" means that she must constantly explain the journal, she said.

    Kairos uses a three-stage review process. First, editors decide if a submission makes sense for a review. Then, the entire editorial board discusses the submission (online) for two weeks, and reaches a consensus that is communicated to the author with detailed letters from the board. (Board members' identities are public, so there is no secrecy about who reviews pieces.) Then, if appropriate, someone is assigned to work with the author to coach him or her on how to improve the piece prior to publication.

    As Ball described the process, thousands of words are written about submissions, and lengthy discussions take place -- all to figure out the best content for the journal. But there are no secret reviewers, and the coaching process allows for a collaborative effort to prepare a final version, not someone guessing about how to handle a "revise and resubmit" letter.

    The process is quite detailed, but also allows for individual consideration of editorial board members' concerns and of authors' approaches, Ball said. "Peer reviewers don't need rubrics. They need good ways to communicate," she said. Along those lines, Kairos is currently updating its tools for editorial board consideration of pieces, to allow for synchronous chat, the use of electronic "sticky notes" and other ways to help authors not only with words, but with digital graphics and illustrations.

    Learning From Law Reviews

    Allen Mendenhall, a Ph.D. student at Auburn University who is also a blogger and a lawyer, suggested that humanities journals could take some lessons from law reviews. Mendenhall is well aware of (and agrees with) many criticisms of law reviews, and in particular of the reliance for decisions on law students who may not know much about the areas of scholarship they are evaluating.

    Continued in article

    A ‘Radical’ Rethinking of Scholarly Publishing
    "Upgrading to Philosophy 2.0," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/apa

    There was no theorizing about ghosts in the machine at an annual meeting of philosophers last Friday. Instead, they embraced technology’s implications for their field, both within the classroom and beyond.

    . . .

    Harriet E. Baber of the University of San Diego thinks scholars should try to make their work as accessible as possible, forget about the financial rewards of publishing and find alternative ways to referee each other’s work. In short, they should ditch the current system of paper-based academic journals that persists, she said, by “creating scarcity,” “screening” valuable work and providing scholars with entries in their CVs.

    “Now why would it be a bad thing if people didn’t pay for the information that we produce?” she asked, going over the traditional justifications for the current order — an incentive-based rationale she dubbed a “right wing, free marketeer, Republican argument.”

    Instead, she argued, scholars (and in particular, philosophers) should accept that much of their work has little market value ("we’re lucky if we could give away this stuff for free") and embrace the intrinsic rewards of the work itself. After all, she said, they’re salaried, and “we don’t need incentives external [to] what we do.”

    That doesn’t include only journal articles, she said; class notes fit into the paradigm just as easily. “I want any prospective student to see this and I want all the world to see” classroom materials, she added.

    Responding to questions from the audience, she noted that journals’ current function of refereeing content wouldn’t get lost, since the “middlemen” merely provide a venue for peer review, which would still happen within her model.

    “What’s going to happen pragmatically is the paper journals will morph into online journals,” she said.

    Part of the purpose of holding the session, she implied, was to nudge the APA into playing a greater role in any such transition: “I’m hoping that the APA will organize things a little better.”

    "Hear the One About the Rejected Mathematician? Call it a scholarly 'Island of Misfit Toys,' Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 2009 --- Click Here

    Rejecta Mathematica is an open-access online journal that publishes mathematical papers that have been rejected by others. Rejecta's motto is caveat emptor, which is to say that the journal has no technical peer-review process.

    As The Economist notes in its article on the journal, there are plenty of examples of scholars who have suffered rejection, only to go on to become giants in their field. (OK, two.) Nonetheless, if you have lots of free time on your hands, by all means, check out the inaugural issue.

    And if deciphering mathematical formulae isn't your thing, stand by: Rejecta says it may open the floodgates to other disciplines. Prospective franchisees are invited to contact the journal.

    Next up: Rejecta Rejecta, a journal for articles too flawed for Rejects Mathematica, printed on single-ply toilet paper.



    Scholarship Reconsidered’ as Tenure Policy," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2007 ---

    "Time's Up for Tenure," Laurie Fendrich, Chronicle of Higher Education's The Chronicle Review, April 18, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/review/brainstorm/fendrich/times-up-for-tenure?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en 

    "Survey Identifies Trends at U.S. Colleges That Appear to Undermine Productivity of Scholars," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 14, 2009 --- Click Here 


    "What I Wish I'd Known About Tenure," by Leslie M. Phinney, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2009 ---

    1. Striving for tenure at a university is like gambling in a casino;
    2. Becoming tenured is like joining a fraternity;
    3. A tenure case is like a hunk of Swiss cheese;
    4. The majority of those embarking on an academic career will end up with tenure cases in the gray zone;
    5. Just as there are risk factors for contracting a disease, risk factors exist for not obtaining tenure;
    6. True tenure is always being able to obtain another position;
    7. The best type of tenure is that which matches your ideals and values;
    8. Fight or flight decisions are part of the tenure process;
    9. While important, tenure is only one facet in life.

    Leslie M. Phinney was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1997 until 2003. She received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award from 2000-2004 and a 2000 NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories. She is now a principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, N.M.

    Jensen Comment
     I agree with Dr. Phinney on many points, but I disagree that tenure seeking is like casino gambling. In a fair-game casino the odds are known and always in favor of the house. In tenure seeking there are so many unpredictable factors (departmental colleagues, college colleagues, university-level P&T members, etc.) that the odds are most certainly not knowable. There are many factors that are unpredictable such as what weight decision makers will put upon student evaluations and journal quality where published work appears. Tenure seeking is more like running for public office than casino gambling.

    One of the big problems with tenure seeking is that decision makers are usually not held accountable, although committee chairs are often forced to write down reasons for rejection decisions.

    One of the big advantages of tenure seeking is that most colleges now require documentation of progress toward tenure every two years or thereabouts. Tenure decisions should not come as a huge surprise in the sixth year of appointment.

    Another controversial problem is arises when the tenure clock is suspended, sometimes unpaid, for a variety of reasons for which there is some justification --- health of a family member, pregnancy, leaves of absence from teaching, etc. The reason that these tenure clock suspensions are controversial is that in many instances the tenure candidate can do research and writing during the tenure clock suspension and thereby gain some advantage over other candidates given no more than six years before a final tenure decision is reached.



    "Can the Estate Tax Solve the Fiscal Cliff?" by Christopher Matthews, Time Magazine, December 11, 2012 ---

    Jensen Comment
    I've been a long-time advocated of greatly increased estate taxation. But I also see problems if the threshold is set too high to protect family farms. Family farm estates, along with many other estates like farm estates, have frequent problems with liquidity. Estate taxes will exacerbate that problem to a point where the assets of the estate (e.g., the farm land and equipment) must be auctioned off to pay increased estate taxes. The end result will be ever-increasing loss of family farms to big agribusiness conglomerates. Maybe this is inevitable even without increasing estate taxes, but I would hope that along with increases in estate taxation some innovative solutions are found to allow farms to be passed on to family heirs rather than forcing these farms to be victims of ever-increasing ownership of the land by giant and faceless multinational corporations.

    From the Scout Report on December 14, 2012

    Online Dictation --- http://ctrlq.org/dictation/ 

    If you are looking for an online dictation program, look no further than Online Dictation for use with Google Chrome. This dictation program allows users to convert their spoken voice into digital text with little fuss. Visitors just need to attach a microphone to their computers to allow the program to pick up their voices. This version is compatible with all computers running Google Chrome.

    Shapeshifter --- http://flamefusion.net/Software/Shapeshifter 

    If you have ever wanted a clipboard manager, this program is for you. Shapeshifter allows visitors to manage their clipboard history and customize how they use the materials on their clipboard. After installing the program, visitors just need to press CTRL+V to view a complete clipboard history for their convenience. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

    Can the introduction of new technologies transform the educational
    experience in Africa?

    Digital education in Kenya: Tablet Teachers

    Microsoft pumps billions into education

    Kenya's mobile telephones: Vital for the poor

    Digital technology in Africa-21st century challenges

    The Transformational Use of Information and Communication Technologies in

    Africa-Education: UNESCo


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

    Education Tutorials

    A Crash Course in English Literature: A New Video Series by Best-Selling Author John Green ---

    Subtle Distinctions in Technical Terminology
    Machine Learning, Big Data, Deep Learning, Data Mining, Statistics, Decision & Risk Analysis, Probability, Fuzzy Logic FAQ ---

    17 Animations of Classic Literary Works: From Plato and Shakespeare, to Kafka, Hemingway and Gaiman ---

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

    Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

    Richard Felder's Home Page

    Profiles of Scientists and Engineers

    University of California Research --- http://research.universityofcalifornia.edu/

    Creative Chemistry --- http://www.creative-chemistry.org.uk/

    Practical Physics --- http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics

    Teaching Advanced Physics --- http://tap.iop.org/

    The Physics of Guinness Beer Demystified ---

    Google Presents an Interactive Visualization of 100,000 Stars ---

    Strange Science: The Rocky Road to Modern Paleontology and Biology --- http://www.strangescience.net/index.htm
    Note the Goof Gallery (including forgeries and frauds)

    Gulf Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center --- http://www.utexas.edu/research/cswr/gcattc/

    Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water Projects: Managing Water in the West

    What Makes Us Tick? Free Stanford Biology Course by Robert Sapolsky Offers Answers ---

    Relativity Theory --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativity_theory
    Marilyn Monroe Explains Relativity to Albert Einstein (in a Nicolas Roeg Movie) ---
    Is it mere chance that the home of origins of the atomic bomb were in Chicago that now has an enormous and very erotic statue of Marilyn Monroe? ---
    Scroll to the bottom of the page for three pictures of Chicago's statue of Marilyn Monroe.

    Should schools and offices have blue walls and ceilings? And maybe our bedrooms should be red.
    What’s the deal with the different colors of light? The blue light is intended to stimulate the brain during “day” time, since the human brain has evolved to respond to the blue sky. Being exposed to blue light suppresses melatonin, that sleepy hormone, and promotes the formation of melanopsin, which helps keep people awake. Meanwhile, red light does just the opposite: stimulating melatonin, suppressing melanopsin. By dialing in blue light at certain times and red light at others, astronauts can help promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
    David Zax, "Curing Outer Space Insomnia:  With the help of novel color-changing light technology," MIT's Technology Review, December 17, 2012 ---
    Click Here
    Is it mere chance that for decades examination booklets were called "Blue Books?"

    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

    60-Second (Video) Adventures in Economics --- http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2012/09/60-second-adventures-in-economics/

    Smart About Money - National Endowment for Financial Education --- http://www.smartaboutmoney.org/

    InfoGraphic on How the Tax Burden Has Changed ---

    Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

    Institute of Race Relations --- http://www.irr.org.uk/

    University of California Research --- http://research.universityofcalifornia.edu/

    Gulf Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center --- http://www.utexas.edu/research/cswr/gcattc/

    Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water Projects: Managing Water in the West

    The Guardian Books Podcast --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/books

    In 1942, Disney released “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” an anti-Nazi propaganda movie that bolstered support for the war, and eventually won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Then, a year later, came The Spirit of ’43, which features Donald Duck helping Americans to understand why they need to pay their taxes. Other wartime Disney shorts include Donald Gets Drafted (1942), The Old Army Game (1943), and Commando Duck (1944) ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at

    Law and Legal Studies

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

    Math and Statistics Tutorials

    Learning Math: Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability --- http://www.learner.org/resources/series158.html

    Khan Academy --- http://www.khanacademy.org/

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb
    I had lunch with Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It didn't go well.
    Bom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, December 17, 2012 ---


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

    History Tutorials

    What is GIS technology?
    Looking at the Battle of Gettysburg Through Robert E. Lee’s Eyes:  Anne Kelly Knowles, the winner of Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards, uses GIS technology to change our view of history," by Tony Horwitz, Smithsonian Magazine, December 2012 ---

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Looking-at-the-Battle-of-Gettysburg-Through-Robert-E-Lees-Eyes-180014191.html#ixzz2ElhHXzM6 Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

    Emily Dickenson --- http://www.emilydickinson.org/  
    Watch an Animated Film of Emily Dickinson’s Poem ‘I Started Early–Took My Dog’ ---

    Bill Murray Reads Poetry at Construction Site ---

    Jean-Paul Sartre Writes a Script for John Huston’s Film on Freud (1958) ---

    From the University of Kentucky
    Buffalo Trace Oral History Project --- http://www.nunncenter.org/buffalotrace/
    Preserve the story of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky which has a truly remarkable history intertwined with Kentucky history in general.

    Kentuckiana Digital Library (focus is on Kentucky history and photographs) ---  http://kdl.kyvl.org

    17 Animations of Classic Literary Works: From Plato and Shakespeare, to Kafka, Hemingway and Gaiman ---

    Mount Horeb (a town in Wisconsin) Digital Collections http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/WI/MountHorebLocHist2

    Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport --- http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/home.shtml

    Plat Books of Missouri --- http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?page=index;c=platic

    World War I Photographic History in a French Village
    Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt --- http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/remember-me/

    World War One ( World War I ) Color Photos --- http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

    The Guardian Books Podcast --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/books

    The Complete Sherlock Holmes Now Free on the Kindle ---

    THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES (includes drawings) --- http://www.bakerstreet221b.de/canon/
    The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ---
    Mystery Net ---

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: His Life, All His Works and More --- http://sirconandoyle.com/index.php

    A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here  

    The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here

    The Adventures of Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

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


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

    Language Tutorials

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

    Music Tutorials


    Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

    Writing Tutorials

    "SAT Tip: Ignore Prepositional Phrases," Bloomberg Businessweek, December 5, 2012 ---

    Spelling, grammar, and writing checker ---

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

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

    December 11, 2012

    December 12, 2012

    December 13, 2012

    December 14, 2012

    December 15, 2012

    December 16, 2012

    December 17, 2012

    December 18, 2012

    December 19, 2012

    December 20, 2012



    "Link between autism and planned violence discounted by experts," by Deborah Kotz, Boston Globe, December 17, 2012 ---

    "Scorpion Protein Illuminates Brain Tumors for Surgeons:  A compound derived from a toxin from scorpion venom could help neurosurgeons differentiate between healthy and cancerous brain tissue," by Susan Young, MIT's Technology Review, December 17, 2012 --- Click Here

    MethResources (drug addiction) --- http://www.methresources.gov/Index.html

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

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration --- http://www.samhsa.gov

    The Willard Suitcase Exhibit Online (psychiatric, psychiatry, mental illness) --- http://www.suitcaseexhibit.org/indexhasflash.html

    Global Drug Reference Online --- http://www.globaldro.com/

    Gulf Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center --- http://www.utexas.edu/research/cswr/gcattc/

    Merry Christmas Humor Video --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

    Forwarded by Maureen

       Us  older people need to learn something new every  day...

    Just to keep the grey matter tuned  up.

    Where did "Piss Poor" come from?  Interesting history.

    They used to use  urine to tan animal skins, so families used to  all pee in a pot.

    And then once it was  full it was taken and sold to the  tannery...

    if you had to do this to  survive you were "Piss Poor".
    But worse than  that were the really poor folk who couldn't even  afford to buy a pot...

    They "didn't have  a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the  low.

    The next time you are washing your  hands and complain because the water  temperature
    Isn't just how you like it, think  about how things used to be.

    Here are  some facts about the 1500's

    Most people  got married in June because they took their  yearly bath in May,

    And they still  smelled pretty good by June.. However, since  they were starting to smell,
    brides carried a  bouquet of flowers to hide the body  odor.

    Hence the custom today of carrying  a bouquet when getting married.

    Baths  consisted of a big tub filled with hot  water.

    The man of the house had the  privilege of the nice clean water,

    Then  all the other sons and men, then the women and  finally the children.

    Last of all the  babies.

    By then the water was so dirty  you could actually lose someone in  it.
    Hence the saying, "Don't throw the  baby out with the bath water!"

    Houses had  thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no  wood underneath.

    It was the only place  for animals to get warm, so all the cats and  other small animals
    (mice, bugs) lived in the  roof.

    When it rained it became slippery  and sometimes the animals would slip and fall  off the roof.
    Hence the saying, "It's raining  cats and dogs."
    There was nothing to stop  things from falling into the house.

    This  posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs  and other droppings

    Could mess up your  nice clean bed.

    Hence, a bed with big  posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded  some protection.

    That's how canopy beds  came into existence.

    The floor was dirt.  Only the wealthy had something other than  dirt.

    Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The  wealthy had slate floors that would get  slippery
    In the winter when wet, so they  spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep  their footing..

    As the winter wore on,  they added more thresh until, when you opened  the door,
    It would all start slipping  outside. A piece of wood was placed in the  entrance-way.
    Hence: a thresh  hold.

    (Getting quite an education, aren't  you?)

    In those old days, they cooked in  the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung  over the fire.

    Every day they lit the  fire and added things to the pot. They ate  mostly vegetables
    And did not get much meat.  They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving  leftovers
    In the pot to get cold overnight  and then start over the next  day.

    Sometimes stew had food in it that  had been there for quite a while.

    Hence  the rhyme:

    “Peas porridge hot, peas  porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine  days old."
    Sometimes they could obtain pork,  which made them feel quite special.

    When  visitors came over, they would hang up their  bacon to show off.

    It was a sign of  wealth that a man could, "bring home the  bacon."

    They would cut off a little to  share with guests

    And would all sit  around and chew the fat.

    Those with money  had plates made of pewter.

    Food with high  acid content caused some of the lead to leach  onto the food, causing lead poisoning  death.

    This happened most often with  tomatoes,
    so for the next 400 years or so,  tomatoes were considered poisonous.

    Bread  was divided according to status..

    Workers  got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got  the middle,

    and guests got the top, or  the upper crust.

    Lead cups were used to  drink ale or whisky.
    The combination would  sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of  days...
    Someone walking along the road would  take them for dead and prepare them for  burial.
    They were laid out on the kitchen  table for a couple of days and the family would  gather around
    and eat and drink and wait and  see if they would wake up.

    Hence the  custom; “holding a wake."

    England is old  and small and the local folks started running  out of places to bury people.

    So they  would dig up coffins and would take the bones to  a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

    When  reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins  were found to have scratch marks on the inside  and they realized they had been burying people  alive.
    So they would tie a string on the  wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin  and up through the ground and tie it to a  bell.

    Someone would have to sit out in  the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to  listen for the bell; thus, someone could  be,
    “saved by the bell" or was "considered a  dead ringer."

    And that's the  truth.

    Now, whoever said history was  boring!!!

    So get out there and educate  someone!
    Share these facts with a  friend.
    Inside every older person is a  younger person wondering,
    "What the heck  happened?"
    We'll be friends until we  are old and senile.
    Then we'll be new  friends.

    Smile, it gives your face  something to  do!

    Do you think these Dear Santa letters were actually written by kids?
    If so then you probably believe that Santa wrote the replies.

    Dear Santa,

    How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? I hope everyone, from the reindeer to the elves, is fine. I have been a very good boy this year. I would like an X-Box 360 with Call of Duty IV and an iPhone 4 for Christmas. I hope you remember that come Christmas Day..

    Merry Christmas,

    Timmy Jones

    * *

    Dear Timmy,

    Thank you for you letter. Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the elves are all fine and thank you for asking about them. Santa is a little worried all the time you spend playing video games and texting. Santa wouldn’t want you to get fat. Since you have indeed been a good boy, I think I’ll bring you something you can go outside and play with.*

    Merry Christmas,

    Santa Claus

    * * ***********************************************

    Mr. Claus,

    Seeing that I have fulfilled the “naughty vs. nice” contract, set by you I might add, I feel confident that you can see your way clear to  granting me what I have asked for. I certainly wouldn’t want to turn this joyous season into one of litigation. Also, don’t you think that a jibe at my weight coming from an overweight man who goes out once a year is a bit trite?


    Tim Jones

    * *

    Mr. Jones,

    While I have acknowledged you have met the “nice” criteria, need I remind you that your Christmas list is a request and in no way is it a guarantee of services provided. Should you wish to pursue legal action, well that is your right. Please know, however, that my attorney’s have been on retainer ever since the Burgermeister Meisterburger incident and will be more than happy to take you on in open court. Additionally, the exercise I alluded to will not only improve your health, but also improve your social skills and potentially help clear up a complexion that looks like the bottom of the Burger King fry bin most days.

    Very Truly Yours,

    S Claus

    * **************************************************************

    Now look here Fat Man, I told you what I want and I expect you to bring it. I was attempting to be polite about this but you brought my looks and my friends into this. Now you just be disrespecting me. I’m about to tweet my boys and we’re gonna be waiting for your fat ass and I’m taking my game console, my game, my phone, and whatever else I want. WHAT EVER I WANT, MAN!


    * *

    Listen Pizza Face,

    Seriously??? You think a dude that breaks into every house in the world on one night and never gets caught sweats a skinny G-banger wannabe? “He sees you when you’re sleeping; He knows when you’re awake”. Sound familiar, genius? You know what kind of resources I have at my disposal. I got your shit wired, Jack. I go all around the world and see ways to hurt people that if I described them right now, you’d throw up your Totino's pizza roll all over the carpet of your mom’s basement. You’re not getting what you asked for, but I’m still stopping by your crib to stomp a mud hole in you’re ass and then walk it dry. Chew on that, Petunia.

    S Clizzy

    * ****************************************************************

    Dear Santa,

    Bring me whatever you see fit. I’ll appreciate anything.


    * *


    That’s what I thought you little bastard.


    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.

    Jim Counts CPA.CITP CTFA
    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