Tidbits on January 10, 2013
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Set 3 of My All Time Favorite Snow Photographs


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories



Tidbits on January 10, 2013
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/

Pathways Commission Final Report ---

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

The Best of Open Culture 2012: Free Music, Film, Books, Life Advice & More ---

Leonard Nimoy Narrates Short Film About NASA’s Dawn: A Voyage to the Origins of the Solar System --- Click Here

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/

The Fascinating Science of Snow --- http://www.openculture.com/2012/12/the_fascinating_science_of_snow.html

The Golden Lab is trying so hard! A touching video --- http://youtu.be/JA8VJh0UJtg

UPM Forest Life --- http://w3.upm-kymmene.com/upm/forestlife/index.html

Birds of Paradise --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YTR21os8gTA

Not only do you have to be bored if you play this table tennis 3-D game, you have to be super quick ---
It might give you something to do if you're all alone with your laptop in a pub.

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

For Auld Lang Syne --- http://biggeekdad.com/2011/01/auld-lang-syne/#.UOGwOuKZNEU.email

Muddy Waters and Friends on the Blues and Gospel Train, 1964 ---

A Train Ride for You --- http://www.openmyeyeslord.net/Train Ride.swf

The Glee Club of West Point --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KGHhEJdfFM

Watch the Only Known Footage of the Legendary Bluesman Lead Belly (1935 and 1945) ---

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Film Tribute to America’s Great Musical Tradition ---

Two Prison Concerts That Defined an Outlaw Singer: Johnny Cash at San Quentin and Folsom (1968-69) --- Click Here

The Clash Live in Tokyo, 1982: Watch the Complete Concert ---

A Utopian Musical Dream From South America

The Landfill Harmonic: An Orchestra Built From Trash ---

David Bowie and Bing Crosby Sing “The Little Drummer Boy”: A Chestnut From 1977 ---

100 Greatest Christmas Songs --- http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/music0_christmas.html

What Ever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album? ---

From NPR



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

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

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

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (with commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

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

Photographs and Art

"100 Diagrams That Changed the World," by by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, December 2012 ---
Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm 

NASA Presents “The Earth as Art” in a Free eBook and Free iPad App ---

Cano Cristales - River of Paradise --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GZE3FPHbmc
Also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GZE3FPHbmc

NASA Archive Collects Great Time-Lapse Videos of our Planet

Fiji Reef --- http://fijireef.ning.com/

Ray Bradbury Reads Moving Poem on the Eve of NASA’s 1971 Mars Mission

Great Cities at Night: Views from the International Space Station

National Gallery: 30 Highlight Paintings --- http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/explore-the-paintings/30-highlight-paintings/

Edward Judice Photograph Collection --- http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/umarmot/?p=4675

Video:  Augmented 3-D Sketching ---
Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of multivariate data ---

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

Google Digitizes Ancient Copies of the Ten Commandments and Genesis ---

British Actors Read Poignant Poetry from World War I ---

The 7 Best Music Books of 2012 --- http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/21/best-music-books-2012/

New Kindle, iPad, iPhone with Free eBooks, Movies, Audio Books, Online Courses & More ---

Between Liberation Space and Time of Need, Korea 1945-1950 http://content.lib.washington.edu/koreanweb/index.html

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 January 10, 2013

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

What is the meaning of life?

"Charles Bukowski, Arthur C. Clarke, Annie Dillard, John Cage, and Others on the Meaning of Life," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, September 9, 2012 ---

What will make you smarter?

This Will Make You Smarter:
151 Big Thinkers Each Pick a Concept to Enhance Your Cognitive Toolkit
by Maria Popova
Brain Pickings, February 14, 2012

"Law Deans in Jail," by Morgan Cloud and George B. Shepherd, SSRN, February 24, 2012 ---

A most unlikely collection of suspects - law schools, their deans, U.S. News & World Report and its employees - may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News' ranking of law schools. The possible federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents' crimes.

Some law schools and their deans submitted false information about the schools' expenditures and their students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. Others submitted information that may have been literally true but was misleading. Examples include misleading statistics about recent graduates' employment rates and students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores.

U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors.

While some law schools deans are facing possible jail time for fabricating rankings data, some business school deans may also be on the docket
"Yet Another Rankings Fabrication," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed,  January 2, 2012 ---

Tulane University has admitted that it sent U.S. News & World Report incorrect information about the test scores and total number of applicants for its M.B.A. program.

The admission -- as 2012 closed -- made the university the fourth college or university in that year to admit false reporting of some admissions data used for rankings. In 2011, two law schools and one undergraduate institution were found to have engaged in false reporting of some admissions data.

A statement issued by Tulane said that it discovered the problem when preparing a new set business school data for U.S. News and found that numbers, "including GMAT scores and the number of applications, skewed significantly lower than the previous two years. Since the school’s standards and admissions criteria have not changed, this raised a concern that our data from previous years had been misreported."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Years ago when I was invited to speak at Tulane, the Associate Dean of the Business School showed me a very colorful booklet of the Top Ten MBA Programs in the USA. It showed Tulane's MBA Program as being in the Top 10, whereas US News did not even include Tulane in the Top 50. I asked this dean about who did the rankings for the Tulane booklet. Without even batting an eye he admitted that Tulane did the ranking.

January 2, 2013 reply from Ellen Glazerman

I would post this as a laudatory note - the new Dean, Ira Solomon, stepped forward to make things right. (although I am sure many of his constituents were quite disappointed) It is great that Tulane is developing controls and processes to make sure this never happens again. Perhaps Ira and Tulane will be able to set a standard for collecting and reporting business school data that will help all these rankings be more accurate and comparable. I congratulate them and think the article speaks well of Tulane and Ira's leadership. Happy to be a supporter.

Kind Regards,

Ellen Ellen J. Glazerman
Executive Director, Ernst & Young Foundation
Americas Director, University Relations


Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"The Top Ten Tax Cases Of 2012," by Tony Nitti, Forbes, December 26, 2012 --- Click Here

"What The Hell is a Qube?" by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, January 6, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
After reading the article I still cannot explain the Qube.

I got a whole lot more out of Wikipedia:
QUBE --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QUBE

How to Add and Subtract Mixed Fractions ---
Home Page for Quick and Dirty Tips:  Other tips on math and living in general (including how to train your puppy to do business outdoors) ---

"Dishonest Educators," by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, January 9, 2013 --- Click Here

Nearly two years ago, U.S. News & World Report came out with a story titled "Educators Implicated in Atlanta Cheating Scandal." It reported that "for 10 years, hundreds of Atlanta public school teachers and principals changed answers on state tests in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history." More than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated had cheated on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, sometimes called the national report card. Cheating orders came from school administrators and included brazen acts such as teachers reading answers aloud during the test and erasing incorrect answers. One teacher told a colleague, "I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they're dumb as hell." Atlanta's not alone. There have been investigations, reports and charges of teacher-assisted cheating in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington.

Recently, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's blog carried a story titled "A new cheating scandal: Aspiring teachers hiring ringers." According to the story, for at least 15 years, teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee paid Clarence Mumford, who's now under indictment, between $1,500 and $3,000 to send someone else to take their Praxis exam, which is used for K-12 teacher certification in 40 states. Sandra Stotsky, an education professor at the University of Arkansas, said, "(Praxis I) is an easy test for anyone who has completed high school but has nothing to do with college-level ability or scores." She added, "The test is far too undemanding for a prospective teacher. ... The fact that these people hired somebody to take an easy test of their skills suggests that these prospective teachers were probably so academically weak it is questionable whether they would have been suitable teachers."

Here's a practice Praxis I math question: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million -- 40,000, 250,000, 2,500,000, 1/4,000,000 or 4/1,000,000? The test taker is asked to click on the correct answer. A practice writing skills question is to identify the error in the following sentence: "The club members agreed that each would contribute ten days of voluntary work annually each year at the local hospital." The test taker is supposed to point out that "annually each year" is redundant.

CNN broke this cheating story last July, but the story hasn't gotten much national press since then. In an article for NewsBusters, titled "Months-Old, Three-State Teacher Certification Test Cheating Scandal Gets Major AP Story -- on a Slow News Weekend" (11/25/12), Tom Blumer quotes speculation by the blog "educationrealist": "I will be extremely surprised if it does not turn out that most if not all of the teachers who bought themselves a test grade are black. (I am also betting that the actual testers are white, but am not as certain. It just seems that if black people were taking the test and guaranteeing passage, the fees would be higher.)"

There's some basis in fact for the speculation that it's mostly black teachers buying grades, and that includes former Steelers wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who's been indicted for fraud. According to a study titled "Differences in Passing Rates on Praxis I Tests by Race/Ethnicity Group" (March 2011), the percentages of blacks who passed the Praxis I reading, writing and mathematics tests on their first try were 41, 44 and 37, respectively. For white test takers, the respective percentages were 82, 80 and 78.

Continued in article

Jensen Commentary
It should be noted that the author of this article is an African American economics professor at George Mason University.. He's also conservative. This makes him an endangered species in academe.

The biggest scandal in education is nearly universal grade inflation ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---


"Why Students Gripe About Grades," by Cathy Davidson, Inside Higher Ed, January 7, 2013 --- 

Jensen Comment
Quite simply put --- times have changed. In days of old graduation diplomas were the keys to the kingdom for careers and graduate studies. Now diplomas mean almost nothing relative to grade point averages on transcripts. Given a choice between graduating in nuclear chemistry with a 2.1 gpa versus a 3.43 gpa in business  versus a 3.96 gpa in art history, most students these days will choose majors leading to the highest gpa unless there's virtually no chance for advancement in a particular discipline.

Students who do not cheat still game the system to get higher grade averages on transcripts ---

This includes avoiding state universities where grade competition may be much higher than in smaller private colleges struggling for tuition revenue.
"Want a Higher G.P.A.? Go to a Private College:  A 50-year rise in grade-point averages is being fueled by private institutions, a recent study finds," by Catherine Rampell. The New York Times, April 19, 2010 ---

In the State of Texas the Top 10% of every public high school in Texas gets automatic admission to the flagship University of Texas, including students with horrid SAT or ACT scores. A student with a nearly perfect SAT score who graduates below the 10% gpa cutoff will most likely not be admitted by UT ---

In most universities the Big Four accounting firms will not even interview students with less than a 3.00 gpa, and in most colleges that threshold is set much higher.

Graduate school admissions criteria often include a formula combining multiplying gpa by some multiple of the score on a graduate admission test. Those colleges playing down admission test scores put higher emphasis on gpa.

The most common gripe in student evaluations of their instructors in RateMyProfessor.com is grading ---
Fantastic teachers are rated down for being tough on grades. Mediocre teachers are rated up for giving mostly A grades.

Grading impacts teaching evaluations and teaching evaluations, in turn, have led to ever increasing grade inflation ---

Great for Quotations
"How Intuition and the Imagination Fuel Scientific Discovery and Creativity: A 1957 Guide,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, January 2013 ---

"Austin Kleon on Cultivating Creativity in the Digital Age,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, January 2013 ---

Highly recommended by Maria Popova
How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer [Paperback]
October 30, 2007
Debbie Millman (Author)

Take a peek inside the heads of some of the world’s greatest living graphic designers. How do they think, how do they connect to others, what special skills do they have? In honest and revealing interviews, nineteen designers, including Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Beirut, David Carson, and Milton Glaser, share their approaches, processes, opinions, and thoughts about their work with noted brand designer Debbie Millman. The internet radio talk host of Design Matters, Millman persuades the greatest graphic designers of our time to speak frankly and openly about their work. How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designers offers a rare opportunity to observe and understand the giants of the industry.

Do they really understand how derivatives can be used efficiently and effectively for financial risk management as well as speculation?
"Worries on Dutch Universities' Use of Derivatives," Inside Higher Ed, January 4, 2013 ---

The Dutch education ministry wants to ban universities from investing in derivatives, Times Higher Education reported. Derivatives have become a popular financial strategy for many Dutch universities, but the government fears that twists in the economy could leave the universities in a highly vulnerable position because of the reliance on these investments.

Bob Jensen's threads on derivatives ---

Jensen Comment
Think of ten standard-sized dominos placed one inch apart on a sidewalk followed by a domino the size of a brick followed by a ten bricks followed by eleven Notre Dame football players standing at attention. The next challenges will be bowling pins and Republicans standing for election.

He admits that achieving this limit is probably unrealistic in practice because the assumptions can never hold perfectly. For example, dominoes will always slip by a small amount. 
"The Curious Mathematics of Domino Chain Reactions," MIT's Technology Review, January 8, 2013 --- Click Here

. . .

There are various videos, such as this one, on the internet that give a good demonstration of the (domino) chain reaction effect. The standard thinking is that a domino can topple another about 1.5 times as big, provided that the spacing between them is optimal.

The basic physics is straightforward. Standing a domino on its end stores a certain amount of potential energy which is released by pushing it over. However, the force required to topple the domino is smaller than the force it generates when it falls. It is this “force amplification” that can be used to topple bigger dominoes.

But the devil is in the detail since there are various ways that the dominoes lose energy as they topple. For example, a toppling domino comes to rest on its neighbour. So the collisions are inelastic, which is the main source of lost energy.  And in practice, the dominos can slide along the floor when they are hit and this can seriously impede toppling.

So van Leeuwen makes a series of simplifications in his mathematical analysis. He assumes that the friction between the ground and the dominoes is effectively infinite so that they cannot slide. He assumes the collisions are fully inelastic so the dominoes stay in contact with each other when they collide. He also assumes that once in contact with each other, the dominoes slide frictionlessly over each other. 

Given these assumptions, he then shows that with optimal spacing, each succeeding domino can be no more than about twice as big as the previous one, which is maximum growth factor of no more than about 2. 

That’s significantly more than has been assumed in the past. He admits that achieving this limit is probably unrealistic in practice because the assumptions can never hold perfectly. For example, dominoes will always slip by a small amount

Nevertheless, even a growth factor of 1.5 leads to some extraordinary chain reactions. A series of 13 dominoes that grow at this rate will amplify the force needed to push the smallest by a factor of 2 billion. And it doesn’t need a particularly long series before the largest dominoes are the size of sky scrapers.

Entertaining mathematics!

Essays on the State of Accounting Scholarship ---

"10 Hottest Ed-Tech Stories of 2012," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 2, 2013 ---

Articles about how free online courses, or MOOCs, could disrupt higher education dominated the headlines last year here at the Wired Campus blog, and they were the most popular with readers as well. Several articles about e-textbooks also topped our list of most-read articles of 2012, highlighting what has been a time of change, and anxiety, for colleges and universities.

Coursera and Udacity appear most frequently in this year’s top headlines. Both offer MOOCs, or massive open online courses, and both were founded by Stanford University computer-science professors who are now on leave. Together, they now claim more than two million students, though some of those sign up but never complete work in the courses.

The most popular episode of our monthly Tech Therapy podcast highlights another anxiety among college leaders—how much raw time all this personal technology use eats up. The podcast includes a classic line by Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, about how frequently he uses his smartphone: “I am connected to this device for communication in the same way that I am always connected to my mind,” he said. “I’m constantly expressing or receiving.” Whatever he’s doing is working: Mr. Hrabowski was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2012.

Here are the 10 top Wired Campus stories:

1. Stanford Professor Gives Up Teaching Position, Hopes to Reach 500,000 Students at Online Start-Up

2. Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion?

3. Minnesota Gives Coursera the Boot, Citing a Decades-Old Law

4. Khan Academy Founder Proposes a New Type of College

5. Elsevier Publishing Boycott Gathers Steam Among Academics

6. Coursera Announces Big Expansion, Adding 17 Universities

7. 3 Major Publishers Sue Open-Education Textbook Start-Up

8. Students Find E-Textbooks ‘Clumsy’ and Don’t Use Their Interactive Features

9. Now E-Textbooks Can Report Back on Students’ Reading Habits

10. Udacity Cancels Free Online Math Course, Citing Low Quality

And here are the three most popular Tech Therapy episodes:

1. Campus Leaders Drink Big Gulps of Technology

2. Giving Everyone at College a ‘Domain of One’s Own’

3. Why the Man With the Open-Source Tattoo Now Works for Blackboard

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

"Goldman Will Report Fund Values Each Day," by Kirsten Grind, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2013 --- Click Here

In a reversal of industry practice, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -0.90% will begin disclosing the values of its money-market mutual funds daily rather than monthly, according to people familiar with the company's plans. Some of the changes will take effect as early as Wednesday.

Experts said Goldman is the first big fund provider to publish daily values but that the move could force other firms in the $2.7 trillion industry to follow.

According to people familiar with Goldman's thinking, the company is beefing up its disclosures to satisfy investors' calls for greater transparency on fluctuations in the price of their investments. Goldman is the eighth-largest U.S. money-fund firm, with $133 billion in assets under management, according to research firm Crane Data LLC.

The move represents a major change in an industry that for years has battled regulators over plans to tighten rules governing price disclosures, the types of assets funds can hold and the ways funds can return money to investors in the event of a crisis.

Goldman on Wednesday will begin disclosing on its website the previous day's net asset value of its three U.S. commercial-paper funds, according to people familiar with its plans, and will begin publishing the figures for its six U.S. government and tax-exempt funds next week. It will report daily prices on its six offshore funds by the end of the year.

To be sure, daily prices of money-market funds fluctuate little except in the choppiest of markets, and it is unclear how many investors will check them on a daily basis.

Money funds are cash-like investments that appeal to safety-minded investors. The funds aim to maintain a stable net-asset-value of $1 a share each day. But money funds can dip below $1, prompting investors and regulators to question whether they are quite as safe as some investors believe.

During the financial crisis, the Reserve Primary Fund, then among the world's largest money funds, "broke the buck," or dipped below $1 per share, after investing in the debt of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. When Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2008, the debt became virtually worthless. Investors yanked their money from the fund, igniting a wider panic that eased only after the federal government stepped in to backstop all money funds.

Federal regulators, led by the Securities and Exchange Commission, have since been trying to tighten rules to prevent another crisis.

Fund companies are required to report their net asset values only on a monthly basis. The SEC discloses the information publicly 60 days after it receives it from fund firms.

The money-fund industry lobbied aggressively against a 2010 regulation requiring monthly reporting of funds' "shadow" net asset value, or the actual market value of a fund's assets, said Mike Krasner, managing editor of iMoneyNet, a fund-research publisher.

Fund companies were concerned that detailed disclosure of net asset values could spark a panic if investors saw their funds diverging at all from the $1 share price.

Even though funds are allowed to dip slightly, fund companies worried that investors would see that change and pull out their money.

Under federal rules, money funds are allowed to stray between $0.9950 and $1.0050 per share. If they fall below $0.9950, the fund's trustees can take action, including a possible liquidation of the fund, Mr. Krasner said. "The fund companies didn't want to report the shadow NAV at all," he said.

Goldman, which began considering the changes in mid-2012, weighed the possibility that the increased reporting could lead to an investor run, but decided to move ahead anyway with the belief that the moves would raise more confidence in the funds, according to people familiar with the matter.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's helpers for personal finance ---

Like Exchange Ambiguity in the Tax Code:  It's a little like the old letch who exchanges is his old wife for a young thang who's not really an "upgrade"
"Major Companies Push the Limits of a Tax Break," by David Kocieniewski, The New York Times, January 8, 2013 --- Click Here

It began more than 90 years ago as a small tax break intended to help family farmers who wanted to swap horses and land. Farmers who sold property, livestock or equipment were allowed to avoid paying capital gains taxes, as long as they used the proceeds to replace or upgrade their assets.

Over the years, however, as the rules were loosened, the practice of exchanging one asset for another without incurring taxes spread to everyone from commercial real estate developers and art collectors to major corporations. It provides subsidies for rental truck fleets and investment property, vacation homes, oil wells and thoroughbred racehorses, and diverts billions of dollars in potential tax revenue from the Treasury each year.

Yet even with those generous terms, some major American companies — including Cendant, Wells Fargo and General Electric — have routinely pushed the boundaries while claiming lucrative tax savings, according to evidence recently presented at a federal trial in New York.

President Obama and Congressional leaders agreed New Year’s Day to a limited agreement to raise taxes on the wealthy, and the president said over the weekend that he would press this year for broader reform in the tax code. The expansion of the tax break once intended to help farmers illustrates the challenges ahead and how special interests have learned to use the tax code to maximum effect.

The federal government now allows more than $1.1 trillion a year in this and other tax expenditures. Each of those incentives — which include hundreds of exemptions, exclusions, deferrals and preferential rates — either adds to the budget deficit or shifts the cost of government to other taxpayers.

Some are narrowly targeted and offer aid to specific industries like Nascar owners, asparagus farmers, oil companies, yacht makers or solar panel producers. Others, like accelerated depreciation or the tax code’s preference for debt financing over equity, provide tax benefits for wide swaths of businesses.

“Tax expenditures are very similar to an entitlement program, so they’re easy to start,” said George K. Yin, former chief of staff of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, and now a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. “But once a tax break gets started, people think they’re entitled to it, so they are very difficult to end.”

Many tax breaks began with narrow targets and expanded into vast, expensive subsidies far beyond their original intent or the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to monitor them. Most have developed constituencies of taxpayers, lobbyists and elected officials who fiercely defend them, making it politically treacherous to limit or eliminate them.

With hundreds of thousands of transactions a year, it is hard to gauge the true cost of the tax break for so-called like-kind exchanges, like those used by Cendant, General Electric and Wells Fargo. The government estimates that it diverts less than $3 billion a year from the Treasury, but industry statistics suggest the number could be far higher.

The tax break also exposes one of the greatest vulnerabilities of the United States tax system: it depends on voluntary compliance. The I.R.S. staff is so outnumbered by tax lawyers and accounting departments at major corporations that there is often little to prevent taxpayers from taking a freewheeling approach to interpreting and administering the rules.

What’s more, the tax break is one of so many that it tends to escape attention. The independent Simpson-Bowles deficit commission appointed by Mr. Obama in 2010 raised the possibility of eliminating it and other tax expenditures, however, and some budget experts argue that the program should be severely limited or repealed.

Some financial planners and economists say that the tax break even favors real estate investors unfairly by allowing them to defer capital gains taxes that those who invest in securities and other ventures have to pay.

Some financial planners and economists say that the tax break even favors real estate investors unfairly by allowing them to defer capital gains taxes that those who invest in securities and other ventures have to pay. And although it was originally intended to help farmers, some economists and lawmakers in agricultural areas say it has perversely contributed to suburban sprawl and the spiraling cost of farmland. Because it allows farmers to avoid capital gains taxes on land swaps, the tax break provides an incentive to sell farmland coveted by developers and buy property in less desirable and more remote areas.

Continued in article

"Efforts to Assign More Doctor-Training Slots to Shortage Areas Have Failed, Study Finds," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 7, 2012 ---

Recent efforts to redistribute doctor-training slots from specialty areas to primary care and rural health have failed, according to a new study that raises doubts about whether a similar shift will succeed under the nation's 2010 health-care overhaul.

The study, described in an article published on Monday in the journal Health Affairs, examined the outcome of a 2003 law that was supposed to shift nearly 3,000 residency positions into rural settings and primary-care slots. Both areas suffer severe shortages, in part because heavily indebted medical-school graduates can earn much more as specialists.

Despite the intent of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, only 12 of the 304 hospitals that received the extra residency slots were in rural locations, and they received just 3 percent of the additional positions, according to the article, by Candice Chen, an assistant research professor at George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services, and colleagues.

Many of the hospitals used the money that was intended for shortage areas to create new training positions for specialists, Dr. Chen found.

"Some hospitals even converted primary-care positions to specialty positions after receiving newly redistributed positions," the report says.

The number of residency training slots supported with federal funds has been capped since 1997. That has led to concerns that the growing number of medical-school graduates will face a bottleneck that will exacerbate physician shortages, especially in primary-care fields.

Some hospitals have unfilled positions, however, and both the 2003 and 2010 health-care laws called for those to be gathered up and redistributed to shortage areas.

But according to Dr. Chen, hospitals face "a snowball of incentives" to shift the money into even more specialty slots. Residents in fields like interventional cardiology can perform high-priced procedures that generate more money. And rural clinics that operate on slim margins may not have the time or resources to develop a training position that will meet accreditation requirements, she said in an interview.

Unless residency programs are held accountable for training residents to serve in shortage areas, the same thing is likely to occur under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, she said, adding that the federal government pays hospitals nearly $13-billion each year for residency training.

The 2010 law, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, has a number of provisions designed to increase the number of doctors in primary care and rural medicine.

"It's a good start to say these areas are important," Dr. Chen said, "but we need to have a way to ensure that the training ends up where it's supposed to."

Jensen Comment
Dartmouth Medical School's enrollment as of October 2007 totaled 621 students: 315 M.D. candidates and 305 graduate students. 34 students elected to pursue the dual degree program, seeking both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees ---

I learned yesterday on the magazine Dartmouth Medicine that there were 5,200 applicants in 2012 to become M.D. candidates. I don't know whether Dartmouth is an outlier in this regard, but I doubt it. And financial incentives to become general practitioners are going down rather than up as Medicare reimbursement rates shrink under the new Medicare payments policies.

In accountancy doctoral programs the shortages of capacity are not nearly this extreme, but we are facing enormous shrinkages in the number of enrolled doctoral students --- about half of what enrollments were in the 1980s while demand has more than tripled since then. The problem is not so much financial since newly minted accounting Ph.D. graduates receive the top salary offers in most non-unionized colleges hiring new tenure-track candidates ---

"Efforts to Assign More Doctor-Training Slots to Shortage Areas Have Failed, Study Finds," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 7, 2012 ---

Recent efforts to redistribute doctor-training slots from specialty areas to primary care and rural health have failed, according to a new study that raises doubts about whether a similar shift will succeed under the nation's 2010 health-care overhaul.

The study, described in an article published on Monday in the journal Health Affairs, examined the outcome of a 2003 law that was supposed to shift nearly 3,000 residency positions into rural settings and primary-care slots. Both areas suffer severe shortages, in part because heavily indebted medical-school graduates can earn much more as specialists.

Despite the intent of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, only 12 of the 304 hospitals that received the extra residency slots were in rural locations, and they received just 3 percent of the additional positions, according to the article, by Candice Chen, an assistant research professor at George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services, and colleagues.

Many of the hospitals used the money that was intended for shortage areas to create new training positions for specialists, Dr. Chen found.

"Some hospitals even converted primary-care positions to specialty positions after receiving newly redistributed positions," the report says.

The number of residency training slots supported with federal funds has been capped since 1997. That has led to concerns that the growing number of medical-school graduates will face a bottleneck that will exacerbate physician shortages, especially in primary-care fields.

Some hospitals have unfilled positions, however, and both the 2003 and 2010 health-care laws called for those to be gathered up and redistributed to shortage areas.

But according to Dr. Chen, hospitals face "a snowball of incentives" to shift the money into even more specialty slots. Residents in fields like interventional cardiology can perform high-priced procedures that generate more money. And rural clinics that operate on slim margins may not have the time or resources to develop a training position that will meet accreditation requirements, she said in an interview.

Unless residency programs are held accountable for training residents to serve in shortage areas, the same thing is likely to occur under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, she said, adding that the federal government pays hospitals nearly $13-billion each year for residency training.

The 2010 law, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, has a number of provisions designed to increase the number of doctors in primary care and rural medicine.

"It's a good start to say these areas are important," Dr. Chen said, "but we need to have a way to ensure that the training ends up where it's supposed to."

Jensen Comment
Dartmouth Medical School's enrollment as of October 2007 totaled 621 students: 315 M.D. candidates and 305 graduate students. 34 students elected to pursue the dual degree program, seeking both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees ---

I learned yesterday on the magazine Dartmouth Medicine that there were 5,200 applicants in 2012 to become M.D. candidates. I don't know whether Dartmouth is an outlier in this regard, but I doubt it. And financial incentives to become general practitioners are going down rather than up as Medicare reimbursement rates shrink under the new Medicare payments policies.

In accountancy doctoral programs the shortages of capacity are not nearly this extreme, but we are facing enormous shrinkages in the number of enrolled doctoral students --- about half of what enrollments were in the 1980s while demand has more than tripled since then. The problem is not so much financial since newly minted accounting Ph.D. graduates receive the top salary offers in most non-unionized colleges hiring new tenure-track candidates ---

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

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

September 5, 2012 reply from Dan Stone

This is very sad and very true.

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

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

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

Dan Stone

Jensen Comment
This is a useful update on the doctoral program shortages relative to demand for new tenure-track faculty in North American universities. However, it does not suggest any reasons or remedies for this phenomenon.  The accounting doctoral program in many ways defies laws of supply and demand. Accounting faculty are the among the highest paid faculty in rank (except possibly in unionized colleges and universities that are not wage competitive).

And like medical schools, accountancy doctoral programs face dire shortages in some studies tracks. For example, there are huge shortages in auditing, tax, and AIS relative to financial and managerial accounting tracks.

And like medicine, accounting education is having to make up for shortages with "adjuncts." Up here in the boondocks where I live in the mountains what we are seeing is that literally every general practitioner has a "physician's assistant" who is armed with the same diagnostic computer as her or his "boss." More than half the time patients do not even see the boss-physician for routine checkups and renewals of medication prescriptions. In a similar situation, accounting education programs are relying more and more on non-tenure track specialists (especially in basic accounting, auditing, tax, and AIS) who teach courses as professionally qualified instructors rather than "academically qualified" tenure-track faculty.

In the era of shrinking college budgets for accounting programs and shrinking insurance payments for general practitioner doctors we will probably see even greater takeover of services by "adjuncts."

Accountancy Doctoral Program Information from Jim Hasselback ---

Especially note the table of the entire history of accounting doctoral graduates for all AACSB universities in the U.S. ---
In that table you can note the rise or decline (almost all declines) for each university.

Links to 91 AACSB University Doctoral Programs ---


Update Technology for Proctoring Distance Examinations

HI Bob,

Thanks for getting back to me that link was very useful. Perhaps I can provide you another tool to prevent that issue from occurring. I would like to introduce you to ProctorU. ProctorU is an online proctoring service that allows test-takers to take their examinations from home while maintaining the academic integrity of the institution. To address your concern on student verification we are able to authenticate the test taker's identity using a data-driven process that asks questions about previous address history, phone numbers, and other information pulled from our data partner. If you have some free time tomorrow or next week I would be happy to discuss this further with you. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Patrick Ochoa
Partnership Coordinator
ProctorU, Inc
Office: 925-217-3259

Check out ProctorU in MIT Technology Review http://ow.ly/ftW5a


Bob Jensen's threads on various ploys used to "proctor" distance education examinations ---

Free online courses (some for credit) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Other online course and degree alternatives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

University of Illinois Extension

Free online courses (some for credit) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Other online course and degree alternatives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

"How Deloitte Made Learning a Game," by Jeanne C. Meister, Harvard Business Review Blog, January 2, 2012 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on
Edutainment, Learning Games, and Gamification  ---


"Transocean Settlement of Deepwater Horizon Spill and Ethical Responsibility," by Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, January 7, 2013 ---

"Knowledge@Wharton Strategic Management Research Article," Knowledge@Wharton,  January 2, 2013 ---

Download the entire report: PDF (1 MB)


Consumer Credit in China

'An Iron Hand in a Velvet Glove': Challenges Facing Chinese Female Managers

The Entrepreneurship Vacuum in Japan: Why It Matters and How to Address It

Dating in a Digital World: Trends in 21st Century China

'Needs Improvement': Despite Progress, India's Primary Education System Has a Ways to Go

Apple's Foray into China — and the Mind of the New Chinese Consumer


Water Scarcity: A Daunting Challenge with a Hopeful Future

Innovation and Regulation: Friend or Foe to the French Entrepreneur?

Retail Chains' Race for Russia

Is the End of the German Beer Industry Near?

The Future of French Wine: Overcoming Terroirisme and Stagnation


Silicon Wafers and Semiconductors: A New Black Gold for Abu Dhabi?


Private Equity in Brazil: 'The Music Hasn't Stopped'

Entrepreneurship in Colombia: 'Try Fast, Learn Fast, Fail Cheap'

Education in Brazil: Can the Public Sector Keep Up with the Emerging Middle Class?

Tourism in Colombia: Breaking the Spell of Negative Publicity

The Private Equity Landscape in Colombia

Baby's First Birthday: Lessons from a Brazilian E-commerce Start-up

Education in Colombia: Is There a Role for the Private Sector?

Coffee in Colombia: Waking Up to an Opportunity

Texas:  Bar Exam Passage Rates by University ---

"Too Many Attorneys," Dennis Elam's Blog, January 3, 2013 ---

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

"For Newly Minted M.B.A.s, a Smaller Paycheck Awaits," by Ruth Simon, The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2013 ---

Like many students, Steve Vonderweidt hoped that a master's degree in business administration would open doors to a new job with a higher paycheck.

But now, about eight months after receiving his M.B.A. from the University of Louisville, Mr. Vonderweidt, 36 years old, hasn't been able to find a job in the private sector, and continues to work as an administrator at a social-service agency that helps Louisville residents obtain food stamps, health care and other assistance. He is saddled with about $75,000 in student-loan debt—much of it from graduate school.

"It was a really great program," says Mr. Vonderweidt. "But the job part has been atrocious."

Soaring tuition costs, a weak labor market and a glut of recent graduates such as Mr. Vonderweidt are upending the notion that professional degrees like M.B.A.s are a sure ticket to financial success.

The M.B.A.'s lot is partly reflected in starting pay. While available figures vary by schools and employers, recruiters' expected median salary for newly hired M.B.A.s was essentially flat between 2008 and 2011, not adjusting for inflation, according to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

For graduates with minimal experience—three years or less—median pay was $53,900 in 2012, down 4.6% from 2007-08, according to an analysis conducted for The Wall Street Journal by PayScale.com. Pay fell at 62% of the 186 schools examined.

Even for more seasoned grads the trend is similar, says Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale.com. "In general, it seems that M.B.A. pay is either stagnant or falling," she says.

The pressures are greatest for those attending less prestigious schools, says Stanford Business School professor Paul Oyer, who studies personnel trends. But even at top programs, some graduates are likely to struggle in today's environment, he says.

Another burdensome issue: a high debt load. Nearly 60% of graduating M.B.A.s said they expected to repay some loans after graduation, according to a 2012 GMAC survey. Among households headed by people with student debt who attended graduate school and are under 35, average student loan debt climbed to $81,758 in 2010 according a Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data. That figure is up from $55,594 in 2007.

It is all a far cry from the late 1980s and early 1990s heyday for M.B.A.s, when some companies would hire 100 or more M.B.A.s. It wasn't uncommon to recruit first, and fill actual jobs later.

"Some of those companies would hire today barely in the single-digits," says Mark Peterson, president of the M.B.A. Career Services Council.

A weak economic climate is only partly to blame for the M.B.A.'s plight. The changing nature of B-school programs, evolving corporate needs—as well as the perceived value of the degree—have all helped dilute the M.B.A.'s allure.

Formerly, the traditional M.B.A. was mainly the product of a full-time, two-year program. But beginning in the early 1990s, many schools created part-time and executive M.B.A. programs, with lower-ranked schools often following in the footsteps of academic leaders. Online degrees also gained in popularity.

As a result, the number of M.B.A. degrees granted has grown faster than the population, says Brooks Holtom, a management professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.

"An M.B.A. is a club that is now not exclusive," he says. "You should not assume that this less exclusive club is going to confer the same benefits."

Today's global corporate culture amplifies the competition. "We are trying to internationalize our business like everyone else," says Lee Ashton, director of international human resources at spirits maker Brown-Forman Corp. BF.B +0.37% With 58% of its business outside the U.S., the Louisville company has stepped up recruiting of M.B.A.s from abroad.

U.S. schools granted a record 126,214 masters degrees in business and administration in the 2010-2011 academic year, a 74% jump from 2000-2001, according to the Department of Education. The M.B.A. march is part of an overall boom in advanced degrees that took on added steam as some recent college graduates and others sought refuge from the recession by pursuing advanced degrees. Tuition and fees for full-time M.B.A. programs has risen 24% over the past three years, according to the main body that accredits U.S. business schools.

It is unclear how many M.B.A.s the market really needs. Recently, more companies have indicated that "they are moving away from an emphasis on M.B.A.s" and are instead hiring more undergraduates at lower salaries that they can then train in-house, says Camille Kelly, vice president of employer branding at Universum, a firm that advises companies on how to attract and retain the best employees. Companies, she says, "still will do M.B.A. hiring, but it won't be to the same extent they have in the past."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

"How Economics Journals Have Evolved," Inside Higer Ed,  January 7, 2013 ---

A new analysis released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (abstract available here) tracks the changes among the five leading economics journals from 1970 to 2012. Among the trends over that time span:

Jensen Comment
I think the reason that most academic disciplines, including accounting, experienced an explosion in the number of journals is is that increasingly publication in refereed journals became a necessary condition for both tenure and annual performance-pay evaluations. As of getting a hit in a top-tier journal declined (for reasons mentioned above) faculty became increasingly desperate for publication in refereed journals not quite in the top tier. At the same time large commercial oligopoly publishers drooled over charging hundreds of dollars (often rip-offs) to college libraries for new journals ---

Most of these new journals tried to justify their existence by asserting that they were publishing articles that were too specialized for top-tier journals. This is certainly true in some instances, but the fact of the matter is that top-tier journals in most instances are still publishing some well-chosen articles in those specialties.

The bottom line is that when it comes to tenure decisions and performance evaluation in general, having some refereed journal hits beats having no journal publications.

If college libraries were not willing to pay rip-off prices for specialized (not always inferior) journals a significant number of professors would have virtually no publications in seriously refereed journals ---

"Publish or perish? Not at these prices, UC says," by Matt Krupnick, Contra Costa Times, June 10, 2010 ---

University of California librarians are urging professors not to submit research to Nature or 66 related journals to protest a 400 percent increase in the publisher's prices.

A new contract with Nature Publishing Group would raise the university's subscription costs by more than $1 million, library and faculty leaders wrote in a letter this week to professors throughout the 10-campus system. With recent budget cuts, UC libraries simply can't handle the higher price, which would take effect in 2011, the letter said.

Boycotting the Nature group would be a huge step for a university that, according to UC estimates, has provided 5,300 articles to the 67 journals in the past six years. Nearly 640 of those articles went to Nature itself, one of the world's premier scientific journals.

"We understand that it's an important journal," said Laine Farley, executive director of UC's California Digital Library, which manages most systemwide journal subscriptions. "But we can't simply wipe out our savings on one publisher."

In a written response to the university, London-based Nature Publishing Group criticized UC's "sensationalist use of data out of context" and said the negotiations were supposed to be confidential. The pricing dispute is rooted in confusion over whether UC is one institution or many, Nature's response said. that (UC) is paying an unfair rate."

This week's volleys represented an escalation of a long-simmering battle between universities and journal publishers, who have been criticized for charging thousands of dollars for annual subscriptions to some publications. Many titles have been consolidated under a handful of major publishers, including Nature, making it more difficult for universities to negotiate lower prices.

Several UC professors have fought back against publishers, refusing to contribute work to highly priced journals. But a widespread boycott of one of the most prestigious journals would present a dilemma for faculty members under pressure to publish research in order to gain promotions.

The so-called publish-or-perish structure is fundamentally unfair to professors, said Michael Eisen, a UC Berkeley biology professor who refuses to publish his research group's work in Nature's journals.

"The university is forced to give away information for free and then to buy it back at a huge markup," he said. "The whole thing is just completely screwed up. The only alternative the university has is to strike back at what Nature really values."

A boycott of the Nature group would not hurt UC professors' careers, said Lawrence Pitts, the university's provost.

"The reality is that there is a number of quality publications," said Pitts, UC's chief academic officer. "Nature Publishing Group isn't the only game in town."

Some journals, recognizing that universities are struggling to afford them, have cut prices in recent years. Others have invented ways to give away their articles for free.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for example, makes its contributions available for free six months after publication, said its editor-in-chief, UC Berkeley biologist Randy Schekman.

"Nature's just being tone-deaf," said Schekman, who is considering writing an article for Nature. "They have to know that California is in a perilous financial state. They can't win this one."

About those nondisclosure agreements in journal subscription contracts
"Cornell U. Library Takes a Stand With Journal Vendors: Prices Will Be Made Public," by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, March  24, 2011 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Cornell-U-Library-Takes-a/126852/

Librarians have long complained about the nondisclosure agreements, or NDA's, that some publishers and vendors require them to sign, making it difficult to share information about how much they pay to subscribe to journal databases and other scholarly material. Some state universities' libraries have been able to reveal licensing terms anyway because their institutions are subject to sunshine laws. Now one major private institution, Cornell University, has publicly declared it's had enough of confidentiality agreements, too.

"To promote openness and fairness among libraries licensing scholarly resources, Cornell University Library will not enter into vendor contracts that require nondisclosure of pricing information or other information that does not constitute a trade secret," the library said in a statement posted on its Web site. "The more that libraries are able to communicate with one another about vendor offers, the better they are able to weigh the costs and benefits of any individual offer. An open market will result in better licensing terms."

Anne R. Kenney, Cornell's university librarian, said that with purchasing decisions under close scrutiny, it felt like the right moment to take a stand. Enough major publishers have agreed to drop nondisclosure clauses "that it was time to bite the bullet and make that a principle moving forward," she said. "Publishers are beginning to get it."

At the end of its statement, the Cornell library listed some of the publishers that do not request confidentiality clauses when they negotiate licenses. They include the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, Cambridge University Press, EBSCO, Elsevier, Oxford University Press, ProQuest, Sage, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley. (If a publisher does not appear on the list, that doesn't necessarily mean it requires NDA's, just that it hasn't been in recent contract negotiations with Cornell's library.)

Ms. Kenney said that Cornell is joining "a groundswell among academic libraries to start to routinely ask for the removal of NDA's." In June 2009, the Association of Research Libraries urged its members to steer clear of nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses.

"Part of our rationale in going public with this is to make evident that private institutions are also starting to feel that this is not a good way of doing business," Ms. Kenney said.

Support for the Move

Several librarians at other universities said their institutions had taken positions similar to Cornell's, even if they haven't publicly posted their policy on NDA's. "Yes, we have taken a similar approach for the past year," said Winston Tabb, the dean of university libraries and museums at the Johns Hopkins University. He wrote in an e-mail that "we believe that transparency is appropriate for libraries generally; and in particular that we should not agree to withhold information about how we are spending an increasingly huge—and ever-growing—percentage of our stretched library budgets."

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's threads on Commercial Scholarly and Academic Journals and Oligopoly Textbook Publishers Are Ripping Off Libraries, Scholars, and Students ---

Getting Top Academic Researchers More Interested in Clinical Research:  Medical Schools Lead the Way

Theodor (Ted) Seuss Geisel --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Geisel

This morning in a doctor's office waiting room I read a magazine that I'd never seen before --- Dartmouth Medicine, Fall 2012.---

The Dartmouth medical school is called the Theodor Geisel School of Medicine in honor of the millions of dollars and in some cases the clinical research and teaching guidance of his gifts to various disciplines at Dartmouth College.. Theodor (Ted) Seuss Geisel is best known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone. But in Hanover New Hampshire he's best known

On Page 11 of the Fall 2012 issue I noted the following from a "Rothstein Named Chair of Medicine"::

. . .

"The Department of Medicine has incredible strength in its programs, faculty, staff, and trainees," says Rothstein. "Many of the leaders in education at Geisel are medicine faculty, and our clerkships and electives are consistently well regarded. Many Geisel students choose careers in internal medicine in part, we believe, because of the role-modeling and supportive educational experiences they received on rotations in our department."

In his new role as chair of medicine, Rothstein is working with colleagues from Geisel and the Tuck School of Business to create a clinical and research program that will focus on the problem of obesity. A second project is a collaboration with the Association of American Medical Colleges that will help patients, families, and clinicians better address care decisions at times of serious illness and the end of life.

"It is clearly a challenging time to lead a large academic department and I appreciate the opportunity to do so," Rothstein says. "We will face the future together as a team with energy and enthusiasm, and we are destined for success."


"The Meaning of a Name," by Donald Pease, Dartmouth Medicine, Fall 2012,  (which also has a picture of a Cat in a Hat).---


Page 28

. . .

Although the naming of the Medical School marked the greatest benefaction in Dartmouth's history, it was in fact Ted Geisel's second remarkable act of philanthropy. In 1969, to celebrate the bicentennial of Dartmouth's founding, Geisel endowed the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professorship in the Humanities. The professorship was also designed to bridge an imagined gap separating the research produced in the graduate programs and professional schools from teaching in the undergraduate classroom. The 1969 Geisel professorship removed the perceived antagonism between the classroom teacher and the research scholar by underscoring how crucial this interdependent relationship was to the educated imagination of Dartmouth's students. In 2012, the Geisel name removed the invisible yet recalcitrant barrier separating Dartmouth's undergraduate and graduate sectors, and it will foster collaborative research ventures among Dartmouth's students and faculty in the Arts and Sciences, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business, and the Geisel School of Medicine.


Page 31  (which also has a picture of a Cat in a Hat)

. . .

Ted Geisel invented Dr. Seuss to find a voice and imagine words to cope with a world that distressed and sometimes terrified him. After complaining of a social life consisting entirely of doctors, Ted wrote You're Only Old Once in a fit of magical thinking. "If I can only stay out of the hospital," he told his personal physician, "I might live forever . . . and I can't go back to doctors after what I did to them in this book."

Ted dedicated the book, "with affection and in affliction," to the surviving members of the Dartmouth Class of 1925. The Book of the Month club advertised it "for ages 95 and down." It sold more than one million copies the first year of publication. Imagine what would have happened—or where we'd be—if he'd written a book about lawyers.

When news of his death reached Dartmouth 21 years ago, students and faculty began a spontaneous 24-hour vigil reading Dr. Seuss books around the clock outside College Hall as homage to the alumnus who had created a whole world. In its eulogy, Time magazine commemorated Ted Geisel as one of the last doctors to make house calls—"over 200 million of them in more than 20 languages."

No matter whether we hail from the arts and sciences or Dartmouth's professional schools, all of us are Dr. Seuss babies. The bonds that renew our relationship to our work and to each other are animated at the juncture Audrey Geisel described as connecting "Ted's great love of his alma mater" and her "passion of caring for others" and communicated in the Onceler's injunction at the conclusion to The Lorax:

Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

What struck me is how Ted Geisel predated the 2012 Pathways Commission Report in accounting higher education which attempts to make accountics scientists more focused on clinical research in accountancy:
2012 "Final" Pathways Commission Report ---
Also see a summary at
"Accounting for Innovation," by Elise Young, Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2012 ---

Some accountancy leaders contend that accountics research lost its way in failing to focus on classroom teachers and practicing accountants in public accounting, industry, and government.

Essays on the State of Accounting Scholarship ---

Perhaps when implementing the Pathways Commission resolutions for accounting researchers and teachers we should look to how medical schools are seeking to find new pathways toward clinical research by accountics scientists.

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

"The End of Economists' Imperialism'," by Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review Blog, January 4, 2013 --- Click Here

"By almost any market test, economics is the premier social science," Stanford University economist Edward Lazear wrote just over a decade ago. "The field attracts the most students, enjoys the attention of policy-makers and journalists, and gains notice, both positive and negative, from other scientists."

Lazear went on to describe how economists, with the University of Chicago's Gary Becker leading the way, had been running roughshod over the other social sciences — using economic tools to study crime, the family, accounting, corporate management, and countless other not strictly economic topics. "Economic imperialism" was the name he gave to this phenomenon (and to his article, which was published in the February 2000 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics). And in his view it was a benevolent reign. "The power of economics lies in its rigor," he wrote. "Economics is scientific; it follows the scientific method of stating a formal refutable theory, testing theory, and revising the theory based on the evidence. Economics succeeds where other social scientists fail because economists are willing to abstract."

Triumphalism like that calls for a comeuppance, of course. So, as the nation's (and a lot of the world's) economists gather this weekend in San Diego for their annual hoedown, it's worth asking: Are there any signs that the imperialist era of economics might finally be coming to an end?

Lazear acknowledged one such indicator in his article — the invasion of economics by psychological teachings about cognitive bias. Two years later, in 2002, the co-leader of that invasion, Princeton psychology professor Daniel Kahneman, won an economics Nobel (the other co-leader, Amos Tversky, had died in 1996). But while behavioral economics has since solidified its status as an important part of the discipline, it hasn't come close to conquering it. On the really big questions — how to run the economy, for example — the mainstream view described by Lazear has continued to dominate. Economists have also continued their imperialist habit of delving into other fields: 2005's Freakonomics, co-authored by Becker disciple Steven Levitt, was a prime example of this — and sold millions of copies. As for Lazear, he got himself appointed chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers in 2006.

And then, well, things didn't go so well. The financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn — which Lazear somewhat infamously downplayed while in office — have put a big dent in the credibility of the macro side of the discipline. The issue isn't that economists have nothing interesting to say about the crisis. It's that they have so many different things to say about it. As MIT financial economist Andrew Lo found after reading 11 accounts of the crisis by academic economists (along with nine by journalists, plus former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's personal account), there is massive disagreement not just on why the crisis happened but on what actually happened. "Many of us like to think of financial economics as a science," Lo wrote, "but complex events like the financial crisis suggest that this conceit may be more wishful thinking than reality."

Part of the issue is that Lazear's description of the scientific way in which economics supposedly works (state a theory, test it, revise) doesn't really apply in the case of a once-in-a-lifetime financial crisis. I tend to think it doesn't apply for macroeconomics in general. As economist Paul Samuelson is said to have said, "We have but one sample of history." Meaning that you can never get truly scientific answers out of GDP or unemployment numbers.

That's why Lord Robert Skidelsky recommended a couple of years ago that while microeconomists could be allowed to proceed along pretty much the same statistical and mathematical path they'd been following, graduate education in macroeconomics needed to be dramatically revamped and supplemented with instruction in ethics, philosophy, and politics.

I'm not aware of this actually happening in any top economics PhD program (let me know if I'm wrong), despite the efforts of George Soros's Institute for New Economic Thinking and others. What I've noticed instead, though, is an increasing confidence and boldness among those who study economic issues through the lens of other academic disciplines.

A couple of years ago I spent a weekend with a bunch of business historians and came away impressed mainly by how embattled most of them felt. Lately, though, I've found myself talking to and reading a little of the work of sociologists and political scientists, and coming away impressed with how adept they are in quantitative methods, how knowledgeable they are about economics, and how willing they are to challenge economic orthodoxy. The two main writings I'm thinking about were unpublished drafts that will be coming out later in HBR and from the HBR Press, so I don't have links — but I get the sense that there are a lot of good examples out there, and that after years of looking mainly to mainstream economics journals I should be broadening my scope. (Two recommendations I've gotten from Harvard government professor Dan Carpenter: Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance, by Sociologist Greta Krippner, and The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy, by political scientists Tim Büthe and Walter Mattli.)

Even anthropology, that most downtrodden of the social sciences, has been encroaching on economists' turf. When a top executive at the world's largest asset manager (Peter Fisher of BlackRock) lists Debt: The First 5,000 Years by anthropologist (and Occupy Wall Streeter) David Graeber as one of his top reads of 2012, you know something's going on.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Harvard's Justin Fox was an Plenary Speaker at the 2011 American Accounting Association Annual Meetings.
Those readers who have access to the AAA Commons may view his video at

Forwarded by Jim Martin

An interesting controversy in economics sounds familiar.

According to Ronald Coase, it is time to reengage the severely impoverished
field of economics with the economy. He is a 101 year old Nobel Laureate in
economics and professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Law School. He
and Ning Wang of Arizona State University are launching a new journal,
Man and the Economy.

Coase, R. and N. Wang. 2012. Saving economics from the economists.
Business Review (December 2012): 36.

January 6, 2012 reply from Bob Jensen

An economist once said that he hated the physical scientists because they stole all the easy research problems.

In a sense this is so true in one context. The earth does not change its rotation speed and path just because that speed and path are discovered by research. But people and social cohorts often change just because their behaviors are discovered by researcers.

Physical systems like gravity do not change with understanding of their behavior. Social and economic systems change with discovery. For example, economic and computer networking systems that work great in theory and initially become corrupted as smart folks learn how to exploit the systems.

Hence in social science we must not only discover behavior but discover behavior that changes because we discover that behavior and discover behavior that changes because we discover the changes in behavior and so on and so on.

Except for quantum physics it must be nice to be a physical scientist doing research on stationary systems. One reason mathematics of the physical sciences fails us when extended to economics and the social sciences in general is that these sciences entail nonstationary systems. Equilibrium conditions are seldom are reached. This, for example, is why Malthus was correct for an eye blink in astronomical time.

Bob Jensen

"Urging Economists to Step Away From the Blackboard," by Brendan Greeley, Bloomberg Business Week, November 29, 2012 ---

Ronald Coase published his career-making paper, “The Nature of the Firm,” 75 years ago. He won the Nobel prize for economics in 1991. In a lecture in 2002, he argued that physics has moved beyond the assumptions of Isaac Newton, and biology beyond Darwin. (Not that he knew them.) But economics, he said, had failed to advance past the efficient-market assumptions of Adam Smith. This year Coase, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Law School, is attempting to start a new academic journal ambitiously titled Man and the Economy. The premise: Economics is broken. Coase’s journal is still just a plan, but his frustration with orthodox economics has energized his followers.

The financial crisis forced economists to confront the limitations of their profession. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted as much when he told Congress in October 2008 that markets might not regulate themselves after all. Coase says the problem runs deeper: Economists study abstractions and numbers, instead of firms and people. He doesn’t believe this can be fixed by tweaking models. An entire generation of economists must be encouraged to think differently.

The idea for the journal stems from his collaboration with Ning Wang, an assistant professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University who grew up in a rice- and fish-farming village in the Hubei province of China. Coase, 101, began working with Wang in the 1990s at the University of Chicago. Neither has a degree in economics; the two understood each other. “We’re not constrained by a mainstream, orthodox view,” says Wang. “A lot of people would see this as a weakness.” Coase declined to be interviewed.

When Coase and Wang hosted a conference on China in 2008, they noticed that many Chinese academics had never talked to either policymakers or entrepreneurs from their own country. They had learned only what Coase calls “blackboard economics,” sets of theories and mathematical relationships between bits of data. “I came from China,” says Wang. “We have a lot of nationals come here; they’re taught game theory and econometrics. Then they’re going home … without a basic understanding of how the real world functions.”

In an essay published on Nov. 20 in Harvard Business Review, Coase argues that in the early 20th century, economists began to focus on relationships among statistical measures, rather than problems that firms have with production or people have with decisions. Economists began writing for each other, instead of for other disciplines or for the business community. “It is suicidal for the field to slide into a hard science of choice,” Coase writes in HBR, “ignoring the influences of society, history, culture, and politics on the working of the economy.” (By “choice,” he means ever more complex versions of price and demand curves.) Most economists, he argues, work with measures like gross domestic product and the unemployment rate that are too removed from how businesses actually work.

The solution for Coase and Wang is a journal that presents case studies, historical comparisons, and qualitative data—not just numbers but ideas, too. In top economics journals, says Wang, “people think as long as you have a big data set, that’s enough. You can do all kinds of modeling and regression, and it looks scientific enough.” Julie Nelson, chairwoman of the economics department at the University of Massachusetts Boston says economists want the kind of immutable laws that physicists operate under. But Adam Smith’s 1776 idea that people are driven by self-interest is not the same as the law of gravity. “Ask an economist if they’d like to be thought of as a sociologist,” she says, “and they’ll look at you with terror in their eyes.”

Christopher Sims, a professor at Princeton University who won the Nobel prize last year for his work in macroeconomics, recognizes the problem. “We’re always abstracting and hoping that the resulting abstractions capture enough of the truth so that we know what’s going on,” he says. The kind of work that Coase and Wang are interested in, he says, is “not fashionable now. It’s hard to make it a science.” Where Coase and Wang see too little demand for new ideas, Sims sees too little supply. Both he and Nelson, who studies how economics is taught, describe a process at graduate schools that selects for economists inclined to focus on abstract modeling.

Continued in article

Essays on the State of Accounting Scholarship ---

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at

For 2012, the gift tax usually doesn’t apply until the value of the gifts you give someone exceeds $________.
Fill in the blank.

Answer along with six other tips about gift taxes --- Click Here

Q. My father gave me a large amount of cash as a holiday gift this year. Do I have to report it on my tax return?

A. The funny thing about federal gift taxes is that the giver must pay them—not the person who receives the gift! So you’re in the clear. But your father may owe taxes depending on how much he gives you.

Here are 6 tips to know when a gift you give is taxable:

  1. There’s an annual dollar exclusion. For 2012, the gift tax usually doesn’t apply until the value of the gifts you give someone exceeds $13,000.
  2. Married couples can give more. For 2012, you and your spouse can give up to $26,000 to any third party without making a taxable gift.
  3. Gifts to a spouse are not taxable. You never owe tax on money or property worth more than the annual exclusion that you give to your spouse.
  4. Gifts are not tax-deductible. You can’t deduct the value of gifts from your taxable income unless they are qualified charitable contributions (see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions for more information).  
  5. Expenses paid to an institution are not taxable. If you want to pay someone’s college tuition or medical expenses, sending money directly to those institutions allows you to make a gift that isn’t taxable.
  6. Political donations are not taxable. Sending money to a political organization doesn’t count as a charitable contribution, but it also isn’t subject to the gift tax.

Bob Jensen's tax helpers ---

"Geithner Said to Plan Departure Before Debt Ceiling Deal," Bloomberg, January 3, 2012 ---

Jensen Insider Whisper
Rumor has it that Geithner has already accepted a lucrative job offer from Turbo Tax.

The Demise of the Top Military Academies in the USA
"The Few, the Proud, the Infantilized," by Bruce Fleming, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 6, 2012 ---

The U.S. military-service academies—at West Point (Army), Annapolis (Navy), Colorado Springs (Air Force), and New London (Coast Guard)—are at the center of several debates, both military and civilian. The military is downsizing, and the federal budget is under scrutiny: Do the academies deserve to continue?

They're educational institutions, but do they actually educate, and furthermore, do they produce "leaders" as they claim to? And are they worth the $400,000 or so per graduate (depending on the academy) they cost taxpayers?

After all, we already have a federal program that produces officers—an average of twice as many as those who go to the academies (three times for the Army)—at a quarter of the cost. That program is ROTC, the Reserve Officer Training Corps, which has expanded considerably since World War II, when the academies produced the lion's share of officers.

No data suggest that ROTC officers are of worse quality than those graduating from the academies, who are frequently perceived by enlisted military as arrogant "ring-knockers" (after their massive old-style class rings). The academies evoke their glory days by insisting that many more admirals, say, come from Annapolis than from ROTC. But that is no longer true. Between 1972 and 1990 (these are the latest figures available), the percentage of admirals from ROTC climbed from 5 percent to 41 percent, and a 2006 study indicated that commissioning sources were not heavily weighted in deciding who makes admiral.

Another officer-production pipeline is Officer Candidate School, which is about as large a source of officers as the academies. It gives a six- to 12-week training course for mature enlistees and college graduates who paid for their educations on their own (that is, did not participate in ROTC), and it costs taxpayers almost nothing. It could be expanded by pitching it to college students who might want to become officers when they graduate.

So the service academies are no longer indispensable for producing officers. Their graduates now make up only about 20 percent of the officer corps in any given year. It's clear that we don't need the academies in their current form—versions of a kind of military Disneyland. These institutions do produce some fine officers, even some leaders. But the students I respect the most tell me that those who succeed do so despite the institutions, not because of them.

The best midshipmen—and, as I know through conversations and written correspondence, the best students at the other service academies—are deeply angry, disillusioned, and frustrated. They thought the academies would be a combination of an Ivy League university and a commando school. They typically find that they are neither.

Most of what the Naval Academy's PR machine disseminates is nonsense, as midshipmen quickly realize, which diminishes their respect for authority. We announce that they're the "best and brightest" and then recruit students who would be rejected from even average colleges, sending them, at taxpayer expense, to our one-year Naval Academy Prepatory School. (About a quarter of recent entering classes over the last decade or so has SAT scores below 600, some in the 400s and even 300s. Twenty percent of the class needs a remedial pre-college year.)

The academies do have a handful of honors programs, and their engineering programs are nationally ranked. But for the most part, academics are lackluster despite an intense focus on grades. Although free time is granted or withheld based on GPA, an atmosphere exists in which studying isn't "cool," and freshmen, or plebes, aren't allowed to take the afternoon naps that would allow them stay awake in class. (Sleep deprivation is used to "teach" students how to stay awake on the job—except there is no evidence that working while sleep-deprived is something you can get better at.)

The academies' focus on physicality is largely lip service as well. We claim to promote fitness but then refuse to throw out students who repeatedly fail to pass physical tests. Gone are the days of "shape up or ship out": Nowadays we "remediate."

We also claim that students are "held to a higher moral standard," which suggests zero or low tolerance of wrongdoing. But the current emphasis on reducing attrition means that, as many midshipmen have told me, students get one "freebie," such as a DUI. Held to a higher moral standard? The students know that's a joke.

What else justifies our existence? Our most consistent justification is that we teach "leadership." We even make students take classes in the subject. Midshipmen roll their eyes. Leadership can't be taught, it can only be modeled.

The central paradox of the service academies is that we attract hard-charging "alpha" types and then make all their decisions for them. Students are told when to study and when to work out, whom they can date (nobody in their company), and when they can wear civilian clothes. All students must attend football games and cheer, and go to evening lectures and cultural events (where many sleep in their seats). The list goes on.

The academies are the ultimate nanny state. "When are they going to let me make some decisions?" one student asked in frustration. "The day I graduate?" This infantilization turns students passive-aggressive, and many of them count the years, months, and days until they can leave.

Decades of talking with students at the Naval Academy have convinced me that most dislike academic work because it is one more thing the students have to do. Why should they be interested? They're not paying for it. And Daddy isn't either, at least not more than any other taxpayer.

The military side of things suffers, too. Inspections are announced and called off at the last minute, or done sloppily. After all, everything is make-believe. Students aren't motivated to take care of their own uniforms or abide by the rules because they realize it's all just for show. Administrators want to make sure nobody gets hurt to avoid negative publicity, and as a result students are not pushed to their limits. They resent it. They come expecting Parris Island, but they get national historic landmarks where tourists come to feel proud of nice-looking young people.

Is there anything good about the academies? Absolutely: the students, by and large. You won't find a more focused, eager-for-a-challenge, desperate-to-make-a-difference group of young adults (whom we proceed to infantilize) anywhere. Some catch on quickly about the hype and don't let it bother them. They pragmatically view the academy as a taxpayer-supported means to an end they desperately want. And we have some bright students: About a quarter of entering freshmen have SAT scores above 700 with grades to match (but that is a far smaller proportion of high scorers than at the Ivies).

A handful are high performers. One of my students last year was a varsity swimmer, an English honors graduate in the top 5 percent of his class, and the "honor man" (single best performer) in his SEAL class at the famously brutal Basic Underwater Demolition training. That is gorgeous stuff, the ultimate combination of brains and brawn the academies say they produce. But how rare at Annapolis!—or indeed, anywhere.

Another of my students, a systems-engineering major, was in the top 1 percent of his class and is now doing graduate work at the University of Oxford. He also won, as a sophomore, a competition sponsored by Harvard's Kennedy School for his essay on how to filter out arsenic from Ganges Delta water by running it through fern leaves. At the reception given after his lecture, he was too young to drink the chardonnay. The following weekend he returned to Boston to run the Boston Marathon with the Naval Academy team. It's true, America: The service academies really can enroll outstanding students. But such students are the exception.

Whose fault is this generally disappointing state of affairs? Partly it's the gravitational pull of history. The service academies are relics of the 19th century. (Exception: The Air Force was split off from the Army after World War II and got its stand-alone academy as a postscript in l954.) At the time, they clearly represented progress. War had become more technical, and soldiers-in-training needed a technical education that colleges still largely devoted to Greek, Latin, and religion were unequipped to provide.

But the world has changed. Now most reputable colleges offer technical courses, and top-tier colleges and universities already produce many of our officers and leaders. At the same time, the academies have become more like civilian colleges, albeit rather strange ones. We now give a bachelor of science (to all majors, including English and history) rather than a certificate for a standard course of study as we initially did. Students walk to class rather than march; women were accepted starting in 1976; going to chapel is no longer mandatory. And now, of course, we enroll openly gay students.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Bruce Fleming is a professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is the author, most recently, of Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide (Potomac Books, 2010). I wonder how much of his criticism of the military academies extends to virtually all colleges and universities in the USA. My guess is that in that context the military academy demise is not so unique.

You can read about what some of Bruce Feming's Naval Academy students say about him on RateMyProfessor.com. Please note that in general over one million RMP submissions about their college professors are not random samples. I totally disregard the numerical ratings of any professor, but I do find some of the subjective comments somewhat revealing. Unlike so many college professors these days, Professor Fleming appears to be a hard grader ---

The Number 1 disgrace, apart from increasing felonies like rape tolerances, is grade inflation ---

"Top 10 Mobile Products Of 2012," by Dan Rowinski, ReadWriteWeb, December 31, 2012 ---

"Top Web Series of 2012 Set New Bar For Quality," by Fruzsina Eördögh, ReadWriteWeb, December 31, 2012 ---

"The Best Apps For Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions," by Taylor Hatmaker, ReadWriteWeb, December 31, 2012 ---

"Could These 6 Pending Regulations Destroy The Internet In 2013?" by Adam Popescu, ReadWriteWeb, December 28,2012 ---

There were nearly 2,000 postings to the Harvard Business Review Blog in 2012. These are the 33 top blog postings selected by the HBR Blog editors ---

Apple to drop patent claims against new Samsung phone," by Dan Levine, Reuters, December 29, 2012 ---

Security firm also says mobile malware will be the new urban alley mugging
"McAfee Labs predicts the decline of Anonymous," by Megan Geuss, ars technicha, December 27, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Anonymous should not be confused with HP's awful Autonomy deal.

World Giving Index of 2012 --- https://www.cafonline.org/PDF/WorldGivingIndex2012WEB.pdf
The U.S. is at Rank 5
Thank you Paul Caron for the heads up

"Google 2012: The Machines Are Getting Smarter," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, December 27, 2012 ---

Google was full of surprises in 2012. It outdid Apple easily in mobile OS features. It rolled out a whole line of Nexus Android devices that are undeniably top notch. And it launched the Knowledge Graph, a watershed moment between the keyword-searching past of the Web and a future Web that understands whole concepts.

2012 was also the year that Google unified its offerings under a single privacy policy, a move that freaked out lots of people, but which was totally rational from Google's perspective. If we're going to have a data-driven future offering pervasive, free technologies in exchange for better targeting of advertisements, we'll have to accept that companies like Google have an eerily accurate, real-time profile of us.

As if to hammer that point home, Google hired futurist and Singularitarian Ray Kurzweil right before the Holiday break. Looking back at 2012, it looks like Google's brave new world is almost upon us.

Knowledge Graph: Search The World

The most important Google story this year was the launch of the Knowledge Graph. This marked the shift from a first-generation Google that merely indexed the words and metadata of the Web to a next-generation Google that recognizes discrete things and the relationships between them.

Now, when you search Google for certain kinds of things, you get an answer or an explanation in return, rather than a link to a Web page containing the answer. That's made possible by Google's new semantic intelligence. Google learned how to learn from the Web and its vast oceans of linked information, but now it's figuring out how to put the information itself to work for its users.

Web pages are a part of it. People are also a part of it, so Google built Google+ to get people on the Web to identify themselves, each other and their relationships. Maps are also a part of it, so Google can understand questions about location. The Web used to be an index of pages, but now it just looks like the world.

Google doesn't mince words about wanting to build the Star Trek computer - you know, one that you can talk to - and the Knowledge Graph is the most important component of that computer's mind.

Android: Google's Cyborg Army

What's always been clear about Android is that Google wants everyone to have a mobile device at all costs. By giving away the operating system, Android has taken over the market in terms of raw numbers.

But it hasn't always been clear whether Google cares that everyone has a great mobile experience. That finally came into focus in 2012. The Android 4.1 and 4.2 updates made the mobile operating system more powerful in some ways, cleaner and simpler in others. The pure Google mobile experience, for those without third-party cruft piled on top of their Android devices by device manufacturers, is now a world-class experience.

The new flagship Nexus devices are among the finest mobile computers on the market. The Nexus 4 is a hit phone, despite its lack of LTE connectivity, because it hits such a sweet spot of power and price. The Nexus 7 tablet is inexpensive and solid enough to inspire confidence - and powerful enough to keep around all day. The Nexus 10 is the only non-Apple device as good as an iPad, period. Where the iPad is refined and precious, the Nexus 10 is durable and hardy. It's purely a matter of preference.

Even more amazingly, Google managed to out-design Apple on Apple's own platform this year. Its updated Search app adds Knowledge Graph answers that blow Siri away. And the new apps for YouTube, Gmail, and especially Maps have heavy Google users on iOS breathing sighs of relief.

For Google, the point is to get as many people as possible using Google out in the world, whether on Google's own operating system or not.

Continued in artilce

The Biggest Knowledge Portal in the World is Wikipedia --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

How Scholars Search the Web --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm#ScholarySearch

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

"Five Technologies to Watch in 2013: With big developments in 2012, these five stories are still unfolding," by David Zax, MIT's Technology Review, December 27, 2012 --- Click Here

Another year has come and gone, and it’s time to look back on 2012 at the most intriguing gadgets and doohickeys of the year. In particular, here are five technologies that stand out, looking back–largely because the rest of their stories remain unwritten.

1. Wireless charging

This may be the year we recall as having finally sent wireless charging on its way (seeThe Long and Winding Road to Wireless Charging”). As an IHS analyst recently put it to a CNET reporter, “we are getting closer to the mainstream.” Around five million devices using wireless charging were sold in 2012, but we might see numbers closer to 100 million in the coming two to three years (see “Wireless Charging–Has Its Time Finally Arrived?”). Madison Square Garden and Virgin Atlantic are among those who have started to build out some wireless charging infrastructure for sports fans and frequent flyers.

2. 3-D Printing

3-D printing is a technology that some say is overhyped at best, an outright fad at worst (see “Why 3-D Printing Will Go the Way of Virtual Reality). But in 2012, 3-D printing stood up for itself, growing in a few unexpected ways. One of the more interesting stories this year was about a development in New York, where the company Shapeways presented a 25,000-square-foot facility that it intends to stock with 50 industrial-scale printers capable of cranking out five million products a year. Cutely, they did their ribbon cutting with 3-D printed scissors. It will be interesting to see if 3-D printing plays an even more important role in prototyping and product design in the year to come (see A Ribbon Cutting for 3-D Printing (Using 3-D Printed Scissors)”).

3. The stylus

Tablets have made their case, and are a part of our daily computing life. One area in which they’re lacking, though, is the stylus department. In particular, if the iPad and its ilk are to gain full acceptance as a productivity device for the creative class, technology companies will need to develop a killer stylus (see Will Designers Take to the iPad 3?”). No one’s done so yet, at least not at scale for the consumer market (many professional designers do already love the stylus associated with Wacom tablets, but that tech tends to be quite expensive). One interesting, if perhaps misguided, attempt to improve upon the stylus this year is a vision from Samsung Electronics, which imagines a stylus that would double as a microphone, potentially coupling vocal input with manual (see “A Stylus You Can Talk To”). Comparison-shopping styluses yourself? Macworld had a good roundup.

4. Leap 3D

Covering Leap 3D, the emerging better-than-Kinect motion-sensing technology, was a story that really got my pulse rate up this year (seeLeap 3D Out-Kinects Kinect). The technology is said to be 200 times as accurate as Kinect, and subtle enough to detect the very motion of your fingers. Sadly, the technology doesn’t come out till 2013, so this story will really heat up next year. Leap Motion, Inc., does say it’s already taking preorders for the device, at a price of $69.99. The commenters on my post from back in May had a suite of cool ideas for applications for the tech.

5. The Nook

Keeping an eye on the Nook is something of a pet project of mine, less for the technology itself (mid-range tablet) and more for what it represents. In a decade that has been generally turbulent for publishing, the last year has been especially so. With the shuttering of Borders, all eyes are now on Barnes & Noble as the last standing mega-bookstore, and book lovers are now put in the funny position of defending a Goliath they once saw as threatening to the neighborhood bookstore. As Amazon and its Kindle surge, B&N is making a last stand of sorts for the relevancy of a physical space for selling books–and ironically, the fate of B&N and its brick-and-mortar thesis relies on a technology, the Nook. Microsoft’s significant investment in the project in May was heartening to a lot of people worried about the outsize influence Amazon could potentially wield on publishing were B&N to go under (see “Microsoft Carves Out a Nook”).

But what will next year hold?

"The 7 Technology Trends That Will Matter Most To Small Business in 2013," by Rieva Lesonsky, ReadWriteWeb, December 27, 2012 ---

If 2012 was a year of "wait and see," for small business technology, 2013 will be a year to "go for it."

One key reason is that small business optimism is already rising. According to the Fall 2012 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, more than half of small business owners project sales will grow in the next year, and almost one-third plan to hire. Just 7% expect sales to drop and only 3% plan to lay off employees. And entrepreneurs typically believe they're local economies are doing better than the nation as a whole. (That can't be true for everyone, of course, but it still speaks to increasing optimism.)

That's not all. Some 45% of business owners in a recent Kauffman survey believe consumer demand will grow in 2013. Record sales over Black Friday weekend sales suggest consumers have "frugality fatigue" and are ready to spend again. Consumer debt is falling, the housing market is improving, and even the job market is showing signs of recovery-all of which could increase consumer spending by 3.5% by late 2013, according to Moody's Analytics. With pent-up demand for everything from housing to personal services to travel, there will be plenty of opportunity for small businesses who aren't afraid to seize it.

As always, though, technology trends will make a big difference in determining which businesses will be most successful. Here's what to look for:

1. Death of the desktop? Mobility will increasingly change how we do business. Already, according to The Mobility Edge: CDW's 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, 36% of small business IT managers say some of their employees have replaced a desktop or laptop computer with a smartphone or tablet. An additional 20% predict even more employees will do so by 2014. Adoption of tablets in the workplace is projected to grow a whopping 117% by then, while smartphone adoption at work will surge 33%. Smart entrepreneurs will tap into mobile's potential to work faster, more efficiently and more effectively.

2. Understanding your tech options will be critical. While small businesses recognize the opportunity technology presents, they're often confused about how best to implement it. In a Techaisle study, 54% of small and midsized businesses say their technology "pain points" have increased in the last three years, and that they're most mystified by cloud computing, virtualization, business intelligence, remote managed services and marketing automation.

3. Competition for talent will get tougher. It's never been easy for a small business to compete with big-company salaries, perks and bennies, and in 2013 it will become even more difficult, as employees are eager to search for those greener pastures. That's especially true for technology experts, so small businesses will have to find other ways to meet their tech needs.

4. Outsourcing will become an even better option. Freelancers and contractors, on the other hand, will be easier to find. MBO Partners' second annual State of Independence in America study projects the number of independent workers (contractors, consultants, freelancers or solo-preneurs) will grow from nearly 17 million to 23 million in the next five years. That will make it easier to hire the talent you need on a temporary basis.

5. SoLoMo goes shopping. Social/Local/Mobile is becoming the standard way to shop. People shopping on their mobile devices, "showroomg" (use their phones to compare in-store products with prices online), and use local search to find retailers and social media to find products. In a new study from the Advertising Research Foundation, nearly one-third of shoppers said social media affects their choice of brands; meanwhile, a survey by YP says 40% of consumers use local search daily. Making sure your website is optimized for mobile viewing and (if appropriate) developing a mobile app are the bare minimum of what you need to do in 2013.

6. Connected millennials - and their moms - matter more than ever. Much of the change in shopping behavior is driven by two key consumer groups: Millennials and moms. Both groups are constantly connected, rely on their friends' opinions (as well as those of social rating and recommendation sites) and aren't shy about sharing their own opinions of your business online (and in person). In 2013 it will be more crucial than ever to monitor and reply to what's being said about your business online.

7. Social means more than Facebook. Facebook and Twitter are still the big names in social media, most used by both consumers and businesses. But 2013 could see a shakeup from newer social sites as Pinterest, Tumblr and other visually oriented social media grab the attention of Millennial and younger consumers. And don't rule out Google+: The site's unique visitors grew by 80% in 2012, says a report by NM Incite.

What are we missing? What do you think will matter most in small business technology in 2013?

Is this the hottest tech gadget of 2013?
"This Tiny Gizmo Could Be A Very Big Deal In 2013 - And Beyond," by Dan Lyons, ReadWriteWeb, December 24th, 2012 ---

The company is called Leap Motion, and if you want to get an idea of how much everyone in San Francisco is buzzing about them, consider this: A few weeks ago I was visiting a different hot new startup in San Francisco, and in the middle of their demo the executives said, “By the way, have you heard about Leap Motion?” Then they interrupted their own demo to show me a video showing what Leap Motion’s software does.

Continued in article

Leap Motion Video --- https://leapmotion.com/

Also see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6hCwjwzUHg

Jensen Comment
With no artistic talent, it doesn't seem all that easy to me.

What's the best tech gadget for the TSA at airports?

Boys and Their Toys Dept:  Better Than a Porn Shop
"Revealed: How TSA agents 'laugh at travelers' naked scanner images in backrooms while flirting with each other," by Snejana Farberov, Mail Online, December 26, 2012 --- Click Here

Thank you Ann Althouse for the heads up.

"In a World Full of Risk, Why Are Investors So Calm?" by Roben Farzad, Bloomberg Business Week, December 19, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
One reason for the calm is that big institutional investors like TIAA-CREF now have the highest proportion of ownership of debt and equity securities investments. These funds are well aware of their ability to panic the herd.

A second reason is the policy (absurd in my viewpoint) of the Fed for both providing free money to banks and for printing greenbacks to pay government debt in what is termed the Quantitative Easing policy. The result has been that investors have almost no safe alternatives for earning an investment return of more than one percent. Accordingly they are more tolerant of taking on investment risk just to earn more than one percent on their savings.

I have to be somewhat sorry for TIAA-CREF. Back in 2006 this enormous retirement fund for the Academy sold us (my wife and I) a lifetime joint annuity that earns over a six percent fixed rate based upon our life expectancies. Now this fund has to either take on a pay-as-it-goes hit to make our monthly payments or take on greater investment risk to earn over six percent on our account. On two occasions TIAA has offered us a deal to trade in our annuities and buy into a real estate fund. No way Jose! Not at our ages.

To a fault I've argued that accountics scientists do not challenge each other or do replications and other validity tests of their published research ---

By comparison the real science game is much more a hard ball game of replication, critical commentary, and other validity checking. Accountics scientists have a long way to go in their quest to become more like real scientists.


"Casualty of the Math Wars," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 15, 2012 ---

. . .

The "math wars" have raged since the 1990s. A series of reform efforts (of which Boaler's work is a part) have won support from many scholars and a growing number of school districts. But a traditionalist school (of which Milgram and Bishop are part) has pushed back, arguing that rigor and standards are being sacrificed. Both sides accuse the other of oversimplifying the other's arguments, and studies and op-eds from proponents of the various positions appear regularly in education journals and the popular press. Several mathematics education experts interviewed for this article who are supportive of Boaler and her views stressed that they did not view all, or even most, criticism from the "traditionalist" camp as irresponsible.

The essay Boaler published Friday night noted that there has been "spirited academic debate" about her ideas and those of others in mathematics education, and she says that there is nothing wrong with that.

"Milgram and Bishop have gone beyond the bounds of reasoned discourse in a campaign to systematically suppress empirical evidence that contradicts their stance," Boaler wrote. "Academic disagreement is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom, and I welcome it. However, responsible disagreement and academic bullying are not the same thing. Milgram and Bishop have engaged in a range of tactics to discredit me and damage my work which I have now decided to make public."

Some experts who have been watching the debate say that the reason this dispute is important is because Boaler's work is not based simply on a critique of traditional methods of teaching math, but because she has data to back up her views.

Keith Devlin, director of the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute at Stanford, said that he has "enormous respect" for Boaler, although he characterized himself as someone who doesn't know her well, but has read her work and is sympathetic to it. He said that he shares her views, but that he does so "based on my own experience and from reading the work of others," not from his own research. So he said that while he has also faced "unprofessional" attacks when he has expressed those views, he hasn't attracted the same level of criticism as has Boaler.

Of her critics, Devlin said that "I suspect they fear her because she brings hard data that threatens their view of how children should be taught mathematics." He said that the criticisms of Boaler reach "the point of character assassination."

Debating the Data

The Milgram/Bishop essay that Boaler said has unfairly damaged her reputation is called "A Close Examination of Jo Boaler's Railside Report," and appears on Milgram's Stanford website. ("Railside" refers to one of the schools Boaler studied.) The piece says that Boaler's claims are "grossly exaggerated," and yet expresses fear that they could be influential and so need to be rebutted. Under federal privacy protection requirements for work involving schoolchildren, Boaler agreed to keep confidential the schools she studied and, by extension, information about teachers and students. The Milgram/Bishop essay claims to have identified some of those schools and says this is why they were able to challenge her data.

Boaler said -- in her essay and in an interview -- that this puts her in a bind. She cannot reveal more about the schools without violating confidentiality pledges, even though she is being accused of distorting data. While the essay by Milgram and Bishop looks like a journal article, Boaler notes that it has in fact never been published, in contrast to her work, which has been subjected to peer review in multiple journals and by various funding agencies.

Further, she notes that Milgram's and Bishop's accusations were investigated by Stanford when Milgram in 2006 made a formal charge of research misconduct against her, questioning the validity of her data collection. She notes in her new essay that the charges "could have destroyed my career." Boaler said that her final copy of the initial investigation was deemed confidential by the university, but she provided a copy of the conclusions, which rejected the idea that there had been any misconduct.

Here is the conclusion of that report: "We understand that there is a currently ongoing (and apparently passionate) debate in the mathematics education field concerning the best approaches and methods to be applied in teaching mathematics. It is not our task under Stanford's policy to determine who is 'right' and who is 'wrong' in this academic debate. We do note that Dr. Boaler's responses to the questions put to her related to her report were thorough, thoughtful, and offered her scientific rationale for each of the questions underlying the allegations. We found no evidence of scientific misconduct or fraudulent behavior related to the content of the report in question. In short, we find that the allegations (such as they are) of scientific misconduct do not have substance."

Even though the only body to examine the accusations made by Milgram rejected them, and even though the Milgram/Bishop essay has never been published beyond Milgram's website, the accusations in the essay have followed Boaler all over as supporters of Milgram and Bishop cite the essay to question Boaler's ethics. For example, an article she and a co-author wrote about her research that was published in a leading journal in education research, Teachers College Record, attracted a comment that said the findings were "imaginative" and asked if they were "a prime example of data cooking." The only evidence offered: a link to the Milgram/Bishop essay.

In an interview, Boaler said that, for many years, she has simply tried to ignore what she considers to be unprofessional, unfair criticism. But she said she was prompted to speak out after thinking about the fallout from an experience this year when Irish educational authorities brought her in to consult on math education. When she wrote an op-ed in The Irish Times, a commenter suggested that her ideas be treated with "great skepticism" because they had been challenged by prominent professors, including one at her own university. Again, the evidence offered was a link to the Stanford URL of the Milgram/Bishop essay.

"This guy Milgram has this on a webpage. He has it on a Stanford site. They have a campaign that everywhere I publish, somebody puts up a link to that saying 'she makes up data,' " Boaler said. "They are stopping me from being able to do my job."

She said one reason she decided to go public is that doing so gives her a link she can use whenever she sees a link to the essay attacking her work.

Bishop did not respond to e-mail messages requesting comment about Boaler's essay. Milgram via e-mail answered a few questions about Boaler's essay. He said she inaccurately characterized a meeting they had after she arrived at Stanford. (She said he discouraged her from writing about math education.) Milgram denied engaging in "academic bullying."

He said via e-mail that the essay was prepared for publication in a journal and was scheduled to be published, but "the HR person at Stanford has some reservations because it turned out that it was too easy to do a Google search on some of the quotes in the paper and thereby identify the schools involved. At that point I had so many other things that I had to attend to that I didn't bother to make the corrections." He also said that he has heard more from the school since he wrote the essay, and that these additional discussions confirm his criticism of Boaler's work.

In an interview Sunday afternoon, Milgram said that by "HR" in the above quote, he meant "human research," referring to the office at Stanford that works to protect human subjects in research. He also said that since it was only those issues that prevented publication, his critique was in fact peer-reviewed, just not published.

Further, he said that Stanford's investigation of Boaler was not handled well, and that those on the committee considered the issue "too delicate and too hot a potato." He said he stood behind everything in the paper. As to Boaler's overall criticism of him, he said that he would "have discussions with legal people, and I'll see if there is an appropriate action to be taken, but my own inclination is to ignore it."

Milgram also rejected the idea that it was not appropriate for him to speak out on these issues as he has. He said he first got involved in raising questions about research on math education as the request of an assistant in the office of Rod Paige, who held the job of U.S. education secretary during the first term of President George W. Bush.

Ze'ev Wurman, a supporter of Milgram and Bishop, and one who has posted the link to their article elsewhere, said he wasn't bothered by its never having been published. "She is basically using the fact that it was not published to undermine its worth rather than argue the specific charges leveled there by serious academics," he said.

Critiques 'Without Merit'

E-mail requests for comment from several leading figures in mathematics education resulted in strong endorsements of Boaler's work and frustration at how she has been treated over the years.

Jeremy Kilpatrick, a professor of mathematics education at the University of Georgia who has chaired commissions on the subject for the National Research Council and the Rand Corporation, said that "I have long had great respect for Jo Boaler and her work, and I have been very disturbed that it has been attacked as faulty or disingenuous. I have been receiving multiple e-mails from people who are disconcerted at the way she has been treated by Wayne Bishop and Jim Milgram. The critiques by Bishop and Milgram of her work are totally without merit and unprofessional. I'm pleased that she has come forward at last to give her side of the story, and I hope that others will see and understand how badly she has been treated."

Alan H. Schoenfeld is the Elizabeth and Edward Conner Professor of Education at the University of California at Berkeley, and a past president of the American Educational Research Association and past vice president of the National Academy of Education. He was reached in Sweden, where he said his e-mail has been full of commentary about Boaler's Friday post. "Boaler is a very solid researcher. You don't get to be a professor at Stanford, or the Marie Curie Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Sussex [the position she held previously], unless you do consistently high quality, peer-reviewed research."

Schoenfeld said that the discussion of Boaler's work "fits into the context of the math wars, which have sometimes been argued on principle, but in the hands of a few partisans, been vicious and vitriolic." He said that he is on a number of informal mathematics education networks, and that the response to Boaler's essay "has been swift and, most generally, one of shock and support for Boaler." One question being asked, he said, is why Boaler was investigated and no university has investigated the way Milgram and Bishop have treated her.

A spokeswoman for Stanford said the following via e-mail: "Dr. Boaler is a nationally respected scholar in the field of math education. Since her arrival more than a decade ago, Stanford has provided extensive support for Dr. Boaler as she has engaged in scholarship in this field, which is one in which there is wide-ranging academic opinion. At the same time, Stanford has carefully respected the fundamental principle of academic freedom: the merits of a position are to be determined by scholarly debate, rather than by having the university arbitrate or interfere in the academic discourse."

Boaler in Her Own Words

Here is a YouTube video of Boaler discussing and demonstrating her ideas about math education with a group of high school students in Britain.

Continued in article

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 so that we don't get along so well

"The 'Be Yourself' Myth," by Karen Kelsky, Inside Higher Ed, January 30, 2012 ---

. . .

Toward the end of our work together, in a Skype conversation, she asked if I had any final thoughts on how to advise people to prepare for interviews and campus visits. She said, "Of course I always tell them to just be themselves. I mean, that’s always the best advice, isn’t it?"

"Oh good god, Margaret!" I burst out. "Are you kidding me? THAT’S what you tell them?"

A started silence, followed by a sheepish laugh. "Really? That’s not good advice? Why?"

O, Margaret…. O, job candidates…. Where do I begin?

The exchange took me back to the day oh so many years ago, when my very own adviser had also told me, when I asked her for some advice for an upcoming campus visit, to just be myself.

And not knowing any better, I heeded that advice. And went out and made a complete ass of myself.

The fact is, Dear Readers, "yourself" is the very last person you want to be. Why?

Continued in article

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

If your raise is much bigger than you expected, here's an investment opportunity where you can eat your cake and have it too:
Steve Jobs' Super-Yacht Is Impounded in Non-Payment Dispute

"Safeguard Your Phone from Malware:  A Modern Cellphone Is Really a Small Computer and, Like Its Bigger Brethren, It Needs Protection," by Bonnie Cha, The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2012 ---

If you think that only computers can get viruses, think again.

According to a report by research group Juniper Networks, JNPR +1.50% hackers are increasingly targeting smartphones and other mobile devices with malicious software (also known as malware) to gain access to personal information. The threat is still small in comparison to computers, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions to protect your smartphone.

Malware is software that can wreak havoc on your mobile phone, often without your knowledge. Depending on the type of malware, it can access private information, such as passwords, which can lead to identity theft; it can also track your location, make unauthorized charges to your cellphone bill, and more.

As with computers, problems can arise when you download apps or files from unknown sources, click on suspicious links, or browse unsafe websites.

I've just taken a look at two mobile security apps that can help monitor and alert you to any potential threats. They are Lookout Mobile Security and Avast Free Mobile Security. Both are free (Lookout also has a paid version with extra features), and both scan your phone for malware, backup contact information and more. Lookout Mobile Security

Lookout Mobile Security is a free app for both iOS and Android devices. Its basic features include scanning your phone for malware and viruses, backup and restoration of contacts, and remotely locating your phone.

There is also a premium Android version, which I found to be the most useful. It includes a privacy report for all apps, and the ability to remotely lock and wipe your phone's data in case it's stolen, among other things.

I tested Lookout on the Motorola MSI +2.96% Droid Maxx HD and, upon launching the app, it immediately scanned the smartphone for any potential threats. It also ran tests every time I downloaded an app from the Google GOOG +1.05% Play Store or from GetJar, an independent Android marketplace that I use.

I downloaded a fake virus called Eicar from the Google Play Store (the app does not harm your device, and is used for testing mobile security apps). As soon as it started downloading, Lookout alerted me that it was a virus, and that it should be removed. There are options to find out more information, as well as an uninstall button.

Lookout's privacy report feature was extra helpful. It showed which apps were accessing which information—location, contacts and messages, for example. I always skip over the terms of agreement and permissions while downloading an app, but this feature gave me an easy way to see what each app was doing.

I also like that I could back up my contacts to Lookout's website. One other cool feature of Lookout is Signal Flare.

The tool automatically records your phone's location when your handset's battery is low. Lookout said it created the feature after learning that about 30% of people were unable to locate their lost or stolen phone because their battery was dead.

I tried it out on my iPhone 4, and after it went completely dead, I logged onto Lookout's website and found its last location pinned on Google Maps under the Missing Devices tab. Avast Free Mobile Security

Avast Mobile Security offers many of the same features of Lookout—all for free. But it only works with Android devices.

I thought this mobile app's interface was cleaner and easier to navigate than Lookout's. I scheduled it to run a scan on my apps and SD card every day at midnight. It ran the tests with no problem. I also used the Eicar test on Avast. It displayed a message right away, saying, "Eicar Anti Virus Test has been reported as malware," and it gave me the option to get more information or to uninstall.

Avast lacks a backup feature like Lookout's, which was disappointing. But the company says it plans to offer this function early next year.

That said, Avast offers a plethora of tools to keep your data safe if your phone is stolen or lost. You can remotely lock it, trigger a siren or wipe data.

You can even send a message to display on your screen, such as "If found, please contact this number," or "Get away from my phone, you thief!" All worked well in my tests.

Some of Avast's features will be overkill for the average consumer. For example, there's a Firewall mode for users who have modified their phone, so hackers can't access their device.

Continued in article

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

December 22, 2012 message from Rick Lillie on the AAA Commons

This weekend, I participated in the AAA Council meeting held at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, California.  The meeting opened with a talk by Lloyd Armstrong titled Which Way Higher Education?  In preparation for Armstrong's presentation, we were asked to read the article College is Dead.  Long Live College!

Armstrong explored the traditional college/university business model and described "big forces" causing the business model to change.  Below is a concept diagram summarizing key points from Armstrong's talk.  It was interesting to hear his comments about the growth and impact of online learning for all aspects of university-level education.  Armstrong briefly described recent events such as a consortium of universities agreeing to offer courses online that could be taken for credit by students at other universities.

Times are rapidly changing.  Armstrong's question to us was whether accounting (and university) education will be prepared for the change.

Rick Lillie
CSU San Bernardino

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology and learning ---

"Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: Data and Learning Analytics," by Audrey Watters, Inside Higher Ed, December 20, 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education and learning technology ---

"12 Days of Gadgets: Necomimi Brain-Powered Cat Ears," by David Pogue, The New York Times, December 21, 2012 ---

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…the last gift idea for gadget lovers who don’t really merit spending over $100 on.

Today, the weirdest and most memorable of all: the Necomimi Brain-Powered Cat Ears ($100).

It’s a headband with fluffy white cat ears attached. They perk up, flop down and otherwise turn, cutely and catlike, in sync with your brainwaves.

That’s the promise, anyway. A slightly uncomfortable forehead arm picks up the echoes of your neural activity from the front, and a clip on your earlobe completes the circuit. As your mental activity rises and falls, as your mood changes, the ears take on a life of their own.

There’s a good deal of debate online about just how much the ears’ motion is, in fact, governed by your brainwaves. There are certainly times when they seem exactly in sync with you, and others when they seem completely random. No question about it: brain-computer interfaces are in their infancy.

But some things the Necomimis do extremely well are get attention, start conversations and make your holiday gift memorable. It doesn’t take a lot of brainwaves to realize that.

Continued in article

The other 12 Days of Gadgets
Scroll down from December 20, 2012 at


Introducing KA Lite: An Offline Version of the Khan Academy That Runs on Almost Anything --- Click Here

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

"MBA Gender Pay Gap: An Industry Breakdown," by: Alison Damast, Bloomberg Business Week, January 7, 2013 ---

Ross School (University of Michigan) Nearly Erases MBA Gender Pay Gap -(for graduates) ---

At the University of Texas women MBAs beat out the men ---

Jensen Comment
This does not mean that there were no differences between majors. For example, women finance graduates earned about $6,500 less than men majoring in finance, but they may have been paid more than women in management and marketing. I do not know that this is the case, but as in the case of comparing inequality between nations, it's important to note that the degree of equality is not nearly as important as the level of poverty. For example, the Gini Coefficients of equality are about the same for Canada and North Korea, but the absolute differences in poverty are immense.

Accounting firms probably do not hire many MBA graduates from Michigan since Michigan has a separate Masters of Accounting Program ---
It would surprise me if there were any gender differences in salary offers in this MAC program, although there may be some racial differences where top minority graduates have higher offers than whites.

The one question about all this that I would raise is job location. At Trinity University when I was still teaching we sometimes placed a single graduate from our very small MS in Accounting graduating class at a higher salary in San Francisco or some other city having very high living costs.

The ANOVA statistician in me questions gender comparisons across geographic cells having greatly varying living costs. For example the MBA woman landing a consulting job for $140,000 in San Francisco or Geneva really cannot compare her salary with the woman who gets $140,000 in Detroit. In Detroit some relatively nice houses are being given away free to people who will occupy them full time. The exact same house in San Francisco might sell for $845,000. So much for declaring that both women are being paid the same.

It's also difficult to compare salary offers that are variable. For example, it's common to offer base salary plus commissions for majors in marketing and finance for stock brokers and other sales jobs.

In the 1990s it would've also been difficult to compare some salary offers for graduates in finance and computer science. For example, I know about a Stanford Computer Science graduate who was paid minimum wage plus $1 million in stock options. I think this type of hiring declined when the 1990s technology bubble burst and FAS 126R went into effect. FAS 123R pretty much killed stock option compensation.

Bob Jensen's threads on gender salary differences ---

At the University of Texas MBA women graduates edged out men in terms of compensation offers
At the University of Michigan female and male MBA graduates average about the same compensation offers
Why are women MBA graduates from Stanford not faring as well as their male counterparts?

"Why Stanford MBA Men Make So Much More Than Women?" by Alison Damast, Bloomberg Business Week, December 21, 2012 ---

The gender pay gap at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business has female graduates earning 79¢ on the male dollar, the widest discrepancy in earnings between men and women at any of the top 30 business schools, according to new research from Bloomberg Businessweek.

That disparity may seem large, but it isn’t startling to many of the women in the Stanford Class of 2012, who say the figures largely indicate the wide range of career choices they are making.

Take Shan Riku, who worked as a consultant at McKinsey before business school and is now working as head of new business development at Cookpad, Japan’s largest recipe-sharing website. Riku admits she took a pay cut in accepting the position but says she was more interested in taking on a role that would challenge her. It also didn’t hurt that Cookpad encourages families to cook and spend time together. “Many women at Stanford tend to make choices that are a little bit more focused on ‘how do I want to balance my life,’ rather than ‘how can I earn a lot of money,’” she says.

Pulin Sanghvi, director of the career management center at Stanford’s business school, says most of the pay gap at his school can be “attributed to industry choice.” According to Sanghvi, women and men at Stanford who go into the consulting or Internet technology sectors tend to have average starting salaries that are close or equivalent in size. Those 2012 MBA graduates who headed into the consulting field received a mean base salary of $130,636, while others who went into the technology sector earned $118,050, according to the business school’s most recent employment report.

The wage gap comes about partly because fewer women are heading into some of the more lucrative finance fields. For example, 16 percent of male students took jobs in private equity and leveraged-buyout firms, compared with just 5 percent of women, Sanghvi says. The top four industries that Stanford women went into in 2012 were information technology, management consulting, consumer products, and venture capital.

“I think a part of the story of this generation of students is that they have a much larger playing field in terms of career choices,” Sanghvi says. “I don’t think the level of income in a job is necessarily the primary motivator for why someone makes an empowered choice to pursue a career.”

That’s not to say that women at the school aren’t thinking long and hard about their salary offers and how to best negotiate them.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This says very little about graduates wanting to become CPAs since Stanford does not offer a career track for taking the CPA examination. The few graduates who do seek to become auditors or tax accountants most likely were CPAs before entering Stanford's MBA program. After graduating they most likely will no longer seek to work for CPA firms as auditors and tax accountants.

Bob Jensen's threads on the gender pay gap in academe ---


"Ohio State Researcher Guilty of Falsifying Federal Studies," Inside Higher Ed, December 24, 2012 ---

The federal Office of Research Integrity has concluded that an Ohio State University pharmacology professor fabricated data in studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The agency announced last month that two investigations by the university and its own inquiry had uncovered evidence that Terry S. Elton falsified data in five published papers, all of which the university recommended be retracted. Elton has been barred from participation in federal studies for three years.

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

For Jim Hunton maybe the world did end on December 21, 2012

"Following Retraction, Bentley Professor Resigns," Inside Higher Ed, December 21, 2012 ---

James E. Hunton, a prominent accounting professor at Bentley University, has resigned amid an investigation of the retraction of an article of which he was the co-author, The Boston Globe reported. A spokeswoman cited "family and health reasons" for the departure, but it follows the retraction of an article he co-wrote in the journal Accounting Review. The university is investigating the circumstances that led to the journal's decision to retract the piece.

An Accounting Review Article is Retracted

One of the article that Dan mentions has been retracted, according to

Retraction: A Field Experiment Comparing the Outcomes of Three Fraud Brainstorming Procedures: Nominal Group, Round Robin, and Open Discussion

James E. Hunton, Anna Gold Bentley University and Erasmus University Erasmus University This article was originally published in 2010 in The Accounting Review 85 (3) 911–935; DOI: 10/2308/accr.2010.85.3.911.

The authors confirmed a misstatement in the article and were unable to provide supporting information requested by the editor and publisher. Accordingly, the article has been retracted.


November 15, 2012 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard,

Is this the first example of a retracted TAR, JAR, and JAE article in since the 1960s?
Thank you for the heads up on the Hinton and Gold article. This is sad, because Steve Kachelmeier pointed out this article to me last year as an example of where the researchers used real-world experimentation data using subjects from a large CPA firm as opposed to students. Another factor that surprised me was was sample size of  supposedly 2,614 auditors.
Bob Kaplan wrote the following in
"Accounting Scholarship that Advances Professional Knowledge and Practice," AAA Presidential Scholar Address by Robert S. Kaplan, The Accounting Review, March 2011, pp. 372-373

Some scholars in public health schools also intervene in practice by conducting large-scale field experiments on real people in their natural habitats to assess the efficacy of new health and safety practices, such as the use of designated drivers to reduce alcohol-influenced accidents. Few academic accounting scholars, in contrast, conduct field experiments on real professionals working in their actual jobs (Hunton and Gold [2010] is an exception). The large-scale statistical studies and field experiments about health and sickness are invaluable, but, unlike in accounting scholarship, they represent only one component in the research repertoire of faculty employed in professional schools of medicine and health sciences.  
One thing I note is that the article has not been removed from the TAR database. The article still exists with a large "Retracted" stamp that appears over every page of the article
I attached the picture of a sample page.
Would the Techies on the AECM explain this:
The "Retracted" stamp is transparent in terms of copying any passage or table in the article. In other words, the article can be quoted as easily by copy and paste as text without any interference from the "Retracted Stamp." It cannot, however, be copied as a picture without interference from the "Retracted Stamp." 

Is this the first example of a retracted TAR, JAR, and JAE article in since the 1960s
Years ago Les Livingstone was the first person to detect a plagiarized article in TAR (back in the 1960s when we were both doctoral students at Stanford). This was long before digital versions articles could be downloaded. The TAR editor published an apology to the original authors in the next edition of TAR. The article first appeared in Management Science and was plagiarized in total for TAR by a Norwegian (sigh).
Not much can be done to warn readers about hard copy articles if they are subsequently "retracted." One thing that can be done these days is to have an AAA Website that lists retracted publications in all AAA journals. The Hunton and Gold article may be the only one since the 1960s.

Bob Jensen


November 28, 2012 forward from Dan Stone

Anna Gold sent me the following statement and also indicated that she had no objections to my posting it on AECM:

Explanation of Retraction (Hunton & Gold 2010)

On November 9, 2012, The Accounting Review published an early-view version of the voluntary retraction of Hunton & Gold (2010). The retraction will be printed in the January 2013 issue with the following wording:

“The authors confirmed a misstatement in the article and were unable to provide supporting information requested by the editor and publisher. Accordingly, the article has been retracted.”

The following statement explains the reason for the authors’ voluntary retraction. In the retracted article, the authors reported that the 150 offices of the participating CPA firm on which the study was based were located in the United States. In May 2012, the lead author learned from the coordinating partner of the participating CPA firm that the 150 offices included both domestic and international offices of the firm. The authors apologize for the inadvertently inaccurate description of the sample frame.

The Editor and the Chairperson of the Publications Committee of the American Accounting Association subsequently requested more information about the study and the participating CPA firm. Unfortunately, the information they requested is subject to a confidentiality agreement between the lead author and the participating firm; thus, the lead author has a contractual obligation not to disclose the information requested by the Editor and the Chairperson. The second author was neither involved in administering the experiment nor in receiving the data from the CPA firm. The second author does not know the identity of the CPA firm or the coordinating partner at the CPA firm. The second author is not a party to the confidentiality agreement between the lead author and the CPA firm.

The authors offered to print a correction of the inaccurate description of the sample frame; however, the Editor and the Chairperson rejected that offer. Consequently, in spite of the authors' belief that the inaccurate description of the sample does not materially impact either the internal validity of the study or the conclusions set forth in the Article, the authors consider it appropriate to voluntarily withdraw the Article from The Accounting Review at this time. Should the participating CPA firm change its position on releasing the requested information in the future, the authors will request that the Editor and the Chairperson consider reinstating the paper.


James Hunton Anna Gold

References: Hunton, J. E. and Gold, A. (2010), “A field experiment comprising the outcomes of three fraud brainstorming procedures: Nominal group, round robin, and open discussions,” The Accounting Review 85(3): 911-935.


December 1, 2012 reply from Harry Markopolos <notreallyharry@outlook.com

Harry Markopolos <notreallyharry@outlook.com>

The explanation provided by the Hunton and Gold regarding the recent TAR retraction seems to provide more questions than answers. Some of those questions raise serious concerns about the validity of the study.

1. In the paper, the audit clients are described as publically listed (p. 919), and since the paper describes SAS 99 as being applicable to these clients, they would presumably be listed in the U.S. However, according to Audit Analytics, for fiscal year 2007, the Big Four auditor with the greatest number of worldwide offices with at least one SEC registrant was PwC, with 134 offices (the remaining firms each had 130 offices). How can you take a random sample of 150 offices from a population of (at most) 134?

Further, the authors state that only clients from the retail, manufacturing, and service industries with at least $1 billion in gross revenues with a December 31, 2007 fiscal year-end were considered (p. 919). This restriction further limits the number of offices with eligible clients. For example, the Big Four auditor with the greatest number of offices with at least one SEC registrant with at least $1 billion in gross revenues with a December 31, 2007 fiscal year end was Ernst & Young, with 102 offices (followed by PwC, Deloitte and KPMG, with 94, 86, and 83 offices, respectively). Limiting by industry would further reduce the pool of offices with eligible clients (this would probably be the most limiting factor, since most industries tend to be concentrated primarily within a handful of offices).

2. Why the firm would use a random sample of their worldwide offices in the first place, especially a sample including foreign affiliates of the firm? Why not use every US office (or every worldwide office with SEC registrants)? The design further limited participation to one randomly selected client per office (p. 919). This design decision is especially odd. If the firm chose to sample from the applicable population of offices, why not use a smaller sample of offices and a greater number of clients per office? Also, why wouldn’t the firm just sample from the pool of eligible clients? Finally, would the firm really expect its foreign affiliates to be happy to participate just because the US firm is asking them to do so? Would it not be much simpler and more effective to focus on US offices and get large numbers of clients from the largest US Offices (e.g., New York, Chicago, LA) and fill in the remaining clients needed to reach 150 clients from smaller offices?

3. Given the current hesitancy of the Big Four to allow any meaningful access to data, why would the international offices be consistently willing to participate in the study, especially since each national affiliate of the Big Four is a distinct legal entity? The coordination of this study across the firm’s international offices seems like a herculean effort, at least. Further, even if the authors were not aware that the population of offices included international offices, the lead author was presumably aware of the identity of the partner coordinating the study for the firm. Footnote 4 of the paper and discussion on page 919 suggest that the US national office coordinated the study. It seems quite implausible that the US national office alone would be able to coordinate the study internationally.

4. In the statement that has been circulated among the accounting research community, the authors state:

“The second author was neither involved in administering the experiment nor in receiving the data from the CPA firm. The second author does not know the identity of the CPA firm or the coordinating partner at the CPA firm. The second author is not a party to the confidentiality agreement between the lead author and the CPA firm.”

However, this statement is inconsistent with language in the paper suggesting that both authors had access to the data and were involved in discussions with the firm regarding the design of the study (e.g. Footnote 17). Also, isn’t this kind of arrangement quite odd, at best? Not even the second author could verify the data. We are left with only the first author’s word that this study actually took place with no way for anyone (not even the second author or the journal editor) to obtain any kind of assurance on the matter. Why wouldn’t the firm be willing to allow Anna or Harry Evans to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to obtain some kind of independent verification? If the firm was willing to allow the study in the first place, it seems quite unreasonable for them to be unwilling to allow a reputable third party (e.g. Harry) to obtain verification of the legitimacy of the study. In addition, assuming the firm is this extremely vigilant in not allowing Harry or Anna to know about the firm, does it seem odd that the firm failed to read the paper before publication and, therefore, note the errors in the paper, including the claim that is made in multiple places in the paper that the data came from a random sample of the firm’s US offices?

5. Why do the authors state that the paper is being voluntarily withdrawn if the authors don’t believe that the validity of the paper is in any way questioned? The retraction doesn’t really seem voluntary. If the authors did actually offer to retract the study that implies that the errors in the paper are not simply innocent mistakes.

Given that most, if not all US offices would have had to be participants in the study (based on the discussion above), it wouldn’t be too hard to obtain some additional information from individuals at the firms to verify whether or not the study actually took place. In particular, if we were to locate a handful of partners from each of the Big Four who were office-managing partners in 2008, we could ask them if their office participated in the study. If none of those partners recall their office having participated in the study, the reported data would appear to be quite suspect.


Harry Markopolos


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

Hi Dan,

You really should verify everything I wrote below with Les Livingstone, my partner in crime in the accounting doctoral program at Stanford. By the way, even though there were three of us in that doctoral program in the 1960s, I don't think Bob Jensen, Les Livingstone, and Jay Smith ever took a course together. I was more the quant guy and took most of my courses outside the business school in mathematics, statistics, and operations research. Les from South Africa started in the MBA program and then delved more deeply into economics. Jay Smith was more the BYU accountant of the bunch. Jay and Les were both married with young children. I was the single gadfly chasing wild women (not really). To chase wild women it takes money, and I certainly did not have much of that. I did, however, have a cool 1956 pinkish and white Oldsmobile convertible that I wish I still owned. I think we all had Ford Foundation Fellowships that were money laundered by Stanford University. I taught in the Economics Department for a little extra money.


As I recall, the article you asked about is as follows:


"Using Mathematical Probability to Estimate the Allowance for Doubtful Accountants," by Goran Schroderheim, The Accounting Review, Vol. 39, No. 3, July 1964 ---


The first page of the article (Page 679) states "Goran Schroderheim is Chief Chemist for materials development and mechanical rubber goods manufacturing in an industrial concern."

My colleague in the accounting doctoral program at Stanford University, Les Livingstone, was the person who first discovered the plagiarism. In communications with the TAR Editor at the time, it was later disclosed to Les that the plagiarist was from Norway. Purportedly, the plagiarist's excuse is that he wanted the article originally published in Management Science to be available to accounting professors. However, he did not cite or reference the article in Management Science. The title and some early paragraphs were modified. Other than that it's the same article as the one cited below:


"Estimation of the Allowance for Doubtful Accounts by Markov Chains," by R.M. Cyert, H.J. Davidson, and G.L Thompson, Management Science 1962 8:287-303; doi:10.1287/mnsc.8.3.287


The above article is one of the all-time classics published by Management Science. I taught this article for years as a theory article when I was teaching operations research at Michigan State first and then the University of Maine later on. It was not, however, very practical article due to difficulties in estimating robust transition probabilities in the Markov transition matrix.


Les may remember more details about this incident. There were no electronic versions of articles back in 1964. At best the article could've been typed onto IBM cards and transferred to magnetic tape. Main frame computers could be telephone networked somewhat between universities in those days, but this type of data transmission was not at all reliable. My guess is that Goran Schroderheim retyped the article before he submitted it to TAR in 1964.

Type I and Type II Errors ---
Also see http://www.stats.gla.ac.uk/steps/glossary/hypothesis_testing.html 

"Psychopathy, Academic Accountants’ Attitudes towards Ethical Research Practices, and Publication Success," by Charles D. Bailey, SSRN, December 8, 2012 ---

"The Data Vigilante:  Students aren’t the only ones cheating—some professors are, too. Uri Simonsohn is out to bust them. inShare48," by Christopher Shea, The Atlantic, December 2012 ---

Uri Simonsohn, a research psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, did not set out to be a vigilante. His first step down that path came two years ago, at a dinner with some fellow social psychologists in St. Louis. The pisco sours were flowing, Simonsohn recently told me, as the scholars began to indiscreetly name and shame various “crazy findings we didn’t believe.” Social psychology—the subfield of psychology devoted to how social interaction affects human thought and action—routinely produces all sorts of findings that are, if not crazy, strongly counterintuitive. For example, one body of research focuses on how small, subtle changes—say, in a person’s environment or positioning—can have surprisingly large effects on their behavior. Idiosyncratic social-psychology findings like these are often picked up by the press and on Freakonomics-style blogs. But the crowd at the restaurant wasn’t buying some of the field’s more recent studies. Their skepticism helped convince Simonsohn that something in social psychology had gone horribly awry. “When you have scientific evidence,” he told me, “and you put that against your intuition, and you have so little trust in the scientific evidence that you side with your gut—something is broken.”

Simonsohn does not look like a vigilante—or, for that matter, like a business-school professor: at 37, in his jeans, T-shirt, and Keen-style water sandals, he might be mistaken for a grad student. And yet he is anything but laid-back. He is, on the contrary, seized by the conviction that science is beset by sloppy statistical maneuvering and, in some cases, outright fraud. He has therefore been moonlighting as a fraud-buster, developing techniques to help detect doctored data in other people’s research. Already, in the space of less than a year, he has blown up two colleagues’ careers. (In a third instance, he feels sure fraud occurred, but he hasn’t yet nailed down the case.) In so doing, he hopes to keep social psychology from falling into disrepute.

Simonsohn initially targeted not flagrant dishonesty, but loose methodology. In a paper called “False-Positive Psychology,” published in the prestigious journal Psychological Science, he and two colleagues—Leif Nelson, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Wharton’s Joseph Simmons—showed that psychologists could all but guarantee an interesting research finding if they were creative enough with their statistics and procedures.

The three social psychologists set up a test experiment, then played by current academic methodologies and widely permissible statistical rules. By going on what amounted to a fishing expedition (that is, by recording many, many variables but reporting only the results that came out to their liking); by failing to establish in advance the number of human subjects in an experiment; and by analyzing the data as they went, so they could end the experiment when the results suited them, they produced a howler of a result, a truly absurd finding. They then ran a series of computer simulations using other experimental data to show that these methods could increase the odds of a false-positive result—a statistical fluke, basically—to nearly two-thirds.

Just as Simonsohn was thinking about how to follow up on the paper, he came across an article that seemed too good to be true. In it, Lawrence Sanna, a professor who’d recently moved from the University of North Carolina to the University of Michigan, claimed to have found that people with a physically high vantage point—a concert stage instead of an orchestra pit—feel and act more “pro-socially.” (He measured sociability partly by, of all things, someone’s willingness to force fellow research subjects to consume painfully spicy hot sauce.) The size of the effect Sanna reported was “out-of-this-world strong, gravity strong—just super-strong,” Simonsohn told me over Chinese food (heavy on the hot sauce) at a restaurant around the corner from his office. As he read the paper, something else struck him, too: the data didn’t seem to vary as widely as you’d expect real-world results to. Imagine a study that calculated male height: if the average man were 5-foot‑10, you wouldn’t expect that in every group of male subjects, the average man would always be precisely 5-foot-10. Yet this was exactly the sort of unlikely pattern Simonsohn detected in Sanna’s data.

Simonsohn launched an e-mail correspondence with Sanna and his co-authors; the co-authors later relayed his concerns to officials at the University of North Carolina, Sanna’s employer at the time of the study. Sanna, who could not be reached for comment, has since left Michigan. He has also retracted five of his articles, explaining that the data were “invalid,” and absolving his co-authors of any responsibility. (In a letter to the editor of Psychological Science, who had asked for more detail, Sanna mentioned “research errors” but added that he could say no more, “at the direction of legal counsel.”)

Not long after the exchange with Sanna, a colleague sent Simonsohn another study for inspection. Dirk Smeesters of Erasmus University Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, had published a paper about color’s effect on what social psychologists call “priming.” Past studies had found that after research subjects are prompted to think about, say, Albert Einstein, they are intimidated by the comparison, and perform poorly on tests. (Swap Einstein out for Kate Moss, and they do better.) Smeesters sought to build on this research by showing that colors can interact with this priming in strange ways. Simultaneously expose people to blue (a soothing hue), for example, and the Einstein and Moss effects reverse. But a strange thing caught Simonsohn’s eye: the outcomes that Smeesters had predicted ahead of time were eerily similar, across the board, to his actual outcomes.

Simonsohn ran some simulations using both Smeesters’s own data and data found in other papers, and determined that such a data array was unlikely to occur naturally. Then he sent Smeesters his findings, launching what proved to be a surreal exchange. Smeesters admitted to small mistakes; Simonsohn replied that those mistakes couldn’t explain the patterns he’d identified. “Something more sinister must have happened,” he recalled telling Smeesters. “Someone intentionally manipulated the data. This may be difficult to accept.”

“I was trying to give him any out,” Simonsohn said, adding that he wasn’t looking to ruin anyone’s career. But in June, a research-ethics committee at Smeesters’s university announced that it had “no confidence in the scientific integrity” of three of his articles. (The committee noted that it had no reason to suspect Smeesters’s co-authors of any wrongdoing.) According to the committee’s report, Smeesters said “he does not feel guilty” and also claimed that “many authors knowingly omit data to achieve significance, without stating this.” Smeesters, who could not be reached for comment, resigned from the university, prompting another Dutch scholar to publicly remark that Simonsohn’s fraud-detecting technique was “like a medieval torture instrument.”

That charge disturbs Simonsohn, who told me he would have been content with a quiet retraction of Smeesters’s article. The more painful allegation, however, is that he is trying to discredit social psychology. He adores his chosen field, he said, funky, counterintuitive results and all. He studied economics as an undergrad at Chile’s Universidad Católica (his father ran a string of video-game arcades in Santiago; Simonsohn initially hoped to go into hotel management), but during his senior year, an encounter with the psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s work convinced him to switch fields. He prefers psychology’s close-up focus on the quirks of actual human minds to the sweeping theory and deduction involved in economics. (His own research, which involves decision making, includes a recent study titled “Weather to Go to College,” which finds that “cloudiness during [college] visits has a statistically and practically significant impact on enrollment rates.”)

So what, then, is driving Simonsohn? His fraud-busting has an almost existential flavor. “I couldn’t tolerate knowing something was fake and not doing something about it,” he told me. “Everything loses meaning. What’s the point of writing a paper, fighting very hard to get it published, going to conferences?”

Continued in article

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

"Best Places to Raise Kids," by Daniel D'Addario, Bloomberg Business Week, December 17, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
This is a slide show of the "best place to raise kids" in each of the 50 states of the United States. I suspect when it comes to recruiting first-year students for private universities there are suburbs of large cities that a targeted more by admissions folks. For example, Plano, Texas is one of the large target markets relative to Helotes, Texas for Trinity University. Helotes does have a "Country Store" honky tonk where Willie Nelson often played and smoked bales of pot in his early years ---

Best 2012 Performing Currencies Against the U.S. Dollar ---
world's top performing currencies against the dollar
Not a good time for Polish jokes

Jensen Comment
As I look back on my own career, including the last 24 years at Trinity University, I was lucky because I never had a medical event in my 40-year academic career that prevented me from meeting my classes. If that should have happened I most likely would not have resigned before using up my short-term disability benefits that the University provided free to me.

Those of you who have not closely examined your disability benefits should closely examine the short-term disability benefits provided by your employer.

Trinity University's Disability Leave contact is quoted below. Trinity University carried its own employee disability insurance policy to cover this type of leave at zero out-of-pocket costs to employees. I considered disability insurance so important that I also carried the maximum long-term coverage at my own out-of-pocket expense. Most of the time this was a TIAA disability plan that kept premiums lower by no having to pay for short-term disability leave. My long-term TIAA disability plan would have kicked in automatically when my Trinity University short-term coverage expired. Payments were based upon salary at the time of becoming disabled.

Unlike my TIAA term life insurance, I paid for my long-term TIAA disability insurance right up thru the day I retired from Trinity University. With my children became grown and earning their own livings, I ended my term life insurance coverage when I was 55 years of age. With advancing age the annual premiums for this life insurance became absurdly expensive at a time when I had built up comfortable personal savings plus my TIAA-CREF retirement account. But becoming disabled before retirement age without disability insurance might have clobbered my personal savings.

Note that if you're disabled on the job Worker Compensation will probably reduce, but not eliminate, the short-term disability benefits that you receive from your employer. Disabilities not related to your job will nearly all be covered until the short-term disability leave coverage expires. The fact that this coverage will eventually expire makes it extremely important in most instances to have your own long-term disability coverage that will then kick in.

At Trinity University the short-term disability for full salary and benefits coverage expires after six months. Added details are quoted below. If I ever had become disabled I would have taken advantage of this coverage for six months at which time my TIAA long-term coverage would have kicked in to cover me until nearly retirement age. As I dimly recall, my coverage would have ceased at retirement age. Long-term disability insurance plans vary considerably regarding termination. I know some folks in other occupations who have disability coverage for as long as they live.

Trinity University Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook ---
http://web.trinity.edu/Documents/Academic Affairs/minutes/handbook2012-2013.pdf


A. Faculty

Trinity University will provide protection of remuneration (salary and other benefits) to any fulltime employee who through protracted physical or psychological disability is unable to perform the tasks and/or meet the responsibilities normally associated with the duties of his/her position. This protection of remuneration will be for a period of no more than six months from the commencement of the disability. The protection is only for the actual remuneration due under the applicable contract or pay grade classification. Due to the nature of the protection plan, the University will not continue payments for periods beyond the completion of a terminal contract or provide remuneration protection for periods not otherwise covered by the contract (e.g., summer recess for nine-month faculty) even though these periods will be counted toward the six-month limit. An employee who becomes disabled as a result of a work-related injury will have his/her short-term disability payments reduced by any compensation received from the University’s Worker Compensation Insurance Company. During short-term disability leave, all accruals of vacation and sick leave will be suspended. Eligibility for remuneration protection will be based upon clear and convincing medical evidence, and a change to disability status shall be made

1. at the request of an affected employee by presentation of a request to commence disability status and presentation of such medical evidence as may be necessary to demonstrate the existence of a physical or psychological disability which precludes that individual from performing the tasks or meeting the responsibilities normally associated with the discharge of his/her duties, and that such is expected to be protracted;


2. at the request of the University by presentation to the affected employee of a determination of long-term disability. For faculty members action is to be initiated by the University pursuant to Chapter 3A, Article V: Termination of Tenured or Unexpired Appointments. All of the various due process provisions contained in this Handbook shall apply.

Every effort will be made to assure that disability coverage provided by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity program or other such disability program will become applicable upon the conclusion of the period of remuneration protection; however, in no event will the University’s obligation to provide remuneration protection continue past six calendar months from the commencement of the disability period.

The University’s obligation for remuneration protection will cease effective upon the affected individual’shaving obtained another position of employment. Further, the University reserves the right to deduct from any remuneration provided hereunder the amount of earnings received by the affected individual from such employment during the period of disability.

In the event of a request by either the affected faculty member or the University for long-term disability status, the commencement of such disability will be presumed to be the date of a recognizable event that resulted in the disability. In the event of a request by the faculty member, if the University disputes the existence and/or extent of disability, the University may require the affected faculty member to be examined by a physician or other professional of its choosing at the University’s expense.

Where necessary, each faculty member’s contract will be modified to reflect agreement to the foregoing. Additionally, the relevant provisions of this Handbook above will be restated to reflect the foregoing.

The University will require a medical release before the employee returns to work. This action will be taken to certify that the employee is capable of returning to work and performing normal duties. Should the University require a second opinion, this will be at the University’s expense.

Once the six-month disability benefit has been used and if the employee later returns to work, he/she must work for two years before a similar benefit can again be used.

If the faculty member is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, such leave will be taken concurrently with any disability leave.

Failure to apply for disability leave in a timely manner will not extend the six-month period.


Jensen Comment
A worse situation perhaps arises where a faculty member, for medical reasons, no longer wants to perform faculty duties for his/her employer but has a medical condition that does not qualify for short-term or long-term disability coverage. Purportedly there are a lot of those folks seeking Social Security Disability Benefits and Medicare. The son of one of my neighbors is currently in this situation down in Florida. He was turned down for short-term disability benefits from his former employer. He does have chronic back pain, although he could probably do just as well faking the pain. For reasons I won't go into, in Florida especially, there's so much fraud in this area that people with zero medical justification can obtain lifetime SS Disability Benefits and Medicare. Purportedly their are a lot of sleazy physicians and shyster lawyers both in in Florida and in the other 49 states. The law firms even advertise on national television to get clients seeking SS Disability.

Generally, it takes much longer than six months for the sleazy physicians and shyster lawyers to accomplish the job. Hence they are not of much use when seeking short-term disability benefits from employers. But SS Disability Benefits, when obtained, can cover a lot of years between age 43 and when Social Security and Medicare set in between Age 65 and 70.


It is exceptionally difficult -- for all practical purposes, impossible," writes Eberstadt, "for a medical professional to disprove a patient's claim that he or she is suffering from sad feelings or back pain. In other words, many people are gaming or defrauding the system. This includes not only disability recipients but health care professionals, lawyers and others who run ads promising to get you disability benefits. Between 1996 and 2011, the private sector generated 8.8 million new jobs, and 4.1 million people entered the disability rolls.
Michael Barone, "Men Find Careers in Collecting Disability," --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
 Even after one or more spine surgeries it is virtually impossible to determine whether remaining pain is real or faked. I can claim first hand that after 15 spine surgeries and metal rods from neck to hip that my wife's suffering is real. However, I know of at least two instances where the disability careers are faked in order to get monthly lifetime disability payments and access to Medicare long prior to age 65. This seems to be one of the unsolvable problems in society that becomes even more problematic when a disability career is easier to enter than a job-like career.

December 3, 2012 reply from Glen Gray

There was (and continues to be) a sad story in L.A. regarding a hospital that closed partly because employees basically saw it as a lottery. The number of disability claims were far above the average and I believe the most common stated reason for the claim was falling backwards out of folding chairs in the cafeteria.

I recall that Goodwill Industries ran into a similar problem. They were paying people some money to work at Goodwill to supplement the work of volunteers. These workers would quickly file work comp claims, which in turn made Goodwill's worker comp insurance to skyrocket. Goodwill had to stop the outreach program.

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University,
Northridge 18111 Nordhoff ST Northridge, CA 91330-8372

That some bankers have ended up in prison is not a matter of scandal, but what is outrageous is the fact that all the others are free.
Honoré de Balzac

Bankers bet with their bank's capital, not their own. If the bet goes right, they get a huge bonus; if it misfires, that's the shareholders' problem.
Sebastian Mallaby. Council on Foreign Relations, as quoted by Avital Louria Hahn, "Missing:  How Poor Risk-Management Techniques Contributed to the Subprime Mess," CFO Magazine, March 2008, Page 53 --- http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/10755469/c_10788146?f=magazine_featured
Now that the Fed is going to bail out these crooks with taxpayer funds makes it all the worse.

"Horribly Rotten, Comically Stupid:  Even as they rigged LIBOR rates, UBS bankers displayed a warped loyalty to their co-manipulators," CFO.com, December 21, 2012 ---

For any who doubted whether there was honour among thieves, or indeed among investment bankers, solace may be found in the details of a settlement between UBS, a Swiss bank, and regulators around the world over a vast and troubling conspiracy by some of its employees to rig LIBOR and EURIBOR, key market interest rates. Regulators in Britain and Switzerland have argued that manipulation of interest rates that took place over a long period of time, involved many employees at UBS and that, according to Britain’s Financial Service Authority, was so “routine and widespread” that “every LIBOR and EURIBOR submission, in currencies and tenors in which UBS traded during the relevant period, was at risk of having been improperly influenced to benefit derivatives trading positions.” In these settlements UBS agreed to pay 1.4 billion Swiss Francs ($1.5 billion) to British, American and Swiss regulators. CFO.com (http://s.tt/1xxaa)

Yet, even in the midst of this wrongdoing there was evidence of a sense of honour, however misplaced. One banker at UBS, in asking a broker to help manipulate submissions, promised ample recompense:

"I will fucking do one humongous deal with you ... Like a 50, 000 buck deal, whatever. I need you to keep it as low as possible ... if you do that ... I’ll pay you, you know, 50,000 dollars, 100,000 dollars ... whatever you want ... I’m a man of my word."

Further hints emerge of the warped morality that was held by some UBS employees and their conspirators at brokers and rival banks. In one telling conversation an unnamed broker asks an employee at another bank to submit a false bid at the request of a UBS trader. Lest the good turn go unnoticed the broker reassures the banker that he will pass on word of the manipulation to UBS.

Broker B: “Yeah, he will know mate. Definitely, definitely, definitely”;

Panel Bank 1 submitter: “You know, scratch my back yeah an all”

Broker B: “Yeah oh definitely, yeah, play the rules.”

The interchanges published by the FSA also reveal a comical stupidity among people who, if judged by their above-average pay, ought to have been expected to display above-average insight and intelligence. Sadly, they showed neither.

In one instance, two UBS employees, a manager and a trader (who also submitted interest rates) discuss an article in the Wall Street Journal raising doubt over the accuracy of bank’s LIBOR submissions. “Great article in the WSJ today about the LIBOR problem” says one. “Just reading it” his colleague replies.

Yet according to the FSA, some two hours later they were happily conspiring to submit manipulated bids:

Trader-Submitter D: “mate any axe in [GBP] libors?”

Manager D: “higher pls”

Trader-Submitter D: “93?”

Manager D: “pls”

Trader-Submitter D: “[o]k”

In another moment of comical stupidity one employee sends out a request on a public chat forum at the bank asking the 58 participants if there are any requests for a manipulated rate. Later, after being admonished to “BE CAREFUL DUDE” in a private note from a manager, he replies “i agree we shouldnt ve been talking about putting fixings for our positions on public chat (sic)”.

Apart from the salacious glimpse that these settlements give into the foul-mouthed and matey culture (as well as atrocious grammar) of investment banking trading desks, they also reveal worrying suggestions that this conspiracy was bigger than previously suspected. Information released by the FSA shows it involved not just banks, as was previously known from a settlement earlier this year by Barclays, but that it also involves the collusion of employees at inter-broker dealers, the firms that stand between banks and help them to trade with one another.

Regulators found that brokers at these firms helped coordinate false submissions between banks, posted false rates and estimates of where rates might go on their own trading screens, and even posted spoof bids to mislead market participants as to the real rate in the market.

The details in these settlements suggest that lawyers representing clients in a clutch of class-action lawsuits in America against banks including UBS will have a field day.

The first reason they are cheering is because UBS didn’t simply submit false estimates of interest rates on its own. According to the settlement documents, UBS tried and apparently succeeded in some cases in getting other firms to collude in manipulating rates. That collusion strengthens the case of civil litigants in America who are arguing in court that banks worked together to fix prices. It also undermines one of the defences filed by banks in American courts that their submissions, although possibly incorrect in some cases, were simply the individual acts of banks that happened by chance to be acting in parallel. The latest settlements may also make it easier for civil litigants to claim damages from UBS since the Swiss regulator found that it had profited from its wrongdoing.

Continued in article


LIBOR --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libor

"How Barclays Rigged the Machine," by Rana Foroohar, Time Magazine, July 23, 2012 ---

Ever wonder why surveys about very personal topics (think sex and money) are done anonymously? Of course you don't, because it's obvious that people wouldn't tell the truth if they were identified on the record. That's a key point in understanding the latest scandal to hit the banking industry, which comes, as ever, with much hand-wringing, assorted apologies and a crazy-sounding acronym--this time, LIBOR. That's short for the London interbank offered rate, the interest rate that banks charge one another to borrow money. On June 27, Britain's Barclays bank admitted that it had deliberately understated that rate for years.

LIBOR is a measure of banks' trust in their solvency. And around the time of the financial crisis of 2008, Barclays' rate was rising. If a bank revealed publicly that it could borrow only at elevated rates, it would essentially be admitting that it--and perhaps the financial system as a whole--was vulnerable. So Barclays gamed the system to make the financial picture prettier than it was. The charade was possible because LIBOR is calculated not on the basis of documented lending transactions but on the banks' own estimates, which can be whatever bankers decree. This Kafkaesque system is overseen for bizarre historical reasons by an association of British bankers rather than any government body.

The LIBOR scandal has already claimed Barclays' brash American CEO, Bob Diamond, a man infamous for taking huge bonuses while his company's share price and profit were declining. Diamond resigned, but his head may not be the only one to roll. As many as 20 of the world's largest banks are being sued or investigated for manipulating over the course of many years the interest rate to which $350 trillion worth of derivatives contracts are pegged. Bank of England and former British-government officials accused of colluding with Barclays to stem a financial panic may also be caught up in the mess.

What's surprising is that individual consumers may actually have benefited, at least financially, from the collusion. Not only the central reference point for derivatives markets, LIBOR is also the rate to which all sorts of loans--variable mortgage rates, student loans, even car payments--may be pegged. To the extent that banks kept LIBOR artificially low, all those other loan rates were marked down too. Unlike the JPMorgan trading fiasco of a few weeks ago, which has resulted in a multibillion-dollar loss, the only apparent red ink so far in the LIBOR scandal is the $450 million in fines that Barclays will pay to the U.K. and U.S. governments for rigging rates (though pension funds and insurance companies on the short end of LIBOR-pegged financial transactions may have lost a lot of money).

Either way, the truth is that LIBOR is a much, much bigger deal than what happened at JPMorgan. Rather than one screwed-up trade that was--whether you like it or not (and I don't)--most likely legal, it represents a financial system that is still, four years after the crisis began, opaque, insular and dangerously underregulated. "This is a very, very significant event," says Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is one of the regulators investigating the scandal. "LIBOR is the mother of all financial indices, and it's at the heart of the consumer-lending markets. There have been winners and losers on both sides [of the LIBOR deals], but collectively we all lose if the market isn't perceived to be honest."

Continued in article

View from the Left
"Barclays and the Limits of Financial Reform," by Alexander Cockburn, The Nation, July 30, 2012 ---


Bob Jensen's threads on interest rate swaps and LIBOR ---
Search for LIBOR or swap.

Timeline of Financial Scandals, Auditing Failures, and the Evolution of International Accounting Standards ---- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudCongress.htm#DerivativesFrauds

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


Patent Troll --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll

"Intellectual Ventures: Don't Mind Our 2000 Shell Companies, That's Totally Normal from the nothing-nefarious-at-all dept," TechDirt, December 20, 2012 ---

Back in 2010, we wrote about a report suggesting that Intellectual Ventures was using somewhere around 1000 shell companies to hide many of its patent shakedown attempts. For years, IV itself liked to say that it wasn't involved in any patent litigation directly (that changed not so long ago), but we had seen some IV patents showing up from some small patent trolls, where it was impossible to determine who actually controlled the patent or the lawsuits. However, at times, other companies have argued that the shell lawsuits were really IV in disguise.

A few months ago, we wrote about an attempt to crowdfund an investigation into all of IV's shell companies. While that attempt to raise money did not reach its goal, it has helped put renewed attention on IV's use of a massive number of shell companies. In response, IV has been trying very hard to play down the whole thing. It published a ridiculous blog post arguing that the use of thousands of shell companies is just a normal business procedure:

This is a common practice for asset management firms, and it’s just common sense. Do stock brokers broadcast tips to their competitors? Does Warren Buffet tell the world where he’s investing next? Does Disney broadcast which plots of land it is planning to buy for its next theme park? Of course not, and IV takes a similar approach to our investments.
Ah, sure, this is all to throw other companies off the scent of what IV is "investing" in. That makes sense if IV were actually an investment company, rather than a shakedown play. The idea that publicly stating what patents it owns would somehow "broadcast tips" to "competitors" is ridiculous. Who out there is really an IV competitor? No, what IV is almost certainly worried about is that, if the extent of its activities were known, there would be more fodder for real and necessary reform against trolling -- and, more importantly, it's worried about tipping off the companies it's about to go after. It's not about competition -- it's about avoiding a smart company going to court to get a declaratory judgment against IV, which they admit later on in the post:
Moreover, were we to publish the entirety of our holdings we, or any other company for that matter, could find ourselves mired down in a series of tactical declaratory judgments and reexaminations.
Shocking. Perhaps if you didn't go around demanding huge sums of money from companies with a giant stack of vague and overly-broad patents you wouldn't face a series of declaratory judgments and re-exams.
In fact, no one has ever suggested that transparency is needed in the real estate world, yet properties are routinely held in the name of holding companies. When it comes to property ownership, patents shouldn’t be held to a different of set of rules
Well, if property holding companies routinely used their assets to shake down every other real estate owner out there, perhaps there would be calls for the practice to end. Plus, sorry, patents are not "property" like real estate is property. And, in fact, this is the key to IV's entire business model. If patents properly delineated the boundaries of what the patents covered, there wouldn't be much room for trolling. But, instead, IV relies on the fact that patents are broad and vague and "might" apply to all sorts of things.

In response to an article about all of this, IV also
claimed that anyone who wanted to know about what patents IV holds can simply "search the USPTO's public database." Of course, this is a snarky and misleading answer for a number of reasons. First, it ignores the shell company patents. Second, it assumes that the USPTO's search actually works well (it does not).

Thankfully, however, the good folks at PlainSite, who try to shine some light on the hidden corners of the legal system, decided to take Intellectual Ventures up on its offer -- and actually
went through the data to see what was lurking:
Like all of the USPTO's on-line systems, the assignment database is a technological abomination--sadly ironic for the agency that effectively manages the nation's technology rights. (The USPTO does deserve credit for making raw XML data available through Google, which is where our project began.) It must be noted that Intellectual Ventures would have had a much harder time lurking in the shadows all these years if government information technology systems, such as the USPTO assignment database and different states' corporation databases, were kept up to par. In fact, its business model would likely be impossible, as the courts would be likely to label the company as a vexatious litigant if they only knew how many lawsuits it filed.
In the end, after digging through the database, PlainSite has identified -- and released for all your enjoyment -- the names of what appear to be over 2,000 shell companies, though they admit that some of them may be fully independent. But... many of them apparently had "some obvious overlaps" like sharing "managing corporations, telephone numbers, and other factors." Oops. They're hoping not to "crowdfund" the efforts here, but rather to crowdsource the data. As they note, they're spreading this information, because "we hope that Congress and the courts take notice of one of the largest racketeering schemes ever perpetrated on the nation, with some of its richest billionaires acting more like thugs than visionaires."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

Those Deceptive For-Profit University Promotional Websites

Almost daily I get requests to link to commercial sites disguised to be academic helper sites. Over half these requests are on behalf of for-profit universities, although the sites themselves are getting more and more clever about hiding the fact that they are promotional sites for for-profit universities. At the same time, I'm getting smarter about detecting these sites and no longer link to them on my Website or on the AECM.

I think that for-profit universities pay people to promote their sites on some basis such as pay-per-click.

To get more eyeballs, these for-profit university promotion sites are adding so called helpers that I've discovered in some cases have simply plagiarized material from other sites such as the History of Pacioli. In some instances the efforts to provide helpers are more legitimate. Nevertheless it galls me to link to these deceptive for-profit university sites. By "deceptive" I mean such thinks as providing links to distance education programs in selected fields like accounting, nursing, pharmacy, etc. Even though there are better and nearly always cheaper distance education degree programs from state-supported universities, those universities are excluded from the for-profit distance education promotional sites. For example, the only distance education degree programs in accounting will those degree programs available from for-profit universities.

Having said this there are some useful for-profit university promotion sites. For example, the "40 Essential Links for CPA Exam Prep & Practice" is a rather helpful site at AccountingDegree.com ---

At the same time, there is much misleading information at this AccountingDegree.com site. For example, consider the various rankings of online universities at
In most cases the various better and cheaper non-profit colleges and universities are not even mentioned by AccountingDegree.com.

Hence I am torn about posting links to for-profit university Websites. It's helpful to have the "40 Essential Links for CPA Exam Prep & Practice" is a rather helpful site at AccountingDegree.com ---

But it's deceptive when those sites never mention that there are cheaper and better distance education degree programs from nonprofit state universities. Some of the better and cheaper non-profit distance education programs have been highlighted by US News are listed below. You will never find these programs mentioned by AccountingDebree.com or most any for-profit university promotional Website.

"'U.S. News' Sizes Up Online-Degree Programs, Without Specifying Which Is No. 1," by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2012 ---

U.S. News & World Report has published its first-ever guide to online degree programs—but distance-education leaders looking to trumpet their high rankings may find it more difficult to brag about how they placed than do their colleagues at residential institutions.

Unlike the magazine's annual rankings of residential colleges, which cause consternation among many administrators for reducing the value of each program into a single headline-friendly number, the new guide does not provide lists based on overall program quality; no university can claim it hosts the top online bachelor's or online master's program. Instead, U.S. News produced "honor rolls" highlighting colleges that consistently performed well across the ranking criteria.

Eric Brooks, a U.S. News data research analyst, said the breakdown of the rankings into several categories was intentional; his team chose its categories based on areas with enough responses to make fair comparisons.

"We're only ranking things that we felt the response rates justified ranking this year," he said.

The rankings, which will be published today, represent a new chapter in the 28-year history of the U.S. News guide. The expansion was brought on by the rapid growth of online learning. More than six million students are now taking at least one course online, according to a recent survey of more than 2,500 academic leaders by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board.

U.S. News ranked colleges with bachelor's programs according to their performance in three categories: student services, student engagement, and faculty credentials. For programs at the master's level, U.S. News added a fourth category, admissions selectivity, to produce rankings of five different disciplines: business, nursing, education, engineering, and computer information technology.

To ensure that the inaugural rankings were reliable, Mr. Brooks said, U.S. News developed its ranking methodology after the survey data was collected. Doing so, he said, allowed researchers to be fair to institutions that interpreted questions differently.

Some distance-learning experts criticized that technique, however, arguing that the methodology should have been established before surveys were distributed.

Russell Poulin, deputy director of research and analysis for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, which promotes online education as part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, said that approach allowed U.S. News to ask the wrong questions, resulting in an incomplete picture of distance-learning programs.

"It sort of makes me feel like I don't know who won the baseball game, but I'll give you the batting average and the number of steals and I'll tell you who won," he said. Mr. Poulin and other critics said any useful rankings of online programs should include information on outcomes like retention rates, employment prospects, and debt load—statistics, Mr. Brooks said, that few universities provided for this first edition of the U.S. News rankings. He noted that the surveys will evolve in future years as U.S. News learns to better tailor its questions to the unique characteristics of online programs.

W. Andrew McCollough, associate provost for information technology, e-learning, and distance education at the University of Florida, said he was "delighted" to discover that his institution's bachelor's program was among the four chosen for honor-roll inclusion. He noted that U.S. News would have to customize its questions in the future, since he found some of them didn't apply to online programs. He attributed that mismatch to the wide age distribution and other diverse demographic characteristics of the online student body.

The homogeneity that exists in many residential programs "just doesn't exist in the distance-learning environment," he said. Despite the survey's flaws, Mr. McCollough said, the effort to add to the body of information about online programs is helpful for prospective students.

Turnout for the surveys varied, from a 50 percent response rate among nursing programs to a 75 percent response rate among engineering programs. At for-profit institutions—which sometimes have a reputation for guarding their data closely—cooperation was mixed, said Mr. Brooks. Some, like the American Public University System, chose to participate. But Kaplan University, one of the largest providers of online education, decided to wait until the first rankings were published before deciding whether to join in, a spokesperson for the institution said.

Though this year's rankings do not make definitive statements about program quality, Mr. Brooks said the research team was cautious for a reason and hopes the new guide can help students make informed decisions about the quality of online degrees.

"We'd rather not produce something in its first year that's headline-grabbing for the wrong reasons," he said.

'Honor Roll' From 'U.S. News' of Online Graduate Programs in Business

Institution Teaching Practices and Student Engagement Student Services and Technology Faculty Credentials and Training Admissions Selectivity
Arizona State U., W.P. Carey School of Business 24 32 37 11
Arkansas State U. 9 21 1 36
Brandman U. (Part of the Chapman U. system) 40 24 29 n/a
Central Michigan U. 11 3 56 9
Clarkson U. 4 24 2 23
Florida Institute of Technology 43 16 23 n/a
Gardner-Webb U. 27 1 15 n/a
George Washington U. 20 9 7 n/a
Indiana U. at Bloomington, Kelley School of Business 29 19 40 3
Marist College 67 23 6 5
Quinnipiac U. 6 4 13 16
Temple U., Fox School of Business 39 8 17 34
U. of Houston-Clear Lake 8 21 18 n/a
U. of Mississippi 37 44 20 n/a

Source: U.S. News & World Report

US News Comparisons of Top Online Graduate MBA (Business) Programs ---

Institution name Ranks Arizona State University Tempe, AZ

#11 in Admissions Selectivity
#37 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#24 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#32 in Student Services and Technology

Arkansas State University--Jonesboro Jonesboro, AR

#36 in Admissions Selectivity
#1 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#9 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#21 in Student Services and Technology

Brandman University Irvine, CA

NR* in Admissions Selectivity
#29 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#40 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#24 in Student Services and Technology

Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI

#9 in Admissions Selectivity
#56 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#11 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#3 in Student Services and Technology

Clarkson University Potsdam, NY

#23 in Admissions Selectivity
#2 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#4 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#24 in Student Services and Technology

Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL

NR in Admissions Selectivity
#23 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#43 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#16 in Student Services and Technology

Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC

NR in Admissions Selectivity
#15 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#27 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#1 in Student Services and Technology

George Washington University Washington, DC

NR in Admissions Selectivity
#7 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#20 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#9 in Student Services and Technology

Indiana University--Bloomington Bloomington, IN

#3 in Admissions Selectivity
#40 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#29 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#19 in Student Services and Technology

Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY

#5 in Admissions Selectivity
#6 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#67 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#23 in Student Services and Technology

Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT

#16 in Admissions Selectivity
#13 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#6 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#4 in Student Services and Technology

Temple University Philadelphia, PA

#34 in Admissions Selectivity
#17 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#39 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#8 in Student Services and Technology

University of Houston--Clear Lake Houston, TX

NR in Admissions Selectivity
#18 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#8 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#21 in Student Services and Technology

University of Mississippi University, MS

NR in Admissions Selectivity
#20 in Faculty Credentials and Training
#37 in Student Engagement and Accreditation
#44 in Student Services and Technology


Bob Jensen's threads on online education and training alternatives ---

"100 Diagrams That Changed the World," by by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, December 2012 ---

Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) ---

Scum Bags Fraud Department in the Age of Social Networking

"Woman Posed as Aunt of Newtown Victim to Commit Fraud, the F.B.I. Says," by Marc Santora, The New York Times, December 27, 2012 ---

A Bronx woman who the police say posed as a relative of a boy killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in order to solicit donations was arrested on Thursday and charged with lying to federal agents.

The woman, Nouel Alba, 37, claimed to be an aunt of a 6-year-old victim and used her Facebook account, telephone calls and text messages to solicit money for a “funeral fund,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal District Court in Connecticut.

When contacted by federal agents investigating fraud schemes related to the shootings in Newtown, Conn., law enforcement officials said Ms. Alba denied that she had posted any messages on Facebook soliciting donations.

“It is unconscionable to think that the families of the victims in Newtown, and a sympathetic community looking to provide them some sort of financial support and comfort, have become the targets of criminals,” said Kimberly K. Mertz, the special agent in charge of the New Haven division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Today’s arrest is a stern message that the F.B.I. will investigate and bring to justice those who perpetrate Internet fund-raising scams, especially those scams that exploit the most vulnerable in their time of shared sorrow.”

If convicted, Ms. Alba faces a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 fine.

Ms. Alba, who was released on $50,000 bond at her arraignment on Thursday in Hartford, was represented by a federal public defender, Deirdre Murray, who did not immediately return a call.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"Fathers disappear from households across America Big increase in single mothers," by Luke Rosiak, The Washington Times, December 26, 2012 ---

Nicole Hawkins‘ three daughters have matching glittery boots, but none has the same father. Each has uniquely colored ties in her hair, but none has a dad present in her life.

As another single mother on Sumner Road decked her row-house stoop with Christmas lights and a plastic Santa, Ms. Hawkins recalled that her middle child’s father has never spent a holiday or birthday with her. In her neighborhood in Southeast Washington, 1 in 10 children live with both parents, and 84 percent live with only their mother.

In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.

America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.

People “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father,” he said.

The spiral continues each year. Married couples with children have an average income of $80,000, compared with $24,000 for single mothers.

“We have one class that thinks marriage and fatherhood is important, and another which doesn’t, and it’s causing that gap, income inequality, to get wider,” Mr. DiCaro said.

The predilection among men to walk away from their babies is concentrated in the inner cities. In Baltimore, 38 percent of families have two parents, and in St. Louis the portion is 40 percent.

The near-total absence of male role models has ripped a hole the size of half the population in urban areas.

Tiny selfless deeds trickle in to fill that hole as the natural human desire for intimacy is fulfilled: One afternoon last week as a girl hoisted a half-eaten ice cream sandwich high over her pigtailed head, Larry McManus, the father of the girl’s sister, bent down to eat out of her hands as he picked up the girls from school.

“I know dads that say they ain’t their kids. I see dads being disrespectful of the mothers. And I see ones who take other men’s kids to football games because they know their fathers aren’t around,” said Mr. McManus, an ex-felon who said he is “trying to make a lot of changes right now.”

Asked his daughter’s age, he consults with her sister.

“Five. She’s in pre-K,” the girl answered.

“She’s 5,” he echoed. “Mmm, that was good,” he said gently of the ice cream sandwich. “Can I have another bite, please?”

Continued in article

Household income is the primary basis for measuring changes in income and inequality. If two people earning $30,000 each join together in a shared household they  have $60,000 to afford better housing, share automobiles, share computers, buy bigger home entertainment systems, etc. One theory is that, as shared households decline due to single-person living, the statistics of poverty and inequality should get worse in terms of "household income."

This is one basis for arguing that increases in inequality measures are artifacts, at least in part, of computing inequality on the basis of household income.

The Growth Trend of Americans Living Alone --- Click Here


Jensen Comment
Be that as it may, households often have multiple people living on only one person's income plus possible supplements such as child welfare payments, food stamps, etc. Under this theory, poverty and inequality may increase as more households have multiple people sharing one income.

About all I can conclude from all these interacting factors is that measures of inequality such as Gini Coefficients may not be all that comparable over time due to changes in "households." It is well known that Gini Coefficients are not comparable between nations having different absolute levels of poverty. In addition, they may not be all that comparable for one nation over time ---

December 27, 2012 message from Glen Gray

Although it’s only tangentially related to this topic, I heard the following yesterday on NPR: France’s president wants to ban homework because it’s unfair to students from poor families because poor students don’t get help with their homework at home, but middle-class students do get help—therefore homework is inherently unfair and, therefore, should be eliminated. While his statement about poor students is may be true, his proposed solution seems to be the worse of many possible solutions.




These kinds of stories remind we of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” published in 1961—a very chilling story. Here is the start of the summary in Wikipedia:

“It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is smarter, better-looking, stronger, or faster than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced. The government forces citizens to wear "handicaps" (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast).

One April, 14 year old Harrison Bergeron, a highly intelligent, handsome child, is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel, by the government. George and Hazel are not fully aware of the tragedy. Hazel’s lack of awareness is due to "average" intelligence, which in 2081, is the politically correct way of referring to someone of well-below-average intelligence. George does not comprehend the tragedy since the law requires him to wear the radio ear piece for twenty-four hours a day because he is of above-average intelligence. The government broadcasts noise over these radios to interrupt the thoughts of intelligent people like George.”



Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff ST
Northridge, CA 91330-8372

"A Reform Boilermaker Mitch Daniels makes his own pay at Purdue University subject to performance," The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2013 ---

Being a college president is one of the easier jobs in America, at least as long as all you aspire to do is give speeches, gladhand donors and put up some new buildings. So a round of applause for Mitch Daniels, the incoming Purdue University president who seems to have more reform ambition.

The departing Indiana Governor is headed to West Lafayette later this month, and he insisted on an unusual and innovative compensation package that could be a model amid the larger U.S. debate about value in higher education. Mr. Daniels is taking a substantial salary cut and linking his pay to his performance. Imagine that.

Under the terms of the contract, Mr. Daniels will earn base pay of $420,000. That's near the $421,000 average for presidents of public universities, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis, and down from the $555,000 earned by Purdue's previous president. Mr. Daniels could then make up to 30% in bonuses tied to hard outcome metrics like graduation rates, student affordability, faculty hiring and achievement, and philanthropic support. Even if Mr. Daniels met 100% of his targets, he'd still rank 10th in compensation among the Big Ten presidents.

Performance pay is typical in the private economy but not in the generally accountability-free world of academia. Mr. Daniels's example is a sign that he sees himself as a steward of the dollars of state taxpayers—and it is also an implicit rebuke to the growing class of professional academic administrators who nominally run the joints.

As tuition and student loan debt continue to rise, families and even a few faculty members are starting to question how many costly assistant vice provosts for inclusion, associate sustainability deans, and the like colleges and universities really need, or they can afford. Nationwide, the number of bureaucrats has increased 10 times faster over the last decade than people hired to do actual teaching and research, U.S. Department of Education data show.

Purdue became one epicenter for this new scrutiny after a $67.4 million budget deficit in 2010 forced cutbacks. J. Paul Robinson, a cytomics professor and chairman of the faculty senate, calculates that over the last 11 years the number of Purdue administrators has jumped by 62% while professors increased by merely 8%. If his contract is any indication, Mr. Daniels will expect more, and measurable results, from the paper pushers.

Mr. Daniels's frugal bona fides and lack of pretense as Governor will be useful tools if he does plan on disrupting the higher-ed status quo, though as a Republican who didn't climb the greasy academic pole his job will be doubly difficult. Faculty and political hostility is likely to be extreme, but he is off to the right start by setting an example with his own pay. Purdue will be fun to watch.

Jensen Comment
This may be a good idea for the public sector, but in the private sector pay for performance can be a disaster if "performance" is defined in terms of short term criteria rather than long-term criteria. In countless cases this as lead to "earnings management" accounting frauds ---


The State of Texas selects K-12 biased textbooks for all public schools like our worst nightmares of George Orwell's Big Brother. An obscure English professor from Trinity University is making some progress in changing all that ---
Thank you Robert Miller for the heads up.

Michael Soto wraps up his short tenure on the State Board of Education next week, but he was thoughtful enough to leave behind a gift.

Soto, the Trinity University English professor who was knocked off in this year's Democratic primary by the little-known Marisa Perez, spent much of his two years on the board grappling with frustration over the state's cumbersome textbook mandates.

So, in his final months in office, he quietly rewrote the board's rules governing the adoption of instructional materials.

Those changes, coupled with a 2011 state law that let some oxygen into the room for school district curriculum planners, could mean that textbook publishers will no longer view Texas as the rich, crazy uncle they need but wish they could avoid.

“It's a whole new ballgame,” Soto says.

In recent years, the state board has been too busy relitigating the Scopes Monkey Trial to get around to the 21st-century realities of K-12 education. We've seen San Antonio's own Ken Mercer, the most affable culture warrior you could ever hope to meet, cheerfully define his opponents as Godless, phonics-hating “educrats.”

Most importantly, we've seen conservatives throw out their justified faith in local control by dictating exactly what school kids around the state must be taught to believe about American exceptionalism or the role of Christianity in the American Revolution.

SBOE curriculum debates have brought more ridicule down on the state during the past four years than any issue this side of secessionism. That was partially remedied in 2011 by Senate Bill 6, which provided school districts some latitude to go outside the SBOE-approved book list.

If SB 6 changed the framework, Soto helped to fill in the picture. In essence, he reduced the power of his own board and managed to convince his colleagues that it was a good idea.

“I wanted to encourage school districts to think creatively about how they used their instructional materials,” Soto says. “And I wanted publishers to have significantly more freedom to be creative and still remain a part of the state adoption process.”

Ultimately, that meant more deleting than writing; scratching nonsensical rules such as the one that mandated textbook publishers to mention a required element of the state curriculum three times.

“I would ask my colleagues, 'Why are we specifying how many times something has to be mentioned?' They said, 'Three times is better than one, because students will encounter it more and be more likely to remember it,'” Soto says. “So I said, 'By that logic, why not require it 50 times?'”

Before Soto's rule changes, if a school wanted to buy a teacher's manual from a publisher, it was obligated to also shell out money for textbooks. Soto eliminated that requirement, enabling publishers to tailor their products more precisely to the needs of individual districts.

Soto also threw out the board's onerous old mandate that all electronic instructional materials be platform-neutral, automatically ruling out innovative material in Android, iPad, Kindle, Windows or Mac formats.

Soto has a low-key personality and a nuanced way with the language, and he has managed to maintain civil relationships with the board's social crusaders. He says they didn't initially understand why his suggested rules changes were necessary but ultimately backed most of the recommendations.

The repercussions could resound nationally. Texas has long dominated the agenda for textbook publishers because unlike states such as California, which allows individual school districts to make their own choices, this state had a powerful board that could, on a creationist whim, dictate the purchases for 10 percent of the schools in the country.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The State of Texas even makes up its own politically correct facts, including the claim that the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb to terminate the Korean War. Big Brother textbook writer is really scary. Actually Big Brother does not write textbooks. But Big Brother has monopoly powers to insist that publishers put in politically correct "facts" preferred by Big Brother.

During a goodly number of years of my career I was rather deep into cluster analysis that in biology is known as numerical taxonomy ---
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_taxonomy
Some of my presentations and publications on this topic include the following:

"Isotropic Scaling of the Interior Components Inside Joiner Scaler Block Clusterings of Entities (Cases) and Variates (Attributes): An Application to United Nations Voting Records," University of Manchester, England, October 3, 1988.

"Extension of Consensus Methods For Priority Ranking Problems: Eigenvector Analysis of 'Pick-the-Winner' Paired Comparison Matrices," Decision Sciences, Vol. 17, Spring 1986, 195-211.

"Aggregation (Composition) Schema for Eigenvector Scaling of Priorities in Hierarchial Structures," Multivariate Behavioral Research, Vol. 18, January 1983, 63-84.

"Accounting Futures Analysis: An Eigenvector Model for Subjective Elicitations of Variations in Cross-Impacts Over Time," Decision Sciences, January 1982, Vol. 13, 15-37.

"Scenario Probability Scaling: An Eigenvector Analysis of Elicited Scenario Odds Ratios," Futures, December 1981, Vol. 13, 489-98.

"The Evaluation of Generic Cross-Impact Models: A Revised Balancing Law for the R-Space Model," Futures, June 1981, 217-220.\

"A Dynamic Programming Algorithm for Cluster Analysis," Mathematical Programming in Statistics, Edited by Arthanari and Dodge, 1979, New York, John Wiley & Sons.

Seminar on cluster analysis, sponsored by The Institute for Advanced Technology, January 10 and 11, 1972, New York City.

"A Cluster Analysis Study of Financial Performance of Selected Business Firms," The Accounting Review, Vol. XLVI, No. 1, January 1971, 36-56.

Here's a paper that was rejected by a referee who later plagiarized part of it in his own name
Working Paper 127
Comparisons of Eigenvector, Least Squares, Chi Square, and Logarithmic Least Squares Methods of Scaling a Reciprocal Matrix


Therefore it's of some interest to me that neuroscientists are now learning how the brain seems to perform a natural cluster analysis for terminology:
"Data + Design Project How Do Our Brains Semantically Map the Things We See?"
December 23. 2012
Posted by Paul Caridad

I always thought there was great potential for cluster analysis in financial statement analysis, but along the way I got distracted by other lines of research. But I still think there is great potential for basic research in clustering and pattern recognition. Now there may be some research idea potential in numerical taxonomy of XBRL taxonomy.

Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) ---


 Jensen Comment
When I first reported this theft I envisioned ten tractor trailers loaded by hooded thieves in the dead of night.
It turns out that things may not be what they seem when you deal with a cartel monopolist wannabe.
Warning --- this is a four page article that should have been reduced to the editor to a single page..

Being a quality control sampler in this industry is almost as sweet as being a quality control sampler on the Mustang Ranch.

This smells like a trap by the cartel to frame those who oppose it.
Adi Wijaya, 01/03/2013 01:02 AM

"The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist," by Brendan Borrell, Bloomberg Business Week, January 2, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

Almost sounds like a deceptive tax on the older generation who saved for their retirements
"Interest Rates Near Zero Put Savers in a Bind," by Peter Coy, Bloomberg Business Week, December 20, 2012 ---

Paul Hernandez describes himself as “one of those people who believe in standing on your own two feet.” At age 48 he lost a job as a contract programmer for Princess Cruise Lines, and he hasn’t been employed since. For a long time that was fine. His wife was earning a good salary; they lived frugally, childless and debt-free; and they earned a steady investment income from conservative assets such as bank certificates of deposit. Now things are getting tighter. As expected, his wife retired. Unexpectedly, their income from investments has plummeted because of falling interest rates. Hernandez, now 60, blames the Federal Reserve for hurting savers like himself by lowering rates in an effort to spur economic growth.

“I’ve sent e-mails to [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke. I know he doesn’t read them,” says Hernandez. “We were always believers in base hits, accumulating your money slowly. That’s all being ripped out from under us. In this bizarro world, the people who didn’t carry a lot of debt are paying for it all. And it seems like nobody cares.”

Hernandez has a point. Interest rates haven’t been this low in the U.S. in at least a century. A 10-year Treasury note yields just 1.7 percent a year, and a one-month Treasury bill has an annualized return averaging just 0.05 percent over the past year. That’s great for the world’s biggest borrower, the U.S. government, but it’s hell on savers. At that rate, an investor in one-month T-bills could double his or her money in—wait for it—1,387 years. Since inflation is running at close to 2 percent, you’re actually losing wealth by putting your money into Treasury securities.

Moving your money abroad may not help, either. Fourteen countries, with a combined equity and debt market capitalization of $65 trillion, have near-zero short-term interest rates, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett.

Senior citizens suffer the most from low rates. People 75 and older get 8 percent of their income from interest, dividends, and rents, according to an analysis of government data by Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. People younger than 44 get less than 1 percent of their income from those sources.

What can savers do about this Fed-induced predicament besides complain? Hernandez’s choice is to stick with the safest, shortest-term securities—low yields be damned. That strategy may make sense if you’re going to take money out soon, or if you’re so risk-averse you sell in a panic whenever the market hiccups. Hernandez, who lives in Henderson, Nev., shies away from riskier assets because he thinks the Fed is manipulating markets. “I believe we’re sitting on a house of cards,” he says. “Every bit of our money is going into CDs and money markets now.”

For most people, though, being ultra-cautious won’t produce the growth needed to pay for the children’s college or a golden retirement. The Federal Reserve, by pinning short-term rates to the floor, is effectively pushing you to take some chances with your money. “Don’t fight the Fed,” says Larry Elkin, a certified financial planner and president of Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Scarsdale, N.Y. “You’re bringing a rock to a gunfight.”

If your goal is income, alternatives include dividend-paying stocks—the average yield for stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was 2.2 percent as of Dec. 12—or real estate investment trusts, which invest in properties such as office buildings and also boast dividends. A Bloomberg REIT index had a 3.5 percent dividend yield as of Dec. 12. Mortgage-backed securities, emerging-market debt, and high-yield bonds have seen the biggest percentage gains in assets lately. Remember, spreading the money among asset classes will reduce the fluctuations in your portfolio.

In the fixed-income world, corporate and municipal bonds offer better yields than Treasuries. The FINRA-Bloomberg Active Investment Grade U.S. Corporate Bond Index yielded 3.4 percent on Dec. 12, 2.7 percentage points above the benchmark five-year Treasury note. You can also get some juice from munis, although not as much as usual: Their yields are at 47-year lows—3.3 percent as of Dec. 12, according to the Bond Buyer’s average for 20-year Aa2-rated general obligation bonds. If you do buy bonds, consider shorter maturities. They’ll lose less value if interest rates rise. Plus, as they mature you’ll have cash to pour into higher-yielding securities. Like it or not, this is not the time to make a living from clipping coupons.

The Fed has not suppressed interest rates this much for this long since 1942 to 1951. Under the control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury during that period, the Fed was ordered to make it easy for the government to borrow cheaply to pay off debt incurred in the war effort. Back then it kept long-term Treasury bonds at no more than 2.5 percent and short-term Treasury bills at no more than 0.375 percent, according to George Mason University economist Lawrence White.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It's sad that about the only way older folks can get the retirement incomes they counted on from savings is to take on more and more risk of losing their savings.

One alternative is to swing over to Wal-Mart and see if there are any openings for greeters.

Bob Jensen's threads on personal finance ---

"Oops! The Seven Worst Predictions About 2012," by Peter Coy, Bloomberg Business Week, December 28, 2012 ---

To this we might add Jensen's forecast for convergence of international IFRS and US GAAP

CDO --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collateralized_debt_obligation

Countrywide Financial --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countrywide_Financial

Those Poisoned CDOs
"Bank of America Ordered to Unseal Documents in MBIA Case," by Dan Freed, The Street, June 4, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Arguably the worst decision in the 2008 economic bailout was Bank of America's decision to buy the bankrupt Countrywide Financial. BofA then CEO Lewis claims to this day that Treasury Secretary Paulsen held a gun to his head and said buy Countrywide Financial or else. Countrywide has been nothing but a cash flow hemorrhage for BofA ever since.

From the Scout Report on January 4, 2013

Voice Shortcuts Launcher --- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.projecttrinity.voiceshortcuts.free 

Are you looking for a shortcut or two? Look no further than the helpful Voice Shortcuts Launcher. With this application, users can just say a single word to open audio files, websites, files, and so on. Additionally, visitors can use it to view contacts or directly call, message or email any contact in their contact lists. This version of Voice Shortcuts Launcher is compatible with all mobile devices running Android 2.2 and newer.

WorkFlowy --- https://workflowy.com/ 

To call WorkFlowy a list-making app undersells its surprising versatility. This browser-based tool allows users to create lists and sub-lists on every topic imaginable, from to-dos to groceries to research annotations. The easy-to-use tag system makes sorting entries easy, and the drag-and-drop interface allows users to modify lists with a click. Because it works through any available browser, it is readily accessible at work, at home, and via mobile devices.

An interesting discovery made regarding a historic quarrel in

Found: The homestead that burned to the ground by Hatfields in legendary
family feud with McCoys

Discovery of historic artifacts from Hatfield and McCoy Feud announced

Researchers: Bullets found in Kentucky help pinpoint location of key
Hatfield-McCoy Battle

The Hatfield and McCoy Feud

Hatfields & McCoys: The Girl Who Loved Too Much

Center for Appalachian Studies


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

Education Tutorials

Free Online Certificate Courses & MOOCs from Great Universities: A Complete List ---

65 MOOC Certificate Courses starting in January 2013 ---

Videos from the company that developed Camtasia for the PC and the Mac
Revolutionary Ideas in Learning:  News, stories, and training from TechSmith ---

Teaching Channel --- https://www.teachingchannel.org/

Michael Sandel’s Famous Harvard Course on Justice Now Available as a MOOC (free) --- Click Here

University of Illinois Extension

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/ 

Free online courses (some for credit) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Other online course and degree alternatives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Return to Mars

Leonard Nimoy Narrates Short Film About NASA’s Dawn: A Voyage to the Origins of the Solar System --- Click Here

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/ 

UPM Forest Life --- http://w3.upm-kymmene.com/upm/forestlife/index.html

USDA: Plants Database [Botany] --- http://plants.usda.gov/java/

Teaching Resources: Botany and Plant Pathology --- http://www.ag.purdue.edu/btny/pages/teachingresources.aspx

Birds of Paradise --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YTR21os8gTA

Fiji Reef --- http://fijireef.ning.com/

Teaching Geology --- http://www.colorado.edu/geolsci/Resources/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Environmental Health  --- http://www.cdc.gov/features/environmentalhealth.html

Introduction to the History and Theory of Architecture ---

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

Facing Freedom (Native American, Indian, African American, Black, Slavery) --- http://facingfreedom.org/

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/ 

American Jewess Project --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/amjewess/

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math and Statistics Tutorials

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/

Archives of American Mathematics Spotlight --- http://www.maa.org/spotlight/index.html

How to Add and Subtract Mixed Fractions ---
Home Page:  Other tips on math and living in general (including how to train your puppy to do business outdoors) ---

"The Risk of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis," CFO.com Whitepaper, 2012 ---

While spreadsheets are widely used for statistical analysis, they are useful only to a certain point. When used for a task they?re not designed to perform, or for a task beyond the limit of their capabilities, using spreadsheets can be risky. Read this paper to learn about more powerful yet easy-to-use analytics alternatives that may be more suitable.

December 27, 2012 reply from Jagdish Gangolly


This paper nicely summarises the drawbacks of spreadsheets for statistical analysis. It is also makes a pitch for IBM's SPSS.

While I hate to bite the hand that fed me at least for some time in my career, I think IBM is fighting a losing battle. Except for some social science disciplines, SPSS has already lost the battle to S-Plus and R. The reason is obvious: SPSS, like Stata, Statistica, SAS,..., is a program, while S-Plus and R are (object-oriented and functional) programming languages designed specifically for statistical computation.



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

Bob Jensen's sadly neglected Excel tutorials ---


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

History Tutorials

"100 Diagrams That Changed the World," by by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, December 2012 ---
Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) ---

The Best of Open Culture 2012: Free Music, Film, Books, Life Advice & More ---

Watch the Only Known Footage of the Legendary Bluesman Lead Belly (1935 and 1945) ---

Between Liberation Space and Time of Need, Korea 1945-1950 http://content.lib.washington.edu/koreanweb/index.html

TED Radio Hour --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/ 

Archives of American Mathematics Spotlight --- http://www.maa.org/spotlight/index.html

American Jewess Project --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/amjewess/

Facing Freedom (Native American, Indian, African American, Black, Slavery) --- http://facingfreedom.org/

National Gallery: 30 Highlight Paintings --- http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/explore-the-paintings/30-highlight-paintings/

Edward Judice Photograph Collection --- http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/umarmot/?p=4675

The Ithacan (newspaper) --- http://www.ithacalibrary.com/archives/ithacan.php

The Cornell Daily Sun (first published at Cornell University in 1880) --- http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/newscornell 

From the Scout Report on January 4, 2013

An interesting discovery made regarding a historic quarrel in

Found: The homestead that burned to the ground by Hatfields in legendary
family feud with McCoys

Discovery of historic artifacts from Hatfield and McCoy Feud announced

Researchers: Bullets found in Kentucky help pinpoint location of key
Hatfield-McCoy Battle

The Hatfield and McCoy Feud

Hatfields & McCoys: The Girl Who Loved Too Much

Center for Appalachian Studies

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

The 7 Best Music Books of 2012 --- http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/21/best-music-books-2012

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Film Tribute to America’s Great Musical Tradition ---

Watch the Only Known Footage of the Legendary Bluesman Lead Belly (1935 and 1945) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

"Grammar to the Rescue," by Geoffrey Pullum, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 20, 2012 ---

I only recently got around to reading an article by Peg Tyre in The Atlantic in October which described a very successful experiment in teaching writing at a high school on Staten Island (Lucy Ferriss discussed the controversy that followed it here on October 11). The story has an oddly conservative twist. Let me summarize a bit.

In subjects like English and history, New Dorp High School students were failing way too often on the essay parts of the Regents exams (a New York State graduation requirement). They could write a sentence or two but not a convincing and coherent paragraph.

Trying to figure out why, one teacher developed a quiz on coordinators (traditional grammar’s “coordinating conjunctions”): and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet. The surprising result was that many students seemed unable to use them effectively.

This led to a consideration of words like although, because, despite, if, since, unless, etc. These are traditionally called “subordinating conjunctions” but more accurately treated as prepositions taking clause complements (see The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Chapter 7). An exercise on Of Mice and Men that involved completing a sentence that begins “Although George … ” drew some predictable sentences like Although George worked very hard, he could not attain the American Dream, but also answers like “Although George and Lenny were friends.” Many students weren’t clear on the difference between an independent clause and a phrase containing a subordinate clause. They normally never used although, and hardly knew what it was for.

The article relates the relevant background from the recent history of teacher training in America as follows:

Fifty years ago, elementary-school teachers taught the general rules of spelling and the structure of sentences. Later instruction focused on building solid paragraphs into full-blown essays. Some kids mastered it, but many did not. About 25 years ago, in an effort to enliven instruction and get more kids writing, schools of education began promoting a different approach. The popular thinking was that writing should be “caught, not taught,” explains Stephen Graham, a professor of education instruction at Arizona State University. Roughly, it was supposed to work like this: Give students interesting creative-writing assignments; put that writing in a fun, social context in which kids share their work. Kids, the theory goes, will “catch” what they need in order to be successful writers. Formal lessons in grammar, sentence structure, and essay-writing took a back seat to creative expression.

New Dorp decided to try going back to old ways. They brought in Judith Hochman, former head of a White Plains private school with a great record of teaching writing. Hochman’s students construct prose the old-fashioned way:

They are explicitly taught how to turn ideas into simple sentences, and how to construct complex sentences from simple ones … . They are instructed on how to use appositive clauses to vary the way their sentences begin. Later on, they are taught how to recognize sentence fragments, how to pull the main idea from a paragraph, and how to form a main idea on their own.

The New Dorp teachers started revamping their whole curriculum under Hochman’s tutelage. Essay practice became a part of almost every subject. A chemistry lesson on hydrogen and oxygen would be followed up by getting the students to write sentences with subordinate clauses.

With although as the prompt, they had to construct something like “Although hydrogen is explosive and oxygen supports combustion, a compound of them puts out fires.”

With the prompt unless: “Unless hydrogen and oxygen form a compound, they are explosive and dangerous.”

Or given if: “If hydrogen and oxygen form a compound, they lose their original properties of being explosive and supporting combustion.”

Comprehension of the subject matter improved dramatically under this regime. But the crucial thing is that writing in general also improved. Pass rates for the Regents tests in English and global history soared. The school’s dropout rate had been 40 percent in 2006, and it has fallen to 20 percent.

Apparently students’ ability to write prose that looks literate and serious can be decisively improved through the perhaps unlikely strategy of explicitly drilling one or two dozen common words that function as attachment points for coordinate or subordinate finite clauses.

Perhaps the list of clause-taking prepositions could be lengthened a little (with given, lest, notwithstanding, provided, since, while, etc.), and maybe it would be useful to get students to try using a third class of useful words, the adverbs that function as connective adjuncts (however, moreover, nevertheless/nonetheless, therefore, though, thus, and so on).

Continued in article

"Well-chosen words:  The guardians of English may be unable to resist linguistic change but they do have the power to influence it ," by Michael Skapinker, Financial Times, December 21, 2012 ---

 Spell it Out: The Singular Story of English Spelling,
by David Crystal, Profile, RRP£12.99, 224 pages

The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published,
by David Skinner, HarperCollins, RRP£16.99/$26.99, 368 pages

Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary,
by Sarah Ogilvie, Cambridge University Press RRP£17.99/$29.99, 257 pages

Employers have told David Crystal that if they receive a job application with a spelling mistake, it goes straight in the bin. I am not sure I believe that. Who throws anything, apart from food wrappers and empty coffee cups, in the bin these days? I imagine the misspelling applicants get an email saying “We are afraid your application has been unsuccessful” and never discover why.

Misspelling is not a modern malady. In Spell it Out, Crystal reproduces a 1910 cartoon from Punch magazine in which a boss berates his secretary for typing “income” as “incum”. “Good Heavens!” exclaims the secretary. “How did I come to leave out the ‘b’?” And in 1750 Lord Chesterfield, the statesman, advising his son to brush up on his spelling, warned: “I know a man of quality, who never recovered the ridicule of having spelled ‘wholesome’ without the ‘w’.”

You would not get either “incum” or “holesome” today. As soon as I typed them, Microsoft Word inserted wavy red lines beneath telling me I had made a mistake. But, as Crystal points out, electronic spellcheckers are less helpful when you misspell a word in such a way as to spell another, as in a poem by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar:

I have a spelling checker,

It came with my PC.

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Why, for centuries, have people struggled to spell? Because English spelling is horribly hard. It is not just that we have “for” and “four”, “stake”, “steak” and “mistake”. We also have “peak”, “peek” and “pique”. “Horrid” has a double consonant in the middle, “timid” a single one. “Prefer” has one “f”, “proffer” two.

Why is English spelling such a tangle? It all started when Latin-speaking missionaries arrived in Britain in the 6th century without enough letters in their alphabet. They had 23. (They didn’t have “j”, “u” or “w”.) Yet the Germanic Anglo-Saxon languages had at least 37 phonemes, or distinctive sounds. The Romans didn’t have a letter, for example, for the Anglo-Saxon sound we spell “th”. The problem continues. Most English-speakers today have, depending on their accents, 40 phonemes, which we have to render using 26 letters. So, we use stratagems such as doubling vowels to elongate them, as in “feet” and “fool”.

With the Norman invasion in 1066, spelling became more complicated still; French and Latin words rushed into the language. As the centuries went by, scribes found ways of reflecting the sounds people used with the letters that they had. They lengthened vowels by adding a final “e”, so that we could tell “hope” from “hop”.

From the late 1300s, scribes used the letter combination “gh” in words such as “night”, to represent the back-of-the-mouth noise people then used. Why did it remain even after the sound died out? Because by the end of the 15th century, William Caxton had introduced printing to England, and the printers decided to keep it.

It is often thought that printing standardised English spelling but much variation remained. While Caxton would usually write “fynysshed”, Crystal also found “finisshed”, “fynisshed”, “fyn-ysshid” and “fynysshyd”. “Musik” sometimes appeared as “musycque” and “them” as “theym”.

Samuel Johnson’s dictionary largely fixed English spelling. By the 19th century, Crystal says, every educated family had a copy. But Johnson’s dictionary wasn’t the last word. For example, he said that no word could end with a “c”. So he insisted on “musick”.

Language and spelling change. Crystal, one of the most prolific writers on English, has helped popularise that truth. If, as internet use suggests, people are now starting to write “rhubarb” as “rubarb”, that, he says, may one day become an acceptable alternative. But Crystal cannot stop himself wanting to teach people to spell the old way. If only, Crystal writes, young people understood the derivations of words. If they learnt a little Latin, they would realise that “aberrant” had one “b” and “abbreviate” two because they came from the Latin source words ab+errant and ab+breviate. Crystal is as entertaining and erudite as ever in this book but he has probably spent too long at his desk if he thinks young people are eager for etymology lessons. Those who really want to know how to spell and what words mean can look them up in a dictionary.

Dictionaries have been setting people right for a long time. In a letter to the periodical The World in 1754, Lord Chesterfield said he accepted the authority of Johnson’s. “I hereby declare that I make a total surrender of all my rights and privileges in the English language, as a freeborn British subject, to the said Mr Johnson, during the term of his dictatorship.”

Across the Atlantic, people no longer wanted to be British subjects and Noah Webster wanted a dictionary that would give the new republic pride in its own way of speaking. His great work, An American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828, contained the now-familiar “humor”, “labor” and “center”. It became the standard American reference book well into the 20th century, when US schools had Good Grammar Weeks, during which children were encouraged to go seven days without splitting an infinitive.

In everyday speech, people split infinitives all the time. Americans also used words such as “ain’t”, unrecognised by Webster’s, and sang along to “Ain’t We Got Fun”.

In The Story of Ain’t, David Skinner recalls the convulsion that, in 1961, accompanied the publication of Webster’s third edition, which contained not only then-current words such as “pin-up”, “astronaut” and “beatnik”, but the dreaded “ain’t”.

The New York Times said Webster’s had “surrendered to the permissive school”. The Atlantic called the new dictionary “a very great calamity”. In the Detroit News, the Rt Rev Richard S. Emrich declared it “bolshevik”. The uproar was good for sales. “But,” Skinner writes, “Noah Webster’s ideal of a country unified by his dictionary was in tatters.”

Why did the editors of Webster’s Third drop this lexicographic A-bomb (another addition to the dictionary)? Because views on dictionaries, indeed on language itself, had changed. Instead of laying down rules on how people should write and speak, dictionaries became records of how people did write and speak. And that meant all the people, not just those who spoke the educated language of New England. The new trends in lexicography went along with the growth of scientific method and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution: lexicographers observed what was happening to the language, rather than handing down precepts.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Helpers for Writers ---

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

December 21, 2012

December 22, 2012

December 24, 2012

December 26, 2012

December 27, 2012

December 28, 2012

December 29, 2012

December 31, 2012

January 1, 2013

January 2, 2013

January 3, 2013

January 4, 2012

January 5, 2013

January 7, 2013

January 8, 2013

January 9, 2013



Heart Attack --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_attack
Four Things You Will Feel Before a Heart Attack ---
Jensen Comment
It almost gives you a heart attack waiting for this page to progress from slide to slide.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Environmental Health --- http://www.cdc.gov/features/environmentalhealth.html 

"Why Not Drop Health Insurance and Pay the Penalty? It’s because the decision is not just a financial one. Here are the other factors to consider," by Benjamin S. Lupin, CFO.com, January 3, 2013 ---

"It’s All About the Genes and the Brain Machines:  In 2012, genomics tiptoed into the doctor’s office, gene therapy rose again, and man and machine united," by Susan Young, MIT's Technology Review, December 24, 2012 --- Click Here

A Legal-Language Repeat from Last Year
Twas The Night Before Christmas, Legal Version ---
Thank you Paul Caron for heads up

Bob Jensen's Humor Pictures and Cartoons

Set 01 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/Humor/2011/Set01/Humor2011Set01.htm

Set 02 --- www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/Humor/2011/Set02/Set02.htm

Set 03 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Tidbits/Humor/2012/Set03/HumorSet03.htm

Forwarded by Paula

I met a fairy who said she would grant me one wish. Immediately I said, "I want to live forever."

"Sorry," said the fairy, "I'm not allowed to grant eternal life."

"OK," I said, "Then, I want to die after Congress balances the Federal budget."

"You crafty bastard," said the fairy.


Michael Davis Ford's Theater part 2 ---

Archie's Jewish Friend ---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

Accounting  and Taxation News Sites ---


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

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


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

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

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

I found another listserve that is exceptional -

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

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


Scott forwarded the following message from Jim Counts

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

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

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

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

Please encourage your members to join our listserve.

If any questions let me know.

Hemet, CA
Moderator TaxTalk





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


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

Some Accounting History Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

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


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