Set 02 of My Sunrise and Sunset Favorites from the White Mountains of New Hampshire --- 


Tidbits on October 29, 2013
Bob Jensen

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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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

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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 ---

The Earth is Beautiful and Alive ---

75 Years of Superman in 2 Minutes ---

Moreea Island Tahiti ---

Japanese Beer Commercial ---

Chicago Film Archives ---

MetMedia ---

Free music downloads ---

Verdi's Requiem With The Chicago Symphony ---

Act Like You Know: Giuseppe Verdi ---

Verdi's Operas: A Vigorous Soundtrack To Human Nature ---

Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington: Solo Piano, Berlin 1969 ---

Patti Smith Sings “You Light Up My Life” with Composer Joe Brooks on 1979 Show Kids Are People Too ---
Debbie Boone does it better ---

The Fundamentals of Jazz & Rock Drumming Explained in Five Creative Minutes ---

A Debt Ceiling Playlist: 5 Songs To Push Your Mind To The Brink ---

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

Pandora (my favorite online music station) ---
(online music site) ---
Slacker (my second-favorite commercial-free online music site) ---

Gerald Trites likes this international radio site ---
Songza:  Search for a song or band and play the selection ---
Also try Jango ---
Sometimes this old guy prefers the jukebox era (just let it play through) ---
And I listen quite often to Soldiers Radio Live ---
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings ---

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

Photographs and Art

Stunning Time-lapse of Lasers at the Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawaii ---

National Geographic Asked Fans To Submit Their Best Travel Pictures And Got Some Amazing Results ---

Science More: Mountain Technology Drones Geography Iconic Matterhorn Mountain Mapped In Impeccable Detail By Drones ---

Great Wild Animal Photographs ---

First Nations Collection (Native Americans in Oregon) ---

The Big New Yorker Book of Cats ---

Theodore Roosevelt Collection Photographs ---

Theodore Roosevelt Collection ---

The Duke Chronicle ---

ArtBabble (art history at Indianapolis Museum of Art) ---

MetMedia ---

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 ---

Famous Writers Name “Good Books That Almost Nobody Has Read” in The New Republic (1934) ---

The Very First Reviews of James Joyce’s Ullyses: “A Work of High Genius” (1922) ---

Virginia Woolf Writes About Joyce’s Ulysses, “Never Did Any Book So Bore Me,” and Quits at Page 200 ---

Vice Meets Up with Superstar Communist Cultural Theorist Slavoj Žižek ---

When universities have cat fights --- in this case over the Emily Dickenson Poetry Archives ---

30 Renowned Writers Speaking About God: From Isaac Asimov to Margaret Atwood ---

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Discusses His Love for Reading Proust, and Why “Literature is Crucial to Any Democracy” ---

Beat Poetry, Broadsides, and Little Magazines ---

Broadside Verses Collection ---

Free Electronic Literature ---
Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on October 29, 2013      

U.S. National Debt Clock (now $17+ trillion booked debt) ---
Also see

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

Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates ---

"Academic reforms: A four-part proposal," by Brendon Nyhan, April 16, 2013 ---

What are business student certificates and how do they differ from college degrees?

Hint: Degrees generally take longer but the material itself can be a tough or tougher than material in degree curriculum courses.

"New Business Certificates," by Dana Catropa, Inside Higher Ed, October 15, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
I think that in the distant future there will no longer be college degrees. An academic transcript will become a more complex listing of 20 or more certificates of competency-based assessment.

"CONVERSATION WITH BOB JENSEN," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, October 8, 2013 ---

How far have USA students slipped in terms of:

The charts in the following article from The New Yorker are not pretty.

John Cassidy is my favorite columnist for The New Yorker
"Measuring America’s Decline, in Three Charts Posted," by John Cassidy, The New Yorker, October 2013 ---

. . .

I’ll just make three additional points.

There are some questions that should be asked about any multi-country survey like this one: Is the methodology consistent across the sample? Does it control for cultural and language differences? Can the results from various countries really be compared? As far as I know, nobody has suggested that this study particularly disadvantaged the U.S. subjects, or that the results were unreliable. (Of course, the survey is still new. Criticisms may yet emerge.)

The education and skill levels of a country’s population aren’t the only determinants of its economic fate. Other factors matter: resource endowments; investment in physical capital and R. & D.; political stability; competition; openness to new innovations, ideas, and people; a reliable legal system; and ready access to finance. In some of these areas, the United States still ranks very high. But as countries such as Japan and Korea have amply demonstrated, having a well-educated and well-trained labor force is an essential foundation of economic prosperity. And for the United States, where one of the greatest economic challenges is raising the living standards of the middle class, enhancing workers’ skill sets and productivity is simply essential.

This is, again, far from the first international comparison to make the United States look bad. It is well known, for example, that when it comes to test scores in math and science, American middle-school and high-school students lag behind their counterparts in Asia and Europe. At this stage, we don’t really need more evidence that there is a problem. We need a concerted national effort to address it.

Hate may be too strong a verb, but this article does raise some good points
"Why Do They Hate Us?" by Thomas H. Benton  (actually William Pannapacker), Chronicle of Higher Education, September 26, 2010 ---
Thomas H. Benton is the pen name of William Pannapacker, an associate professor of English at Hope College.

I  am only a decade out of graduate school—and I suppose it's possible that I am a disagreeable person—but I have had more than a few unpleasant conversations with complete strangers, and even some friends, in which they have expressed their anger about professors while knowing that I am one.

• "What you teach is worthless—I mean, who needs more measurements of Walt Whitman's beard when the economy and the environment are collapsing?"

• "Being a professor is good money for, like, six hours of work per week. What do you do with all that free time?"

• "Oh, I can't talk to you, since I'm not politically correct or anything."

• "I wish I had tenure and didn't have to worry about being fired for not doing my job." 

• "Why don't you English profs just teach people how to write?"

• "I still owe more than $50,000 for my undergraduate degree, and it's never done me any good."

• "My job [pharmaceutical sales] saves lives; your so-called work is a waste of other people's time and money."

I seldom admit or discuss my primary occupation with nonacademics nowadays, if I can avoid it. It's safer to say that I'm a program administrator.

By now, most academics are inoculated against attacks from the right, the conversational relics of the culture war of a generation ago: Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind (1987), Charles Sykes's ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education (1988), and Martin Anderson's Impostors in the Temple (1992), to name just a few. I almost feel nostalgia for that time, since the conversation was about what professors should teach. There was no doubt, as yet, whether higher education would continue in some recognizable form.

Over the last 20 years, the positions on both sides have hardened. But now the criticisms of academe are also coming from the left, and not just from the think tanks and journalists, but increasingly from within academe. Some of those works include Marc Bousquet's How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation (2008); Cary Nelson's No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom (2010); and, most recently, Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our KidsAnd What We Can Do About It (2010), by Andrew Hacker and Claudia C. Dreifus; and Mark Taylor's Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities (2010).

For the past several months, The Chronicle's forums and the comment section of its articles—and the larger blogosphere—have been abuzz with discussions of a string of seemingly anti-faculty articles with titles like "Goodbye to Those Overpaid Professors and Their Cushy Jobs" (July 25) and "Do All Faculty Members Really Need Private Offices?" (July 30). The majority feeling seems to be that the present model of higher education is no longer sustainable, and that the necessary changes will focus—for good or ill—on the working lives of professors.

I can't remember a time when professors, particularly in the humanities and social sciences—already the survivors of a 40-year depression in the academic job market—had a stronger feeling of being under siege. At some institutions, there is something aggressive and visceral about the recent rounds of cutbacks and accountability measures. They go beyond mere economic justifications.

So "hate" is not too strong a word, I think, for how nonacademics feel about us. Some of the reasons should flatter us, some are the result of economic and institutional forces beyond our control, and a few should cause us to wonder whether we deserve to be the last generation of traditional academics.

Anti-intellectualism and populism. Those tendencies in American life are not new, but they have become more virulent (see parts one and two of my column "On Stupidity"). Traditionally, professors have countered the tendency toward simplistic, slogan-based thinking—and manipulation—by teaching students to evaluate sources and reach their own conclusions on the basis of evidence derived from painstaking research.

The notion that knowledge is always political, and that perspectives are always relative, has eroded the belief in expertise and earned authority. If everyone's biased, including professors, why not just "go with your gut"? It's much easier, and it empowers you against the academics whose admonitions—as we have lost influence—have become increasingly condescending, sanctimonious, and shrill.

Market-based values. Academics, as a group, are among the last people who question the market as the sole determiner of value. We continue to hold out against the idea that our students are customers who must be pleased even at the cost of their own development. I think most professors still believe, privately, that our role is to liberate students and prepare them for lives of leadership in a relatively democratic society.

A generation ago, we could still defend the belief that our courses in literature, art, history, philosophy—the liberal arts, broadly defined, and always self-critical—were enriching in ways that could not be deposited in a bank or measured by outcomes assessment. In the intervening years, that consensus has fragmented, and we are no longer able to articulate a coherent vision of why others should value what we teach. And with that, I think, we have lost any remaining justification for our autonomy.

The rising cost of higher education. The price of a college degree has risen faster than the cost of health care. Anxiety about those costs crowds out the mental space that might be given to contemplating subjects without direct, practical applications.

The cost increase is driven not by faculty salaries, primarily, but by the rapid growth of administration, massive athletics programs, and the amenities arms race—not who has the most full-time faculty members so much as who has the most successful football team and the fanciest dorm rooms. Some institutions have astronomical endowments and tax-exempt status, asking a mostly excluded population to support what looks like country-club indulgences for elites.

But it is the faculty members who are held accountable for the cost of education, even while a growing majority of them are adjuncts and graduate students who receive no benefits and earn less than the minimum wage.

The changing job market. For a long time, college has been marketed as a requirement for entry into middle-class occupations. A lot of students—surely the majority—now attend college for reasons that have little to do with education for its own sake. Even so, when higher education was a reasonably secure pathway to employment, professors were worthy of some respect: We were gatekeepers, and we could help you. But in today's economic climate, a college degree is expensive, time-consuming, coercive, and does not necessarily lead to employment.

If institutions can't respond to that situation, why shouldn't students, who are not wealthy or devoted to the life of the mind, invest their money and time in something else, like starting a business?

Ignorance about what professors do. Highly paid academic stars make it politically possible to paint faculty members as pampered elites. A few weeks ago, I heard Andrew Hacker say, in an NPR interview, that a major problem with higher education is that "you have professors drawing six-figure salaries for two hours in the classroom each week."

That's a common claim, most often made by politicians looking to slash education budgets. But academic superstars are rare. They are limited to elite research universities, where professors are not paid, primarily, for their teaching.

For all of us, time in the classroom is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to published research (now required of faculty members at most levels of higher education), courses must be prepared, papers graded, students advised and supported, and administrative work conducted. Many tenure-track faculty members spend more time on administrative work than they do on teaching or research, because there are relatively few of us left to conduct the business of our institutions.

Professors are not a leisure class. Most of us work more than 50 hours a week, and whatever free time we have is generally spent thinking about work or answering e-mail and texts from colleagues and students. We are never off the clock.

Overproduction of scholarly research. Specialized research is inherently difficult to understand, yet we often hear demands that work outside of the sciences should be immediately accessible to the general public. There is no question that more work can be done to publicize the value of scholarship in many fields, but there is also no doubt that a lot of scholarly productivity is a result of the increasing competitiveness of the academic job system.

The pressure to publish, at every level, arguably at the expense of our students, is not something that most academics have chosen, and it has led to a collapse of the university-press system, skyrocketing publishing costs, unsustainable pressures on library budgets, and, ironically, declining engagement with our larger disciplines—a loss of a common scholarly culture—since it's a challenge simply to keep up with a few subfields.

Another result is that many courses reflect specialized research interests rather than broader topics that might be more useful to our students.

Tenure. In a period of extreme anxiety about economic security, when millions of people are losing their jobs, and their lives are unraveling, the appearance of a professor with a job for life and no accountability seems as offensive as a portly aristocrat being carried in a sedan chair through the streets of Paris during the hungry summer of 1789.

Continued in article

"Why Do They Hate Us? Part 2,"  by Thomas H. Benton (actually William Pannapacker), Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 2010 ---

Sometimes I write sequels to columns when they generate a lot of comments, blog discussion, and e-mail. Usually, the first column is based on my own experiences and intuitions. In the second one I try to respond to issues and compelling criticisms raised by the readers.

Last month, when I tried to explain why professors are so unpopular these days, the initial response—mostly from inside academe—suggested that I was being overly provocative. Professors, like other professionals, attract some criticism, readers said, but we are still regarded with moderate respect. At worst, we are treated with indifference: Most people don't care about us as much as we'd like to think they do.

And, besides, worrying about whether people like us is a little neurotic.

I was beginning to believe that my initial theory—that I am just a disagreeable person—was the best explanation for all the hostile remarks I've heard over the years about professors. But then my column started to make the rounds of the conservative blogosphere, and the tone of the comments and e-mail shifted to one that sounded both threatening and familiar.

Essentially, the message was that a large segment of the population thinks humanities professors are a bunch of left-wing elitists who hate America, are overpaid, underworked, focused on pointless research, and unwilling to teach undergraduates.

That perspective has been represented most recently by Glenn Beck's accusation that professors are systematically lying about our national history. A few years ago David Horowitz published a who's who of professors who have been reviled by the right: The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery 2006). One blurb on the book's cover says it "reveals a shocking and perverse culture of academics who are poisoning the minds of today's college students." And, of course, that point of view is familiar to anyone who remembers the culture wars of the 80s and 90s. American populism is eternally self-renewing, and that's probably a good thing, since academe—as well as other institutions—should be accountable to the population at large and not just to itself.

But I was disappointed that most readers from outside academe did not notice the self-critical elements of my essay: Once they find out someone is a professor—particularly in the humanities—they just assume that person has a whole set of clearly defined beliefs and attitudes. There's no need to read the essay, and there's no need to construct any new arguments in response, or build any new alliances.

We're trapped in a polarized state of indifference to each other's complexities and conflicts.

So after teaching for 10 years at a Christian, liberal-arts college in the rural Midwest, and writing articles critical of academe under the pen name of a notoriously populist painter, it's almost a pleasant surprise to find myself categorized as an arugula-eating leftist. It makes me feel like I belong in academe, after all, despite a background that might otherwise have made me a card-carrying member of the Tea Party.

I was born in Camden, N.J., and I grew up in a working-class, Catholic neighborhood where professors—when they were discussed at all—were regarded as dangerous subversives (they would turn you into an atheist and a Democrat), but they also had a lot of power to determine your future, so you had to please them if you went to college.

Of course, I didn't know any professors back then—neither did anyone in my immediate family—which made it easy to demonize them. As a new undergraduate at a Catholic university, I regarded professors with suspicion, particularly if they had ostentatiously liberal sensibilities. I believed that they did not like people like me, and I might not have been wrong in some cases.

Even now, I don't really feel at home in some academic contexts, like the big, national conventions: I still regard other professors—particularly from elite colleges (like Harvard University, where I eventually earned my doctorate)—as people living on some other social plane, against whom I have some reflexive and defensive grievances. Always, they seem concerned with social justice, but those concerns almost never extend to working-class Americans, as such, including all the adjuncts who increasingly do the teaching at our universities.

In the small community of academics with working-class origins, it is sometimes noticed that professors at major universities—the ones who attract most of the public's attention—seem to be mostly from the upper half of the income spectrum. I suspect that they are clustering even higher now than they were at any time since before the 1960s.

With few exceptions, elite positions are seemingly filled through a kind of closed system in which academic pedigree (itself the outcome of prior class position) stands in for the more blatant old-boy network of an earlier period. As a result, a large percentage of the faculty members of our leading universities have a limited understanding of the way most people live; they cannot be expected to sympathize with the alienating experience of moving between social classes, or the strain of paying for an education coupled with the fear of not finding a job afterward.

My entire education took place in the shadow of such anxieties, so I think I understand why many people who feel coerced into attending college at great expense, while still being potentially shut out from economic opportunity, might resent those for whom an elevated social position seems to have come as a matter of course. People resent professors even more when they seem to attack the institutions that give people's lives meaning, such as the military, the church, and the traditional family. Denouncing any of those things from behind the shield of tenure and potentially at taxpayer expense is offensive to most Americans.

It is also offensive to many professors who are not at elite institutions.

The "public be damned" attitude of some academic provocateurs ignores the impact that their grandstanding has on higher education as a whole—on the lives of professors farther down in the academic-status hierarchy. Professors at elite institutions can do as they please; they are not going to bear the brunt of cutbacks inspired by their more extreme remarks, or be regarded with suspicion by their students, most of whom think as they do because they come from the same social stratum.

Again, most professors are not part of that small, elite culture of pseudoradicalism. Outside the major universities, most of us have more ordinary social backgrounds and more moderate views. We are people who worked hard at school, won scholarships, invested many years in our educations, became admirers of traditional disciplines, devoted ourselves idealistically to scholarship and teaching, and trusted the system.

A lot of us entered graduate school following the promise of tenure-track jobs being available in the not-so-distant future—the familiar "labor-shortage hoax." But an increasing percentage of Ph.D.'s in the last 40 years have ended up working for poverty-class wages with no benefits or job security. Far from being a leisure class, most college teachers are sharing the economic stresses faced by millions of other displaced, downsized, and outsourced workers who see no relief on the horizon.

Yet, for some reason, most graduate students and adjuncts remain unrealistically aspirational: They do not work together to reform the academic labor system because they still believe that they will, somehow, become tenure-track professors on the basis of individual merit. The thousands of adjuncts who staff most college courses are like the part-time warehouse worker who doesn't want the rich to pay more taxes because he buys a lottery ticket every day.

Whose interest does it serve for most academics to alienate themselves from the working class, and for the working class to regard all professors as elitists with whom they have no common interests? What is it going to take for academe to become part of a broader movement for economic opportunity, instead of being perceived—sometimes rightly—as an impediment to that goal?

Those are larger questions than I can answer in a column. But some changes could take place within academe—in addition to the ones I suggested last month—that could begin to disrupt the unproductive divisions between professors and the broader public.

First, academics should begin to think of ourselves as workers rather than members of an elite profession. We should stop competing with each other individually and look for ways to build solidarity across the divisions of discipline, institutional hierarchy, and academic rank.

Second, academe needs to work harder to deal with the ways that social class has isolated its leading institutions from the perspectives of most Americans.

Third, we need to take the economic concerns of our students more seriously at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is no longer enough to merely teach subjects we happen to find interesting.

Meanwhile, we need to work together to improve our image in the public imagination. Most of us are working long hours with our students and managing the business of our institutions for relatively modest salaries—when we are reliably employed at all. But a large number of people are convinced, as an article of faith, that we are all millionaires who engage in pointless research with the goal of indoctrinating students into radical beliefs. We need to work harder to crowd out the more polarizing examples of academic work with evidence of our enormous dedication to furthering the public good.

Given enough evidence of good-faith efforts, we might begin to move away from the tired clichés of the culture wars toward a new coalition that aligns academe with the interests of most citizens.

Thomas H. Benton is the pen name of William Pannapacker, an associate professor of English at Hope College.

Jensen Comment
Can you think of other reasons to "hate us?" For example, many employees in the private and public sectors give up their returns from work-related consulting and book royalties. Top professors six-figure salaries and keep additional consulting fees and book royalties that, in many instances, are enhanced by the reputations of their employers. For example, a MIT professor who consults or obtains successful textbook royalties greatly benefits by being affiliated with one of the great universities of the world. Sounds like a cushy deal to me!

The counter argument of course is that professors would do less consulting and textbook writing if they did not get huge rewards for their added efforts. The public, however, does not always see it this way, especially when they are taxpayers helping to pay the salaries of the professors.

October 25, 2013 reply from Jim Peters

I am going to gore a sacred cow here, but I used to serve on a local school board. The one theme in these scores that I see is that the US stands out because of its dependence on local communities for public education. Virtually all the other nations have national public education systems funded by their federal governments. We depend on local property taxes then state taxes. The federal government only puts up about 5% of the budget and the bulk of that is targeted to special education programs. Since funding brings control, the quality of education is in the hands of typically small, local school boards. My experience with these board is that they lack people with any expertise in managing a school district or with any experience or training in education. They tend to be dominated by "one-issue" board members who want to promote the football team or try to drop evolution from the curriculum. They are virtually local political footballs run by people without a clue as to how to improve education. They are sincere people fighting for their principles and hard workers. But, IMHO, they are clueless about what improves education.

I appreciate I only have personal experience to draw on and not hard data. However, I believe local control it the problem with public education in the US, as is local funding. Local funding just guarantees that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I believe it also explains why we score so poorly in spite of high levels of funding. I don't have the survey in front of me, but I believe we score near the top on spending per pupil of the countries on the list.

I know conservatives want to blame the teachers unions and they do share some of the blame. However, I would love to see hard data on level of unionization in these other countries versus the US. My guess is that we are not the most heavily unionize. I also would doubt that these countries depend more on private sector schools than we do either.

To really raise hell, the same pattern fits health care. We have the most expensive, most privatized, and one of the least effective health care systems in the OEDC. We need to get off our "we are the best nation in the world" high horse and start learning from others. Yes, we are different. All nations are different is some ways. That doesn't mean we can't learn from others.

Jim Peters


October 25, 2013 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jim,

Yes, more uniform national education may be a factor but there are some underlying cultural differences between the USA and those nations above it on the three quality criteria under study.

1. The higher scoring nations in this study have higher proportions of two-parent homes. Home life is extremely important to education performance and can make up for some deficiencies in the schools. For example, when class sizes are large in public schools two parents can work with their children to a point where their children are virtually home schooled.

2. There is almost no racial diversity within the higher scoring nations that are mostly all white or all Asian within each nation.. Canada is a notable exception, and Australia is somewhat of an exception. But Canada lives under the military and medical research umbrellas of the USA, thereby allowing a higher proportion of tax revenues to flow into education and health care. I'm not sure how Australia performs in terms of educating its racial minorities, but I suspect that indigenous persons in Australia do not have the best K-12 and college education performance relative to whites.

3. Most of the higher scoring nations have low immigration quotas --- with Germany and Canada being exceptions. Canada immigration favors relatively wealthy immigrants, and Canada has a much smaller pipeline of financially desperate illegal immigrants.

4. All have smaller populations than the USA. Nations having more than 300 million people do not perform higher than the USA. I was surprised Russia was not in these charts. I read elsewhere where Russia is one of the highest performing nations in terms of literacy. But when moving into higher education, Russia is plagued with academic dishonesty such as buying or extorting grades rather than earning grades.

5. Most of the higher scoring nations offer much lower probabilities of getting into college, thereby keeping college costs lower than in the USA. Getting into college in the higher scoring nations is much more competitive with higher proportions of high school graduates going into the trades rather than college.

The differences between the USA and these other nations would probably persist even if the Federal Government funded all K-12 schools. If the Federal government took over all the urban schools in our largest cities the problems of gangs, truancy, a drug culture, racial prejudices, dysfunctional home life, etc. would still exist in our ghettos. Teachers in urban areas are currently getting much higher salaries than most teachers in the suburbs and rural parts of the USA. but these salaries do not seem to be doing a whole lot of good. Teacher salaries and palatial schools will not solve the major problems of education performance in our ghettos.

My point is that education performance is extremely complicated and bound up in cultural and home life differences that are monumental in importance.


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

How to Mislead With Headlines
The Going Concern Website asserted that this is:  "Yet another sign that most MBAs are worthless. ."

This is misleading, because the scandal concerns a diploma mill where degrees are purchased and not earned.
"Dog Earns MBA---But Can He Deduct It On His Taxes?" Forbes, October 23, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Diploma mill degrees are indeed worthless unless employers are too dumb to know the difference between a purchased college degree from on that is earned with lots of time and sweat.

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills ---

"4 Tax Breaks Every College Student Should Know About," by Mandi Woodruff, Business Insider, October 25, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's tax helpers ---

This is Really, Really Bad Malware --- Maybe we're fighting a losing battle
"Ransomware: Why This New Malware is So Dangerous and How to Protect Yourself," How-To-Geek, October 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
What is not clear is whether your malware protection is up to date. I use F-Secure and thus far I cannot find any information about updated Ransomeware protection. In the meantime about all I can do is back up as much as I can.

As the article points out, sending money to criminals is not a particularly good idea. They may leave something behind to hit you again and again and again if they help you at all after getting your money.

How to Fix Browser Settings Changed by Friendlier Malware or Other Programs ---

Robert Lucas, the 1995 Nobel Prize Winner In Economics, Lost Half His Award Money To?

Answer ---

Robert Lucas is a highly accomplished American economist well known for his investigations into rational expectations, theory of supply, and behavioral economics. In 1995, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences but only received his award and half the cash prize.

Where did the other half go? To his ex-wife Rita Lucas, who put a clause in their 1988 divorce that, should Robert win the Nobel Prize within 7 years of their divorce, she would receive half the money. She might not have thought highly of his qualifications as a husband, but she clearly stood with the rest of the world in regarding him as one of the most brilliant economists alive.

What Medicine Is Radically More Effective When Produced In Zero Gravity?

Answer ---

NASA has conducted numerous experiments in the microgravity of low-Earth orbit over the last thirty years with more than a few surprising results. Among those experiments, one discovery that potentially has the greatest good for the common man back down on Earth is that resulting from the production of insulin in microgravity.

Insulin, used to help diabetics regulate their blood sugar, has a crystalline structure. Insulin produced on Earth has an irregular structure and is prone to, on a microscopic level, folding and breaking under its own molecular weight. As such, large extended crystals were difficult (if not impossible) to produce on Earth, we had never been able to observe large and gravity-uninhibited crystals before. The insulin produced aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994 proved remarkable in several ways, including the clarity and size of the crystalline structure (which allowed scientists on Earth to study it with a clarity unavailable with terrestrial samples) as well as potency. The larger and more cleanly organized insulin crystals provided by the experiment proved to be incredibly effective compared to regular insulin samples; if the insulin could be mass produced on Earth with a matching structure, diabetics dosing down multiple times a day with insulin could instead dose down every few days.


"How It Felt To Go From Driving A Nissan Leaf To A Tesla Model S," by George Parrott, Business Insider, October 25, 2013 --- 

Jensen Comment
Note that this comparison was made in California and not in New Hampshire or even worse in the in Montana or Canada where driving distances may require battery recharges between towns. When a Tesla car needs service or repairs in California it's possible to find a service shop. But not in New Hampshire!

You need thermal underwear inside a NIssan Leaf on a winter day, and the article mentions that the Leaf loses 20% of its short driving range on cold days --- no mention is made about super-cold days at near -30F. The article fails to compare driving range losses and heater problems of the Model S at -30F, Maybe that's why Tesla has not sold a car to my knowledge in New Hampshire, although there may be one or two down near the Mass. border where the weather is warmer. I don't think Teslas are in the boon docks open spaces ---  even tourists who visit those scenic remote places.

No mention is made regarding whether body shops will touch a Model S after an accident, particularly in remote areas like New Hampshire. The Model S has some unique body features that may discourage body shops from repairing a Model S --- like complicated retractable door handles. I also wonder about the safety of those retractable door handles. What if the car is upside down in a ditch and the door handles will not retract with an unconscious driver inside? At least with my locked Subaru a helper outside could smash a window, grab the keys, and unlock the door even if the battery is disabled in an accident.

The article does mention how a Leaf can go unnoticed in a parking lot. Not so with a Tesla. When I lived in San Antonio I drove an ancient and beat up looking Ford Stationwagon (with a new engine and transmission) because so many shiny new cars are stolen each day in San Antonio and other regions close to the southern USA border. If I parked a Tesla or any other high value vehicle in most any public parking place in San Antonio I would worry that that a flat bed truck with a winch would have that car south of the Rio Grande in less than three hours.

Does a Tesla come with a hidden GPS tracking device like a Mercedes?
I don't have a whole lot of faith in these since the super pros that steal cars in San Antonio can disable GPS devices about as fast as they can get inside any car in San Antonio. Hidden noise alarms are a bit more of a worry for them.

How to Mislead With Statistics

"‘Flipping’ Classrooms May Not Make Much Difference." by Hannah Winston, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 22, 2013 ---

In preliminary research, professors at Harvey Mudd College haven’t found that students learn more or more easily in so-called flipped courses than in traditional classes, USA Today reports. In flipped courses, students watch professors’ lectures online before coming to class, then spend the class period in discussions or activities that reinforce and advance the lecture material.

Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation gave four professors at the college in Claremont, Calif., a three-year grant for $199,544 to study flipped classrooms. That research isn’t complete yet, but the professors already tried flipping their own classes last year and found “no statistical difference” in student outcomes.

The article notes that flipping classes requires professors both to record lectures in advance and to come up with activities that will engage students in class sessions. Nancy Lape, a professor of engineering at Harvey Mudd, said instructors’ lives “might be easier and their students might be happier if they just do a traditional class.”

Jensen Comment
This is not surprising since most studies of pedagogy alternatives find that pedagogy choice does not in general make significant statistical differences. This is widely known in the Academy as "The No Significant Differences Finding" ---

The basic finding is that students tend to do whatever it takes to earn the highest grades that they can attain, thereby overcoming pedagogy differences such as in-class lectures versus flipping lectures versus Socratic method versus the BAM pedagogy of making students learn everything on their own.

But the "The No Significant Differences Finding" in my opinion is misleading. Nearly all the empirical studies have limited the assessment of pedagogy to short term effects. Flipping the classroom and even a more extreme pedagogy like BAM forcing students tot learn on their own has been shown to have greater impact on long-term memory. In other words students tend to have longer memory of things they learned on their own as opposed to being spoon fed in course via a lecture and help sessions --- (where the BAM Pedagogy is explained)

"The Decline of Wikipedia," by Tom Simonite, MIT's Technology Review, October 22, 2013 ---

The sixth most widely used website in the world is not run anything like the others in the top 10. It is not operated by a sophisticated corporation but by a leaderless collection of volunteers who generally work under pseudonyms and habitually bicker with each other. It rarely tries new things in the hope of luring visitors; in fact, it has changed little in a decade. And yet every month 10 billion pages are viewed on the English version of Wikipedia alone. When a major news event takes place, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, complex, widely sourced entries spring up within hours and evolve by the minute. Because there is no other free information source like it, many online services rely on Wikipedia. Look something up on Google or ask Siri a question on your iPhone, and you’ll often get back tidbits of information pulled from the encyclopedia and delivered as straight-up facts.

Yet Wikipedia and its stated ambition to “compile the sum of all human knowledge” are in trouble. The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. Those participants left seem incapable of fixing the flaws that keep Wikipedia from becoming a high-quality encyclopedia by any standard, including the project’s own. Among the significant problems that aren’t getting resolved is the site’s skewed coverage: its entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy. Authoritative entries remain elusive. Of the 1,000 articles that the project’s own volunteers have tagged as forming the core of a good encyclopedia, most don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle-­ranking quality scores.

The main source of those problems is not mysterious. The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.

When Wikipedians achieved their most impressive feat of leaderless collective organization, they unwittingly set in motion the decline in participation that troubles their project today.

In response, the Wikimedia Foundation, the 187-person nonprofit that pays for the legal and technical infrastructure supporting Wikipedia, is staging a kind of rescue mission. The foundation can’t order the volunteer community to change the way it operates. But by tweaking Wikipedia’s website and software, it hopes to steer the encyclopedia onto a more sustainable path.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I had not thought about this before, but Wikipedia may be the closest thing in the real world that depicts pure Communism. Users contribute to and take from the resource freely in a Communist spirit. We don't belittle a scholar who repeatedly takes something from Wikipedia without giving something back to Wikipedia. We don't belittle the scholar who plants a faulted concept into the archives and awaits others in the world to add to or modify that seed toward greater scholarship perfection.

What is unbelievable is the magnitude of the technical terminology and obscure history that flowed into the archives to a point where no commercial encyclopedia can possibly compete in terms of scope of coverage in real time --- it would cost too much to get that kind of coverage and timing  in a business or government effort to compete with Wikipedia.

Like all other Communism experiments in real life Wikipedia may not be sustainable.
But if Wikipedia stopped accepting all new additions and revisions it is already a monumental knowledge portal that would serve global scholarship for many, many years into the future.

One of the sustaining efforts that is really appealing is when course instructors assign projects to add to and otherwise edit Wikipedia modules. Medical schools took an early and significant lead in this regard. As Wikipedia becomes the primary source of medical knowledge for millions of people it is vital that the medical modules be as complete and accurate as possible.

By way of an example, I have a friend, a physical therapist, in these mountains who was just not happy with the diagnosis given by a neurologist for his wife's symptoms. So he went on a Web search. Sure enough he found a clue in Wikipedia that his wife may be leaking spinal fluid, a fatal condition if left untreated. Armed with this new information her neurologist ordered some obscure lab tests and sure enough spinal fluid leakage was the problem that  once detected could be corrected. Wikipedia in this anecdotal example may have saved her life. I don't know why the doctor did not check for such leakage given her symptoms.  This made me wonder if there have been other lives saved by Wikipedia.

My wife has a very complicated spinal problem that is a side effect of 15 spine surgeries ---
Wikipedia most assuredly helped us to better understand her problem even though her surgeons don't have to go to Wikipedia on this one ---

Earned Income Tax Credit ---

This is the Real IRS Scandal
That's $110.8 Billion with a "B" Mistake (yeah right, supposedly a "mistake"

"IRS mistakenly distributed at least $110.8B in earned income tax credits," by Bernie Becker, The Hill, October 22, 2013 ---

The IRS has failed to clamp down on improper refundable tax credit payments, according to a new federal audit.

In all, the IRS said it wrongly distributed as much as a quarter of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payments, to the tune of between $11.6 billion and $13.6 billion, according to Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration. Between 2003 and 2012, the IRS erroneously paid out at least $110.8 billion and as much as $132.6 billion, the new report says. 

Due to a 2009 executive order, the IRS is supposed to have targets for rolling back those improper payments. But the agency has yet to do so, and the Treasury inspector general says in its audit that the IRS needs to rethink its methods for cutting down on waste in EITC payments.

Russell George, the tax administration inspector general, noted that the IRS had made some strides in stopping inappropriate payments, and in educating taxpayers about EITC eligibility. Still, George said the billions of dollars lost to waste each year was “disturbing.”

“The IRS must do a better job of reining in improper payments in this and in other programs,” George said in a statement.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the top Republican on the Finance Committee, called on the IRS to “aggressively crack down on these erroneous payments,” insisting the agency’s issue with the EITC “doesn’t bode well” for its oversight of subsidies for President Obama’s healthcare law.

“Refundable tax credits are a nightmare to administer and lead to far too much of the American people’s money going out to those who aren’t eligible,” Hatch said in a statement.

For its part, the IRS said it is doing its best to balance the need to target mistaken payments and to ensure that eligible taxpayers know to claim the EITC, which is aimed at helping low-income workers. Improper payments have also declined since 2010, the IRS added in a statement.

Democrats successfully fought to extend expanded versions of the EITC and other refundable tax breaks in the fiscal-cliff deal signed early this year. Taxpayers who claim the EITC or other refundable tax breaks receive payments from the government if those credits are worth more than their tax burden.

IRS officials told the inspector general that they were meeting with the Office of Management and Budget to search for ways to supplement their efforts to reduce improper EITC payments. 

The 21 percent to 25 percent figure the IRS uses includes payments that should have never been made and both over- and underpayments.

“The IRS appreciates the Inspector General’s acknowledgment of all our work to implement processes that identify and prevent improper EITC payments,” the agency said in its statement. “The IRS protects nearly $4 billion in improper claims each year and is committed to continuing to work to reduce improper claims.”

Still, the IRS acknowledges that complexities in the tax law, and confusion and high turnover among those claiming the EITC have hampered its efforts to reduce those payments.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

The 10 Purported 10 Best Jobs for a College Graduate ---

Jensen Comment
Accountant/Auditor is Number 4 on the list even though it requires 150 approved credits (usually 2-4 extra semesters in an accounting masters program) to get permission to take the CPA examination. The list is a bit misleading in that it does not base the rankings on how hard it is to successfully break into the jobs on the list.

For example, elementary school teachers have relatively easy times finding entry-level jobs relative to management consultants/analysts who almost never land entry-level jobs before they gain years of experience in business and earn one of more specialty certifications. The majority of graduates from prestigious MBA programs do not necessarily become management consultants/analysts without experience, some of who were experienced in business or engineering before they entered the MBA programs.

There's also a difference between landing a job and landing a job in a top firm. For example, the top accounting firms generally offer entry-level jobs to only the top graduates of a masters program although the proportion of the class hired varies considerably with the prestige of the program and the black book maintained by accounting firms on schools where they recruit. In recent years more women than men are hired by the top accounting firms. Business firms and small CPA firms tend not to hire new accounting graduates and wait for moments when prospects have more accounting experience such as experience as auditors and tax accountants in respected accounting firms.

The IRS offers great opportunities to new accounting graduates whereas the FBI hires a lot of accounting graduates only after they are experienced in business or government.

"How To Get Hired If You Have A Tattoo," by J.T. O'Donnell, Business Insider, October 22, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on careers ---

Psst! Want a new job as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?

Then try EBay!

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on October 22, 2013

Aspiring tech-sector CFOs should check out the job listings at eBay. At least 20 executives who have become finance chiefs in Silicon Valley and beyond over the past three years have learned the ropes in the big e-commerce company’s finance department, CFOJ’s Emily Chasan reports in this must-read story on B1 today. “We recruit people who aspire to be CFOs,” says Robert Swan, eBay’s finance chief since 2006. “If along the way there are opportunities outside, that’s OK .… We have a deep bench.”

Members of the eBay Mafia—the tongue-in-cheek name for company veterans who now are corporate-level CFOs—include Rob Krolik at Yelp, Douglas Jeffries at RetailMe Not and Sean Aggarwal at Trulia, who have all taken their companies public in the past two years. Startups with former eBayers at the financial controls include the online clothing retailer ModCloth, digital-video company Roku and online ticketing company Eventbrite.

One reason that EBay has churned out so many CFOs is that it has the resources to invest in grooming up-and-coming financial talent and the breadth to offer the best prospects hands-on experience running their own operations. The company says it has about 1,000 financial executives around the world and more than a dozen divisional and regional CFOs. Rookies get both theoretical and practical training in finance, analytics and leadership. And, as part of a two-year program, eBay rotates star performers to a different division every six months to expand their professional networks across the company, Chasan writes.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers ---

Chromecast ---

"Streaming Video Magic with Chromecast," by Ryan Cordell, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 21, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's video helpers ---

"Take a Free Course on the Financial Markets with Robert Shiller, Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics ---

"Why Does College Cost So Much?" Judge Richard Posner, Becker-Posner Blog, October 13, 2013 ---

"Higher College Costs and its Consequences," by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, Becker-Posner Blog, October 13, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Not much new in the above posts. Both Becker and Posner seem to accept the fact that more USA students need to be college educated with fewer drop outs. My tack would instead be the German model. Make college education more competitive with greater stress and opportunity for learning the skills of the trades. In France and other parts of Europe, medical doctors are now in the skilled trades and do not have to be college educated in the traditional sense.

Up here in the mountains it's next to impossible to find a really skilled plumber or brick layer whereas college-graduated accountants, real estate sales people, poets, clergy, physicians, lawyers, and like are behind every rock. We needed a rather simple roof repair and had to pay a guy to drive nearly an hour from Vermont. In truth some types of physician and lawyer specialists are not behind every rock.

The company that sold me my New Holland diesel tractor operates about ten miles away. This company can do simple service on these tractors, but upon becoming stumped on a tough diagnostics problem they have to bring in a New Holland super mechanic who lives nearly two hours from our cottage.

We have 20 items under in-house service contracts (mostly from Sears). Fortunately, we are not charged extra by the mile for most of these service experts who drive all the way up from Manchester (nearly 100 miles each way). For people like me who live in the boon docks these extended service contracts are good deals on some items like snow throwers where Sears has had to send a mechanic to my cottage 11 times and counting. I'm covered on most of those 20 items until late in 2017. (Note that extended warranty contracts are not always good deals for people who live in cities and on some appliances like refrigerators that are usually more reliable than snow throwers.)

Why can't more of our marginal college students and even some of the top students be diverted some way into joining the skilled trades that are ever so popular and well-compensated in Germany and France? Nothing stops a diesel mechanic from writing poetry on the side.

"For Upstart Learning-Management Company, an Educause Moment," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 18, 2013 ---

"Video: MOOCs Lead the List of Hot Topics at Educause Meeting," by Megan O'Neil, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 17, 2013 ---

"CONVERSATION WITH BOB JENSEN," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, October 8, 2013 ---

MOOCs, SMOCS, Future Learn, iversity, and OKI Free Learning Alternatives Around the World

You can find all courses by Future Learn (United Kingdom) and iversity (Germany) listed in Open Culture's big collection of 600+ MOOCs from Top Universities (worldwide).
For other MOOC, SMOC, and OKI alternatives go to

For online distance education and training alternatives (not free) go to

MOOC ---

MOOC Providers Take Flight in Britain and Germany: Introducing Future Learn and Iversity ---

They may be a little late to the MOOC party, but two newly-launched European open course platforms might still be able to carve out a niche.

Coursera and edX, the two main players in the US at this point, have been up and running for almost 18 months. And although both ventures have a long list of international partners, the rising cost of higher education is building interest in MOOCs in Europe and the UK. The founders of new European platforms  – Future Learn in the UK, and iversity in Germany — are betting they can still make headway in an increasingly crowded market.

A subsidiary of the British Open University, Future Learn is in its beta stage, but it’s already boasting partnerships with universities across Britain, Ireland, and Australia. And come this November, it will be rolling out courses across multiple disciplines. Take for example:

Meanwhile Berlin-based startup iversity recently relaunched itself as a MOOC platform. This week, iversity’s first six courses begin. Four are in German and two are in English: Contemporary Architecture and Dark Matter in Galaxies. A total of 115,000 students are currently enrolled.

Future Learn and iversity both seem to be aimed at audiences who are relatively new to the MOOC concept. Both sites take care to explain what MOOCs are in very simple terms—which may be a smart strategy for businesses setting out to convince Europe and Britain that the MOOC trend is for real.

You can find all courses by Future Learn and iversity listed in our big collection of 600+ MOOCs from Top Universities.

Related Content:

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Go International

625 Free MOOCs from Great Universities (Many Offering Certificates)

The Big Problem for MOOCs Visualized

Coursera now used in over 100 universities ---

"Vive la Révolution MOOC (France)," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 4, 2013 ---

How to Mislead With Statistics

"Report by Faculty Group Questions Savings From MOOCs," by Lawrence Biemiller, Inside Higher Education, October 16, 2013 --- Click Here

In the second of a series of papers challenging optimistic assumptions about massive open online courses, a coalition of faculty-advocacy organizations asserts that online instruction “isn’t saving money—and may actually be costing students and colleges more,” but that “snappy slogans, massive amounts of corporate money, and a great deal of wishful thinking have created a bandwagon mentality that is hard to resist.”

The paper, “The ‘Promises’ of Online Higher Education: Reducing Costs,” was released by the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, whose backers include a number of faculty unions. Drawing on news articles and public-opinion surveys, it says that while the business model supporting MOOCs is “still a work in progress,” the trend is to offer courses free but charge for “a degree or a certificate or anything from the MOOC that carries real value.”

Merely having taken one of the courses, the paper says, is “virtually valueless in the marketplace.”

“The bottom line for students? The push for more online courses has not made higher education cheaper for them. The promise has always been that it will—but that day always seems to be in the future,” the paper says.

MOOCs may also cost colleges money, the paper says, citing an agreement between Udacity and the Georgia Institute of Technology to offer an online master’s degree in computer science.

“Udacity gets the intellectual content for a master’s program of 20 courses at an upfront cost of $400,000,” the paper says. “It borrows Georgia Tech’s reputation as its own, at a huge discount (no training of graduate students, no support for labs, no decades of accumulated know-how through which Georgia Tech earned its reputation).  It acquires these courses for a proprietary platform: Georgia Tech cannot offer these OMS CS courses, created by its own faculty, to a competing distributor.”

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This is a classic study on how to mislead with statistics. The study does not give credit to the fact that the MOOC effort commenced by Stanford that fits totally within the Open Knowledge Initiative of MIT and other prestigious universities was intended not to save money.

By definition, a MOOC is free to anybody in the world and does not have prerequisites or admission standards. Anybody can take a MOOC free of charge by the very definition of a MOOC. The prestigious universities offering such courses intended these courses to give the world access to course materials and some of the top teaching professors of the world.

There are adaptations like SMOCs, Future Learn, and Iversity that are intended to become massive (10,000+ plus students) distance education courses that are not MOOCs. And there are options to pay for transcript credits for some MOOCs but this entails paying fees for competency-based examinations ---

Firstly, in my opinion the universities with hundreds of billions of dollars in endowments given from rich sources that took advantages of tax deductions when contributing to those endowment funds can well afford to offer some free MOOCs. We're not talking in the case of Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Texas, etc. about stealing tuition money paid by on-campus students and taxpayers to benefit the poor people who take MOOCs. The universities offering free MOOCs can afford to pay the costs from endowment funds ---

Second, what I find as inconsistent is that the same professors, often union activists, arguing that:  "Merely having taken one of the (MOOC) courses, the paper says, is “virtually valueless in the marketplace," have not conducted any meaningful study of how many students who intently completed MOOCs are using the knowledge gained. If they did they would find some teachers who benefitted when taking licensure examinations to become teachers. If they did they would find many college professors who added what they learned in MOOCs to the courses they themselves teach. Most MOOCs, by the way, are advanced courses on highly specialized topics like the literature of both famous and obscure writers. Otherss are basic courses that contribute to career advancement.

Third, the above study ignores what universities save by having their students take some off-campus free offerings. For example, the Khan Academy is now partnering with various colleges that require free Khan Academy modules as part of the curriculum. Those colleges do not have to hire as many instructors like math instructors to meet the needs of students both at the introductory and advanced levels of mathematics.

The study confuses free MOOCs with fee-based distance education. For example, Harvard University offers many MOOCs as a free public service to the world. The Harvard Business School, however, will soon offer expensive distance education MBA courses because of enormous anticipated profits from those courses.

Fourth, if Georgia Tech is losing money on its online engineering degree it's not necessarily a bad thing. Georgia Tech loses money on its on-campus engineering degrees that require taxpayer subsidies to survive. Why are taxpayer subsidies for Georgia Tech's online engineering degrees any worse in in principle? An argument might be made that there is more justification since taxpayers do not also have to subsidize room and board fees.

Five, Distance education courses are gaining acceptance in the academic sector, the private sector, and public sector. For example, a distance education outfit called 2U has gained prestigious acceptance.
"3 Universities (Baylor, Southern Methodist, and Temple Universities) Will Grant Credit for 2U’s Online Courses," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2013 ---


I have one word for the self-serving study cited above that contends;
"Merely having taken one of the (MOOC) courses, the paper says, is “virtually valueless in the marketplace,"
My word for such an assertion is --- BARF!

Of course this not mean that there are not tremendous problems with MOOCs. One of the problems is that most of them are advanced courses, thereby shutting out introductory students.

Another problem is that most students sign up for MOOCs out of curiosity without the intent, time, and ability to successfully complete the courses with heavy sweat that is usually necessary for serious learning.. MOOCs probably would pass the benefit-cost tests for these casual students, but the prestigious universities are intending to make opportunities available to those students who will successfully complete the courses for financial and other educational benefits in their lives. These are courses they could never afford at on-campus student prices.

An appeal from a Wharton School (at Penn) professor who teaches a MOOC

"Don’t Call Us Rock Stars," by Kevin Werbach, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 25, 2013 ---

"CONVERSATION WITH BOB JENSEN," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, October 8, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on
Shared Open Courseware (OCW) MOOCs, SMOCs, MITx, and EdX Courses :
OKI, MIT, Rice, and Other Sharing Prestigious Universities

"'What Is Open Access?' An Explanatory Video," by George Williams, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 23, 2013 ---

"Why Teacher Colleges Get a Flunking Grade:  Let's give up on education majors --- Too much theory, not enough practical learning about teaching," by Barbara Nemko and Harold Kwalwasser and Barbara Nemko, The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2013 --- 

Education gurus in recent years have taken to lamenting the sorry state of teacher training in the United States. Arthur Levine, the former president of the Teachers College at Columbia University, wrote a scathing report in 2006 on its deficiencies. Harvard Graduate School of Education Prof. Katherine Merseth made an even glummer assessment in 2009. Four months ago, the National Council on Teacher Quality released a report asserting that approximately 1,100 of the nation's 1,400 teacher-preparation programs are inadequate. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has dismissed the programs as the "Bermuda Triangle" of higher education.

How can new teachers be expected to educate children without first having been trained well? The problem, put simply, is that entrance requirements to most colleges of education are too lax, and the requirements for graduation are too low.

Most colleges and universities have no incentive to change: The education schools are cash cows, milked for the benefit of the rest of the institution and rarely held accountable for being subpar. Education curricula are almost uniformly out of date and far too theoretical, with minimal classroom-teaching requirements. Too often, these future educators learn to "teach" math, but they don't necessarily learn how to do the math itself.

The problem dates to the 19th or early 20th century, when these schools first opened. Teachers at that time, most of them women or minorities, weren't expected to have great skills. Education professors assumed their students could only teach if given a script to read every day. But after the civil-rights and feminist movements, these once underestimated individuals had other opportunities, leaving the weak curriculum consistent with the collective quality of students. By 2010, the mean critical-reading SAT score of entering college freshmen was 501, but for education majors it was 481. The math score was 516 compared with 486, and in writing, 492 versus 477.

Teachers, however, have always bridled at low expectations, wanting to be thought of as professionals. The American Federation of Teachers even calls itself "the union of professionals." So colleges of education treat training as "professional" rather than "vocational." Essential and practical teaching skills, like classroom management, took a back seat to endless discussions of theories about how we learn—which won't seem very relevant to a struggling first-year teacher.

These problems existed well before the drive for individual instruction and the introduction of learning through the Internet. Today school districts are learning to navigate instructing students in compliance with Common Core standards. Districts are trying combinations of old-style lecturing, project-based learning, embedded technology and co-teaching. With such different techniques in each school district, new teachers must either relearn or unlearn what they supposedly paid to learn in college.

Instead of trying to improve undergraduate teacher training—as experts have proposed for decades—we have another idea: Get rid of it. Or at least end teacher education as we know it.

Two simple but radical changes could transform teaching in America. First, require aspiring teachers to major in something other than education. Students who want to be math teachers must major in math, for example, and fulfill the same graduation requirements as the school's other math majors. Same for English and science. That alone would improve the quality of teachers enormously.

Next, take state funding for colleges of education and give it to school districts instead. The districts would take on the obligation of teacher training, either doing it themselves or contracting with an outside organization or university. Many districts already train this way with what's called "alternative certification," and research suggests that these programs can be more effective than traditional, college-based programs.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission found in a 2012 study that several alternative-certification programs were among the state's most effective teacher-training programs. Their success affirms that the technical teaching skills learned while in the classroom are generally far more important than all the theory learned in college.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I agree with some things in this article but not everything. It is well known that many of the graduates for the College of Education probably would not have made it if they majored in some (most?) other colleges in the university, especially the math and science disciplines. Colleges of Education often teach their own technical topics in math and science rather than throw their majors to the wolves.

But it's absurd to think that K-12 teachers need to compete with the top academic students in the university. Teaching middle school math is not the same thing as being an engineer going to work for GE or a mathematics student preparing for a doctoral program at Cal Tech. At the same time teachers of mathematics at all levels should be aware of the latest trends in advanced mathematics and changing career opportunities for mathematicians. A teacher of college algebra does not need skills in advanced topology, but she/he should be aware of trends in topology. Middle school algebra does not change much, but courses in the Mathematics Departments of colleges have changed a great deal since I was a lowly student.

I agree that alternate certification programs would probably be beneficial such that teachers of seniors in high school have higher level mathematics skills than math teachers in middle school. But even here there can be problems. We want minority teachers as role models when certification examinations may be screen out some very fine dedicated minority teachers.

I don't have a knee jerk solution to these problems, but if I had one suggestion it would be to expand the practicum of preparing K-12 teachers. Perhaps they should have at least one more term of intensely monitored practice teaching. Perhaps there should be more courses where they practice teach each other where some of the teachers pretending to be students create problems similar to problems encountered in real life.

It amazes me how many low paid K-12 teachers are hugely dedicated to their students. The work rules, often union instigated, are often counterproductive such as not teaching in the classroom for more than 4-5 hours per day. I'm a firm believer that K-12 students need more hours per day of monitored learning time. They should not eat lunch and then board the buses to go home at 1:30 in the afternoon. This wastes their days in most instances and is probably one of the reasons home-schooled students perform better on average than public school children.

My point is that we may be blaming the teachers for dysfunctional learning that should instead be blamed on the systems. Students who arrive home before 3:00 p.m. assume that the learning day is over and turn on the television or head for an outdoor basketball court.

"Key White House Nominee Has Background in Teacher-Ed Reform," by Kelly Field, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 23, 2013 ---

"The College Admissions Passion Play Just being well-rounded apparently is a defect. Better to be obsessive—or at least sound that way in the essay," by M.N. Stabler, The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2013 ---

My daughter, a high-school senior, seems like a strong college prospect: an avid learner with good grades and lots of extracurricular activities including varsity sports, student government and volunteer work. But with college early-admissions deadlines looming, doubt has now crept into her thinking. Poring over brochures and reflecting on her campus visits, this over-programmed teenager has discovered a glaring flaw: She has no "demonstrated passion."

Her varied interests, which once might have been considered a sign of well-roundedness, now apparently indicate to college-admissions officers a shallow inability to become obsessed with one particular interest.

Too late, she realized that she would have been better served by learning to become a master glassblower or by arranging Mozart's Requiem for steel drums.

Oh, the parental failure! How misguided we were in adopting the approach of letting her try many things, take risks and have fun.

Clearly, my husband and I should have forced her to pick one sport—the more obscure the better—in which to strive for near-Olympian prowess. Better yet, she could have turned her fascination with the TV show "Bones" into summers at forensics camp or a homicide-unit internship. Anything to feed the admissions beast.

What constitutes a passion, anyway? What alchemy transforms a childhood fascination into Ivy League gold? I suspect that the kid once known as "enthusiastic" is now "passionate" simply for the sake of college. I guarantee that mercenary college consultants, hired by desperate parents, have crafted all manner of prefab passions according to what they claim will "work" on admissions boards at Harvard and Yale.

I recall one college representative telling us: "It doesn't matter what it is. We want to see genuine enthusiasm for something." Come on. Does online poker count? How, at age 18, can most kids be expected to have identified the thing that moves them above all else?

Of course, there are exceptions. My son, a 15-year-old, is a serious musician whose interests are narrow and consuming. His knowledge of early jazz and punk rock is astonishing. He is the poster child for discovered passion. But I should note that this is also a child who will often discover that he has forgotten his bus money, left his phone in his room and misplaced his lunch within an hour of leaving the house.

His sister, on the other hand, is more of a stickler: She refused to miss soccer practices for orthodontist appointments, so she wore braces much longer than necessary. A demonstrated passion for not skipping soccer practice probably isn't what colleges are looking for. Maybe they would like the fact that she worked full time for a month last summer to fund a trip to the Dominican Republic so that she could volunteer in a camp for Haitian refugees. But she's reluctant to piggyback on the life's work of the program's founder just for college-essay fodder. She also resists calling her volunteering a "passion." She wonders why she can't just be into something.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I think this is inevitable because there's often no way to separate the wheat from the chaff when students list their extra-curricular activities on resumes in high school or college. I used to write letters of recommendation for my students who were nearing college graduation day. I often chuckled to myself but never belittled a student for having a long list of mostly dubious extra-curricular activities like being officers in obscure student clubs that did virtually nothing and met once a year to elect a long slate of officers and board members. And even when graduating from college they listed four high school sports.

I would be a hypocrite if I criticized them since in three successive years I was once Secretary, Vice-President, and President of a business executives town club that only had a mission to meet once a month for cocktails and a country club dinner in various private clubs. I spend two additional years on the Board of Directors. I could argue that this helped build university relations in the community and perhaps contributed to some endowment gifts down the road. But I think this would be stretching efforts to justify my being an officer in this club.

The problem for recruiters and admissions officers is that virtually every applicant has a long laundry list of extracurricular activities to a point that its difficult to identify many for whom there were significant extra-curricular accomplishments. For example, I'm related to a young woman who has a resume line:  "Mission Work in Latin America." When she was in high school she took a trip with 20 other students to Mexico for 10 days. That would be a whole lot different than someone else who spent three entire summers or the better part of a year teaching English in dirt-street small village.

In case your interested I still have my Algona High School football letter jacket with four chevrons on the sleeve.

"Who Owns College Courses? Flexible and open models are changing the way colleges and universities approach content ownership." by Michelle Fredette, Campus Technology, October 16, 2013 ---

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

"The End of the Class-Action Carnival," by Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 21, 2013 --- Click Here

"Half Time Adjustments," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, October 22, 2013 ---

"Million-Year Data Storage Disk Unveiled:  Magnetic hard discs can store data for little more than a decade. But nanotechnologists have now designed and built a disk that can store data for a million years or more," MIT's Technology Review, October 18, 2013 --- 

"The Secrets of Online Money Laundering," MIT's Technology Review, October 18, 2013 --- Click Here

Criminals are increasingly using the internet to turn dirty money into a spotless shade of green. Now a report written for the United Nations lifts the lid on many of these increasingly popular techniques.

Money laundering is increasingly becoming a cybercrime. Gone are the days when the bad guys would pop down to the casino and hope to convert their loot into a clean win on the roulette table. And less popular is the old scam of taking out an insurance policy and then redeeming it at a discount.

Instead, modern criminals are focusing on the internet. And the opportunities for turning dirty money into a spotless shade of green are plentiful.

So today, Jean-Loup Richet, a research associate at the ESSEC Business School just outside Paris, surveys the new techniques that criminals are using in a report written for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. And he reveals just how creative and opportunistic money launderers have become.

Researching these kinds of operations is inherently difficult. As Richet puts it: “Bad guys and their banks don’t share information on criminal pursuits. “

Instead, he has had to cast his net a little wider. Richet’s main sources of information are online hacker forums where anonymous criminals exchange tips on the best ways to launder money and are surprisingly frank about their methods.

In some ways, many of these methods are unsurprising. A common approach until recently was to use the Costa Rican digital currency service called Liberty Reserve. This converted dollars or Euros into a digital currency called Liberty Reserve dollars or Liberty Reserve Euros, which could then be sent and received anonymously—one of the few services to allow this. The receiver can then convert the Liberty Reserve currency back into cash for a small fee.

In May this year, however, the US authorities shut down the service and charged its founder and various others with money laundering.

But Richet says the closure of Liberty Reserve is unlikely to end these practices because there so many alternatives. These include WebMoney, Bitcoins, Paymer, PerfectMoney and so on.

Another increasingly common way of laundering money is to use online gaming. In a growing number of online games, it is possible to convert money from the real world into virtual goods services or cash that can later be converted back into the real thing. “Popular games for this type of scam include Second Life and World of Warcraft,” says Richet.

Then there are the money mule scams. Most people will be familiar with the spam in which a high level official from a developing country asks your help to transfer significant amounts of money and are prepared to pay well for your services. But first, they require your banking details which they promptly use to empty your account and then disappear.

In a growing number of cases, however, the criminals do actually transfer large amounts of money into your account and then ask you to forward it. However, since this involves stolen funds that are being laundered, you are accountable for the crime.

Another scam is to offer people jobs in which they can make a substantial income working from home. However, the ‘job’ involves accepting money transfers into their accounts and then passing these funds on to an account set up by the employer. In other words, money laundering!

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

Apps for Illegal Acts (well maybe not in some parts of the world)
Apps to Find a Prostitute
Search for the phrase "apps for a prostitute" at

And for apps that are legal are there added ethical and social responsibilities?
"Do Apps Have Social Responsibility? by Gretchen Gavett , Harvard Business Review Blog, October 18, 2013 ---

"Federal Student-Loan Sharks Print: Why is the government gouging our college kids? The new law on loan rates just makes things worse," by William J. Quirk, The American Scholar, Autumn 2013 ---

Education, Thomas Jefferson believed, should be free. Its universal availability was at the center of his vision for the republic. In the wake of the Constitution’s drafting in Philadelphia, he remarked in a letter to James Madison, “Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.” In 1778, Jefferson proposed to the Virginia legislature a bill for the “More General Diffusion of Knowledge.” The bill’s preamble reads, “those entrusted with power,” in all forms of government, “have perverted it into tyranny,” and “the most effectual means of preventing this would be to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large.” When Jefferson thought about the nation’s education system, writes Merrill D. Peterson in Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation (1970), he “projected three distinct grades of education—elementary, middle, and higher—the whole rising like a pyramid from the local communities.” Elementary schools would freely educate all children in reading, writing, and other basics. The middle and higher schools would be selective and charge tuition, except for poor students who passed rigorous examinations and received state scholarships. From its opening in 1825 until 1860, Jefferson’s University of Virginia charged a tuition of $75 per session.

Perhaps it won’t surprise you to hear that we have very few Jeffersons in the 113th United States Congress, but then we don’t have any in the White House or the Department of Education. Congress spent the summer bickering over whether the rates for student loans for higher education would double on July 1, from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. They did double through congressional inaction; but at the end of July, Congress passed a Senate compromise that fixes rates annually to the 10-year U.S. Treasury note plus 2.05 percent, capped at 8.25 percent. This year’s rate will be 3.9 percent for undergraduates and 5.4 percent for graduate students, who have traditionally paid a higher rate. In the press, the new bill was hailed for decreasing rates and saving students significant amounts in interest. But of course the bill actually increases rates by half a percentage point from what it had been before July 1. The federal government is in effect levying a new tax on college students in a program that already raises an obscene amount of money for the Treasury and is jeopardizing the financial future of a whole generation of young Americans. Our third president, it’s fair to say, would be disappointed if not disgusted.

In his 2010 State of the Union address, our 44th and current president proposed to “finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans.” We all agree with that; but what should we have done next? For starters, the government could have stopped being so greedy and instead made direct loans to students at its cost. With the current cost of funding at 0.7 percent, that approach would have put student loans at around one percent. President Obama apparently never considered that course—by continuing the same high rates, the same high profits go to the government instead of to the banks.

Government loans are wildly profitable. If you borrow at 0.7 percent and lend at 3.9 or 5.4 percent, you have what’s called a favorable spread. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the government makes 36 cents on every dollar lent to undergraduates and 64 cents on every dollar lent to graduate students and parents. The loans cannot be absolved through bankruptcy except under extreme conditions, and the government can, without even a court order, garnish wages, disability payments, and Social Security. Indeed, the only certain way to beat the government is to die without any assets—an extreme course of action.

The original student-loan program followed Jefferson. Passed in 1958, as part of the National Defense Education Act—a response to Sputnik—it provided for Treasury loans to students at three percent. The government’s borrowing rate was 3.1 percent in 1957. The program gave priority to “students with a superior academic background” who expressed an interest in teaching elementary or secondary school, and to students with a “superior capacity” for “science, mathematics, engineering, or a modern foreign language.” Loans were limited to 10 years and were forgiven if the student went into public school teaching.

In 1965, as part of President Johnson’s Great Society program, Congress passed the Higher Education Act. The law introduced the government-guaranteed bank loan, which today has grown to more than $1 trillion in student loans outstanding—an amount greater than credit card debt and second only to mortgage debt. The guaranteed loan program created the student aid industry, led by the banks and the government-sponsored entity Sallie Mae. The industry has enjoyed significant profits from high interest rates on riskless loans. Sallie Mae stock rose more than 1,900 percent between 1995 and 2005. Its CEO, Albert Lord, made $225 million between 1999 and 2004.

As the industry attached a giant siphon to students’ lifetime earnings, the nation began an experiment not in illuminating young minds or upholding the Jeffersonian educational ideal but in finding out what would happen if our college graduates started their working lives with a large negative net worth.

Who came up with the idea that anyone should profit from student loans? Would it be a surprise to hear that the banks and the lenders were involved? When Congress created the guaranteed bank loan in 1965, Sen. Wayne Morse, a Democrat from Oregon, said,

The loan program that we have worked out in this bill is the result of prolonged conferences with the representatives of financial institutions of this country, the banks, and the loaning agencies, the Treasury, the Bureau of the Budget, and with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

The switch from direct loans to guaranteed loans was an accounting fiddle: direct loans showed as a budget expenditure, and the guaranteed loans did not. The Johnson administration was seeking to keep overall budget numbers down in view of its heavy expenses for the war in Vietnam. No one mentioned that a parasitic industry had been created, one that could make money without risk.

The program not only became a profit center, first for the banks and Sallie Mae and then for the federal government, but it also became the main support for a profligate American higher education system. In 2011–12, the program pumped $113 billion into colleges and universities, which amounts to about 35 percent of the total tuition bill. Private colleges and universities typically receive an estimated 60 percent of their tuition from student loans; law schools, 80 percent. The student-loan program is growing bigger and bigger. It has already increased almost 10 times since 1989–90 ($12 billion), tripled since 1999–2000 ($33 billion), and doubled since 2004–05 ($55 billion).

One sign from the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests read, “Borrowed $26,400, Paid Back $32,700, Still owe $45,276.” As the sign implies, there is no escape from student-loan debt. If a student defaults, he is headed, as financial-aid expert Mark Kantrowitz told Business Week in a metaphor mash-up, “for a trip through hell with no light at the end of the tunnel.”

A 10-year loan can almost double because of debt collection charges of nearly 20 percent. The federal government paid collection agencies $1.4 billion in 2011. Those who predict that student loans are a bubble about to pop note that the increasing cost of tuition and the increased debt load carried by students are similar to housing debts in 2007. But student loans are forever: unlike a house, a student loan can’t be abandoned. The students owe their soul to the company store. And the biggest cost of the student-loan fiasco may not be the crushing debt to the individual graduate but the deflation of that entrepreneurial spirit that distinguishes the United States from much of the rest of the world.

Debt is silent. It creeps along, but once it is incurred, the obligation is as strong as death. Two-thirds of graduates leave college with student loans, owing on average $26,600. A dependent student (one under 24 who is still supported by parents) can borrow up to $31,000 at 3.9 percent over a five-year term by taking out Stafford loans. An “independent” student can borrow as much as $57,500 at the same rate. Parents can borrow further at 6.4 percent. About 90 percent of law students graduate with debt averaging more than $100,000. Each year a graduate student can borrow $138,500 at 5.41 percent and an additional amount up to the “cost of attendance,” say, $54,000 at 7.9 percent.

Up to 3.7 million former students owe over $54,000 and 1.1 million owe more than $100,000. Over two million Americans 60 or older still have outstanding student loans. The miracle of compound interest works against the student. A loan at six percent interest doubles in 12 years—at three percent, it doubles in 24 years. The government, universities, and bankers have captured a substantial part of the student’s future income stream.

Real people exist behind these figures. Consider the example of Alan Collinge, who attended the University of Southern California, taking out $38,000 in loans for his undergraduate and graduate degrees in aerospace engineering. He got a job at Caltech and repaid $7,000 before leaving his job. He could not find a new one and stopped paying Sallie Mae after it refused any forbearance of his debt. He eventually owed $100,000 and couldn’t get a military contractor job because of his bad credit. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Education offered to waive his accrued interest and fees, according to The New York Times. He is now an activist on the subject of student-loan debt. Fortune magazine reports that in the early 2000s, Sallie Mae charged one student at Katharine Gibbs, a for-profit school, 28 percent interest—a stated 14 percent and a supplemental fee. Angelica Gonzales did not graduate from Emory University but owes $60,000 on student loans and is earning $8.50 an hour as a clerk in a furniture store.

Since World War II, there has been a sharp increase in the percentage and number of high school graduates who enroll at colleges and universities. In 1958, 24 percent were enrolled; in 1980, 45 percent; in 2010, 68 percent. (The total number of students doubled between 1980 and 2012, to 19.7 million.) Since 1964, the student-loan industry has financed the increased demand.

The Economist from December 1, 2012, reports that the cost of higher education per student since 1983 has risen by five times the rate of inflation. In comparison, medical costs have gone up twice the rate of inflation. Between 2000 and 2010, tuition rose 42 percent at public institutions and 31 percent at private ones.

Before the era of student loans, college tuition was substantial, but it didn’t threaten a student’s long-term financial health. A college kid could contribute a good part of the cost by working summers and holidays. But very few summer jobs pay well enough to make a dent in a $40,000 tuition bill. To pay tuition, room, and board for four years at Harvard today, at about $65,000 a year, parents need to earn (assuming a 50 percent tax cost) in the neighborhood of $520,000 in pretax money—a pretty exclusive neighborhood. Harvard’s tuition was $1,520 in 1960. Adjusting for inflation, that amount would still be only $11,990 today, but the actual price is $40,016. Tuition at Columbia University cost $1,450 in 1960, which would be $11,438 today, but the current cost is $46,846. State schools have also dramatically increased what they charge. In-state tuition at the University of Virginia cost $490 in 1960, which would be $3,865 in today’s dollars, but the current cost is $12,458. Although the government has piles of studies denying it, student loans appear to have induced, or at least facilitated, the astonishing rise in tuition.

Admittedly, it seems counterintuitive that student loans, intended to make college more affordable, have fueled skyrocketing tuition. But as education policy consultant Arthur M. Hauptman wrote in Inside Higher Ed in 2011, “There is a strong correlation over time between student and parent loan availability and rapidly rising tuitions. Common sense suggests that growing availability of student loans at reasonable rates has made it easier for many institutions to raise their prices.”

Continued in article

 "The Fuzzy Math in Financial Aid Offers," by Janet Lorin, Business Week, May 3, 2012 ---

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

"Camera Lets Blind People Navigate with Gestures: A wearable depth-sensing camera may soon give sightless people a better way to master their , environment," by Richard Moss, MIT's Technology Review, October 17, 2013 ---

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

Bob Jensen's threads on learning technology for disabled people (especially hearing and sight impaired people) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on wearable computers and other forms of ubiquitous computing ---

How to Mislead With Statistics and Graphics

"How U.S. Debt Per Capita Has Changed Under Every President Since JFK," by Giovanni Salzano, Bloomberg Businessweek, October 17, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Firstly, it is very misleading to knee-jerk attribute changes in the National Debt to a President of the United States. There are many good and bad factors affecting this debt that are not caused by actions of a president during his (soon to be her) term of office. For example, much of the prosperity in the Clinton years can be attributed to lagged multiplier effects of the tax cuts instigated in the Reagan years. Another example is where President Obama inherited an economic crisis that commenced in the Bush years.  Also much of the blame or credit for changes in the National Debt may be attributed more to USA Congress and global events than the President of the USA.

Secondly there are statistical and graphical deceptions that politicians use all the time. For example, in the above graph President Obama does not look so bad compared with President Regan who looks really bad in the above graph. But the trick being played is what mathematicians call the "denominator effect," The denominator in this case is the population of the United states that increased from 227 million in the 1980 Reagan year to 309 million in 2010. This is an 82 million or 27% population growth denominator effect. I don't think we should attribute a 27% growth in USA population to President Obama. I'm not so certain about Bill Clinton however (just kidding).

Different denominators can lead to a possibly misleading appearance of a USA President's performance in terms of a denominator effect. For example, President Obama looks a bit worse than Reagan in terms of having no denominator or having a GDP denominator ---

Jensen Comment
The moral of the story is that relatively accurate "figures don't lie but liars figure," and cherry picked tables and graphs can serve biased purposes. Academics are usually more cautious about such cherry picking because other academics are trained to critically evaluate evidence.

This is an example of where we would like to instill more "critical thinking" into the learning curriculum for students.

Assets of the USA Federal Reserve 1915-2012 ---
The enormous spike commenced in 2007 and was exacerbated when U.S. Treasury bonds were purchased at an exponential rate in the Quantitative Easing program of the Fed.

Quantitative Easing ---

Quantitative easing (QE) is an unconventional monetary policy used by central banks to prevent the money supply falling when standard monetary policy has become ineffective.[1] [2][3] A central bank implements quantitative easing by buying specified amounts of financial assets from commercial banks and other private institutions, thus increasing the monetary base.[4] This is distinguished from the more usual policy of buying or selling government bonds in order to keep market interest rates at a specified target value.[5][6][7][8]

Expansionary monetary policy typically involves the central bank buying short-term government bonds in order to lower short-term market interest rates.[9][10][11][12] However, when short-term interest rates are at or close to zero, normal monetary policy can no longer lower interest rates.[13] Quantitative easing may then be used by monetary authorities to further stimulate the economy by purchasing assets of longer maturity than short-term government bonds, and thereby lowering longer-term interest rates further out on the yield curve.[14][15] Quantitative easing raises the prices of the financial assets bought, which lowers their yield.[16]

Quantitative easing can be used to help ensure that inflation does not fall below target.[8] Risks include the policy being more effective than intended in acting against deflation (leading to higher inflation in the longer term, due to increased money supply),[17] or not being effective enough if banks do not lend out the additional reserves.[18] According to the IMF and various other economists, quantitative easing undertaken since the global financial crisis has mitigated some of the adverse effects of the crisis.[19][20][21]

. . .

5 Risks

5.1 Savings and pensions ---
5.2 Housing market over-supply and QE3 ---
5.3 Capital flight ---
5.4 Increase income and wealth inequality ---
5.5 Criticism by BRIC countries ---

BRIC countries have criticized the QE carried out by the central banks of developed nations. They share the argument that such actions amount to protectionism and competitive devaluation. As net exporters whose currencies are partially pegged to the dollar, they protest that QE causes inflation to rise in their countries and penalizes their industries.


"Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Soon To Hit $4 Trillion in Assets," by Jon C. Ogg," 24/7 Wall Street, October 14, 2013 ---

. . .

The Federal reserve even admits on its weekly balance sheet analysis, “Since the beginning of the financial market turmoil in August 2007, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has grown in size and has changed in composition. Total assets of the Federal Reserve have increased significantly from $869 billion on August 8, 2007, to well over $2 trillion.” That is an old figure because it is now over $3.75 trillion.

The full figure as of October 9, 2013 was $3.7586 trillion. The $85 billion per month plus the rollover maturities is adding to this each and every month. At some point this will be real money to someone. By the way, of that $3.7586 trillion in assets some $3.4895 trillion are listed as securities held.

Question for Your Students
What is meant by this phrase? 
"At some point this will be real money to someone"

Jensen Comment
Firstly students should understand how money is created in the USA. The money supply is not increased by the printing of money needed fro liquidity preferences of the populace. When Ole Knutson chooses to write a check and withdraw $500 a checking account money is not created and the money supply is not changed. Ole has simply expressed a liquidity preference.

Money was created, however, if Ole's checking account was increased by a loan from his bank for $500. That money did not exist in the nation's money supply until the bank made the loan. In the USA money is created by commercial bank loans.

Money was not created, however, if Ole increased his checking account balance by borrowing from his friend Sven. That was simply a transfer of funds in the USA money supply from Sven to Ole.

When the USA Government sells a treasury bond to the Fed  (a central bank) it does not directly create money and increase the USA Money Supply.

Printing Money Versus Monetization of the Debt---

Quantitative easing has been nicknamed "printing money" by some members of the media,[89][90][91] central bankers,[92] and financial analysts.[93][94] However, central banks state that the use of the newly created money is different in QE. With QE, the newly created money is used to buy government bonds or other financial assets, whereas the term printing money usually implies that the newly minted money is used to directly finance government deficits or pay off government debt (also known as monetizing the government debt).[89]

It is also noted[95] that the increase in the money base produced by QE does not necessarily increase the aggregated money supply because banks can keep cash provided by central banks in their liquidity reserves. In other words, QE can only change the structure of the money supply, decreasing the share of money that has been already "printed" by fractional reserve banks; this is a way to tie existing bank accounts and deposits back to real cash without increasing the amount of money.

Central banks in most developed nations (e.g., the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and the EU) are prohibited from buying government debt directly from the government and must instead buy it from the secondary market.[88][96] This two-step process, where the government sells bonds to private entities which the central bank then buys, has been called "monetizing the debt" by many analysts.[88] The distinguishing characteristic between QE and monetizing debt is that with QE, the central bank is creating money to stimulate the economy, not to finance government spending. Also, the central bank has the stated intention of reversing the QE when the economy has recovered (by selling the government bonds and other financial assets back into the market).[89] The only effective way to determine whether a central bank has monetized debt is to compare its performance relative to its stated objectives. Many central banks have adopted an inflation target. It is likely that a central bank is monetizing the debt if it continues to buy government debt when inflation is above target, and the government has problems with debt financing.[88]

Ben Bernanke remarked in 2002 that the US government had a technology called the printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), so that if rates reached zero and deflation threatened, the government could always act to ensure deflation was prevented. He said, however, that the government would not print money and distribute it "willy nilly" but would rather focus its efforts in certain areas (e.g., buying federal agency debt securities and mortgage-backed securities).[97][98] According to economist Robert McTeer, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, there is nothing wrong with printing money during a recession, and quantitative easing is different from traditional monetary policy "only in its magnitude and pre-announcement of amount and timing".[99][100] Stephen Hester, Chief Executive Officer of the RBS Group, said in an interview, "What the Bank of England does in quantitative easing is it prints money to buy government debt, and so what has happened is the government has run a huge deficit over the past three years, but instead of having to find other people to lend it that money, the Bank of England has printed money to pay for the government deficit. If that QE hadn't happened then the government would have needed to find real people to buy its debt. So the Quantitative Easing has enabled governments, this government, to run a big budget deficit without killing the economy because the Bank of England has financed it. Now you can't do that for long because people get wise to it and it causes inflation and so on, but that's what it has done: money has been printed to fund the deficit." [101]

Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, warned in 2010 that a potential risk of QE is "the risk of being perceived as embarking on the slippery slope of debt monetization. We know that once a central bank is perceived as targeting government debt yields at a time of persistent budget deficits, concern about debt monetization quickly arises." Later in the same speech, he stated that the Fed is monetizing the government debt. "The math of this new exercise is readily transparent: The Federal Reserve will buy $110 billion a month in Treasuries, an amount that, annualized, represents the projected deficit of the federal government for next year. For the next eight months, the nation's central bank will be monetizing the federal debt."[102]

Jensen Comment
I hazard a guess that nearly all the representatives and senators who vote on whether or not to raise the USA Government's debt ceiling really understand how persistent budget can lead to monetization of the debt and, thereby, make it "real money."

Can you explain all this to your students?

Tapering means cutting back on Quantitative Easing which, in turn, will increase interest rates on U.S. Treasuries and most other debt instruments in the economy, including interest people earn on Certificates of Deposits

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on October 17, 2013

A probable long delay for the taper.
The direct economic effects of the shutdown will likely be small, shaving about 0.3 of a percentage point off fourth-quarter GDP growth, with much of the losses regained in the first quarter, estimates Joel Prakken of Macroeconomic Advisers.
Harder to know is how lost confidence has affected the economy, and to what degree its effects are temporary, Heard on the Street writes. Economists won’t have any real sense of that until December, when November data start filtering in. But there is a crucial consideration: With the budget deal funding federal agencies only through Jan. 15, and raising the debt ceiling only through Feb. 7, another battle could be brewing. The Fed will probably want to avoid doing anything to discomfit markets until the risk of another showdown has passed. That pushes the likely timing for starting the tapering process to the Fed’s March meeting.

"Cardiology researcher faked data in his prizewinning PhD thesis — and NIH, AHA grants: ORI," Retraction Watch, October 2013 ---

Nitin Aggarwal, formerly of the Medical College of Wisconsin, faked data in his PhD thesis, grant applications to the NIH and American Heart Association, and in two papers, according to new findings by the Office of Research Integrity.

Jensen Comment
It's not clear how he got caught. Data faking is most commonly caught in the real sciences by insider whistleblowers (such as research assistants) and replication which in the natural sciences is virtually mandatory. Unfortunately, in accountics science replication is rare and this type of whistle blowing is unheard of for accounting research cheating.

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

Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) ---

A Nobel Prize for an Elegant Myth
"A Nobel for the Random Walk of Stock Prices:  The latest winners of the economics prize taught us about market efficiency in pricing assets," by David R. Henderson The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2013 ---

Sometimes the Nobel committee seems to make a partly political statement in choosing winners of the prize in economics. Not this year. On Monday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2013 Nobel to three deserving American economists: Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen at the University of Chicago and Robert Shiller of Yale University. The prizes were based on the importance of their work, which "laid the foundation for the current understanding of asset prices."

Mr. Fama's major contribution, notably with the 1965 paper "Random Walks in Stock Market Prices," has been to show that stock markets are very efficient. The term "efficient" here does not mean what it normally means in economics—namely, that benefits minus costs are maximized. Instead, it means that prices of stocks rapidly incorporate information that is publicly available.

That happens because markets are so competitive. Prices now move on earnings news not just within seconds, but within milliseconds—which is why you're already too late if you decide to buy Apple AAPL +0.65% stock after hearing about an unexpectedly high earnings report. There are quicker trigger fingers acting instantly on new information. But even before supercomputers got into the game, markets were reacting very efficiently.

One implication of market efficiency is that trading rules, such as "buy when the price fell yesterday," don't work. The insight has had big implications for large and small investors: Don't waste your money on professional financial managers who actively try to pick individual stocks.

One high-profile beneficiary of Mr. Fama's insight was John Bogle, who started the Vanguard 500 Index Fund in the 1970s. His idea was to have a fund indexed to the overall market and save the costs of hiring experts to predict stock prices. He shared Mr. Fama's skepticism about golden stock-pickers. The result is that over the past four decades millions of investors who buy index funds from Vanguard and its competitors have saved hundreds of billions of dollars by not paying for dubious investment advice.

Mr. Fama, 74, is also skeptical of the word "bubble," which suggests market inefficiency by letting stock prices rise higher than justified by market fundamentals. In 2010, he told the New Yorker magazine: "It's easy to say prices went down, it must have been a bubble, after the fact. I think most bubbles are twenty-twenty hindsight. . . . People are always saying that prices are too high. When they turn out to be right, we anoint them. When they turn out to be wrong we ignore them."

In the Milton Friedman University of Chicago tradition, Mr. Fama believes that free markets are better than government at allocating resources. He strongly opposed the 2008 selective bailout of Wall Street firms, arguing that, without it, financial markets would have sorted themselves out within "a week or two."

Robert Shiller's contribution to our understanding of asset prices has included this insight: that stock prices fluctuate more than can be explained by fluctuations in dividends. The 67-year-old Mr. Shiller's finding in the 1980s set off a revolution in finance. It is now accepted that high prices relative to earnings signal low subsequent returns and vice-versa. This means, as George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen has noted, that (contra Mr. Fama) a very patient investor should be able to beat the market by betting against short-term market movements. So, for example, if the price has fallen more than can be explained by relatively steady dividends, you should buy and hold.

Mr. Shiller's work has been particularly notable for two reasons: his contribution to the Case-Shiller home price index, which has been invaluable for those who want good data on home prices both nationally and regionally; and his proposal that government pensions and entitlements be "indexed to some indicator of taxpayer ability to pay, such as GDP." Thus government payments for pensions and entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare would be tethered to the relative health of the nation's economy, and the government wouldn't, as it does now, continue to spend itself ruinously into debt. Mr. Shiller's young students—given that they're of the generation likely to be surrendering more and more of their income to the government to support its payments—should consider building a statue of him.

The third recipient of the Nobel economics prize, Lars Peter Hansen, 60, earned it for the mathematical techniques he developed that apply to stock prices and other economic models. Here's how John H. Cochrane, a University of Chicago colleague of Mr. Hansen's, put it to me in an interview: "Hansen managed to boil all the complex statistical techniques used in understanding economic models to just taking averages. His techniques allowed economists to study the economy one piece at a time, and to focus on the robust, important predictions of a model without being distracted by irrelevant sideshows."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads about the dubious Efficient Market Hyothesis (EMH) ---

JUSTIN FOX, The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009/11 (paper), ISBN 978-0-06-059903-4 (paper), pp. xvi, 390).
Reviewed by David Lunt in The Accounting Review, May 2013 ---

A Great Example of What's Wrong in Plato's Cave Where Inconvenient Facts are Simply Assumed Away With an Academic Wand
"Just How Efficient Is The Market?" Seeking Alpha, February 3, 2012 ---

For much of the last 25 years, most of the investment management world has promoted the idea that individual investors can't beat the market. To beat the market, stock pickers of course have to discover mispricings in stocks, but the Nobel-acclaimed Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) claims that the market is a ruthless mechanism acting instantly to arbitrage away any such opportunities, claiming that the current price of a stock is always the most accurate estimate of its value (known as "informational efficiency"). If this is true, what hope can there be for motivated stock pickers, no matter how much they sweat and toil, vs. low-cost index funds that simply mechanically track the market? As it turns out, there's plenty!

The (absurd) rise of the Efficient Market Hypothesis

First proposed in University of Chicago professor Eugene Fama’s 1970 paper Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work, EMH has evolved into a concept that a stock price reflects all available information in the market, making it impossible to have an edge. There are no undervalued stocks, it is argued, because there are smart security analysts who utilize all available information to ensure unfailingly appropriate prices. Investors who seem to beat the market year after year are just lucky.

However, despite still being widely taught in business schools, it is increasingly clear that the efficient market hypothesis is "one of the most remarkable errors in the history of economic thought" (Shiller). As Warren Buffett famously quipped, "I'd be a bum on the street with a tin cup if the market was always efficient."

Similarly, ex-Fidelity fund manager and investment legend Peter Lynch said in a 1995 interview with Fortune magazine: “Efficient markets? That’s a bunch of junk, crazy stuff.”

So what's so bogus about EMH?

Firstly, EMH is based on a set of absurd assumptions about the behaviour of market participants that goes something like this:

  1. Investors can trade stocks freely in any size, with no transaction costs;
  2. Everyone has access to the same information;
  3. Investors always behave rationally;
  4. All investors share the same goals and the same understanding of intrinsic value.

All of these assumptions are clearly nonsensical the more you think about them but, in particular, studies in behavioural finance initiated by Kahneman, Tversky and Thaler has shown that the premise of shared investor rationality is a seriously flawed and misleading one.

Secondly, EMH makes predictions that do not accord with the reality. Both the Tech Bubble and the Credit Bubble/Crunch show that that the market is subject to fads, whims and periods of irrational exuberance (and despair) which can not be explained away as rational. Furthermore, contrary to the predictions of EMH, there have been plenty of individuals who have managed to outperform the market consistently over the decades.

Continued in article

 October 28, 2009 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Bob, et al,
I never cease to marvel at the powers of rationalization defenders of sacred institutions can muster. The above characterization of EMH was certainly not the version pedaled by its accounting disciples (notably Bill Beaver) back in the late 60s and early 70s. An accounting research industry was created based on a version of EMH that was decidedly more certain that securities were "properly priced." [Why else do studies to debunk the Briloff effect?].

Given the interpretation offered above, "Information Content Studies" make no sense. The whole idea of this methodology was that accounting data that correlated with prices implied market participants found it useful for setting prices based on publicly available data, which implied such prices were the ones that would exist in an idealized world of perfectly informed investors. Thus, this data met the test of being information and was to be preferred to other "non-information" to which the market did not react.

But now we are told that this latest version of EMH does not justify such sanguinity because "...the prices in the market are mostly wrong...", thus prices are not an indicator of the value of data, i.e., just because there is a price effect we still don't know if that data is truly "information." Think of the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted over the last forty years subsidizing people to search for something that is indeterminate given the methodology they are employing.

And for this the AAA awarded Seminal Contributions. Jim Boatsman had an ingenious little paper in Abacus eons ago titled, "Why Are There Tigers and Things," that cast serious doubts on the whole enterprise of "testing" market efficiency. It addressed the issue Carl Devine harped on about needing an independent definition of "information." And this is related to the logical slight of hand EMH required of surmising there is a way to know what the "true" price is since we glibly talk about over and under and mis-priced securities.

But there is no way to know this, since security prices are CREATED by the institution of the securities market. There does not exist a natural process against which market performance can be compared. "Market value," which is what a price is, is a value established by the market. The market is all there is. To paraphrase NC's current governor's favorite expression, "The price is what it is."

It isn't over or under or mis or proper or anything else, other than what a particular institution created by us at one moment in time determines it is. If we lived in a society in which mob rule settled issues of justice, it would make little sense to argue that someone the mob hung was "not guilty." Of course he was guilty, because the mob hung him!!

Paul Williams 

A Fundamentals Approach to Valuing a Business

In the great book Dear Mr. Buffett, Janet Tavakoli shows how Warren Buffet learned value (fundamentals) investing while taking Benjamin Graham's value investing course while earning a masters degree in economics from Columbia University. Buffet also worked for Professor Graham.

The following book supposedly takes the Graham approach to a new level (although I've not yet read the book). Certainly the book will be controversial among the efficient markets proponents like Professors Fama and French.

"Warren Buffett Investing Quotes" by Barry Ritholtz, May 5, 2013

Given that its the Berkshire annual meeting this weekend, now is as good a time to roll out these quotes from Warren himself:


“To invest successfully, you need not understand beta, efficient markets, modern portfolio theory, option pricing or emerging markets. You may, in fact, be better off knowing nothing of these. That, of course, is not the prevailing view at most business schools, whose finance curriculum tends to be dominated by such subjects. In our view, though, investment students need only two well-taught courses
-How to Value a Business, and How to Think About Market Prices.”
Source: Chairman’s Letter, 1996


“The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble…We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table.”
Source: Businessweek, 1999


“None of this means, however, that a business or stock is an intelligent purchase simply because it is unpopular; a contrarian approach is just as foolish as a follow-the-crowd strategy. What’s required is thinking rather than polling. Unfortunately, Bertrand Russell’s observation about life in general applies with unusual force in the financial world: “Most men would rather die than think. Many do.”
Source: Chairman’s Letter, 1990


“Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.”
Source: The New York Times, October 16, 2008


“The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities ¾ that is, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future ¾ will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There’s a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands.”
Source: Letter to shareholders, 2000


“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.”
Source: Warren Buffet Speaks, via msnbc.msn

Fundamentals Approach to Valuing a Business

In the great book Dear Mr. Buffett, Janet Tavakoli shows how Warren Buffet learned value (fundamentals) investing while taking Benjamin Graham's value investing course while earning a masters degree in economics from Columbia University. Buffet also worked for Professor Graham.

The following book supposedly takes the Graham approach to a new level (although I've not yet read the book). Certainly the book will be controversial among the efficient markets proponents like Professors Fama and French.

Purportedly a Great, Great Book on Value Investing
From Simoleon Sense, November 16, 2009 ---

OMG Did I Die & Go to heaven?
Just Read, Applied Value Investing, My Favorite Book of the Past 5 Years!!
Listen To This Interview!

I have a confession, I might have read the best value investing book published in the past 5 years!

The book is called Applied Value Investing By Joseph Calandro Jr. In the book Mr. Calandro applies the tenets of value investing via (real) case studies. Buffett, was once asked how he would teach a class on security analysis, he replied, “case studies”.  Unlike other books which are theoretical this book provides you with the actual steps for valuing businesses.

Without a doubt, this book ranks amongst the best value investing books (with SA, Margin of Safety, Buffett’s letters to corporate America, and Greenwald’s book) & you dont have to take my word for it. Seth Klarman, Mario Gabelli and many top investors have given the book a plug!

Here is an interview with the author of the book, Applied Value Investing ( I recommend listening to this). Who knows perhaps yours truly will interview him soon.



A fellow blogger and friend will soon post a review of this book (hint: Street Capitalist!).

Video:  Warren Buffett's Secrets To Success ---

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the economic crisis are at



Purportedly a Great, Great Book on Value Investing
From Simoleon Sense, November 16, 2009 ---

OMG Did I Die & Go to heaven?
Just Read, Applied Value Investing, My Favorite Book of the Past 5 Years!!
Listen To This Interview!

I have a confession, I might have read the best value investing book published in the past 5 years!

The book is called Applied Value Investing By Joseph Calandro Jr. In the book Mr. Calandro applies the tenets of value investing via (real) case studies. Buffett, was once asked how he would teach a class on security analysis, he replied, “case studies”.  Unlike other books which are theoretical this book provides you with the actual steps for valuing businesses.

Without a doubt, this book ranks amongst the best value investing books (with SA, Margin of Safety, Buffett’s letters to corporate America, and Greenwald’s book) & you dont have to take my word for it. Seth Klarman, Mario Gabelli and many top investors have given the book a plug!

Here is an interview with the author of the book, Applied Value Investing ( I recommend listening to this). Who knows perhaps yours truly will interview him soon.



A fellow blogger and friend will soon post a review of this book (hint: Street Capitalist!).

Video:  Warren Buffett's Secrets To Success ---

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the economic crisis are at

Leading Accountics researchers like Bill Beaver and Steve Penman have a hard time owning up to CAPM's discovered limitations that trace back to their own research built on CAPM. Steve Penman owns up to this somewhat in his own latest book Accounting for Value that seems to run counter to his earlier book Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation.

Bill Beaver's review of Accounting for Value makes an interesting proposition:
 Since Accounting for Value admits to limitations of CAPM and lack of capital market efficiency it should be of interest to investors, security analysts, and practicing accountants consulting on valuation. However, Penman's Accounting for Value is not of much interest to accounting professors and students who, at least according to Bill, should continue to dance in the fantasyland of assumed efficient markets and relevance of CAPM in accountics research.

Accounting for Value
by Stephan Penman
(New York, NY: Columbia Business School Publishing, 2011, ISBN 978-0-231-15118-4, pp. xviii, 244).
Reviewed by William H. Beaver
The Accounting Review, March 2012, pp. 706-709
Jensen Note:  Since TAR book reviews are free to the public, I quoted Bill's entire review

When I was asked by Steve Zeff to review Accounting for Value, my initial reaction was that I was not sure I was the appropriate reviewer, given my priors on market efficiency. As I shall discuss below, a central premise of the book is that there are substantial inefficiencies in the pricing of common stock securities with respect to published financial statement information. At one point, the book suggests that most, if not all, of the motivation for reading the book disappears if one believes that markets are efficient with respect to financial statement information (page 3). I disagree with this statement and found the book to be of value even if one assumes market efficiency is a reasonable approximation of the behavior of security prices.

It is unclear who is the intended audience—academic or nonacademic. This is an important issue, because it determines the basis against which the book should be judged. For an academic audience, the book would be good as a supplemental text for an investments or financial statement analysis course. However, for an academic audience, it is not a replacement for his previous, impressive text, Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation (2009). The earlier text goes into much more detail, both in terms of how to proceed and what the evidence or research basis is for the security valuation proposed. The previous book is excellent as the prime source for a course, and the current effort is not a substitute for the earlier text.

However, as clearly stated, the primary audience is not academic and is certainly not the passive investor. The book was written for investors, and for those to whom they trust their savings (page 1). Moreover, as stated on pages 3–4, the intended audience is the investor who is skeptical of the efficient market, who is one of Graham's “defensive investors,” who thinks they can beat the market, and who perceives they can gain by trading at “irrational” prices.1 For this reason, the book can be compared with the plethora of “how to beat the market” books that fill the “Investments” section of most popular bookstores. By this standard, Accounting for Value is well above the competition. It is much more conceptually based and includes references to the research that underlies the basic philosophy. By this standard, the book is a clear winner.

Another standard is to judge the effort, not by the average quality of the competition, but by one of the best, Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor (1949). This, indeed, is a high standard. The Intelligent Investor is the text I was assigned in my first investments course. My son is currently in an M.B.A. program, taking an investments course, so for his birthday I gave him a copy of Graham's book. However, markets and our knowledge of how markets work have changed enormously since Graham's book was written.

The comparison with The Intelligent Investor is natural in part because the text itself explicitly invites such comparisons with the many references to Graham and by suggesting that it follows the heritage of Graham's book. It also invites comparisons because, like Graham's book, it is essentially about investing based on fundamentals and tackles the subject at a conceptual level with simple examples, without getting bogged down in extreme details of a “how to” book. I conclude that Accounting for Value measures up very well against this high standard and is one of the best efforts written on fundamental investing that incorporates what we have learned in the intervening years since the first publication of The Intelligent Investor in 1949. I have reached this conclusion for several reasons.

One of the major points eloquently made is that modern finance theory (e.g., CAPM and option pricing models) consists of models of the relationship among endogenous variables (prices or returns). These models derive certain relative relationships among securities traded in a market that must be preserved in order to avoid arbitrage opportunities. However, as the text points out, these models are devoid of what exogenous informational variables (i.e., fundamentals) cause the model parameters to be what they are. For example, in the context of the CAPM, beta is a driving force that produces differential expected returns among securities. However, the CAPM is silent on what fundamental variables would cause one company's beta to be different from another's. One of major themes developed in the text is that accounting data can be viewed as a primary set of variables through which one can gain an understanding of the underlying fundamentals of the value of a firm and its securities.2 This is extremely important to understand, regardless of one's priors about market efficiency. A central issue is the identification of informational variables that aid in our understanding of security prices and returns. As accounting scholars, we have an interest in the “macro” (or equilibrium) role of accounting data beyond or independent of the “micro” role of determining whether it is helpful to an individual in identifying “mispriced” securities.

Another major contribution is the development of a valuation model of fundamentals through the lens of accounting data based on accrual accounting. In doing so, the text makes another important point—namely the role of accrual accounting in bringing the future forward into the present (e.g., revenue recognition).3 In other words, accrual accounting contains implicit (or explicit) predictions of the future. It is argued that, since the future is difficult to predict, accrual accounting permits the investor to make judgments over a shorter time horizon and to base those judgments on “what we know.” The text develops the position that, in general, forecasts and hence valuation analysis based on accrual accounting numbers will be “better” than cash flow-based valuations. It is important to understand that the predictive role is a basic feature of accrual accounting, even if one disagrees about how well accrual accounting performs that role. Penman believes it performs that function very well and dominates explicit future cash flow prediction, based on the intuitive assumption that the investor does not have to forecast accrual accounting numbers as far into the future as would be required by cash flow forecasting. The implicit assumption is that the prediction embedded in accrual numbers is at least as good, if not better, than attempts to forecast future cash flows explicitly.

A third major point is that book-value-only or earnings-only models are inherently underspecified and fundamentally incomplete, except in special cases. Instead, a more complete valuation approach contains both a book value and a (residual) earnings term. A point effectively made is that measurement of one term can be compensated for by the inclusion of the other variable by virtue of the over-time compensating mechanism of accrual accounting.

A major implication of the model is the myopic nature of two of the most popular methods for selecting securities: market-to-book ratios and price-to-earnings ratios. Stocks may appear to be over- or underpriced when partitioning on only one these two variables. Using a double partitioning can help alleviate this myopia.

The book is positioned almost exclusively from the perspective of the purchaser of securities. For example, one of the ten principles of fundamental analysis (page 6) is “Beware of paying too much for growth.” Presumably, a fundamental investor of an existing portfolio is a potential seller as well as a buyer. As a potential seller, the investor has an analogous interest in selling overpriced securities, but this is not the perspective explicitly taken. In spite of the apparent asymmetry of perspective, the concepts of the valuation model would appear to have important implications for the evaluation of existing securities held.

In the basic valuation model, value is equal to current book value, residual earnings for the next two years, and a terminal value term based on the present value of residual earnings stream beyond two years.4 The model bears some resemblance to the modeling of Feltham and Ohlson (1995) but adds context of its own. A central feature of the approach is to understand what you know and separate it from speculation.5 In this context, book value is “what you know,” and everything else involves some degree of speculation. The degree of speculation increases as the time horizon increases (e.g., long-term growth estimates).

A key feature is that it is residual earnings growth, not simply earnings growth, that is the driver in valuation. Price-earnings-only models are incomplete because of a failure to make this distinction. The nature of the long-term residual earnings growth is highly speculative, which leads to one of the investment principles—beware of paying too much for growth. The text provides some benchmarks in terms of the empirical behavior of long-term residual growth rates and reasons why abnormal earnings might be expected to decay rapidly. A higher expected residual growth is also likely to be associated with higher risk and hence a higher discount rate. All of these factors mitigate against long-term growth playing a large role in the fundamental value (i.e., do not pay too much for growth). A similar point is made with respect to the effect of leverage upon growth rates (Chapter 4).

A remarkable feature of the book is how far it is able to develop its basic perspective without specifying the nature of the accounting system upon which it is anchoring valuation other than to say that it is based on accrual accounting. Chapter 5 begins to address the nature of the accrual accounting system. A central point is that accounting treatments that lower current book value (e.g., write-offs and the expensing of intangible assets) will increase future residual earnings (Accounting Principle 4). In particular, conservative accounting with investment growth induces growth in residual income (Accounting Principle 5). However, conservatism does not increase value. Hence, valuations that focus only on earnings to the exclusion of book value can lead to erroneous valuation conclusions. An investor must consider both (Valuation Principle 6).

Chapter 6 addresses the estimation of the discount rate. A central theme is how little we know about estimating the discount rate (cost of capital), and we can provide, at best, very imprecise estimates. The proposed solution is to “reverse engineer” the discount rate implied by the current market price and ask yourself if you consider this to be a rate of return at which you are willing to invest, which is viewed as a personal attribute. Several examples and sensitivity analyses are provided.

Chapter 7 synthesizes points made in earlier chapters about how the investor can gain insights into distinguishing growth that does not add to value from growth that does, through a joint analysis of market-to-book and price-to-earnings partitions. The joint analysis is clever and is likely to be informative to an investor familiar with these popular partitioning variables, but is perhaps not yet ready to use the explicit accounting-based valuation models recommended.

Chapter 8 addresses the attributes of fair value and historical cost accounting and is the chapter that is the most surprising. The chapter is essentially an attack on fair value accounting. Up until this point, the text has been free of policy recommendations. The strength lies in taking the accounting rules as you find them, which is a very practical suggestion and has great potential readership appeal. The flexibility of the framework to accommodate a variety of accounting systems is one of its strengths. As a result, the conceptual framework is relatively simple. It does not attempt to tediously examine accounting standards in detail, nor does it attempt to adjust accounting earnings or assets to conform to a concept of “better” earnings or assets, in contrast to other valuation approaches. I found the one-sided treatment of fair value accounting to be disruptive of the overall theme of taking accounting rules as you find them.

The text provides an important caveat. The framework is a starting point rather than the final answer. A number of issues are not explicitly addressed. It can also be important to understand the specific effects of complex accounting standards on the numbers they produce. Further, there is ample evidence that the market does price disclosures supplemental to the accounting numbers. Discretionary use of accounting numbers also can raise a number of important issues.

In sum, the text provides an excellent framework for investors to think about the role that accounting numbers can play in valuation. In doing so, it provides a number of important insights that make it worthwhile for a wide readership, including those who may have stronger priors in favor of market efficiency.

"AOL and the Case Against Efficient Market Theory," by Roben Farzad, Business Week, April 11, 2012 --- 

This time last week, I, like nine out of every 10 investors, believed AOL (AOL) was a dead-end investment. How could it not be? This is no longer a 56k, dial-up world, when those ubiquitous AOL disks inundated mailboxes. AOL botched the chance to morph into a broadband player with its spectacularly bad marriage to Time Warner (TWX). AOL is behind on social media, and is struggling to compete for ad dollars with Google (GOOG) and Facebook. Its sales declined in each quarter last year.

How many chances does a legacy company get? (Remember this reinvention?)

Then, on April 9, as if out of nowhere, Microsoft (MSFT)dropped in to buy $1 billion of AOL’s patents, sending the latter’s shares up 43 percent in a single day. In the two years leading up to the deal, the stock was down 37 percent.

How could a supposedly omniscient market get this story so wrong? One explanation was offered by MDB, an intellectual property-focused investment bank. MDB says the AOL patents had more relevance to Microsoft and that company was uniquely well-studied on them, especially in light of AOL’s ancient acquisition of Netscape, that Microsoft nemesis in the age of Windows 95. MDB found that Microsoft cited AOL patents as related intellectual property 1,331 times in its own patent filings, vs. AOL citing its own patents 1,267 times.

Even so, it’s surprising that this play remained largely the province of tech-geek attorneys. After all, about 15 Wall Street analysts cover AOL—nine of them rating it either a hold or sell. Hedge funds and bloggers are constantly on it. The Microsoft deal shot AOL shares up two and a half times where they traded in August, when the company owned the same patents.

I was similarly puzzled last summer when Google paid big (63 percent-premium-to-close big) for remnants of Motorola—placing major emphasis on the legacy tech company’s patents. Motorola Mobility (MMI) shares popped 57 percent in a matter of hours. I also scratched my head in September 2010, when Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)emerged victorious from a bidding war for a tiny data storage company called 3Par—by paying $33 a share for a stock that traded below $10 just three weeks earlier. How did everyone completely whiff on 3Par’s desirability and valuation?

These disconnects have me thinking back to the words of my friend, Justin Fox of the Harvard Business Review Group, whose book The Myth of the Rational Market excoriated the idea that “the decisions of millions of investors, all digging for information and striving for an edge, inevitably add up to rational, perfect markets.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation are at


From the Scout Report on October 25, 2013

Tackk --- 

Are you looking for a simple way to share a range of content, whether it be photos or music, on your homepage? Tackk has you covered and it's a nice way to customize a visitor's experience through colors, shapes, images, and creative backgrounds. Visitors will not need to login and these new creations can be shared instantly and saved for future use. This version is compatible with computers running all operating systems, including Linux.

LightZone ---

If you've ever tried to modify a photo with any degree of complexity, it can be tough. LightZone makes this entire process quite simple and easy. While the program is designed for more expert users, the interface here is user-friendly and visitors will note that there are over 120 filters and customizable options to take advantage of via the program. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux.

How do you solve a problem like poverty?
Zen and the art of poverty reduction

World Bank President Pledges to Reduce Poverty in Half by 2020

Is the World bank reforming its approach?

A Solutions Partnership to End Poverty

Poverty Home: World Bank

World Bank Data: Poverty

Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics ---

Education Tutorials

"Take a Free Course on the Financial Markets with Robert Shiller, Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics ---


The Wallace Foundation (for disadvantaged children)

Uses of Digital Storytelling ---

Science as Storytelling ---

Nanotechnology Center for Teaching and Learning --- 

Nanotechnology Curriculum Materials ---

Launchings (mathematics education happenings)) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for multiple disciplines ---

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

I-STEM ---

ISTEM: Lesson Plans ---

Nanotechnology Center for Teaching and Learning --- 

Nanotechnology Curriculum Materials ---

Iowa State University: Center for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education ---

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at ---

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

First Nations Collection (Native Americans in Oregon) ---

Building a Stronger Illinois --- ---

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

Law and Legal Studies

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at

Math Tutorials

Launchings (mathematics education happenings)) ---

Iowa State University: Center for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education ---

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

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

History Tutorials

4000 Years of History Displayed in a 5-Foot-Long “Histomap” (Early Infographic in 1931) ---

30 Renowned Writers Speaking About God: From Isaac Asimov to Margaret Atwood ---

ArtBabble (art history at Indianapolis Museum of Art) ---

Encyclopedia of Indianapolis ---

The Duke Chronicle ---

Theodore Roosevelt Collection Photographs ---

Theodore Roosevelt Collection ---

Oregon Multicultural Archives Digital Collection ---

MetMedia ---

Chicago Film Archives ---

Curious City (Chicago) ---

Beat Poetry, Broadsides, and Little Magazines ---

Native American Special from the Scout Report on October 18, 2013

1. First Nations Collection 

The First Nations Tribal Collection of the Southern Oregon Digital Archives contains books, articles, and documents related to the history of the native peoples of the area, including the Coos, Hupa, Karuka, Klamath, and more. Many of the items here are in the public domain, and they include tribal language dictionaries, Bureau of Indian Affairs publications, and publications from the Bureau of American Ethnology. Visitors can look through the materials via the Author List or use the Title heading to look around. Documents on the site include a wealth of treaties regarding fishing practices and limitations along with documents detailing the particulars of different religious ceremonies. The site is rounded out by the inclusion of a comprehensive search engine. [KMG]

2. American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection 

Created by the University Libraries of the University of Washington, this remarkable digital archive presents a vast collection of materials related to the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures. Along with these primary source items, the site also contains essays written by anthropologists, historians, and teachers about particular tribes and cross-cultural topics. Additionally, the site contains bibliographies and links to related text and images and lesson plans for K-12 educators. The database contains over 2,300 original photographs, 1,500 pages from the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior from 1851 to 1908, and six Indian treaties negotiated in 1855. Visitors can try out a Sample Search and then go ahead and get started with their own quest for knowledge and edification. Additionally, visitors can use the Browse Images and Browse Documents tabs to explore this massive collection. [KMG]

3. New York State Archives: Native American Digital Collection 

The New York State Archives contains a vast cornucopia of materials related to the history of Native American groups in the Empire State and surrounding areas. On this site, visitors can take advantage of maps, artifacts, photographs, and publications that document communities such as the Iroquois Six Nations, the Long Island Algonkians, the Shinnecocks, and the Poospatucks. The materials here are divided into areas that include Maps, Visual Resources, Treaties and Land Use, and Census Records. First-time visitors should take a look at the Artifacts area to explore annotated photos of items such as cradleboards, moccasins, and elaborate pouches. The Treaties and Land Use area is quite compelling, as it features thirteen documents that provide insights into the relationships between various nations and the federal and New York state governments. The Maps area should not be missed as it contains representations of various reservations in the 18th and 19th century rendered with great detail. [KMG]

4. Native American Manuscript Collections 

Based at the University of Oklahoma's Western History Collection, the Native American Manuscript Collections contain over 200 documents relating to Native Americans in Oklahoma, Indian Territory, and the southwestern United States. On the homepage, visitors can browse the manuscripts, which are listed by nation. The Creek Nation area is quite fascinating, as there are over 35 documents here including handwritten journals, trading company ledgers, and letters from farmers like James M. Latty and other Creeks. After this introduction, visitors can browse around through the works of other nations, including the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. [KMG]

5. The Indian Sentinel, 1902-1962 

The Indian Sentinel was published from 1902 to 1962 by the Catholic Church and it serves as a fascinating repository of information about the ways in which this organization interacted with various Native American communities during the first half of the 20th century. Over its six decades, the Sentinel featured articles about Native Americans across the United States and their evangelization by the Catholic Church. Most of the accounts in these pages contain first-hand musings by lifelong missionaries, along with a bevy of photographs. The site also has a set of Search Tips for those looking for articles that mention specific Catholic religious groups, including the Benedictine Sisters, the Grey Nuns, and others. [KMG]

6. Heard Museum: American Indian Art and History 

In 1929, the Heard Museum was founded by early Phoenix settlers Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard. The focus of the museum then and now was "to educate people about the arts, heritage and life ways of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest." On the website, visitors can learn about the museum's collections, upcoming programs, and volunteer opportunities. The site contains a number of thematic areas, including Events, Library, and Explore Art. One area that should not be missed is the Featured Documentaries. Here visitors can learn about the museum's public art projects, archaeological efforts, and concerts. The Current Exhibitions area contains highlights from recent offerings, such as Native People in the Southwest and Chocolate, Chili & Cochineal: Changing Taste Around the World. Finally, the link to the Library is a real treat. The digital collections here cover the Heard Museum Indian Fairs and Markets, the storied Fred Harvey Company, and a wide selection of elaborate beadwork items. [KMG]

===== Native Peoples Today ===

7. Seminole Tribe of Florida 

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is the only tribe in the United States that has never signed a peace treaty and its website provides ample information about Seminole history, culture, government, business ventures, and publications. Visitors might want to look first at the Seminole Tribune, which offers excellent current news updates on the goings on throughout the community. Moving on, the Government area contains key information about the operations of the tribal council, the board of directors, and day-to-day activities. The Culture area offers interested parties access to slideshows, fact sheets, and information about Seminole material culture. One section that should not be missed is the History area. Here, visitors can learn about the tribe's history, resistance, and storied Council Oak. [KMG]

8. Native American Times 

The Native American Times makes good on its promise to deliver "today's independent Indian news." The site has a clean design that includes ten sections covering topics like business, culture, education, sports, and powwows. The News area offers a nice digest of what's going on in several areas of interest to Native Americans, with topical headlines that include "Cherokee Art Market Announces Winners" and "Yakama Maintain Wild Horse Race Tradition." The site also includes a great jobs area for folks who might be looking for Native American-focused work in public policy, community development, technology, and other fields. [KMG]

9. American Indian Policy Institute 

Based at Arizona State University, the American Indian Policy Institute collaborates with tribal governments and American Indian communities on issues that affect them and also works to nurture innovation for American Indian sustainability. The site offers a wealth of reports, news articles, publications, conference programs, and other items that will be of interest to scholars. The Reports & Publications area contains thoughtful missives such as "Tribes and Energy within Arizona" and "Land Use Challenges and Choices for the 21st Century." The Award-Winning First Innovations area offers up a host of best practices designed to introduce sustainability entrepreneurship in Native American communities. Additionally, the Projects & Initiatives area offers detailed program information about tribal planning summits and financial management seminars. [KMG]

10. National Indian Law Library

The National Indian Law Library (NILL) has worked for over three decades to bring together key resources for Native Americans and their advocates in the field of legal scholarship and service. Today it remains the only entity that offers a comprehensive vision of past and present tribal governmental documents from across the United States. The NILL is based in Boulder, Colorado and its website provides selected documents, information on ongoing activities and the very useful Indian Law News Bulletins. These bulletins are published almost every week and offer succinct and timely information about new developments in Indian Law. Visitors can search through the archives of these bulletins back to 1998, or look through the bulletins for links to germane legal briefs. This same area contains links to digests that cover activities in state courts, federal trial courts, and law review journal articles. Users shouldn't miss the Research By Topic area, which contains links that deal with 20 different themes, including tribal education, health & human services, sacred sites, prisoners' issues, and child welfare. [KMG]

11. Indian Country Today 

The Indian Country Today website is a one-stop shop for people with an interest in the world of Native American culture. The site includes special sections dedicated to news updates in the areas of genealogy, sports, environment, politics, and so on. First-time visitors will want to look at the Editor's Picks to get started, as this contains the most salient news items as of late. The Around the Web area features stories related to Native Americans from a range of online media sources. People with a visual bent will appreciate the Our World In Pictures area, as it contains key links to images culled from across the country, including blogs, Flickr, and a range of other sources. Finally, the Things About area provides thoughtful opinion pieces on a range of topics that affect Native Americans, including higher education, federal policy changes, and environmental degradation. [KMG]

12. Alaska Native Knowledge Network 

The Alaska Native Knowledge Network (ANKN) was established to serve as "a resource for compiling and exchanging information related to Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing." To achieve this goal, the website brings together publications, information about academic programs, curriculum resources, and a calendar of events. In the Curriculum Resources area, visitors can look over lesson plans, fact sheets, and classroom activities that weave together indigenous and Western knowledge systems. Moving on, the Publications area contains links to print publications for sale and a range of free titles, including "Guidelines for Culturally Responsible School Boards" and "Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge." Also, visitors should take a look at the Announcements area for updates about relevant training programs, workshops, and conferences. [KMG]

13. Native American Affairs: Department of Commerce 

The United States Department of Commerce has an active Native American Affairs program whose work is coordinated by a team of government professionals and advisors. On the homepage, visitors can learn about the program's advising work, which includes outreach related to small businesses, intertribal relations, and reservation-based economic development programs. Visitors can look over the Policy area, as it contains key documents like the official tribal consultation and coordination policy for the department. A valuable area of the site is the Resources section, which lists online resources from other government agencies, including NOAA, the Census Bureau, and the Patent and Trademark Office. [KMG]

14. Administration for Native Americans: Children & Families 

The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) works to promote "self-sufficiency for Native Americans by providing discretionary grant funding for community based projects and training and technical assistance to eligible tribes and native organizations." Operated as an office within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the ANA provides high-quality information on its grants, training programs, and resources. First-time visitors might do well to check out the Featured Resource, which takes a look at various outreach efforts, such as the Native American Veterans "Storytelling for Healing" program. In the ANA Quick Fact area, visitors can learn about the accomplishments of the ANA in recent months and years. Also, the Resources area includes guides, videos, fact sheets, reports, and webinars organized by topic, such as best practices, economic development, project management, and tribal governance. [KMG]

15. American Indian Environmental Office Tribal Portal 

Based within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO) works to protect human health and the environment of federally recognized tribes by supporting implementation of federal environmental laws. The materials on the site are divided into different areas, including Consultation, Indian Policies, Maps & Data, and Tribal Calendar. Visitors will enjoy the Indian Policies area, as it contains detailed links to a range of reports and special documents dating back to 2002. The Maps & Data area is a real gem, as visitors can use spatial tools to locate and learn about the various environmental problem areas and cleanup sites that affect Native Americans who live on reservations around the United States. Finally, the Consultation area contains information on the outreach services provided by the EPA to these different communities. [KMG]


Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at
Also see  

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Music Tutorials


Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---


Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---

October 15, 2013

October 16, 2013

October 17, 2013

October 18, 2013

October 20, 2013

October 22, 2013

October 23, 2013

October 24, 2013

October 25, 2013


The bad press of Obamacare does not seem to be slowing down applications to medical school, applications that are at an all-time high ---

Jensen Comment
Then  again the increase in the number of medical school application may be mostly due to the more serious decline in competing career opportunities such as finance, business, law, and science.

Growing evidence suggests that gloomy moods (apart from chronic medical depression) improve key types of thinking and behavior ---

A Bit of Humor

The 10 Best Pointy-Haired Boss Moments From 'Dilbert' ---

7 Outrageous Things People Actually Put On Their Resumes (not advisable for tenure application files) ---

Watch an Animation of Orson Welles’ Famous Frozen Peas Rant ---

Forwarded by Paula

Belief has it that the more cedar branches bedecking a home, the safer it is from witches. The theory behind this is that the devil decreed a witch must count every needle before she enters a house where she's intent on mischief.
From: Blue Ridge Country Magazine, January/February 2007.

Here's The Weirdest Stuff That Happened At Walmart This Week ---

. . .

A woman on a motorized scooter allegedly stole a flat screen television from a Walmart in Tennessee by toting it out the door in a cart trailing the scooter, CBS affiliate WJHL reports. She was caught in the act on surveillance cameras. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Read more:


Forwarded by Zafar

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled; "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the *******s in Washington !



Tidbits Archives ---

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

Online Distance Education Training and Education ---
For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud  (College, Inc.) ---

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 ---
Facts about the earth in real time ---

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar ---
Time by Time Zones ---
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) ---
         Also see
Facts about population growth (video) ---
Projected U.S. Population Growth ---
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons ---
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

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

CPA Examination ---
Free CPA Examination Review Course Courtesy of Joe Hoyle ---

Rick Lillie's education, learning, and technology blog is at

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

Bob Jensen's Threads --- 
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

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 ---

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at
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
AECM (Educators)
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)  (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)
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.
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 
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 ---

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 []
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  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 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) ---


Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links ---

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) ---
The above libraries include international accounting history.
The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting ---

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

Sage Accounting History ---

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 ---
Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- 

A nice timeline of accounting history ---

From Texas A&M University
Accounting History Outline ---

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

History of Fraud in America ---
Also see

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

All my online pictures ---


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482