Set 3 of My Favorite Pictures Taken From Inside Our Cottage in the White Mountains\Inside\Set03\Set03InteriorCottage.htm


Tidbits on November 28, 2013
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

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Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

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More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

Mystery of the Elephant Whisperer ---

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 ---

Hear Ezra Pound Read From His “Cantos,” Some of the Great Poetic Works of the 20th Century ---

Useful Dog Tricks ---

Christopher Hitchens, Who Mixed Drinking & Writing, Names the “Best Scotch in the History of the World” ---

Watch Houdini Escape From a Strait Jacket, Then See How He Did It (Circa 1917) ---

Big Bear Surprise ---

Free music downloads ---

What is the piano sound of E. Pluribus Unum? ---

Holland's Got Talent ---
You have to patiently wait for the best parts of the video.

Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill ---

Greatest impromptu piano duet by a 90-year-old couple in the Mayo Clinic lobby you'll hear today. Cool tag because there is no AWESOME tag ---

A Place in the Choir ---

Listen To A Crazy Piano Invented By Leonardo Da Vinci ---

WGHB Open Vault: Rock and Roll ---

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

‘The Taliban Were Ready For Us, But I Don’t Think They Were Ready For What We Were Going To Do To Them'  ---

The Trenches of World War I (in color) ---|around#15

National Geographic: Photography ---

America the Beautiful (Foliage) --- 

Google Glass Will Change Photography Forever ---

Incredible Panoramas Of The World's Most Beautiful Places

Take a Virtual Tour of Venice (Its Streets, Plazas & Canals) with Google Street View ---

10 Places You Must See Before They Disappear ---

NYC's Central Park ---

10 Shots In The Running For National Geographic's Photography Contest ---

36 Realistically Colorized Historical Photos Make the Past Seem Incredibly Real  --- z

Alfred Stieglitz Autochromes (art history photograph) ---

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 ---

The 100 Best Novels: A Literary Critic Creates a List in 1898 ---

George Orwell’s Five Greatest Essays (as Selected by Pulitzer-Prize Winning Columnist Michael Hiltzik) ---

Hear All of Finnegans Wake Read Aloud: A 35 Hour Reading ---

Hear Ezra Pound Read From His “Cantos,” Some of the Great Poetic Works of the 20th Century ---

"The History of the English Language, Animated," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 13, 2013 ---

"The Geography of Great Literature, in Hand-Lettered Typography," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 15, 2013 ---

Free eBooks: Read All of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past on the Centennial of Swann’s Way ---

16-Year-Old Marcel Proust Tells His Grandfather About His Misguided Adventures at the Local Brothel ---

Read Rejection Letters Sent to Three Famous Artists: Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut & Andy Warhol ---

The Existentialism Files: How the FBI Targeted Camus, and Then Sartre After the JFK Assassination ---

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 November 28, 2013      

U.S. National Debt Clock ---
Also see

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

Bob Jensen's health care messaging updates ---

Teaching Resources: University of New England ---

How does Stanford's undergraduate admissions staff decide who gets accepted? Short answer: It's complicated ---

THE GOAL OF THIS PIECE is to demystify college admissions at Stanford, because explaining nuclear physics is just too simple. Clarifying Middle East politics, solving the Riemann hypothesis, defining love—anyone can do that. Let's tackle a subject with some heft to it.

As my late grandmother would say, "Oy."

Few topics invite more analysis, envy, code-breaking, speculation and hope than college admissions. Across the United States, applications to elite universities have mushroomed. More than 35,000 students applied to Harvard last academic year, vying for 1,664 spots. Princeton handled 26,498 applications to fill a class of 1,291. At Stanford, applicants totaled 38,828, an all-time high; 2,210 were accepted, or slightly less than 1 in 17. In the coming years, the odds, like afternoon shadows on the Quad, will only lengthen.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I got even with Stanford for rejecting me when I was an 18-year old applicant to be admitted to Stanford in my first year of college. I got even at ages 23-28 by taking Stanford's money for five years in the new accounting Ph.D. program, including free tuition, room, and board. The accounting doctoral program was new and started with three students --- Jay Smith, Les Livingstone  and me. Jay was a faculty member on leave from BYU and already had a family of eight kids; Les from South Africa had two children, and I chased the coeds in my aging (used) 1955 Oldsmobile ragtop.

I also taught in the Economics Department, but that was gravy money.

My point is that when rejected for your first year of college by one of the elite universities don't give up hope. Later on you can get that university to pay you to become a  graduate student on campus. Accounting is still a nice choice because virtually all accounting doctoral programs in North America are still free including money for room and board. But accountancy is still not a popular major since only slightly over 140 North American students will get accounting doctorates this year. Accountants avoid these doctoral programs because they don't teach accounting --- 

Stanford University still only graduates about one accounting Ph.D. per year on average, sometimes two. Unlike Cornell, there never has been an undergraduate accounting program at Stanford. MIT and most of the Ivy League universities have small accountancy doctoral programs except for Brown and Princeton. You can see the history of the numbers graduating from all accounting doctoral programs at
There are no online accounting doctoral programs from AACSB-accredited universities.

Maybe The Invisible Man idea was not so far fetched after all.
"How Metamaterials Could Hold the Key to High Temperature Superconductivity
," MIT's Technology Review, November 20, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Riders who wear metamaterial helmets and goggles may look like headless horsemen ---

We may never see an obese person in public unless we literally stumble onto one.

Robbers in metamaterial hoodies and gloves may never be seen.

After checking into a hotel room you better listen carefully and poke around a bit to be certain you're alone.

Dumb and Dumber Business Policies (were talking billions of dollars in losses here)

From the Harvard Business Review Newsletter on November 22, 2013

Department-store chain JC Penney, already hurting financially from a misguided plan to end price promotions, was so plagued by shoplifters in the third quarter of this year that it lost a full percentage point of profit margin to theft, says the Wall Street Journal. When thieves learned that Penney had removed sensor security tags as part of the transition to a new type of inventory tracking, they targeted the company’s stores. At the same time, Penney stopped requiring customers to provide receipts with returned merchandise, so shoppers grabbed merchandise and “returned” it at cash registers without leaving the stores, the Journal says.

Jensen Comment
JC Penney was on the edge of survival before this happened. The billions of added shoplifting losses are not going to help. The rule of fraud prevention is to have effective internal controls. JC Penney did not implement good internal controls.

Disability ---

Jensen Comment
Let me begin by bragging that I've been a long-time advocate of going beyond equal opportunity by advocating college investments in technology designed to improve learning opportunities for the disabled ---

At the same time I recall a lawyer speaking on campus warning that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 would in many ways become the worst nightmare of USA colleges and universities.   

There are many solvable problems of such as wheel chair access to classrooms and signing professionals in front of classrooms for aid to hearing-impaired students in the classroom. Severely dyslexic students might be given twice as much time to take final examinations. The blind present more challenges, but there are newer technologies for helping sight-impaired people. A much bigger challenge lies in providing equalizers for the severely learning impaired. Certainly we must draw the line when parents are simply taking advantage of colleges to warehouse their severely learning-impaired children after those children have used up all there special education benefits of K-12.

There are things in particular that I think go too far.

"Bill Would Require Instructional Technology to Be Accessible to All," by Megan O'Neil, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 15. 2013 ---

Legislation introduced on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives would require colleges either to make instructional technology accessible to disabled students or to provide them with equivalent, alternative resources.

Rep. Tom Petri, a Wisconsin Republican and senior member of the House education committee, said his bill would ensure that disabled students were given equal treatment as technology plays a larger and larger role in instruction. The bill is called the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (Teach) Act.

The legislation also calls on the government to develop guidelines for electronic instructional materials used in higher education.

The National Federation of the Blind and the Association of American Publishers released a joint statement calling the legislation long overdue.

“Every day, blind college students face devastating setbacks to their education because of inaccessible technology,” Marc Maurer, president of the federation, said in the statement. “The use of e-readers, web content, mobile applications, and learning-management systems by educators is more prevalent than ever, and disabled students are being needlessly left behind.”

"U.S. Department of Education Wants to Eliminate '2% Rule'," by Leila Meyer,  T.H.E. Journal, August 26, 2013 ---

The United States Department of Education (ED) has proposed new regulations that would eliminate the "2 percent rule," which allows some students with disabilities to be assessed using alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS).

The current regulations allows states to develop alternate assessments for up to 2 percent of students in the grades assessed using AA-MAAS. However, according to ED, students with disabilities can make academic progress when they receive appropriate support and instruction, and that by making general assessments accessible to those students, with support, they can achieve a higher level of success.

"We have to expect the very best from our students and tell the truth about student performance, to prepare them for college and career," said Arne Duncan United States secretary of education, in a prepared statement. "That means no longer allowing the achievement of students with disabilities to be measured by these alternate assessments aligned to modified achievement standards. This prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefitting from that potential."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Sometimes the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions.

Starving Artist ---

Jensen Comment
For many centuries "artists," typically picture painters, writers, mathematicians, and musicians, have endured extreme poverty due to dedication to their art/mathematics. In the 21st Century the controversy in colleges, especially humanities divisions of colleges, is encourage specializations in the "arts" for graduates in far greater numbers than can be absorbed in teaching careers.

The following article focuses on what Hope College is doing to give these majors hope. I think other colleges are doing the same thing without calling them special programs. For example, one of my top graduates in accounting is a concert pianist. Early on she discovered that life would be tough as a concert pianist. So she also majored in accounting, worked about five years for E&Y, earned her accounting Ph.D. from South Carolina, and is now on the accounting faculty at Case Western University beside Gary Previts and Tim Fogarty and the other accounting professors.

She's also Exhibit A for how "artists" who want alternate higher paying careers will probably have to sacrifice their art. I don't think you can aspire for tenure in accounting at Case Western university and still become a noted concert pianist. Exhibit B is mathematician interested in some obscure specialty in theory, chances are she cannot devote 12 hours a day to this specialty while being employed by Cisco to work on math problems of interest to her employer.

Some of this boils down to the Marx Labor Theory of Value ---
In pure Communism painters could spend their lives painting pictures that everybody in the world hated. Musicians could devote their lives to their craft without ever being invited to perform. Mathematicians could devote there lives to failures to advance obscure theory.

But there is no pure Communism, and it's likely that there will never been an enduring implementation of pure Communism. The reality is that the best we can do is probably support our artists by requiring that they produce some outputs of greater value in society. A few may be like extreme religious fundamentalists who are totally and somewhat reluctantly supported by taxpayers in Israel. But this will never apply to hundreds of millions of "artists" in the world who will never be fully supported just for their art that won't sell.

"No More Digitally Challenged Liberal-Arts Majors:  How to give B.A.'s in arts and humanities more career options without abandoning the life of the mind," by William Pannapacker, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 18, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
The Philadelphia Center at Hope College may well produce employable humanities majors. But some of the most devoted to their crafts like Vincent Van Gogh and Mozart wannabes will perhaps either have to starve or compromise their art by singing for their supper (how's that for mixing metaphors?).

The closest thing we have to truly free adult artists are those who are totally supported by their life partners. One time I tried to hire a woman accounting Ph.D. who elected to instead go to the University of South Carolina. She was the bread winner of the family. A few years later I read in Time Magazine where her husband, who was free to do almost anything he chose, had written a best-selling non-fiction book about a particular battle in the Civil War. Even if his book was never published and never sold a copy, the good news for him is that he could write whatever he liked for the rest of his life as long as his wife's income paid all the bills.

"JFK's Legacy: Proving the Laffer Curve," by Kevin Glass, Townhall, November 22, 2013 ---

While the mainstream media's hagiography of John F. Kennedy continues on the 50th anniversary of his tragic death, it's important to remember his full legacy - not just the parts that the mainstream media likes to promote.

President Kennedy proved the existence of the Laffer curve. When he came into office, Americans at the top end of the income ladder faced marginal tax rates in excess of 90%. Kennedy proposed tax cuts across the board - including marginal income tax rates, corporate rates, capital gains rates. And after JFK's tax cuts passed, tax revenue increased. As Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Economics21, writes:

Kennedy was one of the first presidents to articulate a supply-side theory. On Nov. 20, 1962, at a news conference, he said “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now ... Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

Kennedy’s tax cuts were not passed by Congress until after his death on Feb. 26, 1964, in the Revenue Act of 1964. The bill reduced the top marginal rate from over 90% to 70%. Tax revenues increased from $94 billion in 1961 to $153 billion in 1968, and the new rates led to a greater percentage of tax revenue coming from those making over $50,000 a year. Tax receipts from those making over $50,000 rose 57%, whereas receipts from those making under $50,000 rose 11%.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One instance of most anything does not prove much in economics. Even two instances hardly constitutes proof even though President Clinton managed to balance the budget largely due to lagged effects of the Reagan tax cuts. The problem with tax cuts, stimulus spending, Quantitative Easing, or most any other factor intended to increase the GDP and employment is that circumstances change greatly over time. Economies have too many complex and interacting variables to attribute much of anything to a single factor.

Certainly the Laffer Curve has not convinced all economists that it's a Swiss Army Knife for a faltering economy ---

However, nearly all nations (including the Scandinavian countries, Canada, all of Europe, and Iran) significantly decreased the top tax rates between 1979 and 2002 largely in belief of the Laffer Curve.


Table 1 Maximum Marginal Tax Rates on Individual Income
*. Hong Kong’s maximum tax (the “standard rate”) has normally been 15 percent, effectively capping the marginal rate at high income levels (in exchange for no personal exemptions).
**. The highest U.S. tax rate of 39.6 percent after 1993 was reduced to 38.6 percent in 2002 and to 35 percent in 2003.

  1979 1990 2002
Argentina 45 30 35
Australia 62 48 47
Austria 62 50 50
Belgium 76 55 52
Bolivia 48 10 13
Botswana 75 50 25
Brazil 55 25 28
Canada (Ontario) 58 47 46
Chile 60 50 43
Colombia 56 30 35
Denmark 73 68 59
Egypt 80 65 40
Finland 71 43 37
France 60 52 50
Germany 56 53 49
Greece 60 50 40
Guatemala 40 34 31
Hong Kong 25* 25 16
Hungary 60 50 40
India 60 50 30
Indonesia 50 35 35
Iran 90 75 35
Ireland 65 56 42
Israel 66 48 50
Italy 72 50 52
Jamaica 58 33 25
Japan 75 50 50
South Korea 89 50 36
Malaysia 60 45 28
Mauritius 50 35 25
Mexico 55 35 40
Netherlands 72 60 52
New Zealand 60 33 39
Norway 75 54 48
Pakistan 55 45 35
Philippines 70 35 32
Portugal 84 40 40
Puerto Rico 79 43 33
Russia NA 60 13
Singapore 55 33 26
Spain 66 56 48
Sweden 87 65 56
Thailand 60 55 37
Trinidad and Tobago 70 35 35
Turkey 75 50 45
United Kingdom 83 40 40
United States 70 33 39**

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers; International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation.


Amazon and Wal-Mart are going to take over the market for people who want stuff cheap and fast. Who will win is up for grabs.
Leonard Lodish

Jensen Comment
People do not yet fully appreciate how online shopping reduces tens of billions in shoplifting losses relative to onsite big box stores ---
Of course not all frauds are eliminated such as returning fraudulent versions of purchased items. However, successful shoplifters are not identified. Online shoppers are identified except where there's been ID theft which is an enormous problem for onsite and online vendors.

"In Amazon and Wal-Mart’s Battle for Dominance, Who Loses Out?" Knowledge@Wharton, November 13, 2013 ---

In the retail realm, it’s a clash of the titans: Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, versus Amazon, the online giant that aspires to be “the everything store.” Both are slashing prices and increasing free, same-day and other enticing delivery-and-return services in pursuit of market domination. Amazon’s online savvy and forbearance of profit-taking are well known. Wal-Mart, with its vast bricks-and-mortar network, is finally getting serious about e-commerce.

But with two, not just one, behemoths now cutting into profit margins in a race for market share, what are the consequences for the rest of retail? “If those two keep getting better, it’s going to be rough news for other people,” says Wharton marketing professor Stephen J. Hoch.

Retail futurist Doug Stephens also sees “huge” potential for collateral damage to other retailers. “I think we are already seeing it,” he notes. “Target issued a letter, though it was more of a directive, to its vendors a year and a half ago that said if you sell us anything we later find on Amazon, you run the risk of being delisted as a vendor. This is very serious for every retailer — be careful of the shrapnel flying around as Amazon expands into other categories.”

According to Wharton emeritus marketing professor Leonard Lodish, “Amazon and Wal-Mart are going to take over the market for people who want stuff cheap and fast. Who will win is up for grabs.”

And what Wal-Mart and Amazon do has a way of trickling down: “There is definitely pressure on all retailers to increase speed and lower the cost,” notes Matthew Nemer, a managing director at Wells Fargo Securities covering the retail and e-commerce sectors.

The race to provide instant gratification has intensified in recent weeks, with eBay’s acquisition of Shutl, a same-day — and same-hour — delivery service based in the U.K. with service in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. The purchase will help eBay expand the service into 25 markets by the end of 2014. Last year, Google bought BufferBox, a shipping kiosk service that places boxes inside of stores like 7-Eleven to accept delivery of merchandise, enabling customers to pick them up at their convenience.

Amazon, which has a similar pick-up service called Locker, is operated from Procter & Gamble warehouses in an effort to cut delivery times for household goods, The Wall Street Journal reported recently. Even the venerable U.S. Postal Service is getting in on the e-action, having just signed a deal to deliver Amazon’s packages on Sundays in some cities. The post office says it expects to make similar deals with other retailers.

Amazon’s business practices have produced a spark of protectionism in France, where, in a regulatory fit of pique, the Assemblée nationale approved a law aimed at defending independent bookshops. If passed by the senate, the law would prohibit retailers from offering free delivery on discounted books.

New Bricks and Mortar — for E-commerce

The Wal-Mart-Amazon clash, many observers say, is part of a much larger battle compelling retailers to spend billions of dollars in new warehouses to facilitate quick delivery as the shift toward online shopping accelerates. Rather than luring the customer to the merchandise, the merchandise is going to the customer, and the industry is transforming itself. Amazon has funneled $13.9 billion into warehouses since 2010. Soon it will have nearly 100 warehouses to support what the company aims to make the new norm: orders shipped the same day the purchase is made.

Many of the warehouses being built by retailers are located close to urban centers — especially to the East Coast, where they will be within a few hours drive to as much as 40% of the U.S. population. Urban Outfitters is building a $110 million fulfillment center in Gap, Pa., the Philadelphia Inquirer reported recently. Macy’s, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and others have built, or are planning to build, similarly sized facilities.

“There’s a massive ecosystem being built around online sales — shipping, payments, mobile applications, electronic notebooks for store employees, lockers. I get an email every day highlighting all the venture capital investments going after some part of it,” says Nemer, adding that all of these developments point to a quickly evolving consumer mindset that expects same- or next-day delivery every time.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The big losers in the clash between Amazon versus Wal-Mart are big box stores who in some cases have great new online Websites that just are not keeping up with the leads taken by Amazon and Wal-Mart. Amazon is particularly competitive because of vastly superior online software and network of online vendors selling used items that carry the Amazon guarantee of satisfaction and return privileges.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 21, 2013

Sears is expected to report a wider loss in its fiscal third quarter. The retailer underscored how grim the situation is on Oct. 29, saying sales during the previous 12 weeks were off 3.7% from a year earlier, on a comparable basis. Ahead of the Tape’s Spencer Jakab says that hedge-fund manager Edward Lampert has proved hopeless as a retailer since taking control of Sears in 2005. And a recent stock rally represents a bet that he will be a far better liquidator.

Jensen Comment on Net Earnings
Note how the first index analysts look to judge the financial performance trend of a company is the bottom line net earnings. It's so sad that both the IASB and the FASB gave the balance sheet numbers "primacy" and threw income statement item definitions and measurement under the bus.

"The Asset-Liability Approach: Primacy does not mean Priority," by Robert Bloomfield, FASRI Financial Accounting Standards Research Initiative, October 6, 2009 ---

Jensen Comment on Sears At-Home Service
When I go to the Sears mall stores in St. Johnsbury, Concord, and Manchester it's like walking into empty tombs. Where are the customers? The cashiers are reading novels. Amazon and Wal-Mart are killing Sears.

My closest Sears store in Littleton (10 miles away) is almost always empty, but it's just a tiny little thing that mostly takes orders and arranges for delivery and installation.

Yet I always buy my heavy appliances, TV sets, lawn equipment (leaf blowers, trimmers, chain saws, lawn mowers), and snow throwers from Sears. This is because up here Sears is the only vendor with a decent at-home extended warranty so that I don't have to pack up these items an take them 100 miles to Manchester for repairs. When my snow thrower gave out more times than I can count on both hands a Sears technician fixed it "for free" each time in my garage. Sears finally solved an engineering flaw in that machine so it has not frozen up since the chute cables were shortened.  When my basement dehumidifier quit this summer, a Sears technician showed up and replaced the circuit board --- free parts and labor and no fee for a service call. Thus far my Sears treadmill has had two motor replacements and three belt replacements --- all at no extra charge to me. My warranties on 18 items (including stove, three refrigerators, dishwasher, microwave, garbage disposal, washing machine, etc.) are all renewable in 2017.

Try finding a TV repair technician in the State of New Hampshire. except for the Sears guy that will come to your house.  My point is that if you live in the boon docks where the closest repair technicians are 100 or more miles away, the Sears extended at-home warranties (usually 2-5 years for about $150) are the only way to go. These warranties are less of a good deal if you live in the big cities where there are more service technicians nearby. TV sets are so reliable and relatively inexpensive these days that maybe they should just be throw-aways like toasters when they give out. But that's not so with your snow throwers, washing machines, dish washers, etc. That's also not the case for gasoline leaf blowers, trimmers, and chain saws that are relatively unreliable. Anything with a small gasoline engine needs a good extended warranty up in these mountains. I'm just not adept at repairing small engines myself.

The bottom line is that I worry a lot about the income statement bottom line of Sears. Sears, like JC Penney, sacrificed its mail-order business for Mall tombs. Mall big-box stores are just too costly in the exploding world of more convenient and often cheaper online shopping alternatives, especially online alternatives from Wal-Mart and Amazon. Also Wal-Mart online and onsite pricing must be driving the mall stores crazy. Compare the lawn mower prices at your local Sears store with the prices at your local Wal-Mart. If it weren't for the warranty services Sears would probably be already dead in New Hampshire and Vermont. Wal-Mart warranty services suck up here! Also Sears has better installation services for things like washing machines and dishwashers that require heavy lifting and plumbing. And the Sears technicians who come to your house know that Sears is a tiger about written evaluations of their services.

I do hope Sears survives. Sustainability is not very promising at the moment, especially the mall tombs where Sears might eventually be buried.

Jensen Speculation
Online shopping will lead to a throw-away era where it's cheaper to replace products under warranty rather than repair them.

I envision a new profession of defective product compliance testers for expensive online products. If your big-screen TV or expensive video camera fails a nearby professional compliance tester will come to your home and make some simple tests of compliance of the products with its specifications.

If the product still under warranty is defective it's probably cheaper for Amazon or Wal-Mart to simply send you a replacement product and instruct you on where to ship the defective product (at vendor's cost). Dealers may spring up who fix up and sell defective items if they can be fixed. Television sets these days can be incredibly hard to fix..

Because of moral hazards, compliance testers should not also be defective product dealers.

Amazon could then bill the TV or camera manufacturers, but chances are that the initial wholesale prices to Amazon will be discounted in anticipation of best-estimates of the costs of warranty replacement.

November 21, 2013 message from Stieg Larrson

“The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the [Swedish] economy.”

Stieg Larsson
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Jensen Comment
Bob Jensen wrote a reply to Stieg that, I think, justifies stock market trading in equity shares of companies. However, in retrospect I'm more concerned that he may be correct about investments in stock indices such as the S&P 500 index. So here's my revised reply to Stieg.

Hi Stieg,

Thanks so much for joining in our AECM fun.

S&P 500 ---

Does investing in a financial index such as investing in movements S&P 500 price movements differ fundamentally from investing in the price movements of Microsoft common shares?

Investing in common shares like those of Microsoft has a tremendous advantages in a capitalist economy. There would be no venture capital if investors in those ventures could not eventually liquidate their purchase of shares in a risky venture. Thus common share trading is the way to motivate investors to fund new companies and new projects in existing companies such as when Microsoft issues new pre-emptive shares in the market place to fund new products.

In theory there is a huge difference in that each Microsoft share of stock provides rights to the value of General Motors that is left over after all debt and preferred stock obligations have been paid, including those obligations to workers, suppliers, and lenders. Investment in a fund that replicates the movements of a collective stock index like the S&P 500 provides only rights to the liquidation value of the fund itself, not any of the net assets of corporations whose stock price movements affect the valuation of the index fund.

There is not a noteworthy difference in fraud risks. For example, did it really matter if Bernie Madoff dealt in common shares or S&P index fund shares. If the fund's shares disappeared before the FBI moved in there's nothing left for recovery except to go after the non-fund assets that the court might impound such as the Madoff homes and the assets of investors who may have illegally benefited from fraudulent distributions of the fund.

In reality there may be less difference than theory suggests since commonly there is no net value to equity investors such as investors in General Motors stock were wiped out in the bankruptcy reorganization of General Motors in July 2009 --- 

This begs the question of what value to society flows in from trading common shares or their index fund trading that is any different from investing in other indices through bookmakers such as bets on the weather, football scores, election outcomes, or online poker strategies? In other words are investors in a financial index any different that investors betting with a football score bookmaker?

One difference is that the index fund maintains an ongoing balance on the excess between what has been collected from investors minus what has been distributed to investors. Bookmakers typically distribute all funds (less commissions) to the winners after an event transpires such as a Super Bowl game. A respectable index fund distributes funds to investors that choose to liquidate their shares and retains the funds of investors who choose to continue to hold their shares in the fund.

Thus there may be economic benefit to society arising from what index fund managers do with the excess between what is collected from buyers of shares in the fund versus what is paid out to investors who choose to liquidate their funds. If that money sits idle in a bank vault there is zero benefit to society from stacks of unspent cash. If the money is spent illegally such as in a Ponzi scheme there may be some benefit derived from illegal recipients spend their distributions such as investing in new ventures or new yachts. In a Ponzi scheme, however, there is inevitably an illegal transfer of funds from investors to whomever benefitted illegally.

Legitimate index funds are not Ponzi frauds. Similarly society may benefit if the excess reserves are invested legitimately beyond what is needed for liquidity of the fund. In a sense, index fund reserves become like insurance reserves that are invested in the economy at the same time they serve to meet contractual obligations of the fund. Insurance reserves do not sit uselessly as stacks of cash in bank vaults. These reserves are usually invested in projects that benefit society in some way such as in skyscrapers and housing developments. If necessary, insurance companies can use these investments as collateral for loans needed to pay off in disasters like tornado disasters.

My point is that legitimate index fund reserves can be a lot like insurance fund reserves that benefit society.

Index Fund ---

Economic theory
Economist Eugene Fama said, "I take the market efficiency hypothesis to be the simple statement that security prices fully reflect all available information." A precondition for this strong version of the hypothesis is that information and trading costs, the costs of getting prices to reflect information, are always 0 (Grossman and Stiglitz (1980))." A weaker and economically more sensible version of the efficiency hypothesis says that prices reflect information to the point where the marginal benefits of acting on information (the profits to be made) do not exceed marginal costs (Jensen (1978)). Economists cite the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH) as the fundamental premise that justifies the creation of the index funds. The hypothesis implies that fund managers and stock analysts are constantly looking for securities that may out-perform the market; and that this competition is so effective that any new information about the fortune of a company will rapidly be incorporated into stock prices. It is postulated therefore that it is very difficult to tell ahead of time which stocks will out-perform the market.[7] By creating an index fund that mirrors the whole market the inefficiencies of stock selection are avoided.

In particular the EMH says that economic profits cannot be wrung from stock picking. This is not to say that a stock picker cannot achieve a superior return, just that the excess return will on average not exceed the costs of winning it (including salaries, information costs, and trading costs). The conclusion is that most investors would be better off buying a cheap index fund. Note that return refers to the ex-ante expectation; ex-post realisation of payoffs may make some stock-pickers appear successful. In addition there have been many criticisms of the EMH.

. . .

Diversification refers to the number of different securities in a fund. A fund with more securities is said to be better diversified than a fund with smaller number of securities. Owning many securities reduces volatility by decreasing the impact of large price swings above or below the average return in a single security. A Wilshire 5000 index would be considered diversified, but a bio-tech ETF would not.[17]

Since some indices, such as the S&P 500 and FTSE 100, are dominated by large company stocks, an index fund may have a high percentage of the fund concentrated in a few large companies. This position represents a reduction of diversity and can lead to increased volatility and investment risk for an investor who seeks a diversified fund.

Some advocate adopting a strategy of investing in every security in the world in proportion to its market capitalization, generally by investing in a collection of ETFs in proportion to their home country market capitalization.[18] A global indexing strategy may outperform one based only on home market indexes because there may be less correlation between the returns of companies operating in different markets than between companies operating in the same market.

Asset allocation and achieving balance  
Asset allocation is the process of determining the mix of stocks, bonds and other classes of investable assets to match the investor's risk capacity, which includes attitude towards risk, net income, net worth, knowledge about investing concepts, and time horizon. Index funds capture asset classes in a low cost and tax efficient manner and are used to design balanced portfolios.

A combination of various index mutual funds or ETFs could be used to implement a full range of investment policies from low risk to high risk.

Comparison of index funds with index ETFs
In the United States, mutual funds price their assets by their current value every business day, usually at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, when the New York Stock Exchange closes for the day.[19] Index ETFs, in contrast, are priced during normal trading hours, usually 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. Index ETFs are also sometimes weighted by revenue rather than market capitalization.[20]

U.S. capital gains tax considerations
U.S. mutual funds are required by law to distribute realized capital gains to their shareholders. If a mutual fund sells a security for a gain, the capital gain is taxable for that year; similarly a realized capital loss can offset any other realized capital gains.

Scenario: An investor entered a mutual fund during the middle of the year and experienced an overall loss for the next 6 months. The mutual fund itself sold securities for a gain for the year, therefore must declare a capital gains distribution. The IRS would require the investor to pay tax on the capital gains distribution, regardless of the overall loss.

A small investor selling an ETF to another investor does not cause a redemption on ETF itself; therefore, ETFs are more immune to the effect of forced redemptions causing realized capital gains.

"The Economic Consequences Of Index-Linked Investing," by Jeffrey Wurgler, Journal of Indexes Europe, April 26, 2012 ---

The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of All 50 ---

"Professor Kahneman:  A Simple Logic Question That Most Harvard Students Get Wrong," by Gus Lubin, Business Insider, December November 11, 2012 ---

DON'T MISS: 61 Behavioral Biases That Screw Up How You Think,

Jensen Comment
Business and other students are advised to learn the complexities of markup and markdown pricing before they take the GMAT examination.

Prospect Theory ---

"Prospect Theory: A Framework for Understanding Cognitive Biases," Less Wrong, July 10, 2010 ---
Also note the many comments
Thank you Simoleon Sense for the heads up.

. . .

And now, the twist: prospect theory probably isn't exactly true. Although it holds up well in experiments where subjects are asked to make hypothetical choices, it may fare less well in the rare experiments where researchers can afford to offer subjects choices for real money (this isn't the best paper out there, but it's one I could find freely available).

Nevertheless, prospect theory seems fundamentally closer to the mark than simple expected utility theory, and if any model is ever created that can explain both hypothetical and real choices, I would be very surprised if at least part of it did not involve something looking a lot like Kahneman and Tversky's model.


"Video: Daniel Kahneman - The Psychology of Large Mistakes and Important Decisions" Simoleon Sense, July 27, 2009 ---

Speaker Background (Via Wikipedia)

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli psychologist and Nobel laureate, notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, behavioral economics and hedonic psychology.With Amos Tversky and others, Kahneman established a cognitive basis for common human errors using heuristics and biases , and developed Prospect theory . He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work in Prospect theory. Currently, he is professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

Watch the video --- Click Here

Video 1: "Nobelist Daniel Kahneman On Behavioral Economics (Awesome)!" Simoleon Sense, June 5, 2009 ---

Introduction (Via Fora.Tv)

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman addresses the Georgetown class of 2009 about the merits of behavioral economics.

He deconstructs the assumption that people always act rationally, and explains how to promote rational decisions in an irrational world.

Topics Covered:

1. The Economic Definition Of Rationality

2. Emphasis on Rationality in Modern Economic Theory

3. Examples of Irrational Behavior (watch this part)

4. How to encourage rational decisions

Speaker Background (Via Fora.Tv)

Daniel Kahneman - Daniel Kahneman is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Professor of Public Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University. He was educated at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and obtained his PhD in Berkeley. He taught at The Hebrew University, at the University of British Columbia and at Berkeley, and joined the Princeton faculty in 1994, retiring in 2007. He is best known for his contributions, with his late colleague Amos Tversky, to the psychology of judgment and decision making, which inspired the development of behavioral economics in general, and of behavioral finance in particular. This work earned Kahneman the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 and many other honors

Video 2:  Nancy Etcoff is part of a new vanguard of cognitive researchers asking: What makes us happy? Why do we like beautiful things? And how on earth did we evolve that way?
Simoleon Sense, June 10, 2009 

Video 3:  Yale's Robert Shiller (slightly over one hour of video lecture)
Behavioral Finance: The Role of Psychology ---

"Countries and Culture in Behavioral Finance," by Meir Statman ---

Behavioral finance has made important contributions to the field of investing by focusing on the cognitive and emotional aspects of the investment decision-making process. Although it is tempting to say that people are the same everywhere, the collective set of common experiences that people of the same culture share will influence their cognitive and emotional approach to investing. In this article, the author discusses the many cultural differences that may influence investor behavior and how these differences may influence the recommendations of a financial advisor.

"Must Read: Why People Fall Victim To Scams," Simoleon Sense, March 18, 2009 ---
The paper is at

"Behavioral Finance: Theories and Evidence," by Alistair Byrne, CFA University of Edinburgh Mike Brooks Baillie Gifford & Co. The Research Foundation of the CFA Literature Review Institute --- 

That behavioral finance has revolutionized the way we think about investments cannot be denied. But its intellectual appeal may lie in its cross-disciplinary nature, marrying the field of investments with biology and psychology. This literature review discusses the relevant research in each component of what is known collectively as behavioral finance.

This review of behavioral finance aims to focus on articles with direct relevance to practitioners of investment management, corporate finance, or personal financial planning. Given the size of the growing field of behavioral finance, the review is necessarily selective. As Shefrin (2000, p. 3) points out, practitioners studying behavioral finance should learn to recognize their own mistakes and those of others, understand those mistakes, and take steps to avoid making them. The articles discussed in this review should allow the practitioner to begin this journey.

Traditional finance uses models in which the economic agents are assumed to be rational, which means they are efficient and unbiased processors of relevant information and that their decisions are consistent with utility maximization. Barberis and Thaler (2003, p. 1055) note that the benefit of this framework is that it is “appealingly simple.” They also note that “unfortunately, after years of effort, it has become clear that basic facts about the aggregate stock market, the cross-section of average returns, and individual trading behavior are not easily understood in this framework.”

Behavioral finance is based on the alternative notion that investors, or at least a significant minority of them, are subject to behavioral biases that mean their financial decisions can be less than fully rational. Evidence of these biases has typically come from cognitive psychology literature and has then been applied in a financial context.

Examples of biases include

Overconfidence and overoptimism—investors overestimate their ability and the accuracy of the information they have.

Representativeness—investors assess situations based on superficial characteristics rather than underlying probabilities.

Conservatism—forecasters cling to prior beliefs in the face of new information.

Availability bias—investors overstate the probabilities of recently observed or experienced events because the memory is fresh.

Frame dependence and anchoring—the form of presentation of information can affect the decision made.

Mental accounting—individuals allocate wealth to separate mental compartments and ignore fungibility and correlation effects.

Regret aversion—individuals make decisions in a way that allows them to avoid feeling emotional pain in the event of an adverse outcome.

Behavioral finance also challenges the use of conventional utility functions based on the idea of risk aversion.

For example, Kahneman and Tversky (1979) propose prospect theory as a descriptive theory of decision making in risky situations. Outcomes are evaluated against a subjective reference point (e.g., the purchase price of a stock) and investors are loss averse, exhibiting risk-seeking behavior in the face of losses and risk-averse behavior in the face of gains.

Continued in article

Jim Mahar (a huge fan of Ayn Rand) uses some interesting behavioral finance videos in his finance class ---

We are covering the idea of charity or altruism as rational or irrational.  Now clearly this idea of helping others is irrational is well established in some circles.   To start what is altruism? Let's ask Google

Now many economists have argued for years that it is bad.  For instance, Ayn Rand in her writings and more recently from the Ayn Rand Institute.

Last week we ended class talking about this video where the monkeys shared their gains and acted in a manner that would be seen as uneconomic (giving away nuts, caring about "fairness" etc).  If you have not seen that video, I highly recommend it.  (oh and please give me a juicy grape :) )  So cooperation may be useful for the species.

Here is an example not in an artificial setting.

The videos can be seen at

From Jim Mahar's Blog
Behavioral Economics Reading List ---

"Professor Kahneman:  A Simple Logic Question That Most Harvard Students Get Wrong," by Gus Lubin, Business Insider, December November 11, 2013 ---

DON'T MISS: 61 Behavioral Biases That Screw Up How You Think,

Jensen Comment
Business and other students are advised to learn the complexities of markup and markdown pricing before they take the GMAT examination.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 15, 2013

Should CEO pay be capped?
Switzerland will vote next week on a proposal limiting executive pay to 12 times that of a company’s lowest paid worker, the second time this year the country will use the ballot box in an attempt to rein in corporate compensation,
writes the WSJ’s Neil MacLucas. The Swiss have grown more concerned about wealth disparity as the gap between a wealthy executive class and everyday workers grows. But critics say the initiative, if passed, will make Switzerland a less attractive place to do business. And executives at some companies, including Glencore Xstrata and Kuehne + Nagel, have said they would consider leaving Switzerland if the initiative passes.

Google Glass Will Change Photography Forever ---

"Google Glass Prompts Experiments in Journalism Schools," by Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, September 6, 2013 --- 

"Professors Envision Using Google Glass in the Classroom," by Sara Grossman, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 20, 2013 --- Click Here

"The Porn Industry Has Already Dreamed Up Awesome Ideas For Google Glass," by Dylan Love, Business Insider, May 25, 2013 ---

"Google Glass and the Future of Technology," by David A. Pogue, The New York Times, September 13, 2012 ---

New gadgets — I mean whole new gadget categories — don’t come along very often. The iPhone was one recent example. You could argue that the iPad was another. But if there’s anything at all as different and bold on the horizon, surely it’s Google Glass.

That, of course, is Google’s prototype of a device you wear on your face. Google doesn’t like the term “glasses,” because there aren’t any lenses. (The Glass team, part of Google’s experimental labs, also doesn’t like terms like “augmented reality” or “wearable computer,” which both have certain baggage.)

¶Instead, Glass looks like only the headband of a pair of glasses — the part that hooks on your ears and lies along your eyebrow line — with a small, transparent block positioned above and to the right of your right eye. That, of course, is a screen, and the Google Glass is actually a fairly full-blown computer. Or maybe like a smartphone that you never have to take out of your pocket.

¶This idea got a lot of people excited when Nick Bilton of The New York Times broke the story of the glasses in February. Google first demonstrated it April in a video. In May, at Google’s I/O conference, Glass got some more play as attendees watched a live video feed from the Glass as a sky diver leapt from a plane and parachuted onto the roof of the conference building. But so far, very few non-Googlers have been allowed to try them on.

¶Last week, I got a chance to put one on. I’m hosting a PBS series called “Nova ScienceNow” (it premieres Oct. 10), and one of the episodes is about the future of tech. Of course, projecting what’s yet to come in consumer tech is nearly impossible, but Google Glass seemed like a perfect example of a breakthrough on the verge. So last week the Nova crew and I met with Babak Parviz, head of the Glass project, to discuss and try out the prototypes.

¶Now, Google emphasized — and so do I — that Google Glass is still at a very, very early stage. Lots of factors still haven’t been finalized, including what Glass will do, what the interface will look like, how it will work, and so on. Google doesn’t want to get the public excited about some feature that may not materialize in the final version. (At the moment, Google is planning to offer the prototypes to developers next year — for $1,500 — in anticipation of selling Glass to the public in, perhaps, 2014.)

¶When you actually handle these things, you can’t believe how little they weigh. Less than a pair of sunglasses, in my estimation. Glass is an absolutely astonishing feat of miniaturization and integration.

¶Inside the right earpiece — that is, the horizontal support that goes over your ear — Google has packed memory, a processor, a camera, speaker and microphone, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a battery. All inside the earpiece.

¶Google has said that eventually, Glass will have a cellular radio, so it can get online; at this point, it hooks up wirelessly with your phone for an online connection. And the mind-blowing thing is, this slim thing is the prototype. It’s only going to get smaller in future generations. “This is the bulkiest version of Glass we’ll ever make,” Babak told me.

¶The biggest triumph — and to me, the biggest surprise — is that the tiny screen is completely invisible when you’re talking or driving or reading. You just forget about it completely. There’s nothing at all between your eyes and whatever, or whomever, you’re looking at.

¶And yet when you do focus on the screen, shifting your gaze up and to the right, that tiny half-inch display is surprisingly immersive. It’s as though you’re looking at a big laptop screen or something.

¶(Even though I usually need reading glasses for close-up material, this very close-up display seemed to float far enough away that I didn’t need them. Because, yeah — wearing glasses under Glass might look weird.)

¶The hardware breakthrough, in other words, is there. Google is proceeding carefully to make sure it gets the rest of it as right as possible on the first try.

¶But the potential is already amazing. Mr. Pariz stressed that Glass is designed for two primary purposes — sharing and instant access to information — hands-free, without having to pull anything out of your pocket.

¶You can control the software by swiping a finger on that right earpiece in different directions; it’s a touchpad. Your swipes could guide you through simple menus. In various presentations, Google has proposed icons for things like taking a picture, recording video, making a phone call, navigating on Google Maps, checking your calendar and so on. A tap selects the option you want.

¶In recent demonstrations, Google has also shown that you can use speech recognition to control Glass. You say “O.K., Glass” to call up the menu.

¶To illustrate how Glass might change the game for sharing your life with others, I tried a demo in which a photo appeared — a jungly scene with a wooden footbridge just in front of me. The theme from “Jurassic Park” played crisply in my right ear. (Cute, real cute.)

Continued in article

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

2013 Happiest Nations of the World ---

Jensen Comment
I've been though this before in a debate with Jim Peters and won't repeat myself again except to say that all the Top 10 other than Canada hare not at all diverse and have relatively small populations with strict barriers to immigration. This is not a good testimonial that diversity leads to national happiness. The Ethnic Fractionalization Index is as follows for selected nations shown below with the least fractionalized nations having the highest numbers ---

002 Tanzania (high ethnic diversity)
060 Canada (Happiness Rank 08)
063 Switzerland (Happiness Rank 01)
071 Mexico (Happiness Rank 10)
085 USA
087 Iceland (Happiness Rank 03)
128 Sweden (Happiness Rank 04)
142 Finland (Happiness Rank 09)
144 Denmark (Happiness Rank 05)
145 Austria (Happiness Rank 07)
146 Norway (Happiness Rank 02)
148 Germany
151 Netherlands (Happiness Rank 06)
157 Japan
158 South Korea
159 North Korea (lowest ethnic diversity)

Canada enjoys an enormous land mass relative to its population and is a nation that sells immigration to highest bidders in many instances. Canada also is the largest exporter of oil, timber, and maple syrup to the USA and lives under the umbrella of the USA military and advanced medical research.

Switzerland and Iceland ethic diversity surprises to me, although neither Switzerland nor Iceland is noted to have ethic diversity based upon skin color. The same can be said for Mexico.

The odd thing is that Mexico is among the Top 10 happiest nations in the world. Under these circumstances I would think that people trying to wade south in the Rio Grande would obstruct all those trying to wade north. Why isn't Mexico building a high wall on its northern border?

My guess is that if you randomly offered an immigration lottery ro 10,000 randomly chosen people in Africa, India, and other parts of Asia that the USA would have the highest probability of being chosen by those lottery winners. Why don't they want to go to happier countries?

My threads on happiness and The American Dream (with a special section on Denmark) are at

Ten Companies Paying Americans the Least --- Click Here
Not included are companies employing the highest number of undocumented workers even less

01. Wal-Mart
02. McDonald’s
03. Target
04. Kroger
05. Yum! Brands
06. Sears Holdings
07. Darden Restaurants
08. Macy's
09. TJX Companies
10. Starbucks

Jensen Comment
The numbers are a little misleading. For example, Wal-Mart hires at low wages without many benefits but promotes over 400 employees each day such that people serious about staying with Wal-Mart get higher wages, more benefits (including health care), and education and training benefits. New workers at Starbucks and McDonalds, for example, have fewer opportunities for promotions and better benefits.

Kroger surprises me since it is unionized.

I think Macy's is also unionized although I did not verify this. Most big department store chains are unionized by the retail unions.

How come the top ten listed above are not all fast food restaurants like McDonald's? Is McDonald's stingier than Burger King and Taco Bell?

Is support for a higher minimum wage self-serving?
Some like Starbucks support legislation for large increases in the minimum wage. This is self-serving. Firstly, most of the companies listed above pay more than minimum wage, and increases in the minimum wage clobber Starbucks' competition more than Starbucks itself. More than 50% of the companies that pay bare minimum wage, often with part-time workers receiving no fringe benefits, are small mom and pop businesses.

For example, a doubling of the minimum wage might put some of the downtown urban coffee shops out of business thereby making Starbucks much more profitable. And many those former part-time workers in those destroyed coffee shops won't get unemployment compensation and will have to become welfare cases for more than just food stamps.

November 15, 2013 reply from Jim Peters

I agree that this is complicated. I had a very good student a while back who quit Wal-Mart to come back and get his BA in accounting. He was making $250,000 per year as a regional manager for Wal-Mart without a BA degree. When I asked him how he learned the skills to oversee a region, he said he got his education from "the University of Wal-Mart." They have very good training programs and 75% of their execs came up through the ranks.

Jim Peters

"The Complex Economics of America’s Minimum Wage," Knowledge@wharton, November 11, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
This is a long article that covers most of the main points. The main conclusion is that we need to comprehensively study the types of people who receive the minimum wage and to invent better solutions to their problems that a higher minimum wage alone will never solve. For example, young people should probably be paid much less than the minimum wage provided they are provided alternatives to acquire skills, experience at teamwork, and better hope for a rewarding career. I'm not certain what to recommend for older folks beyond retirement age. In many instances it's the work, no matter how mundane, that keeps them young and needed. For others working for minimum wage is a bitch brought on by inadequate savings, zero interest on what savings they have, and a painful chore with their arthritis. For workers caught in the middle its the economy of high unemployment, especially those who lost their higher paying jobs. Minimum wage type of work was never meant to provide careers for the underemployed.

The knee jerk reaction is hope that Wal-Mart becomes unionized.
Wal-Mart is not your minimum-wage employer. Wal-Mart provides higher wages and many benefits including good deals for health care and education and training. Unionized companies like Kroger are not doing any better than Wal-Mart.

Well over half of the truly minimum wage workers in the USA work for small businesses, and doubling the minimum wage will merely cost many of them the jobs that they are clinging to in an effort to not have to totally disrupt their lives with divorce, welfare dependency, moving to another town, and uprooting their children in school.


"Five Tips for First Year Accounting PhD Candidates," by Dr. Emelee (who is still working on his Ph.D., Going Concern, November 12, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Some of these tips are out of the hands of the doctoral candidate --- like beating the competition to be sent to a doctoral consortium. I would recommend some other things such as those shown below:

  1. Study as many Khan Academy modules in math and statistics that appear to be relevant to your current and future studies. Especially go for the modules in statistics and probability ---

  2. From Day 1 in the program study (not just read) the more recent doctoral dissertations from you program as well as some of those that look relevant from other universities. American Doctoral Dissertations from ProQuest ---
  3. Watch the free videos and other tutorials on how to use the statistical packages and databases in your doctoral program. For example, go to YouTube and look up SAS. For example search for "sas statistical analysis program" at
  4. Follow the AECM for ideas on term papers ---
    Note that you can scan the message titles without having to receive each message in your email box.
  5. Carefully psych out your doctoral program --- probably by getting advice from recent graduates and students well along in the program. Every program unique in important ways even though all of them are social science programs with very little accounting content ---
  6. Late in the program begin to study about how to game for tenure as an accounting professor ---
    (with a reply about tenure publication point systems from Linda Kidwell)

Other tips from my AECM friends, many of whom advise doctoral students in accountancy:

"Judge Hands Google a Big Victory in Lengthy Book-Scanning Case," by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2013 ---

Google has won a major victory in the long legal fight over its scanning and searching of millions of books. A federal judge, Denny Chin, ruled on Thursday that Google's use of copyrighted works in its Google Books program counts as fair use, and he dismissed a lawsuit originally brought by authors and publishers groups in 2005.

The publishers settled with Google in 2012, but the Authors Guild plaintiffs pressed ahead with their claims of copyright infringement.

Judge Chin's opinion, delivered in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, resoundingly supported Google on the question of fair use. While the company did not seek permission to scan copyrighted works, the judge wrote, the uses made of those scans are "highly transformative"—a key element in fair-use determinations.

A Google representative said the company was "absolutely delighted" by the ruling. The decision will also thrill fair-use advocates and many academic librarians and researchers, especially those who want to mine the vast Google Books corpus for research. But the Authors Guild said it would appeal.

Judge Chin's ruling detailed what he called the "many benefits" of Google Books and the several ways in which it can be seen as transformative. The program "has become an essential research tool" for librarians, scholars, and students, the judge wrote. It "greatly promotes" text mining, he noted, citing friend-of-the-court briefs filed by digital humanists and legal scholars. It gives "traditionally underserved populations," including those who have trouble reading printed material, much broader access to books.

Google Books also "helps to preserve books and give them new life" by scanning and saving them. And it aids authors and publishers "by helping readers and researchers identify books," Judge Chin wrote. "Google Books will generate new audiences and create new sources of income."

All of those factors had led him to conclude that "Google Books provides significant public benefits" and does so "without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders," he wrote. "Indeed, all society benefits."

A 'Challenge to Copyright'

Google says it has scanned more than 20 million books so far, in partnership with a number of academic libraries. Many of those books are under copyright. The Google Books program allows users to search the scanned books and see snippets of them but not their full texts—security measures that Judge Chin noted in his ruling.

"This has been a long road," Google said in a short written statement reacting to the decision. "As we have long said, Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age, giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow."

Although the latest ruling is good news for Google, the Authors Guild's decision to appeal means the case may have more life left in it.

"We disagree with and are disappointed by the court's decision," Paul Aiken, the guild's executive director, said in a written statement. "This case presents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court. Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world's valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair-use defense."

The case has been through many twists and turns. Judge Chin rejected a proposed settlement in 2011, saying it went too far and gave Google too great an advantage over its competitors.

Paul N. Courant, a former university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Michigan, has been closely involved in Google's library-partnership program from the beginning. A professor of economics and public policy on the university's Ann Arbor campus, he is also acting director of the University of Michigan Press.

Continued in article

Google Book Finder ---

Bob Jensen's free electronic books finders ---

Do you really want to put your savings in Tesla?
Are those ugly power poles in front of your yard destined to become firewood?

"How Toyota Will Be First With a Fuel-Cell Car," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, November 15, 2013 ---

National Labor College's Demise:  USA's Largest Labor Unions Could Not Save Their College

"A Small College's Demise," by Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, November 14, 2013 --- 

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

"The crumbling Kremlin?" The Economist, November 13, 2013 ---

IN THIS week’s print edition, we look at Russia’s stagnating economy. Our article focuses on current problems—including low business confidence and a strong rouble. But an NBER paper*, published on Monday, looks at Russia’s long-term economic future—and promises yet more pain.

The research focuses on Russia’s “fiscal gap”—the difference between the present value of a government's future expenditures and its future receipts. The paper makes predictions out to 2100, and calculates total government expenditure and revenue. If the latter is lower than the former, a fiscal gap exists. To close the gap, higher taxes or lower spending are needed.

Most people think that Russia’s fiscal position is pretty solid. The country has over 16.5 trillion rubles ($500 billion) of foreign-exchange reserves—nearly three times the size of its national debt. (Britain’s reserves are less than a tenth of its national debt).

So what is the problem? According to the paper, it all depends on how the government defines “debt”, “spending” and “taxes”. Economics nerds will be unsurprised to hear that Larry Kotlikoff, a professor at Boston College, is a co-author of this paper. In a famous article, “Deficit delusion”, Mr Kotlikoff discusses the arbitrariness of the labels that are given to different types of government spending, taxation and debt. He looks at the example of “Mr X”, a man who pays $1,000 to the government when he is forty and receives $1,500 from the government when he is fifty. The government:

might label the $1,000 receipt “taxes”…and the $1,500 repayment “transfer payments”…it could label the $1,000 receipt “borrowing” and call $500 of the $1,500 payment “interest payments” and the rest “repayment of principal”…[another] possibility is to label $500 of the initial $1,000 “taxes” and the other $500 “borrowing”…

...and so on. Mr Kotlikoff’s point is that the whole thing is rather arbitrary. And that has allowed governments to underestimate massively their total liabilities—for example, by excluding pensions from official government debt figures.

So the paper focuses purely on future government payments versus future government receipts—an approach that gets around government accounting gimmicks. It paints a worrying picture of Russia's fiscal position.

A few examples illustrate the problems facing the Russian economy. Government revenues are likely to be squeezed in the coming years. Most people know that Russia is pretty dependent on natural resources. About half of government revenues come from oil and gas. That could well collapse:

That all adds up to an alarming figure. Under certain assumptions the authors reckon that Russia’s fiscal gap, in 2013 money, is 1,670 trillion rubles—or 10.5% of the present value of all future Russian output.

Economic projections of this nature cannot be accurate. (Quite a lot may change between now and 2100.) And the numbers in this paper are pretty crazy. The paper claims that a 37% “immediate and permanent” tax hike or a 27% spending cut might be needed if Russia is to avoid future fiscal meltdown. But even in the best-case scenario, Russia's fiscal gap will be 280 trillion roubles.

Continued in article

"Jolla:  Finland's Answer To The iPhone And Android, Will Start Selling Its First Phone This Month" by Megan Rose Dickey, Business Insider, November 14, 2013 ---

Jolla, the new Finnish-based smartphone company that spun out of Nokia, just announced at Slush that its first phone will go on sale in Helsinki on November 27.

Back in June, Jolla secured its first mobile phone carrierFinland's third largest smartphone carrier, DNA, will be the first to sell Jolla's (pronounced Yo-Lah) flagship phone.

Jolla runs the company's own Sailfish OS, which is based on the MeeGo OS that Nokia smartphones ran before switching to Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. Even though Jolla runs Sailfish, the phone will be compatible with Android apps, which means users could potentially have hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from, assuming the developers submit their apps to the Sailfish app store.

The phone features a 4.5-inch display, dual-core processor, microSD expansion with 16GB of storage pre-installed, a 4G modem, and a replaceable battery. Jolla has previously said the device would cost about €399.

Jensen Comment
My Scandinavian relatives would pronounce that "Yalla" by yimminie. Finland is the high tech manufacturing nation of the EU --- from market dominance of the old Nokia mobile phones to television sets. Ole and Lena claim that the Finns have an impossible language and no sense of humor. The Finns do spend a lot of time hating Russians --- somewhat justified given the history of their wars. Finland almost always comes out on top when global K-12 learning is compared. This is heavily due to the intensity of learning at home after school hours. A lot of time is spent learning how to spell and pronounce long Finnish words and three or four other languages of the world.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 14, 2013

Investors are swarming around Internet companies that don’t make money
Snapchat, a two-year-old company with no sales and no business model, recently rejected a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook
, Evelyn M. Rusli and Douglas MacMillan report in this WSJ scoop. Co-founder Evan Spiegel is holding out because he hopes his company can get an even higher valuation. Facebook had earlier offered to buy the company for more than $1 billion. And in recent weeks, Facebook representatives contacted Snapchat again to discuss an all-cash offer triple that amount, which would have been Facebook’s largest acquisition to date.

The Snapchat offer is the latest example of investor exuberance for social-media and mobile-messaging upstarts. Twitter, which has yet to turn a profit, has a market value of roughly $25 billion after its IPO last week. And Pinterest last month raised $225 million from investors who valued the company, which like Snapchat has no revenue, at $3.8 billion.

Snapchat’s smartphone app delivers hundreds of millions of messages, mostly from teenagers and young adults. And Mr. Spiegel thinks Snapchat’s user numbers will keep on growing. Still, it isn’t clear how Snapchat might make money, Rusli and MacMIllan write. One path to revenue might be helping marketers craft messages that speak to the service’s young users. Instead of banner ads, the personal nature of Snapchat makes it more suited to stories and characters who interact directly with users, says Julie Ask, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “If you can create content, whether it is a photo or a video or a story, and get it onto one of these instant-messaging apps, it has the potential to go viral so fast because the community of users is so big,” says Ms. Ask.

Jensen Comment
The things we teach about business valuation are no longer relevant in the tech industry since Amazon was invented. Forget the ratios ---

In high stakes gambling I think it's called betting the farm on the come? ---
There are a lot of country songs about busted up bronc riders and other losers in lonely bars who bet on the come.

At the same time there are a lot of pensioners like Erika and me who place an order almost daily on the money-losing Amazon. Sure beats icy roads and wasting an hour hunting for some obscure thing at Wal-Mart. And all day long I'm listening to the money-losing Pandora. But I don't really need an iPhone, Android, or Jolla as long as my seven-year old cell phone still dials home and 911 and a AAA towing (if I should ever need a tow) for less than $100 per year.

"The Complex Economics of America’s Minimum Wage," Knowledge@wharton, November 11, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
This is a long article that covers most of the main points. The main conclusion is that we need to comprehensively study the types of people who receive the minimum wage and to invent better solutions to their problems that a higher minimum wage alone will never solve. For example, young people should probably be paid much less than the minimum wage provided they are provided alternatives to acquire skills, experience at teamwork, and better hope for a rewarding career. I'm not certain what to recommend for older folks beyond retirement age. In many instances it's the work, no matter how mundane, that keeps them young and needed. For others working for minimum wage is a bitch brought on by inadequate savings, zero interest on what savings they have, and a painful chore with their arthritis. For workers caught in the middle its the economy of high unemployment, especially those who lost their higher paying jobs. Minimum wage type of work was never meant to provide careers for the underemployed.

The knee jerk reaction is hope that Wal-Mart becomes unionized.
Wal-Mart is not your minimum-wage employer. Wal-Mart provides higher wages and many benefits including good deals for health care and education and training.

Well over half of the truly minimum wage workers in the USA work for small businesses, and doubling the minimum wage will merely cost many of them the jobs that they are clinging to in an effort to not have to totally disrupt their lives with divorce, moving to another town, and uprooting their children in school.

Teaching Case on Careers and Education
From The Wall Street Journal Weekly Accounting Review on November 15, 2013

Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire
by: Peter Cappelli
Nov 11, 2013
Click here to view the full article on

TOPICS: Accounting

SUMMARY: The article begins with a focus on choosing colleges, such as private versus public and university versus liberal arts college but offers many tips as students are choosing their majors. Students can discuss the benefits of a focused, technical major such as accounting versus the liberal arts majors. The issues discussed in the article focus on variability of job opportunities upon students' graduation. Instructors using the article can emphasize the relative consistency of accounting job markets and the benefits of the skills learned in students' liberal arts related courses.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article may be used in an introductory accounting class during a semester that students are choosing majors, or at any time to discuss the benefits of skills learned in liberal arts classes in addition to technical subjects studied for the accounting major. Several questions ask students to state what they know about their own college or university. Instructors can use this to assess students' knowledge and contribute to class discussion about steps to take to ensure students develop the best chances for employment after graduation.

1. (Introductory) What are the current concerns in the job market following students' graduation? How do those concerns form the basis for this article?

2. (Introductory) According to the article, what are some majors that have posed challenging job markets for students upon graduation?

3. (Advanced) What is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act? How did it "ramp up demand for accountants"?

4. (Advanced) What do you know about the job opportunities for accounting majors upon graduation? Think especially about the consistency of job opportunities for accounting majors over different economies. State in your answer how you can find out this information for accounting majors graduating from your college or university.

5. (Introductory) What portion of your coursework is devoted to liberal arts courses? Based on the discussion in the article, what is the importance of the skills you learn in these courses?

6. (Advanced) View the related graphic entitled "Employer Priorities." Are you surprised by or curious about any facet of this list? List one item and explain your answer.

7. (Advanced) What steps in your remaining academic career can you take to be sure that you meet employers' priorities when you graduate? Will you need help in taking those steps? State where you think you can find that assistance at your college or university.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

"Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire," by Peter Cappelli, The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2013 ---

A job after graduation. It's what all parents want for their kids.

So, what's the smartest way to invest tuition dollars to make that happen?

The question is more complicated, and more pressing, than ever. The economy is still shaky, and many graduating students are unable to find jobs that pay well, if they can find jobs at all.

The result is that parents guiding their children through the college-application process—and college itself—have to be something like venture capitalists. They have to think through the potential returns from different paths, and pick the one that has the best chance of paying off.

For many parents and students, the most-lucrative path seems obvious: be practical. The public and private sectors are urging kids to abandon the liberal arts, and study fields where the job market is hot right now.

Schools, in turn, are responding with new, specialized courses that promise to teach skills that students will need on the job. A degree in hospital financing? Casino management? Pharmaceutical marketing?

Little wonder that business majors outnumber liberal-arts majors in the U.S. by two-to-one, and the trend is for even more focused programs targeted to niches in the labor market.

It all makes sense. Except for one thing: It probably won't work. The trouble is that nobody can predict where the jobs will be—not the employers, not the schools, not the government officials who are making such loud calls for vocational training. The economy is simply too fickle to guess way ahead of time, and any number of other changes could roil things as well. Choosing the wrong path could make things worse, not better.

So, how should the venture-capitalist parents proceed? What should they weigh as they decide where to put their limited capital to get the biggest bang? Here are some things to consider. Does the Product Get Out the Door?

You can pick the perfect school in terms of courses and location and price and ambience. But none of it does a student any good if he or she doesn't end up with a degree. After all, college improves job prospects only if a student graduates. That is why it is crucial to scrutinize the graduation rates at various schools.

What's more, it is also important to look at how long it takes students to graduate. Only about 60% of Division 1 university students graduate in six years, for example.

Many parents and students don't realize that even top schools differ greatly in their ability to get students out the door to graduation on time. Consider the difference between an elite private university like Stanford University and an elite public university like the University of California, Berkeley. My colleague Robert Zemsky found that the private school has a much wider array of support services—counseling, tutoring and so forth—that vastly improve the odds that a student will actually graduate, and will do so in four years. An expensive, private school may end up being cheaper if a student doesn't have to be there as long.

Probably the most important statistics to scrutinize are job-placement rates for graduates, but they are often hard to get and easy to fudge. Are we measuring jobs at graduation, or within a year after? Do internships count as a "job"?

Statistics about starting salaries, to judge the quality of those jobs, can be even more elusive. In the absence of good data, visit the school's career center and see which employers are actually interviewing students and for what jobs.

Parents and students should push to require schools to post graduation rates, job-placement rates and other information on the outcomes for their graduates—especially considering how many students are now using government-backed loans to pay for their education. It is not in the public interest for students to use public funds for vocational degrees that don't have a good chance of paying off. Today's Jobs Aren't Necessarily Tomorrow's

The trend toward specialized, vocational degrees is understandable, with an increasing number of companies grumbling that graduates aren't coming out of school qualified to work.

But guessing about what will be hot tomorrow based on what's hot today is often a fool's errand.

The problem is that the job market can change rapidly for unforeseeable reasons. Today, we frequently hear that computers and information technology are and will be the hot fields, but both have gone from boom to bust over time. Students poured into IT programs in the late 1990s, responding to the Silicon Valley boom, only to graduate after 2001 into the tech bust.

Changes in regulations, meanwhile, can rapidly create and kill fields. For instance, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act amped up the demand for accountants. Emerging technologies can be just as disruptive—applicant-tracking software eliminates jobs in recruiting, while cellphones create programming jobs in mobile technology. Developments like these are almost impossible to anticipate.

It gets even more complicated than that. Let's say governments and colleges could tell what the demand would be for a particular occupation years out. The problem for someone making an investment in that occupation is that everyone else has the same information. That means students will rush to train in that field, the supply of potential workers goes up, and the jobs are no longer so attractive.

Consider an email that Texas A&M University sent to this year's class of incoming petroleum engineers, the hottest job in the U.S. in terms of starting wages.

The message reminded students that the job market for engineers has always been competitive and cyclical, and warned, "Recent data suggests that some concern about the sustainability of the entry-level job market during a time of explosive growth in the number of students studying petroleum engineering in U.S. universities may be prudent."

Unfortunately, that kind of caution isn't common. Schools want to get as many applicants as possible, and to get the best ones to attend. Showing parents and students all the caveats that go with the impressions they create about future jobs may conflict with those interests. The Danger of Specialization

Another important caveat that doesn't get discussed much: It may be worse to have the wrong career focus in college than having no career focus—because skills for one career often can't be used elsewhere.

Let's say a student spends four years learning to market pharmaceuticals. But what can he or she do with that degree if the drug companies aren't hiring? The skills don't transfer easily anyplace else.

That may even be true within a field. Anthony Carnevale, of Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce, calculates that the unemployment rate among recent IT graduates at the moment is actually twice that of theater majors. Despite the constant complaints from IT employers about skill shortages, only certain skills within IT are hot at the moment, such as those associated with mobile communications.

Focusing on a very specific field also means that you miss out on courses that might broaden your abilities. Courses that teach, say, hospitality management or sports medicine may crowd out a logic class that can help students learn to improve their reasoning or an English class that sharpens their writing. Both of those skills can help in any field, unlike the narrowly focused ones.

Beyond those concerns, a narrow educational focus forces students to pick a career at age 17, before they know much of anything about their interests and abilities. And if they choose incorrectly, it can be very difficult for them to start over once they're older.

Researchers Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann and Lei Zhang find that more vocationally focused education in high school appears to limit adaptability to changing labor markets later in life. The same thing may be true in college.

All that said, practical degrees do have value. But they're not nearly as valuable as boosters say.

Yes, in some fields, like engineering, the only way in is with a specialized degree. Other things being equal, students with one of these degrees will have an easier time getting their first job in the field than students with liberal-arts degrees. After the first job, though, it is not clear how much advantage that practical degree has.

Certainly, some matter in part because they are prestigious—such as a Wharton M.B.A.—but for those that aren't prestigious, and where the degree isn't required or common, a degree may not matter at all.

Also consider that what companies really want hires to have is actual work experience. If they have a choice between hiring someone fresh out of a hospitality-degree program or someone who doesn't have that degree but who has run a restaurant, they will choose the latter. The Way Forward

So, what are the practical lessons for the venture-investor parent and their child?

Students that go the practical route should delay choosing majors and specialized courses as long as possible, so that there is likely to be a better match between course work and employer interests. Students can rely on real-time information from the career office to gauge demand. Because of the need to adjust, it also helps to be at a school where switching majors is easy. Small programs with limited resources mean that students may have to stay more than four years to get all the courses that are required for a new major.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Whereas students planning ahead for medical school, accounting careers engineering careers, etc. facing licensing examinations, it's not efficient to avoid the requisite specializations in undergraduate studies.

Law used to be a wonderful career because you could major in virtually anything and still go to law school. Now the opportunities for law graduates have shrunk more than raw wool in a boiling cauldron.

MBA programs prefer that students were not undergraduate business majors. However, opportunities for MBA graduates increase with certain undergraduate specializations such as computer science, engineering, and accounting (especially for wannabe tax lawyers).

Fortunately, it is possible to specialize in some programs like accountancy and still take humanities minors or dual majors. Increasingly, accounting majors become somewhat proficient in another language such as Mandarin.

A Whitehouse Website That Does Work (almost entirely)
College Scorecard ---
Jensen Comment
The President's scoring system may place too much pressure on colleges to make students too specialized for career purposes.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

This seemed to be such an exceptional edition of Businessweek Insider I decided to forward all the links on November 15, 2013.

Some of the articles surprised me, especially how the U.S. Postal Service is forming new partnerships with outfits like Amazon and EBay. These may well be life-saving partnerships, although I don't think we can expect UPS and FedEx to roll over an play dead. My prediction is that there may be a future partnership between the Postal Service and UPS. Up here in the boondocks the postal service is already delivering some of the smaller UPS packages.

There are also some interesting articles about what lies ahead in our lives, including medical services and medications.

Also note the top link to the 2014 Users Guide.

Bob Jensen

A User's Guide to 2014: Everything You Need to Know

Inflation and interest rates are low, oil prices are expected to fall, companies are sitting on cash, and there's plenty of consumer demand. Here, Bloomberg Businessweek sets the economic and geopolitical stage for 55 global industries


More Top Stories

Why Obama Can't Just Uncancel All Those Insurance Plans

Regulators and insurers are cool to the idea, and there may not be enough time to make it work


If Isn't Fixed By December, What's Obama's Plan B?

Although a workaround would embarrass the White House, bypassing that balky federal health-insurance exchange might be the least-bad solution


The Most Surprising News About Isn't Its Failure

To much astonishment, a survey shows that 13 percent of Americans think the website a success


Former Senator Bill Frist's Health-Care Industry Outlook for 2014

The former Tennessee senator talks about health-care breakthroughs such as personalized medicine


Yellen Sails Through Her Fed Confirmation Hearing

Obama's nominee to run the Federal Reserve parries questions from the left and right with equal dispatch


Jos. A. Bank Stops Shopping at Men's Wearhouse

Men's Wearhouse shares have surged since Jos. A. Bank's initial offer in September


A Postal Union Chief Sees the Future, and It's EBay and Amazon

National Rural Letter Carriers' Association President Jeanette Dwyer discusses the importance of saving the USPS


Why Wal-Mart Really Needs Food Stamps

In October, Wal-Mart U.S. head Bill Simon expected food-stamp cutbacks to focus recipients on the giant chain's discounts. Now he sounds worried


China Expected to Be the Top Market for Industrial Robots by 2016

The government of Zhejiang province plans to help fund local factories' automation


Digital Entertainment

Judge Says 'All Society Benefits' From Google Books

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin went so far as to enumerate what those benefits are; still, the Authors Guild will appeal


Snapchat's $3 Billion Rejection and the Great Facebook Unbundling

Smaller companies are coming along and poking holes at Facebook's weak points


JPMorgan Chase: When Will the Pain End?

Embarrassments and legal probes don't seem to stop coming for the biggest U.S. bank


Cows on Wall Street: Why the Latest Suit Against the Rating Agencies Matters

Liquidators of two defunct Bear Stearns hedge funds accuse the Big Three of issuing ratings they knew were bogus


IBM Faces a Crisis In the Cloud

After long downplaying services such as Amazon's as insecure, low-margin businesses, IBM now boasts of its dominance in the cloud rental market



Dropbox Makes a Move Into the Enterprise

The cloud storage service is moving to make itself as popular with corporate IT administrators as Dropbox has been with consumers


Union to Boeing: Shove That Contract Up Your New Jet

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers rejects the plane maker's offer to keep 777X production near Seattle


In Japan, Shinzo Abe Backs Down—and Loses a Big Abenomics Ally

The so-called third arrow of Abenomics hits a wall as the government backs away from structural reform, infuriating Rakuten Chairman Hiroshi Mikitani


U.S. Makes More Oil than It Takes

With domestic oil output rising at its fastest pace in decades, U.S. oil exports surpassed imports in October for the first time since February 1995


Why Lincoln Is Quietly Keeping Its Town Car Alive

Ford Motor has attached the Town Car name to its new Lincoln MKC to keep its traditional livery clients


In Settlement Talks, Here Was the Easy Stuff for the New American Airlines

All told, the regulators' demands weren't particularly onerous


Yahoo's Latest HR Disaster: Ranking Workers on a Curve

Yahoo inflames employee sentiment by making managers rate workers on a forced ranking system that follows a bell curve, and then fire some of them


Microsoft Kills Its Hated Stack Rankings. Does Anyone Do Employee Reviews Right?

Employees generally aren't thrilled about having to play Game of Thrones at the office


Canadians: You Couldn't Pay Us to Be Americans

In a merger with the U.S., Canada would overcontribute about $17 trillion on a per capita basis, or roughly $500,000 per Canadian


Zara's Fast-Fashion Edge

The flagship of the world's No. 1 clothing retailer manages a network of factories that allows it to get styles into stores faster than rivals. Is this retail's future?


Social Media

A Bet That Twitter Shares Will Go Below $28

Action in put warrants in Europe precedes option trading in the U.S.


Big Tobacco's Pacific Trade-Pact Fight

Will tobacco be exempted from the Trans-Pacific Partnership?


Meet 2014's Blockbuster Drugs

These five medicines are predicted to be big moneymakers


Bitcoin Mining Chips, a High-Tech Arms Race

Faster processors will give digital-currency miners an edge


Gulfstream G650 Jet on Billionaire Wish Lists

Gulfstream's jet is very fast, very popular, and back-ordered until 2017


The Lawyer Representing the 9/11 Defendant Who Killed My Friend

Attorney David Nevin represents the best of America's legal system by defending some of the worst humans—such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed


Superhero Movies Seize Hollywood

Can Rocket Raccoon and Ant-Man sustain the genre's winning streak?


Space Junk Is All Around Us

The GOCE satellite fell harmlessly into the ocean, and, according to NASA, there are millions of pieces of debris in earth's orbit

Forthcoming in The American Sociological Review
Title:  Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages

Authors:  Youngjoo Cha, Department of Sociology Indiana University
                Kim A. Weeden , Department of Sociology, Cornell University kw74@cornell.e

September 24, 2013

Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the in creasing prevalence of “overwork” (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the ri sing hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10% of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was also sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hour s are especially common and nor ms of overwork are deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupati onal cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.

Bob Jensen Threads on the History of Women ---

MOOCs Are Largely Reaching Privileged Learners, Survey Finds
More than 80 percent of respondents had a two- or four-year degree, and 44 percent had some graduate education, according to a poll of 35,000 students taking the online courses ---

Jensen Comment
This is to be expected since most MOOC courses to date are highly specialized (e.g., readings of obscure poets or C++ software coding) in relatively advanced courses. The first MOOC course, a course from computer scientists at Stanford, was a technical course in artificial intelligence. The MOOC model is not really a good model for introductory learners who typically need more hand holding. This does not mean that distance education is not suitable for hand holding --- in many ways online learning is more suited to hand holding since instructors may be instantly available 10 hours a day via instant messaging in distance education courses having less than 25 students. But MOOC courses with 24,615 students are not conducive to hand holding of any one of those 24,615 students enrolled in the course.

The problem for students needing hand holding is that class sizes must be small onsite or online for hand holding. Small classes generally mean fees. MOOCs are free to date because prestigious universities are willing to tap endowment funds to pay for the relatively low cost for each of 24,615 students per course. If students want transcript credits for taking MOOC courses, fees kick in for the competency-based examination and grading services.

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs and other free course videos and materials from prestigious universities ---
This includes links if you want to sign up for one of the hundreds of free MOOCs or the wonderful Khan Academy videos.

I hate calling this Open-Access
"Wellcome Trust, Palgrave Macmillan Publish Their First Open-Access Monograph," by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 19, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Because of these initiatives I now have to write free open-access and free open-source since the terms open access and open source no longer mean that downloading is free. The MOOCs are also polluting these concepts if the only access to a "free" course entails paying for transcript credits.

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.
Attributed to Senator Everett Dirksen on the Johnny Carson Show ---

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 14, 2013

Starbucks beats the taxman through Kraft charge. Starbucks’s latest income-tax bill has been cut to zero by a $2.7 billion compensation charge it was ordered to pay Kraft over a contract dispute, the FT reports. In restated accounts, Starbucks said a global tax bill of $832 million that it had expected for the year to Sept. 29, 2013 would instead become a tax credit of $239 million. The company said: “Starbucks does not have any pre-tax income as a result of the arbitration award, therefore we do not have a tax obligation this year. For tax purposes, the payment is deductible. We are still evaluating the ruling to determine the time period for deductibility.”

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on November 13, 2013

Starbucks fined nearly $2.8 billion
Starbucks was ordered to pay nearly $2.8 billion for backing out of a partnership with Kraft to distribute packaged coffee to grocery stores,
the WSJ reports. Starbucks, complaining that Kraft wasn’t doing enough to stock and promote its coffee, tried to terminate the agreement in 2010, offering to pay Kraft $750 million. Kraft rejected the offer, but in 2011 Starbucks withdrew anyway, prompting Kraft to begin arbitration proceedings. Starbucks CFO Troy Alstead said the company strongly disagrees with the arbitrator’s conclusion. “We believe Kraft did not deliver on its responsibilities to our brand under the agreement; the performance of the business suffered as a result.”

Jensen Comment
Gulp! The progressive (liberal) Starbucks, unlike me, is no longer doing a thing to help fund Obamacare subsidies. Instead it is helping to pay for its court settlement with a tax refund.

Links forwarded by the T.H.E Journal, November 2013


Beyond the Basics of the Flipped Classroom

Teachers Paul Werner and Geoffrey Clarion offer seven techniques you can use to enhance your approach to flipped learning.


Google Rolls Out Tablets with Google Play for Education

Google is launching Google Play for Education, a package that combines Android-based tablets with management tools and software designed specifically for K-12 schools.


Juniper Networks

Today's networks enable technology-driven learning

Blended learning, mobile devices, online assessments and video collaboration are revolutionizing the classroom. Learn how to build the modern networks that are making it all possible at The Modern Network.
Learn more.

Ed Tech News & New Products

Samsung Rolls Out Android Tablet Program to Canada

Samsung has teamed up with Advanced Education to bring its Samsung School solution to Canada.


Free Pinterest-Style Education Service Hosts Common Core Teaching Aids

MasteryConnect has created a new education service that takes a pinboard-based approach to social sharing, with a focus on tools and tips for teaching Common Core State Standards.


Getty Museum Developing Arts Education Resources for Khan Academy

The J. Paul Getty Museum is extending its open educational content program to Khan Academy. Through a partnership with Khan, the museum is providing a variety of art history and art resources with the aim of "developing a rich personalized learning environment across a broad variety of topics, from the making of a medieval manuscript to the conservation of Old Master paintings."


EchoSystem 5.3 SP2 Gets Performance Boost, Improved Compatibility

Echo360 has released a minor update to its flagship lecture capture platform, EchoSystem. The new release, EchoSystem version 5.3 Service Pack 2, includes a number of tweaks designed to improve performance and compatibility with third-party learning management systems.


STEM Site Adds Tools for Evaluating STEM Resources

STEM Central, as website housing more than 3,000 links to STEM-related resources, has upgraded its site to include tools that allow teachers to evaluate and rank resources and add their own links.


McGraw-Hill Education, Time To Know Intro Personalized Learning Platform

New platform includes tools and curricula designed to personalize the learning experience.


2 Florida School Groups Work with Private Partner on Next-Gen LMS

Two education entities in Florida have teamed up with a technology company to develop a new teaching and learning platform over the next year.



Being Mobile

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Please Share Your Mobile Instructional Tips!

One hand washes the other; time for us to help each other in using mobile devices effectively in the classroom. Teachers, please, send us a curricular tip on how you use mobile devices in your classroom. We will publish your tips in our blog; thank you!


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"In Data-Speed Race, Who Is the Fastest in LTE? Walt Mossberg Puts Four LTE Services to the Test," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2013 ---

As smartphone usage has surged, so has the demand for reliable, fast cellular data. Sure, your smartphone can use Wi-Fi to surf the Web, watch video, stream music and download documents. But Wi-Fi isn't always available or costs extra in some public places.

In the U.S., the fast cellular technology of choice is called 4G LTE. The 4G just means we're on the fourth generation of cellular data systems and LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, which is the fastest and most consistent form of 4G cellular data. It's the one that U.S. wireless carriers are competing to offer in as many cities as possible, as quickly as possible.

Verizon Wireless got the jump on deploying LTE and I reported my first tests of its nascent service in January 2011. But now AT&T T +0.26% claims it has almost caught up, and Sprint S +0.71% and T-Mobile TMUS -1.57% are racing to build out their LTE networks.

So I decided to test the availability and speed of the four major U.S. carriers' LTE coverage in three metro areas where I happened to be in the past month or so. I focused on download speeds because the average consumer is still downloading much more than uploading.

Please note that this wasn't a scientific test. I didn't drive the nation in a van jammed with technical gear. I toted around four versions of a major LTE smartphone that supports all four carriers—the iPhone 5S—and ran the same speed test in the same places, 20 times per phone per location. Then I averaged the readings and ranked the results. And I didn't go into pricing because the companies tend to have pricing plans that are too confusing to lay out in detail here.

Note that, while LTE connections can peak at rates of well over 40 megabits per second, a good average LTE speed is somewhere between 10 and 20 mbps, though the carriers typically promise lower speeds, if they make promises at all. The average speed of a landline Internet connection in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year was 8.7 mbps, according to Internet provider Akamai.

I did the tests in three places. One was my home in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. The second was a hotel in midtown Manhattan, near Times Square. The third was a hotel in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The winner, for the first time in any test I've run, was AT&T, with an average speed of about 19.7 megabits per second. But AT&T's victory was secured mainly because of a stupendous performance in New York City, where it dominated its rivals with a stunning average speed of 34.8 mbps.

It was the slowest in my Silicon Valley test and ranked third in the D.C. suburbs. AT&T says it doesn't promise any range of speeds to its customers.

Verizon Wireless came in second, averaging 16.7 mbps, well above its promised range of 5 to 12 mbps. Verizon wasn't No. 1 in any of the test locations, but it was the most consistent performer, clustering between 15 and 18.6 mbps.

In each city, my T-Mobile iPhone took longer to find an LTE network than the others, but it did quite respectably, with an average score of about 13.5 mbps, well within its wide promised range of between 6 and 20 mbps. T-Mobile won my test in the D.C. suburbs, with a speed of around 19.5 mbps.

Sprint proved the most problematic. Its overall average was the lowest, at about 10.4 mbps and that was only because it won my Silicon Valley test with a speed of 20.7 mbps. In the other two cities, I had to leave my main testing location to search within a small radius to get a Sprint LTE signal, and the results were by far the worst in those places.

Sprint says its network is still wanting in some places because it is trying to replace technology while customers are still using the network.

Sprint has a new variation on LTE called Sprint Spark that it claims could "surpass the entire U.S. industry in speed capability in 2016." But the company says in the near future Sprint Spark will only be available on a few phones and in limited portions of five cities, so it wasn't part of this test.

You may get different outcomes with your phones and services. Locations, times of day, levels of network congestion, phone models and other factors all can affect speeds. Even in my limited tests, I saw big swings. Some of you may not even get LTE at all where you live, typically in rural America.

Continued in article


From the Scout Report on November 22, 2013

Crowdhoster --- 

Interested in creating your own crowdfunding project but, alas, you may not know how to code or how to create a website for such an initiative? The Crowdhoster application is just for you. This app can be used to create a campaign page complete with a funding progress bar, links, and customizable content areas. Visitors can look over the features area, check out examples, or read over their setup guide. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

Cupcloud --- 

Cupcloud is a free application that allows users to save, open, and share multiple documents and web pages simply. The program assists interested parties with accessing these materials from any computer or device, and it's great for collaborating on group projects and the like. There's a helpful How to Cup section here, along with a primer and a blog. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux.

Concerns grow over the financing of a new baseball stadium outside of
Stadium financing: Pay and play and pay some more

Braves New World? Taypayer Funding Remains A Concern As Atlanta Rushes
Towards New Stadium

Here's How Cobb County Will Pay For The Braves' Ballpark

Atlanta Braves New Stadium Renderings

Remembering the Wigwam

Boston Braves Historical Association



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

Education Tutorials

Teaching Resources: University of New England ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

National Geographic: Photography ---

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for multiple disciplines ---

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Unlocking the Secrets of Science ---

Issues in Science and Technology ---

USGS: A Plan for a Comprehensive National Coastal Program ---

Risk and Resilience in Coastal Regions Teaching Videos: University of Exeter (science and medicine) ---

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Educational Materials ---

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin ---

Case Studies in Primary Health Care ---

Health on the Net Foundation ---

Nutrition and healthy eating ---

USDA: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion ---

Team Nutrition: Educator Resources ---

Foundations of Nutrition Science ---

Team Nutrition: Educator Resources ---

Healthy Lifestyle ---

USDA: Educators and Students ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Case Studies in Primary Health Care ---

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention ---

Stay: The Social Contagion of Suicide and How to Preempt It ---

USGS: A Plan for a Comprehensive National Coastal Program ---

Risk and Resilience in Coastal Regions

California Digital Newspaper Collection ---

Los Angeles Examiner Collection, 1920-1961 ---

Boston Public Library: Business ---

Understanding Boston ---

City of Boston Archives: Online Collections ---

People, Places and Planning in Boston ---


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

Law and Legal Studies

With Liberty & Justice For All  ---

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

Math Tutorials

How Benoit Mandelbrot Discovered Fractals: A Short Film by Errol Morris ---

Who's That Mathematician? Images from the Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection --- 

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

History Tutorials

Free eBooks: Read All of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past on the Centennial of Swann’s Way ---

The 100 Best Novels: A Literary Critic Creates a List in 1898 ---

16-Year-Old Marcel Proust Tells His Grandfather About His Misguided Adventures at the Local Brothel ---

"The History of the English Language, Animated," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 13, 2013 ---

"The Geography of Great Literature, in Hand-Lettered Typography," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 15, 2013 ---

Take a Virtual Tour of Venice (Its Streets, Plazas & Canals) with Google Street View ---

Hear Ezra Pound Read From His “Cantos,” Some of the Great Poetic Works of the 20th Century ---

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

36 Realistically Colorized Historical Photos Make the Past Seem Incredibly Real  --- z

Read Rejection Letters Sent to Three Famous Artists: Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut & Andy Warhol ---

The Existentialism Files: How the FBI Targeted Camus, and Then Sartre After the JFK Assassination ---

Alfred Stieglitz Autochromes (art history photograph) ---

WGHB Open Vault: Rock and Roll ---

California Digital Newspaper Collection ---

National Geographic: Photography ---

Los Angeles Examiner Collection, 1920-1961 ---

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Music Tutorials

Listen To A Crazy Piano Invented By Leonardo Da Vinci ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

WGHB Open Vault: Rock and Roll ---

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

"The History of the English Language, Animated," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, November 13, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---

November 18, 2013

November 19, 2013

November 20, 2013

November 21, 2013

November 23, 2013

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention ---

Stay: The Social Contagion of Suicide and How to Preempt It ---

Case Studies in Primary Health Care ---

Researchers Solve Longtime Mystery Of How Marijuana Causes Memory Loss ---

Kris Kristofferson is uffering memory loss which he blames on his years of football and boxing. Wonder if weed was also a factor, although Kris doesn't blame the grass --- (November 15, 2013)
Also see

Mystery of the Elephant Whisperer ---

A Bit of Humor

Big Bear Surprise ---

Useful Dog Tricks ---

Die Maiers- Comedy Trapeze ---

Forwarded by Paula

They say that during sex you burn off as many calories as running 8 miles.

Who the hell runs 8 miles in 2 minutes?

Dumb and Dumber Criminals Department
Conducting a Series of Robberies While Wearing a Functioning Ankle GPS Tracking Device
"Much Dumber than This Bumbling Burglary," by Justin Peters, Slate, November 21, 2013 --- 


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