Tidbits on March 14, 2014
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

My Photographic History of The White Mountains --- Set 03 (Franconia Notch)


Tidbits on March 1414, 2014
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Watch 34 Oscar-Winning Films Free Online ---

Leave the Driving to the Bus Driver But Bring Your Own Depends ---

Watch John Wayne Star in 25 Classic Westerns: All Free Online ---

Top 10 Greatest Airplane Movies --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pHyYe7UOp4

Video & Sound Gallery: National Institutes of Health (biomedical research videos) --- http://nih.gov/about/director/videogallery.htm

David Niven Presents an Oscar and Gets Interrupted by a Streaker (1974) ---

This Is What It Looks Like When An F-22 Fires A Sidewinder Missile ---

Democracy is Wrong for the World and Belgium is a Test Case ---

Multimedia Gallery: U.S. Census Bureau --- https://www.census.gov/multimedia/

AirCAM Ultralite Aircraft and National Geographic --- HTTP://player.vimeo.com/video/65863381

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

Hallelujah Chorus (Anthony Burger) ---

Louis Armstrong Plays Historic Cold War Concerts in East Berlin & Budapest (1965) ---

The First Episode of The Johnny Cash Show, Featuring Bob Dylan & Joni Mitchell (1969) ---

Leck Mich Im Arsch (“Kiss My Ass”): Listen to Mozart’s Scatological Canon in B Flat (1782) ---

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

Listen to Tree Rings Getting Played on a Turntable and Turned into Music ---

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

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

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

Photographs and Art

Europe's Shiny New B-School Buildings ---

31 Mesmerizing Pictures From A Remote Part Of Afghanistan That Is Still Untouched By War ---

The Painted Churches of Texas --- http://www.klru.org/paintedchurches/

Getty Images Makes 35 Million Photos Free to Use Online ---

Public Art Review --- http://forecastpublicart.org/

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythic Monsters, from Gremlins to Zombies to the Kraken ---

.Wellcome Images (Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, Persian books plus a biomedical collection --- also found here, includes over 40,000 high-quality images) ---

The River: Exploring the Inner Seasonality of Being Human in Gorgeous Watercolors by Italian Artist Alessandro Sanna ---

Shopping tor groceries in Venezuela is a lot like shopping for groceries in the Soviet Union in the 19s0s ---

Irving Penn Archives (art history photographs) --- http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/IrvingPennArchives

National Museum of Mexican Art --- http://www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/

Obsidian Mirror-Travels: Refracting Ancient Mexican Art and Archaeology (Getty Museum) ---

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States --- http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/

Arizona Memory Project --- http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/

100 Trips Everyone Should Take In Their Lifetime ---

I Will Follow Him ---

Download 15,000+ Free Golden Age Comics from the Digital Comic Museum ---

Wayne Whalen Digital Archive of the Grand Army of the Republic and Civil War Collections ---

The Huntington Digital Library (Southern California Historical Photographs) --- http://hdl.huntington.org/

Bob Jensen's threads on history, literature and art ---

Global Warming? No water moving on Niagara Falls in Winter 2014
Niagara Falls comes to a halt AGAIN: Millions of gallons of cascading water is frozen in bitter temperatures

Multimedia Gallery: U.S. Census Bureau --- https://www.census.gov/multimedia/

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

The Shelley-Godwin Archive (archive of manuscripts from Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley) --- http://shelleygodwinarchive.org/ 

Virtual Library: Getty Publications --- http://www.getty.edu/publications/virtuallibrary/

Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands (Getty Museum) ---  http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/flemish_manuscripts/

Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe ---

Twelve Years a Slave: Free eBook and Audio Book of the Memoir Behind the Film (1853) ---

Brian Eno's Reading List: 20 Essential Books for Sustaining Civilization ---

Enter the Hannah Arendt Archives & Discover Rare Audio Lectures, Manuscripts, Marginalia, Letters, Postcards & More ---

Tara Brach Reads from Mary Oliver’s “Dog Songs” ---

T'was a dark and stormy night . . .
Opening Sentences From Great Novels, Diagrammed: Lolita, 1984 & More ---

Download 15,000+ Free Golden Age Comics from the Digital Comic Museum ---

Hear Kurt Vonnegut Read His Masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five ---

William S. Burroughs Reads His Controversial 1959 Novel Naked Lunch ---

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythic Monsters, from Gremlins to Zombies to the Kraken ---

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on March 14, 2014

U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Also see http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

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

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

Free Book:  Online Presentations for Dummies
On the AAA Commons, Rick Lillie noted the following:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., has made Online Presentations for Dummies available as a free eBook download. If you make online presentations, this book with a "funny title" may prove to be a helpful resource.

The URL is

No Simple Answers
Who is Making All This Malware — and Why? ---

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

What’s New in Windows 8.1 Update 1 ---

Get Rid of That Windows Startup Junk You Will Never Want
How to Control (and Disable) Startup Applications in Windows ---

Brian Eno's Reading List: 20 Essential Books for Sustaining Civilization ---

"A School, and a Future, for Blind Children," Knowledge@Wharton, February 6, 2014 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on technologies for educating disabled people ---

"The Latest Skirmish in a Long Battle to Save the Amazon," Knowledge@Wharton, January 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
While politicians in the US fight over IRS political activism, gun laws, trillion-dollar farm budgets, unemployment, health care insurance, etc., are they turning a blind eye to some of the world's bigger problems --- read that really, really, really big problems of global magnitude!

"Kahneman's Mind-Clarifying Strangers: System 1 & System 2," by Jag Bhalla, Big Think, March 7, 2014 ---

Feeling is a form of thinking. Both are ways we process information, but feeling is faster. That’s the crux of Daniel Kahneman’s mind-clarifying work. It won a psychologist an economics Nobel. And strange labels helped.

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman wrestles with flawed ideas about decision making. “Social scientists in the 1970s broadly accepted two ideas about human nature. First, people are generally rational…Second, emotions…explain most of the occasions on which people depart from rationality.” But research has “traced [systematic] errors to the… machinery of cognition…rather than corruption…by emotion.”

Kahneman sidesteps centuries of confusion (and Freudian fictions) by using new—hence undisputed—terms: the brilliantly bland “System 1” and “System 2.” These strangers help by forcing you to ask about their attributes. System 1 “is the brain’s fast, automatic, intuitive approach, System 2 “the mind’s slower, analytical mode, where reason dominates.” Kahneman says “System 1 is...more influential…guiding…[and]...steering System 2 to a very large extent.”

The measurable features of System 1 and System 2 cut across prior categories. Intuitive information-processing has typically been considered irrational, but System 1’s fast thinking is often logical and useful (“intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition”). Conversely, despite being conscious and deliberate System 2 can produce poor (sometimes irrational) results.

Kahneman launched behavioral economics by studying these systematic “cognitive biases.” He was astonished that economists modeled people as “rational, selfish, with tastes that don’t change,” when to psychologists “it is self-evident that people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that their tastes are anything but stable.”  

Kahneman’s potentially paradigm-tipping work has limitations. It is light on evolution, e.g focusing on numerically framed decisions discounts that we didn't evolve to think numerically. Math is a second nature skill, requiring much System 2 training (before becoming a System 1 skill). Also, we evolved to often act without System 2 consciously deciding (habits are triggered by System 1). Indeed cognitive biases might be bad System 1 habits rather than built in brain bugs. And cognitive biases have two sources of error, the observed behavior and what economists suppose is “rational.”

Continued in article

"How a seemingly simple message to students brought digital-age disaster for a Wisconsin professor," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 10, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
This reaction to Professor Slocum's message is disturbing to me, because on occasion I'm cynical in my own messaging. I try to make it obvious that I'm being cynical. I think it's pretty obvious that Professor Slocum was being cynical, and I would hope that cynicism intended to be tongue-in-cheek humorous is not dead in higher academe.

Having said that her message does reflect the left-leaning predominance of faculty in virtually all global higher education, and the University of Wisconsin is noted to be one of the more left-leaning universities in the USA.

Since the faculty at Rutgers wants to boot Stanford Professor and  former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a commencement speaker because, even though she's an African American woman and expert on foreign relations, she's just not politically correct for higher education honors. I propose that her replacement be Rachel Slocum as a commencement speaker at Rutgers.

I'm a long-time advocate of nominating Dr. Condoleezza Rice for President of the USA on a GOP ticket. She doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning, but I like to watch politically-biased faculty on both ends of the spectrum squirm. Why not? The GOP does not have a snowball's chance of winning in any case until their leaders advocate food stamps for 99% of the USA population rather than a mere 49% receiving food stamps today. The !% can pay full price at the super markets. This is my kind of cynicism.

Liberal Bias in Academe ---

"Students and parents rejecting costly college loan burden," Martha R. Gore, Social Evolution Examiner, March 2014 ---

. . .

With empty dorm rooms and classrooms some educational institutions are looking for alternative ways to attract students and their parents who are becoming more skeptical, frugal and demanding. Some private colleges have seen enrollment drop 10 percent or more.

According to law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds changes are happening such as outsourcing to online education. However he believes that major structural problems such as bloated administrative costs have to be addressed to help reduce tuition. Also coming under scrutiny are such items as travel and athletics. One alternative that is gaining interest is certification programs that are specifically aimed at employment skills.

Reynolds writes that he

already sees some manufacturing companies that are involved with online schools and community to colleges to create “stackable certificates” that vouch for specific competencies. Such programs may bypass higher education entirely, testing and certifying people’s skills regardless of how they obtained them.

In today’s economy students and parents are beginning to measure a college education in relation to future earnings and employability. The student loan bubble is bursting and if changes are not made quickly by the colleges and universities they may be overtaken by online and trade schools.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
With all the distance education alternatives emerging along with an explosion of competency-based testing programs in universities like the University of Wisconsin and the University of Akron, I wonder how long it will be until home schooling of high school students is extended to home schooling of undergraduates in college.

Home schooled K-12 students tend to perform better than traditional K-12 students on average. This is not so much that K-12 education is superior to traditional schooling. Rather it's due to the higher quality of home schooled students on average --- mostly due to exclusion of the lower end of the spectrum where students needing more remedial help at each grade level are not home schooled by their parent(s). In many instances the parents of students in need of remedial learning need remedial learning themselves.

For the same reasons home schooled undergraduates may outperform students taking traditional college classes on campus. However, home schooled college students may lose out on a lot of the socialization learning that comes from being on a college campus along with the opportunity ot participate in extracurricular activities like sports, music, drama, and debating. Home schooled students are probably not as street smart.

There's something to be said for not being tens of thousands of dollars in debt the day of graduation. Home schooled college graduates would have this advantage.

I know a family nearby with seven home schooled children. Three have now graduated from high school and two of them are living at home while earning college credits via distance education. Another graduate is still living at home but is commuting by day to a nursing program from which she will graduate this May. One thing I sense in this family is a reluctance of the older birds to leave the nest. The nest is loving, warm, safe, and without living costs.

It seemed a little strange to attend each graduation ceremony in the back yard when the graduating classes each only had one graduate.

I wonder if remaining in the nest is more common among home schooled children. In general I think high school graduates cannot wait to get out of the nest and spread their wings. I'm not certain this is the case for home schooled children. But my evidence is only anecdotal. This family of seven children would be in debt by hundreds of thousands of dollars if all seven children became full-time students living on college campuses. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention as the saying goes.

By the way, one of the high school graduates living at home is enrolled in a a serious and respected online police academy. He will soon be going on live patrols with experienced police officers. However, if he does this in Sugar Hill i think the experience will not be as valuable as if he goes on patrol in Boston. The two police officers in Sugar Hill are retired Maytag repairmen.

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based college credits ---

"Law School Applicants From Top Colleges Plunge 36%," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, March 6, 2014 ---

. . .

The reasons for the drastic decline in applications among elite students are twofold:

1) Not all of these applicants get into top 14 schools. The median GPA/LSAT of this cohort is probably about 3.6/165. And that’s a high estimate. So, if there are 2,100 of these applicants, probably 1,200 of them get into top 14 schools. Another 500 or so probably get into top 20(ish) schools, as measured by Biglaw employment outcomes. That totals 1,700.

Unless one has a full, or nearly full scholarship, there is absolutely no point in an Ivy League grad attending anything less than a top 20(ish) school given the current rate of tuition. And they would have to think long and hard about attending anything outside of the top 14, or even the top 10. Why would a graduate with a good degree, and likely some decent employment options, sully their resume with a grad degree from a lesser institution, reduce their likelihood of employment and accumulate massive debt all at one time?

2) Even Harvard, Stanford and Yale are crappy options now if you don’t have financial support. These institutions rarely give merit scholarships, yet carry huge pricetags, so most middle class kids will be on the hook for $200k+ in debt. These days, many will be in the $250k+ range. This will require working at least 6 years in Biglaw to pay down the debt. That is quite the sacrifice, and quite the risk, for many in this group who always figured they could do exactly what they dreamed of with their lives.

Note that the potential changes to the Public Interest Loan Forgiveness laws will be a huge deterrent for potential applicants for this group as well—especially among women. I suppose a handful of these schools have their own generous loan forgiveness programs, but not all of them, and certainly none outside of the top 10 or so law schools.

Jensen Comment
Surprisingly Professor Caron does not go on to also state that some of the job opportunities in law aren't so hot even from the top law schools. By default, however, this seems to be the implication if the return on investment with high debt does not have a great expectation. Presumably the students getting those need-based scholarships have higher expected returns, although the top-paying law firms are not yet noted for affirmative action hiring.

This of course begs the question of where those 36% of those graduates from prestigious universities are turning for careers other than law. There is such an overwhelming supply of unemployed PhDs in most disciplines that opportunities do not abound in the PhD market. Most graduates from top schools did not have a chance to choose accounting as undergraduates and thus cannot be admitted to masters programs in accounting until taking 30+ credits of prerequisite undergraduate accounting courses. Many are probably leaning toward MBA programs. Prestigious MBA programs are very expensive, but since they are only two-year programs they are cheaper than law schools.

Some of those undergraduates strong in mathematics and economics might consider a PhD program in accounting where the job market is still hot. They might have to learn a bit of accounting, but the accounting prerequisites for accountancy PhD programs are minimal compared to prerequisites need to become a CPA ---

The advantage of accountancy PhD programs is that most of them are free in terms of tuition, room, and board since those programs put together packages of fellowships and assistantships that are good for about five full-time years. A drawback is that such programs take 5-6 years in comparison with an economics PhD that may only take 3-4 years.

Another drawback of accountancy PhD programs is lack of capacity. The really big programs that graduated 10+ accounting PhDs per year are down to graduating two or less per year on average ---
Whereas thousands of PhDs in economics or engineering graduate each year, accounting programs graduating 200+ per year in the 1980s are down to less than 140 per year in recent times.

Thus the numbers of undergraduates from even our most prestigious universities have very limited opportunities for getting into accounting doctoral programs.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

A Big List of 875 Free Courses From Top Universities: 27,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures ---

MOOC FAQ --- http://www.openculture.com/mooc_faq

"Harvard and MIT Release Visualization Tools for Trove of MOOC Data," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 20, 2014 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on how to sign up for free MOOCs ---


Jensen Comment
I don't advise MOOC courses for "students" who do not have some prerequisites in the subject matter. For example, the first MOOC course ever invented was filmed live in an artificial intelligence course for computer science majors at Stanford University. These students were not first year students who had never taken computer science courses.

Interestingly students in that course were given the option of attending live classes or MOOC classes. After several weeks the majority of students opted for the MOOC classes. Of course at Stanford the students were graded on assignments and examinations since they were getting course credit.

Off-campus MOOC students were not given an option to receive course credit. They just learned on their own. There are now options in some MOOC courses to take competency-based examinations for credit, although these usually do not involve the course instructors and are not free like the courses themselves. MOOC courses themselves by definition are free, unlike most other distance education courses.

200 Free Documentaries: A Super Rich List of Finely-Crafted Documentaries on the Web ---

"I Failed My Online Course—But Learned A Lot About Internet Education," Authored by Selina Larson, ReadWriteWeb, March 8, 2014 ---

MOOCs, or massive open online courses, are quickly becoming technology darlings. Companies like Coursera, Udacity, edX and others provide college-caliber online courses taught by professors from the most prestigious universities. Millions of students interested in pursuing inexpensive post-secondary education can take classes on anything from nutritional health to machine learning—right from the comfort of their own home.

It’s not just about learning new skills. "Graduates" of these classes can receive paid course certificates or accreditation, which is always great to showcase on LinkedIn. Some organizations, like Udacity, have even partnered with universities to create entirely MOOC-based degrees. 

I registered for a five-week course on Coursera, Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory And Practice. I’m interested in global politics and how the definition and scope of terrorism has changed since September 11, 2001, and since the topic was equally intriguing and different from the tech community I’m knee-deep in, I figured this class would provide a good introduction to massive open online courses.

The course was available under Coursera’s “Signature Track” program, so I paid $49 to receive a certificate of completion when I passed the class. It was a waste of $49.

I failed my first MOOC. 

It wasn’t for lack of trying. When I first signed up, I took it very seriously.

MOOCs Are Not A Substitute For College

I’ve argued, and still believe, the traditional university lecture is dead. As online education programs skyrocket in popularity, brick-and-mortar universities are embracing aspects of the online college lecture, like interactive videos and online discussion forums. 

The difference is, MOOC professors are teaching thousands of students—hundreds of thousands in some casesthus eliminating the intimacy of one-on-one interactions that are so beneficial in most offline classroom settings. 

My Coursera professor, Edwin Bakker from Leiden University in the Netherlands, taught the course via video lectures. He provided great insight, paired it with interesting required readings, and led Google Hangouts throughout the course, though only a handful of students were able to participate. Time zone differences and limited space ultimately resulted in a select few students receiving the opportunity to participate in this more intimate online setting.

Furthermore, the MOOC system for reviewing and grading submitted material is still imperfect. Granted, automatically-graded quizzes make it easy to keep track of one's marks, and instructors or teaching assistants are good at providing feedback through discussion forums or otherwise, but assignments that required me to submit essays or complex answers beyond multiple-choice questions weren't graded by the instructor—which, in my case, turned out to be detrimental to the overall class experience.

You Just Can’t Trust The Internet 

In my entire college career, I never failed a class. I pulled all-nighters to study for tests and write essays, and all the work I put in eventually paid off. My Coursera class was a totally different story.

I'll admit it: I had minimal motivation. Sure, I didn’t want to waste $49, but I certainly didn’t stay up all night finishing a 600-word essay—the goal of receiving a course completion certificate just wasn't appealing enough. 

Students on the Signature Track were required to submit two essays and pass multiple quizzes. The quizzes were easy—we were given multiple attempts to get a perfect score—but the essays were a different story. Since the professor was unable to grade them himself, each student was subject to peer reviews—five of them. And each review impacted your grade. 

Students were given a rubric to follow, and the graders would base their assessment off that. To pass, we needed to get 60% on each essay—this would account for 30% of the final grade.

I failed my first essay. All but one reviewer gave me a failing grade, for reasons unknown. 

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Although MOOCs are not generally a good substitute for onsite (campus) or online (distance education) college, they may become more so do to price and ease of access. A writer of any age on a ranch in northern Montana can take a free Walth Whitman MOOC from the University of Iowa or a Shakespeare course from Harvard. As respected universities like the University of Wisconsin and the University of Akron offer competency-based credits for college diplomas, MOOC students can combine their MOOC learning with other learning to obtain college credits without setting foot on a college camp;us.

Increasingly new ways are being invented for subsets of MOOC students to interact with each other on MOOC assignments and help seeking.

"Speaking Up for the Creditless MOOC," by Matt McGarrity, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2013 ---

MOOC FAQ --- http://www.openculture.com/mooc_faq

"Harvard and MIT Release Visualization Tools for Trove of MOOC Data," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 20, 2014 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on how to sign up for free MOOCs ---

Virtual Reality --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality

"Virtual Reality Startups Look Back to the Future:  Thirty years after the first wave of virtual reality, new startups are determined to take it mainstream," by Simon Parkin, MIT's Technology Review, March 7, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
When I was invited to do a presentation July 12, 1996 at the University of Illinois, David Ziebart kindly took me across campus to enter million-dollar "Cave" of virtual reality. I was somewhat disappointed that the 3-D virtual reality experience was more cartoon-like than photograph-like. Apparently rendering lifelike virtual reality in what seems like true reality takes an enormous amount of computing power. It's not the kind of reality gaming that will be available for children or accounting professors in the near future.

A Trinity University professor noted that some K-12 schools no longer teach how to write in cursive or how to decode cursive writing.
"How Handwriting Trains the Brain Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas," by Gwendolyn Bounds, The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2010 ---

. . .

"It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time," says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study.

Adults may benefit similarly when learning a new graphically different language, such as Mandarin, or symbol systems for mathematics, music and chemistry, Dr. James says. For instance, in a 2008 study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, adults were asked to distinguish between new characters and a mirror image of them after producing the characters using pen-and-paper writing and a computer keyboard. The result: For those writing by hand, there was stronger and longer-lasting recognition of the characters' proper orientation, suggesting that the specific movements memorized when learning how to write aided the visual identification of graphic shapes.

Other research highlights the hand's unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key.

She says pictures of the brain have illustrated that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.

And one recent study of hers demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.

Even in the digital age, people remain enthralled by handwriting for myriad reasons—the intimacy implied by a loved one's script, or what the slant and shape of letters might reveal about personality. During actress Lindsay Lohan's probation violation court appearance this summer, a swarm of handwriting experts proffered analysis of her blocky courtroom scribbling. "Projecting a false image" and "crossing boundaries," concluded two on celebrity news and entertainment site hollywoodlife.com. Beyond identifying personality traits through handwriting, called graphology, some doctors treating neurological disorders say handwriting can be an early diagnostic tool.

"Some patients bring in journals from the years, and you can see dramatic change from when they were 55 and doing fine and now at 70," says P. Murali Doraiswamy, a neuroscientist at Duke University. "As more people lose writing skills and migrate to the computer, retraining people in handwriting skills could be a useful cognitive exercise."

In high schools, where laptops are increasingly used, handwriting still matters. In the essay section of SAT college-entrance exams, scorers unable to read a student's writing can assign that portion an "illegible" score of 0.

seeing renewed interest among parents looking to hone older children's skills—or even their own penmanship. Nan Barchowsky, who developed the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method to ease transition from print-script to joined cursive letters, says she's sold more than 1,500 copies of "Fix It … Write" in the past year.

Some high-tech allies also are giving the practice an unexpected boost through hand-held gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Dan Feather, a graphic designer and computer consultant in Nashville, Tenn., says he's "never adapted well to the keypads on little devices." Instead, he uses a $3.99 application called "WritePad" on his iPhone. It accepts handwriting input with a finger or stylus, then converts it to text for email, documents or Twitter updates.

And apps are helping Zane Pike—the 4-year-old who refused to practice his letters. The Cabot, Ark., boy won't put down his mom's iPhone, where she's downloaded a $1.99 app called "abc PocketPhonics." The program instructs Zane to draw letters with his finger or a stylus; correct movements earn him cheering pencils.

Continued in article


"What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain:  Cursive writing makes kids smarter ," by William Klemm, Psychology Today, March 14, 2013 ---

Jensen Comments
There are some interesting and some questionable comments that follow this article. What seems to need more research is writing and printing in other languages like French for cognitive development. The issue is what other things do the same for cognitive development such the benefits of writing in cursive wash out or not in later life. I am grateful that my physicians carry laptops and send prescriptions to my pharmacy without greater risk of error when the pharmacist tries to decipher bad handwriting.

Maybe my physicians are smarter for having learned how to write in cursive when they were children.

Another question is whether excellent penmanship training incrementally adds to cognitive skills. I think there is still much to be researched here. I have more doubts about penmanship, although penmanship may contribute more to artists than accountants.

I never could understand why we learned cursive writing rather than shorthand in school.

"Mobile Usage Trends, Illustrated," by Barry Ritholtz, Barry Ritholtz Blog, March 4th, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
There are some interesting "facts" here plus some interesting questions. Always remember that many things listed as "facts" are subject to error and statistical variances. There are also age and cultural differences. For example, the 10% estimate of people that play network games no doubt varies with age. When I see young people seated in public they're nearly all playing games on some types of devices, many of which I suspect are network connected.

I preferred Barry's link to how the markets are punishing Putin far more and faster than free world political leaders ---
Has Russia advanced to a point where reassembling the Soviet empire in defiance of world markets is global suicide?  For example, will China's global expansion in world destroy Putin's myopic world of paranoia. The USA retrenchments face some of the same dangers as we let China buy of the choicest parts of Africa.

"Can You Sue Mom and Dad for Tuition?," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Of course you can sue for almost anything. Winning is another matter.

She might find it easier to negotiate out of court if she sued for New Jersey's in-state tuition rather than expensive out-of-state tuition. It also might help to dump the boyfriend who apparently is not going to contribute anything financially to this young woman's education and seems to stand in the way of parental financial support.

This also begs the question of whether she can get free health care insurance (until age 26) on her parents' medical insurance plans if they refuse to cooperate on that issue.

I would not advise pulling into the driveway three years from now with two kids in the car and a U-haul trailing behind.

Also I would not bet on her prospects of getting a generous inheritance from the wills of her parents if she carries through with this lawsuit. Then again, perhaps she also understands the present value mathematical calculation of monetary value.

This is really sad if only a boyfriend stands between love and support. Boyfriends and even husbands come an go, but you only have one set of birth parents forever.

Update on March 5, 2014
A Superior Court judge Tuesday refused to order her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, to pay her child support, her private school tuition, medical and related bills, college expenses and legal fees.

The Biggest Losers In Oscar History And Other Things You Didn't Know ---

"Worst Product Flops of All Time," by Thomas C. Frohlich, 24/7 Wall Street, March 3, 2014 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
Edsel is still Number One, although all preserved Edsel cars are very valuable these days, unlike those perishable flops that were not preserved.

After getting out of prison, billionaire Mike Milken began funding for-profit education training ventures. He made a brash claim to traditional non-profit colleges by stating:  "We're going to eat your lunch." In retrospect his ventures should have been ranked just below the Edsel in the above rankings.

The above rankings also ignore the big software flops.
"20th Anniversary of the PC Survey Results," PC Magazine, September 4, 2001 ---
Oh! Oh! Microsoft Bob is the biggest loser. Sigh!

The 10 Worst Corporate Accounting Schandals ---
Fun to see which ones had the Andersen auditing firm conducting the audits.

Worst Investments of All Time ---
These are highly debatable given all the many frauds that could be included like a badly-timed investment in a Ponzi scheme or a bet that the Cubs will win the pennant.

Worst Presidents of All Time ---

Worst Films of All Time ---

Time Magazine's Best and Worst Lists ---

12 Worst Computer Viruses of All Time ---

10 Worst Comedians of All Time ---

Worst Professors/Teachers of All Time

Macau's Casinos Try to Lure High Rollers ---

The following graph on the second page reveals a lot:

The Good News and Bad News
"How five years of rock-bottom interest rates changed Britain," by Hilary Osborne, Patrick Collinson, Phillip Inman, Sean Farrell, and Larry Elliott, SmartPros, March 2, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Some things not mentioned in the article.

Firstly, mangers lose a lot of interest in managing cash. In the old days they carefully tried to partition cash in checking accounts versus cash equivalents that paid something on liquid investments. For example, a cash manager might put 80% of liquid savings into 30-day CDs that paid 2% in the good old days. Now they can't get 2% on five-year CDs? Investing in 30-day CDs is no longer worth the effort.

Secondly, when teaching time value of money there's a whole lot less drama around teaching compound interest. For example, comparing the present value versus future value of a five year CD paying 0.85% is not very dramatic for students who would rather eat, drink, and make merry!

Econometrics knowledge, much more than accounting knowledge, has become a necessary condition to receiving tenure in our major North American research universities. Without being an accountics scientist you're relegated to a life of teaching in lower-paying colleges.

"Econometrics: An historical guide for the uninitiated," byD.S.G. Pollock, Working Paper No. 14/05, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, 2014 ---

This essay was written to accompany a lecture to beginning students of the course of Economic Analytics, which is taught in the Institute of Econometrics of the University of Lodz in Poland. It provides, within a few pages, a broad historical account the development of econometrics. It begins by describing the origin of regression analysis and it concludes with an account of cointegration analysis. The purpose of the essay is to provide a context in which the students can locate various aspects of econometric analysis. A distinction must be made between the means by which new ideas were propagated and the manner and the circumstances in which they have originated. This account is concerned primarily with the propagation of the ideas.

The Business of Statistical Inference The business of statistical inference is predicated upon the metaphysical notion that, underlying the apparent randomness and disorder of events that we observe in our universe, there is a set of regular and invariant structures. In attempting to identify its underlying structure, we may imagine that a statistical phenomenon is composed of a systematic or determinate component an d a component that is essentially random or stochastic. The fundamental intellectual breakthrough that has accompanied the development of the modern science of statistical inference is the recognition that the random component has its own tenuous regularities that may be regarded as part of the underlying structure of the phenomenon.

In the sphere of social realities, statistical science has uncovered many regularities in the behaviour of large aggregates of apparently self - willed individuals. Examples s pring readily to mind. Consider the expenditure on food and clothing of a group of individual households that might be observed over a given period. These expenditures vary widely, yet, when family income and other measurable factors are taken into account , evident regularities emerge.

Continued in article

Gasp! How could an accountics scientist question such things? This is sacrilege!
Let me end my remarks with a question: Have Ball and Brown (1968)—and Beaver (1968) for that matter, if I can bring Bill Beaver into it—have we had too much influence on the research agenda to the point where other questions and methods are being overlooked?
Phil Brown of Ball and Brown Fame

"How Can We Do Better?" by Phillip R. Brown (of Ball and Brown Fame), Accounting Horizons (Forum on the State of Accounting Scholarship), December 2013 ---
Not Free

Philip R. Brown AM is an Honorary Professor at The University of New South Wales and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia.

I acknowledge the thoughtful comments of Sudipta Basu, who arranged and chaired this session at the 2012 American Accounting Association (AAA) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.

The video presentation can be accessed by clicking the link in Appendix A.

Corresponding author: Philip R. Brown AM. Email:

When Sudipta Basu asked me whether I would join this panel, he was kind enough to share with me the proposal he put to the conference organizers. As background to his proposal, Sudipta had written:

Analytical and empirical researchers generate numerous results about accounting, as do logicians reasoning from conceptual frameworks. However, there are few definitive tests that permit us to negate propositions about good accounting.

This panel aims to identify a few “most wrong” beliefs held by accounting experts—academics, regulators, practitioners—where a “most wrong” belief is one that is widespread and fundamentally misguided about practices and users in any accounting domain.

While Sudipta's proposal resonated with me, I did wonder why he asked me to join the panel, and whether I am seen these days as just another “grumpy old man.” Yes, I am no doubt among the oldest here today, but grumpy? You can make your own mind on that, after you have read what I have to say.

This essay begins with several gripes about editors, reviewers, and authors, along with suggestions for improving the publication process for all concerned. The next section contains observations on financial accounting standard setting. The essay concludes with a discussion of research myopia, namely, the unfortunate tendency of researchers to confine their work to familiar territory, much like the drunk who searches for his keys under the street light because “that is where the light is.”


I have never been a regular editor, although I have chaired a journal's board of management and been a guest editor, and I appointed Ray Ball to his first editorship (Ray was the inaugural editor of the Australian Journal of Management). I have, however, reviewed many submissions for a whole raft of journals, and written literally hundreds of papers, some of which have been published. As I reflect on my involvement in the publications process over more than 50 years, I do have a few suggestions on how we can do things better. In the spirit of this panel session, I have put my suggestions in the form of gripes about editors, reviewers, and authors.

One-eyed editors—and reviewers—who define the subject matter as outside their journal's interests are my first gripe; and of course I except journals with a mission that is stated clearly and in unequivocal terms for all to see. The best editors and the best reviewers are those who are open-minded who avoid prejudging submissions by reference to some particular set of questions or modes of thinking that have become popular over the last five years or so. Graeme Dean, former editor of Abacus, and Nick Dopuch, former editor of the Journal of Accounting Research, are fine examples, from years gone by, of what it means to be an excellent editor.

Editors who are reluctant to entertain new ways of looking at old questions are a second gripe. Many years ago I was asked to review a paper titled “The Last Word on …” (I will not fill in the dots because the author may still be alive.) But at the time I thought, what a strange title! Can any academic reasonably believe they are about to have the last say on any important accounting issue? We academics thrive on questioning previous works, and editors and their reviewers do well when they nurture this mindset.

My third gripe concerns editors who, perhaps unwittingly, send papers to reviewers with vested interests and the reviewers do not just politely return the paper to the editor and explain their conflict of interest. A fourth concerns editors and reviewers who discourage replications: their actions signal a disciplinary immaturity. I am referring to rejecting a paper that repeats an experiment, perhaps in another country, purely because it has been done before. There can be good reasons for replicating a study, for example if the external validity of the earlier study legitimately can be questioned (perhaps different outcomes are reasonably expected in another institutional setting), or if methodological advances indicate a likely design flaw. Last, there are editors and reviewers who do not entertain papers that fail to reject the null hypothesis. If the alternative is well-reasoned and the study is sound, and they can be big “ifs,” then failure to reject the null can be informative, for it may indicate where our knowledge is deficient and more work can be done.1

It is not only editors and reviewers who test my emotional state. I do get a bit short when I review papers that fail to appreciate that the ideas they are dealing with have long yet uncited histories, sometimes in journals that are not based in North America. I am particularly unimpressed when there is an all-too-transparent and excessive citation of works by editors and potential reviewers, as if the judgments of these folks could possibly be influenced by that behavior. Other papers frustrate me when they are technically correct but demonstrate the trivial or the obvious, and fail to draw out the wider implications of their findings. Then there are authors who rely on unnecessarily coarse “control” variables which, if measured more finely, may well threaten their findings.2 Examples are dummy variables for common law/code law countries, for “high” this and “low” that, for the presence or absence of an audit/nomination/compensation committee, or the use of an industry or sector variable without saying which features of that industry or sector are likely to matter and why a binary representation is best. In a nutshell, I fear there may be altogether too many dummies in financial accounting research!

Finally, there are the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) papers that fit into the category of what I describe as “before and after studies.” They focus on changes following the adoption of IFRS promulgated by the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). A major concern, and I have been guilty too, is that these papers, by and large, do not deal adequately with the dynamics of what has been for many countries a period of profound change. In particular, there is a trade-off between (1) experimental noise from including too long a “before” and “after” history, and (2) not accommodating the process of change, because the “before” and “after” periods are way too short. Neither do they appear to control convincingly for other time-related changes, such as the introduction of new accounting and auditing standards, amendments to corporations laws and stock exchange listing rules, the adoption of corporate governance codes of conduct, more stringent compliance monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, or changes in, say stock, market liquidity as a result of the introduction of new trading platforms and protocols, amalgamations among market providers, the explosion in algorithmic trading, and the increasing popularity among financial institutions of trading in “dark pools.”


I count a number of highly experienced financial accounting standard setters among my friends and professional acquaintances, and I have great regard for the difficulties they face in what they do. Nonetheless, I do wonder

. . .


A not uncommon belief among academics is that we have been or can be a help to accounting standard setters. We may believe we can help by saying something important about whether a new financial accounting standard, or set of standards, is an improvement. Perhaps we feel this way because we have chosen some predictive criterion and been able to demonstrate a statistically reliable association between accounting information contained in some database and outcomes that are consistent with that criterion. Ball and Brown (1968, 160) explained the choice of criterion this way: “An empirical evaluation of accounting income numbers requires agreement as to what real-world outcome constitutes an appropriate test of usefulness.” Note their reference to a requirement to agree on the test. They were referring to the choice of criterion being important to the persuasiveness of their tests, which were fundamental and related to the “usefulness” of U.S. GAAP income numbers to stock market investors 50 years ago. As time went by and the financial accounting literature grew accordingly, financial accounting researchers have looked in many directions for capital market outcomes in their quest for publishable results.

Research on IFRS can be used to illustrate my point. Those who have looked at the consequences of IFRS adoption have mostly studied outcomes they believed would interest participants in equity markets and to a less extent parties to debt contracts. Many beneficial outcomes have now been claimed,4 consistent with benefits asserted by advocates of IFRS. Examples are more comparable accounting numbers; earnings that are higher “quality” and less subject to managers' discretion; lower barriers to international capital flows; improved analysts' forecasts; deeper and more liquid equity markets; and a lower cost of capital. But the evidence is typically coarse in nature; and so often the results are inconsistent because of the different outcomes selected as tests of “usefulness,” or differences in the samples studied (time periods, countries, industries, firms, etc.) and in research methods (how models are specified and variables measured, which estimators are used, etc.). The upshot is that it can be difficult if not impossible to reconcile the many inconsistencies, and for standard setters to relate reported findings to the judgments they must make.

Despite the many largely capital market outcomes that have been studied, some observers of our efforts must be disappointed that other potentially beneficial outcomes of adopting IFRS have largely been overlooked. Among them are the wider benefits to an economy that flow from EU membership (IFRS are required),5 or access to funds provided by international agencies such as the World Bank, or less time spent by CFOs of international companies when comparing the financial performance of divisions operating in different countries and on consolidating the financial statements of foreign subsidiaries, or labor market benefits from more flexibility in the supply of professionally qualified accountants, or “better” accounting standards from pooling the skills of standard setters in different jurisdictions, or less costly and more consistent professional advice when accounting firms do not have to deal with as much cross-country variation in standards and can concentrate their high-level technical skills, or more effective compliance monitoring and enforcement as regulators share their knowledge and experience, or the usage of IFRS by “millions (of small and medium enterprises) in more than 80 countries” (Pacter 2012), or in some cases better education of tomorrow's accounting professionals.6 I am sure you could easily add to this list if you wished.

In sum, we can help standard setters, yes, but only in quite limited ways.7 Standard setting is inherently political in nature and will remain that way as long as there are winners and losers when standards change. That is one issue. Another is that the results of capital markets studies are typically too coarse to be definitive when it comes to the detailed issues that standard setters must consider. A third is that accounting standards have ramifications extending far beyond public financial markets and a much more expansive view needs to be taken before we can even hope to understand the full range of benefits (and costs) of adopting IFRS.

Let me end my remarks with a question: Have Ball and Brown (1968)—and Beaver (1968) for that matter, if I can bring Bill Beaver into it—have we had too much influence on the research agenda to the point where other questions and methods are being overlooked?

February 27, 2014 Reply from Paul Williams

If you read that last Horizon's section provided by "thought leaders" you realize the old guys are not saying anything they could not have realized 30 years ago. That they didn't realize it then (or did but was not in their interest to say so), which led them to run journals whose singular purpose seemed to be to enable they and their cohorts to create politically correct academic reputations, is not something to ask forgiveness for at the end of your career.

Like the sinner on his deathbed asking for God's forgiveness , now is a hell of a time to suddenly get religion. If you heard these fellows speak when they were young they certainly didn't speak with voices that adumbrated any doubt that what they were doing was rigorous research and anyone doing anything else was the intellectual hoi polloi.

Oops, sorry we created an academy that all of us now regret, but, hey, we got ours. It's our mess, but now we are telling you its a mess you have to clean up. It isn't like no one was saying these things 30 years ago (you were as well as others including yours truly) and we have intimate knowledge of how we were treated by these geniuses

Stanford Revokes MBA of Insider Trading Figure ---

Stanford University has revoked the M.B.A. of Mathew Martoma, who was recently convicted of insider trading, but that's not why he lost the degree, The Wall Street Journal reported. During his trial, it was revealed that Martoma was kicked out of law school at Harvard University for falsifying transcript grades, and Martoma didn't report this to Stanford when he was applying there. Stanford applicants sign a statement saying that offers of admission can be revoked for certain actions, such as "a serious lack of judgment or integrity” prior to enrolling. As a result, Stanford has now revoked his offer of admission, which has the impact of making his degree invalid.

Jensen Comment
It would be difficult, but results might be interesting from an investigation of possible cheating while at Stanford. For example, any term papers saved by professors (probably in electronic form) could be checked by plagiarism detection software. An appeal might be sent out to classmates to see if they detected cheating. The could be invited to respond anonymously by snail mail.

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating ---

"Incomplete Passes: College-Athlete Academic Scandals," Bloomberg Businessweek, February 27, 2014 ---

Academic irregularities related to athlete eligibility have haunted several U.S. colleges.

Auburn (2006)
Helped by academic advisers, football players padded their grade-point averages in “directed reading” classes.
Florida (2008)
Cam Newton, now quarterback of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, left Florida after facing potential expulsion for cheating, Fox Sports reported.
Florida State (2009)
Academic advisers participated in taking tests and in writing papers for basketball and football players.
Fresno State (2003)
The men’s basketball statistician and an academic adviser were caught in a paper-writing-for-athletes scheme.
Georgia (2003)
The university withdrew from postseason play after basketball players received inflated grades in a coaching class.
Memphis (2008)
The NCAA stripped the basketball team of its run to the finals after
Derrick Rose’s SAT scores were ruled invalid.
Michigan (2008)
The Ann Arbor News reported that from 2004 to 2007, 251 athletes took independent study classes with the same professor and received suspiciously high grades.
Minnesota (1999)
The basketball team had tournament victories erased after hundreds of assignments were completed for players.
Stanford (2011)
Academic advisers discontinued a list of classes recommended for years because they were easy and/or convenient.
Tennessee (2000)
ESPN profiled an English professor whose objections led the university to acknowledge that, on average, athletes received twice as many grade changes as other students.
USC (2001)
The NCAA issued sanctions against the football and women’s swimming teams after tutors were found to have written papers for athletes

Others ---

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating in higher education ---


David Johnstone asked me to write a paper on the following:
"A Scrapbook on What's Wrong with the Past, Present and Future of Accountics Science"
Bob Jensen
February 19, 2014
SSRN Download:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2398296 


For operational convenience I define accountics science as research that features equations and/or statistical inference. Historically, there was a heated debate in the 1920s as to whether the main research journal of academic accounting, The Accounting Review (TAR) that commenced in 1926, should be an accountics journal with articles that mostly featured equations. Practitioners and teachers of college accounting won that debate.

TAR articles and accountancy doctoral dissertations prior to the 1970s seldom had equations.  For reasons summarized below, doctoral programs and TAR evolved to where in the 1990s there where having equations became virtually a necessary condition for a doctoral dissertation and acceptance of a TAR article. Qualitative normative and case method methodologies disappeared from doctoral programs.

What’s really meant by “featured equations” in doctoral programs is merely symbolic of the fact that North American accounting doctoral programs pushed out most of the accounting to make way for econometrics and statistics that are now keys to the kingdom for promotion and tenure in accounting schools ---

The purpose of this paper is to make a case that the accountics science monopoly of our doctoral programs and published research is seriously flawed, especially its lack of concern about replication and focus on simplified artificial worlds that differ too much from reality to creatively discover findings of greater relevance to teachers of accounting and practitioners of accounting. Accountics scientists themselves became a Cargo Cult.

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

Common Accountics Science and Econometric Science Statistical Mistakes ---

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 ---

Asynchronous Learning and the Flipped Classroom
"The inverted calculus course and self-regulated learning," by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 2014 ---

A few weeks ago I began a series to review the Calculus course that Marcia Frobish and I taught using the inverted/flipped class design, back in the Fall. I want to pick up the thread here about the unifying principle behind the course, which is the concept of self-regulated learning.

Self-regulated learning is what it sounds like: Learning that is initiated, managed, and assessed by the learners themselves. An instructor can play a role in this process, so it’s not the same thing as teaching yourself a subject (although all successful autodidacts are self-regulating learners), but it refers to how the individual learner approaches learning tasks.

For example, take someone learning about optimization problems in calculus. Four things describe how a self-regulating learner approaches this topic.

  1. The learner works actively on optimization problems as the primary form of learning. Note that I said “primary”; some passive listening might take place, but the primary mode of learning optimization problems for this learner is doing optimization problems.
  2. As the learner works actively, she is monitoring many different things. What’s the process for solving an optimization problem in general? Have I set up my objective function correctly? How is this problem like the other ones I have seen or done? Does a computer-generated graph agree with the answer I got by hand? Am I too tired to work on this right now? How can I prevent myself from checking Facebook every two minutes instead of working on the problem? She’s not just thinking about these but monitoring them, like an airplane pilot would be monitoring the many dials and gauges on his dashboard during a flight, tweaking this and adjusting that as needed.
  3. As the learner monitors all this, she operates with two very important questions in mind: What is the criteria in this case for knowing whether I’ve truly learned the topic?, and Am I there yet? She has a clearly-defined goal state and the means of checking her progress toward that goal state. For example, the self-regulating learner will take the initiative to check her answer on the optimization problem using a graph, or using Wolfram|Alpha to make sure the derivative computation is correct.
  4. Finally, the self-regulating learner doesn’t let external circumstances prevent learning. She selects learning activities that serve as a buffer zone between her progress toward the goal and the items in her life around her. If she’s got to be at work in an hour, she’ll select some activities or a subset of the tasks in a problem at hand that she can do in 45 minutes. If she doesn’t have access to a computer at home, she will select learning activities that she can do at home and save the others for when she can study at a friend’s house or at school with more technology around; or work over the phone with a friend who does have the technology; or something, anything other than I couldn’t work because I didn’t have a computer.

Even before I started working with the inverted/flipped classroom, what I just described is a picture of what I envisioned for my students. It’s a picture of a confident, inquisitive, independent problem-solver who takes a can-do attitude towards her work, and who is set up well to learn new things for the rest of her life. Because in real life, all learning basically looks like this.

The theoretical framework for self-regulated learning was developed by Paul Pintrich throughout the 1990’s and culminated in a paper in Educational Psychology Review in 2004. In that paper, Pintrich describes four features of self-regulated learning that correspond to the four items I described above. But of course the idea of self-regulated learning is as old as humanity itself. And it’s worth pointing out that there’s a close relationship between self-regulated learning and the popular admissions-office concept of lifelong learning. When we talk about students becoming “lifelong learners”, what we really mean is “self-regulating learners”.

Back to the story about calculus. I’ve taught calculus dozens of times since 1994, and what I’ve been seeing more and more, and tolerating less and less, is an environment where students tend toward the opposite of self-regulated learning. This is a state where students do not learn, and come to believe that they cannot learn, without the strong intervention of a third party. There’s no activity, no monitoring, no self-assessment, no persistence – only the repeated cries to tell them how to start, how to proceed, and what the right answer is. A professor can make a career out of catering to these cries and simply giving students what they ask for. But I don’t think that’s in the students’ best interests, or anybody else’s, and by the time July 2013 rolled around I decided I was done with enabling a generation of smart young men and women to enter into a perpetual state of learned helplessness when it came to their learning.

Continued in article

"Getting student buy-in for the inverted calculus class,"  by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 2014 ---

So far, regarding the inverted/flipped calculus course, we’ve discussed why I flipped the calculus class in the first place, the role of self-regulated learning as a framework and organizing principle for the class, how to design pre-class activities that support self-regulated  learning, and how to make learning objectives that get pre-class activities started on a good note. This is all “design thinking”. Now it’s time to focus on the hard part: Students, and getting them to buy into this notion of a flipped classroom.

I certainly do not have a perfect track record with getting students on board with an inverted/flipped classroom structure. In fact the first time I did it, it was a miserable flop among my students (even though they learned a lot). It took that failure to make me start thinking that getting student buy-in has to be as organized, systematic, and well-planned as the course itself.

Here are three big “don’ts” and “dos” that I’ve learned about getting students to buy in to the flipped classroom, mostly through cringe-worthy teaching performances of my own in the past, along with some examples of how we built these into the calculus course.

DON’T: Make a production out of your use of the flipped classroom to your students.
DO: Explain the workflow of the class to students in a clear way on Day 1 and remind students of that workflow on Days 2, 3, 4, …

You go into the first day of class and enthusiastically explain to students that they will be participating in a new, exciting, and innovative class method called the “flipped classroom”, that they may have heard about on 60 Minutes or elsewhere in the news. There won’t be any boring lectures in this class! Instead they’ll be watching lectures on video at home, and then working on challenging activities in the class, under your supervision. It’s exciting, it’s the latest thing, and it’s going to be awesome.

None of this is false. But it turns out that when many students hear “innovative” and “new”, their brains translate it as “experimental” and “unproven”. And it turns out that students don’t like being part of an experiment, especially when their grade is the outcome of the experiment.

In the flipped calculus class, I included a brief but substantial overview of the flipped course design structure in the class syllabus. To summarize, it tells students that:

So we communicate in the syllabus what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what students are expected to do on a day-to-day basis. As the class got ramped up through the first and second weeks of the term, every day I would take a few minutes in class to explain what students needed to do for the next class and how long they should expect it to take. What I did not drill in every day was how awesome the flipped classroom is. Students don’t want to hear this, and they don’t need to. They want, and need, to know what it is they are supposed to do, and it’s helpful to know why. But leave it at that.

(Exception: If you have a lot of pre-service teachers in the class, it might be interesting to talk with them about the flipped class, since they may be practitioners of it themselves before long.)

DON’T: Assume that the benefits of the flipped classroom will be obvious, or even easily grasped, by students.
DO: Take every opportunity to point to specific examples of student performance in the flipped class that illustrate those benefits.

The benefits of the flipped class are numerous. The research is showing that students in a flipped class learn at least as much content as their counterparts in a traditional classroom, if not more, plus flipped class students are getting explicit instruction on self-regulated learning behaviors that are useful everywhere. But don’t expect this to be obvious, and don’t expect it to sink in if you put it in the syllabus or make a big deal out of it on the first day. Instead, expect a lot of cognitive dissonance among students as they try to reconcile this new way of “doing school” with what they are used to.

The best way to have that reconciliation is to point to and celebrate specific student successes. When a class gets all correct answers on an entrance quiz, make much out of it: “Isn’t it great how you can learn this stuff without me?” or, “See? You guys are smart and don’t need some professor telling you what to do.” When a student improves their grade on an assessment from a previous assessment, say, “Look at how your hard work is paying off” and “You know what I think is really great? The fact that you learned most of this without a lot of help.” There wasn’t any formal system for doing this in the flipped calculus class – just a habit of mind that I adopted and deployed on a daily basis to be generous with praise whenever it was merited.

DON’T: Hide from student opinions on the flipped design of the course.
DO: Solicit student feedback early and often.

I’ve blogged before about the value of frequent course evaluations and not waiting until the end of the semester to get student feedback. This is especially so when you are doing something out of your and the students’ comfort zones like a flipped classroom. I recommend having at least one mid-term course evaluation done in addition to the usual end-of-term evaluations and being prepared to make halftime adjustments to meet student concerns.

Continued in article


"Creating learning objectives, flipped classroom style," by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2014 --- Click Here

In my last post about the inverted/flipped calculus class, I stressed the importance of Guided Practice as a way of structuring students’ pre-class activities and as a means of teaching self-regulated learning behaviors. I mentioned there was one important difference between the way I described Guided Practice and the way I’ve described it before, and it focuses on the learning objectives.

A clear set of learning objectives is at the heart of any successful learning experience, and it’s an essential ingredient for self-regulated learning since self-regulating learners have a clear set of criteria against which to judge their learning progress. And yet, many instructors – myself included in the early years of my career – never map out learning objectives either for themselves or for their students. Or, they do, and they’re so mushy that they can’t be measured – like any so-called objective beginning with the words “understand” or “appreciate”.

Coming up with good learning objectives is something of an art form, and I have a lot of room for improvement in the way I do it. However, I’ve been working with the following workflow for generating learning objectives that works particularly well for my students and fits the ethos of the flipped classroom. Here it is step-by-step.

STEP ONE: Comb through the unit you’re going to cover in class and write down all the things you’d like students to be able to do, at some point in the near future. Very importantly, use action verbs for these things and avoid anything that cannot be measured. In particular avoid the words know, understand, and appreciate.

For example, here’s the list of objectives that I came up with when I was planning out the unit on the chain rule in the calculus class. These are roughly in the same order in which they appear in the text, and I threw on a couple of additional objectives that address some review items:

In the past when I’d taught the chain rule, my only learning objective was something like “Know and use the chain rule”. That’s too vague! There is a lot of nuance in what it means to “know and use” this rule and it’s on me, as the instructor/course designer, to communicate clearly what I intend to assess.

We’re not done with this list.

STEP TWO: You’ll immediately see that some of the actions in your list from Step One are more cognitively complicated than others. So step two is: Go back to your list and reorder the items in it, putting them in order from least complex to most complex. A handy tool for doing this is Bloom’s Taxonomy:

This is a standard means of categorizing cognitive tasks by complexity, with the simplest (“Understanding”) at the bottom and the most complicated (“Creating”) at the top. Go through each of your learning objectives and decide what level of Bloom they most closely correspond to. Then shuffle them around so that the higher up the list you go, the more complex the task is.

Applying this idea to the above list of objectives about the chain rule, I ended up with this ordered list. Here the objectives start with the simplest and end with the most complex:

Most of the time, the order of appearance of topics in the textbook mirrors the order of complexity – easier stuff at the beginning, harder stuff at the end – but not always. For example in our book, there are some preliminary examples of the Chain Rule that precede the formal definition, but stating a definition is a less complex task (“Remembering”) than doing an example (“Applying”), so stating the definition appears before any instance of actually performing a computation.

STEP THREE: This is a really important step for the flipped classroom. Look at your ordered list of learning objectives and ask: What is the most complex task that I reasonable expect students to be able to master prior to class, given the resources that they have? Find that task and draw a line between it and the ones above it (that are more complex). The objectives below the line are your Basic learning objectives, and students will be expected to demonstrate fluency, if not mastery, on those items when they arrive at class. The others are your Advanced learning objectives; students will not be expected to master these before class (although if they do, that’s awesome!) but rather they’ll use the class meeting time and follow-up study to master these over time and with the help of others. Put BOTH sets of learning objectives on the Guided Practice assignment.

Continued in article

"Study: Little Difference in Learning in Online and In-Class Science Courses," Inside Higher Ed, October 22, 2012 ---

A study in Colorado has found little difference in the learning of students in online or in-person introductory science courses. The study tracked community college students who took science courses online and in traditional classes, and who then went on to four-year universities in the state. Upon transferring, the students in the two groups performed equally well. Some science faculty members have expressed skepticism about the ability of online students in science, due to the lack of group laboratory opportunities, but the programs in Colorado work with companies to provide home kits so that online students can have a lab experience.


Jensen Comment
Firstly, note that online courses are not necessarily mass education (MOOC) styled courses. The student-student and student-faculty interactions can be greater online than onsite. For example, my daughter's introductory chemistry class at the University of Texas had over 600 students. On the date of the final examination he'd never met her and had zero control over her final grade. On the other hand, her microbiology instructor in a graduate course at the University of Maine became her husband over 20 years ago.

Another factor is networking. For example, Harvard Business School students meeting face-to-face in courses bond in life-long networks that may be stronger than for students who've never established networks via classes, dining halls, volley ball games, softball games, rowing on the Charles River, etc. There's more to lerning than is typically tested in competency examinations.

My point is that there are many externalities to both onsite and online learning. And concluding that there's "little difference in learning" depends upon what you mean by learning. The SCALE experiments at the University of Illinois found that students having the same instructor tended to do slightly better than onsite students. This is partly because there are fewer logistical time wasters in online learning. The effect becomes larger for off-campus students where commuting time (as in Mexico City) can take hours going to and from campus.

Bob Jensen's threads on flipped classrooms ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at

Bob Jensen's long-time threads on asynchronous learning are at
This pedagogy depends a great deal on the quality of learning materials provided or not provided to students.

What's more important to long-term memory and metacognition is probably how much the students have to struggle to find answers on their own ---
This pedagogy, however, is risky in terms of teacher evaluations and burnout.

"Columbia U. Ends Credit for Internships," Inside Higher Ed, March 3, 2014 ---

  1. Columbia University is ending academic credit for internships, Newsweek reported. The move is designed to prod internship providers to pay students, as is generally required by federal labor law, even though many internships providers have not done so.

    "In Another Blow to Free Labor, Columbia University Halts Academic Credit for Internship,"  By Zach Schonfeld," by Zach Schonfeld, Newsweek, February 28, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Note that having shed itself of Editor Tina Brown, Newsweek emerged from its ashes as a subscription news magazine, but will not appear on newsstands. If anything it is even more liberal than its former liberal self and seems to march hand-in-hand with MSNBC.

  1. Newsweek has been a staple of American media for over 80 years, bringing high-quality journalism to millions of readers around the globe. Newsweek publishes print editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish, as well as an English language international edition, but is a primarily digital property available across platforms and devices. Newsweek provides in-depth analysis, news and opinion about international issues, technology, business, culture and politics.

Internships have always been controversial because they vary so much in terms of education, training, and value of labor to the "employers." Virtually all undergraduate accounting programs now offer internships ranging from six weeks to a year for credit and pay. The "employers" are mostly CPA firms who hold their tongues when it comes to discussing the work value of internships. Most secretly would probably prefer not having the interns to deal with for free or for pay, especially interns that are only around for 6-8 weeks.

Interns inside accounting firms, however, generally consider the internships among their most highly valued experiences in college. In fact, the internship opportunities are terrific for recruiting students to major in accounting in five-year programs as opposed to finance, management, finance, and other business majors requiring only five years.

In terms of the financial gain to interns, such gains are often negligible or even financial losers. For example, at $25 per hour a student intern going from Ames, Iowa interning with a CPA firm in Chicago or Minneapolis for six weeks is probably lucky to break even in terms of room and board costs. Often interns double up in hotels, motels, and apartments to make ends meet (oops I probably should not have said it that way).

The biggest abusers of intern labor are often non-profit government agencies and charities in need of free mundane labor such as addressing thousands of envelopes and stuffing brochures into those envelopes. The learning components of such internships is generally minimal relative to learning and pay ranging from zero dollars to minimum wages.

The best internships are more like apprenticeships in the trades in Europe where interns work alongside skilled workers who teach and explain how to become masters of a trade. Generally, however, apprenticeships in Europe take years rather than a few months. Such apprenticeships vary in terms of pay, although the pay is usually sufficient to cover comfortable costs of room and board.

What is one of the outrageous differences between Apple and Microsoft?

It has to do what I think is greed in forcing the purchase of new hardware and software in a relatively short period of time in planned obsolescence. I remember sharing a cab with Waterloo's Efrim Boritz back in the early days of the Mac. He was complaining that there was no legacy carryover in the new Macs such that much of his work over several years was going to be completely lost. In the meantime, Windows was still running my decades-old DOS programs.

Apple Retires Snow Leopard Support, Leaves 1 out of every five Macs In The Dust after only four years
Snow Leopard is the latest victim of Apple's planned obsolescence strategy


Apple has all but announced it will no longer support Mac computers running Snow Leopard, or OS X 10.6. 

On Tuesday, the company released an important update for Mavericks, or OS X 10.9, plus security updates for its two predecessors, Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), but nothing for any other previously-released versions of OS X. All of the updates included a critical patch that resolved a major security exploit—we can't confirm the same exploit exists in Snow Leopard.

But with Snow Leopard no longer supported, Apple is distancing itself from Microsoft’s tradition of supporting older operating systems for decades and beyond, a practice some call excessive. Microsoft’s Windows XP came out on October 25, 2001, more than 12 years ago. But Microsoft says it will continue supporting the system until April 8, 2014

Meanwhile, Snow Leopard has been around for just 4 years, since August 28, 2009, on the occasion of its obsolescence. Which explains why 1 in 5 Macs are still operating on it. 

Continued in article

"Windows 8.1 May Become A Freebie OS:  Microsoft wants everyone to use Windows 8 — apparently enough to give it away," ReadWriteWeb, February 28, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
I think I would wait an pay for an upgrade to Windows 9 from Windows 7. Windows 8 is a mess.

Are PCs Dying? Of Course Not, Here’s Why ---

Critical Thinking --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Reasoning

Oxford’s Free Course Critical Reasoning For Beginners Will Teach You to Think Like a Philosopher ---

Jensen Comment
Usually MOOCs are not very good for introductory courses. Maybe this will be an exception.

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs and how to sign up for them ---

"An Era of Neglect How public colleges were crowded out, beaten up, and failed to fight back," by Karin Fischer and Jack Stripling, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 2014 ---

It happened so slowly that no one really noticed at first. That’s the way erosion works. It is a gradual decay.

But somewhere along the line, over the past three decades or so, the deterioration of support for public higher education became hard to miss. Appropriations tanked. Tuition soared. College leaders embraced gloomy rhetoric about broken partnerships with the very people who had built these institutions from the ground up.

Now we have come to a precipice. College students and their families, who just a decade ago paid for about one-third of the cost of their education, are on track to pay for most of it. In nearly half of the states, they already do.

Behind these changes is a fundamental shift. Public colleges, once viewed as worthy of collective investment for the greater good, are increasingly treated as vehicles delivering a personal benefit to students, who ought to foot the bill themselves.

The story of public higher education’s transition from a key national priority to an increasingly neglected special interest is untidy. It cannot be traced to any single moment in time. It cannot be laid at the feet of any one individual or ideology. Rather, it is the story of dozens and dozens of consequential moves made by individual actors across the country. They are lobbyists and activists, antitax conservatives and big-government liberals, conflicted idealists and self-preservationists. Even college leaders themselves.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
What needs to be stressed more in the above report is that the proportion of public funding of of historic flagship state universities declined seriously due to spreading the bread to newer and smaller state universities, community colleges, and technical schools. When I first joined the faculty of Michigan State University in the 1960s is was just becoming competitive, under the tremendous leadership of MSU President Jack Hannah, with the long-time flagship University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

MSU emerged from its ag-school farming image to become competitive with Ann Arbor in terms of numbers of students, qualities of applicants, state appropriations, prestige of faculty, and research grants. This was a very difficult fete because of the long-time alumni power of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. But eventually the power of MSU in the Michigan legislature eventually diluted funding going to the flagship University of Michigan.

 The same story is repeated in the original 48 states if not all 50 states.

MSU President John A. Hannah ---

Interestingly, some analysts attribute Jack Hannah's successful growth strategy for MSU to the way he used football to a point where MSU was no longer mopped up by Ann Arbor, Notre Dame, and USC football teams. MSU emerged as a powerhouse in both athletics and academics. I was in the stands for the famous game to determine the Number One NCAA football team when the Notre Dame coach chickened out and settled for a tie with MSU. I was also in the stands when OJ Simpson ran through the MSU line like it was made of tissue paper.

Affirmative Action:  Sweet Cream versus Buttermilk

Jensen Comment
One issue for most state universities and many private universities is that increasingly the top minority admissions prospects are being picked off with full-ride scholarships and free room and board by the USA's most prestigious universities. This is not a "problem" in the sense of opportunities in these very high grade inflation universities. It is somewhat of a problem in that those prospects that need the most remedial help are relegated to the other universities. If this sounds familiar, it is the same argument teachers unions make when trying to rid their states of charter K-12 schools.

Out of 6,225 freshmen entering Michigan in the fall of 2013, there were only 282 Latinos, 246 African-Americans, and seven Native Americans. Dartmouth, an extremely selective Ivy League college in a small New Hampshire town, has double the percentage of underrepresented minorities in its student body.
"In Diversity Gap at Michigan Flagship, 
Signs of a Lost Public Mission," by cott Kurashige, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 2014 ---

Michigan Votes Down Affirmative Action
Michigan voters on Tuesday approved a ban on affirmative action at the state’s public colleges and in government contracting. The vote came despite opposition to the ban from most academic and business leaders in the state — and the history in which the University of Michigan played a key role in preserving the right of colleges to consider race as a factor in admissions.
Scott Jaschik, "Michigan Votes Down Affirmative Action," Inside Higher Ed, November 8, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/08/michigan

The day after Michigan voters approved a ban on affirmative action by public colleges and universities, the president of the University of Michigan said that her institution was exploring legal challenges it might make to the referendum.
Scott Jaschik, "Still Fighting for Affirmative Action," Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/09/michfolo


"U. of Wisconsin Is Accused of Bias Against White Applicants," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 13, 2011 ---

From Stanford University
In the United States today, two-thirds of African-American college undergrads are women, and they are going on to excel in business, particularly in entrepreneurship, says visiting scholar Katherine Phillips.
"African-American Women Are Moving Ahead Rapidly," by Michelle Chandler,  Stanford GSB News, June 2011 ---

"The Power of Race," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 3, 2009 ---

Thomas J. Espenshade, a professor of sociology at Princeton University, used that question to answer a question about his new book, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life (Princeton University Press), co-written with Alexandria Walton Radford, a research associate at MPR Associates. In fact, he could probably use the glass image to answer questions about numerous parts of the book.

While Espenshade and Radford -- in the book and in interviews -- avoid broad conclusions over whether affirmative action is working or should continue, their findings almost certainly will be used both by supporters and critics of affirmative action to advance their arguments. (In fact, a talk Espenshade gave at a meeting earlier this year about some of the findings is already being cited by affirmative action critics, although in ways that he says don't exactly reflect his thinking.)

Unlike much writing about affirmative action, this book is based not on philosophy, but actual data -- both on academic credentials and student experiences -- from 9,000 students who attended one of 10 highly selective colleges and universities. (They are not named, but include public and private institutions, research universities and liberal arts colleges.)

Among the findings:

Based on these findings, and the reality that some states have barred affirmative action and that the U.S. Supreme Court's blessing for consideration of race in admissions came with a 25-year time limit, the authors suggest that it's time for a massive federally supported effort, equivalent in intensity to the Manhattan Project, to determine the source of academic achievement gaps and to develop plans to shrink them.

The Test Score Advantage

Among the potential bombshells in the book are data on the advantages or disadvantages of SAT or ACT scores by race, ethnicity and economic class. Many studies -- including those released annually by the College Board and the ACT -- show gaps in the average tests scores by members of different racial or ethnic groups. This research takes that further, however, by controlling for numerous factors, including gender, status as an athlete or alumni child, high school grades and test scores, type of high school attended and so forth.

The "advantage" referred to, to take an example from the book, is what it would take to have equivalent odds of admission, after controlling for other factors. So the table's figure of a 3.8 black ACT "advantage" means that a black student with an ACT score of 27 would have the same chances of admission at the institutions in the study as a white student with a score of 30.8.

As the following table shows, there are large black advantages in the way colleges consider SAT and ACT scores, and notable disadvantages for Asian applicants. On issues of wealth, the SAT shows an expected affirmative action tilt, with the most disadvantaged students gaining and the wealthiest losing. But there is also a gain for upper middle class students. On the ACT, analysis found the advantages go to wealthier students.

The table uses ACT scores for public institutions and SAT scores for privates. The "norm" score was considered white for the race section, and middle class for the class section.

Advantages by Race and Class on the SAT and ACT at Selective Colleges, Fall 1997

Group Public Institutions (on ACT scale of 36) Private Institutions (on SAT scale of 1,600)
--White -- --
--Black +3.8 +310
--Hispanic +0.3 +130
--Asian -3.4 -140
--Lower -0.1 +130
--Working +0.0 +70
--Middle -- --
--Upper-Middle +0.3 +50
--Upper +0.4 -30

Much of the debate about affirmative action historically has focused on the advantages given to those from some minority groups. But the research in No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal may also be of particular interest to advocates for Asian students. Many such advocates and guidance counselors who serve those students have charged in recent years that elite colleges have de facto higher standards for Asian applicants. Is the Asian disadvantage of 3.4 points on the ACT and 140 points on the SAT evidence to bolster that claim?

Espenshade said in an interview that he does not think his data establish this bias. He noted that while his formulas are notably more complete than typical test score comparisons by race and ethnicity, he doesn't have the "softer variables," such as teacher and high school counselor recommendations, essays and lists of extracurricular activities. It is possible, he said, that such factors explain some of the apparent SAT and ACT disadvantage facing Asian applicants.

At the same time, he said he understood that these numbers would certainly not reassure Asian applicants or those who believe they are suffering discrimination.

"I understand the worry of Asian students, but do I have a smoking gun? No," he said.

As to the large racial gaps on SAT scores, he said it was "distressing" in that it showed the difficulties colleges face in using their traditional criteria for admissions and still producing diverse student bodies.

The book notes that dropping the SAT or ACT as requirements would result in gains for black and Latino students. Espenshade has given papers previously showing that the biggest gains in such models are for colleges that drop consideration of testing entirely, as opposed to just making it optional. (To date, only one institution -- Sarah Lawrence College -- has taken that step.)

Beyond shifting test policies, may other ideas have been proposed over the years to achieve a racially diverse student body without affirmative action as currently practiced. Here the book is quite discouraging. It reviews simulations based on class-based affirmative action (extra points for low-income applicants), reducing the emphasis given to academic credentials and priority admissions for those in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. And the book considers various combinations of these policies, looking for a formula that would yield diversity similar to what colleges have obtained to date.

"In this exhaustive examination of a wide variety of potential admissions policies, we have looked for but have not found any feasible policy alternative to the current practice of race-sensitive admission that has the capacity to generate the same minority student representation on campus," the book says. "The closest we have come among private institutions is a 15 percent minority student share among all students, achieved by lifting affirmative action, adding more weight for low-income students, and paying no attention whatsoever to students' academic qualifications. This policy stands no chance of being implemented at any academically selective institution."

Do Students Mix?

The new book doesn't just explore how students get into college, but what happens with them once there -- especially in terms of interactions with people from different backgrounds. The book notes that this is a question with important legal ramifications because colleges have justified affirmative action by pointing to the educational value of educating students in heterogeneous groups.

Here, the book finds evidence of significant interactions outside students' own racial and ethnic groups.

The figures reflect all students, so the numbers are boosted in part by minority students on largely white campuses who may have relatively few fellow minority students with whom to interact.

Espenshade said that there is "no gold standard" for how much social interaction one would like to see among members of different groups, so it's hard to judge whether these numbers over all reflect positive or negative news. But he was heartened, he said, that survey questions showing that students who developed friendships across racial lines reported learning from those perspectives and gaining from the experience. Generally, he said, students reported the most gains in understanding coming from informal activities, such as socializing, and not from formal activities.

So if a college wants to encourage this sort of relationship, Espenshade said he would favor random freshman roommate selection, so more students end up living with people different from themselves, and policies that encourage groups that are based on race or ethnicity to co-sponsor events with other groups. But Espenshade said that the data suggest students are not moved by formal requirements. "I wouldn't advise diversity training," he said. "Students react negatively if they think they are being forced to take a diversity orientation session."

Across the various types of cross-racial interactions, not all groups interact evenly. Looking at who interacts, the data give the following order of likelihood: white-Hispanic, white-Asian, Hispanic-Asian, black-Hispanic, black-Asian, black-white.

The data in the book also suggest that ethnic studies courses are reaching a significant minority of all college students, but that the percentages of students at the colleges studied who majored or minored in them is extremely small, even with regard to their own groups. Nearly 40 percent of students at the colleges studied -- including nearly one third of white students -- took at least on ethnic studies course. But only 2.2 percent of students are majoring.

Ethnic Studies Coursework, by Race

  Total White Black Hispanic Asian
African-American studies          
--Major 0.5% 0.2% 4.2% 0.3% 0.3%
--Minor 1.4% 1.0% 7.7% 0.7% 0.4%
--Course 24.3% 20.9% 75.6% 20.9% 15.1%
Chicano/Latino studies          
--Major 0.8% 0.6% 1.1% 4.5% 0.4%
--Minor 1.7% 1.6% 1.5% 5.4% 1.1%
--Course 12.1% 10.9% 19.0% 40.7% 6.3%
Asian-American studies          
--Major 1.0% 0.7% 0.7% 0.2% 3.7%
--Minor 1.0% 0.4% 1.2% 0.7% 4.7%
--Course 17.3% 12.8% 14.7% 13.2% 52.2%
One or more of the above          
--Major 2.2% 1.4% 5.5% 5.1% 4.2%
--Minor 3.6% 2.6% 9.5% 6.2% 5.8%
--Course 39.6% 32.4% 79.8% 51.2% 58.5%

Measures of Academic Success

One of the most sensitive issues in discussions of affirmative action concerns academic success. Critics of affirmative action have long argued that the intended beneficiaries are in fact victims, because they might have more success in college -- and gain more confidence in themselves -- at less selective colleges. This "mismatch theory" was recently repudiated in a landmark study of public flagships, the book Crossing the Finish Line. That book found that minority students have the greatest level of success (measured by graduating) at the most competitive institution that admits them.

With regard to academic performance at the colleges studied in No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, the data on graduation rates largely back the conclusions of Crossing the Finish Line. The average six-year graduation rates for these institutions is 89 percent, with Asian students most likely to graduate (92 percent) and black students the least likely (78 percent). Similarly, those from the upper classes are more likely (90 percent) to graduate than those from working class families (79 percent). But here, even the numbers for black students and working class students far exceed national averages, and many institutions report much larger gaps by ethnic and racial groups.

It is among graduates that the new data raise questions about academic performance, because there are large differences in academic achievement (as judged by class rank) found both by race and economic class.

Class Rank by Race and Economic Class

Group Highest Quintile Second Highest Quintile Middle Quintile Second Lowest Quintile Lowest Quintile
--White 25.5% 20.8% 20.6% 17.3% 15.8%
--Black 4.8% 8.2% 13.6% 23.0% 50.5%
--Hispanic 9.3% 13.1% 17.1% 27.7% 32.8%
--Asian 20.2% 20.7% 21.9% 20.4% 16.9%
Economic class          
--Lower and working 13.0% 10.9% 19.9% 20.1% 36.1%
--Middle 20.3% 18.6% 19.2% 20.7% 21.1%
--Upper and upper middle 25.7% 21.6% 20.8% 16.9% 15.0%

Asked about the class rank data, Radford said that she doesn't think it's very significant, compared to the graduation rate data, which show that minority students are finishing their degrees.

"How much does a G.P.A. difference affect your life?" she asked. "It's not preventing these students from attending prestigious graduate schools or going on to have successful careers."

Espenshade said that he realized that there are data in the book that will be embraced by people on all sides of the debates over affirmative action. Describing himself as a "staunch moderate" on such issues, he said he will be pleased if advocates with differing views find evidence they like in the study.

"My main objective here is to be a mouthpiece for the data," he said. "My job is to let the data talk. What I may or may not feel about affirmative action doesn't matter. What matters is how the Supreme Court feels about it and how the voters feel about it."


More than half of the black and Latino students who take the state teacher licensing exam in Massachusetts fail, at rates that are high enough that many minority college students are starting to avoid teacher training programs, The Boston Globe reported. The failure rates are 54 percent (black), 52 percent (Latino) and 23 percent (white).
Inside Higher Ed, August 20, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/20/qt

"'Opting Out'," by Allie Grasgreen, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 2, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
One issue for most state universities and many private universities is that increasingly the top minority admissions prospects are being picked off with full-ride scholarships and free room and board by the USA's most prestigious universities. This is not a "problem" in the sense of opportunities in these very high grade inflation universities. It is somewhat of a problem in that those prospects that need the most remedial help are relegated to the other universities. If this sounds familiar, it is the same argument teachers unions make when trying to rid their states of charter K-12 schools.

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action on admissions testing, admissions, and graduation ---

How to Mislead With Statistics

"Guess Who Doesn’t Care That You Went to Harvard?" by Gretchen Gavett, Harvard Business Review Blog, February 28, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
I think this is a misleading article. Business firms may not care whether or not that you graduated as an undergraduate from Harvard but they a often are deeply impressed by the fact that you got into Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth, etc. Also those business firms and graduate schools know that the highest GRE and GMAT scores are highly correlated with the highest SAT scores that got students into the Ivy League schools in the first place. Also grade inflation is virtually highest in the Ivy League among colleges and universities in higher education (except maybe at Princeton which is making a limited effort to bring down grades). Naive recruiters might be impressed by high grades from Harvard without knowing that 80% of the graduates from Harvard graduate cum laude.

Business firms with more actively recruit undergraduates from Cornell and the flagship state university business schools because most of the Ivy League universities like Harvard do not have undergraduate business schools. But this does not apply to MBA graduates from Ivy League schools that have prestigious MBA programs.

Gretchen Gavett fails to mention a leading recruiting edge of graduate business and law programs at Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Dartmouth --- those fantastically important Ivy League alumni networks. For example, business executives that greatly adore their alma mater's green blazers actively seek to hire recent Tuck School graduates from Dartmouth's Tuck Graduate School of Business. Green-blazed graduates have an edge with successful Tuck alumni recruiters!

MBA programs at Ivy League schools do not do well when firms are hiring for certain types of specialties. For example, most Ivy League MBA programs do not have curricula for passing the CPA examination. Firms do not generally recruit new auditors and tax accountants and AIS specialists at the Ivy League universities. Gretchen Gavett is correct in this regard!

"Real-Time Automated Essay Writing?" by Geoffrey Pullum, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25, 2014 ---

When I first tried EssayTyper, for just a moment it chilled my blood. Of course, it’s just a little joke; but I hope students everywhere will be sophisticated enough to see that, because a person who was unusually naive, lazy, and ignorant just might mistake it for a computer program that will enable you to type out custom-designed essays on selected academic topics, even topics you know nothing about, even if you can’t type. The EssayTyper home page presents a box saying:

Oh, no! It’s finals week and I have to finish my American Civil War essay immediately.

You can type in a replacement for “American Civil War”; whatever you please: “praseodymium” or “eagles” or “Cole Porter” or “phonetics” or “Chronicle of Higher Education” or “lingua franca”—anything you could imagine someone being expected to write an essay on.

If then you click on the pencil icon on the right hand side, you get what appears to be a word-processor page with a centered header providing a fashionably absurd postmodernist title for your essay: “The Fluidity of Praseodymium: Gender Norms & Racial Bias in the Study of the Modern ‘Praseodymium,’” or maybe “Truly Eagles? The Modern Eagles: a Normative Critique.”

All you have to do after that is type. Type anything. Rattle your fingers around on the keyboard like a child pretending to type. Have your kitten walk on the keys. Tap the space bar. It doesn’t matter. Text will appear, bit by bit: coherent, sensible text saying true things about your chosen subject. Not very imaginative, but undeniably accurate and probably worthy of a B grade.

Now, we already know that the humor-detection module in our species is not innate, so there is a real chance of my being disappointed in our students: There may be some who think EssayTyper is more than a joke. I continue to hope otherwise, partly because humor sensitivity is generally stronger in the young, and partly because I simply don’t want to live in a world where this tool might be used to create essays that might be turned in for me to grade.

EssayTyper is actually (to give the game away completely) a front end to Wikipedia. When you type your subject in on the underlined part of the initial box, it simply looks those words up using the Wikipedia search function. If there is no Wikipedia page with that title, it warns you that it can’t help. But if there is one, it goes to it and starts blurting out the text of the article, chunk by chunk. The more you rattle the keys, the more it puts on your screen.

EssayTyper is less intriguing than Eliza, an ingenious piece of programming that was originally intended to demonstrate shallow-level simulation of human conversation but ended up unexpectedly demonstrating human gullibility. EssayTyper is a cute little piece of recreational programming fun, but underlying it is nothing more than an automated Wikipedia copier.

So even for students who think they can get away with turning in unmodified Wikipedia articles as term papers, EssayTyper would be an unneeded middleman. Screen-scooping selected text directly from Wikipedia itself would be quicker.

But as I said, when I first saw it working, for a minute or so I was scared. It isn’t real, and it doesn’t pretend to be, but what if it were? What if, five or 10 years from now, sophisticated programming permits generation of highly plausible text on arbitrary subjects that has been skillfully rearranged from its various online sources, with random words replaced sensibly by synonyms, so that plagiarism-detecting algorithms report nothing untoward? What if machines can one day write convincing original term papers that have not gone through even one human brain before being dumped to the printer?

"Custom Writing Service Says Students 'No Longer Have to Face the Burden of Academic Coursework'," by Susan Jones, CNS News, January 20, 2014 ---

A Dallas-based company that writes research papers, essays and other classroom assignments -- so students don't have to -- says it is doing so well that it has expanded its staff from just a few writers to more than 100 in the past year.

The company bills itself as the one "students trust to write professional, in-depth and plagiarism-free essays that receive the highest grades for all levels of coursework...so they no longer have to face the burden of academic coursework."

It says the writing is done for an "affordable" fee; and it has foreign writers on staff for non-American students.

In a news release announcing the "custom writing service" for students in the United States, the company includes the following testimonial:

"I enjoyed using the service," one student is quoted as saying. "The paper was written excellent (sic)...My professor was satisfied, and so am I."

Other testimonials on the company's website read:

"I've sent the paper to evaluation first 'cause I wasn't sure if they can find a writer with a relevant academic background...But yes, they did! It seems like she read my thoughts and written the paper (sic) as if I did it myself, lol :-)"

And this: "Cool essay. Couldn’t been done better (sic). Just noticed a few typos, but that’s okay."

The company offers discounts of 5 percent after ten orders; and 15 percent after 20 orders.

In August, President Obama announced his plan to tie federal financial aid to colleges and universities that do well in a yet-to-be-announced college rating system. As CNSNews.com reported at the time, the rating system means the government will define what a good college is. - See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/custom-writing-service-says-students-no-longer-have-face-burden-academic#sthash.dAvEF9OY.dpuf

A Dallas-based company that writes research papers, essays and other classroom assignments -- so students don't have to -- says it is doing so well that it has expanded its staff from just a few writers to more than 100 in the past year.

The company bills itself as the one "students trust to write professional, in-depth and plagiarism-free essays that receive the highest grades for all levels of coursework...so they no longer have to face the burden of academic coursework."

It says the writing is done for an "affordable" fee; and it has foreign writers on staff for non-American students.

In a news release announcing the "custom writing service" for students in the United States, the company includes the following testimonial:

"I enjoyed using the service," one student is quoted as saying. "The paper was written excellent (sic)...My professor was satisfied, and so am I."

Other testimonials on the company's website read:

"I've sent the paper to evaluation first 'cause I wasn't sure if they can find a writer with a relevant academic background...But yes, they did! It seems like she read my thoughts and written the paper (sic) as if I did it myself, lol :-)"

And this: "Cool essay. Couldn’t been done better (sic). Just noticed a few typos, but that’s okay."

The company offers discounts of 5 percent after ten orders; and 15 percent after 20 orders.

Continued in article

Also see

Jensen Comment
One such company in Dallas is
I did not find writers listing knowledge of accounting, but some advertise expertise in finance and global finance.

I don't trust the promise of "no plagiarism" although the plagiarism may be very clever.

Apparently a large part of the business is writing customized college admissions essays.

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism and other forms of cheating ---

Honor Code --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_code

Are colleges placing less confidence in their honor codes?

"The Proctor Is In," by Allie Grasgreen, Inside Higher Ed, February 25, 2014 ---

Only 100 or so colleges maintain honor codes, which are thought to bolster integrity and trust among professors and students by involving the latter in the creation and enforcement of academic standards. When a campus culture values open and frequent discussion about when and why cheating is socially unacceptable, the thinking goes (and some research shows), students are less likely to flout the rules – and more likely to report their peers who do.

Except when they aren’t. Most traditional honor codes allow for unproctored exams, where the professor leaves the room and students are expected to report any cheating they observe. (Some even let students take the exam wherever they choose.) But the system is not working out so well at Middlebury College, where faculty members in economics will proctor their exams this spring semester.

The decision follows a not-exactly-glowing review of the state of Middlebury’s honor code, which found that peer reporting across the board “is largely nonexistent.”

The Middlebury Campus lamented the shift in an editorial, calling it “a shameful reminder of a broken system” and questioning why no students or professors are protesting the decision or pressing the importance of the honor code.

“The honor code is a part of the Middlebury brand. We love to point to the honor code as a demonstration of our integrity and the type of community we come from,” the editorial board wrote. “What, then, does it say about our future selves if we cannot expect integrity from our community members now?”

Shirley M. Collado, dean of the college, declined to comment on whether cheating is particularly rampant in economics, but said via email that, on infrequent occasions, other departments have opted out of unproctored exams. “While some students report cases of academic dishonesty,” Collado said, “we don't believe that students are taking action on all cases of academic dishonesty of which they are aware.”

The economics department will work with the student government’s Honor Code Committee to gather information and “see what approach will work best for the broader Middlebury community and to encourage an environment of academic integrity,” Collado said.

“Middlebury’s Honor Code is not facing a moment of crisis, nor is it functioning with optimal effectiveness,” the review says. (A committee conducts the review every four years.) “Student ownership and responsibility for the Honor Code – a critical tenet of its founding – is severely waning.”

The Middlebury Campus writers posit that because their peers had nothing to do with the honor code’s creation, and “almost never hear about it after first-year orientation,” it makes sense that students are not invested in the code.

Teddi Fishman, director of Clemson University’s International Center for Academic Integrity, said the editorial is spot on.

“This writer understands academic integrity better than some administrators do,” she said. It’s not surprising that students wouldn’t adhere to an honor code they had no say in, especially one that’s rarely discussed, she said. “Just having an honor code doesn’t do anything – it has to be part of the culture.” (Similarly, a culture of academic integrity does not necessarily require a code.)

Fishman praised the economics department’s willingness to recognize that the code isn’t working, but said the campus should work to “revitalize” the honor code in the meantime, to launch conversations and get students caring about it again.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/02/25/economics-department-proctor-exams-adherence-honor-code-wanes#ixzz2uLPV7WjV
Inside Higher Ed

Jensen Comment
Honor codes that require students to report when other students cheat became policies in colleges before there was such an over abundance of lawyers and our extreme USA culture of litigation. Now when Student A reports that Student X cheated, Student A may get slapped with a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Even if colleges pledge to back Student A in litigation, the hassle of litigation itself may motivate Student A to keep his or her mouth shut.

By the way, Harvard University is a leader in many areas of academe, but Harvard does not have an honor code. Maybe administrators are tuned into the Harvard Law School. Recall that Harvard somewhat recently expelled neary 70 students for cheating in a political science course where they were assured of receiving an A grade no matter what the quality of the work. Apparently when an A grade is assured, some students don't want to do any work.

"Harvard considers instituting honor code," Boston Globe, April 7, 2013 ---

Stanford University has an honor code, at least it did when I was a student on the "Farm"|
"Stanford finds cheating — especially among computer science students — on the rise," by Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News, February 7, 2010 --- http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_14351156?nclick_check=1 

Online Courses Create Added Honor Code Problems
"Far From Honorable," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, October 25, 2011 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism and other forms of cheating ---

Europe's Shiny New B-School Buildings ---

"40 Android Apps for Teaching and Learning," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 27, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Many of these were developed by Google.

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

Free App Lets You Play Chess With 23-Year-Old Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen ---

How can Anything Go Wrong?
'A Star in a Bottle:  An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out." by Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker,  March 3, 2014 ---

Interesting LSAT Scoring Facts --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LSAT#Scoring

Begin Quote

The LSAT is a standardized test in that LSAC adjusts raw scores to fit an expected norm to overcome the likelihood that some administrations may be more difficult than others. Normalized scores are distributed on a scale with a low of 120 to a high of 180.[23]

The LSAT system of scoring is predetermined and does not reflect test takers' percentile, unlike the SAT. The relationship between raw questions answered correctly (the "raw score") and scaled score is determined before the test is administered, through a process called equating.[24] This means that the conversion standard is set beforehand, and the distribution of percentiles can vary during the scoring of any particular LSAT.

Adjusted scores resemble a bell curve, tapering off at the extremes and concentrating near the median. For example, there might be a 3–5 question difference between a score of 175 and a score of 180, but the difference between a 155 from a 160 could be 9 or more questions. Although the exact percentile of a given score will vary slightly between examinations, there tends to be little variance. The 50th percentile is typically a score of about 151; the 90th percentile is around 165 and the 99th is about 173. A 178 or better usually places the examinee in the 99.9th percentile.

Examinees have the option of canceling their scores within six calendar days after the exam, before they get their scores. LSAC still reports to law schools that the student registered for and took the exam, but releases no score. Test takers typically receive their scores by e-mail between three and four weeks after the exam.[25] There is a formal appeals process for examinee complaints,[26] which has been used for proctor misconduct, peer misconduct, and occasionally for challenging a question. In very rare instances, specific questions have been omitted from final scoring.

University of North Texas economist Michael Nieswiadomy has conducted several studies (in 1998, 2006, and 2008) derived from LSAC data. In the most recent study Nieswiadomy took the LSAC's categorization of test-takers into 162 majors and grouped these into 29 categories, finding the averages of each major:[27]

  1. Mathematics/Physics 160.0
  2. Economics and Philosophy/Theology (tie) 157.4
  3. International relations 156.5
  4. Engineering 156.2
  5. Government/service 156.1
  6. Chemistry 156.1
  7. History 155.9
  8. Interdisciplinary studies 155.5
  9. Foreign languages 155.3
  10. English 155.2
  11. Biology/natural sciences 154.8
  12. Arts 154.2
  13. Computer science 154.0
  14. Finance 153.4
  15. Political science 153.1
  16. Psychology 152.5
  17. Liberal arts 152.4
  18. Anthropology/geography 152.2
  19. Accounting 151.7
  20. Journalism 151.5
  21. Sociology/social work 151.2
  22. Marketing 150.8
  23. Business management 149.7
  24. Education 149.4
  25. Business administration 149.1
  26. Health professions 148.4
  27. Pre-law 148.3
  28. Criminal justice 146.0

End Quote

Thomas Jefferson Law School --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_School_of_Law

. . .

The ranking of the School of Law by U.S. News & World Report is not published, as U.S. News does not publish the ranking of schools that fall below 145. The School of Law is not ranked in National Jurist's rankings of the top 80 law schools in the United States.[According to the law professor blog The Faculty Lounge, 28.8% of the Class of 2012 was employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar admission, ranking 192nd out of 197 law schools. .

"Thomas Jefferson Offers Guaranteed 3-Year 'Merit' Scholarships: 2.0 GPA/140 LSAT = $3k; 2.5 GPA/158 LSAT = $132k," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, March 1, 2014 ---
Especially note the merit scholarship fellowship payoff.

Jensen Comment
Beware of "scholarships" in private universities in general when the tuition net of a scholarship is significantly higher in a private university relative to the tuition and other fees of a comparable or better public or private university.

Also note that the reputation of a program is very, very important. It is often better to go somewhat higher into debt in order to graduate from a highly prestigious program than to pay very little (net) to go to a low-prestige public or private university program. 

In professional programs having licensing requirements to practice, the passage rates on the professional examinations are a factor to consider. For example, there are accounting programs where graduates rarely pass the CPA examination. It's possible to significantly improve chances of passing the CPA examination by changing universities in the fifth year required to take the CPA examination and by investing in a quality CPA coaching course following graduation.  However, a lousy four-year education program is very difficult to overcome!

Universities that have very low passage rates on professional licensing examinations typically are admitting low quality students where there is no chance of passing a licensing examination from get go. Often four-year graduates from low quality undergraduate programs have such low GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc. scores there is little hope of even getting into a quality graduate school.

"Truisms," by Bob Lefsetz, Barry Ritholtz Blog, March 1, 2014 ---

Tumblr is for porn.

Facebook is for the wannabe famous.

Instagram is for those who are too lazy to write.

Texting is social currency. It doesn’t matter how many likes or friends or followers you’ve got, but how many people text you and how regularly, that’s how popularity is judged today.

Pinterest is inexplicable to guys.

Samsung is for those who hate Apple and those too cheap to buy an iPhone (not necessarily the same thing, Apple-haters will buy the most expensive Galaxy).

iPhone 4s means you’re almost at the end of your contract or you’re too cheap to upgrade.

Tesla means you’re more interested in status than utility, or you never drive far from home.

iPhone 5c means you think iPhones really cost a hundred bucks, not north of five hundred.

Windows means you got your computer from work or you’re too cheap to buy a Mac. Argue all you want, perception is everything, and perception is reality.

Hip-hop is the rock and roll of the Millennials. With a dollop of Gen-X’ers thrown in.

Continued in article


Seven Nations Buying Up the World's Gold ---

Jensen Comment
Personally if I were running any of these seven nations, I would instead be buying up the best farmland in North America. I would also buy up farmland in other parts of the world where ownership rights are protected. Forget about buying up farms in nations like Argentina, Venezuela, Russia, Africa, and most parts of Asia. Eating gold is just too hard on teeth.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Ten Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime


This is USA oriented, but Canada & the rest will not be far behind.  Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them.  But, ready or not, here they come.



1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.


2. The Check
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with check by 2018.  It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks.  Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check.  This plays right into the death of the post office.  If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.


3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper.  They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition.  That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man.  As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it.  The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance.  They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.


4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages  I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes.  I wanted my hard copy CD.  But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music.  The same thing will happen with books.  You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy.  And the price is less than half that of a real book.  And think of the convenience!  Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.


5. The Land Line Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore.  Most people keep it simply because they've always had it.  But you are paying double charges for that extra service.  All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.


6. Music
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story.  The music industry is dying a slow death.  Not just because of illegal downloading.  It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it.  Greed and corruption is the problem.  The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing.  Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with.  Older established artists.  This is also true on the live concert circuit.  To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."


7. Television Revenues

To the networks are down dramatically.  Not just because of the economy.  People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers.  And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV.  Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator.  Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  I say good riddance to most of it.  It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery.  Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.


8. The "Things" That You Own
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future.  They may simply reside in "the cloud."  Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents.  Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be.  But all of that is changing.  Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services."  That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system.  So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet.  If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud.  If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud.  And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.  In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device.  That's the good news.  But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?"  Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical?  It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.


9. Joined Handwriting (Cursive Writing)
Already gone in some schools who no longer teach "joined handwriting" because nearly everything is done now on computers or keyboards of some type (pun not intended)


10. Privacy
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy.  That's gone.  It's been gone for a long time anyway..  There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone.  But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View.  If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits..  "They" will try to get you to buy something else.  Again and again.


All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories," but they can fade away ---

Jensen Comment
There are other possibilities. Genetic engineering will eliminate many birth defects and crop defects. Illiteracy will one day be eliminated among athletes at the University of North Carolina. Dying bodies will be harvested for vast storehouses of body parts that compete with parts made in factories. More and more people will follow Colorado's lead on "living high."

One of the last things to go will be cash due to political resistance to elimination of financial fraud and many other types of crime. But cash will eventually become fuel for fireplaces.

The USA will soon lose its courage and will to save Democracy at home and abroad. Democracy, feminism, and law as we know it will give way to global Sharia when King Putin's successors are overthrown: 

Democracy and Feminism are Wrong for the World and Belgium is a Test Case ---

"Storing the Sun:  Aquion manufactures cheap, long-lasting batteries for storing renewable energy.," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, February 18, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Apparently there are economies of scale here. The Aquion batteries are a feasible alternative for home solar panels but not yet cost effective for power plants. I do not have solar panels, but I do have a backup propane generator that powers my entire house at high cost per hour. It only used when the power lines are down like the four-hour outage last week.

Whereas Skip White has solar panels on his barn and sells all the power to his power company in Pennsylvania, this is not a feasible alternative for New Hampshire. Solar panels in NH can only be used to heat hot water. This is cost effective if you use a lot of hot water such as investing in solar panels for hotels and inns. It is not yet very cost effective for homes.

I might note that the Aquion battery was invented by a Carnegie-Mellon materials science professor who also formed the Aquion venture.

When was the last time you ever heard of an accounting professor who invented something cost effective for the accounting profession or clients?
SSRN Download:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2398296 

"Molten Salts Might Provide Half-Price Grid Energy Storage:  A startup, Halotechnics, is building a pilot electricity storage system that will use molten salt," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, February 27, 2014 --- Click Here

Retail Chains With the Worst Customer Service ---

  1. Wal-Mart
  2. Rite Aid
  3. CVS Caremark
  4. Walgreen
  5. Macy's
  6. Safeway
  7. Best Buy
  8. GAP
  10. Winn-Dixie

Jensen Comment
If you focus on telephone or online customer service, my vote is for Verizon. There are of course many others with lousy telephone and online customer service. At the other extreme, two of the best are Amazon and NetFlix in my experience at least.

Interestingly the top four worst of the worst chains for customers service were also at the top of the list of preferred stores by professional shoplifters --- a ranking that I sent out some months ago to the AECM.

There are gangs of professional shoplifters that travel from town to town and hit with tactics somewhat similar to bank robbers without the employee confrontations needed for bank robberies.

These professional shoplifters have no fear of video cameras since stores often do not look at how their horses were stolen until those horses are long gone from the barn.

Professional shoplifters do such things as carry lined purses or wear clothing lined with lead or related materials that shield the stolen merchandise (like expensive computer games, jewelry, clothing, and electronic equipment) from being discovered by those detector poles beside front doors of the store. By the time the stores discover the "shielded" merchandise is missing the thieves (total strangers in the community) are hundreds of miles away.

An interesting course project in AIS, forensic, or managerial accounting might be student projects on how to discourage professional hit-and-run shoplifters with shielded merchandise bags and clothing.

For example, how do you detect a plumpish-looking woman emerging from a dressing room who is wearing four cameras, five new blouses and three new skirts beneath a coat lined with a detection shield?

Students probably should not get credit for suggesting having peep holes in dressing rooms even if the peepers of the same sex such as a woman employee spying on women customers.

However, students maybe should get credit for suggesting that dressing rooms be like athletic locker rooms where coaches can observe all players putting on or taking off uniforms. A Wal-Mart customer who does not want to be observed in this manner would have the choice of not using such an open dressing room where an employee looks on. This might, however, result in some losses of sales.

Alas there is no perfect solution.

A parting thought might be to have a sniffer dog in the front of the store that is trained to detect merchandise brushed with an invisible material known only to the dog.

One time when Erika and I arrived in New Zealand a policeman held on to a beagle that crawled over the luggage coming off our airplane. I asked the cop if the dog was searching for drugs. No the cop said. The dog was searching for food. It's not legal to bring most types of food into New Zealand.

One of the easiest things to do is train a beagle how to search for food.

Americans Lacking Guaranteed Income Options, Survey Says From TIAA-CREF

Jensen Comment on March 5, 2014
Note that faculty and staff in TIAA-CREF colleges and universities do not all have the same retirement options and those options can even change for some periods of time within a given college or university. When I retired on a TIAA fixed lifetime annuity in 2006, I should say fixed annuities (plural), because I have six TIAA annuity contracts rooted in three TIAA-CREF universities where I was on the faculty. I now receive six 1098-R tax reporting forms from TIAA each year, although I only receive one fixed amount credited to my checking account each month for the lifetimes of me and/or Erika, When I was at Florida State University for four years the only option was to be on a state retirement plan. Hence I lost four years of TIAA-CREF contributions for those four years.

Note that you have various retirement payout options irrespective of which colleges contributed to your TIAA-CREF savings in your lifetime, although retirement contracts can vary due to varying retirement payout policies of those colleges. For example, some colleges will not allow you to take your entire savings out in a lump sum whereas others will allow such withdrawals. Or as Somerset Maugham would say --- some colleges allow you to be a "lotus eater" whereas others restrict "lotus eating" ---

You need not choose a fixed lifetime annuity retirement payout plan, although I preferred such a plan. You need not choose a plan until you are contemplating retirement, although you should carefully look at your various options for building up your retirement savings each year you are working in a participating college or university.

TIAA-CREF survey
"Americans Lacking Guaranteed Income Options, Survey Says," Financial Adviser Magazine, March 4, 2014 ---

Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults say they either don't have lifetime income options in retirement or are unaware of whether their employer offers them, according to a TIAA-CREF survey.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said their primary retirement savings goal is guaranteed monthly income. Another 40 percent want to ensure their savings are safe regardless of what happens in the market.

Only 21 percent of respondents said they expect to receive income from annuities.

The survey indicated there is a disconnect between the retirement income recommended by experts and the income Americans believe they need.

Most experts agree people need 70 to 90 percent of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably during retirement, says TIAA-CREF. But one-third of survey respondents who haven’t retired believe they will need only 25 to 50 percent of their pre-retirement income. Another third believe they will need 50 to 75 percent.

The survey also found respondents are unclear about how much they need to save. Experts recommend that Americans save at least 10 to 15 percent of their annual income for retirement, including contributions from their employers. However, the TIAA-CREF survey found that 44 percent of those who haven’t retired are saving 10 percent or less of their annual income and 21 percent aren’t saving for retirement at all.

The survey of 1,017 adults was conducted by an independent research firm between January 3 and 5.

Jensen Comment
As I indicated previously, the Federal Reserve's current zero interest and Quantitative Easing policy currently wiped out making much interest on any safe investments like CDs or TIAA bonds. Sadly, workers in the USA now are thereby forced to take on more financial risks in stocks and real estate which hopefully will build up over a long period of time even if the USA economy has its ups and downs in across the years. The old rule-of-thumb formula of 50% TIAA and 50% CREF is probably not a good idea these days while you are still employed --- not that it was the ideal formula back in my days. Most of my working life for 40 years I was on 25% TIAA and 75% CREF, but there were years when I was 100% CREF and other years when I was on 100% TIAA for current contributions. There are restrictions for shifting your accumulated savings out of TIAA than for shifting your entire savings out of CREF --- until your are very close to retirement.

I liked the lifetime annuity payout plan because I hope to live beyond my actuarial life expectancy. If this happens the lifetime annuity is a gift from TIAA that keeps on giving after your retirement funds are used up.

Of course many of you can purchase retirement annuities elsewhere such as from Fidelity or Vanguard. Also you can choose variable rather than fixed annuities.

Below is a repeat of my earlier message on this topic that links to the Justin Fox article.

Why do so few people going into retirement decide against lifetime fixed annuities?

Jensen Answer
In 2006 I opted for TIAA lifetime annuities that pay out a fixed amount of monthly income for as long as my wife and/or I are alive. Other options included variable lifetime annuities (that go up and down with the stock market) and lump-sum withdrawals of cash that we could manage ourselves. Lump-sum withdrawal might have been more attractive if we were already sufficiently wealthy to have retirement needs covered. Then we could have given more away to family and charities. But we were not that wealthy.

At our ages inflation is less of a risk concern than for younger people who are still investing toward retirement. However, if I were advising a younger person who becomes eligible for a TIAA payout because of a divorce I would stress the inflation risks of a very long-term fixed annuity. A variable annuity becomes a better option depending upon age.

The huge unexpected benefit from our 2006 TIAA retirement deal was that our fixed monthly annuity income was not affected by the economic crash of 2008 like it would have been with a variable lifetime annuity. Since the stock market eventually recovered such losses in monthly income would have eventually recovered pretty well except for the losses before the stock market bounced back.

It was just plain luck that I retired in 2006 rather than 2009. The decision of the Federal Reserve to drive interest rates down to nearly zero coupled with the Quantitative Easing program must have made it very difficult for TIAA to offer fixed annuity deals after 2008 like the deal I negotiated in 2006. However, I did not investigate the difference between the monthly annuity amount I negotiated in 2006 with the amount I could have negotiated with TIAA  in 2009.

Note that interest rates on safe investments like bonds and CDs have not bounced back like the stock market. This is because of the damaging policies of the Federal Reserve on the what used to be safer investments --- safer investments that now return virtually zero. I don't look for safe investments to return much of anything for a long, long time. The Fed has forced investors to take on more financial risks with its low-interest policies that don't don't seriously show signs of change in our troubled unemployment economy.

There are various other considerations when negotiating a retirement annuity, some of which are discussed by Harvard's Justin Fox in the article below. I listened carefully to the advantages and disadvantages of retirement annuities that the TIAA counselor laid out for me before I signed on the dotted line. One consideration for me was the 10-year grace period in which a declining balance in our retirement fund balance goes into our inheritance estate if Erika and I both die before 2016. After 2016 nothing of this balance goes into our estates and if we live long enough TIAA takes a big hit. However, we felt that we had sufficient outside savings to make our children sufficient bequests if we pass on after 2016. Retirees without much in the way of outside savings might not like this 10-year limit.

There are also other uncertainties. For example, there can be tax advantages or disadvantages of lump-sum withdrawals at retirement. Investors who feel almost certain that income taxes are going to become much higher in the future might opt for a lump-sum payout. Those that think taxes will be lower are less inclined to opt for the lump-sum payout, although there are other considerations. For example, if I had taken a lump-sum payout I probably would have invested most of the payout in an insured long-term tax exempt mutual fund even though there are ups and downs in the values of such funds --- even though the tax-free cash flows are fairly steady month-to-month.

I did not cover some of the points mentioned by Justin Fox in the article below.

Always take advantage of the free investment counseling of your Personnel Department and the companies trying to sell you a retirement annuity. Personally I'm not a big fan of paying for investment advice since there are so many free services from TIAA, Vangard, Fidelity, etc. Professionals in these outfits will talk to you for free.

"What Do People Have Against Retirement Income?" by Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review Blog, February 25, 2014 ---

Bob Jensen's free investment helpers that may not be worth the price are at

Have you ever attempted to write something with randomly generated strings of sentences?
In 2005 MIT has software for doing just that, and publishers with red faces are now withdrawing 120 scientific papers ---

Learn Right From Wrong with Oxford’s Free Course A Romp Through Ethics for Complete Beginners ---

Jensen Comment
This may be terrific, but in general I do not recommend MOOCs for introductory courses in any discipline. MOOCs tend to work better for learners who have some expertice alread on a given topic and are seeking fine tuning at an advanced level.

Download 100 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs and other learning materials provided free to the world by prestigious universities ---

"edX and Facebook Team Up to Offer Free Education in Rwanda," by Lawrence Biemiller, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 24, 2014 ---

The nonprofit online-learning organization edX will work with Facebook and two other companies to provide free, localized education to students in Rwanda on “affordable” smart phones, Facebook and edX said on Monday.

edX, a provider of massive open online courses that was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help create a mobile teaching app that is integrated with Facebook and “optimized for a low-bandwidth environment.” As part of the program, called SocialEDU, edX will also work with the Rwandan government to adapt materials for a pilot course.

Anant Agarwal, edX’s president, said in a written statement: “Improving global access to high-quality education has been a key edX goal from Day 1. Nearly half of our two million students come from developing countries, with 10 percent from Africa. In partnering with Facebook on this innovative pilot, we hope to learn how we can take this concept to the world.”

Also participating in the program are Nokia, the device manufacturer, and the service provider Airtel, which “will provide free education data for everyone in Rwanda who participates in the program for one year.”

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs and other learning materials provided free to the world by prestigious universities ---

Princeton's Nobel Laureate economist and political activist Paul Krugman is sometimes known to cherry pick data or even invent data in order to make a political point ---
Paul Krugman --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Krugman

. . .

Krugman's columns have drawn criticism as well as praise. A 2003 article in The Economist[ questioned Krugman's "growing tendency to attribute all the world's ills to George Bush," citing critics who felt that "his relentless partisanship is getting in the way of his argument" and claiming errors of economic and political reasoning in his columns. Daniel Okrent, a former The New York Times ombudsman, in his farewell column, criticized Krugman for what he said was "the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assault.

"The Missing Data in Krugman’s German Austerity Narrative" Daniel J. Mitchell, Townhall, February 25, 2014 ---

There’s an ongoing debate about Keynesian economics, stimulus spending, and various versions of fiscal austerity, and regular readers know I do everything possible to explain that you can promote added prosperity by reducing the burden of government spending.

. . .

But here’s the problem with his article. We know from the (misleading) examples above (not quoted here)  that he’s complained about supposed austerity in places such as the United Kingdom and France, so one would think that the German government must have been more profligate with the public purse.

After all, Krugman wrote they haven’t “imposed a lot of [austerity] on themselves.”

So I followed the advice in Krugman’s “public service announcement.” I didn’t just repeat what people have said. I dug into the data to see what happened to government spending in various nations.

And I know you’ll be shocked to see that Krugman was wrong. The Germans have been more frugal (at least in the sense of increasing spending at the slowest rate) than nations that supposedly are guilty of “spending cuts.”

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

Netflix’s Deal With Comcast Isn’t About Net Neutrality—Except That It IsSome ---

One take away from this is that Netflix is currently hogging a third of all USA Web traffic for video streaming. Add to this the video streaming growth of Amazon and suddenly it's possible that video streaming will hog nearly half of all Web traffic.

After a CPA Firm Audit
The District of Columbia's Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) program, intended to help students and families pay for college, providing up to $50,000 a year to students who attend eligible schools, has failed to account for millions of taxpayer dollars ---

Jensen Comment
Why doesn't this come as a big surprise since so many government programs with fabulous intentions become fraudster piñatas due to lack of internal controls?

Questions That Are Too Difficult to Answer

"Evaluating the Payoff of a College Degree:  Is college worth it?" by Beckie Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 24, 2014 ---

Is college worth it?

News articles raising that question, and reports meant to answer it, are piling up at a steady clip.

And the answer has real consequences for anyone advising a student about whether and where to go to college, and for policy makers wondering if the country has too many degree holders, or too few.

A paper released on Monday by the Urban Institute seeks to add context to the debate over whether college pays off. The paper, “Higher Education Earnings Premium: Value, Variation, and Trends,” was written by Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the research organization.

The paper’s main takeaway: “The payoff is high, and rising,” Ms. Baum says. “But it’s not as simple as that.”

Calculating the payoff of a degree requires a series of choices that lead to different results.

The earnings premium of a college degree looks different depending on how the data are cut. For instance, the earnings gap between workers with and without four-year college degrees will be larger in a study that examines everyone in the labor force than in one that considers only full-time workers. That’s because college graduates are more likely to be employed and to work full time than people with less education.

Another choice is whether to look at the earnings of recent graduates or to consider graduates’ whole working lives. The earnings gap between workers with and without college degrees is higher for older workers, so focusing on recent graduates paints an incomplete picture.

But looking at lifetime earnings also introduces a problem: There’s no guarantee that the labor market will treat today’s young workers in the same way it treated their predecessors.

If researchers are comparing workers with and without bachelor’s degrees, they must also decide how to treat graduate degrees. Including workers with advanced degrees will overstate the payoff of a bachelor’s degree, the paper says. But excluding them will understate it because bachelor’s degrees open the door to graduate school.

In the end, there’s “no one answer” for how to look at this set of dilemmas, Ms. Baum says. But it is important to understand the pros and cons of any approach.

Jensen Comment
To the extent that people who do not go to college are on average less intelligent, less motivated, and do not have financial support of family for careers such as starting a new business or carrying on with the family farm, there's a huge problem of attributing cause from correlation outcomes when comparing college graduates from those who only graduated from high school.

High school graduates who are on average more intelligent, more motivated, and have financial support of family for careers such as starting a new business or carrying on with the family farm are likely to do well in life even if they did not go to college. In other words the causes of economic success may be more fundamental than simply having a college diploma. Many college graduates would have done well in life even if they had not gone to college.

Personal Note
We have a son and his wife that went deeply in debt to graduate from college (he in business and she in law enforcement). They did this at a time when both became unemployed. They had high grades, but when they struggled to find employment they both ended up in jobs that do not require any college education.

In Germany only about 25% of the population is allowed into college. Germany takes great pride in the economic opportunities for people in the skilled trades. In the USA there's a shortage of workers in the skilled trades because your a nobody unless you learn to read after graduating from high school and go on to college.

Tertiary education --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertiary_education

Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers.[1] Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education and training beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.

Tertiary education generally culminates in the receipt of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.

Education by Country --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_education_articles_by_country

Education in Germany --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Germany

The Most Educated Countries in the World (in terms of "tertiary education") ---

  1. Canada
  2. Israel
  3. Japan
  4. United States
  5. New Zealand
  6. South Korea
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Finland
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

Countries with the highest proportions of  college graduates ---

  1. Russian Federation 54.0% (quality varies due to rampant cheating and corruption where students can buy course grades and admission)
  2. Canada 48.3%
  3. Israel 43.6%
  4. Japan 41.0%
  5. New Zealand 41.0%
  6. United States 40.3% (colleges vary greatly in terms of admissions standards and rigor for graduation)
  7. Finland 36.4%
  8. South Korea 34.3%
  9. Norway 34.2%
  10. Australia 33.7%

Germany is still under the OECD average in terms of proportions of college graduates at 23.9% ---
http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/2010/09/education-governments-should-expand-tertiary-studies-to-boost-jobs-and-tax-revenues.html .

Jensen Comment
This tidbit was inspired by reference to the fact that tertiary education in Germany was free and is now returning to virtually free. Note, however, that getting into college in Germany is extremely competitive based mostly upon examinations along the way in what we call K-12 schools ---

Note there's a huge difference between free tuition and free college education covering tuition, room, board, transportation, computers, books, etc. It's much more likely in the USA that students can both live at home and get college degrees due to higher numbers of nearby college campuses all across the USA and the increasing prevalence online college degree opportunities relative to all of Europe, especially in Germany. Germans may get free tuition, but they may have to leave home and pay for their own relatively expensive room and board in large cities.

Germany has a smaller proportion of college graduates in large measure due somewhat to both the status and the wages of people that elect to go into the skilled trades rather than college where salaries may often be lower.

But the primary reason is the limited space in German universities and the competitiveness of the qualifying examinations to get in. Unlike the USA, first year German college students are good in reading, writing, and college-level mathematics. In the USA colleges increasingly are faced with students needing to have remedial courses in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Germany is still under the OECD average in terms of proportions of college graduates at 23.9% ---
http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/2010/09/education-governments-should-expand-tertiary-studies-to-boost-jobs-and-tax-revenues.html .

The study's setting off the usual alarm bells (g) in Germany. I speculated on the cause of Germany's low college-graduation rates a while ago, but I think one factor I forgot to mention is cost. It's not that some German universities have introduced tuition fees -- in international comparison, these tuition fees are negligible. The problem is rather that Germany has a woefully inadequate system for financing higher education. Germany does have a loan/grant scheme for students (called Bafoeg), but it's extremely complex and miserly (g). Not that I'm a big fan of student loans, but a well-regulated system of affordable student loans is much better than Germany's current system of measly scholarships, half-time university posts, and help from relatives.

Even if simple, affordable loans were available, the problem would remained that lots of young Germans are reluctant to face what students in most other countries have long accepted: college costs money, and that means debt. I'm consistently surprised to meet Germans who could have gone to college but didn't, and instead decided to become hairdressers, chimney sweeps, butchers, or machinists. There are ads all over my university right now which advise university students who "don't like studying" to drop out of college and train to become air-traffic controllers.

The rationale behind people who choose these professions is that "we'll always need" people to do these jobs, so they offer steadier employment. I'm not so sure. In fact, something tells me that 15 years from now or so, we're going to need a whole lot fewer human air-traffic controllers than we do now...

In comparison say in the USA and Australia, the skilled trades may pay better in many instances but the social status of college graduates is generally higher relative to the status of skilled trades workers in Germany. Also in the USA college graduates are less bounded due to the American Dream of reaching almost unheard of salaries as physicians, veterinarians, corporate executives, etc. relative to counterparts in Germany where white collar salaries are more bounded by taxes and culture relative to living expenses (that are generally higher, especially for big houses luxury condos, and acreages).

There is an increasing and long-delayed initiative to open up the German education system to be more like the North American dreams.

Berlin's Gymnasium Lottery
In 2009 the Berlin Senate decided that Berlin's gymnasium schools should no longer be allowed to pick all of their students. It was ruled that while they would be able to pick 70% to 65% of their students, the other places were to be allocated by lottery. Every child is able to enter the lottery, no matter how he or she performed in primary school. It is hoped that this policy will increase the number of working class students attending a gymnasium. The Left proposed that Berlin gymnasiums should no longer be allowed to expel students who perform poorly, so that students who won a gymnasium place in the lottery have a higher chance of graduating from that school. It is not clear yet whether Berlin's senate will decide in favor of The Left's proposal.

"American High Schools Are A Complete Disaster," by Laurence Steinberg, Slate via Business Insider, February 13, 2014 ---

Every once in a while, education policy squeezes its way onto President Obama's public agenda, as it did in during last month's State of the Union address.

Lately, two issues have grabbed his (and just about everyone else's) attention: early-childhood education and access to college.

But while these scholastic bookends are important, there is an awful lot of room for improvement between them.

American high schools, in particular, are a disaster.

In international assessments, our elementary school students generally score toward the top of the distribution, and our middle school students usually place somewhat above the average. But our high school students score well below the international average, and they fare especially badly in math and science compared with our country's chief economic rivals.

What's holding back our teenagers?

One clue comes from a little-known 2003 study based on OECD data that compares the world’s 15-year-olds on two measures of student engagement: participation and “belongingness.” The measure of participation was based on how often students attended school, arrived on time, and showed up for class. The measure of belongingness was based on how much students felt they fit in to the student body, were liked by their schoolmates, and felt that they had friends in school. We might think of the first measure as an index of academic engagement and the second as a measure of social engagement.

On the measure of academic engagement, the U.S. scored only at the international average, and far lower than our chief economic rivals: China, Korea, Japan, and Germany. In these countries, students show up for school and attend their classes more reliably than almost anywhere else in the world. But on the measure of social engagement, the United States topped China, Korea, and Japan.

In Americahigh school is for socializing. It's a convenient gathering place, where the really important activities are interrupted by all those annoying classes. For all but the very best American students—the ones in AP classes bound for the nation’s most selective colleges and universities—high school is tedious and unchallenging. Studies that have tracked American adolescents’ moods over the course of the day find that levels of boredom are highest during their time in school.

It's not just No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top that has failed our adolescents—it's every single thing we have tried.

One might be tempted to write these findings off as mere confirmation of the well-known fact that adolescents find everything boring. In fact, a huge proportion of the world's high school students say that school is boring. But American high schools are even more boring than schools in nearly every other country, according to OECD surveys. And surveys of exchange students who have studied in America, as well as surveys of American adolescents who have studied abroad, confirm this. More than half of American high school students who have studied in another country agree that our schools are easier. Objectively, they are probably correct: American high school students spend far less time on schoolwork than their counterparts in the rest of the world.

Trends in achievement within the U.S. reveal just how bad our high schools are relative to our schools for younger students. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, routinely tests three age groups: 9-year-olds, 13-year-olds, and 17-year-olds. Over the past 40 years, reading scores rose by 6 percent among 9-year-olds and 3 percent among 13-year-olds. Math scores rose by 11 percent among 9-year-olds and 7 percent among 13-year-olds.

By contrast, high school students haven’t made any progress at all. Reading and math scores have remained flat among 17-year-olds, as have their scores on subject area tests in science, writing, geography, and history. And by absolute, rather than relative, standards, American high school students’ achievement is scandalous.

In other words, over the past 40 years, despite endless debates about curricula, testing, teacher training, teachers’ salaries, and performance standards, and despite billions of dollars invested in school reform, there has been no improvement—none—in the academic proficiency of American high school students.

It's not just No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top that has failed our adolescents—it's every single thing we have tried. The list of unsuccessful experiments is long and dispiriting. Charter high schools don’t perform any better than standard public high schools, at least with respect to student achievement. Students whose teachers “teach for America” don’t achieve any more than those whose teachers came out of conventional teacher certification programs.

Once one accounts for differences in the family backgrounds of students who attend public and private high schools,
 there is no advantage to going to private school, either. Vouchers make no difference in student outcomes. No wonder school administrators and teachers from Atlanta to Chicago to my hometown of Philadelphia have been caught fudging data on student performance. It's the only education strategy that consistently gets results.

The especially poor showing of high schools in America is perplexing. It has nothing to do with high schools having a more ethnically diverse population than elementary schools. In fact, elementary schools are more ethnically diverse than high schools, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Nor do high schools have more poor students. Elementary schools in America are more than twice as likelyto be classified as “high-poverty” than secondary schools.

Salaries are about the same for secondary and elementary school teachers. They have comparable years of education and similar years of experience. Student-teacher ratios are the same in our elementary and high schools. So are the amounts of time that students spend in the classroom. We don't shortchange high schools financially either; American school districts actually spend a little more per capita on
 high school students thanelementary school students.

Our high school classrooms are not understaffed, underfunded, or underutilized, by international standards. According to a 2013 OECD report, only Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland spend more per student. Contrary to widespread belief, American high school teachers’ salaries are comparable to those in most European and Asian countries, as are American class sizes and student-teacher ratios. And American high school students actually spend as many or more hours in the classroom each year than their counterparts in other developed countries.

This underachievement is costly: One-fifth of four-year college entrants and one-half of those entering community college need remedial education, at a cost of $3 billion each year.

The president's call for expanding access to higher education by making college more affordable, while laudable on the face of it, is not going to solve our problem. The president and his education advisers have misdiagnosed things. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of college entry in the industrialized world.

Yet it is tied for last in the rate of college completion. More than one-third of U.S. students who enter a full-time, two-year college program 
drop out just after one year, as do about one fifth of students who enter a four-year college. In other words, getting our adolescents to go to college isn't the issue. It's getting them to graduate.

If this is what we hope to accomplish, we need to rethink high school in America. It is true that providing high-quality preschool to all children is an important component of comprehensive education reform. But we can't just do this, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. Early intervention is an investment, not an inoculation.

In recent years experts in early-child development have called for programs designed to strengthen children's “non-cognitive” skills, pointing to research that demonstrates that later scholastic success hinges not only on conventional academic abilities but on capacities like self-control. Research on the determinants of success in adolescence and beyond has come to a similar conclusion: If we want our teenagers to thrive, we need to help them develop the non-cognitive traits it takes to complete a college degree—traits like determination, self-control, and grit.

This means classes that really challenge students to work hard—something that fewer than one in six high school students report experiencing, according to Diploma to Nowhere, a 2008 report published by Strong American Schools. Unfortunately, our high schools demand so little of students that these essential capacities aren’t nurtured. As a consequence, many high school graduates, even those who have acquired the necessary academic skills to pursue college coursework, lack the wherewithal to persevere in college. Making college more affordable will not fix this problem, though we should do that too.

Continued in article

"AAUP Leaders Face Backlash Over Unionization Emphasis," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 26, 2014 ---

Two former presidents of the American Association of University Professors, Jane L. Buck and Cary Nelson, have put together a four-member slate of candidates bent on ousting the association’s current leadership, which they say is too focused on union organizing and neglectful of its historical mission.

Members of the group challenging the AAUP’s top officers in the association’s coming national elections call themselves the Unity Slate. They argue in a manifesto posted on their Facebook page that those now in charge of the organization have “sought to divide the association against itself by creating a false dichotomy” between its union and nonunion chapters, to the detriment of the latter.

Ms. Buck, who served as the AAUP’s president from 2000 to 2006 and is seeking election to that position once again, argues in her own candidate statement that the association is making a mistake by failing to vigorously represent members who do not belong to a unionized chapter or any chapter at all.

“It would be a tragic loss if we were to weaken our historic commitment to academic freedom, shared governance, and tenure—a commitment that distinguishes us from other organizations,” her statement says.

The four top AAUP officers that the new slate is challenging, who easily won office in 2012 as part of a slate called Organizing for Change and who are now seeking re-election under that banner, have issued statements accusing Ms. Buck and Mr. Nelson of “falsehood and distortion.” They argue that if there is division within the AAUP, its source is “the persistent and groundless fear-mongering about a phony collective-bargaining takeover spread by Buck, Nelson, and their shrinking group of supporters.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Rudy H. Fichtenbaum, who is running for re-election as the AAUP’s president, said the real choice before its members was whether the association would continue to build a national network of activist chapters or retreat into being a group focused on running a Washington office that weighs in on few controversies each year.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the leaning political tower of higher education in general ---

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on February 28, 2014

Quiznos prepares for bankruptcy
Sandwich chain Quiznos is preparing to file for bankruptcy-court protection within weeks as it contends with unhappy franchisees and a $570 million debt load,
the WSJ reports. Quiznos has been negotiating with creditors for weeks on a restructuring plan that would streamline its trip through bankruptcy court, these people said, but a deal hasn’t yet been reached. While a Chapter 11 filing would give the company much-needed flexibility on leases and unattractive contracts, the company must repair its damaged relationship with franchise owners who say they’re being squeezed out of business by the high cost of operating a Quiznos outlet.

Jensen Comment
Although there are no Quiznos outlets to my knowledge in the White Mountains, I hope this chain recovers from bankruptcy. I always like Quiznos sandwiches better than Subway sandwiches.

"Higher Ed's Illusions Academics think their students are prepared for the workforce," The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2014 ---

For years, polling data has shown that Americans hold the U.S. Congress in low esteem, with the Members' approval often sinking into the teens. So guess which American institution is on course to join them? It's our colleges and universities. Congress at least admits it's doing a poor job. The colleges don't.

This surprising result emerged this week in a news report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which noted the vast disconnect in two recent surveys on the value colleges are providing:

"The survey, conducted by Gallup in partnership with the Lumina Foundation, indicates that just 11% of business leaders 'strongly agree' that today's graduates have the skills and competencies that their businesses need. In contrast, a recent Gallup survey found that 96% of college and university chief academic officers said they were 'extremely or somewhat confident' in their institution's ability to prepare students for work-force success."

As the famous movie line put it, what we seem to have here is a failure to communicate.

The Gallup-Lumina survey revealed that 88% of business leaders would like to have more collaboration with the schools, presumably to help improve the mismatch between knowledge learned and skills needed.

Among the general population, the survey found a remarkable amount of common sense. Some 95% think one needs a certificate or degree beyond high school, and 75% know employers are looking at the actual skills a college degree confers. These people understand the realities of the new American workplace. Whether welding materials or writing code, one needs higher skills. Asked if higher education institutions need to change to meet these needs, 89% said yes.

We're going to guess that most U.S. college administrators aren't as oblivious as that 96% we're-doing-fine figure suggests. But they do have something in common with government: Many have become terrible bureaucracies and hard to change.

A staple of speeches on the American future is that the U.S. higher-ed system is still the world's greatest. That may be true. But it's time for these institutions to recognize they are getting a wake-up call from the world beyond the ivy-covered walls.

Reply from Bob Jensen on February 28, 2014

Hi Bill,

I think you cut through the chase on this one. This article is mostly based upon opinions of business executives (who in turn rely on their on-the-job supervisors) who do not reveal their specific judgmental criteria.

We can only speculate, but the usual speculations focus in writing ability, social and intellectual maturity, critical thinking, and evidence of scholarship they think they had years ago when they graduated. I don't think the criteria focus on operational training specifics such as in-depth Excel skills, although this may be a factor in some disciplines where employers of computer science majors expect technical programming skills in such things as C++.

Part of executive frustration these days probably can be traced to grade inflation. When they hire a graduate with a 3.4 gpa they sometimes don't realize this is probably the median gpa of the graduating class.

But there are no specifics in the article. For sure they want better writers at a time when course instructors are assigning less writing and letting a lot of plagiarism slip through the cracks.

Just some thoughts,


Tips from my hero David Pogue --- https://www.yahoo.com/tech/tagged/the-pogue-review

TiVo Roamio, I Think I Love You," by David A. Pogue, Yahoo Tech, January 30, 2013 ---

"How to Get Hacked in 5 Exciting Steps," by David A. Pogue, Yahoo Tech, February 18. 2014 ---

"You’re Using Your Camera’s Flash Wrong," Yahoo Tech, February 27. 2014 ---

Continued at

"Where Did the Bitcoins Go? The Mt. Gox Shutdown, Explained," by Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg Businessweek, February 26, 2014 ---

Thieves are not melting them down into fashion jewelry.

John Stewart's explanation ---

Jensen Comment
I'm a big fan of the AMT and hope that it will become even more taxing in future tax reforms. The AMT should also apply to giant corporations like GE AND Starbucks that pay almost no corporate income taxes.

"Beware the Stealth Tax: How to Minimize the Damage of the Alternative Minimum Tax," by Laura Saunders, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2014 ---

Lee Linton never dreamed he would owe the alternative minimum tax, a levy first imposed nearly 50 years ago to keep the wealthy from overusing tax breaks.

"I thought the AMT was for people with stock options or fancy tax moves," says the 55-year-old utility engineer, who lives in Crystal River, Fla. "But I'm single and take the standard deduction."

Yet when Mr. Linton recently figured his 2013 taxes, he owed $3,000 of AMT on top of his regular tax bill—probably because he took $90,000 of capital gains last year in rearranging his portfolio for retirement. He says his marginal tax rate on the sale topped 27%, nearly double the 15% rate he expected to pay on his long-term capital gains.

"If I had seen it coming, I would have spread the sale over two years," Mr. Linton says. Now he is warning friends that "the AMT isn't just a tax for the 1%."

Indeed it isn't. According to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, the alternative minimum tax will raise about $26 billion from four million taxpayers in 2013, nearly two-thirds of them with incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 (see chart on this page).

(Bar chart not shown here)

The average AMT paid by those subject to it was $7,212 in 2011, according to the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service.

The levy these taxpayers face is one that National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson calls "a Rube Goldberg contraption of unnecessary complexity." In essence, it is a flat tax that rescinds valuable benefits, such as deductions and exemptions, and eliminates the benefit of lower brackets in the regular tax.

Taxpayers have to figure their tax under both the AMT and regular systems and, if the AMT exceeds the regular tax, pay the excess amount.

Years ago, say experts, the AMT was typically owed by wealthy investors or executives who had benefited from breaks for incentive stock options, accelerated depreciation on assets, intangible drilling costs and the like.

But not now. Lawmakers enacted adjustments that prevented 28 million new taxpayers from owing AMT for 2013 in last year's fiscal-cliff legislation. But they didn't undo the effects of many earlier years of inflation that still pulls in many others, says Roberton Williams, a Tax Policy Center expert.

As a result, the AMT now applies to eight times as many taxpayers as it did 20 years ago, and common AMT "triggers" often are less esoteric than in the past. "They can be as simple as having three or more children, taking a large capital gain, or—especially—deducting state and local taxes," says Dave Kautter, managing director at American University's Kogod Tax Center, who studies the AMT.

Some taxpayers, like Mr. Linton, are blindsided by the AMT because of this expansion. Others don't see it coming because the levy's impact is unpredictable, the result of odd interactions between two utterly different systems.

Larry Gottlieb, an 83-year-old retired pathologist in Madison, Wis., says he will owe AMT for the first time this year. It will add $900 to his regular tax bill, even though virtually all his income is from an individual retirement account and his modest deductions have changed little since last year.

"My frustration is, I can't figure out what triggered it," he says.

For taxpayers struggling with the AMT, there is some good news: Congress's top tax-policy makers—House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.)—both advocate ending the levy, and AMT repeal is included in Rep. Camp's tax-overhaul proposal, which he released Wednesday.

But that could be long in coming, especially as lawmakers will need to make up lost revenue from elsewhere. Until then, here is what taxpayers need to know about the AMT to help minimize or even avoid it.

What's the rate?

The AMT's rate isn't always what it is advertised to be, and neither is the exemption. Its top nominal rate is 28%, and the 2013 exemption is $80,800 of AMT income for married couples filing jointly ($51,900 for single filers).

But taxpayers should take those numbers with a grain of salt. Because the AMT's exemption phases out starting at $156,500 for couples and $117,300 for singles, a taxpayer's marginal rate can be 35% during the phaseout.

"This can be a trap for people who assume their AMT rate will be 28%," Kogod's Mr. Kautter says. Once the phaseout is complete, the taxpayer may return to a 28% AMT rate or re-enter the regular tax system.

Taxpayers also should be aware that "AMT income," and therefore the AMT exemption, often bears little relation to figures appearing elsewhere on the tax return, such as adjusted gross income or taxable income, because the AMT is a separate system with a different definition of income.

Some write-offs are more equal than others.

The AMT allows some deductions, clips others and disallows others entirely.

Deductions allowed by the AMT include charitable contributions and mortgage interest—but not home-equity-loan interest, with some exceptions.

Curtailed deductions in 2013 include some medical and dental expenses normally allowed for people over 65, plus a variety of business items, such as depreciation and net operating losses, that are postponed until later years.

Disallowed deductions include those for state and local taxes, plus miscellaneous items such as unreimbursed travel expenses and investment fees.

Experts say that high state and local taxes are one of the most important AMT triggers for many people, either alone or in combination with others. High-tax states tend to have the highest percentages of AMT taxpayers (see chart on this page). A small consolation for this large deduction loss is that often all or part of a state tax refund isn't taxable under the AMT, either.

For a full list of AMT "preferences," as the disallowed benefits are called, see IRS Form 6251 and its instructions.

There's nothing standard about the standard deduction.

Taxpayers who don't itemize their deductions separately on Schedule A typically claim the standard deduction instead. For 2013, it is $12,200 for married couples and $6,100 for single filers.

But the standard deduction is disallowed under the AMT. Thus Mr. Kautter advises AMT payers who usually take it to see whether they could save tax by itemizing deductions such as mortgage interest and charitable contributions on Schedule A—even if the total comes to less than the standard deduction would.

"It could be the difference between getting a partial deduction and none at all," he says.

The AMT is family-unfriendly.

For 2013, each personal and dependent exemption is worth $3,900 under the regular tax. (A dependent is typically your child or someone you support by paying more than half their expenses.) Under the AMT, these deductions aren't allowed.

While family size obviously shouldn't be determined by the AMT, experts say that taxpayers with large families should remember they are more likely to owe the tax than others, especially if they have other triggers.

Beware of investment income.

Long-term capital gains aren't a formal trigger for the AMT, and long-term gains and qualified dividends remain taxed at lower rates even for AMT taxpayers. And no, the AMT doesn't limit the use of capital losses.

But taxpayers shouldn't ignore the potential for investment income to act as an informal AMT trigger.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I'm a big fan of the AMT and hope that it will become even more taxing in future tax reforms. The AMT should also apply to giant corporations like GE AND Starbucks that pay almost no corporate income taxes.

"G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether," by David Kocieniewski, The New York Times, March 31, 2011 ---

General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.

Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.

While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well. Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less.

In a regulatory filing just a week before the Japanese disaster put a spotlight on the company’s nuclear reactor business, G.E.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers ---

From the Scout Report on February 28, 2014

Attending --- http://attending.io/ 

So you'd like to invite some friends and colleagues to an event? There are plenty of ways to accomplish this task and the Attending application can handle it with ease. Visitors don't need to sign in but can create their own free event page straight away. As the site notes, the point of this application is to help users "put on any kind of small, free, useful event." It is compatible with all operating systems.

Scissors Fly --- https://www.scissorsfly.com/ 

Scissors Fly is a great way to collect and organize pieces of bric-a-brac from around the web. To help you get started, the homepage offers a great demonstration and the Explore feature shows you a beta version of what your scrapbook can look like. It's quite fun to use and interested parties can organize their clippings, edit their boards and share them with others around the world. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

The oldest piece of Earth is discovered in Australia
4.4 billion-year-old crystal is oldest piece of Earth

Australian gem is 'oldest piece of Earth ever found'

At 4.4 Billion Years Old, Oz Crystals Confirmed as Worlds' Oldest

Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography

Zircon chronology: Dating the Oldest Material on Earth

How Carbon-14 Dating Works

From the Scout Report on March 7, 2014

Bookie --- https://bmark.us/ 

Open source bookmarking apps are growing in popularity and Bookie is one that's worth a look. Visitors can use the app to import their existing bookmarks from Google or Delicious.com or parse out page content as well. Users can also check out an FAQ area and create a user profile. This version is mobile friendly and compatible with all operating systems.

TimeStats --- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/timestats/ejifodhjoeeenihgfpjijjmpomaphmah 

Ever wonder how much time you spend on any given website? Now you can find out with TimeStats. This version of the Chrome extension allows users to collect stats on the websites they visit each day, week, or month. Users can even create graphs and charts to visually look at how much time they spend on these sites. This version is compatible with computers running Google Chrome 33 and newer.

Another winter record in the Midwest
Great Lakes top 90% ice cover, zeros in on record

Official Great Lakes ice coverage headed for record

Ice cover on Great Lakes climbs rapidly

NOAA: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Great Lakes Maritime History Project

Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks


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

Education Tutorials

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

National Association of Biology Teachers --- http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=38

The A&P Professor (Anatomy & Physiology) --- http://www.theap

Online Resources: Anatomy --- http://guides.library.ualberta.ca/content.php?pid=80694&sid=598248

Bench to Blackboard (learn genetics) --- http://www.bioedonline.org/online-courses/bench-to-blackboard/

Gene You: Genetics and Inheritance ---

Veterinary Anatomical Illustrations --- http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/Science/VetAnatImgs

Human Anatomy --- http://www.upstate.edu/cdb/education/grossanat/

Instant Anatomy --- http://www.instantanatomy.net/podcasts.html

Nervous System, Neurons, Nerves --- http://www.nsta.org/publications/interactive/nerves/

Open Learning Initiative: Anatomy & Physiology

Anatomical Sciences Image Library --- http://www.anatomy.org/content/anatom

Visible Body --- http://www.visiblebody.com/

Anatomy Arcade --- http://www.anatomyarcade.com/

Get Body Smart  --- http://www.getbodysmart.com/

Understanding Life (physiology) --- http://www.understanding-life.org/

Video & Sound Gallery: National Institutes of Health (biomedical research) --- http://nih.gov/about/director/videogallery.htm

Circulating Now (history of medicine) --- http://circulatingnow.nlm.nih.gov/

Wellcome Images (Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, Persian books plus a biomedical collection --- also found here, includes over 40,000 high-quality images) ---

Amber Waves (food and agriculture) --- http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves

Food Research And Action Center --- http://www.frac.org/index.html

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History --- http://peabody.yale.edu/peabody-online

From the Scout Report on February 28, 2014

The oldest piece of Earth is discovered in Australia
4.4 billion-year-old crystal is oldest piece of Earth

Australian gem is 'oldest piece of Earth ever found'

At 4.4 Billion Years Old, Oz Crystals Confirmed as Worlds' Oldest

Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography

Zircon chronology: Dating the Oldest Material on Earth

How Carbon-14 Dating Works

From the Scout Report on March 7, 2014

Another winter record in the Midwest
Great Lakes top 90% ice cover, zeros in on record

Official Great Lakes ice coverage headed for record

Ice cover on Great Lakes climbs rapidly

NOAA: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Great Lakes Maritime History Project

Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Stanford Social Innovation Review --- http://www.ssireview.org/
This is a magazine and blog aimed mainly at progressives and philantropists who will fund much social innovation and business social responsibility of the world beyond expenses and investments footed by shareholders and taxpayers. The appeal is for more innovative solutions.
Also see Ashoka --- https://www.ashoka.org/
Also see The Aspen Institute --- http://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/blog
Bob Jensen's related threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#Social

Urban Institute: Fact Sheets --- http://www.urban.org/Pressroom/data.cfm

Urban Institute: CHA Families and the Plan for Transformation (Chicago Housing ---

Studs Terkel Interviews Bob Dylan, Shel Silverstein, Maya Angelou & More in New Audio Trove ---

Multimedia Gallery: U.S. Census Bureau --- https://www.census.gov/multimedia/

U.S. Census Bureau: Random Samplings --- http://blogs.census.gov/

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States --- http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/

Late 19th and Early 20th-Century Urban Rail Transit Maps http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/collections/maps/transit/

Explore America's history the 21st century way with: 700 digital maps --- http://dailym.ai/1kEvKnB

America 2050 (future) --- http://www.america2050.org/

United States Department of Justice: Environmental Justice http://www.justice.gov/ej/

The Futures Channel (Science and Engineering) --- http://www.thefutureschannel.com/index.php

Advice from Artists on How to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth ---

Freud’s Life and Legacy, in a Comic:  You have to listen carefully. The unconscious mind is crafty ---

The River: Exploring the Inner Seasonality of Being Human in Gorgeous Watercolors by Italian Artist Alessandro Sanna ---

Twelve Years a Slave: Free eBook and Audio Book of the Memoir Behind the Film (1853) ---

Lunch Hour NYC --- http://exhibitions.nypl.org/lunchhour/exhibits/show/lunchhour

What's On the Menu (17,000 historic recipes) --- http://menus.nypl.org/

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

Law and Legal Studies

United States Department of Justice: Environmental Justice http://www.justice.gov/ej/

Environmental Ethics Case Studies --- http://www.apsarchive.org/collection.cfm?collectionID=2385

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

Math Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

Getty Images Makes 35 Million Photos Free to Use Online ---

Virtual Library: Getty Publications --- http://www.getty.edu/publications/virtuallibrary/

Twelve Years a Slave: Free eBook and Audio Book of the Memoir Behind the Film (1853) ---

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History --- http://peabody.yale.edu/peabody-online

The Shelley-Godwin Archive (archive of manuscripts from Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley) ---

Multimedia Gallery: U.S. Census Bureau --- https://www.census.gov/multimedia/

Irving Penn Archives (art history photographs) --- http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/IrvingPennArchives

National Museum of Mexican Art --- http://www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/

Public Art Review --- http://forecastpublicart.org/

.Wellcome Images (Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, Persian books plus a biomedical collection --- also found here, includes over 40,000 high-quality images) ---

Obsidian Mirror-Travels: Refracting Ancient Mexican Art and Archaeology (Getty Museum) ---

Download 15,000+ Free Golden Age Comics from the Digital Comic Museum ---

The Decaturian (Miliken University Stugent Newspaper History) ---

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States --- http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/

Arizona Memory Project --- http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/

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

Wayne Whalen Digital Archive of the Grand Army of the Republic and Civil War Collections ---

Reconnaissance Survey for the Alaska Railroad: James L. McPherson's Kuskowim Reconnaissance Collection

Canadian Pacific Railway Collection (Photographs) --- http://www.vpl.ca/cpr/index.html

Railroads and the Making of Modern America --- http://railroads.unl.edu/

Trains Magazine (railroads) --- http://trn.trains.com/

Massachusetts Railroads

Imperial War Museums: Google Cultural Institute (England) ---

Imperial War Museums - Google Art Project ---

The River: Exploring the Inner Seasonality of Being Human in Gorgeous Watercolors by Italian Artist Alessandro Sanna ---

Tara Brach Reads from Mary Oliver’s “Dog Songs” ---

Watch 34 Oscar-Winning Films Free Online ---

The Huntington Digital Library (Southern California Historical Photographs) --- http://hdl.huntington.org/

Brian Eno's Reading List: 20 Essential Books for Sustaining Civilization ---

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythic Monsters, from Gremlins to Zombies to the Kraken ---

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

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

Louis Armstrong Plays Historic Cold War Concerts in East Berlin & Budapest (1965) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

Stephen King Creates a List of 96 Books for Aspiring Writers to Read ---

Advice from Artists on How to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth ---

Freud’s Life and Legacy, in a Comic:  You have to listen carefully. The unconscious mind is crafty ---

Raymond Chandler’s Ten Commandments for Writing a Detective Novel ---

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

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

February 26, 2014

February 28, 2014

March 1, 2014

March 3, 2014

March 4, 2014

March 5, 2014

March 6, 2014

March 7, 2014

March 8, 2014

March 10, 2014

March 11, 2014

March 12, 2014

March 13, 2014


Newtown gunman's dad opens up in magazine article ---

In his most extensive comments about the 2012 Connecticut school massacre, the father of gunman Adam Lanza describes his struggle to comprehend what his son did — an act that "couldn't get any more evil" — and how he now wishes that his son had never been born.

Peter Lanza also told The New Yorker magazine in a series of interviews last fall that he believes Adam would have killed him, too, if he had the chance. And he often contemplates what he could have done differently in his relationship with Adam, although he believes the killings couldn't have been predicted.

"Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse," Peter Lanza told the magazine in an article dated March 17. "You can't get any more evil. ... How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he's my son? A lot."

Continued in article

"The Reckoning The father of the Sandy Hook killer searches for answers." by Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker, March 17, 2014 ---

. . .

Peter hadn’t seen his son for two years at the time of the Sandy Hook killings, and, even with hindsight, he doesn’t think that the catastrophe could have been predicted. But he constantly thinks about what he could have done differently and wishes he had pushed harder to see Adam. “Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse,” he said. Another time, he said, “You can’t get any more evil,” and added, “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot.”

Depending on whom you ask, there were twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight victims in Newtown. It’s twenty-six if you count only those who were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School; twenty-seven if you include Nancy Lanza; twenty-eight if you judge Adam’s suicide a loss. There are twenty-six stars on the local firehouse roof. On the anniversary of the shootings, President Obama referred to “six dedicated school workers and twenty beautiful children” who had been killed, and the governor of Connecticut asked churches to ring their bells twenty-six times. Some churches in Newtown had previously commemorated the victims by ringing twenty-eight times, but a popular narrative had taken hold in which Nancy—a gun enthusiast who had taught Adam to shoot—was an accessory to the crime, rather than its victim. Emily Miller, an editor at the Washington Times, wrote, “We can’t blame lax gun-control laws, access to mental health treatment, prescription drugs or video games for Lanza’s terrible killing spree. We can point to a mother who should have been more aware of how sick her son had become and forced treatment.”

Inadequate gun control and poor mental-health care are problems that invariably define the debate after atrocities such as the one at Newtown. But, important as those issues are, our impulse to grasp for reasons comes, arguably, from a more basic need—to make sense of what seems senseless. When the Connecticut state’s attorney issued a report, in December, CNN announced, “Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza took motive to his grave.” A Times headline ran “CHILLING LOOK AT NEWTOWN KILLER, BUT NO ‘WHY.’ ” Yet no “motive” can mitigate the horror of a bloodbath involving children. Had we found out—which we did not—that Adam had schizophrenia, or had been a pedophile or a victim of childhood abuse, we still wouldn’t know why he acted as he did.

Interview subjects usually have a story they want to tell, but Peter Lanza came to these conversations as much to ask questions as to answer them. It’s strange to live in a state of sustained incomprehension about what has become the most important fact about you. “I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them,” he said. It took six months after the shootings for a sense of reality to settle on Peter. “But it’s real,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be understood to be real.”

. . .

Legal definitions of insanity still focus on psychosis, the delusions of which are held to diminish responsibility. Medical conceptions include many additional bizarre behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. The legal definition has historically encompassed both questions of agency (he didn’t know what he was doing) and morality (he didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong). The psychiatric profession doesn’t consider mass killers to be necessarily insane, which distresses Peter. For him, the crime defines the illness—as he said, soon after we met, you’d have to be crazy to do such a thing. He found the idea of Adam’s not being insane much more devastating than the thought of his being insane. Peter has searched the psychiatric literature on mass killers, trying to understand what happened to his son. He came across the work of Park Dietz, a psychiatrist who, in 1986, coined the term “pseudocommando.” Dietz says that for pseudocommandos a preoccupation with weapons and war regalia makes up for a sense of impotence and failure. He wrote that we insist that mass killers are insane only to reassure ourselves that normal people are incapable of such evil.

. . .

I wondered how Peter would feel if he could see his son again. “Quite honestly, I think that I wouldn’t recognize the person I saw,” he said. “All I could picture is there’d be nothing there, there’d be nothing. Almost, like, ‘Who are you, stranger?’ ” Peter declared that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became. “That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That’s fairly recent, too, but that’s totally where I am.”


I like the following site for finding physicians and other health services ---
What I especially like is that the site is not afraid to provide negative reviews.

From The Wall Street Journal Morning Editorial Report on March 4, 2014

The Harvard School of Public Health
reports that "contrary to current popular wisdom, full-fat dairy products may actually be better than low-fat varieties for keeping off weight." That's according to Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and chairman of the school's nutrition department. A bulletin on the Harvard website elaborates: "The idea that all fats are bad emerged in the 1950s and 1960s when saturated fat was linked to high cholesterol and increased heart disease risk, Willett said. When saturated fat is reduced in products or in people's diets, it is often replaced with sugar or carbohydrates, negating any potential weight loss benefit. Willett theorizes that full-fat dairy may help control weight because it promotes more of a feeling of satiety than low-fat. Another possibility is that the fatty acids in full-fat dairy may help with weight regulation."

Jensen Warning
Before laying on the butter to baked potatoes and toast, you should first check with your physician. Some people have conditions where low-fat diets are required even though you may not lose weight on such diets. This is especially the case for diabetics (for whom fat might be worse than sugar) and people with clogged artery risks. Well that covers just about everybody. The few of you that are left can lay on the butter and look skinny.

A great PBS presentation I watched last night showed how fat is good for the brain and memory and possibly prevention of memory loss in old age, especially in Type 2 diabetics.  However, the presentation did not sufficiently stress how fat can be bad for the heart and vascular system. There seems to be a choice of helping the heart versus helping the brain. The answer is probably to choose the best kinds of fat such as choosing range fed beef and wild fish versus feeder-lot beef and farm-raised fish. The latter choices have more bad trans-fats. Eggs are now considered good rather than bad, but once again check with your doctor regarding your particular circumstances.

My doctor is down on most vitamin supplements including those that provide omega oils. I'm not sure he's correct, but he thinks that most of the pill supplements are not digested well enough versus foods in a good diet. As for me, I still take a ton of vitamin pills and have very expensive pee.

Now you can see if somebody really has a heart and if it is defective in some way ---

Test Your Reflexes --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/reaction_version5.swf

A Bit of Humor

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder --- https://www.youtube.com/embed/6oHBG3ABUJU

George Burns --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3c-WBn5cCg

David Niven Presents an Oscar and Gets Interrupted by a Streaker (1974) ---

Leave the Driving to the Bus Driver But Bring Your Own Toilet Paper ---

Cartoons from the April 2014 edition of the Harvard Business Review --- Click Here

Forwarded by Paula

A recent article in the Dominion Post reported that a woman, Anne Maynard, has sued Wellington Hospital, saying that after her husband had surgery there, he lost all interest in sex.

A hospital spokesman replied: "Mr. Maynard was admitted for cataract surgery. All we did was correct his eyesight."

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

SARAH PALIN: The chicken crossed the road because, gosh-darn it, he's a maverick!

BARACK OBAMA: Let me be perfectly clear, if the chickens like their eggs they can keep their eggs. No chicken will be required to cross the road to surrender her eggs. Period.

JOHN McCAIN: My friends, the chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: What difference at this point does it make why the chicken crossed the road.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either with us or against us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken.

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white?

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he is acting by not taking on his current problems before adding any new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross the road so badly. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a NEW CAR so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way the chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken was gay. If you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the Liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side.' That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish it's lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2014, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2014. This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?


Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

Update in 2014
20-Year Sugar Hill Master Plan --- http://www.nccouncil.org/images/NCC/file/wrkgdraftfeb142014.pdf

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/

Online Distance Education Training and Education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm
For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud  (College, Inc.) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---


World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

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

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination
Free CPA Examination Review Course Courtesy of Joe Hoyle --- http://cpareviewforfree.com/

Rick Lillie's education, learning, and technology blog is at http://iaed.wordpress.com/

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

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm 
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at http://www.accountingweb.com/news/college_news.html
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accounting  and Taxation News Sites ---


For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators) http://listserv.aaahq.org/cgi-bin/wa.exe?HOME
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc.

Over the years the AECM has become the worldwide forum for accounting educators on all issues of accountancy and accounting education, including debates on accounting standards, managerial accounting, careers, fraud, forensic accounting, auditing, doctoral programs, and critical debates on academic (accountics) research, publication, replication, and validity testing.


CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/  (Closed Down)
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM
FEI's Financial Reporting Blog
Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2008/smart_stops.htm

Find news highlights from the SEC, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board on this financial reporting blog from Financial Executives International. The site, updated daily, compiles regulatory news, rulings and statements, comment letters on standards, and hot topics from the Web’s largest business and accounting publications and organizations. Look for continuing coverage of SOX requirements, fair value reporting and the Alternative Minimum Tax, plus emerging issues such as the subprime mortgage crisis, international convergence, and rules for tax return preparers.
The CAlCPA Tax Listserv

September 4, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@bonackers.com]
Scott has been a long-time contributor to the AECM listserv (he's a techie as well as a practicing CPA)

I found another listserve that is exceptional -

CalCPA maintains http://groups.yahoo.com/taxtalk/  and they let almost anyone join it.
Jim Counts, CPA is moderator.

There are several highly capable people that make frequent answers to tax questions posted there, and the answers are often in depth.


Scott forwarded the following message from Jim Counts

Yes you may mention info on your listserve about TaxTalk. As part of what you say please say [... any CPA or attorney or a member of the Calif Society of CPAs may join. It is possible to join without having a free Yahoo account but then they will not have access to the files and other items posted.

Once signed in on their Yahoo account go to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxTalk/ and I believe in top right corner is Join Group. Click on it and answer the few questions and in the comment box say you are a CPA or attorney, whichever you are and I will get the request to join.

Be aware that we run on the average 30 or move emails per day. I encourage people to set up a folder for just the emails from this listserve and then via a rule or filter send them to that folder instead of having them be in your inbox. Thus you can read them when you want and it will not fill up the inbox when you are looking for client emails etc.

We currently have about 830 CPAs and attorneys nationwide but mainly in California.... ]

Please encourage your members to join our listserve.

If any questions let me know.

Hemet, CA
Moderator TaxTalk





Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm


Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) --- http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy/libraries.html
The above libraries include international accounting history.
The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting --- http://maaw.info/

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

Sage Accounting History --- http://ach.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/11/3/269

A nice timeline on the development of U.S. standards and the evolution of thinking about the income statement versus the balance sheet is provided at:
"The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards (1930-1973)," by Stephen A. Zeff, CPA Journal, January 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/105/infocus/p18.htm
Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/205/index.htm 

A nice timeline of accounting history --- http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2187711/A-HISTORY-OF-ACCOUNTING

From Texas A&M University
Accounting History Outline --- http://acct.tamu.edu/giroux/history.html

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

History of Fraud in America --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

All my online pictures --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu