Tidbits on April 30 2014
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Set 3 of My Favorite Texas Wildflower Pictures ---

 Bob Jensen's Favorite Texas Wild Flower Pictures ---

Tidbits on April 30, 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

Here's An Awesome Video Of Fighter Jets Streaking Through Mountains ---

CDC = Centers for Disease Control
CDC TV http://www.cdc.gov/cdctv/

Free: British Pathé Puts Over 85,000 Historical Films on YouTube ---

Pit Stops Then Versus Now --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRy_73ivcms

The Nam June Paik Archive (video art and music history) --- http://americanart.si.edu/collections/mediaarts/paik/

100 Movie Quotes --- https://www.youtube.com/embed/594Oxq4c0XA?feature=player_embedded

Father of the Bride --- https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/eqEkPjUbmIA?rel=0

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

John Coltrane Performs A Love Supreme and Other Classics in Antibes (July 1965) ---

Elvis Presley Impersonator - "The Trilogy" - on David Letterman (exceptional) ---

This guy is better than Elvis, although the orchestra helps a lot.

Dave Clark Five, performing "Because" - In HQ Stereo ))): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX9SJNHz9hM&feature=youtu.be

I Will Follow Him Andre Rieu) --- https://www.youtube.com/embed/FcLF5wopyjo

You Will Never Walk Alone (Andre Rieu)  --- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=x3aGlKYlEiY

A Visitor's Guide To Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' ---

The Origins of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk: Vintage Footage of Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis Jr., Fred Astaire & More ---

Jimi Hendrix Unplugged: Two Rare Recordings of Hendrix Playing Acoustic Guitar ---

Watch Glenn Gould Perform His Last Great Studio Recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (1981) ---

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

Pandora (my favorite online music station) --- 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

The Oldest Living Things in the World: A Decade-Long Photographic Masterpiece at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Philosophy ---

Earth becomes art in breathtaking satellite imagery ---

Adorable Bees That Live Inside Snail Shells --- http://www.wired.com/2014/04/adorable-bees-that-live-inside-snail-shells/

Howdy, Mr. President! (photographs of selected presidents) --- http://library.uta.edu/jfk/

Stokes Collection of Florida Plant Railway Photographs --- http://digital.lib.usf.edu/stokes

Fictitious Dishes: Elegant and Imaginative Photographs of Meals from Famous Literature ---

11 Of The Most Beautiful Office Buildings On Earth ---  http://www.businessinsider.com#ixzz2zjXBSuCX

11 Stunning American College Chapels --- http://www.businessinsider.com/most-stunning-college-chapels-2014-4

12 Year Old Child Paints Heaven --- http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html

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

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

Illustration how poetry has declined from scholarship, talent, and skill relative to the poets before 1900 ---

Vintage Audio: William Faulkner Reads From As I Lay Dying ---

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 April 30, 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

From the CPA Newsletter on April 25, 2014

Tax fraud hits health care providers in New England (including 150 physicians in Maine and NH)
More than 150 cases of tax fraud have affected doctors and health care providers in New Hampshire and Vermont. Hospitals and private providers were targeted. The theft involved Social Security numbers that were then used to file fraudulent tax returns. Other states have reported similar cases. Boston.com/The Associated Press (4/24), Portland Press Herald (Maine) (4/24)

150 Doctors Targeted for Tax Fraud in NH, Vt. ---

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.

The medical societies in both states say Social Security numbers have been stolen and used to file fraudulent federal tax returns. At least several hospitals and some private providers have been targeted.

Rick Adams, a spokesman for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, tells the Valley News about 50 doctors and other employees who work at the hospital have been affected.

Scott Colby of the New Hampshire Medical Society says similar cases have been reported in other states, such as Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Shaheen is asking for a joint investigation between the Secret service and IRS.

"IRS is overwhelmed by identity theft fraud:   Billions wrongly paid out as scammers find agency an easy target," by Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, February 16, 2014 ---



Jensen Comment

My family physician was a victim last year when somebody filed a fake tax return in his name and collected an illegal tax refund from the IRS. It sounds like a gang of insiders who perhaps work for the hospitals and health clinics. Each year the IRS pays out billions in phony refunds and is making little progress detecting and preventing such crimes.


Identity Theft Information and Tools from the AICPA and IRS ---

Tax practitioners and their clients are concerned about the growing epidemic of tax-related identity theft in America - both refund theft and employment theft. At the end of fiscal 2013, the IRS had almost 600,000 identity theft cases in its inventory, according tothe IRS National Taxpayer Advocate. 

The AICPA shares members' concerns about the impact of identity theft and offers the resources below to help them learn more about this issue and advise clients. We have provided recommendations to Congress and the IRS Oversight Board on ways to further protect taxpayers and preparers.

IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490

Identity Theft Resource Center --- http://www.idtheftcenter.org/
Note the tab for State and Local Resources

The IRS has an Identity Theft Web Page at


What a Neat Invention for the Blind
"Awesome FingerReader Gadget Lets the Blind Read Printed Text," Chris Smith, Yahoo Tech, April 18, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
This could be especially helpful for sight-impaired online learners. It enables them to read email messages and printed online course materials. Online instructors should be especially careful in fully explaining charts, exhibits, and other visuals that are difficult to comprehend with the FingerReader.

Now if we could get a reader for Division 1 varsity athletes life would be even better.

"Apple’s AssistiveTouch Helps the Disabled Use a Smartphone," by David Pogue, The New York Times, November 10, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology for disabled and otherwise handicapped learners (including the blind) ---

College Textbook Inflation Is Out Of Control --- http://www.businessinsider.com/textbook-price-inflation-2014-4

Windows Phone 8.1: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly [Review] ---

Jensen Comment
If possible I think I will wait and jump from Windows 7 to Windows 9.1. Surely things will get better. Yeah Right!

Q: If you could drill a tunnel through the whole planet and then jumped down this tunnel, how would you fall?

Answers (note the comments)

Q: If you die does that deny you funding for installed new body parts sometime in the future?

Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead, audit finds

The motto in Illinois is that when the dead vote they're entitled to more Medicaid funding.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

"The Quick and Dirty on Data Visualization," by Nancy Duarte, Harvard Business Review Blog, April 16, 2014 ---

Imaging Technology Group --- http://itg.beckman.illinois.edu/index.cgi

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

Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) ---

2U Education Technology (for-profit education courses) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2U_%28company%29

"U. of Southern California and 2U Offer Online Doctoral Degree," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 2014 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on non-traditional doctoral programs (including questionable "executive" doctoral programs) ---

Jensen Comment
There are still some accreditation and USC final approval issues pending. But if this program becomes operational this could be the start of traditional university partnerships with for-profit companies. The first 2U venture of offering prestigious faculty online courses that were accepted by some top universities recently faltered.

2U Distance Education Course Provider --- http://www.study2u.com/
2U (The Anti-MOOC Provider) ---  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technology

"3 Universities (Baylor, Southern Methodist, and Temple Universities) Will Grant Credit for 2U’s Online Courses," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
That was July 30, 2013. It's unclear what role the new 2U will play in terms of providing transfer credit accepted by Baylor, SUM, Temple, and other universities after May 2014.

"2U Ends Semester Online," by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, April 3, 2014 ---

The online education provider 2U will this summer eliminate its online course pool initiative in favor of developing fully online undergraduate degree programs, ending a high-profile effort to offer scalable, credit-granting online courses at residential colleges.

The consortium, known as Semester Online, was initially marketed as a platform for top-tier universities to offer online courses to paying students at participating universities. During the 2012 media storm surrounding massive open online courses, it emerged with a distinctive message, promising small course sizes and live, interactive videoconferencing sessions.

But before the launch of last fall’s pilot, Duke and Vanderbilt Universities and the University of Rochester had backed out, and Wake Forest University remained on the fence. At the colleges that dropped out and at Wake Forest, the decisions came after intense faculty debate; Duke, for example, rejected joining the consortium in a 16-14 vote by the Arts & Sciences Council. Although Wake Forest eventually joined the consortium, which this spring expanded with new courses and international partners, the universities and 2U reached a mutual decision to end the initiative.

“Semester Online was always an experiment,” Chance Patterson, 2U’s senior vice president of communications, said in an email. “The pilot program experienced significant challenges related to the complexities of a consortium structure.”

In addition to losing some of its founding members, Semester Online’s fall pilot also struggled with low enrollment. Some participating universities were unable to sign up students until mid-June -- several months after fall registration -- meaning some courses were left with single-digit enrollments.

Patterson described Semester Online as an “informative” experience that has “helped 2U develop its instructional model for the undergraduate population.” And along with Wednesday’s announcement that it would disband the consortium, 2U also unveiled its first undergraduate degree program, an RN to BSN program developed in partnership with Simmons College.

In an email, Claire E. Sterk, provost of Emory University, described her institution's participation in Semester Online as a learning experience, and thanked the faculty "for being open to academic innovation."

"From my perspective, it was a great experiment led by our dean of arts and sciences and the faculty," Sterk wrote. "We also learned important lessons about the ways in which universities teach and are able to compare traditional versus more innovative modes of teaching."

Ed Macias, provost emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, said via email that he was "proud to have been part of this experiment in online education," and that courses had been "top quality."

2U, fresh off a successful initial public offering last week, is better-known for developing fully online master’s degree programs for institutions such as Georgetown University, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of North Carolina, among others. 

Those programs have generally been well-received among graduate school faculty. Writing about his experiences with the University of North Carolina's online M.B.A. program, Scott Cohen, a professor with more than three decades of teaching in graduate-level business courses, described the online experience as "more intimate than 90 percent of the seminars I’ve taught in or taken."

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/03/online-education-provider-2u-disband-semester-online-consortium#ixzz2xpZqS1kg
Inside Higher Ed


Jensen Comment
Some universities claim that they do not accept distance education transfer credit. However, in some instances it's impossible on a transcript to know whether a student took one or more courses from a highly regarded university online or onsite. Universities like the University of Wisconsin and Indiana University have multiple sections of courses where some sections can be taken on campus and other sections can be taken online. The transcripts may not differentiate between those sections when students from those universities are seeking to transfer to other universities.

From US News in 2014
Best Online Degree Programs (ranked)

Best Online Undergraduate Bachelors Degrees --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/rankings
Central Michigan is the big winner

Best Online Graduate Business MBA Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/mba/rankings
Indiana University is the big winner

Best Online Graduate Education Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/rankings
Northern Illinois is the big winner

Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/engineering/rankings
Columbia University is the big winner

Best Online Graduate Information Technology Programs ---
The University of Southern California is the big winner

Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/nursing/rankings
St. Xavier University is the big winner

US News Degree Finder --- http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/features/multistep-oe?s_cid=54089
This beats those self-serving for-profit university biased Degree Finders

US News has tried for years to rank for-profit universities, but they don't seem to want to provide the data.

Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education courses and degree programs ---

"17 Emerging Energy Technologies That Will Change The World," by Michell Zappa, Business Insider, April 24, 2014 ---

"10 Breakthrough Technologies on 2014," MIT's Technology Review, April 24, 2014 ---

Technology news is full of incremental developments, but few of them are true milestones. Here we’re citing 10 that are. These advances from the past year all solve thorny problems or create powerful new ways of using technology. They are breakthroughs that will matter for years to come. 

Agricultural Drones --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526491/agricultural-drones/
Relatively cheap drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage.

Ultraprivate Smartphones --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526496/ultraprivate-smartphones/
New models built with security and privacy in mind reflect the Zeitgeist of the Snowden era.

Brain Mapping --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526501/brain-mapping/
A new map, a decade in the works, shows structures of the brain in far greater detail than ever before, providing neuroscientists with a guide to its immense complexity.

Neuromorphic Chips --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526506/neuromorphic-chips/
Microprocessors configured more like brains than traditional chips could soon make computers far more astute about what’s going on around them.

Genome Editing --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526511/genome-editing/
The ability to create primates with intentional mutations could provide powerful new ways to study complex and genetically baffling brain disorders.

Microscale 3-D Printing --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526521/microscale-3-d-printing/
Inks made from different types of materials, precisely applied, are greatly expanding the kinds of things that can be printed.

 Mobile Collaboration --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526526/mobile-collaboration/
The smartphone era is finally getting the productivity software it needs.

Oculus Rift --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526531/oculus-rift/
Thirty years after virtual-reality goggles and immersive virtual worlds made their debut, the technology finally seems poised for widespread use.

Agile Robots --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526536/agile-robots/
Computer scientists have created machines that have the balance and agility to walk and run across rough and uneven terrain, making them far more useful in navigating human environments.

Smart Wind and Solar Power --- http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526541/smart-wind-and-solar-power/
Big data and artificial intelligence are producing ultra-accurate forecasts that will make it feasible to integrate much more renewable energy into the grid.

Jensen Comment
The must be better emerging technologies than wind power. Windmills kill masses of birds, are ugly in the horizon, and make too much noise. Three cheers for solar and emerging fuel cell alternatives.

Cornell University: Digital Literacy Resource (student guide to Internet searching and all things digital) --- http://digitalliteracy.cornell.edu/

Open University in the United Kingdom is a  £100 billion global giant that started in a garage --- http://www.open.ac.uk/

"Where the Jobs Are," Inside Higher Ed, April 23, 2014 ---

A new analysis of available jobs finds that the highest demand (among openings for college graduates) is for white-collar professional occupations (33 percent) and science and technology occupations (28 percent). The analysis -- by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce -- is consistent with that center's past research, in finding many more opportunities for those with a bachelor's degree than for those without a college degree.

The new study is based on online job advertisements. The most in-demand professional jobs are accountants/auditors and medical/health service managers. In STEM, the most in-demand jobs are for applications software developers and computer systems analysts.

Jensen Comment
There's a bit of mixing of apples and oranges here. The study says it looks at bachelor's degrees. But in in order to take the CPA exam accountants and auditors mush have 150 credits which for most graduates translates to a masters degree. Also many medical/health service programs are graduates of masters of health care administration programs such as the graduate health care administration program at Trinity University.

In some cases like chemistry and biology the job prospects with a bachelor's degree are mostly lousy McJobs. But those majors have an edge for being admitted to graduate programs, especially medical schools, where opportunities abound upon graduation.

For those rejected for graduate schools or who cannot afford graduate schools, career opportunities are probably better in the skilled trades such as those $150,000 - $200,000 welding jobs.

Bob Jensen's career helpers ---

"Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class Taking pride in learning to make and build things can begin in high school. Plenty of jobs await," by John Mandel, The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2014 ---

In American high schools, it is becoming increasingly hard to defend the vanishing of shop class from the curriculum. The trend began in the 1970s, when it became conventional wisdom that a four-year college degree was essential. As Forbes magazine reported in 2012, 90% of shop classes have been eliminated for the Los Angeles unified school district's 660,000 students. Yet a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics study shows that 48% of all college graduates are working in jobs that don't require a four-year degree.

Too many young people have four-year liberal-arts degrees, are thousands of dollars in debt and find themselves serving coffee at Starbucks SBUX +1.10% or working part-time at the mall. Many of them would have been better off with a two-year skilled-trade or technical education that provides the skills to secure a well-paying job.

A good trade to consider: welding. I recently visited Pioneer Pipe in the Utica and Marcellus shale area of Ohio and learned that last year the company paid 60 of its welders more than $150,000 and two of its welders over $200,000. The owner, Dave Archer, said he has had to turn down orders because he can't find enough skilled welders.

According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can't find qualified workers. To help produce a new generation of welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, carpenters, machinists and other skilled tradesmen, high schools should introduce students to the pleasure and pride they can take in making and building things in shop class.

American employers are so yearning to motivate young people to work in manufacturing and the skilled trades that many are willing to pay to train and recruit future laborers. CEO Karen Wright of Ariel Corp. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, recently announced that the manufacturer of gas compressors is donating $1 million to the Knox County Career Center to update the center's computer-integrated manufacturing equipment, so students can train on the same machines used in Ariel's operations.

In rural Minster, Ohio, near the Indiana border, electrician and entrepreneur Jack Buschur is creating the Auglaize & Mercer County Business Education Alliance, which will use private-sector dollars to fund a skilled-trade ambassador to walk the halls of local high schools with the mission of recruiting teenagers into these fields. This ambassador will also work to persuade school guidance counselors and administrators to change their tune that college is the only route to prosperity, and to encourage them to inform their students about the many opportunities in skilled trades.

At Humtown Products in Columbiana, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border, CEO Mark Lamoncha is coordinating tours for local high-school guidance counselors to visit his company so that they can learn about job opportunities in advanced manufacturing and 3-D printing. Rather than having students seeing posters only for Ohio State, Pitt, Harvard and Yale in their high-school hallways, he wants to convince the schools' guidance counselors to also post signs for the Choffin Career & Technical Center in Youngstown and the New Castle School of Trades in Pulaski, Pa.

The Ohio School Board Association recently heard a similar message—from the actor John Ratzenberger, whom you might remember as Cliff Clavin, the mailman from the 1980s sitcom "Cheers." Mr. Ratzenberger these days is devoting considerable charitable time and dollars toward raising the profile of America's skilled laborers as role models for young people.

He began this effort in 2004 with a TV show called "Made in America," focusing attention on the rewarding labor of blue-collar workers making everything from Steinway pianos and Wonder Bread to Caterpillar CAT +1.37% equipment and Chris Craft yachts. Now he's crisscrossing the country urging schools to invest in vocational education. On "Cheers," Cliff Clavin never appeared to be overly industrious, but in promoting the restoration of shop class in U.S. high schools, Mr. Ratzenberger is working hard to put young Americans in good jobs. Educators could learn a thing or two from him.

Mr. Mandel is the treasurer of Ohio.

... her thoughts – if not always her words – remain her own.
"In Her Own Words," April 25, 2014," by Colleen Flaherty,  Inside Higher Ed, April 25, 2014 ---

Brown University’s investigation into a professor accused of plagiarism was supposed to remain confidential. But after it was leaked to the student newspaper, the professor is speaking out both to apologize for what she says was unintentional plagiarism and to assert that her thoughts – if not always her words – remain her own.

While some colleagues criticized the university’s response to its inquiry into Vanessa Ryan, assistant professor of English, especially in light of the fact that she recently was named as an associate dean who oversees a graduate teaching program, others have come to her defense. Plagiarism is often framed as an ethical choice, they say, but unintentional plagiarism is easier and maybe more common than many believe.

“In August 2013, I learned that my book contains inadvertent errors of attribution, which resulted from mistakes I made in documenting my research as I worked on the project over many years,” Ryan said via email. “I take full responsibility for these mistakes.”

At the same time, she said, “While, as a result of these mistakes, my book uses words from other scholars’ writings without attribution, the substance of the ideas in the book is my own.”

Last year, Brown University received an anonymous allegation that Ryan’s book, Thinking Without Thought in the Victorian Novel, published in 2012 by Johns Hopkins University Press, contained numerous instances of plagiarism.

David Savitz, vice president for research at Brown, said his predecessor determined that there was enough cause to convene a three-member panel of senior faculty members familiar with Ryan’s area of research but without personal ties to investigate.

After a “very serious” inquiry, “what they found didn’t rise to the level of the research misconduct,” Savitz said of the panel. Although there were unattributed quotes, Savitz said the panel found they weren’t central to Ryan’s argument, and were related to “peripheral or contextual issues.”

Quoting from the panel’s report, Ryan said the investigators found the “passages did not reflect the co-opting of others’ views as [my] own and notwithstanding these passages, the contribution of [my] book still stands.”

Ryan said she took immediate action, notifying her publisher, her department chair, other colleagues and the scholars improperly cited in her book.

She added: “I want to underscore how seriously I take academic integrity and how distressed I am to have made these unintentional mistakes. As my students and colleagues know, I am passionate about my work as a scholar, teacher, and member of our academic community.”

Still, some at Brown are not satisfied by that apology or by the university’s response to the query. Someone with access to the confidential plagiarism report leaked it to the student newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald. The paper ran a story and also reported that 13 English professors had written to the administration questioning the findings of the report and Ryan’s appointment in January as associate dean of the graduate school, in which she leads a training program for teaching assistants. To some faculty, it seemed like the wrong job for someone accused of bad academic behavior, however unintentional.

Ryan is still a faculty member, but is on administrative leave from that position until her contract expires next year, a university spokeswoman said.

James Egan, professor of English, said via email: “I stand behind what we wrote in the letter,” referring to the faculty letter saying that the university had acted inappropriately. But he declined further comment due to a department decision not to speak with media about the case.

Philip Gould, department chair, said he was not immediately available for comment.

Despite the criticism from some of her colleagues at Brown, others have stood behind Ryan since the allegations went public.

Kate Flint, a Victorianist who is familiar with Ryan’s work, and who is chair of the department of art history at the University of Southern California, said that Ryan’s response to the allegations demonstrates her academic integrity. Immediately, Flint said, Ryan called her to explain and offer an apology (although Flint’s work was not part of the investigation, to her knowledge).

Continued in article

It's Rare for Universities to Fire Tenured Professors Who Plagiarize
"Columbia U. Says It Will Fire Professor Accused of Plagiarizing a Former Colleague and Students," by  Thomas Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education," June 24, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/06/3520n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

A Columbia University professor has been suspended and will be fired for plagiarism and for obstructing the university's investigation into her case, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

The allegations against Madonna G. Constantine, a tenured professor of psychology and education at Columbia's Teachers College, first came to light in February after an investigation, conducted by a law firm hired by the university, found that Ms. Constantine had plagiarized the work of a former colleague and two former students (The Chronicle, February 21). This month a faculty committee accepted the administration's ruling.

In February university officials reduced her salary and asked for her resignation, which she did not give.

A spokeswoman for the university confirmed that a memorandum was delivered to faculty members on Monday informing them of the decision to suspend Ms. Constantine, pending dismissal.

The spokeswoman declined to give further details.

In an interview last February, Ms. Constantine vigorously defended herself against allegations of plagiarism, and argued that it was she instead who had been plagiarized. She also contended that the university is biased against her and that her accusers are motivated by envy and racism (The Chronicle, February 22).

Ms. Constantine did not respond to an interview request Monday afternoon. But her lawyer, Paul J. Giacomo Jr., said the university had ignored information that would clear her. "The evidence that was offered by her accusers is highly questionable and is belied by evidence in Teachers College's own records," he said. Mr. Giacomo said that his client was keeping all options open and that she may appeal her termination to a faculty committee.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Punishments for faculty plagiarism are seldom as hurtful as punishments for student plagiarism. The key is admission of guilt with a humble apology. Denial and defiance can be more costly as Madonna G. Constantine discovered at Columbia University (see above link).

Bob Jensen's threads on professors who plagiarize or otherwise cheat (e.g. create phony data or cherry pick data) ---

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
Professor Krugman is not moving to CUNY as an endowed professor of economics.

. . .

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.”


Chapel Hill Researcher at Center of Turmoil Over Athletes’ Literacy Resigns ---

"University of North Carolina learning specialist receives death threats after her research finds one in 10 college athletes have reading age of a THIRD GRADER," by Sara Malm, Daily Mail, January 10, 2014 ---

Mary Willingham exposed college athletes' lack of academic abilities

Continued in article


Jensen Comment
More often than not employers make it uncomfortable for whistleblowers who don't resign. UNC does not deny that for ten years varsity athletes took fake courses and were "allowed" to change their grades. They just contend that these athletes did not suffer academically because they were in the wonderful learning environment of the University of North Carolina. Yeah Right!

UNC Fudging the Grades of Athletes
"Scandal Bowl: Why Tar Heel Fraud Might Be Just the Start," by Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek, January 6, 2014 ---

The corruption of academics at the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus could turn into the most revelatory of all of the undergraduate sports scandals in recent memory. Beginning three years ago with what sounded like garden-variety reports of under-the-table payments from agents and improper classroom help for athletes, the affair has spread and deepened to include evidence of hundreds of sham courses offered since the early 1990s. Untold numbers of grades have been changed without authorization and faculty signatures forged—all in the service of an elaborate campaign to keep elite basketball and football players academically eligible to play.

After belatedly catching up with the UNC debacle in this recent dispatch, I’ve decided the still-developing story deserves wider attention. Or, to put it more precisely, the excellent reporting already done by the News & Observer of Raleigh merits amplification outside of North Carolina.

The rot in Chapel Hill undermines UNC’s reputation as one of the nation’s finest public institutions of higher learning. Officials created classes that did not meet. That’s not the only reason more scrutiny is needed. There’s also the particularly pernicious way that the school’s African and Afro-American Studies Department has been used to inflate the GPAs of basketball and football players. The corruption of a scholarly discipline devoted to black history and culture underscores a racial subtext to the exploitation of college athletes that typically goes unidentified in polite discussion. (UNC’s former longtime Afro-Am chairman, Julius Nyang’oro, has been criminally indicted for fraud.)

Another reason Chapel Hill requires sustained investigation is the manner in which the athletic and academic hierarchies at UNC, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, have so far whitewashed the scandal. Officials have repeatedly denied that the fiasco’s roots trace to an illicit agenda that, in the name of coddling a disproportionately black undergraduate athlete population, has left many students intellectually crippled.

Dan Kane, the News & Observer‘s lead investigative reporter, does old-school, just-the-facts-m’am work—and more power to him. Digging up the basic data has been a lonely and arduous task for which Kane has been rewarded with craven accusations of home state disloyalty. As he wrote last month, the six official “reviews” and “investigations” of the wayward Afro-Am Department have all failed to connect the dots in any meaningful way. In coming weeks and months, I hope I can supplement Kane’s dogged efforts with some long-distance perspective. Valuable tips from concerned local people, some of them UNC alumni, are already pouring in, and that’s part of the reason I’m going to pursue the story. Keep those e-mails coming.

One source of insight is Jay Smith, a professor of early modern French history at UNC. A serious scholar who understands the university’s sports-happy culture, Smith has developed a powerful distaste for the way his employer has obfuscated the scandal. “What’s going on here is so important,” he told me by telephone, “because it’s emblematic of what I think goes on at major universities all across the country,” where the business of sports undermines the mission of education. That sounds right to me.

Smith has the best sort of self-interested motivation for making sense of what has happened on his campus: He’s writing a book about the whole mess, based in part on statistics and personal experiences proffered by UNC instructors assigned over the years to assist varsity athletes. To me that sounds like a page-turner—and even the basis of an HBO movie.

I asked Smith what he thinks is going to happen next. He pointed to comments that the local district attorney made when the disgraced former Afro-Am chairman, Nyang’oro, was indicted in December. Orange County DA Jim Woodall told the News & Observer that a second person is also under investigation and could be indicted soon. Woodall did not identify the second target, except to say the person is not someone who currently works for UNC. ”Other probes have identified Nyang’oro’s longtime department manager, Deborah Crowder, as being involved in the bogus classes,” the News & Observer noted. “She retired in 2009.” Both Crowder and Nyang’oro have refused to comment publicly, and Nyang’oro’s criminal defense lawyer didn’t return my e-mail inquiry.

The indictment of Crowder, a relatively low-level administrative figure, could crack open the case. It defies logic that Nyang’oro and his assistant would have operated a rogue department without the knowledge of more senior faculty members, if not top university administrators. It further defies reason that this pair would have created phony classes for athletes without the urging and participation of people in the UNC athletic bureaucracy. Nyang’oro and Crowder are going to have ample reason to sing as part of potential plea deals.

Even before that happens, according to Smith, one or more well-positioned whistle-blowers are likely to go public and start naming names if they think the powers that be are planning to isolate Crowder and Nyang’oro as the sole villains. This thing goes much higher, and there’s much more to come from Chapel Hill.


"Alleged Academic Fraud at U. of North Carolina Tests NCAA's Reach:  Myths surrounding the group's investigation cloud the controversy at Chapel Hill," by Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 7, 2012 ---

"North Carolina Admits to Academic Fraud in Sports Program," Inside Higher Ed, September 20, 2011 ---

"Professors at U. of Michigan Question Administrators’ Extra Pay," by Don Troop," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2014 ---

Harold L. Sirkin is a Chicago-based senior partner of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and co-author, most recently, of The U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance: How Shifting Global Economics Are Creating an American Comeback (Knowledge@Wharton, November 2012).

"We'll All Be Better Off If We Can Just Agree That College Isn't for Everyone," by Harold L. Sirkin, Bloomberg Businessweek, April 22, 2014 ---

Sometimes the national conversation gets off track.

That appears to be the case with the deluge of ongoing studies, journal articles, op-eds, and blog posts debating the value of a college education. Some of the better arguments, pro and con, can be found here.

What’s wrong with the debate is this: Many of those expressing views on the topic seem to be suggesting that there’s a black-and-white answer that applies to everyone. Yes, college is a great investment; the statistics prove it. No, college is a waste of time and money; just ask the thousands of recent grads who can’t find jobs in their chosen fields and are living in their parents’ basements.

In truth, of course, it really depends on the individual student. So, as a former president used to say, let me make my position “perfectly clear”: I think it would be great if every American could attend college…but not necessarily immediately after high school and not necessarily the type of college that dominates academia today. (As I’ve suggested before, there is a need in the U.S. for a new kind of college or degree combining liberal arts with industrial training.)

Nor should people go to college because government, the media, and the education establishment have created the illusion that those who don’t are failures. Nor should it be because the average college graduate will earn more over the course of a lifetime than the average person without a degree.

The truth is, as I noted a year ago, “college isn’t for everyone—but work is, or should be.” And preparing the next generation for success in the workplace (on which count many of our public schools receive failing grades) should be just as important as, or even more important than, preparing students for college (on which count many of our public schools also receive failing grades).

So let’s get real. Some people would be far better off learning a skill—at a community college, a trade school, or on the job—than going directly from high school to college. They can take college courses later, if they choose, to advance their careers, segue to another field, or simply to enrich their lives. But for now, let’s at least make them employable. By doing so, we not only help them but also ourselves.

Here, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a comprehensive list of of jobs that require degrees—and those that don’t. What’s interesting about the many positions that don’t need four-year degrees is how closely they correlate with a list of hard-to-fill jobs that Express Employment Professionals identifies in a white paper, Caution: College Might Not Be For Everyone. Published in early April, the report lists the top 10 jobs the employment agency found hardest to fill in 2013. The majority of these—including welders, machinists, commercial drivers, and sales and administrative professionals—don’t need college degrees.

So why are they hard to fill? Because we’re not preparing students for such careers. The entire U.S. education system, with few exceptions, is aimed at pushing students into college.

The white paper makes a strong case, as I have in the past, for devoting more resources to and placing greater emphasis on vocational education, what the company refers to as career technical education. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. What matters is that we do it.

Jensen Comment
In Europe only the top prospects are admitted to universities. For example, in Germany only 25% of undergraduates are admitted to college. Officials in the USA keep preaching that job prospects are automatically better for college graduates. Baloney! They've not talked to my plumber who gets base pay of $135,000 plus overtime at $98 per hour.

One of the huge problems is that traditionally we equate "education" to classroom learning. Society is slow to accept that scholars can be created, often free of charge, by emerging free learning sources such as the Khan Academy, thousands of MOOC courses, and unbelievable opportunities for learning and publishing on the Web.

The day will come when there will also be competency-based testing in most disciplines for certification of scholarship achievement.  Limited competency based testing is now available from various respected universities like the University of Wisconsin and the University of Akron ---

"Rating My Professor," by Colleen Flaherty, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 21, 2014 ---

Students at the University of Minnesota have for years called for access to student course evaluations that they provide at the end of courses, saying they’ve got a right to know what peers have thought of the classes they’re considering. Now they might get their wish – at least part of it. The University Senate is considering a proposal to make student feedback about courses public. But student responses about questions specifically related to professors would remain private, in accordance with state privacy laws for employees.

The university hopes the data will help students make more informed class selections, and offer more comprehensive and relevant information than that which is currently available on student-driven feedback sites, such as RateMyProfessors.com (the Minnesota evaluations don’t have a question on instructor “hotness,” for example).

"We think this is an excellent step forward in providing students quality information,” said Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education. “I’m not going to say anything negative about RateMyProfessors.com, but that’s a much different kind of thing than this rigorous, standardized approach.”

And while McMaster politely avoided the question of RateMyProfessor.com, faculty members and academic leaders at many campuses hate the site as much as some students love it. (Some students also dislike it, including Minnesota's own student government, which said third-party sites contain "polarized" and "unverifiable" data in a recent position statement asking for more transparency of official student feedback.) But at many campuses, the professors' and administrators' dislike for the site hasn't translated into giving students something more educationally meaningful to consider when evaluating potential courses.

In an email, Carlo DiMarco, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for MTV, which owns RateMyProfessors.com, defended the site's worth.

"What we love about RateMyProfessors is that it is 100 percent driven by college students," DiMarco said. "Each year, millions of students use the site to help plan their class schedules, making it a uniquely valuable resource for them. All of the praise and critiques that professors receive on the site come directly from students, which means our site does what students have been doing forever: checking in with each other — their friends, their brothers, their sisters — to figure out who’s a great professor." (DiMarco also noted that the website's "easiness" and "hotness" ratings do not factor into the overall quality rating, and that the site employs a third party to vet comments and ratings to ensure reliability.)
Under the Minnesota proposal, student evaluations would have 11 questions. The first half would elate to the professor specifically, such as whether he or she was clear, or prepared for class. Those would remain a private part of the instructor’s personnel file, in line with the Minnesota Data Practices Act, which prohibits the release of information about specific public employees. But the second half of the questions would relate to the course itself -- Was my interest in the subject matter stimulated by this course? Would I recommend this course to other students? – and go live in a university database starting this fall. Although the vast majority of courses are offered by one professor, McMaster said those with multiple sections would be coded by instructor.
One common criticism of student-driven feedback sites is their potential for low response rates, and that only students with something to complain about are driven to comment. And that's a fear that some professors have about even their own institutions' evaluations if they're only offered online. McMaster said the new system can't guarantee a high response rate but that professors may distribute the evaluation forms in paper in class or offer them online. Valkyrie Jensen, an officer in the Minnesota Student Association and co-author of the recent position statement, said everyone typically fills out student evaluations in her classes. "It's a chance to have your voice heard, regardless of a positive or negative impression, and most students appreciate the opportunity," she said.

The university previously created a way for professors to elect to make some evaluation data public to students (the Dartmouth University faculty is currently considering a similar "opt-in" release option), but less than 10 percent did – in part simply because it was an extra hurdle for them to cross, McMaster said. So Minnesota thought about changing the default status of evaluations to public, giving professors the opportunity to opt out, instead of in. But that didn’t pass muster with the university’s legal department, given state restrictions on releasing information about employee performance.

The proposal, which is up for a vote in the universitywide senate next month, is a kind of “compromise” between what students want and state law allows, and faculty members appear to generally be on board, said Joseph A. Konstan, chair of the department of computer science and engineering as well as the senate’s Faculty Affairs Committee.

“I think it’s a good compromise given the constraints that we’re under here,” he said. “I haven’t heard much in the way of complaints about it, much in the way of advance concerns, as with other proposals in the past.”

Konstan said he didn’t have a problem with faculty evaluations that evaluate faculty members by name, but, like McMaster, he said that the new process would still be a more reliable alternative to third-party feedback sites.

He added that “anything can happen when you get a large group of faculty together,” but that he believes the motion will pass. Konstan acknowledged general faculty fears about student evaluators – that students might translate an easy course to a good course, for example – but said that aggregate evaluative data, as would be included in the new student resource, tends to paint a reliable picture of a course.

Excluding inappropriate or discriminatory comments, Konstan said, “My experience has been that when student say things consistently, there’s usually something behind them.” (Interestingly, a 2011 study from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire suggested something similar, in relation to RateMyProfessors.com. The study found that 10 reviews showed about the same consensus about a professor as did 50 reviews, a much larger sample size, or even more. The study also found that the site's users are "likely providing each other useful information about quality of instruction.")

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Minnesota is certainly not the first university to make student evaluations known among the campus community. Some universities claim that doing so did not much change the grade inflation tendencies. Professors giving easy top grades did not tend to toughen up. Tough grading professors tended not to ease up. The reasons are fairly obvious. Teaching evaluations before and after this change in policy generally spread across campus by word of mouth from former students.

The campus community is more apt to take notice of internal course evaluations than was notice taken of the self-selecting sample responses on RateMyProfessor. Professors, however, may change their courses somewhat. Those who skate on the edge of unprofessional political bias (right or left) as defined by AAUP rules may become a bit more cautious about politics in the classroom. Those are known to miss quite a few classes (sometimes because of travel or family responsibilities) may be more responsible about meeting classes. Both biased and absentee professors may become concerned about their reputations among parents, alumni, and prospective students, especially in the case of private universities who are more dependent upon recruiting students. Even if outsiders cannot have easy access to teaching evaluations, word spreads in this era of networked messaging.

There are some myths about the RateMyProfessor site. The general feeling is that the self-selecting students tend to be disgruntled students. My opinion is that the opposite is the case where more of the raters are supportive rather than critical of the professors rate on that site. This to a certain extent is because the most popular professors on RateMyProfessor tend to be the easiest grading professors.

There's a marked shortage of responses from graduate students on RateMyProfessor. My opinion here is that most the graduate programs generally only give A or B grades where grades below a B are almost rare. This results in fewer disgruntled students in graduate programs.

My experience is that an easy grader is more apt to be a tenured professor than a non-tenured professor. The reason is that non-tenured professors often get rated down if they are perceived as having low academic standards. But there are wide variances in grading reputations among tenured and non-tenured faculty. A few professors like Harvey Mansfield at Harvard give two grades. One is the often higher grade that goes on the official transcript and the other arrives in a sealed envelope telling the student the grade he or she should have earned in the course. This does not make Harvey especially popular among his colleagues, although he quite popular among students.

"The Duties of a Critic," by David A. Pogue, Yahoo Tech, April 21, 2014 ---


Just one question regarding your article about the Samsung Galaxy S5. How much did Apple pay you to write it?



Hi Daniel!

I can only guess that you’re joking. No reviewer is allowed to accept payment from the companies he reviews — or its rivals!

I actually mentioned the iPhone only once in my Galaxy S5 review: to point out that the new Galaxy’s fingerprint reader/home button isn’t as convenient as the one that debuted in the iPhone 5s last year.

Sounds like you’ve tested the Galaxy S5 yourself and disagreed with my conclusions. Which parts do you disagree with?


Who Are the Most Pernicious Thinkers? A List of Five Bad Western Philosophers ---

Three Incredible Ways Google Glass Could Change The Future Of Medicine ---

Jensen Comment
Other applications seem obvious. Prison guards should wear Google Glass. There are obvious applications in the military. There are of course controversial applications where users should get permissions from people they are filming such as Google Glass in a classroom, faculty office. or doctor's office.

These are the 10 fastest rising food prices ---

Jensen Comment
Makes you want to pause at the middle of a breakfast buffet table and give thanks.

Teaching Case from The Wall Street Journal Weekly Review on April 18, 2014

Tax Day! Now comes the Great Refund Rip-off
by: Justin Gelfand
Apr 15, 2014
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Fraud, Fraud Detection, Internal Controls, IRS, Tax Return Filing

SUMMARY: This Opinion page piece describes how simple it has been for people to steal tax refunds: "A person steals a name and Social Security number, files a tax return making a claim for a fraudulent tax refund, and directs the IRS to wire-transfer the stolen proceeds onto a prepaid debit card." The author is a former federal prosecutor who "was one of a few ...who spearheaded the Justice Department's efforts..." to fight these crimes. He argues that solving the problem, however, cannot be done by law enforcement alone. "Citizens must ask the IRS why it is so easy to steal money I this way, and why the IRS is losing so much money to this crime alone," Mr. Gelfand concludes.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article may be used in a tax class or when covering internal controls in auditing or accounting systems courses.

1. (Introductory) According to the article, how easy is it for fraudsters to steal tax refunds by filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service?

2. (Advanced) Who is the author of this opinion page piece, and what is his main conclusion about the approach needed to stop these fraud crimes?

3. (Advanced) Consider the steps to reduce these identity theft crimes that Mr. Gelfand recommends. Explain how these steps are basic internal controls, including a definition of internal control in your answer.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

"Tax Day! Now comes the Great Refund Rip-off," by Justin Gelfand, The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2014 ---

The crime is simple and profitable: A person steals a name and Social Security number, files a tax return making a claim for a fraudulent tax refund, and directs the IRS to wire-transfer the stolen proceeds onto a prepaid debit card.

The Justice Department's Tax Division, where I was a federal prosecutor until earlier this year, calls the crime "stolen identity refund fraud." It costs the federal government billions in lost revenue each year, and its individual victims the nightmare of scrutiny and red tape that comes with a federal investigation. If the problem continues unabated, Treasury estimates the IRS will lose $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years. That's more than twice the Environmental Protection Agency's annual budget.

n 2013, Justice charged more than 880 defendants for their involvement in such crimes, and federal prosecutors have successfully advocated for sentences substantially more severe than the routine criminal tax case. The IRS says it is a top priority, and that every year it investigates more and more cases involving identity theft and fraudulent tax returns.

But as the government ramps up investigations and prosecutions in this area, the thieves stay one step ahead through the use of cutting-edge technology to mask IP addresses from which tax returns are filed, by directing stolen proceeds onto prepaid debit cards and stealing those cards from the mailboxes of strangers, and by stealing names and Social Security numbers from businesses that lack adequate security controls and firewalls.

As one of a few federal prosecutors who spearheaded the Justice Department's efforts in this area, I saw firsthand that these schemes can be as sophisticated as they are costly. For instance, federal agents and prosecutors may look to IP addresses for evidence that a particular suspect filed a particular tax return, but modern technology makes it all too easy for a fraudster to make it look like the return was filed from one IP address when it was in fact filed from another (by using a proxy server known as an anonymizer), or to make it look like a victim is the perpetrator (by hijacking or "spoofing" an IP address).

Similarly, while tracing the money may reveal that stolen funds are being deposited into a particular bank account that may lead to the actual thief, someone willing to steal another person's identity may perpetrate fraud in the name of yet another identity theft victim. Therefore, with the increased pressure to prosecute more of these cases and to do so quickly, the risk of putting an innocent person behind bars becomes greater.

If we as a society are interested in actually stopping this problem, the solution cannot only be through law enforcement. Citizens must ask the IRS why it is so easy to steal money in this way, and why the IRS is losing so much money to this crime alone.

In some ways, the IRS is like a bank that is robbed after leaving the doors unlocked for the night with a large sign that says, "Money Inside!"—a victim, yes, but the victim of a crime that can easily be avoided.

While the IRS claims otherwise, the solution isn't particularly complex: stop wire-transferring multiple tax refunds onto the same prepaid debit card; stop mailing hundreds of tax-refund checks to the same mailbox; stop accepting thousands of tax returns from the same IP address without looking into it; and stop paying tax refunds without actually verifying the accuracy of the information with existing IRS records.

Ultimately, the law should be enforced. But this isn't a problem the government can prosecute its way out of. Instead of just demanding more prosecutions, the public should demand that the IRS increase its efforts to detect fraud before paying billions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. That way, victims won't have to wait months for the IRS to pay their legitimate tax refunds, Treasury won't lose billions of dollars to criminals, and the government can tackle this problem without the risk of sending innocent people to prison.

Mr. Gelfand is a former federal prosecutor who is now a criminal-defense attorney in St. Louis.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates

Lawyer Kills Himself After Allegedly Staging Dozens Of Fake Slip-And-Fall Accidents ---

Jensen Comment
Andrew Gaber shot himself. But I'm sure if we put our heads together we can think of more imaginative ways he could have killed himself. My favorite would be slipping on all the money he conned out of a court victory as he walked down the steps of the courthouse.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has predicted that as many as half of the more than 4,000 universities and colleges in the U.S. may fail in the next 15 years. The growing acceptance of online learning means higher education is ripe for technological upheaval, he has said.
Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School

"Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops," by Michael McDonald, Bloomberg News, April 14, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
It's not quite as bad when so many bookstores (e.g., Borders) were literally wiped out by online technology, but the outlook is not good for small private universities with small endowments and less than spectacular success in a niche market.

Having said this, the small private universities that have substantial endowments will probably carry on but with little or no growth and somewhat lowered admission standards. What they will continue to offer is maturation living and learning opportunities beyond the classroom. For example, the University of Texas has a dorm complex with two zip codes and a population bigger than most small towns in the USA. Nearby Trinity University with nearly a billion dollar endowment has wonderful dormitories for around 2,000 students that is much more appealing to parents concerned about college life for their children leaving the nest for the first time.

At Trinity there are many opportunities to participate in sports without having to be professional quality like is virtually required to participate in varsity athletics at the University of Texas. At Trinity there is a much greater likelihood of participating in the performing arts (like theatre and orchestras) relative to the University of Texas. And in the classrooms the basic courses will have less than 35 students whereas many lecture courses at the University of Texas will have 500 to over 1,000 in a lecture hall.

Heavily endowed small schools like Trinity can afford expensive faculty who teach very few students in wonderful facilities like science labs.

My point is that the endowed small colleges and universities will probably carry on in the face of competition from distance education and lower priced state-supported universities and colleges. And they will perhaps do so without having to offer distance education themselves except in cases where an occasional course is outsourced to cover gaps in curricula.

See below for outsourcing to Oplerno for such purposes.

"Pension-Law ‘Glitch’ Could Prompt Retirement Wave, U. of Illinois Warns," by Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 21, 2014 ---

University of Illinois system officials are seeking a legislative fix for what they are calling an “unintended glitch” in the state’s new pension law, warning that faculty members and employees could retire en masse by the end of June over looming reductions in their retirement benefits, The News-Gazette reported.

The university said its Board of Trustees had directed its president, Robert A. Easter, to work with other public universities and the legislature to amend the law.

“Right now people are queued up like homesteaders for the Oklahoma land rush,” Thomas P. Hardy, an Illinois spokesman, told the newspaper. “We don’t want to have a brain rush out the front door.”

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, signed the measure in December, as part of an effort to reduce the state’s pension obligations. But Avijit Ghosh, a senior adviser to Mr. Easter and a professor of business administration, said that a clause added to the new law could sharply reduce employees’ monthly retirement annuities if they waited until July 1 to retire.

The university said it had about 5,700 employees on its three campuses who are eligible for retirement, and 60 to 70 percent of them could be affected.

Jensen Comment
Losing retirement age faculty over 60 years of age is a mixed blessing. Some you want to retire as soon as possible. Others you want to keep as long as possible. But usually you don't want them to all leave at once, especially in discipline like accountancy having a short supply of replacements.

It's common for faculty to postpone collecting Social Security and retirement benefits for a year of more, especially when those benefits increase with age at the time benefits commence. The Affordable Health Care Act made it possible for new retirees not yet 65 to obtain health care coverage between the time they retire and when Medicare kicks in at Age 65.

"Colleges Ask Court for Deference on Unpaid Internships," by Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 2014 ---

Five major higher-education groups are urging a federal appellate court to defer to colleges to determine the value of unpaid internships, which some advocates say exploit students while providing employers with free labor. Colleges are uniquely qualified to decide whether students benefit from real-world experiences where they can apply their knowledge and get a foothold in a tough job market, the groups argue in a brief filed this month.

Led by the American Council on Education, the groups are weighing in on a pair of cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that could limit colleges’ ability to integrate unpaid internships with companies into their curricula.

A rigid interpretation of federal labor rules may scare off companies from offering internships, some campus officials worry, and eliminate valuable learning opportunities for students. Colleges are gatekeepers, the officials argue, who make sure the experiences are educationally sound.

Others contend that colleges, by offering academic credit for free work, are accomplices in a system that takes advantage of students.

Unpaid interns sued companies in the two cases now on appeal before the Second Circuit. In one, a lower court ruled last year that a Hollywood entertainment group had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by taking on two unpaid interns in the production of the movie Black Swan. Fox Searchlight Pictures benefited from the interns’ work, which included answering phones and taking lunch orders, while the students gained little educationally, the judge found.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
My recollections when I was teaching is that the profit sector generally made internships a genuine learning experience. The non-profit sector, especially charities, tended to take advantage of the free or cheap internship labor. For example, there's not a whole lot of learning while spending days stuffing solicitation envelopes.

One exception was the Small Business Administration. My accounting students would go out to new small businesses and install accounting and internal control systems (back in the days when sophisticated accounting software had not yet been invented).

If it grows, this may be a great opportunity for genuine experts who are good at online teaching and want to "own" and "promote"  their own courses
"New Adjunct-Focused Venture Wins Approval to Offer Courses," by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 16, 2014 ---

A new for-profit education organization, designed to give more academic and financial control to the adjunct instructors who teach its online courses, has just won approval from the state of Vermont to operate.

The Vermont State Board of Education’s approval of Oplerno (the company’s name stands for “open learning organization”) means that its courses can qualify for credit at colleges and universities, at the institutions’ discretion.

Robert Skiff, the entrepreneur behind Oplerno, says he plans to begin offering the first classes within three weeks and to offer as many as 100 by the end of 2014. Already, he says, more than 80 faculty members have signed up to develop classes in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Under the Oplerno model, tuition per course would run from about $500 to $1,500, with a maximum of 25 students per class.  Instructors will design—and own—the content and set the price of the course, within those parameters. The instructors would then earn 80 percent to 90 percent of the revenue the class generates.

Jensen Comment
The key to success is for instructors to be so good that they can persuade accredited colleges and universities to offer their courses. In turn this is an opportunity for financially-strapped schools to fill in gaps in their curricula. Although in most instances transcript credit will be given for these courses, I can also anticipate that some colleges may find this to be an opportunity to provide more offerings in non-credit remedial courses.

For example, accounting Ph.D,s are among the most highly paid faculty on campus with starting salaries now in excess of $120,000 plus summer deals. Urban colleges can generally fill in accounting faculty gaps with local experts in such areas as advanced tax, advanced accounting, auditing, and AIS. But remote colleges, like most of those in Vermont, generally do not have a pool of local experts to serve as accounting adjuncts. The above Oplerno innovative approach is a great way to fill in faculty gaps with outstanding experts, some of whom may even have Ph.D. credentials such as retired accounting faculty like me.

Even urban schools might fill in gaps. For example, this year SMU in Dallas had a gap in faculty to teach advanced-level accounting courses. They paid my friend Tom Selling in Phoenix a generous stipend plus air fare to commute and teach regularly on the SMU campus in Dallas. Tom does have an accounting Ph.D. from OSU and research and teaching experience in several outstanding universities including Dartmouth. But he now primarily earns a living in consulting. Those weekly flights plus long taxi rides are not only expensive to SMU, but the round trip travel times must be a real waste of time for Tom. Think of how much more efficient it would be to buy Tom's online advanced-level accounting courses if (a big IF) Tom was willing to teach online for a much higher stipend.

I anticipate resistance from tenured faculty in some colleges and universities to this type of coverage on the grounds that it may become an excuse to not hire expensive faculty to serve on campus. However, I assume that control for each outsourced course will primarily reside within each on-campus department where local faculty generally have a lot of power in their small domains. There can be added incentives such as the spreading of performance raises and travel budgets over fewer onsite faculty.

The main objection, a big one, will be that faculty on campus have many more responsibilities than to teach their courses. They assist in recruiting and advising students and serve on all sorts of academic and administrative committees. They are responsible for research and become a major factor in the reputations of their departments and their colleges.  They are huge factors in alumni relations and student placement. Hence, I foresee that outsourced coverage of courses will only be a small part of the curriculum of any department. It could become a means of having a better curriculum for a few courses, particularly those advanced specialty courses that are really impossible do well with existing onsite faculty.

Imagine the outrage for such death sentences in the USA --- It will never happen!
Two Vietnam bank executives sentenced to death in bank fraud --- Click Here

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

Business Insider's Ranking of the Top 50 Best Companies in America ---

There's an obvious flaw in the criteria used to rank the "Best Companies in America." The ranking does not include sustainability of each company. Exhibit A is Yahoo which ranks as the 17th Best Company in America and is now deemed "worse than worthless." See below.

"How Is Yahoo So Worthless?" by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic via Business Insider, April 18, 2014 ---

. . .

Technically, it's worse than worthless. Worthless means without worth. Worthless means $0.00. But Yahoo's core business—mostly search and display advertising—is worth more like negative-$10 billion, according to Bloomberg View's Matthew C. Klein.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I would miss Yahoo if it went away. Quite often I have success with Yahoo Search when Google Search fails me.

Jensen Comment
I know a closed-down hotel in these parts where the land that it owns is more valuable than the land plus the hotel. How can this be? The problem is that it costs quite a lot of money to tear down an old hotel, and there's hope by some that it might be profitable if a considerable amount of money was spent on its restoration and payment of back taxes.

Another problem is, however, that there's a considerable financial risk in starting up this old hotel. The hope is that taxpayers will take on much of the financial risk interest-free loans and grants.

When it's too risky for investors there's always the government.

Ironically, Yahoo is ranked as the 17th Best Company in America --- see above. Go figure!

The 5 Worst Mistakes To Make When Buying A New Car --- http://www.businessinsider.com/worst-mistakes-buying-a-new-car-2014-4
Or go to

Jensen Comment
I think the worst mistake is not pretending to be a cash buyer. My advice is to always pretend that you want to pay cash for the car or truck or tractor. Then after you negotiate the dealer's rock bottom cash price you can inquire about financing deals.

You should be able to compute or have a knowledgeable friend be able to compute the financing interest rate based upon the rock bottom cash price that you negotiated. Dealers have a way of making finance rates look lower by using some price higher than the rock bottom cash price that you negotiated ---
I provide a free Excel workbook on how to compute financing rates ---

If you don't put a lot of miles on a car each year I would also look into negotiating a leasing deal with an option to buy the car at the end of the lease. Because interest rates are so low for dealers and banks, leasing has become a much better option than in the old days of higher interest rates.

Bad Public Relations From an Uncaring Monopoly:  Some users are absolutely furious
Microsoft confirms it's dropping Windows 8.1 support (sort of)

In what is surely the most customer-antagonistic move of the new Windows regime, Steve Thomas at Microsoft posted a TechNet article on Saturday stating categorically that Microsoft will no longer issue security patches for Windows 8.1, starting in May. Call this the "let them eat cake" approach to support for Microsoft's flagship operating system.

Since Microsoft wants to ensure that customers benefit from the best support and servicing experience and to coordinate and simplify servicing across both Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 RT and Windows 8.1, this update will be considered a new servicing/support baseline... beginning with the May Patch Tuesday, Windows 8.1 user's devices without the update installed will no longer receive security updates. This means that Windows 8.1 users - starting patch Tuesday in May 2014 and beyond - will require this update to be installed. If the Windows 8.1 Update is not installed, those newer updates will be considered "not applicable."

Never mind that Windows 8.1 customers are still having multiple problems with errors when trying to install the Update. At this point, there are 300 posts on the Microsoft Answers forum thread Windows 8.1 Update 1 Failing to Install with errors 0x80070020, 80073712 and 800F081F. The Answers forum is peppered with similar complaints and a wide range of errors, from 800F0092 to 80070003, for which there are no solutions from Microsoft.

Never mind that Microsoft itself yanked Windows 8.1 Update from the corporate WSUS update server chute almost a week ago and still hasn't offered a replacement.

Never mind that third-party software -- notably Malwarebytes -- is encountering compatibility problems with Windows 8.1 Update.

Never mind that, up until last week, most new Windows PCs were sold with the now-shunned software.

Most damning of all, Thomas reiterates the absurd decision to cut off Windows 8.1 but keep security patches going for Windows 8 itself:

For those users who are still using Windows 8 and Windows 2012 (and not Windows 8.1 and Windows 2012 R2) you are unaffected and will continue to receive updates as normal. The new baseline only exists for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

At the same time, corporate admins have been advised to hold off on deploying Windows 8.1 Update:

Microsoft plans to issue an update as soon as possible that will correct the issue and restore the proper behavior for Windows 8.1 Update KB 2919355 scanning against all supported WSUS configurations. Until that time, we are delaying the distribution of the Windows 8.1 Update KB 2919355 to WSUS servers. You may still obtain the Windows 8.1 Update (KB 2919355) from the Windows Update Catalog or MSDN. However, we recommend that you suspend deployment of this update in your organization until we release the update that resolves this issue.

Yes, you read that right: With three weeks left until Windows 8.1 end of support -- until the next round of security patches appear with Windows 8.1 not included in the party list -- Microsoft still hasn't figured out how to get Windows 8.1 Update out to the corporate update distribution channel.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Where's Bill Gates when we need him?

Woman living in luxury sentenced for stealing up to $377,000 in government benefits ---

With a round pool in the backyard, a Mercedes and a boat in the driveway and a greenhouse and an aviary nearby, the Florida house doesn’t look like it was owned by someone who qualified for public assistance.

But it was.

While living the life of luxury on a 1-acre manicured lot, Gloria Valle-Clas collected between $305,000 and $377,000 in food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid benefits. Using two separate Social Security numbers and as many as 12 aliases, she duped government agencies into sending her monthly assistance checks and picking up her medical bills for nearly a decade.

“Conduct like this should incense all Americans,” U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp said Thursday. “To be ripping off our government — every agency by every means possible.”

While her attorney Gregg Lerman suggested a roughly 3 1/2-year sentence, Ryskamp said that wasn’t enough. He tacked on roughly another year.

“I just think this is about as low as it gets,” Ryskamp said in sentencing Valle-Clas to 51 months in prison, the maximum allowed under federal rules. He also ordered her to pay $283,359 in restitution.

Her 41-year-old husband, who benefited from his spouse’s schemes but played a minor role in them, was shown some mercy. Alexander Gonzalez was sentenced to 364 days in prison and ordered to repay the government $9,999.

His attorney Jonathan Friedman said a sentence of less than a year may help persuade an immigration judge to allow Gonzalez, who is in the country legally, to remain in the United States after he completes his prison term.

The sophisticated scheme began in 2003 when Valle-Clas persuaded the Broward County Housing Authority to give her monthly checks to live in two homes she owned in North Lauderdale. Later, by again lying about her marital status, her bank accounts and her ownership of businesses, including a printing company, she got the Boca Raton Housing Authority to pay her rent to live in the Loxahatchee, Fla., home, according to court documents.

The truth was, she had plenty of money, she said. Not only did the couple live off their fraudulently obtained government checks, but they pocketed $200,000 when they sold the homes in North Lauderdale. Further, when Valle-Clas persuaded a bank to give her a $200,000 line of credit, she defaulted on $145,000, Bell said.

To emphasize Valle-Clas’ cunning, she showed Ryskamp two driver’s license photos of Valle-Clas. In one, she wears glasses, has bangs and uses the name Gloria LopezClas. In the other, she has her hair pulled back, no glasses and calls herself Nereida Valle. The photos, Bell said, were taken a day apart.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Paul Williams replied that this welfare cheat was no worse than the crooks who work on Wall Street.

But getting hired on Wall Street is very competitive even among Ivy League graduates. Other graduates need not apply.

There's virtually unlimited opportunity for welfare cheats, and it does not entail taking courses (which can entail blood, sweat, and tears). Welfare cheats have no student loans to pay off and no competition for admission.

But it can be somewhat hard work filling out 20 or more fake tax returns.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

The Panic of 1907 gave birth to modern financial forecasting. The tools back then were crude and unreliable. Are they much better today?
"The Dismal Art Economic forecasting has become much more sophisticated in the decades since its invention. So why are we still so bad at it?" by  James Surowiecki, Democracy Journal, Issue #32, Spring 2014 ---

We live in an age that’s drowning in economic forecasts. Banks, investment firms, government agencies: On a near-daily basis, these institutions are making public predictions about everything from the unemployment rate to GDP growth to where stock prices are headed this year. Big companies, meanwhile, employ sizable planning departments that are supposed to help them peer into the future. And the advent of what’s often called Big Data is only adding to the forecast boom, with the field of “predictive analytics” promising that it can reveal what we’ll click on and what we’ll buy.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, by contrast, none of this was true. While Wall Street has always been home to tipsters and shills, forecasting was at best a nascent art, and even the notion that you could systematically analyze the U.S. economy as a whole would have seemed strange to many. Economics, meanwhile, had only recently established a foothold in the academy (the American Economic Association, for instance, was founded in 1885), and was dominated by Progressive economists whose focus was more on reforming capitalism via smart regulation rather than on macroeconomic questions.

Walter Friedman’s Fortune Tellers is the story of how, over the course of two decades, this all changed. In a series of short biographical narratives of the first men to take up forecasting as a profession, Friedman shows how economic predictions became an integral part of the way businessmen and government officials made decisions, and how the foundations were laid for the kind of sophisticated economic modeling that we now rely on. Friedman, a historian at Harvard Business School, also shows how the advent of forecasting was coupled with (and fed on) a revolution in the way information about the economy was gathered and disseminated. Relative to today, of course, the forecasters Friedman writes about were operating in the dark, burdened with fragmentary data and unreliable numbers. But the work they did, flawed as it was, would eventually make it possible for decision-makers to get a much better picture of how the economy as a whole was doing. And even as it’s easy to see how the forecasts of today are much more rigorous and complex than those of Friedman’s pioneers, that only makes one question seem all the more salient: Why, if forecasting has come so far, did so many people fail to predict the crash of 2008 and the disastrous downturn that followed?

It’s fitting that Friedman’s book starts with a financial crisis, namely the Panic of 1907, which he argues in some sense gave birth to modern forecasting. That panic began with a failed attempt by the financier Heinze brothers, Otto and Augustus, to corner the copper market. The collapse of their scheme drove institutions that had lent money to the Heinzes into bankruptcy and created a climate of fear that led to massive runs on New York banks and a series of bank failures, even as the Dow fell by almost half. More important, the crisis on Wall Street spilled over into the real economy, with industrial production taking a major hit and economic growth falling sharply. The crisis was shocking both because major panics were thought to be a thing of the past, and because the economic consequences of the crash seemed out of all proportion to the causes. And while there had obviously always been people on Wall Street trying to predict the future, the panic fueled people’s appetite for any information that could insulate them from market turmoil.

That appetite was also growing because the capital markets were booming—stocks, for instance, went from a niche investment at the turn of the century to, by the 1920s, being a crucial part of the way companies raised money (and investors made money). And the upheaval in the real economy—which was benefiting from an explosion in innovation that brought Americans widespread electrification, the automobile, the telephone, the phonograph, the movie camera, and the airplane—gave people “an insatiable demand for information that could shed light on future economic conditions.”

The first person to really meet that demand, Friedman argues, was Roger Babson, who began putting out regular forecasts about the U.S. economy after 1907. Babson was the most obvious huckster of Friedman’s subjects. He was given to faddish beliefs. He was a serial entrepreneur who came up with a host of odd inventions, and he was peculiarly obsessed with Isaac Newton. And his view of the business cycle, which he saw as oscillating regularly between boom and bust, was both simplistic and informed by a highly moralistic notion of excess and punishment. But Babson did two important things, Friedman argues. First, he solidified the notion that there was something called the “U.S. economy” whose different parts were connected to one another in systematic ways. And he popularized the idea that economies were subject to business cycles, about which coherent prognostications could be made. These seem, today, like obvious insights. But at the time, Friedman argues, they were quite new. As he writes, “The economic booms and busts of the previous century were typically ascribed not to any sort of regular business cycle but to fate, the weather, political schemes, divine Providence, or unexpected shocks like new tariffs or earthquakes.”

Babson’s analysis of those cycles was dubious at best (though his emphasis on the way emotions affect economic activity anticipated, in a crude way, both Keynes and today’s behavioral economists). But Babson’s forecasts, which were built on the idea that historical patterns repeated themselves, reflected an enormous amount of data-gathering work. He collected and published statistics about industrial production, immigration, imports and exports, commodity prices, and so on, and eventually began constructing time-series charts that were meant to forecast the performance of the economy as a whole. This was both a conceptual advance and a practical one: Much of this information had never been collected in one place before.

The same can be said, only more so, of the data offered to subscribers by John Moody, founder of Moody’s Investors Service and Moody’s Analyses Publishing, a ratings agency. If Babson was ultimately interested in the macro-economy, Moody’s focus was much more on the micro-economy, because he believed that getting a real picture of what was happening required you to look in detail at what the country’s big companies were doing. The challenge was that companies at the time typically didn’t disclose all that much information about their performance, and certainly didn’t do so in any kind of systematic fashion. Most companies didn’t even issue annual reports, and investors were perennially left at sea, wondering just what was happening to their money. Moody played a key role in changing this state of affairs. He began by publishing a regular manual that contained detailed financial information about almost 2,000 industrial companies. Then he moved from statistics to prediction, starting a ratings agency in 1909 that advised investors about the creditworthiness of bond-issuing companies. One of Moody’s key ideas was that capitalism is all about future value, so that the value of an asset in the present really consists of how much income it can generate in the future (discounted by the relevant interest rate). The need to forecast is, in that sense, built into the system.

The problem, of course, is figuring out just what variables you have to take into account in order to make an accurate prediction. The crucial insight of the economist Irving Fisher, a contemporary of Babson and Moody, was that one of the most important variables was the supply of money. Fisher believed that there was a tight relation between changes in the money supply and what happened in the real economy, and while he overestimated and oversimplified the relationship between the two factors, you can see in his work the roots of what we now call monetarism (including the notion that having the Federal Reserve print money is a smart response to a recession). Fisher’s reputation as a forecaster was famously destroyed in 1929, when he said on the eve of the Great Crash that stocks had reached a “permanently high plateau.” (Babson, by contrast, called the crash in advance.) But of all the people Friedman writes about, Fisher is the most interesting thinker—his theories about the role of money and, later, his ideas about the relationship between debt and financial crises continue to seem relevant even today.

Fisher is also important because he learned from failure. One of the great perils of being a forecaster, particularly one who enjoys early success, is that it becomes difficult to recognize one’s blind spots and easy to stay fixed in one way of seeing the world. Philip Tetlock, a professor of psychology and management at Penn who conducted a 20-year study asking almost 300 experts to forecast political events, has shown that while experts in the political realm are not especially good at forecasting the future, those who did best were, in the terminology he borrowed from Isaiah Berlin, foxes as opposed to hedgehogs—that is, the best forecasters were those who knew lots of little things rather than one big thing. Yet forecasters are more likely to be hedgehogs, if only because it’s easier to get famous when you’re preaching a simple gospel. And hedgehogs are not good, in general, at adapting to changed conditions—think of those bearish commentators who correctly predicted the bursting of the housing bubble but then failed to see that the stock market was going to make a healthy recovery. Fisher, by contrast, reacted to his failure to see the 1929 crash coming by looking at what he had missed, and in doing so came to focus on the importance of debt, and the way an overhang of debt can hold back an economy as it tries to get out of recession, an idea that has gained new popularity as economists try to explain the relative weakness of our current recovery. (While Fisher was discredited as a forecaster, his reputation as an economist was eventually revived.)

What Fisher didn’t give up on, though, was the notion that a couple of key variables could really explain the business cycle. But as Friedman explains, that kind of formulaic approach was gradually eclipsed by one that relied on a more complicated blend of empirical data, historical analysis, and mathematical modeling, an approach pioneered by the economist Wesley Mitchell, founder of the National Bureau of Economic Research. (C.J. Bullock and Warren Persons, who founded an institution called the Harvard Economic Service and whom Friedman also discusses, relied on similar techniques.) Mitchell’s attitude, as Friedman puts it, was more “circumspect” than those of previous forecasters, more cognizant of the limitations of forecasting, and more aware that while history may rhyme, it does not repeat itself. Mitchell’s work was, in many ways, the forerunner of today’s best forecasts. And it was also important because it marked the entrance of the government into the forecasting business, since in the 1920s Mitchell worked closely with Herbert Hoover, who was then secretary of commerce. This may seem surprising, given Hoover’s reputation, but he was a fierce advocate for the idea that the government should collect and disseminate as much economic information as possible, believing that if businesspeople had access to accurate forecasts about the economy, they would make smarter decisions that would help mitigate the excesses of the boom-bust cycle.

Continued in article


The limits of mathematical and statistical analysis of big data
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on April 18, 2014

The limits of social engineering
Writing in
 MIT Technology Review, tech reporter Nicholas Carr pulls from a new book by one of MIT’s noted data scientists to explain why he thinks Big Data has its limits, especially when applied to understanding society. Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, in his book “Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – The Lessons from a New Science,” sees a mathematical modeling of society made possible by new technologies and sensors and Big Data processing power. Once data measurement confirms “the innate tractability of human beings,” scientists may be able to develop models to predict a person’s behavior. Mr. Carr sees overreach on the part of Mr. Pentland. “Politics is messy because society is messy, not the other way around,” Mr. Carr writes, and any statistical model likely to come from such research would ignore the history, politics, class and messy parts associated with humanity. “What big data can’t account for is what’s most unpredictable, and most interesting, about us,” he concludes.

Jensen Comment
The sad state of accountancy and many doctoral programs in the 21st Century is that virtually all of them in North America only teach the methodology and technique of analyzing big data with statistical tools or the analytical modeling of artificial worlds based on dubious assumptions to simplify reality ---

The Pathways Commission sponsored by the American Accounting Association strongly proposes adding non-quantitative alternatives to doctoral programs but I see zero evidence of any progress in that direction. The main problem is that it's just much easier to avoid having to collect data by beating purchased databases with econometric sticks until something, usually an irrelevant something, falls out of the big data piñata.

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

"NYU Reportedly Turned Two Scarce Faculty Apartments Into Duplex for President’s Son," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 17, 2014 ---

Dartmouth College, which for decades has been viewed as the rowdiest of the Ivy League colleges, is trying again to change its campus culture.
"Can He Change Dartmouth?" by Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, April 18, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Here in New Hampshire we have two controversial sayings:

How to Mislead With Statistics
Each state ranked by how their employment compares with its pre-crisis peak
Nate Silver's 5:38 Blog, April 18, 2014

The table below shows each state ranked by how their employment compares with its pre-crisis peak.


Jensen Comment
Last night while watching the Vermont PBS station that weekly airs political and economic happenings in Vermont, it struck me as ludicrous when commentators bragged about Vermont's relatively low unemployment rate. The main reason for its low unemployment rate is that Vermont is the most generous welfare state in the USA such that it would have an extremely high rate of unemployment if welfare did not pay much better than low-wage employment. Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada could also have unemployment rates below 4% if they adopted Vermont's welfare generosity.

This week Vermont decided to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour (timing is a bit uncertain yet) largely due to the Governor's promotion of getting more people off of welfare with higher wage incentives.

It's also misleading to brag about Vermont's low unemployment rate without also pointing out the degree to which the new and old jobs since 2007 are now part-time jobs rather than full-time jobs. In general the USA unemployment statistics are misleading because they count part-time jobs as being equivalent to full-time jobs.

Buy the way the above statistics are also a bit misleading because there's a difference between broad-based employment increases versus single-sector increases. North Dakota and Texas look a little less spectacular when you realize that most of the success is due to the oil and gas producing sector. In comparison, the increase in employment in Taxachusetts is much more broad-based and took place in spite of high taxation. I think the reason is the pool of highly educated workers that emerge from the many universities led by MIT, Harvard, and so on down the line. This is also a factor in the recent success in raising employment in California, especially along the Pacific coastline. Universities leading the way in California include Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, and many others. In comparison, Nevada falls way behind in terms of university graduates and tech companies.


"Ball State Will Weed Out 'Low Performers' on Faculty," Inside Higher Ed, April 16, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
This begs the question of how to pull out the weeds. When I was at Trinity University I admired how then President Calgaard seemed to be quite skilled at buying out tenure contracts. He succeeded in some instances at buyouts that I predicted would have been impossible.

There are a surprising number of low-performing faculty who are looking for opportunities to get out of their jobs. In many instances these are older faculty where deals on medical insurance coverage until age 65 count as much or more than the buyout amount in cash. In such instances Trinity continued to pay for medical insurance retired employees or their spouses who had not yet reached age 65 when Medicare kicks in.

In other instances low-performing younger faculty often need their relatively low annual salary less due to their higher incomes of working spouses (men and women). If they really want out it often does not take much to send these low-performing faculty on their way toward greener pastures.

Of course in some instances there are low-performing tenured faculty who refuse to leave. We often call those faculty lifetime associate professors. Low inflation rates makes it even harder to get rid of them. Their performance often deteriorates even more when they are disgruntled by low salaries. Many of them are paid for full-time effort that is less than half-time effort while they work at other jobs part-time. For example, some disgruntled accounting faculty have tax and/or bookkeeping services on the side.

"I Have Been Invited to Retire," Anonymous, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 17, 2010 ---

In late spring, the tide of articles on academic topics began to shift from the woeful hiring conditions for those in the humanities to the pleasure and pain of retirement. Reading the news and the three (too cheerful, it seemed) e-mails from my college inviting me to consider early retirement, I was reminded of a Woody Allen joke in Annie Hall. Two women at a Catskills resort are talking, and one says: "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know. And such small portions."

In this case, the portions are indeed small: The payout is far less than the two years' salary offered by some institutions or even the one year's worth at many others, and it comes with only six months' continuance of a costly health-care plan.

Furthermore, the paperwork includes a lengthy confidentiality clause. An applicant must pledge not only never to disclose the terms of the agreement but also never to discuss anything negative, whether "facts, opinions, or beliefs," about the college. The clause, I've been told, resembles those in corporate agreements. Presumably, then, along with my keys, I'd be relinquishing my academic freedom. If I were to sign the release, I could not write this essay (clearly not the case for those at some larger institutions, who have disclosed such information in interviews with The Chronicle).

So here is another argument for not pursuing the dream of college teaching in the humanities: After five to 10 years spent acquiring an advanced degree or two, and, for many, subsequent years spent as adjuncts, the time between receiving the first contract for a full-time position and opening that invitation to retire early isn't very long.

In my case, it was 14 years. In the week of the first anniversary of my promotion to full professor, I received the first invitation to consider leaving. I told myself that it wasn't personal; the mailing went out to everyone who would be 55 as of this summer and who had served the college for at least 10 years. But it felt personal. As one of the staff members who left said, "It feels as though no one values what I did."

It's not as though I haven't considered leaving. The workload is sometimes overwhelming, and the politics are abysmal. And I have plenty of other things to keep me busy until my mid-90s (the age of a few professors of my oldest child at her university, and the age I'd originally targeted for my retirement).

I could write full time, instead of storing up my notes for summer and winter breaks. I could devote many more hours to the gardens at my house and my parents'. I could join either of the two women who have invited me to form business partnerships, one in education, the other in retail. I could return to doing volunteer service, which my full-time professorship has left no time for. I could devote even more time to my parents, who are in their late 80s, and to my new granddaughter, who is approaching 8 months.

There are several reasons, however, that I don't feel quite ready to leave. One practical reason is that our youngest child still isn't settled in her own life. A recent graduate, she has cobbled together two part-time jobs and is still finding her way, partly with my husband's and my support. Far bigger reasons are my attachment to the students and to several courses and programs that I've developed.

I didn't plan to fall in love with the students at my small college, but I have, over and over again. Some of them have been classic good students, hardworking and an easy pleasure to work with. Others have been tougher, and tougher to love, but with them I have accomplished some of my most rewarding work. As for courses, a former provost once reminded me rather sharply that "we don't own courses here." Aside from the practical aspect of needing to have, at the least, a dependable subset of regularly recurring classes when one is teaching eight to 10 courses per year, I believe that good teachers do, in fact, "own" at least a few of their courses—those they have created out of need or desire, certainly out of expertise, and have honed over time.

When I was hired, I was expected not only to pick up where two retiring professors had left off and to carry their classes, but also to create new courses in two areas. Eventually I created over a dozen classes, in three areas. At my tenure ceremony, a provost (not the one mentioned above) cited my "course creation" in her introduction. Subsequently hired faculty members—full-time, part-time, and adjunct—have since taught many of those courses, without knowing that I started them. And that's fine with me. There were areas where the humanities program was weak. I don't have to teach classes in all of them; I just need to know that students are getting them. I would very much like to own two particular courses, but even those have occasionally been taught by others—and I hope that they will be taught long after I finally do decide to leave.

Sometimes I think of the metaphor of the stone and the pond—how if you drop a stone in the water, there are ripples for a bit and then there is once again just the smooth surface. I am concerned about the two programs I helped create, one a minor and one a concentration. While we still list both under the departmental offerings, the courses that count toward them have been drastically cut. I've been told this is temporary, and I'd like to stay long enough to see those programs fully re-established and running well. You might call it my legacy. I'd like to know that I accomplished something, even as I reflect that, ironically, such a fervent wish must be a sign of getting older.

Older, not old. I am 59, soon to be 60. Thanks to good genes from both sides of my family, I don't look my age; I can easily "pass" for 45—the age I was when I started teaching at my college.

There's the rub. At some point, I began thinking of this place as "my college." But it isn't, and there have been signs of that for over a year. When I mentioned to a colleague that I had been passed over for several ad hoc committees, he told me that a member of the new administration had dismissively referred to the two of us as members of the "old"—and presumably obsolete?—"guard," this despite our work in course creation, our teaching awards, our experience on committees, our publications and conferences, and our dedication to—our belief in—the institution.

Here's one more aspect of my education, then—a lesson in humility. That isn't necessarily a bad lesson, although in this instance it seems somewhat unjust. In my earliest dream scenarios, I never envisioned that my brilliant career would end quite like this.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
There are really several reasons for generous early retirement deals. I've seen almost all of these in operation. One is to selectively eliminate dead wood tenured professors who are considered to be more dysfunctional than effective in classrooms for whatever reason. The second is to reduce the size of a department that has experienced a severe decline in majors for whatever reason. The third is general agreement that the college is just too top heavy with tenured faculty and not experiencing enough new blood transfusions of new faculty. A fourth is general agreement that the tenured faculty lacks racial, gender, and/or political diversity. A fifth is to lower budgets in times of financial exigency. There are other reasons such as to put a carrot in front of a 88-year old popular teacher who last read a scholarly journal/book at age 60.

From a personal advice standpoint, faculty considering early retirement should consider some things in their severance negotiations in addition to future losses in salary.. First and foremost apart from salary loss are medical coverages of themselves and their spouses. Some 76-year old professors who want desperately to retire cannot do so because they took on trophy (much younger) spouses for whom new medical coverage is very expensive. It's not yet clear how much relief will be granted by the new health care bill requiring insurance companies never to deny coverage for preconditions. It's still uncertain what the costs of these private policies are going to become after such preconditions are factored into premiums.

Especially note that you or your spouse may have to be at least 65 before being eligible for Medicare coverage unless declared disabled.

Second, consideration should be given to the creeping age requirements for full social security benefits. My father was eligible for full coverage at age 65 (although he waited until he was 70). In an earlier message I mistakenly claimed my full benefits age was 67. It was actually not that high but it was over 65 ---

Also note that if you delay receiving early or full social security benefits you can increase your ultimate benefits, especially if you wait until 70 years of age like my father elected to do so he could increase his monthly benefits for the rest of his life. You should also consider the explosion in life expectancies:

Third you should note that the amount of social security benefits received varies with average monthly earnings such that consideration should be give to expected increases in salary before retirement ---

Fourth you should carefully consider the timing of retirement plans you might cash in on if you retire early. For example, the 2008 collapse of the stock market forced many TIAA-CREF holders to delay retirements due to considerable losses in their retirement accounts. I benefited by retiring in 2006 while the retirement accounts were doing quite well in what turned out to be a price bubble. I elected to retire on fixed life annuities for most of my accounts. If you changed universities, you will discover that you most likely have more than one TIAA-CREF account that factor retirement options differently. I taught at four universities across 40 years and discovered that I had six accounts when I retired. I now get six separate IRS 1099 forms each January. Sometimes a given university even changes the rules for retirement such that TIAA-CREF creates an account before and after a rule change. For example, the university may change the rules on how much a retiree can obtain in cash settlement of an account on the date of retirement. Some universities are paternalistic and put up barriers for retirees to become  Lotus Eaters ---

Fifth you also have to consider your personal portfolio of mutual funds, real estate, spousal earnings, etc. Your real estate investments probably declined and will recover very, very slowly. This is not always the case. I inherited an Iowa farm in 2001 that I sold when I retired in 2006. This farm is worth much more today due largely to absurd government subsidies on corn ethanol combined with absurd import duties on cheaper ethanol that could otherwise be imported from cheap, high-quality ethanol producers like Brazil. Thank you for that Senator Harkin. I underestimated your power in the Senate.

Your stock investments have recovered pretty well since 2008 if you were sufficiently diversified. Bonds may go down in value if interest rates rise above their current all-time lows. However, TIAA retirement deals do not fluctuate as wildly as daily bond prices.

Sixth there are all sorts of tax considerations, and I ceased being a tax accountant in 1961 when I resigned from Ernst & Ernst and entered Stanford's doctoral program.  I offer no tax advice but do provide some helper links at
I will offer practicing accountants some great advice. Consider becoming a tax accounting professor. There's an immense shortage of PhD tax professors such that you may be the highest paid professor in a university while also making a fortune in tax consulting. Not all universities have tax accounting PhD programs. Don't go to Stanford for tax accounting. The best choices are probably flagship state universities with "relatively large" accounting doctoral programs. I say "relatively large" because there are no longer any large North American accounting doctoral programs ---

Lastly, you must consider how much you truly continue to enjoy your career. I know some retired professors who just grew weary of what they viewed, perhaps mistakenly, as lower quality students or more plagiarizing students. I know of some faculty who retired because they grew weary of ungrateful students who used teaching evaluations to extort higher grades in grade-inflated colleges.

I know of some professors who could've retired years ago who just love teaching more than any alternative they can think of to occupy their time in retirement. Faculty greatly vary as to how much they continue to enjoy their careers as the years pile on.

I will say that if I had to choose all over again, I would still become an accounting professor relative to any other imagined career. Being a professor is the closest thing to really being your own boss of your time and boss of what tasks that engage your brain. Both students and other faculty do provide exciting temptations of where to put your brain to work. Long before I retired I discovered that leisure is boring!

"Aging Professors Create a Faculty Bottleneck At some universities, 1 in 3 academics are now 60 or older," Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2012 ---

"University of Akron increases tuition and cuts programs to balance budget," by Karen Farkas, The Plain Dealer, April 23, 2014 ---

Programs considered for elimination ---
Most of these programs were probably selected due to low enrollments. It amazes me that some of these very narrow programs commenced in the first place.

Disabled Boy Records Bullies Tormenting Him, Police Charge Him With Illegal Wiretapping ---

 After a disabled special education child tried to record how bullies were tormenting him at school, the police in Pennslyvania responded by slapping him with the charge of felony wiretapping.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, some parents are angry over one school’s anti-bullying policy, claiming it specifically endorses a homosexual agenda. But when one bus driver was caught on video bullying a crying child, the resulting outcry had everyone angry.

Back in 2012, the Huffington Post documented the new trend of parents having their disabled children wiretapped based upon abuse from teachers and bullying students alike. Although some organizations like the National Autism Association “strongly suggest” using recording devices if they suspect a problem, others like the National Association of Special Education Teachers say that secret recordings are a bad idea based upon legal issues and the privacy rights of other children. In the worst case scenario, the children being bullied might themselves get in trouble under the law. Unfortunately, this is apparently exactly what happened.

Jensen Comment

After a disabled special education child tried to record how bullies were tormenting him at school, the police in Pennslyvania responded by slapping him with the charge of felony wiretapping.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, some parents are angry over one school’s anti-bullying policy, claiming it specifically endorses a homosexual agenda. But when one bus driver was caught on video bullying a crying child, the resulting outcry had everyone angry.

Back in 2012, the Huffington Post documented the new trend of parents having their disabled children wiretapped based upon abuse from teachers and bullying students alike. Although some organizations like the National Autism Association “strongly suggest” using recording devices if they suspect a problem, others like the National Association of Special Education Teachers say that secret recordings are a bad idea based upon legal issues and the privacy rights of other children. In the worst case scenario, the children being bullied might themselves get in trouble under the law. Unfortunately, this is apparently exactly what happened.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1209361/disabled-boy-records-bullies-tormenting-him-police-charge-him-with-illegal-wiretapping/#2tqzPdU4LVTWojOY.99
After a disabled special education child tried to record how bullies were tormenting him at school, the police in Pennslyvania responded by slapping him with the charge of felony wiretapping.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, some parents are angry over one school’s anti-bullying policy, claiming it specifically endorses a homosexual agenda. But when one bus driver was caught on video bullying a crying child, the resulting outcry had everyone angry.

Back in 2012, the Huffington Post documented the new trend of parents having their disabled children wiretapped based upon abuse from teachers and bullying students alike. Although some organizations like the National Autism Association “strongly suggest” using recording devices if they suspect a problem, others like the National Association of Special Education Teachers say that secret recordings are a bad idea based upon legal issues and the privacy rights of other children. In the worst case scenario, the children being bullied might themselves get in trouble under the law. Unfortunately, this is apparently exactly what happened.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1209361/disabled-boy-records-bullies-tormenting-him-police-charge-him-with-illegal-wiretapping/#2tqzPdU4LVTWojOY.99

Jensen Comment
Let's face it, this disabled child committed a serious felony. Let's let the bullies go scott free and give him jail time..

Teachers are running scared that recording them in their classrooms and offices will become an epidemic.

"Because China relies so heavily on coal for power, electric vehicles aren’t necessarily an improvement over gasoline-powered cars," Mike Orcutt, MIT's Technology Review," April 17, 2014 ---

"Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense?
Tesla’s audacious plan to build a giant battery factory may mostly be a clever negotiating tactic
by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, April 14, 2014 ---

"The 50-year snooze Brazilian workers are gloriously unproductive:  For the economy to grow, they must snap out of their stupor," The Economist, April 19, 2014 ---

PECKISH revellers at Lollapalooza, a big music festival in São Paulo earlier this month, were in for a treat. In contrast to past years’ menus of reheated hamburgers, they could plump for pulled pork, barbecue ribs or corn on the cob, courtesy of BOS BBQ, a Texan eatery in the city. More surprising than the fare, however, was the pace at which BOS’s two tents dished it out. Over the course of two days the booths, each manned by six people, served 12,000 portions, or more than one every 15 seconds, boasts Blake Watkins, who runs the restaurant. Such efficiency is as welcome as it is uncommon. Neighbouring stands needed two to three minutes to serve each customer, leading to lengthy lines and rumbling stomachs.

“The moment you land in Brazil you start wasting time,” laments Mr Watkins, who moved to the country three years ago after selling a fast-food business in New York. To be sure of having at least ten temporary workers at Lollapalooza, he hired 20 (sure enough, only half of them turned up). Lu Bonometti, who opened a cookie shop 18 months ago in a posh neighbourhood of São Paulo, has commissioned four different firms to fix her shop sign. None has come. Few cultures offer a better recipe for enjoying life. But the notion of opportunity cost seems lost on most Brazilians.

Queues, traffic jams, missed deadlines and other delays have been so ubiquitous for so long that “Brazilians have become anaesthetised to them”, says Regis Bonelli of Fundação Getulio Vargas, a business school. When on April 12th the boss of the state-owned operator suggested that large chunks of the airport in Belo Horizonte that will not be refurbished in time for the football World Cup in June should simply be “veiled”, his remark elicited no more than a shrug of resignation.

Apart from a brief spurt in the 1960s and 1970s, output per worker has either slipped or stagnated over the past half century, in contrast to most other big emerging economies (see chart). Total-factor productivity, which gauges the efficiency with which both capital and labour are used, is lower now than it was in 1960. Labour productivity accounted for 40% of Brazil’s GDP growth between 1990 and 2012, compared with 91% in China and 67% in India, according to McKinsey, a consultancy. The remainder came from an expansion of the workforce as a result of favourable demography, formalisation and low unemployment. This will slow to 1% a year in the next decade, says Mr Bonelli. If the economy is to grow any faster than its current pace of 2% or so a year, Brazilians will need to become more productive.

Economists trot out familiar reasons for the performance. Brazil invests just 2.2% of its GDP in infrastructure, well below the developing-world average of 5.1%. Of the 278,000 patents granted last year by the United States patent office, just 254 went to inventors from Brazil, which accounts for 3% of the world’s output and people. Brazil’s spending on education as a share of GDP has risen to rich-world levels, but quality has not, with pupils among the worst-performing in standardised tests. Mr Watkins complains that his 18-year-old barbecuers have the skills of 14-year-old Americans.

Less obviously, many Brazilian companies are unproductive because they are badly managed. John van Reenen of the London School of Economics found that although its best firms are just as well run as top-notch American and European ones, Brazil (like China and India) has a long, fat tail of highly inefficient ones.

Preferential tax treatment for firms with turnovers of no more than 3.6m reais ($1.6m) has reeled many irregular enterprises into the formal economy. But it discourages companies from growing. And as big fish in areas like retail make efficiency gains they need fewer workers, who instead swell the shoals of less productive minnows. Many hire trusted kith or kin rather than a better-qualified stranger, to limit the risk of being robbed or sued by employees for flouting notoriously worker-friendly labour laws. The upshot is even more inefficiency.

Continued in article

"(USA) Businesses Say They're Having Trouble Finding People Who Will Show Up For Work," by Matthew Boesler. Business Insider, April 16, 2014 ---

Every month, the New York Fed conducts two surveys: the Empire State Manufacturing Survey and its services-sector counterpart, the Business Leaders Survey. And each April it asks respondents of both surveys questions related to the difficulty of finding potential hires with certain skills.

This year's pair of April surveys confirmed that, as in previous years, employers are having trouble finding people with advanced computer and interpersonal skills, punctuality, and reliability.

Further, businesses in both the manufacturing and services sectors report that it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain skilled workers.

Below are the two key tables from the survey. The first shows that 36% of businesses in the manufacturing sector that responded to the survey are having moderate difficulty finding workers who are punctual and reliable, while 11% report great difficulty in finding workers with those traits. In the services sector, it's not as bad — 22% of respondents report moderate difficulty finding punctual, reliable workers, whereas only 3% report great difficulty.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Some of the problems are the rising incidences of mental illness. Those diseases that cause failure to show up for work include bipolar disease and depression in general. I know of one instance where a teacher commenced to show up for work less and less over several years (she had tenure). Then one day she simply stopped going to work without telling the school system she never intended to work again. However, she received over a year of full pay without ever returning to work --- union rules since she was diagnosed with bipolar disease. She now has lifetime Social Security disability compensation and Medicare.


There are tens of millions who would rather have checks or no checks instead of a job according the the U.S. Census
U.S. Census Report:  Only a small percentage of impoverished adults actually say it's because they can't find employment.
"Why The Poor Don't Work, According To The Poor," by Jordan Weissmann, The Atlantic, September 23, 2013 ---


Wal-Mart Anecdote:  Only 1 in 20 job applicants can pass a drug test. Yes, the is 19 in 20 failing.
James Peters james.peters@villanova.edu

12:36 PM (1 hour ago)

Small anecdote to build on this. I live in Las Vegas, NM (15,000 people in Northeast NM, not in Nevada). The local Wal-Mart no longer even bothers to take applications from local residents. Not only do they not show up for work, only 1 in 20 can pass a drug test. Yes, the is 19 in 20 failing. The biggest cause of failure is alcohol, which clears your system in hours. These people show up for a drug test drunk. They can't even make Wal-Mart's cut.

Jim Peters

"The Gender Wage Gap, by State," Freakonomics, April 15, 2014 ---

We have blogged and written extensively about the gender pay gap, much of which is not attributable to discrimination, as is commonly invoked. President Obama has taken up the cause; he recently signed two executive orders aimed at closing the gap.  Business Insider recently posted a state-by-state breakdown of the gender wage gap. It is interesting to look at but keep in mind the non-discriminatory factors that contribute to the gap, and therefore consider these numbers with some skepticism:

Wyoming has the biggest pay gap — the median male full-time worker made $51,932, and the median female full-time worker made $33,152. The male worker thus made 56.6% more than the female worker.

Washington, D.C. had the smallest gap — there, men make 11.0% more than women. Among the states, Maryland and Nevada had the smallest gaps, both at 17.2%.



Jensen Comment on High Frequency Trading
There are two types of "middlemen" that take some of investors money when they buy and sell securities on the 11 or more securities exchanges in the USA (that are no longer confined to Wall Street trading). Type 1 is one that earns a contractual fee that is disclosed to investors who should be aware of what they are paying to buy and sell securities. Type 2 are the hidden "skimmers" who make profits that are not disclosed to investors. That does not make them necessarily bad, but creates a moral hazard for them to secretly take advantage of investors--- such as observing unfilled orders and racing to beat investors on sell or buy orders so as to make them pay more or get less than would otherwise be the case without high-frequency speed traders. On the other hand these HFT traders also help create markets that can sometimes benefit investors even with the high speed "skimming."

Michael Lewis: 'Wall Street Has Gone Insane' ---

"Everything You Need to Know About High-Frequency Trading:  Why the algobots that rule Wall Street are good—and why they're evil, too," by Matthew O'Brien, The Atlantic, April 11, 2014 ---

The stock market isn't rigged, but it is taxed.

It always has been. As Justin Fox  points out, for as long as people have been trading stocks, there have been middlemen taking a cut of the action. Now, that cut has gotten smaller as markets have gotten bigger and more technologically-advanced, but it's still there. It's the implicit fee that intermediaries charge for making sure there's a buyer for every seller, and a seller for every buyer—for "making markets."

But there's a new kind of middleman today. They don't work at stock exchanges or banks. They work at hedge funds, and trade at whiz-bang speeds. These "high-frequency traders" (HFT) use computer algorithms—a.k.a., algobots—to arbitrage away the most infinitesimal price discrepancies that only exist over the most infinitesimal time horizons. You can see just how small and how fast we're talking about in the chart below from a new paper by Eric Budish and John Shim of the University of Chicago and Peter Cramton of the University of Maryland. It uses 2011 data to show the price difference between futures (blue) and exchange-traded funds (green) that both track the S&P 500. These should be perfectly correlated, and they are—at minute intervals. But this correlation disappears at 250 millisecond intervals, a little more than half the time it takes to blink your eyes. This is the "inefficiency" that HFT makes less so.

This rise of the robots certainly seems to have helped ordinary investors. Bid-ask spreads—the difference between what buyers want to pay and sellers want to be paid—have fallen dramatically the past 20 years. Part of this is because, since 2001, stock prices have gone from trading in fractions to pennies—which has allowed them to be increasingly precise. Another part is that electronic trading, though not super-fast, has made markets more liquid. And the last part is that HFT has added even more liquidity, eliminating bid-ask spreads that would have been too small to do so before. Indeed, researchers found that Canadian bid-ask spreads increased by 9 percent in 2012 after the government introduced fees that effectively limited HFT.

That doesn't mean, though, that HFT is unambiguously good. It's not. In fact, it might not even be ambiguously good. As Noah Smith points out, we just don't know enough to do any kind of cost-benefit analysis. Now, we do know that smaller bid-ask spreads, which cut the cost of trading, are one benefit. But how much of one is it? Bid-ask spreads are down to around 3 basis points today—from 90 basis points 20 years ago—so even if curbing HFT increases them, say, 9 percent like it did in Canada, we're not talking about a big effect. There might be diminishing returns to liquidity that we've already hit, and then some.

Then there are the costs. Michael Lewis' new book, Flash Boys, describes some of them. In it, there's Lewis' requisite group of plucky outsiders—is there another kind?—taking on a rotten status quo. Except this time, they're not really outsiders; they're big bank traders. And they've figured out that the market doesn't work like it should for big investors, like pension and mutual funds, because of the algobots. But it's a little bit more complicated than that. Here are the three biggest, though hard to quantify, costs of HFT.

1. Market-taking, not market-making. Lewis' protagonist, a trader named Brad Katsuyama, had a problem. Every time he tried to buy stock for a client, he could only get a little bit of what was supposed to be there at the price he saw. Now, oddly enough, he could get all the stock he saw at one particular exchange, but he had to pay more at all the others. What was going on?

Well, he was being front-run. HFT firms pay public and private exchanges to see their incoming orders. That's why Katsuyama was getting all of his order filled at the exchange closest to him—that is, as the fiber optic cable lies—but nowhere else. The HFTers were seeing his order at the first exchange and then racing to buy all the rest of the stock he wanted everywhere else, so they could sell it to him for more. This happens all the time: Nicholas Hirschey of the London Business School found that HFT funds only tend to buy aggressively right before everybody else does.

It's not too different from what HFTers do when they buy early access to public data. Again, they're paying for a trading advantage that isn't really adding liquidity. It's what Barnard professor Rajiv Sethi calls "superfluous financial intermediation." HFT firms aren't connecting buyers and sellers who might not find each other. They're jumping in between buyers and sellers who would have found each other anyways in a few milliseconds. It's not making markets more efficient. It's cheating.

2. Nobody wants to lose to a robot. "When the market as displayed on his screens became illusory," Lewis writes, "[Katsuyama] became less willing to take risk in that market—to provide liquidity." It's what economists call "adverse selection," and it's a simple idea: HFTers crowd out other traders, because nobody wants to play against someone they know they'll lose to.

That includes HFT funds themselves. As Felix Salmon points out, HFT's share of all trading has fallen from 61 percent in 2009 to 51 percent in 2012. Why? Well, the algobots are fighting against each other now, and those fights don't end in trades. They end in fakes quotes—or "spoofing"—that the algobots send to try to draw each other out. Indeed, Johannes Breckenfelder of the Institute for Financial Research found that HFTs change their strategies when they're competing against each other like this. They don't make markets as much, and make directional bets on stocks instead—because those are the kind of things they can actually beat each other on. The result is actually less liquidity and more volatility, at least within each trading day. (HFTs don't hold stock overnight, so interday volatility isn't affected).

3. A waste of money and talent. Lots of HFT is personally profitable, but socially pointless—and that pointlessness adds up. Take Spread Networks. Lewis describes in colorful detail how it laid fiber optic cable in as straight a line as possible between Chicago and New York all to shave three milliseconds off the time it took to trade between the two. That meant spending $300 million to drill through the Alleghenies, and try to avoid laying fiber on both sides of the road, because each time they did, their CEO explained, it "cost them one hundred nanoseconds."

Now, Felix Salmon is right that there are some positive spillovers from all this IT infrastructure spending. But this takes us back to the question of diminishing returns. Is it really worth spending so much money on what, to anyone other than HFT, are unnoticeable improvements—especially compared to what it could have been spent on? Probably not.

The problem, though, is that HFT has to spend this money. It's an arms race, and there's no silver medal for finishing second. That's because every HFT strategy depends on not only being faster than ordinary investors, but being faster than each other too. Anytime somebody comes up with a new way to cut a few microseconds—that is, a millionth of a second—off of trading time, they have to spend whatever it takes to do it. Otherwise, they'll lose out to their competitors who do.

Continued in article

An article on HFT from the Knowledge@Wharton blog on April 15, 2015 ---
This is pretty much a defense of HFT. It focuses mostly on theory and avoids potentially fraudulent implementations that are now the focus of investigations of the SEC and the Department of Justice.

Charles Schwab Seems to Agree With Michael Lewis
SCHWAB: High-Frequency Trading Is A Growing Cancer That Must Be Addressed ---

Brokerages Make Millions Selling Orders To High Frequency Trading Firms ---

The Flash Boys book ---
The Kindle Edition is only $9.18


"Educators Point to a ‘Crisis of Mediocre Teaching’," by Vimal Patel, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 14, 2014 ---

Institutions need to better prepare graduate students to teach, several educators gathered here for a conference said last week.

"We see this as a crisis of mediocre teaching," said Kathleen Wise, an associate director at Wabash College’s Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts during her keynote address at the Teagle Foundation event, called "Community of Scholars, Community of Teachers."

Ms. Wise was referring to the results of Wabash research in which almost half of the 8,200 first-year students who responded to a survey said they experienced clear and organized teaching only "sometimes," "rarely" or "never." The research was part of a longitudinal study that started with more than 17,000 first-year students, and involved 49 small and large institutions, including liberal-arts colleges, research universities, and regional universities.

Ms. Wise called teaching clarity and organization "one of the most powerful factors impacting students’ learning in college." Some characteristics of that teaching, she said, are giving clear examples, making good use of illustrations to make points, effectively summarizing material, and using class time effectively.

Institutions ought to value teaching as much as research, despite challenges that can make that difficult, several attendees said. For instance, time-strapped graduate students are likely to favor research as long as university search committees place greater weight on that.

But many of the 45 or so invitees at the two-day conference expressed optimism. They said teaching and learning centers have proliferated on campuses, younger faculty members are placing a greater emphasis on teaching and learning assessment, and institutions and groups are increasingly having conversations about the topic.

"I see a generational change," said Rosemary Joyce, an associate dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s graduate division

‘A Big Deal’

The Teagle Foundation focuses on undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences. Since 2010, it has awarded grants totaling more than $1.3-million to colleges and institutions to develop programs that improve graduate student teaching, according to the foundation’s website.

Columbia University, for example, is using its grant money to prepare graduate students for teaching careers through the use of digital technologies, and a group of students are observing and analyzing one another’s teaching methods.

In small signs, some of the Teagle grantees see major progress in changing institutional cultures. At Stanford University, a group of professors plan to share their syllabi with one another at an end-of-year retreat, said Russell A. Berman, a Stanford professor of comparative literature and German studies.

"That’s a big deal," said Mr. Berman, who is also a former president of the Modern Language Association. Faculty members "talk about their teaching with each other about as often as they talk about their salary with each other," he said, "which is never."

Mr. Berman said that, though the tendency for teaching to take a back seat to research "is still endemic in the profession," graduate students are hungry to become better teachers­—a sentiment echoed by others.

Vanessa Ryan, an associate dean of Brown University’s graduate school, said that a third of the college’s Ph.D. students complete a voluntary semester-long certificate in teaching and learning. The students are equally distributed across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, she said.

"There’s a myth of the Ph.D. student who cares only about research in the lab," Ms. Ryan said. "Our graduate students do want to teach."

The ‘Gobbledygook’ Problem

Attendees also discussed how faculty culture can stand in the way of assessing teaching and learning. Charles Blaich, director of the Wabash center, said faculty members often dismiss studies like his college’s as reflecting only students’ perceptions, or say that clear teaching is dumbed-down teaching.

Continued in article

The sad state of accountancy (Ph.D.) doctoral programs in North America ---

The AAA's Pathways Commission Accounting Education Initiatives Make National News
Accountics Scientists Should Especially Note the First Recommendation

"Accounting for Innovation," by Elise Young, Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2012 ---

Accounting programs should promote curricular flexibility to capture a new generation of students who are more technologically savvy, less patient with traditional teaching methods, and more wary of the career opportunities in accounting, according to a report released today by the Pathways Commission, which studies the future of higher education for accounting.

In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department's  Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession recommended that the American Accounting Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants form a commission to study the future structure and content of accounting education, and the Pathways Commission was formed to fulfill this recommendation and establish a national higher education strategy for accounting.

In the report, the commission acknowledges that some sporadic changes have been adopted, but it seeks to put in place a structure for much more regular and ambitious changes.

The report includes seven recommendations:

According to the report, its two sponsoring organizations -- the American Accounting Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants -- will support the effort to carry out the report's recommendations, and they are finalizing a strategy for conducting this effort.

Hsihui Chang, a professor and head of Drexel University’s accounting department, said colleges must prepare students for the accounting field by encouraging three qualities: integrity, analytical skills and a global viewpoint.

“You need to look at things in a global scope,” he said. “One thing we’re always thinking about is how can we attract students from diverse groups?” Chang said the department’s faculty comprises members from several different countries, and the university also has four student organizations dedicated to accounting -- including one for Asian students and one for Hispanic students.

He said the university hosts guest speakers and accounting career days to provide information to prospective accounting students about career options: “They find out, ‘Hey, this seems to be quite exciting.’ ”

Jimmy Ye, a professor and chair of the accounting department at Baruch College of the City University of New York, wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed that his department is already fulfilling some of the report’s recommendations by inviting professionals from accounting firms into classrooms and bringing in research staff from accounting firms to interact with faculty members and Ph.D. students.

Ye also said the AICPA should collect and analyze supply and demand trends in the accounting profession -- but not just in the short term. “Higher education does not just train students for getting their first jobs,” he wrote. “I would like to see some study on the career tracks of college accounting graduates.”

Mohamed Hussein, a professor and head of the accounting department at the University of Connecticut, also offered ways for the commission to expand its recommendations. He said the recommendations can’t be fully put into practice with the current structure of accounting education.

“There are two parts to this: one part is being able to have an innovative curriculum that will include changes in technology, changes in the economics of the firm, including risk, international issues and regulation,” he said. “And the other part is making sure that the students will take advantage of all this innovation.”

The university offers courses on some of these issues as electives, but it can’t fit all of the information in those courses into the major’s required courses, he said.

Continued in article


"Our Compassless Colleges," by Peter Berkowitz, The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2007; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118895528818217660.html

At universities and colleges throughout the land, undergraduates and their parents pay large sums of money for -- and federal and state governments contribute sizeable tax exemptions to support -- "liberal" education. This despite administrators and faculty lacking, or failing to honor, a coherent concept of what constitutes an educated human being.

To be sure, American higher education, or rather a part of it, is today the envy of the world, producing and maintaining research scientists of the highest caliber. But liberal education is another matter. Indeed, many professors in the humanities and social sciences proudly promulgate doctrines that mock the very idea of a standard or measure defining an educated person, and so legitimate the compassless curriculum over which they preside. In these circumstances, why should we not conclude that universities are betraying their mission?

Many American colleges do adopt general distribution requirements. Usually this means that students must take a course or two of their choosing in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, decorated perhaps with a dollop of fine arts, rudimentary foreign-language exposure, and the acquisition of basic writing and quantitative skills. And all students must choose a major. But this veneer of structure provides students only superficial guidance. Or, rather, it reinforces the lesson that our universities have little of substance to say about the essential knowledge possessed by an educated person.

Certainly this was true of the core curriculum at Harvard, where I taught in the faculty of arts and sciences during the 1990s. And it remains true even after Harvard's recent reforms.

Harvard's aims and aspirations are in many ways admirable. According to this year's Report of the Task Force on General Education, Harvard understands liberal education as "an education conducted in a spirit of free inquiry undertaken without concern for topical relevance or vocational utility." It prepares for the rest of life by improving students' ability "to assess empirical claims, interpret cultural expression, and confront ethical dilemmas in their personal and professional lives." But instead of concentrating on teaching substantive knowledge, the general education at Harvard will focus on why what students learn is important. To accomplish this, Harvard would require students to take single-semester courses in eight categories: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding, Culture and Belief, Empirical Reasoning, Ethical Reasoning, Science of Living Systems, Science of the Physical Universe, Societies of the World, and The United States in the World.

Unfortunately, the new requirements add up to little more than an attractively packaged evasion of the university's responsibility to provide a coherent core for undergraduate education. For starters, though apparently not part of the general education curriculum, Harvard requires only a year of foreign language study or the equivalent. Yet since it usually takes more than a year of college study to achieve competence in a foreign language -- the ability to hold a conversation and read a newspaper -- doesn't Harvard, by requiring only a single year, denigrate foreign-language study, and with it the serious study of other cultures and societies?

Furthermore, in the search for the immediate relevance it disavows, Harvard's curriculum repeatedly puts the cart before the horse. For example, instead of first requiring students to concentrate on the study of novels, poetry, and plays, Harvard will ask them to choose from a variety of courses on "literary or religious texts, paintings, sculpture, architecture, music, film, dance, decorative arts" that involve "exploring theoretical and philosophical issues concerning the production and reception of meanings and the formation of aesthetic judgment."

Instead of first requiring students to gain acquaintance with the history of opinions about law, justice, government, duty and virtue, Harvard will ask them to choose from a variety of courses on how to bring ethical theories to bear on contemporary moral and political dilemmas. Instead of first requiring students to survey U.S. history or European history or classical history, Harvard will ask them to choose from a variety of courses that examine the U.S and its relation to the rest of the world. Instead of first teaching students about the essential features of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Harvard will ask them to choose from a variety of courses on almost any aspect of foreign societies.

Harvard's general education reform will allow students to graduate without ever having read the same book or studied the same material. Students may take away much of interest, but it is the little in common they learn that will be of lasting significance. For they will absorb the implicit teaching of the new college curriculum -- same as the old one -- that there is nothing in particular that an educated person need know.

Of course, if parents, students, alumni donors, trustees, professors and administrators are happy, why worry? A college degree remains a hot commodity, a ticket of entry to valuable social networks, a signal to employers that graduates have achieved a certain proficiency in manipulating concepts, performing computations, and getting along with peers.

The reason to worry is that university education can cause lasting harm. The mental habits that students form and the ideas they absorb in college consolidate the framework through which as adults they interpret experience, and judge matters to be true or false, fair or inequitable, honorable or dishonorable. A university that fails to teach students sound mental habits and to acquaint them with enduring ideas handicaps its graduates for public and private life.

Moreover, properly conceived, a liberal education provides invaluable benefits for students and the nation. For most students, it offers the last chance, perhaps until retirement, to read widely and deeply, to acquire knowledge of the opinions and events that formed them and the nation in which they live, and to study other peoples and cultures. A proper liberal education liberalizes in the old-fashioned and still most relevant sense: It forms individuals fit for freedom.

The nation benefits as well, because a liberal democracy presupposes an informed citizenry capable of distinguishing the public interest from private interest, evaluating consequences, and discerning the claims of justice and the opportunities for -- and limits to -- realizing it in politics. Indeed, a sprawling liberal democracy whose citizens practice different religions and no religion at all, in which individuals have family heritages that can be traced to every continent, and in which the nation's foreign affairs are increasingly bound up with local politics in countries around the world is particularly dependent on citizens acquiring a liberal education.

Crafting a core consistent with the imperatives of a liberal education will involve both a substantial break with today's university curriculum and a long overdue alignment of higher education with common sense. Such a core would, for example, require all students to take semester courses surveying Greek and Roman history, European history, and American history. It would require all students to take a semester course in classic works of European literature, and one in classic works of American literature. It would require all students to take a semester course in biology and one in physics. It would require all students to take a semester course in the principles of American government; one in economics; and one in the history of political philosophy. It would require all students to take a semester course comparing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It would require all students to take a semester course of their choice in the history, literature or religion of a non-Western civilization. And it would require all students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language of their choice by carrying on a casual conversation and accurately reading a newspaper in the language, a level of proficiency usually obtainable after two years of college study, or four semester courses.

Such a core is at best an introduction to liberal education. Still, students who meet its requirements will acquire a common intellectual foundation that enables them to debate morals and politics responsibly, enhances their understanding of whatever specialization they choose, and enriches their appreciation of the multiple dimensions of the delightful and dangerous world in which we live.

It is a mark of the politicization and clutter of our current curriculum that these elementary requirements will strike many faculty and administrators as benighted and onerous. Yet the core I've outlined reflects what all successful individuals outside of academia know: Progress depends on mastering the basics.

Assuming four courses a semester and 32 to graduate, such a core could be completed in the first two years of undergraduate study. Students who met the foreign-language requirement through high school study would have the opportunity as freshman and sophomores to choose four elective courses. During their junior and senior year, students could devote 10 courses to their major while taking six additional elective courses. And students majoring in the natural sciences, where it is necessary to take a substantial sequence of courses, would enroll in introductory and lower-level courses in their major during freshman and sophomore years and complete the core during junior and senior years.

Admittedly, reform confronts formidable obstacles. The major one is professors. Many will fight such a common core, because it requires them to teach general interest classes outside their area of expertise; it reduces opportunities to teach small boutique classes on highly specialized topics; and it presupposes that knowledge is cumulative and that some books and ideas are more essential than others.

Meanwhile, students and parents are poorly positioned to affect change. Students come and go, and, in any event, the understanding they need to formulate the arguments for reform is acquired through the very liberal education of which universities are currently depriving them. Meanwhile, parents are too distant and dispersed, and often they have too much money on the line to rock the boat.

But there are opportunities. Change could be led by an intrepid president, provost or dean of a major university who knows the value of a liberal education, possesses the eloquence and courage to defend it to his or her faculty, and has the skill to refashion institutional incentives and hold faculty and administrators accountable.

Reform could also be led by trustees at private universities -- the election in recent years of T.J. Rodgers, Todd Zywicki, Peter Robinson and Stephen Smith to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees on platforms supporting freedom of speech and high academic standards is a start -- or by alumni determined to connect their donations, on which universities depend, to reliable promises that their gifts will be used in furtherance of liberal education, well understood.

And some enterprising smaller colleges or public universities, taking advantage of the nation's love of diversity and openness to innovation, might discover a market niche for parents and students eager for an education that serves students' best interests by introducing them in a systematic manner to their own civilization, to the moral and political principles on which their nation is based, and to languages and civilizations that differ from their own.

Citizens today are called on to analyze a formidable array of hard questions concerning war and peace, liberty and security, markets and morals, marriage and family, science and technology, poverty and public responsibility, and much more. No citizen can be expected to master all the issues. But liberal democracies count on more than a small minority acquiring the ability to reason responsibly about the many sides of these many-sided questions. For this reason, we must teach our universities to appreciate the aims of a liberal education. And we must impress upon our universities their obligation to pursue them responsibly.

Mr. Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, teaches at George Mason University School of Law. This commentary draws from an essay that previously appeared in Policy Review.

Dr. Collier is a psychology professor at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C.
"We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn:  At colleges today, all parties are strongly incentivized to maintain low standards.," by Jeffrey L. Collier, The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2013 ---

The parlous state of American higher education has been widely noted, but the view from the trenches is far more troubling than can be characterized by measured prose. With most students on winter break and colleges largely shut down, the lull presents an opportunity for damage assessment.

The flood of books detailing the problems includes the representative titles "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools" and "The Five Year Party." To list only the principal faults: Students arrive woefully academically unprepared; students study little, party much and lack any semblance of internalized discipline; pride in work is supplanted by expediency; and the whole enterprise is treated as a system to be gamed in which plagiarism and cheating abound.

The problems stem from two attitudes. Social preoccupations trump the academic part of residential education, which occupies precious little of students' time or emotions. Second, students' view of education is strictly instrumental and credentialist. They regard the entire enterprise as a series of hoops they must jump through to obtain their 120 credits, which they blindly view as an automatic licensure for adulthood and a good job, an increasingly problematic belief.

Education thus has degenerated into a game of "trap the rat," whereby the student and instructor view each other as adversaries. Winning or losing is determined by how much the students can be forced to study. This will never be a formula for excellence, which requires intense focus, discipline and diligence that are utterly lacking among our distracted, indifferent students. Such diligence requires emotional engagement. Engagement could be with the material, the professors, or even a competitive goal, but the idea that students can obtain a serious education even with their disengaged, credentialist attitudes is a delusion.

The professoriate plays along because teachers know they have a good racket going. They would rather be refining their research or their backhand than attending to tedious undergraduates. The result is an implicit mutually assured nondestruction pact in which the students and faculty ignore each other to the best of their abilities. This disengagement guarantees poor outcomes, as well as the eventual replacement of the professoriate by technology. When professors don't even know your name, they become remote figures of ridicule and tedium and are viewed as part of a system to be played rather than a useful resource.

To be fair, cadres of indefatigable souls labor tirelessly in thankless ignominy in the bowels of sundry ivory dungeons. Jokers in a deck stacked against them, they are ensnared in a classic reward system from hell.

All parties are strongly incentivized to maintain low standards. It is well known that friendly, entertaining professors make for a pleasant classroom, good reviews and minimal complaints. Contrarily, faculty have no incentives to punish plagiarism and cheating, to flunk students or to write negative letters of reference, to assiduously mark up illiterate prose in lieu of merely adding a grade and a few comments, or to enforce standards generally. Indeed, these acts are rarely rewarded but frequently punished, even litigated. Mass failure, always a temptation, is not an option. Under this regimen, it is a testament to the faculty that any standards remain at all.

As tuition has skyrocketed, education has shifted from being a public good to a private, consumer product. Students are induced into debt because they are repeatedly bludgeoned with news about the average-income increments that accrue to additional education. This is exacerbated by the ready availability of student loans, obligations that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

In parallel, successive generations of students have become increasingly consumerist in their attitudes, and all but the most well-heeled institutions readily give the consumers what they want in order to generate tuition revenue. Competition for students forces universities to invest in and promote their recreational value. Perhaps the largest scam is that these institutions have an incentive to retain paying students who have little chance of graduating. This is presented as a kindness under the guise of "student retention." The student, or the taxpayer in the case of default, ends up holding the bag, whereas the institution gets off scot free. Withholding government funding from institutions with low graduation rates would only encourage the further abandonment of standards.

So students get what they want: a "five year party" eventuating in painlessly achieved "Wizard of Oz" diplomas. This creates a classic tragedy of the commons in which individuals overuse a shared resource—in this case the market value of the sheepskin. Students, implicitly following the screening theory that credentials are little more than signals of intelligence and personal qualities, follow a mini-max strategy: minimize the effort, maximize the probability of obtaining a degree. The decrement in the value of the sheepskin inflicted by each student is small, but the cumulative effect is that the resource will become valueless.

The body politic lately has become aware of the cracks in this game. With about half of college graduates under 25 currently unemployed or underemployed, the income advantage of a four-year degree may be on the decline. Employers are justifiably fed up with college graduates lacking basic knowledge, to say nothing of good work habits and intellectual discipline. Yet the perennial impulse toward bureaucratic command-and-control solutions, such as universal standardized testing or standardized grade-point averages, only leads in the direction of more credentialism.

If the body politic desires this, so be it. However, these are essentially supply-side solutions, in that they attempt to staunch the supply of poorly prepared students or increase the supply of well-prepared students. Such approaches are notoriously problematic, as in the classic case of black markets.

Better to address the demand side. To be sure, there is plenty of student demand for credentials, but there is little demand for the rigor that the credentials putatively represent. Rather than more attempts at controlling output quality through standardization, what are needed are input changes provided by creative alternative routes to adulthood that young people find attractive; a "pull" rather than a "push." It would be helpful, too, if faculty started viewing undergraduates less as whining boors and more as lost souls who have been scandalously misguided by a feel-good "everyone's a star" culture.

"Alarming Research Shows the Sorry State of US Higher Ed," by Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business Review Blog, July 11, 2013 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation (the biggest disgrace in higher education) ---

Our Compassless Colleges ---

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


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

Are blonde jokes About a sugar daddy out of order here?
"(Thunderbird) Still Seeking a Partner," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 14, 2014 ---

The Thunderbird School of Global Management last week announced that it was ending discussions on an alliance and joint venture with Laureate Education.

The deal with Laureate was controversial. It was strongly opposed by many Thunderbird alumni, who argued that a link with the for-profit Laureate would devalue the Thunderbird brand and, by extension, their degrees. While Thunderbird officials largely rejected the alumni arguments, the alliance with Laureate took a major hit last month when the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools rejected the plan.

At the time. Thunderbird and HLC did not discuss details of the accreditor's objections, and Thunderbird officials predicted they would quickly be able to resolve them. Since then, HLC has released a statement suggesting that the objections were significant.

The accreditor said that Thunderbird's request to have its accreditation include the new alliance with Laureate violated two requirements for such approvals (both of them broad requirements): “the ongoing continuation and maintenance of the institution historically affiliated with the commission with regard to its mission, objectives, outreach, scope, structure, and related factors.” and that "the institution, including the revised governance and management structure of the institution, will continue to meet the commission’s eligibility requirements, assumed practices, and criteria for accreditation."

In announcing that the deal was no longer being pursued, Thunderbird cited the HLC's actions. "Following the determination of the Higher Learning Commission not to approve the strategic alliance, as submitted, both parties decided that an amicable parting was in each organization’s best interest," said the Thunderbird statement. It went on to say that Thunderbird was moving ahead "with the forging of a new strategic partnership."

A Laureate spokesman did not respond to a request to discuss the news.

Larry Penley, president of Thunderbird, in an interview Saturday, was critical of HLC's findings. "Higher education needs to change," he said. Penley speculated that the proposed alliance with Laureate was a "departure from what the commission was familiar with," which was unfortunate because "we really need innovation at this point."

The plan for the alliance with Laureate would have kept Thunderbird independent, but its campus would have been purchased by Laureate (which would have leased it back), and Laureate would have had a 5-4 majority on the board of the new joint venture. The hope was for Laureate, which has a mammoth, worldwide network of colleges, to help Thunderbird grow outside the United States.

With Laureate out of the picture, Penley said that Thunderbird is looking for a new partner -- one that would enhance Thunderbird's brand, mission and sustainability. He said that Thunderbird has been looking for the right partner for about a decade. Various press reports have indicated that Thunderbird has been in touch with Arizona State University and Hult International Business School about possible forms of collaboration. (Both of those entities are nonprofit.)

Penley said that discussions were started, but declined to say with whom. Arizona State declined to comment, and Hult did not respond to requests for comment.

Thunderbird has historically had a strong reputation as a freestanding business school. But while freestanding business schools have thrived in Europe (think INSEAD in France or IE in Spain), the leading American business schools are attached to universities. Enrollment at Thunderbird is about 1,000, and the 500 students in residence in the full-time program are less than half of what enrollment used to be.

Penley said that Thunderbird needs a partner to grow. "If you are a small school, if you are a small business school or a small liberal arts college, you have fixed costs," he said, and you don't enjoy economies of scale, making the economics challenging.

Most colleges worried about money would be thrilled by alumni offering to pledge tens of millions of dollars, but in a sign of how divided the college and many of its alumni are, Thunderbird recently turned down such an offer. Penley said that the alumni wouldn't engage in discussions about the terms of the gift, which would require the release of many financial documents and the reconstitution of the Thunderbird board.

Will Counts, an alumnus who is executive director of the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association, which made the offer, said that he was pleased to hear that Thunderbird was no longer trying to work with Laureate. But he said that the concerns about the business college's direction remain.

Counts said that "there are potential partners out there that could be well-suited for Thunderbird, but there are also options to remain independent."

The alumni group wants to have "fully transparent" discussions about Thunderbird's financial state, and prospects for growth before trying to replace Laureate with another partner, he said. But he said Thunderbird's leaders seem intent on pursuing partnerships without considering alternatives.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
When private universities are in deep financial trouble I think accrediting agencies should look more closely at admission standards when a university is desperate for more tuition revenue. US News reports that for 2014 Thunderbird accepted 270 full-time graduate students out of 426 applicants. I would have expected a higher proportion of acceptances during these financially troubled times for Thunderbird.  The highly ranked international graduate business program at USC accepted 540 out of an applicant pool of 1,501 according to US News. However, having a huge undergraduate program in may disciplines probably gives USC an edge in terms of numbers of applicants.

"Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense?
Tesla’s audacious plan to build a giant battery factory may mostly be a clever negotiating tactic
by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, April 14, 2014 ---

Lithium-ion batteries are just about everywhere—they power almost all smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Yet Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, says he intends to build a factory in the United States three years from now that will more than double the world’s total lithium-ion battery production. The plan is still in its early stages, but already four states are negotiating with Tesla in the hope of becoming the factory’s home.

People have come to expect bold plans from Musk. In addition to founding Tesla, he started his own rocket company, SpaceX, which now delivers supplies to the International Space Station. But even for him, the “gigafactory,” as he calls it, seems audacious.

First of all, Tesla sold 23,000 cars last year. The gigafactory, which would start production in 2017, would by 2020 make enough batteries for 500,000 electric cars. Second, battery companies normally announce factories only after they’re funded and a site is selected. And they typically scale up gradually. Why announce plans to build such an enormous factory —especially when electric car sales so far come nowhere close to justifying it?

The project seems even more puzzling in light of the hard times at other electric car battery factories in the United States. In 2009, President Obama announced an ambitious $2.4 billion grant program intended to launch an electric car battery industry in the United States. That effort, so far, has failed—factories were built, but sales have been poor because electric car sales have been slow. All of the battery makers involved have struggled (see “Too Many Battery Factories, Too Few Electric Cars”), and one, A123 Systems, went bankrupt.

Musk is betting that Tesla can generate a much bigger market for electric cars. To keep the factory humming, he will have to sell more than 10 times as many electric vehicles in a year as Nissan managed last year (and Nissan has sold more electric cars than any other automaker). Musk has some reason for confidence—last year Tesla sold as many electric cars as Nissan in the United States, even though Tesla’s Model S costs two to three times as much as Nissan’s electric car, the Leaf. He seems to be betting that a huge factory will significantly reduce the cost of making batteries, which remain the most expensive part of electric cars. In the ideal scenario, that cost reduction would help Tesla produce a mass-market car similar in cost to the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt but that, crucially, will be able to go more than twice as far on a charge (the car would also be able to accelerate faster than the Leaf).

Yet it’s not clear that a huge factory would deliver the needed cost reductions. According to a presentation to investors, it would lower costs by 30 percent. Tesla has a good track record for reducing battery costs (see “Driving Innovation”), and even incremental improvements at conventional factories could reduce costs by 15 percent by 2020, says Menahem Anderman, president of Advanced Automotive Batteries. But it’s unclear where the remaining 15 percent might come from.

Economies of scale could help lower production costs to some degree, but Tesla says the unusual design of the gigafactory, with batteries built from raw materials rather than assembled, will also help.

Usually, the components of batteries are made in many different places. Electrolytes are often made at a large chemical plant and graphite electrodes at a plant that also makes graphite for tires and other applications. The electrolytes and electrodes are then packaged into cells at a plant dedicated to cell making, and the cells are assembled into complete battery packs—with cooling systems and electronic controls—in yet another factory.

Musk plans to bring almost all of this under one roof. Raw materials, processed into electrodes, electrolytes, containers and other parts, go in one end; complete battery packs come out the other. The factory will also be able to take old batteries apart to recycle the materials, and Musk even plans to use solar and wind to help power the factory.

Brett Smith, codirector for manufacturing, engineering, and technology at the Center for Automotive Research, says having control over every part of the process could indeed help reduce costs.

Tesla would need to bring in a great deal of expertise to make this work. What’s more, there are benefits to making different parts in different places. For example, it can be cheaper to make electrolytes in a large chemical plant that makes other chemicals, too. Panasonic, Tesla’s current battery cell supplier, benefits from the know-how of workers in Japan, many of whom have decades of manufacturing experience.

“Manufacturers have tried both approaches. Either approach can work,” says Jack Hu, a professor of industrial operations and engineering at the University of Michigan.

But Hu says such a plant would need to be flexible. “It is possible to build a gigafactory,” he says. “The key lies in the how. Battery manufacturing is a complex process involving many steps. If these steps are all dependent on each other, then the gigafactory would be a bad idea: difficult to run, a lot of down times; difficult to identify quality problems.”

Beyond the technical challenges, Tesla may struggle to convince partners to go along with the scheme. The factory would cost $5 billion, with $2 billion coming from Tesla. If Tesla can’t sell as many cars as it hopes, there would be no alternative market for those batteries, making it a risky investment.

Whether the gigafactory is actually built, and whatever the final factory looks like, the way Musk has been promoting it may prove to be a savvy business move. Announcing the factory at an early stage, and with an ambitious size, could be good for negotiations with states, especially given the proposed size of the factory. Some states are even reconsidering laws that restrict how Tesla can sell cars in their state, which could help open new markets for the automaker.

Proposing such a huge undertaking might also make it more likely that Panasonic or some other partner will later go along with a less ambitious plan—say, a factory to supply 100,000 cars. “Panasonic can’t afford to lose the business,” says Anderman.

Continued in article

Teaching Case
From The Wall Street Journal Weekly Accounting Review on April 11, 2014

Corporate Cash Alters University Curricula
by: Douglas Belkin and Caroline Porter
Apr 08, 2014
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Accounting Education, Governmental Accounting

SUMMARY: The article describes overall budget cuts for higher education from state general funds in total and discusses the impact as measured on a per student basis. It discusses specific examples of partnerships between Northup Grumman and the University of Maryland; IBM and Ohio State University; and local companies in Kentucky and Murray State University to develop new courses and programs. The new features highlighted primarily center around technological advances, big data, and data analytics. The potential conflicts of interest that concern faculty and university presidents are raised as well.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article is an excellent one for any class discussion to raise students' awareness of the need for new skills, particularly technological ones. It also may be used in a governmental or NFP accounting course to cover current issues facing those entities.

1. (Introductory) Describe what you know, have heard, and have gleaned from this article about the topics of big data and data analytics.

2. (Advanced) Much of the discussion in this article is focused on improving technological expertise among students of various academic disciplines. Do you think these skills are needed by those entering the accounting profession? Explain your answer.

3. (Advanced) What are the benefits to students of the increasing ties to corporations at academic institutions that are traditionally funded from public sources?

4. (Introductory) Some faculty members and university presidents are concerned about these strengthening corporate ties. What are these concerns?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

"Corporate Cash Alters University Curricula," by Douglas Belkin and Caroline Porter, The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2014 ---

The University of Maryland has had to tighten its belt, cutting seven varsity sports teams and forcing faculty and staff to take furlough days. But in a corner of the campus, construction workers are building a dormitory specifically designed for a new academic program.

Many of the students who live there will be enrolled in a cybersecurity concentration funded in part by Northrop Grumman Corp. NOC +1.14% The defense contractor is helping to design the curriculum, providing the computers and paying part of the cost of the new dorm.

Such partnerships are springing up from the dust of the recession, as state universities seek new revenue and companies try to close a yawning skills gap in fast-changing industries.

Last year, International Business Machines Corp. IBM +1.32% deepened a partnership with Ohio State University to train students in big-data analytics. Murray State University in Kentucky recently retooled part of its engineering program, with financial support and guidance from local companies. And the State University of New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany and other locations is expanding its footprint after attracting billions of dollars of private-sector investments.

Though these partnerships have been around at the graduate level and among the nation's polytechnic schools and community colleges, they are now migrating into traditional undergraduate programs.

The emerging model is a "new form of the university," said Wallace Loh, president of the University of Maryland. "What we are seeing is a federal-grant university that is increasingly corporate and increasingly reliant on private philanthropy."

States on average cut per-pupil funding for university systems by 28% between 2008 and 2013, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. Those cuts have forced tuition up and helped inflate student loan debt to $1.2 trillion. Now they are prompting schools to seek new revenue streams.

Meanwhile, corporations, concerned about a mismatch between their needs and graduates' skills, are starting to pick up some of the cost of select undergraduate programs.

"There is so much rapid change in this field," said Christopher Valentino, who is overseeing Northrop Grumman's cybersecurity partnership at Maryland. "Everybody is challenged to keep up."

This merging of business and education has some academics unnerved. Gar Alperovitz, a 77-year-old political economist at the University of Maryland, warns of a corporate bias creeping into the academy.

"It's a very, very dangerous path to be walking," he said.

Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, which represents about 1,600 college and university presidents, said the protection of academic integrity is critical for the mission of higher education.

"The most important concern … is the absolute requirement on the part of faculty of independence for their judgment and avoidance of any conflict of interest," she said.

For many students and their parents who stand to benefit from these arrangements, these concerns seem esoteric. The programs are pathways to good internships and high paying jobs.

Christian Johnson, a 19-year-old first-year student in Maryland's cybersecurity program, said he chose the school specifically because of the partnership. Along with computer-science courses, he will take 10 classes focused on cybersecurity that were designed, in part, by experts from Northrop Grumman.

In one class, he is working on projects with students majoring in criminology and business. "I can really see how my skills are applicable," he said.

The corporate partnership was a huge selling point to attract the program's first 48 students, who came in with stellar academic transcripts, said Michel Cukier, a computer-science professor and associate director for education of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center.

"If you can tell them that a major company like Northrop Grumman is very interested in them, it resonates a lot with the students, but also amazingly with the parents," he said.

The relationship between industry and academia dates to the Civil War-era law that created land-grant universities, whose research helped fuel a century of economic growth. After World War II, the federal government invested heavily in organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation to fund even more academic research that often found application in industry.

Continued in article

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

The Fastest Shrinking Cities in the USA ---

New Hampshire Wind Watch ---

Help us protect our NH communities from over 96 industrial wind turbines set for construction in the Newfound Lake Region and towns including Alexandria, Bristol, Bridgewater, Danbury, Grafton, Groton, Hebron, New Hampton, Plymouth, Rumney, Ashland, Canaan, and Orange.

New Hampshire's aggressive renewable energy target legislation and the availability of federal tax credits has created a rush of proposals for industrial-sized wind farms along ridgelines in rural New Hampshire. Approval of wind project applications is subject to the RSA 162-H law, is difficult for the public to represent their views, and appears to have been fast-tracked by the NH Site Evaluation Committee. There is growing controversy surrounding these proposals.

From the Scout Report on April 11, 2014

Reme.io --- http://www.reme.io/ 

Are you looking for a new email reminder? Reme.io can make this happen quite easily. The application allows users to create multiple reminders for up to a year in advance. Users don't need to create any special passwords to get started and there is a handy FAQ area. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

Fleksy --- http://fleksy.com/ 

Are you looking for a new keyboard experience? You might want to give Fleksy a try as it replaces your device's on-screen keyboard. The app uses a text prediction engine that helps even the most clumsy typists. A short video is offered on this site so users can learn a bit more; it's a nice introduction to its key features. This particular version is compatible with devices running Android version 4.0 or newer and iOS version 6.0 or newer.

Remembering the Rwandan genocide, twenty years later
Rwandans mark 20th anniversary of genocide amid reminders that justice has
yet to be done

Rwanda Genocide: The Art of Remembering and Forgetting

Rwanda: Twenty years after the genocide

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Book excerpt: The Real Story Behind 'Hotel Rwanda'


From the Scout Report on April 18, 2014

InoReader --- http://inoreader.com/ 

If you follow a range of websites, you may find keeping track of all the material a bit exhausting. InoReader is a nice RSS reader that can make this process a bit easier. Visitors can download the reader here and it features a free search of all existing feeds, supporting 20 different languages. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

Reboot Pro --- http://reboot.pro/files/file/284-imdisk-toolkit/ 

Reboot Pro allows users to craft duplicate images of hard drives quite seamlessly. This handy tool supports a range of image files, as well, and the site also features a very useful FAQ section and online forum. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer.

The 2014 Pulitzer Prizes: A complicated drama, some poems, and war in
'The Flick' by Annie Baker wins Pulitzer Prize for drama

Pulitzer Prize-Winning The Flick, by Annie Baker, Will Reopen Off-Broadway

Book News: a Q&A with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Vijay Seshadri

Vijay Seshadri in the New Yorker

U.Va Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War

The Pulitzer Prizes

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

Education Tutorials

MakeUseOf (technology tips) --- http://www.makeuseof.com/

Cornell University: Digital Literacy Resource (student guide to Internet searching and all things digital) --- http://digitalliteracy.cornell.edu/

National Digital Learning Resources Network: Mathematics ---  http://www.ndlrn.edu.au/using_digital_resources/australian_curriculum_resources/mathematics.html

Understanding the News from a Liberal Leftist Perspective
Vox (news update essays, videos, and photographs) --- http://www.vox.com/

Understanding the News from a Conservative Perspective
Reason Magazine --- http://reason.com

Understanding Bipartisan Economic News and International Affairs ---
The Economist --- http://www.economist.com/

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Health News --- http://www.webmd.com/

Science 360 News Service --- http://news.science360.gov/files/

Saskia Art Images (CARLI) --- http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_saskia.php?CISOROOT=/saskia

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

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for multiple disciplines ---

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Science in School --- http://www.scienceinschool.org/

Imaging Technology Group --- http://itg.beckman.illinois.edu/index.cgi "The Quick and Dirty on Data Visualization," by Nancy Duarte, Harvard Business Review Blog, April 16, 2014 ---

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

50 Great Examples of Data Visualization ---

Visualization of Multivariate Data (including faces) ---

Fluid Interfaces Group: MIT Media Lab (interactions of humans with computers) --- http://fluid.media.mit.edu/

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: BioInteractive Virtual Labs ---  http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/browse?field_bio_format_type%5B0%5D=23451

World Food Clock --- http://worldfoodclock.com/

From the University of Colorado
Learn More About Climate Change --- http://learnmoreaboutclimate.colorado.edu/

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Coastal Barrier Resources Act --- http://www.fws.gov/CBRA/index.html

Nature Soundmap (animal and other sounds in nature) --- http://www.naturesoundmap.com/

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

Understanding the News from a Liberal Leftist Perspective
Vox (news update essays, videos, and photographs) --- http://www.vox.com/

Understanding the News from a Conservative Perspective
Reason Magazine --- http://reason.com

Understanding Bipartisan Economic News and International Affairs ---
The Economist --- http://www.economist.com/

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Health News --- http://www.webmd.com/

Science 360 News Service --- http://news.science360.gov/files/

How a Smile Saved Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Life: A Soul-Stirring Meditation on the Shared Humanity of Our Universal Language ---

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

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art --- http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2013/our_america/

Advanced Seminar: Urban Nature and City Design ---

The Woman's Building (gender studies and feminism) --- http://www.womansbuilding.org/

Making the History of 1989 (European History, Berlin Wall) --- http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/

National Archives Learning Curve: Cold War (History, War) --- http://learningcurve.pro.gov.uk/coldwar/ 
This site is a great resource for provocative questions about conflict management and alternative scenarios.

National Archives Learning Curve: Cold War (History, War) --- http://learningcurve.pro.gov.uk/coldwar/ 
This site is a great resource for provocative questions about conflict management and alternative scenarios.

From the Scout Report on April 11, 2014

Remembering the Rwandan genocide, twenty years later
Rwandans mark 20th anniversary of genocide amid reminders that justice has
yet to be done

Rwanda Genocide: The Art of Remembering and Forgetting

Rwanda: Twenty years after the genocide

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Book excerpt: The Real Story Behind 'Hotel Rwanda'

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Coastal Barrier Resources Act --- http://www.fws.gov/CBRA/index.html

Nature Soundmap (animal and other sounds in nature) --- http://www.naturesoundmap.com/

0-50-100: Milestones in Arkansas's Environmental History --- http://digitalcollections.uark.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/arknatenv

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

Fluid Interfaces Group: MIT Media Lab (interactions of humans with computers) --- http://fluid.media.mit.edu/

Cornell University: Digital Literacy Resource (student guide to Internet searching and all things digital) --- http://digitalliteracy.cornell.edu/

National Digital Learning Resources Network: Mathematics ---  http://www.ndlrn.edu.au/using_digital_resources/australian_curriculum_resources/mathematics.html

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

History Tutorials

The Oldest Living Things in the World: A Decade-Long Photographic Masterpiece at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Philosophy ---

Free: British Pathé Puts Over 85,000 Historical Films on YouTube ---

Making the History of 1989 (European History, Berlin Wall) --- http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/

Who Are the Most Pernicious Thinkers? A List of Five Bad Western Philosophers ---

The Walters Art Museum: Works of Art (world history) --- http://art.thewalters.org/

Howdy, Mr. President! (photographs of selected presidents) --- http://library.uta.edu/jfk/

Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories --- http://collections.mnhs.org/ioh/

George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers --- http://oldsite.lib.purdue.edu/spcol/aearhart/

Stokes Collection of Florida Plant Railway Photographs --- http://digital.lib.usf.edu/stokes

The Nam June Paik Archive (video art and music history) --- http://americanart.si.edu/collections/mediaarts/paik/

Dallas Museum of Art: Texas Art --- http://www.dma.org/art/texas-art

Saskia Art Images (CARLI) --- http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_saskia.php?CISOROOT=/saskia

Saskia Art Images (CARLI) --- http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_saskia.php?CISOROOT=/saskia Railfan & Railroad Magazine --- http://railfan.com/

Archive-In: Alabama --- https://archive-it.org/organizations/62

History Center Digital Collections (Indiana) --- http://mdon.library.ipfw.edu

Worth/Mainbocher: Demystifying the Haute Couture (fashion history) ---

Fictitious Dishes: Elegant and Imaginative Photographs of Meals from Famous Literature ---

Fire Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont ---

0-50-100: Milestones in Arkansas's Environmental History --- http://digitalcollections.uark.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/arknatenv

How a Smile Saved Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Life: A Soul-Stirring Meditation on the Shared Humanity of Our Universal Language ---

From the Scout Report on April 11, 2014

Remembering the Rwandan genocide, twenty years later
Rwandans mark 20th anniversary of genocide amid reminders that justice has
yet to be done

Rwanda Genocide: The Art of Remembering and Forgetting

Rwanda: Twenty years after the genocide

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Book excerpt: The Real Story Behind 'Hotel Rwanda'


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

Ethnomusicology Musical Instrument Collection --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/ethnomusicweb/index.html

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

The Nam June Paik Archive (video art and music history) --- http://americanart.si.edu/collections/mediaarts/paik/

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

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

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

April 15, 2014

April 16, 2014

April 17, 2014

April 18, 2014

April 19, 2014

April 21, 2014

April 22, 2014

April 23, 2014

April 24, 2014

April 25, 2014



Three Incredible Ways Google Glass Could Change The Future Of Medicine ---

The Science of Caffeine: The World’s Most Popular Drug ---

CDC = Centers for Disease Control
CDC TV http://www.cdc.gov/cdctv/

"Understanding the Epidemic of Farmer Suicide," by Max Kutner, Newsweek, April 16, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
I'm sure there are no easy answers to this very complicated problem. In many instances causes may be related to high fixed-rate debt combined with revenues that fluctuate with weather and world markets. Farmers have a tendency to overpay for their land (rent or buy) and to seek out the biggest and newest equipment (tractors, feeders, planters, sprayers, combines, and even 18-wheelers to haul grain to market). High leverage carries high risks financially and medically.

Having owned a farm and having been raised (in part) on a farm I also think that chemical farming has put many farmers at great health risk. When I was a kid we rotated crops between alfalfa and grains, fertilized with manure, and cultivated the weeds with either horse-driven or tractor-mounted cultivators. There were no petrochemicals sprayed on crops or the livestock or the farmers.

Now farmers spray on petrochemical fertilizers for more yield and herbicides for weed control. Farming is all about chemicals that are not, in my opinion, healthy to breathe and are not good to ingest when they leech into water tables. I'm suspicious that farmers may have higher rates of cancer and that cancer leads, in many instances, to suicides among suffering and terminal patients..

Also there are greater risks of fatal skin cancer from sun exposure in the 21st Century relative to the 1950s. Outdoor living is not what it used to be. Now there are many more cancer deaths from sun exposure.

The good news is that many Marlboro men and women have given up their smokes that cause ailments like lung cancer and emphysema. But that's not enough for good health of farmers.

Richard Sansing forwarded an article that suggests firearm availability in rural areas may also lead to suicides ---



I'm not so convinced since firearms seemed about as prevalent in the 1950s as in the 21st Century. However, the firearms themselves are much more sophisticated.













A Bit of Humor

Forwarded by Paula
Funny Reviews ---

Forwarded by Rev. Hahn
Unstoppable Virus

I thought you would want to know about this e-mail virus.

Even the most advanced programs from Norton or McAfee cannot take care of this one.

It appears to affect those who were born prior to 1960.

1. Causes you to send the same e-mail twice. 
Done that! 

2. Causes you to send a blank e-mail!

That too!

3. Causes you to send e-mail to the wrong person.


4. Causes you to send it back to the person who sent it to you.


5. Causes you to forget to attach the attachment. 
Well darn! 

6. Causes you to hit "SEND" before you've finished. 

Oh , no not again!  

7. Causes you to hit "DELETE" instead of "SEND."

And I just hate that! 

8. Causes you to hit "SEND" when you should "DELETE."

Oh No!



Have I already sent this to you?

Or did you send it to me?



Humor Between April 1-30, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q2.htm#Humor043014

Humor Between March 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q1.htm#Humor033114

Humor Between February 1-28, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q1.htm#Humor022814

Humor Between January 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q1.htm#Humor013114

Humor Between December 1-31, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q4.htm#Humor123113

Humor Between November 1-30, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q4.htm#Humor113013

Humor Between October 1-31, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q4.htm#Humor103113

Humor Between September 1-30, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q3.htm#Humor093013

Humor Between July 1 and August 31, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q3.htm#Humor083113

Humor Between June 1-30, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q2.htm#Humor063013

Humor Between May 1-31, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q2.htm#Humor053113

Humor Between April 1-30, 2013 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book13q2.htm#Humor043013


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