Tidbits on August 27, 2014
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Set 4 of My Photographs of New England Lakes
Squam (Keeseenunknipee) Lake Better Known as Hollywood's Golden Pond



About Garden Plants --- http://www.naturehills.com/about-garden-plants/

Franconia Notch Lupine Photo Contest Winners --- https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/?pli=1#inbox/147f9d9abb64b416


Tidbits on August 27, 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

Robin Williams (1951-2014) Performs Unknown Shakespeare Play in 1970s Standup Routine ---

In Memory Of Robin Williams, Here Are 10 Of His Best Moments On Film ---

1970 John Wayne Special --- https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203900770857211 

Made in NY (Film, Movie History, Movies)  --- http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/home/home.shtml

Willie Nelson Shows You a Delightful Card Trick ---

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

Robin Williams & Bobby McFerrin Sing Fun Cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” ---

Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer Sing Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” (2002) ---

Jimi Hendrix Plays the Beatles: “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Day Tripper,” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” ---

Beethoven's 'Eroica,' A Bizarre Revelation Of Personality ---

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

Sochi Olympic Site Looks Like A Ghost City 6 Months Later ---

12 Of The Most Beautiful 'Living Pictures' Ever Taken With A Lytro Camera ---

Folger’s Shakespeare Library Releases 80,000 Images of Literary Art Into the Public Domain ---

The 10 Most-Visited Countries In The World --- http://www.businessinsider.com/most-visited-countries-in-the-world-2014-8

Unbelievable Pictures Of The Dangerous Life Of Fishermen On Alaska's Bering Sea

University of Central Arkansas: Photograph Collections --- http://uca.edu/archives/photograph-collections/

Digital Image Collection (Western Illinois University) ---

Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era ---

Augustine H. Folsom Photographs (Boston History)

National Building Museum: Self-Guided Architecture Tours ---

Photographs from the Chicago Daily News: 1902-1933 --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/ichihtml/cdnhome.html

Texas Fashion Collection --- http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/TXFC/

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

5 Riveting Nonfiction Books Everyone Should Read --- http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-nonfiction-books-2014-8

Tap Into Timeless Wisdom: Download 36 Free Courses in Ancient History, Literature & Philosophy ---

Ernest Hemingway: T.S. Eliot “Can Kiss My Ass As a Man” ---

Book Review: 'Susan Sontag: A Biography' by Daniel Schreiber Sontag cultivated an aura of genius that tipped over into condescension. 'She could not talk to stupid people,' noted one contemporary ---

. . .

Mr. Schreiber's exposition and occasional defense of her character occupy a large part of the book. He is careful to avoid unqualified praise of her creative work. Her novels (such as "The Benefactor" and "The Death Kit") and films ("Duet for Cannibals" and "Brother Carl"), he all but admits, are largely derivative. With respect to her essays, he rightly touts Sontag's facility with complex ideas. Her inaugural collection of essays "Against Interpretation" (1966) proved popular largely because, as Eliot Weinberger wrote, "cloaked in a familiar and unthreatening critical discourse, it finally brought the tenets of Dadaism and Futurism and Surrealism to Riverside Drive." She was a native voice translating certain ideas of the European avant-garde for the American public.

Yet in defending Sontag's essay collection "Under the Sign of Saturn" (1980), Mr. Schreiber makes a dubious claim: that it fared poorly in America because the "challenging subject matter was too exotic." The book included pieces on the American social critic Paul Goodman, French playwright Antonin Artaud and fascism—hardly "The Cosby Show" but not as exotic as all that. For good or ill, Sontag seems to have been suited most naturally to essays and journalism—forms that almost by definition are unlikely to deeply influence the culture. This might help explain why "the dark lady of American letters," so talked about in her time, left little substantial mark.


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 August 27, 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 ---

GAO: Fiscal Outlook & The Debt --- http://www.gao.gov/fiscal_outlook/overview 

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

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

Opening Lines of My Sociology Professor Friend Mike Kearl's Great Website ---

Thirty years ago columnist Lewis Lapham made the following observation:
There no longer exists a theater of ideas in which artists or philosophers can perform the acts of the intellectual or moral imagination. In nineteenth-century England Charles Darwin could expect On The Origin of Species to be read by Charles Dickens as well as by Disraeli and the vicar in the shires who collected flies and water beetles. Dickens and Disraeli and the vicar could assume that Mr. Darwin might chance to read their own observations. But in the United States in 1979 what novelist can expect his work to be read by a biochemist, a Presidential candidate, or a director of corporations; what physicist can expect his work to be noticed, much less understood, in the New York literary salons? ("A Juggernaut of Words," Harper's Magazine, June 1979: pp. 12-13).
Conditions have hardly improved three decades later. Now in the supposed "Information Age" six out of ten American households do not purchase a single book and one-half of American adults do not read one. Forty-three years ago in  1965 when the Gallup Organization asked young people if they read a daily newspaper, 67 percent said yes; in 2006, according to the NORC General Social Survey, only 11 percent of those 18-24 answered affirmatively. And yet "they" say we are saturated with informational overload!

I am most interested in the potential of this cyberspace medium to inform and to generate discourse, to enhance information literacy, and to truly be a "theater of ideas." This site features commentary, data analyses (hey, we've become a "factoid" culture), occasional essays, as well as the requisite links, put together for courses taught by myself and my colleagues.  Additions and updates are made daily If you do give feedback on one of the message pads scattered across these pages and wish a reply, please include your e-mail address.

Elitism Without Conservatism
"What Ails Elite Education? Debating Deresiewicz’s ‘Excellent Sheep’," Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, August 19, 2014 ---

Even before it was published this week, William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (Free Press) was stirring controversy. (It helped that an excerpt appeared on the cover of The New Republic under the headline "Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League.") Deresiewicz, a former English professor at Yale University, is not optimistic about elite colleges—or the students they educate.

The Chronicle Review asked Harry R. Lewis, a professor of computer science at Harvard University, former dean of Harvard College, and the author of Excellence Without a Soul (PublicAffairs, 2007), and Deresiewicz to discuss Excellent Sheep.

Bill (if I may),

On pretty much every page of Excellent Sheep, I found something you got right—and also something you got wrong. I think you are too hard on students, for example, and not hard enough on faculty. (Full disclosure is in order: I have been on Harvard’s Admission Committee for years, and my wife works in that office. Of course I am speaking only for myself here.) You say professors could do wonderful things for students but don’t, because they have the wrong incentives—to do research instead of to teach and mentor. True, but what kind of excuse is that for tenured faculty, if they are at the root of such a scourge on American society?

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The "elite" colleges and universities may be contributing to elitism, but they most certainly are not contributing to conservatism.

Less than 10% of the private university faculty label themselves as conservative whereas 67% label themselves as "far left" or "liberal" ---
"Moving Further to the Left," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 24, 2012 ---

It's even more biased toward the left in public universities and the elite media like the The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Over 90% of Harvard's faculty contributed to the Democratic party in the last Presidential election. Almost none contributed to the Republican Party.
"College Employees Give Millions to Federal Campaigns, Especially to Democrats," by Kevin Kiley, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 22, 2010 --- http://chronicle.com/article/College-Employees-Give/124572/

Bob Jensen's threads on bias in higher education and the media ---

The Washington Post's New Personal Finance Service ---

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

10 Of The Most Ridiculous TED Talks ---

Jensen Comment
The 10 selections above are more like the Golden Fleece research that used to be lamented by Senator Proxmire ---

My own experience is that sometimes the TED Talkers are politically motivated to cherry pick arguments and overlook critical assumptions. I respect academics who stress the limitations of their arguments as much as their main points, particularly crucial assumptions in statistical data analysis like stationarity, robustness, and statistically significant outcomes of epsilon (read that not substantively significant).

Windows 9 Preview to Launch September 30 ---

Windows 8.1 Update 2 is Here, But It’s a Big Letdown ---

This Excel Trick Will Save You A Ton Of Time When Updating Charts ---

"Epson Moverio BT200: Actually Useful Smart Glasses," by David Pogue, Yahoo Tech, August 21, 2014 ---

"Recommended from Around the Web (Week Ending August 23, 2014)" MIT's Technology Review ---

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade ---

How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize Our World ---

I like this 3-D Printing Video ---

How It Works: 3D Printing with Fused Deposition Modeling --- Click Here

Education Technology
Bob Jensen's Threads on Tricks and Tools of the Trade ---


Bob Jensen's Threads on Education Technology ---

Everyday Economics: A New Course by Marginal Revolution University Where Students Create the Syllabus ---

"Shadow Syllabus," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, August 22, 2014 ---
Jensen Question
Do we really have to talk to millennials this way? I'm glad I'm retired.

"Designing for Emergence: The Role of the Instructor in Student-Centered Learning," by Mary Stewart, Hybrid Pedagogy, August 21, 2014 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on metacognitive learning ---

"Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S.: 2000 to 2011," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, August 22, 2014 ---

Who pays the state and federal income taxes?
Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

"LLCs: The Hot New Trend Among Sole Proprietors," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, August 22, 2014 ---

"Why Did American University’s Law School Plunge in the Rankings?" by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, August 21, 2014 ---

Here's The Excellent Essay That Helped One Student Get Into Harvard Business School ---

Warning:  There may be some questionable links at the following two sites:

essays accepted by harvard

essays accepted by stanford


Jensen Comment
It would really be interesting if students in writing courses could compare selected essays of students accepted into prestigious universities. It would be even better to compare essays of selected accepted versus rejected students, but the reasons for acceptance versus rejection in total go well beyond the essays.

Another interesting exercise might be subject the essays to rigorous plagiarism tests and investigations of essay writing mills where people either pay to download canned essays or pay to have custom-written essays. Several links to these unethical services are at

As Usual I Repeat Some of My Warnings

Beware:  2013-14 AAUP Faculty Salary Survey ---

Jensen Comments

"Two Super Articles About College Teaching," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, August 15, 2014 ---

Beloit College's 2014 Mindset List for New Students
"What Freshmen (Don't) Know," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 26, 2014 --- 

As the academic year starts, Beloit College has each August since 1998 released a "mindset list" to remind professors and administrators that their experiences are very different from those of the students=who are starting off in higher ed (at least those who are coming straight from high school).

The list typically captures headlines (and has drawn some criticism) over the years. Here are some selections form this year's list:

  • During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
  • Meds have always been an option.
  • When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.
  • “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”
  • The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.
  • Women have always attended the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.
  • FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.
  • Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.
  • Women have always been dribbling, and occasionally dunking, in the WNBA.
  • The Unabomber has always been behind bars.
  • There has always been a national database of sex offenders.
  • Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.
  • Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.
  • One route to pregnancy has always been through frozen eggs.
  • They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.
  • Affirmative action has always been outlawed in California.

The full list may be found here. And previous lists may be found here ---

"Fixing the Ph.D.," by Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, June 4, 2014, 2014 ---

. . .

Those reforms worked: as Nate Silver reported in the Times last summer, about twice as many people attend college per capita now as did forty years ago. But all that expansion changed colleges. In the past, they had catered to élite students who were happy to major in the traditional liberal arts. Now, to attract middle-class students—students who were choosing school over the workforce—colleges had to offer more career-focussed majors, in fields like business, communications, and health care. As a result, humanities departments have found themselves drifting away from the center of the university. Today, they are often regarded as a kind of institutional luxury, paid for by dynamic, cheap, and growing programs in, say, adult-ed. These large demographic facts are contributing to today’s job-market crisis: they’re why, while education as a whole is growing, the humanities aren’t.

Given all this, what can an English department do? The M.L.A. report contains a number of suggestions, some more practical than others. Pride of place is given to the idea that grad school should be shorter: “Departments should design programs that can be completed in five years.” That will probably require changing the dissertation from a draft of an academic book into something shorter and simpler. At the same time, graduate students are encouraged to “broaden” themselves: to “engage more deeply with technology”; to pursue unusual and imaginative dissertation projects; to work in more than one discipline (that one seems unlikely to be a time-saver); to acquire teaching skills aimed at online and community-college students; and to take workshops on subjects, such as project management and grant writing, which might be of value outside of academia. Graduate programs, the committee suggests, should accept the fact that many of their students will have non-tenured, or even non-academic, careers. They should keep track of what happens to their graduates, so that students who decide to leave academia have a non-academic alumni network to draw upon. In an appendix containing reports from graduate programs, the Humanities Institute at the University of California, Davis, says that they’ve instituted “speed-dating-style informational interviews with possible employers.” That’s the sort of thing you see at business schools.

Only briefly does the report address what, to many people, is the most obvious solution: reducing admissions. “In the face of the post-2008 contraction of the academic job market, proposals to reduce the size of graduate education in our fields have been heard,” the committee writes:

The ostensible goal of such a reduction would be to realign the rate of PhD production with the number of tenure-track openings. While the logic of the strategy may seem at first clear, the task force believes it is misguided. Doctoral education is not exclusively for the production of future tenure-track faculty members. Reducing cohort size is tantamount to reducing accessibility.

The whole reason we’re reading this report, of course, is that graduate programs in the humanities, which used to mint new professors, are no longer “exclusively for the production of future tenure-track faculty members.” That’s the problem. If anything, a continuing over-production of Ph.D.s will only make the problem worse. It creates an ever-growing pool of cheap labor, which administrators are only too happy to employ in place of tenure-track faculty.

I asked Russell Berman, the chair of the task force which drew up the report, about the admissions issue. (Berman is a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford; he was president of the M.L.A. in 2011.) He said that the committee took the idea of “accessibility” very seriously: “We believe in the value of higher education for individuals,” he said, regardless of their eventual career path. He continued, “This is not a report about the political economy of higher education…. The M.L.A. is on-record deploring the declining percentage of tenure-track positions in higher education in the United States. Those problems should be addressed…. At the same time, we have current graduate students who will soon be looking for jobs.” Professors should admit that “the world is wider than literature departments. Every other part of the university understands that. There is no other part of the university that produces exclusively for the university. We’re the outlier.” Departments, he said, should probably start rethinking what a doctorate is for. Doctoral programs should change to reflect the fact that people who go to grad school in the humanities later “go into journalism, government, nonprofits—a range of cultural fields.”

This view—that the doctorate is too academic—will probably surprise many graduate students, who go to grad school because they want to live an academic life. But it’s not surprising that professors in the humanities would rather have more students than fewer. If they want the students, they’ll get them. The irony of the current crisis is that, in its own way, it is evidence of a great success. Professors in the humanities work hard to communicate the allure of their subjects; they are so good at it that, unless they bar the doors to graduate school, students will keep streaming in. And yet barring the doors is exactly what professors are least equipped to do. They’re also under the spell; that’s why they’re such good teachers. They love their subjects, and their students; they can’t accept that, by teaching too many students, they may be harming them. If that is the case, then to really respond to the crisis, they will have to do something unthinkable: turn good students away.

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

Some doctoral programs are in need of big change ---

How do you get a great Wikipedia module about yourself?

Reply from Bob Jensen on August 20, 2014

Hi David,

There are a few academic accountants written up in Wikipedia, but the modules are generally sparse.

For example, first look up the Wikipedia module for Bill Beaver ---

Then look up the Accounting Hall of Fame Module for Bill Beaver ---

Then compare the Wikipedia module of Bill Beaver with that of some Wikipedia modules that go on and on such as the Wikipedia module for Steven Pinker ---
Especially note the cross referencing of Pinker to other parts of Wikipedia.

People are not allowed to write their own Wikipedia modules. I think the great Wikipedia modules for people like Steven Pinker are initially written by their publishers who consider a great Wikipedia module of an author important to selling that author's books.

The AICPA published the book of Bob Herz. I think as a publisher the AICPA is missing the boat by not writing a fantastic Wikipedia module for Bob.

Some universities are better at PR than other universities. For example, the University of Georgia has a Wikipedia module for "its people" ---

Here are my main points in this message:

  1. If you published a book, have your publisher write a fantastic Wikipedia module about you.
  2. If you work for a university, have your university take a careful look at the University of Georgia's Wikipedia module for "its people."
  3. I think the University of Georgia's modules can be improved upon. I would have senior faculty write their own modules and then have the PR department launder those modules before submitting them to Wikipedia.


From the CPA Newsletter on August 19, 2014

How is your knowledge of individual tax statistics? ---
Do you know how many individual income tax returns were filed using Form 1040EZ, Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents, or the percentage of individual tax returns the IRS audited? Take this quiz to get the answers to those and other questions. Tax Insider (8/14)

Employment Increases Mostly in High Paying Skilled Jobs

From the CPA Newsletter on August 18, 2014

Higher-paying jobs return to U.S. labor market ---
As the U.S. economy recovers, almost 40% of jobs created over the past six months have been in sectors where the median wage is at least $20 an hour, the National Employment Law Project found in an analysis. However, growth among low-paying jobs has plateaued or decreased. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (8/17), eCreditDaily.com (8/17)

11 Of The Most Hilarious Product Reviews On Amazon ---

About Garden Plants --- http://www.naturehills.com/about-garden-plants/

13 Cool Things Siri Can Do For You --- http://www.businessinsider.com/13-cool-things-siri-can-do-for-you-2014-8
If you've not tried Wolfram Alpha you should check out this techie search engine and mathematics helper ---

Apple's Siri --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri

"11 Tips to Get the Most out of Siri," by  Dan Graziano, Yahoo Tech, June 21, 2014 ---

Microsoft's Cortana --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Cortana

Video:  Siri versus Cortana
Also see

Jensen Comment
I hate the name Cortana mostly because I cannot remember it as well off hand. I can always remember Siri. Microsoft should change the name Cortana to something like Gaga. I can always remember Gaga. But maybe Lady Gaga would sue. Besides she has zero answers of interest to us and purportedly is the Queen of Mean to hotel maids.

Tap Into Timeless Wisdom: Download 36 Free Courses in Ancient History, Literature & Philosophy ---

"Review: Lytro Illum Camera Has One Amazing Trick," by David Pogue, Yahoo Tech, July 30, 2014 ---

After the picture is taken it works more like nature in serving up parts of the picture to your eyes. This is truly amazing!

"We Now Know A Lot More About Edward Snowden's Epic Heist — And It's Troubling," by Michael B. Kelley, Business Insider, August 17, 2014 ---

Computer Grading of Essay Questions

"Computer Says B-Plus," by Geoffrey Pullum, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 18, 2014 ---

The mouth-filling abuse of Kathleen Anderson’s post on automatic grading (“Betray Our Students for Publisher’s Profit?“) is such a delight to read that I’m almost sorry to confess that I disagree with her.

Anderson was approached by an educational publisher’s representative about a plan to (i) gather a corpus of several thousand student essays, (ii) hire experienced instructors to grade them, and then (iii) apply machine-learning techniques to train a computer program that will grade further essays automatically to similar standards.

Anderson recoils. Assisting “the unethical development of this unethical product” would be involvement in “the creation of Frankenstein’s latest techno-monster,” she says. The $350 stipend offered, she calls a “bribe.” Even just collecting the essay corpus would mean “violating our students’ privacy and right to ownership of their intellectual property.” She envisions with horror the human essay-evaluators “grading the thousands of essays in auto-program hatcheries while fed a steady supply of soma,” and urges that this “auto-generated wolf in surrogate-cloned-sheep’s clothing” must be killed before it gets loose.

The polemic is deliciously over-the-top. And effective: Just reading it, I almost felt like grabbing a sledgehammer to smash machines.

Yet she offers no rational argument against automated essay grading.

Figuring out how likely specific symbol sequences are to belong to a certain category is a well-understood computational problem. Take the question, “How likely is it that this new crime novel belongs to the category exemplified in the prose of the Harry Potter books?” Computers can address and even answer such questions.

In other contexts we welcome such techniques. I’ll bet Kathleen Anderson is glad that her email program has anti-spam capabilities. Modern spam filters usually exploit a theorem due to the Rev. Thomas Bayes (1701–1761), which established how the probability of truth for a hypothesis given certain observed facts relates to the probability that the observations would have looked like that if the hypothesis were true. What are now called Bayesian methods permit a program, given access to a corpus of known spam, to take an input message and answer the question: “How likely is it that this message is spam?”–and dump it in the spam folder if the probability exceeds a set threshold. It’s spectacularly successful technology: I hardly ever look at my Spam folder now, and hardly ever see spam in my inbox.

So now consider a different but analogous question: “How likely is it that this essay belongs to the category of essays that get an A grade, given the properties seen in several thousand essays known to be deserving of an A grade?”

Computer programs using Bayesian reasoning can tell with a high degree of accuracy whether a text resembles excellent, pretty good, mediocre, or illiterate essays, via a sort of statistical approximation to the look and feel of English prose. But if you don’t believe me, never mind, we can use a Gedankenexperiment: Just imagine that a program capable of this were available to you. Why, exactly, would you object to its use?

No one is suggesting that its decisions will justify eliminating human instructors. Anderson sarcastically assures us that “surrendering one’s professional responsibilities will also be good practice for the day when professors will be entirely replaced by computers,” but that’s nonsense: Professors are not going to be superseded by Bayesian classification algorithms.

Likewise, Anderson’s concern about “violating our students’ privacy and right to ownership of their intellectual property” is just silly: You don’t lose any privacy or intellectual property just because some of your prose is anonymously stored among a set of sample essays of a certain quality level, any more than when Gmail uses properties of your emails to assess which advertisements might interest the recipient.

And no one imagines that machines can evaluate quality of argumentation, or even grammar in any serious sense: Programs of the relevant sort will attend only to the general characteristics of the letter sequences in the essay. Remarkably, this is sufficient for doing consistent grading that mostly agrees with human graders.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of the first admission tests to have computer-graded essay question was the GMAT for admission to graduate schools of business. Since then such grading has become more commonplace in where there are thousands or tens of thousands of examinations to be graded.

"22 Thoughts on Automated Grading of Student Writing," by John Warner, Inside Higher Ed, April 10, 2013 ---

Sociology professor designs SAGrader software for grading student essays
Student essays always seem to be riddled with the same sorts of flaws. So sociology professor Ed Brent decided to hand the work off to a computer. Students in Brent's Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Missouri-Columbia now submit drafts through the SAGrader software he designed. It counts the number of points he wanted his students to include and analyzes how well concepts are explained. And within seconds, students have a score. It used to be the students who looked for shortcuts, shopping for papers online or pilfering parts of an assignment with a simple Google search. Now, teachers and professors are realizing that they, too, can tap technology for a facet of academia long reserved for a teacher alone with a red pen. Software now scores everything from routine assignments in high school English classes to an essay on the GMAT, the standardized test for business school admission. (The essay section just added to the Scholastic Aptitude Test for the college-bound is graded by humans). Though Brent and his two teaching assistants still handle final papers and grades students are encouraged to use SAGrader for a better shot at an "A."
"Computers Now Grading Students' Writing," ABC News, May 8, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment:  Aside from some of the obvious advantages such as grammar checking, students should have a more difficult time protesting that the grading is subjective and unfair in terms of the teacher's alleged favored versus less-favored students.  Actually computers have been used for some time in grading essays, including the GMAT graduate admission test --- http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=723

References to computer grading of essays --- http://coeweb.fiu.edu/webassessment/references.htm

You can read about PEG at http://snipurl.com/PEGgrade

Bob Jensen's threads on computer grading ---

"The Public Turns Against Teacher Tenure:  And even teachers say that 13% of their colleagues deserve a D or F grade. Time to revisit retention policy," by Harvard's Paul E. Peterson, The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2014 ---

It's back-to-school season, but teacher tenure has been a hot topic since summer began. In June a California court ruled that the state's tenure and seniority laws are unconstitutional in Vergara v. State of California. Minority students have filed a similar case in New York, with more to come elsewhere.

Republican governors such as Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana have persuaded their legislatures to rein in teacher-tenure laws. Teachers unions are complaining bitterly, arguing that teachers deserve job protection because principals rate most of them as excellent or satisfactory.

But where does the public come down on teacher tenure? Do they agree that almost all teachers are performing well—or at least satisfactorily? What do parents think? And how do teachers rate their own colleagues?

Here are a few answers to those questions from the just-released eighth annual Education Next poll, overseen by the Harvard Program on Education Policy and conducted online in May and June by the polling firm Knowledge Networks. The survey was administered to representative samples of the general public, parents and teachers.

The public response to the poll raises doubts about claims that nearly all public-school teachers are performing adequately. Respondents were asked to state the percentage of teachers in their local school district who deserve one of the five grades on the traditional A to F scale. To make sure the responses were consistent, the percentages had to add up to 100% before the respondent could move on to the next question.

About 22% of public-school teachers are not performing adequately in the public eye, if one assumes that satisfactory work requires at least a C grade. Citizens do like a majority of the teachers in their local district, saying, on average, that 51% of them deserves an A or a B. But 13% earned a D, and no less than 9% of teachers were given an F.

Parent surveys are nearly identical. Parents give 56% of the teachers in their local schools one of the two top grades, but they hand out a D to 13% and an F to 10%.

Teacher ratings are perhaps the most telling. Educators tend to be the most generous in giving high marks, saying that 69% of their colleagues in the local school district deserve an A or B. Not everyone scores so well. Teachers report that 8% of their colleagues deserve a D, and that 5% deserve an F.

Union leaders could argue that the public is too harsh in its assessment, and that parents blame teachers for their children's faults, but they may find it difficult to explain away the fact that even teachers identify a sizable percentage of their colleagues as woefully inadequate. Teachers themselves say that as much as 13% of the educating force is performing at an unsatisfactory level, with 5% failing outright.

You can't have good schools without good teachers, but improving the lowest-performing segment of teachers would go a long way. Good teachers are so important to student learning that if roughly the lowest performing 5% of all teachers were replaced with merely average teachers, Stanford economist Eric Hanushek estimates that it would increase the annual growth rate of the U.S. by 1% of GDP. Student performance in the U.S. would also catch up with that in Canada, Finland, Germany and other high-performing countries.

The public seems to agree that something needs to be done, and that is where tenure laws come in. Survey respondents favor ending tenure by a 2-to-1 ratio. By about the same ratio, the public also thinks that if tenure is awarded, it should be based in part on how well the teacher's students perform in the classroom. Only 9% of the public agrees with current practice in most states, the policy of granting teachers tenure without taking student performance into account.

Interestingly enough, many teachers agree that it's time for some change. While most teachers are in favor of tenure and most don't like the idea of basing tenure on student test performance, only 41% of teachers both favor tenure and oppose using information from state tests when awarding it.

Courts have yet to reach a final verdict on teacher tenure and seniority rights, but the court of public opinion has already made a clear determination.

Mr. Peterson, director of Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance, is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.


The ruling against tenure was a major defeat for the teachers’ unions. Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, described it is an attack on teachers themselves
"What happens when students sue their teachers?" by Betsy Kuhlman and Michael Okwu, Al Jazeera,  August 1, 2014 ---

With a landmark ruling in June, the campaign against the sacred cow of education has just begun.

In June, Christine McLaughlin, who had been named Pasadena’s Teacher of the Year in 2013, found her work on trial.

She was caught in the crosshairs of a case that would rock decades of tradition in California schools. The nine student plaintiffs in Vergara v. California charged that the system deprived them of a decent education by leaving incompetent teachers in place.

And McLaughlin, a seventh grade English teacher, was Exhibit A. One of her former students, 16-year-old Raylene Monterroza, testified that her education was harmed because McLaughlin was so bad at her job.

In a Skype interview, McLaughlin summarized her take on the student’s testimony: “I wasn’t the best teacher but I wasn’t the worst. Said I never assigned homework. We never read any novels. I had no textbook, no syllabus.”

All of that, she said, “is absolutely not true.”

McLaughlin added that a teacher’s quality can’t be measured by one student’s impression at a particular moment in time.

“The thing I have to hold onto is that the product that we produce in schools is so unlike any other product,” she said. “It isn’t always visible from start to finish. It takes a long time to see growth.”

In June, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled in the students’ favor, concluding that California’s teacher tenure and seniority laws were unconstitutional, depriving kids – especially poor and minority children – of their rights.

He was persuaded by evidence that firing a bad teacher took anywhere from two to 10 years, at a cost of $50,000 to $450,000 – tying the hands of administrators. And because the worst teachers often get dumped in poor schools with the highest turnover, the damage to low-income children is particularly acute.

The judge compared the case to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

“The evidence is compelling,” he wrote. “Indeed it shocks the conscience.” The way we fire

Silicon Valley millionaire entrepreneur David Welch is the one who dreamed up the novel approach of using students to sue their schools. He founded the nonprofit Students Matter, which is focused on overturning state laws that keep subpar teachers from being identified and fired, and has spent millions of dollars to achieve that goal.

“I said, ‘You know, what’s happening to these children is a crime,’” explained Welch. “And if it’s really a crime, then it’s got to be illegal.”

Welch’s group is considering filing lawsuits in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, Kansas and other states where powerful unions have defeated attempts to change tenure laws.

“My premise is it’s never acceptable to knowingly put an ineffective teacher in front of a child,” he said. “The education system is about one thing, right? It’s about educating our children.”

John Deasy, superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District, testified for the plaintiffs. One of the practices they challenged, which the judge declared unconstitutional, was giving teachers tenure less than two years after they start teaching.

“Would you fly a plane if the pilot had five flights? I certainly wouldn’t,” he said. “You’re not reading by the third grade, your life chances are in grave peril. This is dead serious stuff.”

The ruling against tenure was a major defeat for the teachers’ unions. Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, described it is an attack on teachers themselves.

Continued in article


Jensen Comment
The abuses of tenure are probably more prevalent in higher education where a high proportion of tenured associate and full professors make a mockery out of being "full-time" employees of colleges and universities where they can teach and advise for a minimal 16 hours per week for nine months while, at the same time, they have other paying or non-paying jobs such as homemaking and grandparenting, consulting, working in stores, farming (including organic farming), construction, investment home restorations, cabinet making, landscaping, interior decorating, writing novels, computer gambling, etc.

This does not mean older K-12 teachers and higher education professors are necessarily bad teachers. Some are still very good teachers, including some who are now teaching quite well on automatic pilot. Some were good teachers who, over the years, became bored with teaching and disgruntled with school administrators and pay raises.

If tenure is eliminated only a small proportion of the most incompetent tenured teachers will be given severance pay and shown the door. Even non-unionized schools have de facto seniority systems where newer faculty are more apt to be let go before senior faculty except when senior faculty have become highly ineffective or abusive of their seniority.

Problems of tenure and seniority systems are more pervasive these days when boomers are motivated to day on the job well beyond 65 years of age. Sometimes they took on much younger trophy spouses and are forced to say on the job until they are over 80 years of age just to keep the employer-subsidized medical insurance for trophy spouses who are net yet eligible for Medicare. More these old timers who lived for so many years on low teaching salaries just do not have enough savings for retirement, especially the ones who lost half of their retirement funds like TIAA-CREF  in a late-life divorces.

Some old timers bet on their housing equity as a major component of their retirement savings. The bursting of the real estate bubble in 2007 for many of them is still depressing the market value of their long-time homes. They are finding that reverse mortgages are really not such good deals and are forced to carry on teaching nine months every year even though they are really, really tired of teaching.

I don't have a good answer about how to keep older teachers motivated for teaching onsite or online year after year into the future. There are of course role models who seem to become more enthused about teaching and even research as they get older. There are some who become more enthused about teaching as their research and writing productivity declines. But there are also those who become less enthused about teaching, research, and writing as they age. I don't have a good answer for how to light their fires late in life.

One answer might be to engage older faculty in some types of projects. Give them opportunities to participate in seminars for teaching, technology, and scholarship. Make summer funding and sabbaticals more readily available and hold them accountable for how they spent their time rejuvenating their professionalism.

I once tried to get the President of my university to fund a sabbatical leave for colleague who had been teaching for 35 years without a single sabbatical leave. My colleague proposed going to a flagship university and sitting in on some courses for an entire semester. I thought this was a great idea. Sadly, my request was turned down.

Another thing to consider is to grant long-term leaves to tenured faculty who request such leaves and are willing to suspend benefits as well as compensation. This gives older faculty more time to reconsider alternatives for the remainder of their lives. Presumably many of them who do return will return with more respect for and enthusiasm for teaching. Long-term leaves are very troublesome to administer since other faculty must be hired to take their places. However, the leaves might be granted in a way that only assures priority in rehiring older faculty who went on leave without guaranteeing that job openings will be available. Also this is an era when 62% of college teachers are adjuncts who have never been tenured. Adjuncts hired to take senior faculty positions are not usually guaranteed long-term employment.

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

"US Colonel Explains Why ISIS Is More Dangerous Than Al-Qaeda," by Colonel S. Clinton Hinote, Cicero Magazine via Business Insider, August 15, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
Purportedly ISIS just captured a WMD, but there are other reasons why ISIS is more dangerous than its Al-Qaeda predecessor. But ISIS also has more enemies, particularly in the United Nations where superpowers sometimes clashed in the war on terrorists before ISIS. ISIS seems to not have many friends outside the Sunnis, and even the Sunnis tribes are not wholly supportive of its genocide philosophy and penchant for beheading almost everybody in the world --- except maybe North Korea where almost any horrible weapon is for sale.

Usually when an army expands its battle lines the major method of attack, that was lamented by Napoleon and Hitler, is to cut off the logistics of food, water, ammunition and other weaponry and reinforcements. Thus far ISIS is logistically supported by the friendly Sunni communities it captures. It will, in my opinion, become much more logistically vulnerable when it ventures into non-Sunni territories like southern Iraq and many parts of Syria. By then, however, its tactics may well change to become more like the terrorist tactics of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of Africa.

Terrorists have a problem in that if and when they surface or come out in front of their hostages they're dead.

A looming problem for Afghanistan is that when the U.S. pulls out the Taliban may become more like ISIS. I think that is a sure bet even though the Taliban to date has received weapons like IED explosive mine materials from Iran. Iran despises ISIS such that a merger between the Taliban and ISIS may not take place for many years to come. Sadly they both might independently export terror on innocents and will both collect a lot of heads until the superpowers unite against terrorism is a more serious manner that brings greater risks to hostages.

Of course the entire world is at increased risk from WMDs in the hands of terrorists. Is the world going insane?

Also see http://www.businessinsider.com/hagel-isis-threat-terrorism-us-airstrikes-2014-8

Jensen Comment
I seldom say that any of my tidbits are "must reads." This is an exception. I think it is a must read for all students and faculty!

"Book Review: 'The Organized Mind' by Daniel J. Levitin --- Our minds were designed to succeed in an environment utterly unlike the information overload we now face," by Christopher Chabris, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2014 ---

Dr. Chabris is a psychology professor at Union College and co-author, with Daniel Simons, of "The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us."

More than a century ago, Sigmund Freud wrote the "Psychopathology of Everyday Life." Over two decades ago, Donald Norman published the "Psychology of Everyday Things." Three years ago, David Myers called a new edition of his textbook "Psychology in Everyday Life." The word "everyday" has a special appeal in such titles, since so many psychology books, especially of the self-help variety, are written for the self with major problems to contend with—love, illness, grief, identity, conflict—leaving the small tasks of mundane functioning to common sense, or perhaps to business writers who purvey "habits" and "disciplines."

In "The Organized Mind," Daniel J. Levitin, a cognitive neuroscientist at McGill University, makes an ambitious attempt to bring research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology to bear on the more ordinary parts of our lives. He focuses on the daily challenges of professionals, managers and knowledge workers. But we are all knowledge workers now, since everyone uses Facebook, FB -0.90% communicates by email, and must process, store and retrieve an ever-growing volume of information. In this impressively wide-ranging and thoughtful work, Mr. Levitin stresses the many ways in which evolution designed our minds to succeed in an environment that was utterly unlike the world of information overload we now face. And he aims to help us cope by providing concrete suggestions for solving the daily problems of modern existence.

Mr. Levitin begins by explaining why we are in the mess we are in. The capacities of our brains grew out of solutions to the problems that our ancestor species confronted when living in the natural world. We have very good memories for routes we walk and for places where things are located because those are the most important things for primates and mammals to be keep track of. And our tendency to be attracted by anything new had great value when new things were likely to be important threats or opportunities. But these capacities may be maladapted to the challenges of current life, especially the man-made parts of it.

Memories tuned for routes and places are simply not designed to store the near-infinity of unique passwords (random strings of letters, numbers and punctuation) that Internet security demands. Decision-making systems that put a premium on novelty betray us when millions upon millions of new data packets are mere finger-taps away. "Every status update you read on Facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend," Mr. Levitin writes, "is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether to put your savings in stocks or bonds, where you left your passport, or how to reconcile with a close friend you just had an argument with." All this piling up taxes our abilities to process information, remember it and make decisions.

What to do? Mr. Levitin devotes several meaty chapters to specific domains—including domestic matters, social connections and time management—in which we tend to fall short of what is needed for peace of mind and productivity. He also considers how to teach younger people to cope with the information-rich environment they will grow up in. Throughout, he mixes anecdote and science, first-person narrative and tips for successful living. On one page you may read a detailed description of a brain-imaging study, on the next a quotation from the man who was once in charge of managing President Obama's mail, and after that a formula for generating strong but memorable passwords.

A good way to deal with overload, Mr. Levitin suggests, is to offload the responsibilities of "personal management," tasks like being on time and staying in touch with friends or associates. This strategy is routinely adopted by members of a category that Mr. Levitin calls HSPs—Highly Successful Persons. A few months ago, I was excited to learn that my newest Twitter TWTR -1.26% followers were Phil Ivey, one of the best poker players in the world, and the popular actor Taye Diggs —both undoubted HSPs. Then I found out that they employ other people to manage their social media. Mr. Levitin tells us that he met Jimmy Carter back in the mid-1970s, when he was first running for president, and Mr. Carter spoke "as though we had all the time in the world." He could focus on the task at hand, Mr. Levitin notes, because his aides were worrying about where he needed to be and when, freeing him to "let go of those inner nagging voices and be there."

Mr. Levitin isn't recommending that we all hire personal assistants, an unrealistic approach unless you happen to be an HSP or a Real Housewife. We don't need human helpers because computational ones become better all the time. A calendar app that buzzes quietly 15 minutes before each appointment is better and cheaper than a human who has to knock on your door and interrupt your conversation or train of thought. Sites like Orbitz and Kayak are faster and more flexible for booking almost any trip than human travel agents ever were. A well-curated Twitter feed will keep you up on news about your work and hobbies in a way that no personal assistant ever could. Indeed, we have outsourced to Google GOOGL -0.16% a massive volume of "research" chores that used to take anywhere from minutes to months of trawling through reference sources, making phone calls and visiting archives. These conveniences come with frustrations (also known as "first-world problems"), but to focus on such trees is to miss the forest of improvements that we enjoy today.

To a surprising extent, Mr. Levitin's advice for organizing our minds consists not of learning mental tricks or doing brain exercises but of organizing our surroundings—literally, the physical world we inhabit every day. This effort can reduce needless demands on our cognitive abilities, especially on our capacity for paying attention, which he rightly calls "the most essential mental resource for any organism." The suggestions range from the simple (keep in plain sight the things you need to access most often) to the detailed, such as setting up various filing systems, including a junk drawer and "miscellaneous" file.

Explaining filing systems, Mr. Levitin writes, "the key to creating useful categories in our homes is to limit the number of types of things they contain to one or at most four (respecting the capacity limitations of working memory)." By keeping items that share a common use in a single place (e.g., supplies for a party) you reduce the burden on memory, since you must only associate one location ("top middle kitchen island drawer") with one category ("birthday party") rather than several locations (different drawers and cabinets) with several items (colored napkins, paper plates, plastic cups). The same idea applies to files of important documents and media, whether physical or digital.

In the case of the junk drawer, Mr. Levitin explains that, while we have a powerful instinct to categorize things, we don't benefit from creating categories that have only a single member. Uncategorizable stuff should go together in its own space because this is the easiest way for the human mind to keep track of it. If you have a lot of folders with just one document in each, you might soon forget that those folders even exist. It would be better if their contents remained together in a bigger "misc" folder.

When it comes to teaching younger generations how to organize their minds, Mr. Levitin makes some surprising points. Today's college students are thought of as "digital natives" who are inherently skilled with computers and the Internet because they grew up with them from their earliest days. But they have trouble distinguishing media outlets and websites that at least try to report news and facts objectively from those that are deliberately partisan or ideological. Even medical students aren't good at telling high-quality journals (whose research reports should be given more trust) from low-quality ones (whose reports should be regarded with skepticism). Given that our minds mostly evolved long before the invention of reading and writing, let alone mass media, it stands to reason that a fine eye for evaluating the quality of sources must be learned, and even taught, rather than assumed to be part of our standard equipment.

What to do about this? It turns out that librarians have already responded by writing guides to evaluating sources. These include questions like "is the page current?" and "what is the domain?" (A page from nih.gov will have more authoritative medical advice than one from autismspeaks.org.) These suggestions point to considerations that many of us take for granted but that are increasingly crucial for everyone to grasp, now that Google's cornucopia is rarely farther away than our hip pockets.

Some of Mr. Levitin's recommendations may seem like little more than common sense or reiterations of techniques developed from generations of experience. Has anyone not heard of a junk drawer? But if there is one lesson to be drawn from the past century of research on human behavior it is that common sense is a much poorer guide to life than, well, common sense would have us believe. Common sense is often contradicted by empirical evidence—we assume, for instance, that we remember important events in precise detail, when research shows that such memories become distorted and decay over time. And elements of common sense frequently contradict one another. How can opposites attract but birds of a feather flock together? When common sense can be shown to be consistent with solid scientific principles, we should prize it all the more.

"The Organized Mind" is an organized book, but it also rewards dipping in at any point, for there are fascinating facts and examples throughout. Mr. Levitin concisely explains Kolmogorov complexity (a way to measure how much information a message or algorithm contains, which can help with communicating and storing data optimally). He provides a handy inventory of things to keep extras of in your luggage, so you don't have to remember them and then scurry around to gather them up before you leave for a trip. (Most important, keep a phone charger in your bag at all times.) He even lists the rules that govern how interstate highways are numbered—with examples and a map. The point is that if you learn the system, you don't need to memorize the specific directions and junctions of dozens of individual highways. (Nowadays, though, we outsource this knowledge to GPS-equipped cars and phones.) An appendix explains how to construct simple 2x2 tables to properly interpret important percentages and probabilities like the likelihood of having a serious disease given a positive diagnostic test.

Like any neuroscience-based book, "The Organized Mind" has to confront the problem of the still-tentative nature of many of the most fascinating findings and resist the ever-present temptation to pick a few new ideas to weave a just-so story. Books with titles like "the new science of X" or "the neuroscience of Y" can almost be counted on to be wrong—often breathlessly so. Mr. Levitin mostly eludes this trap by sticking to established principles, such as the limited capacities of memory and attention or the biases that plague our thinking (e.g., the difficulty of reasoning rationally about risks). None of these principles will rise or fall at the next conference or in the next edition of a scholarly journal.

Clearly, most of us could use more organization in our lives and in our minds. But does a push for organization and focus, for the optimal use of our scarce attention, come at any cost? Perhaps. Students who use "study drugs" like Ritalin or Adderall to stay awake and concentrate on work and deadlines report that they find it easier to complete projects but feel that the results are less creative than they otherwise would be. Such a tradeoff—if it is even more than anecdotal—could be the natural result of "powering through" a task in a fixed time frame, regardless of whether drugs or other forces were involved.

But such trade-offs do not mean that organization and creativity are enemies. Without enough organization to complete a project, no amount of creativity will have an effect. And some of the most creative people, Mr. Levitin notes, were also some of the most fanatical organizers of their output. Michael Jackson employed a full-time archivist, and John Lennon "kept boxes and boxes of work tapes of songs in progress, carefully labeled." Perhaps this habit explains why the ex-Beatle seemed to go on releasing album after album of new material after his death. In any case, it's a mistake to think creativity suffers from organization, that a messy desk or office is a sign of genius. What does benefit creativity is exposing one's mind to a variety of influences, sources and types of information. A mind that can stay focused despite diverse stimulation, and that can produce enough ideas so that some of them might be truly great, must be an organized one.

Continued in article

Compare Levitin's thesis with those of Steven Pinker's thesis that there is no blank slate ---
Pinker's Ted Talk is at
I thank Laura Allen for sendiung me the above link to the Ted Talk.

Bob Jensen's threads on metacognitive learning ---

It's an "Aiken-IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator - I", and dates from 1944 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on history of computing and networking ---

"Who is Responsible for Cheating in College? Cheating Scandals at Notre Dame and Harvard Raise Questions about Student Responsibilities and Professors’ Ethical Obligations," by Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, August 19, 2014 ---

"Notre Dame Benches 4 Football Players Over Cheating Charges," by Justin Worland, Time Magazine, August 15, 2014 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on academic cheating ---

Bob Jensen's threads on athletics controversies ---

"UNLV Professor Is Investigated for Career-Spanning Plagiarism," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 21, 2014 ---
Also see

Plagiarism appears to be an act that some in academe cannot resist duplicating.

Mustapha Marrouchi, a professor of postcolonial literature at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, is facing accusations of dozens of acts of plagiarism over the past 24 years, even after twice previously being publicly called out for lifting the words of other scholars.

The documented instances of Mr. Marrouchi’s quoting the works of others without attribution include passages in his books, essays, blog posts, and course descriptions. They begin with his 1990 dissertation as a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, extend through his four years on the faculty of Louisiana State University’s English department, and continue up through three journal articles published last year.

In some cases, he is accused of improperly claiming as his own entire essays by other writers in which he changed just a few words. In a 2008 essay on Al Qaeda published in the journal Callaloo, for example, he reprinted, without attribution, much of a review of the movie 300 written by the New Yorker staff writer David Denby the year before. In a 1992 incident which marks the first time he was publicly accused of plagiarism, Queen’s Quarterly published an essay by Mr. Marrouchi that repeated almost verbatim the content of another writer’s essay in the London Review of Books.

Mr. Marrouchi could not be reached by telephone on Tuesday and Wednesday and did not return several emails seeking comment.

Administrators at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, citing a policy against commenting on personnel matters, refused to discuss the allegations against Mr. Marrouchi or to say anything about him other than that he remains on the faculty there. Several faculty members in the university’s English department, where he has worked since 2008, similarly refused to comment on the accusations against him.

Continued in article

Fareed Zakaria --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fareed_Zakaria

Incident 2
"Fareed Zakaria Busted for Plagiarism Once More
," by Jack Cashill, American Thinker, August 24, 2014 ---

Incident 1
Last week Mr. Zakaria apologized "unreservedly" to New Yorker writer Jill Lepore after a blogger noticed that a paragraph in his Time column was all-but identical to something Ms. Lepore had written. Mr. Zakaria has now been given a month's suspension by his employers pending further review of his work.

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism---

Generalized Pareto Distribution --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalized_Pareto_Distribution

The risk measures adopted in this paper are Value at Risk and Expected Shortfall. Estimates of these measures are obtained by fitting the Generalized Pareto Distribution
"Risk Analysis for Three Precious Metals: An Application of Extreme Value Theory," Qinlu Chen and David E. Giles,  Department of Economics, University of Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada V8W 2Y2 August, 2014 ---

Gold, and other precious metals, are among the oldest and most widely held commodities used as a hedge against the risk of disruptions in financial markets. The prices of such metals fluctuate substantially, introducing a risk of its own. This paper’s goal is to analyze the risk of investment in gold, silver, and platinum by applying Extreme Value Theory to historical daily data for changes in their prices. The risk measures adopted in this paper are Value at Risk and Expected Shortfall. Estimates of these measures are obtained by fitting the Generalized Pareto Distribution, using the Peaks ‐ Over ‐ Threshold method, to the extreme daily price changes. The robustness of the results to changes in the sample period is discussed. Our results show that silver is the most risky metal among the three considered. For negative daily returns, platinum is riskier than gold; while the converse is true for positive returns.

A Plenary Session Speech at a Chartered Financial Analysts Conference
Video: James Montier’s 2012 Chicago CFA Speech The Flaws of Finance ---
Note that it takes over 15 minutes before James Montier begins

Major Themes

  1. The difference between physics versus finance models is that physicists know the limitations of their models.
  2. Another difference is that components (e.g., atoms) of a physics model are not trying to game the system.
  3. The more complicated the model in finance the more the analyst is trying to substitute theory for experience.
  4. There's a lot wrong with Value at Risk (VaR) models that regulators ignored.
  5. The assumption of market efficiency among regulators (such as Alan Greenspan) was a huge mistake that led to excessively low interest rates and bad behavior by banks and credit rating agencies.
  6. Auditors succumbed to self-serving biases of favoring their clients over public investors.
  7. Banks were making huge gambles on other peoples' money.
  8. Investors themselves ignored risk such as poisoned CDO risks when they should've known better. I love his analogy of black swans on a turkey farm.
  9. Why don't we see surprises coming (five excellent reasons given here)?
  10. The only group of people who view the world realistically are the clinically depressed.
  11. Model builders should stop substituting elegance for reality.
  12. All financial theorists should be forced to interact with practitioners.
  13. Practitioners need to abandon the myth of optimality before the fact.
    Jensen Note
    This also applies to abandoning the myth that we can set optimal accounting standards.
  14. In the long term fundamentals matter.
  15. Don't get too bogged down in details at the expense of the big picture.
  16. Max Plank said science advances one funeral at a time.
  17. The speaker then entertains questions from the audience (some are very good).


James Montier is a very good speaker from England!

Mr. Montier is a member of GMO’s asset allocation team. Prior to joining GMO in 2009, he was co-head of Global Strategy at Société Générale. Mr. Montier is the author of several books including Behavioural Investing: A Practitioner’s Guide to Applying Behavioural Finance; Value Investing: Tools and Techniques for Intelligent Investment; and The Little Book of Behavioural Investing. Mr. Montier is a visiting fellow at the University of Durham and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Portsmouth University and an M.Sc. in Economics from Warwick University

There's a lot of useful information in this talk for accountics scientists.

Bob Jensen's threads on what went wrong with accountics research are at

Teaching Case
"The Gatekeepers: A Case on Allocations and Justifications," by David Hurtt, Bradley E. Lail, Michael A. Robinson, and Martin T. Stuebs, SSRN, August 18, 2014 ---

This case provides an opportunity for you to make accounting allocation choices, justify those choices, and subsequently consider the ramifications of those choices. Two different scenarios – one in the academic setting and one in the business setting – examine the incentives and reporting issues faced by managers and accountants – the gatekeepers in these reporting environments. For each scenario, you will read the case materials, related tables, and then answer the Questions for Analysis. Each scenario presents you with an allocation task. In the first scenario, you will need to assess group members’ contributions to a project and allocate points across the group. These point allocations contribute to the determination of individual group members’ grades. The second scenario is also an allocation task but in a business setting, specifically the segment reporting environment. Here the task is to allocate common costs across reporting segments. For advanced reading, you will want to consider Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) topic 820 which addresses segment reporting, as this can help guide you in the degree of flexibility, if any, allowed in determining how to allocate costs.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Bob Jensen's threads on case writing and teaching ---

Maybe the Japanese were right all along to place their bets on fuel cell vehicles
"Scientists develop a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery," PhysOrg, August 22, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
In theory fuel cells may eventually replace big electric power plants and those ugly transmission lines vulnerable to wind and ice.

"Confuse Students to Help Them Learn," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 14, 2014 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the BAM model and metacognitive learning ---

Jensen Comment
Most often the highest possible teaching evaluations go to teachers who make subject matter crystal clear and easy to understand.

If you read my previous teaching evaluations you would find that I was a master of the opposite pedagogy. Often intentionally and sometimes unintentionally I confused my students, particularly my graduate students. I don't particularly recommend this pedagogy for introductory courses such as Principles of Accounting. But in graduate courses I think it's a mistake to make everything crystal clear --- at least in class. I also think it's a mistake in some case courses and other student participation courses such as when I taught sections of a Trinity University course called First Year Seminar where the subject matter was on troubles in the world (not an accounting course).

It's important to note that I was careful about trying not to confuse students about technical rules such as FAS 133 rules about accounting for derivative financial instruments. Those were more like teaching mathematical derivations. For those I assigned Camtasia videos before class where I tried to make the videos crystal clear.

But in class when we took up cases and applications I introduced complications to confuse students and make them think. A perfect example of what I would do in class is the following reply to a posting on the AECM by Tom Selling. This illustrates how I would intentionally confuse students while teaching Tom's posting. Tom always ipso facto assumes without proof that replacement cost accounting leads to more relevant accounting for investors. However, I repeatedly muddied the waters for my students when teaching historical cost versus exit value versus entry value accounting.

Some of the replies on the AECM to my posting below indicates that I also confused veteran financial accounting professors.

"The FASB Wants to Dumb Down Inventory Impairment," by Tom Selling, The Accounting Onion, August 10, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Tom makes the following statement:

"Since the company will inevitably have to replace the inventory after selling its present stock, the current cost of replacement is the best measure of its economic value."

I might note that if you read Tom's blog regularly it's clear that the balance sheet is his priority in terms of defining "economic value." He does not seem to care if fair value or replacement cost adjustments to carrying value adjustments to the balance sheet will never be realized in net earnings calculations at a  future date.

I am more concerned with the income statement than I am with the balance sheet.

Consideration Must Be Given as To Why Companies Carry Inventory
The above assertion by Tom is not necessarily true when companies hold inventories to avoid high marginal replacement costs of relatively small amounts in markets where they never deal. Companies sometimes carry large and long-term inventories to smooth out current spot price fluctuations of relatively small quantities.

I carry a four-year supply of heating oil in a 4,000-gallon tank to smooth out "current" replacement costs of buying the typical homeowner amount of say 100 gallons at a time. I do get a rather sizeable volume discount when I infrequently replace this oil sometime between 1-4 years. The typical homeowner up here either takes the current (spot) replacement cost of each 100 gallons purchased on average for each delivery or pre-purchases at a futures price set by the oil dealer at the start of the season. However, the oil dealer will not allow more than pre-purchase of a one-year quantity to be delivered over the year.

By carrying a huge 1-4 year inventory I have more flexibility as to timing over a four-year horizon plus more negotiating power for a volume discount. That is often the reason some companies carry what seems like an awful lot of inventory. I would argue that the day to day spot prices for replacement of fuel oil for me are not a good day-to-day measures of economic value. If I measured "profits" based upon such replacement prices my "profits" would be more fiction than fact based upon ups and down of daily fuel oil spot prices.

And estimating my volume discount 1-4 years in advance is an unreliable vapor estimate since neither buyer nor seller can predict spot prices up to four years in advance.

Here is My Main Point
If Bob Jensen (with a 4,000-gallon tank) and his neighbor John Smith (with a 200-gallon tank) both valued fuel oil inventories at the identical current spot replacement costs they might both be declared equally profitable in each given month of a single year by Tom Selling ceteris paribus. But they are not likely to be equally profitable in aggregate 13-48 months. This is because Tom builds so much fiction into the calculation using monthly replacement costs into the fictional calculation of Bob Jensen's "profits." Bob Jensen, unlike John Smith, does not replace fuel oil in the tank every month or even every year.

I'm not saying Bob Jensen will always do better than John Smith due more flexible market timing of purchases over a four-year time span, because there are other considerations such as cost of capital tied up in larger inventory and risks of carrying larger inventories such as leakage and contamination risks.

Tom's reasoning about economic value might be more appropriate if Bob Jensen could sell some portion of his inventory of fuel oil. But there are regulations that prevent him from selling my inventory, and he can only use so much day-to-day on average over the course of four years. I would argue that economic value to him is the historic average cost of fuel currently in the tank. This is fact and not fiction! The inventory value in a business should be written down only when the inventory is in some way damaged such as when oil is contaminated with water leakage.

What Does This Have to Do With the Current Blog Posting by Tom Selling?

The title of Tom's August 10, 2014 posting is "The FASB Wants to Dumb Down Inventory Impairment." I consider impairment to be something other than temporary spot price declines. For example, if my fuel oil tank leaked to a point where water mixed with my fuel oil I would have "impaired" inventory. This is his Scenario B which I don't think the FASB is trying to change. I would have to write down my damaged inventory, possibly to zero or worse.

But apparently the FASB wants to also consider "impairment" in terms of short-term price fluctuations as in Tom's Scenario A. I have trouble considering short-term replacement cost declines or NRV declines as "impairments." The key is whether such spot price declines are are "permanent" or temporary. I don't buy into inventory write downs unless they are indeed permanent impairments.

As to whether they should be replacement costs or NRV in Scenario A, I'm in favor of NRV. Replacement costs are fiction unless we specify when the inventory will be replaced. It would be misleading to re-value Bob Jensen's remaining fuel oil at current spot prices if he does not have to replace the fuel oil for 47 months. And estimating fuel oil prices 47 months from now is best left to astrologers. If Bob could sell his inventory then I might consider NRV relevant for permanent reductions in spot prices. But I don't think inventories should be written down at all for short-term spot price declines.

August 13. 2014 Reply to David Albrecht by Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I don't think anybody is arguing that inventory cannot become obsolete or damaged. Tom's Scenario B covered this with his fashion-industry illustration. The FASB is not trying to change accounting for Scenario B.

Also I don't think anybody, including me, thinks that a four-year inventory is always a better or always a worse investment than a JIT-like alternative where the fuel truck fills a small tank at least once per month.

My dispute with Tom is whether replacement cost accounting for a four-year inventory should be exactly the same as the inventory accounting for the JIT-like alternative. My dispute is that replacement cost accounting is misleading for four-year inventories.

My accounting theory argument My argument is that accounting outcomes should be different for the company with four-year inventories versus an identical company with monthly inventory supplies. The reason is that these companies have different economic replacement strategies leading to different economic outcomes. Nobody can say the one strategy is ipso facto better than the other strategy.

Current replacement cost accounting for four-year inventories at frequent reporting dates (say monthly or quarterly or even annually) adds fictional ups and downs in assets and earnings that will never be realized in fact. Also nobody can predict what volume discounts will be obtained years out in fuel oil pricing. By the way, the degree of competition among fuel dealers where I live is such that I get sizable volume discounts when I do eventually fill my big tank. The discounts themselves, however, are unpredictable.

Advantages of the four-year inventories are volume price discounting and the ability to time prices paid rather than having to always take the spot price at each JIT-like delivery. Disadvantages include the cost of capital tied up in long-term inventories and greater risk of obsolescence and damage. I almost always buy oil in May when dealers want to reduce the amount of money tied up in their idle summer inventories.

Rather than a owning a four-year tank it is theoretically possible to hedge fuel inventory pricing in the derivatives markets. However, these contracts have relatively short-term maturities rather than going out four years. No heating oil dealer up here will enter into prepaid contracts for more than one year.

A neighbor is fond of saying that Bob Jensen is prepared for Armageddon. In the case of heating fuel there's an added safety that comes from a four-year inventory of heating oil. I live in a climate where pipes can freeze and burst in homes dependent upon heating fuel.

In 1974 during the Iran Oil Crisis some homes in New England could not get their JIT deliveries of fuel oil at any price. Bob Jensen, then living in Maine, had a sufficient inventory of heating fuel to ride out the 1974 crisis in an always-heated home.

In retirement here in the White Mountains I have both a four-year supply of heating oil for our furnace and a four-year supply of propane under ground for our four fireplace stoves. Some home owners up here with less inventory of heating oil and propane have supplemental wood heaters, chain saws, and timber that can be cut plus cords of wood beside their homes that is already cut, dried, and split.

One of my neighbors down the road heats only with wood. Most all of his summer days are spent cutting, splitting, and stacking mountains of wood. I don't want to spend my summer days like that. And I think wood is a sooty way to heat day in and day out. Wood smoke smells great but is probably not healthy to breathe every day and night.

Bob Jensen

Have I sufficiently confused everybody on entry value (replacement cost) accounting?

Bob Jensen's threads on the advantages and limitations of historical cost accounting versus exit value accounting versus entry value accounting ---
The above link includes quotations from my previous "confusing" debates with Tom Selling.

August 14, 2014 Reply from Tom Selling


Excellent article. Thanks for sharing. I saw the Stanford biology lecture on depression, and was inspired by that, too.

I tell my students that my inspiration for the way I teach is Mozart. Beautiful music cannot exist without dissonance. Mozart was a master at mixing just the right amount of dissonance with harmony to create a "bliss point” (a foodie term — not a musical term that I am aware of). He was so good at it, that one hardly notices the dissonance, unless one is listening for it. Later composers, the romantics, aimed for an even more intense experience. Hence, their use of dissonance had to increase. (Mahler or Richard Strauss are two prominent examples for me.)

Unfortunately, as a student, you can’t help but notice, and be somewhat pained by dissonance (confusion). But, dissonance is not only essential to beautiful music, it is essential to learning. I see my job as creating just the optimal amount of dissonance to motivate learning and to aid in retention.



Within universities, schools of education like schools of accounting and their academic research journals, discourage replication research in a variety of ways ---
"574 Shields Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave" ---

The current “culture” of education research, he said, “puts a lot of emphasis on novelty. Whereas we’re saying, no, if we want to be respected as a scientific field we need to put more emphasis on fact.
"Failure to Replicate." by Charlie Tyson, Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2014 ---

The word “replication” has, of late, set many a psychologist’s teeth on edge. Experimental psychology is weathering a credibility crisis, with a flurry of fraud allegations and retracted papers. Marc Hauser, an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard University, left academe amid charges of scientific misconduct. Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-Prize-winning psychologist at Princeton University, entered the fray in 2012 with a sharply worded email to his colleagues studying social priming. He warned of a “train wreck looming” that researchers would avoid only if they focused more diligently on replicating findings. And the journal Social Psychology devoted its most recent issue to replication – and failed to replicate a number of high-profile findings in social psychology.

Yet psychologists are not the worst offenders when it comes to replication, it turns out. That distinction might belong to education researchers, according to an article published today in the journal Educational Researcher.

Rarity of Replication

Only 0.13 percent of education articles published in the field’s top 100 journals are replications, write Matthew Makel, a gifted-education research specialist at Duke University, and Jonathan Plucker, a professor of educational psychology and cognitive science at Indiana University. In psychology, by contrast, 1.07 percent of studies in the field’s top 100 journals are replications, a 2012 study found.

Makel and Plucker searched the entire publication history of the top 100 education journals – ranked according to five-year impact factors -- for the term replicat*. They found that 221 of 164,589 total articles replicated a previous study. Just 28.5 percent were direct replications rather than conceptual replications. (Only direct replications, which repeat an experiment’s procedure, can disconfirm or bolster a previous study. Conceptual replications, on the other hand, use different methods to test the same hypothesis.)

What’s more, 48.2 percent of the replications were performed by the same research team that had produced the original study. Attempts to replicate an experiment failed more often if there was no author overlap. When the same authors who published the original study published a replication in the same journal, 88.7 percent of replications succeeded. (The figure dropped to 70.6 percent when the same authors published in a different journal.) By contrast, replications conducted by new authors succeeded 54 percent of the time.

Replications might be appearing in journals outside the top 100, but these outlets attract scant scholarly notice. And some replications may not declare themselves as such, and would not show up in a search. These masked replications, however, fail to “serve their full duty as a replication,” Makel said in an interview.  

Replications are an essential part of validating scientific knowledge. They control for sampling errors and weed out fraud. A replication might show, for instance, that an educational intervention’s effects are less pronounced than a previous study contended.

So why do so few replications appear in education journals? The article, “Facts Are More Important Than Novelty: Replication in the Education Sciences,” argues that education journals routinely prize studies that yield novel and exciting results over studies that corroborate – or disconfirm – previous findings. Conducting replications, the researchers write, “is largely viewed in the social science research community as lacking prestige, originality, or excitement.”

Researchers may fear that doing replications will not get them published, promoted or even hired. Nor will replications win them research grants, they worry. A replication that succeeds merely bolsters something we already know. A replication that fails, on the other hand, does not on its own invalidate a previous finding.

Makel and Plucker, however, say that replication matters greatly. What’s at stake, they say, is education’s standing as a discipline. Dismissing replication, they write, “indicates a value of novelty over truth … and a serious misunderstanding of both science and creativity.”

Legitimizing a Discipline

“A lot of people have made much of the difference between the natural sciences and the social sciences,” Makel said. “I do not associate science with a content area. I associate science with a process. I believe that a great many researchers in the education field would view themselves as doing science.”

An understanding of education research as a science is fairly new, said Plucker, his co-author.

Education is “definitely not at the top of hierarchy, even within the social sciences,” Plucker said. “I don’t think it’s traditionally well-respected.”

But the year 2002, when the Bush administration and Congress created the Institute for Education Sciences as the Education Department’s research arm, was a turning point for the field, he said. The last decade or so has seen tremendous reform in K-12 education – and with it, calls for research to guide public policy. In addition, education researchers have more complete data systems. They can follow a student through an entire K-12 education.

“Just the quality, especially now, of the work being done by early-career people – I just think it’s light-years advanced from where we were even seven or eight years ago,” Plucker said. “I think a lot of people now see it as a true social science.”

Replication, he said, is the next step the discipline must take in order to better legitimize itself in the eyes of other researchers and the public.

“We have better data, we have better data systems,” he said. “Now that we have those things, we really need a culture of replication and data-sharing to move us to the next level and keep this positive trajectory. If we don’t have it, can the trajectory continue? Yeah, but it’ll be a lot harder. One major fraud allegation can knock you off that razor’s edge.”

The article begins and ends with reference to the astronomer Carl Sagan's adage that science requires a balance between openness to new ideas and "ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new." The homage might signal the aspirations the authors have for their discipline.

“When I talk to my friends in the natural sciences, they’re just baffled by how this is even a question or a controversy in psychology and education,” Makel said. “Replication is such a normal part of the process for them.”

The current “culture” of education research, he said, “puts a lot of emphasis on novelty. Whereas we’re saying, no, if we want to be respected as a scientific field we need to put more emphasis on fact.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on replication or lack thereof ---

"Law Prof Loses Slip-and-Fall Case Against University of Texas; Claimed Injury Prevents Him From Playing Tennis," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, August 15, 2014 ---

"Surface Pro 3 becomes $150 cheaper... for students," by Christian Bautista, Tech Times, August 7, 2014 ---

Microsoft is looking to profit from the back-to-school shopping season by introducing a temporary price drop on all versions of the Surface Pro 3.

The discount cuts the price of the cheapest Surface Pro 3 model from $799 to $649. The entry level model has an Intel i3 processor, 64 GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.

The $150 discount is also being implemented on the $999, $1,299 and $1,549 versions of the device. The $999 variant has Intel Core i5 processor, 128 GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The $1,299 version has an Intel i5 processor, 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the $1,549 variant has an Intel Core i7 processor, 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Students in dorms can do what I did at home with $8 port replicator for my wife's Surface tablet. The port replicator on her desk transforms the Surface into a full PC with all sorts of software pre-installed, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other MS Office software that unbundled would cost about as much as the entire Surface package, including Windows 8.  There are a lot of pre-installed apps as well.

The port replicator connects the tablet to a traditional Windows mouse, a full ergonomic keyboard, and external hard drives. I communicate with my laptop files (e.g., pictures) with her tablet by simply loading them on an external hard drive and then moving the USB plug from the laptop to the port replicator of her tablet. We have a 19-inch full monitor that connects to the side of the tablet. We have both the tablet's small high resolution screen and the big monitor running simultaneously on her desk.

My point is that the $649 Surface price is a heck of a lot cheaper than the a laptop that does not even contain all the "free" apps and "free" MS Office software. I bought a refurbished (used) Surface tablet fully loaded from Amazon for only $250 or thereabouts (I can't recall the exact price). Note that the detachable keyboard costs extra, and if students are taking the tablet to class or the library they probably want this keyboard. On her desk, we prefer a full-sized keyboard that is not conveniently portable like the Surface keyboard that also serves as a cover for this tablet computer.

Either new or used, the Surface is a good deal for students who prefer Windows, Word, Excel, PowerrPoint and the many free apps that come already installed in the Surface tablet.

For most practical purposes the Surface tablet for less than $300 does everything I can do on my $3,700 Dell laptop.

When buying Surface's adapter plug for the large monitor it's best to buy it from the Microsoft Store (about $30). I learned the hard way that the cheaper Amazon plugs won't work for the Surface tablet.

How to Mislead With Statistics --- On-Time versus Delayed Flight Arrivals
"So like Delta plane --- arrives early but no gate available but they show their flight stats as on-time. What a joke they get worse by the year" ---

Jensen Comment
A lot depends upon how long you have to wait. I can recall waiting more than a half hour for gates after arrival. Sometimes it's not the fault of the airline. One time I landed in La Guardia when the Captain announced that the plane could not taxi to the terminal due to high gusts of wind. Passengers sang "Rock a- bye Baby."

But the main problem with airline delays in general is there is less time slack in the system than in the good old days when I used to fly a lot. One plane arriving or departing late might may, in succession, delay others using that gate. Departing flights that are delayed may eventually report "delayed arrival" at their destinations. Arriving flights report "on-time arrivals" if the wheels touched down "on time" before being delayed getting into an arrival gate.

Interestingly, when meeting a connecting flight I found that it was more frustrating to be delayed 30 minutes in a arrival plane on the ground than being delayed 30 minutes before boarding the plane taking me to a connecting flight. I guess it was because I always thought the pilot would fly faster if the plane took off late.

In reality, pilots don't seem to make up much of the delay time. Except one time I was late taking off in San Antonio to make a connecting flight at DFW on American Airlines. The pilot, a woman, on that flight kept the flight low (11,000 feet) and very fast. A flight that normally took 55 minutes took 44 minutes that day. American Airlines also expedited our arrival so that I made my connecting flight with three minutes to spare.

From the CPA Newsletter on August 15, 2014

Ruling says protections for whistleblowers don't apply overseas
The whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act don't apply in other countries, according to a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court approved Siemens' motion to dismiss a case by a former compliance officer at the company's China operations who alleged retaliation for reporting wrongdoing. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Risk & Compliance Journal blog (8/14)

"Accounting for America: Students:  Helping Small Businesses Let's pair recent accounting grads with small firms that need help with bookkeeping," by Ami Kassar, The Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2014 ---

The framework is already in place. Teach For America (TFA) is a highly successful nonprofit that enlists recent college grads to teach in low-income communities throughout the U.S. In a similar vein, Accounting For America would pair greenhorn accountants, presumably recent college graduates, with small businesses in desperate need of accounting services.

Similarly to the TFA mission, Accounting For America would benefit both parties involved. The recent accounting grads would gain hands-on experience and valuable work references, while the small businesses would be able to get their bookkeeping in order at a presumably lower rate than hiring a seasoned professional.

According to a 2012 study by the American Institute of CPAs, the number of students enrolling in accounting programs and graduating with accounting degrees has been steadily increasing over the past decade. For graduating accounting degree students, the Accounting For America program could provide a viable source of employment, while also aiding the small-business economy.

In addition to providing jobs for recent grads, the proposed program could solve a major problem that I see in many small businesses – out-of-date financials and sloppy bookkeeping. A small-business owner who isn't current on financials is at a significant disadvantage. It's impossible to run a successful business without knowing where your money is coming from and where it is going.

Many entrepreneurs fall into this trap because they get so caught up in day-to-day operations. They get enmeshed in the tiny details and simply run out of hours in the day to review and update balance sheets, accounts receivable and even payroll.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Sometimes accounting students in top universities are less help than than other students who often have more training in accounting and taxation software. For example, top universities seldom provide training in the application of Quickbooks.

"It Makes Plenty Of Sense For Some People To Subscribe To AOL," by Walt T. Hickey, Nate Silver's 5:38 Blog, August 13, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
I call your attention to the phrase "some people." It does not make sense for most people to subscribe to AOL, but there are some folks who want one or more of the many bundled up services in AOL subscription. Interestingly there are some older people who really like the AOL tech support. It would be interesting to know how many people have faster Internet access than dial-up who nevertheless pay the AOL subscription fee.

Check out what's in the AOL subscription bundle.

Genetically Modified Foods --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GMO_food

"How GMO crops conquered the United States," by Brad Plummer, Vox, August 12, 2014 ---

1. More than 93% of corn, soy, and cotton in the US is now genetically modified.

2. Herbicide tolerance and insect tolerance are the most popular traits.

3. Up to 70% of processed foods in the US now contain GMO ingredients.

4. Worldwide, about 12% of farmland is devoted to GMOs.

5. But GM crop growth may be slowing.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Point 5 above is misleading since once anything becomes big it's rate a growth usually declines. For example, if corn, soy, and cotton GMO crops surged to 93% in the USA already, how can crop growth continue to accelerate or even hold a steady growth?

Vermont is preparing to be the first state requiring GM Food labels ---

The highly publicized Vermont new GMO labeling law (GMO foods can still be sold in Vermont if if labels conform to Vermont regulations) has some huge exemptions ---

. . .

Exemptions: Food served in restaurants, liquor, meat and dairy products would be exempt from labeling. Meat is regulated by the federal government. Authors of the bill argue that dairy products made from animals that eat genetically modified food are not themselves genetically modified. Liquor is not considered food. Restaurants are exempt because authors of the bill said they were focusing on foods where consumers routinely see labels.

Food and beverage distributors are troubled by the Vermont law for various reasons. Firstly, Vermont is a very small market since the entire population of Vermont is only slightly over 600,000 people. Food and beverage distributors serving tens of millions or hundreds of millions of customers may prefer to simply stop selling in Vermont rather than incur costs of special Vermont packaging and bottling and lawsuits in Vermont.

Tens of thousands of shoppers in Vermont already shop regularly in New Hampshire to avoid sales taxes and obtain access to discount vendors like Wal-Mart that are not allowed to build new stores in Vermont until they unionize. The GMO label law will motivate people from Vermont to buy even more in New Hampshire.

The most ludicrous thing in my mind about the pending GMO label law in Vermont is how to make meaningful disclosures in the fine print of labels that already list over 20 ingredients that have chemical names none of us recognize unless they are troublesome ingredients like Aspartame or peanuts that give a lot of people severe health reactions. How to you give added GMO disclosures on each can of Diet Coke for each 16 ingredients on the Diet Coke label? If it's costly to add a highly complex label to each ingredient in a can of Diet Coke sold in Vermont, why not just let Vermonters buy their cases of Diet Coke in New Hampshire?

A lot of USA law firms will be carefully studying products with GMO labels in Vermont in an effort to commence class action lawsuits for some distributor that got the label wrong. Protections against lawsuits provided by the FDA won't be protections against Vermont GMO regulations. For example, simply being "FDA Approved" will not fend off a Vermont GMO label violation.

I'll drink to the new Vermont GMO label law since liquor is exempted from the law.

"Want to Know If Your Food Is Genetically Modified? Across the country, an aggressive grassroots movement is winning support with its demands for GMO labeling. If only it had science on its side,"  Molly Ball. The Atlantic, May 14, 2014 ---

I might note that genetic modification has been going on in agriculture for many years. Beginning about the age of 14 Bob Jensen worked in summer genetic research in Pioneer Seed Corn Company test plots across Iowa and South Dakota. I really did not have clue what I was doing in a technical sense. Mostly I shook "sperm" off of corn tassels into tiny bags and tied those bags over selected "female" corn silks. Among other things, Pioneer was seeking to improve corn yields under different climate and soil conditions with genetic modification.

One of the things I remember most was spending nights in creaky old farm-town hotels where I had to walk down the hallways for bathrooms shared by other guests. I actually preferred working on the Jensen family farm, but Pioneer's wage of almost $1 per hour plus hotel and meals was too good to turn down in the summertime.

"eHarmony Commercial is e-Tasteless:  When did ‘Making Out’ Become a 'Dimension of Compatibility'?" by Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, August 12, 2014 ---

"Top Mathematics Prize Awarded to a Woman for First Time," by Alex Bellos, Time Magazine, August 12, 2014 ---
Also see http://www.mathunion.org/general/prizes/2014/

Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani wins the Fields Medal, considered the Nobel of math, and breaks into a male-dominated academic elite. All 52 previous winners of the award were men RECOMMENDED FOR YOU Meet the Prostitute Charged in a Google Executive's Death Watch Conan O'Brien Announce Robin Williams' Death to a Stunned Audience Malaysia Airlines by the Numbers by Taboola

A female mathematician has won the most prestigious prize in math for the first time, a hugely symbolic breakthrough for gender equality in one of the most male-dominated areas of academic research.

Maryam Mirzakhani, 37, will be awarded the Fields Medal — widely considered math’s Nobel Prize, since there is no Nobel for mathematics — at a ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday morning. Born and raised in Iran, she has been a professor at Stanford University since 2008.

Continued in article

For more details of her work that you can understand ---

Bob Jensen's links to mathematics and statistics ---

"400 Years Ago, A Famous Mathematician Couldn't Confirm His Theory — Computers Did It Two Days Ago," by Dylan Love, Business Insider, August 12, 2014 ---

Seventeenth century mathematician Johannes Kepler defined some basic rules for the how the planets move, and given his predilections for contemplating spheres, he suggested in 1611 that the most efficient way to stack spheres was in a pyramid formation.

But he was unable to prove it in a mathematically satisfactory way, and the idea remained unproven for 400 years.

New Scientist reports that a scientist named Thomas Hales successfully confirmed Kepler's hypothesis to be true this past Sunday with help from a computer.

Hales first proved it himself by hand in a 300-page paper in 1998, but his solution was only deemed 99% certain to be correct. Seeking that last 1% of certainty, he enlisted help from computers under what he called "The Flyspeck Project."

Two computer programs, Isabelle and HOL Light, went to work formally validating each of the steps in logic required to arrive at the conclusion that spheres are most efficiently arranged in a pyramid shape.

Sure, Hales is glad at having his hard work confirmed to be totally correct, but the real significance of the Flyspeck Project is that computers can do the tedious work of double-checking logical proofs while mathematicians are left to ponder their next great problems.

"This technology cuts the mathematical referees out of the verification process," Hales told New Scientist. "Their opinion about the correctness of the proof no longer matters."

Grocers around the world rejoice as they continue stacking oranges the way they always have.

Bob Jensen's threads to helpers in mathematics and statistics ---

Free CPA Exam Review Books from Lambers ---
Jensen Comment
I no nothing further about this offer in terms of how updated the books are in terms of new accounting standards or how long this offer can last. It seems to be a surprisingly good deal.
Bob Jensen's threads on CPA Exam learning materials and prep courses ---

From Econometrics Beat Blog by David Giles on August 11, 2014 ---

A Trio of Texts refers to three, free, econometrics e-texts made available by Francis Diebold, at U. Penn. Francis blogs at No Hesitations.
The three books on question are 
Accompanying slides, data, and code are also available, and the material is updated regularly.
The material is of an extremely high quality, and I strongly recommend all three books.

Bob Jensen's neglected threads on free textbooks ---

Tens of millions of free books in general ---

Free books from Amazon ---

Free learning materials in a wide range of academic disciplines ---

What Tesla's New Infinite-Mile Warranty Really Means
It's too bad for Tesla that the Japanese already trademarked the car name "Infinity."

Tesla Model S --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Model_S

Following a negative report in Consumer Reports, Tesla announced that in the future and retroactively Model S drive trains will be under full warranty for an infinite number of miles or eight years, whichever expires first. The batteries have been under s similar warranty from inception ---

Jensen Comment
There is no warranty on battery range declines from aging and/or very cold weather. Presumably Tesla's battery warranty does not replace batteries that provide less than 80% of the car's new warm-weather range. Under ideal conditions new Tesla Model S cars should run at least 200 miles between battery recharging. This is about 100 miles less than the range of a GM Volt hybrid that will run up to 300 miles on a combination of battery and gasoline power before having to recharge the batteries (the Volt will not run on a gasoline-only basis). None of the Tesla models have gasoline-powered chargers on board.

The best warranty ever provided was on the gasoline-only Chrysler cars for several years before Chrysler declared bankruptcy in 2008. That warranty covered the power train for as long as you owned the car. For example, if you bought your newborn a Chrysler van in 2006 the warranty is still good if your newborn drives the car over 100 years. The USA government created a billion-dollar warranty fund to cover these old Chrysler warranties. Hence taxpayers are covering the Chrysler warranties before Chrysler stopped selling vehicles with lifetime warranties. Not all Chrysler vehicles were covered by the lifetime warranties. No such luck on my 1999 Jeep manufactured by Chrysler.

"Inflated Admissions Data Led to Wrong Classes for Hundreds of Students," by Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 2014 ---

The inflation of incoming students’ academic-performance data at Flagler College resulted in roughly 200 students being assigned to the wrong classes, The St. Augustine Record reports. In February, the Florida college discovered that its vice president for enrollment management, who subsequently resigned, had altered admissions data in an effort to raise the institution’s profile.

About 200 students were placed into the wrong English and math courses as a result of the altered data. Students who failed the classes may have their grades expunged.

Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking scandals similar to this are at

From the Scout Report on August 15, 2014

Fly --- http://www.editonthefly.com/

Fly is a seamless way to edit videos quickly and with little fuss, all from your iPhone. This application can be used to make simple edits, dissolve transitions, add split screens, and much more. Additionally, users can videos to four different devices. The site contains several helpful demos and a thorough FAQ area. This version is compatible with all devices running iOS 7.0 and newer.

Readsy --- http://www.readsy.co/ 

Readsy is a handy tool that gives users the ability to skim large amounts of text by focusing their eyes on one word at a time. All visitors have to do is enter some text or a URL and Readsy will do the rest. It's interesting to think about how this might work for different groups, and while it's not for everyone, it's worth a close look. This particular version is compatible with all operating systems.

Where We Live and How We Got There: A State-by-State Look at Migration
in the U.S.

New Upshot Tool Provides Historical Look at Migration

Migration Study Shows Illinois Residents Bolt State For Warm Climates

American Migration [Interactive Map]

A State-by-State Look at Where Each Generation Lives

American Migrations

From the Scout Report on August 21, 2014

How to show up at your desk happy: What research says about your mode
of commute
Which Mode of Travel Provides the Happiest Commute?

Guess which mode of transportation offers the happiest commute

The happy commuter: A comparison of commuter satisfaction across modes

Mobility and mood: Does your commute make you happy?

Modes Less Traveled - Bicycling and Walking to Work in the United States:

Compare your commute time to the rest of America’s with this interactive


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

Education Tutorials

Goodreads --- http://www.goodreads.com/

Everyday Economics: A New Course by Marginal Revolution University Where Students Create the Syllabus ---

Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics --- http://www.jurp.org/

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

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, The Most Popular Physics Book Ever Written, Now Completely Online ---

Teach Engineering: Physics --- http://www.teachengineering.org/search_results.php?simple=physics

Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics --- http://www.jurp.org/

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention --- http://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/

Florida Mental Health Institute http://home.fmhi.usf.edu/

National Building Museum: Self-Guided Architecture Tours ---

Dreaming the Skyline (Los Vegas architecture) --- http://digital.library.unlv.edu/skyline

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

The Original Epcot Project --- https://sites.google.com/site/theoriginalepcot/

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Everyday Economics: A New Course by Marginal Revolution University Where Students Create the Syllabus ---

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention --- http://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/

Florida Mental Health Institute http://home.fmhi.usf.edu/

Sitka Tribe of Alaska & Sitka Historical Society --- http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/.landingpage/collection/cdmg25

The Urban Institute: Washington D.C. Region --- http://www.urban.org/communities/dc/index.cfm

American Planning Association: Podcasts --- https://www.planning.org/multimedia/podcasts/

Dreaming the Skyline (Los Vegas architecture) --- http://digital.library.unlv.edu/skyline

Administration for Native Americans: Children & Families --- http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ana

Atlases, Maps and Park Plans of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County --- http://cdm16014.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p4014coll24

Digital Image Collection (Western Illinois University) ---

Brookings Institution: Social Mobility Memos --- http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos

Brookings: Education (Economics and Government) --- http://www.brookings.edu/research/topics/education\

Defense.gov: Today in DoD --- http://www.defense.gov/today/

From the Scout Report on August 15, 2014

Where We Live and How We Got There: A State-by-State Look at Migration
in the U.S.
Where We Came From, State by State

New Upshot Tool Provides Historical Look at Migration

Migration Study Shows Illinois Residents Bolt State For Warm Climates

American Migration [Interactive Map]

A State-by-State Look at Where Each Generation Lives

American Migrations

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

Law and Legal Studies

The Avalon Project (From Yale:  Legal Documents in History) ---  http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

Administration for Native Americans: Children & Families --- http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ana

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

Math Tutorials

Get the Math (real world applications) --- http://www.thirteen.org/get-the-math/

Plus Magazine (rea; world applications of mathematics and math art) --- http://plus.maths.org/content/

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

History Tutorials

Goodreads --- http://www.goodreads.com/

Journal of Digital Humanities --- http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/

Folger’s Shakespeare Library Releases 80,000 Images of Literary Art Into the Public Domain ---

In Search of Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Sonnets Lesson Plan --- http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/educators/language/lessonplan.html

Thousands of Links to Shakespeare --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#---Shakespeare

Tap Into Timeless Wisdom: Download 36 Free Courses in Ancient History, Literature & Philosophy ---

Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection --- http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/holland/masc/xmaps.html

Texas Fashion Collection --- http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/TXFC/

Wisconsin Historical Society: Maps and Atlases in our Collections

Wisconsin County Histories --- http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/wch/

Made in NY (Film, Movie History, Movies)  --- http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/home/home.shtml

Augustine H. Folsom Photographs (Boston History)

Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era ---

University of Central Arkansas: Photograph Collections --- http://uca.edu/archives/photograph-collections/

Sitka Tribe of Alaska & Sitka Historical Society --- http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/.landingpage/collection/cdmg25

National Building Museum: Self-Guided Architecture Tours ---

Defense.gov: Today in DoD --- http://www.defense.gov/today/

The Avalon Project (From Yale:  Legal Documents in History) ---  http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

Photographs from the Chicago Daily News: 1902-1933 --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/ichihtml/cdnhome.html

Ask Me Another (brain teasers and trivia) --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ask-me-another/

WPA Land use survey maps for the city of Los Angeles, 1933-1939 ---

From the Scout Report on August 15, 2014

Where We Live and How We Got There: A State-by-State Look at Migration
in the U.S.
Where We Came From, State by State

New Upshot Tool Provides Historical Look at Migration

Migration Study Shows Illinois Residents Bolt State For Warm Climates

American Migration [Interactive Map]

A State-by-State Look at Where Each Generation Lives

American Migrations


Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm
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

Music Tutorials

"Review: Yamaha’s Genetic Experiment Splices Digital Grand Piano Onto an Upright," by David Pogue, Yahoo Tech, August 7, 2014 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

"David Foster Wallace on Writing, Self-Improvement, and How We Become Who We Are," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, August 11, 2014 ---

"Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?" by Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, February 20, 2014 ---

The Words That Are Most Known To Only Brits And Americans ---

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

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

August 12, 2014

August 13, 2014

August 14, 2014

August 15, 2014

August 16, 2014

August 18, 2014

August 19, 2014

August 20, 2014

August 21, 2014

August 22, 2014

The speed at which cancer cells grow may help doctors diagnose and treat the most aggressive melanomas, researchers say.

Using this measure, investigators have found that the deadliest skin cancers occur most often on the head and neck of older men with a long history of sun exposure.These lesions also grow quickly and are often colorless, the researchers discovered.

Rapid cell growth -- called "high mitotic rate" -- is associated with poorer prognosis in patients with melanoma. For this new study, the Australian research team examined the physical characteristics of melanomas and their rate of cell division to help doctors know how to spot these faster-growing cancers.

Currently, the seriousness of a melanoma is established by its depth. "Now we might add the mitotic rate as part of that prognostic factor," said Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who had no part in the study.

"You would expect that cells that are dividing faster make for more aggressive melanomas that are going to have a worse prognosis," said Day.

That most of these aggressive cancers were found on exposed areas of men with significant sun histories indicates that prolonged exposure to sunlight increases the odds of having more aggressive melanomas, Day noted.

"It makes me worry about all these young women who go to tanning salons, because of their chronic exposure," Day said. "I'm worried that 20 or 30 years from now we are going to see these women developing this worse type of melanoma."

In the United States, about 9,000 people die of melanomas of the skin each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Day said the key to treating melanoma is diagnosing it early.

Perhaps melanomas with high mitotic rates will be treated differently than those with lower rates, she added.

"We may now get more aggressive in the treatment of melanoma that is not deep but has a high mitotic rate. Instead of just cutting it out, we may add in chemotherapy," she said. "So we may change how we evaluate melanomas and how we treat them."

Continued in article

What to Look For --- http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/default.htm
Especially Note --- http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/ss/slideshow-skin-lesions-and-cancer


August 23, 2014

August 25, 2014

August 26, 2014

  • Sleep Drunkenness' Is Common
  • Electronic Cigarettes: Q&A
  • Study Questions Value of Certain Knee Surgeries
  • Bullying Starts Before School Years Begin: Study
  • Fewer Painkiller Deaths in States With Medical Pot
  • Start School Later for Older Kids, Doctors Urge
  • ALS Patients Hope Ice Bucket Challenge Flows On
  • Pediatricians Offer New Dental Recommendations
  • Food Allergies More Common Among Inner City Kids?
  • Low-Nicotine Cigs May Not Lead to More Smoking


    The Definitive Answers To 20 Of Your Biggest Health Questions ---
    Warning:  Some of these answers are superficial amidst complexity.

    Sugar --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar
    Note history in India

    Honey --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey#Ancient_times
    Use of honey is noted in cave-wall painting in Spain 8,000 years ago.

    "Sugar: the evolution of a forbidden fruit," by John Allemang, Globe and Mail, August 8, 2014 ---


    "New Hampshire Declares State Of Emergency Over Synthetic Drug," by Ted Sierfer, Reuters via Business Insider, August 14, 2014 ---

    New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency on Thursday in response to 44 reported overdoses linked to people smoking or ingesting "Smacked," a synthetic marijuana-like product sold in convenience stores as potpourri.

    The state of emergency authorizes public health officials to investigate stores and quarantine the product, and Hassan directed the officials to work with local police departments to do so.

    "These products pose a serious threat to public health, especially to young people, and it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to combat the recent rash of overdoses," Hassan said in a statement.

    The overdoses, none of which have been fatal, have primarily been reported in the Manchester area. Manchester police on Wednesday said they had found Smacked in three convenience stores and that those stores' business licenses were revoked.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-new-hampshire-declares-state-of-emergency-over-synthetic-drug-2014-14#ixzz3ASQUgkuc

    Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky Demystifies Depression ---

    More Exercise Isn’t Always Better, Study Shows ---

    A Bit of Humor

    11 Of The Most Hilarious Product Reviews On Amazon ---

    Robin Williams & Bobby McFerrin Sing Fun Cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” ---

    Robin Williams (1951-2014) Performs Unknown Shakespeare Play in 1970s Standup Routine ---

    Geriatric Traffic Jam --- http://biggeekdad.com/2013/08/geriatric-traffic-jam/

    Old Women With Spray Glue --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/tjJc8xLYhak

    Dancing Babies --- https://www.youtube.com/embed/pfxB5ut-KTs?rel=0

    Astronauts on the Moon:  Why they now wear sound proof space suits --- https://www.youtube.com/embed/9WoM2bHfr48#t=0

    Johnny Carso:  Some things never change...

    Ask Me Another (brain teasers and trivia) --- http://www.npr.org/programs/ask-me-anothe

    Willie Nelson Shows You a Delightful Card Trick ---

    The Words That Are Most Known To Only Brits And Americans ---

    Philosophy Referee Hand Signals ---

    The next time you’re presiding over an intense philosophical debate, feel free to use these hand signals to referee things. Devised by philosophy prof Landon Schurtz, these hand signals were jokingly meant to be used at APA (American Philosophy Association) conferences. Personally, I think they would have made a great addition to the famous Monty Python soccer match where the Germans (Kant, Nietzsche & Marx) played the indomitable Ancient Greeks (Aristotle, Plato & Archimedes). Imagine Confucius, the referee, whirling his hand in a circle and penalizing Wittgenstein for making a circular argument. Priceless.

    Related Content:

    The Monty Python Philosophy Football Match: The Greeks v. the Germans

    Monty Python Sings “The Philosopher’s Song,” Revealing the Drinking Habits of Great European Thinkers

    The Modern-Day Philosophers Podcast: Where Comedians Like Carl Reiner & Artie Lange Discuss Schopenhauer & Maimonides

    Download 100 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life

    Famous Last Words


    "Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances."

    -- Dr. Lee DeForest, "Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television."

    "The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives."

    - - Admiral William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project

    "There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."

    -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923

    "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."

    -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

    -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

    "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."

    --The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

    "But what is it good for?"

    -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

    "640K ought to be enough for anybody."

    -- Bill Gates, 1981

    This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us,"

    -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

    "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"

    -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

    "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible,"

    -- A  Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

    "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper"

    --Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."

    "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make,"

    -- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

    "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,"

    -- Decca Recording Co. Rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

    "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,"

    -- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

    "If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment.  The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this,"

    - - Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.

    "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy,"

    -- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.



    "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."

    -- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

    "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value,"

    -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre,  France.

    "Everything that can be invented has been invented,"

    -- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.

    "The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls  to cool the heat generated by the number of vacuum tubes required."

    -- Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University

    "I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by itself."

    -- the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.

    "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."

    -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872



    "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon"

    -- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen  Victoria  1873.

    And last but not least...

    "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

    -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977


    Humor Between August 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q3.htm#Humor083114

    Humor Between July 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q3.htm#Humor073114

    Humor Between June 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q2.htm#Humor063014

    Humor Between May 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q2.htm#Humor053114

    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


    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.

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    Jim Counts CPA.CITP CTFA
    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