Tidbits on December 30, 2014
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Photographs of the Robert Frost Museum Down the Road from Our Cottage ---

Wendell Berry wrote that "Pride and Despair Are the Two Great Enemies of Creative Work," Bob Jensen contends that the great poet Robert Frost is a total exception to to Wendell Berry's hypothesis on "pride and despair" ---
I don't think it's difficult to find exceptions in virtually any profession. In fact, being proud and optimistic may be the exception rather than the rule for creativity relative to being humble and upbeat.

I do agree with Wendell Berry on the importance of solitude. Robert Frost created fantastic poems in austere solitude, and even created in times of mental depression. However, he was a very proud man who despaired about the mental illnesses of his family and himself..



Tidbits on December 30, 2014
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


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

Surviving an ISIS Massacre ---

State Trooper's Memories of Christmases Past ---

Watch Art on Ancient Greek Vases Come to Life with 21st Century Animation ---

Watch the Opening of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with the Original, Unused Score ---

Spectacular Outdoor Show ---
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/8oqPR5-GLuA?rel=0 '

Champion gymnast with Down syndrome overcomes obstacles, inspires others ---

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

Watch Darlene Love perform "Christmas" on Letterman for the last time ---

Alan Lomax Recordings (folk music archive) ---

Christmas Song Lip Synch ---

Lou Reeds Sings “Blue Christmas” with Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright & Friends ---

Johnny Cash’s Christmas Specials, Featuring June Carter, Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman & More (1976-79) ---

Celtic Woman’ Quartet Sings Beautiful Rendition of ‘O Holy Night’ ---

Cute polar bear cub hitches a lift from his mother in the Canadian wilderness ---

Watch the Opening of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with the Original, Unused Score ---

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

Emotional Photos Show Fellow Officers Honoring A Fallen NYPD Cop ---

International Center for Photography --- http://www.icp.org/museum

This Amazing Aerial Video From The 1980s Provides A Remarkable View Of America ---

These Are The 25 Best Satellite Images Of The Year 2014 ---

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

2014's Best National Geographic Photos ---

25 Incredibly Clever Works Of Art by Banksy ---

The Tate Digitizes 70,000 Works of Art; Now Digitizing Another 52,00 Letters, Photographs & Sketchbooks from British Artists ---

A Computer Gets Delivered in 1957: Great Moments in Schlepping History ---

Incredible Shots Of Chicago From The International Space Station ---

15 Awesome Photos From Sony's 2015 World Photography Awards ---

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


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 December 30, 2014

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

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

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

Fill Your New Kindle, iPad, iPhone, eReader with Free eBooks, Movies, Audio Books, Online Courses & More ---

Each year I think about ranking AECM listserv postings in terms of the numbers of replies the original postings generate. However, my experience on the AECM over the years is that replies take zigs and zags such that they often become threads totally unrelated to the seminal postings.

There Are Way Too Many ‘Best Of 2014′ Lists ---

The Worst Science Blunders Of 2014 ---

10 TED talks that defined 2014
Plus the 20 most popular TED talks of all time

The 20 Most Popular TED Talks Of All Time ---

10 Of The Most Ridiculous TED Talks ---

2014 Legal Education Year in Review ---

Library Scientists Pick the Best Ten Stories That Shaped 2014 ---

Time Magazine's Choices for the 2014 Top 10 Apps ---

The 5 Most Popular K-12 Educational Apps of 2014 ---

The 10 Most-Popular Wired Campus Articles of 2014 (Chronicle of Higher Education) ---

For 2014 what is likely to be the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones index?

2014 David Pogue Awards ---

Here Are The 10 Big Market Stories That'll Dominate 2015 ---

Experts Predict The Cybercrime Of 2015 ---

Predictions: 10 Things That Will Rock the Tech Market in 2015 ---

Best of 2014: Google's Secretive DeepMind Startup Unveils a "Neural Turing Machine" ---

The weirdest political stories of 2014 (Yahoo) ---

Embarrassing Moments in Tech 2014 ---

2014 in Numbers: Huge Valuations, Shocking Security Stats, and a Big Climate Deal (MIT) --- Click Here

2014 in Computing: Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence --- Click Here

Time Magazine:  The Top 10 Gadgets of 2014 ---

Top Five 2014 Wearable Devices ---

The CPA technology gift guide:  Consider these products ---

Time Magazine:  The Best Inventions of 2014 ---

Yahoo Tech's Choices for the 2014 Top 10 Gadgets ---

Jensen Comment
Some of these inventions are cool and very expensive. I find the MS Surface tablet computer not so expensive and not very cool. I'll take a laptop over a tablet any day of the week.

One of the many things I don't like are the mini ports that are just too fragile along with the mini plugs that plug into them Thin is nice in people. It's not nice in computers. I recommend using a USB port replicator (under $10) on your tablet computer such that you only have one mini plug to contend with for USB devices. But I don't like the other mini connectors such as the mini-power connector.

I like mini skirts but not mini ports on thin tablet computers.

These Are 17 Of Our Favorite Gadgets From The 1990s ---

The Best Art, Design, and Photography Books of the Year ---

"The Year's Best Books on Psychology, Philosophy, and How to Live Meaningfully," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, December 22, 2014 ---

"The 14 Best Books,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, December 1, 2014 ---

The 15 Best Business Books Of 2014 ---

The 10 Most Important Sustainable Business Stories from 2014 (Harvard Business Review) ---

America's Best And Worst Banks 2015 ---

The 10 Most Interesting Dating Studies Of 2014 ---

2014's Best National Geographic Photos ---

15 Awesome Photos From Sony's 2015 World Photography Awards ---

The 49 Most Mesmerizing Sports Photos Of 2014 ---

The Most Jaw-Dropping Science Pictures Of 2014 ---

The 52 Strangest Photos Of 2014 ---

The Biggest Career Crashes Of 2014 ---

The Best Games of 2014 ---

The 20 Best Video Games of 2014 (yawn) ---

Watch the 10 Most Popular YouTube Videos of the Year 2014 (Yahoo Tech) ---

The Worst Movies of 2014 ---

The 15 Highest-Grossing Movies Of 2014 ---
That does not make them the best movies of 2014. Children's movies do well even if they're awful because when dads pick up their kids for a weekly visit they have to do something for entertainment.

The 15 Best-Reviewed Movies Of 2014 ---

Best Classical Albums Of 2014 ---

The Great Transformation - 33 Top Quotes from Global Peter Drucker Forum 2014 ---

SSRN's Top 10,000 Downloads (Ranked) ---

The Guardian's Choice of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time ---

Dave Barry's Year in Review 2014 ---

It was a year of mysteries. To list some of the more baffling ones:

▪ A huge airliner simply vanished, and to this day nobody has any idea what happened to it, despite literally thousands of hours of intensive speculation on CNN.

▪ Millions of Americans suddenly decided to make videos of themselves having ice water poured on their heads. Remember? There were rumors that this had something to do with charity, but for most of us, the connection was never clear. All we knew was that, for a while there, every time we turned on the TV, there was a local newscaster or Gwyneth Paltrow or Kermit the Frog or some random individual soaking wet and shivering. This mysterious phenomenon ended as suddenly as it started, but not before uncounted trillions of American brain cells died of frostbite.

▪ An intruder jumped the White House fence and, inexplicably, managed to run into the White House through the unlocked front door. Most of us had assumed that anybody attempting this would instantly be converted to a bullet-ridden pile of smoking carbon by snipers, lasers, drones, ninjas, etc., but it turned out that, for some mysterious reason, the White House had effectively the same level of anti-penetration security as a Dunkin’ Donuts.

▪ LeBron James deliberately moved to Cleveland.

Of course not everything that happened in 2014 was mysterious. Some developments — ISIS, Ebola, the song Happy — were simply bad. There was even some good news in 2014, mostly in the form of things that did not happen. A number of GM cars — the final total could be as high as four — were not recalled. There were several whole days during which no statements had to be issued by the U.S. Department of Explaining What The Vice President Meant To Say. And for the fifth consecutive year, the Yankees failed to even play in the World Series.

But other than that, it was a miserable 12 months. In case you have forgotten why, let’s take one last look back, starting with…


…when the nation is invaded by the Polar Vortex, which blasts in from Canada, bringing with it heavy snows, record low temperatures and Justin Bieber, who penetrates as far south as Miami before being arrested for racing a Lamborghini. Weather is also the big story in drought-stricken California, where the state legislature passes a tough new water-conservation law requiring all noncelebrity residents to go to the bathroom in Oregon.

In Colorado, the new year begins on a “high” note as the sale of recreational marijuana becomes legal. Despite dire predictions from critics that this will lead to increases in crime and addiction, state law-enforcement officials report that if you stare for a while at the flashing lights on top of their cars, you can see some amazing colors.

The U.S. Senate confirms Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve after she assures senators that she will let them know if anybody ever figures out what the Federal Reserve actually does.

In a major speech, President Barack Obama, responding to allegations that the National Security Agency has been electronically snooping on foreign leaders, announces that all federal agencies will henceforth follow strict new guidelines on the sale and distribution of photos of Angela Merkel naked.

In other foreign affairs, French President François Hollande is embroiled in a sex scandal involving his attractive girlfriend and an attractive actress despite the fact that he looks remarkably like George Costanza.

Elsewhere abroad, NBA legend and idiot Dennis Rodman makes a fourth visit to North Korea to hang out with his misunderstood pal Kim Jong-Un, who defeats Rodman 168-0 in a friendly one-on-one game refereed by the North Korean army, then celebrates by firing a missile at Japan.

Speaking of soldiers, in…


…as the Northeast continues to be battered by heavy snows and subzero temperatures, the Massachusetts National Guard is called out to battle the Polar Vortex, eventually cornering it inside a Costco store near Boston, where it barricades itself along with several dozen hostages who are forced to survive by eating caramel cheddar popcorn from containers the size of hot tubs.

In sports, the largest audience in American TV history tunes in to watch one of the most anticipated Super Bowls in years, pitting the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks in a historic matchup so boring that the entire second half is pre-empted by Bud Light commercials. In other football news, Michael Sam, a defensive end for the University of Missouri, makes history by becoming the first Division I college football player to openly declare that he actually attended some classes.

But the big sports story takes place in Sochi, where Russia hosts the Winter Olympics. Despite fears of violence, the games go smoothly until late in the opening ceremony, when — in what observers view as a troubling omen — the Russian biathlon team wipes out the entire Ukrainian delegation.

General Motors recalls 800,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s after tests show they don’t always have enough wheels. President Obama hosts a state dinner for French President François “Le Muffin de Stud” Hollande, who arrives at the White House driving a red scooter with two women riding on the back and three more chasing on foot.

In politics, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, responding to a radio interviewer’s questions about his alleged role in the 2013 “Bridgegate” lane-closure scandal, eats the interviewer. And in a historic policy shift, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces that same-sex married couples will henceforth be subject to the same incomprehensible tax laws as everybody else.

Speaking of incomprehensible, in…


…the news is dominated by the baffling disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has millions of viewers tuning in to CNN to follow its round-the-clock exclusive video coverage of random unidentified objects floating in the ocean that might be airplane pieces — although they never actually turn out to BE airplane pieces, but they MIGHT have been — accompanied by countless hours of analysis by a wide array of experts who have no more actual knowledge of what happened to Flight 370 than the people selling jewelry on the Home Shopping Network.

Abroad, the big story involves the Crimea, which until now many of us thought was a disease, as in “Bob has a bad case of the Crimea,” but which turns out to be a part of Ukraine that Russia wants to annex. As tension mounts in the region, the United States and the European Union issue Stern Warnings to Russia, such as “You better not annex the Crimea!” And: “Don’t make us turn this car around!” Nevertheless Russia goes ahead and annexes it, forcing the U.S. and Europe to escalate from Stern Warnings to Harsh Sanctions, including the suspension of Vladimir Putin’s Netflix account.

In other international developments, Bill Clinton discreetly inquires about the legal requirements involved in running for president of France.

Hopes for an end to the brutal winter weather are dashed when the Polar Vortex, having disguised itself as a warm front, manages to slip past surrounding Massachusetts National Guard troops and escape moments before the Costco is leveled by artillery fire, destroying two-thirds of the state’s supply of jerky.

On a happier note, Colorado announces that it has already collected marijuana sales taxes totaling $2million, which the state plans to spend on “a subwoofer the size of Delaware.”

General Motors recalls 1.5million more cars to correct a steering issue that causes certain models to deliberately aim for elderly pedestrians.

In a development that surprises film critics, Academy Awards voters, apparently hoping to woo a younger audience, award the Oscar for Best Picture to Sharknado.

Speaking of surprises, in…


…Russia, ignoring both the Stern Warnings and the Harsh Sanctions, continues its military intervention in Ukraine, leaving the United States with no choice but to deploy the ultimate weapon: Joe Biden, who is sent to Kiev to deliver a Strong Rebuke, followed by dinner.

On the domestic front, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the rollout of Obamacare, resigns from the cabinet to take a position overseeing email storage for the Internal Revenue Service.

In an aviation miracle, a 15-year-old boy sneaks into the landing-gear compartment of a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 and somehow survives a five-hour flight from San Jose to Maui. Hours later major U.S. airlines jointly announce that they are offering “an exciting new seating option for budget-minder flyers who enjoy fresh air.”

In financial news, India edges ahead of Japan to become the world’s third-largest economy in purchasing power, behind JayZ and Beyonce.

General Motors, in what analysts view as a shrewd tactical move, announces that it is recalling 435,000 Fords. Tyson Foods recalls 75,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets following reports that some of them may contain chicken.

On a happier note, the Polar Vortex finally goes back to Canada after becoming involved in a street altercation with Alec Baldwin.

In sports, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose racist comments have sparked widespread outrage, is given the NBA’s harshest possible punishment: season tickets to the Knicks.

Speaking of harsh punishments, in…


…the United States and Europe, which are really starting to lose patience with Russia’s actions in Ukraine, announce that they intend to “seriously consider” taking steps that could ultimately result in the cancellation of Vladimir Putin’s American Express card.

Continued in article

21 Uses For Rubber Bands You Never Thought Of ---

The illustrated guide to a Ph.D
By Computer Scientist Matt Might

Jensen Comment
I always define scholarship as the mastery of existing knowledge versus research as the discovery of new knowledge.

How to Ensure Your Home Router Has the Latest Security Updates ---

How To Monitor File And Folder Changes in Windows ---

How to Troubleshoot the Chrome Browser on Windows ---

Google Tools --- http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/products/

Jensen Comment
I have a long-standing problem playing Adobe Flash on Firefox but not Chrome or Windows Explorer browsers.

By now most of us are familiar with Camtasia and some of the other software (ranging from free on up) for recording computer screen changes into video files along with accompanying microphone narration ---

Other alternatives for putting digital pictures into video shows
Here are some of the lesser-known alternatives, e.g., alternatives for putting digital pictures into video shows ---

I'm sure that others have noticed what I've noticed is that the correlation of standout stars on a team and team performance is not as highly correlated as most star-struck people believe. Both the top NBA playoff team in 2014 and the NFL super bowl winning teams had no superstar individual players.

NBA Power Rankings by Team at the end of 2014 ---

NBA Superstars at the end of 2014 ---

Having said this, the power rankings of the NFL at the end of 2014 almost all, but not all, have a high-ranking quarterback ---
But a great team is seemingly a necessary condition to having a high-ranking quarterback. The real test of a football team is how well it can do without the team's number one quarterback. For example, a great defense gives the offense a lot more time on the field for scoring touchdowns. A great offense generally has scoring alternatives without the top quarterback, especially the ability to chew up the game clock.

In academe the top researchers and top teachers are not necessarily the top education leaders.
For example, the highest performers on the Pathways Commission in the American Accounting Association do not come to mind as being the top-ranked researchers or classroom teachers, although rankings of teachers are more difficult to find than rankings of researchers. The leaders on the Pathways Commission tend not to be from the US News highest ranked business schools. Perhaps they are more like team players than stars.

Sysinternals --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysinternals

This How-To Geek School series will teach you how to use SysInternals tools like a pro, and even the most hard-core geeks will probably learn something new. Join us as we take a deep dive into SysInternals.

  1. What Are the SysInternals Tools and How Do You Use Them?
  2. Understanding Process Explorer
  3. Using Process Explorer to Troubleshoot and Diagnose
  4. Understanding Process Monitor
  5. Using Process Monitor to Troubleshoot and Find Registry Hacks
  6. Using Autoruns to Deal with Startup Processes and Malware
  7. Using BgInfo to Display System Information on the Desktop
  8. Using PsTools to Control Other PCs from the Command Line
  9. Analyzing and Managing Your Files, Folders, and Drives
  10. Wrapping Up and Using the Tools Together


Amazon Echo --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo

"We Try the Amazon Echo," by Rob Pegoraro, Yahoo Tech, December 15, 2014 ---

"Working In Wealth Management Taught Me Most Financial Advisers Aren't Worth The Cost," by Peter Dolan, FutureAdvisor, Business Insider, December 15, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
I agree. I think investors should first try out the free services from trustworthy funds like Vanguard or Fidelity. Or they might get into some long-term investments but not retain the financial adviser year-after-year.

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

"These Are the Students Getting the Biggest Signing Bonuses Next Year," Akane Otani, Bloomberg Businessweek, December 17, 2014  ---

It's not clear that Otani surveyed selected graduates from the most prestigious MBA programs and top athletics programs who, on occasion, receive very large signing bonuses. However, since so many of their graduating cohorts receive zero bonuses the averages may become quite low.

There are also definitional problems when it comes to "bonuses."
For example, are reimbursed moving expenses "signing bonuses?" Are travel expense reimbursements and gifts (like technology equipment) prior to moves from campus "signing bonuses?" Some Ph.D. graduates, including accounting Ph.D. graduates, get instant research expense budgets before the teaching chores begin. For example, top R1 research programs may provide new accounting Ph.D.s with starting expense budgets of $10,000 to $30,000 in addition to summer salary stipends before commencing the Fall Term. Are these in essence "signing bonuses?"

Some employers will provide funding of some type to tag-along spouses. For example, University X may really want that new Ph.D. from MIT and will offer the spouse with an MBA a part-time adjunct teaching position. Is this in essence a "signing bonus?"

And there are universities in expensive housing markets that will offer deals on housing. Stanford and NYU offer relatively low cost and often temporary housing on campus to new faculty for five years. The Harvard Business School has dorms where with faculty apartments for new faculty.

Skype’s Newest App Will Translate Your Speech in Real Time ---

Prezy --- http://prezi.com/

Sway Office App --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sway_%28Office_app%29

Swaying the Public
"Microsoft's Answer To PowerPoint-Killer Prezi Is Here." by Julie Bort, Business Insider, December 15, 2014 ---

Sway, Microsoft's answer to PowerPoint killer Prezi, is now open and available for anyone to try. It was previously an invite-only thing.

Prezi is a web presentation app especially popular with the young folk. About 50 million people use Prezi, the site claims.

Microsoft hopes to stop that in its tracks with its own web app. Sway also works on mobile devices, including the iPad and iPhone.

Sway lets you drag and drop photos, videos, files from your computer, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or cloud storage. It works via a web browser or an app for your phone, and the presentation is stored on the web.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

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

Slide Rule --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide_rule
History of the Slide Rule --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide_rule#History

Calculator --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculator
History of the Calculator --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculator#History

"Here's the impossibly complicated way calculators used to look," by Sarah Lewin, PRI, December 18, 2014 ---

Mark Glusker had heard rumors about the mechanical calculator, a Monroe PC-1421that it was one the most complicated devices of the sort ever built; that it was powerful but notoriously difficult to keep running; that it was at the pinnacle of an effort to compete with the first electronic calculators.

“It’s kind of a holy grail machine for me,” says Glusker, a mechanical engineer and collector of early calculators. “When you’d read the specifications, you’d think, ‘That’s just crazy.’” And once he finally got his hands on the 40-pound behemoth from a retiring professor at the University of Iowa, it proved just as intricate as he’d imagined.

“There’s so much going on inside there,” says photographer Kevin Twomey, who photographed the PC-1421 and other calculators in Glusker's collection. “These chains, levers and gears were almost reminding me of how ligaments and joints are working together."

The Monroe PC-1421, with a price tag of $1,175, at the top end for a mechanical calculator, debuted in 1964 — right as electronic calculators were overtaking mechanical ones. To stay relevant, manufacturers constantly fought to improve the speed of their machines. For instance, while early mechanical calculators required an operator to turn a crank by hand in order to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, later models like the PC-1421 turned automatically with a motor.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
When I was an undergraduate you were not fully dressed unless you had a complicated slide rule fastened to your belt. There were a lot of things that could be done with those slide rules, but I only used them for simple arithmetic and logarithmic calculations.

When I worked as a staff accountant in the Denver office of Ernst & Ernst, we had a few desk calculators that were fun to watch. There was a floating bar on the top that went rata-tat-tat as it moved in jumping motions from left to right while doing arithmetic. These were Monroe calculators much like the what is pictured at

Bob Jensen's threads on computing history ---

This 71-Year-Old Makes Up To $8,500 A Month Teaching Online Classes ---

What's the most important thing Putin must do to stay in power in Russia?


"The End of the Professions?" by Peter Augustine Lawler, National Review, December 28, 2014 ---

. . .

We also read that much of what lawyers do now will be turned over to machines. (Insert lawyer joke here.) The supply of lawyers already far exceeds the demand. This seems, of course, bad news for political science as a liberal-arts, pre-professional major. Constitutional law used to be touted as a really tough course that would show your readiness for law school. Well prepared by all the reading and writing you did in college, you will, it’s very, very likely, do well enough in law school to be rather securely set for life in a good firm. Many a Berry grad has followed some version of that “career path.”

But things have changed. It’s easier to get into law school. Some pretty decent programs, in fact, aren’t filling up and are getting desperate for warm bodies. Even grads from the best programs are having trouble getting secure jobs, and compensation for lawyers is, in general, getting worse. The business of borrowing huge bucks to fund your legal education is now way too risky. Everyone knows of underemployed law-school grads (many of whom got good grades in law schools) drowning in debt. So the new challenge is to go to law school for free or at least on the cheap, and that is getting a lot easier to do, as law-school discounting is getting closer to college discounting. A reputable law school not far from where I’m sitting now used to basically stiff their students with an exorbitant tuition, and the profit was redistributed to the rest of the campus programs. Now, money is being frantically redistributed to the law school for financial aid to keep it afloat.

It’s still the case that if you want to be a lawyer you should “follow your passion” and go to law school. But you have to do so with a much more entrepreneurial spirit. Jobs aren’t guaranteed for the nerds who get all A’s. Everyone has to hustle to find gainful employment. And lawyers are more and more stuck with being independent contractors selling their labor piecemeal for a price.

Does this mean that pre-professional liberal education is no longer relevant? It means exactly the opposite. It’s more true than ever that it’s the foundation of the flexibility required to flourish in the 21st-century competitive marketplace. You probably won’t have some securely placed ”career” as a lawyer. And the most marketable skills remain lucid and precisely detailed speaking, writing, and reading comprehension, and the world still belongs to those with huge active vocabularies, those who can deploy the world of the screen and techno-jargon with effective irony, those who can really use words to describe the world as it is. And the main source of a “real vocabulary” is absorbing the content of ”real books.”

Well, there’s another route: Being on very good terms with the “genius machines” that will be continue to expand as sources of our productivity. But that route is not for everyone. And the world belongs to those who know enough to be able to tell those nerds what to do. Peter Thiel, remember, majored in philosophy and went to law school. And Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s educational narrative is the same sort of undergraduate foundation in real books followed by “professional development.”

Jensen Comment
Accountants and lawyers should thank the heavens that the tax code really is not yet amenable to artificial intelligence.

For 2014 what is likely to be the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones index

The company is really blue at the moment.


"18 Free Online Business Courses That Will Boost Your Career," by John A. Byrne, Business Insider, December 18, 2014 ---

. . .

To learn more about these courses — and register for them — click on the links below.

Gamification / Wharton / January 26

Globalization of Business Enterprise / IESE / January 19

Entrepreneurship 101 and Entrepreneurship 102 / MIT / January 9

ContractsX: From Trust to Promise to Contract / Harvard / January 8

Technology Entrepreneurship / Stanford / January 6

Asset Pricing – Part One / University of Chicago / January 18

Innovation and Commercialization / MIT / January 13

Grow To Greatness: Smart Growth For Private Businesses – Part II / University of Virginia / January 12

Financial Analysis of Entrepreneurial Ideas / Babson College / January or February

Time to Reorganize! Understand Organizations, Act, and Build a Meaningful World / HEC Paris / January 13

Game Theory II: Advanced Applications / Stanford / January 11

U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self / MIT / January 7

Make An Impact: Sustainability for Professionals / University of Bath / January 12

Managing People: Engaging Your Workforce / University of Reading / January 12

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World / University of Groningen / January 19

Project Management for Business Professionals / January 26

Subsistence Marketplaces / University of Illinois / January 26

DQ 101: Introduction to Decision Quality / Strategic Decisions Group / January 15

More from John A. Byrne:

This article originally appeared at LinkedIn. Copyright 2014. Follow LinkedIn on Twitter.

Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-mooc-courses-business-john-a.-byrne#ixzz3MLx1WEeQ

"What Are MOOCs Good For? Online courses may not be changing colleges as their boosters claimed they would, but they can prove valuable in surprising ways," by Justin Pope, MIT's Technology Review, December 15, 2014 ---

A few years ago, the most enthusiastic advocates of MOOCs believed that these “massive open online courses” stood poised to overturn the century-old model of higher education. Their interactive technology promised to deliver top-tier teaching from institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, not just to a few hundred students in a lecture hall on ivy-draped campuses, but free via the Internet to thousands or even millions around the world. At long last, there appeared to be a solution to the problem of “scaling up” higher education: if it were delivered more efficiently, the relentless cost increases might finally be rolled back. Some wondered whether MOOCs would merely transform the existing system or blow it up entirely. Computer scientist Sebastian Thrun, cofounder of the MOOC provider Udacity, predicted that in 50 years, 10 institutions would be responsible for delivering higher education.

Then came the backlash. A high-­profile experiment to use MOOCs at San Jose State University foundered. Faculty there and at other institutions rushing to incorporate MOOCs began pushing back, rejecting the notion that online courses could replace the nuanced work of professors in classrooms. The tiny completion rates for most MOOCs drew increasing attention. Thrun himself became disillusioned, and he lowered Udacity’s ambitions from educating the masses to providing corporate training.

But all the while, a great age of experimentation has been developing. Although some on-campus trials have gone nowhere, others have shown modest success (including a later iteration at San Jose State). In 2013, Georgia Tech announced a first-of-its-kind all-MOOC master’s program in computer science that, at $6,600, would cost just a fraction as much as its on-campus counterpart. About 1,400 students have enrolled. It’s not clear how well such programs can be replicated in other fields, or whether the job market will reward graduates with this particular Georgia Tech degree. But the program offers evidence that MOOCs can expand access and reduce costs in some corners of higher education.

Meanwhile, options for online courses continue to multiply, especially for curious people who aren’t necessarily seeking a credential. For-profit Coursera and edX, the nonprofit consortium led by Harvard and MIT, are up to nearly 13 million users and more than 1,200 courses between them. Khan Academy, which began as a series of YouTube videos, is making online instruction a more widely used tool in classrooms around the world.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I always hate to see the Khan Academy, YouTube Channels, MOOCs, and Distance Education for fees and credits mingled together in the same article. MOOCs are usually filmed versions of live courses at prestigious universities. They are free by definition, although fees might be charged by third parties for taking competency examinations for credits ---

"The MOOC Where Everybody Learned:  And they learned just as much as MIT students who had taken a similar course on the campus, according to a new study." by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 16, 2014 ---

EdX --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EdX
"6 Big Takeaways From the EdX Global Forum," by Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, November 23, 2014 ---

Distance education courses are usually fee-based online courses for credit. In many instances at major universities some sections of courses are taught live on campus and others are taught live online ---

Khan Academy and YouTube Channels offer free tutorials. Learners can cherry pick topics and watch basic and advanced learning videos that vary in length form a few minutes to longer but usually much less than an hour for each module. These were never intended to be anything more than self-learning alternatives for highly motivated students. Some leading universities like the University of Wisconsin now over limited choices for taking competency examinations for college credit, but the distance between a few learning videos and college credit is a very long distance indeed.

More than 100 colleges have set up channels on YouTube --- http://www.youtube.com/edu
Many universities offer over 100 videos, whereas Stanford offers a whopping 583
Search for words like “accounting”

"The 12 Most Popular Free Online Courses (MOOCs) For Professionals," by Maggie Zhang, Business Insider, July 8, 2014 ---

01. Wesleyan University's "Social Psychology"

02. University of Maryland's "Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems"

03. Duke University's "Think Again: How to Reason and Argue"

04. Duke University's "A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior"

05. University of Toronto's "Learn to Program: The Fundamentals"

06. Stanford University's "Startup Engineering"

07. Yale University's "Financial Markets"

08. The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School's "An Introduction to Financial Accounting"

09. University of Washington's "Introduction to Public Speaking"

10. University of Michigan's "Introduction to Finance"

11. The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School's "An Introduction to Marketing"

12. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's "Data Analysis"

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/free-online-courses-for-professionals-2014-7#ixzz37LiJgQ57

For Members of the American Accounting Association
One of the best sessions at the AAA's 2014 Annual Meetings was the the session
7.02 The Impact of MOOCs and Online Courses on Accounting...
A video of this entire session is now available to AAA members ---
There were three panelists including a leading technical speaker from EdX and a professor who teaches accounting in Wharton's MOOCs of virtually all of its MBA core courses (for free to the world).
The speakers are outstanding, but the videos do not show the PowerPoint screens. This is a bit frustrating, but the speakers generally described what was on each PowerPoint slide.

AAA members who did not attend the above session really missed what was one of the best technical sessions at the 2014 Annual Meetings.

Other videos of sessions are linked at
I also highly recommend watching the video of Jimmy Wales' Plenary Session. Jimmy is the founder and CEO of Wikipedia. Wikipedia for most of us is the most important site in the world for instant learning from an unbelievable number of crowd-sourced encyclopedia modules. When I say unbelievable I mean an UNBELIEVABLE number of topics covered in over 200 languages. Nearly five million of these topics are in English. Jimmy reported that Wikipedia has over 500 million visitors per month. The population of the USA is only about 300 million people.

Wikipedia (Listeni/ˌwɪkɨˈpdiə/ or Listeni/ˌwɪkiˈpdiə/ WIK-i-PEE-dee-ə) is a free-access, free content Internet encyclopedia, supported and hosted by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Anyone who can access the site[6] can edit almost any of its articles. Wikipedia is the sixth-most popular website[5] and constitutes the Internet's largest and most popular general reference work.[7][8][9]

Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launched Wikipedia on January 15, 2001. Sanger[10] coined its name,[11] a portmanteau of wiki (from the Hawaiian word for "quick")[12] and encyclopedia. Although Wikipedia's content was initially only in English, it quickly became multilingual, through the launch of versions in different languages. All versions of Wikipedia are similar, but important differences exist in content and in editing practices. The English Wikipedia is now one of more than 200 Wikipedias, but remains the largest one, with over 4.6 million articles. As of February 2014, it had 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors each month.[13] Wikipedia has more than 22 million accounts, out of which there were over 73,000 active editors globally as of May 2014.[2]

Studies tend to show that Wikipedia's accuracy is similar to Encyclopedia Britannica, with Wikipedia being much larger. However, critics have worried that Wikipedia exhibits systemic bias, and that its group dynamics hinder its goals. Most academics, historians, teachers and journalists reject Wikipedia as a reliable source of information for being a mixture of truths, half truths, and some falsehoods,[14] and that as a resource about controversial topics, Wikipedia is notoriously subject to manipulation and spin.[15] Wikipedia's Consensus and Undue Weight policies have been repeatedly criticised by prominent scholarly sources for undermining freedom of thought and leading to false beliefs based on incomplete information.[16][17][18][19]

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of the great sources for accuracy arises when professors assign graduate students to correct and otherwise improve Wikipedia modules. One of the most important uses of Wikipedia is for people seeking to learn about medical ailments, treatments, and medications. Among the great happenings in Wikipedia is the truly active role medical schools play in perfecting these medical modules since errors and misleading statements in those modules can be particularly damaging to hundreds of millions of users of those modules.

Of course, users of any encyclopedia or most any other academic source must always remain skeptical. The hired editors must spend an undue amount of time on controversial topics, particularly political topics. These editors often warn people to be skeptical when encountering particular modules. These editors also resist allowing the public to delete criticisms that in the eyes of editors are justified. Virtually all of the 73,000+ editors do not want Wikipedia to become too much of a public relations database. I applaud them for their dedication and hard work.

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs and open sharing learning materials in general ---

Bob Jensen's library links of the world ---

December 19. 2014 Department of Education Letter
Q&A Regarding Competency-Based College Credits
(and merit badges of competence) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based education.
Note that there are two very different types of programs --- those that require courses versus those that require no courses. For example, Western Governors University requires course credits where distance education course instructors do not assign grades in a traditional manner. Instead grading is based on competency-based performance examinations are required.

At the other extreme a few universities like the University of Wisconsin now have selected programs where students can earn college credits based upon competency-examination scores without course sign ups. These programs are considered the first steps toward what is increasingly known as a transcript of merit badges that may eventually replace traditional degree programs such as masters degrees in the professions such as medical professions.

In a sense residency programs in medical schools are already have "merit badges" based upon upon experience and competency (licensing) examinations to become ophthalmologists, cardiologists, urologists, neurologists, etc.

Video:  A Scenario of Higher Education in 2020

November 14, 2014 message from Denny Beresford


The link below is to a very interesting video on the future of higher education – if you haven’t seen it already. I think it’s very consistent with much of what you’ve been saying.



November 15, 2014 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

Thank you for this link. I agree with many parts of this possible scenario, and viewers should patiently watch it through the Google Epic in 2020.

But this is only one of many possible scenarios, and I definitely do not agree with the predicted timings. None of the predictions for the future will happen in such a short time frame.

It takes a long time for this video to mention the role of colleges as a buffer between living as a protected kid at home and working full time on the mean streets of life. And I don't think campus living and learning in the future will just be for the "wealthy." We're moving toward a time when campus living will be available more and more to gifted non-wealthy students. But we're also moving toward a time when campus living and learning may be available to a smaller percentage of students --- more like Germany where campus education is free, but only the top 25% of the high school graduates are allowed to go to college. The other 75% will rely more and more on distance education and apprenticeship training alternatives.

Last night (November 14) there was a fascinating module on CBS News about a former top NFL lineman (center) for the Rams who in the prime of his career just quit and bought a 1,000 acre farm in North Carolina using the millions of dollars he'd saved until then by playing football.

What was remarkable is that he knew zero about farming until he started learning about it on YouTube. Now he's a successful farmer who gives over 20% of his harvest to food banks for the poor.

This morning I did a brief search and discovered that there are tons of free videos on the technical aspect of farming just as there are tons of videos that I already knew about on how to be a financial analyst trading in derivative financial instruments.

My point is that there will be more and more people who are being educated and trained along the lines of the video in your email message to me.
The education and training will be a lifelong process because there is so much that will be available totally free of charge. We will become more and more like Boy-Girl Scouts earning our badges.

College degrees will be less and less important as the certification badges (competency achievements) mentioned in the video take over as chevrons of expertise and accomplishment. Some badges will be for hobbies, and some badges will be for career advancement.

These are exciting times for education and training. We will become more and more like the Phantom of the Library at Texas A&M without having to live inside a library. This "Phantom" Aggie was a former student who started secretly living and learning in the campus library. Now the world's free "library" is only a few clicks away --- starting with Wikipedia and YouTube and moving on to the thousands of MOOCs now available from prestigious universities ---

Also see the new-world library alternatives at

Thanks Denny


How To Use Math To Win At Monopoly ---

Texas A&M Just Imploded (part of) Its Football Stadium To Make Room For Over 102,000 Aggies Fans Next Season ---
The Aggies also fired their Football defensive coach after the Aggies had a 7-5 season, slightly better than the University of Texas 6-6 season.

"A Notorious Alleged Rapist At Columbia University Finally Speaks Out," by Natasha Bertrand, Business Insider, December 22, 2014 ---

The histories of the symbol, concept, and the number zero are complicated. In early Egypt the symbol was used for accounting.

"The Origin of the Number Zero Deep in the jungle, an intrepid scholar locates a symbol of power and mystery," by Amir Aczel, Smithsonian Magazine, December 2014 ---

Four miles from the great temple of Angkor Wat, deep in the Cambodian jungle, I opened the door of a makeshift shed with a corrugated tin roof and walked into a dusty room painted in pale gray. Thousands of chunks and slabs of stone covered the dirt floor: smashed heads of statues of Khmer kings and Hindu gods, broken lintels and door frames from abandoned temples, the remains of steles with ancient writing. After years of searching, I’d finally arrived here, hoping to find a single dot chiseled into a reddish stone, a humble mark of incredible importance, a symbol that would become the very foundation of our number system—our first zero.

It was a lifelong love that led me to this threshold. I grew up on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean that often called at Monte Carlo, and I was drawn to the alluring numbers on roulette wheels: half of them red, half black. My fascination led to a career as a mathematician, and, dabbling in mathematical archaeology, I’ve tracked down many ancient numerals, including a magic square (those mysterious numerical grids in which the sum of every column, row and diagonal is the same) on the doorway of a tenth-century Jain temple at Khajuraho, India.

I’m convinced that the creation of numerals to represent the abstract entities we call numbers was our greatest intellectual achievement. The simple sign “3” represents all trios in the universe; it is the quality of “being three”—distinct from “being five” or “being seven.” Numerals allow us to keep track of belongings, record dates, trade goods, calculate so precisely that we are able to fly to the moon and operate on the brain.

We use them with such ease that we take them for granted. Surprisingly, our number system took hold in the West only in the 13th century, after the Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa—better known as Fibonacci—introduced the numerals to Europeans. He’d learned them from Arab traders, who presumably adopted them during travels to the Indian subcontinent.

Of all the numerals, “0”—alone in green on the roulette wheel—is most significant. Unique in representing absolute nothingness, its role as a placeholder gives our number system its power. It enables the numerals to cycle, acquiring different meanings in different locations (compare 3,000,000 and 30). With the exception of the Mayan system, whose zero glyph never left the Americas, ours is the only one known to have a numeral for zero. Babylonians had a mark for nothingness, say some accounts, but treated it primarily as punctuation. Romans and Egyptians had no such numeral either.

A circle inscribed at a temple in Gwalior, India, dating to the ninth century, had been widely considered the oldest version of zero in our system, the Hindu-Arabic. At the time it was made, trade with the Arab empire connected East and West, so it could have come from anywhere. I was after an older zero, a particular instance arguing for an Eastern origin.

Found on a stone stele, it was documented in 1931 by a French scholar named George Coedès. Assigned the identifying label K-127, the inscription reads like a bill of sale and includes references to slaves, five pairs of oxen and sacks of white rice. Though some of the writing wasn’t deciphered, the inscription clearly bore the date 605 in an ancient calendar that began in the year A.D. 78. Its date was thus A.D. 683. Two centuries older than the one at Gwalior, it predated wide-ranging Arab trade. But K-127 disappeared during the Khmer Rouge’s rule of terror, when more than 10,000 artifacts were deliberately destroyed. 

I describe my obsession with finding this earliest zero in my forthcoming book, Finding Zero. I spent countless hours poring over old texts in libraries from London to Delhi and emailing and calling anyone who might know someone who could help me locate K-127. I made several unsuccessful trips to Cambodia, spending a significant amount of my own money. On the verge of giving up, I received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and forged ahead. Cambodia’s director general of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Hab Touch, directed me to the sheds at Angkor Conservation, a restoration and storage site closed to the public. When I was turned away twice, Touch graciously made a phone call, and in early January 2013, I was invited in. I still didn’t know if K-127 had even survived. 

And yet, within two hours, the roulette wheel had spun in my favor. My eye caught a piece of tape with a pencil-scribbled “K-127,” and then I recognized that single dot on the 3- by 5-foot slab, intact but for a rough break at the top. I was elated. I dared not touch the stone surface for fear I might harm it.

Since that fortuitous moment, I’ve pondered the feat that brought us numerals, this time wondering not where and when, but how? I’ve asked dozens of mathematicians a long-debated question: Were numbers discovered or invented? The majority view is that numbers exist outside of the human mind. Unlike Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, they don’t require a human creator. What gave numbers their power was the very act of naming them and writing them down. I’m now working with Cambodian officials to move K-127 to a museum in Phnom Penh, where a wide audience can appreciate the incredible discovery it represents. 

Basket weaving by any other name in the curriculum is --- basket weaving!
Actually genuine basket weaving is probably too tough academically for Interdisciplinary Studies majors at top NCAA Division 1 universities.

Helping Athletes with Learning Disabilities --- major in  Interdisciplinary Studies

"At Top Athletics Programs, Students Often Major in Eligibility," by Jonah Newman, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 18. 2014 ---

When the University of Oregon Ducks and the Florida State University Seminoles meet on New Year’s Day for the first college-football playoff game ever, the two teams will have more in common than just dominance on the gridiron and a place in sporting history.

They’ll also have an academic link: On each team about one-third of the players are majoring in social sciences, a multidisciplinary liberal-arts major.

At both institutions only about 3 percent of all students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in general social sciences. That means that Ducks and Seminoles football players are roughly 10 times as likely as their peers to be pursuing this general-studies major.

Coincidence? Unlikely.

The Chronicle analyzed the majors of athletes at 17 of the 25 universities whose football teams made the first college-football playoff rankings in late October. (The eight other universities declined to provide information or failed to respond to public-records requests.) At almost every institution, we found some athletes clustering in a small number of majors.

Of course, clustering is no surprise. Ask a few average students at a Division I college, and they are likely to be able to name the "jock major" at their institution. But the clustering can be awfully stark, and at its most extreme it illuminates the central tension of college sports—the push-pull between academics and athletics.

At the University of Arizona, for example, 23 percent of all athletes are majoring in general studies, another broad liberal-arts degree, which graduates just 3 percent of all undergraduates. (A note here: We’re comparing the overall number of students who graduate in a discipline with the smaller number of athletes currently majoring in that discipline. That’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s the best we can do with readily available data.)

As in most of the athletic departments The Chronicle analyzed, football players are especially likely to cluster in the top athlete majors: 34 percent of Arizona’s football players are seeking a degree in general studies.

. . .

Not All Athletes, Not All Majors

Most investigations of athletes’ academic clustering—defined, in the first academic study on the topic, as 25 percent or more of the students on a single team in the same major—focus on the revenue-generating sports of football and men’s basketball. But The Chronicle's analysis found some clustering in nearly every sport and across genders.

At the University of Alabama, home of the country’s top-ranked football team, there was actually very little clustering among football players. The most popular football major, general studies, accounted for just 13 percent of all declared football players, well below the clustering cutoff.

But 35 percent of the men’s baseball team, which barely cracked the top 30 in national rankings, are studying exercise science, a common major among athletes at several universities in our analysis. Half of all women’s softball players at Alabama are also exercise-science majors.

At Mississippi State University, clustering spans the entire athletic department. Half of all athletes, male and female, are pursuing just four majors: kinesiology, business administration, human sciences, and biological sciences. Those programs graduate just 20 percent of all undergraduates.

Clemson University, by contrast, exemplifies how clustering can be specific to both sport and gender.

One-quarter of women’s cross-country athletes, 29 percent of women’s softball players, and 31 percent of women’s basketball players at Clemson are majoring in health sciences.

On the men’s side, health sciences isn’t the most popular major in a single sport. But parks, recreation, and tourism management—its website declares that its majors "study fun"—is quite popular. The department claims one-quarter of all football players, 29 percent of men’s baseball players, and 36 percent of men’s basketball players, but it graduates just 3 percent of all undergraduates.

Continued in article

The independent study course at the University of Georgia that's one centimeter behind fake courses at the University of North Carolina

NCAA Slaps U. of Georgia With $5,000 Fine for Coach’s Effort to Keep Athlete Eligible ---

UNC investigation: Bogus classes were pushed by academic counselors," by Dan Kane and Jane Stancill, newsobserver.com, October 22, 2014,

"New Report Implicates UNC's Athletics Department In Fake Classes Scandal (for nearly 20 years)," by Peter Jacobs, Business Insider, October 22, 2014 ---

Academic Fraud and Friction at Florida State University
On Friday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that more than 60 athletes at the university had cheated in two online courses over a year and a half long period, one of the most serious cases of academic fraud in the NCAA's recent history. Yet just about all anyone seemed to be able to talk about -- especially Florida State fans in commenting on the case and news publications in reporting on it -- is how the NCAA's penalties (which include requiring Florida State to vacate an undetermined number of victories in which the cheating athletes competed) might undermine the legacy of the university's football coach, Bobby Bowden. Bowden has one fewer career victory than Pennsylvania State University's longtime coach, Joe Paterno, and if Florida State has to wipe out as many as 14 football wins from 2007 and 2008, it could end Bowden's chance of being the all-time winningest coach in big-time college football.
Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/03/09/fsu

Bob Jensen's threads on the fake courses at UNC and other academic scandals ---

"Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Transition to College:  Although assistive technologies and other supports can help, too few students who need them take advantage once they leave high school. Here's what K-12 schools can do to help," by Dennis Pierce, T.H.E. Journal, December 16, 2014 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on technology aids for disabled students ---

"LEAKED: A Closer Look At Microsoft's Big Plan To Fix The Windows 8 Disaster," by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider, December 15, 2014 ---

Microsoft told us a little bit about its next version of Windows back in September, but a new leak seems to give us a closer look at a few features that haven't been officially revealed just yet.

Screenshots published by blog WinBeta and The Verge's Tom Warren, who has a solid track record when it comes to Windows news, reportedly show an early build of Windows 10 called "9901." 

Microsoft is calling its next big software update Windows 10 since it supposedly represents such a major overhaul that it made sense to skip "Windows 9" entirely in the Windows naming convention.

Based on what we've seen so far regarding Windows 10, it seems like Microsoft is making a big effort to fix many of the complaints surrounding Windows 8 — especially when it comes to the desktop experience. 

With Windows 10, Microsoft is adding a new Start menu that combines the classic menu from previous versions of Windows with the tiled "Modern UI" introduced with Windows 8.

Microsoft showed us this in September, and it appears again in the batch of recently leaked screenshots. 

Continued in article

How to Mislead With Statistics
There's a Lake Wobegon Effect Inside Every New York K-12 School
"Cuomo’s Grade Inflation," by Alysia Finley, The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2014 ---

Nothing quite motivates New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo like bad publicity. Last Thursday—mere days after the state’s new and putatively improved teacher-evaluation system was exposed as a sham—a top aide to Mr. Cuomo revealed the Democratic governor’s heretofore undetected interest in aggressive school reform.

Earlier in the week, the state Board of Regents had reported that nearly 96% of teachers statewide were rated “effective” (53.7%) or “highly effective” (41.9%) under New York’s new evaluation system. Fewer than 1% of teachers were deemed “ineffective.” Grades for principals were similarly inflated, with 93.5% receiving good marks.

New York’s teacher evaluations were widely panned: How could so many teachers and principals be excelling when, according to the state, only 34.8% of students are proficient in math and 31.4% in English?

Mr. Cuomo’s director of state operations, Jim Malatras, shot off a missive to state Education Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch calling the failing status quo “unacceptable. “How is the current teacher evaluation system credible when only one percent of teachers are rated ineffective?” Mr. Malatras wrote.

Last year the governor hailed the new teacher evaluations as “one of the strongest in the country.” Yet school districts receive wide latitude on how to assess teachers. Only 20% of the evaluation must be based on student learning.

But don’t blame Mr. Cuomo for the “unacceptable” state of schools. “As you know, the Governor has little power over education, which is governed by the Board of Regents,” wrote Mr. Malatras. Ostensibly, that’s why Mr. Cuomo is soliciting the Board’s input before pursuing “an aggressive legislative agenda” next year.

Mr. Malatras asked Mr. King and Ms. Tisch for their thoughts about removing bad teachers; changing teacher training; providing financial incentives for high-performing teachers; overhauling teacher tenure; raising the charter school cap; and modifying mayoral control of New York City schools.

Asking for feedback is all very well, but Mr. Cuomo here is merely looking for cover. The governor would win more credit as a leader if he weren’t always punting decisions (tax reform, fracking) to state bureaucrats to avoid leaving political fingerprints. One might describe his governing style as an invisible hand.

Continued in article

Metaphorical Meaning of the Phrase "Cargo Cult Science" ---

The term "cargo cult" has been used metaphorically to describe an attempt to recreate successful outcomes by replicating circumstances associated with those outcomes, although those circumstances are either unrelated to the causes of outcomes or insufficient to produce them by themselves. In the former case, this is an instance of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

The metaphorical use of "cargo cult" was popularized by physicist Richard Feynman at a 1974 Caltech commencement speech, which later became a chapter in his book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, where he coined the phrase "cargo cult science" to describe activity that had some of the trappings of real science (such as publication in scientific journals) but lacked a basis in honest experimentation.

Later the term cargo cult programming developed to describe computer software containing elements that are included because of successful utilization elsewhere, unnecessary for the task at hand.

Why does the business world ignore business school academic research including accountics research?
What other academic researchers have become "irrelevant?"


The authors blamed business schools’ scientifically rigorous research into arcane areas – studies whose theories didn’t have to be proved to work in the real world, only to the academic journals in which they hoped to get published (and, they maintained, on which tenure depended).

The same irrelevancy of academic researchers is taking place in sociology and anthropology.

"Making Business School Research More Relevant," by James C. Wetherbe Jon Eckhardt, Harvard Business School Blog, December 24, 2014 ---
Click Here


In a landmark 2005 Harvard Business Review article, USC business professors Warren Bennis and James O’Toole argued that the skills imparted by most business schools were not relevant to students and their eventual employers. The authors blamed business schools’ scientifically rigorous research into arcane areas – studies whose theories didn’t have to be proved to work in the real world, only to the academic journals in which they hoped to get published (and, they maintained, on which tenure depended). Do management professors “believe that the regard of their peers is more important than studying what really matters to executives who can put their ideas into practice?” Bennis and O’Toole wrote. “Apparently so.”

Nearly 10 years after the article was published, we believe this problem is even more acute, and that as such business schools need to get serious about making research more relevant to business. The best way do that is to emulate the world of medical research: conduct research and then put it into practice with real companies.

The rise of rigorous research in business schools has fostered an unfortunate paradox: business schools have become increasingly disconnected from practice. The reason is that business school faculty are almost exclusively rewarded on two metrics. First, they are rewarded for the number of scientific papers that they write that are published in prestigious journals that are exclusively controlled by, and read by, other academics. Second, they are rewarded by their citation count—the number of times their articles are cited by articles from other professors.

These incentives play a powerful role in how business schools are ranked. In fact, professors are often terminated during tenure evaluation if they do not perform well on these two dimensions. These incentives mean business professors spend most of their time searching for research topics they think will interest other business professors, conducting that research, and attending academic conferences to promote their work to other professors and increase citation counts. Professors who attend industry conferences or immerse themselves in the practice of business decrease the chances of performing well on publication and cite counts.

The result of this scholarly activity is a closed system. Business faculty create a body of knowledge that is scientifically novel, interesting, and important. But far too often, the research doesn’t address the real problems of entrepreneurs, managers, investors, marketers, and business leaders.

While many business professors view putting research into practice as incompatible with modern research universities, they only need to look across their campuses to academic medical centers to see that this view is outdated. Medical schools understand that patients are not well served by research driven solely by biologists, chemists, psychologists, and other research faculty who never treat patients.

Academic medical centers integrate research with practice through what the medical community refers to as “translational research.” Translational research takes scientific research conducted in the lab and makes it useful to people. Fully integrated translational research faculty are tenured professors who practice medicine and use the latest scientific techniques to answer questions about those techniques from practicing physicians. In addition, they often coauthor research papers with basic scientists and collaborate on clinical initiatives with clinical faculty.

The work of translational medical scientists means the knowledge production engines of medical schools advance basic science, applied science, and the practice of medicine. Why should business research and business professors be any different?

Five changes would initiate a new era of highly relevant business school research:

To be sure, corporate funding of medical research for some time has been accused of biasing findings in favor of for-profit interests. Corporate-funded business school research has the potential for conflicts of interest as well. But the way to resolve them is through full disclosure of funding sources and high research standards. The academic journal referrees of any business study should look closely at whether its findings and research methodology could have been biased. For their part, researchers must specifically explain how their methodology eliminated such bias.

Getting business professors to change their research agenda requires deans who embrace fundamental institutional change. While such change is never easy, the good news is that business schools have a strong scientific capability to build upon. They only need to apply that capability to issues that are much more relevant to the organizations that will employ their graduates.

Bob Jensen's threads on the how accountics scientists need to 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

There are other disciplines where academic researchers have lost their relevance.

Anthropology Without Science: A new long-range plan for the American Anthropological Association that omits the word �science� from the organization's vision for its future has exposed fissures in the discipline ---

"How Sociologists Made Themselves Irrelevant," by Orlando Patterson, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, December 1, 2014 ---

Early in 2014, President Obama announced a new initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, aimed at alleviating the problems of black youth. Not only did a task force appointed to draw up the policy agenda not include a single professional sociologist, but I could find no evidence that any sociologist was even consulted in the critical first three months of the group’s work, summarized in a report to the president, despite the enormous amount of work sociologists have done on poverty and the problems of black youth.

Sadly, this situation is typical because sociologists have become distant spectators rather than shapers of policy. In the effort to keep ourselves academically pure, we’ve also become largely irrelevant in molding the most important social enterprises of our era.

Continued in article

How Accountics Scientists Made Themselves Irrelevant:  In the effort to keep ourselves academically pure ---
The Cargo Cult of Accounting Research
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

"How Can Accounting Researchers Become More Innovative? by Sudipta Basu, Accounting Horizons, December 2012, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 851-87 ---


We fervently hope that the research pendulum will soon swing back from the narrow lines of inquiry that dominate today's leading journals to a rediscovery of the richness of what accounting research can be. For that to occur, deans and the current generation of academic accountants must give it a push.�
Michael H. Granof and Stephen A. Zeff (2008)


Rather than clinging to the projects of the past, it is time to explore questions and engage with ideas that transgress the current accounting research boundaries. Allow your values to guide the formation of your research agenda. The passion will inevitably follow �
Joni J. Young (2009)

. . .

Is Academic Accounting a “Cargo Cult Science”?

In a commencement address at Caltech titled “Cargo Cult Science,” Richard Feynman (1974) discussed “science, pseudoscience, and learning how not to fool yourself.” He argued that despite great efforts at scientific research, little progress was apparent in school education. Reading and mathematics scores kept declining, despite schools adopting the recommendations of experts. Feynman (1974, 11) dubbed fields like these “Cargo Cult Sciences,” explaining the term as follows:

In the South Seas there is a Cargo Cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same things to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he's the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things Cargo Cult Science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.

Feynman (1974) argued that the key distinction between a science and a Cargo Cult Science is scientific integrity: “[T]he idea is to give all of the information to help others judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” In other words, papers should not be written to provide evidence for one's hypothesis, but rather to “report everything that you think might make it invalid.” Furthermore, “you should not fool the layman when you're talking as a scientist.”

Even though more and more detailed rules are constantly being written by the SEC, FASB, IASB, PCAOB, AICPA, and other accounting experts (e.g., Benston et al. 2006), the number and severity of accounting scandals are not declining, which is Feynman's (1969) hallmark of a pseudoscience. Because accounting standards often reflect standard-setters' ideology more than research into the effectiveness of different alternatives, it is hardly surprising that accounting quality has not improved. Even preliminary research findings can be transformed journalistically into irrefutable scientific results by the political process of accounting standard-setting. For example, the working paper results of Frankel et al. (2002) were used to justify the SEC's longstanding desire to ban non-audit services in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, even though the majority of contemporary and subsequent studies found different results (Romano 2005). Unfortunately, the ability to bestow status by invitation to select conferences and citation in official documents (e.g., White 2005) may let standard-setters set our research and teaching agendas (Zeff 1989). Academic Accounting and the “Cult of Statistical Significance”

Ziliak and McCloskey (2008) argue that, in trying to mimic physicists, many biologists and social scientists have become devotees of statistical significance, even though most articles in physics journals do not report statistical significance. They argue that statistical tests are typically used to infer whether a particular effect exists, rather than to measure the magnitude of the effect, which usually has more practical import. While early empirical accounting researchers such as Ball and Brown (1968) and Beaver (1968) went to great lengths to estimate how much extra information reached the stock market in the earnings announcement month or week, subsequent researchers limited themselves to answering whether other factors moderated these effects. Because accounting theories rarely provide quantitative predictions (e.g., Kinney 1986), accounting researchers perform nil hypothesis significance testing rituals, i.e., test unrealistic and atheoretical null hypotheses that a particular coefficient is exactly zero.15 While physicists devise experiments to measure the mass of an electron to the accuracy of tens of decimal places, accounting researchers are still testing the equivalent of whether electrons have mass. Indeed, McCloskey (2002) argues that the “secret sins of economics” are that economics researchers use quantitative methods to produce qualitative research outcomes such as (non-)existence theorems and statistically significant signs, rather than to predict and measure quantitative (how much) outcomes.

Practitioners are more interested in magnitudes than existence proofs, because the former are more relevant in decision making. Paradoxically, accounting research became less useful in the real world by trying to become more scientific (Granof and Zeff 2008). Although every empirical article in accounting journals touts the statistical significance of the results, practical significance is rarely considered or discussed (e.g., Lev 1989). Empirical articles do not often discuss the meaning of a regression coefficient with respect to real-world decision variables and their outcomes. Thus, accounting research results rarely have practical implications, and this tendency is likely worst in fields with the strongest reliance on statistical significance such as financial reporting research.

Ziliak and McCloskey (2008) highlight a deeper concern about over-reliance on statistical significance—that it does not even provide evidence about whether a hypothesis is true or false. Carver (1978) provides a memorable example of drawing the wrong inference from statistical significance:

What is the probability of obtaining a dead person (label this part D) given that the person was hanged (label this part H); this is, in symbol form, what is P(D|H)? Obviously, it will be very high, perhaps 0.97 or higher. Now, let us reverse the question. What is the probability that a person has been hanged (H), given that the person is dead (D); that is, what is P(H|D)? This time the probability will undoubtedly be very low, perhaps 0.01 or lower. No one would be likely to make the mistake of substituting the first estimate (0.97) for the second (0.01); that is, to accept 0.97 as the probability that a person has been hanged given that the person is dead. Even though this seems to be an unlikely mistake, it is exactly the kind of mistake that is made with interpretations of statistical significance testing—by analogy, calculated estimates of P(D|H) are interpreted as if they were estimates of P(H|D), when they clearly are not the same.

As Cohen (1994) succinctly explains, statistical tests assess the probability of observing a sample moment as extreme as observed conditional on the null hypothesis being true, or P(D|H0), where D represents data and H0 represents the null hypothesis. However, researchers want to know whether the null hypothesis is true, conditional on the sample, or P(H0|D). We can calculate P(H0|D) from P(D|H0) by applying Bayes' theorem, but that requires knowledge of P(H0), which is what researchers want to discover in the first place. Although Ziliak and McCloskey (2008) quote many eminent statisticians who have repeatedly pointed out this basic logic, the essential point has not entered the published accounting literature.

In my view, restoring relevance to mathematically guided accounting research requires changing our role model from applied science to engineering (Colander 2011).16 While science aims at finding truth through application of institutionalized best practices with little regard for time or cost, engineering seeks to solve a specific problem using available resources, and the engineering method is “the strategy for causing the best change in a poorly understood or uncertain situation within the available resources” (Koen 2003). We should move to an experimental approach that simulates real-world applications or field tests new accounting methods in particular countries or industries, as would likely happen by default if accounting were not monopolized by the IASB (Dye and Sunder 2001). The inductive approach to standard-setting advocated by Littleton (1953) is likely to provide workable solutions to existing problems and be more useful than an axiomatic approach that starts from overly simplistic first principles.

To reduce the gap between academe and practice and stimulate new inquiry, AAA should partner with the FEI or Business Roundtable to create summer, semester, or annual research internships for accounting professors and Ph.D. students at corporations and audit firms.17 Accounting professors who have served as visiting scholars at the SEC and FASB have reported positively about their experience (e.g., Jorgensen et al. 2007), and I believe that such practice internships would provide opportunities for valuable fieldwork that supplements our experimental and archival analyses. Practice internships could be an especially fruitful way for accounting researchers to spend their sabbaticals.

Another useful initiative would be to revive the tradition of The Accounting Review publishing papers that do not rely on statistical significance or mathematical notation, such as case studies, field studies, and historical studies, similar to the Journal of Financial Economics (Jensen et al. 1989).18 A separate editor, similar to the book reviews editor, could ensure that appropriate criteria are used to evaluate qualitative research submissions (Chapman 2012). A co-editor from practice could help ensure that the topics covered are current and relevant, and help reverse the steep decline in AAA professional membership. Encouraging diversity in research methods and topics is more likely to attract new scholars who are passionate and intrinsically care about their research, rather than attracting only those who imitate current research fads for purely instrumental career reasons.

The relevance of accounting journals can be enhanced by inviting accomplished guest authors from outside accounting. The excellent April 1983 issue of The Accounting Review contains a section entitled “Research Perspectives from Related Disciplines,” which includes essays by Robert Wilson (Decision Sciences), Michael Jensen and Stephen Ross (Finance and Economics), and Karl Weick (Organizational Behavior) that were based on invited presentations at the 1982 AAA Annual Meeting. The thought-provoking essays were discussed by prominent accounting academics (Robert Kaplan, Joel Demski, Robert Libby, and Nils Hakansson); I still use Jensen (1983) to start each of my Ph.D. courses. Academic outsiders bring new perspectives to familiar problems and can often reframe them in ways that enable solutions (Tullock 1966).

I still lament that no accounting journal editor invited the plenary speakers—Joe Henrich, Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Michael Hechter, Eric Posner, Robert Lucas, and Vernon Smith—at the 2007 AAA Annual Meeting to write up their presentations for publication in accounting journals. It is rare that Nobel Laureates and U.S. Presidential Early Career Award winners address AAA annual meetings.20 I strongly urge that AAA annual meetings institute a named lecture given by a distinguished researcher from a different discipline, with the address published in The Accounting Review. This would enable cross-fertilization of ideas between accounting and other disciplines. Several highly cited papers published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics were written by economists (Watts 1998), so this initiative could increase citation flows from accounting journals to other disciplines.


Even the greatest discovery will have little impact if other people cannot understand it or are unwilling to make the effort. Zeff (1978) says, “Scholarly writing need not be abstruse. It can and should be vital and relevant. Research can succeed in illuminating the dark areas of knowledge and facilitating the resolution of vexing problems—but only if the report of research findings is communicated to those who can carry the findings further and, in the end, initiate change.” If our journals put off readers, then our research will not stimulate our students or induce change in practice (Dyckman 1989).

Michael Jensen (1983, 333–334) addressed the 1982 AAA Annual Meeting saying:

Unfortunately, there exists in the profession an unwarranted bias toward the use of mathematics even in situations where it is unproductive or useless. One manifestation of this is the common use of the terms “rigorous” or “analytical” or even “theoretical” as identical with ‘‘mathematical.” None of these links is, of course, correct. Mathematical is not the same as rigorous, nor is it the same as analytical or theoretical. Propositions can be logically rigorous without being mathematical, and analysis does not have to take the form of symbols and equations. The English sentence and paragraph will do quite well for many analytical purposes. In addition, the use of mathematics does not prevent the commission of errors—even egregious ones.

Unfortunately, the top accounting journals demonstrate an increased “tyranny of formalism” that “develops when mathematically inclined scholars take the attitude that if the analytical language is not mathematics, it is not rigorous, and if a problem cannot be solved with the use of mathematics, the effort should be abandoned” (Jensen 1983, 335). Sorter (1979) acidly described the transition from normative to quantitative research: “the golden age of empty blindness gave way in the sixties to bloated blindness calculated to cause indigestion. In the sixties, the wonders of methodology burst upon the minds of accounting researchers. We entered what Maslow described as a mean-oriented age. Accountants felt it was their absolute duty to regress, regress and regress.” Accounting research increasingly relies on mathematical and statistical models with highly stylized and unrealistic assumptions. As Young (2006) demonstrates, the financial statement “user” in accounting research and regulation bears little resemblance to flesh-and-blood individuals, and hence our research outputs often have little relevance to the real world.

Figure 1 compares how frequently accountants and members of ten other professions are cited in The New York Times in the late 1990s (Ellenberg 2000). These data are juxtaposed with the numbers employed in each profession during 1996 using U.S. census data. Accountants are cited less frequently relative to their numbers than any profession except computer programmers. One possibility is that journalists cannot detect anything interesting in accounting journals. Another possibility is that university public relations staffs are consistently unable to find an interesting angle in published accounting papers that they can pitch to reporters. I have little doubt that the obscurantist tendencies in accounting papers make it harder for most outsiders to understand what accounting researchers are saying or find interesting.

Accounting articles have also become much longer over time, and I am regularly asked to review articles with introductions that are six to eight pages long, with many of the paragraphs cut-and-pasted from later sections. In contrast, it took Watson and Crick (1953) just one journal page to report the double-helix structure of DNA. Einstein (1905) took only three journal pages to derive his iconic equation E = mc2. Since even the best accounting papers are far less important than these classics of 20th century science, readers waste time wading through academic bloat (Sorter 1979). Because the top general science journals like Science and Nature place strict word limits on articles that differ by the expected incremental contribution, longer scientific papers signal better quality.21 Unfortunately, accounting journals do not restrict length, which encourages bloated papers. Another driver of length is the aforementioned trend toward greater rigor in the review process (Ellison 2002).

My first suggestion for making published accounting articles less tedious and boring is to impose strict word limits and to revive the “Notes” sections for shorter contributions. Word limits force authors to think much harder about how to communicate their essential ideas succinctly and greatly improve writing. Similarly, I would encourage accounting journals to follow Nature and provide guidelines for informative abstracts.22 A related suggestion is to follow the science journals, and more recently, The American Economic Review, by introducing online-only appendices to report the lengthy robustness sections that are demanded by persnickety reviewers.23 In addition, I strongly encourage AAA journals to require authors to post online with each journal article the data sets and working computer code used to produce all tables as a condition for publication, so that other independent researchers can validate and replicate their studies (Bernanke 2004; McCullough and McKitrick 2009).24 This is important because recent surveys of science and management researchers reveal that data fabrication, data falsification, and other violations in published studies is far from rare (Martinson et al. 2005; Bedeian et al. 2010).

I also urge that authors report results graphically rather than in tables, as recommended by numerous statistical experts (e.g., Tukey 1977; Chambers et al. 1983; Wainer 2009). For example, Figure 2 shows how the data in Figure 1 can be displayed more effectively without taking up more page space (Gelman et al. 2002). Scientific papers routinely display results in figures with confidence intervals rather than tables with standard errors and p-values, and accounting journals should adopt these practices to improve understandability. Soyer and Hogarth (2012) show experimentally that even well-trained econometricians forecast more slowly and inaccurately when given tables of statistical results than when given equivalent scatter plots. Most accounting researchers cannot recognize the main tables of Ball and Brown (1968) or Beaver (1968) on sight, but their iconic figures are etched in our memories. The figures in Burgstahler and Dichev (1997) convey their results far more effectively than tables would. Indeed, the finance professoriate was convinced that financial markets are efficient by the graphs in Fama et al. (1969), a highly influential paper that does not contain a single statistical test! Easton (1999) argues that the 1990s non-linear earnings-return relation literature would likely have been developed much earlier if accounting researchers routinely plotted their data. Since it is not always straightforward to convert tables into graphs (Gelman et al. 2002), I recommend that AAA pay for new editors of AAA journals to take courses in graphical presentation.

I would also recommend that AAA award an annual prize for the best figure or graphic in an accounting journal each year. In addition to making research articles easier to follow, figures ease the introduction of new ideas into accounting textbooks. Economics is routinely taught with diagrams and figures to aid intuition—demand and supply curves, IS-LM analysis, Edgeworth boxes, etc. (Blaug and Lloyd 2010). Accounting teachers would benefit if accounting researchers produced similar education tools. Good figures could also be used to adorn the cover pages of our journals similar to the best science journals; in many disciplines, authors of lead articles are invited to provide an illustration for the cover page. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reproduces paintings depicting doctors on its cover (Southgate 1996); AAA could print paintings of accountants and accounting on the cover of The Accounting Review, perhaps starting with those collected in Yamey (1989). If color printing costs are prohibitive, we could imitate the Journal of Political Economy back cover and print passages from literature where accounting and accountants play an important role, or even start a new format by reproducing cartoons illustrating accounting issues. The key point is to induce accountants to pick up each issue of the journal, irrespective of the research content.

I think that we need an accounting journal to “fill a gap between the general-interest press and most other academic journals,” similar to the Journal of Economics Perspectives (JEP).25 Unlike other economics journals, JEP editors and associate editors solicit articles from experts with the goal of conveying state-of-the-art economic thinking to non-specialists, including students, the lay public, and economists from other specialties.26 The journal explicitly eschews mathematical notation or regression results and requires that results be presented either graphically or as a table of means. In response to the question “List the three economics journals (broadly defined) that you read most avidly when a new issue appears,” a recent survey of U.S. economics professors found that Journal of Economics Perspectives was their second favorite economics journal (Davis et al. 2011), which suggests that an unclaimed niche exists in accounting. Although Accounting Horizons could be restructured along these lines to better reach practitioners, it might make sense to start a new association-wide journal under the AAA aegis.



I believe that accounting is one of the most important human innovations. The invention of accounting records was likely indispensable to the emergence of agriculture, and ultimately, civilization (e.g., Basu and Waymire 2006). Many eminent historians view double-entry bookkeeping as indispensable for the Renaissance and the emergence of capitalism (e.g., Sombart 1919; Mises 1949; Weber 1927), possibly via stimulating the development of algebra (Heeffer 2011). Sadly, accounting textbooks and the top U.S. accounting journals seem uninterested in whether and how accounting innovations changed history, or indeed in understanding the history of our current practices (Zeff 1989).

In short, the accounting academy embodies a “tragedy of the commons” (Hardin 1968) where strong extrinsic incentives to publish in “top” journals have led to misdirected research efforts. As Zeff (1983) explains, “When modeling problems, researchers seem to be more affected by technical developments in the literature than by their potential to explain phenomena. So often it seems that manuscripts are the result of methods in search of questions rather than questions in search of methods.” Solving common problems requires strong collective action by the social network of accounting researchers using self-governing mechanisms (e.g., Ostrom 1990, 2005). Such initiatives should occur at multiple levels (e.g., school, association, section, region, and individual) to have any chance of success.

While accounting research has made advances in recent decades, our collective progress seems slow, relative to the hard work put in by so many talented researchers. Instead of letting financial economics and psychology researchers and accounting standard-setters choose our research methods and questions, we should return our focus to addressing fundamental issues in accounting. As important, junior researchers should be encouraged to take risks and question conventional academic wisdom, rather than blindly conform to the party line. For example, the current FASB–IASB conceptual framework “remains irreparably flawed” (Demski 2007), and accounting researchers should take the lead in developing alternative conceptual frameworks that better fit what accounting does (e.g., Ijiri 1983; Ball 1989; Dickhaut et al. 2010). This will entail deep historical and cross-cultural analyses rather than regression analyses on machine-readable data. Deliberately attacking the “fundamental and frequently asked questions” in accounting will require innovations in research outlooks and methods, as well as training in the history of accounting thought. It is shameful that we still cannot answer basic questions like “Why did anyone invent recordkeeping?” or “Why is double-entry bookkeeping beautiful?”

Bravo to Professor Basu for having the guts address the Cargo Cult in this manner!

"A 'Partial Win' for Publishers," by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, October 14, 2014 ---

While academic publishers on Friday notched a rare win in the ongoing legal debate about digital access to copyrighted works, proponents of fair use said the opinion in Cambridge v. Patton recognizes that colleges and universities can legally create digital reserves of books in their collections.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which covers Alabama, Georgia and Florida, rejected a broad ruling on how to determine fair use. The decision guarantees the case has a long and litigious road ahead of it by reversing the district court’s opinion and sending the case back for further deliberations.

Rather than strike a decisive blow against fair use, the legal concept that places some limits on the rights of copyright holders, the appeals court instead issued a stern warning against quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions to legal disputes -- specifically, the idea that copying less than a chapter or 10 percent of a book automatically protects an institution from a lawsuit.

“To further the purpose of copyright, we must provide for some fair use taking of copyrighted material,” the opinion, authored by Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, reads. “But if we set this transaction cost too high by allowing too much taking, we run the risk of eliminating the economic incentive for the creation of original works that is at the core of copyright and -- by driving creators out of the market -- killing the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg.”

Yet the court also came away “persuaded” that the Copyright Act of 1976 contains specific protections for colleges and universities, noting that Congress “devoted extensive effort to ensure that fair use would allow for educational copying under the proper circumstances.”

“While it can be worrisome to see a fair use win sent back, in this case, it seems to be mostly for the right reasons,” Mike Masnick, founder of the technology blog Techdirt, wrote. “Given these new instructions, it seems like the lower court now has a chance to come to the right answer for the right reasons, and that’s always going to be a better result.”

Rejected on Process, Not Merits

The case concerns an initiative created by Georgia State University, which in 2004 began letting faculty members scan book and journal excerpts and host them in the university’s e-reserves. Instead of waiting in turn for their classmates to finish an assigned reading on hold in the library, students could read the digitized version online. Three publishers, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications, said Georgia State’s actions, similar to those used at many other colleges, constituted copyright violations.

Judge Orinda D. Evans in May 2012 endorsed the university's practices, ruling in its favor on 94 of 99 instances of alleged copyright violation. As long as the university didn’t make too much of the copyrighted books or articles available -- up to 10 percent or one chapter, whichever is less -- the digitized copies were considered fair use of the works, she ruled.

The publishers criticized the court for what they said was a narrow opinion, and for relying on a “legally incorrect” fair use analysis. They appealed the case to the higher court that September.

The appeals court, which released its opinion late Friday afternoon, sided with the publishers -- at least on their criticism of Evans’s process.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Fair Use and the DMCA ---

The number of foreign students in Germany has surged to 300,000, putting Germany just behind America, Britain and Australia as a destination. If you can’t get into Stanford, Germany is now another option.
"German universities Between great and so-so," The Economist, December 13, 2014 ---

A GLANCE at the global rankings of universities suggests that nothing much has changed in recent years. MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, Oxford and a few other English-speaking campuses remain at the top, fighting it out with large endowments, celebrity professors and selective entry. By contrast, universities in Germany are nowhere near the top, even after several reforms, including an “excellence initiative” since 2005. Many students waste away in overflow rooms next to packed and stuffy lecture halls. Their best hope of seeing professors is through opera glasses.

. . .

After 1945, West German universities revived the stuffy bits but without the excellence. Only the idolising of titles survived: even outside academia, Germans insist on being addressed with the full mouthful of “Herr Professor Doktor”. In the 1960s German students rebelled in vain. One slogan was “under the robes, the musty stink of 1,000 years”.

With the country’s first Social Democratic government in 1969, the emphasis shifted to widening access across social classes. Until a court ruling in 2005, German universities—which, like schools, are run by the states—were not allowed to charge tuition fees. Since then, seven states (all in the old West Germany) have tried, but all have given up after howls of outrage. The final holdouts, Bavaria and Lower Saxony, have recently dropped fees.

But Germany knows that higher education needs to improve. One push has, since 1999, come from the European Union’s Bologna process, which has made the German system more compatible internationally, replacing traditional degrees with bachelors’ and masters’. Germany has also allowed private universities and specialised colleges for engineers or business, with courses in English.

Their success has been limited, however. The idea that alumni should donate money to their alma maters remains anathema. The assumption is that education is the government’s business and should cost nothing. Only 6% of students go to private colleges.

Even so, some progress has been made. The federal government and a research foundation have given money to 30 promising universities known tongue-in-cheek as an Ivy League in the making. The number of foreign students in Germany has surged to 300,000, putting Germany just behind America, Britain and Australia as a destination. If you can’t get into Stanford, Germany is now another option.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Countries with the highest proportions of  college graduates ---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"For-Profit Educator Will Pay $3.75-Million Over Deceptive Marketing," by Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12. 2014 ---

A for-profit education company has agreed to pay Massachusetts $3.75-million to settle claims it engaged in deceptive marketing practices, The Boston Globe reports. The office of the state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, announced on Friday that the Salter chain, which is owned by Premier Education Group LP, had claimed its admissions process was selective when it wasn’t and had misrepresented job-placement rates. The company’s chief executive, Gary Camp, disputed the allegations but said the company had agreed to change some of its practices and begin offering career counseling for current and former students in 2015.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

Street Smart versus Ethics:  How Not to Teach Ethics in the Slums
Chicago's Champion Little League Team Won Because Parents and Officials Allegedly Cheated

"Jackie Robinson West Broke Residency Rules, Suburban League Claims," by Mark Konkol, DNAinfor.com, December 16, 2014 ---

The Jackie Robinson West sluggers from Chicago’s struggling South Side became national celebrities this summer when they hit and pitched their way to the Little League World Series and took home the U.S title.

But now the adults who put together the team — parents, coaches and league administrators — face allegations they violated Little League residency rules by stacking the lineup with All-Star ringers from the suburbs to create a “super team” that became champs.

In an email to Little League International obtained by DNAinfo.com Chicago, a neighboring south suburban league called on Little League officials to investigate whether Jackie Robinson West engaged in “manipulating, bending and blatantly breaking the rules for the sole purpose of winning at all costs.”

“We have very good reason to believe that [there] were several members of this team that did not live within JRW's boundaries and, per Little League residency requirements, should not have been allowed on this team,” Evergreen Park Athletic Association vice president Chris Janes wrote.

Evergreen Park league officials say they decided to speak out despite the risk of being criticized in hopes of protecting the integrity of Little League baseball — a once small-town organization that’s now worth more than $80 million — and keep their league, as well as others, alive.

Jackie Robinson West league officials say they fully complied with residency rules — and Little League International’s request for additional supporting documentation last month — pointing to a finding of no wrongdoing.

“Oh my goodness, we did not cheat. We did not recruit these guys,” Jackie Robinson West president Bill Haley said. “Nothing was done to put these kids together. We absolutely did not cheat.”

Little League residency rules require players to either reside or attend school within a league’s boundaries with very few exceptions, and specifically state it is unacceptable for a parent to establish residency to qualify for tournament play.

According to a league map obtained by DNAinfo.com, the Jackie Robinson West boundaries include sections of the Morgan Park, Washington Heights, Auburn Gresham, Englewood and New City neighborhoods of Chicago — but do not include any suburbs.

Janes and fellow Evergreen Park league board members said news reports during and after the World Series that quoted suburban officials celebrating various players as hometown heroes exposed some of Jackie Robinson West players as suburbanites and confirmed what some Evergreen Park Little League volunteers had suspected for years — preteen blue-chip players were being recruited to join the team.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
They might have recruited stars from the Chicago Cubs, but those stars weren't good enough for the Jackie Robinson West team.

Jensen Comment
From Hard Workers to Couch Potatoes: Television Advertising Fills the Days (not mine, although in retirement Erika and I do watch one Netflix movie most days. Lately its been a long and well-written and addictive TV series called Longmire. The nice thing about watching such a series on Netflix is that there are no commercial breaks.)

"Over The Past 150 Years, There Has Been A Profound Shift In What Humans Do With Their Time," by Henry Blodget, Business Insider, December 27, 2014 ---

. . .

150 years ago, we spent about 70 of those 112 waking hours working.

Thanks to the remarkable productivity enhancements we have made over the past 150 years, the average workweek in most countries has dropped by about 30 hours:

This remarkable drop in working hours has freed up a lot of extra time.

So what do we humans do with all the extra hours our miraculous progress and productivity enhancements have allowed us to create for ourselves?

We spend them watching television.

According to recent figures, the average human spends about 4 hours a day, or 28 hours a week, watching television.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
How we spend our 21st Century leisure time varies somewhat in across different cultures and ages. For example, bike riding is increasingly popular in the USA but not to the extreme that we find in Denmark and Holland. In Latin American countries, where it is quite hot and humid, clusters of men stand around a lot outdoors seemingly doing nothing but conversing. In the USA that is also the case but most of them are ostensibly doing road repairs with two workers actually working while ten more are standing around conversing.

Aside from bike riding, men and women in the USA spend a lot more time walking and running indoors and outdoors. When I drive to town I always see a lot of cars parked at our most popular (Evergreen) physical fitness center. Golf and swimming seem to have increased in popularity while tennis and fishing declined.

Many men find more time for hobbies like antique car restoration. Women are increasingly into gardening, art, and crafts. Both men and women spend a lot more time on their computers and gadgets.

Teens spend an enormous amount of time in social networking, computer games, and video games. In middle age, studies show that middle-aged women are more prone than middle-aged men toward social networking and game addictions.

With fuel prices plunging, many more folks in the USA will be on the roadways with their motor homes. They will still be watching a lot of TV in the RV parks. I guess we could write poems about the TV-RV thing.

By the end of the day nearly all of us have spent more of our non-working days on television and movies than on hobbies and books.

"The Rise of Men Who Don’t Work (and What They Do Instead)," by Barry Ritholtz, December 16, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
Many men and women who do not get W-2 forms for working hours are nevertheless still earning wages in the $2 trillion underground economy while working in construction, house cleaning, etc.

Many of them are on food stamps and other forms of welfare.
The welfare average will be  $1.4 trillion in the USA over the next decade not counting tens of millions of people receiving full disability payments fraudulently
"America in Urgent Need of Welfare Reform," by Vann Ellison, Townhall, December 16. 2014 ---

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

Desalinization --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination

California's Carlsbad Plant Turns to the Pacific Ocean for 54 million gallons of desalinized water
"Desalination out of Desperation," by David Talbot, MIT's Technology Review, December 16, 2014 ---


. . .

The process is called reverse osmosis (RO), and it’s the mainstay of large-scale desalination facilities around the world. As water is forced through the membrane, the polymer allows the water molecules to pass while blocking the salts and other inorganic impurities. Global desalination output has tripled since 2000: 16,000 plants are up and running around the world, and the pace of construction is expected to increase while the technology continues to improve. Carlsbad, for example, has been outfitted with state-of-the art commercial membranes and advanced pressure-recovery systems. But the plants remain costly to build and operate.

Seawater desalination, in fact, is one of the most expensive sources of fresh water. The water sells—depending on site conditions—for between $1,000 and $2,500 per acre-foot (the amount used by two five-person U.S. households per year). Carlsbad’s product will sell for around $2,000, which is 80 percent more than the county pays for treated water from outside the area. One reason is the huge amount of energy required to push water through the membranes. And Carlsbad, like most desalination plants, is being built with extra pumps, treatment capacity, and membrane tubes, the better to guarantee uptime. “Because it is a critical asset for the region, there is a tremendous amount of redundancy to give high reliability,” says Jonathan Loveland, vice president at Poseidon Water, the owner of the plant. “If any piece fails, something else will pick up the slack.”

Already, some 700 million people worldwide suffer from water scarcity, but that number is expected to swell to 1.8 billion in just 10 years. Some countries, like Israel, already rely heavily on desalination; more will follow suit. In many places, “we are already at the limit of renewable water resources, and yet we continue to grow,” says John Lienhard, a mechanical engineer and director of the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT. “On top of that we have global warming, with hotter and drier conditions in many areas, which will potentially further reduce the amount of renewable water available.” While conservation and recycling will help, you can’t recycle what you don’t have. “As coastal cities grow,” he says, “the value of seawater desalination is going to increase rapidly, and it’s likely we will see widespread adoption.”

Against this grim backdrop, there is some good news. In short, desalination is ripe for technological improvement. A combination of sensor-driven optimization and automation, plus new types of membranes, could eventually allow for desalination plants that are half the size and use commensurately less energy. Among other benefits, small, mobile desalination units could be used in agricultural regions hundreds of miles away from the ocean, where demand for water is great and growing.

Jensen Comment
I read that a each pound of guacamole made from pulverized avocados takes 74 gallons of fresh water to grow not far from the Carlsbad plant in Southern California. Ironically salt is taken out of the sea water to grow the avocados and then put back into the guacamole for flavoring.

When You're Really Good at What you Do

"Chemical-Sensing Displays and Other Surprising Uses of Glass:  An inside look at Corning’s labs suggests what’s next for the inventor of Gorilla Glass," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, December 17. 2014 ---

. . .

Founded in 1851, Corning survived in the past because of its ability to keep reinventing the possibilities of glass. At about the same time that the market for fiber optics collapsed, its business selling glass for cathode-ray-tube TVs also took a steep dive. It was saved by a process it had invented for making the high quality glass needed for the transistors that control pixels in LCD displays—the very display technology that was destroying its cathode-ray business. A few years later, the company got a call from Steve Jobs, who needed tough glass for the first iPhone. Corning just happened to have a technology sitting on the shelf—the toughened glass that came to be called Gorilla Glass. Corning hopes to be ready for the next call.

"End-of-Semester Econometrics Examination," by David Giles, Econometrics Beat, December 2014 ---

"The Rotterdam Model," by David Giles, Econometrics Beat, December 14, 2014 ---

Ken Clements (U. Western Australia) has sent me a copy of his paper, co-authored with Grace Gao this month, "The Rotterdam Demand Model Half a Century On". 
How appropriate it is to see this important landmark in econometrics honoured in this way. And how fitting that this paper is written by two Australian econometricians, given the enormous contributions to empirical demand analysis that have come from that group of researchers - including Ken and his many students - over the years. (But more on this another time.)

Any student who wants to see applied econometrics at its best can do no better than look at the rich empirical literature on consumer demand. That literature will take you beyond the "toy" models that you meet in your micro. courses, to really serious ones: the Linear Expenditure System, the Rotterdam Model, the Almost Ideal Demand System, and others. Where better to see the marriage of sound economic modelling, interesting data, and innovative statistical methods? In short - "econometrics".
Back to Ken and Grace's paper, though. Here's the abstract:
"Half a century ago, Barten (1964) and Theil (1965) formulated what is now known as the Rotterdam model. A path-breaking innovation, this system of demand equations allowed for the first time rigorous testing of the theory of the utility-maximising consumer. This has led to a vibrant, on-going strand of research on the theoretical underpinnings of the model, extensions and numerous applications. But perhaps due to its European heritage and unorthodox derivation, there is still misunderstanding and a tendency for the Rotterdam model to be regarded with reservations and/or uncertainties (if not mistrust). This paper marks the golden jubilee of the model by clarifying its economic foundations, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, elucidating its links with other models of consumer demand, and dealing with some recent developments that have their roots in Barten and Theil’s pioneering research of the 1960s." 
I hope that you'll take the time to read this excellent paper.

A final comment: I included the Barten and Theil papers in my post, Vintage Years in Econometrics - the 1960's. Both papers richly deserve that recognition.

Jensen Comment
I think LinkedIn's ranking of USA accounting programs is BS because of the top programs (in my viewpoint) that it leaves out of the Top 25.

"The 25 Best Colleges To Attend If You Want To Be An Accountant (according to BS Linked in Data)," Business Insider, October 3, 2014 ---

Keep in mind that most states now require one year of college beyond the undergraduate years.

What are the top-ranked accounting graduate programs? 
It all depends on what programs and what criteria are used for the rankings

Top Accounting MBA in Accounting Specialty Programs Ranked by US News

University of Texas—​Austin (McCombs)
Austin, TX

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
Philadelphia, PA

University of Illinois—​Urbana-​Champaign
Champaign, IL

University of Chicago (Booth)
Chicago, IL

University of Michigan—​Ann Arbor (Ross)
Ann Arbor, MI

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Brigham Young University (Marriott)
Provo, UT

University of Southern California (Marshall)
Los Angeles, CA

New York University (Stern)
New York, NY

University of North Carolina—​Chapel Hill (Kenan-​Flagler)
Chapel Hill, NC

See all 30 Ranked Schools

Jensen Comment
In some ways the above rankings of MBA programs with accounting specialties are misleading. There are some top-ranked MBA programs above that should probably be avoided for graduates seeking careers as CPAs in auditing and taxation. All the programs above have accounting Ph.D. programs, but the above top rankings for MBA in accounting specialties are not necessarily the top accounting doctoral programs.

Students seeking to pass the CPA examination and aiming for careers in auditing and taxation should probably seek out masters of accounting or masters of taxation programs rather than MBA programs. Brigham Young University (Marriott) has a top-ranked masters of accounting program but no accounting doctoral program. The University of Texas, the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Illinois have top masters of accounting programs, MBA programs, and Ph.D. programs.

Stanford University and the University of Chicago have prestigious MBA programs but do not have masters of accounting programs. Students seeking to pass the CPA examination and searching for careers in auditing and taxation would not normally choose Stanford or Chicago.

Top Masters of Accounting Programs

Best Master’s in Accounting Schools According to Professors

Here are the top ranked master’s in accounting programs in 2013 according to the Public Accounting Report:
1. University of Texas
2. Brigham Young University
3. University of Illinois
4. University of Notre Dame
5. University of Mississippi
6. University of Southern California
7. University of Michigan
8. Texas A&M University
9. Indiana University
10. University of North Carolina

The Public Accounting Report ranks accounting programs annually based on a survey of accounting professors at over 200 colleges and universities.

Accounting Schools with the Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Pass Rate

1. Brigham Young University
2. University Georgia
3. University of Wisconsin Madison
4. University of Michigan Ann Arbor
5. University of Notre Dame
6. Texas A&M University
7. University of Virginia
8. University of Texas Austin
9. Lehigh University
10. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

These rankings are for large schools with at least 60 candidates for the CPA exam. For all candidates in the United States, the first-time pass rate was 54.6% in 2013 according to Nasba.org. You can find more information and specific statistics on the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report.


If we were to just rank the accounting doctoral programs in terms of research performance the rankings might be quite different from the rankings shown above for MBA specialty  and Master of Accounting Programs ---

"Law School Enrollments Continue Their Free Fall," Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
We can thank turnover in public accounting for maintaining steady growth in accounting enrollments in masters degree programs in accountancy. The job opportunities combined with the lower cost becoming a CPA give the accountancy profession a huge edge these days over law schools where seven or more years of full-time college are required to sit for the BAR exam in all 50 states.

The cost of those extra three years of law school combined with mounting student debt at the undergraduate level hare huge discouragements for taking on tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to become a lawyer. This has not hit the medical schools quite as hard because of the better job market for new physicians.

It's sad that law schools are on a "free fall," because law schools helped to generate undergraduate majors in nonprofessional disciplines in liberal arts such as in history and philosophy. Now liberal arts graduates have a harder time getting into careers without taking more undergraduate prerequisites such as undergraduate accounting and criminal justice courses. By the way there are even more dire shortages of criminal justice Ph.D. graduates than the well-known shortages of new Ph.D.s in accountancy.

From the Scout Report on December 19, 2014

Photozeen --- http://www.photozeen.com 

Photozeen is an educational platform for photographers. It teaches users how to take better pictures through a process of skills tips, feedback, and community connections. The app revolves around "quests," which start with general topics and then narrow to hone basic photography skills. Photozeen is currently available for iPads and iPhones running iOS 6.0+ and will soon be available for Android users.

Telegram --- https://telegram.org 

Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a specific focus on security and speed. If you're concerned about your data privacy when messaging others, Telegram may be for you. There are two big advantages of using Telegram - it's open source and it's entirely cloud-based - so even if you don't have your phone, you can still access all of your data from your computer. Users can even set a timer for messages to self-destruct, erasing it from the receiving device as well. Telegram is available across all platforms.

Costs and Benefits of Electronic Cigarettes Still Under Scrutiny
Can e-cigarettes actually help smokers quit?

E-cigarettes can help smokers quit or cut down heavily, say researchers

Electronic cigarettes and health: Vapour Trail

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction

Are E-Cigarettes Less Harmful? Yes and No, New Study Suggests

E-cigarettes: The lingering questions

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

Education Tutorials

Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED) --- http://theseedcenter.org

Community College Research Center --- http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/ 

Continuing Education --- http://www.rand.org/topics/continuing-education.html

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

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

Physics of the Universe --- http://www.bnl.gov/science/physics.php

Windows to the Universe: The Sun --- http://www.windows2universe.org/sun/sun.html

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life at UC Berkeley --- https://seti.berkeley.edu
It might come as no surprise that some creatures at Berkeley are from another planet

Neuroscience Research Portal --- http://neuroportal.gmu.edu

Propulsion Research Center --- http://www.uah.edu/prc

The Era Of The Flying Car Has Finally Arrived ---

New research suggests an existing drug, riluzole, may prevent foggy 'old age' brain ---

What We Know (about climate change) --- http://whatweknow.aaas.org

Scientists develop first effective and affordable bedbug bait and trap ---

2014 in Computing: Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence --- Click Here

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Open Anthropology --- http://www.aaaopenanthro.org

From Princeton University
Innovations for Successful Societies --- http://successfulsocieties.princeton.edu

Focus Areas


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

Law and Legal Studies

Stored Communications Act (SCA) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stored_Communications_Act


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

Math Tutorials

FiveThirtyEight  (Nate Silver's Blog on probabilities of elections, sports, etc.) --- http://fivethirtyeight.com

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

History Tutorials

New Historian (latest historical discoveries)  --- http://www.newhistorian.com

The Chairman Smiles (historical communism posters) --- http://www.iisg.nl/exhibitions/chairman/index.php

This Animated Map Shows How European Languages Evolved ---
You may have to move the mouse to keep the animation running

International Center for Photography --- http://www.icp.org/museum

The Tate Digitizes 70,000 Works of Art; Now Digitizing Another 52,00 Letters, Photographs & Sketchbooks from British Artists ---

From Princeton University
Innovations for Successful Societies --- http://successfulsocieties.princeton.edu

American Ballet Theatre --- http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/american-ballet-theatre/index.html

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life at UC Berkeley --- https://seti.berkeley.edu
It might come as no surprise that some creatures at Berkeley are from another planet

Bunraku (Japanese puppet theater) --- http://bunraku.cul.columbia.edu

Watch Art on Ancient Greek Vases Come to Life with 21st Century Animation ---

Computer History
John Vincent Atanasoff and the Birth of Electronic Digital Computing --- http://jva.cs.iastate.edu/

"The World’s First Computer Is Much Older Than Previously Thought," by Kukil Bora, International Business Times via Business Insider,  Novenmber 29, 2014 ---

Silicon Valley --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/silicon/

History of Computing
Internet Archive: Computers & Technology --- http://archive.org/details/computersandtechvideos

Great Moments in Computer History: Douglas Engelbart Presents “The Mother of All Demos” (1968) ---

"Forgotten PC history: The true origins of the personal computer --- The PC's back story involves a little-known Texas connection," by Lamont Wood, Computer World, August 8, 2008 --- Click Here

Steve Jobs at the Smithsonian --- http://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/stevejobsputational Science Education Reference Desk --- http://www.shodor.org/refdesk/

A Computer Gets Delivered in 1957: Great Moments in Schlepping History ---

Watch the World’s Oldest Working Digital Computer — the 1951 Harwell Dekatron — Get Fired Up Again

A Short History of Romanian Computing: From 1961 to 1989

“They Were There” — Errol Morris Finally Directs a Film for IBM

The Internet Arcade Lets You Play 900 Vintage Video Games in Your Web Browser (Free)

Free Online Computer Science Courses

Harvard’s Free Computer Science Course Teaches You to Code in 12 Weeks

Bob Jensen's threads on computing history ---

2014 in Computing: Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence --- Click Here

Cold War Paranoia
Ayn Rand Helped the FBI Identify It’s A Wonderful Life as Communist Propaganda ---

"What New Left History Gave Us The New Left historians’ withering critiques of liberalism have proven enormously influential:  But do they hold up in our more conservative age?" by Rich Yeselson, Democracy --- A Journal of Ideas, Winter 2015 ---

In this age of partisan and ideological polarization, something unusual happened in May: A writer from the right delivered an encomium to a writer from the left. The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney—a relentless libertarian who has never seen a government program he did not view as a squalid arrangement between statist liberals and corporate welfare seekers—paid tribute to Gabriel Kolko, a historian identified with the New Left of the 1960s who had passed away earlier that month.

Carney wrote that Americans typically believe a classic “fable” that courageous “trust busters” like Teddy Roosevelt used “the big stick of federal power to battle the greedy corporations.” Kolko’s work, especially his most significant book, The Triumph of Conservatism (1963), though little known today to anybody but specialists in early twentieth-century history, “dismantled this myth.” Carney quoted Kolko’s core argument: “The dominant fact of American political life” in the Progressive Era “was that big business led the struggle for the federal regulation of the economy.” And to both Carney and Kolko, this is pretty much everything you need to know.

Continued in a very long article that's difficult to summarize except to say that the New Left's intellectual heroes have changed the paradigm from a study of the history of power to a study of the history of society.


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

This Animated Map Shows How European Languages Evolved ---
You may have to move the mouse to keep the animation running

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm

Music Tutorials

American Ballet Theatre --- http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/american-ballet-theatre/index.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

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

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

December 15, 2014

December 16, 2014

December 17, 2014

December 18, 2014

December 19, 2014

December 20, 2014

December 23, 2014

December 24, 2014

December 25, 2014

December 22, 2014

December 29, 2014

December 30, 2014



Have you heard the one about the guy who steps up to the bar and orders a riluzole?
New research suggests an existing drug, riluzole, may prevent foggy 'old age' brain

Scientists develop first effective and affordable bedbug bait and trap ---

Navy Seal Workout ---

"Scientists tallied up all the advice on Dr. Oz's show. Half of it was baseless or wrong," by Julia Belluz, Vox, December 17, 2014 ---

Do ‘Brain Training’ Games Work? It Depends on Which Scientists You Ask ---

Jensen Comment
I don't know if brain training games work, but I do think brain activity is import for older folks in danger of losing memory skills. We have a 91-year old friend who is still very active in playing bridge and doing crossword puzzles.  I think such activities are important for aged brains.

I think it's good for retired professors to stay active in their scholarship.

From the Scout Report on December 19, 2014

Costs and Benefits of Electronic Cigarettes Still Under Scrutiny
Can e-cigarettes actually help smokers quit?

E-cigarettes can help smokers quit or cut down heavily, say researchers

Electronic cigarettes and health: Vapour Trail

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction

Are E-Cigarettes Less Harmful? Yes and No, New Study Suggests

E-cigarettes: The lingering questions



"Thinking and Writing: Cognitive Science and Intelligence Analysis," by Robert S. Sinclair
Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1984

"Thinking and Writing : The CIA’s Guide to Cognitive Science & Intelligence Analysis," by Robert S. Sinclair
Review by Miguel Barbosa
May 14, 2014

This CIA Monograph (re-released in 2010 by Robert Sinclair) presents “the implications of growing knowledge in the cognitive sciences for the way the intelligence business is conducted – in how we perform analysis, how we present our findings, and even its meaning for our hiring and training practices”. In other words, this paper is about, “thinking and writing [and] the complex mental patterns out of which writing comes, their strengths and limitations, and the challenges they create, not just for writers but for managers”. Below are some curated excerpts.

P.S. Don’t confuse this paper with the popular CIA book, “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” which I have linked to in the past. This paper draws upon similar cognitive research but has a different focus (mainly that of communicating clearly).


Two quotations sum up what this essay is about:

“Our insights into mental functioning are too often fashioned from observations of the sick and the handicapped. It is difficult to catch and record, let alone understand, the swift flight of a mind operating at its best.”

“A writer in the act is a thinker on a full-time cognitive overload.”

“In brief, I hope to describe some of the powerful metaphors about the workings of our minds that have developed over the past couple of decades.”

“…although this essay talks a lot about writing, it is not designed to deal with the how-to-write issue. As the title indicates, its topic is thinking and writing the complex mental patterns out of which writing comes, their strengths and limitations, and the challenges they create, not just for writers but for managers.”

“I would argue that the elements of cognitive science highlighted in the monograph are still the ones of first-order relevance for the DI. I do not think an intelligence analyst will gain much professionally from knowing how neurons fire or which parts of the brain participate in which mental operations. I do consider it essential, however, that we be aware of how our brains ration what they make available to our conscious minds as they cope with the fact that our “ability to deal with knowledge is hugely exceeded by the potential knowledge contained in man’s environment.” Not only do they select among outside stimuli, they also edit what they let us know about their own activities. This is the focus of the monograph.”

“For every analyst and every reviewer in this serial process, the analysis starts from a body of analogies and heuristics that are unique to that individual and grow out of his or her past experience after images of ideas and events that resonate when we examine a current problem, practical rules of thumb that have proven useful over time.The power of this approach is incontestable, but we are all too easily blinded to its weaknesses. The evidence is clear: analysis is likely to improve when we look beyond what is going on in our own heads—when we use any of several techniques designed to make explicit the underlying structure of our argument and when we encourage others to challenge our analogies and heuristics with their own. Little about the current process fosters such activities, it seems to me; they would be almost unavoidable in a collaborative environment.”

On Writing

“If the very act of writing puts a writer any writer at all—into “full-time cognitive overload,” then perhaps we would benefit from a better understanding of what contributes to the overload.”

“The novelist and poet Walker Percy offers a concept that may be even more fruitful. In a series of essays dealing with human communication, Percy asserts that a radical distinction must be made between what he calls “knowledge” and what he calls “news.” Percy’s notion takes on added significance in light of the findings of cognitive science (of which he seems largely unaware), and I will be discussing it at greater length in due course. For the present “I would simply assert that the nature of our work forces us to swing constantly back and forth be- tween knowledge and news, and I believe cognitive science has something to contribute to our under- standing of the problem. “

Why We Use Heuristics / Mental Shortcuts In Decision Making

“What is it about heuristics that makes them so useful? First, they are quick and they get the job done, assuming the experiential base is sufficient and a certain amount of satisficing is not objectionable. Second, what cognitive scientists call the problem-space remains manageable. Theoretically that space becomes unmanageably large as soon as you start to generalize and explore: any event may be important now, any action on your part is possible, and you could get paralyzed by possibilities as the centipede did. But humans constantly narrow the problem-space on the basis of their own experience. And most of the time the results are acceptable: what more efficient way is there to narrow an indefinitely large problem-space? ”

Limits To Using Heuristics / Mental Shortcuts In Decision Making

“Heuristics are inherently conservative; they follow the tried-and-true method of building on what has already happened. When the approach is confronted with the oddball situation or when someone asks what is out there in the rest of the problem-space, heuristics begin to flounder. Yet we resist using other approaches, partly because we simply find them much less congenial, partly because the record allows plausible argument about their effectiveness when dealing with an indefinitely large set of possibilities.”

“As most people use them, heuristics are imprecise and sloppy. Some of the reasons why cognitive activity is imprecise were noted earlier; another reason is the tendency to satisfice, which encourages us to go wherever experience dictates and stop when we have an adequate answer. With perseverance and sufficient information one can achieve considerable precision, but there is nothing in the heuristic approach itself that compels us to do so and little sign that humans have much of an urge to use it in this way. Most of the time, moreover, the information is not terribly good. We then may find ourselves trying to get more precision out of the process than it can provide.”

“In everyday use, heuristics are not congenial to formal procedures such as logic, probability, and the scientific method. This fact helps explain why we rarely use logic rigorously, why we tend to be more interested in confirming than in disconfirming a hypothesis, and why we are so poor at assessing odds.”

We Can’t Talk About Mental Shortcuts Without Talking About Memory & “Chunking”

“It should be apparent the heuristic approach is critical to the effectiveness of our conscious mental activity, since short-term memory needs procedures like heuristics that narrow its field of view. On the other hand, the drawbacks are equally apparent. The ability to process large quantities of information is always an advantage and sometimes a necessity. How can we operate effectively if we can consider so little at a time? The answer to this question lies in the speed and flexibility with which we can manipulate the information in short-term memory; to use the terminology, in our chunking prowess.”

A chunk, it should be clear, equates to one of the roughly seven entities that short-term memory can deal with at one time. Hunt’s formulation notwithstanding, it need not be tied to words or discrete symbols. Any conceptual entity—from a single letter to the notion of Kant’s categorical imperative- can be a chunk. And not only do we work with chunks that come to us from the outside world, we create and remember chunks of our own. Anything in long-term memory probably has been put there by the chunking process. We build hierarchies of chunks, combining a group of them under a single conceptual heading (a new chunk), “filing” the subordinate ideas in long-term memory, and using the overall heading to gain access to them. We can manipulate any chunk or bring wildly differing chunks together, and we can do these things with great speed and flexibility.

“In some ways “chunk” is a misleading term for the phenomenon. The word calls to mind something discrete and hard-edged, whereas the very essence of the phenomenon is the way we can give it new shapes and new characteristics, and the way conceptual fragments interpenetrate each other in long-term memory. A chunk might better be conceived of, metaphorically, as a pointer to information in long-term memory, and the information it retrieves as a cloud with a dense core and ill-defined edges. The mind can store an enormous number of such clouds, each overlapping many others.This “cloudiness” the way any one concept evokes a series of others is a source of great efficiency in human communication; it is what lets us get the drift of a person’s remarks without having all the implications spelled out. But it can also be a source of confusion.”

Heuristics/ Mental Shortcuts & “Chunking” Work Hand in Hand During Decision Making

“Heuristics—non-random exploration that uses experience and inference to narrow the field of possibilities—loom large in the development of each individual and are deeply ingrained in all of us (particularly when we are doing some- thing we consider important). Combined with the chunking speed of short-term memory, the heuristic approach is a powerful way to deal with large amounts of information and a poorly defined problem space.“

“But there is always a tradeoff between range and precision. The more of the problem space you try to explore—and the “space,” being conceptual rather than truly spatial, can have any number of dimensions—the harder it is to achieve a useful degree of specificity. Talent and experience can often reduce the conflict between the need for range and the need for precision, but they cannot eliminate it. We almost always end up satisficing.”

“We are compulsive, in our need to chunk, to put information into a context. The context we start with heavily conditions the way we receive a new piece of information. We chunk so rapidly that “the problem,” whatever it is, often has been sharply delimited by the time we begin manipulating it in working memory.“

“Although the conceptual network formed through years of experience may make an individual a more skillful problem-solver, it can also make him or her less open to unusual ideas or information—a phenomenon sometimes termed “hardening of the categories.” The conservative bias of the heuristic approach—the tendency we all share of looking to past experience for guidance—makes it easy for an old hand to argue an anomaly out of the way. In fact the old hand is likely to be right nearly all the time; experience usually does work as a model. But what about the situation when “nearly all the time” isn’t good enough? Morton Hunt recounts an instance of a computer proving better than the staff of a mental hospital at predicting which patients were going to attempt suicide.”

Cognitive Aspects of Speaking & Writing

Here are some of the ways in which writing and speech differ:

“With speech, much of the communication takes place in ways that do not involve words: in gesture, in tone of voice, in the larger context surrounding the exchange. Speech is a complex audio-visual event, and the implications we draw—the chunks we form—are derived from a whole network of signals. With writing there is nothing but the words on the paper. The result may be as rich as with speech—nobody would accuse a Shakespeare sonnet of lacking richness—but the resources used are far narrower.”

“Writing calls for a sharper focus of attention on the part of both producer and receiver. When you and I are conversing, we both can attend to several other things—watching the passing crowd, worrying about some aspect of work, waving away a passing insect—and still keep the thread of our discourse. If I am writing or reading I must concentrate on the text; these other activities are likely to register as distractions.”

“The pace and pattern of chunking is very different in the two modes. With speech, one word or phrase quickly supersedes the last,and the listener cannot stop to ponder any of them. What he ponders is the chunk he forms from his perception of everything the speaker is saying, and he is not likely to ponder even that very intensively. He does have the opportunity to ask the speaker about what he has heard (an opportunity almost never available to a reader), but he rarely does so; the spoken medium has enormous forward momentum. In compensation, speech uses a much narrower set of verbal formulae than writing. It relies heavily on extralinguistic cues, and by and large it is more closely tied to a larger context that helps keep the participants from straying too far from a common understanding. In the written medium, by contrast, the reader can chunk more or less at his own pace. He can always recheck his conclusion against the text, but he has little recourse beyond that. All the signals a writer can hope to send must be in the written words.”

“A reader is dealing with a finished product: the production process has been essentially private. A listener is participating in a transaction that is still in progress, a transaction that is quintessentially social.”

“Partly because of the factors listed so far, writing is capable of more breadth and more precision than speech. Neither complex ideas nor complex organizations would be possible without writing. My own impression is that even in this television-dominated era, people attach more solidity and permanence to something written than to something spoken. Perhaps we have an ingrained sense that the products of speech are more ephemeral than the products of writing. But to achieve this aura of permanence writing sacrifices a sense of immediacy. A writer tends to speak with the voice of an observer, not a participant.”

Communicating Knowledge vs News

“…. I am building toward an assertion that…..there are correlations between news and the cognitive processes involved in speech on the one hand, and between knowledge and the cognitive processes involved in writing on the other.”


Continued in article

How the U.S. Government Botched Its Multibillion-Dollar Plan to Beat Childhood Disease ---

4 Reasons People With Schizophrenia Resist Treatment ---

Extreme Types of Insane Murderers (they're not all alike) ---
The problem is knowing in advance which few of the very many will actually become murderers.


A Bit of Humor

Christmas Song Lip Synch ---

The Lone Ranger on David Letterman's Last Show ---

New Parody of Downtown Abbey Features George Clooney & the Cast of the Show ---

An Aging Accountant by David Albrecht ---

This year, I’ve been working on a top ten list of things to think about today.

10.    Counting is mandatory, a-counting is not.

9.    Your wife doesn’t depreciate you any more.

8.    The tax loophole named after you pays royalties.

7.    The dry cleaner won’t charge for removing today’s coffee stains.

6.    Would the course of history have been different if debits were on the right?

5.    Everyone complains you are accrual.

4.    You are certified but not crazy.

3.    You are a debit to your profession.

2.    How to Frame a Figg (on Netflix) is your favorite movie.

1.    Today only, no spouse can contradict an auditor’s opinion.


Watch Darlene Love perform "Christmas" on Letterman for the last time ---

A Southwest Airlines flight landed in Los Angeles with one more passenger than when it took off. A passenger gave birth shortly after Flight 623 took off from San Francisco on Tuesday and the Phoenix-bound jet diverted to Los Angeles International Airport. ---

Forwarded by Paula
Texting Codes for Seniors

Seniors have their own texting codes: 
ATD- At the Doctor's

BFF - Best Friend's Funeral

BTW- Bring the Wheelchair

BYOT - Bring Your Own Teeth

CBM- Covered by Medicare

CUATSC- See You at the Senior Center

DWI- Driving While Incontinent

FWIW - Forgot Where I Was

Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low

GHA - Got Heartburn Again

* LMDO- Laughing My Dentures Out

LOL- Living on Lipitor

OMSG - Oh My! Sorry, Gas

TOT- Texting on Toilet

WAITT - Who Am I Talking To?

Hope these help . . .  oops . . .


*OTTBA = Off to the bathroom again


"When I picked up the little guy, the lioness came over to me and tapped me with her head as if to say: 'take care of him.' And then she left." (zoo keeper) Zerdzicki said. He turned to his old English sheepdog, Carmen, for help. He said the canine was "surprised, at first" by the little lion, but she quickly accepted the cub alongside her five puppies.

A British dwarf who dropped his pants at a government office and defecated on the floor was warned by a judge to clean up his act or face jail time.

Humor Between November 1-30, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q4.htm#Humor113014

Humor Between October 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q4.htm#Humor103114

Humor Between September 1-30, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q3.htm#Humor093014

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

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

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

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

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

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

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

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

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

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

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

The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---


World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

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

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination
Free CPA Examination Review Course Courtesy of Joe Hoyle --- http://cpareviewforfree.com/

Rick Lillie's education, learning, and technology blog is at http://iaed.wordpress.com/

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

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm 
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at http://www.accountingweb.com/news/college_news.html
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accounting  and Taxation News Sites ---


For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators) http://listserv.aaahq.org/cgi-bin/wa.exe?HOME
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc.

Over the years the AECM has become the worldwide forum for accounting educators on all issues of accountancy and accounting education, including debates on accounting standards, managerial accounting, careers, fraud, forensic accounting, auditing, doctoral programs, and critical debates on academic (accountics) research, publication, replication, and validity testing.


CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/  (Closed Down)
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM
FEI's Financial Reporting Blog
Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2008/smart_stops.htm

Find news highlights from the SEC, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board on this financial reporting blog from Financial Executives International. The site, updated daily, compiles regulatory news, rulings and statements, comment letters on standards, and hot topics from the Web’s largest business and accounting publications and organizations. Look for continuing coverage of SOX requirements, fair value reporting and the Alternative Minimum Tax, plus emerging issues such as the subprime mortgage crisis, international convergence, and rules for tax return preparers.
The CAlCPA Tax Listserv

September 4, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@bonackers.com]
Scott has been a long-time contributor to the AECM listserv (he's a techie as well as a practicing CPA)

I found another listserve that is exceptional -

CalCPA maintains http://groups.yahoo.com/taxtalk/  and they let almost anyone join it.
Jim Counts, CPA is moderator.

There are several highly capable people that make frequent answers to tax questions posted there, and the answers are often in depth.


Scott forwarded the following message from Jim Counts

Yes you may mention info on your listserve about TaxTalk. As part of what you say please say [... any CPA or attorney or a member of the Calif Society of CPAs may join. It is possible to join without having a free Yahoo account but then they will not have access to the files and other items posted.

Once signed in on their Yahoo account go to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxTalk/ and I believe in top right corner is Join Group. Click on it and answer the few questions and in the comment box say you are a CPA or attorney, whichever you are and I will get the request to join.

Be aware that we run on the average 30 or move emails per day. I encourage people to set up a folder for just the emails from this listserve and then via a rule or filter send them to that folder instead of having them be in your inbox. Thus you can read them when you want and it will not fill up the inbox when you are looking for client emails etc.

We currently have about 830 CPAs and attorneys nationwide but mainly in California.... ]

Please encourage your members to join our listserve.

If any questions let me know.

Hemet, CA
Moderator TaxTalk





Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm


Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) --- http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy/libraries.html
The above libraries include international accounting history.
The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting --- http://maaw.info/

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

Sage Accounting History --- http://ach.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/11/3/269

A nice timeline on the development of U.S. standards and the evolution of thinking about the income statement versus the balance sheet is provided at:
"The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards (1930-1973)," by Stephen A. Zeff, CPA Journal, January 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/105/infocus/p18.htm
Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/205/index.htm 

A nice timeline of accounting history --- http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2187711/A-HISTORY-OF-ACCOUNTING

From Texas A&M University
Accounting History Outline --- http://acct.tamu.edu/giroux/history.html

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

History of Fraud in America --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

All my online pictures --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu