Tidbits on January 15, 2015
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Photographs of the Scenic Mountain Village of Jackson, New Hampshire ---


Tidbits on January 15, 2015
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

Happy New Year 2015!

Werner Herzog Plays Himself in Cartoon That Satirizes Obama’s 2008 Election & Race in America ---

Watch This Australian Python Devour A Wallaby From Head To Tail ---

Existential Philosophy of Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus Explained with 8-Bit Video Games ---

Stephen Hawking’s Big Ideas Explained with Simple Animation ---

Three Films Capture 1940s New York, Chicago & Los Angeles in Vivid Color ---

Meet Baxter the General Purpose Robot ---
Thank you Patricia Walters for the heads up

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

Home Movies of Duke Ellington Playing Baseball (And How Baseball Coined the Word “Jazz”) ---

Kurt Cobain’s Home Demos: Early Versions of Nirvana Hits, and Never-Released Songs ---

Gioachino Rossini, 'Duetto buffo di due gatti',---
Thanks Jagdish

Monterey Jazz Festival Digital Collection --- http://collections.stanford.edu/mjf/

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

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

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

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

Photographs and Art

The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People, Presented in an Interactive Infographic ---

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

21 Vintage Photos That Show What Syria Was Like 50 Years Ago ---

Colorized Rare Photographs --- http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=d6d9d5385aee

NASA Just Released These Amazing Pictures Of The 'Pillars Of Creation' ---

Here's What Golden Gate Looked Like Before They Built The Bridge ---

These Are The US Navy's Top Photos Of 2014 ---

Incredible Photo Montage Shows The Greek Island Of Ikaria Being Pummeled By An Intense Lightning Storm ---

Mœbius Illustrates Dante’s Paradiso ---

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi --- http://ngmaindia.gov.in

Berkeley 1968-1973 Poster Collection --- http://digitalcollections.library.ubc.ca/cdm/landingpage/collection/berkpost

Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cartoons, translated and explained ---

National Museums of Scotland: Explore --- http://www.nms.ac.uk/explore/

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

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

Free Shakespeare Tutorials --- https://www.playshakespeare.com/

Hear James Joyce’s Great Short Story “The Dead,” Performed by Cynthia Nixon & Colum McCann ---

Mœbius Illustrates Dante’s Paradiso ---

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 January 15, 2015

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

There Are Way Too Many ‘Best Of 2014′ Lists ---
Also see the "cruel exclusions" ---

7 Ways Michelle Obama Positively Influenced Education in 2014 ---

Companies paid record sums to settle bribery probes in 2014

The Top 10 Law School Stories Of 2014 ---

15 worthy resolutions for 2015 from some of history's greatest minds ---

At the End of 2014:  The Healthiest and Unhealthiest States

The Worst Science Blunders Of 2014 ---

13 Scientific Predictions For 2015 --- Click Here

2014 finishes as 4th coldest year on record for Illinois ---

Harvard:  The Tech Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2015 --- Click Here  

These Are The Most Egregious Examples Of Government Waste In 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 of All Time ---

25 of the Most Ridiculous Media Quotations of in 2014 ---

2014 Legal Education Year in Review ---

Look Back in Rancor: The Worst Op-eds of 2014 ---

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

The Best Brain Pickings Articles of the Year ---

From The New Yorker's John Cassidy
Twelve Geopolitical Lessons for 2015 ---

The 10 Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts Of 2014 (mostly non-tax posts) ---

The Top 10 Tax Cases (And Rulings) Of 2014 ---

The Top 12 Legal Education Stories Of 2014 ---

48 Of The The Most Important Scientific Discoveries Of 2014 ---

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

The 20 Most Beautiful Apps Of The Year ---

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

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

ReadWrite's Best Stories of 2014 ---

The Best Wired Stories of 2014 ---

The most painful customer service moments of 2014, and how you can avoid them in 2015 ---

For 2014 what is likely to be the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones index?
http://www.businessinsider.com/ibm-stock-about-to-hit-an-embarrassing-milestone-2014-12 \

The Tech Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2015 ---

The Best Wired Stories of 2014 ---

The Sad Internet: 2014 in Review ---

2014 David Pogue Awards ---

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

Six brands that may not make it through 2015 ---

Laptop Market Shares in Q3 of 2014 ---

Experts Predict The Cybercrime Of 2015 ---

12 Big Geopolitical Events We Think Will Happen In 2015 ---

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

The Top Technology Failures of 2014 (MIT) ---

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

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

Nate Silver 5:38 Blog:  33 Weirdest Charts From 2014 ---

Going Concern Editors' Picks 2014 (accountancy) ---

2014 in Energy: Dire Warnings, Slow Progress, and a Fusion Boast ---

Embarrassing Moments in Tech 2014 ---
Also see

Comparisons of Commodity Price Changes in 2014 ---
All you have to do today is buy some coffee and hamburger in order to choke on the price increases.
I paid way too much to fill my big heating oil tank (for this winter) in May. Sigh! That was a price speculation that failed.
Note how the price of cattle increased while the price of cattle feed declined in 2014, illustrating the lag effect of having farmers sell off their herds a few years ago during the Midwest drought. This year rain was plentiful in the Midwest, but the cattle herds do not return as quickly as the crops that feed them. There's still a shortage of feeder cattle.
Because grain farmers tend to hedge prices in advance of harvest time they did not lose as much as the price-change chart suggests.
Note that bonds increase in price as interest rates plunge. Many banks hedge (often with swaps) against big changes in interest rates so they are not deep into interest rate speculations.

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

USA Population Trends in 2014 ---
Note how many blue states in terms of population are red states in terms of politics and vice versa

Best of 2014: How Google "Translates" Pictures into Words Using Vector Space Mathematics ---

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 ---

Steven Soderbergh Creates a Big List of What He Watched, Read & Listened to in 2014 ---

America's Best And Worst Banks 2015 ---

The 10 Most Interesting Dating Studies Of 2014 ---

2014's Best National Geographic Photos ---

The Most Incredible Wildlife Photos Of 2014 ---

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

The 49 Most Mesmerizing Sports Photos Of 2014 ---

The Most Incredible Photos The Air Force Took In 2014 ---

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

The 10 Coolest Archaeological Discoveries Made In 2014 --- |

Top Ten Harvard Kennedy School Web Stories of 2014 ---

The 52 Strangest Photos Of 2014 ---

The Biggest Career Crashes Of 2014 ---

The Best Games of 2014 ---

Some Hilarious Pranks 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 Movies of 2014 ---

The 15 Best-Reviewed Movies of 2014 ---

Three Films Capture 1940s New York, Chicago & Los Angeles in Vivid Color ---

The 15 best songs of 2014 ---

Best Classical Albums Of 2014 ---

The Drunkest Countries In The World  ---

The 50 Coolest New Businesses In America ---

The 15 Best Business Books Of 2014 ---

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

The Five Foot Shelf of Great Works, Towards a Required Reading List for Business ---
No great works in accounting here

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

100 Years of Price Changes ---

A Lot of Bull:  History of Bear and Bull Markets in the USA ---

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

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

Vladimir Nabokov Names the Greatest (and Most Overrated) Novels of the 20th Century ---

Perhaps television viewers are shunning political programming outliers.
NBC covers both ends of the political spectrum with MSNBC and CNBC, both of which are tanking in terms of viewer interest. If I were to investigate some of the reasons I would look for boring repetitions of commentators saying the same things over and over and then over again.

CNBC to stop using Nielsen for ratings

MSNBC Closes 2014 In Last Place ---

CNBC and MSNBC are fighting back with non-political programming in some prime time slots.
For example, CNBC is now giving primetime coverage to exposes of business frauds? CNBC?
And MSNBC now features hidden camera thrillers (not comedy) in things like police chases and shoot outs that make the cops look abused. MSNBC?

"The Retraction War:  Scientists seek demigod status, journals want blockbuster results, and retractions are on the rise: is science broken?" by Jill Neimark, Aeon, 2014 ---
We assuredly need tests for new knowledge versus new fictions.

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

The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People, Presented in an Interactive Infographic ---

How to Mislead With Statistics
The 15 College Majors With The Lowest Starting Salaries

Jensen Comment
This a in some cases a little misleading such as when careers entailing 12-months on the job with two weeks paid vacation are compared with others entailing 9-months on the job with an added 8+ weeks paid vacation. The latter careers with five months free are especially popular for parents having or expecting young children at home.

Starting salaries are not nearly as important as career growth and enjoyment of the work. For example, some employees will take lower pay to work with children or to work in biblical studies. Careers that have little variation in routine over decades can become very boring. I think physical therapy might be interesting for a time but can become very boring over 40+ years.

Keep in mind that these rankings are based on averages that in some cases have varying standard deviations. For example, law graduates may have higher averages but many start out at very low salaries as clerks or lowly-paid interns.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

"'Crap-Free' University Websites," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, January 6, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
What amazes me is how difficult most universities make it to find faculty Websites. Perhaps this is due to the university's embarrassment over some of the Websites or, more likely, the failure of so many faculty to have Websites.

Jensen Comment
If you spend 24/7 like me writing some every day, much depends upon why you are writing. Before my days as a prolific blogger I was a prolific writer 24/7. Most of what I wrote never was shared with a single person, although parts generally were revised and appeared in some form in my courses. I tried my hand at writing novels and poetry but was never any good at that --- largely because being a good fiction writer or poet takes too much of every day. They generally carry notepads and write at random moments throughout each day. I tended to write more when I was also reading.

I had to publish in scholarly journals for my job performance, and some of every day was taken up writing drafts that were eventually submitted about 25% of the time and eventually published less than 10% of the time ---
Most of my working papers were not shared elsewhere before I had a Website. After I had a Website I shared some of my unpublished working papers, including some very old working papers.
There are of course many newer working papers that are now more like journals that are constantly updated and revised ---

Sometimes I wrote while I read as a student and later as a professor because writing while I read helped me organize and remember what I read. Those became vast files of yellow page notes.

I shared more of my thoughts and findings in the last 10 years of my career and almost 10 years in retirement because I became an active blogger. Writing became more efficient as the world went digital because quotations could be cut and pasted before or after my commentaries. Contrary to what some of my "fans" think, there is much that I write that I do not post to my blogs.

One of my biggest "tricks" to being prolific was and still is to not be a perfectionist. Write it down with the warts and all. I call this the Thomas Wolfe approach to writing ---
Wolfe wrote semi-loads and left it to his overwhelmed editor to make parts of it publishable.

"The Trick to Being a Prolific Scholar," by Tanya Golash-Boza, Chronicle of Higher Education's Vitae, December 15, 2014 ---

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

A cleverly-constructed timeline on the history of the world's great religions --- http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf

Bridging World History --- http://www.learner.org/courses/worldhistory/

Islam in Europe --- http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/01/islam-in-europe/

Cops Say Nothing Happened at UVA Frat Accused of Gang Rape, But Who Really Cares? ---

According to the press release:

The reinstatement resulted after consultation with Charlottesville Police Department officials, who told the University that their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi.

U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan informed fraternity officials of the decision to reinstate the chapter's Fraternal Organization Agreement with the University after learning of the update to the police investigation.

"We welcome Phi Kappa Psi, and we look forward to working with all fraternities and sororities in enhancing and promoting a safe environment for all," U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said.

That's it? No apology? No sorry about our huge mistake and rush to judgment? Keep in mind that the false accusation had consequences for the Phi Psi house,

Continued in article

Update on BYU Flipped Variable-Speed Video Courses in Accounting
BYU replaced live lectures in the on-campus two introductory courses in accounting with variable -speed video 15 years ago. I wrote about the pioneering efforts of adjunct professor Norman Nemrows who developed these CDs years ago ---
The variable speed videos enable students to navigate more efficiently through the video files and to slow down on parts they want to study.
I think Norm supervised the courses and held office hours when students wanted some help. As I recall he did all this for $1 per term.

This was a one of the early campus classroom replacements on online lectures with video. My contention then and now was that this would not work well on many campuses. It worked well at BYU because the accounting majors are nearly all highly motivated students who learn well on their own or in small groups. In a course having a high proportion of unmotivated students there is generally more need for live instructors to kick butt.

2015 Update
"When a Flipped-Classroom Pioneer Hands Off His Video Lectures, This Is What Happens," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 7, 2015 ---

In a way, there are two Norman Nemrows. There’s the real-life professor who spent much of his career teaching accounting students at Brigham Young University. And there’s the one I'll call Video Norm, the instructor immortalized in lectures on accounting that he began recording nearly 15 years ago.

For more than a decade, students at BYU learned from both Norms. About half of the class sessions for his introductory-accounting course were "software days," when students watched an hour or two of video lectures on their computers anywhere they wanted and then completed quizzes online. The other class periods were "enhancement lectures," in which students—as many as 800 at a time—gathered in a classroom and did group work led by the actual Mr. Nemrow.

Back when it started, in 2000, this method of reducing in-person classes and replacing them with videos and tutorials was an innovation, but today it is a buzzword: the flipped classroom.

A few years ago, the living, breathing Norman Nemrow retired from the university. And that’s when things got interesting, or at least more complicated, because students at BYU still learn from Video Norm.

In fact, every student taking introductory accounting at the university watches the video lectures, some 3,000 students each year. And the in-person sessions? They’re now led by another accounting professor, Melissa Larson, who has been thrust into the novel role of doing everything a traditional professor does except the lecturing. The tough question—and one of the biggest for the future of the flipped model—is whether other professors will be willing or able to become sidekicks to slick video productions.

Ms. Larson gets high marks on student evaluations for leading group work in the large classroom sessions and answering questions by email. But Video Norm remains the star.

That was clear when Mr. Nemrow showed up, in person, at the end of the fall semester to give a guest lecture for the introductory course. You’d think a Hollywood actor had come to campus. Students showed up early to take selfies with the professor they had spent so many hours watching on video.

"We got front-row seats," said Celeste Harris, a junior in the course. "We said, we have to see what this guy is like in real life."

How did Mr. Nemrow compare with the digital version? "He’s a little older than when he recorded the videos," Ms. Harris noted, "but it was actually one of the best lectures I’ve heard." It was inspirational, she said, because Mr. Nemrow recounted the story of this unusual accounting course, which has become a kind of legend on the campus.

From Business to Teaching

Mr. Nemrow started out as a businessman. He worked at a consulting firm in California, then helped start a real-estate-investment firm. But he was drawn to the classroom. For years he taught accounting on the side, first as an adjunct at California State University at Fullerton, then full time at Pepperdine University.

Around the time he turned 30, he sold his business and decided to retire early. He didn’t want to do nothing, but he no longer had to work for money, he says, even with a wife and five small children.

"I didn’t really have a burning desire to create another business," he says. He took some art classes. He played a lot of golf. "For a couple of years I was trying to kind of find myself," he recalls. "I decided what I really wanted to do is probably teach."

So he called up the dean of the business school at his alma mater, Brigham Young, and asked if there was a teaching spot for him. He had a master’s degree but not a Ph.D., and at first the answer was no. "When I told him I was willing to do it as a volunteer, his attitude changed," Mr. Nemrow recounts, with a laugh. "He let me teach the intro course for a year."

BYU hired Mr. Nemrow as a full-time professor. He donated his salary to the university, he says. A devout Mormon, he saw the work as a way to give back to the church. In his mind, that left his teaching in the category of volunteer work. "I wanted to have complete and total freedom, and I didn’t want to make a commitment to how long I’d be there."

After several years of teaching the introductory course, he says, he began to get tired of repeating himself and answering the same questions. He considered writing a textbook and even drafted a couple of chapters. "But I thought to myself, this isn’t as effective as when I’m explaining it in person."

So, in 1998, he approached the university’s fledgling instructional-technology group and pitched his idea to reformat his course around a series of videos and computerized homework assignments. "They were worried about getting funding, so I just put up the money myself," about $50,000, he says.

After two years of development and some lobbying to persuade the accounting faculty to let him try his flipped experiment, Video Norm was born.

Mr. Nemrow says the software increased the number of students he could teach at one time, while reducing the time it took him to do it. And he says his surveys showed that 93 percent of his students reported learning more effectively from the flipped format than from a traditional one. Both his inner businessman and his inner philanthropist thought: This is going to be big.

Hitting the Road

Mr. Nemrow believed that his system was simply better than the old way, and he thought that once other accounting professors saw it, they’d immediately adopt his videos and software rather than the textbook-and-lecture method.

He started a company, Business Learning Software Inc., to manage and update the videos and the delivery technology. True to his desire to keep his teaching like volunteer work, he says, he donates any profits to charities. Because the software and videos were developed at BYU, the university owns them and gets a portion of any revenue from their sale. And he made all of the videos for his intro course available free online.

Mr. Nemrow traveled to accounting departments and academic conferences around the country, evangelizing his teaching approach and his software. But, to his surprise, he found few takers.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade (including flipped classrooms) ---

Knowledge Doubling Every 12 Months, Soon to be Every 12 Hours ---

Jensen Comment
This has implications for the common core in undergraduate college education. Something from days of old has to give if we keep adding to knowledge such as what we call the 100 Great Books. As new books are added some books have to be taken out of the list.

This also has implications for licensing examinations in the professions. If passage rates remain unchanged over time, then what is typically happening is that current candidates have to study more material but often in less depth.

If anything Uniform CPA Examination passage rates have increased slightly from the days when there were only about fie hundred paragraphs of standards. Now that there are thousands of paragraphs one would expect that coverage is not as deep these days if the passage rate actually crept upwards.

Remember the old saying about deep narrow rivers versus broad shallow rivers.

This is not lawyer joke:  Do law schools verify that the applicant is still breathing?
"The Troubling Decline of 25th Percentile LSAT Scores at 'Bottom-Feeder' Law Schools," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, January 10, 2015 ---

The Top 10 Law School Stories Of 2014 ---

In the NFL, who is the most famous "clutch post-season quarterback of all time?

Nate Silver --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nate_Silver

One Answer
The famous Bayesian statistician Nate Silver's answer will "probably" surprise you ---

Bayesian Probability --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_probability

Jensen Comment
Most of the top Bayesian analysts do not rely on Rev. Thomas Bayes all the time in their clever analyses.

Elo Rating System --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system

Added Jensen Comment
Of course we could complicate the analysis by pointing out the various uncontrollable factors affecting performance in a given contest such as health and fatigue and (gasp) age. For example, last week Tom Brady had a week extra to rest up compared to Joe Flacco.

Would some of the greatest quarterbacks have better Elo ratings if they had retired earlier? I remember John Elway playing when he could barely walk.

"Black And Hispanic Students Are Making Meaningful Gains, But It’s Hard To Tell," by Mikhail Zinshteyn, Nate Silver's 5:38 Blog, January 12, 2015 ---

Are these really the best hotels in every USA state? ---

Jensen Comment
It's impossible to define "best" for different people with different tastes and different needs. For example, people have widely varying preferences for hotel restaurants. People have widely different preferences for activities. For example, some might really like a white sand beach relative to downhill skiing and mountain climbing. Some may really prefer a small intimate hotel while others like an enormous towering hotels

The above list is useful in that it may point out a hotel or inn that you've never heard of even in the state where you live. What it calls the best inn in New Hampshire is only about an hour from our cottage, but I had never heard about this inn. I don't know if it's really as good as this article states.

Hotels have attractions to meet certain needs. For example, you may be looking for a great hotel near a college campus or large medical center. If that's the case in New Hampshire you may prefer the Hanover Inn on the Dartmouth Campus.

Or you may be looking for a great hotel near live theater. Even though the article's chosen Rosewood Hotel in Manhattan is a great choice in many respects, you may really prefer a hotel within convenient walking distance of Broadway Theatres so you can avoid having to fight for a taxi after a show. In this case I would prefer the cramped rooms of the nice Algonquin Hotel to the more elegant Rosewood Hotel.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on January 11, 2015

Electric-car pioneer Musk charges head-on at Detroit ---
Tesla Motors Inc
. is on a collision course with the auto industry’s giants like never before, but the CEO has no plans to stop cursing or obsessing about the tiniest design details. In a speech Tuesday, Chief Executive Elon Musk is expected to criticize larger auto makers for not responding to Tesla even more aggressively. Tesla is worth $26 billion in stock-market value, nearly half the size of General Motors Co. or Ford Motor Co. Meanwhile, GM is readying a one-two punch in the electric-car market, hoping to gain against Tesla with a next-generation Chevrolet Volt, as well as a $30,000 all-electric vehicle called the Chevrolet Bolt, slated for 2017.

GM Has A New Electric Hybrid Volt, Says It Can Get 1,000 Miles Between Refills ---

General Motors Co on Monday will unveil its next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and is expected to restate a commitment to build an affordable long-range electric car, doubling down in a segment with scant sales and even skimpier profits.

Electric cars and plug-ins like the Volt account for less than 1 percent of the global vehicle market, and falling oil prices are widening the cost gap between electrified cars and petroleum-fueled internal combustion engine vehicles.

GM's current Volt has sold well below initial company projections and is a money loser, analysts say. The company doesn't disclose profits by model line. Last year, U.S. sales of the Volt fell almost 19 percent to fewer than 19,000 vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne last May asked consumers to steer clear of his company’s Fiat 500e.

"I hope you don't buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000," he said.

Still, GM and its major rivals persist in their efforts because without “zero-emission” vehicles and ultra-high mileage hybrids, they could fall short of meeting government demands to more than double fuel efficiency by 2025. In addition, California has set its own quotas for zero-emission vehicle sales, and China is pushing the industry for more battery-powered vehicles.

. . .

GM also plans to offer a new EV called the Chevy Bolt that would include a 200-mile electric driving range, something Akerson said in 2013 might “radically change the calculus” for EVs.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-gm-hopes-new-volt-plug-in-helps-evs-get-out-of-low-gear-2015-1#ixzz3Oc8iliwK

Jensen Comment
One problem with the Volt has always been its low gas mileage after it depends on electricity generation from gasoline when battery power goes weak. It'ss a very heavy car for its size.

Another problem with hybrid and fully electric cars is that batteries have not yet been invented that do well in cold weather. Don't look for much of a battery-car market in Canada and the northern states in the USA.

Meet Baxter the General Purpose Robot ---

Knowledge and Skills on the Decline --- Piano Playing
"Piano stores closing across US as kids snub lessons for other activities ," The Guardian, January 2, 2015 ---

When Jim Foster opened his piano store 30 years ago, he had 10 competitors selling just pianos.

When he closed Foster Family Music in late December, not one was still selling pianos in the Quad-Cities area of Iowa and Illinois.

“We did try hard to find a buyer,” Foster said. There were no takers.

Stores dedicated to selling pianos like Foster’s are dwindling across the country as fewer people take up the instrument and those who do often opt for a less expensive electronic keyboard or a used piano. Some blame computers and others note the high cost of new pianos, but what’s clear is that a long-term decline in sales has accelerated.

The best year for new piano sales in the US was 1909, when more than 364,500 were sold. But after gently falling over the years, piano sales have plunged more recently to between 30,000 and 40,000 annually.

Larry Fine, a Boston-based piano technician, consultant and author, said it is an indication of a changing society.

“Computer technology has just changed everything about what kids are interested in,” said Fine, who also publishes a website offering consumer information on new and used pianos. “People are interested in things that don’t take much effort, so the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do.”

Youth sports demands also compete with music studies.

“Children these days are being recruited for so many other activities, whether it’s soccer, gymnastics or swimming,” said Robin Walenta, CEO of West Music, a music retailer with a chain of stores in Iowa and Illinois.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One could argue that it's hard to keep selling products that never wear out, but this is only the part of the problem with musical instruments like the piano that can be refurbished and resold for hundreds of years. 

My mother was a teacher of piano over the years and usually had 10-30 piano students coming into our home each week for private lessons. The piano is a little different than band instruments where a kid could be in the high school marching band with limited training and practice on a band instrument. Piano takes more years concentrated effort, study, and never-ending practice, practice, practice throughout the K-12 years and beyond. More importantly it also takes talent, talent, and more talent.

It was a disappointment to my mother that I, as her only child, did not have her ear, her aptitude, and her drive to become a pianist. We tried in various ways, including sending me to another teacher. Even though we were not Catholic, I took lessons from the stern and unsmiling Sister Mary Anita in Algona, Iowa until Sister Mary Anita informed my mother that I was probably a hopeless case who would never practice, practice, practice.

One of my least fond memories is a recital in which I got into a loop and kept playing the same part over and over and over. Sister Mary Anita finally had to walk out on stage in her nun's habit and led me to the end of my misery.

Today there are millions of wanna-be guitar players. But, if the numerous of K-12 schools had not consolidated, it would've been harder and harder to find competent pianist to accompany choirs and perform in high school orchestras.

Among other things, being a pianist is no longer a very competitive career track.
I grew up in the final days of the big bands that usually had a pianist among the musicians that toured from town to town in nostalgic dance halls. When I was in high school there were still dances at Interlaken in Fairmont, Minnesota and other dance palaces beside such lakes as Iowa's Lake Okoboji (The Roof Garden) and Clear Lake (The Surf). .

I danced to only small number of the many bands listed at
But when it comes to the fondest memories of me, my parents, and the kids I grew up with in northern Iowa it would be hard to find memories more vivid than the listening to and dancing to the big bands. And I don't think there was a big band that did not feature at least one pianist and sometimes an organ player as well.

And yes our larger towns in Iowa and Minnesota usually had piano stores where owners made their livings tuning and selling only new and used pianos. In those towns that are now partly or totally boarded up the first stores to shut down were often the piano stores followed by the roller skating rinks. On weekends my mother played a Wurlitzer in the center of a roller rink in Emmitsburg, Iowa. But on Sunday mornings she shifted gears for the Lutheran Church in Algona, Iowa. When she eventually retired the church had a difficult time replacing her. Of course her five-dollar a week salary from the church did not attract many job applicants. But she did qualify eventually for Social Security payments from the quarter or so that was deducted from her five dollars every week. It did not take long to receive much more from the Social Security Retirement System than she ever paid into that system her entire life.

Since she wanted me to ride along each time she drove to Emmitsburg I became much better at roller skating than dancing.

"Apple Laptops May Be Vulnerable To A Virus That 'Can't Be Removed'," The Telegraph, January 9, 2015 ---

A security expert has found a way to install malicious code on a tiny chip built into Apple laptops which would resist any attempt at removal – even replacing the entire hard disk will not delete it.

The attack, which is being called Thunderstrike, is virtually undetectable and would require an attacker to get access to a machine for mere moments. And because it is new, no security software will even be looking out for it.

Trammell Hudson, who works for New York hedge fund Two Sigma Investments, said that the discovery came about when his employer asked him to look into the security around Apple laptops.

Continued in article

So what's wrong with the President's "Free Tuition Plan" for the first two years of college?

"Obama's Free Tuition Plan Is a Subsidy for Colleges, Not Students," by Scott Shackford, Reason Magazine, January 9, 2015 ---

California has a very cheap community college program. Annual tuition can cost less than $1,500 a year. According to this college calculation service, you're likely to spend more on books than you will on your classes.

California also has a problem in that its community college system already cannot accommodate all the students who want to attend. In 2012, California reported having 470,000 students on waiting lists. The inability to provide classes for students was blamed on budget cuts, of course, not on its economic model. They did raise tuition rates, though, from $20 a unit to $46 a unit.

You cannot look at California's community college system and conclude that subjecting all community college students even further to the vicissitudes of government spending commitments is a good idea. Yet, this is exactly what President Barack Obama is proposing. Obama's "America's College Promise" proposal, reported yesterday and formally introduced today, would provide "free"—as in subsidized by federal and state governments—community college educations. Here's how the White House says it will work:

Enhancing Student Responsibility and Cutting the Cost of College for All Americans: Students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and make steady progress toward completing their program will have their tuition eliminated. These students will be able to earn half of the academic credit they need for a four-year degree or earn a certificate or two-year degree to prepare them for a good job.

Building High-Quality Community Colleges: Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that either (1) are academic programs that fully transfer to local public four-year colleges and universities, giving students a chance to earn half of the credit they need for a four-year degree, or (2) are occupational training programs with high graduation rates and that lead to degrees and certificates that are in demand among employers.  Other types of programs will not be eligible for free tuition.  Colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes, such as the effective Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) programs at the City University of New York which waive tuition, help students pay for books and transit costs, and provide academic advising and supportive scheduling programs to better meet the needs of participating students, resulting in greater gains in college persistence and degree completion.

Ensuring Shared Responsibility with States: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. States that choose to participate will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate community college tuition for eligible students. States that already invest more and charge students less can make smaller contributions, though all participating states will be required to put up some matching funds. States must also commit to continue existing investments in higher education; coordinate high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions to reduce the need for remediation and repeated courses; and allocate a significant portion of funding based on performance, not enrollment alone. States will have flexibility to use some resources to expand quality community college offerings, improve affordability at four-year public universities, and improve college readiness, through outreach and early intervention.

So right off the bat I see a huge incentive for further grade inflation for community colleges. Remember, of course, the free money getting tossed around is going to college faculty and administrators, not to students. It's not the students being subsidized, it's the college. So they're going to do everything in their power to keep these students attending, even if it results in students leaving college with associate's degrees they can barely read, which will subsequently devalue the degrees in the eyes of employers.

Even in an era of grade inflation, though, community colleges also have terrible completion rates for students seeking two-year degrees. The Chronicle of Higher Education offers a handy map showing completion rates lower than 10 percent in states like Indiana and Rhode Island after three years of attendance. The best state, South Dakota, has a 52.9 percent completion rate. For-profit colleges, for all their criticism for taking advantage of students (and federal subsidies), have a higher graduation rate than community colleges.

But to be clear, having a low completion rate over three years shouldn't necessarily be seen as a criticism of the community college system. What community colleges allow is the ability for people who cannot commit (for a variety of fiscal or personal reasons) to a traditional education model to nevertheless advance their educations. They may take a few classes and drop out because they have to prioritize other parts of their life, at least for the time being. Maybe they'll come back in time. Maybe not. Sometimes it's a money issue, but not always. In fact, the White House acknowledges exactly what community colleges are:

By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree. Forty percent of college students are enrolled at one of America’s more than 1,100 community colleges, which offer students affordable tuition, open admission policies, and convenient locations.  They are particularly important for students who are older, working, need remedial classes, or can only take classes part-time. For many students, they offer academic programs and an affordable route to a four-year college degree. They are also uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing, health information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

Okay, so why is this program needed at all?
If the White House's position is that community colleges are accessible and affordable, why a new program? What they're offering doesn't appear to be a loan. If a student falls into the extremely high drop-out rate for students, the government (and the taxpayers) don't get the money back. So the White House is promoting a program funded by taxpayers to subsidize—wait, I mean further subsidize—a system that has baked in an extremely high failure rate.

But again, this program is not a subsidy for students. It's a subsidy for faculty and college level administrative bloat. The Weekly Standard notes that the White House declined to detail the cost of the proposal, but the math is easy to calculate. The administration states that 9 million students would "save" $3,800 a year. That puts the cost at $34 billion, split between the federal government and states who participate. Community college presidents across the country are drooling.

Remember, the blame for skyrocketing college costs has been laid squarely at the feet of bloating administrative staff in higher education. One study states from early 2014 states administrative staff led to a 28 percent boom in the higher education workforce, even in the middle of this recession (while faculty salaries remained fairly flat). Community colleges actually lost both part-time and full-time faculty members during the recession, but nevertheless gained an average of three administrative positions per 1,000 students.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and the rest of Europe educators realize that that the goal of education should not be that of turning out an oversupply of lackluster scholars. The goal should be that of turning out people more prepared to meet the supply and demand needs of a fantastic labor force. In Germany, for example, only the top 25% of high school graduates are allowed to go to college. The other graduates are offered trade school opportunities with apprenticeships.

The USA may become the only nation of the world that offers high school graduates false promises of the wonders of a college education for their careers.

The "Free Tuition" program will add new flood levels to the current false promise rivers for most running toward community colleges. My worry is that the curricula of community colleges will be biased toward scholarly tracks that are not good deals for most of the students that will be lured into taking this "Free Tuition" route. Most of these curricula will be geared for getting students into advanced years of college for which they have poor abilities, aptitudes, and motivation.

The "Free Tuition" money for many of these students would be better spent on preparing them for skilled trades that have better career prospects than the majority of them have with bachelor degrees. In Germany only the top 25% of high school graduates are admitted into colleges. Most of the others are steered into outstanding vocational programs having a combination of vocational schooling and on-the-job apprenticeships.

Also the "Free Tuition" money would be better spent upgrading the many lousy high schools in the USA. For example, rigorous programs could be created for the most promising college prospects so that they could qualify for grants and scholarships in our leading state-supported universities.

It would be great if the community colleges receiving the taxpayer subsidy focused on vocational curricula with tremendous apprenticeship opportunities. This probably won't happen in USA community colleges, because it's more difficult and costly to create the German model in our present community colleges. Instead community colleges will do what they don't do a very good job at already --- the unattainable dream of prepare most community college students to become great college-level scholars. Meanwhile up here in the White Mountains having to pay nearly $100 per hour for not-so-great carpetners, plumbers and heating system mechanics.

In Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and the rest of Europe educators realize that that the goal of education should not be that of turning out an oversupply of lackluster scholars. The goal should be that of turning out people more prepared to meet the supply and demand needs of a fantastic labor force. In Germany, for example, only the top 25% of high school graduates are allowed to go to college. The other graduates are offered trade school opportunities with apprenticeships.

The USA may become the only nation of the world that offers high school graduates false promises of the wonders of a college education for their careers.

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation ---

"Proof That College Football Refs Are Riddled With Bias," by Bryan Gruley, Bloomberg Businessweek, January 9, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
Perhaps the word "proof" is too strong due to the many degrees of freedom in this research. The outcomes are, however, highly suggestive. One problem is that a bit like Dan Stone's message regarding climate change and the fact that 2014 was the fourth coldest year on record for Illinois.

January 9, 2015 reply from Dan Stone

from the Illinois state climatologist, "In summary, while it was a cold year
for Illinois, the effect was largely confined to the Midwest and was not
global and it does not reflect the long-term temperature trend in Illinois."



Climate change is confusing because:

1. it requires understanding data, outliers, and statistics
2. of the fossil fuel industry which, very much like the tobacco industry of
50 years ago, funds promotion campaigns to deny the scientific evidence,
3. a major political party, which is funded by the fossil fuel industry,
promotes science denial.

Dan Stone

January 9, 2015 reply from Bob Jensen

Perhaps given the many referees studied (some impeccably honest and some biased), perhaps the bias in football refereeing is confusing because "it requires understanding data, outliers, and statistics."

Statistical analysis just does not work very well for non-stationary systems. But repeated outcomes may suggest patterns of non-randomness that are difficult to completely ignore in spite of the limitations in theory.

Bob Jensen

The 9 Biggest Home Repair Scams ---

What are the odds that it was difficult to earn a high grade in this course?
What are the odds that the ethics modules in this course really sunk in?

More Than Half Of Dartmouth's Football Team Was Enrolled In The Sports Ethics Class Where Dozens Cheated ---

"Click for Me if I'm Not There" sounds like it could be a title of a country song
"Dartmouth Accuses 64 Students of Cheating in Popular Course," by Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 8, 2015 ---

Dartmouth College has accused 64 students of cheating in a “Sports, Ethics, and Religion” course taught last fall, the Valley News reports. Randall Balmer, chairman of the religion department, discovered in October that absent students in his class were passing their clickers to classmates who were present to answer in-class questions on their behalf.

Mr. Balmer told the newspaper that most of the students involved had been suspended for a semester. In the fall he counted 43 students who handed off their clickers in the roughly 275-person class, but that number does not include the students who facilitated the cheating.

Think Students in Your Class Might Be Cheating? Here’s What to Do

The popular class was initially designed to help the college’s athletes, many of whom struggled with freshman-year coursework.

Diana Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the college, said it would not offer more-detailed comment on the proceedings until the appeals process ends this month.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It would be interesting to know the grading distribution in this course. My hypothesis is that students are more apt to skip class and cheat in a course where they are assured of an A grade with very little effort. This is what happened when over 120 students cheated in a political science course assignment at Harvard University. All students in that course were assured of getting A grades such that there's less incentive to work hard in the course. In Harvard's case over half the cheaters were expelled from the University. It appears that Dartmouth College will be a little less harsh.

"Chinese Teens Have Found Remarkable High-Tech Ways To Cheat On Tests," by Kayla Ruble, Business Insider, June 14, 2014 ---

China’s students have apparently developed skills for building cheating devices to use during an SAT-like exam that look like they have been pulled straight from a James Bond movie.

Ahead of China’s massive college entrance exam — the Gaokao — that took place on Saturday and Sunday, local media outlets released photos of cheating devices confiscated by police around the country in recent weeks.

The photos show intricate cheating equipment, a majority of which were created by students in the southwestern city of Chengdu before taking a different test, the National Professional and Technological Personnel Qualification Examination.

Around 40 students, all originally from Shanghai, were reportedly caught with the devices, which were disguised to look like everyday objects.

Some of the uncovered equipment included miniature cameras installed into both a pen and a set of glasses, as well as wireless earphones resembling small earplugs. In one instance, a grey tank top was wired with a plug capable of connecting to a mobile phone that could be used to send out information. There was also a camera installed in the shirt.

“Cheating happens in every country, but it’s extremely rampant in China," Yong Zhao, the presidential chair at the University of Oregon's College of Education, told VICE News. "This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.”

Cheating has been an enduring issue in China, where the emphasis placed on standardized tests can create high-pressure environments.

“For over a thousand years China has been using tests,” Zhao said. “Standardized tests tend to be the only way for upward social mobility, passing the test has been a way to change people’s lives.”

Ahead of this year’s exam, which was taken by nearly 9.4 million students across the country, Beijing was preparing to send police out to monitor and handle cheating incidents.

In fact, students practically expect to be able to cheat on exams.

During protests last summer against a crackdown on Gaokao cheating, students chanted, "We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat."

The Gaokao is China’s SAT or A-level equivalent, with many students' chances at matriculating into college reliant on their exam results.

One of this year's essay questions from a Shanghai version of the test translated into English reads: "You can choose your own road and method to make it across the desert, which means you are free; you have no choice but finding a way to make it across the desert, which makes you not free.Choose your own angle and title to write an article that is not less than 800 words."

Read more:

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating ---

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on January 9, 2015

Google loses most search share since 2008
Google Inc.
’s search share fell to 75.2% in December from 79.3% a year previous, according to analytics firm StatCounter. It was Google’s smallest share since at least 2008 and likely the result of Yahoo Inc. replacing Google as the default search engine on Firefox browsers in November, Bloomberg reports

Here's Where The Options Market Thinks The S&P 500 Could Go in 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
You can get a forecast from an individual expert or a consensus forecast from a group of experts who probably do not have most of their own financial futures tied up in equity investments. Or you can get a forecast from investors in stock options who actually put enormous amounts of money down in leveraged speculations on where the stock prices will go in terms of short-term options (e.g., 30 days) or long-term options for all or a greater part of 2015. The options can be long (calls) or shorts (puts). Actually each derivatives market transaction takes an investor betting long and another investor betting short.

The problem with all these forecasts is that we cannot foresee some events that can make all these forecasts way off the mark. There could be a major earthquake such as an enormous earthquake in California. Militants could (heavens forbid) blow up refineries in Saudi Arabia, and  that would cause a huge spike in oil prices. There could be a giant volcano that would greatly change all the climate forecasts for years to come.

Imagine what might happen if the Chicago Cubs win the World Series!

Autoregressive Model --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoregressive_model

Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_autocorrelation_function

"ARDL Modelling in EViews 9," by David Giles, Econometrics Beat, January 9, 2015 ---

My previous posts relating to ARDL models (here and here) have drawn a lot of hits. So, it's great to see that EViews 9 (now in Beta release - see the details here) incorporates an ARDL modelling option, together with the associated "bounds testing".

This is a great feature, and I just know that it's going to be a "winner" for EViews.

It certainly deserves a post, so here goes!

First, it's important to note that although there was previously an EViews "add-in" for ARDL models
(see here and here), this was quite limited in its capabilities. What's now available is a full-blown ARDL estimation option, together with bounds testing and an analysis of the long-run relationship between the variables being modelled.

Here, I'll take you through another example of ARDL modelling - this one involves the relationship between the retail price of gasoline, and the price of crude oil. More specifically,
the crude oil price is for Canadian Par at Edmonton; and the gasoline price is that for the Canadian city of Vancouver. Although crude oil prices are recorded daily, the gasoline prices are available only weekly. So, the price data that we'll use are weekly (end-of-week), for the 4 January 2000 to 16 July 2013, inclusive.

The oil prices are measured in Candian dollars per cubic meter. The gasoline prices are in Canadian cents per litre, and they exclude taxes. Here's a plot of the raw data:

Common Accountics Science and Econometric Science Statistical Mistakes ---

"Apple's Software Is In a 'Nosedive' That Is Deeply Concerning For Its Future, Longtime Apple Supporter Says," by Jay Yarow, Business Insider, January 4, 2015 ---

Respected developer Marco Arment is worried about Apple's future. 

In a blog post, he writes: "Apple's hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I'm deeply concerned for its future."

Arment was CTO at Tumblr before he left to start Instapaper, the first app that let users save stories to be read later. He also launched Overcast, an increasingly popular podcasting app. He records his own podcast, which has a devoted following in Apple and developer circles. 

Arment is not an alarmist. He dislikes people who are alarmist. And he knows the reaction his posts will provoke, so he's generally careful with his words. 

"Apple has completely lost the functional high ground," Arment says. "'It just works' was never completely true, but I don't think the list of qualifiers and asterisks has ever been longer."

Arment blames the prioritizing of marketing for the problems with Apple's software. Apple wants to have new software releases each year as a marketing hook, but the annual cycles of updating Apple's software are leading to too many bugs and problems, he says:

I suspect the rapid decline of Apple's software is a sign that marketing has a bit too much power at Apple today: the marketing priority of having major new releases every year is clearly impossible for the engineering teams to keep up with while maintaining quality. Maybe it's an engineering problem, but I suspect not — I doubt that any cohesive engineering team could keep up with these demands and maintain significantly higher quality.

On Twitter, other people normally supportive of Apple and what it does chimed in, agreeing with Arment. 

Ben Thompson, analyst at Stratechery, said he agreed. Chris Dixon, venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz, tweeted, "Sadly, this is true."

Not everyone agrees. Dan Frommer of Quartz said "Apple can and should do better, but situation not dire."

Continued in article

Movie Attendance Has Been On A Dismal Decline Since The 1940s ---

Jensen Comment
A solid segment of the market is made up of those divorced spouses and grandparents who cannot think of many other ways to entertain children on visitations. Sometimes when we visit our grandkids they see movies for the third time.

New York Law Schools Suffer Large (21%) Enrollment Declines ---

Microsoft is reportedly building a new browser as part of its Windows 10 push ---

Cancer along a "bad luck" random walk through parts of life
Overall, they attributed 65% of cancer incidence to random mutations in genes that can drive cancer growth ---
Jensen Comment
Albert Einstein was not a biologist or a geneticist. But he would probably argue that randomness merely signifies ignorance of the underlying causes.

"Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer," by Tim Wu, The New Yorker, December 29, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
I used to love to fly, especially when comfortable full jet airliners even served smaller towns like Ft. Dodge, Iowa and Bangor, Maine. Flying made me feel important when somebody else paid for my ticket. Now air travel is degrading and uncomfortable no matter who pays for the ticket. The merged airlines ruined my interest in air travel in our retirement. My wife wants to take one last trip to visit her relatives in Germany. It was with great relief that daughter Maria, an RN in Wisconsin, volunteered to go along in my place. I will even pay for their first class travel. However, Erika's health may prevent this trip. I did, however, agree to take her to a wedding in Wisconsin in May if she can handle the flight. Sigh!

"The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls," by Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times, January 3, 2015 ---

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Inside the gleaming mall here on the Sunday before Christmas, just one thing was missing: shoppers.

The upbeat music of “Jingle Bell Rock” bounced off the tiles, and the smell of teriyaki chicken drifted from the food court, but only a handful of stores were open at the sprawling enclosed shopping center. A few visitors walked down the long hallways and peered through locked metal gates into vacant spaces once home to retailers like H&M, Wet Seal and Kay Jewelers.

“It’s depressing,” Jill Kalata, 46, said as she tried on a few of the last sneakers for sale at the Athlete’s Foot, scheduled to close in a few weeks. “This place used to be packed. And Christmas, the lines were out the door. Now I’m surprised anything is still open.”

The Owings Mills Mall is poised to join a growing number of what real estate professionals, architects, urban planners and Internet enthusiasts term “dead malls.” Since 2010, more than two dozen enclosed shopping malls have been closed, and an additional 60 are on the brink, according to Green Street Advisors, which tracks the mall industry.

Premature obituaries for the shopping mall have been appearing since the late 1990s, but the reality today is more nuanced, reflecting broader trends remaking the American economy. With income inequality continuing to widen, high-end malls are thriving, even as stolid retail chains like Sears, Kmart and J. C. Penney falter, taking the middle- and working-class malls they anchored with them.

“It is very much a haves and have-nots situation,” said D. J. Busch, a senior analyst at Green Street. Affluent Americans “will keep going to Short Hills Mall in New Jersey or other properties aimed at the top 5 or 10 percent of consumers. But there’s been very little income growth in the belly of the economy.”

At Owings Mills, J. C. Penney and Macy’s are hanging on, but other midtier emporiums like Sears, Lord & Taylor, and the regional department store chain Boscov’s have all come and gone as anchors.

Having opened in 1986 with a renovation in 1998, Owings Mills is young for a dying mall. And while its locale may have contributed to its demise, other forces played a crucial role, too, like changing shopping habits and demographics, experts say.

“I have no doubt some malls will survive, but major segments of our society have gotten sick of them,” said Mark Hinshaw, a Seattle architect, urban planner and author.

One factor many shoppers blame for the decline of malls — online shopping — is having only a small effect, experts say. Less than 10 percent of retail sales take place online, and those sales tend to hit big-box stores harder, rather than the fashion chains and other specialty retailers in enclosed malls.

Instead, the fundamental problem for malls is a glut of stores in many parts of the country, the result of a long boom in building retail space of all kinds.

“We are extremely over-retailed,” said Christopher Zahas, a real estate economist and urban planner in Portland, Ore. “Filling a million square feet is a tall order.” Continue reading the main story

Like beached whales, dead malls draw fascination as well as dismay. There is a popular website devoted to the phenomenon — deadmalls.com — and it has also become something of a cultural meme, with one particularly spooky scene in the movie “Gone Girl” set in a dead mall.

“Everybody has memories from childhood of going to the mall,” said Jack Thomas, 26, one of three partners who run the site in their spare time. “Nobody ever thinks a mall is going to up and die.”

Well aware of the cultural dimensions, as well as the economic stakes, the industry is trying to turn around public perception of these monuments to America’s favorite pastime: shopping.

In August, the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group based in New York for the shopping center industry, including mall owners, hired the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller “to put the real story out there and stop the negativity around the idea that the mall isn’t going to exist in the next few years,” said Jesse Tron, communications director for the trade group.

While it is true that many thriving malls will continue to flourish in the years ahead, it is not clear what the industry can do to prevent more and more malls from falling on hard times.

About 80 percent of the country’s 1,200 malls are considered healthy, reporting vacancy rates of 10 percent or less. But that compares with 94 percent in 2006, according to CoStar Group, a leading provider of data for the real estate industry.

Nearly 15 percent are 10 to 40 percent vacant, up from 5 percent in 2006. And 3.4 percent — representing more than 30 million square feet — are more than 40 percent empty, a threshold that signals the beginning of what Mr. Busch of Green Street calls “the death spiral.”

Industry executives freely admit that the mall business has undergone a profound bifurcation since the recession.

Continued in article

First Blockbuster and Radio Shack, Now Kroeger and HEB

"How E-Commerce Is Finally Disrupting The $600 Billion-A-Year Grocery Industry," by Cooper Smith, Business Insider, January 1, 2015 ---

At $600 billion a year in sales, food and beverage is by far the largest retail category in the U.S. by a wide margin. However, it's also the category that has been the least disrupted by e-commerce; less than 1% of food and beverage sales currently occur online, according to BI Intelligence's estimates.

But shopping habits are changing, and niche online grocery services that compete on convenience and selection are gaining traction. Meanwhile tech giants like Amazon are fronting the cost of expensive delivery infrastructure that has so far held back grocery e-commerce. 

In a new in-depth report, BI Intelligence looks at why the grocery business has proved so challenging to e-commerce companies — from consumer reluctance to complicated and expensive logistics — and what new strategies e-commerce startups and big-name tech companies are pursuing to push more grocery sales online. Between 2013 and 2018, online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1%, reaching nearly $18 billion by the end of the forecast period. For comparison, offline grocery sales will rise by 3.1% annually during the same period. 

Access The Full Report And Downloadable Charts By Signing Up For A Free Trial>>

Here are some of the key findings explored in the report: 

Jensen Comment
Even in the boon docks where we cannot get same-day delivery, we probably buy more groceries other than perishables from Amazon than we do from the local markets. The reason is a combination of things including point-and-click convenience, availability of harder to find items up here, savings in time and money (think fuel for 20 miles round trip), and "free" shipping via Amazon Prime. Since we buy in bulk, our basement looks like a supermarket with shelves to hold the items we now buy by the case.

If we still lived in San Antonio we probably would buy less online mainly because we would not want to leave our garage unlocked for deliveries from UPS, the Post Office, and FedEx. Up here, however, we never lock our garage and disconnected it from our home security system (that we mainly have for fire and pipe-freezing prevention).

In cities like San Antonio I think neighborhood convenience stores should add services for holding parcel deliveries from UPS, the Post Office, and FedEx. There has to be business opportunity here.

France Just Quietly Killed Off Its Failed 75% Supertax ---

Jensen Comment
Tennis star Serena Williams once claimed she would prefer to live in Paris but would never do so with the 75% Supertax. Now she's free to reconsider.

Coursera Free Courses --- https://www.coursera.org/

Jensen Comment on Coursera
Enter the search term for accounting and note the free accounting courses from the University of Illinois, University of California at Irvine, Penn (Wharton), and the University of West Virginia

200+ Free Courses and Certificates from Top Professors in Leading Universities
200 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) Getting Started in January ---
Complete Listing --- http://www.openculture.com/free_certificate_courses

Note the free financial accounting courses from Penn (Wharton) and various free forensic accounting courses from elsewhere (not all begin in January)

"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

Most MOOCs are college courses that comprise part of the curriculum at a university, usually a leading university. The typical MOOC is the filmed version of a complete  live course on campus where onsite students get credits for taking the course in a campus classroom.

Online MOOC viewers usually watch the videos of an onsite course and may even get together in online learning teams, but viewers typically do not pay for or receive transcript credit unless they take competency examinations that are usually not administered by the MOOC professors. Prestigious universities created EdX and Coursera for purposes of competency testing and granting of transcript credits.

Most Webinars are much shorter training modules conducted live that were never intended to provide college course credits. They may be replayed as videos, but viewers can usually ask questions online and interact with the Webinar leaders only when the Webinar was first filmed.

Business firms like KPMG usually provide Webinars. Webinars are not commonly provided by colleges and universities. Typically Webinars are intended for employees, customers, or clients, but these Webinars may be shared freely with college faculty and students worldwide. Organizations like the FASB also conduct Webinars bit do not offer MOOCs. Webinars may also be conducted for continuing education (CEP) credits.

Bob Jensen's threads on thousands of MOOC courses and instructions on how to sigh up for (free) MOOCs ---

Contrary to popular belief, the typical MOOC is not an introductory course in a discipline. More commonly a MOOC is an advanced specialty course in a college. For example, MOOCs are available on the writings of great poets but not introductory courses how to write compositions or poems. There are exceptions of course and often the most popular MOOCs are less advanced such as an introductory MOOC in social psychology versus an advanced MOOC on memory and metacognition.


Distance Education Fee-Based Courses are Not MOOCs
Bob Jensen's threads on tens of thousands of fee-based distance education and training courses that usually have assignments, examinations, interactions with instructors, and associate, undergraduate, or graduate degree credits ---

Such fee-based courses and online degrees are now offered (selectively) by the majority of colleges ranging from community colleges to Ivy League universities. It's common for universities to have multiple sections of a course where some sections are onsite and some are online. No distinction is usually made on a transcript if the course is taken onsite or online such that it becomes very difficult to enforce a policy of not offering transfer credit for a distance education course, especially a distance education course from a leading university like the University of Wisconsin or the University of Texas.

Thus it  becomes somewhat of a joke when the Texas Society of CPAs limits (for CPA candidates) the number of accounting courses that can be taken online when leading universities do not reveal on a transcript whether a course was taken online versus onsite. The key should be the academic reputation of the university rather than how the course was taken from a leading university.

I'm still skeptical of online doctoral programs, because I think an on-campus experience is extremely important to preparing doctoral students for reaching and research. Having said this, there are some respectable online doctoral programs such as a Ph.D. in pharmacy from the University of Colorado.

In my viewpoint, however, there are no respectable Ph.D. programs in accounting --- period! There probably can and will be such USA programs in the future, but I think they will have to begin at the top such as an online doctoral program from an accounting program ranked in the Top 10 accounting degree programs by US News.

Yeah! I'm a biased snob when it comes to online doctoral programs
And I am aware that one of the Pathways Commission initiatives is to experiment with newer types of Ph.D. programs in accountancy. But these should probably be more along the lines of onsite clinical Ph.D. programs rather than online Ph.D. programs.

And yes it is possible to conduct clinical research in accounting much like clinical research has become the most important type of research in medical schools --- but certainly not doctoral programs in accountancy. Ant that's a shame!


Bob Jensen's threads on free MOOCs, tutorials, learning videos, and course materials from prestigious universities ---

"Nonprofit Fights Illiteracy By Getting Books To Kids Who Need Them," by Lynn Leary, NPR, December 29, 2014 ---

What We Used to Ask Librarians Before Google and Wikipedia ---

Jensen Comment
Some of these questions also appeared on college admission examinations.
One question I recall answering correctly on the GMAT in the 1960s asked for the name of Don Quixote's horse. The answer is now at

Business Insider recently posted a list of handy math tricks, and among them is a quick way to estimate how long it will take to double an investment with a given rate of return ---

The Beautiful Monarch Butterfly Is In Deep Trouble --- |

The Imitation Game --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imitation_Game
Thank you Denny Beresford for making me think about this one as well as order it from NetFlix (on a waiting list)

Alan Turing --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

The Turing Test --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test

Why Walter Isaacson Wanted to Make Alan Turing Famous ---

The recent film The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a British mathematical genius who helped the Allies win World War II by working to break the German Enigma code. After the war Turing was persecuted for his homosexuality, and subjected to cruel and degrading treatment that led him to take his own life. Last year Turing received a posthumous pardon from the Queen, and his legacy endures in such areas as mathematics, computer science, and artificial intelligence. One of his admirers is Walter Isaacson, whose new book The Innovators profiles Turing and other digital pioneers.

“One of the reasons I wrote this book is because I wanted to make people like Alan Turing famous,” Isaacson says in Episode 131 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “And now I must admit that Benedict Cumberbatch, by playing him, has done that a thousand times better than I ever could have.”

Isaacson is famous for his biographies of such figures as Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs. But lately he’s come to feel that the biography format puts too much emphasis on individual personalities. The Innovators tries to show that great breakthroughs mostly come from team efforts, something The Imitation Game conveys very well.

“What the movie does show clearly is that Turing comes to the realization that you can’t do it alone, you’ve got to collaborate and be part of a team,” Isaacson says.

Isaacson hopes the film will inspire audiences to seek out more information about the real-life story of Turing, whether that means turning to The Innovators or to other works of nonfiction such as Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

“The movie does get to some real truths by taking literary license, but also the real story of Alan Turing is just a beautiful, heroic, and tragic story,” he says.

Listen to our complete interview with Walter Isaacson in Episode 131 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast (above), in which he discusses the work of Alan Turing and other digital pioneers, and check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Walter Isaacson on Ada Lovelace:

“She was Lord Byron’s daughter, and thus she was kind of poetic, but her mother was a mathematician, so she developed what she called ‘poetical science,’ and she loved looking at how punchcards were instructing the looms of industrial England in the 1830s to make beautiful patterns. She had a friend, Charles Babbage, who was making a numerical calculator, and she realized that with punch cards that calculator could do anything—art, music, words, as well as numbers. And so to me she’s a patron saint of the revolution. … So I think that women have been at the forefront of pioneering the art of programming, but they’ve been written out of histrory a bit, and they really haven’t had as much of a role since then as they should have. … My daughter first introduced me to the importance of Ada Lovelace, because she was 15 and a computer geek, and she said that the only computer programmer who was a woman she’d ever heard of was Oracle in the Batman comics. And then she heard of Ada Lovelace, so she got excited, because she realized that real women could be programmers.”

Walter Isaacson on the creation of the Internet:

“When I was at Time magazine, we wrote the story that it was done to survive a nuclear attack, and we got a letter from Steve Crocker, who was in charge of what was called the ‘Request for Comments’—these were the ideas and rules and protocols for doing the Internet. And he sent us a letter saying, ‘No, that’s not why the Internet was created. It was created because we wanted to decentralize control over it.’ And Time magazine was very arrogant back in those days, so it sent a letter back to Steve Crocker saying, ‘No, we’re not going to print your letter, because we have better sources than you about why it was done.’ And I thought, ‘Well, that’s ridiculous.’ But when I was doing this book I still had the right to go back rummaging through the archives at Time magazine, and I tried to find out who was the better source—it turned out to have been Steve Lukasik, who had become the head of ARPAnet, and Steve Lukasik said, indeed, that’s how he got the money from the colonels in the Pentagon, or Congress, by emphasizing it would survive a Russian attack. And he said, ‘You can tell Steve Crocker that he was on the bottom and I was on the top, so he didn’t really know what was happening.’ When I sat and had coffee with Steve Crocker, interviewing him for this book, I told him that, and he strokes his chin, and he said, ‘You can tell Steve Lukasik that I was on the bottom and he was on the top, so he didn’t know what was happening.'”

Walter Isaacson on “Al Gore invented the Internet”:

“It got a little annoying after a while, because people would laugh and think, ‘Ha ha, what an original joke.’ And so I did do a bit on why Al Gore was important. When I was running digital management for Time magazine in the early 1990s, you could not as an average person go right onto the Internet. You could only go on the Internet if you were part of a university or a research group, something like that. And in 1992, Al Gore passes the Gore Act of 1992, which opens up the Internet so that anybody who can dial up with a modem and get to an online service like AOL or CompuServe or Prodigy, or just wants to dial up, can go directly onto the Internet. This transforms the digital revolution. It makes it not just a network of research centers, but it makes it into the Internet we have today. At that time, speaking of WIRED and Time magazine, Louis Rossetto and I were friends—he had founded WIRED—and we were both on AOL and CompuServe, these proprietary services. And it was in late 1993, I remember talking to him about, ‘Why don’t we go directly onto the Internet?’ Especially since the World Wide Web had been developed by Tim Berners-Lee, which made it easier to navigate to places on the Internet. And that was a big transforming thing that happens in 1992-1994 where the number of websites goes from zero to 10,000 in one year, and it’s largely because of the Gore Act of 1992, which opens up the Internet to the general public.”

Walter Isaacson on artificial intelligence:

“It always seems to be 20 years away. In fact, at the beginning of this year, if you just search it, you’ll find stories in the New York Times saying that neuromorphic chips are being developed that’ll mimic the human mind, and in 20 years we’ll have artificial intelligence. It always seems to be a bit of a mirage, and it always seems that things like Google or Wikipedia that combine human creativity with machine power always make greater advances than machine power alone does. … This is something that Gary Kasparov figures out when he gets beaten by the IBM machine Deep Blue. He decides to create a contest in which humans working with computers can play either the best computer or against the best human grand master. And in all of these contests, the combination of the human and machine—even if it’s amateur players working with laptop machines—tends to beat the grand master or the best computer. And this is a game—chess—which you have to remember is simply an algorithmic rule-driven game, so eventually computers should be able to crack that totally. On far more complicated things like ‘Should the NSA be allowed to eavesdrop?’ that’s a question I don’t think machines will ever be able to answer as well as a combination of machines and humans could.”

Continued in article


"Never Lose Your Stuff Again: 6 Bluetooth Trackers Reviewed<" by David Pogue, Yahoo Tech, December 4, 2014 ---

Jensen Question
Not just for car keys. Will Hillary get one for Bill in the 2016 campaign?

From the Econometrics Beat blog by David Giles on December 29, 2014


Multivariate Medians

I'll bet that in the very first "descriptive statistics" course you ever took, you learned about measures of "central tendency" for samples or populations, and these measures included the median. You no doubt learned that one useful feature of the median is that, unlike the (arithmetic, geometric, harmonic) mean, it is relatively "robust" to outliers in the data.

(You probably weren't told that J. M. Keynes provided the first modern treatment of the relationship between the median and the minimization of the sum of absolute deviations. See Keynes (1911) - this paper was based on his thesis work of 1907 and 1908. See
this earlier post for more details.)

At some later stage you would have encountered the arithmetic mean again, in the context of multivariate data. Think of the mean vector, for instance.

However, unless you took a stats. course in Multivariate Analysis, most of you probably didn't get to meet the median in a multivariate setting. Did you ever wonder why not?

One reason may have been that while the concept of the mean generalizes very simply from the scalar case to the multivariate case, the same is not true for the humble median. Indeed, there isn't even a single, universally accepted definition of the median for a set of multivariate data!

Let's take a closer look at this.

New Year Reading List from Econometrics Beat ---

New Year Reading List

Happy New Year - and happy reading!
  • Arlot, S. and A. Celisse, 2010. A survey of cross-validation procedures for model selection. Statistics Surveys, 4, 40-79. (HT Rob)
  • Marsilli, C., 2014. Variable selection in predictive MIDAS models.Working Paper No. 520, Bank of France.
  • Kulaksizoglu, T., 2014. Lag order and critical values of the augmented Dickey-Fuller test: A replication. Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming.
  • Mooij, J. M., J. Peters, D. Janzing, J. Zscheischler, and B. Scholkopf, 2014. Distinguishing cause from effect using observational data: Methods and benchmarks. Working Paper. (HT Roger)
  • Polak, J., M. L. King, and X. Zhang, 2014. A model validation procedure. Working Paper 21/14, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Monash University.
  • Reed, W. R., 2014. Unit root tests, size distortions and cointegrated data. Working Paper 28/2014, Department of Economics and Finance, University of Canterbury. (HT Bob)


"Blogging changes the nature of academic research, not just how it is communicated," by Patrick Dunleavy, London School of Economics, January 2015 ---

Academic blogging gets your work and research out to a potentially massive audience at very, very low cost and relative amount of effort. Patrick Dunleavy argues blogging and tweeting from multi-author blogs especially is a great way to build knowledge of your work, to grow readership of useful articles and research reports, to build up citations, and to foster debate across academia, government, civil society and the public in general.

One of the recurring themes (from many different contributors) on the LSE Impact of Social Science blog is that a new paradigm of research communications has grown up — one that de-emphasizes the traditional journals route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time academic communication. Blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to research reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ news-streams and communities. So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now.

But in addition, STEM scientists, social scientists and humanities scholars all have an obligation to society to contribute their observations to the wider world. At the moment that’s often being done

So the public pay for all or much of our research (especially in Europe and Australasia). And then we shunt back to them a few press releases and a lot of out-of-date, arcanely phrased academic junk.

Types of blogs

A lot of people think that all blogs are solo blogs, but this is a completely out of date view. A ‘blog’ is defined by Wikipedia as:

‘a truncation of the expression web log… [It] is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject. More recently “multi-author blogs” (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, advocacy groups and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other “microblogging” systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into societal newstreams’. [Accessed 29 August 2014]. (Let me pause here to reassure some academic readers who may be bristling at being asked to read Wikipedia text – I know this passage is sound since I co-wrote much of it).

Actually the evolution of academic blogs specifically has now progressed even further, so that we can distinguish group or collaborative blogs as an important intermediate type between solo blogs and multi-author blogs. The two tables below summarize how these three types of blogs now work, drawing attention to their very different advantages and disadvantages.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs, listservs, and social media ---

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Threads.htm
For earlier editions of Fraud Updates go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
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 
Bookmarks for the World's Library --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm 

"Report: Duke Ignored Warnings on Research Fraud," by January 13, 2015, Inside Higher Ed, January 13, 2015 ---

Duke University ignored a graduate student's warnings about possible misconduct in the lab of a cancer researcher, years before the case exploded into public view, The Cancer Letter reported. The newsletter published documents showing that a medical student, Bradford Perez, tried to inform campus administrators about statistical anomalies in studies produced in the lab of Anil Potti, a cancer researcher. But university officials discouraged Perez from filing a formal complaint, the newsletter reported. Potti ultimately was found to have misrepresented his credentials and Duke was sued by participants in clinical trials that the university suspended amid the controversy.

"Medical Scholar Built Career on Enormous Fraud, Investigation Finds," by Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 2014 ---

Two years ago, West Virginia University was nearly ready to name a new department chair: Anoop Shankar, a member of the Royal College of Physicians with a Ph.D. in epidemiology and dozens of papers in scholarly journals under his belt.

There was just one problem, reports NBC News: Mr. Shankar wasn’t any of those things.

The results of the network’s investigation, published Wednesday morning, show Mr. Shankar’s exploits to be that of “a charming, bright-minded impostor who built a career on a base of lies.”

The extent of Mr. Shankar’s deceptions began to emerge when the chair of the School of Public Health’s promotion and tenure committee began a review of his résumé. He found, among many other falsehoods, that Mr. Shankar had not actually written any of the papers listed on his curriculum vitae. After the university dug deeper, Mr. Shankar resigned, in December 2012.

But the university hasn’t spoken publicly on the case. As a result, NBC News reports, Mr. Shankar was hired for a position at Virginia Commonwealth University. That college opened its own probe only after NBC News submitted questions about Mr. Shankar for its investigation. As a result, he left the university last month.

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

"6 Football Players at South Dakota Implicated in Fraud," Inside Higher Ed, January 12, 2015 ---

Eleven people -- six of them former football players at the University of South Dakota -- have pleaded guilty in a scheme in which students filed tax forms to receive refunds on behalf of people other than themselves, the Associated Press reported. The schemed involved students identifying people they know and then filing the tax returns with other addresses than those of the people ostensibly filing, and then keeping the refunds.

The fraud managed to obtain more than $400,000.

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

"Robot Journalist Finds New Work on Wall Street:  Software that turns data into written text could help us make sense of a coming tsunami of data," by Tom Simonite, MIT's Technology Review, January 9, 2015 ---

Video:  Meet Baxter the General Purpose Robot ---
Thank you Patricia Walters for the heads up

"Corporate Filers Beware: New “RoboCop” Is On Patrol (detecting fraud)," by John Carney and Francesca Harker, BakerHostetler, Forbes, August 9, 2013 ---

It may not be the superhuman robotic police officer who patrolled the lawless streets of Detroit in the 1987 sci-fi thriller, but corporate filers should be every bit as concerned about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) new Accounting Quality Model (“AQM”), labeled not-so-affectionately by some in the financial industry as “RoboCop.” Broadly speaking, the AQM is an analytical tool which trawls corporate filings to flag high-risk activity for closer inspection by SEC enforcement teams. Use of the AQM, in conjunction with statements by recently-confirmed SEC Chairman Mary Jo White and the introduction of new initiatives announced July 2, 2013, indicates a renewed commitment by the SEC to seek out violations of financial reporting regulations. This pledge of substantial resources means it is more important than ever for corporate filers to understand SEC enforcement strategies, especially the AQM, in order to decrease the likelihood that their firm will be the subject of an expensive SEC audit.

The Crack Down on Fraud in Accounting and Financial Reporting

In his speech nominating Mary Jo White to take over as chairman of the SEC, President Obama issued a warning: “You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo.”  That statement now seems particularly true for corporate filers given the direction of the SEC under her command. Previously a hallmark of the SEC, cases of accounting and financial-disclosure fraud made up only 11% of enforcement actions brought by the Commission in 2012.  Since taking over as chairman, Ms. White has renewed the SEC’s commitment to the detection of fraud in accounting and financial disclosures.

“I think financial-statement fraud, accounting fraud has always been important to the SEC,” Ms. White said during a June interview “It’s certainly an area that I’m interested in and you’re going to see more targeted resources in that area going forward.” She has backed that statement up with a substantial commitment of resources. In July, the commission announced new initiatives which aim to crack down on financial reporting fraud through the use of technology and analytical capacity, including the Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force and the Center for Risk and Quantitative Analytics (“CRQA”).  These initiatives will put financial reports under the microscope through the use of technology-based tools, the most important of which is RoboCop.

RoboCop: Corporate Profiler

RoboCop’s objective – to identify earnings management – is not a novel one; rather, it is the model’s proficiency that should worry filers.  Existing models on earnings management detection generally attempt to estimate discretionary accrual amounts by regressing total accruals on factors that proxy for non-discretionary accruals.  The remaining undefined amount then serves as an estimate of discretionary accruals.  The fatal flaw in this approach is the inevitable high amount of “false-positives”, rendering it useless to SEC examiners.

The AQM extends this traditional approach by including discretionary accrual factors in its regression.  This additional level of analysis further classifies the discretionary accruals as either risk indicators or risk inducers. Risk indicators are factors that are directly associated with earnings management while risk inducers indicate situations where strong incentives for earnings management exist. Based on a comparison with the filings of companies in the filer’s industry peer group, the AQM produces a score for each filing, assessing the likelihood that fraudulent activities are occurring.

While the SEC will be keeping their factor-composition cards close to the chest, the “builder of RoboCop”, Craig Lewis, Chief Economist and Director of the Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation (“RSFI”) at the SEC, has offered several clues about the types of information most likely to catch RoboCop’s attention (Is it just a coincidence that RoboCop’s movie partner was an Officer Lewis?).

“An accounting policy that could be considered a risk indicator (and consistently measured) would be an accounting policy that results in relatively high book earnings, even though firms simultaneously select alternative tax treatments that minimize taxable income,” said Mr. Lewis. “Another accounting policy risk indicator might be a high proportion of transactions structured as ‘off-balance sheet.’”

Frequent conflicts with independent auditors, changes in auditors, or filing delays could also be risk indicators.  Examples of risk inducers include decreasing market share or lower profitability margins. This factor-based analysis allows for model flexibility, meaning examiners are able to add or remove factors to customize the analysis to their specific needs. The SEC will be able to continually update the model to account for the moves filers are taking to conceal their frauds.

Next Generation RoboCop

One of the perceived weaknesses of RoboCop is its dependence on financial comparisons between filers within an industry peer group.  As Lewis points out, “most firms that are probably engaging in earnings management or manipulation aren’t doing it in a way that allows them to stand out from everybody else. They’re actually doing it so they blend in better with their peer group.”

To account for this, the SEC’s current endeavor is expanding the model’s capabilities to include a scan of the “Management Discussion & Analysis” (“MD&A”) sections of annual reports. Through a study of past fraudulent filings, analysts at RSFI have developed lists of words and phrasing choices which have been common amongst fraudulent filers in the past. These lists have been turned into factors and incorporated into the AQM

“We’re effectively going in and we’re saying: what are the word choices that filers make that maximize our ability to differentiate between fraudsters in the past and firms that haven’t had fraud action brought against them yet?” Mr. Lewis explained during a June conference in Ireland.

“So what we’re doing is taking the MDNA section, we’re comparing them to other firms in the same industry group, and we’re finding that in the past, fraudsters have tended to talk a lot about things that really don’t matter much and they under-report all the risks that all the other firms that aren’t having these same issues talk quite a bit about.”

Firms engaged in fraudulent activity have tended to overuse particular words and phrasing choices which are associated with relatively benign activities.  They have also tended to under-disclose risks which are prevalent among a peer group.  When a filer has engaged in similar behavior, RoboCop will flag these types of unusual choices for examiner review.

How the SEC Uses RoboCop

Although the SEC has cautioned that the AQM is not the “robot police coming out and busting the fraudsters,” filers would be wise to understand the power of this tool.  RoboCop is a fully automated system.  Within 24 hours from the time a filing is posted to EDGAR, it is processed by the AQM and the results are stored in a database.  The AQM outputs a risk score which informs SEC auditors of the likelihood that a filing is fraudulent.  The SEC then uses this score to prioritize its investigations and concentrate review efforts on portions of the report most likely to contain fraudulent information.

The results of RoboCop’s analysis will likely become the basis for enforcement scheduling and direction of resources in the near future.  A filing’s risk score will determine whether a filing is given a quick, unsuspecting review, or whether it is thoroughly dissected by an SEC exam team, possibly leading to an expensive audit.  The SEC has also said it plans to use the risk scores as a means of corroborating (or invalidating) the approximately 30,000 tips, complaints, and referrals submissions it estimates will be received each year through its Electronic Data Collection Systems or completed forms TCR.

Continued in article


Ole yust does not yet vant Lena to be da boss
Women CEOs are rare in Norway and Sweden even though these nations are highest in terms of gender equality on other criteria

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ---

. . .

In some European Union countries, there are two separate boards, one executive board for the day-to-day business and one supervisory board for control purposes (selected by the shareholders). In these countries, the CEO presides over the executive board and the chairman presides over the supervisory board, and these two roles will always be held by different people. This ensures a distinction between management by the executive board and governance by the supervisory board. This allows for clear lines of authority. The aim is to prevent a conflict of interest and too much power being concentrated in the hands of one person.

Women on Board The Norwegian Experience (June 2010) ---

Ole yust does not yet vant Lena to be da boss (Norway is not in the 28-Member European Union)
From the Harvard Business Review Blog on December 30, 2014

Norwegian Companies Morph to Avoid Gender-Balance Law

One of the consequences of Norway’s law mandating that at least 40% of the directors of public limited companies be female is that numerous firms have switched their organizational form, sometimes at significant cost, so that they are no longer public limited companies, say Øyvind Bøhren and Siv Staubo of Norwegian Business School. Among the companies in that category when the law was passed in 2003, 51% chose to become private limited-liability firms by the time it became binding five years later. However, Norway may further extend the board-representation rule to other corporate forms.

Does mandatory gender balance work? Changing organizational form to avoid board upheaval

Germany since passed quota (30% in 2016) legislation for publically-traded companies but rejected similar quotas for private corporations ---

Jensen Comment
In the USA the CEO generally has enormous power is choosing the slate of board members voted on by the shareholders. Also shareholders uninterested in voting often give voting proxies to the CEO. Hence the election of board members is not exactly an example of great democracy in action. For public relations purposes and for purposes of competency, however, CEOs are increasingly attempting to get women on corporate boards. Also corporate boards for sometimes complicated reasons, including competency, are increasingly trying to appoint women as CEOs.  No longer are women mere tokens for public relations.

Gender Equality --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_equality

Global Gender Gap Report (2013) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Gender_Gap_Report

Gender Inequality Index --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_Inequality_Index
Note that this index is based on multiple criteria and is not a measure of business executive power or executive compensation.

Female Labor Force in the Muslim World --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_labor_force_in_the_Muslim_world

Bob Jensen's threads on gender issues ---

Steven Hawking and the Golem A cautionary tale about artificial intelligence ---

Rodney Brooks is less worried about

AI researcher Rodney Brooks writes, “I think it is a mistake to be worrying about us developing malevolent AI anytime in the next few hundred years. I think the worry stems from a fundamental error in not distinguishing the difference between the very real recent advances in a particular aspect of AI, and the enormity and complexity of building sentient volitional intelligence.”

Rodney Brooks is featured in a film about him
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

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

What's one difference between Anchorage, Alaska and Sugar Hill, NH?

In 2014 Anchorage never had a day below 0F.
Actually Sugar Hill had very few days below zero last year and never went deep below zero like the first year we lived here about ten years ago.  Anchorage has also known much colder years than 2014 even though it's generally warmer in Anchorage than in most other parts of Alaska. The coldest place in New Hampshire is generally atop Mt. Washington where temperatures often plunge way below zero in the midst of ferocious winds ---

The warmer winters does not yet mean we will be planting palm trees anywhere outdoors in Alaska or New Hampshire.

NFL Players Must “Go Long” On Retirement --- http://blog.futureadvisor.com/nfl-players-must-go-long-on-retirement/

Sports Illustrated estimates that almost 80% of NFL Players are broke three years into retirement (and they retire before age 40). How can such high-paying careers possibly end in bankruptcy?

The NFL pays players the worst, on average, among professional sports organizations. Your typical NBA player makes a cool $5 million per year; your average NFL player makes $1.9 million — less than half. And the highest earners skew the average for both leagues, so the averages don’t represent most players. The median salary for an NFL player is $770,000.

That sounds like a lot, but that salary is only earned over a few years. NFL players’ careers are very short compared to white-collar workers. Football players might have a retirement that’s 50 years long. Combine this with the average 3.5 year career of a player and you can see the problem. These guys need to be really good at planning for their future, and they have a very small window of time to make the right decisions.

Going Long --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_%28finance%29
It might also merely refer to thinking long-term about investing.

Going Short --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_%28finance%29

Jensen Comment
Actually I would not ipso facto advise going long or short without more information on the alternatives and circumstances. Astute investors often hedge with both long and short positions. To advise an NFL player about investing we need to know more about cash holdings and deferred payment contracts. Much also depends in the the investment value of the player's name. For example, Hall of Fame players usually have names that can be used to advantage in automobile dealerships, restaurants or even restaurant chains, hotels, etc. And in many case they can use what I call the Donald Trump strategy of putting up the name without having to invest much cash.

I would probably advise most NFL players to avoid gambling completely (Michael Jordon's addiction) and modest consumption (avoid the fancy cars, show-off estates, expensive travel, and gold-digging lovers/friends). Also avoid blood sucking investment advisors and learn how to manage your own portfolio. And stay away from those so-called investment seminars often conducted by con men and con women in fancy hotels.

First thing I would look into investing in a tax exempt fund (like a fund from Fidelity or Vanguard). Certainly do not invest everything in tax exempts and be prepared for the remotely possible politics in Washington that could limit the amount of tax exempt income allowed each year. Risk in tax free bonds can be diversified by investing in large tax-exempt funds, but investors should study the other risks involved in this and any other type of investment.

Try to avoid consuming capital and live on labor plus only a portion of income on investments. Think twice about real estate investments since cash flows for property taxes and insurance can eat you alive.

Please understand that I'm not an investment adviser and do not pretend to be an expert on such matters. However, I do provide some free personal finance helpers and links to learn about how to manage your own funds ---

Apple’s Guided Tour to Using the First Macintosh (1984) ---
Bob Jensen's threads on computing history ---

Laptop Market Shares in Q3 of 2014 ---
Bill Gates would probably be selling used cars today if Apple had outsourced its Mac OS and computer manufacturing to other companies like Dell and HP.

Confucius will no longer say anything in Swedish ---

"Is It OK to Cheat Airlines if It Saves You Money?" by Justin Bachman, Bloomberg Businessweek, December 31, 2014 ---

Would you “scam” an airline’s ticketing policy if it saved $25? $70? $400?

A federal lawsuit is bringing public attention to “hidden city” ticketing, the technique of buying an airline ticket between two cities with a connection but ditching the rest of the trip. Say, for example, you want to fly from Boston to San Francisco but notice that a ticket from Boston to Seattle—with a connection in San Francisco—is cheaper. Once your flight lands in San Francisco, you prance out of the airport at your intended destination, pocketing the savings.

Airlines hate this maneuver—which has been around for decades—and argue that it violates the terms of the sale. Others contend that it’s no big deal. “I think it’s fair game,” says John DiScala, a travel expert who blogs as Johnny Jet. “I think it’s smart for the consumer.” Jay Sorensen, a consultant and former executive with Midwest Airlines, argues that airlines also violate the terms of sale with their customers “and then rely on the customer to write a letter to complain to get that violation addressed.” (In a phone call on Tuesday, Sorensen noted that his wife, who is also a former airline executive, vehemently disagreed.) “I think there are greater sins in life,” he says.

The world’s second-largest airline, United, along with online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide, aren't convinced. They've filed suit seeking an injunction to stop a New York programmer’s website, Skiplagged.com, from sending United ticket buyers to Orbitz.com to purchase such “hidden city” tickets. The ticketing technique “interferes with United’s ability to sell unused seats on the final leg(s) of connecting flights, resulting in the loss of revenue that United would have earned by selling the unused seats,” the company said in its lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The companies also want at least $75,000 in damages and attorney fees. “This practice violates our fare rules, and we are taking action to stop it to help protect the vast majority of customers who buy legitimate tickets,” United spokeswoman Christen David said on Tuesday. The airline also says such passengers can cause delays as gate agents try to determine where a person expected on a flight may be. Passenger count also affects a flight’s total weight calculation, which can delay the plane’s departure.

The problem for the airline industry, of course, is that the public holds them in roughly the same esteem as cable-TV companies and tax collectors. We aren't inclined to be terribly sympathetic about protecting carriers’ pricing schemes or saying "no thanks" to a bargain. “Send them to hell, please,” wrote someone who donated $666 to Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman, who began raising money online in late November to fund his defense against the lawsuit. On Tuesday he boosted his target to $25,000 after quickly passing the prior $20,000 target given media attention on the lawsuit. “That's because I really don't know how much this lawsuit is going to ultimately cost, other than probably a lot,” Zaman wrote in a note thanking donors. “However, you have my word that how every cent is spent will be posted here. If there are any remaining funds, those will be completely donated to charity.” Zaman did not reply on Tuesday to an e-mail sent via his personal website.

Hidden city fares are found on almost every airline that operates with a hub-and-spoke system. These cheaper fares arise from the fact that nonstop flights typically command a premium, given that most people—especially business travelers—prefer to avoid connections when possible. That’s why American, for example, enjoys strong pricing from its Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) hub on nonstop routes. Delta and United, meanwhile, have plenty of service on the same routes from DFW Airport, but they typically route passengers through one of their own hubs with a connecting flight. Writ large across the industry, that dynamic leads to “hidden city” fares that can amount to savings of hundreds of dollars.

“If [airlines] didn’t try to price flights to certain hubs so high, perhaps you wouldn’t have as many people trying to buy hidden city fares,” says Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group. Yet given strong customer demand, airlines would be foolish to “leave money on the table” if they can command top prices on some flights, he notes. “To a certain degree then, they encourage this type of behavior,” says Harteveldt, who doesn’t consider the practice ethical. “There’s no easy solution to this.”

One airline measure has been to void frequent-flyer miles if an airline determines that a person skipped a connecting flight. In some cases with repeat offenders, Harteveldt and Sorensen said, an airline may shut down the account or try to collect the fare difference on the flight a passenger actually used. American warns travel agents not to sell such tickets, likening the practice to “switching price tags to obtain a lower price on goods sold at department stores.”

DiScala, who travels more than 150,000 miles per year and was spending the holidays with his wife in Hawaii, says hidden city tickets have been an occasional financial temptation—but one he's avoided. “I didn’t want to lose my miles,” he says.

Jensen Comment
The bigger question is whether it's ethical to cheat a company or government agency that prices or taxes in a way to encourage being cheated. It seems that you are playing a game that the house invented --- a little like but not entirely like counting cards while playing blackjack in a casino. Much depends upon what is part of the rules of the game. For example, if the rules specifically ban use of electronic devices while playing cards in a casino then secretly using a device like a hidden camera or wristwatch computer is cheating on the rules. That is unethical.

One could argue that it's the responsibility of the house to enforce its own rules whereas it's the ethical obligation of the players to live by the Kant's Categorical Imperative not to play the game in a way that every player should play the game beyond the level of enforced rules ---
For example, throwing away a ticket for a reserved seat leg of a flight might conceivably prevent another passenger from using an empty seat. In this case the damage extends beyond penalizing the airline by throwing away a ticket. Immanuel Kant probably would frown at this if he was still capable of frowning.

Having said this, I must admit that I've thrown away tickets before. As I recall the most common reason was when the price of a round trip ticket booked well in advance was less than the price of a one-way ticket booked well in advance. This was a pricing strategy used by airlines to hit business travelers with higher prices by denying them deals on one-way tickets  --- since one-way tickets are more apt to be used by business travelers than tourists.

In those instances I merely threw away the return tickets. Before the days of photo ID requirements it was tempting to try to sell a return ticket. But I viewed that is too unethical as well as difficult to accomplish. But my conscience did not bother me when I threw those return tickets away. However, upon arrival at my destination I did cancel the return reservation so somebody else could use my seat. The airlines reacted gratefully as if they expected astute travelers to figure out how to get cheaper one-way tickets. I was never hauled off in handcuffs when I told the airline I was not going to use a return ticket.

With Immanuel Kant it's all about treating others as you would want to be treated.

None of the return tickets I turned back to the airlines were refundable. These were nonrefundable tickets purchased long in advance of the flights. I merely notified the airline in advance so that somebody would not be denied a reserved seat that would otherwise be vacant.

I was not doing this to help the airline get more revenue. I merely wanted to help out other passengers in need of my reserved seat. I admit that I also wanted to show the airlines how absurd it was to price round trip tickets cheaper than one-way tickets.

This is a matter of ethics, now law! I would be very unhappy if I could not reserve a seat that was certain to be vacant --- which is not what I would do to others if I did not want this done to myself.

Somebody wrote to me that it makes no sense to sell a half-gallon container of milk for less than a quart of milk. Somebody wanting a quart of milk for lunch will simply buy the cheaper half-gallon and pour the rest away.

With airline tickets, however, pricing gets more complicated under the calculations of CPV analysis.

Reply from Bob Jensen on January 3, 2015.

Good point, but we have to look a bit deeper into why the airlines will sell round trip tickets cheaper than one-way tickets. Those cheap round trip tickets usually are non-refundable. Business travelers often want refundable tickets even if they are more expensive because it's so common for business travel plans to change relative to personal vacations to Disney World.

Hence, pricing of vacation travel is discounted due to CPV analysis. Vacation travel is very price elastic such that airlines can make more revenue by having higher volume at lower prices. But the airlines want to prevent business travelers from taking advantage of those lower fares. Hence the lower fares have added restrictions such as requiring Saturday night stay-overs that business travelers hate. Also business travelers hate non-refundable tickets and tickets that cannot be changed without heavy re-booking penalties.

Airlines studied price elasticity and volume among customer segments very carefully. One thing they learned is that one=way tickets are almost entirely used by business travelers for various and sometimes unknown reasons, but usually it;s because business travelers take a one way trip from City A to City B, spend a few nights in City B and then use another one-way ticket to go from City B to visit customers in City C and on and on.

Hence airlines decided that there would not be significantly increased volume of one-way tickets among vacation travelers wanting discounted tickets like they want round-trip discounted tickets.

As a result airlines just do not offer great deals on one-way tickets purchased in advance.

Thanks for the reply,



Too Little Remedy Too Late for a UNC Philosophy Professor (after nearly 20 years of fake classes and lax grading of athletes)
"UNC Is Firing The Sports Ethics Professor Involved In The Fake Class Scandal," by Peter Jacobs, Business Insider, December 31, 2014 ---

"Former UNC Basketball Star Says He Got Straight A's Without Going To A Single Class," by Emmitt Knowlton, Business Insider, June 6, 2014 ---

"UNC's Fake 'Paper Classes' Were Not Just For Athletes — They Were Also Very Popular With Frat Boys," by Peter Jacobs, Business Insider, October 23, 2014 --- http://www.businessinsider.com/uncs-fake-paper-classes-were-also-popular-with-frat-boys-2014-10  

Jensen Comment
The University of North Carolina would like to have us believe that the higher administration and coaches were unaware of the athlete cheating scandals for nearly 20 years. Yeah Right!

Bob Jensen's threads on professors who allow students to cheat ---

Bob Jensen's threads on athletics scandals in higher education ---

Economist Magazine Goofs
"The Economist List Of The Most Influential Economists Is A Disaster," by Myles Upland, Business Insider, December 30, 2014 ---

"Evidence Grows That Online Social Networks Have Insidious Negative Effects," MIT's Technology Review, August 29, 2014 ---

Online social networks have permeated our lives with far-reaching consequences. Many people have used them to connect with friends and family in distant parts of the world, to make connections that have advanced their careers in leaps and bounds and to explore and visualize not only their own network of friends but the networks of their friends, family, and colleagues.

But there is growing evidence that the impact of online social networks is not all good or even benign. A number of studies have begun to find evidence that online networks can have significant detrimental effects. This question is hotly debated, often with conflicting results and usually using limited varieties of subjects, such as undergraduate students.

Today, Fabio Sabatini at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy and Francesco Sarracino at STATEC in Luxembourg attempt to tease apart the factors involved in this thorny issue by number crunching the data from a survey of around 50,000 people in Italy gathered during 2010 and 2011. The survey specifically measures subjective well-being and also gathers detailed information about the way each person uses the Internet.

The question Sabatini and Sarracino set out to answer is whether the use of online networks reduces subjective well-being and if so, how.

Sabatini and Sarracino’s database is called the “Multipurpose Survey on Households,” a survey of around 24,000 Italian households corresponding to 50,000 individuals carried out by the Italian National Institute of Statistics every year. These guys use the data drawn from 2010 and 2011. What’s important about the survey as that it is large and nationally representative (as opposed to a self-selecting group of undergraduates).

The survey specifically asks the question “How satisfied are you with your life as a whole nowadays?” requiring an answer from extremely dissatisfied (0) to extremely satisfied (10). This provides a well-established measure of subjective well-being.

The survey also asks other detailed questions such as how often people meet friends and whether they think people can be trusted. It also asked about people’s use of online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

This allowed Sabatini and Sarracino to study the correlation between subjective well-being and other factors in their life, particularly their use of social networks. As statisticians they were particularly careful to rule out spurious correlations that can be explained by factors such as endogeneity bias where a seemingly independent parameter is actually correlated with an unobserved factor relegated to the error.

They found for example that face-to-face interactions and the trust people place in one another are strongly correlated with well-being in a positive way. In other words, if you tend to trust people and have lots of face-to-face interactions, you will probably assess your well-being more highly.

But of course interactions on online social networks are not face-to-face and this may impact the trust you have in people online. It is this loss of trust that can then affect subjective well-being rather than the online interaction itself.

Sabatini and Sarracino tease this apart statistically. “We find that online networking plays a positive role in subjective well-being through its impact on physical interactions, whereas [the use of] social network sites is associated with lower social trust,” they say. “The overall effect of networking on individual welfare is significantly negative,” they conclude.

That’s an important result because it is the first time that the role of online networks has been addressed in such a large and nationally representative sample.

Sabatini and Sarracino particularly highlight the role of discrimination and hate speech on social media which they say play a significant role in trust and well-being. Better moderation could significantly improve the well-being of the people who use social networks, they conclude.

Facebook, Twitter, and others take note.

Bob Jensen's threads on social networking ---

A Clever Interactive Chess Game
Play Chess Against the Ghost of Marcel Duchamp: A Free Online Chess Game ---
Click once on a piece to see the possible moves you can make with that piece. I did not do so well, but them I'm not a good chess player.

It's "unusual" to deny transfer credits from accredited college, but it's entirely possible
What's even more unusual is to name names of those "shoddy" colleges
"What One (California) College Did to Crack Down on Shoddy Transfer Credits," by Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 30, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
It's not at all unusual for accounting majors to cherry pick what courses to take off campus --- the hardest courses. This is especially common in the case of smaller colleges having only some of the hardest courses taught without choices as to who teaches those courses. When Trinity University (about 2,200 students in total with no programs for part-time students) our roughly 25 accounting majors sought, in advance, to take summer courses elsewhere when Trinity did not offer those courses in the summer we could usually predict what upper level courses would be chosen for undergraduate transfer credits.

It was also common for some graduate masters of accounting students to seek to take my accounting theory course off campus. However, there were virtually no accounting theory courses at the time that covered FAS 133 like I covered FAS 133. Permission was denied in advance of every summer. There are probably still no accounting theory courses that cover FAS 133 like I covered FAS 133. I consider FAS 133 a very important module for accounting theory even though FAS 133 is never covered in any depth on the CPA examination.

I considered FAS 133 an important launch for teaching fair value accounting and accounting for structured financing as well as the obvious distinction between speculation and hedge accounting. The big problem with having a heavy module on FAS 133 in accounting theory is that quite a lot of time has to be spent of use of derivatives contracts in finance before you can even teach how to account for those derivatives ---

"U. of Texas Flagship Is Investigating ‘Chronicle’ Report of Cheating Scandal," by Andy Thomason, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 2015 ---

Grade Fixing for Hundreds of Athletes
"Confessions of a Fixer," The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 5, 2015 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on teachers who help students cheat ---

Bob Jensen's threads on coaches and administrators who help athletes cheat ---


No Kangaroo Courts for "Ridiculous Research Grants" in Australia

"No Audit of 'Ridiculous' Grants." by Jared Owens for The Australian, Inside Higher Ed, January 6, 2014 https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/06/australian-government-backs-away-vow-audit-ridiculous-research-grants

Golden Fleece Awards --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Fleece_Award

Rather than put down "Ridiculous Grants" Jamie Briggs should give them Golden Fleece Awards.

From the Scout Report on January 9, 2015

Timeful --- http://www.timeful.com 

If you're looking for a clean, clear, simple app that helps you find time for the things you want to do, look no further. More than just a calendar app, Timeful intelligently helps you keep track of your life. For instance, after repeated To-Dos, Events, and Habits provided by you, the app will begin to make suggestions. Your approval or dismissal of these notifications help make smarter alerts for the future. Timeful is currently available for Apple devices running iOS 7.0+.

Vine --- https://vine.co 

Put simply, Vine is a social video app. It allows you to shoot six second videos (continuously or stopping and starting) and share them with the world. While this might not sound like groundbreaking web genius, the catchy platform and online video sharing community can make it an addictive experience. Available for iOS (6.0+), Android (varies with device), and Windows.

The Latest from Kepler: A Number of Possibly Habitable Planets
NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Discovers New Batch of Earthlike Planets

ALIEN EARTH: Red sun's habitable world spotted 470 light years away

'Alien Earth' is among eight new far-off planets

Eight New Planets Found in "Goldilocks" Zone

Kepler Mission Overview

Validation of twelve small Kepler transiting planets in the habitable zone

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

Education Tutorials

Free Shakespeare Tutorials --- https://www.playshakespeare.com/

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

Mars for Educators --- http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/participate/marsforeducators/

Bridging World History --- http://www.learner.org/courses/worldhistory/

Teaching Climate --- http://www.climate.gov/teaching

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for multiple disciplines ---

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Office of Science and Technology Policy --- http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp

"The Retraction War:  Scientists seek demigod status, journals want blockbuster results, and retractions are on the rise: is science broken?" by Jill Neimark, Aeon, 2014 ---

Stephen Hawking’s Big Ideas Explained with Simple Animation ---

What NASA Hopes to Find on Pluto ---

Mars for Educators --- http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/participate/marsforeducators/

The Weekly Epidemiological Record --- http://www.who.int/wer/en/

Teaching Climate --- http://www.climate.gov/teaching

Whale and Dolphin Conservation --- http://us.whales.org

The Pitch Drop Experiment --- http://smp.uq.edu.au/content/pitch-drop-experiment

Meet Baxter the General Purpose Robot ---

From the Scout Report on January 9, 2015

The Latest from Kepler: A Number of Possibly Habitable Planets
NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Discovers New Batch of Earthlike Planets

ALIEN EARTH: Red sun's habitable world spotted 470 light years away

'Alien Earth' is among eight new far-off planets

Eight New Planets Found in "Goldilocks" Zone

Kepler Mission Overview

Validation of twelve small Kepler transiting planets in the habitable zone


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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Bridging World History --- http://www.learner.org/courses/worldhistory/

Islam in Europe --- http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/01/islam-in-europe/

Explore Capitol Hill --- http://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-hill

Housing: Spotlight on Statistics --- http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2014/housing/home.htm

Berkeley 1968-1973 Poster Collection --- http://digitalcollections.library.ubc.ca/cdm/landingpage/collection/berkpost

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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math and Statistics Tutorials

Probability and Statistics --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_and_statistics

Past, Present, and Future of Statistical Science ---

A Long Article
"Statisticians in World War II:  They also served How statisticians changed the war, and the war changed statistics," The Economist, December 20, 2014 ---

Jensen Comment
The article above avoids the heated disputes especially those involving Ronald Fisher and Thomas Bayes ---

Common Mistakes in Statistical Analysis ---


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

History Tutorials

Bridging World History --- http://www.learner.org/courses/worldhistory/

The Oldest Time Capsule In American History Was Just Opened — Here's What's Inside ---

The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People, Presented in an Interactive Infographic ---

The Biggest Flaw Of 'The Obama Team' ---

Apple’s Guided Tour to Using the First Macintosh (1984) ---
Bob Jensen's threads on computing history ---

Werner Herzog Plays Himself in Cartoon That Satirizes Obama’s 2008 Election & Race in America ---

Explore Capitol Hill --- http://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-hill

Henri Rousseau’s Heartening Story of Success after a Lifetime of Rejection, Illustrated ---

National Museums of Scotland: Explore --- http://www.nms.ac.uk/explore/

Soviet and Warsaw Pact Military Journals

American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices --- http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/AmerLangs

Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman by Joan Rothfuss – review (a tear jerker) ---

Existential Philosophy of Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus Explained with 8-Bit Video Games ---

Free Shakespeare Tutorials --- https://www.playshakespeare.com/

Three Films Capture 1940s New York, Chicago & Los Angeles in Vivid Color ---

The Pitch Drop Experiment --- http://smp.uq.edu.au/content/pitch-drop-experiment

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi --- http://ngmaindia.gov.in

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

American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices --- http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/AmerLangs

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

Music Tutorials

"Tristan and Isolde: A spine-tingling and blissful infinity The magic of Wagner’s opera springs from a musical trick," The Economist, January 3, 2015 ---

Home Movies of Duke Ellington Playing Baseball (And How Baseball Coined the Word “Jazz”) ---

Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman by Joan Rothfuss – review (a tear jerker) ---

Monterey Jazz Festival Digital Collection --- http://collections.stanford.edu/mjf/

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

Seven Tips from Edgar Allan Poe on How to Write Vivid Stories and Poems ---

Australian Slang Vocabulary --- http://www.australianslang.org/

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

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

December 30, 2014

December 31, 2014

January 1, 2015

January 2, 2015

January 5, 2015

January 6, 2015

January 7, 2015

January 8, 2015

January 9, 2015

January 10, 2015

January 12, 2015

January 13, 2015

January 14, 2015


The Weekly Epidemiological Record --- http://www.who.int/wer/en/

15 Terrible Things That Happen If You Eat Too Much Sugar ---

At the End of 2014:  The Healthiest and Unhealthiest States ---

Scientists Might Have Found The Exact Point Where The Ebola Epidemic Started ---

What To Do If You Are Bitten By A Snake ---

Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis: What's the Difference? ---

Cancer along a "bad luck" random walk through parts of life
Overall, they attributed 65% of cancer incidence to random mutations in genes that can drive cancer growth ---
Jensen Comment
Albert Einstein was not a biologist or a geneticist. But he would probably argue that randomness merely signifies ignorance of the underlying causes.

Bipolar Disorder --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_disorder

"Help! My Best Friend is Bipolarl" by Katie Rose Guest Pryal," Chronicle of Higher Education's Vitae, January 2, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
The above article is written in the context of a friend. There are some added dimensions when that friend is also an employee. In that case the problems vary for employers and colleagues. Colleges and universities tend not to have a pool of substitute teachers such that colleagues are often called upon to cover classes when bipolar employees shut down and do not show up for classes. How many of these shut down days are too many before they have to be counseled into a disability status?

Sometimes bipolar employees who show up for work cannot function fully on some days. This may not be critical in some jobs, but it's not what you want in your partner on police patrol or a pilot of a jetliner.

The bottom line is that when bipolar people are good at their jobs much of the time and poor at their jobs or no-shows at their jobs at other times they create problems for which there are no easy answers or no Swiss Army Knife solutions. A huge help is having a supportive family. It must be horrible to face this disorder, like almost all other mental disorders, all alone.

I have a friend who is severely bipolar. She was given a year's leave at full pay and now is on full Social Security Disability status with Medicare but also with considerably less life support income. Medications for bipolar patients have improved greatly, but the final resolution of medications and dosages took a very long time in her case. And optimal medications some days are not optimal for other days. Without her family I don't know what would happen to her.

There is some evidence that bipolar symptoms and some other mental disorders occasionally diminish with age ---
When it happens it's a blessing since the elderly more often are thrust into having to care for themselves such as when a lifetime spouse passes on or is confined to a nursing home.

Title:  Overcoming Bipolar Disorder: A Comprehensive Workbook for Managing Your Symptoms & Achieving Your Life Goals
Author:  Mark S Bauer

There are various other books like this, but they also contain no magic bullets.

A Bit of Humor January 1-15, 2015

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxNrizGdhtY&app=desktop

International Pi Day on March 14 ---
Note the Pi Sightings link

Forwarded by Gene and Joan

Brains of older people are slow because they know so much. People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full. Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline. The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because we have stored more information over time The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more. Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for. It is NOT a memory problem, it is nature's way of making older people do more exercise.


Forwarded by Gene and Joan

If you can read this, you have a strange mind, too. Only 55 people out of 100 can.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it


John Cleese on How “Stupid People Have No Idea How Stupid They Are” (a.k.a. the Dunning-Kruger Effect) ---

A woman has been jailed on charges she broke into a stranger's central Pennsylvania home after a night of drinking and was found by police in bed ---

Police say they matched a would-be pizza shop robber to a roll of toilet paper in his Pennsylvania home.

Uniontown police say 29-year-old Eric Frey tried to rob Michael Maria's Pizza on Saturday by handing an employee a note written on toilet paper that read: "I have a gun. Give me $300."

Police arrived before Frey could leave because an employee hit a panic button.

Frey told officers he was forced to commit the robbery by a large, bearded man with a gun who accosted him in a nearby alley.

But police say a search of Frey's apartment wiped out that explanation: That's where they say they found a newly opened roll of toilet paper with the pen impression from Frey's note on an outer sheet.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Frey.


Humor January 15-29, 2014

Marilyn Monroe’s Go-Getter List of New Year’s Resolutions (1955) ---
She forgot to resolve to save Kennedy half dollars when they were only worth 50 cents each.

Why does this remind me of Madam Boxer in the USA Senate?
Councilman orders newspaper to stop using his name. Newspaper prints hilarious response ---
I did not quote from the article in fear of having to use his name.

Forwarded by Gene and Joan

Brains of older people are slow because they know so much. People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full. Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline. The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because we have stored more information over time The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more. Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for. It is NOT a memory problem, it is nature's way of making older people do more exercise.


Forwarded by Gene and Joan

If you can read this, you have a strange mind, too. Only 55 people out of 100 can.

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it


John Cleese on How “Stupid People Have No Idea How Stupid They Are” (a.k.a. the Dunning-Kruger Effect) ---

A woman has been jailed on charges she broke into a stranger's central Pennsylvania home after a night of drinking and was found by police in bed ---

Police say they matched a would-be pizza shop robber to a roll of toilet paper in his Pennsylvania home.

Uniontown police say 29-year-old Eric Frey tried to rob Michael Maria's Pizza on Saturday by handing an employee a note written on toilet paper that read: "I have a gun. Give me $300."

Police arrived before Frey could leave because an employee hit a panic button.

Frey told officers he was forced to commit the robbery by a large, bearded man with a gun who accosted him in a nearby alley.

But police say a search of Frey's apartment wiped out that explanation: That's where they say they found a newly opened roll of toilet paper with the pen impression from Frey's note on an outer sheet.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Frey.

Actual call center conversations!

Customer: 'I've been calling 700-1000 for two days and can't get through;
can you help?'
Operator: 'Where did you get that number, sir?'
Customer: 'It's on the door of your business.'
Operator: 'Sir, those are the hours that we are open.'
Samsung Electronics
Caller: 'Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?'
Operator: 'I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about.'
Caller: 'On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that
I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and
telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the
number for Jack?'
Operator: 'I think it means the telephone plug on the wall.'
RAC Motoring Services
Caller: 'Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am
traveling in Australia ?'
Operator: 'Does the policy name give you a clue?'
Caller (inquiring about legal requirements while traveling in Europe )
'If I register my car in France , and then take it to England ,
do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?'
Directory Inquiries
Caller: 'I'd like the number of the Argo Fish Bar, please'
Operator: 'I'm sorry, there's no listing. Are you sure that the spelling is correct?'
Caller: 'Well, it used to be called the Bargo Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off.'
Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator: 'Woven? Are you sure?'
Caller: 'Yes.. That's what it says on the label -- Woven in Scotland ...'
On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phone box told a worried operator: 'I haven't got a pen, so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on.'
Tech Support: 'I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.'
Customer: 'OK..'
Tech Support: 'Did you get a pop-up menu?'
Customer: 'No.'
Tech Support: 'OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?'
Customer: 'No.'
Tech Support: 'OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?'
Customer: 'Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'.'
Tech Support: 'OK. At the bottom left hand side of your screen, can
you see the 'OK' button displayed?'
Customer: 'Wow! How can you see my screen from there?'
Caller: 'I deleted a file from my PC last week and I just realized that I need it.
So, if I turn my system clock back two weeks will I get my file back again?'

The following has to be one of the funniest things in a long time. I think this guy should have been promoted, not fired. This is a true story from the WordPerfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department.
Needless to say the Help Desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the WordPerfect organization for Termination without Cause.'

Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee.
(Now I know why they record these conversations!):

Operator: 'Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?'
Caller: 'Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect .'
Operator: 'What sort of trouble?'
Caller: 'Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.'
Operator: 'Went away?'
Caller: 'They disappeared'
Operator: 'Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?'
Caller: 'Nothing.'
Operator: 'Nothing??'
Caller: 'It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type.'
Operator: 'Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?'
Caller: 'How do I tell?'
Operator: 'Can you see the 'C: prompt' on the screen?'
Caller: 'What's a sea-prompt?'
Operator: 'Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?'
Caller: 'There isn't any cursor; I told you, it won't accept anything I type..'
Operator: 'Does your monitor have a power indicator?'
Caller: 'What's a monitor?'
Operator: 'It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.
Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?'
Caller: 'I don't know.'
Operator: 'Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where
the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??'
Caller: 'Yes, I think so.'
Operator: 'Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's
plugged into the wall..
Caller: 'Yes, it is.'
Operator: 'When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that
there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one? '
Caller: 'No.'
Operator: 'Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and
find the other cable.'
Caller: 'Okay, here it is.'
Operator: 'Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into
the back of your computer..'
Caller: 'I can't reach.'
Operator: 'OK. Well, can you see if it is?'
Caller: 'No...'
Operator: 'Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?'
Caller: 'Well, it's not because I don't have the right angle -- it's because it's dark.'
Operator: 'Dark?'
Caller: 'Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is
coming in from the window.'
Operator: 'Well, turn on the office light then.'
Caller: 'I can't..'
Operator: 'No? Why not?'
Caller: 'Because there's a power failure.'
Operator: 'A power .... A power failure? Aha. Okay, we've got it
licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and
packing stuff that your computer came in?'
Caller: 'Well, yes, I keep them in the closet..'
Operator: 'Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it
up just like it was when you got it, Then take it back to
the store you bought it from.'
Caller: 'Really? Is it that bad?'
Operator: 'Yes, I'm afraid it is.'
Caller: 'Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?'
Operator: 'Tell them you're too damned stupid to own a computer!'

Humor Between December 1-31, 2014 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book14q4.htm#Humor123114

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


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