Tidbits on March 14, 2015
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Set 03 of Bob Jensen's Favorite Ice Pictures
Featuring Ice on Mountain Rivers



Tidbits on March 14, 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

Has Technology Changed Us?: BBC Animations Answer the Question with the Help of Marshall McLuhan ---

Dolphin Show --- https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/pRFq7K4vCSk?rel=0

Banff, Alberta, Canada --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=794wEIbHlDc&vq=large

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh & R.E.M.’s Mike Mills Tell Their Musical Stories in the Animated Video Series, “California Inspires Me” ---

Presidential Oral History --- http://millercenter.org/oralhistory

Here's what New York City looked like in 1905

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

The Chicago Symphony Plays A Colorful Concert ---

Hear the Never Released Jimi Hendrix Track, “Station Break,” Which Shows Us the Guitar Legend as an R&B Sideman ---

The Austin 100 Songs from NPR --- http://apps.npr.org/austin/

András Schiff Plays Mozart, Haydn, Schubert And Beethoven At Carnegie Hall ---

Anderson & Roe's Personalized Bach ---

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

These impressive images of the US A-10 Thunderbolts in Kuwait say a lot about their missions against ISIS ---

A Final Wish: Terminally Ill Patients Visit Rembrandt’s Paintings in the Rijksmuseum One Last Time ---

Snow Sculptures --- https://www.facebook.com/breckissc

Watch a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber refuel in mid-air over Utah ---

California Mission Postcards --- http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups/california-mission-postcards

A photographer turned the tables on the woman who stole her identity ---

Nanosecond Photographs --- https://2012spiritinaction.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/nanosecond-photos/

Remembering the World Trade Center Attack 22 Years Ago ---

Glorious Early 20th-Century Japanese Ads for Beer, Smokes & Sake (1902-1954) ---

Incredibly detailed photos of the tiny — and beautiful — Australian peacock spider ---

10 otherworldly places you won't believe are in France ---

21 beautiful, vintage photographs of NASA's glory day ---

Claudio Beagarie Photographs of California Farm Workers ---

Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov Strikingly Illustrated by Expressionist Painter Alice Neel (1938) ---

This female veteran is one of the most decorated combat photographers in the US military's history ---

A photographer set out to meet 100 Russians at every age, and the results are incredible ---

The Nature and Nurture of Genius: The Sweet Illustrated Story of How Henri Matisse's Childhood Shaped His Creative Legacy ---

The Prado Museum Creates the First Art Exhibition for the Visually Impaired, Using 3D Printing ---
The Prado Museum Creates the First Art Exhibition for the Visually Impaired, Using 3D Printing

Super-rare, beautiful photos of mountain lion cubs caught by camera trap in LA county

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

Leonard Nimoy Reads Ray Bradbury Stories From The Martian Chronicles & The Illustrated Man (1975-76) ---

Guidelines for Handling William Faulkner’s Drinking During Foreign Trips From the US State Department (1955) ---

Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov Strikingly Illustrated by Expressionist Painter Alice Neel (1938) ---

Philosophers Drinking Coffee: The Excessive Habits of Kant, Voltaire & Kierkegaard ---

The Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive Dylan Thomas, the last true bohemian ---

1915 should have been a good year for Virginia Woolf: new novel, new publishing house, new bulldog. Instead she plunged into madness. ---

Jorge Luis Borges Selects 74 Books for Your Personal Library ---

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on March 14, 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

In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration . . . Just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.
John Steinbeck, Diary ---

Jensen Comment
I think the same applies to learning.

Google URL Shortener --- https://goo.gl/

What To Expect From The Apple Watch—The Good, The Bad And The Unknown ---

I'm tempted to call this a worm for Apples

The New $79 Dongle ---

Jensen Comment
Be really careful of a dongle port on a device. I was careless with the tiny port on my Kindle Fire, and now sometimes it gives me fits getting Netflix to project videos to our television set.

Yeah Right
IG Audit: 6.5 Million People With Active Social Security Numbers Are 112 or Older (Yeah Right)

Jensen Comment
And the mother of Norman Bates received Social Security checks without eating a bite while seated in the same chair for 10 years. She got enormous earned income credit refunds for her annual tax returns --- did she really clean the motel rooms?. This stoic woman even voted by absentee ballot every two years ---

Accountics Scientists Should Take Note
Alan Alda Uses Improv to Teach Scientists How to Communicate Their Ideas

Jensen Comment
Accountics scientists are very poor communicators of their research. Most of their sessions at annual meetings only need about ten chairs. One time I was on a panel with Bill Cooper and Yuji Ijiri. Only the panel showed up at the session.

One time when an accountics scientist received a Notable Contributions to the Literature Award at an American Accounting Association, he said that in a previous year when he presented his research at an AAA meeting the only people who showed up came to borrow chairs for the session next door.

Not one accountics scientist has a blog. Nor do they tell about their research on listservs or at Websites.

Some professors of mathematics, statistics, and econometrics have great blogs. Why doesn't a single accountics scientist have a blog?

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

Zaytuna College --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaytuna_College
Home Page --- http://www.zaytuna.org/

Zaytuna's unique curriculum emphasizes key foundational texts; an in-depth examination of critical methodological issues; a command of the Arabic language; a familiarity with the most important Islamic sciences; and grounding in law, history, philosophy, science, astronomy, literature, ethics, and politics.

First Muslim University in U.S. Is Accredited ---

"Learn math without fear, Stanford expert says," by Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News. January 29. 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
For me it was age and maturation. I avoided math courses until I spent five years in Stanford's doctoral program. Then I took math courses every quarter, for four years because math became my favorite subject.

It was also perfect timing on my part.
 Math was a great part of my other coursework in the doctoral program. My fellow students in those courses, some of whom were engineers, struggled with the math because they had been away from math courses for so many years. I remember one statistics course final examination where the professor (Chuck Bonini) goofed in a problem that could not be solved without integrating the normal distribution. The other students didn't have a clue. But I was so current in advanced calculus that I could shift to polar coordinates and integrate the normal distribution. I looked like a genius, which was definitely not the case. I was simply more current in advanced calculus. Chuck later became my dissertation chairman.

10 Retailer Chains Closing the Most Stores in 2015 ---

"Illinois Bill Threatens Professors’ Cherished Perk: Tuition Breaks for Their Children," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 12, 2015 ---

Illinois lawmakers have put a benefit commonly offered to college employees — tuition breaks for their children — on the chopping block at public universities in response to a big expected cut in state spending on higher education.

A measure pending before the Illinois House of Representatives’ State Government Administration Committee would phase out tuition waivers for public-university employees. Strongly opposed by the universities and unions representing their faculty and staff members, House Bill 403 calls for the repeal of laws that provide a 50-percent tuition waiver to the children of people who have been employed by one or more of the state’s public universities for at least seven years.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Many years ago when I was visiting Dartmouth College, a senior accounting professor named Len Morrissey remarked that he could not leave Dartmouth even if he had an opportunity to double his salary (salaries were much, much lower in those years). As I recall he had five sons, and Dartmouth had the most generous tuition deals for employees of any college in the USA. Dartmouth would pay for tuition of any faculty member's child up to the amount of the Dartmouth's very high tuition. And the child could attend any college in the world. I don't know if that benefit still exists at Dartmouth College.

Many private universities modified their plans to tuition exchange plans among only selected partners. When I was at Trinity university many of those partnership plans were dropped, but some of my Trinity colleagues still managed to send their children to Rice University free of charge.

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

Even elite institutions acknowledge that the classroom experience is not all it should be. Harvard University and the University of Michigan have dedicated tens of millions of dollars to support experiments to improve teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level.
"Teaching Revival Fresh attention to the classroom may actually stick this time," by Dan Barrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2015 ---

Read More About 10 Key Trends in Higher Education ---

What Students Are Not Getting --- The Teaching Enthusiasm of Top Researchers ---

"Don’t Divide Teaching and Research," by Carolyn Thomas, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2015 ---

We excel, in the research university, at preparing our students to do world-class research — everywhere except the classrooms in which they teach. From the beginning we insist that Ph.D. applicants explain their research plans. When they arrive we put them through their paces in methodology classes, carefully taking apart their ideas of what they want to accomplish and introducing them to the hard work of gathering data, performing analyses, testing and retesting hypotheses, and exploring all possible outcomes.

We want students to understand that what they think is true has to be questioned, repeatedly, and that their findings have to be defended. It is an iterative process, and we expect them to be rather poor at it when they begin — improving through honest critique and firm mentorship over time.

When it comes to teaching, however, the message they receive is very different. We don’t ask prospective students to address their teaching experience or philosophy in graduate-school applications, and we do not typically talk about teaching in coursework or qualifying examinations. Often it is not until graduate students enter the classroom, as teaching assistants responsible for their own sections, that they begin to think about what it might require to teach successfully.

In the midst of papers to grade and sections to prepare, conversations between even the best faculty instructors and assistants lean more toward the pragmatic. There is little room or incentive to see one’s time as a teaching assistant as an opportunity to simultaneously teach and analyze classroom success.

Some of this is because of the importance placed on graduate-student research. This makes a great deal of sense: Training the next generation of Ph.D.s to be world-class researchers in their chosen disciplines is a chief responsibility of modern universities. Time spent in the classroom is often seen as time spent away from one’s archive or laboratory, away from the process of inquiry and original analysis that leads to cutting-edge findings and future academic employment. This makes it all too easy to teach our graduate students that they must be skillful researchers, and only adequate teachers.

The fault line between teaching and research, however, is also created and maintained by our own misunderstanding, as largely 20th-century faculty, of the place of teaching in the 21st-century research university. With an increased national emphasis on graduation rates, student persistence, and student learning, rising undergraduate tuition costs, and the need to distinguish brick-and-mortar institutions from online offerings, teaching has become a much higher priority for all public institutions.

Merits and promotions are shifting to take teaching into greater account, new faculty are being given increased resources and encouragement to develop their pedagogy, and in some cases new positions are being created for tenure-track faculty who undertake what a recent National Research Council report has calledDiscipline-Based Education Research.”

Whether current graduate students ultimately apply for traditional tenure-track research positions or in such new positions as pedagogy experts, they will be well served if their time in the classroom is time when they are encouraged to study how students learn in their field and adapt their practices for greatest success. Studying how undergraduates learn in a field actually also strengthens graduate students’ research processes in their own work. Breaking down the barrier between “discipline-based research” and “research into teaching” offers a win-win.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
If there were enormous accounting teaching databases to be purchased accountics scientists would jump on it with their GLM software. Sadly, accountics scientists don't like to create their own databases (with a few noteworthy exceptions like Zoe-Vonna Palmrose) ---

March 10, 2015 reply from Richard Sansing

For a commentary by accounting academics on this issue, I recommend the following.

Demski, J. and J. Zimmerman. 2000. On “Research vs. Teaching”: A Long-Term Perspective. Accounting Horizons 14 (September): 343-352.

The gist of their commentary is that teaching and research are complementary activities as opposed to substitutes.

Here is an excerpt from the first paragraph of their commentary.

In this commentary we argue that teaching and research are strong complements, not substitutes. Doing more of one increases the value of the other. Few important social- science research findings have come from think tanks. Virtually all leading academics are located at institutions dedicated to both teaching and research. To preview our conclusion, we reject any notion of separating research and teaching. Students demand relevant course content—questions and answers that enhance their human capital. This helps guide our research and helps prevent us from teaching irrelevant material. In parallel fashion, we stress generation and consumption of research as essential to understanding both the relevance of what we teach and what we research and hence the impact of relevance on research.

Richard Sansing

March 10, 2015 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Richard,

I agree in theory, but accountics scientists seem to be very limited in their approach to education research. Interestingly, many top accountics scientists like yourself teach from cases such a Harvard-style cases. But their published articles in research journals, with the notable exception of Bob Kaplan's articles, seem to be limited to research using equations. Try getting a case without equations published in TAR, JAR, or JAE.

I can't find where TAR published a mainline research article in decades that does not have equations. Teaching research submissions that do not have equations are directed toward Issues in Accounting Education. This would be fine with me if IAE was an equal partner with TAR in terms of attaining tenure and promotions. But, in my opinion, hits in IAE just do not count as dearly as TAR hits for faculty in R! universities.

I find little focus on teaching in accountics science dissertations from R1 universities. Are there noteworthy accounting education and teaching research research dissertations in the past two decades from Chicago, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Yale, University of Texas, University of Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan, etc.?


Added Jensen Comment

What we find happening in undergraduate accounting programs is that it's harder and harder to find North American accounting Ph.D. graduates who are knowledgeable about financial accounting and auditing and tax. The doctoral programs themselves teach a lot about the quantitative tools of research (like the General Linear Model and its software) and virtually nothing about accounting, auditing, tax, and teaching.

Teaching "professional: accounting increasingly is being transferred to adjuncts who are also not trained in teaching..

The Pathways Commission found a divide between teaching and research and carried this into its final recommendations ---

The report includes seven recommendations:

  • Integrate accounting research, education and practice for students, practitioners and educators by bringing professionally oriented faculty more fully into education programs.

  • Promote accessibility of doctoral education by allowing for flexible content and structure in doctoral programs and developing multiple pathways for degrees. The current path to an accounting Ph.D. includes lengthy, full-time residential programs and research training that is for the most part confined to quantitative rather than qualitative methods. More flexible programs -- that might be part-time, focus on applied research and emphasize training in teaching methods and curriculum development -- would appeal to graduate students with professional experience and candidates with families, according to the report.

  • Increase recognition and support for high-quality teaching and connect faculty review, promotion and tenure processes with teaching quality so that teaching is respected as a critical component in achieving each institution's mission. According to the report, accounting programs must balance recognition for work and accomplishments -- fed by increasing competition among institutions and programs -- along with recognition for teaching excellence.

  • Develop curriculum models, engaging learning resources and mechanisms to easily share them, as well as enhancing faculty development opportunities to sustain a robust curriculum that addresses a new generation of students who are more at home with technology and less patient with traditional teaching methods.

  • Improve the ability to attract high-potential, diverse entrants into the profession.

  • Create mechanisms for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information about the market needs by establishing a national committee on information needs, projecting future supply and demand for accounting professionals and faculty, and enhancing the benefits of a high school accounting education.

  • Establish an implementation process to address these and future recommendations by creating structures and mechanisms to support a continuous, sustainable change process.

Demski and Zimmerman wrote the following in the article you cited:

Students demand relevant course content—questions and answers that enhance their human capital. This helps guide our research and helps prevent us from teaching irrelevant material. In parallel fashion, we stress generation and consumption of research as essential to understanding both the relevance of what we teach and what we research and hence the impact of relevance on research.

I'm not sure most of our new accounting Ph.D. graduates know what is relevant to teach in intermediate and advanced accounting, auditing, and tax. In their accountics science research they pass over the hard professional and clinical and teaching research questions where there are no databases to purchase ---

Research shows that there's a considerable decline in the proportion of accounting Ph.D. graduates with CPA credentials ---
http://business.umsl.edu/seminar_series/Spring2012/Further Tales of the Schism - 3-01.pdf

. . .

This paper attempts to document and chart the trajectory of such a division by observing the extent to which academic accountants possess the essential practice credentials. The absence of such credentials suggests a gr owing departure in the training and values of the two groups. The results show a considerable decline in the tendency for accounting faculty to hold practice credentials such as the CPA. This trend occurs in most segments of the professoriate, but is more pronounced for the tenure track faculty or doctoral institutions, for more junior faculty and for faculty employed by more prestigious academic organizations. The paper shows this to be a problem experienced by individuals in the financial accounting sub-field of the discipline.

Continued in article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Three Radical Changes That Can Save Business Schools From Extinction," by Cory Weinberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 16, 2014 ---

Unethical Publishers:  Among the dubious acts is selling open source materials

"New Predatory Publishing in Old Bottles," by Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2015 ---

Many academic authors by now have heard the phrase “predatory publishers.” It’s usually associated with a list of fraudulent  pseudo-publishing operations maintained by Jeffrey Beall, whose crusade to name and shame these shady opportunists has made it to The New York Times. What worries me far more than these fairly obvious scams are the emerging business practices being used by highly profitable publishers with long and distinguished pedigrees that are treating open access as a new revenue stream that can be both open and closed – earning money through subscriptions and author fees. (Monica Berger and and Jill Cirasella have just published an excellent article on why we need a broader understanding of predatory publishing practices.) But double-dipping isn't enough. Witness a blogger’s report that Elsevier (founded in 1880) is selling articles published by Wiley (founded in 1807) as open access articles. Elsevier’s PR team responded quickly by removing the article from its for-sale options. Apparently, though, the company continues to sell open access articles originally published by Wiley under the same terms.

So far as I can tell, here’s how it went down (and hat tip to David Flander for alerting me to this curious story): Whoever funded the author paid Wiley something like $3,000 to make the work open access. Wiley published it as an open access work, and then apparently turned around and licensed the same work for an unknown sum to Elsevier so that Elsevier could sell it through its Science Direct platform for upwards of $30.

Apparently through some clever language in the author agreementWiley retains the rights to license open access works for a fee under its contracts with authors when Wiley take money from them (or more accurately, from the authors’ funders) to make an article open access. Though it is an unethical practice on its face, it may be legal. Toward the bottom of the lengthy document is the phrase “Use of Wiley Open Access articles for commercial, promotional, or marketing purposes requires further explicit permission from Wiley and will be subject to a fee” (my emphasis).

It's entirely possible that mistakes were made, that giant publishers ingesting paid-for open access articles into massive piles of content that they license without noticing that some of it has had its freedom ransomed for a fee. It may be that bit of author agreement language got left in by mistake. It could be these publishers are so big and so deeply involved in swapping intellectual property rights that they are unable to keep their records straight, rather like those bankers who couldn't keep track of mortgages as they were bundled, rebundled and resold, contributing to a global financial catastrophe. Even if this relicensing and selling of open access articles was in error, it would be a worrying sign of incompetence by publishers who may well feel too big to fail. 

One of the McGuffins in this caper is the Creative Commons license under which these open access articles are published. The article first written about was published under a CC-NC-ND license, which is quite restrictive and, as such, made this commercial reuse seem a breach of contract - except for that pesky language in the agreement which seems to give Wiley the right to exploit the work commercially post-publication anyway. CC-BY allows anyone to reuse a work with attribution. A lot of scientists and scholars have argued the fewer restrictions on scholarly publications, the better, but it makes some scholars nervous.

I personally am in favor of reserving as few right as possible for my scholarly and even frivolous work (like this blog). Yes, at times I’ve been surprised to see where things I wrote turns up, but I haven't been harmed by this reuse. It’s my small way of shaking my fist at the many ways that copyright has been distorted by moneyed interests since the power to grant limited monopolies to authors to encourage creativity was granted to congress in the U.S. constitution. At the time, the copyright term was 14 years (with a one-time renewal) and it required action on the part of the copyright holder. Now everything is all rights reserved by default, unless you takes steps to reserve fewer than all rights, and the copyright term is much longer. Most of the cultural production of the past century is either copyrighted or potentially under a copyright held by people or companies you cannot identify to seek permission to use it. This is not what the founders had in mind when they gave Congress this tool "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”

Likewise, reselling open access articles is not what the authors (or funders) of those articles intended. Fooling people into paying for open access articles is conduct unbecoming. Scholars, funding agencies, and the scholarly societies that often outsource their publishing program to commercial firms should hold publishers' feet to the fire and prohibit this triple dipping.   

Meanwhile, our best bet is to avoid predatory publishers, including those not on Beall’s list - Elsevier, Wiley, or any other “legitimate” publisher that knowingly or carelessly resells work that was intended by its authors to be available for free. It may be legal, but it isn’t right.  

Oligopoly Publishers With a History of Ripping Off Libraries and Universities Like Cornell With Guts Enough to Say No ---

"The weaker sex:  Boys are being outclassed by girls at both school and university, and the gap is widening," The Economist, March 7, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
This is certainly the case in accountancy higher education programs. Women are especially encouraged by 21st Century hiring of more women than men by CPA firms. Women must, however, be willing to accept the negatives of public accounting employment, including job stresses, overnight travel, and week ends away from home and families. Accountancy is somewhat conducive to work at home even when employed by the large firms, but this is not always an option for career advancement when working at home year after year after year.

There's some evidence in education, nursing, and accountancy that men, especially minority males, shy away from careers requiring licensing examinations. However, there are exceptions in engineering and technology where more males are still being licensed than females. Some of the real negatives of certain types of consulting work are the months away from home and families. Long-term absences from families are common in consulting engagements. Those occasional weekends at home just aren't enough for some mothers.

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

Subaru's new EyeSight technology is an auto-industry game changer ---

NYT:  Everything But the Truth
George W. Bush and his wife Laura marched in the Selma bridge crossing, but The New York Times cropped them out of the photographs ---

"Artificial Photosynthesis Takes a Step Forward:  Researchers have demonstrated a long-lasting device for making hydrogen from sunlight and water—but funding is running out," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, March 9, 2015 ---

"The Discouraging Humanities Job Market, in One Vivid Chart," by Brock Read, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2015 ---

From the Chronicle of Higher Education
Search for the Latest Job Openings in any Discipline of Interest ---

Jensen Comment
When I search for "Accounting" and "Faculty & Research" today there are 256 jobs posted in the past 30 days. However, not all of these jobs seem property classified as both "Accounting" and "Faculty & Research." Also I know of some job openings for accounting professors that are not listed for major universities.

For persons seeking jobs as accounting faculty in the USA perhaps a better place to look might be the American Accounting Association Career Center ---
Job seekers may also post their resumes at this center.

Since there are so many faculty vacancies in accountancy, job seekers with Ph.D. degrees from AACSB-accredited universities are advised to contact colleges and universities where they would most like to be employed.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the higher education faculty job market ---

Houellebecq Skewers French Academe ---

The decision maker should review all charges from vendors. Time and time again vendors fail to give credit for returns or special price adjustments and the ever too present false charges to business credit cards cost companies.
Deadra Mayhew, CPA A CPA Secret to a Better Business

The Prado Museum Creates the First Art Exhibition for the Visually Impaired, Using 3D Printing ---
The Prado Museum Creates the First Art Exhibition for the Visually Impaired, Using 3D Printing

Bob Jensen's threads on new technologies for disabled students, including the sight and hearing impaired ---

The Economist:  10 Most Expensive Cities in the World ---
The most expensive components are often housing and schooling.

Regions are sometimes more of a problem than cities themselves. For example, housing costs in the entire Silicon Valley are high and going through the roof. There's not much housing cost relief in San Francisco and the accompanying Silicon valley relative to NYC where housing is very high in Manhattan but more affordable in the other parts of NYC like the Bronx.

A highly variable expense in major cities is education. For example, NYC public schools are lousy relative to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Oslo, Zurich, etc. Living costs are a whole lot less for parents who do not have to pay for private schools.

Some of my students used to be surprised when they had accounting firm job offers from San Francisco but were turned down by San Antonio offices. I told them that working in San Francisco was terrific as long as you didn't mind sharing the rent with five roommates and putting off marriage and family.

Living expenses are especially problematic for lower-paid support staff working in high expense regions. For example, Palo Alto provides housing or generous housing allowances for fire fighters and police. In Hong Kong police and soldiers live in baracks.

"A world of pain:  The giants of global finance are in trouble," The Economist, March 5, 2015 ---

ONLY pop music and pornography embraced globalisation more keenly than banks did. Since the 1990s three kinds of international firm have emerged. Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs deal in securities and cater to the rich from a handful of financial hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore. A few banks, such as Spain’s Santander, have “gone native”, establishing a deep retail-banking presence in multiple countries. But the most popular approach is the “global network bank”: a jack of all trades, lending to and shifting money for multinationals in scores of countries, and in some places acting like a universal bank doing everything from bond-trading to car loans. The names of the biggest half-dozen such firms adorn skyscrapers all over the world.

This model of the global bank had a reasonable crisis in 2008-09: only Citigroup required a full-scale bail out. Yet it is now in deep trouble. In recent weeks Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan Chase, has been forced to field questions about breaking up his bank. Stuart Gulliver, the head of HSBC, has abandoned the financial targets that he set upon taking the job in 2011. Citigroup is awaiting the results of its annual exam from the Federal Reserve. If it fails, calls for a mercy killing will be deafening (see next story). Deutsche Bank is likely to shrink further. Standard Chartered, which operates in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, is parting company with its longstanding boss, Peter Sands.

Domestic lenders that global banks have long sneered at are doing far better. In Britain, Lloyds has recovered smartly over the past two years. In America the most highly rated banks—based on their share price relative to their book value—are Wells Fargo and a host of midsized firms.

The panic about global banks reflects their weak recent results: in aggregate the five firms mentioned above reported a return on equity of just 6% last year. Only JPMorgan Chase did passably well (see chart). Investors worry these figures betray a deeper strategic problem. There is a growing fear that the costs of global reach—in terms of regulation and complexity—exceed the potential benefits.

It all seemed far rosier 20 years ago. Back then banks saw that globalisation would lead to an explosion in trade and capital flows. A handful of firms sought to capture that growth. Most had inherited skeleton global networks of some kind. European lenders such as BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank had been active abroad for over a century. HSBC and Standard Chartered were bankers to the British empire. Citigroup embarked on a big international expansion a century ago; Chase, now part of JPMorgan Chase, opened many foreign branches in the 1960s and 1970s.

As they expanded in the 1990s and 2000s all of these firms concentrated on multinationals, which required things like trade finance, currency trading and cash management. But all expanded beyond these activities to varying degrees and in different directions; today they typically account for only a quarter of sales. Deutsche and StanChart bulked up in investment banking. BNP built up retail operations in America. At the most extreme end of the spectrum Citi and HSBC tried to do everything for everyone everywhere, through lots of acquisitions. They sold derivatives in Delhi and originated subprime debt in Detroit.

This model is in trouble for three reasons. First, these giant firms proved hard to manage. Their subsidiaries struggled to build common IT systems, let alone establish a common culture. Synergies have been elusive and global banks’ cost-to-income ratios, bloated by the costs of being in lots of countries, have rarely been better than those of local banks. As a result these firms have all too often been tempted to make a fast buck. Citi made a kamikaze excursion into mortgage-backed bonds in 2005-08. StanChart made loans to indebted Asian tycoons.

Second, competition proved to be fiercer than expected. The banking bubble in the 2000s led second-rate firms such as Barclays, Société Générale, ABN Amro and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to expand globally, eroding margins. In 2007 RBS bought ABN in a bid to rival the big network banks. It promptly went bust, proving that two dogs do not make a tiger. The global giants also lost market share in Asia to so-called “super-regional” banks, such as ANZ of Australia and DBS of Singapore. Big local banks in emerging markets, such as ICBC in China, Itaú in Brazil and ICICI in India, also began to build out cross-border operations.

If mismanagement and fierce competition were problems before the crisis, the regulatory backlash after it has been brutal. American officials have begun to enforce strict rules on money-laundering, tax evasion and sanctions, meaning that global banks must know their customers, and their customers’ customers, if they want to maintain access to America’s financial system—which is essential given that the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Huge fines have been imposed on StanChart, BNP and HSBC, among others, for breaking these rules.

Bank supervisors, meanwhile, have imposed higher capital standards on global banks. Most face both the international “Basel 3” regime and a hotch-potch of local and regional regimes. A rule of thumb is that big global banks will need buffers of equity (or “core tier one capital”) equivalent to 12-13% of their risk-adjusted assets, compared to about 10% for domestic firms. National regulators increasingly demand that global banks ring-fence their local operations, limiting their ability to shift capital around the world. The cost of operating the systems that keep regulators happy is huge. HSBC’s compliance costs rose to $2.4 billion in 2014, 50% higher than the year before. JPMorgan is spending $3 billion more on controls than it did in 2011.

One measure of these firms’ viability is their “best case” return on equity (ie, assuming that the huge, supposedly, one-off legal fines and restructuring costs incurred over the past half-decade suddenly stop, but the new capital standards are fully implemented). On this basis most global banks barely achieve 10% (see prior chart). The overall figures hide lots of rot. After three decades of trying to diversify from its base in Asia, HSBC still makes the bulk of its money there; the other two-thirds of its business underperforms badly for the most part. JPMorgan Chase’s profits are more evenly spread, but about two-thirds of its businesses fail to cross the 10% hurdle. The same is true of StanChart. From the outside—and perhaps from the inside, too—Citi’s reporting system is too crude to make any sensible judgment. Deutsche looks better than most, but many of its rivals question its capital calculations.

Another test of viability is to compare the benefits of being global with the costs. In February JPMorgan Chase said that the revenue uplift and cost savings it gets from its scale boost profits by $6 billion-7 billion a year. There is a plausible case that the extra capital it must carry, and the regulatory costs its complexity incurs, offset a big chunk of that benefit. (If they dared to reveal them, the figures for other banks would probably look far worse.) Scale does not seem to mean cheaper funding. It is no cheaper to buy a credit-default swap, which pays out if a borrower goes bust and so is a reasonable proxy for borrowing costs, on the debt of JPMorgan Chase or Citi than it is on that of mid-sized American banks. All are regarded by debt investors as government-backed.

Continued in article

2015 Index of Economic Freedom --- http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking
The USA did not make the Top 10

The Open Utopia --- http://theopenutopia.org/

Virtual reality headsets this week — here's why Vive beats Oculus ---

20 amazing scientific discoveries that have already been made this year ---

Converting financial files to and from various formats – pdf, csv, xls, etc. ---
Thank you Scott Bonacker for the heads up.

Law School Applicants From Top Colleges Plunge 39% ---

The 10 Best and Worst Undergraduate Majors for Getting Jobs (without getting additional credentials) ---

Top students in the "worst majors" in the past often went on to law school. They are still doing so but in fewer numbers and greatly dampened prospects for working in law firms after law school graduation. Law school losses of students are often MBA program gains. Options in accounting, engineering, nursing, pharmacy are not so great due to all the undergraduate prerequisites that must be satisfied before going to graduate school in those specialties.

Because there are so many graduates in business, neither an undergraduate degree nor an MBA degree is a very good path to a career without extremely high grades or specialties in demand like accounting. Sometimes a combination of degrees greatly improves job prospects such as an undergraduate engineering or computer science degree topped off with an MBA from a top school.

Students planning to get MD or science Ph.D. degrees need to carefully plan their undergraduate studies in advance of going to graduate school. Unfortunately, graduate studies in those fields, especially medicine, can be quite long and expensive. For example, most MD or science Ph.D. graduates must also plan for low-paying post-graduate residency or post-doc years before they can make significant progress in paying down their student loans.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

Hoyle on Characteristics of Great Teachers
March 6, 2015 message from Joe Hoyle

. . .

I recently did an informal survey of my 77 students (77???). I asked them to describe the characteristics of great teaching. I was curious as to what they would tell me. I didn’t ask them about good teaching or okay teaching. I wanted to know how they viewed great teaching.

I wrote up the results and posted it to my teaching blog. Because it is so cold and snowy, I thought you might enjoy having something to read. The URL for this posting is below.

If you ever want to grab a coffee and discuss teaching (great or otherwise), let me know.



Jensen Comment
Students also need other ingredients not found in motherhood and apple pie. Not mentioned are spinach, turnip greens, lemons, and caster oil. Are philosophy professors really doing you a favor by inspiring you to become a philosophy professor or a professor of music where the probabilities of eventually obtaining tenure track employment in the Academy are less than one percent. It's good to be inspirational as long as there's no deception about reality.

Not mentioned in-depth expertise of the subject matter, making us learn better by making us learn on our own, and tough grading to a point where even a B grade exceeds the grades of most students in the class.

Not mentioned is the fact that many of the best physicians often have lousy personalities. Many are arrogant and have very little empathy chit chat time even though they are great and diagnostics and skills like surgical skills. I'm told (fortunately never needed one) that some of the best psychiatrists are tough with patients to a point where patients don't think their psychiatrists are empathetic.

Some of my best college professors rated poorly on many of the criteria listed by Joe.

My point is that trying to be what you are not should not detract from being the best in what counts for a parent or a teacher or a doctor or an accounting professor. More importantly the best parent or teacher or doctor or accounting professor may not be the most loved.

The proof in academe are the results of teaching evaluations at the end of a course versus teaching evaluations two decades later. Some worst-rated teachers occasionally move to the top two decades after graduation.

"New York school abolishes homework. Does homework do any good? A growing number of schools are doing away with homework. Some experts think it's a step in the right direction," by Lisa Suhay, Yahoo News, March 6, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
First we reduced the 7-8 hours of school to 4-5. Now we take away the homework.

Are kids really better off with video games, cold pizza and watching television?

The worst thing we can do is make students work at learning. Yeah Right!

The experimental Charter School evidence shows that students really learn more with more time (including Saturdays) in school and intense learning assignments. But we want happy and fat kids on welfare more than skinny kids sweating buckets to get into Harvard.

Home Schooled
"17-year-old becomes one of the world’s youngest CPAs:   Through hard work and determination, Belicia Cespedes (an immigrant) earned the credential before she was even eligible to vote,"  by Samiha Khanna, Global CPA Report, February 17, 2015 ---

Poor thing! She probably had homework and will not be eligible for welfare.

We'd rather be obese on benefits than thin and working.
Janice and Amber Manzur

The oldest living CIA 'spy girl' reveals her greatest schemes ---

Jensen Comment
This reveals that one of the most important skills is to have fluency in at least one other language.

Top 10 Blogs about Postsecondary Next Gen Learning ---

To these I would add the following favorites of mine:

"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

The 15 best blogging and publishing platforms on the Internet today. Which one is for you?


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

Stanley Milgram --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Milgram

Stanley Milgram’s studies endure not because they clarify our capacity for evil, but because his work doesn’t prove what he claimed it does ---

In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram's electric-shock studies showed that people will obey even the most abhorrent of orders. But recently, researchers have begin to question his conclusions—and offer some of their own.

Minerva For-Profit Education Project --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minerva_Project

"An Entrepreneur Sets Out to Do Better at Education Than His College Did," by Jeffrey J. Salingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 69, 2015 ---

"The Man Who Would Overthrow Harvard:  Can the Minerva Project do to Ivy League universities what Amazon did to Borders?" by Matthew Kaminski, The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2013 ---

'If you think as we do," says Ben Nelson, "Harvard's the world's most valuable brand." He doesn't mean only in higher education. "Our goal is to displace Harvard. We're perfectly happy for Harvard to be the world's second most valuable brand."

Listening to Mr. Nelson at his spare offices in San Francisco's Mid-Market, a couple of adjectives come to mind. Generous (to Harvard) isn't one. Nor immodest. Here's a big talker with bold ideas. Crazy, too, in that Silicon Valley take-a-flier way.

Mr. Nelson founded and runs the Minerva Project. The school touts itself as the first elite—make that "e-lite"—American university to open in 100 years. Or it will be when the first class enters in 2015. Mr. Nelson, who previously led the online photo-sharing company Snapfish, wants to topple and transcend the American academy's economic and educational model.

And why not? Higher education's product-delivery system—a professor droning to a limited number of students in a room—dates back a thousand years. The industry's physical plant (dorms, classrooms, gyms) often a century or more. Its most expensive employees, tenured faculty, can't be fired. The price of its product (tuition) and operating costs have outpaced inflation by multiples.

In similar circumstances, Wal-Mart took out America's small retail chains. Amazon crushed Borders. And Harvard will have to make way for . . . Minerva? "There is no better case to do something that I can think of in the history of the world," says Mr. Nelson.

Some people regarded as serious folks have bought the pitch, superlatives and all. Larry Summers, the former Harvard president, agreed to be the chairman of Minerva's advisory board. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, who led the New School in New York from 2001-10, heads the fundraising arm. Stephen Kosslyn, previously dean of social sciences at Harvard, is Minerva's founding academic dean. Benchmark, a venture-capital firm that financed eBay and Twitter, last year made its largest-ever seed investment, $25 million, in Minerva.

Mr. Nelson calls Minerva a "reimagined university." Sure, there will be majors and semesters. Admission requirements will be "extraordinarily high," he says, as at the Ivies. Students will live together and attend classes. And one day, an alumni network will grease job and social opportunities.

But Minerva will have no hallowed halls, manicured lawns or campus. No fraternities or sports teams. Students will spend their first year in San Francisco, living together in a residence hall. If they need to borrow books, says Mr. Nelson, the city has a great public library. Who needs a student center with all of the coffee shops around?

Each of the next six semesters students will move, in cohorts of about 150, from one city to another. Residences and high-tech classrooms will be set up in the likes of São Paulo, London or Singapore—details to come. Professors get flexible, short-term contracts, but no tenure. Minerva is for-profit.

The business buzzword here is the "unbundling" of higher education, or disaggregation. Since the founding of Oxford in the 12th century, universities, as the word implies, have tried to offer everything in one package and one place. In the world of the Web and Google, physical barriers are disappearing.

Mr. Nelson wants to bring this technological disruption to the top end of the educational food chain, and at first look Minerva's sticker price stands out. Freed of the costs of athletics, the band and other pricey campus amenities, a degree will cost less than half the average top-end private education, which is now over $50,000 a year with room and board.

His larger conceit, inspired or outlandish, is to junk centuries of tradition and press the reset button on the university experience. Mr. Nelson offers a fully-formed educational philosophy with a practiced salesman's confidence. At Minerva, introductory courses are out. For Econ or Psych 101, buy some books or sign up for one of the MOOCs—as in massive open online course—on the Web.

"Too much of undergrad education is the dissemination of basic information that at that level of student you should expect them to know," he says. "We just feel we don't have any moral standing to charge you thousands of dollars for learning what you can learn for free." Legacy universities move students to their degrees through packed, required lecture classes, which Mr. Nelson calls their "profit pools." And yes, he adds, all schools are about raking in money, even if most don't pay taxes by claiming "not-for-profit" status.

In the Nelson dream curriculum, all incoming students take the same four yearlong courses. His common core won't make students read the Great Books. "We want to teach you how to think," Mr. Nelson says. A course on "multimodal communications" works on practical writing and debating skills. A "formal systems class" goes over "everything from logic to advanced stats, Big Data, to formal reasoning, to behavioral econ."

Over the next three years, Minervaites take small, discussion-heavy seminars via video from their various locations. Classes will be taped and used to critique not only how students handle the subjects, but also how they apply the reasoning and communication skills taught freshman year.

The idea for Minerva grew out of Mr. Nelson's undergraduate experience. As a freshman at Penn's Wharton School, he took a course on the history of the university. "I realized that what the universities are supposed to be is not what they are," he says. "That the concept of universities taking great raw material and teaching how it can have positive impact in the world is gone."

Undergraduates come in, take some random classes, settle on a major and "oh yeah, you're going to pick up critical thinking in the process by accident." By his senior year, Mr. Nelson was pushing for curriculum changes as chairman of a student committee on undergraduate education. As a 21-year-old, he designed Penn's still popular program of preceptorials, which are small, short-term and noncredit seminars offered "for the sake of learning."

A Wharton bachelor's degree in economics took him to consulting at Dean & Company in Washington, D.C. "My first six months, what did the consulting firm teach me? They didn't teach me the basics of how they do business. They taught me how to think. I didn't know how to check my work. I didn't think about order of magnitude. I didn't have habits of mind that a liberal arts education was supposed to have given me. And not only did I not have it, none of my other colleagues had it—people who had graduated from Princeton and Harvard and Yale."

After joining Snapfish in 1999 and leaving as CEO a little over a decade later, Mr. Nelson, who is 38 and married with a daughter, wrote and shopped around his business plan for Minerva. He says he considered partnering with existing institutions, but decided to build a 21st-century school from scratch to offer the "ideal education."

Ideas like his are not in short supply. The catch? No one has found a way to make a steady profit on an ed-tech startup.

Going back to the Internet bubble of the late 1990s, many have tried. With $120 million from Michael Milken and Larry Ellison and a board of big names, UNext launched in 1997 as a Web-based graduate university. It failed. Fathom, a for-profit online-learning venture founded by Columbia University in 2000, closed three years and several million in losses later.

In the current surge of investment in new educational companies, Minerva has no direct competitor but plenty of company. Udacity and Coursera, two prominent startups, are looking to monetize the proliferation of MOOCs. UniversityNow offers cheap, practical courses online and at brick-and-mortar locations in the Bay Area. And so on.

Education accounts for 8.7% of the U.S. economy, but less than 1% of all venture capital transactions in 1995-2011 and only 0.3% of total public market capitalization, as of 2011, according to Global Silicon Valley Advisors. The group predicts the market for postsecondary "eLearning" and for-profit universities will grow by double digits annually over the next five years.

Mr. Nelson's vision will be beside the point if Minerva fails to attract paying students. He makes a straightforward business case. Harvard and other top schools take only a small share of qualified applicants, and for 30 years have refused to meet growing demand. A new global middle class—some 1.5 billion people—desperately wants an elite American education. "The existing model doesn't work," he says. "The market was begging for a solution."

Audacious ideas are easy to pick apart, and Mr. Nelson's are no exception. He repeats "elite" to describe a startup without a single student. Reputations are usually earned over time. Many prospective students dream of Harvard for the brand. Even at around $20,000 a year—no bargain for middle-class Chinese 18-year-olds—Minerva won't soon have the Harvard cachet.

Any education startup must also brave a regulatory swamp. By opting out of government-backed student-loan programs, Minerva won't have to abide by many of the federal rules for so-called Title IV (of the relevant 1965 law) schools. Americans won't have an edge in admissions and Minerva expects most students will come from abroad.

But Mr. Nelson wants to be part of the club whose price of entry is accreditation. A cartel sanctioned by Congress places a high barrier to entry for newcomers, stifling educational innovation. Startups face a long slog to get accredited. So last month Minerva chose to partner with the Keck Graduate Institute, or KGI, a small school founded in 1997 that is part of the Claremont consortium of colleges near Los Angeles. Minerva degrees will now have, pending the regulatory OK, an accreditor's seal of approval.

With this move, Mr. Nelson eased one headache and raised some questions. KGI offers only graduate degrees in life sciences, an unusual fit for an undergraduate startup. KGI isn't a recognizable international name for Minerva to market. Yet Mr. Nelson says the schools are "completely complementary" and the deal represents "zero change in our mission."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The Minerva Project might lay claim to "overthrowing Harvard," but at best it might overthrow only a small part of Harvard in terms of attracting students who prefer to study in cities around the world. Will Minerva overthrow the Harvard Medical School? Yeah right! Will Minerva overthrow the billions of dollars in research laboratories on the Harvard campus? Yeah right! Is Minerva a better choice than Harvard for natural science, nursing, pharmacy, and premed students? I doubt it!

Is Minerva better for humanities, social science, and business majors? Possibly in isolated instances. But there may be gaps in curricula that are important prerequisites for graduate school studies. Students intent on becoming CPAs in five years should never choose Minerva simply because Minerva does not and probably will never offer the prerequisite courses required for taking the CPA examination after five full-time years of study. Of course these same students should never choose Harvard since Harvard has no undergraduate accounting program feeding into its accounting Ph.D. program.

Will Minerva displace the networking advantages to students of having the world's most successful, powerful, and well-connected Harvard alumni base? For example, many new graduates of the Harvard Business School find that networking with HBS alumni, especially on Wall Street, is more valuable than what was learned in HBS classes.

Minerva will never overthrow Harvard, although it may steal away a miniscule number top first-year prospects. But will Harvard admissions officers lose any sleep over these losses? Yeah right!

Lastly, if Harvard ever pours billions into a program to compete with Minerva it will be no contest.

"Are Elite Colleges Worth It?" by Pamela Haag, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 30, 2011 ---

Added Jensen Question
Would you recommend the Minerva degree for your child relative to a degree from an Ivy League University, Stanford, USC, or even a degree from a flagship state university or other top-rated non-profit college? Much depends on the child, but I think that at least 999 out of 1,000 children are better off with a traditional degree --- especially in terms of having a credential for further graduate study. Minerva graduates will have to make up a lot of undergraduate prerequisites for most types of graduate study such as medicine, engineering, science, business, accountancy, etc.

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

Walgreen and CVS never mention net leasing in their TV commercials.

This is a long article so I will only quote a short bit of it.

"Walgreens and CVS Declare War on Property Taxes," by Patrick Clark, Bloomberg, March 5, 2015 ---

. . .

Walgreens, CVS, and other big drugstore chains have been challenging property tax assessments in courts around the country for the past decade, with little national notice. They argue, sometimes successfully, that the rent they pay their commercial landlords doesn’t accurately reflect property values. When they win, they get their tax bills slashed.

Here’s how it works:

Most national retailers would rather rent their stores than tie up billions of dollars in real estate. Walgreens leased 80 percent of its 8,300 stores as of August 2014, according to company filings. CVS owned just 5 percent of its 7,800 stores as of the end of last year.

The basic idea is to rent stores under contracts, called net leases, that make the tenants—the drugstores—responsible for property taxes and other expenses. To compensate the investors who sink cash into the real estate, Walgreens and other retailers pay rents that include a premium above the cost of building the store. Once the stores are occupied, net leases often trade among investors.

It’s a hefty market. About $45 billion in net leases for U.S. properties changed hands in 2014, according to Will Pike, a senior vice president at commercial real estate firm CBRE.

In tax board and judicial appeals that have sought to cut levies by more than 50 percent, Walgreens and CVS have argued that the price investors will pay to own a drugstore lease is the wrong tool for determining the tax. Instead, they say, the assessments should hinge on the amount the landlord could get if the drugstore moved out and another retailer moved in. That would lower the assessment, because the pharmacy chains have proved willing to pay higher rents than other tenants.

So the same premium that entices investors to buy the net leases gives the drugstores leverage in their tax arguments.

The chains complain that counties are taxing corporate debt instead of sticks, bricks, and mud—assessors’ slang for land and buildings.

“CVS Health is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities we serve and to paying our fair share of property tax,” said Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations for the company.

Walgreens, too, says it is committed to paying what's fair. “We’ve become more concerned in recent years with the use of valuation methodologies based on the value of our long-term leases in addition to the value of the real estate itself,” said spokesman Phil Caruso.

The strategy has met with mixed results. In Florida and New York, where Rite Aid has challenged its assessments, courts have rejected the net lease argument. Wisconsin has ruled in favor of pharmacies. Tax assessors scored in the Ohio courts but saw their points erased when the state’s legislature revised the tax law in the pharmacies’ favor.

More cases could be on the way. A Walgreens employee named Anna Pelts testified during the Fayette County case that the company was appealing the majority of its assessments over $3.5 million, according to legal briefs filed in the case.

Commercial property taxes fund public schools, roads, and other infrastructure in many states. Big-box stores and other national retailers have tried out the drugstores’ argument, said Tim Wilmath, a tax assessor in Hillsborough County, Fla., whose office won a state court case against CVS in 2013. But the pharmacy chains have the most at stake. That’s because of the premium they’re willing to pay for stores in busy locations, and because they lease a lot of stores, relative to other retailers.

“If they can sell the argument, they reap tremendous reward,” Wilmath said.

Continued in article


If you can't fight it live with it in a sensible way!
"Integrating Wikipedia in Your Courses: Tips and Tricks," by Adeline Koh, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 18, 2015 ---

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

Has Technology Changed Us?: BBC Animations Answer the Question with the Help of Marshall McLuhan ---

Grammar Conundrums
"Hard questions, not easy answers," The Economist, March 4, 2015 ---

TODAY is National Grammar Day in America. (It really should be International Grammar Day, but Johnson’s urging on this point has been unheeded.) It was founded by a group called the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, and though the society itself seems to have last updated its website in 2012, Grammar Day has outlived it. Many will celebrate by venting about their most hated grammar mistakes: Poynter.org asks, typically, "What are your biggest grammar pet peeves?"

This column, instead, will celebrate some of grammar’s more curious corners. Grammar is not a list of do’s and don’ts, but a description of the rules of a language. Below are three legitimate grammar controversies, where good arguments can be made on different sides. Pondering hard questions, in your columnist’s view, is a better use of National Grammar Day than spouting frustration at internet denizens who can’t keep your and you’re straight.

This is one of those things that drives me crazy. Many readers will pause mid-sentence on reading this. Should it not be This is one of those things that drive me crazy? After all, things is plural; should not the verb agree with that? The answer is maddeningly unclear: there are two possible ways of parsing the sentence. It can be understood as both

  This is one [of those things] that drives me crazy


  This is one of [those things that drive me crazy]

One parse has one of those things as the noun phrase in question. The other has those things. This is a real ambiguity. It has generated many efforts to impose hard-and-fast rules, but they are misguided. The best thing about this is that there are two possible interpretations—and they are both flawless English. A gift to nervous writers everywhere on National Grammar Day.

Conundrums? Yes. What to do with foreign words in English is a conundrum, and there are many such conundrums in English. English has fairly regular rules for forming plurals. Add –s or ­–es, mostly. But English has also imported many foreign words. Must it also import the pluralisation rules with them? Some people would have you write conundra, which is the plural in Latin. After all, we write data and media, not datums and mediums. But ultimata and quora look odd; ultimatums and quorums are more natural. Fora has a long history in English, but since 1930, forums has been more common in English books. Once again, there simply is no hard-and-fast rule. “Always use the grammar of the foreign language” will make you the only person at the Italian café in London insisting on a panino with two espressi. The person behind the counter may be one of London’s many Italians, but if not, you are likely to receive either a nonplussed stare or a heavy sigh.

So what is the rule? There are no rules, only tendencies. Datums is almost non-existent, while forums is not just common but preferred. Choose a style book (The Economists has a section on just this issue) or use Google’s tool to search published books, and go with the majority. The only rule here is to be internally consistent.

A date which will live in infamy. Many American style books will tell you that the preceding phrase, used by Franklin Roosevelt to describe the bombing of Pearl Harbour, is ungrammatical. Instead, they propose the following rule: that should introduce relative clauses that define and restrict the preceding noun. (In other words, they should tell us which day is meant.) Meanwhile, which should merely introduce some extra information that is not crucial to defining the preceding noun. (The Porsche, which is yellow, is for sale describes a Porsche which just happens to be yellow.)

H.W. Fowler suggested this rule to neaten English grammar in the 1920s. But it was only a suggestion: he confessed that relative pronouns as of his time were already “an odd jumble”. The Lord’s Prayer addresses our father which art in Heaven and, despite the long pause it is often given in church services, is meant to refer to the heavenly father as opposed to the earthly one. In other words, it is a supposedly forbidden "restrictive which". 

So which with a “restrictive” clause is perfectly fine. Any “rule” forbidding it can be no more than a preference, without a solid anchoring in syntax. That said, it is a good preference. Which is used more often with non-restrictive clauses, and that is only used for restrictive clauses. (No one says The Porsche, that is yellow, is for sale). Americans are more likely than Britons to observe the distinction. But it is worth observing, as a preference if not a rule. Though commas do most of the work making clear which clauses are restrictive and which are not, keeping that for one kind and which for the other reinforces the work that the commas do. This aids the reader a bit.

There are very good reasons for thinking hard about grammar, and National Grammar Day is as good a time as any for that. But resist the temptation to think that “grammar” always provides an easy, exceptionless answer to tough questions. It is precisely because tough questions remain that grammar is worth taking seriously. 

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

Fee-Based Distance Education Degree Experiments at Yale and Stanford

"Yale Announces ‘Blended’ Online Master’s Degree," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 10, 2015 ---

Yale University is creating a master’s program that will hold many courses online, continuing the Ivy League institution’s foray into “blended” learning.

The online program, to be offered by the Yale School of Medicine, would aim to replicate its residential program for training physicians’ assistants. Students would meet in virtual classrooms where they would discuss course material using videoconferencing technology. They would also have to complete field training — accounting for roughly half of the coursework — in person, at Yale-approved clinics near where they live.

It is the second professional school at Yale to try the “blended” model for a graduate program, following the Yale School of Nursing, which opened a partially online doctoral degree in 2011.

Yale has taken an active but measured interest in online education in the past decade. In 2007 it became one of the first elite institutions to post lecture videos online at no charge. In 2011 it began offering online summer courses to small groups of undergraduates for credit. In 2013 it joined with Coursera and started building MOOCs.

But a degree program that includes fully online courses is a step toward a different vision of how Yale and other highly selective traditional universities are likely to incorporate online education. Free online courses might make headlines, but tuition-based professional degrees in high-demand fields such as health care are where online courses, and the companies that help build them, are gaining a foothold.

Other top-tier universities have created online versions of their professional-degree programs, which is something Yale noticed when taking stock of its online presence in 2012. The Johns Hopkins University, for example, offers an online master’s program in public health that delivers about 80 percent of its coursework on the web.

2U, the online “enabler” company that is helping Yale develop the new program, previously built nursing programs at Georgetown University and Simmons College, as well as programs in public health and health administration at George Washington University.

Institutions typically sign contracts with companies like 2U when they want to create new online programs as fast as possible without spending a lot of cash upfront. That is an especially attractive option for universities that are trying to grab a larger chunk of the market for high-demand professional degrees in fields such as health, nursing, data science, and business. It is there that 2U and others have found their sweet spot. The companies provide the technology platform and marketing expertise, and take a large share of the tuition revenues.

Yale would hire new instructors to teach courses in the program, which is still awaiting accreditation approval. The tuition and faculty-to-student ratio would be roughly equivalent to the residential program.

James Van Rhee, director of the program, said he did not know if the online version would be more profitable, but he did expect it would expand the medical school’s reach — especially in rural areas. The institution hopes to increase enrollments from 40, the size of the current program, to around 300.

“I don’t know if it will be cost-efficient for us,” said Robert J. Alpern, dean of the medical school, but “hopefully it will be cost-efficient for the students, because they’ll be able to do it from home.”

Distance Education:  Stanford Center for Professional Development
Stanford University was probably the first prestigious university to offer an online masters degree in engineering in a video program called ADEPT. That has since been replaced by an expanded online program in professional development that offers certificates or full masters of science degrees in selected programs, especially engineering. The program is highly restrictive in that students must work for employers Must be members of Stanford's Corporate Education Graduate Program. For example, to earn a masters of science degree the requirements are as follows:

For details go to

Most other top universities in the USA now have selected online certificate and degree programs offered in their extension programs. Go to a university of interest and search for "extension." It's still rare to find an online doctoral program at a top university. For-profit universities offer more online doctoral programs, but these tend not to be accepted very well for employment in the Academy. In fact it may be better to not mention such doctoral degrees when seeking employment in the Academy.

"Stanford (Graduate School of Business) Bets Big on Virtual (online) Education," by Natalie Kitroeff and Akane Otani, Bloomberg Businessweek, November 6, 2014 ---

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business took its relationship with online education to the next level on Wednesday, when it announced that a new program for company executives will be delivered entirely by way of the Internet.

“I don’t know of anything else like this,” says Audrey Witters, managing director of online executive education at Stanford GSB. “We’ve put together something for a very targeted audience, people who are trying to be corporate innovators, with courses where they all work together. That’s a lot different from taking a MOOC [massive open online course].”

Stanford said it will admit up to 100 people to the LEAD Certificate program, which will begin in May 2015 and deliver the “intimate and academically rigorous on-campus Stanford experience” to students from the comfort of their computer screens. In an effort to make students “really feel connected to each other, to Stanford, and to the faculty,” the eight-course program will encourage students to interact through message boards, online chats, Google Hangouts, and phone calls over the course of its yearlong duration, Witters says.

“We really want to create the high-engagement, community aspect that everyone who comes to Stanford’s campus feels,” she says.

The classes will be offered on a platform supplied by Novoed, a virtual education company started by former Stanford professor Amin Saberi and Stanford Ph.D. student Farnaz Ronaghi. The B-school has invested a significant chunk of its resources in launching the program: About 10 to 15 faculty members are slated to teach the courses. In addition to building a studio where it will film course videos, the school has hired a growing pool of educational technology experts and motion graphic designers to work on the courses, according to Witters.

“This is by far the most serious and most significant initiative by GSB in the online realm,” Saberi says.

People go to business school for more than just lectures, Saberi says, and online programs should be as good at teaching the numbers of business as the art of it. “What we are planning to do is to create a very similar environment online where they can acquire softer skills and build a network of peers.”

The program’s $16,000 price tag dwarfs the online offerings of Stanford’s competitors, including Harvard Business Schools $1,500 nine-week online program and the Wharton School’s entirely free first-year MBA classes, which it put on the virtual platform Coursera last fall.

The program may seem less pricey, though, to the company executives it’s intended for. Business schools have traditionally sold certificates to working professionals for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Stanford’s own six-week, on-campus program costs executives $62,500.

To Novoed, which also provides technology to Wharton, the Haas School of Business, and the Darden School of Business, the Internet is an obvious place for business schools to expand their lucrative executive education programs.

Saberi says companies are interested in elite training programs that don’t require employees to leave their desks. “We expect that programs like this are going to grow.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bob Jensen's threads on fee-based education and training alternatives ---

The University of Wisconsin Experiments With a Different Kind of MOOC

"MOOCs for Wisconsin and the World," by Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Jeffrey Russell, Linda A. Jorn, and Joshua Morrill, Educause Review, March 2, 2015 ---
http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/moocs-wisconsin-and-world \

A new MOOC initiative from the University of Wisconsin–Madison ties the topics to communities in the state of Wisconsin and gives residents an opportunity to meet in person.

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Jeffrey S. Russell, Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning and Dean, Division of Continuing Studies; Linda A. Jorn, Associate Vice Provost of Learning Technologies and Division of Information Technology (DoIT) Director of Academic Technology; and Joshua H. Morrill, Evaluator, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Imagine a massive open online course (MOOC) that doesn't feel so massive; one that's intimately tied to a region, with opportunities for meaningful face-to-face encounters in community settings. The University of Wisconsin–Madison will offer six such courses in its latest round of massive open online courses for 2015–16. One course will invite those interested in climate change to attend discussions throughout Wisconsin, thanks to partnerships with 21 public libraries. Another course, focused on hunting and conservation, features an event with hunters and chefs in the southern Wisconsin city of Baraboo.

UW–Madison began its experiment with massive open online courses in 2013. Hosted on Coursera, the four courses in our first phase reached about 135,000 learners from 141 countries and all 50 states.1 Despite reservations about MOOCs in academic circles,2 university leaders believe these courses have a part to play in our future, tying them to a larger push for institutional change called Educational Innovation: an attempt to prepare students and communities for the 21st century. In launching a second phase of MOOCs, we're thinking more carefully about our audiences so we can use the platform to engage with people in both Wisconsin and the world.

Our phase-one MOOCs focused on topics of general interest, such as human evolution and financial markets. For phase two, however, the topics are more strongly associated with the state of Wisconsin. Five of the six new MOOCs have an environmental theme, acknowledging that Wisconsin—home of "A Sand County Almanac" author Aldo Leopold and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson—is a cradle of the conservation movement.3 Continuing this legacy, our faculty and staff will offer courses on such topics as Leopold's Land Ethic and changing climate in the Great Lakes region.

Through MOOCs, we will invite citizens from around the globe to engage in discussions on some of the most important issues of our time. But even more important, we will extend this invitation to people in Baraboo, for example (see below), along with other state residents. In this way, we can offer a UW–Madison experience to Wisconsin citizens who might not otherwise feel connected to the university.

Knowing Our Audience

UW–Madison's phase-one MOOCs gave faculty members a chance to explore new ways of teaching, research, and outreach, supported by a project team that could provide strategic planning, online course development, and evaluation. This initial offering consisted of four courses: "Video Games and Learning," "Markets with Frictions," "Human Evolution: Past and Future," and "Globalizing Higher Education and Research for the 'Knowledge Economy.'"

The MOOCs were faculty-centered, following a traditional classroom model. Instructors shared their expertise with an audience of learners—albeit widely scattered learners who, rather than raising their hands in a classroom, watched instructional videos, engaged in activities relevant to their day-to-day lives, and typed their questions in discussion forums.

We approached phase one as an experiment in which we could learn by doing. We hoped to:

The experiment succeeded from the institution's standpoint. We learned how to design MOOCs and serve a more diverse audience. The participating faculty explored new ways of teaching and expressed satisfaction with the results.

More significantly, we learned about the people who signed up for our MOOCS. We conducted a pre-MOOC survey, a mid-MOOC survey, and a post-MOOC survey that collected perceptual, attitudinal, and demographic information. The surveys showed that phase-one MOOC participants fell into three overlapping motivational segments.

Participants could have multiple motivations (see table 1). Nearly all participants fell into the General Interest category, but the Career and Educational categories were more mutually exclusive.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on thousands of MOOCs from prestigious universities ---

"How airlines could cheat you out of frequent flier miles," by Ben Geier, Fortune, March 3, 2015 ---

Some airlines are rewarding you for dollars spent rather than miles traveled

Frequent flier miles may not be actual cash, but for many, jetsetters they’re just as good. Some airlines, though, may not be giving you all the miles you think you deserve.

A new PricewaterhouseCoopers study shows that if airlines switch to frequent flyer programs based on dollars spent rather than miles traveled, around 45% of passengers could lose out on points, USA Today reports. Meanwhile, around 40% of flyers would actually get more points, while 15% would see no change.

People who buy cheap tickets for long distances will lose points, while those who buy expensive, short flights will gain.

Several airlines, including Delta, have already made this change, while others are considering similar moves. Giving additional points to people who spend more money on tickets incentivizes that extra spending, helping airlines make bigger profits.

"Former Pittsburg State (Kansas) finance professor pleads guilty to fraud," KAKE, March 4, 2015 ---

A former Pittsburg State University professor has admitted defrauding a Nigerian graduate student exchange program he led at the university out of more than $140,000.

The Joplin Globe reports 61-year-old Michael Muoghalu pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Wichita to wire fraud and money laundering.

In exchange for the plea agreement, the prosecutor agreed to recommend a lower sentence. He will also be required to repay the university $148,430.

Prosecutors allege that beginning in 2006 Muoghalu worked with an unknown accomplice in Nigeria to persuade 15 Nigerian students to give him part of the refunds they received after they deposited money with the university for tuition and fees.

Muoghalu, who taught finance at the school for 23 years, resigned last September.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"Does Beauty Matter in Undergraduate Education?" by Tatyana Deryugina and Olga Shurchkov, SSRN, August 15, 2013 ---

Physically attractive individuals achieve greater success in terms of earnings and status than those who are less attractive. However, much about the mechanism behind this “beauty premium” remains unknown. We use a rich dataset to shed light on its nature at the college level. We find that students judged to be more attractive perform significantly worse on standardized tests but, conditional on test scores, are not evaluated more favorably at the point of admission. Controlling for test scores, more attractive students receive marginally better grades in some cases. Finally, there is substantial beauty-based sorting into areas of study and occupations.

. . .

The issue of beauty-based discrimination has gained increasing attention in recent years. Prior literature has found that more attractive people earn more on average. However, much remains unknown about the origins and evolution of the beauty premium, including whether there are differences in academic capability between more and less attractive individuals, and the extent of bias and sorting that occurs. We contribute to the literature by considering whether there is a beauty advantage before and during college and by estimating the extent to which beauty-based sorting occurs. 27

We find that more attractive women do not appear more academically capable at the point of college admissions. On the contrary, they receive lower admission ratings, even though the application readers never directly observe applicant appearance. This is because more attractive women receive lower SAT scores. Although previous researchers have found that standardized test scores are positively correlated with measures of cognitive ability (see, e.g., Frey and Detterman 2004, Beaujean et al. 2006, Rohde and Thompson 2006, and Koenig et al. 2008), these findings do not necessarily contradict earlier findings that more attractive people have higher IQs. SAT scores are likely to be a function of both innate ability and effort. It may be that more attractive people rationally exert less effort on the SAT because the other advantages available to them make it optimal to invest fewer resources into scoring higher on the SATs. Testing this hypothesis is beyond the scope of this paper, but should be a worthwhile avenue for future research.

We find substantial beauty-based sorting into areas of study, with more attractive women being significantly less likely to major in the sciences and much more likely to major in economics. They are also subsequently less likely to work in science-related or technical fields and more likely to become consultants, analysts, or managers. Overall, our findings show that the main difference between more and less attractive people during college appears to lie not in the grades they receive but rather in the major and career choices they make.

Unfortunately, we cannot determine whether the observed sorting into majors is socially optimal, which is important for estimating welfare effects and deriving policy implications. However, even if inefficient sorting is present, policy tools capable of addressing it would be controversial and perhaps impossible to implement.

Jensen Comment
I always thought beauty was in the eye of the beholder. There are all sorts of things about this study that raise questions apart from the big question about what is "beauty?"

Some of my doubts before reading the study were no longer such glaring doubts after the study.
Firstly, in most colleges use of grades as a criterion would be a bad joke since grade inflation virtually destroys a grading system integrity (such as the common situation in which the average grade in a class is an A-, A, or A+) according ---

However, the university in this study had a grade inflation policy as follows:

Starting in the fall semester of 2004, the college implemented an anti-grade-inflation policy that capped the average grade in introductory and intermediate courses with ten or more students to a B+.7 This policy change disproportionately affected humanities courses. If there is beauty-based selection into humanities courses, this policy change may bias our estimates. To control for the potential impacts of the anti-grade inflation policy, we identify departments that had average grades exceeding a B+ and label beginning and intermediate courses with more than ten students in those departments as “treated.” We then control for the treated indicator and its interaction with a “post-fall-semester-2004” indicator in all course-level regressions.

Secondly, the college in question appears to not have professional programs like engineering and business. This means that new arrivals at this college pre-selected a college without such professional programs. This creates a possible pre-selection bias.

Thirdly, the college in question only admits women. This means that new arrivals at this college pre-selected a college without male students. This creates a possible pre-selection bias.

Fourthly, being the male chauvinist pig that I am I judge beauty in terms of the entire body of a female. This study only judged beauty based upon mug shots on ID cards. For example, Karen Carpenter was skin on bones before her disease (anorexia) commenced to show in her lovely face. Her mug shots remained beautiful long after the disease ravaged her body ---

Fiftly, grades are only measured on an original scale 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0. I question the use of correlation and regression tests that assume at least interval scaling on ordinal data ---

I could keep going with some more doubts, but I will only raise one more doubt. A sample of 794 subjects is relatively large for statistical inference. The problem is that more often than not insignificant differences in large samples are deemed statistically significant ---
The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

"New Scams Targeting University Employees," Inside Higher Ed, March 2, 2015 ---

Faculty and staff at Carnegie Mellon University who last weekend clicked on a link in an e-mail titled "Your salary raise information" were disappointed when they didn't find a pay increase but an attempt to steal their personal information. The university has since warned the campus community against the phishing scam and locked down the compromised accounts, WPXI reported

Hackers often target university employees' wallets. In the last several months, the Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or REN-ISAC, has identified threats against university payroll systems and personal tax returns. The organization on Friday released a new advisory, warning colleges and universities about a "resurgence" in scams that involve fake wire transfers. In one version of the scam, a vice president at a university received an e-mail from a hacker impersonating the president asking for help with an outgoing wire transfer. REN-ISAC recommended university officers who can conduct wire transfers be suspicious of instructions sent by e-mail.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

The Econometric Theory (Historical) Interviews

"The ET Interviews," by David Giles, Econometrics Blog, March 2, 2015 ---

Right from its inception in 1985, the journal Econometric Theory has featured the "ET Interviews". These are published interviews with key figures who have helped to shape the discipline of econometrics as we know it.

Many of these interviews have been conducted by ET Editor, Peter Phillips, but other interviewers ave also participated. This invaluable contribution provides us with a unique "window" on the history of econometrics, and the ET Interviews should be required reading for all of our graduate students.

The very first issue of ET included Peter's interview with Denis Sargan - one of the most influential British econometricians of all time, and Peter's Ph.D. supervisor at the LSE. Since then, interviews with 38 other econometricians and statisticians have been added to the collection. These recorded memories will become increasingly valuable with each passing year.

The majority of the interview articles can be downloaded freely from Peter's website (although they're not shown as links). In the following list of all of the "ET Interviews" to date, those articles that have to be accessed through the journal site itself are flagged with an asterisk (*):

The ET Interviewees

Takeshi Amemiya*

T. W. (Ted) Anderson

A. R. (Rex) Bergstrom

Herman Bierens*

Greogry C. Chow

Manfred Deistler*

Phoebus J. Dhrymes

James Durbin

Robert F. Engle (Nobel Laureate, 2003)

Eric Ghysels*

Arthur S. Goldberger

Christian Gourieroux & Alain Monfort*

Clive W. J. Granger (Nobel Laureate, 2003)

E. J. (Ted) Hannan

Michio Hatanaka

Sir David F. Hendry*

Cheng Hsiao*

Alan T. James

George G. Judge*

Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane

Lawrence R. Klein (Nobel Laureate, 1980)

Jan Kmenta*

G. S. Maddala

Edmmond Malinvaud

Marc L. Nerlove

B. L. S. Prakasa Rao*

C. R. Rao

Olav Reiersol

Peter M. Robinson*

J. D. (Denis) Sargan

Sir J. R. N. (Richard) Stone (Nobel Laureate, 1984)

Katsuto Tanaka*

George C. Tiao

Jan Tinbergen (Inaugural Nobel Laureate, 1969)

James Tobin (Nobel Laureate, 1981)

Herman O. A. Wold


Reply from Ken Hummel on March 2, 2015


I thought you would like to know that an early figure in Econometrics was Harold T Davis, a professor in the Mathematics Department when I came to Trinity in 1969. This was his last post after several positions at various bigger name universities.

He had written books on the subject: here is one link

as well as many others.

He had given me a signed copy of one of his economics books. When I retired I gave the old copy to Joe Davis.

Harold was a very interesting guy. He had the habit of getting involved in interesting conversations with people in many departments in the old coffee shop, but very few now at Trinity would know him.

Here is a short bio (without mentioning Trinity- too bad)



Also see

Jensen Comment
You can read more about most of the above scholars in Wikipedia.

Measuring Student Debt and Its Performance PDF --- http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr668.pdf

In general student loans are subprime loans

How do you repo a college education?

The nation’s student-loan balance climbed by $31 billion last quarter to $1.16 trillion. That makes it the largest source of debt after mortgages, which gained $39 billion to $8.2 trillion in the fourth quarter. Auto-loan debt increased by $21 billion to $955 billion.
"Student-Loan Delinquencies Rise in U.S.," by Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg News, February 17, 2015 ---

(Bloomberg) -- Student-loan delinquencies increased at the end of 2014, a troubling sign that Americans are failing to keep up with payments as education debt climbs, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Data from the New York Fed released Tuesday showed 11.3 percent of student loans were delinquent in the final three months of 2014, up from 11.1 percent in the prior quarter. The share of auto loans at least 90 days overdue also rose, climbing to 3.5 percent from 3.1 percent the prior period, even as fewer credit card and mortgage loan payments were late.

“Although we’ve seen an overall improvement in delinquency rates since the Great Recession, the increasing trend in student-loan balances and delinquencies is concerning,” Donghoon Lee, research officer at the New York Fed, said in an e-mailed statement. “Student-loan delinquencies and repayment problems appear to be reducing borrowers’ ability to form their own households.”

The nation’s student-loan balance climbed by $31 billion last quarter to $1.16 trillion. That makes it the largest source of debt after mortgages, which gained $39 billion to $8.2 trillion in the fourth quarter. Auto-loan debt increased by $21 billion to $955 billion.

Education loan balances have skyrocketed over the past decade. In the first quarter of 2005, outstanding student debt stood at $363 billion -- about a third of the current level, based on a 2013 New York Fed report.

Delinquency rates for student loans probably understate the actual situation, according to today’s report. About half of the student loans are in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance, temporarily removing them from the repayment cycle.

Education debt delinquency levels have come down since 2013, when the rate reached 11.8 percent, yet remain elevated from around 6 percent a decade ago, according to the New York Fed. Student loans are the type of debt most likely to be past-due, having surpassed credit-card delinquency rates in 2012.

Jensen Comment
When car and truck owners default a repo guy shows up in the dead of night and takes the vehicle to the bank. How do you repo a college education?

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

Harvard Business School hopes to fundamentally change online education with its new $1,500 pre-MBA program (only three non-credit courses for openers)

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wharton_School_of_the_University_of_Pennsylvania

Harvard Business School --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Business_School

Jensen Comment
The Wharton School shocked the world when it commenced to provide free (non-credit) MOOCs of its actual MBA core courses. Aside from curiosity seekers and business faculty around the world wondering how the prestigious Wharton School teaches its core courses, many of the students taking these MOOCs are prospective MBA students who want to get an edge before entering MBA programs of their choice ---

Although Harvard provides hundreds of MOOCs in various disciplines, the Harvard Business School has not been providing MOOCs. Now the HBS is proposing a pre-MBA distance education program with a relatively low fee that may also shake up the MBA world. Since it is not free and has admission standards it cannot be called a MOOC.

"Harvard Business School hopes to fundamentally change online education with its new $1,500 pre-MBA program," by Richard Feloni, Business Insider, February 27, 2015 ---

This week, Harvard Business School launched an innovative new online education program to the public that it thinks is so far ahead of free online courses that it's worthy of a $1,500 price tag.

The 11-week pre-MBA program called CORe accepts about 500 students and is taught in the school's signature case-study method. The first official session started on Feb. 25, and applications are open for spring and summer sessions.

CORe is the flagship offering from HBS's new digital platform, HBX, which aims to become a full-fledged branch of the school rather than a place to dump video recordings of classroom lectures.

CORe is made up of three courses — economics for managers, business analytics, and financial accounting — and primarily targets young professionals with liberal arts backgrounds who aspire to rise to management or are considering getting an MBA.

Students who pass the program receive a certificate that carries the weight of one from HBS's executive education program.

HBX chair Bharat Anand tells Business Insider that most online course offerings are still in their infancy, where long video lectures posted alongside multiple choice questions is the norm.

Conversely, HBX CORe is built on a proprietary platform that uses the case-study technique that distinguishes HBS. "This has some very interesting and exciting potential for education," Anand says.

It started as a way to find an online tool to address the "non trivial" 20% to 30% of students accepted to HBS's MBA program who lacked the necessary background in "the language of business": accounting, economics, and data analysis. These students always had access to a two-week primer before matriculating in the fall, but Anand says the short time was insufficient for achieving a thorough understanding, and traveling to HBS's campus before the school year officially starts could be an inconvenience for many students.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-business-school-hbx-1500-online-program-2015-2#ixzz3T3D8uxau

Jensen Comment
The Wharton set of free MOOCs will probably be a better choice for students wanting to learn a wider spectrum of business knowledge that includes things like marketing and finance that Harvard's pre-MBA program will not offer, at least not initially.

But there are advantages of Harvard's pre-MBA distance education program relative to MOOCs. Firstly, there's the prestige of being one of only 500 admitted to the program. Secondly, there will be more student-to-student learning interactions in Harvard's fee-based program. Unlike the HBS MBA program itself I doubt if there are writing assignments and examinations that are graded by faculty.

Given the low price and limited enrollments, I suspect that this pre-MBA program is not (at least not yet) intended to be a cash cow program relative to the massive cash cow MBA program and Executive MBA programs at the HBS.

"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 Udacity 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.


Bob Jensen's threads on thousands of free MOOCs from prestigious universities around the world ---

Bob Jensen's threads on tens of thousands of fee-based distance education courses around the world ---

Before reading the tidbits below you may want to watch a video on the Scenarios of Higher Education for Year 2020 ---
The above great video, among other things, discusses how "badges" of academic education and training accomplishment may become more important in the job market than tradition transcript credits awarded by colleges. Universities may teach the courses (such as free MOOCs) whereas private sector companies may award the "badges" or "credits" or "certificates." The new term for such awards is a

Competency-Based Learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm#ConceptKnowledge

"If B.A.’s Can’t Lead Graduates to Jobs, Can Badges Do the Trick?" by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2, 2015 ---

Employers say they are sick of encountering new college graduates who lack job skills. And colleges are sick of hearing that their young alumni aren’t employable.

Could a new experiment to design employer-approved "badges" leave everyone a little less frustrated?

Employers and a diverse set of more than a half-dozen universities in the Washington area are about to find out, through a project that they hope will become a national model for workplace badges.

The effort builds on the burgeoning national movement for badges and other forms of "micro­credentials." It also pricks at much broader questions about the purpose and value of a college degree in an era when nearly nine out of 10 students say their top reason for going to college is to get a good job.

The "21st Century Skills Badging Challenge" kicks off with a meeting on Thursday. For the next nine months, teams from the universities, along with employers and outside experts, will try to pinpoint the elements that underlie skills like leadership, effective storytelling, and the entrepreneurial mind-set. They’ll then try to find ways to assess students’ proficiency in those elements and identify outside organizations to validate those skills with badges that carry weight with employers.

The badges are meant to incorporate the traits most sought by employers, often referred to as "the four C’s": critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.

"We want this to become currency on the job market," says Kathleen deLaski, founder of the Education Design Lab, a nonprofit consulting organization that is coordinating the project.

No organizations have yet been selected or agreed to provide validations. But design-challenge participants say there’s a clear vision: Perhaps an organization like TED issues a badge in storytelling. Or a company like Pixar, or IDEO, the design and consulting firm, offers a badge in creativity.

If those badges gain national acceptance, Ms. deLaski says, they could bring more employment opportunities to students at non-elite colleges, which rarely attract the same attention from recruiters as the Ivies, other selective private colleges, or public flagships. "I’m most excited about it as an access tool," she says.

‘Celebrating’ and ‘Translating’

The very idea of badges may suggest that the college degree itself isn’t so valuable—at least not to employers.

Badge backers prefer a different perspective. They say there’s room for both badges and degrees. And if anything, the changing job market demands both.

Through their diplomas and transcripts, "students try to signal, and they have the means to signal, their academic accomplishments," says Angel Cabrera, president of George Mason University, which is involved in the project. "They just don’t have the same alternative for the other skills that employers say they want."

Nor is the badging effort a step toward vocationalizing the college degree, participants say. As Ms. deLaski puts it: "It’s celebrating what you learn in the academic setting and translating it for the work force."

Yet as she and others acknowledge, badges by themselves won’t necessarily satisfy employers who now think graduates don’t cut it.

That’s clear from how employer organizations that may work on the project regard badges. "We’re presuming that there is an additional skill set that needs to be taught," says Michael Caplin, president of the Tysons Partnership, a Northern Virginia economic-development organization. "It’s not just a packaging issue."

In other words, while a move toward badges could require colleges to rethink what they teach, it would certainly cause them to re-examine how they teach it. At least some university partners in the badging venture say they’re on board with that.

"Some of what we should be doing is reimagining some disciplinary content," says Randall Bass, vice provost for education at Georgetown University, another participant in the project.

Mr. Bass, who also oversees the "Designing the Future(s) of the University" project at Georgetown, says many smart curricular changes that are worth pursuing, no matter what, could also lend themselves to the goals of the badging effort. (At the master’s-degree level, for example, Georgetown has already begun offering a one-credit courses in grant writing.)

"We should make academic work more like work," with team-based approaches, peer learning, and iterative exercises, he says. "People would be ready for the work force as well as getting an engagement with intellectual ideas."

Employers’ gripes about recent college graduates are often hard to pin down. "It depends on who’s doing the whining," Mr. Bass quips. (The critique he does eventually summarize—that employers feel "they’re not getting students who are used to working"—is a common one.)

Where Graduates Fall Short

So one of the first challenges for the badging exercise is to better understand exactly what employers want and whether colleges are able to provide it—or whether they’re already doing so.

After all, notes Mr. Bass, many believe that colleges should produce job-ready graduates simply by teaching students to be agile thinkers who can adapt if their existing careers disappear. "That’s why I think ‘employers complain, dot dot dot,’ needs to be parsed," he says.

Mr. Caplin says his organization plans to poll its members to better understand where they see college graduates as falling short.

Continued in article

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

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

Coursera /kɔərsˈɛrə/ is a for-profit educational technology company founded by computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Stanford University that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs). Coursera works with universities to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, and other subjects. Coursera has an official mobile app for iOS and Android. As of October 2014, Coursera has 10 million users in 839 courses from 114 institutions.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Note that by definition MOOCs are free courses generally served up by prestigious or other highly respected universities that usually serve up videos of live courses on campus to the world in general.  MOOC leaders in this regard have been MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Penn, and other prestigious universities with tens of billions of dollars invested in endowments that give these wealthy universities financial flexibility in developing new ways to serve the public.

When students seek some type of transcript "credits" for MOOCs the "credits" are usually not free since these entail some types of competency hurdles such as examinations or, at a minimum, proof of participation. The "credits" are not usually granted by the universities like Stanford providing the MOOCs. Instead credits, certificates, badges or whatever are provided by private sector companies like Coursera, Udacity, etc.

Sometimes Coursera contracts with a college wanting to give its students credits for taking another university's MOOC such as the now infamous instance when more than half of San Jose State University students in a particular MOOC course did not pass a Coursera-administered final examination.
"What Are MOOCs Good For? Online courses may not be changing colleges as their boosters claimed they would, but they can prove valuable in surprising ways," by Justin Pope, MIT's Technology Review, December 15, 2014 ---

The following describes how a company, Coursera, long involved with the history of MOOCs, is moving toward non-traditional "credits" or "microcredentials" in a business model that it now envisions for itself as a for-profit company. Also note that MOOCs are still free for participants not seeking any type of microcredential.

And the business model described below probably won't apply to thousands of MOOCs in art, literature, history, etc. It may apply to subsets of business and technology MOOCs, but that alone does not mean the MOOCs are no longer free for students who are not seeking microcredentials. They involve payments for the "microcredentials" awarded for demonstrated competencies. However these will be defined in the future --- not necessarily traditional college transcript credits. A better term might be "badges of competency."  But these will probably be called microcredentials.

Whether or not these newer types of microcredentials are successful depends a great deal on the job market.
If employers begin to rely upon them, in addition to an applicant's traditional college transcript, then Coursera's new business model may take off. This makes it essential that Coursera carefully control the academic standards for their newer types of "credits" or "badges."


"Specializations, Specialized," by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, February 12, 2015 ---

Massive open online course providers such as Coursera have long pointed to the benefits of the data collected by the platforms, saying it will help colleges and universities understand how students learn online. Now Coursera’s data is telling the company that learners are particularly interested in business administration and technology courses to boost their career prospects -- and that they want to take MOOCs at their own pace.

As a result, Coursera will this year offer more course sequences, more on-demand content and more partnerships with the private sector.

Asked if Coursera is closer to identifying a business model, CEO Rick Levin said, “I think we have one. I think this is it.”

Since its founding in 2012, Coursera has raised millions of dollars in venture capital while searching for a business model. Many questioned if the company's original premise -- open access to the world's top professors -- could lead to profits, but with the introduction of a verified certificate option, Coursera began to make money in 2013. By that October, the company had earned its first million.

In the latest evolutionary step for its MOOCs, Coursera on Wednesday announced a series of capstone projects developed by its university partners in cooperation with companies such as Instagram, Google and Shazam. The projects will serve as the final challenge for learners enrolled in certain Specializations -- sequences of related courses in topics such as cybersecurity, data mining and entrepreneurship that Coursera introduced last year. (The company initially considered working with Academic Partnerships before both companies created their version of Specializations.)

The announcement is another investment by Coursera in the belief that adult learners, years removed from formal education, are increasingly seeking microcredentials -- bits of knowledge to update or refresh old skills. Based on the results from the past year, Levin said, interest in such credentials is "palpable." He described bundling courses together into Specializations and charging for a certificate as “the most successful of our product introductions." Compared to when the sequences were offered as individual courses, he said, enrollment has “more than doubled” and the share of learners who pay for the certificate has increased “by a factor of two to four.”

“I think people see the value of the credential as even more significant if you take a coherent sequence,” Levin said. “The other measure of effectiveness is manifest in what you’re seeing here: company interest in these longer sequences.”

Specializations generally cost a few hundred dollars to complete, with each individual course in the sequence costing $29 to $49, but Coursera is still searching for the optimal course length. This week, for example, learners in the Fundamentals of Computing Specialization were surprised to find its three courses had been split into six courses, raising the cost of the entire sequence from $196 to $343. Levin called it a glitch, saying learners will pay the price they initially agreed to.

The partnerships are producing some interesting pairings. In the Specialization created by faculty members at the University of California at San Diego, learners will “design new social experiences” in their capstone project, and the best proposals will receive feedback from Michel "Mike" Krieger, cofounder of Instagram. In the Entrepreneurship Specialization out of the University of Maryland at College Park, select learners will receive an opportunity to interview with the accelerator program 500 Startups.

As those examples suggest, the benefits of the companies’ involvement mostly apply to top performers, and some are more hypothetical than others. For example, in a capstone project created by Maryland and Vanderbilt University faculty, learners will develop mobile cloud computing applications for a chance to win tablets provided by Google. “The best apps may be considered to be featured in the Google Play Store,” according to a Coursera press release.

Anne M. Trumbore, director of online learning initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said the capstone projects are an “experiment.” The business school, which will offer a Specialization sequence in business foundations, has partnered with the online marketplace Snapdeal and the music identification app Shazam, two companies either founded or run by Wharton alumni.

“There’s not a sense of certainty about what the students are going to produce or how the companies are going to use it,” Trumbore said. “Snapdeal and Shazam will look at the top projects graded highest by peers and trained staff. What the companies do after that is really up to them. We have no idea. We’re casting this pebble into the pond.”

Regardless of the companies' plans, Trumbore said, the business school will waive the application fee for the top 15 learners in the Specialization and provide scholarship money to those that matriculate by going through that pipeline.

“The data’s great, but the larger incentive for Wharton is to discover who’s out there,” Trumbore said.

Levin suggested the partnering companies may also be able to use the Specializations as a recruitment tool. “From a company point of view, they like the idea of being involved with educators in their fields,” he said. “More specifically, I think some of the companies are actually hoping that by acknowledging high-performing students in a couple of these capstone projects they can spot potential talent in different areas of the world.”

While Coursera rolled out its first Specializations last year, Levin said, it also rewrote the code powering the platform to be able to offer more self-paced, on-demand courses. Its MOOCs had until last fall followed a cohort model, which Levin said could be “frustrating” to learners when they came across an interesting MOOC but were unable to enroll. After Coursera piloted an on-demand delivery method last fall, the total number of such courses has now reached 47. Later this year, there will be “several hundred,” he said.

“Having the courses self-paced means learners have a much higher likelihood of finishing,” Levin said. “The idea is to advantage learners by giving them more flexibility.”

Some MOOC instructors would rather have rigidity than flexibility, however. Levin said some faculty members have expressed skepticism about offering on-demand courses, preferring the tighter schedule of a cohort-based model.

Whether it comes to paid Specializations versus free individual courses or on-demand versus cohort-based course delivery, Levin said, Coursera can support both. “Will we develop more Specializations? Yes. Will we depreciate single courses? No,” he said. “We don’t want to discourage the wider adoption of MOOCs.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs are at

Dilbert on Beating the Averages --- http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/02/dilbert-beating-the-average/

Warren Buffett's Golden Anniversary (actually Warren recommends against investing in gold because of insignificant societal economic benefits)
Warren Buffett's 50th letter to Berkshire shareholders

Berkshire Hathaway just released its 2014 letter to shareholders

First things first, Berkshire Hathaway earned $2,412 per Class A share in the fourth quarter of 2014, missing expectations for earnings of $2,702. 

As of December 31, Berkshire Hathaway's book value per Class A share was $146,186. 

For the first time, Berkshire included the historical stock price in this year's annual letter.

And while Buffett said that the intrinsic value of the company and the price of the shares isn't always exact — in fact that relationship used to be closer than it is today — Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger believe the increase the share price and the increase and intrinsic value is roughly equal.

That increase over the last 50 years? 1,826,163%

Buffett said that Berkshire's "Powerhouse Five" — the company's largest non-insurance businesses — earned $12.4 billion pre-tax, up from $1.6 billion in 2013. These businesses include, Berkshire Hathaway Energy (formerly MidAmerican Energy), BNSF, IMC (I’ve called it Iscar in the past), Lubrizol and Marmon. If the US economy continues to improve in 2015, Buffett expects earnings for these companies will improve as well. 

BNSF's results, however, was the major spot of bad news for the company in 2014, and the company plans to spend $6 billion on plant and equipment in 2015, which Buffett says is nearly 50% more than any other railroad has spent in a single year. "A truly extraordinary amount," Buffett wrote. 

In all, Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiaries spent $15 billion on plants and equipment in 2015, with 90% of that money spent in the US. 

Berkshire Hathaway also completed its acquisition of Van Tuyl Automotive, a group of 78 auto dealerships with annual sales of $9 billion. With this deal, Buffett said, "we are now 'car guys.'"

And the company is clearly open to more acquisitions. 

Buffett wrote: "With the acquisition of Van Tuyl, Berkshire now owns 9 1/2 companies that would be listed on the Fortune 500 were they independent (Heinz is the 1/2). That leaves 490 1/2 fish in the sea. Our lines are out."

Read more:

The 5 Greatest Letters Warren Buffett Has Ever Written ---

Warren Buffett: 'The mother lode of opportunities runs through America' ---
My apologies for posting something patriotic!

From the Chronicle of Higher Education
 Search for Job Openings in Higher Education ---

"The Anemic Law Jobs Recovery," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, February 25, 2015 ---

Law School --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_school

"American Bar Association Releases 'Bleak' Jobs Data for 2013 Law School Grads," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, April 10, 2014 ---

Brian Leiter (University of Chicago) : American Legal Education: The First 150 Years ---

"Law Students Sue Their Law Schools for Deceptive Employment Reporting Practices," Gy Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, March 11, 2014 ---

University of North Carolina:  N.C.AA finds fake courses for 20 years ---

University of Syracuse:  N.C.A.A. finds that university employees completed coursework for athletes -- and questions why it took 8 years to complete investigation into such a serious problem.

"Academic Fraud at Syracuse," by Jake New, Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2015 ---

In 2005, following a season of poor academic performance from his players, Syracuse University’s head basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, hired a new director of basketball operations and gave him an imperative: “fix” the academic problems of his athletes.

The director’s solution, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, was for athletics staff members to access and monitor the e-mail accounts of several players, communicate directly with faculty members as if they were the athletes, and then complete coursework for them. In one case, an athlete had his eligibility restored by turning in a paper to raise a grade he had earned the previous year. The paper was written by the director and a basketball facility receptionist.

This sort of fraud had lasted more than half a decade at Syracuse, finally coming to light after a lengthy series of investigations by the university and the N.C.A.A. On Friday, the N.C.A.A. announced a number of sanctions against Syracuse, including vacating more than 100 of Boeheim’s wins and suspending him for 9 conference games next season. "Over the course of a decade, Syracuse University did not control and monitor its athletics programs," the N.C.A.A. said in a statement. "And its head men's basketball coach failed to monitor his program."

The decision comes at a time when the N.C.A.A. is under increasing pressure to improve the academic integrity of big-time college sports. The association is currently investigating more than 20 institutions for academic misconduct, including the University of North Carolina, where some university employees knowingly steered about 1,500 athletes toward no-show courses that never met and were not taught by any faculty members, and where the only work required was a single research paper that received a high grade no matter the content.

During a press call Friday, Britton Banowsky, chief hearing officer and commissioner of Conference USA, said while the N.C.A.A. is attempting to be proactive, it still believes the onus for investigating cases of academic fraud should be on the institution. At the same time, Banowsky said, the sheer length of Syracuse’s investigation -- eight years -- does raise questions about how such probes are handled. The incident could lead to new rules that would bar investigations from dragging on for “an extremely excessive time," he said.

“As we have to sit back and wait for this to be self-reported, it is unacceptable for our membership to have cases go on this long,” Banowsky said. “Our first step is to be deferential to the university system, but ultimately we had a situation where the desire to achieve success on the basketball court overrides the academic integrity. It really demonstrated some clearly misplaced priorities, and that’s where the N.C.A.A. process comes in. I think you’ll see over the next several months a more focused dialogue about where those lines are drawn.”

In a series of statements released by administrators Friday, Syracuse admitted the investigation was too lengthy, saying it may in fact be the longest infractions investigation ever and that the blame is on both the university and the N.C.A.A. The university, which self-reported many of the violations, disagreed with several of the association’s other assertions, however, in particular that Boeheim was responsible for his staff’s actions, saying that their actions were "done in secret."

Boeheim, a revered and larger-than-life figure at Syracuse who has had a decades-long career coaching the university's storied basketball team, is expected to appeal the sanctions. Boeheim skipped his postgame press conference on Friday, what would have been the last of the season, saying in a statement that he was considering his "options moving forward."

Syracuse said that it would support the coach if he chooses to appeal. “Coach Boeheim has demonstrated that he is a person of character,” the university stated in a seven-page response to the N.C.A.A.’s report. “He is a coach who expects excellence and integrity, both on and off the basketball court. The university believes the N.C.A.A. was wrong to find that he failed in his responsibilities.”

During the press call Friday, Banowsky reiterated that the N.C.A.A. views the coach -- and the university -- as culpable. Boeheim hired the director of basketball operations to be his “academic point man,” making him responsible for the director’s actions, Banowsky said. The N.C.A.A. also faulted Boeheim and Syracuse for fostering an environment in which staff members who were aware of the fraud were too afraid to say anything.

The director of student-athlete support services, who suspected the misconduct, told the N.C.A.A. that he did nothing because he sensed that “men’s basketball might have a ‘little bit of special treatment,’” the association wrote in its report. "He acknowledged that he believed the director of basketball operations was behind the fact that a former academic support employee had been 'pushed out' after 20 years of service, and as a new employee, was mindful of that event.”

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
To be fair the NCAA should have given Syracuse 12 more years before taking corrective action.

Tennessee Athletics Accused of Pushing Leniency for Athletes ---

"More lawsuits in UNC academic scandal; whistleblower settles with university," by Sara Ganim, CNN, February 25, 2015 ---

Three more athletes who say they were scammed out of an education at the University of North Carolina are now suing over academic fraud, and the whistleblower who exposed the fake-class system has now settled her lawsuit with the university.

Former basketball player Kenya McBee has joined former football player Mike McAdoo's federal class-action lawsuit, claiming the university denied him and thousands of other athletes education when advisers forced him to take classes that never met.

Former basketball player Leah Metcalf, and former football player James Arnold filed a separate but similar class-action lawsuit in state court in North Carolina.

Ken Wainstein, who was hired by the university to act as an independent investigator, revealed in October that academic fraud had taken place at UNC for 18 years, and that UNC officials were wrong when they denied -- for nearly five years -- that anyone in athletics was involved.

Instead it was players, like McAdoo, who were blamed by the university for cheating and punished by the NCAA.

"All of these student-athletes were promised a legitimate UNC education, were implored to trust UNC academic advising, and were then guided into academically bereft courses against their interests," said attorney Jeremi Duru, one of the attorneys representing these athletes.

Earlier this year high-profile attorney Michael Hausfeld filed a class-action suit against UNC and the NCAA over the same scandal. About 3,100 students -- nearly half of them athletes -- who enrolled in the fake classes could easily join these lawsuits.

Mary Willingham, the whistleblower who began revealing details about the sham classes, accused UNC of retaliating against her before she quit last year, and then sued the university to get her job back.

Willingham told CNN that she reached a settlement agreement with the school this week, although it had not yet been approved by a judge. It would compensate her financially but not restore her job as a learning specialist and adviser.

Continued in article

"Former UNC Student-Athletes Detail Fake 'Paper Classes' (for nearly 20 years) In New Lawsuit Against School And NCAA," by Peter Jacobs, Business Insider, January 23, 2015 ---

by Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham
Potomac, 280 pages, $26.95

Book Review of Cheated
Dark Days in Chapel Hill:  If you ran a college and knew there was substantial money to be had from sports but no requirement to educate athletes, you might cut corners—that’s exactly what the University of North Carolina did for nearly two decades.

Mr. Smith is a history professor at the University of North Carolina, Ms. Willingham was for many years an academic counselor there who brought attention to the scandal by granting interviews to the Raleigh News & Observer. The authors accuse their state’s prestige public campus of “broad dishonesty” and of stocking its teams in football and men’s basketball—the “revenue sports”—with athletes to generate profit, then breaking its promise to educate them. Ms. Willingham resigned last year and later sued the school—a settlement was reached this week—and both authors recount being shunned in Chapel Hill for helping bring the scandal to light, so they may have an ax to grind. At times, their account flirts with a tone of “if only they’d listened to me.” Nonetheless “Cheated” sounds an important call for reform.

Details of the scheme confirm the worst fears about “student athletes,” at least as regards football and men’s basketball. (Other men’s and all women’s collegiate sports generally have good academic reputations.) Some Tar Heels men’s basketball players, Ms. Willingham contends, read at a third-grade level. (A university official last year dismissed her research as “a travesty.”) As a student at Chapel Hill, Green Bay Packers star Julius Peppers failed real courses but got B’s in what were known as “paper classes,” barely supervised independent-study courses that required only a single research paper. (Mr. Peppers claims that he “earned every grade” he got at UNC.) “Cheated” reports that Rashad McCants, key to the Tar Heels’ 2005 March Madness title, “saw his GPA rise significantly—he even made the dean’s list—after a semester in which he had done no academic work.”

Like many large universities, Chapel Hill has a committee that grants admission waivers to top sports recruits. “Cheated” says that the committee admitted players who scored below 400 on the verbal SAT—that’s the 15th percentile, barely north of illiterate—or who were chronically absent from high school except on game days. There is no chance that a student so poorly prepared for college will earn a diploma. All he can do is generate money for the university.

Most of the phony classes described in the report were in the African and Afro-American Studies Department, under Prof. Julius Nyang’oro and a departmental administrator. The department had multiple subject codes for its courses, including AFRI, AFAM and SWAH (for Swahili). This allowed transcripts to appear to satisfy Chapel Hill’s distribution requirement, even if most of an athlete’s “classes” were within the same department. Mr. Nyang’oro resigned in 2012 and was eventually indicted for fraud, accused of accepting pay for “teaching” that was imaginary. Charges were dropped when he agreed to assist investigators.

“Cheated” details how Mr. Nyang’oro liked to hang around with athletes: He was even invited to serve as a “guest coach” for the football team. Tutors and academic-support staffers also enjoyed friendly access to the jocks. At football-factory and basketball-power programs, teachers and tutors who avert their eyes from grade fixing may be rewarded with courtside seats and sideline passes.

The authors and the report agree that Mr. Nyang’oro and the administrator perceived that their role was partly to make academic problems go away so that stars could tape their ankles. University of North Carolina officials did not want to know how athletes who had barely bested chance on their SATs were suddenly pulling A’s at a selective college. “Cheated” recounts two instances when staffers told superiors that football or men’s basketball stars handed in plagiarized work. The university took swift, decisive action, the authors write: It punished those who made the reports.

Last year, according to Education Department data, UNC–Chapel Hill cleared $30 million in profit on football and men’s basketball, a number that does not include whatever part of the $297 million in gifts and grants received by the school last year was prompted by athletics, or $130 million in assets held by the athletic foundation affiliated with the college. Some of the gain is expended on sports that lose money, but football and men’s basketball are still profit centers. At a prestige university, the African-American studies department became a mechanism to exploit African-Americans. Players may as well have been picking cotton.

Across the big-college landscape, around $3 billion annually flows from networks to schools in rights fees for national TV broadcasts of football and men’s basketball. Ticket sales and local marketing add to the total. Meanwhile, the NCAA almost never sanctions colleges that don’t educate scholarship athletes.

Coaches and administrators make out well themselves even if their players don’t get educations. Tar Heels men’s basketball coach Roy Williams and football coach Larry Fedora each earn $1.8 million per year, according to the USA Today NCAA salary database. Speaking and endorsement fees for coaches rise with victory totals. Athletic director Lawrence Cunningham draws $565,000 annually, plus bonuses for wins.

Perhaps the reader is thinking: Why this worry about diplomas? Don’t big-college athletes go on to wealth in the pros? Surely starry-eyed teens with Greek-god physiques arriving at the University of North Carolina, or at any powerhouse program, believe they’re headed for professional glory in prime time.

Yet most scholarship players never receive a pro paycheck. “Cheated” reports that the Chapel Hill swindle went into full swing in 2003, when the school was trying to rebuild its basketball reputation. Since that year, 54 Tar Heels have been drafted by the NFL or NBA. That’s less than a fifth of University of North Carolina football and men’s basketball scholarship holders during the period. And Chapel Hill does better than most: Broadly across NCAA football and men’s basketball, only about 2% of athletic-scholarship recipients are drafted. Because a bachelor’s degree adds about $1 million to lifetime earnings, the diploma is the potential economic reward for the overwhelming majority of college athletes.

Of course, athletes have only themselves to blame for not taking their studies seriously. But many are encouraged by coaches to believe pipe dreams about the pros, to focus all their effort on winning so the coach gets his victory bonus. By the time NCAA athletes realize they’ve been duped, their scholarships are exhausted. Used up and thrown away, they are easily replaced by the next batch of starry-eyed teens who believe their names will be called on draft day.

After the Chapel Hill scandal went public, the school commissioned a flurry of reports, the two most prominent of which appeared to tell all but were at heart whitewashes. The first, overseen by former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin, in 2012 declared “with confidence” that the Tar Heels athletic department knew nothing, nothing: “This was not an athletic scandal,” the report stated. “Sadly, it was clearly an academic scandal; but an isolated one.” Mr. Smith and Ms. Willingham write that in “an amazing display of evasiveness and dishonesty,” Chapel Hill chancellor Holden Thorp pretended that the Martin report concluded the matter. Later Mr. Thorp resigned and floated away to the provost’s post at Washington University in St. Louis. The best-case analysis of Mr. Thorp is that he was hopelessly incompetent; explanations go downhill from there. Yet he paid little professional price. If an NCAA athlete commits a petty violation, he can be thrown out of school. University leaders know that if their schools are caught systematically cheating, a wrist slap will be their fate.

The second report, conducted by a law firm and released in 2014, revealed that the first report was a fairy tale. Though Mr. Thorp denied knowing about the “paper classes,” it concluded that he knew Mr. Nyang’oro’s department “issued higher grades than most other departments and was popular among student-athletes.” Why wasn’t this a red flag? But this document, too, largely exonerated those who commissioned it. Thousands of students got A’s in fake classes. Yet “the higher levels of the university” were guilty only of “a loose, decentralized approach to management” that prevented “meaningful oversight,” even though the existence of “easy-grading classes with little rigor” was widely known.

The second report attached no blame to basketball coach Williams, the most marketable figure in Chapel Hill athletics, reporting his insistence that he “constantly preaches that [the] number one responsibility [of] coaches and counselors is to make sure their players get a good education.” The men’s basketball program has seven coaches for a roster that averages 16—the kind of instructor-to-student ratio normally found only in doctoral programs. Yet we’re asked to believe there’s no way the coaches could have noticed that many players never seemed to need to be in class. Mr. Williams should have been fired for presiding over an institutionally corrupt program. Instead he was given a pass.

Cheating may have gone over the top at Chapel Hill, but in collegiate sports, institutional corruption is a norm. The NCAA works assiduously to change the subject from football and men’s basketball graduation rates, a straightforward measure that anyone can understand. Instead it offers Academic Progress Rate, a hocus-pocus metric seemingly designed to be incomprehensible.

Currently the overall APR of big-college sports is 976 out of 1000. That sounds as if everyone’s nearly perfect. But on this scale, perfection is achieved if all players have at least a 2.0 GPA. Since the average GPA at public universities is 3.0, what the NCAA touts as “academic progress” may equate to significantly below-average outcomes in the classroom.

But the APR shifts the spotlight from actual grades. Last fall, Louisville announced to fanfare that football coach Bobby Petrino will receive a $500,000 bonus for his players’ academic performance. Sound enlightened? The bonus is triggered by the team hitting a 935 APR. Since the average for NCAA football programs is 951, academic excellence at Louisville is now defined down to below average.

Cynicism regarding athletics and education pervades the big-college system. The networks that are “broadcast partners” (their term) with the NCAA—ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and Turner—have a financial stake in college sports income and so steer clear of issues like grades and graduation rates.

Nobody much seems to care so long as money flows. Steven Spielberg is a member of the board of trustees at USC, where the graduation rate for African-American men’s basketball players is 25% and 38% for African-American football players. The reason these numbers are terrible isn’t that athletes are departing early for the pros—in the past decade, more than two-thirds of USC football and men’s basketball players were not drafted. The numbers are terrible because players are used for revenue without receiving educations. Mr. Spielberg has made two powerful movies depicting the historical exploitation of African-Americans, “The Color Purple” and “Amistad.” Where is his movie about present-day exploitation of African-Americans in college athletics? He need only look out the window at USC. Or he could buy the rights to “Cheated.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the UNC scandal and the many, many other athletics cheating scandals at major universities in the USA ---
We're led to believe that they nearly all cheated at one time or another. The UNC scandal was unique in that it entailed fake courses and grade changes for nearly two decades and covered multiple sports and even students who were not into athletics. The sad thing is that many of the principle coaches and faculty who cheated moved on from UNC before the scandal broke and are still thriving unpunished in their careers.

Most of the students now suing UNC were not innocent victims and were knowingly cheaters. They are victims in a larger sense that they were promised an education (such as learning how to read) that was denied them in their years at UNC.

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating ---

Admitting Politically-Connected Dummies to the University of Texas Law School
Number of 'Subpar' Applicants Admitted to Texas Law School Surged After Dean Sager's Ouster ---

The number of subpar applicants admitted to the University of Texas School of Law surged after President Bill Powers forced Larry Sager to resign as dean of the law school in 2011, according to numbers from a recent report on admissions favoritism by Kroll Associates. .

Continued in article

The near and far future of libraries --- http://lisnews.org/the_near_and_far_future_of_libraries

The Rosetta Disk, for example, is one of its attempts to create a permanent archive: it’s a wafer of nickel containing all the world’s languages in raised microscopic text. “We aren’t creating the Rosetta Disk specifically with an apocalypse in mind, or for a society that's undergoing major upheaval,” Long Now Director Laura Welcher told Hopes&Fears, “but over the span of millennia, I think you have to expect that to happen occasionally.”

Let us now turn to the human experts for answers.

From The near and far future of libraries — Hopes&Fears — flow "Technology" ---

Return on Investment (ROI) --- http://www.businessinsider.com/nba-highest-salaries-2015-2

How to Mislead With Statistics
Most of the NBA's highest-paid players aren't worth it --- http://www.businessinsider.com/nba-highest-salaries-2015-2#ixzz3T30XleVh

Jensen Comment
The above article does not estimate ROI for these highest-paid players. The problem with both the article and ROI in general is that often factors contributing to financial returns have higher order effects called covariances, non-convexities, or whatever in mathematics. When these are significant in a positive or negative sense they make attributions of performance of a single factor extremely difficult or impossible. For example, when Cleveland brought back LeBron James this year the entire sports world refocused on Cleveland, including advertisers, ticket buyers, other players, etc. Because there are so many higher order positive and negative effects it's impossible to assess a single player's true worth to the team.

It's also impossible to judge the worth of a veteran player for a single season since players like Kobe Bryant had enormous impacts across many seasons.

It's also impossible to judge the value a a player because there are so many unknown opportunity values of alternative investments that might have been made. For example, if Cleveland had decided to not invest in LeBron for this season in favor of one or two of the best rookies who play elsewhere we cannot really be sure how well those rookies would be playing for Cleveland's team since there are so many team factors that affect a single performer. Exhibits A-Z are the many players let go by teams who become stars on other teams.

"Fennell: Do Not Cite Or Circulate," by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, February 24, 2015 ---

This short essay ponders why legal scholars attach formulations such as "Do Not Cite or Circulate" to draft works. It argues against the practice in most circumstances, particularly for work posted on the Internet.

SSRN Link --- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2565446

Jensen Comment
This stipulation on a working paper is an invitation to have ideas plagiarized. I'm not referring to lifting of text verbatim. But a more common form of plagiarism is to borrow ideas and reword text in ways that depart greatly from cut and past quotations. Authors who are inclined to cite sources in papers that they circulate may be tempted to cleverly get around the "Do Not Cite or Circulate" clause. It is better to instead request that quotations from the article be short and cited.

Also references listed in the original paper may be cited without mentioning the original paper. For example, consider the following article:

"Milton Friedman's 1964 theory on booms and busts explains what's happening in Europe," by Grégory Claeys and Thomas Walsh, Bruegel,  Business Insider, February 25, 2015 ---

If the above article (in working paper form) had a "Do Not Cite or Circulate" clause readers might be tempted to reference Friedman's "Plucking Model" without even mentioning the Claeys and Bruegel article.

"A new report says that BYU has a better value MBA than Harvard, by Melissa Stanger, Business Insider, February 26, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
I'm always suspicious of rankings in general, because so much depends upon criteria used versus criteria neglected in the rankings. For years, Harvard was and still is, in my opinion, the best value for MBA graduates. So is Wharton in the East and Stanford in the West. The reason, in my opinion, is not so much in the education experience as it is in the relations with business firms themselves, relations that are improved greatly with the numbers of alumni and the closeness with alumni in terms of providing new MBA graduates with outstanding entry-level job opportunities. Harvard is King of the Hill in the East, followed closely by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stanford is King of the West followed closely by USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. In the Midwest there are noted MBA programs at Northwestern and the University of Chicago.

Sometimes the numbers of alumni are not as important as the intense closeness of alumni with alma maters. Here the Tuck School at Dartmouth stands out where alumni really lend a tremendous helping hand to Tuck MBA graduates. The BYU MBA program has extremely close relations with alumni, but I'm suspicious that alumni are closer with MBA graduates who are also Mormon.

For careers in accounting it's probably best to avoid MBA programs in favor of masters programs in accounting. Many of the most prestigious universities do not even have accounting undergraduate or masters programs, and some that do (like Cornell) are not necessarily the best choices for masters of accounting programs. Masters of accounting programs are probably not as dependent upon alumni for employment, although alumni (think CPA firm partner power) can be important in fund raising. 

I think the top masters of accounting programs are found in universities that have the top undergraduate accounting programs. Here BYU is the Number 1 program in 2015 according to US News ---

I think those rankings also hold true for accounting doctoral programs although some of the best accounting undergraduate and masters programs like BYU do not have accounting doctoral programs.

BYU does have an excellent pre-doctoral masters program for accounting graduates seeking to enter accounting doctoral programs.
The focus of the program is on mathematics and statistics rather than business and accounting. Some accounting doctoral programs like the program at the University of Florida will not even matriculate accounting doctoral students until they complete advanced mathematics and statistics prerequisites.

Aside from powerful and helpful alumni, what makes a graduate school in the Top 25?
In my opinion the key variable is level of admission standards in terms of GMAT and GRE scores. Like it or not, admission quality is generally a function of prestige of the university in total. Most of the prestigious universities now have MBA programs. Some do not have undergraduate or masters programs in accounting., and as mentioned above those that do have undergraduate accounting programs do not necessarily have the top-ranked undergraduate accounting programs. Admission standards are very high, however, for the top-ranked accounting programs even if the universities themselves are more of the flagship type even if they are not in the Ivy League.

Make Your Own College Rankings ---

Jensen Comment
The above custom rankings software and most major college ranking outcomes in the media exclude for-profit universities. This is because all for-profit universities refuse to provide performance data for ranking systems.

"The Ever-Growing World of College Rankings," by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 26, 2015 ---

Another day, another college ranking. Or so it seems.

Last year at least three new rankings emerged from national publications or major companies, joining a long line of magazines that have entered the rankings game since U.S. News & World Report started publishing its list annually, in 1985.

With the August 2014 debut of Money magazine’s Best Colleges, the ranks of rankers now include Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Forbes, and The Washington Monthly, along with employment-focused companies like LinkedIn, which introduced its University Rankings in October, and PayScale, which will release its sixth annual return-on-investment ranking in March, just before U.S. News publishes the latest edition of its Best Graduate Schools.

And all the activity doesn’t even count the ratings proposed by the Obama administration.

To Corbin Martin Campbell, an assistant professor of higher education at Teachers College of Columbia University, who studies rankings, the proliferation reflects "a bizarre paradox": There are more rankings than ever, but "they really don’t speak to the education core of an institution."

At the same time, she notes, colleges possess "this incredibly rich data" about learning—thanks to accreditation, curriculum reviews, syllabus analyses, and creative ways of assessing college teaching—that never make their way into any kind of consumer ranking. "The public is really left wanting," she says.

For other rankings skeptics—and they are legion—the proliferation is easier to understand. "It’s click bait, basically," contends Richard A. Hesel, principal at the Art & Science Group, a consulting company that works in higher education.

Make Your Own College Rankings ---

How to Mislead With Statistics
So what's wrong with performance ranking systems in general?

Bob Jensen's answers are at

Sometimes I'm (slightly) Wrong
For example, I used to argue that it was virtually impossible for a teacher scoring poorly on "course easiness" to be chosen as a top teacher on RateMyProfessor. In general that is still true, but there are some exceptions in the top-ranked teachers in the 2013/2014 academic year ---

For example see the easiness score of Monessa Cummins ---

In general, however, the average grade in the class is A+ for a top rated professor who also is rated as teaching an easy course. For example, note Kenneth Andersen at
This is so typical in this era of disgraceful grade inflation ---

Information content of nonverbal vocal communication
Note that in these days of video transmission across the Internet, nonverbal communication does not ipso facto require physical presence. Much depends upon whether video captures the nonverbal communication.

Book Review by Michael Minnisis (University of Chicago)
The Accounting Review, January 2015, Vol. 90, No. 1, pp. 395-398 ---

Speech Analysis in Financial Markets, Foundations and Trends® in Accounting (Hanover, MA: now Publishers Inc., 2013, ISBN 978-1-60198-652-8, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. ix, 60)

Mayew and Venkatachalam's monograph (hereafter, MV) reviews the budding literature examining the information content of nonverbal vocal communication. The monograph defines nonverbal vocal communication as “the communication process that is distinct from verbal usage,” which “includes facial expressions, gestures, postures, body movements, vocal tone” among other features (p. 2). The monograph focuses on features of the vocal tone portion of nonverbal communication.

While the objective of my review is to critically assess MV, not to review the literature per se, I ultimately do a bit of both. My overarching assessment of the monograph is that it provides the critical starting point for any researcher interested in investigating nonverbal communication in finance and accounting. The monograph is thorough (conditional on a focus of nonverbal vocal communication within the accounting and finance literatures, with a specific focus on vocal tone) and is clearly written. It includes citations to, and a very useful discussion of, both the linguistics and human behavior literatures, allowing readers who are even relatively ignorant of this area, admittedly including me, an expedient foray into the literature. While the initial results of the literature are certainly intriguing, I agree with MV that this research is in an “embryonic state” (p. 47). Causal interpretations and the relative economic importance of the statistical results need to be assessed, and I also agree with the authors that theoretical frameworks need to more rigorously motivate the research. Collectively, though, MV describes a research area with potentially exciting research possibilities, and the monograph provides an excellent starting line.

MV contains five chapters, with Chapters 2 and 3 containing the overwhelming majority of the substantive content. Chapter 2 sets the stage for the monograph by describing the elements of nonverbal research analysis. The authors describe two elements that are required for empirical nonverbal vocal research: a recording of speech, and a method to encode the speech. MV highlights various possibilities for both elements. A laboratory setting (providing a high-fidelity recording) and an intensively trained human judge may provide ideal circumstances, but the authors argue that corporate finance provides a novel setting, in the form of earnings conference calls, to study how humans' nonverbal communication is related to capital allocation in the economy. Corporate earnings conference calls are high-stakes events, occurring relatively frequently, and catalogued by data providers. While alternative settings may exist to study executives—such as analyst days and annual meetings—the interaction between analysts and managers (and between managers within the firm) provided during earnings conference calls provides a sufficiently high-quality recording to researchers in a relatively inexpensive format. With the minor exception of the statement on page 9, which states a common misperception that “every major corporation in America” offers a quarterly conference call, the authors describe this setting well and provide ample motivation for studying conference calls.1

After introducing the reader to the prerequisites of nonverbal vocal communication research in Chapter 2, the authors present and discuss extant empirical research in Chapter 3. Over half of the content of the monograph resides in this chapter. Framed mostly around the authors' own research, they discuss three themes that have been examined in nonverbal vocal research: market reaction to executive vocal tone, deception prediction, and managerial trait assessment. I will discuss each.

The authors articulate that tests of market reaction to managers' nonverbal cues require three factors: (1) the presence of nonverbal cues that are informative about either the discount rate or a firm's future cash flows (which are orthogonal to the text and numbers presented by the manager); (2) a process to measure the nonverbal cues; and (3) the ability of the market to recognize the cues and impound them into price (i.e., low frictions to receiving the message or trading on it). If one of the necessary conditions does not exist—e.g., managers are not sending information in their vocal cues, or analysts are not able to interpret it, or researchers cannot measure the cues effectively—then the null hypothesis of no relation between managers' nonverbal vocal cues and the market reaction is credible. The authors then discuss the results of Mayew and Venkatachalam (2012a), which finds that a manager's positive (negative) affective state as measured from vocal cues using LVA software is positively (negatively) associated with the firm's abnormal returns around the conference call date. Moreover, they extend and reinforce the results of Mayew and Venkatachalam (2012a) by replicating the results with a more recent sample of conference calls and find very similar results.

The monograph does a thorough job of describing the main result of Mayew and Venkatachalam (2012a), and the replication results are a useful reinforcement; however, the monograph is certainly not a substitute for reading the research paper itself (given the length of the original research paper, this is understandable). The monograph omits discussion of long-term return results and analyst reaction results, which are included in the original paper. Moreover, the monograph does not go much beyond discussing the statistical relation between CAR and measured managerial affect. For example, it does not provide much discussion about why this relation may exist. What is the news that the affect is revealing—cash flow or discount news? Is the market reacting in the right direction, or is the market temporarily misled by the manager's affect? The authors also do not provide the reader with much interpretation of the economic magnitude of the relation. For example, Table 2 in MV shows that the coefficient on PAFF (the measure of the manager's positive affect in his or her vocal cues) is 0.1690. Using the standard deviation from Table 1 of 0.0373, I calculate that a one standard deviation increase in PAFF results in an increase in CAR of only about 0.6 percent, or about 5 percent of one standard deviation of CAR. In comparison, a one standard deviation in POSWORDS (the number of positive words spoken by the manager) results in a 1.4 percent increase in CAR, or about 12 percent of one standard deviation. These results suggest that what is said has a stronger relation than how it is said. Of course, this could simply indicate that measurement of managerial affect is still in its infancy, with much more noise than the measurement of what is said. Regardless, discussion of the economic meaning would be helpful to the reader throughout the monograph.

Regarding the measurement of the manager's affect, the authors do a commendable job throughout highlighting weaknesses in the measures and reinforcing the idea that causal interpretations are limited. However, the monograph does not reference an informative exchange of unpublished work and blog posts between the authors and Francisco Lacerda, a linguistic academic, which occurred subsequent to the publication of Mayew and Venkatachalam (2012a). Because the monograph includes the concerns of Lacerda (2009)—wherein Lacerda asserts that the LVA software is essentially useless and does little more than generate noise—the omission of the subsequent exchange between the authors and Lacerda is not a serious gap; however, the exchange is informative, and future researchers in this area will likely want to be aware of both the concerns of Lacerda and the authors' response.

Continued in article

  Hobson, J., W. Mayew, and M. Venkatachalam. 2012. Analyzing speech to detect financial misreporting. Journal of Accounting Research 50 (2): 349392. [CrossRef] OpenURL TRINITY UNIV LIBRARY
  Lacerda, F. 2009. LVA-Technology—The illusion of “lie detection.” In FONETIK 2009, 220226. Stockholm, Sweden: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University. OpenURL TRINITY UNIV LIBRARY
  Lacerda, F. 2012. Money Talks: The Power of Voice: A Critical Review of Mayew and Venkatachalam's The Power of Voice: Managerial Affective States and Future Firm Performance. Available at: http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:509721 OpenURL TRINITY UNIV LIBRARY
  Lisowsky, P., and M. Minnis. 2013. Financial Reporting Choices of U.S. Private Firms: Large Sample Analysis of GAAP and Audit Use. University of Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 14-01. Available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2373498 OpenURL TRINITY UNIV LIBRARY
  Mayew, W., and M. Venkatachalam. 2012a. The power of voice: Managerial affective states and future firm performance. The Journal of Finance 67 (1): 143. [CrossRef] OpenURL TRINITY UNIV LIBRARY
  Mayew, W., and M. Venkatachalam. 2012b. A Reply to: Money Talks: The Power of Voice. A critical review of Mayew and Venkatachalam's The power of voice: Managerial affective states and future firm performance. Unpublished manuscript. Available at: https://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/∼vmohan/bio/files/Lacerdaresponse.pdf OpenURL TRINITY UNIV LIBRARY

1  Of course, the definition of “major corporation” is arbitrary, but in recent research with Pete Lisowsky, we use confidential IRS tax returns and find that there are three times as many privately held than publicly held U.S. firms with more than $100 million in revenues, suggesting that, in fact, most major corporations in the U.S. do not host quarterly conference calls, because they are privately held (Lisowsky and Minnis 2013).

2  Note that the omission of this exchange could have been a result of publication timelines for the monograph rather than an editorial choice. The exchange that I am referring to includes Lacerda (2012) and Mayew and Venkatachalam (2012b). Further responses are located at: http://stockholmuniversityphonetics.com.


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

It’s easy to forget at this late date that Apple Inc. was once a personal-computer company with naysayers aplenty in the investor community. But those people are eating crow, the WSJ reports, as they watch the world’s most-valuable company join the Dow Jones Industrial Average this month, replacing AT&T Inc. Apple also recently reported record quarterly profits.

“Apple skews things,” said Tim Daubenspeck, senior research analyst at ClearBridge Investments, which manages $108 billion. “I spent 15 to 16 years covering phones and the mobile industry, and I never thought I’d see a company do what they’re doing from a cash standpoint and a dominance standpoint today.”

And now with Apple Watch, the technology juggernaut is crossing into high-end fashion with a device that blurs the lines between jewelry and gadgetry. That unusual marriage is also leading Apple to take some unusual steps for both its product line and its pricing. Apple has traditionally released a single size and color for each new device, such as the initial iPhone, iPod and iPad. But this time, Apple is releasing different versions that shoppers can customize, yielding a price that can run anywhere from $349 for the sport version to a yellow-gold watch that analysts expect could top $10,000. Will Apple’s pricing experiment help it crack the nascent market for wearables? Tell us what you think.


From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on February 26, 2015

What clever robots mean for jobs ---
Experts are rethinking the belief that technology always lifts employment as machines take on skills once thought uniquely human. Technology has long displaced humans, always creating new, often higher-skill jobs in its wake. But recent advances including driverless cars and computers that can read facial expressions have pushed experts to consider that automation may be nearing a tipping point, when machines master traits that have kept human workers irreplaceable. But we’re not there yet. Tasks that require dexterity, such as folding laundry, are still simple for people but difficult for robots to master.

Google's Loon Balloons:  Billions of People Will Have Access to the Internet for the First Time Where Cell Towers Don't Reach --- Click Here

. . .

Google says these balloons can deliver widespread economic and social benefits by bringing Internet access to the 60 percent of the world’s people who don’t have it. Many of those 4.3 billion people live in rural places where telecommunications companies haven’t found it worthwhile to build cell towers or other infrastructure. After working for three years and flying balloons for more than three million kilometers, Google says Loon balloons are almost ready to step in.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on March 4, 2015

Almost half of global audits have problems
Nearly half of global audits inspected last year were deficient in some way, an international accounting consortium said Tuesday, CFO Journal’s Maxwell Murphy reports. Top concerns included internal controls testing, measuring fair value of assets, and revenue recognition, according to the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators. The organization examined almost 950 reports from 29 countries.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on February 27, 2015

Electric-car resale prices tumble ---
With gasoline prices down 33% from a year ago and buyers cooling toward electric vehicles, Nissan Motor Co. dealers worry that weak demand for used electric Leaf cars will put a flood of used models on the market. Buyers who get a $7,500 federal tax credit on purchase of a new Leaf see little reason to shop for a preowned model.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on February 26, 2015

What clever robots mean for jobs ---
Experts are rethinking the belief that technology always lifts employment as machines take on skills once thought uniquely human. Technology has long displaced humans, always creating new, often higher-skill jobs in its wake. But recent advances including driverless cars and computers that can read facial expressions have pushed experts to consider that automation may be nearing a tipping point, when machines master traits that have kept human workers irreplaceable. But we’re not there yet. Tasks that require dexterity, such as folding laundry, are still simple for people but difficult for robots to master.

Map: The Most Common Job in Every State (changing times 1978-2014) --- 

Jensen Comment
It's interesting to see how some professions declined since the 1970s. I guess word processing software and answering machines have taken their toll on secretaries.

Robotics are going to change careers even more in the future. I anticipate a time when covered lanes for drones and robot trucks will be developed in an effort to replace those parked delivery trucks blocking traffic on the streets. Farmers no longer will be in their tractors working in the fields. And students will be going one-on-one with robotic teachers.

Amazon now sells over 100,000 books that were written by computers.

Where will people find jobs?

Berkshire Hataway --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States, that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. The company wholly owns GEICO, BNSF, Lubrizol, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, FlightSafety International, and NetJets, owns half of Heinz and an undisclosed percentage of Mars, Incorporated, and has significant minority holdings in American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Wells Fargo, IBM and Restaurant Brands International. Berkshire Hathaway averaged an annual growth in book value of 19.7% to its shareholders for the last 49 years (compared to 9.8% from the S&P 500 with dividends included for the same period), while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.[2]

The company is known for its control by investor Warren Buffett, who is the company's chairman, president, and CEO, and Charlie Munger, the company's vice-chairman. Buffett has used the "float" provided by Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations (paid premiums which are not held in reserves for reported claims and may be invested) to finance his investments. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, he focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including confectionery, retail, railroad, home furnishings, encyclopedias, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales; newspaper publishing; manufacture and distribution of uniforms; as well as several regional electric and gas utilities.

According to the Forbes Global 2000 list and formula Berkshire Hathaway is the fifth largest public company in the world.[3][4] On 14 August 2014, the price of the company's 'A' shares hit $200,000 per share for the first time in the history of the company.


How to Mislead With Statistics
When you are dealing with a giant investment conglomerate to reveal all the details might take over a million pages in an annual repor6t.
The following article is a little like writing about the performance of superstar LaBron James for this season by focusing on two or three of his games ---
Two or three games do not make a season's performance.

"Warren Buffett's Transparency Problem," by Lynnley Browning, Newsweek, February 24, 2015 ---

. . .

Among the unanswered questions: How much risk are Gen Re and Geico, whose businesses are notoriously volatile, exposed to? It’s not a question investors or analysts can answer easily, because unlike most big insurers, Berkshire Hathaway does not break out key metrics such as growth in written premiums, underwriting expenses, net earned premiums and the like. Under SEC rules, it doesn’t have to.

For Clayton Homes, a risky consumer-lending business catering to typically lower-income borrowers, Berkshire Hathaway provides no disclosures on the degree to which it allows borrowers to assume big payments on homes of lower value, a key metric known as the loan-to-value ratio; on how many borrowers are delinquent on payments or borrowers’ average credit scores; or on repossessions.

And what about Berkshire Hathaway’s exposure to derivatives, the fancy financial contracts that upended Wall Street during the 2008 mortgage meltdown and credit crisis? (In 2002, Buffett called them “financial weapons of mass destruction.”) Shanahan says, “We don’t know what risks they’re taking and whether the company should sell some of the businesses.”

Nobody is suggesting Berkshire Hathaway is doing anything improper with its disclosures or accounting. But because insurance companies have different accounting rules from financial services companies like Berkshire Hathaway, a lot of its insurance-related risks do not show up in SEC filings.

Jonathan Terrell, a former senior executive at Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services and the founder and president of KCIC, a risk-management consulting firm in Washington, D.C., says that through a series of complex transactions involving transfers of losses from other insurers to Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s company, unbeknownst to many observers, contains the biggest concentration of legacy insurance liabilities, mostly related to asbestos and environmental claims, in history.

Terrell cites a separate, required annual disclosure filed by Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity Company subsidiary, known as NICO, in 2013 to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), an industry regulator. NICO is the core Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary that handles loss transfers through a complex financial instrument known as retroactive reinsurance, a derivatives-heavy business in which an insurer assumes coverage for liabilities that were originally insured by another insurer.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The author of this article, Lynnley Browning, asked me some questions about this without sharing the draft of her article. I've not looked at a Berkshire Hathaway annual report in years. Actually I was stumped by her questions so I asked Denny Beresford for help.

Reply from Denny Beresford

I haven't looked at BH's financials for a while. But I would guess that the answer to the question is simply materiality. BH is a big, complex company and the reporter's questions appear to be at a fair degree of detail that might not be material. I recall reading that the SEC has challenged BH on a couple of accounting issues and made them change their filings. So in spite of Buffett's reputation, I think the BH reporting is subject to a lot of scrutiny and it's doubtful that they "get away" with anything.

I forwarded Denny's reply plus a somewhat longer reply by Tom Selling to Lynnley Browning. She totally ignored their replies --- possibly because they put a damper on her sensationalism.

Obamacare Cadillac Tax on High Quality Medical Insurance Plans ---

"IRS asks for comments on proposed rules for high-cost health plans," by Sally P. Schreiber, Journal of Accountancy, February 24, 2015 ---

To prepare for the new excise tax on so-called Cadillac high-cost health insurance plans, the IRS is asking for comments on proposed approaches to creating guidance on issues involving the tax when it becomes effective in 2018 (Notice 2015-16). The notice focuses on the definition of “applicable coverage,” how to determine the cost of applicable coverage, and applying the annual dollar limit to the cost of applicable coverage. The notice does not discuss calculation or assessment of the tax, but the IRS says that, before issuing proposed regulations, it expects to release another notice that will invite comments on those issues.

Sec. 4980I, enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, imposes an excise tax on insurers (including employers with self-funded plans) if the aggregate value of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage for an employee (including, for purposes of the provision, any former employee, surviving spouse, and any other primary insured individual) exceeds a threshold amount. The tax is equal to 40% of the excess benefit, i.e., the aggregate value that exceeds the threshold amount. For 2018, the threshold amount is $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage, multiplied by the health cost adjustment percentage (as defined in Sec. 4980I) and increased by the age and gender adjusted excess premium amount (also defined in Sec. 4980I).

Sec. 4980I(d)(1)(A) provides that applicable coverage means coverage under any group health plan the employer makes available to the employee that is excludable from the employee’s gross income under Sec. 106 (or would be if it were employer-provided coverage). The cost of applicable coverage is determined under the same rules that apply to Sec. 4980B for COBRA continuation coverage.

The IRS explained that, to determine the cost of applicable coverage, it anticipates that employer contributions to health saving accounts (HSAs) and Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), including salary reduction contributions, will be included in applicable coverage, and employee after-tax contributions to those accounts will be excluded.

In addition, the cost of on-site medical clinics will be included in applicable coverage only if they provide benefits beyond first aid to employees during working hours, although the IRS is requesting comments on how to determine whether the costs of these clinics should be included.

The IRS is also requesting comments on its proposal to exercise its regulatory authority to exclude the cost of employee-assistance programs from the cost of applicable coverage under Sec. 4980I, even though they are not specifically excluded under the statute.

Finally, the notice contains an in-depth discussion of how to determine the cost of applicable coverage under the proposed rules, which will be similar to the rules for determining the cost of coverage under COBRA. The cost of that applicable coverage for an employee will be based on the average cost of that type of applicable coverage for similarly situated employees.

Jensen Comment
What is truly unfair about the Cadillac Taxes the way President Obama exempted some organizations like labor unions from having to pay the tax on their employees as well as those high quality medical insurance plans paid for Federal Government employees.

The real advantage of a Cadillac plans are that they sometimes provide access to the highest quality doctors and hospitals that will not accept the lower quality ACA-insured patients. Or alternately the higher quality plans might let patients be scheduled sooner for elective procedures such as new knees, hip, and shoulders.

Many national health plans have two options that can lead to differential quality of coverage. For example, in Germany there's the "free" national health plan paid by taxpayers and the private plan supplements paid by patients that can afford to pay for added insurance.

Health Insurance in Germany --- http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Health_insurance

In other nations physicians and hospitals cannot be paid more than what the national health plans will pay. Or they may not be able to provide faster service for such things as new knees, hips, and shoulders. Price fixing in this manner often leads to longer waits and/or poorer quality service for everybody when price-controlled pricing discouraging students for spending 12 or more years in medical schools to become specialized physicians.

Price Fixing generally leads to one of more of these three unhappy events":

  1. Reduction in quality of service such as bait and switch substitution of physicians assistants for MDs in general practitioner offices
  2. Shortage of goods and services such as the empty shelves in Venezuela
  3. Soaring black market prices such as the $700 condom packets in Venezuela

For USA for persons covered by ACA insurance, prices of physician services were fixed relatively low in order to both reduce the premium subsidies and keep premium rates affordable, because higher premiums more and more people would opt out of coverage.

"How Obamacare Is Ruining Health Insurance," by John C. Goodman, Forbes, February 11, 2015 ---

The health insurance market is changing. And the changes are not good. Even before there was Obamacare, most insurers most of the time had perverse incentives to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. But now that the Affordable Care Act has completely changed the nature of the market, the perverse incentives are worse than ever.

Writing in Sunday’s New York Times Elizabeth Rosenthal gives these examples:

But aren’t these insurers worried that if they mistreat their customers, their enrollees will move to some other plan? Here’s the rarely told secret about health insurance in the Obamacare exchanges: insurers don’t care if heavy users of medical care go to some other plan. Getting rid of high-cost enrollees is actually good for the bottom line.

To appreciate how different health insurance has become, let’s compare it to the kind of casualty insurance people buy for their home or their cars.

Dennis Haysbert is the actor I remember best for playing the president of the United States in the Jack Bauer series, 24.  You probably know him better as the spokesman for Allstate. In one commercial he is standing in front of a town that looks like it has been demolished by a tornado. “It took only two minutes for this town to be destroyed,” he says. And he ends by asking “Are you in good hands?”

The point of the commercial is self-evident. Casualty insurers know you don’t care about insurance until something bad happens. And the way they are pitching their products is: Once the bad thing happens, we are going to take care of you.

Virtually all casualty insurance advertisements carry this message, explicitly or implicitly. Nationwide used to run a commercial in which all kinds of catastrophes were caused by a Dennis-the-Menace type kid. In a State Farm ad, a baseball comes crashing through a living room window. Nationwide’s “Life comes at you fast” series features all kinds of misadventures. And of course, the Aflac commercials are all about unexpected mishaps.

My favorite casualty insurer print ad is sponsored by Chubb. It features a man fishing in a small boat with his back turned to a catastrophe. He is about to go over what looks like Niagara Falls. Here’s the cutline: “Who insures you doesn’t matter. Until it does.”

Now let’s compare those messages to what we see in the health insurance exchange. Federal employees have been obtaining insurance in an exchange, similar to the Obamacare exchanges, for several decades. Every fall, during “open enrollment,” they select from among a dozen or so competing heath plans. In Washington, DC where the market is huge, insurers try to attract customers by running commercials on TV, in print and in other venues.

Continued in article

The Case Against Obamacare: An eBook From Forbes
Don’t be fooled. The new health law has disrupted coverage for millions, and driven up costs for millions more.


From the Scout Report on February 27, 2015

If This Then That  --- https://ifttt.com 

If This Then That (IFTTT) is an innovative web-based service that helps users easily and automatically facilitate numerous computerized tasks. The service operates on the premise of user-initiated "recipes" - a combination of two "channels," or services. Readers simply enter a "trigger channel" and an "action channel" to create a recipe. Each time the trigger occurs, the action follows. For instance, readers may ask IFTTT to email them any time the temperature falls below freezing, or text them anytime the Philadelphia Eagles appear in the news. Sign up is free, and the website is simple and intuitive. IFTTT works compatibly with numerous apps, including Instagram, Dropbox, and Blogger.

Survey Monkey --- https://www.surveymonkey.com 

For readers who would like a simple, free online survey platform, Survey Monkey is one of the top contenders. The basic service, in which readers may create surveys using more than 15 types of questions, customize logos, and send out their products by mobile, web, and social media, is free. Sign up takes less than five minutes, and surveys can be designed quickly and easily

A Cup of Coffee a Day Just Might Keep the Doctor Away
It's official: Americans should drink more coffee

Coffee's Great, U.S. Panel Says in Official Diet Recommendations

Coffee: 5 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking More of It

Healthful diet report: Sugary drinks out; coffee, eggs in

Current Worldwide Annual Coffee Consumption per capita

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

From the Scout Report on March 6, 2015

poetic.io --- https://poetic.io/ 

poetic.io is a simple and secure way to transfer files. Sign up just requires an email address. From there, users may drag and drop files as large as 3GB to the poetic.io page, enter destination emails, and then send. (To put this in perspective: the average full-length movie is about 1GB.) Besides speed and efficiency for large file movement, the site also provides basic security, so that readers know only their recipients will receive the data. The site is free and accessible from any computer with an Internet connection, and can be a welcome tool for teachers who need to share data with students and each other, co-workers who are working on data-heavy projects, and others who share large data files (video, graphics, photos) in their work and play.

1OneTab --- http://www.one-tab.com 

Here at Scout we work with a lot of open tabs - sites to annotate, reviews of those sites, various searches, historical references, all while answering emails, updating social media, and looking for the latest news stories. So sometimes the proliferation of open tabs can be a little overwhelming. OneTab is designed to address this problem with an elegant trick. When the reader finds too many tabs are open, she can click the OneTab icon to convert all open tabs to a simple savable list. In addition to simplifying screen clutter, this saves up to 95% of memory by reducing the number of open tabs, which can speed up a computer that has been bogged down. The OneTab add-on is available for both Google Chrome and Firefox, and can be installed within a matter of seconds. For readers who constantly multitask on the Internet, the service offers a welcome respite from the glut of information through which most of us swim.

In Louisiana, a Dangerous Bacteria Escaped the Lab
Escape of dangerous bacterium leads to halt of risky studies at Tulane

Deadly bacterium 'released from US high-security lab'

Dangerous Bacteria Mysteriously Escapes From Louisiana Monkey Lab

The little-known Tulane Primate Center: What sort of research is done
there, why; what's it's future?

How secure are labs handling the world's deadliest pathogens?

Tulane National Primate Research Center

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

Education Tutorials

Measuring Student Debt and Its Performance PDF --- http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr668.pdf

Georgia Education --- http://www.georgiaeducation.org/

Engineer Your Life (engineering careers and education) --- http://www.engineeryourlife.org/

Maker Space at NYSCI (science and engineering)  http://makerspace.nysci.org/

From Google:  Made with Code --- https://www.madewithcode.com/

Code.org (computer science education and learning) --- http://code.org/

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

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections --- http://www.learner.org/courses/neuroscience/

Has Technology Changed Us?: BBC Animations Answer the Question with the Help of Marshall McLuhan ---

CCRC Responds to Obama's Free Community College Tuition Proposal ---

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Collections --- http://www.oscars.org/oral-history/collections

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for multiple disciplines ---

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

eGFI Dream Up the Future (STEM and Engineering) --- http://www.egfi-k12.org/

Quirks & Quarks with Bob McDonald (science & engineering news) --- http://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks

American Institute of Physics --- http://www.aip.org/history-programs/physics-history

Open Source Physics --- http://www.compadre.org/osp/

Physics News --- http://phys.org/physics-news/

International Journal of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences --- http://www.pharmaresearchlibrary.com/ijcps/

Maker Space at NYSCI (science and engineering)  http://makerspace.nysci.org/

TED Talks: How to go to space, without having to go to space ---

Charles Darwin Letters --- http://digitalcollections.library.ubc.ca/cdm/landingpage/collection/darwin

16,000 Pages of Charles Darwin’s Writing on Evolution Now Digitized and Available Online ---

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections --- http://www.learner.org/courses/neuroscience/

Tom Wark's Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog --- http://fermentationwineblog.com/

One Earth Sangha (Buddhism and climate change) --- http://www.oneearthsangha.org/

From Google:  Made with Code --- https://www.madewithcode.com/

Engineer Your Life (engineering careers and education) --- http://www.engineeryourlife.org/

Code.org (computer science education and learning) --- http://code.org/

Fire Lab Research --- http://www.firelab.org/research

Playing With Fire (fire retardants) ---  http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/flames/index.ht

From the Scout Report on March 6, 2015

In Louisiana, a Dangerous Bacteria Escaped the Lab
Escape of dangerous bacterium leads to halt of risky studies at Tulane

Deadly bacterium 'released from US high-security lab'

Dangerous Bacteria Mysteriously Escapes From Louisiana Monkey Lab

The little-known Tulane Primate Center: What sort of research is done
there, why; what's it's future?

How secure are labs handling the world's deadliest pathogens?

Tulane National Primate Research Center

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Measuring Student Debt and Its Performance PDF --- http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr668.pdf

Beyond the Numbers (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) --- http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/

2015 Index of Economic Freedom --- http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking
The USA did not make the Top 10

Claudio Beagarie Photographs of California Farm Workers --- http://digital.boisestate.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15948coll5

Tom Wark's Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog --- http://fermentationwineblog.com/

GenealogyInTime Magazine --- http://www.genealogyintime.com/

Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency --- http://www.mcsweeneys.net/tendency

Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences --- http://www.humanitiescommission.org

Has Technology Changed Us?: BBC Animations Answer the Question with the Help of Marshall McLuhan ---

The Whitney Plantation (slavery in history) --- http://whitneyplantation.com/

The Muse (St. John's, Newfoundland student newspaper since 1950) --- http://themuse.ca/

National Center for Transgender Equality --- http://transequality.org/

Material on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Society
University of South Florida Libraries: LGBT Collections --- University of South Florida Libraries: LGBT Collections

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 Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

Guidelines for Handling William Faulkner’s Drinking During Foreign Trips From the US State Department (1955) ---

The oldest living CIA 'spy girl' reveals her greatest schemes ---

Presidential Oral History --- http://millercenter.org/oralhistory

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Collections --- http://www.oscars.org/oral-history/collections

The Whitney Plantation (slavery in history) --- http://whitneyplantation.com/

American Battle Monuments Commission --- http://www.abmc.gov/

Philosophers Drinking Coffee: The Excessive Habits of Kant, Voltaire & Kierkegaard ---

Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences --- http://www.humanitiescommission.org

A Final Wish: Terminally Ill Patients Visit Rembrandt’s Paintings in the Rijksmuseum One Last Time ---

Margaret Herrick Library: Academy Awards Collection --- http://digitalcollections.oscars.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15759coll9

Internet Archive: Cultural & Academic Films --- http://archive.org/details/culturalandacademicfilms

Discover the Oldest Beer Recipe in History Dating Back to 1800 BC, and Then Maybe Brew Your Own Batch ---

Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts --- http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cookbooks/

Abbott and Costello --- http://abbottandcostello.net/

Claudio Beagarie Photographs of California Farm Workers --- http://digital.boisestate.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15948coll5

Charles Darwin Letters --- http://digitalcollections.library.ubc.ca/cdm/landingpage/collection/darwin

16,000 Pages of Charles Darwin’s Writing on Evolution Now Digitized and Available Online ---

GenealogyInTime Magazine --- http://www.genealogyintime.com/

The First Customer Service Complaint in Recorded History (1750 B.C.) ---

The Muse (St. John's, Newfoundland student newspaper since 1950) --- http://themuse.ca/

California Mission Postcards --- http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups/california-mission-postcards

The Nature and Nurture of Genius: The Sweet Illustrated Story of How Henri Matisse's Childhood Shaped His Creative Legacy ---

From Open Culture Newsletter on March 10, 2015

Listen as Albert Einstein Calls for Peace and Social Justice in 1945

Albert Einstein Holding an Albert Einstein Puppet (Circa 1931)

“Do Scientists Pray?”: A Young Girl Asks Albert Einstein in 1936. Einstein Then Responds.

Einstein for the Masses: Yale Presents a Primer on the Great Physicist’s Thinking

The Musical Mind of Albert Einstein: Great Physicist, Amateur Violinist and Devotee of Mozart

Free Physics Courses in our Collection of 1100 Free Online Courses

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

Language Tutorials

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

Music Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration . . . Just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.
John Steinbeck, Diary ---

Virginia Woolf on Writing and Self-Doubt ---

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

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

February 25, 2015

February 27, 2015

February 28, 2015

March 2, 2015

Mstvh 3, 2015

March 4, 2015

  • Patients May Not Need Pre-Anesthesia Sedative
  • Protein Tied to Alzheimer's Found in Young Adults
  • Fried Foods Tied to Raised Heart Failure Risk
  • What’s At Stake: Health Law At Supreme Court Again
  • Just How Big Is a Normal Penis?
  • In Vitro Births Continue to Rise in U.S.
  • Close Monitoring of Thyroid Growths Questioned
  • Typical Adult Over 30 Gets Flu Twice Every Decade
  • Long-Term Acetaminophen Use and Health Risks
  • March 5, 2015

    March 6, 2015

    March 7, 2015

    March 9, 2015

    March 10, 2015

    March 11, 2015

    March 12, 2015

    March 13, 2015


    The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time --- http://time.com/3724505/50-healthiest-foods/?xid=newsletter-brief

    Jensen Comment
    Of course no one food satisfies all of our nutritional needs over the long haul. Globally, poor people sustain themselves primarily with corn or rice and whatever fruits and vegetables they can obtain in season. In some parts of the world like Ethiopia poor people tap cow throats for blood.

    A physician friend in Sweden says that a very important part of our diet should be berries. His theory is that humans evolved from eras where they were gatherers of nuts and berries. He contends that due to pricing or whatever most people today do not enough berries. Only his farm there are nearly 20 varieties of berries.

    He also recommends pasta and recommends against potatoes.

    Music and Dementia:  Belting Out Show Tunes is Good for the Brain
    But what if you can't remember the lyrics? Oh no!
    Does humming count?

    Do millennials even know any show tunes?

    "Tame the red-pencil-wielding teacher in your head. Write past the fear of doing it wrong." ---
    I forgive myself every day for not proofing what I write on the fly.

    Homeopathy Is Not an Effective Treatment, Experts Say ---

    Guidelines for Handling William Faulkner’s Drinking During Foreign Trips From the US State Department (1955) ---



    A Bit of Humor February 26-March 14, 2015

    Dilbert on Beating the Averages --- http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/02/dilbert-beating-the-average/

    Abbott and Costello --- http://abbottandcostello.net/

    Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency --- http://www.mcsweeneys.net/tendency

    29 Clever License Plates that Slipped by the DMV ---

    Imprint of license plate in snowbank at crime scene leads to arrest of 2 burglary suspects ---

    Gambling Quotations (a few are humorous) ---

    Brainy Quotes --- http://www.brainyquote.com/

    Humor Between February 1-28, 2015 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book15q1.htm#Humor022815

    Humor Between January 1-31, 2015 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book15q1.htm#Humor013115

    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

    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.

    Jim Counts CPA.CITP CTFA
    Hemet, CA
    Moderator TaxTalk





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


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

    Some Accounting History Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bob Jensen's Threads ---

    More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

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


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