Snow Cannons at Work on Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch

We had near-record snowfall in December that left about four feet of snow in our yard and even higher drifts during the holidays. Then a tropical heat wave arrived in January and melted virtually all the snow. The above picture taken while I was sitting at my desk shows the plumes of snow cannons making skiing snow on Cannon Mountain just after the big January thaw. Now February is setting snowfall records once again with snow falling on eight of the last eleven days. We do have some bits of outdoor color even though most everything is white. Below you can see our wild cranberries and one of our flower boxes outside my window.

Trinity University generously provides me with a secretary back in San Antonio. She's also our long-time friend. This XMAS she sent us a living plant. I know what it's called but I can't spell it. In any case, it was just a bulb in a pot that sprouted on January 1, grew astoundingly fast, and bloomed with three blossoms shown below by the end of January. Thank you Debbie Bowling for bringing some color into our white winter world in the White Mountains.

David Fordham subsequently informed me about how to spell "amaryllis". There is even a " " site.

Beside my desk is a white Christmas cactus that bloomed on schedule. On the other side of the porch is colored Christmas cactus. So we do have a little additional color from the blooming things in the dead of winter.

The temperature dipped below zero early this morning, and we're expecting another foot of new snow by noon tomorrow. There are frost heaves in our roads, and wind gusts have been 30-45 mph (read that over 100 mph on nearby Mt. Washington). Springtime (late in May) seems a long way off, but the days are getting longer. Seems like it's daylight until 4:30 p.m. This gives us some cheer. Below is a picture of a Sunset in December. I suspect this was about 3:30 p.m. The camera was pointing almost due south through our birch trees.

Trojan Horse Risk in Email Messages
On Valentine's Day Beware of These "Loving" Headers ---



Tidbits on February 12, 2008
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
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On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

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If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
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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 ---

Undercover Agent Experiment
Frozen Grand Central Station (NYC) ---

Frontline (from PBS) videos on accounting and finance regulation and scandals in the U.S. ---
This link was forwarded by Richard Cambell.
Note that one of the Frontline videos in about the Enron scandal ---
Another video explains why an Enron-like scandal is likely to happen once again (More Enrons Again)
Bob Jensen’s Enron Quiz ---

Amazing Facts About Israel ---

Is this the best health care taxation can buy (in Canada)? ---

Code Stink: Berkeley City Council Edition (featuring old hippies) ---

Link forwarded by Lynn
Seasons in Life --- Click Here

Gathering The Jewels: The Website for Welsh Cultural History (Multimedia) ---

SPARROW - Sound & Picture Archives for Research On Women of India (Multimedia)

Link forwarded by Dr. Wolff
First stopped drinking out of those poorly washed glasses in even the best hotel rooms. Now we learn that those wedges of lemons in restaurants are probably full of bacteria from bare-hands handling by food servers who touch a lot of food and dirty plates during the day (with video) ---
My advice:  Bring your own lemon wedges.

On a related matter (no video) in the context of putting a chip back into the dip after taking a bite or two
Last year the (Clemson University) food microbiologist's undergraduate students examined the effects of double dipping using volunteers, wheat crackers and several sample dips. They found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from an eater's mouth to the remaining dip sample. "I was very surprised by the results," Dawson said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I thought there would be very minimal transfer. I didn't think we would be able to detect it." The professor said the students' research didn't get into the risk behind such a bacteria transfer, but they got the idea.
"Double dipping? 'Seinfeld' was right," Yahoo News, February 1, 2008 --- 

Thunderbird's Evolving Mission (video from Business Week) --- Click Here

Venture Capital Videos

Free music downloads ---

Karl Böhm Brahms Symphony No.3 F Major Op.90 Part 1 of 4 ---
Karl Böhm Brahms Symphony No.3 F Major Op.90 Part 2 of 4 ---
Karl Böhm Brahms Symphony No.3 F Major Op.90 Part 3 of 4 ---
Karl Böhm Brahms Symphony No.3 F Major Op.90 Part 4 of 4 ---

Legendary Folk Artist Doc Watson in Concert (full concert) ---

Take Me Back to the Sixties ---

Chubby Checker (Twist Again) --- Click Here

Barbara Streisand's Soprano Opera:  The Belle of 14th Street (Video) --- 

I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore (video) --- (video) --- 
Also see 
Also at 

Cold, Cold Heart --- 

It's hard to kiss the lips that chew your ass out all day long --- 
(Click on the play button in the upper left corner) Also enter "chew your ass out" at 

Mississippi Squirrel Revival ---
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Stompin' Tom Connors - Sudbury Saturday Night (Live 2005) --- 

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- 

Photographs and Art

Tom Robinson (retired accounting professor from the University of Alaska and a wonderful friend and fisherman) forwarded this magnificent PowerPoint show.
Alaskan Railroad  (Great music and photographs) --- Click Here

Great Outer Space Photos and Music (soothing and inspirational) --- in time/index.htm

World War One Color Photos ---

Forwarded by Auntie Bev
Funny British Signs --- Click Here

Snow-covered Taklamakan Desert (Xinjiang, China: photo) ---

Photographs of Modern Day Cowboys ---

After Columbus: Four-Hundred Years of Native American Portraiture ---

Among Paul Pacter’s many talents is photography. His duties with the IASB and Deloitte take him around the world, and during his travels Paul spends almost every free moment taking high quality photographs. He especially has great photographs from China and Tibet --- parts of the world where he has an abiding passion and love and knowledge.

I don’t think he will mind if I forward his latest message, although he might be a bit embarrassed by this attention.

Among other things he’s the Webmaster and the principal author of the fantastic international accounting blog at  

His contributions to both art and world accountancy have been underappreciated. He deserves many more awards. He’s very generous when it comes to helping developing countries with accountancy. Paul not only understands IFRS in great detail, he understands the history and context of each standard because he played a role in developing many of these standards.

From: Pacter, Paul (CN - Hong Kong) []
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2:29 AM
To: Jensen, Robert
Subject: Flower pix

Hello Bob,

I've neglected  Your question inspired me to post the flower pix here:

Over Chinese New Year holiday I'll try to add photos from Kaiping (China's newest UNESCO World Heritage site -- they have 35 total and Portugal,

I mailed those books to the PO box in Nepal.



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 ---

EUROPA: Key facts and figures about Europe and the Europeans ---

"Million Books Scanned at U. of Michigan -- and Counting," Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2008 ---  Click Here

Librarians at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor threw themselves a party on Friday to celebrate a milestone in their ambitious effort to scan every single book in the collection. They scanned the one millionth book, leaving just 6.5-million to go.

Most of the scanning has been done as part of the library’s controversial deal with Google. The search giant is working with dozens of major libraries around the world to scan the full text of books to add to its index. But Michigan is one of the only institutions to agree to scan every one of its holdings — even those that are still covered by copyright. Some publishers have sued Google for copyright infringement over the scanning effort, though officials from Google say their effort is legal because they are not making the full text of copyrighted books available to the public.

"Institutional Repositories, Tout de Suite" is available at The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License, and it can be freely used for any noncommercial purpose in accordance with the license.

International Children’s Digital Library ---

The Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project ---

One More Story is an interactive online library for children --- 

An electronic library that teaches children how to read better
Chelsea Waugaman, "Read the story again? Sure. Computers don't get tired," The Christian Science Monitor, July 11, 2005 --- 

Awesome Library (Elementary) ---

Alice in Wonderland (Infomotions) ---

Lewis Carroll Homepage ---

Through the Looking Glass (Infomotions) ---

A Wonderland Miscellany - Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898) ---

Bush reached his lowest approval rating in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on Friday as only 30 percent said they like the job he is doing, including an all-time low in his support by Republicans. Congress' approval fell to just 22 percent, equaling its poorest grade in the survey. Both marks dropped by 4 percentage points since early January.
Alan Fram, "Bush, Congress hit bottom in AP poll," Yahoo News, February 8, 2008 ---

Now that the excitement of Super Tuesday has passed, we should remember the kinds of policies and principles at stake. Exhibit A: three pieces of legislation pending in Congress that would dramatically increase the liability of private companies for alleged acts of employment discrimination. The first would resurrect the discredited idea of "comparable worth." The second would add various sexual orientations to the classifications protected from employment discrimination. The third is a plaintiffs' bar wish list, aimed mostly at overturning cases it lost in the Supreme Court . . . There are actually two versions of comparable worth legislation, the Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The former is co-sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama; the principal sponsor of the latter is Sen. Hillary Clinton (Mr. Obama is a co-sponsor). Both would push companies to set wages based not on supply and demand -- that is the free market -- but on some notion of social utility. The goal is to ensure that jobs performed mostly by men (say, truck drivers) are not paid more than those performed mostly by women (paralegals, perhaps) . . . The third measure -- the Civil Rights Act of 2008, introduced on Jan. 24 by Sen. Kennedy (co-sponsored by Sens. Clinton and Obama) -- is the plaintiffs' bar wish list. It would, among other provisions, eliminate existing damage caps on lawsuits brought under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act; add compensatory and punitive damages to the Fair Labor Standards Act; and push states into waiving sovereign immunity in individual claims involving monetary damages. It would also give authority to the National Labor Relations Board to award back pay to undocumented workers.
Roger Clegg, "Equal Rights Nonsense," The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2008; Page A16 ---
Jensen Comment
Sports Management graduates are mostly male varsity athletes who are in abundant supply for rather low-paying coaching jobs in middle schools and high schools. Nursing graduates are predominantly female in short supply and as of late have relatively high-paying careers. Isn't it ironic that an assistant middle school football coach who barely graduated in Sports Management might ultimately have to be legally upgraded to Nursing pay with a whole lot less job stress, science courses, and bad hours? The Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, if taken to extremes in the final legislation, are mixed blessings at the university level. These will quell much, but not all, of the interdisciplinary strife among faculty. Average pay in all disciplines will be equal irrespective of supply and demand. Universities will have to give enormous pay raises to some lower-paid disciplines having surplus labor supply. For example suppose that there are nearly 100 applicants for an Assistant Professor of Primary School Education tenure track opening relative to disciplines having excess labor demand (say Computer Science that graduates less than 10% women and gets very few if any female or male PhD applicants for every tenure track opening). The collegiate losers will be students already facing faculty shortages of teachers in some disciplines like Computer Science.  Economists have concluded for years that price fixing and equalization are generally a disaster except for believers in the Marxist  Labor Theory of Value. Both the Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act are disasters for universities seeking to make education more affordable for students. The only way this will be possible in most colleges will be to revert more and more tenure track positions to part-time temporary teaching positions.

The problem in hiring faculty is that some disciplines offer greater competitive salaries than in other disciplines. For example, the average new PhD in Computer Science ceteris paribus has more alternatives for high paying employment in industry than do many (most?) other disciplines. Denying demand/supply pricing in the law is a disaster for students who want more and more courses in Computer Science, Nursing, Business, Medicine, and many other professional disciplines. Already some students, especially graduate students, in Business and Computer Science are entering degree programs in other countries, especially in Europe and Asia. Some schools in these nations (e.g., China) are now offering courses only in English to attract top U.S. talent. Will the U.S. really be better off with dwindling national undergraduate and graduate programs in the professions? Since law professors are now the highest paid faculty members on average, and most members of Congress are lawyers, there's still hope for the demise of or significant watering down of both the Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act before enactments.

The biggest winners from the other disastrous proposed legislation will be tort lawyers seeking uncapped punitive damage awards for such things as fraudulent asbestos and other medical claims under the Civil Rights Act of 2008. The plaintiffs' bar is flashing  middle fingers to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawyers rant and rave about excessive CEO compensation (and they're correct) while allowing themselves court awards far in excess of what CEOs fraudulently truck home. Watch the cost of medical insurance malpractice insurance take another leap upward when this legislation passes. Will the last obstetrician in practice please turn out the lights! In reality we must have obstetricians. What the tort lawyers really want is for taxpayers to ultimately pay the insurance premiums from seemingly boundless tax revenues. Ultimately billions of tax dollars will then be diverted to tort lawyers in uncapped punitive damages.

For example, for the flesh-and-blood people who were in the bottom 20 percent of taxpayers in income in 1996, their average increase of income over the next decade was 91 percent -- so they almost doubled their incomes. Meanwhile, for the people in the top 1 percent -- presumably the rich who are getting richer -- their average income declined 26 percent. That's diametrically the opposite from what we're hearing from nearly every newspaper and practically every political platform. But of course it's also true that if you look at the income tax brackets, the distance of the top bracket from the lowest bracket has increased. One reason is that the very lowest bracket is zero, so it can't go any lower. So as you pay people more and more money and as the economy grows and skills become more sophisticated, obviously the ratio from the top and the bottom is going to increase.
Thomas Sowell in  on his new book, "Economic Facts and Fallacies," The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2008 ---

Last year's spate of pro-baby pregnancy movies has kept journalists, bloggers, and pundits abuzz. Knocked Up, Juno, Waitress, and Bella star heroines who, upon finding themselves unexpectedly and inconveniently with child, choose to have their babies. Trend, coincidence, conspiracy, or zeitgeist? The question of whether the movies are pro-choice, pro-life, or a more complex mix of the two is being hotly debated online and in print. Now that Juno has been nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, we're sure to hear more on the subject . . . It would be a message that posits that the whole phenomenon of abortion in the United States is a kind of giant analytical error on the part of American women — tons and tons of them are getting pregnant and having abortions because they think carrying the pregnancy to term would have very bad consequences for their lives, but actually they're mistaken. You might think your unplanned pregnancy would hurt your career as an on-air television personality, but really it will advance your career! You might think your parents will be mad and your friends will ostracize you, but really they'll all be supportive! Best of all, sticking with your unplanned pregnancy is a solid ticket to love and marriage!
Suzannah Tully, "The Year of Unplanned Pregnancies," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 8, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
 I've been pro choice from get go, and what I find surprising is that the last two sentences above appeared in the staunchly pro-feminist Chronicle of Higher Education. Furthermore the financial disasters of recent anti-war, anti-religion, and liberal-cause Hollywood offerings coupled with the profitable success of more recent patriotic films suggests that Hollywood is pro box office above all else since its actors, directors, and producers have a much more liberal agenda in their personal lives. This must make Hollywood rather sad since Hollywood films, more than anything else, are the windows through which the world views American life. I guess we can conclude that even Hollywood listens to the silent majority when it comes to greed for current dollars and future residuals.

Conclusion - history, unfortunately, is too often considered inert, people think that it should be forgotten, denied as having significance now, as the world so rapidly shifts. It's pretty clear we never thought to include the culture of the Muslim world in most of our history books. Our efforts as educators to respond to these feelings has perpetuated these negative perceptions. Awareness leads to discovery and appreciation. It implies life, growth, and moving forward.
Beverly C. Lucey, "History Lessons," The Irascible Professor, February 8, 2008 ---

In truth, the war in Vietnam was lost on the propaganda front, in great measure due to the press's pervasive misreporting of the clear U.S. victory at Tet as a defeat. Forty years is long past time to set the historical record straight. The Tet offensive came at the end of a long string of communist setbacks. By 1967 their insurgent army in the South, the Viet Cong, had proved increasingly ineffective, both as a military and political force. Once American combat troops began arriving in the summer of 1965, the communists were mauled in one battle after another, despite massive Hanoi support for the southern insurgency with soldiers and arms. By 1967 the VC had lost control over areas like the Mekong Delta -- ironically, the very place where reporters David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan had first diagnosed a Vietnam "quagmire" that never existed. In truth, the war in Vietnam was lost on the propaganda front, in great measure due to the press's pervasive misreporting of the clear U.S. victory at Tet as a defeat. Forty years is long past time to set the historical record straight. The Tet offensive came at the end of a long string of communist setbacks. By 1967 their insurgent army in the South, the Viet Cong, had proved increasingly ineffective, both as a military and political force. Once American combat troops began arriving in the summer of 1965, the communists were mauled in one battle after another, despite massive Hanoi support for the southern insurgency with soldiers and arms. By 1967 the VC had lost control over areas like the Mekong Delta -- ironically, the very place where reporters David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan had first diagnosed a Vietnam "quagmire" that never existed. Their editors at home, like CBS's Walter Cronkite, seized on the distorted reporting to discredit the military's version of events. The Viet Cong insurgency was in its death throes, just as U.S. military officials assured the American people at the time. Yet the press version painted a different picture. To quote Braestrup, "the media tended to leave the shock and confusion of early February, as then perceived, fixed as the final impression of Tet" and of Vietnam generally. "Drama was perpetuated at the expense of information," and "the negative trend" of media reporting "added to the distortion of the real situation on the ground in Vietnam."
Arthur Herman, "The Lies of Tet," The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2008; Page A19 --- 
Jensen Comment
David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan also failed to report the massive intimidation and genocide that North Vietnam was conducting among rural farmers before the Viet Nam War. I suspect that this was a convenient and biased oversight on their part.

"What Kind of War Are We Fighting, and Can We Win It? A Symposium," by Fouad Ajami, Commentary, Vol. 124 Issue 4, November 2007, pp. 21-43

The origins and legitimacy of the Iraq war have been endlessly debated. For me, it is and remains a just and noble war, waged by an American leader who was fated to take on the troubles and malignancies of the Arab-Islamic world. The distinction between the Islamism of al Qaeda and the "secularism" of the Iraqi regime is a distinction without a difference. A road led from Kabul to Baghdad. We took the war from the Afghan front, which the Arab preachers and financiers and jihadists had secured as a base for their operations, to the Arab world itself. In Baghdad, a despot at once cruel and (fortunately) clumsy held out to the Arabs an example of defiance, proof that no price would be paid by those who took on American power. Once we pulled the trigger in 2003, Iraq became the central front in the war on terror. Fail there, and our enemies would have been emboldened beyond measure, and the world would have depicted our failure as evidence that history's tide was running against us.

We have paid dearly in Iraq, but we held the line, we maintained the American position in the region, we supplied proof that we would not scurry for cover and that we believed there were things worth fighting for. The despots in the region feigned a lack of interest in the fate of Saddam's brutal sons, and in Saddam's execution. But make no mistake: these personalistic regimes got the message. There but for the grace of God, they thought, go we. The sacrifices in Iraq paid dividends in Iraq's neighborhood.

WE HAVE DONE reasonably well since 9/11. American memory is unduly short, and the memory of 9/11 is steadily being lost to us. There is a growing conviction that this was a single day of grief, that the warrant given to our government back then by the most liberal of the liberals should now be withdrawn. The vigilance our country sanctioned after 9/11 is now seen as overly intrusive and given to paranoia. But we take the world as it is, and at least some of the illusions held about Arab and Muslim affairs, about the sources and wellsprings of anti-Americanism, have been shed.

I would very much want to see a more critical assessment of the role of Egypt and of Egyptians in the trail that led to 9/11. Here is a country on the American payroll, a regime in the orbit of American power. But Egypt's ruler has snookered us all along. He takes America's coin but rides with its enemies. He has winked at, and fed, a culture suffused with anti-modernism and anti-Americanism — and anti-Semitism, their inevitable companion. The prestige of Egypt in Arab affairs is great, and so is the influence of its radicalism.

Those in the know — and those who pretend to be — have written and spoken about the influence exercised by the Egyptian thinker and pamphleteer Sayyid Qutb (executed by the Nasser regime in 1966) on the course of modern Islamism. This is good as far as it goes. What is needed is a more sustained analysis of the depth of Egyptian radicalism, and of the skill of that despotic regime in directing the wrath of its own thwarted population toward the United States. Beyond this lies the need for a proper response to the Hosni Mubarak regime. We need to cast that regime adrift.

But grant George W. Bush his due: he broke with Scowcroftian realism, he broke with the likes of James Baker. His speech of November 6, 2003, to the National Endowment for Democracy will remain, for decades, a noble American declaration. It had a startling mea culpa:

Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe — because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place for stagnation, resentment, and violence for export.

It was this declaration, and the larger Bush campaign for democracy, that gave heart to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, which rid that country of a long and cruel Syrian captivity; it was this drive that gave continued justification to the Iraq war after the hunt for weapons of mass destruction there ran aground. The historical truth of Bush's declaration is indisputable. The Bush Doctrine brought about a veritable reversal in the realm of ideas: here was a conservative President asserting that freedom can travel to distant shores, that we can take it to strangers beyond, and here were his liberal critics at home falling back on a surly argument that Iraq, Lebanon, and other Arab and Islamic domains offer insurmountable obstacles to the spread of freedom.

Natan Sharansky is perhaps on the mark with his observation that Bush, in holding onto his belief, is a lonely man even within his own circle of power.

Continued in article

Instead, the new National Intelligence Agency (NIA) assessment stresses that Iran continues to press ahead on enrichment, "the most difficult challenge in nuclear production." It notes that "Iran's efforts to perfect ballistic missiles that can reach North Africa and Europe also continue" -- a key component of a nuclear weapons capability. Then there is the other side of WMD: "We assess that Tehran maintains dual-use facilities intended to produce CW [Chemical Warfare] agent in times of need and conducts research that may have offensive applications." Ditto for biological weapons, where "Iran has previously conducted offensive BW agent research and development," and "continues to seek dual-use technologies that could be used for biological warfare." . . . All this merely confirms what has long been obvious about Iran's intentions. No less importantly, his testimony underscores the extent to which the first NIE was at best a PR fiasco, at worst a revolt by intelligence analysts seeking to undermine current U.S. policy. As we reported at the time, the NIE was largely the work of State Department alumni with track records as "hyperpartisan anti-Bush officials," according to an intelligence source. They did their job too well. As Senator Bayh pointed out at the hearing, the NIE "had unintended consequences that, in my own view, are damaging to the national security interests of our country." Mr. Bayh is not a neocon. Admiral McConnell's belated damage repair ought to refocus world attention on Iran's very real nuclear threat. Too bad his NIE rewrite won't get anywhere near the media attention that the first draft did.
"Iranian Nuclear Rewrite," The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2008; Page A16 --- Click Here

Imprisoned in a tank hundreds of miles from a mate, Ibolya the female shark resorted to desperate measures. To the astonishment of her keepers, she spontaneously produced a perfectly healthy pup. The virgin birth is making biologists think again about one of the oldest and - in evolutionary terms - most successful creatures. "When I saw the baby shark lying on the bottom of the tank I thought it was a joke," said Attilia Varga, the director of the Nyiregyahaza Centre in Hungary. "When I saw the baby shark lying on the bottom of the tank I thought it was a joke," said Attilia Varga, the director of the Nyiregyahaza Centre in Hungary. "I was amazed when I realised it was a real shark." Ibolya, a white-tipped reef shark, has been with the aquarium for seven years. In that time, she has never shared water with a male.
David Debbyshire
, London Daily Mail, February 7, 2008 --- Click Here

You can get the death penalty in China for tax evasion. That's harsh! Imagine the consequences if Congress rolled this sucker out in America! Poor Willie Nelson, Pete Rose, Wesley Snipes, et al. Our industry is based on ethics and it's one we can be mighty proud of in this country. AccountingWEB salutes all of you who "do the right thing" each and every day. As you know, the role of the accounting professional is not an easy one!
Rob Nance, AccountingWeb Newsletter, February 7, 2008

An age of science is necessarily an age of materialism,” declared Hugh Elliot early last century, “Ours is a scientific age, and it may be said with truth that we are all materialists now.
Darwin Day in America, John G. West, xiv as quoted recently by Linda Kimball --- Click Here

I've looked on a lot of women with lust . . . But that doesn't mean that I condemn someone who not only looks on a woman with lust but who leaves his wife and shacks up with somebody out of wedlock. Christ says, don't consider yourself better than someone else because one guy screws a whole bunch of women while the other guy is loyal to his wife.
Jimmy Carter, Playboy, November 1976

From The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal on February 5, 2008|
On Friday, we drew a connection  between Jimmy Carter's 1976 remarks on lust and his excuse-making, years later, for evil dictatorships, especially North Korea's. Some readers thought we were reaching back awfully far to make a point. "Is this what they refer to in the business as a 'slow news day'?" quipped one.

But here is a contemporary example of just the point we made last week. The New York Philharmonic leaves this week on an Asian tour that includes a Feb. 26 concert in Pyongyang, North Korea. This has drawn much criticism, including from Terry Teachout  in The Wall Street Journal:

*** QUOTE ***
As [music critic Greg Sandow, who supports the trip] acknowledged, "Attendance at the Philharmonic's concerts will be carefully controlled. And of course any concert in Pyongyang can't possibly reach the North Korean people, because only the elite, for the most part, are allowed into Pyongyang." Even if such a concert were to be telecast, the handful of North Koreans lucky enough to see it, isolated as they are from the rest of the world, might well conclude that by sending a great orchestra there, the U.S. was showing its support for the tyrants who rule them. That's why I've come to the conclusion that should the Philharmonic choose to play in Pyongyang, it will be doing little more than participating in a puppet show whose purpose is to lend legitimacy to a despicable regime.
*** END QUOTE ***

Floyd Boring, 92, died Feb. 1 of congestive heart failure at his home in Silver Spring, Md. Boring changed the course of history when he and White House police officers took on two armed men during a shootout near Blair House, where Truman was staying during White House renovations. Boring had just gotten to work Nov. 1, 1950, when the Puerto Rican nationalists arrived to kill Truman. One of the would-be assassins, Oscar Collazo, shot a White House police officer. When they heard the gunshots, Boring and another White House officer took cover and returned fire. Boring shot Collazo near the front steps of Blair House. The other gunman, Griselio Torresola, was killed by White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt, who was fatally wounded.
"Officer Who Saved Truman Dies at 92," NPR, February 5, 2008 ---

Retired NATO commander Wesley K. Clark left last month as Summit Global Logistics chairman following a one-year stint that saw the East Rutherford, N.J. shipping concern's stock fall 60% as its losses rose 10,000%. An ill-fated corporate buying spree fueled by $163 million of debt and equity financing boosted revenues, but not as much as expenses, prompting a default. Clark, once a presidential candidate, had headed the investment bank arranging the initial financing. In 2006 he resigned as a director of Viaspace (otcbb: VSPC.OB - news - people ) after just two weeks amid sharp questions about high-pressure penny-stock promotions on its behalf over the Internet. The Pasadena, Calif. defense contractor denied at the time any involvement in the hard sell.
B. Condon, J. Novack, A. Hawkins and W. P. Barrett, Forbes, January 28, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
We haven't heard as much from Bush-hating Gen. Clark in the 2008 election as we did in the 2004 election. Now we know that he's just been too busy with his "high-pressure penny-stock promotions." That's all right, even Abbie Hoffman became a bond salesman. What's true to form is that Gen. Clark became a Director of a defense contracting firm. Isn't that what happens to all retired generals? We don't even blink an eye at such conflicts of interest. Sad isn't it!

If it’s about fairness and competition, I’m dubious. Take Rep. Tom Davis, one of the more camera-hungry politicians to demagogue this issue. After the 2000 census, Rep. Davis maneuvered to have his congressional district gerrymandered to include as many Republicans as possible, ensuring his continual reelection, and limiting the number of real options for his constituents. He ran the next year unopposed. Davis also snuck a provision into an unrelated piece of federal legislation preventing an apartment complex from going up in his district because, he said, he feared it would bring too many Democrats into his district. This guy is cheating at democracy, and he’s lecturing baseball players about fairness. It’s hard to believe the steroid panic is really about the safety of our athletes, either. My copanelist Dr. Fost I think has ably shown that the alleged side affects of anabolic steroids are overstated, and the negative side effects of HGH are negligible at best.
Radley Balko, "Should We Allow Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports? One argument in favor," Reason Magazine, January 23, 2008 --- 

Congress and the White House, Democrats and Republicans finally agree on something! We need a stimulus package, they intone. The economy is stagnating, unemployment is climbing, families can't pay their bills. We have to prime the pump, reduce interest rates, increase unemployment benefits, provide temporary tax relief. These unlicensed physicians are prescribing aspirin to counteract the poisons they routinely inject into our economy, while they prepare even bigger doses of arsenic. Every one of these supposed shots of economic adrenaline is counteracted by toxic policies that drive up prices, cause layoffs and put families on energy welfare .
Roy Innus, Townhall, February 2, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
The sad part is that neither the U.S. President nor candidates for Congress can be elected if they don't promise to give away the farm.

The core problem is that people who get insurance through their employers pay no income or payroll taxes on the value of the benefit. The Treasury defines this as a "tax expenditure," meaning it's revenue the government forgoes to encourage certain behavior. If these losses were converted to the equivalent of direct spending, the tax exemption would have cost more than $208 billion in 2006. The only federal programs that cost more are Social Security, Medicare and national defense. But all that money props up only employer-provided insurance. Individuals who buy policies don't get any tax breaks and pay with after-tax dollars. If the purpose of health-care reform is to decrease the ranks of the uninsured, these job-related tax breaks are poorly targeted, even regressive. The more generous the employer health plan, the more the subsidies increase. On average, lower-wage workers have more limited coverage as part of their compensation, usually from small- or medium-sized businesses. Estimates show that the subsidy is worth more than $3,000 for upper-income families (with higher marginal tax rates), and less than $1,000 for those on the lower income rungs.
"Equity and Health Care," The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2008; Page A14 ---

In a speech before the national assembly last month, Mr. Chávez dropped a bombshell, proclaiming that Venezuela now recognizes the Colombian rebel group known as the FARC as a legitimate political actor. He went on to ask that European and South American governments remove the group from their terrorist lists. A day earlier his special envoy for FARC relations went public with his own fondness for the Colombian rebels, and with the news that the Venezuelan government stands ready to help them. This was more than Mr. Chávez playing footsie with the FARC, which he has long been doing. This was a statement of official support for a band of outlaws who seek the destruction of the Colombian democracy. The news shook both nations. It suggested that Colombia is not only at war with the rebels, but also with a neighboring state. Mr. Chávez probably doesn't really want war with the militarily superior Colombia anymore than Galtieri wanted to battle it out with Britain. But by poking his neighbor in the eye, he was undoubtedly hoping for some kind of a reaction, to which Venezuela naturally would be obliged to respond. Amid an escalation of tensions between the two countries, a nationalist outcry to defend Venezuelan honor might dwarf the many troubles at home.
Mary Anastaia O'Grady, "Desperado," The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2008; Page A14 ---

That is the fixed view of leading analysts, who conclude that through ignorance of the enemy it faces, ignorance of its nature, its goals, its strengths and its weaknesses, the United States is condemned to failure. "The attention of the US military and intelligence community is directed almost uniformly towards hunting down militant leaders or protecting US forces, (and) not towards understanding the enemy we now face," said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC.
Michel Moutot, Yahoo News, February 2, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
It appears that since 9/11, scholars in universities, churches, governments, and everywhere else in the world have done little else than try to understand jihad, al Qaeda, and Islamic militants bent on destroying Israel (or at least driving all Jews out of the Middle East) and the strategy of terror aimed at totally innocent people in order to rule Muslins by fear and force the entire world to surrender. Barach Obama advocate's military action against al Qaeda in Pakistan and the military defense of Israel. What does Professor Hoffman understand about militants and terrorists that would make him a better at setting military policy? Terror may beget terror just as Jewish resistance in Warsaw inflamed Nazi tempers. Would it have been better to understand Nazi/Jihadist goals and give in peacefully to gas chambers and tower bombings by laying down in pacifist surrender? Even the great pacifist
Bertrand Russell argued that the necessity of defeating the Nazis was a unique circumstance where war was not the worst of the possible evils; he called his position "relative pacifism." When does "relative pacifism" kick in to resist terror tactics? Should we truly fail to protect the millions of Muslins who do not want to surrender to maniacs who terrorize in the name of their faith but rape and kill and maim contrary to their hypocritical pretenses.

The Conference of Arab Interior Ministers held its 25th annual session in Tunis last week - and singled out terrorism as "the principal threat" to the national security of the 22 countries of the Arab League. What took the ministers so long to understand what terrorism is doing to their nations? In fact, their predecessors discussed terrorism at the inaugural session a quarter-century ago; it has been a key item on every year's agenda. The problem was, the Arab states couldn't agree on what constituted terrorism. They shied away from a clear definition for fear that it might apply to the various groups that they financed and armed against Israel, India - or, at times, against each other. Nor were they willing to take a tough line on textbooks, media products and mosque sermons that incited xenophobia, hatred and violence against non-Muslims - and even, in some cases, against Muslims from different "schools." They failed to realize that words have consequences in deeds, that individuals brainwashed into hating "the other" might end up trying to kill.
Amir Taheri, "Arab States Wake Up," New York Post via Frontpage Magazine, February 6, 2008 ---

Where does Arab fanaticism come from? Does it come from the mosque? Or does it come from the fanatics' intended targets refusal to close down the mosque? The death by natural causes of George Habash on January 26 indicates strongly that the latter is the case. Habash, the founder and commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was a repugnant, fanatical, mass-murderer. Habash's terror specialties included airplane hijacking, hostage taking, massacre, assassination, and suicide bombings. Far from an Islamic supremacist, Habash was a Christian. One of Habash's signature tactics was his use of Nazi-style "selections." After his henchmen hijacked passenger jets, they would walk among their hostages, separating the Jews from the non-Jews, or sometimes the Jews and the Americans from the non-Jews and non-Americans. They would let the non-Jews and non-Americans go, and hold the Jews and the Americans hostage . . . HABASH'S EVASION of justice for his crimes is typical. In his first term of office, President George W. Bush railed against this harsh reality of non-accountability by referring to it as the "soft bigotry of low expectations." Bush pledged to work to replace Arab bigotry and tyranny which breed fanaticism and embrace terror with tolerance and freedom. Six years later, Bush is not only ignoring his word, he is undermining it by rewarding regimes and societies that lie to him and systematically break their word to him. Case in point is Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In his State of the Union address last week, Bush praised Abbas as a leader who "recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel." Rather than hold Abbas and his colleagues accountable upholding mass murderers as heroes, Bush insists that they must be given a state before he leaves office. And last month Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paved the way for the international donors' conference in Paris where the international community pledged $7.4 billion in financial assistance to Abbas and his Habash and Arafat worshipping government.
Caroline Glick
, Jerusalem Post, February 4, 2008 ---

History of the War on Jews in the Middle East (slide show produced by David Horowitz) ---

United States intelligence sources are reportedly claiming al-Qaeda nuclear weapons expert Abu Khabab al-Misri was the real target of last week's CIA airstrike in northern Pakistan which is said to have killed one of the terror network's key leaders, Abu Laith al-Libi. Al-Misri is reportedly able to make so-called 'dirty bombs' that contain radioactive waste mixed with explosives. US intelligence services reportedly believe that al-Qaeda has since 1997 been seeking to acquire 'dirty bombs' and other weapons of mass destruction.
"Terrorism: Al-Qaeda 'eyeing nuclear weapons'," adnkronos, February 4, 2008 ---

A senior clergyman in the Church of England is calling for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, because of his comments promoting Islamic sharia law in Britain.The comments were reported by the Times Online, which said the reaction from the "long-standing member of the church's governing body, the General Synod," was just a part of the backlash against Williams over his comments. WND has reported that Williams, chief of the 70-million strong worldwide Anglican Communion, has advocated for establishment of Islamic law, drawing a rebuke from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, among others.
WorldNetDaily, February 8, 2008 ---

The London Daily Mail reports this week that one in four Britons don't believe Prime Minister Winston Churchill actually existed.They suspect he is a mythical character, rather than a historical one.Likewise, they think historical figures such as Florence Nightingale, Sir Walter Raleigh, Mahatma Gandhi and Cleopatra were also fictional personalities created for literature or films. On the other hand, they believe Sherlock Holmes was a real person.
Joseph Farah, "Thus ends Western Civilization," WorldNetDaily, February 8, 2008 ---

Polaroid Corp. is dropping the technology (and film production)  it pioneered long before digital photography rendered instant film obsolete to all but a few nostalgia buffs. Polaroid is closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands and cutting 450 jobs as the brand synonymous with instant images focuses on ventures such as a portable printer for images from cell phones and Polaroid-branded digital cameras, televisions and DVD players.
Mark Jewell, "Polaroid's Instant Film Won't Be Sold After Next Year," The Ledger, February 8, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
There's still a glimmer of hope for analog television sets. For those who have not heard the government will give you coupons for $40 on up to two digital to analog TV converters. Apply at:  or call (888) DTV-2009
 Erika and I would like to continue to use our analog set because it has space-saving built-in VCR and DVD players.
Polaroid cameras, Polaroid film, analog television machinery and parts, and VCR manufacturing raise some interesting questions about obsolescence accounting

The shutdown--approved by the  Federal Communications Commission--is called the "analog sunset" because those so-called AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) networks, which were first deployed in the 1980s and brought cellular service to millions of Americans, will finally disappear.
"Last Call: Analog Cell Phone Service Disappearing Most phones now use digital service, but home and business owners with alarm systems may miss the analog signal," PC World via The Washington Post, February 8, 2008 --- Click Here

FAMILIES of victims of the Bali bombings and survivors have expressed outrage at an ABC documentary due to air this evening on two Australian women linked to militant Islam. The documentary, Jihad Sheilas, features comments by Rabiah Hutchinson, the so-called “matriach” of radical Islam in Australia, and Raisah bint Alan Douglas about the 2002 Bali bombing. “Do I feel for the people that died? Not as much as I feel for those 200 Afghani people that gave me and my children shelter,” Ms Hutchinson says. “Why? Because they weren't holidaying in someone's country, sometimes engaging in child pornography or paedophilia or drug taking.” John Harrison, who lost his daughter Nicole in the Bali bombings, said he was strongly opposed to the ABC screening Ms Hutchinson's comments. “I hope to Christ that someone belonging to her, like a son or a daughter, gets killed somewhere along the line and she suffers like we have,” he said. “Last night we saw the news that these mongrels in Bali were going to get another appeal, and that just drops - excuse my French - the arse clean out of you,” he said.
Nicola Berkovic, "Pull 'Jihad Sheilas' doco: victims," The Australian, February 5, 2008 ---,25197,23163775-601,00.html
Jensen Comment
The victims in Bali were mostly families with children. If they were looking for "child pornography or pedophilia or drugs" the strictly Islamic island of Bali would hardly be the destination of choice.

Again, the Left’s reaction was predictable. Since the 1960s, the Left has grown increasingly opposed to the use of American power. Viewing everything through the prism of Vietnam, the Left distrusts American power and sees war itself as the enemy. In addition, the wars of 9/11 served as fuel for Bush’s black-and-white view of the world—even George Will calls him “our Manichean president”—which view further alienated Bush from the Left. In this regard, it pays to recall that the postmodernism which captivates and animates much of the Left assures us that there are no differences between evil and good, no objective truth, no absolutes—except, of course, the absolute that claims there are no absolutes. Thus, someone who uses phrases like “Axis of Evil” and “evil doers” and “monumental struggle of good versus evil” and, as he did during his final State of the Union, “evil men who despise freedom,” is not likely to be embraced by those who see the world in shades of grey. But those who believe there is good and evil, that force is not inherently evil, that there is even a time for war, would rally around such a president, which may explain why many conservatives still support the president and many leftists never did.
Alan W. Dowd, Bush Derangement Syndrome: A Diagnosis," Frontpage Magazine, February 4, 2008 ---

Whereas Obama's claim to foreign policy fame among Dems has been his opposition from day one to the Iraq war, it appears he may have now put himself to the right of Hillary Clinton on the issue of sustaining the surge.
Mark Findelstein, "Has Obama Put Himself to Right of Hillary on Surge?" Newsbusters, February 4, 2008 ---

The Democratic presidential hopeful tried to duck the question Sunday, when ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked her about wage-garnishing three times. But she didn't rule it out. Clinton on Sunday described universal health care as "a core Democratic value and a moral principle, and I'm absolutely going to do everything I can to achieve that." The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama is warning voters that Clinton's plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if they can't afford it. "And if they cannot afford it, then the question is what are you going to do about it? Are you going to fine them? Are you going to garnish their wages?" Obama asked Clinton at one of their debates.
Susan Jones, "Clinton May Garnish Wages to Achieve Universal Health Care,: CNS News, February 4, 2008 ---

An additional cause for discouragement for public intellectuals and those who look to them for intellectual leadership is that society at large just doesn’t seem to afford its iconic or star public intellectuals much respect anymore. Public intellectuals in America are merely “one side of an argument,” so to speak. From the general public’s point of view, they are either Republican or Democrat; liberal or conservative; left-wing or right-wing; pro-choice or pro-life; and so on. Public intellectuals signify or are reduced by the general public to nothing more than a position — and usually an extreme one — on a topic of contemporary social and political concern.
Jeffrey R. Di Leo, "Public Intellectuals, Inc., Inside Higher Ed, February 4, 2008 ---  

Imagine how different things would be if the first caucus of the election season were held in the state of Manhattan and not in the state of Iowa. The candidates would surely dress a lot better than they do when breakfasting in Des Moines. Issues like rent stabilization and property taxes would be debated as if they had national-security implications. And few politicians would feel compelled to thump the Bible or share their narrative of faith when addressing shivering lunchtime crowds in Central Park. But secular New York City is not America. It is not even remotely representative of America. In America, as we learned from the recent Iowa and South Carolina contests, a presidential aspirant must cite the Scriptures on the campaign trail. In America those who want to gain the White House must talk about God . . . The Bible's position in today's American politics can be seen as an inadvertent compromise, a functional arrangement, an armistice born of no particular negotiations. Secular America is subjected to the indignity of faith-based pandering, but rarely sees faith-based initiatives crystallize into any sort of tangible policy changes. Evangelical America gets its symbol in the public square, but little more than that. That is where we stand. Precariously. Everyone from Manhattan to Iowa is dissatisfied with the status quo.
Jacques Berlinerlau, "Candidates' 'God Talk' Scriptural references are seemingly mandatory this election year, but how seriously should we take them?," Chronicle of Higher Education's The Chronicle Review, February 15, 2008 --- 

I’ll no longer say (after 35 years) that I have supernatural powers. I am an entertainer. I want to do a good show. My entire character has changed.
Uri Geller as quoted by James Randi the Educational Foundation, January 18, 2008 ---
This link was provided by Jason Hardin at Trinity University.

Three years ago, an explosion rocked a British Petroleum refinery in Texas City, Texas, killing 15 workers. A proposed plea deal would see BP fined $50 million in exchange for avoiding an investigation of its safety history. But the deal has critics.
Wade Goodwyn, NPR, February 4, 2008 ---

More Cubans are fleeing to the United States than ever before. Migration to the United States from Cuba is now at its highest rate since the 1960s. And increasingly, U.S. authorities say Cuban migrants are being brought here by smugglers using high-speed boats.
Greg Allen, NPR, February 4, 2008 ---

At one extreme are those who call for the apprehension and eviction of as many illegal residents in the US as is possible. Yet this seems a very unrealistic goal when there are so many illegal residents; the US will not apprehend and return millions of persons to Mexico, or wherever else illegal residents came from. Nor is it desirable to go to the other extreme, and just give blanket amnesty to all illegal residents, for amnesty now would encourage future illegal immigration since they too would expect amnesty. Complete amnesty just makes a mockery of immigration laws, and rewards those who came to the US illegally, as opposed to the many potential immigrants who wait years for the right to immigrate legally . . . I argued earlier on this blog that selling the right to immigrate (Canada's approach) would be the best approach to legal immigration (see my post on May 28, 2007 for details of this proposal). This approach would lead to acceptance of greater numbers of legal immigrants, perhaps by a lot, since the revenue from the payments by immigrants could replace other taxes. Paying for the right to immigrate would also negate the argument that immigrants get a free ride because they gain access to health care and other benefits. Moreover, making immigrants pay for to come attracts the type of immigrants who came much earlier in American history: younger men and women who are reasonably skilled, and who want to make a long-term commitment to the United States. These types would be more willing to pay a perhaps sizable price for admission because they would stand to benefit significantly from migrating. To prevent the price from excluding young and ambitious men and women who would like to immigrate but do not have the financial means, the US government could encourage a loan program to help finance the cost of immigrating that would be similar to the loans available to college students. The analogy to college students is close since immigration is also an investment in human capital . . . One great advantage of selling the right to immigrate is that the same approach can be used to deal with illegal residents, so that it also helps solve the vexing problem of illegal immigration. Instead of offering free amnesty to illegal residents, this approach gives them an opportunity to legalize their status without giving them advantages over those who wait to come as legal immigrants. Illegal residents would be able to come forward and pay to change their status to that of legal residents. Many illegal residents would gladly pay for the right to become legal since that would open up enormously job and other opportunities available to them.
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, "What (If Anything) to Do About Illegal Immigration," The Becker-Posner Blog, February 3, 2008 ---

There are four basic alternatives for dealing with illegal immigration: do nothing; do nothing about the illegal immigrants who are already in the United States but take measures to stop future illegal immigration; amnesty the existing illegals; deport them. The first three alternatives are plausible; the last is not. The United States does not have enough police and other paramilitary personnel, or sufficient detention facilities, to round up and deport 12 million persons (our prisons and jails are bursting with 2 million inmates), and even if it did, the shock to the economy would be profound, as the vast majority of the illegal immigrants are employed. The mass deportation would create a serious labor shortage, resulting in skyrocketing wages and prices . . . The objections to an immigration amnesty, even in its conditional form, are threefold. First, it rewards illegal behavior. But that is something done all the time without controversy. A criminal who agrees to rat on an accomplice may be given a break in sentencing; that is the equivalent of rewarding an illegal immigrant for coming forward and paying a fine to regularize his status. Second, it is argued that an amnesty would create an expectation of a future amnesty and thus encourage further illegal immigration. But the argument just shows that the amnesty would have to be coupled with efforts, which as I have explained are feasible, to prevent further illegal immigration. Third, it is argued that an amnesty would be unfair to those foreigners patiently waiting in line for permission to immigrate legally to the United States. But why the United States should care about these people is obscure. They are not Americans; we do not owe them anything. If an amnesty solves our problems, the fact that it is in some global sense "unfair" to another set of foreigners deserves, in my opinion, no consideration.
Richard Posner, "What (If Anything) to Do About Illegal Immigration," The Becker-Posner Blog, February 3, 2008 ---

"Fed wants the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other financial indicators to descend in a managed way," Bolser said. "The Fed wants to drive the DJIA toward the 8,000 level, or below, in order to help create a deep recession which will have the effect of slowing consumption across the board, and dampening the otherwise harmful effects of inflation. "A falling DOW is only one element of the recession effects of the excessive Fed-created housing and credit creation, whose bubbles are now bursting," he added. "Without this recession, we would be on quick trip to hyper-inflation," Bolser, the author of an internationally followed newsletter published in conjunction with his website, said, "and the Fed wants to prevent this."
Jerome R. Corsi, WorldNetDaily, February 5, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
Although I think stock prices are in a bubble ready to burst, I don't think the Fed is trying to let the air out of the Dow down to 8,000. Rather the Fed is playing a dangerous inflation game by lowering interest rates while Bush is trying to pass a dysfunctional stimulus package plus a record-setting and highly inflationary $3.1 trillion Federal budget. As Betsy Stark pointed out on ABC news, if 3.1 trillion dollar bills were stacked they would link the earth with the moon.

Political tricks may not be the only ones turned during the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August. The sex and adult entertainment industries are expecting a boom in business when an estimated 35,000 visitors descend on the Mile High City for the presidential nominating bash. At the Pepsi Center, the focus will be on a single nominee. But outside the event, the choices available to the delegates, journalists and others are unlimited, giving new meaning to the term "conventional sex." More than six months before the convention comes to Denver, the offerings already online range from Claudia the "she- male porn star" to Erin the "adorable college cutie," whose $300- an-hour services are guaranteed to "leave you breathless."
Daniel J. Chicon, Rockey Mountain News, February 4, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
When accounting professors have their international convention in cities like Denver, Chicago, and New York, the hookers schedule vacations. This is not the case for Democratic and GOP political conventions where lobby-enriched big spenders strain the supply side to the limits. Both conventions this year will focus on a full-employment "stimulus deal."

Harems pay off for Muslims (Toronto, Ontario Canada) Mumtaz Ali: "Very liberal-minded country". Hundreds of GTA Muslim men in polygamous marriages -- some with a harem of wives -- are receiving welfare and social benefits for each of their spouses, thanks to the city and province, Muslim leaders say. Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, said wives in polygamous marriages are recognized as spouses under the Ontario Family Law Act, providing they were legally married under Muslim laws abroad.
Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun, February 8, 2008 ---

"What is happening to Amnesty International?" by Mohammad Parvin, February 2008 ---

Amnesty International (AI) is sponsoring an event in Los Angeles under the title, “Human Rights in Iran: How to Move Forward” on February 22, 2008. Mr. Trita Parsi, president of National Iranian American Council (NIAC) an extremely dedicated activist for the establishment of normal and unconditional relations between the religious dictatorship in Iran and the U.S.  is one of the panelists in this event. This is not the first time NIAC has manipulated AI. On July 26, 2007, AI was one of the sponsors of an event organized by NIAC under the title, “Human Rights in Iran and U.S. Foreign Policy Options.”

NIAC is not a human rights organization. There is no trace of a reference to human rights in its mission statement, goals, programs or anywhere else. NIAC has not contributed to any of the numerous urgent actions issued by Amnesty International to stop imminent execution of political prisoners or stoning of men and women to death. NIAC has not made any statements condemning Mullahs for stoning, torture, the execution of political prisoners, or the treatment of women and religious minorities.

. . .

The irony is that AI has always shrugged criticism regarding its conservative approach to dictatorships such as the Mullahs’ tyranny in Iran and has cited the restriction that its goals and mandate place on taking political position. If AI’s mandate for not taking political position prevents it from encouraging the world to apply pressure on Mullahs, why is it that promoting the defender of such regime is not considered political?

NIAC stands tall among all lobby groups in the sense that no other group dares to speak so frankly for the ruling clergy in Iran. The following demand has been made in almost every recent statement made by Mr. Trita Parsi.

Continued in article

"Has Iran Won?" Editorial in The Economist, January 30, 2008 ---

The ayatollahs have wriggled off the nuclear hook, but there is a way to put them on again

WHO would have thought that a friendless theocracy with a Holocaust-denying president, which hangs teenagers in public and stones women to death, could run diplomatic circles around America and its European allies? But Iran is doing just that. And it is doing so largely because of an extraordinary own goal by America's spies, the team behind the duff intelligence that brought you the Iraq war.

It doesn't take a fevered brain to assume that if Iran's ayatollahs get their hands on the bomb, the world could be in for some nasty surprises. Iran's claim that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful is widely disbelieved. That is why Russia and China joined America, Britain, France and Germany at the UN Security Council to try to stop Iran enriching uranium. Until two months ago they seemed ready to support a third and tougher sanctions resolution against Iran. But then America's spies spoke out, and since then five painstaking years of diplomacy have abruptly unravelled (see article).

The intelligence debacle over Iraq has made spies anxious about how their findings are used. That may be why they and the White House felt it right to admit, in a National Intelligence Estimate in December, that they now think Iran halted clandestine work on nuclear warheads five years ago. As it happens, this belief is not yet shared by Israel or some of America's European allies, who see the same data. But no matter: the headline was enough to pull the rug from under the diplomacy. In Berlin last month, the Russians and Chinese made it clear that if there is a third resolution, it will be a mild slap on the wrist, not another turn of the economic screw.

At the same time, Iran is finding an ally in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Its director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, is a Nobel peace-prize winner who is crusading to confound those he calls “the crazies” in Washington by helping Iran to set its nuclear house in order, receive a clean bill of health and so avert the possibility of another disastrous war.

Honest spies, a peace-loving nuclear watchdog. What can be wrong with that? Nothing: unless the honesty of the spies is deliberately misconstrued and the watchdog fails to do its actual job of sniffing out the details of Iran's nuclear activities.

Thanks for letting us off Beaming like cats at the cream, a posse of Iranians went to January's World Economic Forum in Davos claiming a double vindication. Had not America itself now said that Iran had no weapons programme? Was not Iran about to give the IAEA the answers it needed to “close” its file? In circumstances like these, purred Iran's foreign minister, there was no case for new sanctions, not even the light slap Russia and China prefer.

Yet Iran's argument is a travesty. Although the National Intelligence Estimate does say that Iran probably stopped work on a nuclear warhead in 2003, it also says that Iran was indeed doing such work until then, and nobody knows how far it got. The UN sanctions are anyway aimed not at any warhead Iran may or may not be building in secret, but at what it is doing in full daylight, in defiance of UN resolutions, to enrich uranium and produce plutonium. We need this for electricity, says Iran. But it could fuel a bomb. And once a country can produce such fuel, putting it in a warhead is relatively easy.

Some countries, it is true, are allowed to enrich uranium without any fuss. The reason for depriving Iran of what it calls this “right” is a history of deception that led the IAEA to declare it out of compliance with its nuclear safeguards. So it is essential that Mr ElBaradei's desire to end this confrontation does not now tempt him to gloss over the many unanswered questions. With a lame duck in the White House and sanctions unravelling, Iran really would be home free then.

Would it be so tragic if a tricky Iran were to slip the net of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? North Korea quit the treaty and carried out a bomb test in 2006. Israel never joined, saying coyly only that it won't be the first to “introduce” nuclear weapons into the region—but won't be the second either. India and Pakistan, two other outsiders, have already strutted their stuff. Why should one more gate-crasher spoil the party?

One obvious danger is that a nuclear-armed Iran, or one suspected of being able to weaponise at will, could set off a chain reaction that turns Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, even Turkey rapidly nuclear too. America and the Soviet Union, with mostly only their own cold war to worry about, had plenty of brushes with catastrophe. Multiplying Middle Eastern nuclear rivalries would drive up exponentially the risk that someone could miscalculate—with dreadful consequences.

Time for Plan B For some this threat alone justifies hitting Iran's nuclear sites before it can build the bomb they fear it is after. But if Iran is bent on having a bomb, deterrence is better. Mr Bush has already said that America will keep Israel from harm. By extending its security umbrella to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, America might stifle further rivalry before the region goes critical.

Much better, however, to avoid a nuclear Iran altogether. Mr Bush says diplomacy can still do this. It is hard to see how. But he does have one card up his sleeve: the offer of a grand bargain to address the gamut of differences between America and Iran, from the future of Iraq to the Middle East peace process. So far Iran's leaders have brushed aside America's offer of talks “anytime, anywhere” and about “anything” by pointing to the condition attached: that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment. Strangely enough, the best way to put pressure on Iran's rulers now is for America to drop that rider.

There would need to be a time limit or Iran could simply enrich on regardless, with what looked like the world's blessing. Similarly Russia and China would need to agree to much tougher sanctions to help concentrate minds. Iran's leaders may still say no. But the ayatollahs would have to explain to ordinary Iranians why they should pay such a high price in prosperity forgone for making a fetish out of not talking, and out of technologies that aren't even needed to keep the lights on. If Iran's leaders cannot be persuaded any other way, perhaps they can be embarrassed out of their bomb plans.

"A Strike in the Dark," by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, February 11, 2008 --- 

Sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission on the banks of the Euphrates River, about ninety miles north of the Iraq border. The seemingly unprovoked bombing, which came after months of heightened tension between Israel and Syria over military exercises and troop buildups by both sides along the Golan Heights, was, by almost any definition, an act of war. But in the immediate aftermath nothing was heard from the government of Israel. In contrast, in 1981, when the Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, near Baghdad, the Israeli government was triumphant, releasing reconnaissance photographs of the strike and permitting the pilots to be widely interviewed.

. . .

In Tel Aviv, the senior Israeli official pointedly told me, “Syria still thinks Hezbollah won the war in Lebanon”—referring to the summer, 2006, fight between Israel and the Shiite organization headed by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. “Nasrallah knows how much that war cost—one-third of his fighters were killed, infrastructure was bombed, and ninety-five per cent of his strategic weapons were wiped out,” the Israeli official said. “But Assad has a Nasrallah complex and thinks Hezbollah won. And, ‘If he did it, I can do it.’ This led to an adventurous mood in Damascus. Today, they are more sober.”

That notion was echoed by the ambassador of an Israeli ally who is posted in Tel Aviv. “The truth is not important,” the ambassador told me. “Israel was able to restore its credibility as a deterrent. That is the whole thing. No one will know what the real story is.”

There is evidence that the preëmptive raid on Syria was also meant as a warning about—and a model for—a preëmptive attack on Iran. When I visited Israel this winter, Iran was the overriding concern among political and defense officials I spoke to—not Syria. There was palpable anger toward Washington, in the wake of a National Intelligence Estimate that concluded, on behalf of the American intelligence community, that Iran is not now constructing a nuclear weapon. Many in Israel view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat; they believe that military action against Iran may be inevitable, and worry that America may not be there when needed. The N.I.E. was published in November, after a yearlong standoff involving Cheney’s office, which resisted the report’s findings. At the time of the raid, reports about the forthcoming N.I.E. and its general conclusion had already appeared.

Retired Major General Giora Eiland, who served as the national-security adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told me, “The Israeli military takes it as an assumption that one day we will need to have a military campaign against Iran, to slow and eliminate the nuclear option.” He added, “Whether the political situation will allow this is another question.”

In the weeks after the N.I.E.’s release, Bush insisted that the Iranian nuclear-weapons threat was as acute as ever, a theme he amplified during his nine-day Middle East trip after the New Year. “A lot of people heard that N.I.E. out here and said that George Bush and the Americans don’t take the Iranian threat seriously,” he told Greta Van Susteren, of Fox News. “And so this trip has been successful from the perspective of saying . . . we will keep the pressure on.”


Joshua Lederberg, 82, a Nobel Prize winner for his work in bacterial genetics who is known as one of the founders of molecular biology, a discipline that in the past half-century has begun unlocking the secrets of how organisms live and reproduce, died Feb. 2 of pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.
Patricia Sullivan, The Washington Post, February 5, 2008 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
I mention this because I spent a year in a think thank (Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences) at Stanford University with Joshua. He was very inspirational and at the time (1971) was studying the ethics of cloning.

University of Massachusetts (Boston) Free OpenCourseWare ---
Currently there are courses in the following disciplines:

Counseling and School Psychology
Nursing and Health Science
Political Science
Special Education

Bob Jensen's threads on OpenCourseWare and free course videos from major universities around the world are at

Amid the flurry of news over Microsoft's bid for Yahoo and Google's rebuttal, a research announcement by Google went largely unnoticed
Last week, the search giant began a public experiment in which users can make their search results look a little different from the rest of the world's. Those who sign up are able to switch between different views, so instead of simply getting a list of links (and sometimes pictures and YouTube videos, a relatively recent addition to the Google results), they can choose to see their results mapped, put on a timeline, or narrowed down by informational filters. Dan Crow, product manager at Google, says that the results of the experiment could eventually help the company improve everyone's search experience.
Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, February 6, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
You can read more about this experiment at

February 6, 2008 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]


I tried it, and was a bit disappointed.

What searchers need is really visualisation of search results in a way that makes navigation easier.

A site I would recommend is , especially its map view.



Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

Notes on the Smart Pen
The smart pen that Wired Campus flagged back in May was unveiled last week at a technology conference in Palm Springs, Calif. The company behind it, LiveScribe, has been aggressively marketing the device to college students with the slogan "Never miss a word." It's basically a combination recording machine and camera. Users take notes while a minirecorder, embedded in the pen, records whatever is being said. Later, to clarify the written notes, the user can touch the pen to a specific passage and listen to a recording of the instructor speaking those words. A tiny camera links what is being written to what is being recorded. In a takeoff on television commercials for pharmaceuticals, the smart-pen advertisement below features a student who suffers from "restless mind syndrome." The pen is offered as a panacea. Livescribe has set up a Facebook page to push the pen, and offers to pay college students to promote the device on their campuses. It's also advertised on the Web site ThePalestra, where Andy Van Schaack, a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University, who is an adviser to LiveScribe, is seen praising the pen. Will the pen, which sells for about $200, take off with college students? Will it be used as a crutch for students who are too tired or distracted to listen to their professors?
Andrea L. Foster, "Notes on the Smart Pen," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 5, 2008 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade in education technology are at

"Microsoft Helps Nab $900M Piracy Ring," Jessica Mintz, The Washington Post, February 8, 2008 --- Click Here

Near-perfect knockoffs of 21 different Microsoft programs began surfacing around the world just over a decade ago.

Soon, PCs in more than a dozen countries were running illegal copies of Windows and Office, turning unwitting consumers into criminals and, Microsoft says, exposing them to increased risk of malicious viruses and spyware.

The case began to turn in 2001 when U.S. Customs officers seized a shipping container in Los Angeles filled with $100 million in fake software, including 31,000 copies of the Windows operating system.

From there, Microsoft pushed the investigation through 22 countries. Local law enforcement officials seized software, equipment and records, and made arrests. A court in Taiwan handed down the last of the major sentences in December. Microsoft estimates the retail value of the software the operation generated at $900 million.

"That is a tremendous accomplishment," said James Spertus, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who later led anti-piracy efforts for the Motion Picture Association of America. "There are only going to be a few cases like this a decade."

Now Microsoft is eager to talk about the experience because taking down that operation _ responsible for about 90 percent of the fake software the company found between 1999 and 2004, more than 470,000 disks _ didn't actually stop piracy. It just left room for more counterfeiters to rise. Microsoft hopes would-be pirates will think twice if they know how far it will go to protect the computer code worth billions in revenue each quarter.

The pirates mimicked complex holograms stamped directly onto disks and packaging materials embedded with the kind of tiny safety threads used in making money. In some cases, it took experts with microscopes to notice that disks printed with codes used by legitimate software factories lacked certain minuscule, unique smudges.

"The copies were so good, we went to tremendous forensic and scientific lengths to establish that the counterfeits were, in fact, counterfeits," said David Finn, an associate general counsel at Microsoft.

Without a solid lead on the source, Microsoft continued to gather string. Members of its 80-person worldwide anti-piracy team made test buys to see if retailers were selling fake disks, knowingly or unwittingly, and worked leads back up the black-market supply chain.

The seizure of the container in Los Angeles led to Taiwan, where the Ministry of Justice raided Chungtek Hightech, recovering an estimated $100 million more in software and equipment. Months later, Taipei city police and the criminal investigations branch of the national police hit Cinway Technology, a related manufacturer in the same industrial complex, seizing another $126 million in phony software. Records found there led to a packing, storage and shipping center in China's Guangdong province, and back to distributor Maximus Technology in Taiwan.

Finally, in 2007, the owner and operator of Chungtek and Cinway, Chen Bi-ching, was sentenced in Taiwan to four years in prison, while her two co-defendants received jail terms of three years and one year. And the distribution outfit's owner, Huang Jer-sheng, was sentenced to four years in prison. In China, the Public Security Bureau raided the packing and shipping company, Zhang Sheng Electronics, and Li Jian, the manager, was sentenced to three years in 2004.

Matching the Taiwanese counterfeits to copies found around the world, Microsoft gave law enforcement agencies ammunition for raids and criminal cases in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Paraguay and Poland. Dozens of big distributors, middlemen and retailers were convicted, including 35 people in the U.S.

One was Lisa Chen, who according to a Customs press release arrived at the scene of the 2001 shipping container bust with additional counterfeit software in her vehicle. Chen was prosecuted by the Los Angeles district attorney's office as a major U.S. distributor of the Taiwan fakes and received a nine-year prison term in November 2002. She has since been released, according to her lawyer at the time.

Microsoft would not say how much it spent on the investigation or how many counterfeit copies of Windows, Office and other programs were found in use on consumer or business PCs.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

What good comes from charging high prices for popcorn and other goodies at the movies?
New research from Stanford and the University of California, Santa Cruz suggests that there is a method to theaters’ madness—and one that in fact benefits the viewing public. By charging high prices on concessions, exhibition houses are able to keep ticket prices lower, which allows more people to enjoy the silver-screen experience. The findings empirically answer the age-old question of whether it’s better to charge more for a primary product (in this case, the movie ticket) or a secondary product (the popcorn). Putting the premium on the “frill” items, it turns out, indeed opens up the possibility for price-sensitive people to see films. That means more customers coming to theaters in general, and a nice profit from those who are willing to fork it over for the Gummy Bears. Indeed, movie exhibition houses rely on concession sales to keep their businesses viable. Although concessions account for only about 20 percent of gross revenues, they represent some 40 percent of theaters’ profits. That’s because while ticket revenues must be shared with movie distributors, 100 percent of concessions go straight into an exhibitor’s coffers.
Marguerite Rigoglioso, "Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies," Stanford Graduate School of Business Newsletter, January 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
Actually the same thing can be said for your campus bookstore that actually does not make all that much on textbooks. Textbook margins at that level are thin relative to the costs of buying, shipping in, storing, and shipping back unsold copies plus the cost of buying and selling used textbooks. These bookstores make up the difference on high markup items like sweat shirts, mugs, supplies, and gadgets. The reason textbooks cost so much prices charged by publishers themselves which is due in large part to oligopoly/monopoly pricing.

If America relied only upon its own underground oil at present rates of consumption, how long would the supply last?

"About Forty Years Until the Oil Runs Out," by Michele Chandler, The Stanford Graduate School of Business Newsletter, January 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
Actually pricing and rationing would most certainly prolong the supply unless war or other catastrophes speeds up consumption. There are, of course, vast reserves of both oil and natural gas in many other parts of the world (including oceans).

When Cell Phones Won't Work There's Now an Inexpensive Way to Signal Emergency Time and Location

"Phoning Home Without a Phone:  Simple Device Alerts Emergency Contacts From Remote Areas," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2008; Page D5 ---

On a chilly day, most folks find it tough to open the front door to retrieve the newspaper -- much less climb a 15,000-foot mountain. But plenty of people court danger by rappelling down canyons and camping in remote woodlands. This week, I tested a device that will give thrill seekers a little extra insurance: It lets the folks back home track their progress, and learn when they're OK or when they're in trouble.

When activated, the $170 SPOT Satellite Messenger from SPOT Inc., the Milpitas, Calif., unit of Globalstar Inc., emits a signal to GPS satellites, which notify SPOT's messaging service. The service then sends a message to friends, family or emergency rescue teams about your current status. Because it uses GPS technology, the SPOT will work even when you're far from cellphone signal range and anywhere in the world.

I tested SPOT in my Washington, D.C., neighborhood (city parks still count as outdoorsy) and on a trip across the California desert and mountains on the way to a conference -- though I was scaling mountains in an air-conditioned SUV rather than in a rock-climbing harness.

In my tests, SPOT worked without a problem. Notifications from the device were delivered to my friends via email and text message and included my current latitude and longitude. The service also sent along canned messages that I set up in advance on the company's Web site at and hyperlinks to Google Maps that showed my location.

SPOT charges a $100 annual service fee, which includes an unlimited number of messages that can be sent out from your device using three buttons: OK/Check, Help and 911. An additional $50 per year tracking service called SPOTcasting follows and marks your exact location every 10 minutes for 24 hours each time it's initiated.

This simple and straightforward device could really help in a dangerous situation. And the company takes its job seriously: A steely message on the SPOT packaging reads, "Opening this box is the first step in making sure you don't come home in one." But SPOT could also save the day in less-adventurous situations, such as when your car dies and you're out of cellphone range.

However, SPOT isn't perfect. While its three message-sending buttons make it easy to use, they also limit the types of messages it can send. There's no keyboard, so messages must be brief and set up in advance on the Web site. And the device only sends messages and can't receive them. Your friends and family have no way of getting back in touch with you on SPOT should you send a Help message from beyond cellphone range.

SPOT is a bright orange device with roughly the same surface measurement as a BlackBerry, though it's considerably thicker. Its durable casing makes it waterproof and floatable, along with working in extremes like -40 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 21,000 feet above sea level. It runs on two AA lithium batteries, which last for different amounts of time according to the type of message being sent.

Setting up SPOT took only a few minutes on the Web site. A default or personalized message can be set up to go out with OK/Check and Help notifications, and email addresses and cellphone numbers (for SMS text messages) can be entered online as the destinations for these messages. Every message includes the user's current location in terms of latitude and longitude, along with a hyperlink to access that location via Google Maps.

Continued in article

February 3, 2008 reply from Robert C. Holmes, Glendale Community College [rcholmes@GLENDALE.EDU]

I have tried to user my GPS hiking the Sierra Nevada mountains, only on well-established trails. The GPS failed regularly when in canyons. My experience tells me that it would not work in in many types of emergencies, especially when doing things like rappelling down step canyon faces.

February 4 reply from Bob Jensen

And I'm not having much luck with GPS in the White Mountains.

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at

How do multi-touch screens differ from traditional touch screens like you find on an ATM machine?

But multitouch interfaces are potentially much more versatile. They allow you to use your fingers to manipulate virtual objects on a screen as if they were real, sort of the way Tom Cruise's character did in the 2002 Steven Spielberg science-fiction film, "Minority Report." For example, Microsoft's Surface allows users to rearrange groups of digital photos by just dragging them around on the table top as if they were actual paper prints. Unlike the touch screens on, say, ATMs, multitouch devices are able to distinguish between the press of a single finger and the press of multiple fingers, and to interpret the motions or gestures you make. They take different actions depending on how many fingers they detect and which gestures a user performs. On Apple's MacBook Air, the touchpad still allows you to use one finger to move the cursor and click like a mouse can. But, optionally, it can do much more using multitouch gestures. You can rotate photos by just touching two fingers to the touchpad and moving the images on the screen as you wish. You can quickly move back and forth through a series of Web pages or photos by "swiping," or placing three fingers on the touchpad and moving them rapidly sideways. And you can shrink or expand a photo, or zoom in and out on a Web page, by pinching the image.
Walter S. Mossberg, "Multitouch Interface Is Starting to Spread Among New Devices," The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2008; Page B1 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at

Accounting Fraud
Did I read this correctly with respect to Oral Roberts University?
Is the number really one BILLION PER YEAR?

A former accountant suing Oral Roberts University has added new charges to his suit and now argues that more than $1 billion was funneled through the university annually for inappropriate uses, including personal gain by some officials, The Tulsa World reported. University officials denied the charges.
Inside Higher Ed, February 8, 2008 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on collegiate accountability are at

"A Memory Breakthrough: Intel has doubled the capacity of phase-change memory, a likely replacement for flash," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, February 4, 2008 --- 

Over the past decade, flash memory has changed the electronics landscape, giving us robust storage in tiny devices such as iPods and cell phones. As chip sizes shrink, however, engineers know there will be limits to flash performance, and they have been eyeing a replacement technology called phase-change memory. Today, Intel announced a research advance that doubles the storage capacity of a single phase-change memory cell. This new approach is also implemented in the chip via algorithms so that it won't add cost to the existing phase-change memory fabrication process.

Phase-change memory differs from other solid-state memory technologies such as flash and random-access memory because it doesn't use electrons to store data. Instead, it relies on the material's own arrangement of atoms, known as its physical state. Previously, phase-change memory was designed to take advantage of only two states: one in which atoms are loosely organized (amorphous), and another where they are rigidly structured (crystalline).

But in a paper presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, researchers illustrated that there are two more distinct states that fall between amorphous and crystalline, and that these states can be used to store data.

To make their memory cells, Intel and partner ST Microelectronics used a material called GST, a type of glass that has physical states responsive to heat. A tiny heater, controlled by algorithms in the chip, changes the state of the GST by heating a memory cell until it reaches one of four distinct states. (Older systems used the same approach but only worked with two states.) Intel's chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, says the researchers used novel programming algorithms to alter the amount of heat each cell receives, thus controlling its state: "We can do this successfully with a reasonably sized array, and do it at speeds that are commercially viable," he says. The cell is then read by measuring its electrical resistance between two electrodes. The resistance indicates the state of the cell because each state has distinct electrical properties.

By adding two bits per cell, Intel and ST Microelectronics have put phase-change memory on par with today's flash technology, says H.-S. Philip Wong, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University. Intel has already mastered a similar trick with flash memory in which more than one bit can be stored per memory cell, he says, so this is a logical progression for phase-change memory. "It's rather important to develop this multi-bit storage technology," says Wong. "If you can't do it, then you're disadvantaged by a factor of two."

One of the features that makes phase-change so compelling as a flash alternative is that it has the same benefits as flash with faster speed, says Jim Handy, an analyst at Objective Analysis, a semiconductor market research firm. Like flash, phase-change memory is a non-volatile memory that can store bits even without a power supply. But unlike flash, data can be written to cells much faster, at rates comparable to the dynamic and static random-access memory (DRAM and SRAM) used in all computers and cell phones today. Currently, Handy explains, computer- and cell-phone engineers use DRAM or SRAM combined with flash. DRAM and SRAM are used to read and write data quickly; flash is used to store data when the power is off. "Handset manufacturers are excited about phase-change memory," Handy says, "because it looks like they could get rid of two of the chips [flash and DRAM] and replace them with one phase-change memory chip."

Phase-change memory has made a lot of progress in the past few years, Wong adds. "A few years ago it looked promising," he says. "But now it's going to happen. There's no doubt about it."

"The Case Against Case Studies:  How Columbia's B-school is teaching MBAs to make decisions based on incomplete data," by Geoff Gloeckler, Business Week, January 24, 2008 ---

Shortly after R. Glenn Hubbard took over as dean of Columbia Business School in 2004, he began hearing rumblings from executives about the quality of MBA graduates. They were undoubtedly smart but often unprepared to handle the most crucial of managerial responsibilities: quickly solving problems with less than perfect information. Among those wanting more from new hires is Henry Kravis, co-founder of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. "I want to see MBAs who can jump in and make decisions, not jump in and learn to make decisions," he says.

Hubbard made his own executive decision. He devised a new twist on the case study—the teaching format invented by Harvard Business School almost a century ago and used by most B-schools. Hubbard's so-called decision brief offers less information about a situation than the case study, and it doesn't present the solution until students have grappled with the issues on their own. "We want our students to be used to dealing with incomplete data," Hubbard says. "They should be able to make decisions out of uncertainty."

Even Michael J. Roberts, the executive director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard and author of more than 100 HBS case studies, acknowledges the potential benefits of Hubbard's approach, which was introduced to Columbia students last fall. "Framing problems and finding the data to analyze those problems is a skill that MBAs need and that the classic case doesn't fully exploit," Roberts says. Hubbard expects such endorsements, as well as those of companies, will encourage other business schools to make room one day for Columbia's decision briefs in their curriculums. Hubbard, at least initially, doesn't plan to sell the decision briefs but to use them to tap into faculty research.

Hubbard isn't giving up on the traditional case study altogether. As part of an initiative called CaseWorks, Columbia will produce cases designed to reflect contemporary issues (which other schools do already), while also creating decision briefs that do away with the Harvard formula (which no one else has done). To help guide the program, Hubbard has turned to two people familiar with the deficits of the old methods: Stephen P. Zeldes, who has been at Columbia for more than a decade and is now chairman of the economics department at the B-school, and former Harvard case writer Elizabeth Gordon.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION The stock case study presents a tidy narrative arc, with a protagonist and a clear story line. One of the more widely used HBS cases focuses on Intel's (INTC) former marketing vice-president, Pamela Pollace, as she decides whether Intel should extend the "Intel Inside" branding campaign to products other than computers. In 24 pages, students are provided with information on Intel and the history of microprocessors, as well as details about market share and segmentation. Pollace's major concern, they learn, is brand dilution; the potential reward is likely worth the risk. In effect, the students are guided along the decision-making process.

If this case were a Columbia decision brief, students might see a video interview in which Pollace describes the challenge. They would also be given a few documents on the background of the campaign itself—the same data a manager at the company would have, but no more. Then, students would discuss possible solutions. Afterward, the group would see a second video of Pollace explaining how she handled the issue before debating whether or not she made the right decision.

So far, Columbia has produced six briefs that take on of-the-moment business challenges: Among them is one that focuses on General Electric's (GE) business-process-outsourcing division in India. Given increased competition, the company needed to consider a bigger investment, as well as the possibility of serving non-GE customers. With just a little more information than that, students are asked to come up with various strategies. "The idea is to try to simulate what it will be like in a real workplace," says Gordon. "There is uncertainty, things aren't predigested, all the information won't be there."

The first field test for the new teaching technique will be this summer, when the MBAs head out to their internships. At Goldman Sachs (GS), which hires more Columbia interns than any other company, the co-head of campus recruiting, Janet Raiffa, hopes to encounter students who are more independent thinkers. As for Kravis, his firm doesn't employ summer interns.

In some ways the pedagogy proposed by Columbia is a shorter and cheaper version of the BAM approach first proposed by Catanach, Croll, and Grinacker. The BAM approach uses a year-long case and students can seek out data in virtually every way they will do it later on while on the job (including paying for data if necessary) ---

"If You Teach Them, They Will Be Happy," by Jennifer Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, June 19, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Learning at Research Schools Versus "Teaching Schools" Versus "Happiness" With a Side Track into Substance Abuse --- 

"Authorities Arrest Accused Identity Thief Who Conned 3 Universities," by Hurley Goodall, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2008 ---
Click Here

Federal agents arrested a woman on Saturday who was under investigation for stealing identities to gain admission to three universities, according to the Associated Press.

The woman, Esther Elizabeth Reed, was arrested in a Chicago suburb under a federal warrant. She had been sought since July 2006, just before she was revealed as an impostor, and was listed as one of the U.S. Secret Service’s top fugitives. A federal grand jury indicted her last September on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, false identification documents, and aggravated identity theft.

In addition to using stolen identities to gain admission three times, the authorities said, Ms. Reed managed to obtain $100,000 in student loans. At one of the institutions, Columbia University, she is said to have studied criminology and psychology for two years under the name Brooke Henson — a woman who, according to the New York Post, has been missing since 1999.

Ms. Reed also was admitted to California State University at Fullerton and Harvard.

Federal authorities have announced the arrest of Esther Elizabeth Reed, on charges related to stealing people’s identities and using those identities to be admitted to colleges and obtain student loans fraudulently, the Associated Press reported. Among the college Reed is alleged to have duped: California State University at Fullerton, Columbia University and Harvard University.
Inside Higher Ed, February 5, 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
By the way, paying for data is not the same as cheating by hiring the entire assignment written by another person. But there is a gray zone here!

Bob Jensen's threads on identity theft are at the following links:

"A Call for Professional Attire," by Erik M. Jensen, Inside Higher Ed, February 8, 2008 --- 

In his Journals, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. noted a hotel’s faded elegance:
“[T]he lobby is filled with tieless men wearing double-knit trousers.”

Tielessness: a bad sign everywhere.

Professors, it’s been said, are the worst-dressed middle-class occupational group in America. Instead of being role models, we’ve convinced everyone to slum. As clothing theorist Nicholas Antongiavanni explains in The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style, “[M]any came to believe the protestation of academics that taste was nothing but a fraud perpetrated by the great to keep down the people.

It was not always so. In the academic golden age, outliers who refused to follow high standards were viewed with disdain. Edward Larson describes a law professor who, after being fired, represented Scopes in the 1925 monkey trial. John Randolph Neal could walk into a faculty lounge today and, without having evolved a bit, fit right in:

Neal never spent much time on campus — often arriving late, if at all, for class, devoting class time to rambling lectures about current political issues rather than to the course subject matter, and giving all his law students a grade of 95 without reading their exams. The dean also complained about Neal’s “slovenly” dress, which later deteriorated into complete disregard for personal appearance and cleanliness.

At the trial, “[u]nwashed and unshaven as usual, [Neal] lectured the court in a manner reminiscent of his chaotic teaching style.”

During Paul Fussell’s teaching career, “practically compulsory was the daily get-up of gray flannel trousers and tweed jacket, often, of course, with leather elbow patches, suggestive at once of two honorable conditions: poverty and learning,” according to Uniforms: Why We Are What We Wear. When tweed was no longer boss, however, scruffiness became the standard. At Tom Wolfe’s Dupont University, “the current fashion among male professors ... was scrupulously improper cheap-looking shirts, open at the throat, ... and cotton pants with no creases — jeans, khakis, corduroys — to distinguish themselves from the mob, which is to say, the middle class.”

If we’re going to have a dress code anyway, we should be able to do better than “scrupulously improper.” I therefore propose a Uniform Uniform Code (a lawyers joke — sorry) for professors. My effort to change clothes might not be fully successful, but there’s hope. As Michael Bérubé says, “[D]ressing fashionably in academia is like clearing the four-foot high jump. The bar is not that high.”

I. The Childlike Professoriate

Why the dress problem? Professors might be grown-ups chronologically, but, if you’ve attended faculty meetings, you know we haven’t gotten the behavior patterns right. Joseph Epstein writes:

One of the divisions of the contemporary world is between those who are prepared to dress (roughly) their age and those who see clothes as a means to fight off age.... I know of associate deans who never wear neckties. Others — balding, paunchy, droopy-lidded — have not had a fabric other than denim touch their hindquarters for decades. They, poor dears, believe they are staying young.

Roger Kimball adds, “There is something about the combination of denim and tenure that is inherently preposterous.”

Trying to look like students is partly self-denial, but scruffily dressed faculty also have highfalutin goals. Some sartorial underachievement is aimed at furthering a “nurturing” atmosphere. The classroom setting should be non-confrontational, it’s argued, with professors and students hangin’ out as buddies.

But it doesn’t work, except perhaps for sexual poaching. Radical economist Bob Lamb discovered “that if I buy my suits at Brooks Brothers and look like a banker, it is much easier to get Harvard students to believe what I am telling them.” Bonding is nice only if you don’t expect intellectual activity.

Dress once represented a quest for excellence, not leveling, as Donald Kagan noted in a paean to Joltin’ Joe:

[H]is day was not ours. America was a democracy, but of a different kind. Its people were more respectful of excellence, both of matter and manner. . . . People wanted to behave according to a higher and better code because they believed that in doing so they would themselves become better, worthier, “classier.” Those who are too young to remember should look at the movies and photographs of games at Yankee Stadium in DiMaggio’s day. The men wore white shirts and ties under coats and hats, the proper attire in public, even at a ball game.

Russell Baker thinks the shift to shiftlessness occurred in the 1960s:

People [then] had so much money that they could afford to look poor. Men quit wearing fedoras and three-piece suits to Yankee Stadium and affected a hobo chic — all whiskers and no creases. Women quit buying hats and high-heeled shoes and started swearing like Marine sergeants.

People generally act better when they’re dressed right. If a professor is sending a signal of seriousness, of civility, students will pick it up. I defer to no one in admiring the Marines, but the world is not a better place when everyone is swearing like a Marine sergeant and dressing in hobo chic.

II. The Code

Here’s a draft Uniform Uniform Code:

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
One of my colleagues from the Computer Science Department received a teaching evaluation about 20 years ago that read: 
"Until I took this course I was not aware that leisure suits came in so many shades of pastel."

One of the nice things about being retired is that I've not worn a necktie in over two years. Although I've been on frequent lecture tours and consulting trips, business casual sufficed for a dress code. Interestingly when I make technical presentations, I find that my audience is dressed more casually than me even though most of them are business executives, accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, professors, etc.

I stored many of my business suits on a wooden pole in the barn. The pole broke and I didn't discover it for about a month. Fortunately each suit was bagged in plastic and none the worse for being in a fallen heap for such a long time. But one suit coat was shredded somewhat. Underneath were about a dozen baby mice. Each squiggly baby mouse was about the size of a thimble and had not yet opened its eyes to the world. It was summer and I did place them out in the field in a bed of hay, but I suspect they died anyway. The suit coat had to be thrown out, but I'm not likely to miss it or most of my rather nice suits that remain in the barn (now aging on a steel pole).

Beware of Excel
Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program has become a primary target for hacking attacks, according to security experts recently interviewed by Redmond magazine. In the last 12 months, for example, Symantec has identified at least six Excel vulnerabilities for which there were no patches. Microsoft notified users of the latest zero day vulnerability last month, and previously released a set of Excel patches in its July 2007 security bulletin.
AccountingWeb, February 8, 2008 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at

"Merck to Pay Over $650 Million To Settle Pricing Suits," by Sarah Rubenstein and Avery Johnson, The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2008; Page B4
And the Whistle Blower Gets 10%

Merck & Co. will pay more than $650 million to settle a variety of lawsuits and probes related to past sales and marketing practices, Merck and U.S. government officials said.

The major issue involved a practice known as "nominal pricing" in a lawsuit filed by a former Merck employee and joined by the Justice Department and all states except Arizona. The settlement allocates $218 million to the federal government and $181 million to 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Merck also said it is paying $250 million to resolve a suit involving pricing of its heartburn drug Pepcid, filed in Louisiana by a local doctor and joined by the Justice Department and the same 49 states. In all, the company agreed to pay $649 million plus interest.

The two men who originally sued Merck will benefit significantly from the settlements.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

"U.S. Education Department to Probe Program for Black Men on 16 CUNY Campuses," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2008 ---
Click Here

The U.S. Department of Education has opened investigations at 16 campuses of the City University of New York to determine whether a program to improve the enrollment and graduation rates of black men violates federal civil-rights law.

In April 2006, the New York Civil Rights Coalition filed a federal complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights about CUNY’s proposed “Black Male Initiative,” which the civil-rights group charged would offer “remedial and differential treatment” to students based on race and gender. The group argued that such a segregated pedagogy violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

The Office for Civil Rights received that complaint in May 2006, followed by a second complaint from the same group, in June 2006, charging discrimination in the hiring of staff members for the program.

Bob Jensen's threads on controversies of affirmative action in admission and performance measurement are at

Columbia University has created a Web site to educate elementary and secondary students about the civil-rights and black-power movements spanning 1954 through 1975.
The site, called the Amistad Digital Resource, includes audio and video clips of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights leaders. It also includes FBI documents and maps where civil-rights demonstrations took place.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 5, 2008 ---

February 1, 2008 message from the Unknown Professor who maintains the Financial Rounds blog ---

In a strange coincidence, Mike Munger just linked to a cover of this song by the band "Breezewood Honeymoon" titled "I Want My PhD":
Now look at those professors—that’s the way you do it
You do your research with your PhD
That ain’t working—that’s the way you do it
Money for talking and write for free

That ain’t working—that’s the way you do it
Let me tell you those professors ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on their typing fingers
Maybe get a little blister on their tongues

They want to publish peer-reviewed papers
They got the fire in the bel---ly
They are movers and shakers
Because they have that damned degree

See that rumpled fellow with the pipe and the tweed coat
Granny glasses and the thinning hair?
That rumpled fellow is a famous scholar
That rumpled fellow is a luminaire

He wants to publish peer reviewed papers… (etc.)

Someday I’ll finish my dissertation
I’ll write it up and I’ll turn it in
Someday I’ll have me a tenure-track position
Man, that’s when the fun begins
I’ll teach class Tuesday and Thursday
I’ll leave the research to my advisees
I’ll criticize them in office hours
I’ll give them all the third degree

They’ve got to publish peer reviewed papers… (etc.)

That ain’t working—that’s the way you do it
They leave the research to their advisees
That ain’t working—that’s the way you do it
Money for talking and write for free"
Now all we need is a gangsta version.

The Justice Racer Cannot Beat a Snail:  Andersen's David Duncan Finally Has Closure

"Andersen Figure Settles Charges: Former Head of Enron Team Barred From Some Professional Duties," by Kristen Hays, SmartPros, January 29, 2008 --- 

The former head of one-time Big Five auditing firm Arthur Andersen's Enron accounting team has settled civil charges that he recklessly failed to recognize that the risky yet lucrative client cooked its books.

David Duncan, who testified against his former employer after Andersen cast him aside as a rogue accountant, didn't admit or deny wrongdoing in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday.

The SEC said in the settlement that he violated securities laws and barred him from ever practicing as an accountant in a role that involves signing a public company's financial statements, such as a chief accounting officer. But he could be a company director or another kind of officer and was not assessed any fines or otherwise sanctioned.

Three other former partners at the firm have been temporarily prohibited from acting as accountants before the SEC in separate settlements unveiled Monday.

Andersen crumbled amid the Enron scandal after the accounting firm was indicted, tried and found guilty -- a conviction that eventually was overturned on appeal.

The settlements came six years after Andersen came under fire for approving fudged financial statements while collecting tens of millions of dollars in fees from Enron each year.

Greg Faragasso, an assistant director of enforcement for the SEC, said Monday that the agency focused on wrongdoers at Enron first and moved on to gatekeepers accused of allowing fraud to thrive at the company.

"When auditors of public companies fail to do their jobs properly, investors can get hurt, as happened quite dramatically in the Enron matter," he said.

Barry Flynn, Duncan's longtime lawyer, said his client has made "every effort" to cooperate with authorities and take responsibility for his role as Andersen's head Enron auditor.

That included pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in April 2002, testifying against his former employer and waiting for years to be sentenced until he withdrew his plea with no opposition from prosecutors.

"After six years of government investigations and assertions, surrounding his and Andersen's activities, it was decided that it was time to get these matters behind him," Flynn said.

Duncan, 48, has worked as a consultant in recent years.

He was a chief target in the early days of the government's Enron investigation as head of a team of 100 auditors who oversaw Enron's books. In the fall of 2001, he and his staff shredded and destroyed tons of Enron-related paper and electronic audit documents as the SEC began asking questions about Enron's finances.

Andersen fired Duncan in January 2002, saying he led "an expedited effort to destroy documents" after learning that the SEC had asked Enron for information about financial accounting and reporting.

The firm also disciplined several other partners, including the three at the center of the other settlements announced Monday. They are Thomas Bauer, 54, who oversaw the books of Enron's trading franchise; Michael Odom, 65, former practice director of the Gulf region for Andersen; and Michael Lowther, 51, the former partner in charge of Andersen's energy audit division.

Their settlement agreements said that they weren't skeptical enough of risky Enron transactions that skirted accounting rules. Odom and Lowther were barred from accounting before the SEC for two years, and Bauer for three years. None was fined.

Their lawyer, Jim Farrell, declined to comment Monday.

Duncan's firing and the other disciplinary moves were part of Andersen's failed effort to avoid prosecution. But the firm was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice in March 2002, and Duncan later pleaded guilty to the same charge.

In Andersen's trial, Duncan recalled how he advised his staff to follow a little-known company policy that required retention of final audit documents and destruction of drafts and other extraneous paper.

That meeting came 11 days after Nancy Temple, a former in-house lawyer for Andersen, had sent an e-mail to Odom advising that "it would be helpful" that the staff be reminded of the policy.

Duncan testified that he didn't believe their actions were illegal at the time, but after months of meetings with investigators, he decided he had committed a crime.

Bauer and Temple invoked their 5th Amendment rights not to testify in the Andersen trial. However, Bauer testified against former Enron Chairman Ken Lay and CEO Jeff Skilling in their 2006 fraud and conspiracy trial.

Andersen insisted that the document destruction took place as required by policy and wasn't criminal, but the firm was convicted in June 2002.

Three years later the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction because U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon in Houston gave jurors an instruction that allowed them to convict without having to find that the firm had criminal intent.

That ruling paved the way for Duncan -- the only individual at Andersen charged with a crime -- to withdraw his guilty plea in December 2005.

In his plea, he said he instructed his staff to comply with Andersen's document policy, knowing the destroyed documents would be unavailable to the SEC. But he didn't say he knew he was acting wrongfully.

Frontline (from PBS) videos on accounting and finance regulation and scandals in the U.S. ---
This link was forwarded by Richard Cambell.

Note that one of the Frontline videos in about the Enron scandal ---

Andersen's demise didn't solve the broader problem of the cozy collaboration between auditors and their corporate clients. "This is day-to-day business in accounting firms and on Wall Street," says former SEC Chief Accountant Lynn Turner. "There is nothing extraordinary, nothing unusual, with respect to Enron." Will Congress and the SEC do what's needed to restore trust in the system?
See "More Enrons Ahead" video in the list of Frontline (from PBS) videos on accounting and finance regulation and scandals ---

I draw some conclusions about David Duncan (they're not pretty) at

My Enron timeline is at

My thread on the Enron/Worldcom scandals are at

February 1, 2008 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


A new year has brought new publications that contemplate the future effects of technologies on education. Three of these documents are presented here.

In "How Technology Will Shape Our Future: Three Views of the Twenty-First Century" (ECAR Research Bulletin, Issue 2, 2008), Thomas L. Franke "explores three of the most compelling views of our longer-term future, the role of technology in those possible futures, and the impact these alternative futures might have on higher education. The alternatives range from a future of extreme constraint and possible collapse . . . to one of unprecedented abundance, where most of the current work of higher education will be automated. . . ."

The report is available online to members of ECAR subscribing institutions at To find out if your institution is a subscriber, go to

ECAR (EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research) "provides timely research and analysis to help higher education leaders make better decisions about information technology. ECAR assembles leading scholars, practitioners, researchers, and analysts to focus on issues of critical importance to higher education, many of which carry increasingly complicated and consequential implications." For more information go to


Charles W. Bailey, Jr., compiler of SCHOLARLY ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING BIBLIOGRAPHY (now in its 70th edition), has recently published "Institutional Repositories, Tout de Suite", a work "designed to give the reader a very quick introduction to key aspects of institutional repositories and to foster further exploration of this topic though liberal use of relevant references to online documents and links to pertinent websites." The document covers definitions of institutional repositories, why institutions should have them, and the issues authors face when contributing to repositories.

"Institutional Repositories, Tout de Suite" is available at The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License, and it can be freely used for any noncommercial purpose in accordance with the license.

You can access all of Bailey's publications on scholarly communication at


"Thanks to YouTube, Professors Are Finding New Audiences"

By Jeffrey R. Young


January 9, 2008


He got a court martial for shooting the intruder because his gun was too small for a kill
The 22-cal. bullet simply bounced off the hard head's skull

"Retired Green Beret Gets Court Martial After Shooting Intruder," Blue Star Chronicles, January 19, 2008 ---
The Unknown Professor who runs the Financial Rounds blog provided the link on February 1, 2008 ---

The PC Free Zone is reporting that an 80-year-old retired Green Beret has been tried by his peers after shooting an intruder in his Knoxville, Tennessee home. He is the oldest member of Chapter XXXIII of the Special Forces Association. BREVARD, Jan. 19, 2008 Retired Army Green Beret Smokey Taylor got his court martial this weekend and came away feeling good about it.

Taylor, at age 80 the oldest member of Chapter XXXIII of the Special Forces Association, was on trial by his peers under the charge of failing to use a weapon of sufficient caliber in the shooting of an intruder at his home in Knoxville, TN, in December.

The entire affair, of course, was very much tongue in cheek. Taylor had been awakened in the early morning hours of Dec. 17, 2007, when an intruder broke into his home. He investigated the noises with one of his many weapons in hand.

When the intruder threatened him with a knife, Taylor warned him, then brought his .22 caliber pistol to bear and shot him right between the eyes.

That boy had the hardest head I've ever seen, Taylor said after his trial. The bullet bounced right off. The impact knocked the would-be thief down momentarily. He crawled out of the room then got up and ran out the door and down the street. Knoxville police apprehended him a few blocks away and he now awaits trial in the Knox County jail.

The charges against Taylor were considered to be serious. He is a retired Special Forces Weapons Sergeant with extensive combat experience during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

Charges were brought against him under the premise that he should have saved the county and taxpayers the expense of a trial, said Chapter XXXIII President Bill Long of Asheville. He could have used a .45 or .38. The .22 just wasnt big enough to get the job done.

Taylors defense attorney, another retired Weapons Sergeant, disagreed. He said Taylor had done the right thing in choosing to arm himself with a .22.

If hed used a .45 or something like that the round would have gone right through the perp, the wall, the neighbors wall and possibly injured some innocent child asleep in its bed, he said. I believe the evidence shows that Smokey Taylor exercised excellent judgment in his choice of weapons. He did nothing wrong, and clearly remains to this day an excellent weapons man.

Counsel for the defense then floated a theory as to why the bullet bounced off the perps forehead.

He was victimized by old ammunition, he said, just as he was in Korea and again in Vietnam, when his units were issued ammo left over from World War II.

Taylor said nothing in his own defense, choosing instead to allow his peers to debate the matter. After the trial he said the ammunition was indeed old and added the new information that the perp had soiled his pants as he crawled out of the house.

I would have had an even worse mess to clean up if it had gone through his forehead, Taylor said. It was good for both of us that it didnt.

Following testimony from both sides, Taylor was acquitted of the charges and was given a round of applause.

Meanwhile, back in Knox County, the word is out: Don't go messing with Smokey Taylor. He just bought a whole bunch of fresh ammo.

Jensen Comment
I recommend taking aim lower down in softer tissue where the intruder's small brain is actually housed.

"Which Technologies Will Shape Education in 2008?" by Dave Nagel, T.H.E. Journal, February 2008 ---

Mobile broadband, collaborative Web technologies, and mashups will all significantly impact education over the next five years, along with "grassroots" video, collective intelligence, and "social operating systems." This according to a new report released last week by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative, the 2008 Horizon Report.

The report focuses on the six key technology areas that the researchers identified as likely to have a major impact on "the choices of learning-focused organizations within the next five years," broken down into the technologies that will have an impact in the near term, those that are in the early stages of adoption, and those that are a bit further out on the horizon.

In the near term--that is, in the timeframe of about a year or less--the technologies that will have a significant impact on education include grassroots video and collaborative Web technologies. Grassroots video is, simply, user-generated video created on inexpensive consumer electronics devices and edited and encoded using free or inexpensive consumer- or prosumer-grade NLEs. Internet-based services supporting the sharing of these videos have allowed institutions to mingle their content with consumer content and "will fuel rapid growth among learning-focused organizations who want their content to be where the viewers are," according to the report. The second near-term trend, collaborative Web technology, is already in wide use in education at all levels. The complete report (see link below) provides further details.

In the mid-term, mobile broadband and data mashups will make their mark on education. Mashups, according to the report, will largely impact the way education institutions represent information. "While most current examples are focused on the integration of maps with a variety of data," the report said, "it is not difficult to picture broad educational and scholarly applications for mashups." Mobile broadband too is in the early stages of adoption for educational purposes, from project-based learning activities to virtual field trips.

Further down the road, according to the report, come "collective intelligence" and "social operating systems." Collective intelligence includes wikis and community tagging. A social operating system is "the essential ingredient of next generation social networking" and "will support whole new categories of applications that weave through the implicit connections and clues we leave everywhere as we go about our lives, and use them to organize our work and our thinking around the people we know," according to the report. The time to adoption for these last two will be four to five years, the report said.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at 

New Media Consortium (NMC) is an "international 501(c)3 not-for-profit consortium of nearly 200 leading colleges, universities, museums, corporations, and other learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies." For more information, go to

"2008 HORIZON REPORT ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES," New Media Consortium, 2008 ---

The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the New Media Consortium (NMC)’s Horizon Project, a five-year qualitative research effort that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations. The 2008 Horizon Report, the fifth in this annual series, is produced as a collaboration between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE program.

The main sections of the report describe six emerging technologies or practices that will likely enter mainstream use in learning-focused organizations within three adoption horizons over the next one to five years. Also highlighted are a set of challenges and trends that will influence our choices in the same time frames. The project draws on an ongoing primary research effort that has distilled the viewpoints of more than 175 Advisory Board members in the fields of business, industry, and education into the six topics presented here; drawn on an extensive array of published resources, current research, and practice; and made extensive use of the expertise of the NMC and ELI communities. (The precise research methodology is detailed in the final section.) Many of the examples under each area feature the innovative work of NMC and ELI member institutions.

The format of the Horizon Report reflects the focus of the Horizon Project, which centers on the applications of emerging technologies to teaching, learning, and creative expression. Each topic opens with an overview to introduce the concept or technology involved and follows with a discussion of the particular relevance of the topic to education or creativity. Examples of how the technology is being—or could be—applied to those activities are given. Each description is followed by an annotated list of additional examples and readings which expand on the discussion in the Report, as well as a link to the list of tagged resources collected by the Advisory Board and other interested parties during the process of researching the topic areas.


Key Emerging Technologies

The technologies featured in the 2008 Horizon Report are placed along three adoption horizons that represent what the Advisory Board considers likely timeframes for their entrance into mainstream use for teaching, learning, or creative applications. The first adoption horizon assumes the likelihood of entry within the next year; the second, within two to three years; and the third, within four to five years. The two technologies placed on the first adoption horizon in this edition, grassroots video and collaboration webs, are already in use on many campuses. Examples of these are not difficult to find. Applications of mobile broadband and data mashups, both on the mid-term horizon, are evident in organizations at the leading edge of technology adoption, and are beginning to appear at many institutions. Educational uses of the two topics on the far-term horizon, collective intelligence and social operating systems, are understandably rarer; however, there are examples in the worlds of commerce, industry and entertainment that hint at coming use in academia within four to five years.

Each profiled technology is described in detail in the body of the report, including a discussion of what it is and why it is relevant to teaching, learning, and creative expression. Specific examples are listed there for each of the six topics, consistent with the level of adoption at the time the report was written (December 2007). Taken as a set, our research indicates that all six of these technologies will significantly impact the choices of learning-focused organizations within the next five years.

Grassroots Video.
Virtually anyone can capture, edit, and share short video clips, using inexpensive equipment (such as a cell phone) and free or nearly free software. Video sharin sites continue to grow at some of the most prodigious rates on the Internet; it is very common now to find news clips, tutorials, and informative videos listed alongside the music videos and the
raft of personal content that dominated these sites when they first appeared. What used to be difficult and expensive, and often required special servers and content distribution networks, now has become something anyone can do easily for almost nothing. Hosting services handle encoding, infrastructure, searching, and more, leaving only the content for the producer to worry about. Custom branding has allowed institutions to even have their own special presence within these networks, and will fuel rapid growth among learning-focused organizations who want their content to be where the viewers are.

Collaboration Webs.
Collaboration no longer calls for expensive equipment and specialized expertise. The newest tools for collaborative work are small, flexible, and free, and require no installation. Colleagues simply open their web browsers and they are able to edit group documents, hold online meetings, swap information and data, and collaborate in any number of ways without ever leaving their desks. Open programming interfaces allow users to author tools that they need and easily tailor them to their requirements, then share them with others.

Mobile Broadband.
Each year, more than a billion new mobile devices are manufactured1— or a new phone for every six people on the planet. In this market, innovation is unfolding at an unprecedented pace. Capabilities are increasing rapidly, and prices are becoming ever more affordable. Indeed, mobiles are quickly becoming the most affordable portable platform for staying networked on the go. New displays and interfaces make it possible to use mobiles to access almost any Internet content—content that can be delivered over either a broadband cellular network or a local wireless network.

Data Mashups.
Mashups—custom applications where combinations of data from different sources are “mashed up” into a single tool— offer new ways to look at and interact with datasets. The availability of large amounts of data (from search patterns, say, or real estate sales or Flickr photo tags) is converging with the development of open programming interfaces for social networking, mapping, and other tools. This in turn is opening the doors to hundreds of data mashups that will transform the way we understand and represent information.

Collective Intelligence.
The kind of knowledge and understanding that emerges from large groups of people is collective intelligence. In the coming years, we will see educational applications for both explicit collective intelligence—evidenced in projects like the Wikipedia and in community tagging—and implicit collective intelligence, or data gathered from the repeated activities of numbers of people, including search patterns, cell phone locations over time, geocoded digital photographs, and other data that are passively obtained. Data mashups will tap into information generated by collective intelligence to expand our understanding of ourselves and the technologically-mediated world we inhabit.

Social Operating Systems.
The essential ingredient of next generation social networking, social operating systems, is that they will base the organization of the network around people, rather than around content. This simple conceptual shift promises profound implications for the academy, and for the ways in which we think about knowledge and learning. Social operating systems will support whole new categories of applications that weave through the implicit connections and clues we leave everywhere as we go about our lives, and use them to organize our work and our thinking around the people we know. As might be expected when studying emerging phenomena over time, some of these topics are related to, or outgrowths of, ones featured in previous editions of the Horizon Report.

Grassroots video (2008), for example, reflects the evolution of user-created content (2007); it has been singled out this year because it has emerged as a distinct set of technologies in common use that has broad application to teaching, learning, and creative expression.

Similarly, we have followed mobile devices with interest for the past several years. In 2006, multimedia capture was the key factor; mobiles became prolific recording devices for video, audio, and still imagery. Personal content storehouses were the focus of mobile in 2007; calendars, contact databases, photo and music collections, and more began to be increasingly and commonly stored on mobile devices over the past year. Now for 2008, we are seeing the effect of new displays and increased access to web content taking these devices by storm. Nonetheless, while there are abundant examples of personal and professional uses for mobiles, educational content delivery via mobile devices is still in the early stages. The expectation is that advances in technology over the next twelve to eighteen months will remove the last barriers to access and bring mobiles truly into the mainstream for education.

Critical Challenges

The Horizon Project Advisory Board annually identifies critical challenges facing learning organizations over the five-year time period covered by this report, drawing them from a careful analysis of current events, papers, articles, and similar sources. The challenges ranked as most likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, and creativity in the coming years appear below, in the order of importance assigned them by the Advisory Board.

These challenges are a reflection of the impact of new practices and technologies on our lives. They are indicative of the changing nature of the way we communicate, access information, and connect with peers and colleagues. Taken together, they provide a framing perspective with which to consider the potential impacts of the six technologies and practices described in this edition of the Horizon Report.

Significant Trends

Each year the Horizon Advisory Board also researches, identifies and ranks key trends affecting the areas of teaching, learning, and creative expression. The Board reviews current articles, interviews, papers, and published research to discover emerging or continuing trends. The trends are ranked according to how significant an impact they are likely to have on education in the next five years.

Continued in article

February 12, 2008 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

On the Horizon Report emerging technologies in education article, I remember when everyone was worried that the introduction of computers to the younger generation would dull their social skills and they would no longer interact with other humans. While it might indeed have dulled their *traditional* people skills, and while the term "interpersonal communication" has definitely morphed or evolved, my observation is that my kids' generation is probably interacting more, with far more people, far more times per day, far more hours of the day, in far more diverse media, than my generation ever did. I would guess that the time, and volume, of interpersonal communication has exponentially exploded rather than decreased.

Growing up, it was a fairly rare event for the one Western-Electric-manufactured telephone in our family's home to ever ring, and our other interpersonal contacts were mainly limited to the immediate neighbors and colleagues at work or school, plus the once-a-month letter to grandma and grandpa. Today, I'd bet the active family's consolidated phone bill (including cell) would include dozens, if not hundreds, of numbers per month, with dozens of calls per day. Some families I know go through a thousand minutes per month just on the cell phones, not including their intra-provider and "free calling period" nights and weekends. And honest-to-goodness emails (excluding spam) probably multiply the number of people we communicate with and the amount and diversity of ideas, concepts, thoughts, and other messages we communicate between ourselves and others. And then there's the I.M. thing, and blogs, and You-Tube and ... I could go on and on. All of this is "communication", even ! ! though some of it might better be considered "mmunication", without the "co".

No question about it: the *nature* of the communication has changed quite a bit. (Some people say the "quality" of communication has changed, but quality is subjective.) But I believe most of today's college students are just as capable of interacting with other people (just in a different way) as we were, and the doomsayers missed the mark a little.

My graduate class yesterday was engaged in a discussion based on the fact that accounting reports are communication. The discussion was so interesting, we went 35 minutes over time, and nobody noticed! Honest. I was the first to glance at the clock, and everyone was surprised it was so late... no one had given me signals or pointed to their watch or any of the usual tactics they use when they notice we are going over, -- because we were all fascinated by the applicability of various facets of communication theory to the physical construction of accounting reports. They, like me, expressed disappointment we had to end. This was a first for me, and may never happen again in my career.

Another two pennies not worth the copper,

David Fordham
James Madison University

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are linked at

Ironkey Hardware Encrypted Flash Drive

February 2, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@BONACKERS.COM]

Yesterday's newsletter from  included an ad for a hardware encrypted flash drive called ironkey. It's not cheap, but might be effective. A hard drive with built in hardware encryption would also be useful.

Scott Bonacker CPA
Springfield, MO

"Solving Laptop Larceny: If your laptop is stolen, with your confidential data, several companies will help you get it back -– or else disable it," by Lamont "Wood, MIT's Technology Review, June 19, 2006 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at

From the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching ---
"Strengthening Pre-collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC)," Carnegie Perspectives Newsletter, February 7, 2008
The theory behind Carnegie's Strengthening Pre-collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) work is central to many of our programs: teaching is traditionally solitary work, undertaken behind closed doors. Unlike professions that have many avenues, both written and interactive—for documenting practice and learning from it—teachers are typically unable to benefit from the work of their peers. Yet, the acts of teaching and learning need to be made more visible.Windows on Learning, the aspect of SPECC that Molly Breen writes about in this month's Perspectives, is one of our responses to this challenge. Breen, who is part of the SPECC team, empathetically describes the situation faced by a new hire at a community college, and beautifully allows us to understand the frustration of faculty who are struggling to ensure student success. Carnegie has created a forum—Carnegie Conversations—where you can engage publicly with the author and read and respond to what others have to say about this article at .

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education challenges are at

Property Taxes for the Super Rich Aren't High Relatively (and remember that property taxes are deductable for Federal and state income taxes)

"Who Pays the Most Taxes?" by Josh Barbanel, The New York Times, February 4, 2008 ---

A TAX collector’s tour of Manhattan might rightfully begin in front of the neo-Georgian town house on East 63rd Street with stately stone pillars and a bowed brick front, a large flagpole protruding from a fourth-floor terrace. Once a private club and later a Catholic school, it is now the home of Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire who made his fortune buying up troubled companies.

Mr. Perelman’s 40-foot-wide house, bought for about $5 million in 1983 (a few years before he famously took over Revlon), holds the distinction of being the highest-taxed single-family home in New York City. It is valued by the city’s tax assessors at $37.5 million, under new assessments released a few weeks ago, up 15 percent from the year before. The property taxes on it are likely to be more than $213,000 when the new tax bills arrive in July, based on current taxes rates.

While the taxes paid by wealthy town-house owners may seem high to ordinary mortals, they can be phased in over many years and usually do not reflect the current market values. The owners would pay even more if they were not protected by the same provisions of tax laws created to shield middle-class homeowners in the Bronx or co-op residents on Queens Boulevard from onerous tax increases. Without this circuit breaker, Mr. Perelman’s taxes could have been as high as $347,000.

Or a tax tour might reasonably begin instead at Rupert Murdoch’s opulent penthouse apartment, 20 rooms spread over three floors and 8,000 square feet (plus 4,000 square feet of terraces), at 834 Fifth Avenue (64th Street), one of grandest and most expensive co-op apartments in one of the most pedigreed buildings in the country.

One might think it would be one of the highest taxed as well. Mr. Murdoch paid $44 million for it three years ago, a record price at the time, and it is probably worth more today. However, Mr. Murdoch’s share of the co-op’s tax bill works out to only about $55,000, the equivalent of a ridiculously low $625 tax bill on a $500,000 home on any suburban street.

Assessors pay no attention to the sales prices of co-ops and treat prewar co-ops like Mr. Murdoch’s building as if they were aging rental buildings, driving down taxes far below those paid by the owners of condos and town houses.

The real tax losers among the rich are those who live in many of the newer buildings in town. The highest-taxed apartments are in the residential towers of the Time Warner Center, where owners on the upper floors can look out on the lower-taxed luxury co-ops lining the east and west sides of Central Park.

At Time Warner, and at other new condos, city records show that assessments are far higher than in prewar co-ops. Unlike other new buildings, the huge Time Warner project, built on public land, the former site of the New York Coliseum, did not qualify for a construction tax exemption to soften the blow.

David Martinez, a Mexican-born financier and art collector who assembled the largest apartment at the Time Warner Center by combining two penthouses on the 76th and 77th floors of the south tower, pays the most of any residential taxpayer in the city: $442,000.

Mr. Martinez paid $54.3 million for the 16,300 square feet of space in two apartments he combined, and resale prices in the building have been rising in the building ever since. But assessors are required to value the apartment as if it were in a rental building, and in each of the last three years the city’s Finance Department actually lowered Mr. Martinez’s assessment significantly. Mr. Martinez’s taxes for this coming year will fall 6 percent below the $468,858 he was billed this year.

Next is Stephen M. Ross, the chairman of Related Properties, which built the Time Warner Center. His full-floor 9,290-square-foot apartment atop the south tower, a few floors above Mr. Martinez’s duplex, is listed with taxes of nearly $241,000, with a 6 percent reduction from the year before.

But the situation is different across the way at 15 Central Park West, the new and much-celebrated project designed by Robert A. M. Stern, where the developers were able to obtain a 421-a tax exemption. The top-floor penthouse on the Central Park side of the building sold last summer for $42.4 million to Sanford I. Weill, the former chairman of Citicorp.

City records show that the tax bill for the apartment was about $76,000 in 2007, less than it might have been because the building’s developers, Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf, got tax breaks.

To obtain these breaks, the Zeckendorfs bought housing certificates that went to help build low-income housing in other parts of the city.

Soon tax breaks like that will end because most of the abatement program is being phased out over the next few months in Manhattan. People who buy apartments in new buildings in the future may face sharply higher taxes.

Some interesting histories pop up on the top 10 list of highest property taxes paid.

After Mr. Perelman’s, the town house with the highest taxes is a 59-foot-wide house on East 81st Street, built to house a private art collection. Just down the street from the Metropolitan Museum, it was later used as a residence by the Catholic Church. Tax records list a corporate owner, but neighbors say that a Kuwait-born billionaire has maintained a home there for many years. The house is valued by the taxing authorities at $32.8 million, 13 percent below Mr. Perelman’s house, but its property tax bill is almost as high, at $211,000.

Continued in article

Trivia Questions

  1. What is Perlman's net worth (rounded to the nearest billion)?
    A mere $10 billion (which makes leaves him at rank 28 among U.S. billionaires) ---
  2. How much did Ellen Barkin get in her messy 2006 divorce from Ronald Perlman?
    Purportedly a mere $40 million after six years of marriage ---
    Ronald Perlman has good lawyers for business, taxes, and divorce court.

From the Scout Report on February 8, 2008

eMailaya 3.0.5 --- 

For those looking for a lightweight email client, eMailaya 3.0.5 just might fit the bill. Users will find that eMailaya can accommodate multiple accounts, manage RSS feeds effectively, and also backup important files. This version is compatible with computers running Windows NT, 2000, XP, and Vista.

Google SketchUp 6.4.120 --- 

Perhaps you fancy yourself the next Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Gehry? You can try out your sketches and other designs with this new version of Google SketchUp. The application allows users to create, view, and modify various 3D forms quickly. Users can render edges of any given model in 3D space, and the application will automatically determine the nature of the lines and fill shapes to complete the process. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3.9 and newer.

As the FBI prepares to expand biometric database, civil liberty groups express concern FBI wants palm prints, eye scans, tattoo mapping 

FBI preps award for biometric database 

Center for Identification Technology Research [pdf] 

CBC Archives: The Long Lens of the Law [pdf] 

Latent Print Examination 

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Using Field Lab Write-ups to Develop Observational and Critical Thinking Skills ---

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Columbia University has created a Web site to educate elementary and secondary students about the civil-rights and black-power movements spanning 1954 through 1975.
The site, called the Amistad Digital Resource, includes audio and video clips of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights leaders. It also includes FBI documents and maps where civil-rights demonstrations took place.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 5, 2008 ---

Backgrounder: Council on Foreign Relations ---

EUROPA: Key facts and figures about Europe and the Europeans ---

Statistics: Cast Your Vote! ---

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University of Wollongong: Statistical Literacy ---

Statistics: Cast Your Vote! ---

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Conclusion - history, unfortunately, is too often considered inert, people think that it should be forgotten, denied as having significance now, as the world so rapidly shifts. It's pretty clear we never thought to include the culture of the Muslim world in most of our history books. Our efforts as educators to respond to these feelings has perpetuated these negative perceptions. Awareness leads to discovery and appreciation. It implies life, growth, and moving forward.
Beverly C. Lucey, "History Lessons," The Irascible Professor, February 8, 2008 ---

Columbia University has created a Web site to educate elementary and secondary students about the civil-rights and black-power movements spanning 1954 through 1975.
The site, called the Amistad Digital Resource, includes audio and video clips of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights leaders. It also includes FBI documents and maps where civil-rights demonstrations took place.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 5, 2008 ---

Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts ---


African American History Month ---
Also see


World War One Color Photos ---

After Columbus: Four-Hundred Years of Native American Portraiture ---


Gathering The Jewels: The Website for Welsh Cultural History (Multimedia) ---


The Belgian-American Collection ---


SPARROW - Sound & Picture Archives for Research On Women of India (Multimedia)

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Updates from WebMD ---


Iodized table salt may be low in iodine, raising health concerns
Amid concern that people in the United States are consuming inadequate amounts of iodine, scientists in Texas have found that 53 percent of iodized salt samples contained less than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended level of this key nutrient. Iodized table salt is the main source of iodine for most individuals, they note in a study scheduled for the Feb. 15 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology . . . Iodine is especially important for normal brain development in newborn infants and children, they state, noting a link between iodine deficiency and attention deficit disorder or ADD that has been suggested by other researchers. To assess the adequacy of iodine nutrition, the researchers tested 88 samples of iodized salt and found that 47 did not meet the FDA’s recommended level. In addition, amount of iodine varied in individual packages and brands of salt. The researchers expressed particular concern about the adequacy of iodine nutrition in women who are pregnant or nursing. “If salt does supply a significant portion of the iodine intake of a pregnant/lactating woman in the United States (note that a large fraction of postnatal vitamins contain no iodine), and she is unfortunate enough to pick a can of salt that is low in iodine or in which distribution is greatly uneven, there is a potential for serious harm,” the study states.
PhysOrg, February 4, 2008 ---

Vitamin E or C does not reduce risk of dementia or Alzheimer's
Contrary to previous research, older adults who use over-the-counter vitamin E or C supplements do not have a reduced risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This is according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that tracked patients using vitamin E and/or vitamin C supplements over a follow-up period of more than 5 years. The study also finds that the combined use of vitamins E and C, which was previously thought to offer even greater protection against the diseases, also did not reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.
PhysOrg, February 4, 2008 ---

Folate deficiency associated with tripling of dementia risk
Folate deficiency is associated with a tripling in the risk of developing dementia among elderly people, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The researchers tracked the development of dementia in 518 people over two years from 2001 to 2003. All participants were over the age of 65 and lived in one rural and one urban area in the south of the country. Validated tests were carried out at the start and end of the two year period to find out if they had a dementing illness. Similarly, blood tests were taken to assess levels of folate, vitamin B12, and the protein homocysteine, and how these changed over time. High levels of homocysteine have been associated with cardiovascular disease. At the start of the two year period, almost one in five people had high levels of homocysteine, while 17% had low vitamin B12 levels and 3.5% were folate deficient. The higher the levels of folate to begin with, the higher were vitamin B12 levels, and the lower those of homocysteine. By the end of the study, 45 people had developed dementia. Of these, 34 had Alzheimer’s disease, seven had vascular dementia, and four had “other” types of dementia.
PhysOrg, February 5, 2008 ---

Older women more likely to become, remain depressed than older men
Older women appear more susceptible to depression and more likely to stay depressed but less likely to die while depressed than older men, factors that contribute to the higher burden of depression among older women, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Major depression affects approximately 1 percent to 2 percent of older adults living in the community, but as many as 20 percent experience symptoms of depression, according to background information in the article. These symptoms are more likely to affect older women than older men for reasons that are unclear. Lisa C. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues evaluated a group of 754 individuals age 70 and older (average age 78.4) beginning in 1998. At the beginning of the study and at follow-up assessments conducted every 18 months, participants were asked to provide demographic information, take cognitive tests and report any medical conditions. They also were screened for symptoms of depression—such as lack of appetite, feeling sad or sleep problems—during the previous week.
PhysOrg, February 4, 2008 ---

FDA Links Anti-Wrinkle Drugs to Deaths
The popular anti-wrinkle drug Botox and a competitor have been linked to dangerous botulism symptoms in some users, cases so bad that a few children given the drugs for muscle spasms have died, the government warned Friday. The Food and Drug Administration's warning includes both Botox, a wrinkle-specific version called Botox Cosmetic, and its competitor, Myobloc, drugs that all use botulinum toxin to block nerve impulses, causing them to relax. In rare cases, the toxin can spread beyond the injection site to other parts of the body, paralyzing or weakening the muscles used for breathing and swallowing, a potentially fatal side effect, the FDA said. Botox is best known for minimizing wrinkles by paralyzing facial muscles - but botulinum toxin also is widely used for a variety of muscle-spasm conditions, such as cervical dystonia or severe neck spasms. The FDA said the deaths it is investigating so far all involve children, mostly cerebral palsy patients being treated for spasticity in their legs. The FDA has never formally approved that use for the drugs, but some other countries have. However, the FDA warned that it also is probing reports of illnesses in people of all ages who used the drugs for a variety of conditions, including at least one hospitalization of a woman given Botox for forehead wrinkles.
Lauran Neergaard, PhysOrg, February 8, 2008 ---

Misery is not miserly: New study finds why even momentary sadness increases spending
How you are feeling has an impact on your routine economic transactions, whether you’re aware of this effect or not. In a new study that links contemporary science with the classic philosophy of William James, a research team finds that people feeling sad and self-focused spend more money to acquire the same commodities than those in a neutral emotional state. The team’s paper, “Misery is not Miserly: Sad and Self-Focused Individuals Spend More,” will be published in the June 2008 edition of Psychological Science and will be presented at the Society for Social and Personality Psychology’s Annual Meeting on Feb. 9. The new study follows up on earlier research that established a connection between sadness and buying. Researchers Cynthia Cryder (Carnegie Melon University), Jennifer Lerner (Harvard University), James J. Gross (Stanford University), and Ronald E. Dahl (University of Pittsburgh) have now discovered that heightened self-focus drives the connection – a finding that expands understanding of consumer behavior and, more broadly, the impact of emotions on decision-making.
PhysOrg, December 8, 2008 ---

Embryos Created With DNA From 3 People
British scientists have created human embryos containing DNA from two women and one man, a procedure that could potentially prevent conditions including epilepsy, diabetes and heart failure. Though the preliminary research has raised concerns about the possibility of genetically modified babies, the scientists say that the embryos are still only primarily the product of one man and one woman. "We are not trying to alter genes, we're just trying to swap a small proportion of the bad ones for some good ones," said Patrick Chinnery, a professor of neurogenetics at Newcastle University involved in the research. The process aims to avoid passing onto children bad mitochondria genes, which are contained outside the nucleus in a normal female egg. Mitochondria are a cell's energy source, but mistakes in their genetic code can result in serious diseases like epilepsy, strokes, and mental retardation. In their research, Chinnery and colleagues used normal embryos created from one man and one woman that had defective mitochondria in the woman's egg. They then transplanted that embryo into an emptied egg donated from a second woman who had healthy mitochondria. "The proportion of genes in the mitochondria is infinitesimal," said Francoise Shenfield, a fertility expert with the European Society of Human Fertility and Reproduction. Shenfield is not connected to the Newcastle University Research.Only trace amounts of a person's genes come from the mitochondria, and experts said it would be incorrect to say that the embryos have three parents. "Most of the genes that make you who you are are inside the nucleus," Chinnery said. "We're not going anywhere near that."
PhysOrg, February 5, 2008 ---

Women take almost 50 percent more short-term sick leave than men
Women take almost 50% more short term sick leave than men, finds research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. But they don’t take more long term sick leave, the findings show. The researchers assessed periods of sick leave among almost 7000 municipal workers in Helsinki, Finland, between 2002 and 2005. The employees, who were all aged between 40 and 60, were also quizzed about their working lives and general health. Physical health problems, physical work demands, and work fatigue were more commonly reported by women. And they were 46% more likely than men to call in sick for short periods of a few days (self certified sick leave). They were also a third more likely to take short term sick leave, certifiied by a doctor. But diagnosed illness explained only about a third of the difference in spells of self certified sick leave and about half of that certified by a doctor. Women may be better at recognising problems and going to the doctor for treatment, suggest the authors.
PhysOrg, February 5, 2008 ---

Former substance abusers rarely relapse after organ transplantation
Only about 6 percent of former alcoholics and 4 percent of former illicit drug users will relapse into their addictions in any given year following an organ transplant. These results are published in the February issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal by John Wiley & Sons. Substance abuse can lead to serious organ diseases for which transplantation is increasingly considered an acceptable treatment. Still, the transplant community remains concerned about these patients resuming their harmful behaviors once the transplant has been done. Studies have suggested vast disparities in the prevalence of addiction relapse after transplantation, so researchers, led by Mary Amanda Dew of the University of Pittsburgh, conducted a meta-analysis of the existing literature. They sought to establish precise estimates of the rates of alcohol and drug relapse in individuals receiving liver or other solid organ transplants. They also looked for associations between relapse and many pre-transplant or psychosocial characteristics.
PhysOrg, February 4, 2008 ---

Did you notice that during the Superbowl game, the NY Giants handed out bananas to disoriented players affected by the sweltering heat and humidity down at ground level?

Yes you should have a banana, have a banana today.

Forwarded by Dick Haar

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on:

Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!
This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia. Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert. Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives. Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system. Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness. Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation. Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady. Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan. Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack. Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%! Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"


The Bear & The Pope --- 

The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains of Alaska for some sight-seeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods.

A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a "Save the Whales" hat, and a "To Hell with Bush" T-shirt, was screaming while struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10 foot grizzly bear.

As the Pope watched horrified, a group of Republican loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a .44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Democrat from the bear's grasp, then using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it onto the bed of their truck while the third tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat.

As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions!" he told them. "I heard there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic Environmental Activists but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true."

As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked his buddies "Who was that guy?"

"It was the Pope," another replied. "He's in direct contact with heaven and has access to all wisdom."

"Well," the logger said, "he may have access to all wisdom but he sure don't know anything about bear hunting! Is the bait holding up, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts and get another one?"

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

A man had 50 yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As he sits down, a man comes down and asked the man if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.

"No", he said, "the seat is empty".

"This is incredible", said the man. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl , the biggest sport event in the world, and not use it ?" Somberly, the man says, "Well... the seat actually belongs to me. I was supposed to come here with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we have not been together since we got married in 1967." "Oh I'm sorry to hear that. That's terrible. But couldn't you find someone else - a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take the seat?" The man shakes his head, "No. They're all at the funeral."

Forwarded by Auntie Bev
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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
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