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God, give us grace
to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
that should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr


  • Ideas on past fraud cases - go back to the announcements before the event. For example, at Enron see Enron Vision and Values

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Speakers at Beta Alpha Psi 2013 in Garden Grove, CA

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Back to campus for the fall semester 8/17/2013

It is that time of the year. The final weekend before classes start. Saw this article online, although a bit of hand wringing about the state of governmental oversight of education ... there are some interesting tidbits to glean about the state of "teach to the test".

Warnings from the Trenches A high school teacher tells college educators what they can expect in the wake of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. By Kenneth Bernstein Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors.

You are a college professor. I have just retired as a high school teacher. I have some bad news for you. In case you do not already see what is happening, I want to warn you of what to expect from the students who will be arriving in your classroom, even if you teach in a highly selective institution.
No Child Left Behind went into effect for the 2002–03 academic year, which means that America’s public schools have been operating under the pressures and constrictions imposed by that law for a decade. Since the testing requirements were imposed beginning in third grade, the students arriving in your institution have been subject to the full extent of the law’s requirements. While it is true that the US Department of Education is now issuing waivers on some of the provisions of the law to certain states, those states must agree to other provisions that will have as deleterious an effect on real student learning as did No Child Left Behind—we have already seen that in public schools, most notably in high schools.

Brilliant Blog article on an academic article from Roediger and Pyc in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Asks the question: Why are we spending millions upon millions of dollars on unproven technologies, when there are so many empirically-proven techniques from cognitive science and psychology that are going virtually unused?

Learning blog

In addition to the great logo! Good content on many aspects of learning at

Plus a TED talk in July 2011 from the author, Annie Murphy Paul

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Competition in Accounting Systems ... Zero battling for QuickBooks type users

At the low end of the framework is Quicken / QuickBooks. A rising competitor in the US is Xero, which originated in New Zealand. Even a little competitive controversy.

Excel Spreadsheet errors

At this point, JP Morgan’s legal compliance and top executives, as well as a slew of government officials and executives around the world, may wish they’d never heard of Excel. It has been linked to a series of missteps and blowups, including:

The “London Whale” trade - Due to an error in an Excel spreadsheet used to model risk, JP Morgan seriously underestimated the downside of its synthetic credit portfolio, which ultimately led to the bank to declare $6 billion in losses and could lead to another $600 million in fines. As James Kwak explains on Baseline Scenario, the errors stemmed from a combination of copy-paste mistakes and a faulty equation created to crunch the numbers.


Good to see that control and governance is part of the danger described: #5: Limited governance with spreadsheets -- Kugel's last point concerned control. He explained that while spreadsheets offer users a lot of freedom, it might be too much in the world of corporate finance. "Individuals can immediately translate their thoughts about what to present and how to present it in a format that makes sense to them; they can update and modify it whenever they wish, and the change is instantaneous," he said. "[But] the downside is it's just this thing that drives parallel data stores with inconsistent and inaccurate data."

Spreadsheet mistakes - news stories on the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group site, Horror Stories.

Spreadsheet papers and other sources

  1. Evolution of Model-Driven Spreadsheets by Mendes
  2. Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems. Spreadsheet issues discovered by Herndon, Ash, and Pollin: They find that three main issues stand out. First, Reinhart and Rogoff selectively exclude years of high debt and average growth. Second, they use a debatable method to weight the countries. Third, there also appears to be a coding error that excludes high-debt and average-growth countries. All three bias in favor of their result, and without them you don't get their controversial result.
  3. Knox County TN $6 million accounting error
  4. Business Intelligence – The Four Worst Practices

IMDb - the Movie database

Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget Rule #1.

Warren Buffett

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