Friday, July 17, 2009

Anti-Plagiarism Day

Jane Smith on How Publishing Really Works has declared today Anti-Plagiarism Day!

Not only do I support this idea, I'm finding it a weird bit of synchronicity.

You see, last night, I stayed at work until 8 PM photocopying the evidence that showed one of my students had plagiarized from his peers. This was the second week in a row that student had been involved in plagiarism. Dude, why didn't the zero and the written warning I gave you last week scare you straight?

He was sneakier about it this time, but I R SMRT--and he may end up kicked out of university. Failing this week's assignment on his own merits would have been a far wiser choice than trying to pass based on someone else's.

Plagiarism is something I get pretty morally outraged over. I can empathize with the plagiarist in some cases, in that a student usually does it out of a sense of desperation. However, I won't let them off the hook for the theft. It's not a victimless crime; my students who had been plagiarized from last week were incensed to hear their work had been lifted word-for-word and equation-for-equation by someone they didn't even know.

When a published author plagiarizes another author, such as in the cases of the notorious Cassie Edwards or Janet Dailey, one of the things that annoys me most is some fans will not only defend the author, they'll blame the victim or the whistle-blower.

One common refrain that came from such fans when the (fabulous) Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website broke the Cassie Edward's story was that the SBs were being mean by slapping their evidence up on the internet--that such findings should be dealt with quietly, privately.

This attitude irks me, because the thefts weren't personal. The plagiarist wasn't stealing from the other person to hurt them; they simply saw something they wanted, then yoinked it. The crime wasn't personal, so why should the repercussions be?

If a complete stranger breaks into my house and steals my TV, and I later learn that person's name, should I go deal with them personally? Not only are things likely to get ugly if I do, how probable is it I'll get what I want from the confrontation? No. They broke the law; let the law deal with them. They didn't make it personal, so neither should I.

Another thing that irked me with Cassie Edward's defenders is they listed off Ms. Edward's merits and frailties as a person as a defence against her actions. You know what? It's irrelevant who she is; we're condemning what she did.

For the record, my plagiarizing student seems like a really nice guy. He's warm, friendly and gently-spoken, and he's doing meaningful things with his life in addition to being in school. But who he is doesn't change what he did, and that's the thing I'm kicking his ass for. Whether he's a nice guy, or terribly stressed-out, just isn't relevant.

Winning by cheating isn't winning, and if we want more merit in the world, then we have to both reward merit and keep dishonesty from accruing the same rewards as merit.

In other words: lift up the worthy, slap down the cheaters. It's a way to make human society better.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ooh, Shiny!

You know, I actually do have a meatier blog post percolating in my brain, but for now, more pretty stuff!

Here's a dragon made of the pull-tabs off pop cans by an artist known (online, at least) as ~OniMushaKid.

(Click the picture to see the larger image posted in the artist's DeviantART gallery.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Train vrs. Tornado

Train vrs. Tornado. Who will win?

Things get interesting at the one minute mark, if you want to skip ahead.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ooh, Pretty!

For the first time ever, I am thoroughly impressed by someone's paper-craft project.

This pretty-princess fairy castle was made over the course of four years by Wataru Itou, a Tokyo art student, and it features a working train also made of paper. Click here for more photographs of Mr. Itou's spectacular "A Castle On the Ocean".

Um. Is it weird if I want to live there?

Congratulations, Stuart!

Congratulations to Stuart Neville, a.k.a. Conduit, on the release of his novel, The Twelve, in the UK!

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy when it's released as The Ghosts of Belfast on my side of the pond in October.

Stuart was once one of us many, many wannabe writers bounding around the internet trying to learn the Tao of publishing from the likes of Miss Snark and Evil Editor, so it's pretty thrilling to see him launching what looks to be a very successful career!

Every time I've read an excerpt of Stuart's writing, it has been pretty clear he has the talent to make it. And look! People like James Ellroy and John Connolly agree with me!

Congratulations, Stuart! I wish you the very best of luck and deserved success in your career.

*shakes pom-poms* You-can-do-eet, Con-du-eet!

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