A couple months ago a meme went 'round the internet whereby people posted which cities they'd spent the night in for the previous year. To give you an idea of how many of my friends are jumping on the marriage bandwagon (you heard it here: it's a fad) in the past 12 months I'll join in, but restrict the list to weddings and wedding-related activities (bachelor parties, etc.).
New York, NY
Green River, UT
Kansas City, MO
St. Louis, MO
Hong Kong, PRC
He excelled in number theory and modular functions. He also made significant contributions to the development of partition functions and summation formulas involving constants such as pi.
When I realized that the Independent's Leonard Doyle had lifted these sentences directly from Wikipedia* I underwent a see-saw positional shift:
How dare he. This is plagiarism.
No, it's not plagiarism, this is exactly what Wikipedia was intended to be and there are no restrictions on using information contained therein.
That's not entirely accurate. According to the GNFDL covering all contributions to Wikipedia, Doyle's article falls short of satisfying requirements on two counts. First, it fails to attribute the quote. Second, information must retain the right to be "copied, modified, and redistributed", an allowance his column's publisher does not grant by failing to label the quoted text as such, thereby implicitly applying the paper's rather more strict IP grip.
Really, it all could have been sidestepped with the simple camouflage of paraphrasing. But then again I'm not qualified to impugn laziness on the part of others.
A note on how pathetic my pointing this out could be perceived as being: it's actually worse than you think. A boss of mine used to jest by coming by my desk late in the day and asking for "one last thing: can you make sure to fact-check the whole web before you head out?"
*last change to the Wikipedia entry as of now (3/13) predates publication of the article (3/17)
My digital hovel was replaced this weekend and so I took the opportunity to upgrade to Movable Type 3.2, since the version I was using (2.64) was three years old (yikes). There are lots of under-the-hood changes that you won't see and don't care about, but comment spam should be much more manageable. This will free me up for a few minutes each day which I will not likely allocate to blogging anyways.
Notable events from March 2003, the last time I upgraded Movable Type:
The supposed cause of Bacon's death is notoriously comic. In March, 1626, he came to London, and shortly after, when driving on a snowy day, he was inspired by the possibility of using snow to preserve meat. Bacon purchased a chicken (fowl) to investigate this possibility, but, during the endeavour of stuffing it with snow, contracted a fatal case of pneumonia.