Fisher v. Lowe, 1999

We thought that we would never see A suit to compensate a tree. A suit whose claim in tort is prest Upon a mangled tree’s behest; A tree whose battered trunk was prest Against a Chevy’s crumpled crest; A tree that faces each new day With bark and limb in disarray; A tree that may forever bear A lasting need for tender care. Flora lovers though we three, We must…

'The Little Book of Plagiarism' by Richard A. Posner: Theft or imitation? A respected judge considers the possibilities.

“The Little Book of Plagiarism” is inspired by several recent literary scandals, starting with the Kaavya Viswanathan affair. At 17, Viswanathan was paid a $500,000 advance for a deal that included a “chick-lit novel,” but when that novel was published, attentive readers noticed that she had copied at least 13 passages from a novel by Megan McCafferty. Posner’s eye also falls on Doris Kearns Goodwin, Laurence Tribe, Alan Dershowitz and…

"That was not just a bunch of stuff that got destroyed, it was ME!

I was alone and fueling my own self-destructive spiral. Now, I did have one thing which granted me solace: my MUD. For those of you who don’t know, I have invested several years of my life into an online roleplaying community. Yeah, I’m a geek. I own 20 sided dice, too. Anyway, what offered me my greatest joy at that time was a collection of items I had on the…

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YouTube may share revenue with users

YouTube wanted to build a large enough community before beginning to pay users for their content, he said. “We didn’t want to build a system that was motivated by monetary reward. When you start giving money to people from day one– the people you do attract will just switch to the next provider that’s paying more,” he said. “We feel we’re at the scale now that we’ll be able to…

Girls charged with conspiring to kill classmates, Oprah

Sequatchie County High School Principal Tommy Layne said that he initially considered it a joke, but that authorities then found the ninth-graders’ online MySpace pages and postings that included the word “kill.” [...] There was no evidence that the girls had weapons or that an attack had been imminent, Huth said. The girls, ages 14 and 15, were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide late Wednesday and taken to…

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Tradition and the Individual Talent

It is not in his personal emotions, the emotions provoked by particular events in his life, that the poet is in any way remarkable or interesting. His particular emotions may be simple, or crude, or flat. The emotion in his poetry will be a very complex thing, but not with the complexity of the emotions of people who have very complex or unusual emotions in life. One error, in fact,…

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RoboCop, Ph.D

It’s hard to imagine what freshmen think when they wander into Professor Banzai’s lecture hall. Weller reports that he loses a lot of students after the first class. “They thought they were going to get the easy A from old RoboCop,” he says with a laugh. The 450-page course reader tells them otherwise. Those who stay get a view into Weller’s two worlds. For example, his class at Syracuse on…

Preface to Lyrical Ballads

I have said that Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. In this mood successful composition generally begins, and in a mood…

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The Time of Dead Grandmothers

My partner once worked at a college in South Carolina. Her chair was from the Northeast, and when she had first arrived on campus, she was very concerned about fitting into the Southern culture of politeness and manners. When the first student came to her to explain that her grandmother had died, and that she could not make the midterm because of the funeral, this professor contacted the student affairs…

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A Stand Against Wikipedia

While plenty of professors have complained about the lack of accuracy or completeness of entries, and some have discouraged or tried to bar students from using it, the history department at Middlebury College is trying to take a stronger, collective stand. It voted this month to bar students from citing the Web site as a source in papers or other academic work. –Scott Jaschik –A Stand Against Wikipedia (Inside Higher Ed)…