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Before plagiarism at the national level gets dismissed and ignored, let's be clear about how important it is not to dismiss or ignore it.
In most college classrooms, plagiarism is grounds for an automatic F. In some colleges, plagiarism will get you kicked out.
In scientific and academic journals, it could get you fired.
Plagiarism is theft, pure and simple.
Color us happy
We sold more than 100 adult coloring books at Bent Tree Gallery in Wimberley yesterday afternoon during the launch of our latest publishing venture.
About a dozen artists with works in the book showed up to sign autographs, eat and drink.
We had a great time and met a lot of new friends.
Now, the adult coloring books are on sale here at the library, at Bent Tree Gallery, at Art on 12 and at the visitors center.
The books are only $12 and feature art by 15 Wimberley artists. After expenses, all profits go to the Wimberley Valley Art League.
So, drop by and pick up a book or two. They make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts. So you can get your shopping done early, too.
A stat to wonder about
Here's a statistic that has an easy explanation:
The New York Times reported last Friday that since 2008, states have reduced spending on public higher education by 17 percent.
At the same time, tuition has risen 33 percent.
The number of students has not gone down by 17 percent. And parental incomes have not gone up by 33 percent.
So, there are a lot of losers and potential losers out there when the bill comes due, including citizens who have a vested interest in having other citizens who are well educated not dummies.
We may be stuck with dummies.
Fraud among scientists seems to be running rampant. Or maybe I think so must because I've been watching papers retracted, studies failing, conclusions withdrawn -- by the hundreds, literally.
It's just too tempting these days for researchers just to fudge their data. They need publications. Publications are overwhelmed. The system is falling apart.
So far, the scientists and researchers get off almost penalty free. Their colleagues seem to say, Well, there but for the grace of God go I.
It's time for we who digest their data and make important decisions to take control.
In a study by University of Albany scientists (one hpoes they did not fix their own conclusion), Americans said they want to get tough on data fraud:
"[T]he public overwhelming judges both data fraud and selective reporting as morally wrong, and supports a range of serious sanctions for these behaviors. Most notably, the vast majority of Americans support criminalizing data fraud, and many also believe the offense deserves a sentence of incarceration."
Criminalizing. Now, that's a concept!
Quite some time ago a friend and I were talking about the process of writing a novel, and he told me that to write his first published book he chose to use a pencil and legal pad. He wrote it out in long hand.
Good grief, I said, WHY?
"Just seemed like the right way to go about it," he responded.
I've been typing for so long I've almost forgotten what it's like to write something out in long hand. And when I do put pen to paper, nobody can read it, including me!
But, like everyone else in my generation, I grew up learning, first, to print, and, then, to use cursive, although my cursive was something less than lovely.
I hear from various sources these days that today's school children are not being encouraged to put pen or pencil to paper like I did. Instead, they're using keyboards or keypads or just poking at their iPad and iPhone screens.
Is something being lost in the process?
Old fogies say, Well, yes.
And -- now -- so do the experts. A recent article in The New York Times looks at all the research that's been aimed at seeing if it makes a difference whether kids learn to print and then write in cursive. Turns out, it does make a difference. Kids who learn to print and write do better in school.
That's really not counter-intuitive. If you look at what the researchers have found, you learn the process of writing is important, probably moreso than the result of the writing itself.
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A question about cats
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