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Digital Culture Links: January 1st 2012

Happy New Year! Links for December 21st through January 1st:

  • My New Year Wish [Neil Gaiman’s Journal:] – As New Years wishes go, I think Neil Gaiman wins this year: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
  • Henchminion Sends In the Tale of “The Magna Carta Essay!” [College Misery] – In 2005 a frustrated US college professor wrote a fake essay about the Magna Carta – filled with notable errors, jokes and almost no substance – and posted it online to several notable paper mills and plagiarism websites. Six years later it’s still out there and still being quoted. A notable tale for would-be undergraduates cutting corners with their research and citation!
  • Marvel’s lawyers get into fanboy flamewar with IRS about human-status of its mutants [Boing Boing] – Marvel’s lawyers argue that the X-Men aren’t human for tax purposes. Of course, this undermines almost 50 years of the X-Men as repressed and misunderstood humanity. Looks like the lawyers are running Marvel!
  • Doctor Who Meets Star Wars Episode I – The Prequel Menace [Mashup] – Extremely silly, but made with so much love and affection that it’s well worth 6 minutes of your time! 🙂
  • ‘Doctor Who’ Tops ‘Modern Family’ as iTunes Best-Seller of 2011 [Anglophenia | BBC America] – “Never underestimate the power of Whovians. That loyal fan base has lifted Doctor Who to the very top of iTunes’ list of most downloaded full TV seasons of 2011! Yes, more than any other show on TV. Can I get a Woo-Who? That means Doctor Who beat ABC’s hit, Emmy-winning sitcom Modern Family (No. 2), Dexter (No. 3), Breaking Bad (No. 4), and True Blood (No. 5) in downloads. Just behind them at No. 6 is BBC America’s Top Gear. Here’s the full top 10 via The Hollywood Reporter:
    TOP-SELLING SEASONS:
    1. Doctor Who
    2. Modern Family
    3. Dexter
    4. Breaking Bad
    5. True Blood
    6. Top Gear
    7. Glee
    8. Entourage
    9. Archer
    10. The Walking Dead”
  • Company sues ex-employee for his Twitter followers [The Guardian] – “A Twitter user is being sued for £217,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs. Noah Kravitz, a writer from Oakland, California, amassed 17,000 followers on the social networking site when he worked for PhoneDog, a website providing news and reviews about mobile phones. He posted Twitter messages under the name @Phonedog_Noah, but in October 2010 he left the company, renamed his account @noahkravitz and took his following with him. PhoneDog has launched legal proceedings seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months, for a total of $340,000. The company is arguing that Kravitz’s list of followers constitutes a customer database and the valuation is an estimate of how much each follower is worth to the company.”
  • ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Pirate Sentenced to One Year in Prison [ComicsAlliance] – “A man who’s confessed to uploading an early cut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet a month before the film was to debut in cinemas has been sentenced to a year in federal prison. Deadline reports that 49-year-old Gilberto Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of “uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution,” a charge which United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow described as “extremely serious.” The early leaking of the DVD-quality workprint of Wolverine created quite a commotion back in 2009. The pirated cut was downloaded at least four million times, which according to Reuters could have translated to $28.7 million in lost ticket sales if the downloaders opted out of seeing Wolverine in the theater. Compounding fears, the leaked copy was missing final special effects shots and other material, and the advance spoiler-filled reviews were incredibly damning of the X-Men sequel, which cost $150 million to produce.”

Digital Culture Links: October 31st through November 4th

Links for October 31st through November 4th:

  • Anonymous online comments [The Age] – “Online news readers should be forced to reveal their identity when commenting on a story, a parliamentarian has argued while complaining about West Australian’s poor online behaviour. WA Labor MP Andrew Waddell called on news websites, including this one, to publish readers’ names with their post. “It has become an unfortunate fact that there is a group of cowards who, hiding behind the veil of anonymity, abuse their right to free speech to perpetuate lies, abuse others, commit hate crimes, libel others and behave in an unacceptable manner,” Mr Waddell told parliament yesterday. “It is often possible to post a comment on a very public site without there being any need to provide real validated identification. This gives … courage to those who may not otherwise be willing to stand behind their comments and face the consequences of their opinions. “A vibrant society has a healthy ongoing political debate … [but] vicious, nasty, anonymous trolls have no place in that debate.”
  • Man jailed for posting sex images of ex-partner online [BBC News] – “”A Nottingham man who posted sexual images of his former girlfriend online as he stalked her via social networking sites has been jailed for four months. Shane Webber, 23, of Hodgkin Close in Clifton, sent photographs and personal details about Ruth Jeffery, 22, to her family and strangers. Webber admitted one count of harassment at an earlier hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court. Miss Jeffery said she was devastated by Webber’s actions. Outside court she said even if Webber had received the maximum jail sentence magistrates could impose – six months – it would not have made up for the hurt she had been caused. She said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The maximum sentence in a magistrates’ court will never make up for the hurt he had put me through but I am pleased I can now put it behind me.”
  • Q&A: Felicia Day, from ‘The Guild’ to ‘Dragon Age’ [latimes.com] – “Playing” Felicia Day: “And when Electric Arts [makers of Dragon Age] called, that was the first call in years that was really like, “Oh!” They asked, “What would you like to do?” and I said, “What properties do you have?” And when Dragon Age came up I was, like, “Yes!” Because when am I ever going to be able to be in a medieval world as an actor? Probably never. So I’ll help create it myself. This will be the first time that a video game property is a Web series; and the elf is an actual playable character. So my character will be a DLC [downloadable content] piece; if people own Dragon Age II, they’ll be able to purchase an extension pack and play with my character. It’s full motion capture with me, full facial capture, full vocal acting. It’s pretty much the coolest thing I could ever imagine: Not only am I in a game, but it’s as a character I created.”
  • Angry Birds smashes half a billion downloads! [YouTube] – Cute little video with statistics about Angry Birds including the big one: half a billion downloads so far. That’s an awful lot! (Personally, I can account for 5 of those – 3 on Android, 2 on the iPad!)
  • Plagiarism [Common Craft] – Basic but very accessible and useful video explaining plagiarism: “While Plagiarism can be intentional, it is more often caused by misunderstanding.  Avoiding it means understanding the role of intellectual property and what makes plagiarism wrong.  This video teaches: Why giving credit to others is necessary; A definition of plagiarism; Steps to avoiding plagiarism; Types of ideas and media that can be plagiarized”
  • BBC News – Man jailed for posting sex images of ex-partner online – “A Nottingham man who posted sexual images of his former girlfriend online as he stalked her via social networking sites has been jailed for four months. Shane Webber, 23, of Hodgkin Close in Clifton, sent photographs and personal details about Ruth Jeffery, 22, to her family and strangers. Webber admitted one count of harassment at an earlier hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court. Miss Jeffery said she was devastated by Webber’s actions. Outside court she said even if Webber had received the maximum jail sentence magistrates could impose – six months – it would not have made up for the hurt she had been caused. She said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The maximum sentence in a magistrates’ court will never make up for the hurt he had put me through but I am pleased I can now put it behind me.”
  • Angry Birds developer Rovio to open stores in China [BBC News] – Angry Birds maker Rovio has announced plans to open stores in China within 12 months. Unofficial merchandise connected to the videogame has already proved popular in the country. The company’s chief marketing officer, Peter Vesterbacka, made the announcement at the Techcrunch conference in Beijing. He said he was targeting $100m (£62m) in sales from the shops in their first year of operation. “On the physical side, we don’t have a lot of our officially licensed products out here, so we have ourselves to blame,” he told the conference. Mr Vesterbacka said he had been to China many times “checking out the Angry Birds’ presence”. He told delegates he was unhappy with the quality of the unofficial products, but had also gained “a lot of inspiration from the copyists”. The comment drew laughter from the audience.”
  • Qantas’ Social Media Response Rapped For Bad Service [The Age] – “Qantas has been criticised for its mechanical, impersonal social media response to the grounding of its fleet and the ensuing customer chaos. The announcement sparked a torrent of posts on Twitter, with independent social media analyst Thomas Tudehope noting that, at its peak, “Alan Joyce”, “Qantas” and “Anthony Albanese” were all trending worldwide – indicating in excess of a thousand tweets per minute. “This is particularly remarkable given that Australia only has an estimated 2 million Twitter accounts compared to a global audience pushing towards 250 million accounts,” Tudehope said. […] Several Twitter accounts have sprung up lampooning Qantas and its CEO, Alan Joyce, including @AlanJoyceCEO and @Qantas_VH_OQA.”

Digital Culture Links: July 26th 2011

Links for July 21st 2011 through July 26th 2011:

  • Bradley Horowitz – Google+ – Google addresses a number of the concerns arising from the ‘real names’ policy in Google+. Not all the issues are resolved by a long shot, but Google+ is in trial mode and many solutions seems forthcoming. Also: “MYTH: Not abiding by the Google+ common name policy can lead to wholesale suspension of one’s entire Google account. When an account is suspended for violating the Google+ common name standards, access to Gmail or other products that don’t require a Google+ profile are not removed. Please help get the word out: if your Google+ Profile is suspended for not using a common name, you won’t be able to use Google services that require a Google+ Profile, but you’ll still be able to use Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and so on. (Of course there are other Google-wide policies (e.g. egregious spamming, illegal activity, etc) that do apply to all Google products, and violations of these policies could in fact lead to a Google-wide suspension.)”
  • iPad Book Apps Hobbled: Only Existing Account-Holders Can Use The Apps, Google Books Booted [TechCrunch] – Apple takes 30%, or your app dies: “At the beginning of the year, Apple said it wanted 30% of everything sold through the iPad platform. You could sell almost anything – books, downloadable content, magazines, pictures of kittens – but, according to their subscription rules, everything had to go through Apple itself and you could not, in short, go out to a web page to complete the transaction. That promise – to shut down external web stores on the iPad – has been fulfilled and the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, and Google Books apps have just been either drastically changed or removed from the App Store entirely. Nook, Kindle, and Kobo now have no access to the web-based bookstore and you can no longer create accounts in the app.”
  • Not rocket science – Angry Birds boss puffs his chest at Fortune tech conference [News.com.au] – Convergence in action: “Peter Vesterbacka, the chief marketing officer of Angry Birds creator Rovio, outlined the company’s ambitions last week at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference at a Colorado ski resort. … downloads of the addictive Angry Birds game had hit 300 million. Angry Birds involves catapulting cartoonish birds into fortresses built by egg-stealing green pigs but Mr Vesterbacka said Rovio was “not a games company”. “What we are building is a next generation entertainment franchise,” he said. “I think we’re the fastest growing consumer franchise ever.” Mr Vesterbacka said Rovio had acquired an animation studio and started producing two-minute animated Angry Birds shorts, and a full-length movie was two or three years away. “We’re working on new Angry Birds experiences,” he said. “We’ll expose a bit more of the Angry Birds story.” The Rovio executive said the company’s next project was its first book. “It’s the Angry Birds cookbook,” he said.”
  • Does Google+ hate women? [Bug Girl’s Blog] – As Google’s new social network Google+ matches Facebook in demanding that users only use their real (legal) names, a host of issues emerge for people who have good and legitimate reasons to use anonymity or pseudonymity online (including those who wish to address hate, abuse and other crimes without explicitly naming names or having that cemented to their online selves). Importantly, too, as Google+ is linked to Google in general, declaring a real name (or your age) on Google+ can end up forfitting other Google services, such as GMail, which can be a much larger issue.
  • NYU Prof Vows Never to Probe Cheating Again—and Faces a Backlash [The Chronicle of Higher Education] – “A New York University professor’s blog post is opening a rare public window on the painful classroom consequences of using plagiarism-detection software to aggressively police cheating students. And the post, by Panagiotis Ipeirotis, raises questions about whether the incentives in higher education are set up to reward such vigilance. But after the candid personal tale went viral online this week, drawing hundreds of thousands of readers, the professor took it down on NYU’s advice. As Mr. Ipeirotis understands it, a faculty member from another university sent NYU a cease-and-desist letter saying his blog post violated a federal law protecting students’ privacy.”
  • Start-Up Handles Social Media Background Checks [NYTimes.com] – “Companies have long used criminal background checks, credit reports and even searches on Google and LinkedIn to probe the previous lives of prospective employees. Now, some companies are requiring job candidates to also pass a social media background check. A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence, scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years. Then it assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity. “We are not detectives,” said Max Drucker, chief executive of the company, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. “All we assemble is what is publicly available on the Internet today.””

Digital Culture Links: July 4th 2011

Links for June 30th 2011 through July 4th 2011:

  • Google Chrome hits 20% global share as Microsoft continues browser slide [Network World] – “Google Chrome’s rise in popularity has been remarkably fast and it’s just hit a new milestone: more than 20% of all browser usage, according to StatCounter. Chrome rose from only 2.8% in June 2009 to 20.7% worldwide in June 2011, while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer fell from 59% to 44% in the same time frame. Firefox dropped only slightly in the past two years, from 30% to 28%.”
  • Angry Birds film takes off [guardian.co.uk] – “An Angry Birds movie is slingshotting its way into development with the announcement that former Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel has been recruited as a special adviser by Rovio – the mobile game company that developed the popular pig-popping franchise. “There has been so much chatter about an Angry Birds movie, but it’s now real,” Maisel told Variety. “The process is starting now.” Maisel, who was responsible for shepherding mega-hits such as Iron Man to the big screen while at Marvel, said he was interested in the “emotional connection” that players have with the Angry Birds characters.”
  • Australian Social Trends, Jun 2011 – Summary data released in the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2011 about social and cultural trends in Australia (as measured by a variety of stats). Useful for lectures.
  • Exclusive: Myspace to Be Sold to Specific Media for $35 Million [AllThingsD] – MySpace purchase price in 2005: $580 million.
    MySpace sale price in 2011: $35 million.
    NewsCorp: not winning.
  • Chinese faked photograph leaves officials on street of shame [The Guardian] – “For government officials in Huili, a distinctly modest county in a rural corner of south-west China, attracting national media coverage would normally seem a dream come true. Unfortunately, their moment in the spotlight was not so welcome: mass ridicule over what may well be one of the worst-doctored photographs in internet history. The saga began on Monday when Huili’s website published a picture showing, according to the accompanying story, three local officials inspecting a newly completed road construction project this month. The picture certainly portrayed the men, and the road, but the officials appeared to be levitating several inches above the tarmac. As photographic fakery goes it was astonishingly clumsy.” [Gallery of photoshop ‘responses.]
  • ‪Credit Is Due (The Attribution Song)‬‏ [YouTube] – Nina Paley’s excellent short video explaining why copying WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION is plagiarism. (And why that’s wrong.) Surely this clip will find its way into first-year university lectures everywhere!
  • Bitcoins [Rocketboom] – Molly on Rocketboom makes a valiant, if slightly confused, effort to explain Bitcoins.

Digital Culture Links: March 8th 2011

Links for March 2nd 2011 through March 8th 2011:

  • Angry Birds is coming to Facebook, which means it has now pretty much conquered the entire world [News.com.au] – I’m genuinely curious how a hugely popular single-player game will deploy the social dynamics of Facebook in when Angry Birds is re-engineered as a social game: “ANGRY Birds will be flinging itself onto Facebook next month, the makers of the hugely popular game said today. Finland-based Rovio Mobile told tech magazine Wired UK that the Facebook version of Angry Birds will include new aspects of gameplay. “There will be completely new aspects to it that just haven’t been experienced on any other platform,” said Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed. “The pigs will have a more prominent role.””
  • Angry Birds – Letters from the Front Lines [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency] – “Dearest Martha, It has been some time since I’ve had the opportunity to write you, perhaps seven or eight levels. The green pigs have fortified their defenses and there seems to be no end to this madness. They are an industrious lot who have remarkable construction skills in spite of their lack of arms or legs. They’re a formidable enemy but I still envision the day we can bring our eggs home safely. Keep the nest warm for me, Yellow Bird” There’s a lot more where that came from! 🙂
  • Twitter Spoils the Oscars Party for Channel Nine [Mapping Online Publics] – “In addition to their massive global TV audience, the 2011 Academy Awards also featured the #Oscars hashtag for the first time, of course, encouraging even more discussion of the Oscar ceremony on Twitter. And discuss they did – globally, over 500,000 tweets were posted during the marathon five-hour live event of the red carpet arrivals and awards ceremony, peaking at nearly 2500 tweets per minute during the tongue-in-cheek ‘best movie’ song montage. […] what’s especially interesting from our perspective in Australia is the local takeup of Twitter to discuss the Oscars. With ‘spoilers’ about winners and losers being posted on Twitter and other social media sites, it’s now almost impossible not to be aware of the Oscar results well before they reach our screens in the evening – which means that local viewers may still watch the delayed telecast to catch the full pomp and circumstance of the Academy Awards, but the party’s already over by then.”
  • German minister quits amid plagiarism scandal [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Germany’s popular defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has announced his resignation a month after being stripped of his doctoral title over accusations of plagiarism. […] The suave aristocrat, who can trace his family back to the 12th century and whose wife is a direct descendent of the 19th century “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck, had been dubbed “Baron Cut-And-Paste” and “Zu Googleberg” by the media. […] the plagiarism row, which broke after a law professor close to the opposition went through his doctoral thesis, was what finally broke him. Internet sleuths set up a wiki, or collaborative website, to comb through the 475 pages, concluding that more than two-thirds of the dissertation contained evidence of unattributed copying.”
  • Bloody battle over Mortal Kombat ban as critics decry ‘broken’ classification system [The Age] – Australian Video Game Classification: Still Broken, Still Confusing Everyone. “Warner Bros. is appealing a ban on one of the most anticipated game releases of the year, Mortal Kombat, as the federal government’s censors defend their decision to ban Mortal Kombat while allowing a sexy spanking game to be classified PG. Earlier this week it was revealed that the Classification Board had given Mortal Kombat a “refused classification” rating due to its violent gameplay, effectively banning it from sale in this country unless the publisher, Warner Bros., submits a more toned-down version. At the same time, a new risqué title for the Wii, We Dare, is due for release tomorrow and has been given a PG rating despite the game promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping. The Australian Christian Lobby said the We Dare decision showed the classification system was “broken”. Even the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, says the game is intended for an “adult” audience.”
  • Charlie Sheen Joins Twitter [The Age] – Could the whole Sheen meltdown be part of a campaign to sell a brand of milk? (I’m joking … I think?)
    “Charlie Sheen has once again become an advocate for chocolate milk consumption in his much-anticipated debut on Twitter this morning. The troubled actor, who has been racking up a phenomenal 100,000 followers an hour after joining the micro-blogging site overnight, posted a Twitpic of himself in a kitchen holding a bottle of flavoured milk. Last month the Hollywood bad boy received a round of applause from a university baseball team in California when he offered some anti-drug advice during a congratulatory speech. “Stay off the crack. Drink a chocolate milk,” Sheen said at the time. In an apparent reference to that, the dairy fan posted on Twitter a photograph of himself, the milk and porn star Bree Olson, one of two “goddesses” who lives with him in his Los Angeles home. Olson is pictured holding organic “Naked” juice.”

Digital Culture Links: November 17th 2010

Links for November 11th 2010 through November 17th 2010:

  • The Shadow Scholar [The Chronicle of Higher Education] – A truly fascinating, albeit hugely disheartening, piece describing the inner workings of a paid student essay mill from the inside. The pseudonymous author talks candidly about her/his range and rates, as well as the sort of relationships that can form with repeat customers, who use this sort of service to pass entire degrees. It’s a huge indictment of huge chunks of the global education system, but also contains some implicit points about how to write assignments that are much harder to plagiarise. Some of the comments are well worth reading, too, although many are more about name-calling than taking the issues raised seriously.
  • Riding the tube [SMH] – Profile of Natalie Tran, Australia’s most successful YouTuber, with near to a million subscribers, making a healthy living off the advertising.
  • Twitter + Ping = Discovering More Music [Twitter Blog] – Now Twitter can be integrated into Apple’s Ping proto-social network, so you can share your musical likes in your Twitter stream. Ping is still at a very early, underdeveloped stage … I’m not sure what this will add for Twitter except a bunch of musical likes. For Apple, it’s a huge win since those links are pointing back to the Apple store (with integration into the new twitter, so you can click directly on the songs to purchase).
  • Fox.com joins NBC, ABC and CBS by blocking Google TV [Engadget] – Google have some deals to strike with the networks very soon if Google TV is actually going to have any TV on it: “Looks like Fox has finally made a decision, following the other major networks, Hulu and several cable channels by opting to block streaming video on its website from Google TV devices. Blocking by Flash ID is the order of the day and takes simple browser workarounds out of play, so unless users want to go the PlayOn route, there’s large swaths of legitimate video on the web that’s now inaccessible.”

Digital Culture Links: November 5th 2010

Links for November 2nd 2010 through November 5th 2010:

  • Digital Primetime Arrives Just in Time to Crush the Net [The Steve Rubel Stream] – Will the massive increasing in demand for, and quality of, streaming online video create a ‘digital primetime’ which the current internet infrastructure is unable to cope with? Interesting question!
  • Woman to pay $1.5m for downloading music [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A US jury has ordered a Minnesota woman to pay $US1.5 million for illegally downloading 24 songs in a high-profile digital piracy case. Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a single mother of four, was found liable by a jury on Wednesday (local time) of copyright infringement for using Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, to download the songs from the internet. She has been ordered to pay $US62,500 for each of the 24 songs – a total of $US1.5 million. The verdict is the third in the long-running case and it has been welcomed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[…] In December 2008, the RIAA said it would stop suing people who download music illegally and focus instead on getting internet service providers to take action.”
  • The Cooks Source Scandal: How a Magazine Profits on Theft [Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits] – The very sad and nasty story of Cooks Source Magazine, which appears to have been ripping large amounts of stories, photos and recipes off the internet, claiming the internet is entirely public domain, and ignoring all copyright on these works. Understandably, a number of people are upset, and the magazine’s editor has a lot of explaining to do.
  • iBookstore Australia Launch: iBookstore Opens In Australia [SMH] – “Australians can now use ther iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as a serious e-book reader after Apple opened the doors to its iBookstore today. It’s taken the company five months since the iPad’s launch to get the store up and running but it has succeeded in signing up a wide range of book publishers including Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Hardie Grant, Murdoch Publishers and Wiley. Previously, Australians viewing the iBookstore could only access old out-of-copyright books but now there is a range of new release titles on offer. The exact number is unclear but an Apple spokeswoman said they numbered in the “thousands”.”
  • Children and ultra-violent video games: court to decide [SHM] – Wow: the ‘do violent videogames hurt kids’ debate rolls into the US Supreme Court: “The US Supreme Court has expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people. But several justices said the law faces a high constitutional hurdle before going into effect. The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban on so-called “crush videos” that showed actual deaths of animals earlier this year. California officials argue that they should be allowed to limit minors’ ability to pick up violent video games on their own at retailers because of the purported damage they cause.”
  • Google gaining on booming smartphone market [The Age] – “Google’s Android software platform rose to the number two spot globally on the booming smartphone market in the third quarter, research firm Canalys said this week. Nokia’s Symbian continued to lead the market with a 37 per cent share, while Android had 17 per cent of the market. It has surpassed Research In Motion, Apple and Microsoft this year. Growing popularity of Android phones – made by companies including Motorola, HTC and Samsung Electronics – puts Google in a good position as handsets look set to surpass computers for browsing the web. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in September he expects mobile searches to generate most of the firm’s revenue eventually, but it could take a long time, despite growing at a rapid clip.”
  • Facebook posting boasting led to sack [WA Today] – Be ye not so stupid: “A West Australian schoolgirl who was sacked over Facebook for comments she made on the popular social network has had her dismissal upheld by the national workplace watchdog. The 15-year-old was fired after it was claimed she had written to a possible competitor of her employer, despite being told not to. In a peculiar twist, her employer then fired her via Facebook. The sacking has since been upheld by Fair Work Australia after the girl, who cannot be named, took too long to file a complaint. The case marks something of an increasing trend of workplace folly that has come from misuse of the social networking site. There have been at least five cases before Fair Work Australia where employees have been sacked after something they wrote or did was recorded on Facebook. There are likely to be many more dismissals that went unchallenged and never reached the tribunal.”

Annotated Links of Interest: October 29th 2008

Links of interest for October 29th 2008:

  • New chapter for Google Book Search [Official Google Blog] – Google Book Search settles the lawsuit, makes a whole lot of things more accessible (especially if you’re a library or a university) and generally makes books searchable! 🙂 (Read Siva Vaidhyanathan’s excellent summary and initial reponse to the settlement.)
  • Warfare game throws down gauntlet to Iran [The Age] – “A Sydney-based Jewish businessman bankrolling a shoot-’em-up warfare game pitting Israeli troops against Iranians says the aim is to “throw out a challenge to Iran” after its President vowed to wipe Israel off the map.
    But Kevin Bermeister, world renowned for being sued by the music industry in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over the Kazaa file-sharing program, said his intention was also to take the war between Jews and Muslims out of the real world and into cyber space. The online multiplayer game, Rising Eagle – Gaza, was officially released as a free download less than a week ago. It earns revenue through advertising billboards peppered throughout the game environment. The game, which contrary to its setting does not include any Palestinian fighters, is an update to earlier versions of the game set in Paris and China. It pits the Iranian Revolutionary Guard against Israel’s elite Golani Brigade in a first-person shooter setting.”
  • A history lesson in video games [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “The UK’s first official national video game archive has been launched in a bid to preserve the history of gaming. The archive has been set up in partnership between Nottingham Trent University and the National Media Museum in Bradford in the north of England. The gaming industry is now worth an estimated £22bn globally and steps are needed in order to record its development. The archive will be housed at the National Media Museum in Bradford and will include consoles, cartridges and advertising campaigns. “We are going to be archiving video games but it’s not just about the games themselves, it’s also about gaming culture,” said James Newman, from Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Contemporary Play, a research group dedicated to video games.”
  • Editor furious over Bishop plagiarism explanation [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A plagiarism row between deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop and the editor of a book on the party, Peter Van Onselen, has flared again. Ms Bishop’s chief of staff has taken responsibility for plagiarising a speech by a New Zealand businessman when he wrote a chapter for the book, called Liberals and Power; The Road Ahead, on Ms Bishop’s behalf. Now Mr Van Onselen says he is angry with Ms Bishop for saying that the footnote crediting the businessman was forgotten. “It’s not just a matter of them having forgotten to send through footnotes,” he said.
    “Even once they belatedly sent those footnotes through they didn’t cover the plagiarism. “Footnoting doesn’t cover the fact that there weren’t quotation marks around exact lifting of words without attribution that came from this New Zealand businessman’s speech.”” (It seems no one’s buying the Bishop defense!)

Annotated Links of Interest: October 27th 2008

Links of interest for October 27th 2008:

  • Telecommunications Today Report 6: Internet Activity and Content [ACMA, 22 October 2008] – A detailed look at Internet use in Australia (September 2008): “Age is a determining factor in the activities consumers choose to perform online. Email is the most common application across all age groups. Streaming videos and banking online feature in the top five activities of all age groups, and participating in auctions features in the top 10. Internet users aged between 16 and 24 years are the most likely group to use the internet for entertainment, while those aged between 25 and 34 also recorded a high level of use of social and entertainment applications. A high proportion of users over the age of 45 use the internet to submit forms or information to government websites; this activity is recorded in the top 10 of all three age group segment …” [View the full PDF.]
  • Net filters may block porn and gambling sites [The Age] – “Family First Senator Steve Fielding wants hardcore pornography and fetish material blocked under the Government’s plans to filter the internet, sparking renewed fears the censorship could be expanded well beyond “illegal material”. The Opposition said it would most likely block any attempts to introduce the controversial mandatory ISP filtering policy, so the Government would need the support of Senator Fielding as well as the Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon to pass the legislation. Industry sources said Senator Fielding’s sentiments validated ISPs’ concerns that the categories of blocked content could be broadened significantly at the whim of the Government, which is under pressure to appease vocal minorities.”
  • Bishop apologises after second plagiarism incident [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Deputy Opposition Leader [and former education minister!!] Julie Bishop has been forced to apologise after being embroiled in a second plagiarism row. A spokeswoman for Ms Bishop says the Opposition treasury spokeswoman submitted a chapter for a book about the future of the Liberal Party, that was actually written by her chief of staff, Murray Hansen. In the essay, Mr Hansen used material contained in a speech made by New Zealand businessman Roger Kerr several years ago. Mr Hansen says he forgot to provide footnotes to the publisher.” (I wonder how many of our students will be ‘forgetting to include the footnotes’ and calling it the Bishop defense, this semester? *sigh*)

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