Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Guns warm and smoking

A lurker whose opinions I value emailed me yesterday to say that "it's time to get rocking (as opposed to cranking)". So folks I bring to you a track from this stellar show that's been looping continuously on my office Winamp for the last three days. I'm hoping posting about it will make it go away. Here's:

Happiness is a Warm Gun
The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
SUNY Binghampton, 3/8/06

Have the Beatles ever had such a lugubrious, lurid, luvable cover?

Busyness as usual otherwise (and yes, young Scoutling, I haven't forgotten about you). Except, in a remarkable concatenation of circumstances, I caught a grad student plagiarizing on a paper. It was a skillful job and when confronted - nonconfrontationally, I have to add - he claimed he wasn't aware it was crossing the line. It was amazing to see his expression change when I told him about cases where people (at NYU, Columbia, Illinois...) have been asked to leave their programs / had their funding cut off for doing exactly what he had done. The smile was sucked off his face like someone turned a vacuum cleaner on inside his mouth :-)

I chatted with him for half an hour. Eventually, he left my room smiling once more. I hope I handled it well; more importantly, I hope he doesn't do it again. It's too warm a gun.


Blogger kundalini said...

my grad school prided itself on making examples of such cases, specially since they felt they had done-their-duty by prescribing a compulsory research ethics course at the outset. from what i heard, students were treated pretty harshly, with no scope for a case-by-case discussion or warning. there must have been those who were "innocent" and sadly, it cost them their degrees. well handled, tr (tho i didnt like the vacuum cleaner description...poor guy). glad to hear he left smiling :)

5/03/2006 9:55 PM  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

I have to ask - was he of Indian descent?
I went through a couple of Grad programs and in each school some of my Indian classmates seemed to think that it was perfectly Ok to lift entire sections of work off the web and pass it off in their own papers, often with little attempt to disguise the "out-sourced" material.
I think it's partly a product of our educational system where you are graded higher if you can churn out the contents of your textbooks verbatim, as opposed to analye their contents and come up with your own thoughts.

5/03/2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger gIftoFwIngs said...

very nice version TR! keep them coming..and abt the acedemic a grad. stduent I should not comment :)

5/04/2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger wildflower seed said...

Good stuff! Thanks. :)

One more, just for you....


5/04/2006 3:07 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

hmm... are you sure you have the facts right on that? from what i know it's a messy and potentially costly (legal fees, etc.) affair to sack a grad student. and the school you talk about would probably have been *very* wary of any untoward media attention, given its recent run-ins with another type of academic wrongdoing. sounds more likely to me that these were stories spread to deter any risk of plagiarism, and from the sound of it, the tactic worked! after all, someone who sits through a full course on *ethics* and then goes and plagiarizes really has no excuse.

re: the vacuum cleaner, i was actually quite irritated with the guy because not only had he copied material (and made me waste a few hours tracking down the sources), he had done a very sloppy job on the papers themselves (these were research idea papers). so i felt he had no business grinning beatifically at me in the first place. anyway, i gave them all a soap-box piece in class today.

no, the guy's chinese. however, two of the cases i mentioned in my post were desis. but you're right -- we do get a lot of credit for verbatim regurgitation (and often penalized for independent thought of any sort).

thanks. and remember to always cite!

yup. and one more... what?

5/04/2006 9:28 PM  
Blogger kundalini said...

i dont think these were stories. even tho i spent most of my time away from school, we used get a mail with what looked like a pretty long list of names every term. i still find it hard to accept that some of those cases werent "innocent".

cant imagine you being a scary prof, tr!!

5/04/2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger Salil said...

mt: It's not just desis. I was in a fairly well known high school in Hong Kong for four years, and I found that competition was particularly cutthroat among the Chinese/Indian students. I seemed to be the only Indian kid there who wasn't consistently getting strong As in almost every class - and a good portion of the high honours list/honour roll had Chinese students (which weren't that much of a majority). Quite a few of them were the sort who wouldn't think twice about nicking a few lines here and there from someone's paper, or bringing a cheat sheet into an exam if it meant they'd get a few extra points.

5/05/2006 4:38 AM  
Blogger km said...

Such an apt choice of music. After all, it was on White Album that the Beatles began plagiarizing themselves. No wait, that would be "self-referencing" :)

5/05/2006 5:22 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

got it, slow on the uptake, thanks :-)

that's interesting - that sort of publicity. now you have me curious as well.

re: the 'scary' bit, i *have* had some people quaking in their shoes on occasion :-D it's a deliberate crowd control strategy. what to say, we are like that only!

so all the strong As from your school are nickers? hmm...


5/05/2006 9:08 AM  
Blogger Salil said...

Not all, TR. :)

Just a handful of them. Some were absolutely brilliant, others had incredible levels of work ethic. And a few lacked scruples altogether.

[For the record, my GPA was in the B+/A- range, no strong A there. :) ]

5/05/2006 12:42 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

we believe you ;-)

5/05/2006 5:45 PM  

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