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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    You turn it in, too!

    Plagiarism plague Turnitin.com, which checks student-submitted papers against massive databases of text for evidence of cribbing, is a hated tool among those students forced to use it – and for good reason. Besides the Web site’s patronizing presumption of guilt, the service copies and keeps student papers indefinitely in its own database, without ever asking users for permission or offering compensation for profiting from their work.

    So pardon our schadenfreude, but we’re happy to see that the tables are turning. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, academic journals are beginning to use antiplagiarism software to screen submitted articles by university professors with the same tools routinely used on their own students. That only seems fair – after all, without technological tools to catch plagiarists, there’s no way to know whether everyone in academia has simply been cutting and pasting all these years. Services like Turnitin provide just what the academy needs – a healthy dose of distrust and paranoia.


    Safe, clean … foreign?

    Even though Americans have watched gas prices rapidly increase, it’s often assumed that the Middle East, for all of its other problems, pays virtually nothing for its own fuel. There are signs, however, that the restricted supply of oil is starting to impact even those who supply it. The United Arab Emirates have announced a plan to pursue a nuclear energy program, in light of increasing fuel costs and an increased demand for electricity.

    While some may fear the idea of a Persian Gulf state acquiring nuclear power, it is facetious to believe that the U.A.E. has any of the ulterior motives that may be had by nearby Iran. The country is far too small to seriously consider nuclear weaponry, and would much rather continue its rapid rise in the peaceful battles of international trade.

    This story should help to highlight the absurd attitude much of the world takes towards nuclear power. While it is far cleaner than power provided by fossil fuels, many still harbor irrational fears based on the overblown “”disaster”” of the Three Mile Island reactor, which was constructed during nuclear power’s nascent phase. The technology has vastly improved since then, and can provide cleaner energy at cheaper costs throughout the country. It is high time this country followed the examples of the U.A.E., and considered nuclear energy as a serious alternative, rather than engaging in neo-Luddite campaigns against new innovation and technology.


    Pentagon putty

    The New York Times reported yesterday that, beginning in 2005, the Pentagon has sought to shape coverage and criticism of the war effort through favorable commentary from a cabal of “”military analysts”” – many of whom had significant business ties to military contractors who are perpetrating the very war that they are asked to analyze. These analysts were often given exclusive tours of sites in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, access to highly classified intelligence and briefings from officials ranging from the State Department to the White House. The discrepancy between what some analysts were told in briefings and the dismal turn of actual events has caused some to express regret about their complicity in the misinformation campaign. These paltry mea culpas are little comfort, however, when one considers the sheer audacity of the government’s interference with our supposedly free press, as well as the establishment media’s failure to closely examine the ties those analysts had to the policies they were asked to comment on. It seems to grow clearer every day that Iraq isn’t the only place the Bush administration invaded. Our press, through sheer negligence, has become occupied as well.

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