A few random things I found out yesterday

Both my daughters, one at high school and the other at university, have to run their essays and other written work through the institution's anti-plagiarism software procedure before submitting them for assessment and marking.

Iceland's three Mcdonalds' restaurants will close on Sunday because nobody can afford to eat there. According to Lyst, McDonald's Icelandic partner, costs have doubled since the krona dropped almost 80 per cent against the euro.

I was told that nobody on the infamous "Nick Griffin BBC question time" panel presented immigration in a positive light, but only as a greater or lesser "problem". Why am I not surprised by that? Disappointed, yes, but not surprised, even though I also learned yesterday that a survey by the Legatum Institute (of which I had previously never heard) ranks Britain as the 12th most prosperous country in the world, ranked by "wealth and happiness" and second in the world (top in Europe) for "entrepreneurship and innovation". Make the connection.

10 thoughts on “A few random things I found out yesterday

  1. My thoughts…
    My IT buddies tell me that just as fast as the anti-plagiarism software is updated so is the “how to by-pass the anti-plagiarism software by using this fancy new algorithm for mixing things up” software.
    I imagine Icelanders are thinking that every cloud has a silver lining.
    Every time I see one of those studies I am consumed by the desire to start my own institute.
    The politicians and media constantly banging on about the ‘immigration problem’ (they do it here too) has me worried about what they’re hiding from us – harping on this kind of hot button issue always seems to me to be a smokescreen for something far more dirty and sinister – I guess that’s my inner conspiracy theorist talking

  2. As I wrote a comment to Kerrie’s blog yesterday re the terms ‘series’ and ‘serial’, I was thinking yet again that, certain foreign policy issues aside, there is little American that Britain will not adopt eventually, so what really hit me between the eyes here, Maxine, was your reference to having a daughter “in high school.” It had to come, I know, but that it was already a usage had escaped me. But as for the anti-plagiarism software, my doubts about its reliability aside, teachers at university level who know their disciplines, get to know their students at least a little, as they should, and are diligent in marking (none of the preceding can be taken for granted) can spot a plagiarised paper without help from a computer. I have seen enough papers bought online in my time, and how any of them fail to set off the alarm is beyond me.

  3. I agree completely.We need immigrants for all that they contribute. And I notice that nobody ever mentions the number of British that are living abroad.
    Aly Monroe

  4. Philip perhaps my memory is faulty but were not some selective all girls secondary grammar schools in Surrey always called high schools in the UK, Croydon High, Nonesuch High.

  5. Well, there are now schools called ‘high’ in Surrey, Norman, that’s true, though I don’t think gender has anything to do with it. Cheam HS is a foundation comprehensive, Surbiton HS is independent, and there may be more. Calling a secondary school, especially an independent or an old grammar, a ‘high’ school is an old practice, though never common, more to be encountered in Scotland, I suspect, and ‘high’ in a school’s name in Britain I treat as a clue that it may well be a good one. There are four ‘high’ schools in Edinburgh alone to my knowledge — maybe more. The thing is, of course, that to my eye there is a huge difference in a British context between “one at the High School” or “one at ABC High School” and “one at high school.”

  6. I am not going to name the school my daughter is at, but it is called a “high” school and it is very oldand so far as I know has always been called “xx high school”. In actual fact, I referred to it as a high school for the benefit of any US readers, to whom “school” automatically means “university”.
    Delighted that Aly has visited this blog!
    Anti-plagiarism software is useful to a limited extent for a formal academic journal publication, as it can literally check whether someone has copied someone else’s published paper which has a doi so all very clear. It obviously can’t pick up other things, eg “scooping” behaviour.
    I think that as far as young students are concerned, the sort of plagiarism the authorities are looking out for is on a very simple minded level, eg wikipedia.

  7. A sensible policy, Maxine.
    I do hope Karen is not going to subject our reviews to anti-plagiarism software in future.

  8. It did go through my mind that you might have chosen those words and that construction for the benefit of US readers, Maxine, but then I thought not. I should have stayed with that thought. Re plagiarism, the biggest problem by far, very far, at North American universities is that of papers bought online. There are companies with huge catalogues of the things ready-made, and they have people standing by to turn out a custom-made paper as per whatever specs the student provides. But I’ve always thought those the easiest of all to spot, generally speaking. With other varieties, it depends upon the skill and cunning of the villain. Or the lack thereof — I’ve known more than one case where part of a plagiarised essay was nicked out of a work by the person who had the momentarily confusing experience of marking it.

  9. That sounds quite un-nerving, Philip! It would be even more un-nerving if you didn’t remember that you had written the work that had been plagiarised.
    Norman – we have nothing to fear, I am sure 😉

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