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word munger's Journal: What is wrong with plagiarism?

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Okay, so my students are writing essays about "binge drinking." There's a ton of literature out there about "binge drinking." Why should they have to reinvent the wheel? Isn't it easier just to go out on the Internet and copy and paste your way to an essay? Especially if you're a bio/engineering/computer science major and you just need to get your damned English 1102 requirement out of the way? Damn straight it is.

Yeah, part of it is my own damn fault. After all, could I have picked a more boring topic? I mean, really--haven't they already had this crap pounded into their heads for 4 years of high school? Well, maybe I could have made it more interesting for them. But dammit, I've got my own shit to do. I'm supposed to be a grad student, and this is my damn side job. Yes, I'm trying to do a good job here, but I also need to graduate.

What about the ESL student, who really struggles even to write a sentence? What about him? How's he ever going to learn how to write if he doesn't do it? I know, I know, no one's going to expect this guy to write, as long as he programs the damn computer, or tests the viscosity of the fluid, or whatever his technical job asks him to do. But I've got a job, too. If the fluid isn't viscous enough, it's my job to say so. But damn this sucks.

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What is wrong with plagiarism?

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The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

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