Spam blogs are weird, aren’t they? They’re blogs set up on various blog servers whose only purpose appears to be to steal what content they can and try to get hits any way that they can. Does it ever work?
Some blogs seem to have taken to (ahem) borrowing content off of Amazon’s servers, including reviews of books and videos. As a result, I now sometimes Google my name and find myself appearing in surprising places, but this takes the cake. Yesterday, I found this entry below — supposedly written by me — on a spam blog. I’m reviewing the classic Doctor Who episode The Seeds of Doom. However, I appear to have been rung through an English-to-Chinese translator, and back again. This is the result:
This is my private appointment for the best thump in the doctor Who list. It facility on many levels. On one amount, it is a very honest thump, with a splendid speech, excellent actors delivering the affect, and some inspired management. The doctor and companion Sarah Jane Smith wait below credible risk for most of the thump, and here are some stunning cliffhangers.
At the same time, the foundation of this thump is collected of each relief cliché from the James Bond movies, the Avengers and The Affair. Harrison trail is a prototypical Bond baddie. Scorby is the prototypical Bond henchman. The Affair provides the bulk of the plot for the at the start two episodes, and the doctor and Sarah make a credible Mare and Mrs. Peel. All of this is intentional, allowing you to take pleasure in the thump on a honest amount, and also to be thankful for the jokes.
Virtually ascetically, a splendid, multi-covered thump. A must see for casual doctor Who viewers.
I especially like that you can sort of get what I’m saying, even though I’m still talking gibberish.
Split the Difference
So we brought the clocks back on Sunday morning, and it’s time for my semi-annual rant about the ludicrousness that is switching between daylight savings and standard time. I really hate that we put the clocks back an hour at this time of year. Yes, daylight savings time sends our kids to school in the dark, but at least most of us get to come home in the light. Do not underestimate how much better that makes one’s mood at this time of year.
But I’m pleased to say that I may not be alone in my crusade to do away with standard time and just stick with daylight savings. Dave at the ever cool Blogography wrote a similar post, which I will quote here (a brief warning about a few swear words for those who are sensitive about that sort of thing, but you can see that Dave’s passionate about this topic):
I have to say… even though I have given up all hope of President Obama being able to get any shit done now that he’s going to have to spend every waking hour of every fucking day battling the Republican-dominated House of Representatives to solve this country’s problems… I would forgive everything if he would just abolish this fucked up shit of having to dick with our clocks twice a year. Surely this is a bipartisan issue if there ever was one? Everywhere I go, people are bitching about how stupid Daylight Savings Time is. You’d think every fucking House Representative and every fucking Senator and every fucking douchebag politician in the entire fucking country would be onboard. It’s about the only thing they can do now which would be embraced by the majority of the fucking population who’s out there in the dark AT FIVE-O-CLOCK…
This prompted my response:
I absolutely agree with you. I hate the switching of the times six months out of the year. But what do you eliminate? Daylight Savings Time (March to November) or Standard Time (November to March)?
For me, I hate standard time far more than daylight savings time, because it makes the sun set way too early for me. It makes the winter seem so dark. But daylight savings time is the modification, and standard time is, well, the standard. On the other hand, if we stuck with standard time, the sun would rise at 4 a.m. in the summer.
One compromise I’d go for is, instead of springing forward a whole hour next spring, we just spring forward half an hour and leave it there until the end of time. Split the difference.
Which prompted a serious response from Dave:
I’ve been advocating “split the difference” for years, but there are a lot of problems in going that route because unless the entire world is onboard, you’ve got a nightmare of 30-minute discrepancies spanning the globe. For example… what if the US and Canada decided to split the difference, but Mexico and South America refused? Then you’ve got 30 minute differences within the same time zone. Ugh. If I had my druthers, we’d just stick to DST all year long. Sure the mornings are dark in winter (here), but at least there’s a little daylight after work. :-)
Which prompted a jokey response from me:
Yes, but we would be aligning our clocks with Newfoundland which has, since the moment Standard Time started, been half an hour out of sync with the rest of North America. It’s time to get with them. And if other time zones didn’t work with us? I think we’d recover. It’d be just how we roll north of the Rio Grande. :-)
But, seriously, maybe it is high time to show a little solidarity for those Newfoundlanders who for the past decades have listened to our national broadcasters call our country out to hear the news “at eleven o’clock… eleven-thirty in Newfoundland.”
And Now For Something Completely Different
In football, there’s a quarterback sneak… and then there’s a quarterback sneak:
Cooks Source Magazine Is Sorry That We’re Offended
Finally, we now have an update on the Cooks Source copyright story that broke a few days ago, after getting a pretty solid dose of condemnation from all and sundry, professionals and talented amateurs alike, the publishers of Cook Source have made the requested donation to the Columbia School of Journalism and have apologized…. sort of.
This article on the National Public Radio’s web site has the details:
…CSCV addresses the broader issue of its apparently pervasive use of material taken from online sources without permission or notice. It states: “Starting with this month, we will now list all sources. Also we now request that all the articles and informational pieces will have been made with written consent of the writers, the book publishers and/or their agents or distributors, chefs and business owners.” That seems like a good start.
It goes on later to say, “Cooks Source can not vouch for all the writers we have used in the past, and in the future can only check to a certain extent. Therefore, we will no longer accept unrequested articles, nor will we work with writers or illustrators unless they can prove they are reputable people, provide their sources, and who, in our estimation, we feel our readers and advertisers can trust and rely on for accuracy and originality. All sources will be listed with the articles, along with the permission, where necessary.”
Hmm… So, what is Cooks Source saying here? “We had no idea that we were violating these authors’ copyrights, and we’ll take steps in the future to ensure that they’ll never trick us again”? Don’t you get the impression that the apologist is placing the blame for this whole debacle on the authors themselves?
In all honesty, it’s probably a fool’s errand to try too hard to parse this statement and find a coherent response to the matter at hand. It’s fair to say that aside from admitting to some sort of sweaty-browed oversight involving Gaudio specifically, Cooks Source admits to no fault, but presents itself as the victim of a lot of “disreputable people,” both on Facebook and perhaps with regard to how it wound up seeming to have taken content from the Internet and reprinting it without permission.
Oh, well. It doesn’t sound as though the editors at Cook Source have learnt their lesson, and that they’re more sorry that they were caught and publicly humiliated than they were sorry that they wronged an author and essentially stole her work. But they have promised to change their behaviour, so I guess that’s a start. We can chalk this up as a victory, then, and move on.