Saturday, May 28, 2005

Weekend wandering

It's a holiday weekend but I have to report to work. Not enough time to blog as I would like, but I started my Memorial Day post a few weeks ago and it is already finished. Pretty serious, I'm afraid, not apt to get flowers from anyone, but it is from my heart and I will post it simply because I need to. Maybe tomorrow so I can let it rest for a couple of days.

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But his morning I have found a spate of interesting, fun stuff...

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Richard Lawrence Cohen takes a look at plagiarism, having been inspired by an article in Technology Review.
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This is from the reference article:
Enter text-comparison software. A small handful of entrepreneurs have developed programs that search the open Web and proprietary databases, as well as e-books, for suspicious matches. One of the most popular of these is Turnitin; inspired by journalism scandals such as the New York Times' Jayson Blair case, its creators offer a version aimed at newspaper editors. Teachers can submit student papers electronically for comparison with these databases, including the retained texts of previously submitted papers. Those passages that bear resemblance to each other are noted with color highlighting in a double-pane view
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This is from Cohen's blog:
Was Beethoven a plagiarist? Well, if there’s a lovely German peasant song out there that provided the inspiration for a work of Beethoven’s, I would welcome knowledge about it. The German folk tradition, and any known writer of the folk song, would deserve credit. But Beethoven’s work is not diminished by the knowledge. When he said, “I must compose that,” he didn’t mean, “I must take that as is and steal it and present it unaltered as my own.” He meant, “I must give it new form, adding to it, augmenting it, amplifying it, heightening its beauty.”
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Post is longish, but quick reading.
Comments are worth a look.
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It never occurred to me that there would be Gypsies in Jerusalem, but it is perfectly reasonable, considering the long and colorful diaspora of this group of people whose origins in India are obscure.
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Like many small minorities, the Domi have often slipped through the social cracks. The Israeli government classifies them generically as "Arabs," but the Arab leadership doesn't acknowledge them, so they "lose on all sides." They suffer from a high rate of poverty and its attendant social problems, including unemployment, poor health care and low educational achievement. Recently, however, the Domi have begun to form communal organizations, both to provide self-help and to win governmental recognition as a distinct society...
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This is from the Jerusalem Post (registration site):
Sleem established Domari in 1999; it is the first organization of its kind in the Middle East, dedicated to advancing the political, social, cultural and health needs of the community.
By custom and history, Gypsies do not think in territorial terms and do not seek a single homeland. Throughout the world, most do not care who the sovereign is, but want to be allowed to teach their own culture and create a better future for their children.
In Jerusalem, the Gypsies have deftly avoided the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But Sleem believes that "the Jews should be kind to the Gypsies. They should understand us, because they were persecuted, too."
She sees painful similarities between the histories of the Jews and the Gypsies. Both were the ultimate "other" - unsettled, scapegoated, oppressed. Like the Jews, the Gypsies developed strategies for living with the "dadje" - the "goy," or the non-Gypsy - and existed in an uneasy balance with the surrounding society, often restricted to ghettos and closed encampments.
And like the Jews, they were singled out by the Nazis for extermination. According to a spokesperson from Yad Vashem, "There are tremendous similarities between the experience of Jews and those Gypsies who were victimized by the Nazis."
The US Holocaust Memorial Research Institute in Washington puts the number of European Gypsy lives lost by 1945 as "between a half and one and a half million."
But the Jews, supported by their own state and politically more powerful, have received more recognition than the Gypsies. It is a striking coincidence that in the same month that Germany dedicated a memorial to the Jews murdered by the Nazis, it began to deport tens of thousands of Gypsy refugees back to Kosovo, where their homes have been destroyed, where they face a volatile and dangerous existence and where they will receive no support from either Germany or the United Nations.
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Several good links besides the Jerusalem Post. Just what you needed. More trivia.
But this is not trivia for Gypsies. Believe it. For a child growing up, his or her heritage is not trivial by any means. And today's children -- ALL of them -- will be tomorow's adults, we hope.
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Okay, then.
Speaking of Kosovo reminds me of the military significance of Memorial Day Weekend. Yesterday's RocketBoom podcast is a production brought to us by our British allies in Iraq...not exactly in uniform, but having a great time off-duty (we hope). This video is apparently so popular that host sites are having a hard time with traffic.
Amanda Congdon brings you the latest...Turn on the volume, take a little break, and enjoy.
Followup...
Someone in the comments thread pointed out that the troops made their own version of a hit video that is popular in Britain. There is a fifteen-second clip that can be seen for anyone who wants to download (read "pay for") the original. I think the one we saw first is better.

1 comment:

narrator said...

(found you through Richard)

If you live in a place - any place that makes the important definition one of background instead of humanity - you live in a place that abuses people, and that especially not just tolerates but encourages child abuse.

Israel is one such place. Because those who live within it's self-proclaimed borders are not treated as human citizens of Israel but are split up based on grandparentage, they are neither a democracy nor a humane society. Of course, the US is clearly guilty of the same, it just does a better job of lying about it.