Saturday, February 11, 2006

Survival of the Stubbornest

Today is Darwin Day. I would not have known this if I hadn't seen in my Google sidebar web clips a "meme" tagged post listed on Technorati, from a blog called A China Tea Pot, which has a great Bertram Russel quote in the title box...but, as usual, I digress. My blog should really be called Dawno's Digressions...but I like NVNC ID VIDES since it's from Pratchett...dang, there I go again.

I was reminded, as I thought about the impact of Darwin's theory of evolution, of so many things we've all lately discussed - the ID hearing in Pennsylvania, misguided religious zeal, religious intolerance, politics and world events, fear and how fearfulness spreads, the true definition of meme and the vox bloguli usage of the term for quizzes and games we hope to spread like memes. The perceptive and thought provoking posts, the humor, the real life struggles, the writers who are hoping to be published, the writers who are reading tough reviews...all this and more from our little quadrant of the blogiverse.

I began to ponder the whole 'survival of the fittest' as it relates to us and our blogging. While there are hugely popular sites like Boing Boing, Daily Kos, Post Secret*, etc., we are out here on "the long tail" (a concept I was unfamiliar with until I read about it on Snarkoholic, thanks, Tish). But do numbers of readers = fitness to survive? I'm not entirely sure. In the universe of blogs I think there might be something to be said of survival of the stubborn. People who will keep blogging, and keep commenting on blogs, regardless of their stats, because it's a connection with like minds - dozens more connections than we might be able to make in the Real World.

*why am I not linking these sites? Heck, they get all the traffic they need without me and it's highly unlikely they'll return the favor...besides, I don't even want Daily Kos & co. to know I exist, dang radical pinkos *wink*

Well, 'nuff of that. Let's see...I have lots of work to do on my 'bookshelf' with all the recent reading I've done. If you don't mind buying hardbacks or going to the library and getting on the waiting list, Stephen King has a new book out Cell. I really enjoyed it. Did you love It because of the way the kids loved each other? This book's got that same flavor. It's post-apocalyptic-technology-gone-bad-will-the-human-race-survive and eerie supernatural horror, similar to The Stand as well. "The thing that stands out the most for me is how he moves this book along so briskly - it just goes. Amazon has a little video clip interview on the page, too. Nifty!

I finished reading a Publish America book about cancer that came to my attention over at Absolute Write - the "author" had posted several plagairized reviews on his page - meaning he'd copied parts of reviews from other cancer books and posted them as 'reader reviews' using a number of psuedonyms. Eventually the reviews deteriorated into increasingly puerile blathering about how people who were against his book were criminal, etc. I have no idea what his review page looks like right now - but shortly I will put up my own.

For, you see, I've matched up nearly every word in his book to material freely available on the internet. After some hours of Googling I have found word for word plagiarism of sites ranging from respected medical sites such as the American Cancer Association, and Cornell University's Weill Medical College site to a pet health site discussing cancer in dogs to less authoratative sites such as and Naturalsolutions Radio, to finally a Creation Science page lifted in it's entirety for Chapter 11 of the book.

It's astonishing that anyone would think they can get away with using someone's copyrighted material for profit, and even more astonishing that the 'publisher' didn't reject this illegal manuscript immediately. Of course, it's what many folks I know have come to expect from Publish America - after all, they don't appear to read the ms submitted to them before accepting them, illustrated most notably by Atlanta Nights.

The saddest thing to me, is that the broad tarred brush of PublishAmerica is wielded across all of their authors, many of whom toiled mightily to produce their books. Good or bad, those authors poured out their words and now Publish America has them for seven years - for seven years these works are under the cloud of a publisher who would put a book like Pavel Tsupruk's Prevent Cancer Today in print.

I'll be sending copies of the pages of the book along with the website links these pages plagiarize to whomever I can find listed as the owner of the material and my hope is that they go after PublishAmerica with a vengance.

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Mark Pettus said...

Remind me never to piss you off.


Dawno said...

There are very few things that raise my ire to a level that I'll take direct action like that book did.

You'd have to be right down there with the imbecile at the Cingular store I was at this morning with my daughter to even get me annoyed and all I did was tell him that his condescending response to a simple question was unnecesary and insulting after which I left the store and ordered what I wanted online. I'm thinking about writing a firmly worded letter of complaint as this is the second time that store has disappointed - but I'll probably just let it go.

I'm still working on a suitable revenge against Taco Bell, however.

Mad Scientist Matt said...

I'm impressed that you managed to slog through this whole project. Keep us posted on what develops when you contact the book's real authors.

Dawno said...

Matt, you can count on it!

Othmar Vohringer said...

The never ending saga of Publish America. In a round about way, it seems they are like PETA in that they stop for nothing to make a money of others by pretending to be "honest" and "caring".

Sometimes I could get all pessimistic when it seems that in todays world you have to be a crook to be a success.

I wish you the best in uncovering this latest insolence and plagiarism.

Othmar aka huntwriter

Mark Pettus said...

Don't just let it go. Write the letter. Call the manager, ask for his boss. Complain. You can make a difference, and even if you can't, you're gonna feel a lot better.


Tish G. said...

Hey Dawn,

Wow! that's really something about Publish America! they've got some serious problems over there if they're not checking to see if something's been plagairzed.

Fer cryn' out loud--not plaigarizing is one of the first things you learn when paper writing!

The blogospheric equivalent happens often with splogs--that sometimes skim the blogs of A-listers (I don't think any of us in here have to worry about it) and then repost it without linking back! linking back is our way of giving credit. Yet no one should *ever* steal the *entire* content of another person's post--that's a matter for Creative Commons to test though.

As for blogging and "survival of the stubborn"'s how we move up in rank. There were some new stats that Sifry revealed today that are even more fun! can't wait to try to decipher them!

Mac said...

Pardon me while I go over and post something inflammatory on Daily Kos, and link back here.

We'll make ya famous, yet, by gawd.
*evil grin*

Nice to have you blogging like a wildwoman again, Dawno.

Ray Wong said...


(Ray slinking away to cover all his tracks...)