To Cooks Source Magazine: Plagiarism is never okay

I've had some recently situations where I have found my work plagiarized on another website, it feels horrible.  Nothing feels worse than some one stealing something you put work into and calling it their own.  It's become a very casually done thing here on the internet, but the last place I'd imagine it taking place in the print industry. 

Thanks to reddit, I found a story about a LiveJournal blogger who not only had a piece of her work plagiarized, but when she wrote to Cooks Source Magazine about it and made reasonable requests to fix the situation, they condescend her and tell her that she should essentially be thanking them for stealing her content for the free publicity. Here is what they had to say (emphasis is mine): 

Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was "my bad" indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.

But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!

There are so many things wrong with that response, I don't even know where to start.  First off, if you've been doing three decades of editorial work for the print industry and you don't know about copyright laws, you're doing it wrong.  I find it hard to believe that some one with this amount of "experience" has never once had to educate themselves on plagiarism issues.  Also, the web is NOT automatically considered fair use. Idiots. 

If you'd like to read more about what this LJ'er has to say, you can read her words here as well as her friend's retelling here

 

Call us at (413) 397-3338
Drop us a note at
P.O. Box 273,
 Sunderland, MA 01375
or email us at
info@cookssource.com

I don't condone harassment in the least, however, should you be an individual who has a great interest in copyright law and would like to educate Cooks Source Magazine how plagiarism and copyright works, they've helpfully placed their contact information on their website. 

Help me kick cancer’s ass!

The time is almost upon us! Starting this Saturday (October 16th) at 8am Pacific time, I will be participating in a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for the Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California.  Below, you can click on the clip to be taken to my donation page.  100% of your donations go directly to the charity and are tax-deductible.  Please consider sparing even as much as a single dollar or two.  

 

You can also join in on the fun by tuning in to my Justin.tv channel, which will be providing a live stream of the gaming awesomeness with myself and team WNOHGB! You can either watch the stream from tia-marie.com or directly on Justin.tv (links provided below).  

 

http://www.tia-marie.com/live.html - Video/Chat Embed 

http://www.justin.tv/tia_marie - Justin.tv Direct link.

I'll also be doing some giveaways during the stream, so don't forget to pop by the channel and see what you can possibly win!

 

The Social Commentary behind Die Antwoord’s “Evil Boy”

It’s no secret that I’m particular fond of foreign music. I find myself drawn to genres of music in other regions of the world that I would not enjoy produced in the states.

One song in particular that drew my attention is the song “Evil Boy” by the South African Zef group Die Antwoord (Afrikaans: “The Answer“). The song is written in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa and has a sound similar to American hip hop.

Admittedly, what drew me to the song originally was the total WTF/NSFW nature of the video associated with the song. Dark, grungy and incredibly phallic symbolism is used throughout the entire video. Watching the video for the first time, with no lyrics or context is very confusing. Which is what led me to dig around deeper.

The lyrics have pieces of social commentary about adolescent circumcision within Xhosa tribes as well as a shout out to AIDS awareness campaign from 2002, to encourage condom use across Africa and even a word play joke on the armed wing of the African National Congress.

Before saying much more, I’ll let you watch the video for yourself, pay special attention to the period of 1m24s to 2m10s. This section is sung in Xhosa by Wanga:

 

On first pass, you’re probably very confused and upset that I didn’t mention NSFW about a dozen times. If you read the english lyrics in the section of the video I mentioned, it may on first glance sound as anti-homosexual commentary. However, as the band has explained, these lyrics are in regards to Wanga’s personal experience with his tribe’s ritual circumcision:

So, the story behind this video and song (or part of the story — there’s so much going on!) is that Wanga felt that he was being coerced into a form of ritual circumcision by his community. It’s sort of taken for granted within his ethnic group that you must do this, so much so that if you are a young man and you do not participate, you are ostracized, as the band explained to me.

The thinking, and this is communicated very directly to the young men, is that if you don’t participate, you’re gay. You’re effeminate. You’re not a real man. You never mature from being a boy to being a man.

He struggled with all of this in real life: with what it meant for his personal and cultural identity. And he came to a point where he was like, you know what? Fuck you all. The fact that I won’t consent to having my penis sliced with an unsterilized knife, out in the bush, and risk infection or worse– that doesn’t mean “I’m gay,” as you say. I reject this tradition. If that’s what being a man is, fuck it, I don’t want to be a man. I’ll be an “evil boy for life,” even if it means I am ostracized from my community.

You might have chosen different lyrics, but dude, it’s not our story or our culture or our world experience at all.

It’s his.

It’s gone into more explanation about the environment of ritual circumcision:

We’re not talking about the same thing as what happens in Western countries, with babies in a sterile hospital environment… we’re talking about boys in their late teens going off into the bush with an unsterilized knife and a blanket, no anesthesia, etc. The ritual apparently results in some number of casualties, infections, and permanent (unintended) injury to the teen males who go through the tradition, and some of the kids who are now more urbanized, with access to other ways of thinking, want to opt out. That’s what Wanga’s lyrics are about.

This ritual circumcision is performed in unsanitary conditions, often with the same knives that has caused the spread of STDs and HIV.  Post initiative deaths are extremely high and there is great social stigma associated with the ritual.  There is much attention (but still not enough) towards the practice of female genital mutilation, yet very little attention has been turned to the practice of adolescent ritual circumcision.   

I’m sick of the “Women in Tech” debate

First let me clarify the position that I believe I am in. I am a woman who works around tech. I am not a woman in tech . I am a woman who works at a technology company, I am not a woman who is in a tech career. I am not a developer, I'm not an engineer and I am not employed to do a job that is based off of science or math.

I have a strong interest in science and math, but I am not paid to be interested in science or math. I can't really grasp, what the actual argument in this "Women in Tech" debate is. If one were to take the perspective that a female marketing/PR employee at a technology company is a "woman in tech," then I simply cannot see that there are a lack of women in tech. Nearly every startup I can think of has a female in that role. I have never seen females in marketing/PR treated poorly or disrespected because of their gender. Nearly every developer I've talked to has appreciated the fact that there is an individual out there willing to do a job they are not equipped to do and in such, tend to treat their marketing/PR folk well.

However, if you take the perspective that "women in tech" are female employees who do science and math related jobs, there is a lower ratio of females to males in these positions at technology companies. I don't see a lot of these women in tech having the debates. I see more women of the first type having these debates.

If you look at actual numbers, there is a rising ratio of women to men for earning college degrees. These numbers are even true for master's degrees, first-professional degrees and doctorates. More women are graduating college.  Take a look at the table below, look at it over time of the numbers we have and the projected numbers.  

Women dominate men at every level of higher education, in terms of degrees conferred. Here's the breakdown for graduates of the class of 2009:
* Associate's Degrees: 167 for women for every 100 for men.
* Bachelor's Degrees: 142 for women for every 100 for men.
* Master's Degrees: 159 for women for every 100 for men.
* Professional Degrees: 104 for women for every 100 for men.
* Doctoral Degrees: 107 for women for every 100 for men.

 

So that sums it up well for women of all careers, but what about women in tech? Specifically programmers and engineers?  The number of female applicants to engineering and information technology peaked in the 1980s.  Since then, that percentage has declined from 35.2% in 1990 to 28.4% in 2000. 

There is a proven shortage of female engineers and information technology majors.  Microsoft funded a "Report on the Status of Women in Information Technology." Which provides a glimpse into education and the workplace in regards to women in these fields.  I have also found some very awesome studies from Stanford and MIT in regards to this subject as well (the MIT papers were in 1983 just prior to the upward trend and the eventual re-decline).

 

 

Do I believe there is a shortage of women in tech? Yes, I do.  I don't think that my feelings or opinion does justice towards the women currently in tech.  I've known female programmers and I have never walked a mile in their shoes.  I've never sat in a Data Structures or Heuristic Methods for Optimization class at a university in a room filled with men.   I've never had to raise my hand in the before mentioned classes and wonder what my male peers were thinking when I delivered answers or papers to male instructors. 

I want less women in my position debating the "Women in Tech" issue and more women who have sat in those classes to debate the issue.  Instead of pointing fingers at men for sexism, I want to see solutions suggested on how to interest young girls in technology fields. I want to see Math and Science taught in ways that make both genders passionate and most importantly,  I want to see Computer Science and Information Technology taught at universities in ways that are compelling to both genders.  

I'm sick of watching the wrong debate being made by the wrong women.  

I want to see the right issues being spoken about by the women who lived them. 

4chan Courtroom antics

As you might remember, a while ago Sarah Palin's email was broken into because of social engineering (NOT HACKING). Well, recently the 4Chan founder Moot was called to testify in the trial.

The result was hilarious.  It was essentially a questioning of absolutely irrelevant things.  He got asked about Rickrolling and what a B-tard was.  Check out the clip below.  Also at the bottom is a complete embed of the entire testimony.

 

This comment from reddit made me cackle out loud at work:

 

Q. "Rickroll"?
A. We're no strangers to love.
Q. Excuse me?

A. You know the rules and so do I.

 

 

Gaming for Charity take two!

  It’s very early to announce this, but I wanted to get this up.  As you remember from last year, I participated in Sarcastic Gamer‘s Extra Life charity. It’s a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for children’s cancer research.  I want to thank last year’s sponsors heavily and everyone who supported me last year during the 24-hour run through!

 I had an absolute blast last year and while I was working at Justin.tv I helped promote the gamers who took part in the charity marathon and participated with them.  Together we raised nearly $20,000 for Extra Life.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight two of my favourite moments from last year.  I broadcasted the entire event and these two video clips come from hour 23, when I was totally starting to lose steam and getting very sleepy and everything devolved into “That’s what she said” jokes and sex humour.

This year I’ll be doing it again and you can help me!  I’ll be joining up with team WNOHGB with my good friend @otaking to try to raise money for the Children’s Hospital & Research Center of Oakland, CA.  I have a personal goal of $1,000 this year, but I know that with your help, we can do this together!  I’m also dedicating my participation in this year’s event to my friend Drew Olanoff who has been kicking Cancer’s Ass and has gotten thousands to #blamecancer in the hopes to raise awareness and funding to cancer research. I’ve always adored Drew and he’s been an inspiration to me both as a Community Manager and a person. 

Now, the question remains. How can you help? Below is a clip of my donation page, you can choose to sponsor me as I play for 24 hours straight on October 16th 2010, spread the word to your friends or sign up with me!  Join me and team WNOHGB and help raise money for cancer research!  Together we can help kick cancer’s ass! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or contact me on twitter: @tia_marie, I’ll be happy to answer your questions!

Clipped from: https://www.hospitalshelpingkids.org/ExtraLife/m.aspxi176117A819CE77DDA by clp.ly

 

 
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