The worst effects of plagiarism in science

Today I came across the story of the Daily Mail clearly plagiarising science articles, and changing the message to something “more exciting”.

As a green activist and campaigner, I’m already sick of the UK’s unbelievably awful media coverage, which is continuously biased on climate change, social justice, equal rights, and even politics. I shouldn’t be surprised to find national media screwing up science as well. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve seen something like this, and it won’t be the last, but having written my literature review on the exact same topic, it was distressing to see the coverage by the DM. 

The original article was written on 14th May, and within two days the Daily Mail had managed to interview a quacky UFO hunter and turn the whole point of the article into the horrible question “Could it be aliens?“. If anyone is wondering by the way, no, it couldn’t be aliens. 

The Daily Mail is probably one of the biggest, most evil companies in the UK, who care for nothing more than how to make the most money. I hope they’re found guilty of copyright infringement and end up paying lots of compensation. 

In other news, I had an epic meeting with my supervisor on Wednesday, in which he gave me lots of comments and corrections on my two big pieces of work. Thankfully, my first year report needed only minor changes, and this afternoon I managed to submit a final draft – hurray! Only two months late, and with a draft paper attached, I feel pretty pleased to have that out of the way. My fellow student Martin had a read through and said he was quite impressed, so I’m happy and relieved to not be worrying about it any more. 

The comments on my draft paper were a bit more substantial, but I’m still hoping to get the work done by the end of next week. After that I need to finally get around to analysing the data from the ULTRASPEC commissioning run (in November!), then really get started with the CV follow up project. More news as it comes in, hopefully!

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Officially behind schedule

I’ll try to keep this quick.

  1. Why haven’t I posted anything in ages? Because I haven’t had any enthusiasm to do so. Sorry! I’ve not done anything hugely exciting, and I haven’t felt like sharing what I have done.
  2. Why am I posting now? Because I’m still here! And I’ve been feeling guilty about not writing anything in ages. This won’t make me feel better, but it might help me get over the imagined mountain of starting to write again.
  3. What’s happening this week? This week I’m progressing very little. I have two substantial pieces of work awaiting feedback from my supervisor, who is currently at a conference in Galway. One is the draft journal paper about the mystery transient we saw in October, and the other is my first year report, which is already 6 weeks late. The report is supposed to show my understanding of the field of research (huh?), my progress so far (not very much) and what I’ll do next (ideas, anyone?). So with Vik away, I’m doing more thumb twiddling than cutting edge research.
  4. What’s next? Holidays! I’m going on a relaxing week in France, starting at 6am on Saturday morning. I’ll be doing my very best to forget all about the PhD, but when I come back I’ll need to shift up a gear. The report and paper need to be finished ASAP, followed by the data reduction of the ULTRASPEC commissioning tests from November(!).
  5. What am I most frustrated with at the moment? Marking undergraduate homework scripts.
  6. What am I happiest about at the moment? Friends and acquaintances taking the current political situation seriously.
  7. When is the next meteor shower? There’s actually potentially quite a big meteor storm coming up on 24th May.