Tag Archives: Cad

Cheating: A Rant

by Richard

Remember way back when Dennis Miller used to be funny? Yeah, I know. Hard to reach back that far. Still, he was at his funniest when he was at his angriest, when he was on a rant.

I’m not that funny, but I’m about to go on a rant. And I do mean to go off on it.

Back on Valentine’s Day, we got a comment entered in an post that was so old we had to blow the spiderwebs off it so we could actually read what we wrote. Which means, usually, we got spammed by some kind of robot. And not the fun kind. This robot-installed spam was hawking academic papers that you could buy.

Yeah, that’s right. The place, which I will not dignify with a link, is a cheating factory.

There’s an argument that buying papers off the internet isn’t cheating. That those papers only serve as a guideline to the — ha! — students who buy them. A way for them to help focus their thoughts.

Yeah, right. And I’m the Queen of Iceland. Admittedly, I do look good in a nice mauve prom dress and a tiara, but Iceland doesn’t actually have a queen. I think you get my point.

The purpose of an essay is not to punish the students. Well, most of the time. Seriously, it’s so that the professor can make sure the students have actually grasped the point of a section of knowledge and are able to synthesize ideas, resolve contradictions and form coherent opinions about that knowledge. These are all important skills. And buying papers off the internet doesn’t help achieve that goal.

I know I’m speaking as a very old person here. There’s no student who likes writing an essay. I know I didn’t when I was that age. But, now that I’m old, I can appreciate what it’s trying to accomplish. It’s a worthwhile goal. That and it’s fun to watch little dudes suffer like that.

I still remember the two all-nighters in a row I pulled in trying to write a coherent paper about Kurt Vonnegut’s Jailbird. That thing, like most of Vonnegut’s books, is a mass of twisting narrative that can confound the most agile mind. Of which mine was not. Still, I managed to get the paper done on time and turn it in. I got a “B” and counted myself lucky. I later found out I got that high a grade because the professor felt sorry for me when he saw how I looked when I turned it in. I know, how could he tell the difference? Har, har.

Still, even though it’s hard, people need to learn how to write coherent bits of narrative. You will be judged on how well you write. No one’s going to demand that anyone write as well as Christopher Moore or anything, but you have to be able to get your ideas across in print, or pixel as the case may be.

I just do not like these kinds of services. I think they cheat the professor and the student. And that’s not good.

Okay. I’m done. End of rant. Go about your business.

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Freaky Friday: Gang Green

by Richard

It’s a movement that’s sweeping not only the nation, but the world. Go green, we’re constantly extorted. Reduce your carbon footprint. (Which doesn’t mean lop off a couple of toes to get a smaller shoe size. Trust me on this one. — Your friend, Limpy)

Of course, just like with every attempt to do something good for the planet, there are those who try to ruin the whole thing for the rest of us.

. . . buying those same products can have the opposite effect. Researchers found that buying green can lead people into less altruistic behaviour, and even make them more likely to steal and lie than after buying conventional products. Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up “moral credentials” in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.

Well. Isn’t that special?

Let’s try to put this into more concrete terms, shall we? Pretend you’ve just been a good dude and you’ve helped out a nice, little old lady at the grocery story. She was struggling with getting all her bags of cat food into the trunk of her 1977 Cadillac. You walked up, assured her you weren’t going to do anything mean to her, and then offered to help her load her cat food. Very nice. You’ve been good.

However, according to this, if we extend the analogy, after helping the nice, little old lady you’ll be more likely to gun the motor and run down that really slow old dude tottering through the cross walk as you’re leaving.

Okay, it’s probably not completely accurate, but I think it gives you the gist of the thing.

“This was not done to point the finger at consumers who buy green products. The message is bigger,” says Nina Mazar, a marketing professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a self-admitted green consumer. “At the end of the day, if we do one moral thing, IT doesn’t necessarily mean we will be morally better in other things as well.”

All of which means, I’m thinking, that you have to be more on your guard than you are right now. If you think about this sort of thing, I believe we’ll be more likely to avoid the push back. And that’s a good thing. And also a very important lesson to impart to our little dudes and dudettes.

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Presented Without Comment

Okay, not really. I mean, come on. When I’ve got something like this, well, I’ve just got to comment on it. Go ahead, click on the word “this” in the last sentence. I mean, seriously, take the time, read the story and then get back to me. I’ll wait.

Back already? That was quick. So, there I was, innocently cruising the new sites, trying to avoid politics, but still find something interesting, when I stumbled across that story. After I stopped laughing at the headline, I thought — to myself — I need to share this. Of course, I turned to my wife, known to me as She Who — no, never mind. That joke was just too easy. Also? She’d probably kill me and I’ve got things to do next week.

My wife (Must. Resist. Joke.) couldn’t believe it, so I had to read the whole thing to her. It took about a half hour because I couldn’t stop laughing. If you haven’t clicked through already to read the article, please do. Otherwise, I’ll seem like a completely insensitive cad. And just let me state that the reason I found this whole thing funny, despite a pretty serious topic, was the stereotypical reactions of both males and females to the act described. I’m not saying breast cancer is funny. My mom survived it, so I know it’s not a fun thing. Anyway, back to making me seem like an insensitive cad. The line that made me lose it was the following:

“The University researchers stressed that, though breast cancer is relatively uncommon, any steps taken to reduce the risk would be a wise decision.”

I finished reading the article, finally got control of myself and turned to look at my wife. (stay strong. stay strong.)

“Well?” she asked.

“I can protect you,” I said. “Right now, even. Because I’m just that kind of a nice dude.”

She threw a pillow at me.

— Richard

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