Friday, January 28, 2011

Copying in the "State of the Union" speech?

There is some buzz about the article Obama's State of the Union Was Tantamount to Plagiarism

In an article titled Was that plagiarism in Obama's State of the Union? , the Los Angeles Times noted:

Plagiarism is much more serious in the academic world than in the free-for-all world of politics where no patent exists on such common, trite phrases as "The time for action is now!" Or, "With all due respect, my opponent is wrong." Or the ever annoying, "moving forward."


However, a number of other passages coming out of the presidential mouth struck a few listeners as sounding vaguely familiar. Talking of the need for improved education, Obama in one prominent line said, "We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea." Hmm. Turns out, someone else said those same memorable words about the time Obama was editing the law review.

***Separately, of Obama's reference to Caltech in the State of the Union, the Pasadena Star News seems to indicate it was related to Nate Lewis:

"At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars," the president told the joint session of Congress.

Caltech chemistry Professor Nathan S. Lewis is one of the researchers heading up that project. He said Wednesday he was "pretty happy" to have the Energy Innovation Hub project he heads recognized but more heartened by the president's commitment.

"I haven't watched (the speech), but I saw the transcript and was able to read the paragraphs and know it was about the spirit of the clean energy agenda - and I wholeheartedly agree," Lewis said. "I've been part of panels and other communities saying that for several years now, and we're all very gratified to hear it's made its way up to the president's attention."

Although there was mention of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis in Caltech's Jorgensen Laboratory building in the article, the photograph with the story was of an experiment of hydrogen bubbling off a device using water and light at Caltech


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