Tuesday, March 1, 2011


"Weggetreten!" - the military command soldiers are relieved to hear was the title of the special news report after the 8pm evening news. Mr. zu Guttenberg called a press conference for 11.15 and declared that he was stepping down - not because of the pressure, but because the focus was on his person and he wants to avoid hurting the army in the process (video - text).

Merkel regrets his decision, the CSU is shocked (they now have to dig up someone willing to take on the job), the scientists are relieved, his supporters are busy liking the Facebook page. One commenter on the GuttenPlagWiki page estimates that there are about 30 likes a second happening. The GuttenPlagWiki is collecting all the press references to them.

Germany's journalists are all disappointed, they've been collecting material like crazy for the past 2 weeks, they now have to figure out how to use it. I am enjoying a lot of questions about ghostwriters and plagiarism detection systems.

An interesting phenomenon is the polls asking if he did the right thing. Telephone polls are running 1:9 saying he should not have quit. Some online polls are 1:1 undecided. Other online polls are 9:1 saying it was about time. This demonstrates quite nicely the bias inherit in many of the methods used for polling. Young people often don't have a landline anymore, so calling on the phone will skip many young people. Not all Internet users will take polls, either. So all we know is that we don't really know what the German populace really thinks. 

Maybe now we can have some peace and quiet. I am currently looking at how the plagiarism detection systems rate the thesis. It's a lot of work, but we are making some interesting discoveries on how the systems deal with this kind of thesis. I will report on the results when we have them!

I want to thank all my new readers (and especially the commenters!) and I hope you keep your RSS readers tuned to this station. I am certain that this is not the last bit of plagiarism or scientific misconduct.

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