Yesterday I spent an hour chilling out with a guy who used to be the Chief Psychiatrist for the American Embassy in Moscow.
He said that "Tom Clancy is bullshit" but also said living there while working for the State Department is weird.
You were constantly noticing that you were being followed. And, sometimes you'd come home from work and find that stuff in your apartment had been rearranged while you were gone - because the state security service just wanted to let you know they could get into your pad at any time.
The weirdest thing he said, was that once when he flew from Moscow to America for a vacation when he went to get his luggage at JFK, they'd smeared the entire thing with human shit.
He knew it was supposed to be some kind of message but wasn't sure what.
The International Herald Tribune had an interesting piece on the rise of plagiarism at universities in the Internet age.
A couple things stood out. One kid was busted for copying and pasting from Wikipedia. When challenged he pointed to the school's plagiarism policy which states that "common knowledge" doesn't have to be cited. Her argued that since Wikipedia is collectively written and edited that it is, by definition, common knowledge.
I hate to say it, but there is some logic there.
Another kid had a different interesting take on it. He had cut and pasted from multiple sources. When confronted he said it was a "mash up" and argued that in music we accept that mash ups and sampling use various already created pieces of artwork that become new art and wanted to know why that is considered not theft when it comes to music, but is considered theft when it comes to words.
I don't agree with either kid, but I can't deny that there is some sense in what they are saying.