Copyscape: a plagiarism detector on the internet.
Copyscape allows you to check up on duplicates of your web pages.
For some unremembered reason I ended up on a web site called Copyscape. Now Copyscape seems like a very good idea. It is a web site dedicated to protecting copyright on the web by detecting plagiarism when it happens. There is a search facility where you can type in the address (url) of your web page and it will search the web to see if there are any pages which are too like your page to be a coincidence.
This in itself is a good idea and they offer people a number of useful services. You can check to see if someone is pinching your stuff. You can check to see if what you have said has been said before. If people are copying your stuff it gives you the opportunity to do something about it.
They also provide a service called CopySentry where for a small fee you can get professional protection for your site against online plagiarism. Copysentry automatically monitors the web for copies of your pages, emailing you as soon as they appear. They also offer ideas on how to prevent plagiarism and what to do if it occurs. This is a very good idea for web sites with a lot of original and valuable text.
I thought I would give it a try (individual searches are free) and was very impressed with the results. I happen to know of one or two pages that are slightly edited versions of each other. It found all the copies with no hesitation. One page I checked up on was an article by Dal Timgar that I have on Toxic Drums with his permission. In his article he encourages people to take a copy so I thought I would see how many folk had taken him up on his offer. Dal (a pseudonym) wrote an article entitled "Economic Wargames" (you can see the Toxic Drums version here --> Economic Wargames) and he says "If you approve of the contents of this essay, feel free to copy, email or otherwise distribute." So I did a Copyscape search and the following urls showed up:
which was the place I found the article and I think the original.
A strange collection of all sorts of weird and wonderful and some dubious articles by different contributors.
A forum site where "Fravia" seems to have promoted his reverse engineering activities.
The site from which the above was taken. I clicked the logo button thing and arrived at
http://fravia.frame4.com/realicra.htm which led me to write this page. It's all serendipitous but if you go looking you will often find interesting things. What I was particularly interested in was the concept of Reality Cracking. Fravia goes on to describe the idea that the reality you first assume may need a little investigation. The idea being that when you encounter something strange in life you all to often dismiss it and carry on as if there would have been some easy explanation but you just missed it. But he suggests it is often worth giving it some thought. This way you get to see some of the less obvious stuff that is going on. As one contributor puts it "... the satisfaction you'll gain every time you arrive to see 'through' a concealed message (which is always soo obvious AFTERWARD) is a really great feeling." His web site is full of articles by himself and other people on various forms of reality cracking. Things like understanding why the first thing you encounter in a supermarket is the fresh fruit and of course the Economic Wargames article. I find this sort of idea very interesting and it reminded me of an invention by the mad scientist Zyra and distributed as philosophical shareware. It is called "Direct Drive" and is described as the "Application of philosophy to how to GET RICH". The essential part is the treating of reality as if it is an opponent in a game of chess. It is well worth a read. From this successful philosophy he goes on to his concept of "Real Reality". For me real reality is a fundamental truth and a very valuable thing to pursue. All too often we are lost in the fog of the unreal reality that is presented to us via other people's misconceptions and fear.
This link didn't work and it only backed up to Blogger. It was evidently once a blog by someone but it has gone - or been removed.
So I did a search on Google for "very-yellow-very-violent" and found myself in the middle of a whole lot of controversial Chinese censorship issues. The sweetest one being that the Chinese authorities have launched two cute looking cartoon police officers and are forcing large web sites to have them pop up every half hour to remind people not to look at unauthorised stuff. They offer a place where you can report questionable content. The page was http://www.asianoffbeat.com/default.asp?display=838. Mickey eat your heart out.
This is the site of Ferdinand the conservative cat. An interesting site but the page about Dal Timgar's article basically suggests its rubbish and he (or she) has a page he wrote about socialism vs. capitalism at http://www.conservativecat.com/mt/archives/2004/11/111504_capitali_1.html with a cute little flash pictorial illustration of why socialism doesn't work. He states "Socialism is an idea; capitalism is a law of nature." and suggests that trying to fight capitalism is like trying to fight gravity. You just can't do it. In my view this is a good example of how people rationalise their own dogma. The cat, it seems, is fundamentally wrong but maybe I am rationalising my dogma.
Another sort of "post your article here" web site.
So overall the exercise led me down many interesting avenues. In a peculiar way Copyscape has some qualities of a sort of serendipitous search engine with a difference.