Ideas are hard, you guys. At least when you insist on actually coming up with your own -- that's why the Internet is mostly just people copying and pasting somebody else's shit.
But there is a certain level at which public figures just can't get away with it -- politicians, famous authors, scientists -- people who know their work is going to be scrutinized. Yet, sometimes even the most famous of them engage in thievery so laughably obvious that you have to wonder if they wanted to be caught ...
5Jane Goodall "Borrows" from Wikipedia and Pseudoscience Sites
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Primatologist Jane Goodall is often confused with Sigourney Weaver's character in Gorillas in the Mist (Weaver actually played Dian Fossey). There is a reason for this: In the world of academia, Goodall's score on the Scale of Badassitude is "Ellen Ripley." She took her first steps in primatology with no degree or training, studied chimpanzees in Tanzania for a while, and, after making a bunch of groundbreaking discoveries, waltzed her way into flippin' Cambridge University. Before you know it, she managed to obtain a PhD from this super-university without any prior degrees, a feat that the writers of Air Bud would have deemed unrealistic.
Jeekc, via Wikimedia
They also awarded her stuffed chimp an honorary master's out of sheer respect.
The secret behind Goodall's academic street cred is simple: She has a reputation as an extremely meticulous researcher.
Well, except for that one time ...
In early 2013, Goodall became the center of a plagiarism controversy around her book Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. It was meant to be Goodall's take on genetically modified crops, but people soon started noticing that many parts of the text were ... borrowed. Not from obscure and little-known scientific texts, either -- Goodall's book contained unsourced sentences and entire paragraphs from various web pages, ranging from astrology sites and beer pages to goddamn Wikipedia.
Which became apparent when research was attributed to Prof. Jack Mehoff.
Although Goodall immediately apologized (yet still maintained that the book was well-researched), it soon turned out the scope of plagiarism was bigger than initially thought, to the point where people's answers to Goodall's "interviews" were directly copied from other sources. Combine this with the book's attempts to discuss a legitimate and polarizing issue using data drawn from goddamn astrology sites, and it's easy to see why the impressive reputation Goodall has built over five decades is now running the risk of ending in ruins.
Zachariel, via Wikimedia
"The moon is moving toward Pars Fortuna, and the Planet of the Apes is ascendant."
It should be noted that Goodall didn't write the book alone. She was aided by Gail Hudson, an experienced freelance writer whose previous interests include holistic living, organic foods, and ... spirituality editing?
Yeah. With all due respect to an accomplished scientist, that's probably not the best writing partner for an unbiased stance on GMO maize.