As uncounted numbers of schoolchildren would no doubt acknowledge, sheepishly, it’s a lot easier to copy someone else’s work than to find something out for yourself.
The web has of course made it a lot easier for little Jimmy to find someone else’s essay on Animal Farm or The Merchant of Venice, but what works for schoolboys also scales up. As witness the minor flap that triggered the recent announcement of a tenth putative planet in the solar system.
California-based astronomer Mike Brown rushed into an early announcement of his discovery after learning that someone else had been looking up web-based records of where he had been pointing his telescope.
Spanish astronomer Jose-Luis Ortiz of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia has since admitted he accessed the logs.
Interestingly, Ortiz had earlier announced the discovery of a different planetoid that Brown had also been studying, New Scientist reports, and again Ortiz admits having checked out Brown’s records.
Ortiz denies doing anything wrong. Presumably his dog ate his own observation schedule.
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