Googlin’ Goeglein: The Diff

So, when I saw this (linked from the indispensable Instaputz), I knew what I had to do. That is, I knew what I should probably not waste 25 minutes doing, but was about to do anyway.

A while back, I wrote a Movable Type plugin that automatically keeps track of various versions of blog entries and templates. The coolest feature, loosely adapted from an old Python script by Aaron Swartz, lets you do a “diff” (i.e. “what are the differences?”) between two versions, and converts it to a visual display in HTML. (It uses the Perl module Algorithm::Diff for the actual comparison.)

When I was testing this code, I was always looking for examples of slightly different versions of a piece of text. It turns out that the ideal test case for this application is... plagiarism! So I did this not only because it’s fun to call out plagiarists but to see how the plugin handled it. There are some oddities, as you’ll see (mostly related to punctuation, which the algorithm doesn’t quite know how to handle), but by and large, both the plagiarism and the revisions are pretty clear.

Herewith, some pieces of “Education: Ideas worth defending, honesty of reflective thought” as originally written by Jeffrey Hart and lightly revised by Tim Goeglein:

A notable Professor professor of Philosophy philosophy at Dartmouth, Dartmouth College in the last century, Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey often Rosenstock-Hussey, expressed the matter succinctly, succinctly. His wisdom is not only profound but also worth pondering in this new century. He said, “The goal of education,” he would say, “is education is to form the Citizen. And the Citizen is a person who, if need be, can re-found his civilization.”

He meant that that, I think, in quite large a large sense. He did not mean that you had to master all the specialties you can think of.

He meant that of, but rather to be an educated man or woman, you need needed to be familiar with the large and indispensable components of your — this — our civilization.

This certainly does not mean that you should not study other cultures and civilizations. It does mean that to be a Citizen citizen of this one one, you should be aware of what it is and where it — we — came from.

It can scarcely hardly be challenged that the United States of America is part of the narrative of European history. It owes little or nothing to Confucius or Laotse or to Chief Shaka or to the Aztecs. At the margin it owes a bit to the American Indians, but not a great deal — corn, tobacco, some legendary material. But Europe is overwhelmingly the source. And source, and some parts of Europe more than others: Our language, literature, legal tradition, political arrangements derive, and demonstrably so, demonstrably, from England. This Britain-America connection is central.

There have been many ways of answering the question, “What question: What is Europe?” But a Europe? A handy way to think of the matter is the paradigm of “Athens” and “Jerusalem.” In this paradigm, those terms designate both the two cities we have all heard of, and of but also two kinds of mind.

The The tradition designated “Athens” is associated with philosophy and with critical exercise of mind. mind, with reason. The tradition associated with “Jerusalem” is associated with monotheism. monotheism, with faith.

On the side of “Athens” Athens, you will would want to learn something about Homer, who in many ways laid the basis of Greek philosophy, and you will would need to meet Plato, Aristotle, Socrates — the three greatest Greek philosophers — as well as the Greek dramatists, historians, architects and sculptors.

Over in “Jerusalem” Jerusalem, you will would find the epic account of the career of monotheism as it worked its way out in history. The scriptures scriptures, like Homer, have their epic heroes, and, heroes — Moses most dramatically — and like the Greek tradition in some ways ways, they refine and internalize the epic virtues. “Athens” Athens and “Jerusalem” interact Jerusalem, reason and faith, interact, and much flows from this interaction that results in the interaction. fullest expression of the educated man and woman.

You willThe intellectually exciting thing is that with Athens and Jerusalem as the foundations, you would follow all of this down through the centuries, through Virgil and (the great Roman poet), Augustine, and Dante, in Shakespeare, Dante (who is perhaps the greatest poet of Western culture), Shakespeare (who is probably our greatest playwright), Cervantes, and Montaigne, Moliere, Voltaire, Goethe and on to modernity. “The best that has been thought and said,” as Matthew Arnold called it. The mind of Europe as T.S. Eliot put it, “from Homer to the present.”



There’s something so beautifully elegant about the program you created that it almost hides the nefariousness of the plagiarist.

My aunt was decrying Google recently, saying, “Now all the kids in school will not write papers anymore but grab stuff off the internet!” We tried to explain that *search* had largely made undetectable plagiarism obsolete, but she just didn’t get it.

What Nancy did today and what you show here is a great primer. I think I’ll send my aunt a link to your post!

WHAT A SHAME!!! IS HE STRAIGHT? just wondering.

This is too cool.
I read he is married, 2 kids.

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