Tag Archives: funny

amusing evidence of a lazy cut and paste job

In the course of a literature search, I came across the following abstract, from a 1990 paper titled “Taking People at Face Value: Evidence for the Kernel of Truth Hypothesis”, and taken directly from the publisher’s website:

Two studies examined the validity of impressions based on static facial appearance. In Study 1, the content of previously unacquainted classmates’ impressions of one another was assessed during the 1st, 5th, and 9th weeks of the semester. These impressions were compared with ratings of facial photographs of the participants that were provided by a separate group of unacquainted judges. Impressions based on facial appearance alone predicted impressions provided by classmates after up to 9 weeks of acquaintance. Study 2 revealed correspondences between self ratings provided by stimulus persons, and ratings of their faces provided by unacquainted judges. Mechanisms by which these links may develop are discussed.

Now fully revealed by the fire and candlelight, I was amazed more than ever to behold the transformation of Heathcliff. His countenance was much older in expression and decision of feature than Mr. Linton’s; it looked intelligent and retained no marks of former degradation. A half civilized ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued.


Apparently social psychology was a much more interesting place in 1990.

Some more investigation revealed the source of the problem. Here’s the first page of the PDF:


So it looks to be a lazy cut and paste job on the publisher’s part rather than a looking glass into the creative world of scientific writing in the early 1990s. Which I guess is for the best, otherwise Diane S. Berry would be on the hook for plagiarizing from Wuthering Heights. And not in a subtle way either.

my new favorite blog

…teaches you How To Write Badly Well. For instance, if you want to write badly well, you must Refuse to leave the present tense:

I sit at my desk and remember how, years ago, I wonder what my life will be like when I am fifty, which I am now. I’m imagining that I’m living in a big house, I remember as I sit in my one-bedroom apartment. Now I pour myself a drink and cast my mind back to a time when I’m full of hope and passion which is never to be extinguished, as it is now.

‘What am I doing?’ I mutter to myself, taking a sip of my drink. In my memory, I’m seven years old, sitting in the highest branches of a tree which is being planted a hundred years before I am born. Now, though, the tree is long dead. I’m chopping it down at the age of twenty and thinking about when it is supporting my weight at the age of seven. I look at my watch.

‘Late,’ I mutter to myself. It is eight; the retrospective is just starting, half an hour ago.