kottke.org posts about free

Apparent Plagiarism in Chris Anderson's FreeJun 23 2009

Chris Anderson's new book, Free, will be out early next month (you can order it for $17.81 on Amazon). Over on the VQR blog, Waldo Jaquith discovered that several passages in the book were lifted directly from Wikipedia and other sources without attribution.

These instances were identified after a cursory investigation, after I checked by hand several dozen suspect passages in the whole of the 274-page book. This was not an exhaustive search, since I don't have access to an electronic version of the book. Most of the passages, but not all, come from Wikipedia.

In response to a query by Jaquith -- bloggers take note -- sent *before* the publication of the piece, Anderson took responsibility for the copied passages, saying that they were "notes" that were originally footnoted:

This all came about once we collapsed the notes into the copy. I had the original sources footnoted, but once we lost the footnotes at the 11th hour, I went through the document and redid all the attributions [...] Obviously in my rush at the end I missed a few of that last category, which is bad. As you'll note, these are mostly on the margins of the book's focus, mostly on historical asides, but that's no excuse. I should have had a better process to make sure the write-through covered all the text that we not directly sourced.

Anderson's publisher, Hyperion, considers his response to be satisfactory and will correct the errors in future editions.

Free bikes freedFeb 12 2009

The wonderful free bikes program started 18 months ago in Paris has run into some trouble.

Over half the original fleet of 15,000 specially made bicycles have disappeared, presumed stolen. They have been used 42 million times since their introduction but vandalism and theft are taking their toll. The company which runs the scheme, JCDecaux, says it can no longer afford to operate the city-wide network.

Reports have some of the stolen bikes showing up as far away as Eastern Europe and North Africa.

Update: But even with the thefts, the program is still making money for Paris & JCDecaux and enjoys a 94% satisfaction rate among Parisians.

Last July, the city of Paris agreed to pay JCDecaux 400 euros for every bike stolen in excess of four percent of the total fleet each year. Given the enormous popularity of Velib -- users have taken 42 million rides since its debut -- the cost of those payments is minimal. Using the BBC's figure of 7,800 missing bikes, the pricetag for the city comes to less than 2 million euros annually, out of 20 million euros in user fees.

(thx, adam)

Update: Late correction...the Paris program is, of course, not free. (thx, afsheen)

Entire New Yorker online this weekSep 01 2008

I think this is a first (or a mistake): the entire issue of the latest New Yorker is available online for free. Usually they leave 5-7 articles offline so's to get your cheap ass to the newsstand.

MygazinesAug 18 2008

You can read scans of all sorts of magazines for free at Mygazines. The scans are uploaded by other users of the site. Magazine publishers are understandably upset. I liked this bit from the press release announcing the site:

The mygazines concept is simple, essentially it allows its members to share magazines in the same manner a doctors' office, law firm, libraries, and hair salons would with their clients every day.

(via waxy)

Free topographical mapsAug 07 2008

Kevin Kelly tells us how to print out free topographical maps for hiking, camping, etc.

US college students won't download music providedJul 06 2006

US college students won't download music provided by their schools even though its free because they can't take it with them after graduation, won't work with Apples, and can't play on iPods. That's not really actually "free" then, is it?

Free 1200-page physics textbook, available online orNov 30 2005

Free 1200-page physics textbook, available online or for download. I have no idea if it's any good or not. Is anyone using this in their high school or college classroom?

Free movies in NYC's Bryant Park allMay 10 2005

Free movies in NYC's Bryant Park all summer; here's the schedule. Ooh, Touch of Evil.

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