Accidentally Plagiarized

January 15, 2009 By: erik Category: Funny, Internet, News, Stuff I Found, Weird 684 views

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Today I was accidentally plagiarized by one of my blogging heroes, Phil Plait, keeper of the Bad Astronomy blog. He wrote a post titled “How far away is the horizon?” in which he goes about explaining how to calculate the distance to the horizon given your altitude above Earth. His methods are slightly different, but his diagram and data almost exactly match my “Distance To The Horizon” post from last March. When confronted about it, he said,

Holy cow. Mine really *is* similar to yours. I swear, I never saw it. I even searched to see if someone else had done this before! Great minds, I guess.

I believe him, of course. Even accidental imitation is a form of flattery.

I still like my post better because I calculate the distance along the surface of the ground and I include a handy javascript calculator rather than a lookup table. Plus, mine has actually been put to good use calculating the distance from Sarah Palin’s house to Russia!

  • DUDE!

    I was reading the Digg headlines this morning, saw the title of the post “How far away is the horizon” and my heart fell to my stomach. I quickly realized that it wasn’t your article. I even saw your comment that you left on that submission, but didn’t realize it was you until i read this post. Are you Trying to get our servers Digged again?

  • I forgot the smiley face at the end of my last comment… 🙂

  • Alan, had you read this post before you noticed the Digg headline? Or did you just remember that post of mine from before and assume it was me?

  • Monkey B.

    “Accidental imitation” and “accidentally plagiarized” are misleading terms. This calculation is common in a high school Physics class.

    Congratulations on having a baby it is indeed one of the most exciting things. PS, you are imitating Adam and Eve — or ‘Lucy’ if you prefer.

  • Thanks, Monkey. I’m aware that “imitation” and “plagiarize” are words that inherently imply intent. Adding “accidental” was kind of a play-on-words on my part.

    I’m imitating Adam and Eve? Huh? By procreating? I’m “imitating” (not accidentally!) every living thing that ever existed, aren’t I?

  • I remembered your article when I saw the headline. I initially thought it was yours.