- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world.

The Age

A cut-and-paste world

MELBOURNE, Australia — It is a cut-and-paste world. Leaps and bounds in technology have allowed people to circle the globe with a few strokes on a keyboard. The benefits of diving into this great ocean of information are clear to everyone: access to the world. But there are undercurrents into which one can fall wittingly or unwittingly. One of these is in the realm of plagiarism. How easy it is to copy and paste information. In the torrent of data transfer, it’s worth sparing a thought for what can seem an old-fashioned, nay, quaint concept: the original idea.

An aspect of this is being played out in the High Court in London. Dan Brown, a novelist whose book “The Da Vinci Code” has sold 40 million copies worldwide, has been accused of stealing the ideas in his book from a 1982 book entitled “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.” Two of that book’s authors are suing Mr. Brown’s publisher, Random House, which coincidentally happens to be their publisher, for breach of copyright. Random House is defending the action. It says an idea cannot be copyrighted. The plaintiffs claim their book’s “architecture” was copied.

In the creative world, there is a very fine line between begging, borrowing and stealing. One person’s genius can be just a matter of refining another person’s less-glorious attempt at the same theme. William Shakespeare was a renowned magpie in establishing plots for his plays. “Hamlet,” in particular, had been performed many times before the bard stamped his flair upon it.

Korea Times

Avian flu: New warning

SEOUL — As far as avian influenza (AI) is concerned, Korea appeared to be a model country, overcoming its outbreak in three months without human infection. So the discovery that four quarantine workers were touched by bird flu in 2004 both embarrasses and disappoints us.

That they emerged unscathed without showing any symptoms, due to quick antiviral treatment, is a small comfort. Rather, our concern is focused on how such an incident could happen and why it took two years to confirm it. …

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention attributes the belated confirmation of the bird flu cases to work overload at its U.S. counterpart, which was swamped with similar testing requests from Asian countries. This points to the urgent need for Korea to develop its own testing system, including trained personnel and special equipment. It took Japan a relatively short 10 months to confirm bird flu cases. Seoul needs to narrow the gap with Tokyo. These are significant reminders that Korea cannot remain complacent because of its “AI-clean” country label.

Japan Times

Fueling trust in rocket science

TOKYO — In the short span of one month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has successfully launched three rockets, each carrying a satellite. This success has increased trust in JAXA’s technological capability, raising Japan’s hopes of entering the commercial rocket business.

On Jan. 24, the H2A No. 8 rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima prefecture and placed the Advanced Land Observing Satellite … into orbit. This was followed by the Feb. 18 launch, from the same space center, of the H2A No. 9 rocket, which sent the Multifunctional Transport Satellite 2 for weather observation and air traffic control into orbit.

Most recently, on Feb. 22, an M5 No. 8 rocket blasted off from the Uchinoura Space Center, also in Kagoshima prefecture … Two hours later, it was confirmed that the ASTRO-F satellite for infrared astronomical observation had entered orbit, with its solar cell panel spread.

Although JAXA suffered a long blank period following the H2A No. 6 rocket’s launch failure in 2003, it has been doing well since launches resumed in February 2005.

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