Plagiarizing Memory 2/16/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

A couple of things happened today.  Watching a movie, unfortunately from about seven years ago, the male lead character said to the female lead that he liked her.  That, yes, he loved her, but he also really liked her.  To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen this movie before, and have not heard anything similar, but I wrote about this sentiment of like and love previously.  Is it possible that I plagiarized this concept?

A little bit later, a friend told me that she is amazed at how many topics I come up with in my blog.  Yes, there are a lot of them, but the reality is that I’m also aware that I’m repeating some of them.  Not intentionally, mind you, but I’ve simply forgotten all of the topics on which I’ve blogged.  They’re always different.  I don’t open the blogs and simply pretend like they’re new, but rather, I sit and write each one individually, not realizing until later that it’s a topic which I had covered previously.  I guess they’re always new.  Things change, and if I write this same blog as early as tomorrow, my perspective will still be at least slightly different, so it will be a new blog.  But if I’ve already written on a concept, is it possible that I’m plagiarizing an earlier blog?

The Beatles faced plagiarism charges.  Not frequently, but occasionally.  I remember one in particular saying the George Harrison stole a song rift.  Playing that rift back in court, they found that, yes, indeed, they were similar enough to have been the same, and the Beatles had to pay a fine, but were not actually found guilty.

In ten years together as a band, they recorded twenty albums.  They were excessively prolific in their music, and certainly didn’t need to plagiarize the work of others.  Instead, it was suggested that perhaps George had heard the song somewhere before, unaware of hearing it or having forgotten that he had heard it and wrote a song that was similar.  In essence, it is possible that I am doing the same. 

Perhaps my blogs on things like this are simply in my subconscious, or maybe, just maybe, they’re original.  And, no, there is currently no litigation against me, but if there were, good luck collecting.  I barely have enough money to jingle in my pocket. 

Jingle coins, jingle coins, jingle on my way…hey, that’s kind of catchy.  I should publish it.

The source of inspiration is difficult to know, and it’s very easy to come to the incorrect conclusion.  Recently, I had a remarkable insight into the mystery of the enigmatic hydrogen bond, and had performed calculations that seem to support the idea.  In response, I put together a three thousand dollar computer to dedicate it to research, and spent at least as much on books.  As it turns out, in two of these books, it seems as if my remarkable insight has already been published, but, curiously enough, not as the insight itself.  I don’t know if there is a previous publication (out of my reach) on just this idea, but in the papers I’ve found, reprinted in books from the Netherlands, they simply reference the idea as the research group studies other aspects of the hydrogen bond.

Today, I’m stuck with the question of what to do with my findings.  Should I self-publish my own book in a non-peer reviewed publication?  Is it even worth publishing such a book if this idea seems to have already been suggested?  Of course, in scientific writing, the way that you acknowledge previous findings is through a bibliography (which I would include), but the question could easily come up as to whether or not it was truly my finding, or if I’m just riding the skirt tails of their research.

To me, it doesn’t matter.  I had no access to these publications when they were printed (and if you think journals from the American Chemistry Society are costly, it’s even worse from other countries), so, yes, I know that this insight was mine, and my calculations are completely independent (as they must be in scientific research as reproducibility of results is absolutely essential).  But much like George and the Beatles, it’s not the truth that matters so much as the way it looks. 

So, if I’ve written on this topic before, I do apologize.  But it’s new, and if I’m plagiarizing myself, then I apologize to myself for doing so.  And to you for being redundant.  And repetitive.  And repeating myself.


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