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Joke theft: Is it really an issue in comedy?
There are several levels of comedy plagiarism, says Paul F. Tompkins.
Paul F. Tompkins is a comedian, actor and writer. He is known for his work in television on such programs as Mr. Show with Bob and David, Real Time with Bill Maher and Best Week Ever, and he co-starred in There Will Be Blood, with Daniel Day-Lewis. He is well known for his numerous appearances on podcasts, including his 100+ appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! He is also the host of the Fusion Channel talk show No, You Shut Up!, The Dead Authors Podcast, the online Made Man interview series Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins, the Earwolf podcast SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins, and The Pod F. Tompkast, which was ranked #1 by Rolling Stone on their list of "The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment" in 2011.
Paul F. Tompkins is a comedian, actor and writer. He is known for his work in television on such programs as Mr. Show with Bob and David, Real Time with Bill Maher and Best Week Ever, and he co-starred in There Will Be Blood, with Daniel Day-Lewis.
He is well known for his numerous appearances on podcasts, including his 100+ appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! He is also the host of the Fusion Channel talk show No, You Shut Up!, The Dead Authors Podcast, the online Made Man interview series Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins, the Earwolf podcast SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins, and The Pod F. Tompkast, which was ranked #1 by Rolling Stone on their list of "The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment" in 2011.
PAUL F. TOMPKINS: Like many things there are many levels to the idea of taking someone else's material because we hear these things and we absorb them. And over the years I've certainly had material that I've done that I either realized later, you know, after I'd done it a couple of times oh, you know what? I think I heard somebody do a thing like this and I'm kind of unconsciously absorbing it, you know. A big part of it for me and I think for a lot of comedians is when you have an idea that seems too good to be true you check with other people and say has anyone done this because it seems like someone must have done this by now. And, I mean, the fact of the matter is a lot of us arrive at the same ideas at around the same time or at various times, you know. I've had people – I've seen people do routines that I knew they didn't take from me but they had – because for whatever reason I had stopped doing it a long time ago. There's no way they would have heard this bit. But it ends up being pretty much the same thing. But I'm not going to go up to them and say, 'Hey, you stole my bit', you know. Because you learn – over time you learn the difference between when someone is just taking a thing and someone has arrived at the same idea that you have.
It's entirely possible to plagiarize other people's material. It's absolutely you can hear something and you can say hey, you know what? I didn't write that but it sounds good and I'm going to do it. And whose ever going to know. It's also entirely possible to do it without realizing it and to consume so much stuff and you're around other comedians a lot and you see other people perform. And if you're doing that a lot you can easily fool yourself into thinking the idea came out of your mind. It's almost like it's on a – you have all these thoughts that are on this sort of cycle and things pop up and go down. So you might have a thing that you liked, you processed, oh I enjoyed that. You might think about it for a bit. Then you might forget it, it slips into your subconscious and then months later it comes out and you don't realize oh no, I got this idea because I saw someone do this whole thing. So it is possible and there are people who do it knowingly and there are people who do it by accident. I would say that just about any comedian you're going to talk to will probably say yeah, I've had that experience where I did a thing that I thought I made up and it turns out I'd heard it from someone else.
You know, I don't know what the Joseph Campbell equivalent to storytelling would be for comedy but there are certain situations and certain feelings, certain points of mockery that all come down to the same thing just varied ways of telling them. Politics is a thing that is kind of the same over and over and over again. But we have to find new ways of poking fun at it and letting the air out of people and satirizing things that are worthy of satire. But, you know, the idea of making fun of people that are more powerful than you, relating to strangers by sharing an embarrassing story or something that frustrates you or something that you think is worthy of ridicule. Like these are the basic tenants of comedy and we're all going about it in our own different way. We each have our own style but yeah, when you boil it down like there are certain things that human beings just are predisposed to laugh at and we're just kind of all putting our own spin on it.
- Comedian Paul F. Tompkins explains the complexities of plagiarism in the comedy world; comedians all spend time together, processing the same current events—to some degree, it's natural that they may arrive at the same conclusions and jokes.
- "There are certain things that human beings just are predisposed to laugh at and we're just kind of all putting our own spin on it," he says.
- Some comedians may do it knowingly and others completely by accident, almost by osmosis. There are levels of plagiarism, and if you ask most comedians, says Tompkins, they will have had an innocent experience of realizing something they wrote was not truly theirs.
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.