Happy anniversary Dr Dorin Schumacher!

Dorin Schumacher with motocycle.
Photograph of Dorin Schumacher from Cambridge Who’s Who. She was Professional of the Year for Non-Profits Management in 2011.

One of the mildly entertaining things about having a blog is seeing what type of web searches lead people to my site.  For me, key search terms usually include “killing camel crickets”.  But “Dr Dorin Schumacher” is up there, too.  The former is a pestiferous creature that dwells in dark places and leaves frass stains everywhere. The latter has a doctorate in French literature, has a fondness for wearing black, and heads a Georgia-based non-profit (The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research) that plagiarizes my site heavily.  When I complained about the plagiarism, she used CPBR’s money (which comes from the DOE, USDA, and EPA … i.e., you) to hire a fancy lawyer to threaten me with copyright infringement.  She has demanded that I take down my site or face hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

That was a year ago, and it seems like a fine day to make an anniversary post in her honor, if for no other reason than to solidify my awesome “Dr Dorin Schumacher” Google ranking.

When news of this frass behavior hit the internet last year, there was a lot of interest (albeit brief), even from people who don’t normally care about the design of scientific posters (the content of mine that CPBR had stolen and claimed was theirs).  For example, the story crashed the servers at The Chronicle of Higher Education (that had never happened before, I was told).  A lot of people contacted me with emails of sympathy, but nothing really affected Dr Schumacher’s little hive in St Simon’s Island (a resort town).

So here’s what I did: I spent a fun-filled week contacting Presidents, Grants Administration Chairs, and designated DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Agents at every single one of CPBR’s member institutions.  I informed them that CPBR’s document infringed on my copyrighted material, attached proof (PDFs, etc.), and asked them to stop emailing the document to their researchers.  Naturally, forwarding material that is known to violate copyright is something universities traditionally avoid.  I also informed the private corporations that they were trafficking a document that violated my copyright. Biotechnology corporations generally like copyright law, too.

One year later: not a single member has complied with my wishes — they are all still members of the CPBR racket (it diverts millions of dollars of taxpayer money that would normally go to USDA, EPA, and DOE grants).  The only encouraging response I got was from a person who said, “we will continue to follow this” (yeah, thanks a lot).  All of them apparently decided that ignoring my request (after all, just some snarky botanist in Swarthmore) would preserve the juicy financial benefits of continued CPBR membership.

And CPBR continues to email the document containing my text to all its member institutions and still has “copyright CPBR” plastered on the pages in question.  In fact, everything seems to be peachy at CPBR in the resort town of St Simon’s Island, Georgia.  They just finished an annual gathering in DC, and even had important government officials (Dr Johnathan Male, Department of Energy; Sanford Bishop, US House of Representatives) and scientists give keynote talks (see program details).  And its funding seems rather secure (according to the DOE’s Dr Male in this PDF).  The Department of Energy has given them $23 million dollars.  Dr Schumacher pays herself $1/4 million per year.

So I thought it would be fun to list the member institutions below as a way to call attention to their inaction.  If you’re an alum who might care to contact them, you’d get 17 karma points. If you want to contact the DOE office that gives CPBR its money, you can email them.

cpbr member institutions

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Citing text in Powerpoint presentations

I created the PDF below because many students who post their talks on the internet seem to think it’s OK to plagiarize when using Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.  It’s just six slides because the average person will get bored after the first slide, when references to elevator romance abruptly stop.  It ends on a few issues that have short answers, but you can add the details if you want.  If you can help spread the word, great.

Citing sources in an oral presentationPlease also see Kyle D. Stedman’s article on annoying sources.  And if you need a laugh, I highly recommend The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotations.  (Search for Colin Purrington if you’d like to see my contributions.)

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Evolution of religions

Nothing in religion makes sense except in the light of imagination.

I posted this graphic on Flickr in 2006, but thought I’d re-post here since I’d long ago stopped using Flickr.  It shows how religions might have evolved from pre-existing religions, which in turn evolved from the early myths of our prehuman ancestors.  If you are a religion buff, you are no doubt frothing at the mouth because of all the mistakes I’ve made … in my defense, it was just a quick sketch because I needed an “evolution of religions” slide for a talk and I couldn’t locate one on the internet thingy.

Evolution of religions

If you’re interested in the evolution of religions among primates, check this out:

McClenon, J.  1997.  Shamanic healing, human evolution, and the origin of religion.  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36:345-354. JSTOR

By the way, my lead sentence is just a riffing on the phrase and article by Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

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Squirrel-proof garden

To get my fellow gardeners excited about Spring, here are some photographs of the pest-resistant cage I built in my back yard.  Before the cage, birds and squirrels ate all of my blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and sweet corn.  Now they cling to the wire and stare longingly.  I just watch and laugh.  As a bonus, the cage keeps my pug out, too — she’d eat anything she could reach (which, luckily, wasn’t much).

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel exclosure for urban gardening.

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; squirrel-exclosure-above

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel-proof cage for backyard gardening

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel-proof cage for backyard gardening

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel-proof cage for backyard gardening

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel-proof cage for backyard gardening

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel-proof cage for backyard gardening

Colin Purrington Photography: gardening &emdash; Squirrel-proof cage for backyard gardening

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