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Investigation, Inquisition

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

We’ll investigate the growing problem of plagiarism in scientific and medical journals. Then, we’ll look at many of the ideas and methods of the Inquisition—from surveillance to censorship to waterboarding—and how they remain with us today. Today’s installment of the BBC’s A History of the World in 100 Objects is about an Egyptian clay model of cattle. Plus, we’ll have our latest Backstory segments!

Plagiarism in Scholarly and Medical Journals

Harold Garner, Executive Director and Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, and Melissa Anderson, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, talk about scholarly and medical journal articles being retracted with increasing frequency because of software that can detect plagiarism and bad data. They’ll discuss the problems of plagiarism and peer reviewing and what happens when people are accused of it.

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The Inquisition and the Modern World

We think of the Inquisition as a holy war fought in the Middle Ages, but Cullen Murphy, Vanity Fair editor at large, shows that not only did its offices survive into the 20th century, in the modern world its spirit is more influential than ever. He traces the Inquisition and its legacy in  God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, traveling from freshly opened Vatican archives to the detention camps of Guantánamo to the filing cabinets of the Third Reich, and he shows that the Inquisition pioneered surveillance and censorship and “scientific” interrogation.

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Backstory: EU and Debt

Earlier this week, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit of nine European countries. In Greece, the government and private creditors continue to meet to renegotiate the debt there. On today’s first Backstory, Stuart Kirk, the head of the Lex column in The Financial Times, discusses this week’s negotiations, why many in Europe are now bracing for a Greek default, and how Europe is trying to cope with its continuing debt crisis in the new year.

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Backstory: Obama's Ground Game and the Keystone Pipeline

Kate Andersen Brower, reporter for Bloomberg News, takes a look at the size and scope of President Barack Obama’s reelection apparatus and his administration’s recent decision to block the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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Update on White Nose Syndrome

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service recently announced that White Nose Syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats in North America. Mylea Bayless, of Bat Conservation International, gives us an update on what’s happening to bat populations and efforts to save them.

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