Nobel sperm and Mr. Pink???

So we have a report on Nobel prize winners (and others) donating sperm to try to produce more intelligent children – which can be seen here – and how does the author chose to start it? A long and totally irrelevant quote from the movie Reservoir Dogs. Yeah, that’s how we know we’re going to get some serious, thoughtful information on a topic. Is there no one here actually providing any sort of editorial input for the staff report writers? That’s almost as bad as the report a while back that was completely cribbed from a Wikipedia article.

Not irrelevant: Gfactor talks about the rumour that the donors were colour-coded in the first paragraph. That’s why the quote was there. I found it funny, even though I’ve never watched Reservoir Dogs and didn’t know about that rumour.

In fact, I think this was a very good report by Gfactor. The idea of a sperm bank of Nobel winners was something I believe I had heard before, but I certainly didn’t know anything about it. The article did a great job of explaining the background and history of this sperm bank. I think Gfactor should have linked to this Cecil column when mentioning William Shockley, though.

And what’s this about a report that was taken directly from a Wikipedia article? Do you have the link?

Good catch. Thanks.

I was going to ask the same thing.

I don’t think we promised you serious. :smiley:

Yeah, because Cecil’s articles are so straight-faced.

Look, you’ve got a charter membership on the boards, so you’ve presumably been reading these columns for a while. Since when has Straight Dope ever been all that serious? Accurate, one hopes, and enlightening, but let’s face it: entertainment has always been a part of the columns too, and why not?

[thread=416179]This thread[/thread], which discusses whether Shockley deserved a Nobel Prize in the first place, is also interesting.

Hi! It’s a brand new day. We’re all curious about this “cribbed from Wikipedia” thing.

I agree. The staff report was excellent, and the quote (from one of my favorite movies) was apropos. Now everyone kick in for the tip. :smiley:

Thanks. The quote was a bit more relevant in an earlier draft. I cut a couple of sentences because they weren’t 100% accurate. The truly funny part of the color scheme to me was that they reused the colors. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up on the fact that they’d uses colors plus numbers. That gave me an “oh shit” moment, and caused me to email David Plotz. I remembered that he talked about reused colors in his book. He got back to me and said, yes they used colors and numbers, so there was never a redundant combination. But some recipients remembered the color and forgot the number, which caused the confusion. I decided that was too long for a punchline. So I cut the part about the reused colors, left the quote and the part about donors getting secret color-names, and called it a day.

Maybe he’s referring to this one.

I’m sure Doug said he maintained a Wikipedia page on the subject, so the assertion would be technically correct but hardly a valid criticism.

I guess I’m also a bit puzzled about how having a “long and totally irrelevant” epigraph is “almost as bad” as a report that was “completely cribbed from a Wikipedia article.” One is a stylistic fault–the other, if it actually happened, is plagiarism, copyright infringement, or both.

The first two sentences from the column in question:

(Bolding mine.)
Seems pretty upfront to me.

RR