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Is the L.A. Times Cribbing from Wikipedia?

45749432If there’s one thing the gays are good at, it’s being thorough, a sharp-eyed Queerty reader brought this L.A. Times article out today about Japan’s shiny, sexy bullet trains by John M. Glionna to our attention. Turned on by all the talk of speeding phalluses, our reader went to Wikipedia to learn more– only to find that the L.A. Times article and Wikipedia’s entry on the Shinkansen were awfully similar.

From the Los Angeles Times:

“Designed to traverse Japan’s mountainous terrain, the trains use tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them.”

From Wikipedia:

“In contrast to older lines, Shinkansen are standard gauge, and use tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them.”


“Officials boast that on average the trains are less than half a minute late each year, which includes delays caused by earthquakes, typhoons and snow. During the line’s 45-year history and transport of 7 billion passengers, there have been no deaths from derailment or collisions.”


“During the Shinkansen’s 44-year, nearly 7 billion-passenger history, there have been no passenger fatalities due to derailments or collisions, despite frequent earthquakes and typhoons.”


“An automated control system eliminates the need for signals.”

“It employs an ATC (Automatic Train Control) system, eliminating the need for signals.”

As you know, being a media watchdog id a favorite pastime here ate Queerty and why should only the gay outlets get the love? So, which is it readers? Is there just only so many ways to talk about bullet trains or is “Japan: Blurring the line between bullets and trains” an article that blurs reporting with rewording?

On:           Mar 24, 2009
Tagged: , ,
    • John

      maybe they both got them from a standard press release that the people who run the train system give out to the press? the things that are the same are just facts, how creative can you be when reporting how fast something goes or it’s on-time record? why am I commenting on this? is anyone even here? I’m a nerd.

      Mar 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AJD

      The passages do look awfully similar, but it is possible that they used the same press releases or government documents (neither of which are copyrighted). And, of course, facts can’t be copyrighted either.

      At the same time, if the article did take those passages from Wikipedia, it would constitute two offenses: a) plagiarism; and b) using Wikipedia as source material.

      Mar 24, 2009 at 8:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • paul-e-wog

      So what?

      Mar 24, 2009 at 9:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stenar

      Did anyone check the Wikipedia logs to see when Wikipedia was updated? Maybe it was updated after the L.A. Times article?

      Mar 24, 2009 at 9:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AJD

      @Stenar: That’s another possibility…

      Mar 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.

      That’s one sexy train.

      Mar 25, 2009 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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