Author Archives: kimlym

Google plagiarism?

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When I write down the name of this post, I am actually pretty nervous because I have no idea how people react due to a great reputation of Google.  And personally, I really like Google and think it brings u s so many wonders and make our life easier.  So my point of this post is to see whether any people happen to know about it and what you would react if it is true.

It was a normal after school day and I was hanging out on a forum I usually spent time on. Then I found that there was a big debate about Google and another search engine famous in China, named Baidu . Baidu is the most famous and popular search engine in mainland China and it won the battle when years ago Google tried to move in China. However, this great company had a really bad reputation as most of people thought what it was doing is just mock Google.

Naturally, I thought Google of course would win this battle and most people are satisfied. However, I was astonished because someone said actually Google plagiarized the algorithm invented by Baidu’s CEO before Baidu is founded.


This is such a shocking news as I never thought a company with bad reputation would have such great invention. Thus I kept reading and found what he said seems really reasonable and convincing. So I made a little research about this and this is what I found.

First, let me introduce the main character in this story, the CEO of Baidu, graduates of the State University of New York, Robin Li .  In 1994, after graduation, he “joined the IDD information Services” and “helped develop a software program for the online edition of The Wall Street Journal”. And at this time, he was devoting himself to his own search engine.

Then in 1996, he developed the Rankdex site-scoring algorithm, which is the topic of whether Google plagiarize. And in the hyperlink I provided there, it illustrates as ” Many experts and commentators are unaware that RankDex was cited in Lawrence Page’s patent application for Google PageRank as the first qualitative search engine” . And the Google PageRank is exactly what Google use as for its searching engine, which is patented in 2005, 9 years later than Rankdex was patented. And here is the most controversial part, Google PageRank was created in 1996 when the founder of Google was still in Stanford and exactly in the same year Robin Li gave a speech in Stanford about his algorithm. And interestingly, the patent of Google PageRank actually wasn’t assigned to Google, instead it was assigned to the Stanford university.

Then in 1997, Li started working for a pioneer internet search engine company named infoseek, which had a great success at that time. And 2 years later, he went back to China and founded Baidu, which I mentioned before.

So from what I write above, Li is a really excellent programmer and entrepreneur  so I think he probably has the ability to develop a great algorithm and Google plagiarize or refer to it.

So what you think if Google really plagiarize Li’s invention as it’s patented or do you agree with Richard Stallman, who we learned in former classes that this is a freedom of software that should be advocated?

P.S. I’m not so sure what Li invented there, but some people said he also patented algorithm of hyperlinks, so when you click the hyperlinks above, you may also be charged if he did ask for it? Correct me if any mistake.

Break old laws for better ones?

In today’s class, we talked about gay marriage and the rightness of making it legal. Similar ideas could also be in Why ‘I have Nothing to Hide’, which is required to read.

In the article the author pointed out that’ state of Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage this year’, and then he said ‘sodomy laws had effectively made homosexuality itself completely illegal in that state until 2001′. Thus he gave out the questions that if the laws were perfect and 100% followed, then how could people still try homosexual relationship if they followed the law, which indicated the law is strictly correct?

The deduction he gave us seemed to be correct and reasonable, just as what we talked in class, and put old laws on the board of being broken. But what i wanted to point out here is that, long before the laws were made, homosexuality or same-sex relationship has been recorded objectively in history.

In ancient China, same-sex love was recorded around 600 BCE and described as “brokeback” while Japanese called it “shudo or nanshoku” and “This same-sex love culture gave rise to strong traditions of painting and literature documenting and celebrating such relationships.”

And in European , there are also many discussions about same-sex relationship, what i found was from Plato and Aristotle. And particularly, Aristotle pointed out that “barbarians like the Celts accorded it a special honour (2.6.6), while the Cretans used it to regulate the population”. And this could explain why countries like Russia tried to make gay marriage illegal as their population is decreasing each year.

Thus, my point here is that since gay relationship has been recorded way before the law was made. So we cannot say that we “secretly break the law to know about it ” and thus make better laws. Particular cases like homosexuality is not a good example.

Furthermore, from my point of view, we cannot label most of the laws good or bad laws as they all sever to regulate our societies and try meet the expectations of most or certain group of people. Because to me, laws are just some modified moralities written in paper as for most of the time we cannot come to an agreement of our moralities or ethics. We don’t know the principles we using is the one most accepted by people or the correct when we evaluate actions, thus we need a unified principle for this, which is law.

So when a new law comes out, it’s not the case that the old one is broken and new one replace it. It’s because people’s attitudes have changed, so we have the new one.