The power law of the Oscars

Hey there, Remington

This will go on your permanent record

High school has always been a hotbed of forgery: I remember kids sitting in the cafeteria, practising their parents’ handwriting so they could generate fake notes. According to the New York Times’ Education section, the age of high-tech document manipulation has moved that subculture into overdrive. As they report:

In interviews with principals across the country, many mentioned the ease of altering report cards and transcripts using desktop publishing software like Adobe Photoshop, which allows students to capture a school’s seal off its Web site and paste it into a file to create an official-looking document.

One administrator told of a student who was caught forging his report card when the nearby Kinko’s called the school to report that a student had left a copy of his grades on the copier. One principal said he had heard of students forging transcripts with generic-embossed seals to avoid paying for official transcripts.

So many schools have begun using secure, hard-to-replicate document stock from Scrip-Safe that the company began offering a product line specifically for academic institutions.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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