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Posts Tagged ‘science

IPTEK, tukang, Nazi dan pisau dapur

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Tentang teknologi dan sains kita mendapat manfaat dari pengembangannya di China, Jepang, dan Korsel. Tapi ketiga negara itu juga mendapat bibit pengembangan dan belajar dari setidaknya Amerika Serikat dan Inggris.

Dua negara terakhir itu bisa mengembangkan teknologi dan sains mereka juga berkat jasa para ilmuwan Jerman. Bukan sekedar orang Jerman, mereka sebagian adalah ilmuwan Nazi. Mereka mengabdi pada Hitler, malah ada yang menjadi perwira kehormatan SS.

Di layar latar sy td selesai memutar ulang salah satu dokumentasi mengenai hal ini. Bagaimana teknologi dan sains dikembangkan dari kaum yang jahat. Yang untungnya kejahatannya bisa dihentikan pada waktunya dan ilmunya dimanfaatkan untuk banyak hal yang lebih baik, dengan sedikit pengecualian.

Resiko bahaya ini yang sering dilupakan banyak pihak yang larut heboh dalam gegap gempita teknologi dan sains. Mengajarkan ilmu pada pihak yang salah itu berbahaya, jauh lebih berbahaya daripada memberi pisau dapur kepada perampok.

Belajar dan mengajarkan teknologi atau sains itu sendiri sudah sedemikian susahnya. Karena itu bisa jadi sudah jarang yang mau peduli tepat atau tidak tepatnya, hal-hal yang tidak langsung berkaitan dengan skill. Hal-hal yang justru lebih mendasar, lebih filosofis. Kita hanya peduli untuk menghasilkan ahli, tukang yang ahli.

Padahal dengan ilmu, seseorang dapat lebih dimampukan untuk melakukan kejahatan daripada orang yang “tidak berilmu”. Dapat lebih melegitimasi, menjadi pembenar kegelapan daripada menyebar cahaya. Memanipulasi fakta ilmiah dan menyebar berita salah atau pemahaman keliru yang disengaja kepada publik. Menjadi stempel bagi kejahatan. Semua tidak dilakukan selalu dalam keadaan terpaksa, sebagian memang didasari pada suatu keyakinan. Seperti Wernher von Braun yang menjadi mayor pada pasukan SS milik Nazi.

Seperti pisau dapur ilmu itu dapat dipakai untuk memberi makan bagi banyak orang atau dipakai untuk kejahatan. Sekedar mendapatkan pisau dapur yang sangat tajam, anti karat, kuat dan awet sebenarnya hanyalah separuh jalan. Sekalipun susah dan mungkin rumit, itu masih sebagian dari “cerita”. Siapa yang menguasainya, itu bagian utuh dari cerita. Untuk apa pisau itu dipergunakan, juga bagian dari cerita. Bahkan mungkin penutup cerita yang lebih penting.

Kalau mau meluangkan untuk Googling, kita bisa menemukan nama Robert A.Kehoe. Ini bukan nama orang biasa. Ia adalah seorang ilmuwan. Tetapi kenangan tentangnya tidaklah baik di dunia sains. Ia adalah sedikit contoh ilmuwan modern yang disebut berada dalam daftar pembayaran oleh industri perminyakan untuk menyembunyikan data bukti agar mendukung argumen insdustri perminyakan untuk terus memperoleh untung. Dengan ilmunya, alih-alih mencerahkan ia malah menggelapkan. Ini buat sy masih untung, dasarnya adalah harta, lebih gampang untuk beralih haluan. Kalau dasarnya adalah keyakinan, akan lebih sulit lagi. Ilmu pengetahuan sering tidak berdaya, dah hanya berhenti pada efek permukaan. Terhenti sekedar di permukaan, pada tindakan operasional.

Misalnya seorang mahasiswa bisa jadi ahli dalam merancang pewaktu (timer). Ia bisa memanfaatkan keahliannya untuk merancang bel sekola atau untuk membuat pewaktu bom. Ilmunya sama, tindakan operasionalnya sama, skill yang dipakai sama. Tujuan dan hasilnya berbeda.

Atau menurut berita akhir-akhir ini ada penelitian (Korownyk Christina, Kolber Michael R, McCormack James, Lam Vanessa, Overbo Kate, Cotton Candra et al.) yang mengugkap bahwa rekomendasi dalam acara Dr Oz dan The Doctors tidaklah benar-benar selalu akurat terutama berkaitan dengan diet. Untuk detail nilai persentasi silahkan meilihat di artikel penelitiannya. Padahal acara popular seperti itu menjadi acuan tunggal bagi banyak orang .

Seorang ilmuwan, lengkap dengan gelar Prof atau setidaknya Ph.D. memberikan efek wow yang lebih daripada orang biasa. Karenanya kalau ia melakukan kejahatan, efeknya akan lebih berbahaya. Begitu pula gelar dokter bagi praktisi medis, jauh akan lebih didengar orang banyak daripada orang yang tidak memiliki gelar tersebut. Jadi bayangkan bagaimana Nazi memanfaatkan kecerdasan dan ilmu dari para doktor dan dokter untuk melakukan kejahatan di zaman itu.

Kalau kita terlena dalam berpacu menghasilkan para “tukang yang ahli”, ada baiknya kita melihat kembali ke belakang. Belajar dari era Nazi Jerman dan para ilmuwan pendukungnya.

Di zaman kita ini berbahaya jika alih-alih menyebarkan terang, orang-orang sains malah memelihara gelap. Alih-alih mengajukan teori baru untuk diperiksa rekan sejawat, agar bisa membantah atau mengganti teori lama, malah memelihara dan menyebar pseudoscience.

Sampai adanya teori baru yang diterima tidaklah sebegitu mudah untuk mengarang “teori” sesuai kehendak setiap orang. Akan runtuh bangunan besar sains ini, jika terus dibiarkan seperti itu. Dimulai dari pembiaran yang kecil sampai jadi trend, kembali ke zaman kegelapan abad pertengahan.

Dalam dunia lain, ini seperti para Brahmin dari golongan Brahmana yang tidak percaya akan adanya para dewa . Pengkhianatan tertinggi.
 
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by sunupradana

December 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

20 tips for interpreting scientific advice

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Non-scientist? Here’s 20 tips for interpreting scientific advice http://www.nature.com/news/policy-twenty-tips-for-interpreting-scientific-claims-1.14183

Written by sunupradana

November 21, 2013 at 8:10 am

Posted in Science

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Watch “Equations that rule the world” on YouTube

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Written by sunupradana

June 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Posted in Engineering, Science

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Stephen Hawking at 70: Exclusive interview – opinion – 04 January 2012 – New Scientist

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Einstein referred to the cosmological constant as his “biggest blunder”.  What was yours?

 
I used to think that information was destroyed in black holes. But the AdS/CFT correspondence led me to change my mind. This was my biggest blunder, or at least my biggest blunder in science.

NS: Black holes consume everything, including information, that strays too close. But in 1975, together with the Israeli physicist Jakob Bekenstein, Hawking showed that black holes slowly emit radiation, causing them to evaporate and eventually disappear. So what happens to the information they swallow? Hawking argued for decades that it was destroyed – a major challenge to ideas of continuity, and cause and effect. In 1997, however, theorist Juan Maldacena developed a mathematical shortcut, the “Anti-de-Sitter/conformal field theory correspondence”, or AdS/CFT. This links events within a contorted space-time geometry, such as in a black hole, with simpler physics at that space’s boundary.

In 2004, Hawking used this to show how a black hole’s information leaks back into our universe through quantum-mechanical perturbations at its boundary, or event horizon. The recantation cost Hawking a bet made with fellow theorist John Preskill a decade earlier.

 

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Catatan: Pelajaran nyata yang bagus bagi para ilmuwan agar tidak merasa paling hebat dan sok pintar 😛 . Seorang sekaliber Stephen Hawking bahkan mau mengakui kebenaran relatif yang diajukan orang lain, bahkan dengan konsekuensi harus membatalkan (menarik kembali) argumentasinya yang terdahulu.

Itu sikap seorang ilmuwan hebat sekaliber Stephen Hawking. Siapa saya, siapa anda, siapa kita? Sudahkah kita diakui dunia internasional sehebat Stephen Hawking? Mari berpikir ulang 🙂

Written by sunupradana

January 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Posted in Pendidikan, Science

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Christopher VanLang’s answer to Graduate School

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Christopher VanLang, Chemical Engineering PhD Student at S…

16 votes by Anon User, Katy Pearce, Michael W. Long, (more)

The answers so far mean well but have been extremely judgmental and forget a simple concept: the PhD is the process of taking an individual and nurturing them to be an intellectual productive expert. Most people focus on the end product but forget that the 4-10 years of the PhD are long and dark periods where you feel quite stupid at times.

I’ve been there. There are many moments where I feel that I’m not pulling my weight, feel mediocre, not working hard enough, and outright dumb. At one point you were probably the cream of the crop in High School and College and now you’re struggling to stay afloat among superstar prodigies who published Science and Nature papers during their sophomore year of college. As a PhD student, you’re probably working on some project where your advisor happens to be the world expert on and all of your lab colleagues have been happily studying for the past X years. Of course you’re going to be stupid. My advisor thinks I’m stupid all the time. If I wasn’t, I would have a PhD.

But fear not, there are ways out of the hole and apparently a degree comes after you get out. Assuming that you still want a PhD here are a few suggestions that have worked for me and my peers.

  • First off is figuring out why are you so mediocre. Michael W. Long hints at the most important factor: interest. Sometimes, its not that simple. It could be your sleep schedule, your technique, your lack of knowledge on a subject. On the more extreme side, it could be your advisor or your lab environment. Setting aside some time to figure out what distractions, physical, and mental hurdles exist will help you get back on the path of productivity.
  • The most important thing is pure hard work. Its one thing to be mediocre, its another to be LAZY. See Graduate Advisors & Advising: What is it like to have a lazy grad student under you? Lot of problems in grad school can be solved but pretty much all of them can’t be solved if you’re not willing to work through them.
  • Finding a group of mentors and peer advisors is a humbling but valuable experience. A knowledgeable mentor (including your advisor) should be able to give you perspective on your progress, your habits, your demeanor. Maybe you have outside emotional distractions that are preventing you from focusing on your PhD work. Having the ability to verbally voice your thoughts, concerns, and proposed steps to get back on track is extremely important not only for your PhD but also your own mental health. Good suggestions would be your significant other, roommates, older graduate students, young like-minded professors, and people on Quora.
  • Rebuilding confidence is a challenging process and is essential to the PhD education. In the early years of your PhD, you probably had safe and doable experiments or problems where your advisor or an older grad student figured out many of the nuanced details for you. In the midyears, those crutches are taken from you and you’re often in a sink or swim situation. You’re placed in an environment where you will fail. However, by breaking down your problems into smaller achievable goals, taking time to critically examine your dilemmas, and pure hard work you’ll be able to chip away at these problems and small successes will add up.
  • Realize that one field’s idiot is another’s expert. True story: my friend really wanted to study fluid mechanics. FAILED QUALS because they weren’t good enough at fluid mechanics. Left for a different department. Is now the other department’s expert on fluid mechanics. A common example is when a frustrated mathematician decided to leave his field of managerial economics and realized that his mathematical talents can be applied to all sorts of challenges in biology[1]. You bring in valuable knowledge that other members in your group/department don’t have. The challenge is recognizing what you do know and being able to apply it to your work.
  • Take ownership of your work. Mediocrity comes when you don’t have full command of your work. Leaning on the laurels of other students and your advisor makes you dependent on them and in doing so, makes you stupid. Part of the PhD is recognizing that you are supposed to know every single detail about your work and by either reading about it or thinking a lot about it, you should be the expert on said seemingly meaningless detail.
  • If all else fails, work on something else. If you’re just struggling with a project, shift your efforts. This is a big reason why graduate students are given multiple projects. One is to learn how to multitask and prioritize, but the other is the gateway to get out of a stalled project fast. Your experiments not working, write a grant. Theory isn’t working out, code away. This goes along with rebuilding confidence and while it may annoy your advisor, sometimes detours may provide valuable insight on why everything else is going poorly.

Going from productive to mediocre is a very upsetting process. However, regardless of the fact that you’re in a PhD, the real world will require you to break out of a slump and getting back to a productive state is an important but challenging process. However, in the real world, you would have a manager whose job is to make you productive. In the PhD world, its only you trying to stay alive long enough to graduate.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/0…

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Written by sunupradana

January 4, 2012 at 7:11 am

Posted in Science

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What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

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Ever wondered what getting a doctorate really means? Matt Might, professor of Computer Science at the University of Utah, explains it perfectly in this graphic presentation that starts with a simple circle.—JD

Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is.

It’s hard to describe it in words.

So, I use pictures.

Read below for the illustrated guide to a Ph.D.

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

A master’s degree deepens that specialty:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

You push at the boundary for a few years:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

Until one day, the boundary gives way:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

Of course, the world looks different to you now:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

So, don’t forget the bigger picture:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate?

Click to view
Keep pushing.

Matt Might is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Utah. He finished his dent at Georgia Tech in 2007, and now enjoys advising his own Ph.D. students on how to make theirs. He tweets from @mattmight and blogs at blog.might.net.

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Written by sunupradana

January 4, 2012 at 6:29 am

Posted in Life, Pendidikan, Science

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Disc News Details: Mouse Virus Link to Fatigue Retracted

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Dec 22 2011

"The prominent journal Science on Thursday retracted a 2009 report linking a mouse retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome after it was disproved by researchers earlier this year."

http://m.discovery.com/s/4737/1932?itemPos=3&catIndex=

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Written by sunupradana

December 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Berita, Science, Sisi ringan

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