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Ikatan Cendikiawan Patah Hati

One for All... All for One!

Dilbert Pearls Before Swine

Thursday, February 8

A Viewpoint on Justice and Punishment

Ini satu komentar dari website Scientific American.


Seorang ilmuwan (sangat terkenal), W. French Anderson, 70 th, dihukum penjara 14 tahun atas tuduhan child molestation (sick).

Anderson dikenal sebagai Bapak Terapi Genetik. Pada tahun 1990, beliau
mengobati seorang anak berusia 4 tahun yang memiliki kelainan genetik
yang menyebabkan dia gampang terinfeksi. Ia mengambil sedikit darahnya
dan memasukkan gen normal ke sel darah putihnya. Dengan medikasi,
sekarang dia sudah bisa hidup normal.

Ada 2 sisi argumentasi:

1. Dia memang layak dipenjara (hideous crime it is)

2. Lebih baik dihukum probation dan diberi kesempatan untuk mengabdikan ilmunya


Ini salah satu komentar terbaik: (worth the long read)

Both sides are valid, and I think it points out our antiquated judicial
system and the sanctions that are levied against crimes. If the best we
can think up for 'criminals' is to lock them up, then we really haven't
come that far. I think the present trial really highlights our lack of
sophistication when it comes to treating the 'criminally' minded, if
you can call it that. For example, I heard a story of a 17 yr old boy
being sentenced for 10 years for getting oral sex from 14 yr old girl.
If thats how we treat our youth, by labeling them as criminal for
simply doing what they are ready to do, for doing what they see all
around them, then there is something wrong with the law and the system
that endorses it. I mean billions of dollars are spent each year to
lure children into buying products, whatever they may be, and yet we
have inadequate education systems, inadequate healthcare systems,
inadequate family systems: the primary places where healthy behavior
could be fostered and role-modeled.

No person should be above the law, but the laws should be rational,
transparent, and open to debate by all experts who can shed light on
the issues (not just lawyers), just like any other idea that supposedly
holds the fabric of our society together. We need to apply all of our
science, technology, and intuition to the ills we face collectively and
come up with solutions that are creative, coherent, and empowering.
Incarceration is simply wrong in many situations and hearkens back to
previous historical periods when death and suffering were the only
options. That is, we still point our fingers at individuals who
'deviate' without recognizing that we are participants in and complicit
with the very system that creates them. In the past this was called the
inquisition, or the witch hunts, or eugenics, etc. and in each case the
people doing the labeling felt perfectly justified. What history has
shown us is that making individuals suffer for what are actually our
collective failings leads to a dissonance that can only be addressed by
convincing yourself they 'deserve' it, a dehumanizing of the 'other'.
The law and its sanctions should not be about dehumanizing but about
humanizing; coming to terms with what it means to be human and to face
the problems that arise in a particular era.

So long as we put people ( and animals IMHO ) in cages instead of
finding ways to bring about their humanity and ultimately help them
find purpose, we are no better then the people we lock up and who
actually commit terrible acts. We just conveniently turn the channel,
sip our coffee, and relax in the knowledge that we are 'good' because
we would never steal or lie or take advantage of the situation. We
would never buy products that are harmful to others or the planet, we
would never place money before well-being and enlightenment, and we
would certainly never grant human rights to an entity whose only
concern is to consume and convert natural resources into waste,
pollution, corruption, and money.

Plato had the right idea, we should strive to order our soul with the
heavens, whether that soul refer to one man or woman or one city or one
country or one beautiful blue planet.

http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=another_scientist_s_fall_from_grace />

Wednesday, February 7

Maybe FPS Ain't So Bad After All

Researchers at the University of Rochester made subjects play games like Unreal Tournament for a few hours a day over the course of a month. Then something incredible happened:

Subjects "improved by about 20 percent in their ability to identify letters presented in clutter--a visual acuity test similar to ones used in regular ophthalmology clinics."

Or to put it another way, playing Halo could improve your performance on a standard eye chart.

Interestingly, the effect only showed up in games like Unreal Tournament--not in games like Tetris.

The researchers have, at least in their own minds, ruled out the possibility that the eye itself is changing, which leaves only one alternative--that playing action video games actually re-wires the brain's visual system.

http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=action_videogames_improve_vision_might_r />