May 7, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

Posted in Why is it like that? at 4:40 am by qballkubal

It was all for the greater good

I’d like to start this post with the above well-known quote. I believe that every one of you have read or heard it somewhere. Either in some novels or perhaps movies. And this is what suddenly appeared in my mind after I’ve done watching “Gone Baby Gone” (2007). I was speechless, awed, and amazed at the same time. I mean, the complexity of the story, the morale issues against the idealism of rules and laws, the strong characters, all of them was mixed perfectly with almost no flaw. Somehow I felt like I was involved in that movie, had to help Patrick, had to convince him that it is okay to do something wrong for the greater good of that child. I somehow realized (again) that idealism sometimes will bring you nowhere, that it might do you harm rather than having a good expected result.

Imagine this situation: Would you help saving one kid’s life if you find out in the future that he turns out to be a serial killer? Would you help bring back a kidnapped child if only you’ve known that her mother will only ignore her and perhaps even worse, abuse her again? Would you or would you not, kill a child molester, in order to prevent him to kidnap and abduct another under age child? The last one might be an extreme example. Yet, sometimes we just don’t realize that our good deeds backfire us.

Perhaps we just have to follow Occam’s Razor theory, that everything in the world by its nature does not have to be as complex as what it seems. Just put aside unnecessary assumptions and make it simple: wrong doing is okay as long as it is for the greater good.

entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

(entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity)

-Franciscan friar William of Ockham-

Unfortunately, it is always not as simple as it looks like. Our concept of morality always force us to see what we want to see, not the underlying problem. We want to see that saving someone’s life is more important than thinking the possibility of that person becoming a threat for our own life in the future. Ah……such a lofty sentiment.

How about you? Where do you put yourself in such situation?

Picture from drockdamian.

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May 3, 2008

Christian Scott- Anthem

Posted in My Jukebox Review at 5:26 pm by qballkubal

Listening to this album can be considered as a new experience for me. Never had I listened to solo jazz performance of trumpet before. To think that it would be dull and tedious. But it turned out that I was wrong, completely and utterly wrong. I even enjoy listening to this album lately rather than any other jazz albums, especially those with sax. The ambiance was totally different from pop jazz and smooth jazz with sax. This might be not a surprising fact, consider that Chris Scott took the unusual type of jazz. The atmosphere he created with his trumpet overwhelmed me and brought me to a different realm of calm, soft, and warm-hearted world.

It opened with dope melody from “Litany against fear” in which can freeze your moment of truth, bring you down into the deepest fear of yours. But no need to get anxious, cause in the next songs such as Void; Anthem (antediluvian adaptation); Re:; The Uprising; and The 9, you will be taken care and brought into deep contemplation. Soon you’ll feel more relax and find your spirit again. “Like That” will implicitly advise you that no matter difficult life is, you just have to be calm and smile like that. Hehehe, at least this is what I got when I heard that song. However, don’t be surprised if you hear a rap rhymes in the last song, “Anthem (postdiluvial adaptation)”. Yet, I must say that he bravely and successfully has been able to mix those two distinct genres of music into one harmony.

You don’t have to buy special yoga or new age song to create a difference feeling in your room as well as to meditate. This album gives you more than that.

April 17, 2008

Another exile…..but not too long nor far away

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:29 am by qballkubal

Gila ya! Ternyata kalo dipikir- pikir gw tuh sebenernya lagi bosen banget ama kondisi lingkungan sekitar. Cuman karena gak nyadar aja gw biarin tanpa berpikir lebih lanjut. Klimaksnya pas blok hostel gw mengalami mati air gara- gara tangki air ada yang pecah. Plus, kondisi internet yang lagi naik turun bikin emosi jiwa jadi gak stabil. Tanpa pikir panjang, langsung dah gw bertandang ke tempat si abud di damansara perdana.

I’m being in the exile now. And gosh! I am really enjoying this one. It is really the time to fill up my energy, get over with unimportant thoughts in my head. I guess I was really don’t realize how utterly bored I was at that time.

Damn! It is really great to be alive again.

I’m ready to prepare for my exam and defense my thesis on the 5th May. Hope I’m not gonna get scolded to death by the examiners, hehehehe.

Picture from photobucket.com

April 10, 2008

An apocryphal story about marriage….

Posted in unusual tagged at 6:27 am by qballkubal

Duh, gw rasa kebanyakan baca buku ekonomi dan bisnis gak baik juga buat kesehatan otak. Selain bikin gw jauh dari lingkungan sosial, ini makin membuat aura pheromon gw menurun dalam menarik perhatian wanita- wanita diluar sana. Taiah, macam ada yang mau aja ama perjaka ting-ting yang belom (bukan TIDAK ya) berduit gara- gara masih kuliah ini (moga-moga bentar lagi lulus dah!)

Anyway, gw menemukan satu joke yang menurut gw aneh. Aneh soalnya menurut gw hanya yang menjadikan buku ekonomi sebagai pengganti kekasihnya karena ditolak terus- terusan ataupun menderita cinta bertepuk sebelah tangan yang bisa memahami lucunya cerita ini. Just wanna share this with all of you. From Managerial Economics: A problem solving approach by Luke M. Froeb and Brian T. McCam.

One time, an economist and his fiancee were planning to get married. The two were receiving premarital counseling from a priest. The priest’s first question to them was “Why do you want to get married?” The economist’s fiancee answered, “Because I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him.” The economist had somewhat different answer: “Because long-term contracts induce higher levels relationship-specific investment.” A year later, trying hard to find the right words to express how he felt about his wife, he wrote an anniversary e-mail-using a nice cursive fonts-declaring that his “relationship-specific investment was earning an abnormally high rate of return.”

Picture from graphic.boston.com.

April 9, 2008

A zero narrative culture….

Posted in Why is it like that? at 8:37 pm by qballkubal

Sounds like a beautiful and interesting title, doesn’t it? The title is indeed interesting but unfortunately not in the beautiful way. In fact, it has a negative and decadent connotation. A zero narrative culture is a situation in one society where its people don’t give respect to books, information, and the activity of reading as pleasure. Instead, as some analysts argue, it is a society where people prefer video toys and internet hits to real reading.

To give more understanding about this issue, let me put it this way, in an interesting question: How many of your friends and colleagues (this could include yourself) claim reading as one of their life-style, not just merely another hobby? Compare the answer with this question: How many of your friends and colleagues enjoy watching movies and tv series rather than reading a book or news paper (be it printed or online)? The answer might vary but in general I believe that the answer for the second question will be much more than the first one.

Okay, I now that this issue might be a little old and has been discussed over and over again. However, I believe that this is still interesting and important to discuss because of the impacts that it might give to our society. Bear in mind that such situation not only occurs in our beloved Indonesia, but also in the mighty America. Check out the quotation from Playboy Magazine US April Edition 2008(You don’t think that Playboy is all about naked ladies, do you?):

The United States Today is not an illiterate nation. It is an increasingly an aliterate nation, in which books, magazines, and newspaper are being killed not by censors but by an indifferent public………..2007 report by National Endowment for The Arts, 40 percent of adults from the ages 25 to 44 and nearly half of Americans from the ages 18 to 24 never-I repeat, never-read books for pleasure. Not literary classics, not bodice-ripper romances, not mysteries, not poetry, not biographies or histories, not self-help books-not even the Bible. More than half of adults, in what is supposedly the most religious nation in the Western world, cannot name the four Gospels. It seems neither the good book nor naughty books can turn nonreaders into readers.”

If reading is being stereotyped as the main activity of geek and nerd people, I wouldn’t mind being into a part of that kind of society because I could not imagine what my life is gonna be without those thick-paper kind of things. In fact, I believe that being able to read as much information as you can will attract your opposite sex friend. Nobody wants a hunk or bootylicious chick with an airhead for sure (except if what you’re looking for is sex, perhaps).

Reading is boring and I sometimes feel that too. But why such tedious activity is important? Reading can be considered as the indicators for the society to retain certain knowledge and information about the world outside them. Indeed, it may not contribute to the real benefit of one life. It also may not increase your salary, but such ability is important in the long term. How somebody can pay your salary if he or she doesn’t have the knowledge to run the business. How you can enjoy (or make sure your child) can enjoy watching movie and tv series if nobody has the knowledge in the art of making movie. How then, you can have a good design and well-built of house and car if nobody is interested in reading engineering or architecture book?

Get my point?

Source: Jacoby, S. 2008. Zero Narrative Nation. Playboy Magazine US April Edition 2008.

Picture from nftsfilm.co.uk

April 8, 2008

I feel too clapped-out…

Posted in Just chattering... at 12:24 am by qballkubal

I woke up with bleary eyes this morning. Gosh! I must be dog-tired from the events yesterday. Well, I guess forcing yourself to exercise in the gym right after standing for over four hours was not a good idea. But it was fun though. Such a joy that I had…..

At first, I was very reluctant to be participated in this kind of event. Not that I’m an anti-social or introvert (hehehe, I am actually, but that was back in junior high). It’s just that at the same time I was having a lot of assignments and thesis which the due are getting closer and closer. But hey! I have already promised my friends and I believe that I’ll feel more guilty if I disappoint them. And then there I was, well- clad in traditional javanese dress. Nonetheless, it turned that the international food festival was a huge success. And it seemed that my dress had attracted attention from the visitors. Some of them were very eager to take the picture with me. What’s more, apparently my lecturer was also in charged in the event and accompanied the vice chancellor.

Hahahaha! Taelah, kapan lagi gw bisa jadi model dadakan kaya gini? Cape, tapi puas dah!

Hmmmm….need to review new music I’ve been listening lately. Let’s see…..Chris Scott, Colbie Caillat, Pet Metheny Trio, New Gnarls Barkley album, and Bic Runga (this one is quite old, but worth to listen).

One by one then……

Picture from abcnews.com

March 30, 2008

The Illegality of human body parts trade….

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:02 am by qballkubal

Sampe saat ini, yang namanya perdagangan organ manusia dilarang keras di Amerika. Alasannya sangat jelas: memperdagangkan organ manusia dilarang dalam sebagian besar agama dan secara moral dan etika merendahkan manusia itu sendiri. Pertanyaannya: apa bener kaya gitu?

Ambil contoh kasus organ ginjal. Dalam majalah Forbers edisi 5 Juni 2006, 66.000 orang Amerika merupakan pasien gagal ginjal dalam daftar tunggu transplantasi organ. 40.000 dari total jumlah tersebut sudah menunggu lebih dari satu tahun. Andai ginjal bisa diperdagangkan, maka dari total jumlah tersebut sebagian mungkin bisa terselamatkan (dengan asumsi mereka memiliki dana atau pun asuransi yang bisa mendanai pembelian dan operasi transplantasi ginjal). Cara paling cepat untuk bisa keluar dari list? Agak satir, tapi memang cuma kematian yang bisa melakukannya. Masalah ini dihadapi baik oleh orang kaya ataupun orang miskin di US, karena larangan perdagangan ginjal berlaku buat semua pihak dan enforcement law yang cukup kuat membuat semua orang gak punya pilihan selain menunggu dengan sabar.

Froeb and McCann dalam bukunya yang berjudul Managerial Economics: A Problem Solving Approach memberikan tiga pilihan jawaban buat pertanyaan di atas. Pilihan anda akan menentukan pendapat dan pandangan anda mengenai perdagangan organ manusia:

1. Perdagangan organ manusia sangat amoral dan tidak etis. Hanya kaum kapitalis yang berpikiran bahwa organ manusia bisa diperjual belikan

2. Orang- orang yang mengatasnamakan agama, moral, dan etis tidak menyadari bahwa larangan itu justru menyebabkan suplai organ menjadi terbatas. Mereka justru menjadi penyebab utama kematian pasien yang menunggu ginjal yang tak kunjung datang

3. Kalo itu memang ilegal, pebisnis Amerika yang pinter bisa mengakalinya dengan meminjam US$ 100 juta dari bank dengan bunga 20 persen per tahun, membangun rumah sakit terapung di atas kapal, berlayar di zona laut internasional (dimana hukum US dan negara lain tidak berlaku), dan memulai bisnis jual- beli ginjal. Asumsikan bahwa dia bisa mematok US$ 200 ribu per ginjal dan mendapatkan keuntungan 10 persen tiap transaksi, sang pebisnis menyadari bahwa dia membutuhkan hanya 1.000 ginjal buat balik modal. Menurut Froeb and McCann, jumlah ini hanya 1 persen dari total demand di US sendiri.

Perdagangan organ manusia memang terkesan negatif dan bikin bulu kuduk berdiri kalo mendengarnya. Dan memang, melegalkannya belum tentu menyelesaikan masalah. Malahan, perdagangan yang legal malah mungkin dapat menyebabkan human trafficking (perdagangan ilegal manusia) dengan tujuan perbudakan (percayalah, masih ada didunia ini), prostitusi, atau pun untuk dibunuh kemudian di ambil organnya menjadi meningkat.

Tapi, seandainya adanya dukungan dari hukum dan sistem yang benar, secara ekonomi (teorinya ya) perdagangan organ dapat menyelamatkan banyak nyawa karena suplai organ akan dengan alami tersedia di pasar, pasar gelap organ pun menjadi surut (ngapain beli di pasar gelap yang beresiko masuk penjara dan lagian harganya sama dengan yang legal?!), aktivitas human trafficking pun menurun. Dan dengan adanya insentif khusus buat yang tidak mampu dari pemerintah, the free market system of organ trade will benefit all.

All in all, ini semua cuman teori dengan sudut pandang Free Market System dan Capitalism. Tentu banyak yang skeptis dengan pandangan ini. Tapi, mengutip kata kata Raymond W. Baker dalam bukunya Capitalism’s Achilles Heel:

“When you operate it properly, with respect and fairness and shared benefits, the system works.”

Picture from howstuffworks.com

Dechiper this message…..if you can

Posted in Unique at 3:59 am by qballkubal

 

Ada yang bisa memecahkan kode di atas?

Clue: for those who understand programming, use the ASCII-based coding

Hehehe, selamat mencoba. Well, kalo udah mentok bisa refer ke site ini kok.

March 24, 2008

The Awakening……

Posted in Just chattering... at 12:50 am by qballkubal

The hours in the dawn has passed, with pale sun light is now thrusting into my room, seems to ignore the shade that I put to block it. Downstairs the street is crowded with people walk to and fro, indicates the new activity in Monday morning after the weekend. The long weekend has ended, although it didn’t affect me that much since I still had to cramp my brain with thesis material and assignments. Barely passed the long suffering boredom yesterday, I give up mind and stop thinking for a while, afraid that it might hurt the morning that had tried to cheer me up.

News in the net are practically the same as ever, talking about fear of economic downturn, US election, US recession; summing up the neverending grievances in the world. Well, I still can enjoy my morning coffee, so I guess the world is still fine for now.

Lots of stuff and materials that I’ve read, but none has inspired me to write about something. This is probably the result of sticking into the same book for more than four months (damn you LOTR! When can I finish reading you?).

Digging new movies I got from my friend. Some are good, some are tedious, some are disturbing, some are confusing.

Got to end this dead circle of boredom somehow. Hmm, i have to think to travel somewhere else again.

Nevertheless, I think today would be a great day, as I am now writing my first post since two weeks ago. Thoughts, lots of them that have weighed on me, seem to flow bit by bit. It makes my nerve cells to empty their chemical compounds in which my thoughts are stored, leaving empty space to be filled up again ( but not this morning for sure.Give me a break will ya!?). Paris Match, John Mayer, and Joss Stone make the cells to jump and become excited. Nice!

Picture from in photos.

March 12, 2008

Mengapa harga obat mahal?

Posted in Why is it like that? at 1:26 am by qballkubal

Milis angkatan gw lagi seru ngomongin seputar kesehatan. Soalnya temen- temen cewe gw yang udah menikah sedang banyak yang mengandung. That’s why, mereka jadi aware banget soal kesehatan bayi, reproduksi, kualitas dokter kandungan mereka, dan obat- obatan. Banyak yang mengeluhkan soal mahalnya harga obat non-generik saat ini meskipun mereka gak punya pilihan lain karena emang versi generik obat yang mereka butuhkan belom ada. Yang lain mengeluhkan dokter kandungan mereka yang terkesan terlalu banyak ngasi obat (ada yang lebih dari tiga bo!) sehingga mereka lebih mirip sales obat daripada dokter.

Achi, sang Pharmacist (inget, gak sama dengan Apoteker biasa!), juga lagi pusing dengan adanya praktek insentif dari perusahaan obat kepada dokter yang mempromosikan obat mereka dalam seminar dan praktek. Gak tanggung- tanggung, insentifnya bisa mobil ato liburan ke luar negeri! Sound like a bribery to you? It’s just one bottle of wine away from bribery. Jadinya kadang- kadang pasien sering dijejali obat yang gak mereka butuhkan.

One time, bayinya temen gw demam ketika baru nyampe Jakarta (from New Jersey). Dokter di Jakarta merekomendasikan suntikan antibiotik (buset dah! bayi belom setaun udah dikasi antibiotik!). Sedangkan konfirmasi dari dokter-nya di New Jersey sangaaaat simpel: sang bayi terlalu exicted karena berada di lingkungan baru, cukup kasih suplemen and sang bayi bakal sembuh dalam dua hari. Does this indicate incompentence of our Doctor? Perhaps.

Back to the drug price issue, kenapa perusahaan obat sangat agresif dalam mempromosikan obat mereka?

Harga obat memang mahal karena perusahaan farmasi (terutama yang besar seperti GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer (oh, the viagra!), and Eli Lilly (famous for Prozac) mengeluarkan uang yang mungkin dua kali lebih banyak dari APBN negara kita buat mengembangkan satu jenis obat. Penelitian, pengembangan, tes efektivitas dan efek samping, uji klinik, produksi, dan marketing bisa memakan waktu rata- rata 12,3 tahun dengan budget sebanyak US $802 juta.

Ini beberapa info yang berhubungan dengan riset obat:
1. Hanya 4 dari 100 molekul kandidat (screening compounds) yang bisa digunakan sebagai informasi untuk investigasi obat baru (Investigational New Drugs/IND)
2. Hanya 5 dari 200 uji IND yang menunjukkan efektivitas dalam uji terhadap hewan
3. Rasio kegagalan uji klinis obat baru terhadap manusia adalah 6 kegagalan dari 10 uji (3:5)
4. Hanya setengah dari obat yang diajukan ke FDA mendapatkan pengesahan

So, kalo kita liat berdasarkan info di atas probabilitas penemuan obat baru yang sukses adalah 0,04 x 0,025 x 0,4 x 0,5 = 0,0002 ato 0,02%

Makanya, dalam waktu 20 tahun masa berlaku paten obat tersebut (sebelum versi generiknya diperbolehkan keluar) perusahaan farmasi harus puter otak untuk menentukan harga yang bisa bikin mereka balik modal plus ama profitnya. Kenapa? soalnya setelah 20 taun masa paten-nya abis, obat generik yang keluar bisa membuat pendapatan mereka turun 80 persen.

Beh…….emang bisnis obat itu mahal dah dan beresiko tinggi pula.

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