“Setiap orang berhak untuk memilih jalannya sendiri-sendiri…”

Demi Matahari dan sinarnya pada pagi hari

demi bulan apabila mengiringinya

demi siang apabila menampakkannya

demi malam apabila menutupinya (gelap gulita)

demi langit serta pembinaannya (yang menakjubkan)

demi bumi serta penghamparannya

demi jiwa serta penyempurnaan (ciptaan)nya

Maka Dia mengilhamkan (jalan) kejahatan dan ketakwaan

Sungguh beruntung orang yang mensucikannya (jiwa itu)

Dan sungguh rugi orang yang mengotorinya….

(Q.S Asy-Syams 1-10)

——

hmm..Kalo denger lantunan ayat dari surat asy-syams ini rasanya intense bgt ya..Penuh dengan plegde dari Allah.. Seven pledges in a row that Allah said more than 14 centuries ago.

Jika kita mengingat bagaimana seorang kandidat presiden yang memenangkan pemilu presiden di suatu negara, sebelum ia memulai rangkaian tugas-tugas kenegaraan, Ia akan bersumpah atas nama tuhan bahwa ia akan menjalankan tugas-tugas kenegaraan dengan sebaik-baiknya. Begitu juga yang dilakukan oleh para pejabat negara. Sumpah di bawah kitab suci yang mereka ucapkan di awal rangkaian  janjinya menjadi suatu prekursor atas pentingnya content dari janji mereka tersebut.

Jika mereka hanya bersumpah demi tuhan yang maha esa, maka Allah bersumpah demi matahari, lalu demi bulan, lalu demi siang, lalu demi malam yang gelap gulita, dilanjutkan dengan sumpahNya demi langit dan bumi serta diakhiri dengan  sumpahnya  demi jiwa serta penyempurnaan ciptaanNya.

Subhanallah..Apa gerangan yang membuat kita tidak bersegera dan bersigap untuk memperhatikan kata-kata yang muncul setelah Allah mengawalisumpahnya demi yang tujuh ini. Apa gerangan yang membuat kita tidak serius untuk memperhatikan untuk apa Allah bersumpah ? Tidakkah kita melihat dan merasakan betapa penting dan agungnya perkara yang akan diucapkan Allah selanjutnya?

Perasaan hati yang sensitif dan lembut akan merasakan betapa penting dan agungnya perkara yang Allah bawa setelah tujuh sumpahNya itu.

Oleh karena itu perhatikanlah bagaimana Allah mengucapkan firman selanjutnya…”Maka Dia mengilhamkan kepadanya (jalan) kejahatan dan ketakwaan (fujuroha wa taqwaha..). Sungguh beruntung orang yang mensucikannya (jiwa itu). Dan sungguh rugi orang yang mengotorinya..”

LIhatlah tiga poin utama dari isi sumpah Allah di atas. Sangat jelas dan padat makna! Allah secara implisit telah mengajarkan ttg Principle of Independence kepada semua Manusia. Bahwa setiap jiwa diberkahi kebebasan untuk menentukan hidupnya.

Bahkan Amerika serikat yang mengagung-agungkan dirinya sebagai negara yang paling demokratis tidak mampu mengalahkan prinsip demokrasi yang diajarkan islam 14 abad yang lalu. Amerika baru memulai sejarah negaranya 2 abad yang lalu. Lalu bagaimana bisa negara ini begitu congkak dan mereasa superpower dihadapan negara-negara lainnya.

OK kita tinggalkan Amerika yang stubborn…

Kita kembali ke pembahasan ttg isi dari sumpah Allah di surat Asy-Syams.

Manusia tidak Allah ciptakan serupa dengan hewan, atau tumbuhan, atau bahkan dengan malaikat (tentu saja ^__^). Manusia adalah makhluk ciptaan Allah yang spesial. Ia dianugerahi hati yang dengannya manusia bisa menentukan ke mana hidupnya akan digerakan.. Ke arah fujur kah atau ke arah taqwa.

TIdak seperti Hewan dan tumbuhan atau malaikat yang selalu tunduk patuh atas perintah Allah, manusia diberi banyak kebebasan.

Betapa pengertiannya Allah kepada kita yaa.. Allah sang pencipta kita sangat memahami fitrah-fitrah hambaNya. Ia siapkan semua tools yang berguna bagi kita. Walaupun Ia telah memberikan banyak hal untuk kita, manusia tidak dipaksa secara otoriter untuk menyembah Allah.

Tetap saja…Allah masih memberikan banyak pilihan bagi makhluk spesial ini.  Begitu banyak pilihan yang seharusnya membuat kita tersadar dan tertunduk malu, tidak ada pilihan yang lebih sempurna dan mulia selain hidup bersama Islam.

So…Fabi ayi alaa i robbikuma tukkaadz dziban….Maka nikmat Allah yang manakah yang Engkau dustakan??

Ya Allah…KasihMu tiada tara tercurah deras pada setiap hamba2Mu..Tak pernah rasanya diri ini kekurangan oksigen untuk bernafas…juga begitu banyak nikmat-nikmat lainnya yang tak pernah selesai kami menghitungnya…indeed…We couldn’t ever count on Your ni’mat..ever!!

Namun…manusia seringkali terlalu buta untuk melihat banyak mikmat Allah ini. Setiap hari yang terlontar adalah berbagai ketidakpuasan kepada Sang Pencipta (Naudzubillah). “Gajah dipelupuk mata tidak terlihat, semut di ujung pulau terlihat jelas”

Begitlah seringkali kita memandang hidup ini..Bila selama ini kita selalu banyak menuntut keadilan kepada Allah….Apakah kita sudah adil dalam bersikap kepada  Sang Pencipta kita? Mmh..that’s would be tough question, isn’t it?!

Dua hari yang lalu di kampus, suara alarm kebakaran berbunyi amat nyaring…Memaksa semua orang untuk ke luar menjauh dari gedung utama. Ternyata setelah diidentifikasi oleh pemadam kebakaran, ada bread toaster yang overtoast the bread..sehingga menimbulkan bau yang tidak sedap.

In the crowd of students…I saw DIlek at glance. She is turkish student. I met her quite a few weeks ago. She came here like one month ago. She is a nice girl. Ketika pertama datang ke Boston, ia mengenakan pakaian muslimah lengkap dengan hijab yang menutupi aurat rambut kepalanya.

I was very happy..After all of this long time finally I have a muslim friend who wear hijjab. I asked her to join the jumat prayer and introduced her with some muslim from Turkey. She was very happy, since she doesn’t know muslim community here. We talked a lot and hang out together for quite some time.

In a following few weeks, I didn’t have enough time to spare my time with her. That’s too bad, I was very busy to finish up all of my mid and final paper and preparing for something really important for my future live. Moreover, she is in a different program and level with me, and of course different schedule, so I cannot meet here every day.

Any way…mungkin tiga pekan tidak bertemu DIlek, dan terakhir melihat beliau ya pas in a crawd of people two days ago.. Itu pun karena ribut teu puguh..ga sempet ngobrol apapun…Arin hanya liat dari kejauhan. Ada satu hal yang membuat mata ini berkaca-kaca…

Ia melepaskan hijab nya…dan menampakan aurat rambut kepalanya..Rambutnya terurai sempurna dan dipertontonkan kepada orang yang mukan muhrimnya..

Ya ALlah…seketika itu mata ini langsung basah…Dan seketika itu juga langsung menyalahkan diri sendiri..Where have you been arin!! you’re just so busy with yout stuff =(

YA Allah ampunilah hambaMu yang lemah ini…

Astaghfirullah hal adzim..aladzi laa illaha illa huwal hayyul qoyum wa atuubu illaih

Setiap insan memang berhak memilih jalannya sendiri-sendiri…Tentu orang yang cerdas adalah orang yang sebelum bertindak sudah mempertimbangkan konsekuensi/akibat dari perbuatannya.

Merasa menjadi salah seorang yang patut dipersalahkan…..=( Ya Allah bantulah aku untuk dapat melakukan lebih banyak kebaikan untuk menutupi dosa2 dan kelalaian ku ini…

Amiin.

Boston, May 23rd, 2008

TECHNOLOGY FOR A SAVER WORLD PUT INTO ACTION



  

TECHNOLOGY FOR A SAVER WORLD PUT INTO ACTION

taken from: http://www.csiberkeley.com/article_indo.html   CSI Software Used for Earthquake Resistant Housing in Developing Countries.  

How technology can impact the lives of ordinary people in rural areas of underdeveloped countries can be extraordinary. Application of software donated by CSI is having that kind of an impact ~ enhancing seismic safety in developing countries such as Indonesia.

A house is meant for safe human habitation, a structure with a special purpose for people to have shelter from the elements and a sense of protection and comfort. But living in a dwelling that could be potentially dangerous due to its location in an earthquake zone is an unsettling proposition.         Every year earthquakes occur in various areas of Indonesia. Teddy Boen, a prominent Indonesian Structural Engineer and the Director of the World Seismic Safety Initiative, has spent over 30 years working on the subject of low-income housing projects termed as “non-engineered” construction in developing countries. Mr. Boen has tried to introduce “the engineering of non-engineered buildings” and has carefully studied the performance of such structures in past earthquakes to help develop guidelines for the earthquake resistant design of under privileged people’s housing.Mr. Boen has used CSI software, SAP 2000 and ETABS in his research and analysis to correlate his field observations with the results from the simulations produced by the 3D mathematical models of the software. Results of his work were published in his paper entitled “Earthquake Resistant Design of Non-Engineered Buildings in Indonesia”.         Approximately 70 percent of buildings inventory in Indonesia consists of urban and rural non-engineered buildings. These buildings are built according to tradition, their types suiting the culture and materials available in that area. Many of these structures are masonry buildings and were built with poor workmanship and poor quality of materials. Unfortunately, all catastrophes in developing countries such as Indonesia are mostly due to the collapse of such type of non-engineered buildings during an earthquake.The study of earthquake damage as well as field inspection provides new lessons to be learned for engineers in designing structures that will withstand earthquakes. The availability of software such as SAP2000 makes it practical for engineers to perform static and dynamic analysis of structures quickly and efficiently. These buildings can be re-engineered by verification using the powerful technology available in SAP2000 and ETABS.  

By observing the damage of structures in a real earthquake and then being able to simulate such damage using modern numerical methods along with powerful computer technology and graphics allows engineers to identify weaknesses in the structural behavior using a mathematical model during the design phase. These weaknesses can then be addressed before the structure is built. Now that is a story about technology for a safer world!

 

Superstitions About Quake Meet the Web, Irritating the Chinese Authorities

Published: May 16, 2008
source : nytimes.com

CHENGDU, China — Can earthquakes be predicted, their destructive impact forewarned?

Most scientists would say no. But if some insistent Chinese bloggers are to be believed, nature provided enough warning to have saved many of those who perished Monday.

In the days before the deadly earthquake shook much of mountainous Sichuan Province, their stories go, ponds inexplicably drained, cows flung themselves against their enclosures and swarms of toads invaded the streets of a town that was later decimated by the quake. “Why did the government ignore the signs?” asked a writer in one chat room. “Did they not care?”

Some bloggers have lobbed more pointed accusations, saying that alerts by a local seismology bureau were brushed off by provincial officials. The claim has been largely debunked, but that has not stopped the spread of rumors and tall tales, some of which are proving nettlesome to the ruling Communist Party as it grapples with China’s most calamitous disaster in a generation.

At a government news conference on Tuesday, carried live on state television, a reporter asked about the rumors. The broadcast quickly switched to stock film of rescue efforts. When it returned to the news conference, the questions had become benign.

Later that day, officials announced the arrest of four people for spreading quake-related rumors on the Web and said they would be punished, although they did not describe the punishment or nature of the rumors.

Lest any doubters remain, Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, ran an article on Wednesday featuring Zhang Xiaodong, a scientist at the China Earthquake Networks center, who said seismologists, contrary to popular belief, could not accurately predict natural disasters. “We haven’t passed the test of earthquake forecasting,” he said.

Here in China, the belief in omens and portents, often rooted in ancient cosmology, is widely held, even by the worldly and well educated. This is a culture, after all, that cherishes lucky numbers, eschews sounds that can be misconstrued as the word for death and places great value in feng shui, the practice of arranging furniture and buildings just so, to bring happiness and good health. Some of the traditions are newer than others: It is the rare taxi driver in China who does not keep an image of Chairman Mao dangling from the rear-view mirror as a talisman against danger.

Even the Communist Party, which ostensibly swept away the opiate of the masses with its 1949 revolution, decided to inflect the Beijing Olympics with as many lucky eights as possible: starting them on Aug. 8, or 8-08-2008, with a start time of 8:08 p.m.

While there is no way to know for sure, the current leadership may have one eye on Chinese history, which has long linked political power to the divine, a concept known as the mandate of heaven. Emperors served with the blessing of the heavens, according to such thinking, and those who turned corrupt or insensitive to the needs of the people were drummed out of power after a spate of natural catastrophes. Whether the calamities signaled the end of a government or helped embolden their usurpers is open to interpretation.

Most Chinese can provide an earful about the “curse of 1976,” the year of the deaths of Mao, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai and Gen. Zhu De, the head of the Red Army. It was also the year an earthquake struck the northeastern city of Tangshan, killing at least 240,000 people in one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history.

Neil Schmid, a professor of Chinese religion at North Carolina State University who is a visiting scholar at Zhejiang University, said it was worth noting that the seismometer was invented by the Chinese in A.D. 132 as a way to detect tremors that might spell the end of a ruler’s reign. Successive dynasties employed a master of esoterica who would record and interpret floods, famines and other disasters.

“Reading and understanding these aberrations in the natural world has always been a central aspect of Chinese culture,” he said. “Cosmic order and state legitimacy were inextricably linked.”

For China, 2008, while thanks to its eight is ostensibly a lucky year, has already brought a spate of unfortunate events. It began with a huge winter storm that stalled the nation’s rail system, stranding millions before the Chinese New Year. Then came the rioting in Tibet. The crackdown that followed has prompted a torrent of protest and international ill will that has fouled what was meant to be a “harmonious” Olympics period. In recent weeks, the authorities in Beijing have been struggling with other calamities: an intestinal virus epidemic that started in central China and has killed 42 children, and a train collision that killed 72 passengers in eastern China.

Yiyan Wang, a professor of Chinese studies at the University of Sydney in Australia, said that even if the Communist Party leadership did not subscribe to superstitions, it was aware that many citizens did. The voyage of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to the disaster zone hours after the quake could be interpreted as sound public relations or, perhaps, an acknowledgment of age-old fears. “The government knows many Chinese will see the quake as a sign that things are out of balance,” she said.

It is the story of the invading toads that seems to have gained the most traction, at least on the Internet. It did indeed occur, in some form, in Mianzhu two days before the quake, and many residents reacted with terror, believing it to be a harbinger of bad things. In an interview on Sichuan television just before the quake, the director of Mianzhu’s forestry bureau tried to calm residents by saying the mass migration was a normal part of the toad breeding season. The interview, posted on the Internet, has been provoking a torrent of angry remarks. At least 3,000 people have died in Mianzhu, and officials say another 4,500 are missing.

“Those seismological scientists are wasting taxpayer money,” said one blogger, who suggested that all the bureau’s employees resign. “Raising some toads would be better than spending money on those seismological scientists.”

Ma Yi contributed research from Beijing.

what’ a matter with China building code?

I’m interested in examining the China Building Code. This news (from nytimes.com) seemingly recalled about this issue. Yeah 7.9 Magnitude means High intensity in Indonesia Building code. Indonesia follows strong column- weak beam system. If we follow the rule, this sytem should work properly – plastic hinge will appear in the column and beam and that would absorb energy from earthquake.  At least, It’ll give extra warning to people inside the building to run away from that building as soon as possible. It would probably decrease the amount of casualities. Unless, sudden destruction happened to the buildings. That was a pity. 12000 people should’nt have been dead in that way….

I assumed there’s something wrong with the design of the building. Moreover, it happened to Public building that- by rule-should be design stronger that any ordinary building surrounded. School building, Hospital, Office building are always designed somehow 1.5 times from ordinary building (Indonesia’s building code). I’m getting curious now…

 Hmm..anybody can help me? What’s the important chunk of  China Building Code that should be modified. Well, let’s find out!!

-frankly speaking…knowledge should have grown consciousness-

——————————

“Struggle to Reach Quake Survivors”

BEIJING — Tens of thousands of people across southwest China remained buried beneath rubble on Tuesday as rescue workers struggled to reach areas cut off by a powerful earthquake that has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands of others injured or homeless.

Earthquake in Sichuan ProvinceDigging Through the Disaster

colour China Photos, via Association Press

By late evening Tuesday, the official death toll had exceeded 12,000, according to state media, quoting provincial officials, making it China’s deadliest natural disaster in three decades. Officials said they thought the death toll could still climb dramatically higher as workers broke through to the affected areas and the full scope of the disaster became clearer.

The authorities said that more than 18,000 people were still unaccounted for in Mianyang County in Sichuan Province and another 2,300 were missing in the collapse of a school and two factories in the nearby town of Shifang.

As a steady rain fell throughout the day, emergency workers struggled to pull survivors and bodies from flattened buildings in the few towns accessible to heavy rescue machinery. Nearly 2,000 of the dead included students and teachers killed when school buildings in the region crumbled.

More than 1,300 soldiers and medics spent the day clambering over landslides and the remnants of a mountain highway to reach Wenchuan, a city of 100,000 and the epicenter of the quake. The earthquake struck on Monday afternoon with a preliminary magnitude of 7.9.

Most victims were in the rugged center of Sichuan Province, although scores of deaths have been reported in five adjacent provinces. The official Xinhua news agency said that 37 tourists were killed when their bus was inundated by a rockslide, although it did not provide further details.

The authorities said 2,000 tourists were traveling throughout the region at the time of the quake, including 15 Britons and a group of 12 Americans on a panda-watching tour. A spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund, which sponsored the trip to the Wolong Nature Reserve, said they had yet to hear from the Americans, although he added they were in a rural area and presumed to be safe.

The earthquake on Monday shook buildings as far south as Thailand and set off another, smaller quake in the outskirts of Beijing, 900 miles away. The central government, which said it was spending $120 million on rescue efforts, has sent 50,000 soldiers to the disaster zone. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew to Sichuan hours after the earthquake struck, and has been shown personally directing the emergency effort.

News of the quake has dominated Chinese television coverage. The state-controlled media has been especially aggressive in its coverage, with reporters fanning out across the stricken region. Home video, cellphone images and commentary have been flowing uncensored onto Web sites.

In Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, thousands of residents, rattled by more than 300 tremors, camped out in the streets. One aftershock on Tuesday afternoon registered a magnitude of 6.1. Most of the worst-hit areas remained without cellphone service. Officials said 13 tank cars containing gasoline on a derailed freight train in neighboring Gansu Province were still burning on Tuesday night.

The quake destroyed 80 percent of structures in some of the towns and small cities near its epicenter, Chinese officials said. The earthquake is China’s biggest natural disaster since another one leveled the city of Tangshan in eastern China in 1976, leaving more than 240,000 people dead and posing a severe challenge to the governing Communist Party, which initially tried to cover up the catastrophe.

Monday’s quake was the latest in a series of events that have disrupted China’s planning for the Olympic Games in August, including widespread unrest among the country’s ethnic Tibetan population, which lives in large numbers in the same part of Sichuan Province where the earthquake struck.

China’s leaders often respond assertively to natural disasters, fearing a strong popular backlash if they bungle rescue efforts. But a complex relief operation on the scale that may be needed in Sichuan could strain Chinese resources even as the United Nations and many charitable groups are busy providing aid to Myanmar, which was hit by a huge cyclone this month. Chinese officials said they welcomed offers of foreign assistance, but it was unclear whether they would accept outside help.

Local leaders may also face intense scrutiny of their compliance with building codes. Since the Tangshan earthquake, China has required that new structures withstand major quakes. But the collapse of schools, hospitals and factories in several different areas around Sichuan may raise questions about how rigorously such codes have been enforced during China’s recent, epic building boom.

The powerful initial quake struck at 2:28 p.m. near Wenchuan County, according to China’s State Seismological Bureau. Most of the heavy damage appeared to be concentrated in nearby towns, which by Chinese standards are not heavily populated. Chengdu, the largest city in the area, with a population of about 4 million, is about 60 miles away and did not appear to have suffered major damage or heavy casualties.

 

Dan Levin and Shi Yan contributed to this article.

 

-Earthquake in China-

Lagi-lagi…Allah menunjukkan kekuasaan atas hasil penciptaanNya..

05/12/2008

CHONGQING, China – Chinese state media say 3,000 to 5,000 people have died in one county in Sichuan province alone from a massive earthquake.

The official Xinhua News Agencysaid Monday that another 10,000 people were believed hurt in Beichuan county after the 7.8-magnitude quake.

Nearly 900 students were trapped after their school collapsed about 60 miles from the epicenter. Photos showed heavy cranes trying to remove rubble from the ruined school.

The earthquake struck in the middle of the afternoon when classes and office towers were full.

The temblor was felt as far away asPakistanVietnam and Thailand.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that four of the dead were ninth-grade students killed when their high school collapsed. Photos showed heavy cranes trying to remove rubble from the ruined school. Xinhua did not say how many of the students were feared dead.

It said its reporters in Juyuan township, about 60 miles from the epicenter, saw buried teenagers struggling to break loose from underneath the rubble of the three-story building “while others were crying out for help.”

Two girls were quoted by Xinhua as saying they escaped because they had “run faster than others.”

The earthquake comes less than three months before the start of the Beijing Summer Olympics, when China hopes to use to showcase its rise in the world.

The earthquake struck in the middle of the afternoon when classes and office towers were full, about 60 miles northwest of Chengdu. There were several smaller aftershocks, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site.

Calls into the city did not go through as panicked residents quickly overloaded the telephone system. The quake affected telephone and power networks, and even state media appeared to have few details of the disaster.

“In Chengdu, mobile telecommunication convertors have experienced jams and thousands of servers were out of service,” said Sha Yuejia, deputy chief executive officer of China Mobile.

Although it was difficult to telephone Chengdu, an Israeli student, Ronen Medzini, sent a text message to The Associated Press saying there were power and water outages there.

“Traffic jams, no running water, power outs, everyone sitting in the streets, patients evacuated from hospitals sitting outside and waiting,” he said.

Xinhua said an underground water pipe ruptured near the city’s southern railway station, flooding a main thoroughfare. Reporters saw buildings with cracks in their walls but no collapses, Xinhua said.

The earthquake also rattled buildings in Beijing, some 930 miles to the north, less than three months before the Chinese capital was expected to be full of hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors for the Summer Olympics.

Many Beijing office towers were evacuated, including the building housing the media offices for the organizers of the Olympics, which start in August.

“I’ve lived in Taipei and California and I’ve been through quakes before. This is the most I’ve ever felt,” said James McGregor, a business consultant who was inside the LG Towers in Beijing’s business district. “The floor was moving underneath me.”

In Fuyang, 660 miles to the east, chandeliers in the lobby of the Buckingham Palace Hotel swayed. “We’ve never felt anything like this our whole lives,” said a hotel employee surnamed Zhu.

Patients at the Fuyang People’s No. 1 Hospital were evacuated. An hour after the quake, a half-dozen patients in blue-striped pajamas stood outside the hospital. One was laying on a hospital bed in the parking lot.

Skyscrapers in Shanghai swayed and most office occupants went rushing into the streets.

In the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, 100 miles off the southeastern Chinese coast, buildings swayed when the quake hit. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where some people hurried out of swaying office buildings and into the streets downtown. A building in the Thai capital of Bangkok also was evacuated after the quake was felt there.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake is considered a major event, capable of causing widespread damage and injuries in populated areas.

The last serious earthquake in China was in 2003, when a 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Bachu county in the west of Xinjiang.

China’s deadliest earthquake in modern history struck the northeastern city of Tangshan on July 28, 1976, killing 240,000 people.

 

taken from:http://news.yahoo.com

[Tadzkirah]

Maukah anda sekalian, aku kabarkan amalan-amalan terbaik, amalan yang terbersih di sisi Allah dan paling paling meninggikan derajat anda, lebih baik daripada memerangi musuh dengan menghantam batang leher mereka, lalu mereka pun menebas batang leher anda, dan malah lebih baik dari uang, emas, dan perak…?

Tanya Abu darda kepada para sahabat….

Para sahabat pun bertanya, “Apakah itu wahai Abu Darda…?
Abu darda memulai pembicaraannya dengan wajah berseri-seri, di bawah cahaya iman dan hikmat, lalu menjawab: “Dzikrullah….-menyebut serta mengingat nama Allah-“wa-ladzikrullahi akbar”- dan sesungguhnya dzikir kepada Allah itu lebih utama-

 

(sumber: Karakteristik Peri hidup 60 sahabat Rasulullah)

What do Schoolteachers and Sumo wrestler have in common

Do you believe that money can solve anything?

You’d better read this experiment carefully.

In Haifa, Israel, the economists decided to help the manager of a day-care center which has a problem concerning with the tardy parents that actually they should pick their children up by 4 pm. Very often parents are late thus at day’s end, there will be some anxious children and at least one teacher who must wait around for the parents to arrive.

The economists decided to test their solution by conducting a study of ten day-care centers. It was lasting for 20 weeks. For the first 4 weeks there were 8 late pickups per week per day-care center. In the fifth week, the fine was enacted. It was announced that any parent arriving more than 10 minutes late would pay $3 per child for each incident.

However, after the fine enacted, the number of late pickups promptly went up!! Before long there were 20 late pickups per week, more than double the original average. (Freakonomic, Levitt and Dubner, 2006, page 13-14)

Fantastic research!! wasn’t it?? That’s the prove that money doesn’t solve all problems in this world.

This story is an introduction to the one of the principal economics about incentive. I think, economists’ favorite issue is about incentives. An incentives is a bullet, a lever, or something that trigger something to happen.

In this book, Levitt and Dubner explain what is incentives mean. An incentives is simply a means of urging people to do more of a good thin and less a bad things. But most incentives don’t come about organically. Someone has to invent them.

There are three basic flavors of incentives: economic, social, and moral.

Social incentives are terribly powerful.

Let’s go back to our previous discussion about the day-care center in Haifa. So what’s wrong with the incentive there?

The fee was simply too small. For the price, a parent with one child could afford to be late everyday and only pay an extra $60 each month- the monthly payment of this day-care center is $380- so the fee is no more than one-sixth of the base fee.

The small fee would be seen as to the parents as a signal that late pickups weren’t such a big problem. They can afford it. But how about substitute the fee into $100 instead of $3? That would have likely put an end to the late pickups, though it would have also engendered plenty of ill will. (any incentive is inheritly a trade-offl the trick is to balance the extremes).

Another similar condition is blood donors. In 1970s, researcher conducted a study that pitted a moral incentive against an economic incentive. In this case, they wanted to learn about the motivation behind blood donations. Their discovery: when people are given a small stipend for donating blood rather than simply being praised for their altruism, they tend to donate less blood. The stipend turned a noble act of charity into a painful way to make a few dollars, and it wasn’t worth it.

What if the blood donor had been offered an incentive of $50, or $500, or $5000? Surely the # of donors would have changeed dramatically.

But something else would have changed dramatically as well, for every incentive has its dark side. If a pint of blood were suddenly worth $5000, you can be sure that plenty of people would take note. They might literally steal blood at knifepoint. They might pass off pig blood as their own. They might circumvent donation limits by using fake IDs.

Whatever the incentive, whatever the situation, dishonest people will try to gain an advantage by whatever mean necessary.

Or, as W.C.Fields once said : A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for!!

Essentially everybody has a chance to do cheating. Anyone!!

Cheating is a primordial economic act: Getting more for less.

Even schoolteacher did it ^__^. They did cheat because of the incentive motive.

It was proven in the Chicago Public School.

The federal Gov’t mandated high-stakes testing as part of the No Child Left Behind law, signed by President Bush in 2002. But even before that law, most states gave annual standardized tests to student in elementary and secondary school. Twenty states rewarded individual school for good test scores or dramatic improvement; thirty-two states sanctioned the school that didn’t do well.

The Chicago Public School system embraced high-stakes testing in 1996. Under the new policy, a school with low reading scores would be placed on probation and face the threat lf being shut down, its staff to be dismissed or resigned.

Those repressing condition caused a terrible situation for everybody: the teachers, the students, parents, etc.

Of course no teacher wanted to resigned their job, however their future life depend on the students’ test score. It lead inevitably to make teacher help student in the test in unethical way. They helped answering the test. They Cheated!!

If economics is a science primarily concerned with incentives, it’s also-fortunately- a science with statical tools to measure how people respond to those incentives. All you need are some data.

Some scientist dealt with those data. They applied the cheating algorithm to the answered test paper. And they found suspicious pattern from those paper. It was looked that some students had some answers same in a row. Did fifteen out of twenty-two students somehow manage to reel off the same six consecutive corretct answers all by themselves?

That’s officially arranged by somebody, wasn’t it?! Finally the scientist found obvious cheating had been conducted by the teacher.

Well…it’s similar with thing happened in Indonesia. That’s obviously showed us that somehow incentive has engendered a chaotic situation. So is that mean we couldn’t use incentive in order to boost up a higher quality of one thing-education for instance.

Actually, I didn’t really sure. But many conditions had confirmed that somehow excessive incentive really a bad option.

Hey people in legislative, you’d better understand about this fact better. It would influenced on how you arrange the policy !!

>>so how it deal with sumo wrestler? next posting, insyaAllah ^^

>introduction<

Bismillah.

In the very beginning of this writing, I’d like to introduce you a brief thought of Steven D.Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner-Freakonomics-. A wonderful book that I should have read in since 2005 ago!!

I hope this blog would be a good medium to share the pith of this awesome book to more people. I try to make the resume every time I finish reading each section.

So Have fun!!

[In fact, it’s even better if you read it by your own; it’s really interesting to know how the principle of economic could be used to solve many of our daily-life problems]

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INTRODUCTION

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freakonomics: A Rouge Economist explores the Hidden Side of Everything.

This book was written by a famous Economist from University if Chicago, Steven D.Levitt, who received The John Bates Clark Medal – Awarded every two years to the Best American economist under forty- and Stephen J.Dubner who works as a journalist for the New York Times and The New Yorker. He was a national bestselling author of Turbulent Souls and Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper.

By their credential, I felt convicted that they could serve a good writing of this topics. So Don’t waste your time. Be the firsthand of this thought of “the hidden side of everything”.

In the introduction, the writer gave us a glance of what they will talk in the rest of the chapter of the book. One of the issues they prompted was about whether any relation between abortion and the plummet of crime in many states in U.S. Other issues I found in the table of content were whether any common relationship between schoolteacher and Sumo wrestler? And how about the similarity of Ku Klux Klan with Real-estate agencies? Furthermore, there is an Interesting question about why do drug dealer still live with their mom? Do you want to know what Levitt and Dubner said about how to be a perfect parent? Don’t miss it!!

In this part, I would like to roughly write down a glance about what I’ve read. I’m not a good “summerizer” actually, so I’m only pointing out the interesting line to me, and I try to give my own thought on those line.

If you jump up to page 4, paragraph three you’ll see:

“As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal. Not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the million of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v.Wade- poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get- were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe v.Wade, these children weren’t being born. This powerful case would have entered their criminal primes; the rate of crime began to plummet.

Doesn’t it interesting?!

Was it really true? That abortion took the biggest part to decrease the criminal problems in U.S? How about the better economic condition at that time? That cause more families get prosperous, more job to offer, small amount of people were jobless, of course that condition brought a better family economic condition thus people didn’t have to commit crime in order to fulfill their needs. So the crime’s rate was plummeted!!

Didn’t it make sense?

But it didn’t for Steven D.Levitt and Dubner. They had a conscious that abortion did a big influence. At least in the introduction. They told that!

Another interesting line was in page 6, paragraph one:

“It is one thing to muse about experts’ abusing their position and another to prove it.”

This statement was addressed, essentially – in these context- to real-estate agents. They sort of people who expert and better informed about the house’s value, the state of the housing market, even the buyer’s frame of mind. That’s why people use their expertise to help sell people’s house.

But experts are human, and humans respond to incentives. How any given expert treats you, therefore, will depend on how that expert’s incentives are set up. Sometimes his incentives may work in your favor.

In this book, it is given example that, a study in California auto mechanic found they often passed up a small repair bill by letting failing cars emissions inspections-the reason being that lenient mechanics are rewarded with repeat business. But in a different case, an expert’s incentives may work against you. In a medical study, it turned out that obstetricians in areas with declining birth rates are much more likely to perform C-section deliveries that obstetricians in growing areas-suggesting that, when business is tough, doctors try to ring up more expensive procedure.

It seems true, doesn’t it?!

It applies to Indonesian condition too. If we try to trace back, how “bimbingan belajar”has mushroomed in a past ten years. Teacher tries to make more money with it. Because school don’t pay them well.

In fact, this condition was not healthy at all for the grow of Indonesia’s education.

Or how government officer who try to use their position in order to gain more money from citizens. Actually, that’s NOT good at all. They abused their position which is against the rule.

Let’s jump up to page 8 through 10:

It was about the word “correlation”. We often hear this word, at least me, in my engineering field. Correlation about one problem to another and how we find out the solution over those conditions. Failure to clarify the sense of correlation of one over another condition will result to pick a wrong solution. And that will be fatal. We don’t want this thing happen.

Let see how Levitt explained about this notion.

“But just because two things are correlated doesn’t mean that one causes the other. A correlation simply means that a relationship exists between 2 factors – let’s call them X and Y- but it tells you nothing about the direction of that relationship. It’s possible that X causes Y; it’s also possible that Y causes X; and it may be that X and Y are both being caused by some factor; Z.”

“Consider a folktale of czar who learned that the most disease-ridden province in his empire was also the province with the most doctors. His solution? He promptly ordered all the doctors SHOT DEAD.”

Imagine that! How terrible it was. Is it correct that failure to define the problem will cause misstep in taking the solution? I’m keep thinking on the important message here is how we should really clarify what a heck of problem we face in order to come up with reasonable and logic solution. Do you think the way I’m thinking?

Let’s move forward to page 10 paragraphs 4:

“What this book is about is stripping a layer or two from the surface of modern life and seeing what is happening underneath.”

That’s the purpose of this book, actually.

And look out page 11 paragraph two:

“Economics is above all a science of Measurement. It comprises an extraordinarily powerful and flexible set of tools that can reliably assess a thicket of information to determine the effect of anyone factor, or even the whole effect.”

That was great thought if the author. How economics do not seen only as what it is seen in the stock exchange or what in market today. It may comprise our daily basis day-of-day life. That’s cool!!.

I really want to make my major-civil engineering-to be seen in the way how Levitt see and think about economics. That’s lil bit peculiar. But actually, that’s really touching the “grass root”.

Finally, the writer closes the introduction of this book by giving four fundamental ideas of this book – that might useful for us:

a. Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life.

b. The conventional wisdom is often wrong

c. Dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle causes

d. Knowing WHAT to measure and HOW to measure it makes a complicated world much less so.

That’s all for the introducing.

Next >> What do the schoolteacher and Sumo wrestler have in common?

try to think critically..

Complimentary
Picture: Complimentary
ISLAM has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, according to new figures.
In its newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, the Vatican claims Muslims now make up 19.2 per cent of the world’s population with Catholics at 17.4 per cent.In the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, wrote: “For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us.” However, he said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 per cent of the world’s population – or about two billion people.The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, estimated at about 1.3 billion.

Numbers for other major world religions include an estimated 785 million Hindus, 360 million Buddhists and 17 million Jews.

Mgr Formenti said that while the number of Catholics as a proportion of the world’s population was fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates.

However, Bashir Maan, convenor of the Muslim Council of Scotland, said he thought that Islam was probably the largest religion in the world.

And he said it was not just down to higher birth rates, but because more people were converting to Islam.

“It is difficult to get a true figure of the number of Muslims in the world because trying to establish numbers in underdeveloped Muslim countries is very difficult.

“But if proper figures could be obtained from those countries then I think it would show Islam as the largest religion in the world.”

He said that people were attracted to the religion looking for “spiritualism”. He conceded that recent terror attacks had turned any people against Islam – but added the religion had benefited from other people studying the religion to find out its true message.

“These people are discovering a tolerant and accommodating religion,” he said.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said it was important to look beyond the figures.

“While it is a little unseemly to swap figures, a more realistic comparison would be between the Christian population of the world and the Muslim population, a comparison which would show the Christian world to be significantly bigger,” he said.

He added: “Christianity and Islam are both ‘religions of the Book’ – they share their origins in the Old Testament – and although there are some hot spots of tension in the world, there is also a wide area of common concern for Christians and Muslims, especially on such issues as the family and the sacredness of life.”

[article above taken from : http://news.scotsman.com/uk/Now-Islam–overtakes-.3929010.jp ]

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My first remark of this article was Alhamdulillahirrabbil’Alamin. Allah is the most Glorious. And Islam surely will win over other religions.
But at the second time I read this article, I felt little bit suspicious. And my first question is Why should they (Vatican newspaper) release this article? Doesn’t it mean they lowered their own religious? Doesn’t it mean they attract other people to convert to Islam? Or, Actually this is their own strategy to deceive the world?
Hmm..It’s very interesting. Has any Muslim Scholars said something about this press release by Vatican?
I just want to remind, especially myself, and all the Muslim sister and brother. Don’t we ever felt that we’ve won the “battle” over them-never ever feel satisfy of what we’ve(?) done, for instance this fact that bigger number of muslim over the catholics-. Actually, our real enemy is Al-Batil. And Al-batil will remain until the end of this world.
We may feel grateful to Allah, by say Alhamdulillah. But be careful, sometimes, praise will deceive us from our first mission/purpose. Don’t let this fact make us stop from doing good deeds. Don’t let this fact make us stop from do Dakwah to other people.
Because, it’ll probably that this article was released in order to pump up more Christian missionaries in every corner of muslim countries to convert more Muslims to be Christian, since the delta/difference between Muslim population and Christian population is only 1.8%.
Actually, I don’t feel convicted with this survey. Who did this survey? It wasn’t clearly defined.
I hope we will not feel satisfy too fast….Our journey is still very far far away guys..
NO one can guarantee us to enter HIS Jannah easily.
Be prepare!!
InsyaAllah
^__^
~just try to think~

the story of Yusuf Islam

subhanallah….beautiful story…

~enjoy!!~

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