Too Left That We’re Left Behind, or, A Slice of Master Student’s Life

I met Dorothy yesterday who just returned from Indonesia to take her Ph.D. in UCL Institute of Education. We catch up each other stories until we somehow end up talk about why IoE, which labelled as the best university in education in the world, went bankrupt.

Dorothy¬†told me that her professor told her and other students¬†that “we’re too left that we’re left behind”. This statement is very interesting for¬†me as¬†IoE master student because I did not even realise the ‘left’ vibe of the¬†institution.

Call me shallow, but it really is the truth. I thought what they have been given us students is simply the ‘latest’ development in education field, or, specifically ‘science¬†education’ world. Because they always managed to present both sides of the story. I thought that I choose to be like ‘this’. By ‘this’ I mean: I teach science, but I don’t think it is the only way to search for the truth. I¬†believe that everything is built on a certain¬†perspective, which I would argue that however¬†right it has on predicting some stuff, which prediction¬†could still be wrong. Science is simply¬†one model that could be replaced by another model¬†if some¬†transformation of perspective is needed. For example, mechanical physics to quantum physics.

However, I remember several days ago I read an article¬†stating that evolution is a¬†fact.¬†The article went all the way explaining how the word ‘fact’ is used in science. A claim could be wrong,¬†but only to a very small degree that people could just ignore it. Well, that was convincing.

But then I met Eleanor today. My classmate in Foundation of Science Education course. We talked about our latest assignment and she chose to take a stand on the philosophy of science, and criticise Bernstein for his Baconian view of science, claiming that it is out of dates (agree). Somehow I managed to slip what Dorothy said to me to her, and told her that maybe we all from science education MA has been unconsciously indoctrinated by the institution. I liked her response.

‘Well, that’s good. I’m a hard left. I’m always left.’¬†And surprisingly, she¬†told me something about her view of the word ‘facts’ in science. For her, ‘fact’¬†in science is not really¬†a ‘fact’ because the way the word is used in science is different. There is always¬†a little possibility for it to be wrong, and that has been ignored for so¬†long. On this remark, I cannot help myself to remember the discovery¬†of our solar system planets. ¬†Scientists in the past ignored ‘problem’ with Newton’s¬†equation, claiming¬†some¬†case to be exceptional.

On this remark, I cannot help myself to remember the discovery¬†of our solar system planets. ¬†Scientists in the past ignored ‘problem’ with Newton’s¬†equation, claiming¬†some¬†case to be exceptional.¬†However, when Einstein proposed¬†to think about physics in a different model than Newton, only then the exceptional cases could be explained without making new equations, or¬†another ‘exceptional’ case. This story shows that scientists ignorance and claim of facts¬†blinded them. Thanks to Einstein who refuse to accept other scientists’¬†agreed facts and made a new model of science which managed to explain the world better.¬†The point of this¬†rambling is, it is important to cautiously use or accept what is claimed to be a ‘fact’.

The point of this¬†rambling is that I come to a conclusion: it is important to¬†cautiously using and accepting what is claimed to be a ‘fact’. And for me, this is also a sign, a moment of realisation, that I have been accepting the idea of me not being ‘blinded’ by ‘science fact’ anymore, that I have been ‘enlightened’, unlike the scientists. This is so clear because as you see, I have been exposed to two definitions¬†of the word ‘fact’ in science which actually have no difference except the ‘ignoring’ part.

Well, I know that I prefer not to ignore¬†the small probability of science to be wrong,¬†which clearly shows that I¬†might now have become a hipster as well.¬†I don’t know to what extent that this actually comes from my own belief and values, but thanks to my¬†institution, now I get this far.

‘Gravitational wave’, So what?

Seminggu terakhir di timeline berseliweran banyak postingan tentang gravitaional wave yang akhirnya ‘membuktikan’¬†perkiraan Einstein.¬†I cannot explain it in here in a¬†sense that I most possibly won’t get it right.

But why does it matter? Apakah setelah dibuktikannya teori ini, upah minimum buruh akan meningkat? Atau masalah wabah malaria di afrika akirnya selesai? Apakah internet akhirnya akan murah?

Oke tunggu, jangan langsung naik pitam karena statement tersebut. Itu bukan pertanyaan retoris, tapi pertanyaan yang sebenarnya masih berhubungan dengan euforia gelombang gravitasi ini, in a good way.

Mungkin hal pertama yang harus kita¬†tanyakan adalah, kita¬†ngerti nggak sih ini sebenarnya kenapa?¬†Masih ingat Newton? Ia adalah orang pertama yang mengajukan model gravitasi. Konsep gravitasinya sederhana, tapi akurat. Lebih dari seabad teori-teori Newton dijadikan¬†seperti agama dalam sains di masa itu. Hingga akhirnya¬†muncullah Einstein. Ia mengajukan model lain yang lebih akurat setalah dia mempelajari anomali-anomali yang terjadi ketika teori¬†Newton digunakan.¬†Ia mengajukan model baru¬†yang¬†jauh berbeda dari yang telah digunakan oleh ilmuan pada zaman itu. Terlepas dari fakta bahwa model ini mampu menjelaskan¬†lebih akurat tentang alam semesta, teori ini rumit. Jika urusan pemakai model tidak jauh-jauh dari urusan¬†yang masih di bumi (misalnya bangunan, pesawat, dkk) memakai teorinya Einstein bisa dikatakan ‘berlebihan’.¬†Sebab, walaupun akurasinya tinggi, selisih hasil perhitungannya sangat kecil dibandingkan¬†jika menggunakan teori Newton.

Baik teori Newton maupun Einstein, dua-danya adalah model semesta dengan logika matematis dan disusul oleh pembuktian empiris. Keduanya terbukti benar. Tapi yang menarik, ketika ada prediksi yang salah, terkadang ilmuan ngeyel. Mereka akan terus melanjutkanpenelitian dengan model yang ada sampai akhirnya ada model pengganti yang bisa lebih menjelaskan anomali-anomali yang selama ini terjadi.

Apakah teori gravitasi yang kita pelajari di SMA selama ini salah? Mungkin jawabannya adalah pertanyaan lain: memangnya pernah benar?

Penemuan gelombang gravitasi menunjukkan bahwa¬†teori Einstein semakin ‘dikuatkan’ karena prediksinya tepat, dan menjanjikan terbuktinya¬†prediksi-prediksi lain. Ia penting bagi para ilmuan di tapal batas, sebab¬†membuka banyak hal yang mungkin dicapai oleh manusia.¬†Bagaimana dengan kita? Perlukah kita mengerti tentang hal ini?

I think we should. Karena penelitian ini adalah akumulasi dari rasa ingin tahu manusia terhadap alam semesta yang¬†secara sengaja maupun tidak sengaja telah memajukan teknologi yang digunakan untuk melakukaan sejumlah penelitian.¬†Coba bayangkan jika¬†manusia tidak memiliki rasa ingin tahu dan imajinasi setinggi ini, maka teknologi yang kita miliki¬†saat ini pun tidak akan semaju ini.¬†Sangat banyak teknologi yang awalnya hanya dimiliki oleh ‘laboratorium’ ilmuan yang akhirnya diadaptasi dalam kehidupan kita sehari-hari. Misalnya saja tekologi NASA yang fokusnya sering diasosiasikan dengan space exploration, dalam upaya ternyata menghasilkan hal-hal yang selama ini kita anggap biasa dan¬†sederhana seperti kacamata antigores plastik, sol sepatu dan¬†smoke detector¬†http://list25.com/25-coolest-nasa-discoveries-that-changed-your-life/.¬†Contoh simpelnya adalah bahan bakar mobil.¬†Umumnya listrik di rumah¬†masih menggunakan bahan bakar fosil. Tapi sekarang, terimakasih kepada NASA yang ingin¬†keluar¬†angkasa¬†dengan efisien, akhirnya kita memiliki alternatif energi lain yakni solar panel. Contoh lain adalah¬†peralata pemadam kebakaran.

Kira-kira apa yang¬†terjad jika rakyat Amerika Serikat¬†menolak¬†upaya pemerintahnya untuk¬†mengembangkan ilmu pengetahuan? (Gelombang gravitasi ditemukan oleh ilmuan di LIGO yang dibiayai oleh NFS, yakni peerintah amerika). Misalnya dengan menyatakan bahwa dana¬†anggaran¬†terlalu besar unutuk membuktikan hal yang ‘sepele’ seperti terbang ke bulan, dan hal-hal lain yang lebih¬†perlu untuk¬†diperhatikan, seperti¬†pemerataan kualitas¬†sekolah atau subsidi petani.

Well, untungnya, (sebagian) masyarakat di sana peduli terhadap penelitian dan ilmu pengetahuan sehingga bahkan rakyat yang meminta agar dana yang dialokasikan di bidang itu ditambah. Ini adalah perbedaan yang penting. Jika kita tidak mengerti signifikansi majunya ilmu pengetahuan, maka kecil kemungkinan kita akan peduli, lebih lebih ikut berpartispasi. Ilmu pengetahuan bisa jadi variabel yang kita abaikan saat membuat skala prioritas karena terlihat kecil, padahal masalahnya adalah ketidak-tahuan kita.

Masih banyak teknologi yang ‘mungkin’ lahir dari laboratorium para ilmuan dan¬†bepartisipasi dalam menghasilkan kehidupan umat manusia yang lebih baik. Itu semua tidak akan terwujud jika kita tidak terus mendorong¬†ujung batas pengetahuan kita, bersama-sama, baik sebagai¬†ilmuan¬†yang bergelut langsung di bidangnya maupun rakyat biasa yang ikut¬†menentukan terlaksananya pertaruhan tersebut.

My View of the World

Some people may think that it’s kinda of weird (or, stupid?) that I almost always tend to believe in things that¬†FOR THEM can’t be true. It might be just a joke someone throw at me, but actually I think that joke impossibilities could be possible. But then they just laugh.

Is it my view that know no boundaries about what could and couldn’t happened? Or is it them too closed for any unusual sequences of events?

I should never let this traits to be exterminated by others’ opinion. After¬†things that I’ve been through¬†before in being my self and inventing myself, this is what I consider to be good for me to keep. And to maintain my mind as intact as normal human, I will try to sharpen my eliminating skill. What’s the¬†phrase, err…. Occham’s Razor? ¬†Yep, I will sharpen my razor, so in spite of believing the impossible I will¬†try to keep it as logic as possible.

Above all things that I believe, from the most stupid, craziest things in the world, I’ll note this two as my favorite example other than a grandma could have another offspring (yes, it is possible, most people can’t believe this because they don’t know the science): I still believe in Aliens, and Multiverses.

Come on! It is possible!

Love, from Triune Brain Perspective

Before I started my writing (and you reading this), please bear in mind that I am trying my best to analyze this with self taught psychology theorems (I read books and journals). So, if anyone feel that this writing is wrong somewhere in the middle, please feel free to correct me.

For years scientists from many branches of science trying to reveal what actually love is. What drives human to choose someone to be loved. Neuroscience, psychology believe that this decision comes from our brain.

There are several words for someone who is loved: mate, lover, companion, significant other. I never ceased to wonder that there might be something behind these terms. As someone who learn about Biology and Education (which is one branch of applied psychology) brain division might able to shed some light to this (aside from semantic, of course).

Scientist divides Human brain into 3 parts: Reptilian Brain, Limbic¬†System, and Neo-cortex.¬†It is believed that each of them¬†responsible for particular activities in human. And by that it might also see love from different point of view according to each brains’ specifications.

Reptilian brain responsible for Human’s vital activities related to survival. It includes¬†regulation of sleeping, eating, marking territories, and of course, mating.

When it comes to mating, reptilian brains has its own specification for the right mate: the possibilities to produce offspring. In animal, such as crocodile, they might choose healthy female crocodile to be the mother of its offspring instead of the defective one. In human, men tend to choose woman who has promising future from her body shape, maybe hip size ratio (that unconsciously become indication for healthy woman who can produce offspring).

But we never saw affection, compassion between mother-snake to her child. Instead, we found it to other group of animals. It is¬†normal to see¬†a cat or goat feed on its child, or a chimp who take care of its child. This act of altruism showed in mammals. Researches suggest that this kind of feeling is controlled by the other parts of the brain that wasn’t found in reptiles (reptiles doesn’t show altruism). It is called the mammal brain or the limbic system.

The last¬†part and the most advanced part of the brain is called the Neo-Cortex. It’s the biggest part of the human brain which controls¬†cognitive ability, such as thinking, speculating and analyzing. This part of the brain is what makes humans and other animals different in many aspect of life. We never saw hamster discussed before they eat thing or bear make a hearing in congress about global warming.

While at some rare occasion human choose their partner by feelings–which I believe under limbic system responsibility– it is more often to see that¬†humans tend to settle with someone based on¬†calculated qualities and circumstances. For example: life prosperity, lineage, religions and other social-economic attributes ¬†(at least in Indonesia). All that¬†born from Neo-cortex activities.

Then in the end, doesn’t it¬†make us wonder, what would make us real human when it comes to choosing mate/ lover/life partner? Which brain that we use when it comes to make this decision?¬†To distinguish between brains and decision, I use these three words: 1) mate: reptile brain; 2) lover: mammal brain; 3) life partner: human brain.

1. Mate (reptile brain) : when the decision to settle based on physical qualities and possibility of healthy offspring. Sometimes it influence human unconsciously. For relationship that started from this condition, mostly people will said things like ‘love at the first sight’ etc.

2. Lover (mammal brain): when the decision to settle based on feelings. Romantically, people cannot explain their reason and simply say¬†it as ‘indescribable’. Neurobiologically,¬†scientist will explain about¬†chemical reaction in nervous system that affects¬†human emotional behavior.

3. Life Partner (human brain): when the decision to settle based on calculative speculation regarding social-economy aspects. Is this person economically prosper (or ‘rich’? :D)? Is this woman pious? She is the one because she’s also from Dayak family. Sometimes, not only one aspect, but many aspects or CRITERIAs.¬†These kind of people sometimes¬†labeled as being too logical, or worse, too¬†opportunistic (because mostly people tend to choose things that best for their own benefit).

Well,¬†which one is considered to be¬†human enough? Which one is what we actually do? All choices has their own positive and negative aspects. After all these explanation, I disagree¬†with people who blame others’ settlement decision backgrounds (example,¬†someone who give advice or comments like ‘It is not to be think of, but to be feel,’ or, ‘you only fall for him because of¬†physical appearance’).¬†But if we look at brain development process, then to be human means to use Neo-cortex on¬†settlement decision, since it is the most advanced brain than¬†others. Not that I’m telling anyone it is the best way (and instrument) to settle down.

But not to ignore the reality,¬†maybe people doesn’t only feel one¬†brain activities. People might also¬†feel process that involve all parts of brain. From many references and people experiences, there is also case like this: Let’s say, a man¬†fall in love at the first sight, and¬†after some¬†times, physical appearance doesn’t matter/isn’t the reason anymore and he feels the ‘indescribable’ feelings (so much for Aladdin song) that makes him stay on the relationship longer. But the spark then dies. Some couple may¬†break up because they couldn’t feel ‘it’ anymore. This due to brain build up resistance to repeated chemical stimuli. But some people finally use their neo-cortex to stay together. To be wise and thoughtful then continue their relationship as long as they could.

I don’t know what true love is, and I didn’t say that the example above is the one. But one thing that we can tell for¬†sure that if¬†someone actually come to this kind of relationship, then they used their brain fully.

About Me and Spaceship

Yess, I know some people would say that : “You should stop talking rubbish,” or “Grow up, Na! You;re almost twenty,”. But I honestly want to tell anyone that I;m this unchanging child who still belive that one day we will be able to do space travel.

In spaceship.

And I believe that quantum physics will someday wouldn’t be just unproven theory, that it will actually bring us to somewhere more exciting than this going to opportunist world (with economy, business and all).

I believe, that’s the future.

And spaceship and interplanet trip and al things you only see in sci-fi movie would be real, with magnificent development of technology that would help us all.

This is not solely about the spaceship. it’s about how humanity will evolve with higher technology. Spaceship just one icon that I took to represent the dream.

Yes, you can call me crazy, or childish, or stupid.

But I choose to believe in this.

And someday, spaceship would be as real as plane, and scientist won’t be those people whom you said: no future. When the day comes, don’t apologize to me. I forgive you all ūüôā

Barenaked Ladies: The Big Bang Theory (O.S.T)

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait…
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!
(Kalo di film, cuma sampai sini aja lagunya)


“Since the dawn of man” is really not that long,
As every galaxy was formed in less time than it takes to sing this song.
A fraction of a second and the elements were made.
The bipeds stood up straight,
The dinosaurs all met their fate,
They tried to leap but they were late
And they all died (they froze their asses off)
The oceans and pangea
See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya
Set in motion by the same big bang!

It all started with the big BANG!

It’s expanding ever outward but one day
It will cause the stars to go the other way,
Collapsing ever inward, we won’t be here, it wont be hurt
Our best and brightest figure that it’ll make an even bigger bang!

Australopithecus would really have been sick of us
Debating out while here they’re catching deer (we’re catching viruses)
Religion or astronomy, Encarta, Deuteronomy
It all started with the big bang!

Music and mythology, Einstein and astrology
It all started with the big bang!
It all started with the big BANG!