what would you do?

Ethical Dilemma: What Would You Do?

What would you do if you saw a young boy being berated by his baby sitter? The baby sitter doesn’t raise a finger, but her words are degrading and harmful to the boy.

You don’t know the whole story, and you’re not directly involved. What would you do? Intervene? Or mind your own business?

ABC News was curious about this ethical dilemma, and hired two professional actors to play out the scene and examine at what people would do. Would it be possible to predict who will act — and who won’t?

On a sunny day in September, the woman, Wynn Everett, and the boy, Jake Cherry, aged 8, went to a picnic area near a playground and acted out the scenario they had rehearsed.

Situational Factors

When Wynn began to berate Jake, it was clear that intervening wouldn’t be an easy decision.
One man within earshot kept reading his newspaper, and others walked right by. ABC News’ hidden cameras showed that some women passing by appeared to be disturbed by the abuse, but they kept walking.

One group of women watched for more than eight minutes — apparently shocked by the abuse and unsure of what to do.

Finally, one of them spoke up. “Do you think that’s helping? It’s verbal abuse,” she said. “You’re abusing this kid.”

When she was finally notified it was an experiment, Krista Ciarletta, who has two daughters aged 5 and 2, said she had felt she needed to do something.

“It was disturbing to watch that. And I’m sorry I even let it go on as long as I did,” she told ABC News’ John Quiñones.

Later, Carrie Keating, a professor of psychology at Colgate University, watched a videotape of the experiment.

Situational factors have a major impact on helping behavior, she said. “How empowered we feel makes a difference. How many people are in the area makes a difference. Whether it’s a sunny day.”

But what about people who didn’t act? Virginia Long, a grandmother, said she felt uncomfortable with Wynn’s behavior, “but it’s hard to step in, too.”

Erin Flynn, a mother of twins, said she was afraid. “I didn’t know,” she said, “if she had somebody else with her, a husband or somebody that was going to come over and potentially hurt me or my children.”

A Different Approach

Elise Campbell is another person who stopped Wynn from berating Jake. But unlike Ciarletta, she began: “You’re breaking my heart talking to him like that. I know it’s not my business.”

Campbell, a mother of a young daughter, just over a year old, went on to sympathize with Wynn. She told her, “I completely understand your frustration — even with somebody this young, I understand how frustrated you are but there are just other ways to talk to him.”

Later, when Keating watched a videotape of this incident, she praised Campbell’s approach. “She worked very hard to bring the baby sitter into the sisterhood of mothers there — into the ‘we-ness,’ ” Keating said.

Campbell later admitted she was initially afraid of Wynn’s reaction. But she said she ultimately decided to act because she felt confident in doing so. She is a schoolteacher, and, she said, “I know how kids feel, I know how kids work. And I knew it was wrong.”

“Competency makes all the difference,” Keating said. Some people also get a “helper’s high,” she said — people literally get a rush out of helping, and you can see it in their faces.


But that’s not the only reason. Personal experience can also compel someone to act.
That’s the case with Sutton Smith, the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, and a doctoral divinity student.

Like the others, she also hesitated before acting, partially out of fear. “I was shaking physically when I did it, and my voice was quavering. It’s not something that’s easy for me to do,” she said.

But she says she’s still haunted by something that happened when she was in college: She saw a man physically abusing a woman, and did nothing.

“I saw it and I walked away. And I didn’t want that ever to happen again,” she said.

The Male Perspective

Given Campbell, Sutton and Ciarletta — are women the only ones to speak up when they see this kind of abuse?
Most of the men in ABC News’ experiment just kept walking when they passed Wynn verbally abusing Jake. Keating said women generally relate better to the baby sitter’s predicament and behavior than men do.

But what if men were a captive audience — what if they couldn’t just walk by? Wynn and Jake took their scenario to a nearby golf course and staged it at the first hole, where a dozen men were waiting to tee off.

The golfers looked, smiled uneasily, whispered, practiced their swings — but did nothing as the tirade went on and on. Watching them on videotape, Keating noticed none of them looked at the woman or each other.

“It was almost as if they didn’t want to know that this was a serious emergency situation,” she said. “If everyone else around you is not doing anything, you figure, it’s really not that big a problem.”

Psychologists call this failure to act in a group “diffusion of responsibility.” It means passing the buck.

Asked why he did nothing, one said, “Well, nobody else was saying anything.” Another said, “Management was out here already. I just assumed they would get involved.”

Have the Courage

ABC News cameras witnessed one man who did step in. Like Campbell’s approach, his was also novel.
Instead of attacking Wynn, Ed Bogosian distracted her from her tirade by talking to Jake. He spent five minutes talking Wynn down, and asking Jake innocuous questions like “Do you like the park?”

Eventually, he reached a comfort level where he could tell Wynn, “Those are rough words. You know what I mean? You wouldn’t like that if you were 9 or 7.”

Bogosian, a grandfather and social worker, later told ABC News: “I knew that something had to be done. And if they didn’t have the courage to do it and they didn’t have the responsibility in their hearts to do it, then I would do it.”

Keating agrees that bystanders should take action in such situations — even if they don’t have the finesse that Bogosian does. Bystanders can always call 911, and if they’re confident and comfortable doing it, they could intervene.

If you know how, getting involved can make all the difference. “Don’t count on others to intervene,” she said. “Take it on yourself. Think about an action plan.”


New way to secure communication

Texas A&M electrical engineer says simple scheme can stop electronic eavesdroppers
Dr. Laszlo Kish says his simple scheme can stop electronic eavesdroppers.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — James Bond may use the fanciest, most expensive and high-tech devices to thwart would-be eavesdroppers, but in a pinch, the super-spy can use one Texas A&M engineer’s simple, low-cost scheme to keep data secure from the bad guys.

Dr. Laszlo Kish, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, proposed that a simple pair of resistors on the ends of a communications wire such as a phone or computer line could keep eavesdroppers from intercepting secret messages. Added electronic disturbances (called “noise”) or the natural thermal noise (called Johnson noise) produced by the resistors makes the scheme function and keep the message secret.

Kish’s paper, “Totally secure classical communication utilizing Johnson(-like) noise and Kirchoff’s Law,” in which he proposes his communications scheme, has been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of the journal Physics Letters A. (A preprint of the paper is available online at http://www.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0509136.) The paper was also featured in a recent issue of Science (vol. 309, p. 2148, 2005).

Kish said that quantum encryption — communicating with single quantum particles, where one particle carries a single bit of information — is considered absolutely secure because any eavesdropper will be discovered by the extra noise the eavesdropper introduces into the communication channel as soon as the eavesdropper tries to extract “noisy” information, or bits, from the channel. But Kish said quantum encryption is very fragile and is limited by expense, vibrations, thermal gradients, maintenance needs, speed and distance.

Instead, Kish has proposed a classical, not quantum, encryption scheme that relies on classical physical properties — current and voltage. He said his scheme is absolutely secure, fast, robust, inexpensive and maintenance-free and relies on simultaneous encrypting of information by both the sender and the receiver.

Picture a line of communication — the line connecting two telephones or computers. The sender and receiver at each end of the communication line each have two resistors of different resistance. Each randomly connects a resistor between their ends of the wire and ground, and then the sender begins transmitting the message. Using the natural thermal noise produced by the resistors provides stealth, making the communication difficult to discover.

While the line of communication is open, both the sender and receiver monitor the electrical current and voltage in the line. If both the sender and receiver use the larger resistances, the fluctuations, or Johnson noise, in the voltage will be large, while the fluctuations will be small if both use the smaller resistances. If one uses the larger and the other uses the smaller resistance, the fluctuations will be somewhere in between.

Of course, an eavesdropper can also measure this noise, but this intermediate level produced by a pair of large and small resistors provides secure communications, Kish said. Because the sender and receiver use different resistances, the eavesdropper cannot determine the actual location of the resistors or whether it’s the sender or the receiver using the large resistance.

The only way an eavesdropper can determine which resistance is being used at which end is to inject current into the communication channel and measure the voltage and current changes in different directions. Doing this, though, exposes the eavesdropper, who is discovered with the very first bit of information extracted. And when an eavesdropper is uncovered, the sender or receiver immediately terminates the transmission of the message before the spy can extract any more information.

“The way the eavesdropper gets discovered is that both the sender and the receiver are continuously measuring the current and comparing the data,” Kish said. “If the current values are different at the two sides, that means that the eavesdropper has broken the code of a single bit. Thus the communication has to be terminated immediately.”

Kish said that the dogma so far has been that only quantum communication can be absolutely secure and that about $1 billion is spent annually on quantum communication research.

“But my paper proves that classical communication measuring voltage and current can also be secure if we are doing that wisely, and it can be done much more cheaply and more easily than quantum communication,” Kish said. “And it’s superior to quantum communication because the eavesdropper has to break a few thousands of bits to get discovered in quantum communication. In my scheme, the eavesdropper can extract only a single bit before getting discovered.”

Kish directs the Fluctuation and Noise Exploitation Laboratory in the electrical and computer engineering department and is also a researcher in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Division of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, the engineering research agency of the State of Texas and a member of The Texas A&M University System. TEES administers Kish’s research.

For more information, contact
Source: Dr. Laszlo Kish

Reporter: Lesley Kriewald
(979) 845-5524
News Story 1268, December 2, 2005
Direct page link:

Quanta akan Garap Laptop Rp 1 Juta

Rabu , 14/12/2005 12:07 WIB
Quanta akan Garap Laptop Rp 1 Juta
Ni Ketut Susrini – detikInet
Laptop Rp 1 Juta (onno)

Jakarta, Pemanufaktur laptop asal Taiwan, Quanta, telah sepakat untuk menggarap proyek penyediaan laptop Rp 1 Juta (US$100). Laptop super murah itu ditujukan untuk negara-negara berkembang.

Organisasi OLPC (One Laptop per Child) telah memilih Quanta, pemanufaktur laptop terbesar di dunia, untuk memproduksi laptop US$100. Ide pembuatan laptop tersebut muncul dari Nicholas Negroponte, kepala laboratirium MIT Media Lab.

Nama Quanta mungkin tidak banyak yang tahu. Tapi sebenarnya banyak orang memakai hasil produksinya, karena perusahaan ini memproduksi laptop untuk Hewlett-Packard, Dell dan lain sebagainya. Quanta menjalin kerjasama jangka panjang dengan Compal, perusahaan yang juga berbasis di Taiwan.

Sebagai ODM (original design manufacturer), Quanta akan memproduksi dan berperan penting dalam menghasilkan rancangan akhir untuk laptop murah ini.

"Banyak yang menyangsikan, laptop murah untuk pendidikan di negara berkembang ini dapat terealisasi," kata Negroponte seperti dikutip detikinet, Rabu (14/12/2005) dari CnetNews.com.

Laptop murah ini dilengkapi sistem operasi Linux dan hemat energi. Sumber energi bisa dari engkol tangan yang melengkapi laptop ini. Jadi, putar engkolnya, laptop akan tetap menyala.

Untuk tahap awal, akan ada 5 juta sampai 15 juta unit laptop yang akan dikirim ke Cina, Brasil, India, Argentina, Mesir, Nigeria dan Thailand.

Sejumlah perusahaan juga terlibat dalam proyek ini, antara lain Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Brightstar, Google, News Corp., Nortel dan Red Hat.

Banyak yang kagum dengan berlangsungnya proyek ini. Namun begitu, ada juga yang memandang skeptis. Orang nomor satu di Intel, Craig Barrett pernah berkomentar bahwa ide laptop murah ini tidak akan berkembang. Konsumen di pasar berkembang menginginkan komputer dengan fungsionalitas penuh, begitu komentarnya.

Sejarah juga membuktikan, membawa komputer ke kawasan miskin sangatlah sulit. Usaha untuk membawa komputer murah ke Brasil selalu gagal. Simuter, komputer murah yang dibuat di India juga datar-datar saja perkembangannya. Dagangan AMD, perangkat internet berharga murah untuk negara berkembang, juga tidak terlalu diminati. Bagaimana dengan laptop Negroponte? Kita lihat saja nanti!

source: detikinet

Demi matahari…

Demi matahari dan sinarnya di pagi hari
Demi bulan apabila ia mengiringi
Demi siang apabila ia menampakkan diri
Demi malam apabila ia menutupi
Demi langit dan seluruh binaannya
Demi bumi dan yang ada di hamparannya
Demi jiwa dan penyempurnaannya

Allah mengilhamkan sukma kefasikan dan ketakwaan
Beruntunglah bagi yang mensucikannya
Merugilah bagi yang mengotorinya

Kalau Merokok di Tempat Umum, Pasti Orang Indonesia

Republika, Senin, 05 Desember 2005

Kebiasaan merokok orang Indonesia ternyata kelewat parah. Di negeri orang, parahnya mencandu nikotin itu bakal terlihat. Pada hampir seluruh sudut kota Manila, Filipina, tak mudah menemukan perokok sedang menikmati kebiasaan buruknya di jalanan atau tempat-tempat umum. Bahkan di kawasan terkumuh sekalipun. Kalau pun merokok, mereka memilih tempat yang jauh dari keramain.

Untuk urusan larangan merokok di tempat umum, Jakarta layak meniru Manila. Warga setempat sangat tertib dalam hal ini. Bukan hanya petugas saja yang berani menegur orang yang merokok di tempat umum. Masyarakat biasa pun tak segan-segan melakukannya bila menjumpai orang yang merokok sembarangan. Tak heran bila di atas kendaraan angkutan umum, tidak ada orang yang merokok.

Tingkat penghasilan penduduk Manila pun termasuk rendah. Seorang sopir taksi yang bekerja selama 24 jam hanya berpenghasilan 500 peso atau setara Rp 100 ribu per hari. Itu belum termasuk setoran sewa taksi yang besarnya 400 peso.

Tapi, predikat miskin tak melekat pada masalah disiplin dalam menjaga kesehatan. Memang, kalau soal tertib lalu lintas tak beda dengan perilaku orang Indonesia. Bila berada di belakang kemudi juga seradak-seruduk seenaknya. Kesemrawutan jalan dan kemacetan lalu lintas, terutama di pagi dan siang hari menjelang berangkat dan pulang, juga jadi rutinitas.

Horison Plaza adalah salah satu pusat perbelanjaan terlengkap di kawanan Makati, Metro Manila. Letaknya persis di depan stadion Rizal Memorial Park Complex, tempat SEA Games 2005. Tak heran bila atlet asal berbagai kontingen, seusai bertanding, singgah berbelanja di sana.

Selama ini hampir pasti tidak ada orang yang merokok sambil berjalan di dalam pusat perbelanjaan tersebut. Kalaupun hendak merokok biasanya menuju taman yang dirancang sedemikian rupa untuk istirahat. Di situlah mereka bercandagurau sambil mengepulkan asap rokok. Tak heran bila di sudut-sudut sangat jarang ditulis ‘Dilarang Merokok’ seperti di Indonesia.

Mencari rokok di Manila ternyata sangat sulit, kecuali di supermarket. Warung kaki lima yang menyediakan rokok dan permen ala Indonesia hampir tidak ada sama sekali. Kalaupun ada paling asongan di lampu merah yang jumlahnya bisa dihitung dengan jari.

Penyelenggaraan SEA Games 2005 di Filipina ternyata membawa pengaruh pada masyarakatnya. Sebelumnya, ‘rambu-rambu’ larangan merokok jarang dijumpai di tempat-tempat umum. Belakangan tulisan ‘no smoking’ bertebaran, termasuk di lapangan atau di tempat yang tak akan menjadi pengap bila asap rokok bertebaran.

Republika merasa sangat malu saat mendengar alasan mereka mengapa memperbanyak papan larangan merokok. Ternyata, langkah itu untuk mengantisipasi kebiasaan merokok orang Indonesia di jalanan dan tempat-tempat umum. ”Mengenali orang Indonesia itu mudah. Kalau merokok di jalan pasti dari Indonesia,” ujar Jonanthan, seorang petugas panitia SEA Games. Tapi, kebiasaan adalah kebiasaan, sulit untuk diubah. Walau papan larangan merokok sebesar gajah, tetap saja banyak yang mencuri-curi merokok. Maka, meski sering ditegur, tetap saja terus dilanggar. Itulah susahnya, bila kita berkebiasaan membiarkan kebiasaan melanggar.

(lukmanul hakim )