Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Kenapa aku (dulu) tidak mau jadi dokter

2007 May 5

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Laborous questions in a test

2007 March 13

Why must instructors give a very “long” problem which doesn’t test understanding any better than a “shorter” problem?

Here’s an example problem to test the understanding of shift cipher:

Encrypt the plaintext “example” using the shift cipher with key B.

That problem should suffice. However here’s what some instructors like to give:

Encrypt the plaintext “iliketoseemystudentssufferhahahaiamevil” using the shift cipher with key P.

The second problem isn’t intellectually harder, it’s just more laborous!

I can forsee a similar agony in a microbiology test:

The nucleotide sequence of one DNA strand of a DNA double helix is:
-GGAGATCGCATGCATGCACAGCTGACGATGCA-
(dunno whether it is realistic, I just typed the ATGCs randomly)
What is the sequence of the complementary strand?

Isn’t a strand of -ATGC- enough?

PS: Oh and about that second example, it’s actually quite nice considering that my instructor gave a LONGER ciphertext to encrypt… Unbelievable…

Recent word dumps summary

2007 January 20

The previous n posts (this, this, this, this, this, this, and this) are word dumps that were pending for long because of the finals. It is evident from those posts that I now change my word hunting pattern. Previously, I did a very lengthy word dump for one topic before moving to another topic. Now I hunt from various places at a time, so those words dumps are “work in progress”.

With all those dumps, I now know 913 kanji and my word list contains 4949 words. That means my kanji and vocabulary level is between JLPT level 3 (300 kanji, 1500 words) and 2 (1000 kanji, 6000 words). Of course for grammar, I’m probably around JLPT level 6.

We shall eradicate illiteracy in the best possible manner. – Ayatollah Khomeini

I’m a computer scientist, not your tech support

2006 September 27

Problems worthy of attack
Prove their worth by fighting back
    – Piet Hein

A Princeton computer science major writes about his/her annoyance of being asked to fix computer problems.

What are problems in the field called “Computer Science” anyway? It’s NOT about how to make a web site. It’s NOT about fixing a machine that won’t boot up. It’s NOT about getting rid of worms investing your computer. It’s NOT about making the best hardware purchase.

Wikipedia has a list of unsolved computer science problems. It includes the famous P=NP. There is also a similar, significantly longer, list for mathematics and physics. This probably reflects the relatively young age of computer science. (those thinking mathematics is finished is dead wrong; the amount of mathematical research activity is in fact getting much bigger from time to time)

Anyway, does the reverse happen? (which means, people enrolling CS expecting to be taught about fixing computer problems)