Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Kronologi kisah frizzy:
16:15, Aldy: Bos, jadi ke resepsi Demian - Yulia Rachman?
, Frizzy: Oh??? Sekarang tanggal 19 ya? waa lupa, ntar aku tanya istriku dulu deh
Call si Bunda
, Frizzy: Bunda, sekarang kan hari resepsinya si Demian, mo dateng gak?
, Bunda: Oh iya ya, waa undangannya sama ibu. Gimana ya? barusan aku nolak nganterin ibu ke terapi, gimana mintanya ya? gak enak nih
, Frizzy: Yah, gimana dong padahal kan sudah kita rencanakan dari kemarin2
, Bunda: Ya sud, aku coba ngomong sama ibu deh.
16:40, Bunda: Ayah, tadi katanya undangannya dibawa dek Ary kerumahnya terus ditaruh di kamarnya, dikunci. Dek Arynya sendiri dihubungi masih meeting di kantor, katanya si sampai malam
, Frizzy: Oooo, alamat gak jadi datang dong ni, waa. Coba telpon dek Ary, Bunda.
17:30, Bunda: Ayah, dek Ary katanya sudah di jalan.
, Frizzy: Waa, bisa berangkat dong kita...(lanjutin browsing2)
18:20, Aldy: Bos, data-data client dah ada ni, coba dilihat. (Aku ajak Aldy dan Dandy diskusi)
, Frizzy: Kita harus analisa dulu sebelum dapat solusinya. Apa sudah dicek requirement detilnya
, Dandy: Itu tinggal disamakan dari beberapa sisi bos, semuanya harus telly. Makro yang sekarang hasilnya beda-beda bos.
, Frizzy: Oke deh, kita pelajari dulu lah yaa...
18:40, Bunda: Ayah kok blom berangkat dari kantor!!!(bunda agak geram)
, Frizzy: iya iya bunda, aku turun sekarang.
18:50, Mau keluar parkiran, sistem parkirnya rusak. Terjadi antrian panjang ditambah klakson orang2 yang mau keluar.
, Frizzy: Wooiiii, benerin dong, gue ada janji lagi nii.
, Parkir: Pak, muter aja ya lewat pintu masuk.
19:40, sampai di rumah.
, Bunda: ayah, kamera kita ada di rumah bapak joglo.
, Frizzy: oh ok deh bunda, mestinya kan sudah kita siapkan.
, Frizzy: bunda ganti celana panjang aja soalnya kita pake motor buat ngejar waktu. (secara si bunda dah siap pake gaun, hihihi...)
Ambil kamera di joglo, trus tancap gas ke gedung PTIK.
21:05, Sampai di TKP, trus foto2in beberapa seleb n' gak lupa...makan sampai kenyang.
22:10, Sampai rumah, tidur.
Sabtu 20/12, Izhar sakit, aku dan bunda ngurusin ke dokter.
Minggu 21/12, Bapak joglo ke Riau membawa kamera yang berisi foto2 resepsi demian - yulia yang belum aku transfer.
Minggu 28/12, Bapak joglo pulang
Senin 29/12, Foto baru didapat dan langsung diposting.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The aim of our corporation is to constantly develop and create a highly efficient and productive organization that operates under any circumstances with the ultimate purpose to achieve a durable organizational that can adapt to any environment.
This is measured by the external objectives of firstly, profit; secondly an expanding market share; thirdly information gathering and finally the enhancement of our corporate image.These are based on our belief that: information is a resource, time is money, management is profit, and people are assets. Thus we treat information as the resource, time as the money, management as the profit and talent as the capital.
☆ The user is our first priority founded on mutual trust
☆ a quality of life
☆ Timely delivery is the our strong point
☆ change is an opportunity
☆ price is prosperity
☆ Thought guides action
☆ action changes habit
☆ habit builds character
☆ character changes life
☆ Adhere to the natural laws
☆ save energy and lower
☆ and address pollution
☆ Sorting out and rectification
Our Quality principle
☆ Advanced technology, produce top products, perfect service and satisfied the customer.Technology advancement, quality products, service perfection and customer satisfaction.
☆ Full participation, process control, continuous improvement, quality assurance
Our Quality objective
☆ 100% product inspection rate
☆ 98% qualified rate of outgoing inspection
☆ 100% handling rate of the user’s complaints
☆ over 98% of the user’s satisfaction rate
By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News
Bletchley Park is best known for the work done on cracking the German codes and helping to bring World War II to a close far sooner than might have happened without those code breakers.
But many believe Bletchley should be celebrated not just for what it ended but also for what it started - namely the computer age.
The pioneering machines at Bletchley were created to help codebreakers cope with the enormous volume of enciphered material the Allies managed to intercept.
The machine that arguably had the greatest influence in those early days of computing was Colossus - a re-built version of which now resides in the National Museum of Computing which is also on the Bletchley site.
Men and machine
The Enigma machines were used by the field units of the German Army, Navy and Airforce. But the communications between Hitler and his generals were protected by different machines: The Lorenz SZ40 and SZ42.
The German High Command used the Lorenz machine because it was so much faster than the Enigma, making it much easier to send large amounts of text.
"For about 500 words Enigma was reasonable but for a whole report it was hopeless," said Jack Copeland, professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, director of the Turing Archive and a man with a passionate interest in the Bletchley Park computers. Hut 6 during wartime, Bletchley Park Trust
The Allies first picked up the stream of enciphered traffic, dubbed Tunny, in 1940. The importance of the material it contained soon became apparent.
Like Enigma, the Lorenz machines enciphered text by mixing it with characters generated by a series of pinwheels.
"We broke wheel patterns for a whole year before Colossus came in," said Captain Jerry Roberts, one of the codebreakers who deciphered Tunny traffic at Bletchley.
"Because of the rapid expansion in the use of Tunny, our efforts were no longer enough and we had to have the machines in to do a better job."
The man who made Colossus was Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers, who had instantly impressed Alan Turing when asked by the maverick mathematician to design a machine to help him in his war work.
But, said Capt Roberts, Flowers could not have built his machine without the astonishing work of Cambridge mathematician Bill Tutte.
"I remember seeing him staring into the middle distance and twiddling his pencil and I wondered if he was earning his corn," said Capt Roberts.
But it soon became apparent that he was.
"He figured out how the Lorenz machine worked without ever having seen one and he worked out the algorithm that broke the traffic on a day-to-day basis," said Capt Roberts.
"If there had not been Bill Tutte, there would not have been any need for Tommy Flowers," he said. "The computer would have happened later. Much later."
Prof Copeland said Tommy Flowers faced scepticism from Bletchley Park staff and others that his idea for a high-speed computer employing thousands of valves would ever work. Valves on Colossus, BBC
"Flowers was very much swimming against the current as valves were only being used in small units," he said. "But the idea of using large numbers of valves reliably was Tommy Flowers' big thing. He'd experimented and knew how to control the parameters."
And work it did.
The close co-operation between the human translators and the machines meant that the Allies got a close look at the intimate thoughts of the German High Command.
Information gleaned from Tunny was passed to the Russians and was instrumental in helping it defeat the Germans at Kursk - widely seen as one of the turning points of WWII.
The greater legacy is the influence of Colossus on the origins of the computer age.
"Tommy Flowers was the key figure for everything that happened subsequently in British computers," said Prof Copeland.
After the war Bletchley veterans Alan Turing and Max Newman separately did more work on computers using the basic designs and plans seen in Colossus.
Turing worked on the Automatic Computing Engine for the British government and Newman helped to bring to life the Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine - widely acknowledged as the first stored program computer.
The work that went into Colossus also shaped the thinking of others such as Maurice Wilkes, Freddie Williams, Tom Kilburn and many others - essentially the whole cast of characters from whom early British computing arose.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Microsoft has given yet another reprieve to its seasoned Windows XP operating system.
The cut off date for PC makers to obtain licenses for the software was 31 January 2009.
But now Microsoft has put in place a scheme that will allow the hardware firms to get hold of XP licences until 30 May 2009.
Previously Microsoft extended XP's life until 2010 - provided it was installed on netbooks and low-cost laptops.
Windows XP was originally due to disappear off shop shelves on 30 January 2008. It was to be removed so as to make way for Windows Vista which went on sale to consumers early in 2007.
Despite Microsoft's claims that Vista has sold well, consumers have reacted badly to its release.
Microsoft granted the reprieve largely because of customer's preference for XP.
Many PC makers also got around the restrictions by exploiting a clause in Microsoft's licensing terms that allowed them to offer a "downgrade" licence. Issued with a new PC running Vista it allowed customers to replace it with XP.
The latest reprieve affects PC makers and resellers who were working to a 31 January 2009 deadline to order licences for XP.
Many feared they would have to stockpile licences before the cut-off and hope they could sell them in the coming months.
Now, Microsoft has changed the terms allowing the resellers to order before 31 January but take delivery at any time up to 30 May.
The change in policy is another indication of the general resistance to Windows Vista.
Early versions of Windows 7, the replacement for Vista, are due to appear in late 2009.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Link for bahasa
The biennial International Radio Playwriting Competition is run by the BBC World Service and the British Council and is now in its eleventh year.
It is a competition for anyone resident outside Britain, to write a 60 minute radio drama for up to six characters.
There are two categories: one for writers with English as their first language and one for writers with English as their second language. The two winners will come to London and see their play made into a full radio production, which will then be broadcast on the BBC World Service. They will also each receive a £2,500 prize and there are also prizes for the runners up.
The play must be in English, unpublished and must not have been previously produced in any medium. Whether you're experienced, new, or somewhere in between, we want to hear from you.
Just check the Rules and How to Enter sections to find out more about sending us your play.
Once again, we have two first prizes: for the best play by a writer with English as their first language and for the best play by a writer with English as their second language.
These two winners will each receive £2500 sterling and a trip to London to see their play being recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service in the World Drama slot.
* £2500 sterling for the overall winning playwright of the best play written with English as a first language and a trip to London to see the play being recorded and to attend a prize-giving evening.
* £2500 sterling for the overall winning playwright of the best play written with English as a second language and a trip to London to see the play being recorded and to attend a prizegiving evening.
* A prize of a digital or short wave radio for the best radio play to be written from each of the following geographical areas: The Americas; Europe; Africa and the Middle East; South Asia; Russia and the Caucasus; Asia and Pacific.
* BBC goodie bags for all writers whose plays reach the judges' final shortlist.
Playwriting Competition 2009
BBC World Service Drama
Room 118 East Wing
London WC2B 4PH
“Rotten egg” smell?
The presence of hydrogen sulfide in water gives it an unpleasant smell, sometimes even rendering it unusable.
Raw water comes into your home with any number of impurities that cause turbidity.
Chlorine taste or smell?
Municipalities use chlorine to disinfect water. However, not only does it taste and smell unappealing but it also has a drying effect on skin and hair.
Musty, earthy, fishy taste or smell?
Caused by algae, molds and bacteria that live in water and can multiply within a home’s plumbing system.
Metallic taste or smell?
Generally caused by metals such as iron and manganese, these substances not only taste and smell bad but can also be harmful to your health.
Calcium and magnesium ions in water create hardness, which is what causes soap scum in tubs and showers and spots on faucets and fixtures. Hard water is also what causes scaling in appliances, which results in less efficiency and costly repairs.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Chronic pain can cause some sexual problems. When you are in pain, the last thing you probably want to do is be intimate with your partner. But it is important to remain close to your loved one. A healthy intimate relationship can positively affect all aspects of your life.
Many people living with pain often have fears about sexuality, including:
* Fear of rejection by a partner: It is common for people with chronic pain to feel that a partner is no longer interested. You may wonder if a partner is less attracted to you because you are in pain. Share your feelings and fears with your partner and listen to your partner's concerns.
* Fear of pain associated with sex: It is natural to worry that sexual intercourse will cause you physical pain. You can address this concern by experimenting with different positions that are more comfortable.
* Fear of failure to perform: Pain, depression, alcohol and medications all may affect sexual performance or the ability to get aroused or have an orgasm. Sometimes, failure to perform is due to stress and anxiety. In many cases, patience and understanding can help in overcoming performance problems. Many medications can reduce your sexual ability and/or cause impotence. If you suspect a medication may be affecting your sexual performance, don't stop taking the drug without first consulting your doctor.
If intercourse is undesirable, there are other ways to remain close, including:
* Touching: Explore your partner's body through touch. This may include cuddling, fondling, stroking, massaging and kissing. Touch increases feelings of intimacy.
* Self-stimulation: Masturbation is a normal and healthy way to fulfill your sexual needs.
* Oral sex: This form of contact may be an alternative or supplement to traditional intercourse.
You may also want to experiment with having sex at different times of the day or in different positions. If you have more pain in the evening, having sex earlier in the day might help. Try different positions some may feel better than others. You may also want to use lubricants when there is a lack of natural lubrication. Lubricants may ease or prevent pain associated with sexual contact.
Intimacy Without Sex
Sexuality is only one form of intimacy. Non-sexual ways you can be intimate with your partner include:
* Sharing feelings: Discuss your feelings with your partner. Talking and listening can help you both better understand each other and may bring you closer.
* Participating in common interests: Couples that play together often stay together, so the saying goes. Hobbies, sporting activities, or volunteer activities can bring couples closer together when they share interests.
* Making time to be alone together: Try taking a bath together, sharing a candlelight dinner, taking a walk, or just holding each other in bed.
There are many additional ways of creating non-sexual intimacy. Explore various things that you and your partner can do together to bring you closer.
Intimacy Is Possible
You can have a healthy and satisfying relationship in spite of chronic pain. Remember that intimacy begins with honest communication. You and your partner need to talk about how you feel, what you miss, and what you want or need from your relationship. In any relationship, an effort must be made to maintain what is good and change what needs improvement. In your efforts to become more intimate, you may discover something about your partner that you did not know before. Your relationship may become stronger than it was before you faced the issue of chronic pain.
If sexual problems continue to be an issue, consider speaking with a counselor or sex therapist.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Center Department of Psychiatry and Psychology.
Hari ini di report adsenseku muncul pemberitahuan jadwal pembayaran. Mudah-mudahan bisa dapat ceknya dan bisa dicairkan ya...(masih deg-degan mode: on).
Mohon pencerahan kepada mpu-mpu blogger yang sudah pada sukses.
Terima kasih aku haturkan kepada semua yang mendukung blogku ini, spesial kepada clicker bloggerousss, yang sudah memberikan kliknya tanpa diminta.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
...kalo-kalo ada yang perlu, mungkin ada potensi bisnis :)
1. Pengumuman hasil verifikasi KPU
7 Juli 2008
2. Pengundian nomor urut partai politik peserta pemilu 2009
9 Juli 2008
3. Pendeklarasian kampanye damai pemilu 2009
12 Juli 2008
4. Pelaksanaan kampanye pertemuan terbatas (tatap muka, pers, penyebaran bahan)
12 Juli 2008 - 5 April 2009
5. Pengambilan formulir calon
15 Juli - 13 Agustus 2008
6. Pengajuan bakal calon
14 - 19 Agustus 2008
7. Verifikasi administrasi bakal calon
15 Agustus - 7 September 2008
8. Penyampaian hasil verifikasi
16 Agustus - 9 September 2008
9. Perbaikan syarat dan penggantian bakal calon
10 - 16 September 2008
10. Verifikasi hasil perbaikan syarat calon
11 - 19 September 2008
11. Penyusunan dan penetapan Daftar Calon Sementara (DCS)
12 - 26 September 2008
12. Pengumuman dan tanggapan masyarakat atas DCS
26 September - 14 Oktober 2008
13. Penyampaian klarifikasi DCS kepada Parpol
10 - 18 Oktober 2008
14. Pengajuan pengganti DCS oleh Parpol
11 - 22 Oktober 2008
15. Verifikasi pengganti DCS oleh KPU
12 - 25 Oktober 2008
16. Penyusunan dan penetapan Daftar Calon Tetap (DCT)
26 - 30 Oktober 2008
17. Pengumuman DCT
31 Oktober 2008
18. Pelaksanaan kampanye rapat umum
16 Maret 2009 - 5 April 2009
19. Masa tenang
6 - 8 April 2009
20. Pemungutan dan penghitungan suara
9 April 2009
21. Penetapan hasil pemilu
19 April 2009 (KPU Kab/Kota), 24 April 2009 (KPU Provinsi), 9 Mei 2009 (KPU)
22. Pengajuan permohonan pembatalan hasil perolehan suara ke mahkamah konstitusi
10 - 12 Mei 2009
23. Penetapan perolehan kursi
15 - 17 Mei 2009 (DPRD Kab/Kota), 17 - 18 Mei 2009 (DPRD Provinsi), 19 - 20 Mei 2009 (DPR dan DPD)
24. Penetapan dan pengumuman calon terpilih
17 - 18 Mei 2009 (DPRD Kab/Kota), 19 - 20 Mei 2009 (DPRD Provinsi), 21 - 24 Mei 2009 (DPR dan DPD)
25. Pemberitahuan kepada calon terpilih
19 - 24 Mei 2009 (DPRD Kab/Kota), 21 - 28 Mei 2009 (DPRD Provinsi), 25 Mei - 4 Juni 2009 (DPR dan DPD)
26. Peresmian keanggotaan
Juni 2009 (DPRD Kab/Kota), Juli, Agustus 2009 (DPRD Provinsi), September 2009 (DPR dan DPD)
27. Pengucapan sumpah/janji
Juli 2009 (DPRD Kab/Kota), Agustus 2009 (DPRD Provinsi), 1 Oktober 2009 (DPR dan DPD)
Artikel terkait, Daftar Partai Politik.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Bertahun-tahun lamanya, Bernard Madoff yang dikenal berprilaku manis dan tampak bisa dipercaya, menarik miliaran dolar AS baik dari dalam negeri AS maupun luar negeri untuk dikelolanya dalam lembaga investasi Bernard L. Madoff Investments Securities LLC.
Seperti sejumlah spekulan yang percaya naluri adalah segalanya dan kemudian berubah menjadi penipu seperti pelaku arisan berantai di Indonesia, Madoff menjanjikan banyak orang akan satu rumus kuno investasi; untung besar, risiko rendah.
Banyak investor yang kepincut dan 50 miliar dolar AS (Rp550 triliun) berhasil diraupnya lalu kemudian tiba-tiba raib tidak dapat ditarik ribuan investor yang diantaranya nama-nama beken seperti BNP Paribas, Kingate Global Fund, sutradara Steven Spielberg dan raja real estat Mort Zuckerman.
Para investor tertipu mentah-mentah, namun yang paling menyakitkan dari praktik curang Madoff ini, mengutip Der Spiegel (15/12), adalah tereksposnya kekeliruan fundamental dalam perekonomian global.
Seperti halnya para investor Madoff, dunia menyebut risiko dalam perekonomian AS rendah sehingga menjadi situs investasi menguntungkan, bahkan asumsi ini ada dalam benak pemimpin China komunis.
Keyakinan ini lalu menyelubungi keseluruhan struktur perdagangan dan keuangan global dalam sepuluh tahun terakhir, sampai kemudian krisis kredit perumahan yang menciptakan krisis keuangan global itu menunjukkan asumsi tersebut salah.
Sejak krisis ekonomi Asia 1997-1998, dunia beramai-ramai memompakan uang untuk membiayai defisit perdagangan AS yang terus membumbung dari tahun ke tahun
Investasi asing yang diserap AS dari seluruh dunia mencapai lima triliun dolar AS (Rp55 ribu triliun), namun ironisnya kebanyakan berinsentif lebih rendah dibanding misalnya suku bunga di negara asal penanam modal.
Tanpa aliran uang panas dari luar negeri ke dalam perekonomian AS, maka globalisasi pada tingkatnya sekarang mungkin tak akan pernah terjadi, sebut Mingguan Jerman, Der Spiegel (15/12).
AS adalah konsumen andalan semua jenis komoditas dunia, menyerap produk otomotif buatan Jerman dan Jepang, barang elektronik dari Taiwan dan Korea, sandang dan furnitur China.
Michael Mandel dari Der Spiegel beranalogi, warga AS menggamit laptop buatan Taiwan setelah menyicilnya dengan jaminan rumah yang sudah diagunkan ke bank.
Jika semua itu ditelusuri jejaknya, kata Mandel, maka akan diketahui bahwa uang asinglah yang telah menghidupi orang Amerika.
Tapi ada misteri mengapa uang asing demikian mudah mengaliri kantong ekonomi AS. Apa yang membuat investor asing rela meminjami Amerika dengan modal demikian banyak hanya karena janji untung para pengelola dana yang terbukti banyak membual itu?
Para ekonom dan wartawan ramai mengajukan satu hipotesis ke hipotesis lain tanpa pernah bersepakat mengenai apa yang sebenarnya menyebabkan semua itu terjadi.
Namun, sekarang agaknya waktu tepat untuk menjelaskan mengapa orang-orang seperti Bernard Madoff begitu mudah menipu. Mari lihat apa yang terjadi di Amerika sana.
Para penghuni Wall Street --dari pemodal kakap seperti Lehman Brothers sampai pialang kelas teri seperti Bernard Madoff-- membujuk pemodal asing menanamkan modal di AS dengan alasan perekonomian negeri ini paling aman di dunia sehingga investasi apapun bakal menguntungkan.
Ternyata, demikian Mandel lagi, semua itu bohong belaka. Madoff benar-benar sudah menjadi penipu layaknya pelaku arisan berantai di Indonesia yang membuat ribuan ibu-ibu lemas tanpa daya tertipu keuntungan kilat tanpa menilik risikonya.
Madoff dituduh mengoperasikan satu skema investasi abal-abal yang mengakibatkan rugi miliaran dolar AS di seluruh dunia, termasuk empat miliar dolar AS di Swiss dan tiga miliar dolar AS di Spanyol.
Tentu, pelakunya bukan hanya Madoff. Masa keemasan Wall Street sebelum ini dibangun di atas skema menjual cerita "risiko rendah, untung banyak" pada pemodal asing, termasuk mungkin investor Indonesia.
Fakta yang terjadi kini di AS adalah kebanyakan inovasi keuangan yang dibuat belakangan ini adalah justru mencari investasi aman untuk pemodal asing. Jadi, para pemilik modal seluruh dunia kecele.
Alih-alih mencari aman, yang diperoleh investor malah satu tempat yang sedang mencari cara aman berinvestasi.
Tapi fakta seperti ini dikaburkan oleh gambaran tumbuh besarnya volume transaksi berjangka (derivatif) valuta sehingga pemilik modal seluruh dunia merasa investasinya terlindung dari risiko fluktuasi mata uang karena modalnya memang didenominasikan dalam dolar AS.
Masalahnya, risiko investasi kian terkuak, namun sebelum investor asing menyadarinya, maka AS berinovasi memperbesar eksposur transaksi derivatif untuk konversi kredit gagal bayar (CDS, credit default swap).
Langkah itu ditempuh untuk melindungi investor asing agar tidak bermasalah dengan negara asal investor, terutama China, Jepang, Uni Eropa, Arab dan Asia belahan timur.
Surat utang-surat utang kolateral itu lalu dibagi AS dalam dua model; obligasi risiko tinggi dan obligasi risiko rendah. Model obligasi terakhir kemudian dilego di luar negeri.
Tatkala obligasi risiko rendah yang digantungi iming-iming untung tinggi ini ditawarkan ke pasar-pasar atraktif seluruh dunia, diantaranya Hongkong, Dubai, Shanghai atau Singapura, para investor langsung kepincut.
Dalam bayangan mereka, kapan lagi menambatkan investasinya secara aman sekaligus menguntungkan.
Tak heran jika Lehman Brothers yang menawari obligasi risiko rendah yang dinamai "mini bonds" senilai dua miliar dolar AS (Rp22 triliun) ke para investor Hongkong yang diantaranya para pensiunan, serta merta obligasi itu dilahap dengan ganas bagai piranha menggasak mangsanya.
Namun ketika Lehman jatuh bangkrut, para investor Hongkong ikut bangkrut, lebih sengsara dibanding PHK pegawai Lehman. Sebagian diantaranya mendadak linglung, depresi, bahkan gila.
Ternyata, demikian Mandel, iming-iming risiko rendah dan untung besar itu isapan jempol semata, setidaknya jika melihat dua alasan berikut.
Alasan pertama adalah asumsi bahwa perekonomian AS dikenal unggul dalam inovasi. Masalahnya, inovasi perekonomian AS tergantung pada pengembangan teknologi yang umumnya kegiatan-kegiatan bisnis berisiko tinggi.
Jenis inovasi seperti ini memang menguntungkan, tetapi juga sering merugikan. Jika menguntungkan, tentu mendorong perekonomian seperti terjadi selama paruh kedua dekade 1990an.
Tapi inovasi dalam beberapa tahun belakangan banyak yang jalan di tempat. Bioteknologi dan nanoteknologi misalnya, buahnya belum memuaskan. Begitu pula energi alternatif yang tersendat dan setengah hati didalami otoritas AS.
Akibatnya, perekonomian AS ambruk lebih cepat dari perkiraan, tak lagi menggendong untung di punggung, tapi malah semakin dibebani tumpukan utang.
Alasan kedua bahwa iming-iming risiko rendah insentif tinggi itu tidak lebih dari karangan, adalah miskinnya pengaturan transaksi modal.
Nah, soal terakhir ini yang menjadi penyebab utama Madoff berlaku curang yang kini menyayat kredibilitas regulator seperti Securities and Exchange Commission atau SEC (Bapepam-nya Amerika).
"Jika lembaga-lembaga pengelola dana, institusi-institusi keuangan dan orang-orang super kaya begitu mudah diperdaya, maka Madoff sangat mungkin bisa mengakali SEC," kata Carl Loewenson, pengacara pada Firma Hukum Morrison & Foerster, New York seperti dikutip Reuters (16/12).
Carl mungkin ada benarnya mengingat skema investasi Madoff bukan model sekuritisasi yang rumit, jika orang mau mereferensi model-model mutakhir transaksi derivatif.
Model investasi Madoff sebenarnya sama dengan Skema Ponzi yang kuno itu sehingga seharusnya mudah dideteksi dan diawasi lembaga pengawas pasar modal.
Skema Ponzi dikembangkan Charles Ponzi pada pertengahan abad lalu dengan menarik dana dari sebanyak mungkin nasabah dengan janji keuntungan berlipat dalam waktu singkat.
Skema ini dianggap penipuan sehingga terlarang di AS. Anehnya, Madoff memakai skema itu di masa kini yang pola sekuritisasi assetnya berkembang demikian canggih.
Madoff bahkan mempraktikannya di depan batang hidung SEC yang dikenal sebagai salah satu lembaga supervisi keuangan sangat kredibel di AS.
Keadaan semakin aneh manakala, Harry Markopolos yang menjadi rival bisnis Madoff, telah meneliti strategi opsi saham yang diadopsi Madoff dan terang-terangan menyimpulkan strategi itu akal-akalan saja.
Dalam sembilan tahun terakhir, Markopolos rutin mengirimkan laporan kecurangan Madoff ke kantor SEC di New York dan Boston, namun sampai kedok Madoff terbuka pun, SEC enggan berkalimat kendati itu dinanti masyarakat banyak.
Kritik pun muncul, bahkan September lalu, Inspektur Jendral SEC menyebut SEC gagal meraba praktik bisnis tidak jujur dari bank pengelola kredit KPR, Bear Stearns, yang menyalahi batas ketentuan risiko kredit (semacam batas penyaluran kredit atau jumlah kredit bermasalah atau NPL di Indonesia).
Bahkan saat tanda-tanda ketidakberesan Bear Stearns semakin jelas saat JP Morgan Chase & Co mengakuisisinya Maret lalu pun, SEC gagal mengingatkan bank itu untuk patuh pada batas risiko kreditnya.
Sebenarnya, Departemen Keuangan AS telah menerbitkan rangkaian rekomendasi untuk mengefektifkan sistem regulasi industri dan sektor jasa keuangan yang membuat otoritas keuangan AS berhak mengawasi para pialang dan penyalur kredit KPR, juga transkasi CDS.
Depkeu juga merekomendasikan langkah bersama SEC dan Komisi Perdagangan Komoditas Berjangka, serta menggabungkan dua lembaga pengawas perbankan dalam rangka mendisiplinkan sistem perbankan.
Semua itu ditempuh agar praktik bisnis liar dan mengabaikan keselamatan sistem keuangan ditekan serendah-rendahnya sehingga orang-orang seperti Bernie Mandoff tidak bisa seenaknya menipu investor.
Akhirnya, mengutip Der Speigel, globalisasi tidak boleh lagi terjadi seperti sekarang di mana risiko-risiko bisnis diabaikan. Kemakmuran ekonomi tergantung pada berhasil tidaknya sistem perekonomian berinovasi, bukan pada bagaimana investor seluruh dunia diiming-imingi realitas palsu. (*)
by A. Jafar M. Sidik (Antara News)
Sumber: Der Spiegel (15/12) dan Reuters (16/12)
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
What is bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A, also called BPA, is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.
Polycarbonate plastics are used in certain food and drink packaging (including some water bottles and baby bottles) and also in compact discs, computers, impact-resistant safety equipment (such as helmets and goggles), and medical devices.
Epoxy resins line metal products such as canned foods, bottle tops, dental composites and sealants, and water supply pipes.
Is bisphenol A safe?
That's a controversial question.
An FDA draft report issued in August 2008 says bisphenol A is safe at typical exposure levels from food and drink. But another government report, from the National Toxicology Program, doesn't rule out safety risks and notes "some concern" about effects on the brain, prostate gland, and behavior in fetuses, infants, and children.
The NTP's report, issued in September 2008, also notes "minimal concern" about effects on the mammary gland, early female puberty, and reproductive effects in adults who work with bisphenol A, and "negligible concern" about fetal or neonatal death, birth defects, reduced birth weight or grown in babies born to women exposed to bisphenol A during pregnancy, and reproductive effects in adults who don't work with bisphenol A.
The American Chemistry Council, a trade group for the plastics industry, says bisphenol A is safe for typical consumer uses.
What does the research say about bisphenol A?
A study published in the Sept. 17, 2008 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adults with high levels of bisphenol A in their urine samples are more than twice as likely to report a history of heart disease or diabetes, compared to adults with low urinary levels of bisphenol A.
That study was the first to show an association between higher urinary levels of BPA and health problems in human adults. But it doesn't prove that bisphenol A causes heart disease or diabetes, and the researchers caution that their findings need to be confirmed.
Much of the other bisphenol A safety research has been done on rodents, which handle bisphenol A differently from humans. In those rodent studies, the greatest risk has been seen in developing fetuses and infants.
How are people exposed to bisphenol A?
Mostly through food and drink packaged in containers that include bisphenol A.
Bisphenol A can leach into food from food and beverage containers lined with epoxy resin coatings and from products such as polycarbonate tableware, food containers, water bottles, and baby bottles.
Does heating polycarbonate products or cleaning them in a dishwasher increase leaching of bisphenol A?
Yes, but not enough for concern, according to the American Chemistry Council. "Although the level increases slightly, it's still far below the science-based safety standard by at least a factor of 100 or so," says Steven Hentges, PhD, of the council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.
But that, too, is controversial. In January 2008, a University of Cincinnati researcher who studied polycarbonate plastic exposed to boiling liquid told WebMD that while there is little direct evidence that bisphenol A poses a risk to humans, he sees "clear reason to proceed cautiously."
Who is exposed to bisphenol A?
Just about everybody. Nearly 93% of Americans age 6 and older who took part in a CDC health study in 2003-2004 had detectable levels of bisphenol A in their urine samples.
How can I avoid bisphenol A?
Here are tips posted on the web site of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health:
* Don't microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate plastic is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from use at high temperatures.
* Reduce your use of canned foods.
* When possible, opt for glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
* Use baby bottles that are free of bisphenol A.
The FDA hasn't advised anyone to avoid or reduce their exposure to bisphenol A, and the American Chemistry Council says there's no reason to do so.
Totally avoiding bisphenol A isn't a reasonable goal because it's so widespread, notes David Schardt, MS, senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
"You can't drive yourself crazy trying to eliminate every speck," says Schardt. "It's not going to happen." Schardt sees the biggest priority as limiting exposure in small children. He suggests using cardboard cartons of milk, for instance, and baby bottles or sippy cups that don't contain bisphenol A.
Other alternatives include glass bottles, but of course, those aren't shatter-resistant like polycarbonate plastic.
Are products made from bisphenol A marked as containing bisphenol A?
No. Some plastic products have labels saying that they are free of bisphenol A, but there are no required labels for products that contain bisphenol A.
Do plastic containers with "7" within the "chasing arrows" all contain bisphenol A?
No. The numbers in those "chasing arrow" symbols on the bottom of some plastic products are only about recycling.
The numbers 1-6 in the chasing arrows aren't supposed to be polycarbonate plastic, so they shouldn't contain bisphenol A. But the number 7 isn't just for polycarbonates; it's a catch-all category of plastics, and not all polycarbonate plastics have the "7" on them, notes Schardt.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Pemerintah melalui Menteri Keuangan meminta 4.127 rekening sejumlah Kementerian dan Lembaga (K/L) senilai Rp 1,17 triliun dan US$ 9,3 juta dibekukan. Rekening yang berada di sejumlah perbankan itu dianggap tidak sesuai dengan aturan atau dinamakan rekening liar.
Demikian disampaikan Irjen Depkeu Hekinus Manao ketika ditemui di Gedung MPR/DPR, Jakarta, Kamis (18/12/2008).
"Menkeu sebagai Bendahara Umum negara telah meminta hal ini pada tanggal 16 Desember lalu. Rekening ini akan terus dibekukan, kalau lewat satu bulan dan tidak ada pemiliknya yang protes, maka rekening itu akan ditutup. Dan uangnya masuk ke kas negara," katanya.
Selain pembekuan rekening, Hekinus juga mengatakan Depkeu meminta sejumlah Dirjen di 57 kementerian dan lembaga untuk menyelidiki 4.085 rekening senilai Rp 1,32 triliun dan US$ 10,28 juta.
"Depkeu meminta mereka menyelidiki mengenai keabsahan rekening tersebut." ujarnya.
Hekinus mengatakan, dari 4.085 rekening yang minta diselidiki tersebut, paling banyak terdapat di Departemen Agama. Jumlahnya mencapai 479 rekening dengan nilai Rp 32,4 miliar.
"Tapi kalau dari segi jumlah yang paling banyak Departemen Kesehatan. Jumlah rekeningnya 37, tapi nilainya Rp 480,4 miliar," katanya.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Christie’s are privileged to present the Wittelsbach diamond (estimate upon request), an extremely rare 35.56 carat, historic 17th century fancy deep greyish-blue diamond, to the international market for the first time in almost 80 years, on Wednesday 10 December 2008. Known as ‘’Der Blaue Wittelsbacher’’ since 1722, it is one of very few diamonds which can claim 17th century heritage, incredible rarity and exceptional beauty. Upon the engagement of the Infanta Margarita Teresa (1651-1673), who is illustrated in both paintings by Velazquez above, to Leopold I of Austria (1640-1705), who later became Holy Roman Emperor, her father King Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665) selected, in 1664, the diamond as part of her dowry. Subsequently, it entered the Austrian and then the Bavarian Crown jewels. This extraordinary diamond is offered for sale from a private collection, where it has been since 1964.
The Wittelsbach diamond is accompanied by a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America dated September 24th, 2008, indicating that the diamond is fancy deep greyish-blue, VS2 clarity.
The diamond market as a whole, like the international jewellery market, continues to be strong. The level of demand for coloured diamonds is high, with a 13.39 carat fancy intense blue diamond fetching $8.9 million, a world auction record, at Christie’s Geneva in May 2008; though no examples to date are comparable with the Wittelsbach diamond being offered at Christie’s London. Blue diamonds are rare and to offer a blue diamond of this size, quality, shape and provenance is truly extraordinary. In the mid-1980s the Christie’s sale of a 0.95 carat red diamond for $850,000 marked the start of true appreciation of coloured diamonds and, today, their great rarity makes them the most desirable of all.
King Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665) is known to have selected only the very finest gemstones for the dowry of his fifteen year old daughter, the Infanta Margarita Teresa (1651-1673), upon her betrothal. This included the exceptionally rare 35.56 carat greyish-blue blue diamond originating from the famous Indian diamond mines. Upon the Princess’s untimely death in 1673 her husband, Emperor Leopold I of Austria (1640-1705) retained the dowry and the diamond was passed on to his heirs.
In 1722 the diamond entered the Wittelsbach family, on the occasion of the marriage of Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria (1701-1756) to the Bavarian Crown Prince, Charles Albert (1697-1745), and became a prized family possession. It was worn by successive rulers in both the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Bavarian Royal Crown until the abdication of King Ludwig III (1845-1921) in 1918. For full chronology of the Wittelsbach diamond please refer to Notes to Editors.
India: The Source for many of the World’s Greatest Diamonds
Diamonds were discovered during the 4th century B.C. in India, which remained their only source until 1723. Being greatly prized for their size and beauty, they were mined largely in the State of Hyderabad and sent to their principle sorting centre, Golconda, hence the name of many of these special gemstones. Blue diamonds were also mined in the State of Bihar; the fourth Mogul Emperor, Jahangir (1569-1627), stated in his memoirs that ‘diamonds from this place are of a variety and beauty above all other kinds of diamonds,’ he particularly mentions a large blue piece of diamond which, unlike today, was not considered to be as valuable as a colourless gem. Perhaps this is the extraordinary diamond which later became the Wittlesbach. The largest and most famous blue diamond in the world is the “Hope Diamond”, a 45-carat deep blue stone, formerly from the French Crown Jewels and now in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC.
Historic Royal Diamonds
Until 1723, all diamonds worn by European Royalty came from India. Today, only very few survive and can be traced back to their original owners. Among the most famous are the “Koh-I-Noor” now in the British Crown Jewels, the “Régent” at the Louvre Museum, Paris and the “Orlov Diamond” in the Kremlin. The appearance of the Wittelsbach at auction is a landmark event, as it encapsulates all that one looks for in a gemstone or indeed a work of art: history, Royal provenance, exceptional beauty and original condition.
Christie’s and Royal Collections
Since 1766, Christie’s has been synonymous with auctions of Royal and aristocratic collections. From the sale of Madame du Barry’s jewels in 1795, to that of the Russian Crown Jewels in 1927, and more recently the Private Collection of H.R.H. The Princess Margaret in 2006, these events have created worldwide interest and are remembered as legendary moments in auction history. In April 2008, the Louvre Museum was able to acquire the Empress Eugénie Diamond Brooch, through Christie’s, thereby allowing its return to the French Crown Jewels.
Three Hundred Years of History (1664-1964)
1664 - King Philip IV of Spain formed a collection of the finest gems for the dowry of his daughter, Infanta Margarita Teresa, when she married Leopold I of Austria (who later became Holy Roman Emperor) in 1667. This included the 35 carat blue diamond.
1673 - The jewels were recorded in an inventory of the Austrian Crown Jewels dated 13 March 1673.
1705 - Leopold I bequeathed the blue diamond to his third wife, Empress Eleonore Magdalena.
1720 - Archduchess Maria Amalia inherited the blue diamond from her grandmother, the Empress Eleonore Magdalena.
1722 - The diamond entered the House of Wittelsbach after the marriage of Archduchess Maria Amalia to the Bavarian Crown Prince, Charles Albert. The diamond then became known as ‘Der Blaue Wittelsbacher’.
1745 - The Wittelsbach was first mounted within the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The diamond was handed down through successive Bavarian rulers.
1806 - Maximilian IV Joseph von Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria and commissioned a royal crown prominently displaying the blue diamond.
1921 - After the proclamation of the German Republic in 1918, the Wittelsbach made its last State appearance.
1931 - Christie’s offered for sale important jewellery from the Bavarian Crown Jewels, which included the Wittelsbach.
1964 - The diamond was purchased by a private collector, in whose family it remained until the present day, being offered for sale in Christie’s upcoming December 2008 sale Jewels: The London Sale.
The aesthetic appeal, magic and mystery have lured mankind since ages. Different cultures across the world have lore and beliefs associated to colored gemstones. In this day and age, natural gemstones are more of a fashion accessory, though the mystical symbolism remains.
What are natural gemstones
A gemstone is defined as a mineral or petrified material that when cut and polished, can be used in jewelry. It is a mineral that is valuable, rare and often beautiful.
Minerals were forged beneath the surface of the earth over millions of years through the forces of heat and pressure, resulting in a distinct crystal form with an orderly pattern of atoms. This internal arrangement determines a mineral’s chemical and physical properties, including its color. Crystals are not necessarily formed only in rocks or beneath the surface of the earth; they are also formed within plants and animals. Such gemstones are called Organic gemstones (coral, amber etc.). Every mineral originates as a small crystal and “grows" as more atoms are added. A particular gem or mineral can be a variety of different colors, depending on impurities, also known as inclusions, in its atomic structure. Quartz, for example, is normally colorless, but occurs in a range of colors from pink to brown to the deep purple of amethyst, depending on the amount and type of impurities in its structure.
Gemstones are precious because the extreme climatic conditions and the nurturing inside earth’s womb for millions of years, are not just rare conditions but almost impossible to occur again. And this is the reason that the importance of gemstones is much beyond the obvious aesthetic appeal.
Of almost 4,000 different types of minerals found on earth, fewer than 100 are considered beauteous or durable enough to be used as gemstones. Of those, only around 20 are commonly used in jewelry. The traditionally included category of most valuable gemstones is emerald, ruby, sapphire and pearl. Because of their aesthetic appeal and glorious history, these gemstones are more valuable than other colored gemstones. Finest quality emeralds and rubies can sometimes be more valuable than diamonds of comparable size.
Gemstones are classified into different varieties, species and groups. For instance, ruby (gemstone) is the red variety of the species corundum (mineral) that belongs to the hematite (crystal) group. Varieties of the mineral beryl include emerald (green), aquamarine (blue), heliodor (yellow), bixbite (red), goshenite (colorless) and morganite (pink).
Gemstone treatments or enhancements refer to the way some gems are treated to improve their aesthetic appeal or durability, or even change their color. Almost all gemstones are treated in some or the other way. Most of these treatments are permanent in nature and an accepted norm in the industry. Treatments do not affect a gemstone’s value.
Akin diamonds, gemstones are judged by the "Four Cs" of color, clarity, cut and carat weight, with color being the most important consideration, by far. As a general rule for all gemstones, the better the color, the higher the value; better clarity and better cut are also valued more - and generally, the larger the stone, the more it will cost per carat. Even to an untrained novice eye, many of these types of differences can be seen when similar stones are examined side-by-side.
Other factors that may influence the price of a gemstone include whether it is available readily or is rare in existence; whether it is a rare fancy shape or a calibrated size; and sometimes the origin of the gem. For instance, sapphires from Kashmir or rubies from Burma command a higher price than their equivalents from other origins.
by Rajesh Kumar is a writer for gemstones and jewelry working with www.angara.com.
POHON KI TENJO (Anisoptera costata Korth) TERANCAM PUNAH
Pohon Ki Tenjo yang dalam bahasa latinnya disebut Anisoptera costata (Korth) tumbuh alami di Cagar Alam Leuwi Sancang dan Taman Nasional Ujung Kulon. Menurut hasil penelitian Pusat Litbang Hutan dan Konservasi Alam Bogor, di habitat alam aslinya pohon Ki Tenjo tinggal satu batang, dan tidak ditemukan anakannya.
Eksplorasi yang dilakukan oleh Titi Kalima pada tahun 2008 di Kawasan TN Ujung Kulon hanya menemukan satu batang Anisoptera costata Korth yang berdiameter 121 cm. Pohon tersebut masih berdiri tegak pada ketinggian 80 m di atas permukaan laut. Keberadan spesies pohon tersebut sangat rawan punah. Dari pohon yang tersisa tersebut tidak ditemukan anakan. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa A. costata Korth di tempat tersebut tidak dapat melanjutkan keturunan.
Ancaman yang paling mengkhawatirkan adalah penebangan yang dilakukan oleh perambah hutan. Aktivitas perambahan yang makin mendekati lokasi pohon ini sangat mengancam percepatan kepunahannya. Pada tahun 2005 Titi Kalima mencatat bahwa di Cagar Alam Leuwi Sancang terdapat masyarakat yang berkebun sayur mayur, kelapa, coklat, karet, dan lain-lain. Pada saat itu masih ditemukan pohon-pohon A. costata Korth, D. gracilis, D. hasseltii, dan D. littoralis. Satu tahun kemudian (2006) banyak pohon-pohon tersebut yang ditebang. Pada tahun 2007 ditemukan pohon-pohon D. Littoralis, D. gracitis, dan D. Hasseltii yang berdiameter 76 cm, 58 cm, dan 64 cm telah ditebang. Saat itu masih tersisa satu batang A. costata berdiameter 105 cm pada ketinggian 560 m di atas permukaan laut.
Jakarta, 16 Desember 2008
Kepala Pusat Informasi Kehutanan,
10 besar orang terkaya di Indonesia:
- Sukanto Tanoto,�� 2 miliar dolar AS
- R. Budi Hartono,�� 1,72 miliar dolar AS
- Michael Hartono,� 1,68 miliar dolar AS
- Putera Sampoerna, 1,5 miliar dolar AS
- Martua Sitorus, 1,3 miliar dolar AS
- Peter Sondakh, 1,05 miliar dolar AS
- Eddy William Katuari, 1,04 miliar dolar AS
- Eka Tjipta Widjaja, 950 juta dolar AS
- Aburizal Bakrie, 850 juta dolar AS
- Murdaya Poo, 825 juta dolar AS
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Seru banget acaranya...Yang hadir adalah master2 community dan blogger2 paten.
Diantaranya adalah Andrew Darwis, founder & CEO Kaskus Network. Trus ada mas Budi Putra, blogger senior. Trus ada pasukan gatorade, gadget to trade community dan banyak lagi.
Acaranya yang bertempat di 3 Degress - FX Mall ini dipandu oleh Steny Agustaf dan Rahmah Umayya, dengan bintang acaranya adalah si cantik Maylaffayza, violis piawai yg baru married dan katanya menunda bulan madu demi bela2in ngisi acara ini. Bersamanya berkolaborasi biola dan racikan musik oleh DJ Ellen dan yang gak kalah menariknya...wow...sexy dancernya bo.
Asiknya euy, dapat makan malam gratis prasmanan ditambah freeflow coke dan juice...
Bos Andrew dalam kesempatannya mengatakan akan mereview produk dell tersebut di kaskus secepatnya.
Ok d, aku gak dapat door price tapi dapat tas dell besar dan payung, lumayanlah mumpung lagi musim hujan n' pulang2 kekenyangan..phew.
Monday, December 15, 2008
LASIK surgery is one type of refractive surgery. Refractive surgery can eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses in people with these conditions:
* Astigmatism (unevenly curved cornea)
* Presbyopia (age-related loss of sharp close-up focusing)
Done on both eyes, these procedures work by changing the eyes' focus to improve vision.
You might assume that refractive surgery is fairly new. But it goes back about 100 years! You're right, however, to think that today's state-of-the-art refractive surgery procedures are of more recent development. These newer techniques were first performed in the U.S. in 1978.
Types of Refractive Surgery
Three types of refractive surgery procedures are available. They include:
* Excimer laser procedures (including LASIK surgery)
* Artificial lens implantation
* Cornea reshaping procedures (including radial keratotomy, the first-used refractive surgery)
The Excimer Laser Used in LASIK Surgery
Developed in the 1980s, the excimer laser is computer-controlled.It gives eye surgeons the ability to remove precise amounts of tissue from the surface of the eye. This provides a high degree of safety and precision for laser-assisted procedures like LASIK.
LASIK Surgery Steps
LASIK is an abbreviation for "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis." The steps of LASIK surgery include:
1. Eye numbing drops are given before surgery to prevent pain.
2. The eye surgeon creates a flap in the cornea. The surgeon may use either an instrument called a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. The flap is folded back to reveal the cornea's midsection (stroma).
3. The excimer laser vaporizes part of the stroma.
4. The corneal flap is put back in place. It reattaches within a few minutes without sutures.
5. Eye drops or ointment is applied to aid healing.
Recovery from LASIK surgery is usually fast and painless.You may notice improved vision by the next day or sooner.
Procedures Related to LASIK Surgery
Doctors have developed other surgeries similar to the standard LASIK procedure. These include the following.
* Epi-LASIK uses a special instrument, the Epi-keratome, to create the corneal flap on the layer of cells covering the cornea (epithelium). Epi-LASIK is used in patients with corneas too thin to allow the standard LASIK surgery.
* Wavefront-guided LASIK creates a highly detailed "map" of how light moves through the eye. This shows even the subtlest distortions of focus. The goal is to reduce the chance of after-surgery problems such as glare, light "halos," and poor night vision.
* PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) corrects low to high nearsightedness, low to moderate farsightedness, and astigmatism. The eye surgeon removes the epithelium. Then the surgeon uses the excimer laser to reshape the cornea. Healing occurs with help from a "bandage contact lens" applied at the end of the procedure. Healing takes three to four days and may involve some discomfort. Full recovery may take several weeks. For these reasons, LASIK surgery has generally replaced PRK except for patients with corneas too thin for LASIK surgery.
* LASEK (later epithelial keratomileusis) is similar to PRK. The difference is that the surgeon replaces the epithelium after completing the surgery. LASEK may be recommended for people with thin corneas. As with PRK, healing may involve some discomfort.
Implant Refractive Surgery
Several types of refractive surgery rely on implants to help improve vision. These procedures include the following:
* Intrastromal corneal ring segment (INTACS) implants
* Phakic intraocular lenses (IOLs)
* Accommodative IOLs, multifocal IOLs, and refractive lens exchange
Each implant is described below.
* Intrastromal corneal ring segment (INTACS) implants. Semicircular pieces of plastic are implanted in the cornea. These objects are called INTACS (intrastromal corneal ring segments). They change the cornea's shape and adjust the person's power to focus. INTACS are inserted through a small corneal incision. The incision is closed with two small sutures, or stitches, typically removed two to four weeks later. If necessary, INTACS can be removed. The cornea returns to its original shape within a few weeks.
* Phakic IOLs. These areused for people whose degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness is too high for safe use of the excimer laser. The procedure is similar to cataract surgery except that the natural lens is not removed. The eye surgeon positions a vision-correcting plastic lens in front of the patient's natural lens, which is left in place to preserve reading vision. Because the eye is actually entered, phakic IOL surgery carries a higher risk of complications.
* Accommodative IOLs, multifocal IOLs, and refractive lens exchange. These implants areused to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and presbyopia. Vision-correcting, surgically implanted artificial lenses replace natural lenses. No corneal reshaping is done.
Surgery to Reshape the Cornea
Two surgical procedures are used to change the shape of the cornea, achieving vision correction. These procedures include the following:
* Conductive keratoplasty (CK) uses heat to reshape the cornea. The heat source may be a type of laser (not the excimer laser used in LASIK surgery). The heat is applied to the cornea's outer edge so it tightens and makes the cornea steeper. This can be used to correct farsightedness, presbyopia, and near-focus problems in people over age 40. CK causes little or no discomfort. It improves vision almost instantly. This effect may not last, however. Later re-treatment may be required.
* Radial keratotomy (RK) is the first form of refractive surgery used in the U.S. It has been largely replaced by LASIK surgery. RK may be chosen to correct very mild nearsightedness and astigmatism. The eye surgeon uses a diamond scalpel to make spoke-like (radial) cuts on the cornea. These cuts flatten and reshape the cornea. RK weakens the eye's structure, a primary reason it is seldom done now.
Who Can - and Cannot -- Have LASIK Surgery or Other Refractive Procedures?
Everyone considering refractive surgery should make the decision only after meeting with a refractive surgeon. General requirements include:
* Being age 18 or older
* Having healthy eyes
* Not needing a new eyeglass or contact lens prescription over the past year
* Having vision that refractive surgery can correct
Most forms of refractive surgery cannot be done on people who:
* Have a history of eye disease, including autoimmune disease, or previous eye injury
* Take certain prescription medications known to affect vision or corneal healing
* Are pregnant or nursing
Ask your surgeon about the risks of surgery as well as the benefits. That way, you can make a more informed decision. The outcome will be more likely to meet your expectations.
The Cost of LASIK Surgery
Most types of health insurance will not pay for refractive surgery. Only about 3% of LASIK surgery procedures cost less than $1000 per eye. The good news is that the cost seems to be coming down.
On average nationally in mid-2006, the cost of having LASIK surgery done on both eyes was $1950. Using wavefront technology or the "laser microkeratome" costs more. Price also varies slightly by region.
Be sure your surgeon makes clear what is and is not included in the price you are quoted. Ask, too, if you will have to pay more if you need follow-up visits or treatment for complications.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
With more than 200 variations of massage, how do you know what's what, and what's best for you?
Almost anyone - from infants to seniors - can enjoy the benefits of a good massage.
Massage is one of the oldest healing arts. Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use. The ancient Hindus, Persians, and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments, and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.
Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching, says Les Sweeney, executive vice president of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). Massage therapy has proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as so many of us already know, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.
But with more than 200 variations of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies, how do you know what's what, and what's best for you? First, a definition of the different therapy categories is in order, says Sweeney.
* Massage is the application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. It taps into the energy systems in the body.
* Bodywork includes various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to affect structural changes to the body.
* Somatic, which means "of the body," is often used to describe a body/mind or whole-body approach as opposed to a physical perspective only.
According to William F. Burton, Jr., a professional massage therapist/bodyworker and co-owner of the Enraptured Day Spa in Philadelphia, most varieties of massage and bodywork therapies can be broken down into four broad categories:
1. Contemporary Western massage
2. Oriental methods
3. Structural/functional/movement integration
4. Non-Oriental energetic methods
Here's a brief explanation of some of the more common techniques of Western and Oriental massage.
Swedish massage: This is the predominant example of Western massage and is the most commonly used method in the United States. Developed in Sweden in the 1830s, it uses a system of long, gliding strokes, kneading, and percussion and tapping techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles. It is designed to increase circulation, which may improve healing and decrease swelling from an injury. This technique also results in generalized relaxation.
Neuromuscular massage : Trigger point massage and myotherapy are varieties of neuromuscular massage, which applies concentrated pressure on trigger points of pain and passive stretching of specific muscles.
Deep tissue massage : This approach is used to alleviate chronic muscle pain by reaching deeper muscles in problem areas.
Sports massage: This uses techniques similar to deep tissue massage but more specifically adapted to deal with the needs of athletes (both professional and the weekend variety); it's often used before or after athletic events as part of an athlete's training and to promote healing from injuries.
Manual lymph drainage massage: This approach improves the flow of lymph fluid with rhythmic strokes and is used primarily in conditions with poor lymph flow, such as edema.
Oriental methods of massage are based on the principles of Chinese medicine and the flow of energy or chi through the body's meridians, or energy points, says Burton. In Oriental massage techniques, pressure is applied by finger or thumb tips to predetermined points rather than by the sweeping broad strokes of Western massage.
There are more than a dozen varieties of Oriental massage and bodywork therapy, but the most common forms in the U.S. are acupressure, shiatsu, Jin Shin Jyutsu, and Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure.
Acupressure and shiatsu : These are similar varieties of finger pressure massage, with pressure applied to specific points that correspond with acupuncture points. In acupressure and shiatsu, pressure is applied to specific points with the thumb, finger, and palm to release muscle tension and increase circulation. Acupressure is the more generic term used for this approach and shiatsu is the Japanese version.
Jin Shin Jyutsu: This approach comes from an ancient Japanese healing tradition that uses touch to restore the internal flow of energy through the body by releasing energetic blockages. In this therapy the touch is very light a holds each pressure point for several minutes.
Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure: Developed by a California psychotherapist, this approach applies stronger acupressure on the points and for a longer period of time than does Jin Shin Jyutsu. It focuses on the deep release of muscular tension through gentle yet deep finger pressure.
Thai massage: At least 2,500 years old, Thai massage focuses on balancing energy. If you're receiving a Thai massage, you'll be placed into yoga-like postures while the "Sen" energy lines are compressed rhythmically with hands, thumbs, forearms, elbows, knees, and feet.
Tui Na: Tui Na has been used in China for more than 2,000 years. The combination of massage and manipulation techniques is designed to improve the flow of energy so the body can naturally heal itself.
The strokes that massage practitioners use also vary, as do their effects, says Burton. A few of the more common strokes and their effects include:
* Feather stroking: soothing/sedative (may be ticklish)
* Fan stroking: soothing
* Circular thumb stroking: loosens tight areas
* Kneading: loosens and stimulates
* Skin rolling: stimulates
* Compression/pressure: breaks down muscular adhesions
* Percussion: stimulates (fast); relaxes (slow)
If you have a certain technique in mind, ask the massage therapist about his or her training, suggests Jeanne Girard, a vice president of the American Massage Therapy Association and a massage therapist in Canon City, Colorado. "If the therapist doesn't have training in what you need, he or she will refer you to someone who does."
As beneficial as massage can be, there are some people who shouldn't have one, says James Dillard, MD, DC, L.Ac, Oxford Health Plans' medical director for complementary and alternative medicine and author of Chronic Pain Solution. "You want to have intact skin, muscles, bones, and tissues before having a massage," says Dillard. That means if you have any fractures, infections, active cancer, orthopaedic conditions, or skin problems, massage is a no-no until you've recovered.
When choosing a type of massage, know what's best for you, says Dillard. "Do you want a gentle, serene experience, or would you like more pressure?" Don't be afraid to communicate with the massage therapist, he adds. Tell the therapist about any medical conditions or concerns you have, and if you're uncomfortable at any point during the massage, let the therapist know.
To get the most benefit from the massage, try to relax for the rest of the day, Dillard says. "You want the glow to last."
Having a massage on your lunch hour and then going back to a stressful afternoon on the job is not a great idea, agrees Jeanne Girard. "Don't overtax your body."
Girard also suggests that you drink plenty of water before and after the massage to help flush out the toxins that massage loosens up. (One other piece of advice, courtesy of Dillard: If you do drink a lot of water before the massage, make sure you go to the bathroom before the massage!)
Stretching beforehand allows the therapist to get into your muscle tissue more easily, says Girard; when it's cold outside, a warm shower or bath beforehand will also loosen your muscles.
And just how often should you have a massage? That's easy, says Dr. Dillard. "As often as you can afford it!"
Thirty-three states require massage therapists to be licensed, says ABMP's Les Sweeney. To find a practitioner near you, you can visit ABMP's web site or the web sites of the American Massage Therapy Association, or the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia.
By Carolyn J. Strange
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (an underbite or overbite), there are a variety of treatments that can help straighten your teeth, including braces and retainers.
Ask your dentist to refer you to an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in correcting irregularities of the teeth.
The orthodontist will ask you questions about your health, conduct a clinical exam, gather impressions of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order X-rays of your mouth and head. An appropriate treatment plan is made based on analysis of the gathered information.
In some cases, a removable retainer will be all that's necessary. In other rare cases (especially when there is an extreme overbite or underbite), surgery may be necessary. In most cases, however, braces will be needed.
What Types of Braces Are Available?
If braces are indeed the solution for you, your orthodontist will prescribe an appliance specific for your needs. The braces may consist of bands, wires, and other fixed or removable corrective appliances.
Generally, there are three types of braces:
* Brackets: Made of stainless steel or clear or tooth-colored ceramic or plastic, brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth. Ceramic or plastic brackets are often selected for cosmetic reasons. Plastic brackets, however, may become stained and discolored by the end of treatment. Another disadvantage of ceramic or plastic brackets is that they cause more friction between the wire and brackets, which can increase treatment time.
* Lingual-type brackets: These are brackets that attach to the back of teeth, hiding the bracket from view.
* Traditional bands: These are the generally outdated "full metal-mouth" look, which consists of the use of metal brackets soldered to metal bands that wrap around each tooth.
Newer "mini-braces," which are much smaller than traditional braces, may be an option for some. Your orthodontist will discuss the various types of available braces with you and determine which might be the best option for you.
How Do Braces Work?
In their entirety, braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bony tooth socket reabsorbs and changes shape as pressure is applied.
Braces are made up of the following components:
* Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to each tooth with a special dental bonding agent or are attached to orthodontic bands. Brackets act like handles, holding the arch wires that move the teeth.
* Orthodontic bands are stainless steel, clear or tooth-colored materials that are cemented with dental bonding agents or cement to teeth. They wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for the brackets. The clear or tooth-colored bands are more cosmetically appealing options but are more expensive than stainless steel. They are not used in all patients. Some people have only brackets and no bands.
* Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands.
* Arch wires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Arch wires can be made of metal or be clear or tooth-colored.
* Ties are small rubber rings or fine wires that fasten the arch wire to the brackets. They can be clear, metal or colored.
* A buccal tube on the band of the last molar holds the end of the arch wire securely in place.
* Tiny elastic rubber bands, called ligatures, hold the arch wires to the brackets.
* Springs may be placed on the arch wires between brackets to push, pull, open or close the spaces between teeth.
* Two bands on the upper teeth may have headgear tubes on them to hold the facebow of the headgear in place. (A headgear is another tool used by orthodontists to aid in correcting irregularities of the teeth; see below)
* Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and are worn between the upper and lower teeth in various ways. They apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a perfect fit of individual teeth.
* Facebow headgear is the wire gadget that is used to move the upper molars back in the mouth to correct bite discrepancies and also to create room for crowded anterior teeth. The facebow consists of an inner metal part shaped like a horseshoe that goes in the mouth, attaching to buccal tubes, and an outer part that goes around the outside of the face and is connected to a headgear strap.
How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
The time required for treatment varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the problem; the amount of room available; the distance the teeth must travel; the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone; and how closely the patient follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for 1 to 3 years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first 6 months, then only during sleep for many years.
How Often Will I Need to See the Orthodontist During Treatment?
Your orthodontist will want to see you about every month or so in order to make sure that the braces are exerting steady pressure on your teeth. To create more tension and pressure on your teeth, your orthodontist will make adjustments in the wires, springs, or rubber bands of your braces. In some cases, braces alone aren't enough to straighten the teeth or shift the jaw. In these situations, an external appliance, such as a headgear may need to be worn at home in the evening or through the night.
Will Braces Cause Pain?
Some of the adjustments your orthodontist may make to your braces may make your mouth feel sore or uncomfortable. When needed, over-the-counter pain relievers like Motrin or Tylenol can help relieve the pain. If you always experience a lot of pain after your braces are adjusted, talk to your orthodontist about it; he or she may be able to make the adjustments a bit differently.
Does the Age at Which I Get Braces Affect the Success of Treatment?
The mechanical process used to move teeth is the same at any age. So the benefits of orthodontic treatments are available to both children and adults who wish to improve their appearance and bite. The main differences between treatments in adults and children is that certain corrections in adults may require more than braces alone and the treatments may take longer because adult bones are no longer growing.
Can I Continue to Play Sports While Wearing Braces?
You can continue to participate in any sport you choose. When playing sports where there is a possibility of getting hit in the mouth, a specially designed mouthguard will need to be worn. The mouthguard, made of durable plastic, is designed to fit comfortably over your braces and will protect the soft tissues inside your mouth.
What Care Can I Expect After the Braces Come Off?
After your braces are taken off, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. Your orthodontist may want to take another set of X-rays and bite impressions to check how well the braces straightened your teeth and to see if any wisdom teeth have developed. If wisdom teeth are beginning to come in after your braces have been removed, your orthodontist may recommend the wisdom teeth be pulled to prevent your newly straightened teeth from shifting position in your mouth.
Your orthodontist will also fit you with a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that help teeth to maintain their new position after braces have been removed. Retainers can also be used to treat minor orthodontic problems. The use of a retainer is a very important part of post-braces care. Retainers, which are typically made of rubber or clear plastic and metal wires that cover the outside surface of the teeth, need to be worn all the time for the first 6 months and then usually only during sleep. The time frame for wearing a retainer will vary from patient to patient. The reason why a retainer is needed is that even though braces may have successfully straightened your teeth, they are not completely settled in their new position until the bones, gums, and muscles adapt to the change. Also, after long periods of time, teeth tend to shift.
How Much Co Braces Cost?
The cost of braces varies, but you can expect the cost to be between $1,800 and $5,500. Some insurance carriers provide partial coverage for orthodontic treatment while others provide none at all. Check with your insurance provider for the specifics of what your policy covers.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.
From a mere cleaning to tooth whitening to "smile design," a trip to the dentist can be a cosmetic experience these days.
If you're in the market for a makeover, there are many beauty specialists who can help you. You might turn to a hair stylist, cosmetic surgeon, or dermatologist. You probably wouldn't think of going to the dentist, yet dentists can do things for your appearance that no one else can.
It goes far beyond scraping the plaque off your choppers during a biannual checkup. "We have procedures where we can change the shape, size, and color of the teeth," says Michael Malone, a cosmetic dentist in Lafayette, La., and president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Cosmetic dentistry isn't exactly a dental specialty. Those who call themselves cosmetic dentists usually do cleanings and drill cavities, too. They're just particularly interested in aesthetics, and they have extra training to do cosmetic procedures.
The simplest and most common thing they do is tooth whitening. This is nothing new, but it is cheaper and easier today than it used to be.
"We were doing it 30 years ago," Malone says. "We were using at that time a very, very strong solution of hydrogen peroxide -- so strong that if it touched the lips or the gums it would actually injure a person."
In this type of tooth-whitening treatment, called "power bleaching," teeth are isolated with rubber dental dams, and the peroxide solution on the teeth is heated up with lamps.
"It worked, but it was so much trouble that very few people would go through it," Malone says. "Also, it was quite expensive because it took so long in the dental chair."
Power bleaching is still available, but there's a cheaper alternative. A new tooth-whitening technique uses lower-strength peroxides that are left on the teeth longer.
After the dentist makes sure your teeth are healthy enough for the treatment, you have an impression of your teeth taken, and the impression is used to make a tray that holds a peroxide gel on the teeth. You wear this tray at home for a few hours every day, over the course of one to five weeks.
The resulting brilliant whiteness still isn't cheap. Depending on where you live, a take-home tooth whitening can cost anywhere from $150-$1,000. An in-office bleaching tends to be more expensive.
Tooth whitening can be just the beginning. If you want to get serious, you can have your teeth and gums overhauled completely. "Smile design" is what San Francisco cosmetic dentist Jerry Bellen calls it.
"Smile design is looking at the positions of somebody's teeth, and how the teeth are framed by the lips," he says.
For example, if your gums show too much when you smile, that can be fixed. "We do what's called a gum lift," Bellen says. "The technical term for it is crown lengthening."
This is a surgery that can be done in the dentist's office, whereby the gums are pushed up so that more of the teeth show. "Surprisingly, there isn't much pain," Bellen says. "It's a fairly minor surgery."
You can also have your teeth shaped any way you want them to be. Bellen says that lengthening and rounding the edges of your front teeth can actually make you look younger. A lifetime of chewing (and especially of nail biting) wears down your teeth. Even after a facelift, worn teeth can add years to your appearance.
To shape a tooth, a cosmetic dentist may bond a resin or porcelain veneer or crown to it. Resin bonding is the older method. "It still is good and used a lot today," Malone says, but it doesn't last as long as porcelain, the newer material.
Resin may, in time, wear out or become discolored, whereas porcelain doesn't. The other difference is that resin bonding is done in the dentist's chair, usually in one visit. For a porcelain veneer, a mold is sent away to a dental lab to be made, then bonded on later.
In addition to shaping teeth attractively, a cosmetic dentist can give you pouty lips. "We take profile photographs of the lips," Bellen says, "If somebody wants a fuller lip, we can actually increase the bulkiness of the veneer," so that it pushes the lip outward.
Tetracycline stains can also be covered with veneers. "When tetracycline [a commonly used antibiotic] is given as a child, it tends to stain developing teeth," Bellen says. "It happens in bands -- striations across the teeth."
If your molars are a mess of metal fillings, that can be fixed by grinding them down and capping them with new porcelain crowns.
The Architecture of a Smile
Bellen says a cosmetic dentist can do just about anything needed to improve your smile, but he stresses the work must be carefully planned. "I go though a pretty detailed evaluation before I start any work at all," he says.
Your bite -- the way your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed -- is an important consideration. "You can put porcelain on everything and not pay attention to the bite, and have everything break down," Bellen says.
That means that before any veneers or crowns go on, your teeth may need to be realigned, and you may even need jaw surgery. "I, as a cosmetic dentist, will diagnose and plan the treatment," Malone says. Then he may involve other professionals, such as an orthodontist or an oral surgeon.
When teeth need to be realigned, it's usually an orthodontist who takes care of it. And you may not need braces. Many people can have their teeth straightened with the Invisalign system, which uses clear plastic "aligners" to gradually move the teeth around. Although it is widely accepted, "You cannot use Invisalign for every case that you can use braces for," Malone says.
Often the jaw can be repositioned without surgery, but sometimes an oral surgeon may need to join the team. As part of a "whole mouth rehabilitation," as Bellen terms it, some people need to have a severely recessed or protruding jaw corrected.
How much you want done depends on how much time you're willing to commit to it, and how much money you have at your disposal. Strictly cosmetic dental work isn't covered by insurance, and the cost can be steep. Veneers, for example, may cost as little as $250 and as much as $2,000 -- per tooth.
Again, you would be paying for a lot of time in the chair. Bellen says he sometimes works on a single patient for a full eight-hour day. What's more, the end result can take many months to accomplish. "There are cases I have in progress right now that have been going on for a year," he says.
But for some, an elaborate and costly production may be worth it in the end. "People smile more when they have nice-looking teeth," Bellen says. "Your whole face brightens up."
By Martin F. Downs
Reviewed by Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD