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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Practice makes perfect: but what about security?

I’ve spent part of the weekend as boat stunt driver performing a live stunt/prank in front of a wedding party. The stunt involved high speeds, cold water, a big white gown and people (acting as the wedding couple) falling into water.  From the experience it is clear that you never get it perfect the first time, even if you are very prepared, and thought all it through, over and over again in your head.

So, of course professionals have to practice, over and over again. There are basic drills, but there is, of course, also a need for complex exercises as real as possible. I’ve some experience with military exercises and have seen how the stress in a well performed exercise can affect people’s performance, but also in a positive way what people get out of the exercise. Without the advanced exercise you are not prepared.
- So, you can create the stress, but is it enough when preparing for security threats?
Don’t you also need to create an exercise with not only stress, but also the terror you must feel under attack? You probably do, but can’t without deceiving people.

Probably you have to do with the stress, but also remember that even after many exercises you don’t really know how people will react…

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ships: perfect!

I like boats, ships, sailing and water. So beside cost effective transport boats also give me a lot of fun moments.

As a researcher I can also appreciate the fact that ships are a perfect research object, because ships to me:
-        are relatively well defined technical artifacts (not to simple, not to complex, not to big, not to small…),
-        operate in a interesting sub set of the world,
-        have a nice amount of crew onboard (many enough to be interesting and few enough to be understood),
-        are produced by a well defined industry (not to big, not to small…), and
-        come in many sizes and for many purposes.
These conditions together make research interesting, rewarding and possible. For much more complex systems a researcher can never deal with anything but a small part of the system.
However, ships and shipping is not a typical industry to study. The industry is inbred, slow, backward and governed by old truths. This is probably true for many areas of our society; the problem is that the backwardness and old truths are unique for each industry.
I’m therefore thankful that my interest made me chose this line of business, but I’m also challenged by the fact that I’ve to know the industry in order to make a difference. So even though ships are perfect, researching them is not for everybody. But I like it!