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Friday, 15 November 2013

Humans, best safeguards

Human may be unpredictable, we also cause accidents. However, when doing research on ship survivability I clearly see in my models the strength of humans in a system.
Things happen; by chance, as a result of a threat or because somebody makes a mistake. This has always been the case, is the case today and will always be the case.
When an engineer looks at a system there is a drive for getting everything controllable and predictable, these are considered important characteristics of a good system. Therefore, people in that system will be considered a problem, because they are not controllable nor predictable. However, recognizing the fact that things will happen anyway you will also need a system that is able to recover.
Nature (and humans) are great at recovering from things unplanned for (machines can if they are good recover from a limited set of problems and only if that problem is recognized beforehand and a solution is prepared).
I think the human errors are outweighed many times by the human recoveries and last minute prevention skills and the “human prevention” events are probably many more than the “human error” incidents. The problem is that no one is counting the human prevention events, but when you need someone to blame you identify, document and count the human errors.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Good looking information... (risky business on the Baltic Sea)

I’ve always said that real research is done in black and white and when you try to do it more fancy you’re trying to hide a not so good research. But maybe I have to change my mind looking at this video on the ship traffic in the Baltic Sea made for a HELCOME conference where the ministers of environment in the region of Baltic Sea and other professionals were discussing how to protect the vulnerable and polluted sea in the future. HELCOM is the governing body of the convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention. The Contracting Parties are Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

The film visualizes the congested sea and also shows how complex the flow of ships (and passengers and goods) really is today. This is also, off course, a well monitored sea, but the potential hazards and threats are many. I’ll try to take away two lessons from this video:
(1) I’ll in the future put more effort in my visualization of quantitative research results, and
(2) that I did the right choice naming my blog risky business at sea.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Crowdsourcing for secure transports?

Good and wide enough information on multi disciplinary issues such as Piracy is hard to come by and understanding of these problems is even harder to find. An interesting approach is the Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) exercise, a collaboration between the US Office of Naval Research (ONR), Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Institute for the Future (IFTF). MMOWGLI is a crowdsource tool designed as an online game. The focus of the game is ideas and strategies that may provide insight to some of the US Navy's toughest problems.
MMOWGLI creates an environment were invited or the public (dependent on issue and task) are asked to share new ideas and collaborate with other users to earn innovation points and win the game. The web-based format allows more people to interact than what would be possible in a face-to-face setting. The game's first round, piracyMMOWGLI, in summer 2011 and centered around a fast-paced, geopolitical situation off the coast of Somalia.

ONR plans to run a series of MMOWGLI games on a variety of topics over the next year. Yesterday (November 4th 2013), ONR launched the third round of piracyMMOWGLI.
The focus so far has been on military strategies for reducing piracy off Somalia. However, such a tool would also be very interesting in the area of ship security and to collect ideas that could enable a faster and more diverse development towards securer transports around the World!