November 2015

In a prior blog I commented on ignorance and how easy it is to jump to incorrect solutions. In that blog I made reference to Boyan Slat and his Ted Lecture as an example of an incredibly awful Ted lecture.

 

In his lecture Boyan Slat proposes a method for removing plastic trash from oceans. The lecture is presented by an enthusiastic young man in front of a basically ignorant audience. With universal approval he makes a moving appeal for doing something we all want to do: Save our environment.

 

A friend sent me link to this lecture knowing that I am one of those seaweed hugging engineers and hoping that I would enjoy this young man’s resolve. Instead I was horrified.

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Causal analysis is a surprisingly complex process that over the years has been subject to push and pulls from a wide variety of professional influences. When determining the actual cause of an accident or an incident, any number of stake holders would like to address the issue that “caused” the accident, whether to prevent a reoccurrence or, on the other side of the remedial spectrum, to punish the causal party.

 

In theory, there must be a cause for everything, but, in practice, finding the cause often involves a high level of judgment, and judgment is complicated and often deeply flawed. If judgment were to reside in one professional community, there is a possibility that some type of convergence on the determination of the cause of an incident could be developed. And once the cause is established, we can give that cause a name. It apparently is too simple to simply call it “the cause” of an incident, and that makes sense, since all too often there are multiple causes of an incident.  And because there can be multiple causes, different terms for causes have started to emerge.

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Welcome M/V "Molly Pitcher", the newest addition to NY Waterway's fleet.

 

 

Alan Colletti from our office provided new vessel construction oversight services while the vessel was built at Yank Marine.  Here's Arthur Imperatore during the boat's christening, thanking Al for being such a worrier!

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