Tag: data

Martin Ottaway has been providing vessel appraisal services to various clients in not only the Maritime Industry but also to Financial Institutions, Investment Groups, Governments, Insurance companies and many others for well over a century.

 

Our in-house vessel appraisal data and resources date back to the late eighteen hundreds with the older data being maintained in journals and hand written ledgers and the newer (1980’s) information in electronic data sheet form.

A typical ship valuation project for Martin Ottaway would be a client requesting the current market value for a maritime asset or asking for the value of a piece of equipment at a date sometime in the past.

 

However in several recent matters we have been asked to use the appraisal resources we maintain to provide statistical data and trends in ship sales over specific time frames.  Not only has this been related to the cost of ships but also to the various vessel characteristics of ships, such as flag, country of construction, classification society and others.

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Monday, December 21st, 2015

The Search for Oil Spill Data

The September 2014 issue of the US Navy Institute Proceedings had a one page article named “The Biggest Oil-Spill Culprit? Mother Nature”.

 

This article indicates that the sources of oil pollution in the ocean can be divided as follows:

 

Air pollution 4.2%

Run off 11%

Transportation Accidental Spills 9.8% (Marine)

Transportation normal operation 24.1% (Marine )

Natural Oil Seeps 47.3%

Extraction of Petroleum 2.9%

Jettisoned Fuel 0.6%

 

The article has a nice looking graphic and it provided me a chance to ponder this data.

 

In looking at this, most oil pollution occurs on the ocean. Air and land initiated pollution accounts for only 16%. This seems low to me. Mostly because non-point pollution is so difficult to capture and the world’s coastlines are very, very, long with the majority of the world’s population living near the coasts.

 

That made me wonder as to where this data came from, and I called in our present intern Jose Ramirez. It would be a perfect high school intern job to perform a little detective work on this graphic.

 

Jose performed a tremendous amount of sleuthing in trying to establish the source of the data and this information is provided below.

 

Since the story is long, I will provide the conclusion first:

 

There is no reliable quantitative data on ocean pollution, even in order of magnitude estimates, and don't believe any estimates unless you have been provided solid data

 

The above graphics represents a mishmash of data that is no more recent than the year 2001 and actually is an average of data going back as far as the 1970's. As such, it is disturbing that there is a 2015 article that references a graphic based on a 2003 report that is no better than orders of magnitude correct. So who is at fault here? The scientists attempting to make an estimate of oil polution in 2003? The fact that there is no more accurate more recent information? Or that authors recklessly cite inaccurate 2003 research results in a 2015 article on a subject that is in rapid flux.

 

Bottom line:

 

With regard to quantifying oil pollution in the oceans we are groping in the dark.

 

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Ignorance is very pervasive and fighting ignorant behavior can be very exhausting. Jonathan Swift is believed to have said that you cannot reason someone out of something they were not first reasoned into. If that statement is true, and it certainly contains a lot of truth as far as I can see, it means that opinions and judgments need to be based on reasoning before they are made.

 

It also should not be forgotten that reasoning should be based on correct data. I have previously mentioned Hans Rosling as an example of clear thinking based on good data and mentioned his excellent TED lectures. (After this blog, if I have the energy, I plan to discuss a TED lecture by Boyan Slat that is nothing short of incredibly awful)

 

Hans Rosling passed away in 2017 but his interesting and amusing TED lectures live on and he deals with devastating ignorance in   “How not to be ignorant”. Hans and his son Ola provide some very direct guidance as to how one can make more accurate judgments on world events and developments even with limited data. The lecture is a delight, but, after looking at world trends, the lecture concludes with four very simple guidelines that almost automatically allow any person to make much more accurate world judgments without access to data on the subject.

 

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This story will makes two important points about technical reasoning that in the heat of combat, disasters, disputes, commerce, parenting or politics often get overlooked.

 

They are:

 

1.If your starting data is flawed, the rest of your argument becomes inherently flawed

2.Just because one thing looks like the other, it does not mean that they are comparable.

 

The problem is that it is so easy to hide these issues in clever packaging. Only when somebody carefully analyzes the argument and looks at the underlying data, will it become apparent that it is fatally flawed.

The example I will use is a TED lecture by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell is the author of "Blink, the Power of Thinking without Thinking" and other popular observational works and TED is an organization that organizes symposia where smart people listen to other smart people who discuss unusual discoveries or insights. A TED lecture is about 15 minutes and there are some truly incredibly useful lectures such as the Hans Rosling lectures, but not all TED lectures rise to that level.

 

So that is the setting; here is the story..... read more »

110 years after the first powered flight, I revisited Kitty Hawk with my college roommate John Mitchell and our wives. In the 31 years since my last visit, the surrounding area had become much more urbanized, but the park itself still tasted like that modest test facility that the Wright brothers had put together in the dunes.

 

However, 31 years of engineering experience, often related to engineering failures in all its phantasmagorical perturbations, left me with an entirely different appreciation of the Wright brothers. read more »