Category: human factors

What M*A*S*H Taught Me About Memory

I am almost certain that I learned more from popular culture than the classics (whatever the classics may be). For example, the TV series M*A*S*H provided me with two philosophical bits that I still recycle on a regular basis. The first warns me to never drink when I need a drink, and the other restricts… Read more »

Feedback: Here’s Your Sign.

Life is complicated, and designing to deal with life’s complications is difficult. Unfortunately bad design unnecessarily punishes humanity by increasing inefficiencies and frustrations. Design mistakes get made, and sometimes the mistakes cannot be easily corrected. However, it is difficult to imagine anything more destructive to humanity than bad design that affects many people that can… Read more »

Getting Lost Is No Big Deal. Not Knowing That You Are Lost Can Kill You

Accident analysis is a strange and complex task. Often blame is considered to be the motivator for an accident analysis, but the most interesting and useful purpose of an accident analysis is to tease the universally useful gems out of the huge pile of information that tends to get generated during an accident analysis. I… Read more »

Maybe This Is A Solution To The Maritime Language Problem

The weak English translation of the MIT Costa Concordia report made me wonder about the use of English as a more universal communication system. While driving to a project, I was listening to National Public Radio, and there was a bit about Voice of America broadcasts. I never realized that Voice of America programs cannot… Read more »

Costa Concordia and QESTH

A while ago Wayne Thomas forwarded the “Costa Concordia Report on the Safety Technical Investigation” to everybody in the office and only just now did I have a chance to read it. While the report is not dated or specifically identified as “final” it appears this is an English language version of the last word… Read more »

Disaster? DO The OODA Loop

A disaster like the Costa Concordia opens a wide variety of investigations and undoubtedly many people are very busy in analyzing what caused the vessel to strike the reef and to capsize, but striking reefs and capsizing actually is nothing new and, on a technical level, actually is pretty well understood. What is much more… Read more »

Women and Children First, Part Two

Our first blog on “Women and Children First” elicited a fair amount of comment on various discussion sites. A major part of the discussion centered on the Birkenhead disaster. The Birkenhead disaster is considered to be the first application, or even the invention, of the “Women and Children First” concept. Wikipedia provides a fair amount… Read more »

Woman and Children First?

Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson of Uppsala University recently performed an interesting analysis of survival rates in a large number of major ship disasters ranging over a period of over 150 years. They were interested in determining whether the old adage “Woman and Children First” actually occurred in such disasters. While many of their conclusions… Read more »