Monday, March 1, 2010

Praxis: Situational awareness. (My Grandpa Vanderboegh could have told him about Rule #3.)

Situation awareness, or SA, is the perception of environmental elements within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future. It is also a field of study concerned with perception of the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, power plant operations, military command and control, and emergency services such as Fire Fighting and Policing; to more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving an automobile or motorcycle.

Situation awareness (SA) involves being aware of what is happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives, both now and in the near future. Lacking SA or having inadequate SA has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error (e.g., Hartel, Smith, & Prince, 1991; Merket, Bergondy, & Cuevas-Mesa, 1997; Nullmeyer, Stella, Montijo, & Harden, 2005). Thus, SA is especially important in work domains where the information flow can be quite high and poor decisions may lead to serious consequences (e.g., piloting an airplane, functioning as a soldier, or treating critically ill or injured patients).

Having complete, accurate and up-to-the-minute SA is essential where technological and situational complexity on the human decision-maker are a concern. SA has been recognized as a critical, yet often elusive, foundation for successful decision-making across a broad range of complex and dynamic systems, including aviation and air traffic control (e.g., Nullmeyer, Stella, Montijo, & Harden 2005), emergency response and military command and control operations (e.g., Blandford & Wong 2004; Gorman, Cooke, & Winner 2006), and offshore oil and nuclear power plant management (e.g., Flin & O’Connor, 2001). -- Wikipedia.

"Never, ever, piss on the electric fence."

When I was just a sprout back in Michigan I would visit, along with my brother and cousins, my Grandpa Vanderboegh's fruit farm during the summer. We were all required to learn The Three Rules.

The first rule was "Never eat too many berries when you're picking, or you'll get the scoots."

Rule Number Two was: "Since I know at least one of you will break Rule Number One, Rule Number Two is, when you have to run off into the woods to take a quick dump, never wipe your ass with a poison ivy leaf."

And Rule Number Three was: "Never, EVER, piss on the electric fence." (Grandpa also kept cows.)

One day, one of my cousins violated Rule Number Three while we were standing nearby. From the look on his face, I'd say it was a religious experience. He later was rumored to have become a homosexual and it was always my theory that the electric fence episode had reversed his polarity.

Of course, us Vanderboegh's have always been allergic to electricity. . .

So, too (apparently) was this guy.


Wash. man electrocuted by urinating on power line

Mar 1 03:53 PM US/Eastern

MONTESANO, Wash. (AP) - Authorities believe a Washington man was killed by accidentally urinating on a downed power line after a car crash.

Grays Harbor County sheriff's Deputy Dave Pimentel (PIM'-en-tel) said Monday 50-year-old Roy Messenger was not seriously hurt after he collided with a power pole Friday and called a relative to pull his car from a ditch.

However, family members found Messenger electrocuted when they arrived.

Pimentel says Messenger apparently urinated into a roadside ditch but didn't see the live wire. The urine stream likely served as a conductor, allowing the electricity to reach his body.

Pimentel says there will be an autopsy but burn marks indicated the way the electricity traveled through Messenger's body.


Iowa Patriots said...

That Wikipedia definition... That's a lot of complicated wording. Here's the short version. Don't so worried about stomping on the ants, that you get run over by the elephants.

Anonymous said...

Mike: Now here is a great example of situational awareness - my mentors would be proud:


straightarrow said...

That's a pisser, that is.

Cybrludite said...

O_o Yeeeouch! A downed powerline? Given the likely extent of the burns, death was a mercy in this case. (shudder)

Who wants to bet that alcohol may have been a factor in this little incident?

Word Verification: whillyp Not any more, he won't!

Anonymous said...

I had a cousin (again, western MI), who peed on my grandfather's electric fence. Caused one of his testicles to swell to the size of a softball. Needless to say he lost it through surgery.