25 Haziran 2008 Çarşamba


Homeostasis (from Greek: ὅμος, homos, "equal"; and ιστημι, histemi, "to stand" lit. "to stand equally"; coined by Walter Bradford Cannon) is the property of either an open system or a closed system, especially a living organism, that regulates its internal environment so as to maintain a stable, constant condition. Multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments and regulation mechanisms make homeostasis possible. The concept was created by Claude Bernard, often considered as the father of physiology, and published in 1865. (WIKIPEDIA)

Air Traffic Control systems are discreet event dynamic large systems. They are composed of three sub systems the visualization of the traffic data – radar data processing, the planning and partitioning of the operational load – flight data processing, and all the related communications – ATN . There is also the substructure which provides the necessary services for these three subsystems – SYSTEMS. ATC system are also a combination of human and machine elements. There are many operators of different types.

I would like to point out at the homeostasis in the air traffic control systems between the technical and operational groups. The operational group comprises air traffic controllers and the various people in their management hierarchy. Most of these people come from an air traffic controller back ground.
The technical group is composed of a mix of engineers and air traffic controllers… Some of the engineers come from a technical background while some of them come from math and science university education and engineering faculties. Air traffic controllers in the technical group function as interface to the operational group. They work in requirements specification, quality control, configuration management and testing.

The safety created by an air traffic control center is the result of a combination of the work of the operational and technical work done. When the technical side fails, the operational measures are used. For example, seperation is increased. Also, when the technical facilities get old and are out of date, operator load increases. For ex. if the radar views are not good, operators have to cope with this difficulty somehow.

The homeostasis between the technical and operational side works in ATC so that when the technical side goes down the role of the operational side increases or vie versa. When everything is perfact operational side relaxes a little bit.

Why am I writing this note? It is not a big deal up to this point. The interesting phenomenon begins when we observe: If one of the two elements that comprise the homeostasis dominates the relation,
what happens then? For ex. operational side effects the technical decisions for various reasons…
These decisions may vary from setting unrealistic deadlines to deciding which technical systems to buy…

The dynamic nature of the homeostatic balance may determine the sudden or unjustified changes in the balance. In fact the flexibility of the system is designed so that even if the radar views are lost air traffic control can continue with the strips. The risk of losing touch with the technical reality is more on the long run. I believe, it is very difficult to maintain and develop a technically upto date system while carrying on the day to day ATC duties.

There is a tangible risk in ATC which may arise from the tendency of one of the technical and operational groups to dominate the other.

Ali R+

Note: I woke up to the importance of this issue because of the contrast I noticed btw Turkey and Karlsruhe in regards to this matter. Thanks again to Herr Ehrenberger (ECO).

7 Haziran 2008 Cumartesi


To Mr. Cevdet ACAR

This is the first of a series of my articles on the nature of human concentration. Actually, concntration is not an exclusive attribute of the human-being.

Concentration is an attribute of matter. Concentration is described as ‘the situation of coming together at one point.’ Concentric means ‘having a common centre.’

The meaning changes a bit when it comes to the concentration ability of the human mind. Merriam-Webster defines it as ‘direction of attention to a single object’. It is misinterpreted as focusing in the daily usage.

An easy way to understand, demonstrate and control the abilities of the human mind is to think visually. In terms of looking with our eyes, concentrating means to look at something and see other things only in relation to this reference point. To focus means to look at something and not see other things at all.

To focus means to limit your attention to a specific object(for ex. inclusion of something into attention). To concentrate means to change the character of your attention so that included thing appears in your focus on the basis of some sort of exclusion of others, so to speak.

It is possible to lose concentration but keep focus, when looking. You can relax your attention, but change the size of the area that you look at, for ex.a whole person or a face. This is important for implementing relaxed attention.

You may also increase your concentration but lose focus, if you like, a little bit more complex though. You may look at nothing specific, but enjoy fully the wide wiew on the coast of Istanbul Bosphorus.

Concentration and focusing abilities are not totally visual. These can be observed in all forms of perception, cognition, motor faculties. The embodiment of self, the sense of being is closely related with the sense of time. We feel our being, our existence at the moment we are in, namely ‘the specious present’, or now.

The length of specious present changes, according to the situation we are in. Also, the frequency of the renewal of our sense of now or feeling one’s self or being changes. When we are doing something we do not feel our being directly all the time. In fact concentrating on the thing we do reduces the frequency of our feeling of self. This also reduces the sense of time. This frequency also corresponds to the perception frequency. When the perception frequency increases sensitivity increases.

The specious present concept is somewhat belaguered at this point. The specious present is a duration of perception, of which total duration is effected-determined by concentration.

Attention is an abstraction of focus. Attention determines the limits of things we deal with at one moment. If we deal with more than one thing the length of the moment expands, so the specious present increases.

This explains why with high concentration sometimes, we do not feel the time that passes and sometimes we do feel it longer than it really is. If we do a single simple thing with high concentration, specious present is short, so we do not feel the time, or feel it as if shorter. On the contrary, if we do a complex thing with high concentration we feel as if the time passed is much longer than it really is.

The specious present are the moments that we feel our being, self.The specious present are the times that the brain’s cognition works consciously. Healthy functioning of human mind depends on the average balance between the conscious and subconscious activities. For example, to understand a foreign language with facility, you should not concentrate too much but you should relax a little bit, so that the things you hear at the specious durations get processed between them by your subconscious.

Working on complex tasks with high concentration for long durations, causes us to develop skills that enable us keep our specious present as long as possible, with the highest frequency. If one is not well equipped and trained to handle these skills, long duration high concentration complex jobs may suppress and hurt the human subconscious or increase the perception to the point of seeing-hearing halucinations. The suppression of subconscious may inevitably hurt the whole psychology and cause the human mind to react in a series of psychosis.

In order to avoid all this mess, you should simply apply the 20 20 20 rule while working. “Every 20 minutes, pause whatever you’re doing and stare at something 20 feet away about 10-15 paces away) for 20 seconds.”

The bottom line is, this type of jobs are one of many choices, you may choose to climb a high mountain or serve at an air traffic control center as an engineer or air traffic controller, or choose to serve as a surgeon. It is up to you.