Too Cold To Handle!

Too cold to handle!

Volume 3 Issue 4 News & Resources | April 2010

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad

School of Electrical & Electronic Eng
Universiti Sains Malaysia
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The ability to communicate our real intention is of paramount importance. In whatever mode and purpose of communication, the risk of being misunderstood is ever present. The end result may be insignificant or it may be a major turning point for the worst. In reality, all risks must be managed and tackled. If not, we will be ‘managed’ by the risks. There are no alternatives. Risks are part and parcel of all undertakings. And, risks are normally directly proportional to the gains promised. Well, to a certain extent. In communicating, there will be the compulsory components of transmit agent, communication medium and also the receiver agent. At the end of the day, the data communicated should be robust to possible interference and disturbances from the unwanted elements. Due to this, data protection algorithms and techniques have become slightly more costly. You want more protection, you pay more. Or course, perfect protection is certainly not on offer due to the impossibility of anticipating all kind of risks. History has taught us that to win and be successful, certain measure of risk-taking is pertinent. In fact, being too timid or anxious in the possible outcome may immediately seal the obvious failures. Being brave enough to take the necessary actions in the face of potential disaster and calamities is a sure sign of upcoming success. A pinch of caution will be useful, but too much of it, will only hasten the bleak outcome. So, we need to manage the risks, and communicate more, hence the risks will be tamed (or, the least, better managed).

New and pioneering research directions are always riddled with problems and “death-traps”. A slight misjudgment may lead to fatal consequences. I mean to the projects, not the researchers. (Well, that is if the researchers do not jump off the tall building come failures). High promises by the researchers will lead to high expectations by the grant provider. And, in the real world, most things are not within our control. So, the lessons are to always not to over-promise and not to be too confident in delivering. Doing underwater-related research is certainly a very challenging (and exciting) venture. The vastness of the oceans promises very bountiful returns in terms of research findings. But, in reality, it is not that easy to convince fellow researchers of these potentials. No matter how obvious are the arguments to us, the doubters are aplenty. Well, this is the risks in doing something different, you got to be classified and categorized. On the other hand, the faults might have come from within. We, the researchers, have not done proper communicating. People can only see the risks, not the benefits. The chance of getting drown seems to be greater than the chance of finding the pearls. Well, actually, this is a real risk in our kind of research work. Another aspect of doing research is the constant push for results and tangible output/products. Research should lead to better understanding, which will lead to more sustainable exploitation of the resources. Results from our observations and findings should enable us to better manage the risks. Knowledge will lead to wisdom, and certainly wisdom in managing will be the best output that anyone can give.

Underwater-related system research may be too ‘cold’ to be handled by some, but, this is the future of our survival. New resources and solutions await us. More efforts and focus should be given as to give justice to the importance of the oceans. Lukewarm research activities will certainly give-out lukewarm results. In order to propel further the research efforts, the existing research output will be fundamental. Hence, we will keep communicating. In the hope that someone will listen, and finally, the risks will be embraced by all, no matter how cold they can be.

"Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.

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