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Sooner or later pretty much everyone with libertarian leanings comes up with the idea of living on the sea in international waters, and I'm no exception. This came up in a conversation with Sean Lynch at the Space Access Society conference, and he pointed me to a very interesting site by some people who are actually making serious plans to do just that. I was on the Oceania project mailing list for most of its life, so I got a chance to see one way not to do this. The greatest value of the Seasteading site is its list of things that have been tried, a much larger list than you might expect. The only real success so far is Sealand, but it's not for lack of trying.
This is quite important from a transterrestrialist perspective because Seasteading can help debug some of the things that will be needed for permanent and free offworld colonies. Most important are the nontechnical issues, like how to deal with governments (Sealand follows the very simple rule of keeping your head down, helped a great deal by being a neighbor of a country that's secure militarily and economically). Eventually some Seastead group or other will run into direct conflict with an established nation (as Minerva already did with Tonga) at a level which merits attention from other nations or the UN. At this point precedent will be established that may kill the idea altogether. How things pan out will depend a lot on the details of the conflict. Unfortunately the appeal of Seasteading is driven in large part by a desire to get away from the busybodyism of existing nations, so the things people are likely to do on a Seastead are exactly the things likely to lead to interference, such as freely taking drugs, engaging in prostitution, providing a haven for euthanasia (including pre-death cryopreservation, which most nations will look on as the same thing), and so forth.
Anyway, it's a great site, with lots of resources and links to a bunch of other sites which are interesting in themselves. I don't much like the technical aspects of their baseline design (some nasty stress risers at the spar-platform joint, for example), but they are talking about incremental development so those issues will be resolved in due course.
Incidentally, I held off on posting about this until I got the nod from the site's proprietor, which he gave a couple of days ago, so I'm not in violation of the "please don't publicize" note on the site. From his email I assume it's no longer in effect.Posted by Andrew Case at June 09, 2004 08:13 AM
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Doubling the amount of beachfront property available
Excerpt: Over at Transterrestrial Musings, Andrew Case talks about building cities on the oceans, and some serious plans to make seasteading a reality. This is definitely worth checking out, with plenty of interesting links to follow....
Weblog: Rocket Jones
Tracked: June 10, 2004 07:08 AM
Dr. Marshall Savage wrote a book, The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, that described settling Earth's oceans in a phase called Aquarius. This involved large floating cities built, rather grown, out of seacrete and powered by the thermal gradients between the equatorial sea surface and the deep ocean.
From the book grew a movement called the First Millennial Foundation which sought to execute the strategy outlined in Dr. Savage's book.
I attended their 1996 meeting, or 'conclave', in Colorado Springs, as did Dr. Robert Zubrin.
Later, members of the group joined the Mars Society but others formed the Living Universe Foundation: http://www.luf.org/
I think they're still aiming to built the cities on the ocean.Posted by John Kavanagh at June 9, 2004 12:23 PM
John Kavanagh wrote:
That I recall Marshall wasn't ever a "Dr.".. though some of us did tend to grant him saint-hood at the drop of a hat :o)
>The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy
Aquarius was to be the economic engine, power plants, and colonization incubators for the next steps of the program.
>This involved large floating cities built,
One of the good things to come out of the First Millennial foundation/Living Universe foundation(s)was the enthusiasim that memebers brought to the group. We tore into the 'plan' with gusto, and in doing so found several spots where the plan had been based on misleading data. Seacrete was one such spot. Research and data mining found that the 'average' accreation rates given for the process were VERY misleading and it turned out that even with the full output of the OTECs accreating 1 (one) Aquarius would take almost 100+ years!
So it was decided that a more 'conventional' approach should be used. Like:
Which wouldn't be as cheap as 'growing' it, but can be accomplished on a more tenable time scale :o)
(As a note, we also found that Bifrost, our launch system, wouldn't work as advertised. The upward curve from horizontal to 70 degrees in our linear accelerator launch tube would have pulped anyone in the waverider :o)
>and powered by the thermal gradients between
OTEC, (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) is still on-track. Sea-Solar Power is still aiming on getting the first commercial OTEC up and running in the next few years:
As for First Millennial/Living Universe, it's pretty much gone. Even the email list is pretty much officially dead. Some of us are still posting and occasionally we'll get some discussion going, but it's extremely rare. Those of us that can are trying to preserve what has been done already so others don't have to research things we learned about all over again.
We had some great members and they have moved on to other projects and have brought their expertise and knowledge, (especially of what NOT to do :o) to other groups.
No one that I know of has given up on the dream, but most of us have found new ways to achieve those dreams.
The most fun thing about Marshall's book was that it took a look at many aspects of living and working, (both on the Ocean and in Space) that had not been brought together before.
Sorry for the rambleing update, but I thought I'd post the most up-to-date info with the opening provided :o)
RandyPosted by Randy Campbell at June 10, 2004 07:49 AM
Randy - we'd love to have comments / participation from former FMF/LUF participants. We're definitely interested in "what not to do". If you'd like to post links to the seastead site (http://www.seastead.org/) or blog (http://www.livejournal.com/users/seasteading/) to the mailing list, that would be excellent. Float Inc.'s PSP is a pretty good design, we mention it briefly as an option.
The research done by Eric Lee on seament as part of FMF was very useful for us, and I've passed it on to quite a number of people who hadn't heard about it.Posted by Patri Friedman at June 15, 2004 04:10 PM
Randy - we'd love to have comments / participation from former FMF/LUF participants. We're definitely interested in "what not to do". If you'd like to post links to the seastead site or blog to the mailing list, that would be excellent. Float Inc.'s PSP is a pretty good design, we mention it briefly as an option.
The research done by Eric Lee on seament as part of FMF was very useful for us, and I've passed it on to quite a number of people who hadn't heard about it.Posted by Patri Friedman at June 15, 2004 04:12 PM
I've noticed a 'problem' with double postings lately.... is this a blog problem or poster problem?
I've posted the 'invite' to the LUF/Team mailing list so we'll see who comes over. I haven't seen a lot of activity lately, but then again, (unlike me :o) people DO have lives.
>Float Inc.'s PSP is a pretty good design,
I hadn't made it that far in the 'book' yet so I'll puruse it and get back to you.
But off hand:
Possible 'untested' in the real world, but I'd had a thought on that also... You mention, (as do most I'm finding :o) a 'prototype' in an bay/lake/resiviour. There are numerous sources of concrete water pipe around and they don't cost that much per length. A quick coat of a plastic covering (such as Rinocoat or some such) and they are water-proof/air-tight. Add a concrete slab 'platform' to tie them together and you should be set for a test.
Anyway, just a thought and I'll check on the site later.
RandyPosted by Randy Campbell at June 18, 2004 07:05 AM
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