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Paypal Founder Puts a Half Million Dollars Into Seasteading

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the liberation-seaology dept.

Government 275

eldavojohn writes "Wired is running an informative article on Paypal Founder Peter Thiel's investment in seasteading. There's a great graphic indicating how the spar design helps platforms weather rough seas with a ballast. There's a lot more than just Thiel throwing the half million towards this and they hope to pitch this to San Fransisco for a bay pilot. Ocean colonies can be both liberating and also downright human-rights-lacking scary."

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Avast!! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495092)

Welcome to the pontoon world of Neil!!! Give me your booty!!

Sweet (4, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495122)

After years of being a digital pirate, I've been looking for the chance to branch out into naval piracy. This looks like a great career opportunity!

Re:Sweet (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495166)

After years of being a digital pirate, I've been looking for the chance to branch out into naval piracy. This looks like a great career opportunity!
Peg legs and eye patches aren't very attractive. Not a good way to get chicks.

Re:Sweet (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495368)

Fat chicks need lovin' too.

Re:Sweet (1)

MarcoG42 (1087205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495452)

But they gotta pay.

Re:Sweet (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495168)

Stealing people's belly buttons is just wrong.

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495216)

*sigh* Piracy isn't steali....HEY! Who took my BELLY BUTTON! GODDAMMIT!!!

Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496144)

Just be glad they didn't get your human horn.

No, not that one, the LOWER horn.

Re:Sweet (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495488)

It isn't stealing, it's innie/outieright infringement.

Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495732)

After years of being a digital pirate, I've been looking for the chance to branch out into naval piracy. This looks like a great career opportunity!
Plus, more pirates helps cut down on global warming!

Pacific Gyre / Great Pacific Garbage Patch (4, Informative)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496230)

Only if they could build a big plastic island like this guy [wikipedia.org] ,
and somehow make it out of all this crap. [wikipedia.org] Now that would be
worthwhile.

Best current bet for utopia (3, Interesting)

solweil (1168955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495144)

It is clear by now that we will not have the possibility for independent space colonization anytime soon. Seasteading is the best bet for those of us who feel that the status quo of society is not good enough.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495244)

Good. Go there and stay there.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495282)

Utopia doesn't exist, will not exist ... ever. Human nature creates greed. As long as there are those who are greedy, there will never be utopia.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (4, Informative)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495622)

> Utopia doesn't exist, will not exist ... ever.

You are aware that the word "Utopia" means "Nowhere", right?

Re:Best current bet for utopia (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495920)

> Utopia doesn't exist, will not exist ... ever.

You are aware that the word "Utopia" means "Nowhere", right?
I was just about to post this.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495660)

I'd amend that as "as long as there are those who are both greedy and short sighted there will never be utopia." Enlightened self interest usually coincides with everyone else's self interest.

Enlightenment aside, human nature is not static. We have several stable states, selfishness being one of them. In a society that encourages selfishness, does not allow the common person the ability to easily punish unfairness. If everyone around you is being selfish, chances are you will be, too, because you have to, or be taken advantage of. But if everyone around you is being cooperative, you most likely will act that way, too. So human society has an impact on human nature. Which is the point of utopias.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496020)

I'd amend that as "as long as there are those who are both greedy and short sighted there will never be utopia." Enlightened self interest usually coincides with everyone else's self interest.
How postively Thelemic of you. :)

But, generally, yes, I agree totally. Unfoprtunately, short-sightedness is one of those things that often goes hand-in-hand with greediness. How many times do we look at stupid mistakes made by tech companies and roll our eyes and just say "Greed and stupidity, again."

Re:Best current bet for utopia (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495434)

Is there some sort of economic activity that makes a great deal of sense to do in/on an ocean colony? Otherwise, it more or less looks like a really great way to get rid of money that you decide you don't want anymore.

Or did you mean the Harry Potter kind of utopia where wishes are fishes?

Re:Best current bet for utopia (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495986)

Possibly humorous, but then, maybe some maritime companies could find business in this (politics aside...)...

I would posit the notion of scientific research modules (as opposed to floor-mounted habitats at great depths). I realize this is something that might work better in my tiny little sci-fi world. But, these might also serve as recreational and tourist attractions, or as mid-point layovers for passenger ships that might want to ferry passengers who want to minutely plan their trips and still avoid unfriendly nations.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496254)

A floating platform would be awful hard to actually make money with. Scientific research, especially the kind that would likely be done on such a platform, is only going to pay day rates, and it isn't all that likely to be full time (because the platform isn't going to charge peanuts). Recreation and tourism might work, but Brazil and Costa Rica and Greece and Italy and Hawaii and Thailand and so on and on all have most of the same advantages, without all the expenses that would come from being a floating platform.

The political free zone is an interesting concept, but I don't really think it would pay the bills.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (4, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495706)

I'm not sure seasteading is necessarily the best bet. Creating artificial islands might be more feasible than creating floating platforms. There are a vast number of seamounts just under the ocean's surface (ie: within 20 meters) that lie well outside any territorial waters of nations, particularly in the southwestern Pacific and the mid-atlantic. I'm not sure the advantages of mobility offered by seastead platforms outweigh the advantages of building up from the seafloor itself. And don't get locked into thinking this could only be done by building a tower down from the surface. For a a relatively modest cost (hundreds of millions), artificial islands make from deposited rubble just like the projects in Dubai could be undertaken in hundreds of locations worldwide.

Re:Best current bet for utopia (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495904)

That is the problem. Everybody has there idea of what a free and open society would be. The problem is they all tend to biased one what we think is right or wrong.
Some would like to ban any oppression by religious groups. But they feel that the mention of religion or the statment that my religion is better than yours or your lack of religion is oppressive. Of course they themselves have no problem with people saying that a total lack of religion is better than having one.
Just about everyone's vision of Utopia is a place where everybody thinks like they do.

I on the other hand will be happy with non utopia where everybody just tries to be a little polite to each other.

Snowcrash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495146)

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Re:Snowcrash (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495610)

HALA-BALA

no thanks (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495152)

what about piracy = home invasions? and storms (hurricanes) dry land can be dangerous enough, seasteading is just over the top (over the top of an abyss that can drown you that is)...

Re:no thanks (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495404)

There's a lot of technology that would go into making these colonies, and the elements would actually be less threatening to them than a seaside city. If you think about it, if you become submerged just a few feet (maybe 20-100), a lot of your problems go away. As for thieves, they wouldn't be deterred much by this, but you can always have local police. My bet is that these colonies can be the next Atlantis if someone finds a cheep way to use the local resources to make sturdy building material (something like nanites that turn the sand into quartz). However that is a LONG way off.

Re:no thanks (4, Interesting)

pjt48108 (321212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495496)

My bet is that these colonies can be the next Atlantis if someone finds a cheep way to use the local resources to make sturdy building material (something like nanites that turn the sand into quartz). However that is a LONG way off.
Once upon a time, I read a book which addressed this issue, albeit for a different seafaring concept. It involved using manganese (I seem to recall) bars in a mesh, which, when electricity was run through it, would accrete calcium carbonate to it from seawater. Eventually, this would create a shell on which the colony would float, and from which further accretions could expand it.

The concept also involved leveraging temperature differentials in seawater to generate electricity, and using the immediate vicinity of colonies to farm algae, etc. Using these colonies as a hub of a hydrogen economy was also envisioned.

These ideas made it into a website for the Living Universe Foundation, but I don't recall if the book had any connection to them or not.

The Millennial Project (4, Informative)

Chris Acheson (263308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496088)

I read it too. The book was called "The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps". At the end of the book, the author called for the formation of "The First Millennial Foundation" in order to advance the project that he had outlined. The FMF later changed their name to "The Living Universe Foundation".

Re:no thanks (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495450)

True enough. Anyone on the ocean needs to think about such things as fires, fresh water, food stuffs, sewage... all those messy details which don't make it into manifestos.

Re:no thanks (4, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495850)

Exactly.. storms and quakes are dangerous enough on land. And while there may not necessarily be physical assets worth plundering (because rich people never keep their valuables on hand, I guess), there are still protection rackets, hostage/ransom situations, and random violence to contend with, and as a wealthy independent nation, you'd be ripe for all of the above.

You'd have low volume, high cost, and high reliance on imports, with little to nothing to export, except perhaps intellectual property (with no means to protect), assuming you even believe in IP as a libertarian. Satellite internet is high latency, low bandwidth, and most people would probably be dissatisfied with such limited connection to the outside world.

Cabin fever is all but guaranteed, and an active social life is basically out of the question. You'd have to worry about mutiny, sabotage, fires, fresh water supply, leaks, maintenance, and all the other concerns of a seagoing vessel, without the convenience of being able to pull into a port if things get hairy. In short, it seems like the disadvantages seriously outweigh any advantage of pseudo-independence (pseudo, since you're still reliant on the outside world to A) play nice, and B) supply you with durable goods and consumables).

But what do I know? I've only spent 6 years in the Navy, and 6 years living on a small island.. not like I've had any relevant experience.

Re:no thanks (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495880)

Hurricanes happen on land too. But then again tornadoes happen on the ocean too. Earthquakes do have little affect on vessels out in the ocean though.

Confirmed shipping addresses... (4, Funny)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495170)

So, how will we confirm our shipping addresses within paypal? I mean, we'll be constantly moving around the ocean...

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495296)

Not if you do it right. Hook a bunch of barges together and create a giant floating mass that is as inflexible as possible so that the surface is basically the average of all the waves that are hitting it at that moment (which should average out to approximately a constant height above the ocean floor). Drop an anchor in the middle. You shouldn't move much more than an island does so long as the length of the total surface is dozens of typical wavelengths long. About the only thing you'd have to worry about would be a tsunami.

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (3, Insightful)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495364)

You shouldn't move much more than an island does so long as the length of the total surface is dozens of typical wavelengths long. About the only thing you'd have to worry about would be a tsunami.

If a hurricane can derail a train or knock over an oil rig. It could make a mess out of these.

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (2, Informative)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495492)

About the only thing you'd have to worry about would be a tsunami.

Not at all. It would pass under you virtually unnoticed. Tsunamis aren't a problem until the water gets shallow. As for general stability, you just need to have enough mass well below the surface.

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (1)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495564)

About the only thing you'd have to worry about would be a tsunami.

Tsunamis have wavelengths of hundreds of kilometers and wave heights of only a few feet in open ocean. That means the rig would lift a foot or two, and then go back down once 200 or 300 km of the wave has passed. You would never know it unless somebody told you. Now a hurricane, on the other hand - you've got massive winds there.

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495764)

Put an old Aircraft Carrier in the middle, and start learning Sumerian...

The kid with the water-cooled depleted uranium chain gun might be a problem though.

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (1)

surmak (1238244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496142)

The kid with the water-cooled depleted uranium chain gun might be a problem though.
Only for those who don't listen to Reason [wikipedia.org]

Re:Confirmed shipping addresses... (1)

mclearn (86140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495734)

I know you're being funny. So with that said, here are the options for receiving mail when you are a cruiser. 1) You use a forwarding service to send all mail to a country that you are heading to. 2) You use other cruisers as a forwarding network (this is how they did mail transfer back in the day as well, if you recall). Both are surprisingly effective, though non-intuitively you tend to miss more mail with option #1 than #2. In light of the discussion, though, coordinates for your floating country plus speed and vector can easily be transmitted to inbound mail carriers.

Did anyone read that as.... (4, Funny)

WMD_88 (843388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495172)

Did anyone read that as "Paypal Founder Peter Thief...."?
Would have been oddly suiting....

Re:Did anyone read that as.... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495240)

Did anyone read that as "Paypal Founder Peter Thief...."?
No, that was just you.

Re:Did anyone read that as.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495524)

Stealing people's peters is just wrong.

Re:Did anyone read that as.... (1)

wigginz (730819) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496106)

PayPal only became evil when eBay bought it... or maybe a little before. When it was founded it was actually really useful...

heh (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495182)

It sounds like a way for the wealthy to go out and do what they want without having to bother with laws they don't like.
 
The idea that purchasing a flag of convenience will providing meaningful protection seems a bit naive.
 
Also wondering about food, waste disposal and power. How are all these cared for? Would the contracts necessary to provide for such make it prohibitive to just move about at will, or are they just planning on dumping all their trash in the ocean?
 
Will every citizen be a trained firefighter? Who will provide emergency medical services?
 
If any get too large and do too well, despite nay sayers like myself, it is inevitable that they would become a target by other groups if for nothing more than a source of taxable income.

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495314)

It sounds like a way for the wealthy to go out and do what they want without having to bother with laws they don't like.
No, it sounds like a frontier. The wealthy did not go to the frontier, wealth was made ON the frontier.

Re:heh (2, Informative)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495378)

Seasteading would be a very complex endeavour but the bases you are referring to are more or less covered. A pretty detailed description can be found at the SeaSteading book [seasteading.org] .

Seasteading could be a very interesting social experiment, especially to anyone with libertarian leanings.

Running out of content? (0, Troll)

kjzk (1097265) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495186)

Why don't you post this story 3 more times, I don't think I've read it enough.

One good reason to move ... (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495200)

"We're not trying to pick the one strategy because we think there will be multiple people who want one for multiple reasons," Gramlich said.
... Damn Straight! I'd be wantin' to have some sort of bio-nuclear-chemical lab on the 'island' so I could grow mutant fish.

I'm not sure how many other people want to do that, but I'm sure they aren't the majority...

"multiple reasons" (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495246)

Apart from the "let's start a country where we're the government" possibility, I think there are a number of other more likely applications if this really is a more cost-effective and efficient way of establishing a habitable community at sea.

Scientific research, tourism, even resource extraction could benefit from a better way of building sea platforms.

Re:One good reason to move ... (1)

getto man d (619850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495326)

If anything I can see members of the scientific community establishing a platform similar to this. Scripps already has the Flip-ship ( http://www.sio.ucsd.edu/voyager/flip/ [ucsd.edu] ), NOAA's NWS weather buoys + hurricane forecasting system, and MBARI's MOOS system ( http://www.mbari.org/moos/mooring/mooring.htm [mbari.org] ).

This would extend the capabilities for our oceans , especially for real time data and observing trends for global warming. The possibilities, even if a city cannot be established, are still endless.

I'd be down (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495242)

I don't know about any government based on the writings of Ayn Rand, but I've seen enough Seaquest DSV episodes to know this could be really kickass.

Re:I'd be down (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495498)

I've seen enough Seaquest DSV episodes to know this could be really kickass.

But that means it'll only be good for the first two seasons, then it'll swing from boring to silly.

As far out ideas go... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495248)

I think the Free State Project [wikipedia.org] stands a better chance of real reform.

Join The Sea Arrgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495260)

Snow Crash method (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495272)

1 Buy a retired aircraft carrier and an oil tanker.
2 Tie them together.
3 Let it flow around.
4 ???
5 profit.

Re:Snow Crash method (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495490)

1 Buy a retired aircraft carrier and an oil tanker.

2 Tie them together.

3 Let it flow around.

4 ???

5 profit.
4 = PAY NO TAXES

"fraternal religious order" (4, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495280)

HA! I believe the proper term is "tax dodge". Or dare I say it? Cult

Attn: Slashdot,
Please block this post from reaching the UK [slashdot.org]

* insert Evil kackle * (0, Redundant)

Defectuous (1097475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495284)

This spot is my spot, that spot is my spot. I have a Rail Gun, you haven't got one. So give me your stuff because I want it. This world was made for only me.

infrastructure + risk / population (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495288)

You need to compute the value, whenever looking at new commune/ collective/ arcology/ society construction. This is in some ways a non-numeric computation, but you should at least look at the basic per capita cost, e.g., cost(infrastructure + risk) / population. Many managers focus on one but ignore the other, but any cost-benefit study must look at both. One offset to the cost would be the value of goods or services produced by the population.

A yurt in a comfortable biome houses a small self-sufficient family at nearly no cost. A small crew can man an offshore oil rig (at least, in moderate shifts) because of the immense value of the product. A commune living in a multi-hundred-ton cylinder of concrete and steel floating a dozen miles offshore had better have some damn valuable product to overcome the huge costs of infrastructure and risk.

Re:infrastructure + risk / population (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495580)

A commune living in a multi-hundred-ton cylinder of concrete and steel floating a dozen miles offshore had better have some damn valuable product to overcome the huge costs of infrastructure and risk.

Unless, of course, the members of said commune are filthy stinking rich, in which case they can afford the infrastructure costs without having it produce anything other than shelter... Just like the rest of us do when we buy a house.

Re:infrastructure + risk / population (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495646)

money won't reduce the risk, and the market for idle bezillionnaire hermits is pretty limited -- the article is talking about a "wave of the future" not a niche luxury good

Re:infrastructure + risk / population (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23495628)

A commune living in a multi-hundred-ton cylinder of concrete and steel floating a dozen miles offshore had better have some damn valuable product to overcome the huge costs of infrastructure and risk.

Providing tax/legal benefits to crazy millionaires while simultaneously stroking their ego with promises of lordship seems like a value product to some.

Heck...as long as they can afford a bill from Blackwater, what would prevent them from turning their Utopian society into an oil empire?

get real (4, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495372)

Do you seriously think the established nation states of this world are just going to let a bunch of platforms float outside their jurisdiction and reach?

In fact, nations don't even have to do anything about their landmass, they can simply apply their laws to their citizens in international waters, and they can enforce them there too. So, if you are a US or European citizen, you'll still be subject to DMCA, high taxes, and drug laws. Of course, you can give up all your citizenships, but then you'd have a hard time doing business with anybody on land.

This kind of escapism just doesn't help. Either fix your own nation or stop complaining. Running away stopped being an option when the West was settled, and it won't be an option again until we figure out FTL travel.

Re:get real (3, Informative)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495656)

Even if they're unable to create their own nation, they might be able to operate under a flag of convenience [wikipedia.org] to achieve the same or similar effect.

Re:get real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496052)

Cool! Nice Idea! So, we can just hook many floating platforms together and create "The North Korean Independent States of Atlantic", or perhaps "The Bolivian Commonwealth of Barges of Pacific".

I am looking for an old barge to buy in ebay... I can even pay with my Paypal account!

Re:get real (5, Insightful)

scipiodog (1265802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495866)

This kind of escapism just doesn't help. Either fix your own nation or stop complaining. Running away stopped being an option when the West was settled, and it won't be an option again until we figure out FTL travel.

You know, for many people it simply isn't an option any more. What are the legal means you have in the USA - you can vote locally, for congress senate and the President.

Let's face it, for all federal elections (where most power is concentrated these days) you get two choices, which are virtually the same person when it comes down to it.

If you really intend to "fix your own nation" you virtually have to dedicate your entire life to doing so.

It is simply unfair to condemn people because they haven't "fixed their own nation" in the face of their compatriots' ignorance and big-government vested interest. It could be argued that it makes more sense to run away to sea - it may be more efficient!

Re:get real (4, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495972)

What if you find the whole concept of nations with millions of inhabitants ridiculous? How do you fix that without resorting to escapism?

Re:get real (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496138)

You could jump off a cliff. Or you can do what everybody else is doing and remember that it used to be a lot worse.

Re:get real (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496242)

So basically, give up or give up?

I think not.

Re:get real (5, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496062)

Either fix your own nation or stop complaining.
A recent poll in the US showed that 17% of people thought that the issue of whether a candidate wore a flag pin on his/her lapel was important. The fix for that is a bullet.

not a new idea (2, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496160)

I think what is worse is that they are painting these spar platforms as something completely new. Oil platforms in deep water have been doing this for years. [worleyparsons.com] They're somewhat rare but are one of the best solutions in very deep water. The great downside is that to move them, you generally have to lift the topsides (living areas, oil production and working areas) off of the spar with an enormous crane and then tow the cylinder section lying down.

Re:get real (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496180)

This guy has a dream -- and he's actually doing something about it. Voluntarily, not through the coercive power of government. And all you can say is "fix your own nation or stop complaining"?

This guy's ideas are a lot more interesting than that tired old "blame the people, not the government" line you learned in government school. Give me a freaking break.

Bioshock? (1)

Erpava (915121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495400)

Anyone play Bioshock?

Re:Bioshock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496198)

"It was not impossible to build Rapture at the bottom of the sea, it was impossible to build it anywhere else."

Slashdot Whipping Post Du Jour (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495410)

I notice the summary workes in a dig at the Scientology Cult, even though there is no real connection.

Haveing worked the Micro$oft / Windoze pithy witty digs to death, the nut-jobs are the new Slashdot Whipping Post Du Jour?

Or is there some mysterious eBay-PayPal-Scientology connection I'm ignorent of?

Re:Slashdot Whipping Post Du Jour (4, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495624)

Or is there some mysterious eBay-PayPal-Scientology connection I'm ignorent of?

They're all full of assholes?

Re:Slashdot Whipping Post Du Jour (3, Informative)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495854)

Insightful, yet incorrect. The 'tologists at the helm of El Ron had a similar idea about having a colony at sea; named Sea Org, or some such nonsense, follow the wiki-link if you really care to. The tie in is appropriate as the summarizer decided to mention both types of motives for moving to a sea colony; for freedom from oppressive governments, or to further your power over stupid people who follow convincing, well spoken lunatics. Fair is fair, I think Peter is quite a lunatic too. Pay "Pal" blows!

Re:Slashdot Whipping Post Du Jour (1)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496154)

Maintaining a steady stream of spite towards scientology isn't the worst thing, as long as it doesn't interfere with the topic at hand too much. It's just sometimes hard to get off your mind after hearing the most gruesome stories, so subtle (or not-so-subtle) references are going to creep in now and then.

Oceania (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495420)

Seems akin to the Atlantis Project [oceania.org] , which hoped to build the city of Oceania from floating concrete-and-air hexagonal platforms. Sounded promising, but alas no artificial islands have come of it yet.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch (4, Interesting)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495570)

Here's a crazy idea...

Word is there exists the Great Pacific Garbage Patch [google.com] which is the accumulation of seaborne trash into a blob somewhere on par with Texas in size.
Now work with me here ...
That's a whole lotta floating stuff already in a relatively stable position (occupying a major ocean current vortex); surely an inventive aspiring frontiersman could turn that mass of materials into an inhabitable floating island. Material acquisition & relocation is already mostly taken care of, as there's a Texas-sized mass of it already there. Much of it is plastic, which should be easily (for the "news for nerds" crowd) reformed on-site into more suitable structures. It's already in a stable vortex, so it's not going to be unmanagably mobile, and remains well outside any nation's claimable waters. There may already be sufficiently compacted sections to stand on & start work from.

Thoughts?

Re:Great Pacific Garbage Patch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496218)

Thoughts?

No.

Bring on the research - Colonize Venus! (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495440)

I'm sure this research will help...In fact I'd bet this tech would help with Colonizing Venus...after all it is just a sea of air to do it

Aerostat habitats and floating cities

Geoffrey A. Landis has summarized the perceived difficulties in colonizing Venus [wikipedia.org] as being merely from the assumption that a colony would need to be based on the surface of a planet:

        "However, viewed in a different way, the problem with Venus is merely that the ground level is too far below the one atmosphere level. At cloud-top level, Venus is the paradise planet."

He has proposed aerostat habitats followed by floating cities, based on the concept that breathable air (21:79 Oxygen-Nitrogen mixture) is a lifting gas in the dense Venusian atmosphere, with over 60% of the lifting power that helium has on Earth.[4] In effect, a balloon full of human-breathable air would sustain itself and extra weight (such as a colony) in midair. At an altitude of 50 km above Venusian surface, the environment is the most Earthlike in the solar system - a pressure of approximately 1 bar and temperatures in the 0ÂC-50ÂC range. Because there is not a significant pressure difference between the inside and the outside of the breathable-air balloon, any rips or tears would cause gases to diffuse at normal atmospheric mixing rates, giving time to repair any such damages. In addition, humans would not require pressurized suits when outside, merely air to breathe and a protection from the acidic rain. Alternatively two-part domes could contain a lifting gas like hydrogen or helium (extractable from the atmosphere) to allow a higher mass density[5].

Cloud-top colonization also offers a way to avoid the issue of slow Venusian rotation. At the top of the clouds the wind speed on Venus reaches up to 95 m/s, circling the planet approximately every four Earth days in a phenomenon known as "super-rotation".[6] Colonies floating in this region could therefore have a much shorter day length by remaining untethered to the ground and moving with the atmosphere. While a space elevator extending to the surface of Venus is impractical due to the slow rotation, constructing a skyhook that extended into the upper atmosphere and rotated at the wind speed would be difficult compared to constructing a space elevator on Earth.

Since such colonies would be viable in current Venusian conditions, this allows a dynamic approach to colonization instead of requiring extensive terraforming measures in advance. The main challenge would be using a substance resistant to sulfuric acid to serve as the structure's outer layer; ceramics or metal sulfates could possibly serve in this role. (The sulfuric acid itself may prove to be the main motivation for creating the structure in the first place, as the acid has proven to be extremely useful for many different purposes such as lead-acid batteries.)

Landis has suggested that as more floating cities were built, they could form a solar shield around the planet, and could simultaneously be used to process the atmosphere into a more desirable form. If made from carbon nanotubes (recently fabricated into sheet form) or graphene (a sheet-like carbon allotrope), the major structural materials can be produced using carbon dioxide gathered in situ from the atmosphere. The recently synthesised amorphous carbonia might prove a useful structural material if it can be quenched to STP conditions, perhaps in a mixture with regular silica glass. According to Birch's analysis such colonies and materials would provide an immediate economic return from colonizing Venus, funding further terraforming efforts.

That's one tall ship (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495484)

ATTFA, it's got _satellites_ on the top of it for internet access. Seems like it would be cheaper to just use satellite dishes and the existing satellite networks. ;-)

This absolutely boggles the mind... (3, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495588)

The first thing that came to my mind was this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Peterbus_Unum [wikipedia.org]

While he article touches on a lot of the obvious issues (piracy, sovereignty, etc), they seem to have missed this episode of Family Guy.

For the purpose of discussion, here's a short list of other issues that don't seem that trivial to me:

1) No natural resources. Or in other words, there's nothing there that anyone wants. You might be able to grow your own food and harvest the necessities from the sea, but you can basically forget about having any exports. This would be a deficit economy just about any way you shake it.

2) Environment is fatal to humans. Should the platform sink, everybody dies. Few of the places on earth with this level of lethality house humans for any real length of time without some really compelling reason to be there (see above...)

3) 'Nation problems'. Without any allies, any nation can declare war on you and sink you. You're a nation now, so you're expected to play at that level. Likewise, your neighbor on his own platform can declare war on you - he's running a nation, too. PirateBay platform, meet the RIAA platform... Do you plan to appeal to the United Nations? Can you even do that if you're not a member? What about trade agreements? There's really a LOT to consider here.

4) 'Hot button' nations. Can Osama float a platform and no longer be considered a terrorist, rather a dictator? What about those pedo-polygamists? Can't they just float a platform and go right on forcing marriage and sex on pre-teens? And if this is possible, wouldn't others want desperately to sink them? Or, if not sink you could they not simply blockade you, or otherwise apply pressure to cut you off from the outside world?

I guess what I'm trying to say is: Nations are nations because of where they are and what they have, not merely because of their desire to be independent.

Peter eventually caved. He didn't even manage to get an ink-pen for his trouble...

Re:This absolutely boggles the mind... (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496248)

While he article touches on a lot of the obvious issues (piracy, sovereignty, etc)

He touches on them, but he doesn't address them to any degree. Which isn't surprising because many of the proponents of these projects are a bit vague and handwavish on the details themselves. To take the two issues you mention:
  • Sovereignty - these colonies are no more sovereign than a condominium complex. In fact, legally speaking, (though IANAL) they appear to be little more than condominiums. There's a fairly good size body of law concerning vessels at sea, and nowhere in that body is (as proponents seem to believe) is the line "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law".
     
  • Piracy - David Friedman, quoted in the article, is dead wrong on this issue. Pirates attack much more than container vessels. In recent years they've attacked cruise ships and private yachts as well. Pirates aren't something you can just handwave away.
     

'Nation problems'. Without any allies, any nation can declare war on you and sink you. You're a nation now, so you're expected to play at that level. Likewise, your neighbor on his own platform can declare war on you - he's running a nation, too. PirateBay platform, meet the RIAA platform... Do you plan to appeal to the United Nations? Can you even do that if you're not a member? What about trade agreements? There's really a LOT to consider here.

As much as proponents of this scheme like to pretend otherwise - they aren't nations in a legal sense. They are passengers and/or operators of a vessel at sea. They are subject to the laws of the nation who flags the vessel, the laws of the nation(s) issuing their passports, and a wide variety of laws and conventions covering behavior at sea, environmental regulations, etc... etc... (Not to mention more obscure bodies of law like banking regulations, passport agreements, postal agreements, agricultural agreements...)
 
They can claim to be a nation - but I suspect that will be a hollow claim, little more than LARP on a grand scale.
 
 

No natural resources. Or in other words, there's nothing there that anyone wants. You might be able to grow your own food and harvest the necessities from the sea, but you can basically forget about having any exports. This would be a deficit economy just about any way you shake it.

 
That's going to be a bigger issue than you might think. The infrastructure costs of these platforms is going to run into the hundreds of millions, and the operating costs won't exactly be pocket change either. The folks that put up the gold are going to be very interested in protecting their investment - I suspect the desire to run a libertarian paradise is going to run sharply into the brick wall of dollars and cents.

In other news... (1)

samwh (921444) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495594)

Paypal founder changes name to "Andrew Ryan".

Sod Atlantis analogies.. (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495614)

...just look what happened to Rapture.

Bad quality cruise ship (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495640)

This is no different from running a cruise ship, except that it isn't cruising anywhere. The biggest problem is that it needs a reason d'etre, else it will go bust, just like any poor island nation.

Just doesn't make sense (1)

Woundweavr (37873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495674)

OK lets assume for a moment there is demand for this.

Who controls the "spur"? If 45% want to not defect, 30% want to defect to Constellation B and 25% want to defect to Constellation C, who gets it?

What happens when 51% of the spur decides left handed people should have to primarily use their right hand from now on? Or they get shot in the face. Or maybe instead of 51% I just mean the security force who just took over. Or the pirates who decided they wanted a nice home.

Oh I see, you'd only be oppressed by your individual spur, not by "society." I guess you could always leave the spur, and whatever thousands of dollars you've invested in living there.

Well, that assumes you can leave the spur considering its in the middle of the ocean in international waters. And that assumes whoever is in control of the spur allows people to leave.

And that ignores the practicalities of security (from 'pirates', people who just invade your home and just plain psychos), logistics (massive unit cost, data transmission), lack of demand, international relations (boy it does suck that our supertankers are throwing massive waves over your spurs and making your life unlivable) and a lack of safety net (Hurricane, Smuricane! Sinking ship, sminking smip!).

This is a fantasy for people who live in a secure society who believe they are being held back by the very stability that allows them to survive and thrive. Too much government intrudes on the rights of individuals. No government leaves them completely vulnerable.

Keen Insight (3, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495788)

From TFA:

"There's a history of a lot of crazy people trying this sort of thing, and the idea is to do it in a way that's not crazy," said Joe Lonsdale, the institute's chairman and a principal at Clarium Capital Management, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund.

So, to be clear, the idea's not crazy, just everyone who's tried it so far. Hmmm.

Deep Libertarianism: Human Ecology (4, Insightful)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495794)

Seasteads are a great way to protect human rights because they protect the most fundamental human right, the one from which all others are derived: The right to vote with your feet.

If all you do is ensure that anyone can leave any time they want, then you have only one remaining ingredient to support this most fundamental human right:

Somewhere to go.

With the current, very limited, number of territories world-wide, the choices available to refugees is limited not only by the number of territories that would welcome them, but by the absolute number of territories.

Increase the baseline number of territories and freedom reigns.

The problem with current conceptions of "human rights" is they are enumerated in some sort of unstructured laundry list which results in the entire edifice crumbling under stress. Its tragic because the more you "feel" various things are "rights" -- the more "rights" you put on your wishful-thinking-list, the more "righteous" you sound to the intellectually handicapped. This creates a terrible situation for humanity -- where facades of "human rights" displace the need for territory -- the need for carrying capacity -- that forms the real foundation of life hence humanity hence their rights.

I've written up some thoughts on the nuances of a more rationally architected system supporting human rights in Deep Libertarianism: Human Ecology [majorityrights.com] that allows jurisdictions to become as "tyrannical" as they want over their territory, so long as they let people leave at will and support the creation of carrying capacity for the formation of volulntary association.

Seasteading is an important potential in this direction.

Unfortunately, Google's Patri Friedman, while far better than most, is indulging in more of the sloppy thinking that endangers human rights when he says things like "You can change your government without having to leave your house" or implies the assumption that seasteading jurisdictions will not exclude immigrants at their whim. We live in a physical universe with ecologies that operate in space. Attempting to deny spatial structure because you find it inconvenient or even "oppressive" is simply fantasy.

Libertarianism can not work. (2, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495956)

If people can not act morally in MMOGs they will never act morally in real life. Take a look at the behavior on Slashdot for another example of why it can not work.

Re:Deep Libertarianism: Human Ecology (2, Informative)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496072)

There's something to the idea of increasing choice, but I don't think the biggest barrier to free mobility for most people is finding a better place to live - it's having to uproot your entire life to move elsewhere. The older you get, the harder it gets to just take off and leave.

Then again, maybe societies designed to be in constant flux would be easier to leave. It depends on how much your life is attached to the physical location of where you live, and the people who share it with you. The latter is where it gets sticky.

Tanker crashes into SeaStead!! (0, Redundant)

mozkill (58658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495900)

What happens when a giant oil tanker or a cruise ship crashes into one of these seasteads at night during a storm. Wouldn't all hell break loose?

Why would you want to live like this? (2, Interesting)

wdavies (163941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23495916)

Its bad enough living on small islands, where the energy cost of transportation is so inefficient compared to mainland cities.

Where would you go if you wanted to walk on a hill? Frankly I'd rather be part of a "Red Mars" mission than this.

It's kind of a sad reflection on the kind of society we would live in if Ayn Rand inspired techno-geeks ruled the world. Do none of them appreciate the social infrastructure than allowed them to spend their time inventing stuff, instead of living the life of a frontiersman foraging for food and dying of disease. Private 737 anyone?

Spend the research money on tech to save the environment we have. If we were meant to live ON the sea, god would have given us gills and a taste for our urine...

Buckminster Fuller (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496174)

Similar idea by Buckminster Fuller.
link [cjfearnley.com]

``There are three types of floating cities: There is one for protected harbor waters, one for semiprotected waters, and one for unprotected deep-sea installations. The deep-sea type is supported by submarine pontoons positioned under the turbulence, with their centers of buoyancy 100 feet below the ocean's surface. Structural columns rise from the submarine pontoons outwardly through the water to support the floating city high above the crests of the greatest waves, which thus pass innocuously below the city's lowest flooring, as rivers flow under great bridges. The deap-sea, deeply pontooned floating cities will be as motionless in respect to our planet as are islanded or land-based cities.

Only one question remains. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23496176)


Do multimillionaires like fish?
I mean fish, fish fish, fish, fish ...

Mieville (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23496274)

The first thing this article brought to my mind is the China Mieville novel "The Scar" which deals with a decidedly dystopian floating city (complete with vampires and other goodies) in a decidedly dystopian world. Quite a fun read but probably not resembling at all what anyone has in mind to try to build.

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