The Seasteading Institute – October 2011 Newsletter
Dear Friend of the Seasteading Institute,
Over the last several weeks we’ve enjoyed an explosion of new newsletter subscribers — welcome to our hundreds of new readers! The Seasteading Institute is dedicated to creating diverse, innovative societies on the ocean. Working with the world’s existing government systems is slow and ineffective, but with your support, we are building an alternative system to disrupt government monopolies and allow new societies to experiment with new ideas.
Since 2008, the Institute has published dozens of papers, held conferences, delivered its message to millions of people, and gained thousands of supporters worldwide. Beginning with the new seasteading venture Blueseed, it’s time for seasteaders to take to the water. The most urgent need is for more seastead entrepreneurs to start businesses, find funding, and demonstrate to the world that seasteading is not only possible, but viable. We’re working to help these entrepreneurs through providing information, connections and networking opportunities.
Next year we will host a two-day conference in San Francisco (date and location to be announced). The conference will be entrepreneur-focused, enabling experts in business, law, maritime engineering and other fields to meet and plan the way to free societies on the ocean. Look for more details on the conference in upcoming newsletters.
President of The Seasteading Institute
Table of Contents
Contribute to the Institute and your Donation will be Doubled
President’s Corner: Seasteading, a Common Cause for many Ideologies
Research Associate Miguel Lamas Completes Dissertation about Seasteading
Architecture Students Compete for Best Seastead Design
Political Fantasy? Think Again. Seasteading is Technically Feasible – and Closer than you might Realize
Seasteading Ambassadors: Charles Peralo, Angelo Adam, and Dan Dascalescu
"Seasteading" Included in World Wide Words
Charter City and Seasteading Social in NYC
Video of Patri Friedman from Ideacity Conference
Update from Blueseed, a Commercial Seasteading Venture
You are likely reading this newsletter because you share our desire to improve the world through seasteading. You are probably frustrated with the lack of innovation and progress with existing governments, and fascinated by the challenge of developing floating city-states. You may also be wondering if seasteading will ever become a reality.
One thing you can do to hasten the day when people are free to build and choose new societies on the ocean is give a donation. Now is a great time to give because the Thiel Foundation will match every donation we receive before the end of the year, up to a total of $500,000!
There are thousands of you reading this letter. Our efforts to usher in the seasteading era are only possible through the community’s support. Please join the hundreds of other community members who have contributed this year and donate today. Your support enables us to continue to do the crucial research and movement-building necessary for seasteaders to venture to the high seas.
(Contributed by Michael Keenan, President of The Seasteading Institute)
I used to know the best kind of government. I told my friends, argued with my opponents, and voted for my favorite political party so that the kind of government I wanted was the one that everyone would have.
I didn’t claim to know the single best car for everyone, or the best flavor of ice cream, or the right size of shoe that everyone should wear. But when it came to the most difficult question a citizen faces, a decision encompassing economics, history, military strategy, sociology, and many other fields, then I wanted to answer that question for you.
We don’t all want the same car, ice cream, or shoes. And we don’t all want the same government. When seasteading becomes a reality, we won’t have to have the same government. If you’re dissatisfied with the few monolithic options on land, you’ll be able to join or build a new society on the sea.
I no longer think I know what government is best for you. I’d like you to choose from a diverse range of options – liberal, conservative, libertarian, socialist, futarchical, neocameralist, polycentric, whatever you want. If you don’t find something you like, then I hope you start your own government. I’m no longer even sure what government is best for me, and I’m excited to see what options are available when smart, creative, entrepreneurial people are free to implement their ideas.
The Seasteading Institute doesn’t want to tell you what politics you should have. There is, however, one rule we believe all societies, land and sea, should abide by: freedom of exit. When people are free to build new societies and freedom of exit is respected, we will have the ability to choose whatever freedoms, rights, entitlements or responsibilities are valuable to us. Without freedom of exit, citizens are nearly slaves, unable to escape whatever rules or abuses their government imposes upon them.
Soon, you won’t have to just imagine your favorite society – you will join it or build it yourself. Seasteading is the common cause of many ideologies. You and I might have drastically different political ideals, but by working toward a seasteading world we can all have the societies we want.
The Seasteading Institute recently published a doctoral dissertation written by Miguel Lamas called “Establishment of Autonomous Ocean Communities: Current Options and Future Evolution.” This paper, written in Spanish, focuses on different forms of ocean colonization and their respective conceptual benefits and practical obstacles. The first section of the dissertation evaluates instances of ocean colonization attempts and the conditions that led to their failure. In the second section, Miguel evaluates prior failures in light of the four requirements he defines as necessary for the success of ocean colonies: economic and trade, technical, legal/external relations, and self-government. He follows with a third section that analyzes legal and regulatory aspects of maritime law that can enable or disable seasteads. The fourth segment makes predictions about future ocean colonization trends and proposes a timeline for the evolution of full-scale ocean micronations. The paper suggests that the creation of a floating city will result from the expansion of terrestrial space, the evolution of mobile settlements, and an increased need to access marine resources. The English abstract for Miguel’s paper can be found here on The Seasteading Institute’s blog and the full-text, in Spanish, can be downloaded here. The Institute is seeking an inexpensive option to translate the 300 page document; if you know of such an option, please contact us.
(Contributed by Director of Engineering George Petrie)
Inspired by The Seasteading Institute’s recently published report, “Parametric Analysis of Candidate Configurations for Early Seastead Platforms“, a class of fourth-year architecture students at Arizona State University have embarked on a semester-long project to design the deckhouse and living accommodations for a series of seastead configurations. The entire class of 64 students is participating, with 16 four-person teams competeing to come up with the best design.
To make things interesting, the teams have been assigned to each of the four different size semi-submersibles that were evaluated in the Institute’s report (and if you’re not sure what a semi-submersible is, then follow the link in the paragraph above and check out the report). The teams will be looking at large (500’x500’), medium (400’x400’), small (300’x300’) and tiny (200’x200’) seasteads that can accommodate populations ranging from a couple thousand residents to as few as 100 or less.
The project entails planning, architectural and structural design elements based on modular construction, and a requirement to meet specified building and safety codes. But beyond that, the students have been given wide latitude to exercise their imaginations. Grading will be based on the soundness of the architectural and engineering aspects of their designs, as well as originality and creativity. Keep an eye on this space, as we will be publishing a few of the best designs later this year when the projects wrap up.
Political Fantasy? Think Again. Seasteading is Technically Feasible – and Closer than you might Realize.
(Contributed by volunteer ambassador and maritime industry expert Anders Arfelt)
Discussions about seasteading often end up with a skeptic alleging the idea is a half-baked political fantasy requiring entirely new technology. With this allegation it becomes too easy to ridicule and discard the concept. As an experienced maritime expert, it is my firm opinion that seasteads are much closer than one would be led to believe by reading various discussions on the subject splattered around the Internet.
Here is why:
• A seastead is a man-made structure where people can live permanently at sea. The only difference between a ship and a seastead is that people only live temporarily on board ships. In other words, a ship is a very mobile seastead, where people reside temporarily.
• Seasteads must be built according to the same – or higher – standards as today’s ships and offshore platforms in order to be financed and insured. They must be subject to particularly rigorous inspections no matter where they are built, registered or located.
• While there are high barriers of entry for the creation of new governments ashore, this is not the case at sea. The last few decades have shown how a number of states have established maritime presences in the shape of ship registration. Such states include Panama, Liberia and Vanuatu. This has convinced traditional maritime states to compete by creating open registries allowing tax-free registration. The Seasteading Institute seeks to expand these existing conditions to other industries and for those who wish to reside at sea.
• A seastead will initially choose to register under the flag of a state which offers the best conditions for the seasteads objectives.
• A realistic development in a scenario involving rising sea levels is that the populations of low lying island nations, such as Kiribati and the Maldives, may relocate to live on floating structures. If the conditions for living on such structures are sufficiently good it is likely that at some point in the future large populations from other nations will also choose to liveat sea – effectively making them maritime or seasteading nations.
• A priority for The Seasteading Institute and its community is to engage legislators to ensure that new legislation does not prevent the creation and operation of seasteads.
The volunteer ambassador program is a hit! We’ve connected with passionate individuals from all over the globe, spreading the seasteading vision through the hard work of our volunteers. This month we’re highlighting the dynamism our ambassadors bring to the Institute’s team by providing profiles of Charles Peralo, Angelo Adam and Dan Dascalescu.
Charles Peralo is one of the Institute’s youngest and most ambitious ambassadors. He currently works on or volunteers for the Monticello Eco Club, the Gary Johnson presidential campaign, Our America, and GOProud. He also volunteered in 2010 for the Phillips campaign. He has been interviewed about seasteading by Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio, as well as Adam Kokesh of Adam vs. the Man. On his Youtube channel, Charles speaks on a number of freedom-related topics. He currently lives in New York and will be representing the Seasteading Institute at the Singularity Summit in October.
Angelo Adam graduated from NYU in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in international politics. He speaks Italian fluently and has worked on three continents. Angelo is interested in crowd-sourced politics and draws inspiration from such cases as Iceland, whose constitution is currently being re-drafted with the crowd-sourced input of its population via Facebook. As a self-described “product of the internet era”, Angelo views seasteading as one outlet for crowd-sourced legislative change to take place.
Dan Dascalescu was born and raised in Romania and moved to the Bay Area in 2005 after completing a degree in computer science. Dan has recently become the chief information officer at the first commercial seasteading venture, Blueseed. After finding that he had great success in transmitting his passion for seasteading to others, Dan decided that a greater degree of involvement with the Seasteading Institute was in order. Through his engagement with events that focus on emerging technology and entrepreneurship, Dan has used his role as an ambassador to actively expose those he encounters to the aims and strategies of the seasteading movement. He has also studied nanotechnology, molecular biology, and artificial intelligence.
If you are interested in promoting the seasteading movement by becoming an ambassador, please visit our ambassadors’ page to learn more.
The Seasteading Institute has an ongoing campaign to make seasteading a widely used and recognized term. Part of that goal is to promote the acceptance of seasteading as an official word. The September 17th edition of World Wide Words, an online international English publication written by Michael Quinion, published an article about seasteading. The article sets the context for seasteading by discussing its 1969 usage in the Stratton Report and follows with a reference to the Principality of Sealand. Quinion goes on to describe The Seasteading Institute and its revival of the movement, noting that as a result, “The vocabulary has extended: a seasteading community is called a seastead and its promoters and inhabitants are seasteaders.” The publication about seasteading on World Wide Words is one step towards the Institute’s goal of bringing seasteading into vernacular and eventually having it recognized as an official word.
Over 30 seasteaders, rationalists, and charter city enthusiasts met for a seasteading and charter city social on September 14th in New York City. The meet-up, hosted at the Mercantile Grill near Wall Street, drew a diverse crowd, including artists, activists, and students. Chairman of the Board Patri Friedman, former Senior Director James Hogan and Administrative Assistant Brit Benjamin attended the social and were surprised by a visit from our recent Seasteading Institute engineering interns from Europe, Jorge Suarez and Elie Amar. We’re very excited by the large turnout, signaling the presence of a thriving seasteading community on the East Coast. The rapid-fire exchange of ideas taking place there evidenced the entrepreneurial characteristics many seasteading community members share. Patri was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the meet-up attendees and said, “It was great to see such a large group of people come out to talk about realistic paths to changing the world.”
This past June, while still the executive director of the Institute, Patri shared the vision of start-up, innovative governments and seasteading at the ideacity conference in Toronto, Canada. The video of his talk is now available online. According ideacity’s website, “Ideacity, also known as ‘Canada’s Premier Meeting of the Minds’, is an eclectic gathering of artists, adventurers, authors, cosmologists, doctors, designers, entertainers, filmmakers, inventors, magicians, musicians, scientists and technologists. Fifty of the planet’s brightest minds converge in Toronto each June to speak to a highly engaged audience. Only 600 are privileged to attend.” Patri and the Institute are grateful for having had the opportunity to share our vision at the conference, and subsequently through the online video.
In our July newsletter, we announced that two of our (now former) staff members, Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija (Directors of Business Strategy and Legal Strategy) were preparing to start the first commercial seasteading venture, Blueseed. Now we’re happy to announce that Max and Dario have been diligently working on Blueseed full-time since they completed their positions at the Institute.
Blueseed will moor a vessel 12 miles off the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area to creatively solve the US work-visa problem for Silicon Valley. This will tackle the visa problem in two ways: First, by creating a technology incubator where entrepreneurs and creative individuals from around the world can live and work in close proximity to Silicon Valley and to the investors and talent that enable great companies and great ideas to succeed. And second, by establishing a living and working environment where talented professionals lacking work visas can reside in close proximity to companies they would like to work with in the Bay Area. This will reduce the need for Silicon Valley companies to move their operations abroad and will effectively bring jobs and revenue back to Northern California.
Our volunteer ambassador Dan Dascalescu now serves as Chief Information Officer for Blueseed, in charge of software infrastructure, document and knowledge management, and research and analysis. Such research includes vessel stability given the ocean conditions in the target location, business valuation, and demand analysis for different market segments. For example, across the US, 7,000 Computer Science Master’s and PhD graduates each year are foreign nationals, and many encounter difficulties in continuing their US residence, a significant portion being forced to return to their home country.
Blueseed has signed up a number of advisors in matters of admiralty law, immigration law, and maritime operations, has had press coverage in Hacker News and Discovery News, and occupied the front page of Indian technology blog TechHunger. They’ve recently closed their first and second investor rounds but are still in the seed funding stages. Currently they estimate a launch in Q3 2013 or later, and things are evolving rapidly.
If you’d like to know more, visit their website at http://blueseed.co.
We look forward to bringing you more news soon. In the meantime keep up with all that is happening at The Seasteading Institute by visiting our blogs, forums, and Facebook page. We’re also on Twitter.
***Special thanks to volunteer ambassador Allison Marks for editing this edition of our newsletter!***