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Baseline Design Question — What is the acceptable risk and participation

Home Forums Archive TSI Engineering Baseline Design Question — What is the acceptable risk and participation

This topic contains 11 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Jack Jack 3 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #838
    Avatar of bkemper
    bkemper
    Participant

    Before the engineering numbers can be crunched, the underlying assumptions needed to be agreed upon.

    1. What is the acceptable risk. Are we going to assume this will be as safe as a land home in a good city neighborhood. I offer this would be horribly flawed. A more reasonable assumption is this would be like an oil rig — however, oil rigs are abondoned in the face of a major storm. Further, all personnel on oil rigs have a fair bit of training, have assumed a significant risk (and are paid for it), and its all work. No kids, no schools, no play space other than a rec room, etc.

    The amount of risk dictates how much extra effort goes into things. Compare a tank and a Volvo — it may appear a tank is safer, but its far from the case. The tank crew operates without seat belts, the loader is standing up, and while they don’t worry about a fender bender, the stated design service is far higher than a Volvo. Tanks are called “rolling coffins” for a reason. However, to the uninitiated, “building it like a tank” sounds not only safe, but an overdesign. Do we accept a higher percentage of death and injury due to the more challenging service when compared to a suburban home? The answer will dictate design, operations, safety, etc.

    2. Will this be like a cruise ship, with those who are “crew” and those who are “passengers/home owners”? Or will this be like an old sailing ship, wagon train, or the like where everyone shares in duties? In the Navy the experession is “every soldier is a fireman”….if there is a fire, all are trained to be first responders for not only firefighting, but medical, safety interlocks (dogging watertights, etc.). I know there will be specilization — not everyone can be industrial divers needed to work the underwater portions of the seastead, nor can be trained medical personnel. However, establishing what is and is not permissible to assume in terms of the workforce will also go directly to the design issues.

    I think a fair assumption would be everyone has a “real job”, at least 8 hours a day, plus be trained in both the minimum baseline *everyone* has to know, plus can back up people at least short term in at least two unrelated areas or sections. Keep in mind this means you need a crew at least 3.5 more than the crewing requirements — three shifts plus extra people to handle sick days, injuries, going on vacation, etc. 12 hour shifts will mean at least 13 hours of work — a half hour overlap going on and off shift for cross-briefings. This will leave little time for “having a real life”.

    If you want a dedicated crew … how are you going to pay them? If everyone works, then their work is part of their rent. If only some are crew, then do they get free room and board while everyone else pays through the nose?

    As you can imagine, these questions go towards both the size of the seastead (need suffiicient work and living space) as well as how you design your systems.

    All engineering is done for human consideration — you need to quantify the human side before you start pushing numbers to ensure the human needs are met.

    #5189
    Avatar of Wayne-Gramlich
    Wayne-Gramlich
    Participant

    Safety comes first. You do not want the structure to sink. Period.

    Cost comes second. If you can’t afford to build the structure, it does not get built.

    Comfort. If you can not live comfortably on the structure, you will give up and go live on land.

    There are trade-offs. That is want makes it fun.

    #5436
    Avatar of HTDC
    HTDC
    Participant

    bkemper wrote:
    Before the engineering numbers can be crunched, the underlying assumptions needed to be agreed upon.

    1. What is the acceptable risk. Are we going to assume this will be as safe as a land home in a good city neighborhood. Is driving a car as safe as staying at home? Is having a job as safe as living on welfare? Is going to a nightclub safer than dancing at home with an ipod? Is having a relationship safer than subscribing to Hustler?

    Once these questions are answered, the answer to this one won’t come with as much of a shock.

    2. Will this be like a cruise ship, with those who are “crew” and those who are “passengers/home owners”? Or will this be like an old sailing ship, wagon train, or the like where everyone shares in duties?

    Very clearly the latter.

    bkemper wrote:
    I think a fair assumption would be everyone has a “real job”, at least 8 hours a day, plus be trained in both the minimum baseline *everyone* has to know, plus can back up people at least short term in at least two unrelated areas or sections. Keep in mind this means you need a crew at least 3.5 more than the crewing requirements — three shifts plus extra people to handle sick days, injuries, going on vacation, etc. 12 hour shifts will mean at least 13 hours of work — a half hour overlap going on and off shift for cross-briefings. This will leave little time for “having a real life”.

    You’re overestimating the maintenance and readiness requirements of a platform. It’s not a warship. Small platforms will have people live like in a house. For small-medium platforms (5-20 people), for extra safety, it’s enough to make sure that at least someone aboard is awake at any time – but just awake, not on watch. Only the larger platforms (over 20) will need to keep someone on dedicated watch, and even so, until going really large (close to 100), it’s sufficient to have just one watchman per platform. Or one per few small platforms, as long as they’re close enough that they can be monitored.

    For a 30-person platform or cluster, with 6-hour watches, everyone will only need to take one watch a week. But furthermore, if we assume that most people are awake during the day, someone on dedicated watch is only needed for the night, and that’s a watch every next week, with vacations and sick days. A dedicated coordinator at all times is only needed when going over 50 people (the everyone-knows-everyone limit). By that time, the platform will have at least a couple hired workers.

    Repairs and the such will have to be done in the free time. But again… do you remember the term “housewife”? That’s the person, a woman, who takes care of the house. Today most women are working. They still take care of the house, together with the husband. A seastead requires somewhat more maintenance, true. But then, 9-to-5 jobs are going to be a rare sight on seasteads. Most people living there will be – will have to be – over-the-net freelancers.

    #5963
    Avatar of jcrawford
    jcrawford
    Participant

    I think crew and residents will definitely be one and the same, at least on smaller platforms. Large platforms (over 100 people or so) may have a small group of dedicated platform crew paid by some kind of fee to platform residents.

    I agree with HTDC. Platforms should be designed to minimize maintenance, and tasks like keeping the platform in place, controlling utility equipment, etc… can be automated. It seems that for smaller platforms would likely need someone on watch only in the sense that someone would have a pager so that the computer could raise them if something went wrong. The platform can be equipped with water detectors, hull integrity monitors (like they use on bridges to watch for shifting concrete. I’m not certain of how they work, but I believe a graphite rod is put through the material and then shifting or warping of the material causes the electrical resistance across the graphite to change), and other systems that would allow a computer to detect emergency conditions and engage automated protective systems (like flood doors, fire suppression systems, etc…) and alert humans.

    As HTDC noted, platforms have no need to be battle-ready (so they don’t need the crew of a battle ship), they’re not moving or at least moving slowly (so they don’t need the crew of a freight vessel), and the platform itself isn’t doing anything (so they don’t need the crew of a dredge). The platform really just doesn’t require more than one or two people.

    On the matter of training, I think while there will most certainly be specialization (and once some infrastructure is in place specialization could be cross-platform, for example, an underwater welder might boat around to whatever platforms need that service, since a single platform wouldn’t be able to support such a specialist), I think it’s completely reasonable to expect that all platform residents be trained in some emergency handling (first aid, fire fighting, hull breach response) and be ready to put in some labor and whatever skills they can offer when the platform needs work.

    While platforms should offer as much safety as is pratical, I think it’s quite comfortable to say that platforms won’t be as safe as living on land. That said, significant safety measure should be taken, both in the infrastructure itself (engineering features like an extra flotation layer) and the residents (emergency training and solid plans for evacuation). I’d say that people that can’t afford safety features or devote the time to safety measures ought not to be seasteading, and those that do do so at their own risk.

    #8571
    Avatar of billswift
    billswift
    Participant

    Different individuals and communities will not only opt for different levels of safety versus other design considerations (comfort, convenience, independence, etc), but will also emphasize different aspects of safety. Personally, I am more interested in survival and disaster recovery than in comfort and convenience, but recognize that other people will have other priorities.

    Economic specialization will be necessary for any sort of reasonable standard of living, and this must be reflected in the design of individual seasteads. A seastead intended to support mariculture will be very different from one intended for growing land crops at sea or for energy production or manufacturing. One idea I haven’t seen elsewhere is that the supply ship(s) could also be an independent seastead, owned and operated by its inhabitants.

    The best way to allow for all of these differences is multiple smaller seasteads – the larger integrated versions are undoubtably ego gratifying for their designers and advocates, but there is no chance they will become practical for establishing actual communities.

    #8745
    Avatar of thebastidge
    thebastidge
    Participant

    Until you figure out what the purpose of your seatead is, speculation on how much or how little you need watchstanders is probably not really useful. It might even prove to be misleading in your planning. Personnel needs depdn on what kind of work you’re doing.

    It’s entirely dependent upon things like stationary vs mobile, what kinds of operations you’re going to undertake (will you run a fishery, cannery, what kind of power plant do you have? Do you have diesels that need constant maintenance, or does power turn down to minimal at night? What level of automation can you afford?)

    There won’t be room metaphorically or literally for non-contributors on a small seastead. If it’s a family seastead, it would almost certainly be operated like a small family farm from many decades ago- every body pitches in at harvest times or for barn-raising. In this case for any major project which requires lots of hands. Everybody would have chores that aren’t even part of your “job” but simply those things which are necessary to be done in order to live.

    #9993
    Avatar of tusavision
    tusavision
    Participant

    Our competition is house boats right now. We have to do one better than them to succeed at improving aquatic habitation. So: let’s start with an open water house boat which is cheaper and harder to sink than a yacht.

    To meet that objective we need durable buoyancy, living spaces which resist becoming ballast, and a means of using the buoyancy to support/suspend the living space.

    Plastic bottles are cheap and proven buoyancy. In tethering them to your living space: elasticity seems the best way to resist surges snapping the tether. Fishing nets seem to be the proven means of accomplishing this.

    Life boats are the best value solution for offering contingency/disaster hardened preparedness, without the diminishing returns of trying to fortify the structure.

    Make yourself an unsinkable life boat with satelite communications to call for help and put a dead man’s switch communicator in your house boat and you have a safety net in case of emergency.

    Suddenly the design specifications shift from making a floating bomb shelter to maximizing the longevity of your living space/vessle in relation to it’s expense. The second specification being minimizing the frequency at which you have to SOS your lifeboat. The expense of a rescue suddenly becomes a factor in the cost benefit analysis of what can be considered an acceptable frequency of “Oh shit!”

    Beyond rescue boat co-operatives in order to minimize the profiteering expense to a rescue, the current cost of a coast gaurd bailout seems like a reasonable constraint to work against when evaluating the TOTAL cost savings of any sort of cost reduction in terms of increased “acceptable risk.”

    I propose that the next step forward is to build such a disaster hardened lifeboat which is cheap, can communicate with civilization, and is disaster hardened.

    By putting such a device in the hands of society via publishing it’s design open source in the public domain: the liability expenses are minimized, while the ability for individuals to suddenly experiment with new seasteading structures is maximized.

    Possession of such a “life-line” emboldens exploration and makes it accessible to the non-millionaires and creatives who will do the heavy lifting of the expensive trial and error process of research and development.

    #9994
    Avatar of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant

    The minimum safety for a seastead should be equivalent to the safety on a cruise ship….perhaps in extreme (arctic/antarctic) service. Anything less is, I think, foolish. More may be appropriate.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    #10022
    Avatar of Fernando
    Fernando
    Participant

    I think the minimum safety requirements are not hard to meet.

    Some issues I have been quoting since I have joined this community (just yesterday, true).

    General

    - It will be not productive think too much about materials. Use the materials that are already known and tested.

    - A box hull made in prestessed concrete. If properly designed and constructed it will be last for a century, with no or few maintenance.

    - The superstructure or decks in steel, protected by an inch(25 mm) coating of special mortar to resist fire.

    - Energy supplied by solar, eolics and diesel or gasoline generators.

    Safety:

    -The same as all big off shore oil platforms, but taking in account it’s not so dangerous cause, the goal is not getting oil.

    - So no need of all security devices an off shore structure has.

    Location:

    - Location: Choose the best place to locate the seasteading.

    - For example: in the Atlantic Ocean close to calm equatorial zone and southward. The best location is around latitudes -4º north, 17º south. I mean in terms of non ice, no hurricanes, and not so much stronger winds. Great rainfall during the year, so able to collect water and minimizing salt water treatment. No need of heating. Half of year natural ventilation will provide enough temperature comfort, ¼ of year forced ventilation, just the other ¼ will need some air conditioning.

    - This location means is at international waters between Brazil and Africa coasts. No pirates at this region, remember,e.g, Somalia, is far in the east African coast.

    - Doubt. I haven’t check places for anchoring/mooring the structure. If you want to live far from governments authorities, must stay out of the continental platform, it means no shallow waters. Must be checked in navy charts.

    - If the structure can’t be anchored/moored, drift will be happen, or it must have motorized propeller to control it. It would require more fuel, so much cost, much maintenance and much danger.

    Regards

    Fernando

    #10184
    Avatar of Terraformer
    Terraformer
    Participant

    Surely the safety requirements should be no more than those that boats are already held to? Since this thing is essentially a boat…

    If you make most of the structure bouyunt – think of fomaed materials – then you’d be virtually unsinkable anyway. I’m toying around with a structure that has an outer breakwall composed of, possibly, foam, with a steel rod to give it shape.

    #10855
    Avatar of Farmer
    Farmer
    Participant

    Surest, easiest way to increase safety is redundant systems, no?
    Let’s assume a worst case scenario: 9.9 seaquake right under us, Tonga gets ICBMs, direct hit by an asteroid.
    If the main structure is modular then it is in effect its own “Plan B”.
    If even smaller units (individual homes/apartments) have some capacity to be self-sustaining; just make sure they are independently buoyant and have some back-up power then that is another level of safety. If on top of that each person has access to and the skill to use some kind of lifeboat/ bug-out pod then the odds of someone ending up treading water and waiting for help approach zero.
    Of course all this costs money. I suggest that other objects doing double duty as safety equipment will save some of that. If your bed or couch were also a life raft it would save money and space. I think I have a spare cell phone and a few days worth of food somewhere in my couch already.
    #10860
    Avatar of Jack
    Jack
    Participant

    oH OHMG that was sooo funeeeeee

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