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Vince's seasteading views

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of DanB DanB 5 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #825
    Avatar of vincecate
    vincecate
    Participant

    Patri suggested that I try to write down my views on Seasteading as a sort of manifesto. I said I think my wiki home page and the links from there sum up my views. He said it could be good to have it in one place. So I made one:

    http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/User:Vincecate/SeasteadingViews

    #5026
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    We mostly agree. Some points where i disagree:

    6) migration/navigation are a full-time job, are they not? ‘Just use a kite’ seems overly simplistic to me. Not only that, but unless you are a retiree lviing off his pension fund, something resembling a stable economic network seems very desirable. Dumping a block of concrete into the ocean and using that as a static anchor seems like the most viable route for the lifestyle i have in mind: if i want to do any moving, ill rent a tugboat.

    10) i disagree. What enormous base width do you have in mind for a waterwalker such that it wouldnt move around like crazy in 10-15m waves? The ball-house has interesting properties though. Although i disagree with your suggestions for production, which my engineering-education tells me are simply not possible (feel free to prove me wrong though), the concept of a hull resting on the waterline, weighted down with ballast to prevent rolling, seems like a really sensible adaptation from a boat, where the design requirements have shifted from mobility to space and comfort.

    12) well, the 0.5m part is already done. 200m is more daunting, but if a structure supports the right commercial activity, people are willing to pump a lot of money into getting it off the ground. Its a proven concept in that sense. Indeed it isnt very interesting politically in itself, but it would help kickstart someotherwise worrysome economies of scale, plus it would provide a lot of know-how.

    #5028
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    vincecate wrote:

    I think anchoring is probably in shallow water near land. Do you see anchoring 200+ miles from land? It could be done but if you are 3 miles from the bottom you need such a long line that you can move for miles around the surface. So anchoring alone does not let you be close to others in deep water.

    There are plenty of shelfs in international waters, no? Regardles of depth, you could have a cluster of seasteads that are interconnected, being held in roughly the same place by one anchor. If you have a cluster, you could also afford three blocks of concrete, and have the cluster pretty much stay in one place, if that was somehow desirable.

    Part of why migration is nice is it seems to avoid the 10+ meter waves. But even so, Anguilla has an expression, “no matter the size of the boat it rises to the top of the wave.” I am thinking of 80 or 100 foot legs (like cell towers). Because it lifts up with the wave it does not come close to getting into trouble (my Anguilla test video is better than the Santa Cruz one).

    Point taken about the migration. However, a waterwalker might not get hit, but if one side of its legs are in a trough, and the other end is riding a crest, youd better have some good sea-legs. Rolling is the prime cause of seasickness. A waterwalker seems like it would do worst wrt rolling of all designs that ive seen.

    Eelco wrote:

    I just don’t see a plausible evolutionary path where it survives long enough and gets big enough to be a new country. And if $200 mil is in the hope of kick starting something larger, then it just does not seem much better than the “raise a billion dollars” sillyness.

    True, it is more of a difference in degree than a difference in kind from say, the freedom ship. But a big difference in degree, id argue: not just in terms of cost, but in terms of overall sanity. The clubstead doesnt need to, nor even need to aspire to become a new country: it would just operate its busines model. The people that might gather around it for the economic opportunity and trading hub it provides however can do whatever they want.

    #5027
    Avatar of vincecate
    vincecate
    Participant

    Eelco wrote:

    6) migration/navigation are a full-time job, are they not? ‘Just use a kite’ seems overly simplistic to me. Not only that, but unless you are a retiree lviing off his pension fund, something resembling a stable economic network seems very desirable. Dumping a block of concrete into the ocean and using that as a static anchor seems like the most viable route for the lifestyle i have in mind: if i want to do any moving, ill rent a tugboat.

    I think anchoring is probably in shallow water near land. Do you see anchoring 200+ miles from land? It could be done but if you are 3 miles from the bottom you need such a long line that you can move for miles around the surface. So anchoring alone does not let you be close to others in deep water.

    In shallow water you can not get really big waves, so that is nice too. I think starting there can make sense. I think floating villas would be good for tourists, sort of like Tahiti.

    http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/User:Vincecate/FloatingVilla

    But to really get to a new country I think we need free floating.

    Eelco wrote:

    10) i disagree. What enormous base width do you have in mind for a waterwalker such that it wouldnt move around like crazy in 10-15m waves? The ball-house has interesting properties though. Although i disagree with your suggestions for production, which my engineering-education tells me are simply not possible (feel free to prove me wrong though), the concept of a hull resting on the waterline, weighted down with ballast to prevent rolling, seems like a really sensible adaptation from a boat, where the design requirements have shifted from mobility to space and comfort.

    Part of why migration is nice is it seems to avoid the 10+ meter waves. But even so, Anguilla has an expression, “no matter the size of the boat it rises to the top of the wave.” I am thinking of 80 or 100 foot legs (like cell towers). Because it lifts up with the wave it does not come close to getting into trouble (my Anguilla test video is better than the Santa Cruz one).

    Eelco wrote:

    12) well, the 0.5m part is already done. 200m is more daunting, but if a structure supports the right commercial activity, people are willing to pump a lot of money into getting it off the ground. Its a proven concept in that sense. Indeed it isnt very interesting politically in itself, but it would help kickstart someotherwise worrysome economies of scale, plus it would provide a lot of know-how.

    I just don’t see a plausible evolutionary path where it survives long enough and gets big enough to be a new country. And if $200 mil is in the hope of kick starting something larger, then it just does not seem much better than the “raise a billion dollars” sillyness.

    #5029
    Avatar of vincecate
    vincecate
    Participant

    Eelco wrote:

    There are plenty of shelfs in international waters, no? Regardles of depth, you could have a cluster of seasteads that are interconnected, being held in roughly the same place by one anchor. If you have a cluster, you could also afford three blocks of concrete, and have the cluster pretty much stay in one place, if that was somehow desirable.

    Yes, you could have some kind of cluster on one big anchor. And this is probably doable. The part that bothers me is how do we keep upgrading as we get more and more seasteads. The more we have the more wind and current will pull, and the bigger cables and anchor we need. So it seems like we have to replace most of the cluster stuff each time we grow past some limit. Drifting with the wind/current seems to make this problem easier. But maybe not.

    Eelco wrote:

    Point taken about the migration. However, a waterwalker might not get hit, but if one side of its legs are in a trough, and the other end is riding a crest, youd better have some good sea-legs. Rolling is the prime cause of seasickness. A waterwalker seems like it would do worst wrt rolling of all designs that ive seen.

    I think irregular rolling is what really bothers me. A raft on the ocean that is tipping with the waves is actually a very comfortable motion. The single family water waker tips about as much as the huge clubstead, but with the regular tip of the waves. If new tourists are coming every week, then taking a few days to get used to the motion it is a big problem. A family that moves onto a seastead will get “sea legs” after a few days and not be bothered after that. So a single family seastead with longer term residents does not need to be as stable as a tourist seastead.

    #5030
    Avatar of vincecate
    vincecate
    Participant

    Eelco wrote:

    6) migration/navigation are a full-time job, are they not? ‘Just use a kite’ seems overly simplistic to me.

    There is a company that has computer controlled kites for pulling ships:

    http://www.skysails.info/index.php

    For a small slow single family seastead it seems easier to deal with kites than for a large faster ship. The progress in kites over the last 15 years is amazing. In the coming years I am sure we will see more. I think open source software for kite control is something seasteaders could do if others do not do it before us. But yes, there is a bit of work still to be done before automatic kite control is cheap and a fully solved problem.

    My timeframe is 5 to 10 years. With this timeframe I think it is reasonable to plan on automatic kite control.

    People recommend always having a human on watch. In practice it seems many boats and ships have radar that warns if there is anything else nearby. If there was a flotilla with many seasteads, a few humans around the edges would probably be enough.

    #5032
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    vincecate wrote:

    Eelco wrote:

    6) migration/navigation are a full-time job, are they not? ‘Just use a kite’ seems overly simplistic to me.

    There is a company that has computer controlled kites for pulling ships:

    http://www.skysails.info/index.php

    For a small slow single family seastead it seems easier to deal with kites than for a large faster ship. The progress in kites over the last 15 years is amazing. In the coming years I am sure we will see more. I think open source software for kite control is something seasteaders could do if others do not do it before us. But yes, there is a bit of work still to be done before automatic kite control is cheap and a fully solved problem.

    My timeframe is 5 to 10 years. With this timeframe I think it is reasonable to plan on automatic kite control.

    People recommend always having a human on watch. In practice it seems many boats and ships have radar that warns if there is anything else nearby. If there was a flotilla with many seasteads, a few humans around the edges would probably be enough.

    [/quote]

    It looks pretty cool, but afaik it hasnt really taken off for big ships even, and economies of scale are working against you on a family stead. You need a keel also, if you want to do sailing: not sure how that combines with most designs considered so far.

    #5034
    Avatar of vincecate
    vincecate
    Participant

    Eelco wrote:

    It looks pretty cool, but afaik it hasnt really taken off for big ships even, and economies of scale are working against you on a family stead. You need a keel also, if you want to do sailing: not sure how that combines with most designs considered so far.

    If you want to be able to tack back and forth and work your way upwind, then you need something like a keel. And at slow speeds it would have to be big. An underwater kite could work.

    But my plan is to have the vast majority of the travel time be downwind or within few enough degrees of downwind that the 2-rope kite can pull me in the direction I want to go. My migration route should work as the wind goes in a big circle clockwise around the North Atlantic. Going in/out of harbors I would use a motor.

    It is much easier to deal with a small kite than a large one. Scaling to large sizes can make things harder to work out.

    Yes, it has not really taken off for big ships yet. But 5 to 10 years is a long time, given how fast kites have been advancing recently.

    #5038
    Avatar of Thorizan
    Thorizan
    Participant

    vincecate wrote:

    Patri suggested that I try to write down my views on Seasteading as a sort of manifesto. I said I think my wiki home page and the links from there sum up my views. He said it could be good to have it in one place. So I made one:

    http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/User:Vincecate/SeasteadingViews

    Thank you, Vince, for taking the time to write down your thoughts on this subject. They are concise and well thought out.

    My views on seasteading are highly colored by what I gleen from these forums, along with how I view the world. Vince’s thoughts are right around where I am, especially those concerning the utilization of the Atlantic currents. I started thinking about that idea myself in 2005 after I first read an article in Wired! about aquaculture and utilizing the currents in the Atlantic to move large enclosed nets filled with fish. For those interested, the article can be found here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.05/fish.html.

    I also believe single-family seasteads are where the movement will be heading first, and, like Vince had said, it will be the coming together of these families into like-minded groups that will facilitate the creation of larger organizations.

    Thanks again, Vince, for your endeavors to push seasteading from pipe-dream to reality.

    #5080
    Avatar of DanB
    DanB
    Participant

    Vince, you are a hero.

    Two comments about your manifesto, the first of which is just my personal view:

    1) I just don’t want to live on a single-family seastead. I want to live in a floating Hong Kong or Cayman. I’d also settle for a smaller floating village in the short term. I don’t know how many people have this same preference, it might be a good idea to do a poll or something to find out.

    2) Your point #5 says: “I think it is easy to beat a boat in the single-family size range. Small blue-water boats are not that cheap, safe, stable, or roomy. I think in the cruise ship size range it is very hard to beat a boat. So I think we should first try to design single family seasteads”

    From a rational perspective this doesn’t add up. The proper conclusion is: our design strategy should depend on the target community model. If the target community is single-family, then we should be able to get better results by clever design. If it is village-scale, we should give up trying to come up with clever designs and just buy a cruise ship.

    I really think we need to take a hard rationalist look at this question. Does it really make sense to spend so much effort on design? Is design really the critical element – if we have a good design, will everything else fall into place? I think we’ve been caught in a bias-trap where, because many of us are engineers, we believe (mistakenly) that the solution will come from smart engineering.

    #5081
    Avatar of vincecate
    vincecate
    Participant

    DanB wrote:

    1) I just don’t want to live on a single-family seastead. I want to live in a floating Hong Kong or Cayman. I’d also settle for a smaller floating village in the short term. I don’t know how many people have this same preference, it might be a good idea to do a poll or something to find out.

    From http://www.paulgraham.com/start.html

    “The best odds are in niche markets. Since startups make money by offering people something better than they had before, the best opportunities are where things suck most.”

    In starting a new product you need to make things better for some real niche. It is not necessary to please everyone. Could be good to have some polls.

    DanB wrote:

    2) Your point #5 says: “I think it is easy to beat a boat in the single-family size range. Small blue-water boats are not that cheap, safe, stable, or roomy. I think in the cruise ship size range it is very hard to beat a boat. So I think we should first try to design single family seasteads”

    From a rational perspective this doesn’t add up. The proper conclusion is: our design strategy should depend on the target community model. If the target community is single-family, then we should be able to get better results by clever design. If it is village-scale, we should give up trying to come up with clever designs and just buy a cruise ship.

    I left out the part about costing 1/100th as much to fund single-family seastead development. That is part of the equation. I put something in now. I have done enough models to have convinced myself that there are designs that will work for single-family range.

    DanB wrote:

    I really think we need to take a hard rationalist look at this question. Does it really make sense to spend so much effort on design? Is design really the critical element – if we have a good design, will everything else fall into place? I think we’ve been caught in a bias-trap where, because many of us are engineers, we believe (mistakenly) that the solution will come from smart engineering.

    Because we are looking at a new market, mostly living in deep water and not in a hurry to get anywhere, it makes sense that there could be a new design that works better than existing ones. But it is a question.

    The other thing to take a hard rationalist look at is the possible evolution toward a new country. If a business model depends on California letting boats go back and forth between California and the seastead, it can be shut down if they ever don’t like it for any reason. If the model is a big cruise ship would people want to stay on it if it was just out in deep water? If it visited lots of ports could a big cruise ship do anything new? To me it seems reasonable for single-family seasteads to increase in number till some start to stay in deep water and organize their own security and courts. In small numbers it would be an attractive life for some niche, and could grow. However, business model and design (new or cruise ship) are the main issues.

    [/quote]

    You have to take life as it happens, but you should try to make it
    happen the way you want to take it.
    – German Proverb

    #5094
    Avatar of Patri
    Patri
    Keymaster
    DanB wrote:

    From a rational perspective this doesn’t add up. The proper conclusion is: our design strategy should depend on the target community model. If the target community is single-family, then we should be able to get better results by clever design. If it is village-scale, we should give up trying to come up with clever designs and just buy a cruise ship.

    I really think we need to take a hard rationalist look at this question. Does it really make sense to spend so much effort on design? Is design really the critical element – if we have a good design, will everything else fall into place? I think we’ve been caught in a bias-trap where, because many of us are engineers, we believe (mistakenly) that the solution will come from smart engineering.

    I think this is an excellent point. I have been warming to ships more and more over the years. I haven’t changed my mind at all about them being bad for the long term – I still believe that quite strongly. The long-term is cities, and cities must be modularly expandable.

    But the long-term is probably decades away. Maybe spar platforms are a red herring. Maybe the right answer is small used cruise ships (which have the safest position in international law, and are the cheapest and best proven) until there are enough of them to finance a breakwater. Maybe big spar platforms are the worst of all worlds – more expensive than a boat, slower than a boat, worse legal position than a boat.

    A small, low-end Residensea…it’s a business model well worth considering. I like the idea of doing a poll to see what is attractive to people.

    #5096
    Avatar of DanB
    DanB
    Participant

    Patri wrote:
    I have been warming to ships more and more over the years. I haven’t changed my mind at all about them being bad for the long term – I still believe that quite strongly. The long-term is cities, and cities must be modularly expandable.

    Totally agree. I think a good strategy is expressed by the formula:

    seastead=boat+X

    where X represents additional technology and design such as platforms, spars, etc. At the outset X will be small, so our situation won’t be much different than living on a boat. But as X grows large our setup will get better and better, eventually leaving behind the boat entirely and achieving the long-term dream of floating cities. It’s just like training wheels on a bike.

    If we insist on seastead=X, then X will have to grow quite large (representing a significant investment of money, time, and risk) before we are doing as well as we would be with a simple boat.

    There’s a nice Paul Graham essay about the 13 most important principles of startups. Number 2 is: “Launch fast”. Number 3 is: “Let your idea evolve”. This philosophy suggests we should get onto the water as soon as possible, and then let the community grow and evolve. It may be that the set of problems we will encounter is entirely different from the ones we’re worrying about now.

    Note also that a cruise ship has a resale value. If we’re going to spend a bunch of money, it makes more sense to spend it on something that has some value if the idea crashes and burns. It’s probably quite hard to resell a spar platform.

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