Theodore Schultz

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• #21384

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Some Fundamentals of Seastead Dynamics, (It’s not really the pillars. Sorry).

Numerous semi-submersible seastead designs feature pillars. Here’s why:

Elsewhere in the Seastead web site, you will find a good technical article on the oceans and wave mechanics, though it doesn’t really explain very much in terms of how waves are created. Waves are created primarily by wind. A fundamental property of differential mass motion is friction, whether the masses are solid, liquid or gas. At low relative fluid velocities, flow is smooth, predictable and differentiable, what we refer to as _laminar_flow_. As relative velocities increase, or material geometries become more obstructive, flow becomes _turbulent_. Various fluid properties such as velocity, viscosity and density can be used to calculate a value known as the _Reynold’s_Number_, which will predict this behavior to some degree, (bear with me, it’s been decades since I studied this). Drag a pole through water, or erect it in the wind, and in its wake it will often create a flow pattern known as _vortex_shedding_. This pattern is revealed when you see a flag waving in the breeze, and when you see waves traveling on a body of water. Initially, the wind motion may be perpendicular to the water surface, but pressure from a minor vortex produces changes in the water surface geometry, and that geometry reinforces vortex generation. The size of the waves may be limited by the water’s depth, by the wind’s speed, or by the distance over which the energy transfer can take place. If the depth is thousands of feet and the distance is thousands of miles, the waves can get quite large, and as the available depth decreases the energy present in this system doesn’t just go away. Energy and momentum are largely conserved, and water is pretty much incompressible. According to the report, waves on the open sea of eight meters are quite common, waves of sixteen meters occur one in a thousand, and there is no limit to how large occasional rogue waves may be. The motion of the water describes vertical circles, decreasing in size with depth. This energy can do a lot of damage, as clearly illustrated by the amount of sand created on the world’s beaches.

A general approach to seasted design has been to try to dodge this energy through semi-submersible design, in essence submerging one or more floatation bodies below most of the wave action, (at least they don’t need to be habitable), and to suspend a habitable platform above the top of the waves. If this is done right it can be very stable, much to the satisfaction of those who commonly experience motion sickness at sea.

What role do the pillars play? Let’s examine the behavior of a semisub design with minimal pillar displacement. Imagine two circular plates, maybe 400 ft. in diameter, one suspended a hundred feet above the other by a single, central “I” beam, the whole works stabilized by an octahedral network of cables connecting the perimeters of the two plates, specific Gravity of the resulting, gross assembly of about one-half that of seawater. The displacement of the cables and beam are really quite small, compared to the rest, so that while it might float half submerged, any substantial mass added near the perimeter will cause it to tilt, or cause the whole works to sink until the peaks of the waves sweep the bottom of the upper platform. Conversely, if the mass were slightly reduced, the whole works would float upward until the troughs of the waves swept the top of the lower platform. Tuning this thing to float in the middle looks about as hard as adjusting any other submerged body for neutral buoyancy and getting it to drift at a specific depth, (very difficult with any air-filled structure, as the rigid shell is more compressible than the water around it. There is an ongoing energy expense for vertical stationkeeping). The static stability of the platform system comes from increasing the volume of the pillars slightly, but the more cross-sectional area the pillars have at the water line, the more sensitivity the whole has to dynamic wave forces. The dynamic stability of the whole comes from the size and depth of the lower, submerged platform.

So, there you have it. There’s no magic in the pillars, they are a byproduct of a semisub design, the stability of which comes from submerged section. Until a floating, basic capsule design approaches the dimensions of a cruise ship, it will tend to bob like a cork under wave action.

#21147

Theodore Schultz
Participant

It produces no food, no shelter, no sanitation, no education, no transportation, no biomedical support, no human necessities, nor any of the art or literature that keeps us from each others’ throats when we’re snowed in… in short, negligible redeeming social value. In any human population, an estimated 5% are predisposed to gambling addiction.  I refuse to enable this human tragedy, to benefit from it personally, to covet my neighbors’ wealth, or to give native populations this excuse to legalize and open their own casinos in attempted competition.  Gambling is a mass delusion in which I refuse to participate.  There are more valuable things that seasteads can do, more normal values that we can endorse.

I don’t know if I can persuade anyone else to take the moral high ground here, to do something useful with the mind you were blessed with.  The choice is yours, whether you want to do this through invention and industry, or to kickstart your seastead project by appealing to the basest of human nature by opening a casino, founding a pyramid club or writing a chain letter.  Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house….

#21119

Theodore Schultz
Participant

If you look into the Archives of this Forum, you will find that much has been said about Biorock.  A problem was that early depictions of the material had the math wrong, and prohibitive amounts of energy are required to make it, based on power and time versus mass produced.  As far as using Biorock techniques to coat and protect metal structures, though, I think that has much more potential.  Steel is cheap, and Biorock is only a step or two away from anodic corrosion protection techniques that are already well established.

#21061

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Waste of time?  The Forum may have been largely abandoned by now, but its archive represents a substantial knowledge base.  As for the organization, they have themselves a 270 footer which they are now preparing for service!  How often they will check here for newbies like myself is anybody’s guess, but I expect many of them are still in touch with each other outside of this forum too.

#21021

Theodore Schultz
Participant

…Which I shall take to mean that over 99% of everything that was to have happened here has already done so without me, and much of my effort here is likely to be wasted unless I invest substantial effort studying what has gone before to ground myself in sufficient background to contribute authoritatively. Will there be another design contest, or is that chapter closed? By what means may I still become involved? If my ideas and designs, maybe even the ones I already have, are exceptional or even superior, how do I get them seen by the right people? What format is best for submitting designs? What degree of detail? Material specifications? Engineering calculation support? Acceptable safety factors?

I’ve started thinking about the possibility that seasteads will declare their own three-mile limits, and that any approaching, navigable craft will be required to declare itself at three miles and request permission to sail closer without being considered hostile.

Is there a place for me in all of this, or am I too late in my timing, too limited in my resources, too entrenched in my thinking or too pessimistic in my attitudes to contribute or participate in this endeavor?

#20997

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Has it been my misfortune to find this forum after most of the people have left, or is this seasonal, and they’ll be back? Any idea when?

#20976

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Does the analogy break down?
Comparisons are being drawn between the Oceans and the American Western Frontier. Just how valid is this analogy anyway?
Has anyone else here read Freeman Dyson? The first two British colonies in the New World vanished without a trace. The third, Jamestown, left traces, but failed. The Mayflower Expedition was heavily financed, (seven year’ average annual income per migrant), but not heavily enough, as they had to sell their stores of butter to pay for port fees for departure, and by Thanksgiving, half their number had died, (yes, those firkins of butter would have made a big difference). Repayment of the debt took over twenty years. The Mormon Migration cost three year’ average annual income per migrant, but at least that could be saved up. What was the entry cost for Western migration? Some people didn’t go very far, they just grabbed some dried beans and an ax, and disappeared into the brush. Many people living near the frontier already had the skills to live over the edge, it was easy country to disappear in, relatively easy to construct shelter in, and land that could be lived off of in reasonable confidence for many.
What kind of advance investment will be required for seasteading? How easy is it to disappear on the open sea? Food? Fresh water? A balanced diet? As OCEANOPOLIS has said elsewhere, “as a rule of thumb, what works on dry land will suck @ sea”. Life at sea will resemble life in space, and only preparedness and possession of the right property will sustain you. A friend on another seastead is someone who will sail hundreds of miles to come get you when you can’t stay on the one you’ve been on, for whatever reason.
The bar for entry looks high. The ability to inspire trust in the landlubbers you’re dealing with looks poor if you’re staying in commuting range. Further out, infrastructural requirements will be much higher until there are communities for you to join, at which point there will always be tradeoffs.
If a child is born on or raised on a seastead, how difficult will he find it to build one himself when he comes of age? Most of what I see at this point is the endless potential for drama. It could be some very good drama, don’t get me wrong about that, but the kind that most folk will want to read or see, not live themselves.

#20974

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Don’t let the link text throw you, the decimal point didn’t come through. The price is \$17,300,000, which suggests to me that some Hollywood or Bollywood studio should just buy it outright.

#20972

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Oh, Voluntaryism. I guess that’s different. Hard to find if I spell it wrong too.

I guess we crossed in the mail.

Nice list of references and examples, but it’ll take me a long time to read them all. I hope you’ll all excuse me if I keep reading and posting here well before I’m done?

I have to wonder what Ayn Rand would have been like if she’d had and raised her own children. Probably a lot different. Go ahead, contract, build, float your own seastead. Will you raise a family on it? Raise your children without the village? What will it be like for them? What will it be like for your grandchildren? What values system will carry through multiple generations? If we have seen further, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Some of us know more of those giants than others.

Maybe it will all work out well, or maybe it will be like the repatriation in Liberia. We’ll see, I hope. (What if this whole thing is just an exercise to select and recruit that first critical team of asteroid miners)?

#20971

Theodore Schultz
Participant

I think that the “you guys” Luke is referring to are both, that he’s saying that those of us who write of government like this need to learn about volunteerism. I think that what Luke is saying is that the “cure” is worse than the “disease”, (whatever the disease may be). I’m guessing that he thinks volunteerism will deliver us from our regard for government, and that an unspoken social contract will prove superior to one that has been stated in detail. He may be right. On the other hand, depending on the people involved, an unspoken social contract may only lead to unrealistic and unfulfilled expectations.
Many years ago, a relatively anarchistic person invited me to visit his home. Just prior to entry, he said, “I only have three rules for you: No violence, clean up any messes you make, and uh…don’t rape my cats”. I did a double-take at this, being young and relatively innocent at the time, and he admitted that the third had been thought up on the spur of the moment, because he had said he had three rules, but hadn’t made them up ahead of time. Government will occur when people create rules, even if most of those rules for a specific seastead follow directly from “Jim here owns this structure”. TANSTAAFL: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, (“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, Heinlein). To what degree will seasteading resemble asteroid mining?
Universal standards of human rights will probably be recognized, against cannibalism, slavery, piracy, rape, child abuse, pollution, animal cruelty, fraud, defamation… Will any student of history tell me that this won’t happen? Will children be generally regarded as property of their parents? Wives as property of their husbands? Will anybody bother to define an “age of majority” or “age of consent”? How do you define and protect against slavery when none can survive without property? If a claim of a debt can be used to hold someone? If inability to pay passage off a structure results in relatively permanent residence? What will happen if a former resident of another seastead shows up on your dock in a small boat, claiming that their possession of it wasn’t theft, but that their need justified the use of it, and they’re begging rights of sanctuary or asylum? (Star Trek, Original Series, episode #70, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”).
People compare seasteading with the Old West and the Frontier. Do you remember what happened when corporate interests penetrated into the Old West? “If Saint Peter comes a calling, tell him I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store”. You’ve heard the phrase “The Wrong Side of the Tracks”, but do you know where it comes from? In the transcontinental railroad project, the government awarded land to the railroads, ten mile squares adjacent to the tracks, alternating sides. Naturally this land was worth a lot, especially because it had rail service, but the land that was opposite the company-owned spaces developed far differently than the land they owned.
If you have a seastead without rules, and you fail to defend it, whoever takes it from you will make at least one rule. Bet on it. “Swear Fealty or Swim For It”. (This may be simply expressed as a grunt and a raised fist). Anarchy falls at a touch.

#20924

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Well, Patrick, I’ll take it from Jefferson:

“It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.”
-Thomas Jefferson to Francois D’Ivernois, 1795.

Anarchy is the least stable of all forms. It falls at a touch. We’ve lived with a fairly good government for so long that we’ve forgotten what it was like to live wearing small arms, and to hope that an assailant breaking in would wake us. People used to wear weapons and bury their treasures. Women were property. How many houses in Europe have secret rooms? Most Americans don’t build with them and have never felt a need for them. Never forget where we’ve come from.

#20923

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Kinda long, but the detractors may have some things backwards. The power cables to shore are so that you can _sell_ your excess power to the landlubbers, right? And the prisoners you’re housing are overflow from the local civil authorities, not your own. The prison is an industry that pays you per inmate you take off their hands, and your facility is harder for them to escape from, especially if they have to go through decompression to leave. All the weapons and other measures, though, makes me wonder if you’ve used up a few places, and perhaps the last in a big enough way that you are trying to make yourself hard to find, or to place yourself above the law.

#20922

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Or perhaps even better to have stuff inherently designed to neutral buoyancy, so that you can put it where you want by what you add to it.

#20921

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Geodesics? There may be just too many problems with geodesics. Don’t get me started. Perhaps the strongest shape in nature is the sphere, but you may be hard pressed to show me _geodesic_ spheres in nature. If you’ll study the works of Peter Jon Pearce, I think you’ll see that trunctated octahedra or rhombic dodecahedra would be more effective for what you’re trying to do than geodesic spheres.

#20920

Theodore Schultz
Participant

Oops! The idea is not new….

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