January 5, 2009

December 2008 Newsletter

Happy New Year! We here at The Seasteading Institute have been working hard over the holidays to ensure that future years have more hope and possibility for innovative societies than past ones. Here’s what we did in December:


DVD Disc 1 cover

* Liz, our [new Development Director]( is designing a membership program, and we hope to launch it in about 2 months.
* Liz has been expanding our social network presence, adding a [LiveJournal Community]( and [Tribe]( and improving our existing [Facebook Group]( (These and others are listed on the [community][] page).
* [Community][] stats – _November stats in ()_:
* []( 693 registered users (653)
* [Facebook Group]( 222
* [Mailing List]( 79 (47)
* [LJ]( 30 (0)
* [Tribe]( 4 (0)
* January Social: [January 27th, 8PM, Jillians at the Metreon, San Francisco](
* Note: for those mainly interested in local events, we will still be using the [Bay Area Seasteading Socials]( Meetup group ([calendar]( has RSS/Atom/iCal/Outlook feeds). However note below that worldwide appearances are going to be on a different calendar.
* TSI at Talks & Conferences
* TSI will be at the [BIL conference]( Feb 7th & 8th. [Patri will give a talk, please “Fav” it]( if you have an account on the BIL site.
* There will be a number of TSI-related events such as [talks](, socials, and appearances at conferences happening all over the country and the world in 2009. For that reason, we have created [a public TSI Google Calendar]( ([XML](, [iCal](, [HTML]( We will post all TSI events to this calendar, and it is embedded below so you can check it out. We’ll try to include all events in these newsletters a month in advance as well.
* [We need your help to generate additional socials & speaking engagements](, especially in the US Northeast!
* Website [](
* [Statistics](
Dec daily averages: 1700 visits, 8000 pages, 31K hits (up from 1700/7300/24K in Nov)
Monthly totals: 52K visits, 249K pages, 948K hits. (graph at bottom)
* Forum upgrades (see volunteer report below)
* Ben added Markdown input format, for those who prefer it to the rich text editor. To use it, you will need to disable the rich text editor by default in your profile (click your name in the upper right, then edit, then expand “Rich Text Editor settings”, and disable by default. Then each time you enter text, you need to change “Input Format”
* Key Blog posts: [Seasteading and Optimism](, [Local production (not always)](, and [The Ancestral Environment and Seasteading](

Volunteer Coordinator report from James:

* Key Accomplishments
* DVD’s from our [first annual seasteading conference]( are now [for sale](, and the video content is also available for free via [Google Video]( and [BitTorrent](
* Some [improvements]( to our website forums, thanks to [Ben Lavender]( — bugfixes, rough search and e-mail subscription functionality, new “recent forum comments” page. More to come.
* Started work on a project to improve the website’s front page — [Michael Dent]( is heading this one up. Preliminary screenshot on the right.
* We held our first [social]( in Second Life with over a dozen attendees. [Jesrad]( helped us run a successful event by creating some sharp-looking virtual seasteads to host our event — thanks Jesrad! Our next Second Life social will be announced soon.
* Key volunteer roles filled: Roman Hardgrave has stepped into our Product Manager role on our website development team, and [Lasse Birk Olesen]( has volunteered to plan and administer a seastead design contest we’ll be launching soon (stay tuned for more details).
* Key Needs ([complete list](
* [Ephemerisle Research](
* [Volunteer Coordination Help](
* [Website development volunteers](


Engineering Director update from Wayne:

* Large Seastead:
* Provisional patent: filed.
* Non-provisional patent: diagrams done, text body done and reviewed by MI&T, claims done and under review by MI&T.
* First cut at architecture drawings done
* Simulation of large structure done
* Final report rough draft done
* Will publish report draft when non-provisional patent is submitted in January.
* Smaller seasteads: Waiting for MI&T to finish wrapping up big design, and start working on smaller seasteads in Feb/March. Reminder: [feedback wanted on design requirements for small seasteads]( Matt’s latest rendering of Wayne’s design is on the right.

Patri adds: _Some questions have come in about our design strategy & timeline (like [here]( – our apologies for not being more communicative about what is going on. I just wanted to give a quick summary._

_We began by having the consultants design a 200-guest resort, suitable for mooring off San Francisco, or for (slowly) migrating north/south from Mexico to SF. The main reason was b/c we want to demonstrate that large seasteads are a viable concept, expensive but not crazily expensive, that can grow into coastal free trade zones or independent deep sea city states. This work is being wrapped up right now. We think that the base of the seastead – the ocean tax, if you will – will cost about $200/ft^2. Along with the engineering design and analysis there has been some great architectural work done transforming the base platform into something that would be pretty to live on. You’ll get to see all of that later this month, once the consultants have drafted their report, and the patent is filed._

_It will take some time to complete & polish the report (all of February, I’d guess), as we believe in open-source design and we want to include everything. MI&T jokingly asked if we wanted them to include the input files to their [hydrodynamic software](, and I said “Of course! We want everything!”. Spreadsheets, hydrodynamic models, SketchUp files of the architectural design, etc._

_Once we’ve published all that and proven the base concept, the consultants are going to turn to smaller designs, the low-cost or single family seastead. Size matters on the ocean, and so the design may end up being quite different. Towards the middle to end of 2009, we will then build one or more small prototypes of the single family seastead, and attempt to raise funds to build a full-sized one._

### Research

* [Weekly Research Projects](
* [WRP #3: Surface area trade-offs](
* [WRP #4: Breakwaters](
* More ideas and moderators are needed – sign up [here](
* Book: With the help of Daniel Burfoot, we are continuing to make progress towards a PDF and POD version of [Seasteading: A Practical Guide to Homesteading the High Seas](
* [Jorge Schmidt](, our legal volunteer, is making progress on our legal research into maritime law and sovereignty. For example, he found the article [Why Is Elvis on Burkina Faso Postage Stamps? Cross-Country Evidence on the Commercialization of State Sovereignty](, which notes that Tuvalu’s domain name agreement with Verisign generates 15% of the country’s GDP. Flagging agreements with seasteads may be an important source of revenue for small countries in the future. We may be attending the 20th anniversary [The State of Sovereignty]( conference, which contains extremely relevant talks such as “Boundary-Making & Sovereignty in the Context of Unrecognised States, Emerging States & Sub-State Entities”. That sounds like us!

### Publicity

* Public: There will be an upcoming piece in a major magazine in the next month, which we hope will trigger a wave of follow-on press and interest like we had back in May. We may send a special update when it comes out.
* We’ll be mentioned in the next Civil Engineering magazine (from the [American Society of Civil Engineers](
* Discovery Channel interviewing Patri tomorrow for a show later this year.
* Liz is working on a press kit to improve our [press page](

### Administrative
* The nonprofit app was finally filed Dec. 10th.
* The organization is scaling!
* [We hired Liz Lacy](!
* Volunteer Coordinator James Hogan will be joining us half-time!
* We are looking for an office!
* We are working on things like employment contracts, employee handbook ([which makes Talk Like A Pirate Day mandatory for all employees](, 2008 Annual Report.

### Appendices

#### TSI Events Calendar

#### Website Statistics