November 2008 Snippets

Welcome to The Seasteading Institute’s November Update!  We’ve been busy, and so there is lots of material.  We are making lots of progress and, as always, needs lots of help.


  • We are going to hire a Director of Development, who will be responsible for designing & running the membership program, building membership, helping us start worldwide chapters, grant-writing, and generally helping us scale.  This is a key non-profit position, and we think it will be of great use. We have interviewed one candidate already, and plan to interview one or two more next week.  Volunteer Liz helped us to define the position and write the job description, as well as draft a membership program, and Volunteer Coordinator James posted job ads.
  • Socials / GTGs
    • Conference DVDs are done, we’re just waiting for an order to arrive to verify that everything is correct.  They’ll be available for sale any day now – check the Seasteading08 page for updates.
    • December Social – in Second Life!  As an experiment, we are going to replace the in-person December 2008 social with an event in the virtual world of Second Life on Wednesday December 17th at 7PM GMT, which is 8PM for most of Europe and 11AM PST.  This will give people outside of the SF Bay Area (which is most of you) a chance to interact.  For more information, please see our wiki page on Seasteading and Second Life.  More information will be added there over the coming weeks.
    • Ephemerisle. I know some of you are really excited about this.  It’s on the back burner for the winter, but we plan to pick it back up in the spring and work towards holding the first one in the SF Bay next summer.  For example, we are planning a design competition for cheap, portable, temporary floating land cells.  If you are interested in helping plan Ephemerisle, please join the mailing list.
  • Website Report
    • In response to your feedback, we will be upgrading the forums to make them more usable.
    • Stats (view here)
      • 653 total registered users (~70 new in November).
      • Nov. daily averages: 1700 visits, 7300 pages, 24K hits (up from 21K/6600/1500 in Oct.)
      • Nov. totals: 50K visits, 220K pages, 717K hits.
  • Volunteer Coordinator Report (from James)
    •  Key Accomplishments
      • Our legal research team is assembled and working. Kevin Lyons, Jorge Schmidt, and Ray Peck have all offered time to help resolve many of the detailed legal questions before us. We have some fabulous expertise in this group. Ray Peck helped negotiate the Law of the Sea treaty under Reagan, Jorge Schmidt is a practicing lawyer who studied under the head of the LOS negotiations, and Kevin Lyons studied law as part of his MBA.
      • Our website team is off and running! Ben Lavender, our sysadmin, has set up a code repository and development environment. Michael Dent is the first volunteer to implement a new feature — a mailing list signup, to go live shortly.
      • We’ve got a Google Group established to help do 3-D graphics modeling projects. Matt Kennett has started building models of single-family seasteads.
      • Videos of our annual conference will be available for purchase shortly, and are also available on Google Video. Thanks to Chris Rasch and Reichart for getting these into production.
      • We had a great November social in the San Francisco Bay Area — thanks to Na’ama Moran for hosting our event in her beautiful home!
    • Key Needs (complete list)
    • Patri: I just want to add that volunteering is extremely important to the success of the organization.  Things are starting to move noticeably faster thanks to our current volunteers, but to make this happen we’re going to need a lot more help.  If you find our vision appealing and you have some free time, please scan at least the high and moderate urgency items for ones that you could help us with.


seastead pitch plates
  • Patent – We still plan and expect to file the patent this month, so we can start sharing pictures and models of the design.
  • We had our monthly meeting w/ MI&T (the consultants) on 11/14.  Great progress towards enough structural details to have good cost estimates.  Architecture is really taking shape – looking pretty, can’t wait to share it with y’all.  We discussed starting to shift towards wrapping up the design of big seasteads, and working on designing smaller seasteads that we can afford to build (at some scale) in the next year or two.  The idea is that the big seastead design demonstrates what we are working towards, and putting up the details online will encourage people to play with the design, build business plans around it, maybe even start a for-profit business.  However, it is much too capital-intensive for TSI to be directly involved in – we’re just trying to prove the concept and facilitate business development.  So we’re now going to turn our attention to smaller seasteads for awhile – exploring concepts, designing them, and building some small ones.
  • Here are our draft design requirements for the low-cost seasteads.  We would like comments on this forum thread.
  • Wayne is going to start working on small (3′ diameter, 12′ long) prototypes in his garage.  We would like to do ferrocement, but need a better work space (requirements here).  We don’t want to to larger / more expensive designs / workshop space until we have some feedback from MI&T (the professionals).  Once we get some feedback from them on promising designs, we will figure out how to start building prototypes, possibly rent some workshop space, buy equipment, etc.
  • Wayne & Matt Kennett are making detailed 3d renderings of Wayne’s current designs.  They will soon be up on the Seasteading Flickr Pool.  (Reminder: the pool has an RSS feed).


  • As posted earlier, Wayne, Mike Doty & I have put together a Weekly Research Program, where the community collaborates on finding solutions to our infrastructure problems.  Wayne has moderated the first topic, Watermakers, and the second, Propulsion.   You can suggest or offer to moderate new topics here.
  • We are temporarily shelving our project to hire researchers, for two reasons.  1) We’d like to get grants first, to support the researchers.  2) We think most useful research requires at least small seastead prototypes.  The Director of Development will research grants, and as soon as we have our non-profit status (Q2 next year) will start applying.
  • Book updates:
    • Volunteer John Michelsen has created a version of the book beta split by chapters & sections, which is much easier to read than the old huge HTML file.
    • Patri is working on the PDF book pipeline so that we can offer a printed version of the Book Beta.


  • Patri did an initial interview for a 5min segment on CNN radio.
  • Community member Lasse wrote up a piece for, one of the top 20 Danish websites.
  • Patri spoke at the Convergence 2008 unconference, to an audience of about 25.
  • Video Blog: Seasteading: A Positive Future Scenario.  (A reporter recorded this off-the-cuff piece by Patri at Singularity Summit.  Amusingly, we recorded it in a bathroom).
  • Seasteading was briefly mentioned in a David Brin short story, as posted earlier.
  • Wired Magazine story is moving forward.


  • Our lawyers have been very slow on the non-profit app, but it should get submitted this week.  It will then be 6 months before we can get confirmation from the IRS.  We are a bit bummed about it taking this long to submit it, as a number of activities (applying for grants, development work) are contingent on non-profit status.
  • We got a projector from eBay.


  • Cruise Ship condominiums, as a business, have a strong overlap with seasteading, and so we are pleased to see that the Magellan has opened sales.  However, with units priced at $2.8M – $18M during a severe global recession, we are concerned that they may suffer the same fate as ResidenSea, and have trouble selling units.
  • The trailer is out for A View From Below, a documentary about Karl Stanley’s homebuilt submarines.
  • If you didn’t catch it the first time, don’t miss Patri’s blog post There is another way! about the US Elections.

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