The Seasteading Institute: Newsletter June 2011

The Seasteading Institute – June 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends of The Seasteading Institute,

Floating cities are not going to appear overnight, but the staff of The Seasteading Institute are working diligently to enable the creation of seasteads sooner than later.

  • This summer we have two naval engineer student interns investigating breakwater technology that might protect large seasteads of the future from rough seas and rogue waves.
  • We have made tremendous progress in our core research areas: legal, business, and engineering; expect to see research papers from each of these departments later this year.
  • Our volunteer ambassadors have been actively promoting seasteading both at speaking engagements and online. For example, on Monday, May 30, several ambassadors engaged in an online conversation on, resulting in a 500% increase in our web traffic that day.

In case you are not aware, we have a large matching grant available from the Thiel Foundation. This means now is a great time to donate and support the work we are doing to improve humanity through seasteading. Your donation today will have twice the impact, since every dollar you give us will be doubled.

The high seas are awaiting us, Randolph Hencken Director of Communication

President of Estonia and Former Prime Minister of Finland Learn About Seasteading from Patri Friedman

The Seasteading Institute’s Executive Director, Patri Friedman, recently spent approximately two weeks in Europe building connections with seasteading allies abroad and learning about various industries relevant to the seasteading mission.

On the afternoon of May 17th, Patri met with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. The two of them had a fantastic discussion about startup countries and the possibility of seasteading in the Baltic waters. Patri shared the vision of how seasteads could benefit neighboring nations through economic partnerships, including new trade and the creation of new jobs. Ilves was open to the idea and shared Estonia’s desire for a fair playing field benefiting all businesses, suggesting seastead businesses would not need their own special economic zones to operate in or near Estonian waters.

Earlier in the week on May 13th, Patri had lunch with former Prime Minister of Finland, Esko Aho, who was introduced to us by Board Member John Chisholm. The two had a great conversation about how competitive government could strengthen civil society and, of course, how seasteading will enable a global system of competitive governance.

Prior to visiting Finland and Estonia, Patri made a stop in Norway, where he met with Norwegian entrepreneur Gunnar Karlsen, who hosted and guided his Norwegian tour. Patri visited a Marine Harvest salmon farm, learning about its operation and the potential opportunities and challenges of moving such an industry to the high seas. Gunnar gave a tour of his new high-speed towing tank, and discussed possibilities for seasteading breakwater research and wave tank testing. This was followed by a tour of EasyForm, an advanced plastics and composite surface company, where they discussed possibilities for casting ferrocement seasteads on enormous molds.

Ultimately, Patri felt the trip was highly fruitful and informative regarding possibilities for seasteading in/near European waters. Reconnecting with known seasteaders and forging new connections with the growing seasteading communities in Norway, Finland, and Estonia was both a great thrill for Patri and important for the seasteading movement as a whole.

BBC’s One Planet Features Patri

BBC’s April 29, 2011 episode of One Planet included an interview with Patri Friedman.  The show explored urban expansion onto water. They visited a floating home in Amsterdam,  an architect’s plans for a floating housing estate, the floating markets of Bangkok, and our plans to enable floating cities on the high seas. Patri’s contribution to the episode begins around 11 minutes into the 18-minute show.


Video of Engineering Town Hall Online

On Wednesday May 25, we hosted a members only online town hall meeting to discuss seasteading engineering. Director of Engineering George Petrie led the discussion, which is now available to view online. The approximate one hour town hall reviewed our location study research, the feasibility of converting used cruise ships and semi-submersible platforms into seasteads, future engineering research to expand the size of seasteads, and other relevant topics.

Featured Ambassadors: Anders Arfelt and Lasse Birk Olesen

Last month we launched our ambassadors program and nine volunteers have been accepted into the project. Our ambassadors are emblematic of our global reach — we now have touch points stretching across the globe. Two of our ambassadors live in Denmark and one lives in South Africa. In North America we have representatives in California, New York, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and British Colombia. We also had an applicant from the United Kingdom, but he had to turn down the position due to time constraints.

Each of our newsletters will feature one or more of our ambassadors. This month we are proud to present Denmark’s Lasse Birk Olesen, and Anders Arfelt.

If you would like to officially represent The Seasteading Institute and promote seasteading, please visit our ambassadors web page.

Anders Arfelt has a rich history working with ocean industries and is planning to assist in our outreach to regulatory bodies and maritime organizations. He is currently director for a Dutch protection and indemnity insurance specialists company, where his specialties include maritime risk management for ocean vessels. Previously he was a senior international affairs officer at the Baltic International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the chief officer responsible for the development of emergency organization at Norwegian Cruise Line, and a maritime casualty manager and investigator at Skuld P&I. Anders holds an unlimited master’s certificate for oceangoing vessels.

“I strongly believe that the solution to many of the problems experienced globally can be found in the maritime domain,” states Anders. “Therefore, I really want to make full use of my vast maritime experience to further the objectives of The Seasteading Institute. I have practical maritime experience from sailing the largest oil tankers ever built, to sailing cruise ships with thousands of individuals on board, to organizing and assessing safety and investigating accidents. I have lobbied for the shipping industry in relevant international and global institutions in order to seek to influence regulators and administrators. I am convinced that the experience and business models used in the traditional shipping industry, as well as their regulatory framework, will provide many of the solutions required to establish maritime industries and eventually seasteads.”

Lasse Birk Olesen is an engineering student and writer. He has been a friend of The Seasteading Institute since 2009. In the past he has arranged for Patri to speak in Denmark to an audience of more than 100, has given six of his own seasteading talks, administered our 2009 seastead design contest, written three letters to the editor about seasteading, and arranged three seasteading meet-ups in Copenhagen. As an official ambassador he has already given a talk to a group of 30 people.

Wanted: Seasteading Stories from the Future

Can you write an inspiring article from the future illustrating how seasteading has improved humanity? If so, we want your submission. The best stories will be featured on our revised website later in the year.

Here’s what talented writers need to know when they draft their entries:

  • Inspirational: These stories should be written to inspire readers about seasteading’s opportunities to improve humankind. Therefore, every story should have a human element. That is, no matter what topic the writer chooses (i.e. macroeconomics, poverty, medical science, environmentalism, etc.), the story needs to focus on at least one character whose life is better because of seasteading.
  • Quality is important: The overall goal of this project is to create written images of what the future could be with seasteading, and we will publish the best-written stories that capture our vision of the future.
  • Length should be 200-2000: We will accept stories as short as 200 words and as long as 2000.
  • Newspaper style: The stories will be presented as news stories from the future. Entrants can tackle human interest stories focusing on one fictional individual, or international matters of economic boons related to seasteading, or anything in between that could reasonably be conceived as plausible (so long as it has a human element).
  • Wide audience: Stories should be written with a wide audience in mind and be as politically neutral as possible. We wish to promote seasteading as an outlet for anyone to create and test innovative governments and we will not choose to publish stories that are overtly offensive to a particular political disposition.
  • Hypothetical year: Stories should be identified with a hypothetical year they take place. That is, does the story take place 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now?
  • All stories will be considered licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. This means others will be free to share and adapt the work, so long as attribution is giving to the author.

Before writing we suggest authors review our website, particularly our introduction, strategy and FAQ pages. Although it was not written in newspaper style, we have an example of a seasteading story from the future written by Patri.

We look forward to many submissions from our talented supporters. Please email your submission to .

Featured Donor: Ian Erickson

This item comes to us from Ian Erickson who has been a member since May 2009.

I first met Patri in college, and over the years he’s exposed me to many new and unique ideas. His introducing me to libertarian economics was probably the catalyst that led me into a career in finance despite having studied chemistry. I view seasteading as an essential strategy in stemming the tide of creeping scleroticism and dysfunction in western-style democracy. Because seasteading is such a new approach to the question of governance, experimentation will be key—and that takes resources! So, I’ve been happy to donate so far, and plan on continuing to do so.

I’m from Napa as much as I’m from anywhere, but spent my early childhood in Oregon. I collected degrees in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and UCLA in Southern California, and along the way I spent a year in Germany as an exchange student and worked for two years at a pharmaceutical company in Japan—I love travelling and learning new languages. Currently I live in San Francisco and work as a “Quant”, building stock selection models that we sell to hedge funds and investment banks.

Survey Results: Political Dispositions

In our last newsletter we asked our readers which political label they most identified with. We believe seasteading offers the opportunity for any political group to have a controlled experiment in governance, so we hope to diversify our community as we continue to grow our movement. We received 115 responses to the survey.

Survey: What Prevents Those Dissatisfied with Government from Getting Involved with Seasteading?

We look forward to bringing you more news soon. In the meantime keep up with all that is happening at The Seasteading Institute by visiting our blogs, forums, and Facebook page. We’re also on Twitter.


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