Floating Cities: The UN’s Solution to Land Scarcity or Science Fiction Dream? – Propmodo

Imagine a fully-functional city, bobbing in the ocean waters, floating like a rubber duck in the tub. The city and all of its occupants gradually follow natures ebb and flow, coasting along the earths currents. Does this sound like science fiction? Thats because it is. But the plans for floating city developments, along with the technology enabling them to work, already exist. In fact, two seasteading proponents successfully lived on the first ever floating modular seastead prototype, created by Ocean Builders. The couple, made up of retired Bitcoin investor Chad Elwartowski and Thai native Nadia Summergirl, are touted as the first seasteaders, according to the Seasteading Institute, whose goal is to build politically-autonomous cities on the sea. But the first seasteaders stay was cut short when the Thai navy confiscated the prototype after just a few weeks because they claimed it threatened the nations sovereignty and interfered with international shipping routesa large feat for such a tiny vessel and a crime that can be punishable by death in Thailand.

Ocean Builders has since begun a new venture in Panama to test their Seapod concept. They are currently accepting applications for seasteaders that want to join their Panama Incubator, that boasts one of the worlds largest 3D printers, which they intend to use for printing smart homes as well as a coral reef. Not so long ago, the idea of printing a coral reef would have also been written off as science fiction, so perhaps there is a possible future where floating cities exist. Elwartowski, who is in Panama working on the project, released a video in March describing plans to continue full-steam ahead. In regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, Elwartowski said, Weve been working hard, trying to get everything still going. We are not going to stop through the virus. Later in the video, which tests an underwater drone, he continued, No matter if youre scared of the virus or the reaction to the virus, living out on the ocean will be helpful for both of those situations.

Elwartowski doesnt go into detail on how he envisions floating cities being useful for situations like COVID-19. But I spoke with Brydon T. Wang, a technology and construction lawyer and a researcher at the Queensland University of Technology. Wang, who studied architecture and public policy in addition to law, explained that floating cities could provide flexibility in terms of use, allowing buildings to be mobile and reprogrammable to different parts of the city and beyond. In terms of COVID-19, he said, floating emergency housing facilities could be repurposed and attached to cities and used for quarantine facilities. Converting buildings into temporary hospitals during the pandemic has been a huge challenge for everyone involved, requiring people to work around the clock to get these treatment centers open for use. Floating cities could help alleviate this stress. Wang said, These floating structures could come with state-of-the-art medical facilities that can be towed to areas [or] cities of need, depending on how each site is impacted by new waves of COVID-19 infections (or any other pandemic).

Wang also gave the example of how the widespread bushfires in Australia caused a need for emergency evacuation, stranding thousands of people on a beach in Mallacoota. When navy vessels were sent to evacuate them, families with infants and toddlers could not evacuate as they needed to climb ropes to get onto the vessels, Wang explained. In emergency situations, accessibility can be the difference between life or death for societys most vulnerable members who lack the mobility to escape without assistance. Floating emergency structures can be designed to have easier accessibility, closer to the waters surface, as well as on site emergency housing and all of the facilities needed to sustain displaced communities for extended periods of timeperhaps even full time.

Last year, as a part of its Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, the United Nations announced an initiative to research floating city developments as a sustainable solution to the growing problem of urban density, land scarcity, and climate change. During a high-level roundtable on the topic, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed explained that the way weve built cities in the past, citing New York and Nairobi as examples, is not sustainable for the future because of their impact on climate change and susceptibility to rising sea levels. She explained how floating cities can help communities in places like Bangkok, where the risk of flooding threatens to destroy them. Mohammed cited other examples including Lagos, where the urban poor have responded to the lack of land and a growing population by living in floating villages on the outskirts of town. She also mentioned Singapore, where scarcity of land has led to massive reclamation, expanding the citys size by almost a quarter (and undoubtedly destroying marine habitats in the process).

Land reclamation can have detrimental environmental impacts, and according to Wang, its also a slow processthe ground needs to settle after you create it. However, you could manufacture multiple modules of floating structures at different sites and assemble these on-location comparatively quicker than land reclamation. Floating developments are far more eco-friendly than land reclamation, but they are also more resilient to the effects of climate change. Floating cities are a means of ensuring climate resilience, as buildings can rise along with the sea, Mohammed said. Land reclamation developments, on the other hand, are still susceptible to rising sea levels and flooding. Wang reiterated these sentiments and added, Floating structures are also earthquake resistant unlike reclaimed land.

Mohammed provided examples where successful floating development precedents exist: Cities such as Seattle, Jakarta and Mexico City have made way for houseboats and floating markets for some time, expanding the places where people can live and work onto the sea. A few summers ago, I visited Victoria, British Columbia, which boasts one of these floating markets called Fishermans Wharf. Shops, restaurants, boats, and colorful float homes are all connected by a grid of docks along the harbor. I remember thinking that the unique location probably garnered a premium for float home rentalswhat tourist wouldnt want to wake up to a harbor seal splashing outside their window? It turns out that these particular float homes were not for rent, but the added tourism benefit could help cities broaden their economic activity.

Existing floating developments, like those in Victoria, often run on the same power sources as the mainland and require the same access to utilities as land developments. However, the newer, more futuristic floating city models run autonomously on green energy with net zero emissions and actually support marine environments rather than disturb them. When entire floating communities are designed from scratch, they can be designed as climateneutral from the onset. Why not use the abundant wind and water to cover all of their electricity needs? said Mohammed.

Elwartowskis confiscated prototype ran on solar provided by rooftop panels. Many of these floating city concepts include things like hydroponic grow walls to farm food and ways to convert algae into energy or rain into usable water. More advanced concepts like Oceanix, designed by BIG architecture firm, or Aequorea, a futuristic oceanscraper by Vincent Callebaut, also boast fully developed underwater marine habitats that thrive just below the waters surfacea Utopian Atlantis that looks as though it could house mermaids as well as people. Some of these concepts can feel a bit foreign or hard to imagine in real life. They end up lumped in with flying cars and actual hoverboards (not those wheel-based imitations that caught fire and ruined Christmas a few years back). But what if, instead of dumping money into land reclamation and the creation of artificial islands, we focused on actual, sustainable floating city concepts?

Elwartowski may have been onto something when he said that COVID-19 could act as a catalyst in helping people realize the value of living on the sea. Indeed, densely-populated places like New York City have seen a recent exodus of people moving to the suburbs. Whether the result of the work from home movement, a desire to avoid crowds, or because so many businesses (and livelihoods) were shut down, the flocks of people leaving the city for more rural areas means that urban density could be less of an issue in the future. But Wang sees this shift in urban density happening only to a certain degree: In many places, there are limits to how much the suburban surrounds can absorb increased population growth.

COVID-19 also seemed to be a catalyst in lessening the impacts of climate change. Many cities reported reduced smog and clearer skies as people across the world were forced to stay home, meaning less cars on the road and less energy consumption. While these COVID-19 side effects may only be temporary, they also teach us important lessons about the futures possibilities. We have a legitimate conundrum: continue excavating land from the sea to bulk up our coasts, protect us from rising sea levels, and provide more land to build upon, or explore different directions.

While seasteaders like Elwartowski might be after autonomy to self govern, the concept could also be used to create more of these live-work-play floating markets like Fishermans Wharf in Victoria, but on a grander scale. Floating cities dont necessarily need to drift through international waters. They could instead be used as a portable extension of land. Mohammed welcomes both humble houseboats and oceanscrapers alike in the discussion about sustainable floating cities. She also approaches it in a practical way, much like any other commercial development with partnerships that allow stakeholders in various roles to contribute expertise.

Innovators, researchers and private sector leaders can develop the technologies that allow floating cities and buildings to be constructed in a manner that is sustainable, resilient, and liveable. Governments can create [] incentives for innovation to thrive. And local authorities can facilitate the construction of pilot projects, Mohammed said. Much like the planning of any city, floating cities will rely on technology to establish an infrastructure that supports the needs of the population. Floating cities dont need to be libertarian utopias of the future. They can be more sustainable extensions of the cities that already exista green alternative to destructive land reclamation or deforestation, a solution to land scarcity that doesnt require actual land.


Floating Cities: The UN's Solution to Land Scarcity or Science Fiction Dream? - Propmodo

Seasteading – Would you move? | The Hearty Soul

Posted on: June 24, 2020 at 3:28 pm

With global warming becoming an increasingly urgent problem and much of the world having been under lockdown for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are thinking about alternative ways of living in the future. This rocky period in human history has pushed forward the once very fringe idea of seasteading living out on the open ocean.

Just as it sounds, seasteading is living life out on the sea. Were not talking about living in a houseboat, however. No, seasteading is the building of floating homes and entire communities out on the open water. (1)

Chad Elwartowski, software engineer, bitcoin trader, and the current leader in the seasteading movement, began his second attempt at building one of these homes off the coast of Panama in May. The ultimate goal is to build entire independent cities out on the water, free from the confines of traditional government restrictions on movement the way land-dwelling nations are. The COVID-19 pandemic has bolstered the seasteading libretarian fringe group pushing for this new way of life.

Coronavirus is an opportunity to show the world that what were building is actually going to be very useful in the future, he said in a recent video. (1)

In April of 2019, Elwartowski and his girlfriend attempted to build and live in a seasteading home off the coast of Thailand, only to be chased out by the Thai government. The home was seen by the nation as a threat and the couple narrowly escaped being thrown in prison for life or worse. After a few weeks of fleeing Thai patrol boats, they eventually made it to Singapore. From there, they moved to Panama where they re-launched their company.

Groups like Seasteading have seen a surge in interest and support since the lockdowns began, as there are many conspiracists and people who believe the lockdowns are just a way for governments to have more control over their citizens.

This anti-government sentiment is what the Seasteading Institute was founded on in San Francisco back in 2008. Started by Google software engineer Patri Friedman and financially supported by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, the companys goal statement was:

to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems (1)

Essentially, these Silicon Valley tech guys believed that governments and their regulations stifle innovation. They have dreams of building a society where that never happens. The citizens of these envisioned communities would have freedom of movement. If they didnt like the way one community was being governed, they could simply pack up and go move to another. No visas or any of the complexities involved with moving to another land country.

Read: Couple Lives Off The Grid After Spending 20-Years Building Self-Sustaining Floating Island

Theils donations only stretched so far, and Friedman only got so far as hosting a sort of river boat festival reminiscent of Burning Man. Though he has since moved towards focusing on land-based communities, the Seasteading helm has been taken up by Joe Quirk, who is an author and self-proclaimed seavangelist.

Quirk believes that water communities can help to heal all of humanity. He even wrote a book that talks of how floating cities can restore the environment, enrich the poor, cure the sick, and liberate humanity from politicians. (1)

In January 2017, however, after years of planning, feasibility studies, and government negotiations, he and his team reached an agreement with French Polynesia. They were to build their floating nation in the 5 million square kilometers of sea owned by the island country. There was a misunderstanding of purpose however and what each group would do for the other. The French Polynesian government was looking for them to address environmental concerns and the threat of rising sea levels. The Seasteading Institute was, of course, more interested in building a nation with complete autonomy.

The local people were not supportive of the project and eventually, it came to a halt. Marc Collins Chen, former minister of tourism of French Polynesia who founded the company Blue Frontiers along with Quirk, has since realized that these floating nations need to work with host countries more, and in order to have support, they need to pay taxes.

I realised that the real future for these sorts of projects has to be closer to cities, he explains. They have to be an extension of an existing citys infrastructure, they need to be run by the mayor, and they have to pay their taxes as opposed to being enclaves for the wealthy. (1)

Collins Chen has now moved to New York to build a new company focused on creating these floating cities, called Oceanix City. He believes that these floating cities could be a way to accommodate growth without disturbing the already struggling ecosystems on land. Using drag-and-drop building, you can add, move, and takeaway sections whenever you need. The cities could be powered by water and solar and essentially become self-sustaining.

Read: A community of voluntary anarchists is taking off-the-grid living to the next level

UN-Habitat, the sustainable development branch of the United Nations, hosted a discussion about the Oceanix City project in April 2019. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat executive director, says that floating cities could be one of the potential solutions to current housing and climate issues facing countries around the world.

Actually having floating cities ready to live in is not something that will happen soon. Currently a factory where the citys structures will be built is under construction in Panama. The main feature of the factory will be a giant 3D printer that will print both the floating homes with underwater rooms wrapped in eco-restorative 3D printed coral reef. The cost will be between $200,000 and $800,000 per home.

Current CEO Grant Romundt says the focus is making homes that are a safe place for people to be during times such as the coronavirus pandemic.

They should be a safe place to escape to and be totally energy independent, with solar panels on the roof, water desalination on board, waste collection by drone, and aeroponic systems to grow your own food. (1)

He says they are building holiday homes that will be registered as boats under the Panama flag, but as time goes on he believes they will morph into actual real, independent cities. The best part, he claims, is that if these seasteads fail, the people can just disassemble and go away. It would be as if they were never there at all.

What do you think? Would you move to an independent floating nation?

Keep Reading: Pandemic Leads To Urban Exodus As Families Turn To Self-Reliance And Off-The-Grid Living


Here is the original post:

Seasteading - Would you move? | The Hearty Soul

Seasteading – Wikipedia

The concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. The term is a blend of sea and homesteading.

Proponents say they can "provide the means for rapid innovation in voluntary governance and reverse environmental damage to our oceans ... and foster entrepreneurship." [1] Some critics fear seasteads are designed more as a refuge for the wealthy to avoid taxes or other obligations.[2]

No one has yet created a structure on the high seas that has been recognized as a sovereign state. Proposed structures have included modified cruise ships, refitted oil platforms, decommissioned anti-aircraft platforms, and custom-built floating islands.[3]

As an intermediate step, the Seasteading Institute has promoted cooperation with an existing nation on prototype floating islands with legal semi-autonomy within the nation's protected territorial waters. On January 13, 2017, the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with French Polynesia to create the first semi-autonomous "seazone" for a prototype,[4][5] but later that year political changes driven by the French Polynesia presidential election led to the indefinite postponement of the project.[6] French Polynesia formally backed out of the project and permanently cut ties with Seadsteading on March 14, 2018.[7]

The first single-family seastead was launched near Phuket, Thailand by Ocean Builders.[8] Two months later, the Thai Navy claimed the seastead was a threat to Thai sovereignty,[9] although the residents of the seastead had not been formally charged with a crime as of February2020[update]. Ocean Builders has re-launched in Panama, with the support of government officials.[10]

Many architects and firms have created designs for floating cities, including Vincent Callebaut,[11][12] Paolo Soleri[13] and companies such as Shimizu, Ocean Builders[14] and E. Kevin Schopfer.[15]

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, and his executive leadership became a maritime-based community named the Sea Organization (Sea Org). Beginning in 1967 with a complement of four ships, the Sea Org spent most of its existence on the high seas, visiting ports around the world for refueling and resupply. In 1975 much of these operations were shifted to land-based locations.

Marshall Savage discussed building tethered artificial islands in his 1992 book The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, with several color plates illustrating his ideas.

Other historical predecessors and inspirations for seasteading include:

At least two people independently coined the term seasteading: Ken Neumeyer in his book Sailing the Farm (1981) and Wayne Gramlich in his article "Seasteading Homesteading on the High Seas" (1998).[17]

Gramlich's essay attracted the attention of Patri Friedman.[18] The two began working together and posted their first collaborative book online in 2001.[19] Their book explored many aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience. This collaboration led to the creation of the non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI) in 2008.

In March 2019, a group called Ocean Builders claimed to have built the first seastead in International Waters, off the coast of the Thai island of Phuket.[20] Thai Navy officials have charged them of violating Thai Sovereignty.[21]

In April 2019, the concept of floating cities as a way to cope with rising oceans was included in a presentation by the United Nations program UN-Habitat. As presented, they would be limited to sheltered waters.[22]

On April 15, 2008, Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI), an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters.[23][24][25]

Friedman and Gramlich noted that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country's Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370km) from shore. Beyond that boundary lie the high seas, which are not subject to the laws of any sovereign state other than the flag under which a ship sails. They proposed that a seastead could take advantage of the absence of laws and regulations outside the sovereignty of nations to experiment with new governance systems, and allow the citizens of existing governments to exit more easily.[23][26][27]

The project picked up mainstream exposure after PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. donated $500,000 in initial seed capital and has contributed more since. He also spoke out on behalf of its viability in his essay "The Education of a Libertarian".[28] TSI received widespread media attention.[29][25][30][31][32]

In 2008, Friedman and Gramlich said they hoped to float the first prototype seastead in the San Francisco Bay by 2010[33][34] followed by a seastead in 2014.[35] TSI did not meet these targets.

In January 2009, the Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort seastead, ClubStead, about a city block in size, produced by consultancy firm Marine Innovation & Technology. The ClubStead design marked the first major engineering analysis in the seasteading movement.[25][36][37]

In July 2012, the vessel Opus Casino was donated to the Seasteading Institute.[38]

In the spring of 2013,[39] TSI launched The Floating City Project.[40] The project proposed to locate a floating city within the territorial waters of an existing nation, rather than the open ocean.[41] TSI claimed that doing so would have several advantages by placing it within the international legal framework and making it easier to engineer and easier for people and equipment to reach.

In October 2013, the Institute raised $27,082 from 291 funders in a crowdfunding campaign[42] TSI used the funds to hire the Dutch marine engineering firm DeltaSync[43] to write an engineering study for The Floating City Project.

In September 2016 the Seasteading Institute met with officials in French Polynesia[44] to discuss building a prototype seastead in a sheltered lagoon.[45] On January 13, 2017, French Polynesia Minister of Housing Jean-Christophe Bouissou signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TSI to create the first semi-autonomous "seazone". TSI spun off a for-profit company called "Blue Frontiers", which will build and operate a prototype seastead in the zone.[46]

On March 3, 2018, French Polynesia government said the agreement was "not a legal document" and had expired at the end of 2017.[47] No action has been announced since.

A proposal to build a "floating island" with a luxury hotel in Jounieh north of the Lebanese capital Beirut, was stalled as of 2015 because of concerns from local officials about environmental and regulatory matters.[48][49]

Blueseed was a company aiming to float a ship near Silicon Valley to serve as a visa-free startup community and entrepreneurial incubator. Blueseed founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija met when both were employees of The Seasteading Institute. The project planned to offer living and office space, high-speed Internet connectivity, and regular ferry service to the mainland[50][51] but as of 2014 the project was "on hold".[52][50][51]

Cruise ships are a proven technology, and address most of the challenges of living at sea for extended periods of time. However, they're typically optimized for travel and short-term stay, not for permanent residence in a single location.


Platform designs based on spar buoys, similar to oil platforms.[54] In this design, the platforms rest on spars in the shape of floating dumbbells, with the living area high above sea level. Building on spars in this fashion reduces the influence of wave action on the structure.[36]


There are numerous seastead designs based around interlocking modules made of reinforced concrete.[56] Reinforced concrete is used for floating docks, oil platforms, dams, and other marine structures.


A single, monolithic structure that is not intended to be expanded or connected to other modules.


Criticisms have been leveled at both the practicality and desirability of seasteading.

Critics believe that creating governance structures from scratch is a lot harder than it seems.[62] Also, seasteads would still be at risk of political interference from nation states.[25]

On a logistical level, without access to culture, travel, restaurants, shopping, and other amenities, seasteads could be too remote and too uncomfortable to be attractive to potential long-term residents.[25] Building seasteads to withstand the rigors of the open ocean may prove uneconomical.[62][25]

Seastead structures may blight ocean views, their industry or farming may deplete their environments, and their waste may pollute surrounding waters. Some critics believe that seasteads will exploit both residents and the nearby population.[62] Others fear that seasteads will mainly allow wealthy individuals to escape taxes,[2] or to harm mainstream society by ignoring other financial, environmental, and labor regulations.[2][62]

The Seasteading Institute held its first conference in Burlingame, California, October 10, 2008. Forty-five people from nine countries attended.[63]The second Seasteading conference was significantly larger, and held in San Francisco, California, September 2830, 2009.[64][65]The third Seasteading conference took place May 31 June 2, 2012.[66]

Seasteading has been imagined many times in novels as early as Jules Verne's 1895 science-fiction book Propeller Island (L'le hlice) about an artificial island designed to travel the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and as recent as 2003's The Scar, which featured a floating city, Armada. It has been a central concept in some movies, notably Waterworld (1995) and in TV series such as Stargate Atlantis, which had a complete floating city. And it is a common setting in video games, forming the premise of BioShock and BioShock 2, Brink, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II; and in anime, such as Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet which takes place mainly on a traveling city made of an interconnected fleet of ocean ships.

Read the original post:

Seasteading - Wikipedia

Seasteading a vanity project for the rich or the future of humanity? – The Guardian

A white steel pole rises out of the sea off the Caribbean coast of Panama, poking above the waves like the funnel of a sunken steamship. Launched into the water last month, this is no shipwreck, but the base of what will soon become a floating home and, in the eyes of its makers, the first step towards building a brave new post-Covid-19 society, out on the open ocean.

Coronavirus is an opportunity to show the world that what were building is actually going to be very useful in the future, says Chad Elwartowski, in a recent video post from his beachside base in Panama. The Michigan-born software engineer turned bitcoin trader is a leading figure in the seasteading movement, a libertarian group dedicated to building independent floating cities on the high seas. Along with the bunker builders and survivalist preppers, their long-held ambitions have been bolstered by the current global pandemic. No matter if youre scared of the virus or the reaction to the virus, he adds, living out on the ocean will be helpful for these situations.

It is not the first time Elwartowski has attempted to realise his dream of a floating future. In April last year, he and his Thai partner Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), were forced to flee their first floating home off the coast of Thailand, just moments before it was raided by the Thai navy. They had constructed what they declared to be the first seastead 12 nautical miles from Phuket, but the authorities decided that the six metre-wide fibreglass cabin, perched on top of a floating pole, posed a threat to Thailands sovereignty. It was an offence punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The couple announced on social media declaring their autonomy beyond the jurisdiction of any courts or law of any countries, including Thailand, said Rear Admiral Vithanarat Kochaseni, adding that they had invited others to join them. We see such action as deteriorating Thailands independence.

After a few weeks on the run, dodging Thai patrol boats and eventually making their way to Singapore, the couple moved to Panama to relaunch their company, Ocean Builders with the financial backer of the project, Rdiger Koch, a retired German aerospace engineer. This event has doubled down our efforts, the group said in a statement, following the Thai ordeal. We can all clearly see that seasteading needs to happen now as tyranny creeps ever more deeply into our governments to the point that they are willing to hunt down a couple of residents residing in a floating house in middle of nowhere.

The coronavirus pandemic has given fringe libertarian groups around the world renewed vigour to pursue their dreams of building autonomous new societies. Government-enforced lockdowns and increased digital surveillance have added fuel to their suspicions of state control, while the suspension of day-to-day norms and the spectre of an economic meltdown have amplified their calls to rethink society. When youre not sure which virus is more contagious, says the slogan of a recent meme made by Americans for Liberty, shared on Elwartowskis Facebook page. Covid-19, or those fine with complete government control.

The sentiment lies at the core of the seasteading community, a disparate group that has grown since 2008, when the Seasteading Institute was founded in San Francisco by Patri Friedman. The self-styled anarcho-capitalist (and grandson of Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman) was working as a Google software engineer when he managed to attract funding from PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel to set up the institute. In a founding statement, they described its goal as being to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems. Thiel was nothing if not confident: The nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level, he proclaimed.

A new kind of government arises, born in Earths last free places, fated to advance the human frontier

Seasteading represents the ultimate Silicon Valley approach to governance, conceiving society as a technology that can be hacked and innovated upon as simply as an operating system. It is predicated on the idea that government regulation stifles innovation, and therefore the route to a better world can only be found by unleashing a new generation of start-up societies that are forced to compete for citizens in a free market of ideologies. Dont like the rules of your current micro-nation? Simply move to another one. We will give people the freedom to choose the government they want, said Friedman, instead of being stuck with the government they get. Its boosters see it as the route to salvation; its critics say it would lead to an apartheid of the worst kind.

Progress has been bumpy. Thiels donations soon dried up, and Friedmans plans never got much further than launching Ephemerisle a waterborne version of the Burning Man festival, staged in the Sacramento River delta near San Francisco, where rival floating pontoons compete for the attention of soggy partygoers. He has since moved his focus away from the water, recently launching a company to develop experimental cities on dry land instead. But the Seasteading Institute continues without him, headed by author and self-appointed seavangelist, Joe Quirk.

Nearly half of the worlds surface is unclaimed, says Quirk, who published a book on seasteading in 2017, with the ambitious subtitle: How floating nations will restore the environment, enrich the poor, cure the sick, and liberate humanity from politicians. In an introductory video, he describes the planets oceans as a sort of research and development zone where we could discover better means of governance, and says that seasteading could provide the technology for thousands of people to start their own nano-nation on the high seas, giving people opportunities to peacefully test new ideas about living together. The most successful seasteads, he says, will become thriving new societies, inspiring change around the world.

So far, his own attempts dont bode particularly well for the future of floating utopias. In January 2017, after years of technical feasibility studies and political negotiations, the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of French Polynesia to build the first seasteads in its territorial waters. The designs, developed by Dutch architects Blue21, looked like a high-end resort in the Maldives, depicting a series of villas linked by an undulating green landscape. It was all to be magicked from the waters by an initial coin offering, a form of crowdfunding through selling tokens of a new cryptocurrency, all the rage among the tech community in 2017. Were going to draw a new map of the world with French Polynesia at the centre of the aquatic age, Quirk declared.

The choice of location was strategic. Comprised of almost 120 dispersed low-lying islands and atolls, French Polynesia is at severe risk of suffering devastating consequences from even the slightest rise in sea level. It also happens to boast the worlds largest exclusive economic zone, an area of sea that can stretch for 200 nautical miles from a territorys coastline, over which it can claim exclusive economic rights. At five million square kilometres, French Polynesian waters span an area as large as the landmass of the entire European Union, making it an ideal place to experiment with novel forms of aquatic jurisdiction. In theory.

We explained to the Polynesians how having a quasi-autonomous area nearby was a good thing, says Tom W Bell, professor of law at Chapman University in Orange County, California, who drew up the legal agreement for the project. Look at Monaco, or Hong Kong or Singapore special jurisdictions create a lot of growth outside their borders. In his book, Your Next Government? From the Nation State to Stateless Nations, Bell traces the projected evolution of a seastead. It would begin like a coral polyp, he writes, protected by a countrys territorial waters, where it would start to generate economic activity, enriching its environment and attracting still more life, before breaking free to start a new autonomous life on the open ocean. Ultimately, he imagines seasteads nurtured by different host nations congregating in mid-ocean gyres, sheltered within floating breakwaters. A new kind of government arises, he writes, born in Earths last free places, fated to advance the human frontier.

The reality didnt quite pan out that way in the South Pacific. There wasnt a perfect alignment of interests, says Marc Collins Chen, former minister of tourism of French Polynesia, who co-founded the company Blue Frontiers with Quirk to realise the project. The government was looking for something to address sea level rise and environmental degradation, whereas the Seasteading Institute was more about autonomy. He says that the prospect of a tax-free enclave held little appeal for the locals, given that Polynesians dont pay income tax anyway. One Tahitian TV host compared the situation to the evil Galactic Empire in Star Wars imposing on the innocent Ewoks, while secretly building the Death Star. The libertarian position didnt help either. As Collins Chen puts it: Its very difficult to ask for government support when your narrative is that you want to get rid of politicians. In retrospect, Bell agrees: They already had a beautiful paradise in French Polynesia. The local community wasnt very enthusiastic about the project, and I get it. They didnt need strangers coming in and ruining their view.

Over the next 40 years, the world is expected to build 230bn square metres in new construction. This could be a way to accommodate that growth

Collins Chen has since moved to New York, where he has established a new company to develop further plans for floating cities, this time stripped of any libertarian tax-dodging ideology. I realised that the real future for these sorts of projects has to be closer to cities, he says. They have to be an extension of an existing citys infrastructure, they need to be run by the mayor, and they have to pay their taxes as opposed to being enclaves for the wealthy.

His plan, titled Oceanix City, has been designed in slick Ted Talk style by Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect beloved of Silicon Valley tech companies. His twinkling animations depict a floating world of interlocking hexagonal islands, where power is harvested from waves and the sun, where residents live on a diet of seaweed and fish, and where marine life is regenerated by artificial reefs. If this floating city flourishes, said Ingels in a presentation, it can then grow like a culture in a petri dish. On a screen behind him, the floating hexagons multiplied until they took up an area more than three times the size of Manhattan, a vision of low-density suburbia sprawling virulently across the sea.

Over the next 40 years, the world is expected to build 230bn square metres in new construction, says Collins Chen, the equivalent of adding one New York City every month. This could be a way to accommodate that growth, without the devastating effects of land reclamation or deforestation. He says part of the appeal is the ability to reconfigure the urban form according to changing needs, in a process of drag-and-drop city building. You could literally float one a city block away and put a different one in its place, when the need for a new school, hospital or university arose.

Remarkably, their sci-fi scheme has won the support of the United Nations sustainable development arm, UN-Habitat, which hosted a round table discussion for the project in April 2019. As global heating accelerates, sea levels rise and more people crowd into urban slums, floating cities is one of the possible solutions, said UN-Habitats executive director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

Back in Panama, the notion that floating habitats could be an inclusive solution to global housing need seems a long way off, to put it mildly. Despite the countrys coronavirus lockdown, the Ocean Builders team has been at work throughout, laying the foundations for a factory that will soon house the largest 3D printer in Central America, ready to produce what their website touts as the worlds first 3D-printed, smart floating home with an underwater room wrapped in an eco restorative 3D-printed coral reef yours for between $200,000 to $800,000 (160,000 to 640,000).

In light of the global pandemic, were really focusing on making the homes feel like a kind of lifeboat, says the companys CEO, Grant Romundt, who worked on the Freedom Ship project in Florida in the 1990s, an aborted plan to build a mile-long cruise ship for 40,000 people, topped with a runway. They should be a safe place to escape to and be totally energy independent, with solar panels on the roof, water desalination on board, waste collection by drone, and aeroponic systems to grow your own food.

Designed by Koen Olthuis of Dutch architecture practice Waterstudio, the plans for the luxury SeaPods look like a row of gigantic motorbike helmets on poles, sticking up out of the sea in pearlescent shades of blue, green and grey. We wanted to have something that was very futuristic looking, very clean and flowing, says Romundt. I didnt want to have a 90-degree corner anywhere in the house. I think thats bad feng shui. The interiors recall supersized sanitaryware, envisaged as white, wipe-clean worlds of free-flowing surfaces, echoing retro-futuristic visions of streamlined space capsules. The similarity is no accident: for company founder, Rdiger Koch, seasteading is merely a stepping stone for trialling exploits in space. He has long harboured plans to build a cable launch loop to propel payloads into space without rockets, and he sees the ocean as the perfect launchpad. There are almost only large open spaces at sea, he told German regional newspaper, Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, and you need them to make sure that nothing goes wrong and nobody is hit by possible flying parts.

Romundt insists that the company is merely building floating holiday homes, which will be registered as boats under the Panama flag for legal purposes, and likely operate on a timeshare basis. That would give you the slow adjustment period, he says, then more of an economy would start to build as more people come requiring more services, and it would start to self-perpetuate and grow.

For Bell, the ultimate goal is to see such floating communities raise their own flags in the open ocean. Right now, a self-flagged seastead would have effectively no status at all in international law, he says. The coast guard would show up, assume you were either a pirate or a floating meth lab, and tow you right back in to shore. But if seasteaders can say they have enough people and a big enough territory, and start flagging themselves, thats when things will start to get interesting.

And if they fail? Thats the marvellous thing about seasteads, says Quirk. If a government fails, theres nothing much the people who live there can do about it, but if seasteads fail, they simply disassemble and go away seeing all those bitcoin dollars sink into the sea just as quickly as they were conjured.

Read the original:

Seasteading a vanity project for the rich or the future of humanity? - The Guardian

Billionaire ‘Seasteading’ Obsessives Believe The Time Is Now [Video] – 2oceansvibe News

[imagesource: OCEANIX]

The concept of seasteading isnt new, but it has been gaining traction over the past two years or so.

Seasteading is a term used to describe man-made islands, or rather cities, built in the ocean.

These arent your reclaimed plastic, hippy islands, though.

Theyre high tech superstructures aimed at sustainable living not dissimilar to the ones that youll find in Dubai, or that floating hotel in Sweden, only bigger and aimed at housing entire communities.

Theyre billed as a solution to climate change and rising seas levels, but The Guardian isnt convinced.

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired fringe libertarian groups to double down on their dreams of building new, autonomous societies.

Lockdowns, increased surveillance, and complete governmental control have added fuel to their already entrenched suspicions of state control.

The sentiment lies at the core of the seasteading community, a disparate group that has grown since 2008, when the Seasteading Institute was founded in San Francisco by Patri Friedman. The self-styled anarcho-capitalist (and grandson of Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman) was working as a Google software engineer when he managed to attract funding from PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel to set up the institute.

In a founding statement, they described its goal as being to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems.

Thiel was nothing if not confident: The nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level, he proclaimed.

Seasteading is the ultimate Silicon Valley approach to governance. It imagines society as a type of technology that can be tinkered with and innovated, and indeed saved by a series of start-up societies.

Think of it as the social media of brick and mortar living spaces with unique ideologies independent of the rule of law.

Dont like Facebook? Move to Instagram. Only this time its man-made islands, not social media platforms.

Seasteading company OCEANIXsees what theyre doing as a solution to rapid population growth and climate change.

The ocean is under threat from land reclamation. As coastal cities struggle to cope with rapid population growth, many simply pour sand into the ocean to create new land.

Unfettered coastal urbanization is destroying millions of hectares of the ocean and marine life; close to 50 percent of people in the world live in coastal areas. The rising sea and climate change are compounding the problem. Oceanix is taking bold steps towards a more resilient future.

Oceanix designs and builds floating cities for people to live sustainably on the ocean. We believe humanity can live in harmony with life below water. It is not a question of one versus the other. The technology exists for us to live on water, while nature continues to thrive under.

Oceanix is trailblazing a new industry with blue technologies that meet humanitys shelter, energy, water and food needs without killing marine ecosystems.

OCEANIX CITY, their pilot project, is supposed to house 10 000 residents, with modular neighbourhoods housing up to 300 residents apiece.

This video from last year, shows the concept behind OCEANIXs seasteading project:

These super seasteads arent the only projects in the works.

Back to The Guardian for a classic example of the pursuit of seasteading freedom found in the tale of Chad Elwartowsk, who recently tried his hand at his own seastead for the second time.

Heres what happened the first time:

They had constructed what they declared to be the first seastead 12 nautical miles from Phuket, but the authorities decided that the six metre-wide fibreglass cabin, perched on top of a floating pole, posed a threat to Thailands sovereignty.

It was an offence punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The couple announced on social media declaring their autonomy beyond the jurisdiction of any courts or law of any countries, including Thailand, said Rear Admiral Vithanarat Kochaseni, adding that they had invited others to join them. We see such action as deteriorating Thailands independence.

And here it is being towed away by the Royal Thai Navy:

While seasteading might seem like a utopian and sustainable plan for the future, the reality is that the growing interest from billionaires like Peter Thiel paints a different picture.

The likelihood that your average Joe is going to be able to afford a place on the OCEANIX seastead and others like it is highly improbable.

The drive to create communities outside of the rule of law also poses obvious problems.

Weve all readThe Lord of the Flies although what would really happen if a bunch of young boys were stranded on a remote island may differ wildly from the outcome imagined by Willam Golding.

Read the Guardians superb article on the real Lord of the Flies story, when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months, here.


Read the original:

Billionaire 'Seasteading' Obsessives Believe The Time Is Now [Video] - 2oceansvibe News

This libertarian Bitcoin trader wants to build a city on the sea – Decrypt

Chad Elwartowski, an American software engineer turned Bitcoin trader, is one of the leading lights of the "seasteading" movementa libertarian drive to build independent floating cities on the high seas. Right now, he's constructing a prototype for the worlds first 3D-printed, smart, floating home, off the Caribbean coast of Panama. A prior effort, in Thailand, was towed off by the Thai navy in 2019.

Interest in seasteading is enjoying a renaissance among libertarian, tech millionaires, keen to escape the threat of increasing government surveillance. The movement has come a long way since entrepreneurs Peter Thiel and Patri Friedman (grandson of eminent economist Milton) launched the Seasteading Institute in 2008.

Coronavirus is an opportunity to show the world that what were building is actually going to be very useful in the future, said Elwartowski, in a recent video update on his project.

But Elwartowskis vision has changed since his first attempt at seasteading in Thailand, when he and his Thai partner Supranee Thepdet were forced to flee, dodging Thai patrol boats. He was tipped off that the authorities had determined that the fiberglass cabin, on top of a floating pole, posed a threat to the country's sovereigntypunishable by death.

Now, theyve settled in Panama and joined a local business called Ocean Builders, which is creating 30 "seapods," and selling them on the open market for between $200,000 to $800,000 each. The pods will be registered as boats under the Panama flag for legal purposes.

Its somewhat ironic that staunch libertarians are now asking for government permission to complete their utopian dreams. But the fact is that attempts, over the years, to set up floating societies have flounderedeven those sanctioned by national governments.

In 2017, the French Polynesian government approved the Seasteading Institutes plans for an autonomous community near the French Polynesian coast, using a cryptocurrency called Varyon. However, the authorities rescinded its approval a year later, in response to objections of tech colonialism by the residents of Tahiti, the nearest well-populated island in the archipelago.

Friedman is now involved in the Marshall Islands scheme to introduce a sovereign digital currency. He said recently that, in the past month, he is seeing a lot of inquiries from peers who want to know wheres best to move.

He and Thiel have moved on to self-governed "charter cities" in developing countries, allowing international firms to set up shop in the semi-autonomous zones. The project takes the form of a venture fund, bolstered by $9 million in funding from Thiel, as well as investors and Bitcoin heavyweights Marc Andreessen, Roger Ver, and Balaji Srinivasan.

Seasteaders have found out it is probably better to make an agreement with the government, said Titus Gebel, CEO of Tipolis, another startup developing semi-autonomous cities run by private companies.

It may not be the original libertarian dream but it'll do for now.

Original post:

This libertarian Bitcoin trader wants to build a city on the sea - Decrypt

A Day That I Will Never Forget Part Three – Fiji Sun Online

Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto is the Commander Republic of the Fiji Military Forces. The events he recounts here occurred when he was the Commanding Officer of the RFNS KULA. This

RFNS Kula on its way to the aid of a distressed yacht early last year just outside of Suva Harbour. The vessel was decommissioned on December 21, 2019. The vessel served the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Naval Division for 25 years. Photo: RFMF Naval Division

Ireproduce below a search and rescue story that I penned many years back that did not make it to the dailies then. I retell this story in the hope that someone will know the two girls and let me know how they are, better still perhaps a chance to meet them again. I reproduce it exactly the way I wrote it then. Here is Part Three

Our first attempt was to launch upwind, meaning that the ship was to be moving forward, heading into the wind (and waves) at around six to eight knots while the seaboat is launched.

This is an evolution that we set a record in whilst we were doing our work up in Australia before we sailed KULA to Fiji. The way this is tested is usually through a man overboard exercise.

The testing officer will throw Oscar into the sea whilst the ship is steaming at some speed, after which he will run into the bridge with a fake panic look on his face and blurts out man overboard starboard side! or port side depending on which side of the ship Oscar was thrown into the sea.

The officer who is on watch will immediately turn the ship to whatever side Oscar was in and do a few other standard turns and at the same time, someone in the bridge will sound the relevant alarms and announce via the PA System Man overboard, man overboard, man overboard, man overboard starboard/port side, standby to recover by sea boat.

This is when the stopwatch starts and will stop when the seaboat takes off. We would do this evolution in just two minutes and in no time Oscar is back safely on board. If you are getting worked up reading this bit, you should relax, Oscar is a dummy, not a real person!

Launching the seaboat has a few moves. First, the seaboat is winched up from its cradle and then swung out to the side of the ship, and then lowered to the sea and then the boat crew will get in and drive the seaboat away. It is an easy evolution when done in calm seas, but extremely dangerous when the sea is rough.

We were going to attempt this in conditions way beyond the safe working condition. We had no other better choice. The one thing that kept me going was my complete confidence in the ability of my crew. They were a seasoned bunch and very close buddies and at times like this, we were even closer, our hearts beating almost as one.

All hands attended to the launching of the seaboat except for Petty Officer Vasukiwai (our Radio Operator) who stayed with me on the bridge. I manoeuvred the ship upwind at eight knots and gave the okay to commence, but as soon as the seaboat was off the cradle it was sitting on, it became a fast-moving projectile as it began swinging back and forth uncontrollably at a fast pace even with the extra weight that the crew had exerted on it trying to keep it steady.

The ship was pitching at too sharp an angle because of the high waves, that it created a pendulum effect on the seaboat that was difficult to control and there was a great risk of it crashing into one of the crew or smashing someone overboard.

My attention was divided between three situations. I would watch the wave in front then quickly look back to the crew with the seaboat and then across to where the two girls were, just to confirm that the punt had not capsized. We exchanged signals with Sub-Lieutenant Kean and cancelled the evolution.

The seaboat was now back on the cradle safely and I turned the ship around. Now we had to try again but launching downwind in five to seven-metre swells. All this was done in full view of the young girl who was kneeling and it must have been demoralising for her to see us not being able to launch.

I steadied the ship, now downwind and we started the evolution again. This time the ships movement was not as bad, so the crew managed to hoist the seaboat off the cradle and swung the seaboat to the side of the ship ready to lower. Now the trick was all in the timing of lowering the seaboat to the crest of a wave and quickly disengaging the winch hook from the seaboat and let the seaboat drop with the wavetime it wrongly and the seaboat will free fall when the wave disappears from beneath it and the cable could snap causing injury to those in close range and a high chance that the boat will land awkwardly, the outboard engine could be damaged or even fall off or worse still, the seaboat could capsize.

To fully understand this part of the story, let me first explain a few rigging around the seaboat.

Whenever KULA puts to sea, a rope about the size of your thump is always made ready on the Port side of the ship. One end is secured to a bollard from the bow and the rope is then run along the ship side towards the back and the other end is then secured on the railing near the position where the seaboat is lowered. On this end of the rope is a quick disengaging hook. On this hook is a small lever that when you pull, the hook is disengaged.

This rope is called the boat rope. Fixed onto the front end of the seaboat is the partner clip of this hook. When the seaboat is lowered, it will be swung outboard to the shipside, the boat rope is clipped on to the partner clip on the front end of the seaboat and then the seaboat is lowered to the sea. Fixed to the back of the seaboat is another small rope that is used to secure the stern and is used as a steading line when the seaboat is being lowered or hoisted. Once the boat crew are in they will start the engine, let go the stern rope, drive the seaboat forward and away from the ship, disengage the boat rope and attend to the task at hand. Remember this all done whilst the ship is steaming at around 8 to 10 knots.

Our boat rope is rigged differently, thanks to the ingenuity of Petty Officer Vodo. It is rigged in such a way that the boat rope is disengaged by pulling on a small rope that is tied to the lever and the rope is long enough for someone standing on the deck to disengage it. This pieces of seaboat equipment feature prominently in this next part.

Now my attention was on four situations; watching that bow of the ship and the aspect of the wave in front, looking back to the situation with the launching crew, look across to where the two girls were, and now I had to pay attention also to the huge swells coming from behind the ship.

Credit to the launching team, the seaboat was safely lowered and now all that was left was for the boat crew to climb down the side of the ship via the Jacobs Ladder (those rope ladders with wooden planks) into the seaboat and drive it away from the ships side.

Now all this is done while the ship is moving forward at some speed because, in addition to the engines, the ship is also being pushed forward by the huge swells from the back.

Yes, success, a wonderful feeling indeed given the unsuccessful attempt to launch upwind. Next second it was gonedisaster struck!

The seaboat was on the water and the two boat crew were scrambling to climb down the Jacobs Ladder, but before they could even start, I felt from the flying bridge that the aspect of the bow to the surface was too steep which meant that the back end was higher than the front and as I looked back, a huge swell had caught up with us from the back, lifted the stern of KULA and the seaboat (that is hooked up to the boat rope and the steadying rope at the stern ) and pushed us forward at some speed.

To be continued

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

Read the original post:

A Day That I Will Never Forget Part Three - Fiji Sun Online

Couple in Hiding After ‘Seasteading’ Attempt Goes Wrong | Time

The Royal Thai Navy plans to remove a house built on a platform 12 miles off the coast of Phuket according to the Bangkok Post.

American Chad Elwartowski and his Thai partner Supranee Thepdet, also known as Nadia Summergirl, were reportedly living in the house, built by Ocean Builders, to promote the concept of seasteading.

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government, says the company on its website.

In a promotional video posted to YouTube in March, Elwartowski toasts his partner with champagne on the roof of their ocean dwelling. He says 20 more floating homes are planned so others can join them in a libertarian-style community that they believe will be beyond legal jurisdictions.

Governments have a monopoly on land but they dont have a monopoly at sea, Elwartowski says in the video. Were looking forward to freedom-loving people to come join us out on the open ocean.

In an earlier video, he says international waters are where there are no laws other than the law of the sea.

But Thai authorities have a different view. They have filed a compliant, accusing the couple of breaching a section of the countrys criminal code that relates to threatening the sovereignty of a state, and erosion of a states independence, according to the Post. The charges carry the death penalty.

We have already prepared a vessel, equipment and manpower to move the structure. We will try to move it within a week a Thai vice-admiral told the newspaper.

Elwartowski says the couple are now in hiding. This is ridiculous. We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed, he said on his Facebook page.

He told TIME by email that he and his partner have no claim to the home. It was never ours, we just lived there and promoted it.

For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.

Write to Amy Gunia at amy.gunia@time.com.

More here:

Couple in Hiding After 'Seasteading' Attempt Goes Wrong | Time

Seasteading | FSA Wiki | Fandom

Sea-steading is a lifestyle of making the oceans, or at least water-borne craft, one's home. Most sea-steads historically have been sailing craft, whether perhaps demonstrated by the the Chinese Junk, modified canoes of Oceania, or even the famous Pirates of Libertaria. In modern times in the west the cruising sailboat has begun to be used in the same manner. The term sea-steading is of uncertain origin, used at least as early as the turn of the century by Uffa Fox, and others; many feel that catamaran designer and historian James Wharram and his designs represent ideal Sea-Steads. More recently, American sailor and ecological philosopher Jerome FitzGerald has been a leading and effective proponent of Sea-steading, mostly teaching the concept through the environmental/sailing organization "The Oar Club". The Seasteader's Institute in Hilo, Hawaii offers classes, boat-building opportunities, education in forage foods, diving, and other aspects of a Seasteading lifestyle.

Some theoretical seasteads are floating platforms which could be used to create sovereign micronations, or otherwise serve the ends of ocean colonization. The concept is introduced in a paper by Wayne Gramlich, and later in a book by Gramlich, Patri Friedman and Andy House, which is available for free online. Their research aims at a more practical approach to developing micronations, based on currently available technology and a pragmatic approach to financial aspects.

The authors argue that seasteading has the potential to drastically lower the barrier to entry to the governing industry. This allows for more experimentation and innovation with varying social, political, and economic systems. Potential business opportunities include data havens, offshore aquaculture, and casinos, as well as the gamut of typical business endeavors.

See original here:

Seasteading | FSA Wiki | Fandom

This is why the Thai navy busted a seasteading American

BANGKOK Thai authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the seasteading movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nations laws.

Thailand's navy said Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet endangered national sovereignty, an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death.

It filed a complaint against them with police on the southern resort island of Phuket. Thai authorities said they have revoked Elwartowskis visa.

Elwartowski said in an email Thursday that he believes he and Supranee also known as Nadia Summergirl did nothing wrong.

"This is ridiculous," he said in an earlier statement posted online. "We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed."

The couple, who have gone into hiding, had been living part-time on a small structure they said was anchored outside Thailands territorial waters, just over 12 nautical miles from shore. They were not there when the navy carried out their raid on Saturday.

The Thai deputy naval commander responsible for the area said the project was a challenge to the country's authorities.

Don't miss the top Navy stories, delivered each afternoon

(please select a country) United States United Kingdom Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, The Democratic Republic of The Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote D'ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guinea Guinea-bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and Mcdonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People's Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia, Federated States of Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Palestinian Territory, Occupied Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Helena Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia and Montenegro Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and The South Sandwich Islands Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan, Province of China Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States United States Minor Outlying Islands Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Viet Nam Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe


By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Navy Times Daily News Roundup.

"This affects our national security and cannot be allowed," Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media on Tuesday. He said the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane.

Seasteading has had a revival in recent years as libertarian ideas of living free from state interference such as by using crypto-currency including Bitcoin have become more popular, including among influential Silicon Valley figures such as entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Elwartowski, an IT specialist, has been involved in Bitcoin since 2010.

Several larger-scale projects are under development, but some in the seasteading community have credited the Andaman Sea house with being the first modern implementation of seasteading.

"The first thing to do is whatever I can to help Chad & Nadia, because living on a weird self-built structure and dreaming of future sovereignty should be considered harmless eccentricities, not major crimes," Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who heads The Seasteading Institute, said on his Facebook page.

The floating two-story octagonal house at the center of the controversy had been profiled and promoted online by a group called Ocean Builders, which touted it as a pilot project and sought to sell additional units.

The group describes itself as "a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and are willing to put the hard work and effort forward to see that it happens."

In online statements, both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the couple merely promoted and lived on the structure, and did not fund, design, build or set the location for it.

"I was volunteering for the project promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform," Elwartowski told The Associated Press.

"Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared," Elwartowski said. "We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways."

Asked his next step, he was more optimistic.

"I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government," he said.

Associated Press journalist Tassanee Vejpongsa contributed to this report.

Follow this link:

This is why the Thai navy busted a seasteading American

The Problem with Seasteading | Bottom-up

I first wrote about seasteading two years ago, shortly after the Seasteading Institute launched. The brainchild of Patri Friedman (grandson of Milton) and others, seasteading is a program for political reform based on a proliferation of self-governing ocean colonies. As I described it in 2008:

A key advantage of seasteads is what Friedman calls dynamic geography, the fact that any given seasteading unit is free to join or leave larger units within seasteading communities. Seasteading platforms would likely band together to provide common services like police protection, but with the key difference that any platform that was dissatisfied with the value it was receiving from such jurisdictions could leave them at any time. [Friedman] argues that this would move power downward, giving smaller units within society greater leverage to ensure the interests of their members are being served.

Seasteading is based on a delightfully bottom-up argument: that the problem with government is the lack of choice. If I dont like my job, my apartment, or my grocery store, I can easily pick up and go somewhere else. The threat of exit induces employers, landlords, and store owners, and the like to treat us well without a lot of top-down oversight. In contrast, switching governments is hard, so governments treat us poorly. Seasteaders aim to change that.

The pragmatic incrementalism of seasteading is also appealing. Friedman doesnt have to foment a revolution, or even win an election, to give seasteading a try. If he can just a few hundred people of the merits of his ideas, they can go try it without needing assistance or support from the rest of us. If the experiment fails, the cost is relatively small.

Yet seasteading is a deeply flawed project. In particular, the theory of dynamic geography is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationships among mobility, wealth creation, and government power. In a real-world seasteading community, powerful economic forces would cripple dynamic geography and leave seasteaders no freer than the rest of us.

To see the problem, imagine if someone developed the technology to transform my apartment building in Manhattan into a floating platform. Its owners could, at any time, float us out into the Hudson river and move to another state or country. Would they do it? Obviously not. They have hundreds of tenants who are paying good money to live in Manhattan. Wed be furious if we woke up one morning and found ourselves off the coast of South Carolina. Things get more, not less, difficult at larger scales. Imagine if Long Island (which includes the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and a lot of suburbs) were a huge ocean-going vessel. The residents of Long Island would overwhelmingly oppose moving; most of them have jobs, friends, familiy, churches, favorite restaurants, and other connections to the rest of the New York metro area. The value of being adjacent to Manhattan swamps whatever benefits there might be to being part of a state with lower taxes or better regulations.

Successful cities need a variety of infrastructureroads, electricity, network connectivity, water and sewer lines, and so forth. At small scales you could probably design this infrastructure to be completely modular. But that approach doesnt scale; at some point you need expensive fixed infrastructuremulti-lane highways, bridges, water mains, subway lines, power plantsthat only make economic sense if built on a geographically stable foundation. Such infrastructure wouldnt be feasible in a dynamic city, and without such infrastructure its hard to imagine a city of even modest size being viable.

I think the seasteaders response to this is that the advantages of increased liberty would be so large that people would be willing to deal with the inconveniences necessary to preserve dynamic geography. But heres the thing: The question of whether the advantages of freedom (in the leave me alone sense) outweigh the benefits of living in large urban areas is not a theoretical one. If all you care about is avoiding the long arm of the law, thats actually pretty easy to do. Buy a cabin in the woods in Wyoming and the government will pretty much leave you alone. Pick a job that allows you to deal in cash and you can probably get away without filing a tax return. In reality, hardly anyone does this. To the contrary, people have been leaving rural areas for high-tax, high-regulation cities for decades.

Almost no ones goal in life is to maximize their liberty in this abstract sense. Rather, liberty is valuable because it enables us to achieve other goals, like raising a family, having a successful career, making friends, and so forth. To achieve those kinds of goals, you pretty much have to live near other people, conform to social norms, and make long-term investments. And people who live close together for long periods of time need a system of mechanisms for resolving disputes, which is to say they need a government.

The power of governments rests not on the immobility of real estate, but from the fact that people want to form durable relationships with other people. The residents of a seastead city would be no more enthusiastic about dynamic geopgrahy than the residents of Brooklyn. Which means that the government of the city would have the same kind of power Mayor Bloomberg has. Indeed, it would likely have more power, because the seastead city wouldnt have New Jersey a few hundred yards away ready to take disaffected residents.

Continue reading here:

The Problem with Seasteading | Bottom-up

Farm style – but not as you would know it – Daily Record

Never at this time of year have there been so few properties on the market.

An unprecedented time of difficulty for people wanting to sell and buy. And a revenue disaster for estate agents. But out of this spell we will surely come.

This week we feature a terrific property put on the market just before the shutdown.

And the five-bedroomed Helenton View is ready to move into without a thing needing done.

It lies amidst lush pasture about a mile from Symington, spread out in old farm steading style over 3,444 square feet.

This is no old farm property inside, instead an executive take on modern country living for the family.

Plenty of glass gives you views across the fertile Pow Valley.

The Pow Burn trickles past nearby, the same water that goes under Prestwick Airports main runway, through Prestwick Golf Course and into the sea between Prestwick and Troon. Corum in Troon has it for sale at offers over 495,000.

The design includes some rooms which span to the apex of the roof, giving a true feeling of space. Many old farm properties with their small windows and low ceilings can feel claustrophobic.

Corum say: The level of fixtures and fittings is luxurious, including sanitary ware by Porcelanosa, a custom kitchen with integrated appliances and extensive use of solid oak, including the doors, surrounds and a large part of the downstairs flooring.

The family room with mezzanine sitting area stretches to more than thirty six feet. Upstairs there is a big theatre room to take in movies with the family.

Back at ground level, there is a custom kitchen/ dining room with the spaces defined by an island with hob.

A lovely feature is the fireplace which can be seen from the lounge and the dining area. Four of the five bedrooms are downstairs, with three having en-suites, the master having extra wardrobes and a full height ceiling.

Other features include underfloor heating, electric blinds, and media system. Outside electric gates lead to a sweeping drive. Call Corum on Troon 310010, offers over 495,000.

View post:

Farm style - but not as you would know it - Daily Record

From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos, these 30 personalities defined the 2010s – CNET

This story is part of The 2010s: A Decade in Review, a series on the memes, people, products, movies and so much more that have influenced the 2010s.

The first decade of the 21st century introduced us to sweeping mobile and social revolutions largely driven by names like Jobs, Zuckerberg and Bezos. In the second decade that's now closing, things got a little more complicated. During those years, a new collection of faces have joined the earlier tech titans to continue moving us into the future. Here's CNET's list of the top technology innovators and all-around unavoidable personalities of the 2010s.

A person wears a Guy Fawkes mask, which today is a trademark and symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous. From 2012.

More a decentralized collective than a personality, Anonymous was the name claimed by the loose affiliation of hackers who brought "hacktivism" into the mainstream. During the first half of the decade, Anonymous launched attacks against targets like ISIS, the governments of the US and Tunisia, and corporations such as Sony and PayPal. The group's tactics included distributed denial-of-service attacks that overwhelm a target's website and knock it offline and compromising private databases to access and later leak confidential information, such as the personal details of members of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2019, the group's prominence has faded somewhat -- last year it said it would debunk the QAnon conspiracy theory -- but concerns about hacking remain in the forefront, in part because one large collective of unknown activists put it there.

Julian Assange of WikiLeaks during a livestreamed press conference in 2017.

The founder of online portal WikiLeaks, Assange had a mission to reveal the secrets of the powerful. It made him an instant hero to many and a wanted man to others (in May the US government charged him with violating the Espionage Act). WikiLeaks started the decade by publishing documents obtained by whistleblower Chelsea Manning between 2010 and 2011, and it supported NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden after he sought refuge in Russia in 2013. To avoid extradition to Sweden on charges of rape -- the charges were dropped in 2017, but the case has since been reopened -- Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remained for seven years.

Despite its founder being stuck in the same building for much of the decade, WikiLeaks still managed to play a role in the 2016 US presidential election by publishing leaked emails that were detrimental to Hillary Clinton and the next year releasing thousands of documents showing how the CIA can hack into phones. The Assange saga is far from over, though. In 2019 he was booted from the embassy by the Ecuadorian government and arrested by London police. He remains in British custody and could be extradited to the US.

Now playing: Watch this: Step inside Julian Assange's office


GM CEO Mary Barra says the self-driving technology can help relieve driver stress.

The General Motors CEO became the first woman to lead a major carmaker when she took over in 2014 and has been consistently ranked among the world's most powerful women over the past decade by Forbes and Fortune.

Her tenure has been marked by GM's push to keep up and even eclipse Tesla's efforts to bring electric and driverless cars into the mainstream. The Chevy Volt EV actually brought a sub-$40,000 EV to market ahead of Tesla's Model 3, and GM has also invested in ride-sharing technology to help ensure it stays relevant in the future.

Under Barra, GM is also one of just two global businesses to completely do away with its gender pay gap, according to a study by Equileap.

Bezos speaking at an Amazon press event in 2018.

Even after losing a quarter of his Amazon shares in his divorce settlementin April, Bezos remains the world's richest person, worth more than $107 billion as of this month, according to Forbes. Throughout the decade, he spread his money around,buying the Washington Post in 2013 and growing his company phenomenally. Amazon is now a vast empire that's not only become the world's warehouse, but that also encompasses the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform, game streaming platform Twitch, a fleet of freight aircraft, music streaming,branded convenience stores, the Kindle e-reader, the Whole Foods Market grocery chain and a space startup meant to give Elon Musk and SpaceX some competition. Its Prime subscription service delivers goods in hours, and serves up a huge gallery of movies, TV programs and audiobooks.

Amazon also makes plenty of products of its own, including its Alexa-powered home assistants and Ring security system, both of which have forced the company torespond to privacy concerns over its increasing expansion into homes. And the company continues to face criticism over working conditions and pay for its employees.

Now playing: Watch this: Jeff Bezos reveals plans for the moon and beyond


danah boyd

She may not be a household name, but danah boyd (who prefers to spell her name with lowercase) has become a leading thinker and researcher on the effects of technology on society and our children. In her 2014 book It's Complicated, she argued that social media provides an important space for youth to express themselves and to engage with each other and with society.

She's also a principal researcher for Microsoft and has broadened her research to focus on the relationship between social inequality and technology through her research institute Data and Society. In awarding her its 2019 Pioneer award, the Electronic Frontier Foundation called boyd a "trailblazing technology scholar."

Richard Branson at a Virgin Mobile event.

The billionaire magnate is willing to try just about anything, it seems. Branson's Virgin brand has dabbled in everything from media to hotels to health care, and in the last decade it has also made some far-out bets. In recent years, Branson has invested in Elon Musk's futuristic hyperloop transport technology and is working on Virgin Orbit, which could launch satellites using a combination of rockets and a high-altitude launcher plane. In the coming months, Virgin Galactic mayfinally begin launching tourists (including Branson himself) into orbit using a similar approach from the New Mexico desert.

By 2040, there will be 1 million more young women of color with coding skills if Kimberly Bryant meets her ambitious goal. The electrical engineer and Vanderbilt grad founded Black Girls Code in 2011 with the goal of reaching 1 million girls by midcentury. That could transform places like Silicon Valley, where only 2% of women working in tech are people of color, according to a 2018 report from the Kapor Center. Bryant's work has been widely recognized -- by the White House, the Smithsonian and others -- helping to bring in funding for the mission and increasing the chances that the next Steve Jobs is a woman of color.

Mark Cuban at CNET's Next Big Thing panel at CES 2013

During the 2010s, Cuban became much more than just one of the billionaires from the original dot-com boom of the late 1990s. He completed his crossover to become a major figure in the worlds of sports, entertainment and even politics.

Cuban's riches can be traced to successful exits from old, old-school internet properties like Broadcast.com, but he's since leveraged those early moves into a career as an NBA franchise owner, a TV personality (most notably on Shark Tank) and an investor in dozens of companies including Dropbox, Magnolia Pictures and Alyssa's Cookies. He was even floated as a potential presidential candidate in 2016 and 2020, but says he won't run without his family's permission.

Tim Cook at WWDC 2019.

It was a difficult job to take the mantle after Steve Jobs died in 2011, but Cook has maintained Apple's dominance over the past several years. Cook may not be the showman of his predecessor, but the brand is as far-reaching as ever. The iPhone still rules the mobile roost alongside Android, and under his guidance the company has launched forays into areas like the Apple Watch, content production, Apple Arcade and even finance with the Apple Card.

While it might be a stretch to call Cook a gay icon (he came out in a 2014 essay), he's certainly one of the most powerful LGBTQ people in the world, and his worldview has informed his drive to make Apple more ethical, diverse and values-driven, according to author Leander Kahney.

A pre-beard Dorsey.

Assuming the role of Twitter's CEO in 2015, Dorsey's been the face of one of the most highly trafficked and often toxic online platforms. Over the past decade, Twitter helped give rise to revolution in the Middle East, including the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and also gave us the platform that @RealDonaldTrump has used more effectively than any other American politician to rally support and spin news events. Twitter has also enabled floods of hate speech, fake news and misinformation. Though the company has tried to combat them with new rules and technology, it's only subject to more criticism when the regulations are unevenly enforced.

As he tries to guide Twitter's central role in reshaping global media, Dorsey's also CEO of payments company Square, giving him an outsized influence in how information and money move around the world now and in the coming years.

Jennifer Doudna

One of the key innovations of the 2010s goes by the unwieldy name CRISPR/Cas9, and Doudna is a pioneer in its use to edit DNA. This new tool holds the potential to revolutionize biology, medicine, agriculture and other fields.

Doudna's lab at the University of California, Berkeley has also spun off a for-profit venture to commercialize CRISPR applications, and Doudna has become a leader in the ongoing ethical discussions around the future of genetic engineering.

Susan Fowler at the Women Transforming Technology conference

The #MeToo movement swept through the tech world and other industries beginning in 2017, thanks in large part to Fowler's personal blog chronicling sexual harassment and abuse within Uber, where she worked as a software engineer. The fallout resulted in a shakeup of Uber's power structure and the demotion of founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. Fowler's memoir, Whisteblower, is due out in 2020, and she has a new role writing for the New York Times opinion section.

This power couple has taken the money that Bill made producing the software suites we all love to complain about and turned it into a philanthropic empire. The $50 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured millions into global health and development efforts, as well as education in the US. Bill says the foundation played a major role in a drastic reduction of the child mortality rate, saving over 100 million lives. Bill has also stayed relevant through the reading lists he releases regularly, and Melinda debuted as an author herself with a book about empowering women around the world.

Elizabeth Holmes in a still from The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.

Like Pixelon's Michael Fenne (real name: David Kim Stanley) almost two decades earlier, Holmes serves as a cautionary tale for what can go wrong when the hype becomes unmoored from reality in tech.

In the span of a few years, Holmes took Theranos and a never-quite-ready-for-primetime blood-testing technology from a subject of interest to one of investment, investigation and now, potentially Holmes' own incarceration as she faces charges of criminal fraud.

The decade began with Jobs' introduction of the iPad in January 2010, nearly two years before he died in October 2011. Apple, whose iPhone helped change the way we live, has continued to be one of the most iconic and valuable brands in the history of capitalism. His legacy has been a topic of near constant discussion since his passing, including treatments in multiple Hollywood movies and major books from the likes of Walter Isaacson and Jobs' daughter Lisa Nicole Brennan-Jobs.

John Legere

T-Mobile's CEO could be the most interesting person in the wireless industry. Over the past decade, he's masterfully played the role of underdog fighting against telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon. Nearly everything the exec does seems calculated to turn heads, whether it's lacing a press conference with profanity, launching barbs at the competition on social media or dressing in the company's trademark magenta. But Legere also produced results, greatly increasing T-Mobile's customer base over the years, revamping the carrier's customer service and bucking industry trends by keeping unlimited data plans. Despite it all, Legere's future going into 2020 is uncertain, with talk he might be replaced should a pending merger with rival Sprint finally go through.

Travis Kalanick exits federal court after taking the stand during the Waymo v. Uber trial over allegedly stolen driverless car trade secrets.

The Uber founder embodies the success-at-all-costs mentality that has driven many other Silicon Valley success stories. He led a ride-sharing revolution that quickly spread around the world and made Uber the prototypical startup "unicorn." But allegations of sexual harassment (brought by whistleblower and engineer Susan Fowler) and Kalanick's own abrasive leadership style would soon see him pushed out as the company's leader in June 2017, although he still retains a seat on the board.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Musk wants to save the planet with electric cars and solar panels, take us to Mars, connect our brains to computers and shoot us around the world in pressurized tubes at near the speed of sound with his hyperloop-creating Boring Company. Most of this visionary's big visions are still in progress, but his credibility comes from simultaneously disrupting both the automotive and commercial space industries over the past decade with the success of Tesla and SpaceX. The world tends to watch his every move, which he often gleefully shares on social media. Musk's tweets have brought him trouble, especially when they move Tesla's stock price and invite lawsuits and the ire of the SEC or appear to smear a diver trying to rescue a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at a company event.

This Indian immigrant with a degree in electrical engineering turned out to be the right man for the job of making Microsoft cool again. Or at least making it cooler. Since becoming CEO in 2014, Nadella has helped increase Microsoft's bottom line and make it a trillion-dollar company. He's overseen a transformation that has done away with the company's cutthroat reputation, both toward competitors and internally, though in 2014 he apologized after making controversial comments about women's pay in an interview. Nadella has also advanced forward-looking acquisitions in artificial intelligence, gaming and brand names like Github, LinkedIn and Mojang, creator of Minecraft.

Very few people seem to know who Nakamoto really is. The presumed pseudonym is attached to the person or persons responsible for the development of bitcoin, which launched a cryptocurrency revolution that started slowly in 2009 but picked up steam over the decade that followed.

A once-worthless digital currency, bitcoin has been valued at up to $20,000 per coin. It inspired the development of countless other cryptos and an entirely new industry around its underlying technology, blockchain. Although some have claimed to be the real Nakamoto and others have been falsely outed as the actual Satoshi, his true identity remains unclear.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Google has gone from "Don't be evil" to increasingly having to convince consumers and regulators that it isn't. When the company transformed into Alphabet in 2015 and the Google name was attached to its internet-focused subsidiary (including Android, YouTube and search), Pichai became the new face of Google as CEO. During his first four years, the Googleplex has continued to dominate everything from search to mobile operating systems to online cat videos, while making big moves with new hardware like Google Home and a fleet of Pixel devices. It hasn't been all sunshine, though. Pichai has also had to navigate the proliferation of hate speech and disinformation on YouTube, deal with walkouts over sexual harassment allegations directed at Google executives and confront criticism over a possible censored search service in China. That's to say nothing of the James Damore saga over the company's diversity policies. Still, Pichai and Google seem likely to remain on top for the foreseeable future.

Zoe Quinn.

Years before #MeToo, Gamergate gave us all a preview of the widespread bad behavior and abuse by people in positions of power that would soon be exposed across a number of industries. Quinn, along with fellow game developer Brianna Wu and culture critic Anita Sarkeesian, was among the first to be harassed and threatened by mobs of online trolls that would eventually coalesce around the #gamergate hashtag. It was an early warning sign of how bad things would become online.

Quinn, who uses they/them pronouns, turned their experience and insights into the 2017 book Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate. They have continued to be vocal about instances of abuse within the gaming industry while also churning out new comics (for both Marvel and DC) and collaborating on indie games.

IBM CEO Gini Rometty

CEO of IBM is another job title that doesn't seem as cool as it was 50 years ago. But since taking over in 2012, Rometty has moved the company from dinosaur status to focusing on the future. IBM today is invested deeply in nascent technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing.

Sheryl Sandberg in 2015.

Sandberg was the fresh face Facebook often needed when Mark Zuckerberg spent too much time in the spotlight. While she deserves some credit for building Facebook up to the global force it is today, her 2013 business and leadership memoir Lean In made her a household name. Facebook and Sandberg have since received a healthy dose of criticism for the platform's myriad scandals, ranging from privacy concerns to the spread of misinformation, but they continue to stand their ground.

Former Instagram executive Adam Mosseri, flanked by Mike Krieger on the left and Kevin Systrom on the right.

As social media scandals increasingly give platforms like Facebook and Twitter a bad rep, Instagram seems to remain an almost-pristine place for all our best moments, no matter if they're earnest or fake AF, a la Fyre Festival. The disastrous music festival was promoted using Instagram and harnessed the power of its many "influencers" and the FOMO it engenders perhaps better than any other platform. Systrom and Krieger co-founded the photo-sharing site in 2010 and the service was snapped up by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. Systrom stayed on as CEO through 2018, growing the service to almost a billion registered users. While the platform has faced criticism over censorship in several countries and other practices like "shadowbanning" (in which posts are hidden from the view of others without it being apparent to the user), Instagram has remained relatively scandal-free compared to its parent company in recent years.

Peter Thiel in 2014.

Like Musk, Thiel made his first big pile of money from the sale of PayPal, which he co-founded, to eBay in 2002. The hits continued when he became Facebook's first outside investor in 2004 and went on to make early investments in Airbnb, LinkedIn, Yelp, Spotify and SpaceX, just to name a few.

Over the past decade, though, he's become better known for his political and social stances, particularly his growing disdain for Silicon Valley and his fervent support of President Trump. He also backed a lawsuit filed in 2012 over wrestler Hulk Hogan's sex tape that ultimately bankrupted gossip site Gawker, allegedly over a grudge he held against the site for a 2007 article outing him as gay. Thiel's Libertarian views have also inspired projects like the Seasteading Institute, which aims to create a society at sea, beyond the reach of any government.

Desktops are still alive and kicking, according to HP CEO Meg Whitman.

The former CEO behind the early growth of eBay is always doing something interesting. After losing a bid for governor of California in 2010, Whitman spent the first half of the decade leading and splitting up Hewlett-Packard into two businesses. After leaving HP in 2017, she turned her energies to new efforts focused on younger consumers than the typical HP customer. She's now CEO of upcoming short-form video service Quibi and an investor and board member at Los Angeles esports startup Immortals.

Mark Zuckerberg discusses Oculus at an event last month.

The decade opened with Jesse Eisenberg playing Zuck in the 2010 film The Social Network, and in recent years the Facebook founder probably would have been happy to have an actor continue to play him as CEO. As we've debated the power of Facebook and how much it knows about us, Zuckerberg has confronted multiple scandals and sat for hours of grilling by Congress over the proliferation of fake news on his platform. Through it all, Facebook has arguably been at the center of everything during the past 10 years, whether it's influencing the Brexit vote and the 2016 presidential election or the revelations that data research firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent. Now presidential candidates talk of breaking up the social networking behemoth even as Zuckerberg hopes to move forward into the brave new world of VR with the help of companies like Oculus that it has swallowed over the past decade.

Originally published Oct. 10, 5 a.m. PT.


CNET may get a commission from retail offers.

Read the original here:

From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos, these 30 personalities defined the 2010s - CNET

Floating plastic island in San Francisco Bay could calm waves – Business Insider

A tiny fiberglass island is bobbing up and down in the San Francisco Bay right now.

From far away, it looks like a beluga whale poking through the water. Up close, it looks like a misshapen raft. In reality, it's a buoyant structure known as the "Float Lab," which is designed to foster a floating ecosystem.

The prototype was deployed in August by a team of designers at the California College of the Arts (CCA)'s Architectural Ecologies Lab. Their goal is to see if animals will attach to the island, thus expanding its size and creating a buffer against ocean currents. An entire network of islands, they predict, could help calm the bay's choppy waters and prevent future floods from ravaging the coast.

If the structure holds up, it could even provide a model for floating cities a design concept that's supported by the United Nations as a way to address rising sea levels.

Take a look at how prototype is faring in the water.

See more here:

Floating plastic island in San Francisco Bay could calm waves - Business Insider

Envisioning and Designing the Floating Future – Undark Magazine

On an August day that is brutally hot by San Franciscos foggy standards, Margaret Ikeda and Evan Jones, architecture faculty at the California College of the Arts (CCA), are on one of the campus back lots to present a vision of the future though at first glance, the object theyre showing off doesnt look like much. Its white, roughly heart-shaped, and about the size of a sedan.

As a prototype for what the underside of a floating building or possibly a whole floating community might look like, however, it represents years of imagination, research, design, and testing. It also represents the hopeful vision of Ikeda, Jones, and their CCA colleague Adam Marcus, who together developed the concept with an eye toward a future of flooding amid steadily rising seas particularly for the 10 percent of the worlds population that lives in low-lying coastal areas.

Officially, its called the Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab, and just a few weeks later, after a lengthy design and permitting process, the team moved the prototype to its new home in San Francisco Bays chilly waters. The goal is to have it remain there, a few hundred feet offshore of Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, for three years, by which time the team hopes to have proven its viability as a potential substrate for the futuristic and some critics of floating city models say misguided effort to move at least some communities displaced by climate change out onto the water.

They also suggest that linking together floating structures like their prototype could help to make marine ecosystems healthier. It could also protect coastlines from further erosion in the near term, which will be crucial to places like the San Francisco Bay Area where large tracts of densely-populated land are expected to start sinking into the sea in the coming decades.

Whether or not theyre right, of course, remains to be seen, but Ikeda, Jones, and Marcus are eager to test their concept. We want to show how floating artificial structures can coexist with living ecosystems, says Marcus.

And although they acknowledge the path from their current prototype to the design and construction of habitable buildings on the water may be long, they also say that if humanity isnt going to stop burning fossil fuels and heating up the planet, the time to start preparing workable adaptations that benefit both people and the natural environment is now.

The Float Lab grew out of a series of design studios taught by Ikeda, Jones, and Marcus. In them, students explored a question that is at once straightforward and visionary: In anticipation of rising seas eating away at the land, would it be possible to design floating buildings that provide habitat for humans while protecting and perhaps even enhancing marine ecosystems?

Climate change, after all, is already affecting all of the worlds oceans, which absorb up to 95 percent of the excess heat that human industry is causing. The result: habitat loss for marine species, ocean acidification, widespread coral bleaching, and even changes in ocean currents. And as the team learned from early conversations with scientists, giant floating cities like anything that floats, from boats to docks to barges would be likely to attract barnacles and other invertebrates. Known as fouling communities, theyre often homogenous and seen as nuisances that can push out native species over time. Indeed, theres evidence to suggest that as oceans warm, invasive species will begin to dominate these fouling communities.

Design plans for the Float Lab, a prototype for a potential future of floating structures.

Visual: Adam Marcus

After studying the problem, however, the team hypothesized that if an underwater surface had more peaks and valleys, it might act like an upside-down coral reef, both expanding the habitat and encouraging a greater diversity of species to settle.

Between 2014 and 2018, students in CCAs Architectural Ecologies Lab worked with scientists from the Benthic Lab at the California State University Systems Moss Landing Marine Laboratories to design various prototypes, which were made at scale from fiberglass at Kreysler & Associates, a Bay Area composite fabrication company. Tests of these prototypes in Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay showed that, indeed, a greater variety of species settled on the ones with more surface variation.

The design worked because the peaks and valleys [are] going to create water dynamics that will enhance fouling communities, said Brian Tissot, a professor and researcher at Humboldt State University who studies benthic ecology the animals, plants, and microbes that live at the bottom of a body of water and is not associated with the project. The greater variety of seaweeds, barnacles, and other filter feeders will, in turn, attract larger creatures, like crabs and fish, creating a vibrant ecosystem.

These early prototypes informed the design of the Float Lab, today a 14-foot long, 9-foot wide structure with top and bottom sides that look something like topographic maps: Each side has two mountains, one slightly shorter than the other, with a valley in between, and each of the mountains is made up of smaller peaks and valleys. On the underside, these variations in elevation create diverse spaces for invertebrates as well as fish apartments, where smaller fish can hide from predators. The top side, which will float just above the surface of the water, is equipped with a solar-powered pump that brings seawater up to the peaks and lets it filter down into the valleys, mirroring a tidepool habitat.

After testing the prototypes, the team behind the Float Lab felt confident that it could create diverse and healthy underwater ecosystems. But Marcus says the team also realized that with a few careful design tweaks, these structures could potentially counteract the effects of climate change in a more direct way.

For years now, as climate warnings have grown increasingly dire, governments worldwide have been scrambling to figure out how to address sea level rise. But a study published in Nature Communications earlier this year warned of another global warming hazard coastal communities will have to face: increasingly forceful waves. The study found that climate change has been making waves more powerful by 0.4 percent annually from 1948 to 2008.

Waves are the primary force behind coastal erosion, and as they get stronger, they will eat away at fragile shorelines more quickly, threatening not only human infrastructure, but also crucial nearshore habitats. Bluffs and shorelines can be protected with seawalls and rock barriers, but these defensive solutions do nothing to actually dampen wave energy.

For that, scientists are turning to nature for inspiration. Even before the results of this study were published, people were experimenting with solutions like rebuilding or creating artificial oyster reefs, which are known to help prevent erosion. One such example that has garnered significant attention is the Living Breakwaters project designed by the New York- and New Orleans-based landscape architecture firm SCAPE. It proposes coupling artificial breakwaters with oyster habitat restoration to protect Staten Islands battered coastline, and in 2014 was one of six winners of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments Rebuild by Design challenge.

Footage of the Float Lab prototype bobbing in San Francisco Bay.

The Float Lab, its advocates argue, has a unique advantage over that project and other artificial reefs: It is mobile. Thats key because this could offer a more agile and more flexible, more customizable and scalable alternative to the kind of huge defensive barriers that many cities are thinking about, or even many cities are building, right now, Marcus said.

As currently designed, there isnt much inherent to the Float Labs structure that would blunt a wave. But to help with that, the team plans to attach long tubes to the bottom of the structure, making it look like a windchime or perhaps a giant jellyfish. It adds a new dimension of utility so that when you place the columns or the tubes close to each other, like lets say six to eight to ten inches apart, the invertebrates attach on all sides, Marcus says, explaining, they just kind of create this giant sponge of animals. Scientists from Moss Landings Benthic Lab plan to dive below the Float Lab every month for the next three years to assess whether these columns actually soak up wave energy.

Tissot sees clear ecological benefits to the columns. He says, adding more structure thats vertical would definitely increase the likelihood that youre going to get a lot of fishes that will come in there. They love that kind of habitat. But hes unsure how far they will go towards absorbing wave power, saying my guess is thats pretty small to actually have much of an effect.

Marcus acknowledges that how well they will work is still unknown, explaining that in order for it to develop significant wave attenuation capacity you would need many of them kind of arrayed in a necklace or a network parallel to the shore. The full Float Lab team plans to plug the data they gather into computer simulations to project the impact a whole fleet of Float Labs might have. Renderings imagine them clustered together in threes, blooming over a body of water like a field of clover.

Despite the modest near-term ambitions behind it, the Float Lab prototype bobs along in the wake of a long and controversial history of schemes to create utopias out on the water. Many have centered around the concept of seasteading, the idea of establishing new floating societies that exist outside the jurisdiction of national and international law. In fact, the most notable and best-funded of these groups, the Seasteading Institute, is also based in the San Francisco Bay area. Founded in 2008 by libertarian activists Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and Patri Friedman, a grandson of Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman, the non-profits vision of freedom on the high seas is as much about building a new society based on the free-market ideals of fewer regulations and lower taxes as it is about grappling with the impacts of climate change.

We do distance our work from that, says Marcus. There is a big difference in agenda. One is about tax havens and cryptocurrencies. Ours is about multi-benefit solutions for both humans and animals.

Regardless of political motivations, all floating city proposals face the problem of scaling up quickly enough to represent a meaningful solution for the nearly 187 million people around the world now projected to be displaced by rising sea levels in the coming decades. For now, the Float Lab team is focused on demonstrating the viability of just a single link, but their system is designed to be modular, and imagining a future in which coastlines, harbors, marshes, and other sensitive areas are protected by chains of Float Labs is made more plausible by the way they are designed and manufactured.

Because it is made up of just two pieces plus some finishing touches, like cleats for its anchors it would be relatively easy to churn out Float Labs by the hundreds or thousands. And theyre designed to last. Fiberglass has been used in boatmaking since the 1940s and is one of the most durable materials in marine construction; it doesnt corrode or rot. The first fiberglass boat ever made is probably still floating around somewhere, says Bill Kreysler, the founder of Kreysler & Associates, the firm that helped fabricate all the prototypes and the Float Lab.

With the Float Lab launched and officially unveiled in late September, the team from CCA is already thinking about a more ambitious extension of this work. In late July, Jones and Ikeda visited the Maldives, where they and their students have been working with local partners since 2017 to imagine what a floating community could look like a much-needed adaptation in a country that sits just about 5 feet on average above the current sea level.

The work is all still theoretical, but the vision like that behind the Float Lab is expansive. Renderings show pods of interconnected floating structures, pulsing with life both on the inside and below the surface. Sun streams down through skylights, flooding the buildings and artificial light attracts plankton in the ocean below. Seaweed and algae cling to the underside, while fish seek shelter behind the stalactite-like underwater mountains. Shorebirds nest on the roof next to solar panels and a rainwater catchment system.

This vision for the Maldives, the team suggests, will evolve over the coming years as lessons pour out of the Float Lab. This is really studying how modular structures could link together to create communal systems, says Marcus.

Lindsey J. Smith is a science and environmental journalist based in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Verge, and Pacific Standard, among other outlets.

See the original post here:

Envisioning and Designing the Floating Future - Undark Magazine

Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Another Crypto Hack Derails Recovery
Since our last report, hackers broke into yet another cryptocurrency exchange. This time the target was Bithumb, a Korean exchange known for high-flying prices and ultra-active traders.

While the hackers made off with approximately $31.5 million in funds, the exchange is working with relevant authorities to return the stolen tokens to their respective owners. In the event that some is still missing, the exchange will cover the losses. (Source: “Bithumb Working With Other Crypto Exchanges to Recover Hacked Funds,”.

The post Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack appeared first on Profit Confidential.

Read the original post:

Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News
On the whole, cryptocurrency prices are down from our previous report on cryptos, with the market slipping on news of an exchange being hacked and a report about Bitcoin manipulation.

However, there have been two bright spots: 1) an official from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that Ethereum is not a security, and 2) Coinbase is expanding its selection of tokens.

Let's start with the good news.
SEC Says ETH Is Not a Security
Investors have some reason to cheer this week. A high-ranking SEC official told attendees of the Yahoo! All Markets Summit: Crypto that Ethereum and Bitcoin are not.

The post Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More appeared first on Profit Confidential.

See the original post:

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More

Ripple vs SWIFT: The War Begins
While most criticisms of XRP do nothing to curb my bullish Ripple price forecast, there is one obstacle that nags at my conscience. Its name is SWIFT.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the king of international payments.

It coordinates wire transfers across 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries and territories, meaning that in order for XRP prices to ascend to $10.00, Ripple needs to launch a successful coup. That is, and always has been, an unwritten part of Ripple’s story.

We’ve seen a lot of progress on that score. In the last three years, Ripple wooed more than 100 financial firms onto its.

The post Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More appeared first on Profit Confidential.

Read more:

Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More

Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News & Market Summary
Investors finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel last week, with cryptos soaring across the board. No one quite knows what kicked off the rally—as it could have been any of the stories we discuss below—but the net result was positive.

Of course, prices won’t stay on this rocket ride forever. I expect to see a resurgence of volatility in short order, because the market is moving as a single unit. Everything is rising in tandem.

This tells me that investors are simply “buying the dip” rather than identifying which cryptos have enough real-world value to outlive the crash.

So if you want to know when.

The post Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens appeared first on Profit Confidential.


Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News
This was a bloody week for cryptocurrencies. Everything was covered in red, from Ethereum (ETH) on down to the Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Some investors claim it was inevitable. Others say that price manipulation is to blame.

We think the answers are more complicated than either side has to offer, because our research reveals deep contradictions between the price of cryptos and the underlying development of blockchain projects.

For instance, a leading venture capital (VC) firm launched a $300.0-million crypto investment fund, yet liquidity continues to dry up in crypto markets.

Another example is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's.

The post Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto appeared first on Profit Confidential.

More here:

Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto