Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seasteading: Getting Beyond The Celebrity-Seeking Dilettante Phase

More Designs Here

Up to this point, seasteading seems to be more about appearances and fads than about actually building a seastead as an ongoing concern -- as a real alternative to government monopoly. The Seasteading Institute has promoted a number of conferences and a good deal of media coverage, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of making a life on the ocean, most of the ideas one finds on the site lack heft. The bottom line is that a seastead will have to pay for itself.

It is clear that aesthetics is playing far too great a role -- and economics far too small a role -- in many of the themes and schemes thrown around in popular seasteading circles. After all, there is no need to reinvent the wheel in terms of basic marine structure. Actual commercial enterprises such as the oil & gas industry and marine mining concerns, have made significant engineering advances and continue to do so, in terms of habitable ocean-going vessels which are also commercial platforms.

One exciting material prospect for building working seasteads, is pre-stressed concrete:
Through innovation with precast and prestressed concrete, some latest trends are now focused toward the development and construction of floating ocean platforms used to extract minerals, energy, and other natural resources.

Precast and prestressed concrete platforms have been constructed to support phosphate processing plants, floating liquefied propane gas (LPG) processing and storage facilities, and oil exploration platforms that are transported afloat and grounded for drilling.

For ocean platforms, the size and weight of prestressed and precast concrete construction will provide the greatest dynamic stability due to its large inertial advantage. Long-term durability of concrete construction in an ocean environment has been proven by actual service of existing prestressed precast concrete platforms over the last several decades. _civil-online
By taking advantage of the lessons already learned and earned by offshore industries, seasteaders who are serious about pulling their own weight can find starting opportunities and niches. Just as in a successful marriage, the means of supporting the group comes first, then the details of housing, recreation, etc.

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