2000-01-01 – The Floating Island problem

Ok, I might get flamed for not knowing the correct name of this mooted installation, but hopefully not! (Tends towards the name “Aquarius Rising”, which sounds so New Age.)

It has been postulated that the way into space is via the sea. This may sound silly, but there are a number of good reasons.

Firstly, at sea you are governed only by International Law, which, currently, isn’t actually much more than “Don’t piss off the big governments with the big guns”, and don’t murder people. This means no waiting years for permits to fly, and no tax. Ideal for multi-billion dollar spending then!

Secondly, no tax. No tax. It is such a biggy I thought I would say it again. 25%-40% of everything you earn in the UK goes to the government, then 17.5% of what you spend goes to government, unless it is fuel, then it is even more! Hence, flying a rocket ship at 80+pence a litre is going to kill your venture. (Hell, it is killing me driving to work!)

Thirdly, “we” can do pretty much what we want. This means testing OTEC, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, and flying rocketships.

Ok, one problem you have already seen is that 2 & 3 directly contradict 1. This means we will have to prepare for the King of Tonga.

Another great point is that you can wander around the globe on the high seas until you feel you want to stay put. I don’t see this as viable, since the entire system would be somewhat like a ship then, and the captain’s word is the law, etc. It has been found not to be the best idea to have democracy at sea, either. Some have pointed out that people who have their own boats/rafts would be able to tether on and then later tether off and go set up elsewhere. This will, of course only be possible for a short time, as unless a large number of you feel the same way, you will not be able to get your vessel past those who have tethered on to you, for your link to the whole. It then gets horrible, as people would fight for the seafront, or to not be on the seafront, to go West not East. Where, too, would any form of order come from this chaos? I would be using 240V from 12V lead-acids and diesel generators, the US arrivals would want 110V, others whatever is used by their legacy products. If we stored water or waste or whatever, how to determine if it is all fair without a legal system or overall control? Even here, there will be other more major problems…. Noise pollution may be a hellish problem as sound travels miles over calm waters. Drifting seasalt will cause crops to wilt closer to the edges of the plantations, so what if your breakwater decides to simply leave for warmer waters, and your crops die? There can be no recompense directly, as the offender has left. What if a boat sinks, and drags yours down too? What of the insurance and where do the survivors live? What happens in the event of negligence or deliberate damage?

Perhaps more pernicious is what if I wish to enlarge my stake? By adding 3000 more units of area I am increasing my personal wealth, but do I get to add it by my existing “Freehold” or do I have to place it elsewhere? After all, the neighbors would have to reroute any connections to other units they had set up if I could add at home, but then why add 3000 new units if they were 2 and a half kilometers away?

Regarding floatation, even this isn’t fair. If we assume someone can add with no buoyancy claim, then the only thing they want or need is stability. What if the side of your boat buckles due to the excess buoyancy or weight of mine? Without needing stability we don’t need to group, hence nothing at all is needed. Hence why have a colony?

Some form of government would have to evolve, but what and how? As already mentioned, the Laws of the Sea say the captain has the final say, but when thirty small vessels are tied together, who has the final say?

These are my arguments against having no genuine area to tether our colony to. Yes we should be anchored somewhere. I feel this is beyond dispute. As a closing argument, if one ship extends down 30 meters for support of their industrial lathe, it will require massive amounts of power to support and even more to move. If the ship is “sideways” and a thousand feet long, then not only is it an incredibly effective sea-anchor to the current, but nor can it add anything to the propulsion of itself! The whole colony would be at risk if allowed to free float, and the same would be true of the highly costly OTEC systems, which would not take kindly to moving at any kind of rate.

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