from the world's big
Seasteading 101: How to Build the World’s First Society-at-Sea
Who will live on the this brand-new floating nation in the South Pacific—and how?
Marc Collins was born in Hawai’i, the son of an American father and Tahitian mother, raised in Mexico City and attended college in the United States. He returned to his mother’s home country of Tahiti, in 1991, where he became involved in the family business of black pearl farming and retailing. He ran a successful chain of Tahitian pearl jewelry boutiques and after 17 years in the business, was invited to join the government as Minister of Tourism from 2007 until 2008.
In 2010, he launched French Polynesia’s first challenger Internet Service Provider, Viti, offering the first wireless 4G network on the island of Tahiti. From March 2012 to March 2013, Marc was the Area Manager, Pacific Islands, for the Hawaiki Submarine Cable, which will soon be connecting New Zealand to Hawaii.
In May 2013, Marc and four other partners launched Tahiti’s first OTT (over the top) entertainment platform, NiuTV. In November 2015, NiuTV became the 3rd licensed Internet Service Provider in French Polynesia, under the brand “Smart Tahiti Networks”.
In 2017, Marc became an Ambassador for The Seasteading Institute, as well as a co-founder and VP of Public Affairs for Blue Frontiers.
Marc Collins: A question I get quite often is, “What is Seasteading?” And Seasteading started out I guess in 2008. It’s a movement. It started out as a non-profit so it’s called the Seasteading Institute, based in California. But I think—just a couple of months ago—Seasteading is actually a word that’s recognized by the Oxford dictionary, and what it means is living on platforms on the open oceans and with new forms of society.
So the way I got involved in Seasteading is I was a government minister in French Polynesia; so a lot of people know my country by the name of Tahiti. And when I left the government I was looking at interesting opportunities for what we could do, especially in terms of sea level rise mitigations. That’s an issue that’s quite front of mind for a lot of Pacific islanders, especially now. And I had come across this institute and read about them, they were very—there was a lot of media focus on them back in 2008, 2010, 2012. So basically I reached out to the institute and said my understanding was that they had built a huge network of specialists of aquapreneurs, of scientists, researchers, investors. But what the movement was missing was the support, strong support, of a government that was willing to have a light hand on regulation and allow such an ambitious project as the world’s first sustainable, self-sustaining, floating island.
So French Polynesia had the advantage when I reached out to Seasteading. They have several things that the institute was interested in. And one of the first questions they asked was about connectivity. So, you know, is your country connected to the internet backbone? Connectivity is obviously crucial for big data that is going to be generated by the researchers, the scientists, so the first thing was: 'Do you have a submarine cable?' So we checked that one off. In 2010, French Polynesia connected to Hawaii, so we’re right on the internet backbone. Huge unused capacity, 99 percent unused, so obviously available for research. And the second major concern was about hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis. So basically, 'All right, we’re going to be doing this pilot project floating island. Obviously the weather and the situation in your country is important to us.' So we did some research. I already knew, being from French Polynesia, that this was a very rare occurrence. I think we’ve had two hurricanes in the last hundred years that had significant damage. There was property damage, a very light loss of life, and tsunamis are not really an issue for us. We’re in the middle of the South Pacific and so we get at least an eight-hour window before any tsunami were to hit us. But just given the geomorphology of the islands we don’t get these high waves that you get when you have a continental shelf off your city.
The objective of the pilot is to get all of these technologies tested on a smaller scale. It’s small yet we should be able to support around 200 people. So our objective is 200 to 250 people living there full time. There would be about a third research and scientists, a third will be people who just love to live on Seasteads. And we’ve got a long list of people who want to come live on a Seastead. Another third we believe are going to be startups and entrepreneurs that are building technologies around the ocean. So basically all sort of blue tech: you’ve got underwater drones, you’ve got all of these different types of startups that are linked to the space.
We also have the issue of energy. Now obviously we need internet on board these platforms. We will have some low-energy lighting, low-energy pumps and we’re going to be very careful with everything that goes on board these structures, but we feel fairly confident that there are enough ways for us to generate energy. So we’re looking primarily at floating solar panels. There’s a company we’re in discussions with in France that’s got some interesting technology. It’s not just as simple as putting solar panels on the water. It’s the corrosion resistance, it’s the wave, you know, how you mitigate for wave action. But here’s the interesting part about solar panels on the water as opposed to solar panels on land: the water actually cools the solar panels, the back of the solar panels, and it increases the yield by about 20 percent. So we’ve got some advantages to that. So we’re doing calculations as to exactly what surface area we would need. We’re going to be using some solar panels, of course, on some of our roofs. But in addition to that we’re looking at some pretty modern wave generation techniques. So we’re inside the reef but there are waves right outside of the reef. So these are units that actually are under water, I think about eight, ten, twelve feet under water. So they won’t disrupt normal boats going out there for leisure or commercial purposes. These are under water. They basically are complex buoys that take in that wave energy. It’s a little bit less, but there’s still quite a bit of wave energy and that will create additional power to just the solar.
On our pilot project, we have an idea of what we're doing for power, but ultimately the objective of these platforms is to go to the open sea. The research has been done, now I think it’s a matter of funding and of focusing all of this on one major project and that’s our objective, is first let’s do this pilot, let’s prove that these technologies work together. Let’s prove that people can live on these platforms in a new social way and that’s something that Polynesians are very interested in as well. I mean we’re the original Seasteaders in the sense that we’ve colonized and migrated throughout the Pacific for a thousand years and covered one of the largest oceans in the world. So living on the ocean is something that Polynesians know about and I think we have a lot to contribute to the project as well.
Seasteading began as a thought experiment: imagine a sovereign Libertarian utopia in international waters, far from the reach of any government. Over the last decade, this dream has inched closer and closer to reality. But establishing a completely independent floating city in the ocean isn't simple--or cheap. The Seasteading Institute compromised a little on its independence and instead sought a partnership with an established nation that could support their project while having a very light hand on regulations. The idea grew out of and caused a stir in Silicon Valley, was widely reported in the media, and Marc Collins, a former government minister in French Polynesia, saw an opportunity for symbiosis. The Seasteading Institute needs internet connectivity, energy solutions, food, and government permission to establish themselves in the South Pacific Ocean, while Polynesians are very interested in the technology needed to build floating cities—a concern at the front of their minds as sea levels rise—and in economic growth. And so Collins co-founded Blue Frontiers, a world-first company that builds societies on the sea. But who will live on this brand-new floating nation in the South Pacific—and how? Marc Collins explains the feats of engineering that are making this vision a reality.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.
A time for sleep<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Mt29uUqI" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="931343dee3c02121445e51e94ba22446"> <div id="botr_Mt29uUqI_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Mt29uUqI-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Previous studies had already suggested a link between persistent nightmares in childhood and psychosis and borderline personality disorder (BPD) by adolescence, but researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology wanted to see if a similar connection existed between these mental disorders and other childhood behavioral sleep problems.</p><p>To do this, they scoured data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a longitudinal cohort study that followed approximately 14,000 children born in Avon, England, in the early 1990s. The study followed the children for more than 13 years. During that time, mothers filled out questionnaires asking about the children's lives. Factors looked at included housing, parenting, nutrition, physical health, mental wellbeing, environmental exposures, and so on. </p><p>The cohort study inquired about sleep routines, sleep duration, and awakening frequency when the children were 6, 18, and 30 months old, and then again at 3.5, 4.8, and 5.8 years. It also assessed mental health in adolescence using semi-structured interviews, such as the Psychosis-Like Symptom Interview.</p><p>"We know that adolescence is a key developmental period to study the onset of many mental disorders, including psychosis or BPD. This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage," <a href="https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/psychology/marwaha-steven.aspx" target="_blank">Steven Marwaha</a>, professor of psychiatry at Birmingham and senior author on the study, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200701125431.htm" target="_blank">said in a release</a>. "Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors—and it's one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it's important that we understand these links."</p><p>After compiling the data, the researchers discovered an association between children with irregular sleeping patterns and teenagers with <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/psychosis/about-psychosis/" target="_blank">psychotic experiences</a>—that is, episodes when the person perceives reality differently than those around them. Even when depression at 10 years old was considered as a mediating factor, their findings still suggested "a specific pathway between these childhood sleep problems and adolescent psychotic experiences." </p><p>Toddlers with shorter nighttime sleep duration and late bedtimes were likewise associated with a <a href="https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml" target="_blank">borderline personality disorder</a>—a disorder marked by a pattern of varying moods, self-images, and behaviors—in their teenage years. Depression at age 10 did not mediate this particular association, suggesting a separate and more specific pathway. </p>
A more restful tomorrow<p>While the sample size was large and mental health was assessed with a validated interview, there nevertheless remain limitations to this data. For starters, sleep habits were based on mothers' reports. Because they came from memory, versus a more direct observation method such as actigraphy, these data may be prone to imperfect recollection and reporting error. There are also many confounders that could be secretly nudging the results, such as family conditions, prenatal medicines, and a host of environmental factors. Finally, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024884/#:~:text=Sleep%20difficulties%20in%20youth%20with,fear%20of%20dark%20%5B13%5D." target="_blank">the relationship between sleep problems and mental disorders</a> is both complex and two-way.</p><p>As such, the study shows an association between poor childhood sleep later mental disorders but does not prove a causal link. Parents need not worry that a string of nightmares or the eternal struggle settle into bed will be the first ingredients in a witches' brew of debilitating mental disorders. The goal of the study, the researchers point out, is not to create undue worry but improve our ability to recognize the signs of at-risk children and deliver necessary interventions earlier.</p><p>"The results of this study could have important implications for helping practitioners identify children who might be at higher risk for psychotic experiences or BPD symptoms in adolescence, and potentially lead to the design of more effectively targeted sleep or psychological interventions to prevent the onset or attenuate these mental disorders," Isabel Morales-Muñoz, the study's lead researcher, <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20200702/childhood-sleep-problems-linked-to-adolescent-psychosis-borderline-personality-disorder#:~:text=Sleep%20problems%20during%20early%20childhood,study%20published%20in%20JAMA%20Psychiatry." target="_blank">told Healio Psychiatry</a><u>.</u></p><p>If a parent reading this is worried that their child's sleep patterns are deleterious, the take away should not be despair over an unyielding fate. It should be to seek professional help as soon as possible to begin improving sleep duration and quality. Even if you aren't worried, it's worth remembering that childhood experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of salubrious sleeping habits. It's so much more than beauty rest.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.