Thinking Volumetrically opposed to Linearly. The key to success?

(Andrew) #1

I’ve been following the Seasteading Institute since it has been in existence. I grew up on the water in New England and spent my summers teaching sailing, exploring the estuaries to collect crabs and mussels and even making the occasional sand castle or two ;).

It seems to me that most people on the seasteading institute group are focusing on platforms for creating artificial land. I also grew up with family in Biloxi Mississippi. Has anyone here visited there before Katrina? There were many many many floating casinos and hotels on your typical barges. Post Katrina, well, Biloxi was basically a heap of trash everywhere. Blocks and Blocks inland were now filled with a mix of sand, debris, and casino pieces.

With that in mind, when I first found that the idea was cement barges, I just shook my head. In the open ocean environment off of San Francisco, that would be a terrible idea, while weather and seas are maybe sorta stable, what if something unexpected happened? What if a Tsunami happened and shifted the seafloor resulting in even a 10 foot wave coming to say hello to the structure? Well most of the designs would basically fail.

That, is troubling for many a reason.

I’m proposing something slightly different. You see, life in the sea and in the air doesn’t think how us Humans do. We think in terms of linear area. While the fish and the birds are not restricted to our two dimensional thought process but three dimensions. I like to think of it as thinking volumetrically.

When thinking volumetrically, biomimicry is much easier.

When looking at the great oceans, it is easy to notice certain things. Fish form balls, Ice floats, and well the water gets deep.

The most efficient way to build volume is as many have noted on here and elsewhere is with a geometric dome. I’m suggesting the Geodesic sphere be the standard for which things are built for “seasteading.” In addition to the strength and material per volume, it is also extremely efficient in terms of stability with an environment with potential extreme weather.

I’m suggesting that these Balls, be tethered to a weight, and or use a ballast. This would stabilize the bottom point, but also allow for the submergence of the structure. Yes, I’m suggesting that we build spherical submersible dwellings. This way a breakwater is less needed. In the case of a bad storm or extreme waves, the structures can go underwater to take a gentler ride through the disturbance. Similar to a surfer diving under the passing wave.

Depending on the ballasts the structures could be at a variety of depths and waterlines. It does complicate the systems initially, but allows for much more resilience, also, extremely easy to rearrange and move said structures by towing.

I have spoken directly to the individual who makes the GIANT open ocean fish pens that people have mentioned on here from time to time, and he believes that his structures could be modified for my use case scenario. Each section between supports can be customized as well, be it an access hatch, or a tow point, a window, or really anything you can imagine.

Cost for an initial test unit is somewhere between $25,000 for just a shell to upwards of $2.5 million for a large stadium sized structure that could be used both for residential and commercial.

Anyways, these are some unpolished thoughts. It doesn’t seem that the forum is very active. Maybe It is filled with people and I can’t find the threads, or maybe everyone on here has never sailed a boat before. Needless to say, I believe trying to make a floating city is foolish, but a group of spheres very functional.


(Matias Volco) #2

Hello Andrew. hear hear.
Check out Ellmer’s whale "concrete submarine"s and the concept of an “Ocean Sphere”.
For surface sun drenched dwelling a stadium or “plate shape” would be ideal too.

(Andrew) #3

Thank you for the welcome.

My father served on a submarine when he was my age, for many years. A férocement sub just sounds like a terrible idea. I’ve seen some proposals and I wouldn’t want to be in one personally. At least after hearing stories growing up from my father.

Fiberglass would be better in my opinion, but I also wouldn’t want to characterize structures as submarine.

I alluded to earlier, that ice floats. I wasn’t just saying something that is the miracle that allows us to exist, but I was referencing icebergs.

Typically the volume is only twenty percent or less above the water line. I think that is a good design that has perfected itself for millions of years that should be taken advantage of.


(Andrew) #4

I looked into the concrete whales.

i could see value in a sub maybe for cargo, but even then, a boat is likely much much cheaper. The market is incredibly saturated.

Also, férocement boats are almost worthless and for seemingly good reason. Although as underwater structure there may be some usefulness with cement; especially combined with accretion.

I do think artificial lagoon structures may do wel with férocement buoys though. The right form design could provide for an excellent framework to grow mangroves upon. That said, fiberglass or plastic forms are probably more useful for this.

I find the guy in Mexico who takes old plastic bottles and makes giant floats to hold up his raft quiet brilliant for a cheap scaffold upon which to grow mangrove rafts for providing much needed resources.

I’ll likely be recruiting a few graphic designers in the coming weeks. There is an area in Florida where I think prototype testing may be feasible.


(Chad Elwartowski) #5

One of my designs is a sphere (why geodesic? that’s not as strong). It is likely the best scenario for those that do just want to go out past 200 miles and be free but it would be a very isolated society and getting out in the sun would not be as common.

A combination of the two would be good. Spheres underwater and flat areas on the surface.

(Andrew) #6

I am a fan of geodesic spheres because it allows for more flexibility in design. It also uses less resources for the amount of volume created.

I have nothing against spheres, although I think it would be more difficult to create enough windows and access ports to keep myself happy, and thus a geodesic sphere’s skeleton is ideal in my view.

Also, I should mention. That sub article I referenced earlier is definitely not the sub by the forum member. I was distracted and didn’t put enough thought into my fact checking.

Although, I could see farmers of less than legal or extremely sensitive or valuable crops take serious interest into these projects…


(Matias Volco) #7

See Vellela projet, they use triangulated skeletons for flexible maintenance and perhaps assembly, is that what you mean?

The shape itself of a sphere uses the least resourced per volume enclosed. Maybe the windows can face an lare inner atrium, like in the Roman Homesteads?
Maybe an ocean sphere could be connected to a sun drenched platform in the same way a high rise district is connected to a park or beach?

(Wilfried Ellmer) #8

context: | 99% of the living space developable for humanity is oceanic | ocean sphere | oceanic habitats - Ben Franklin | oceanic real estate | demographic development - need for ocean colonization | shell cluster structures |

(Andrew) #9

A few years back I called Steve Page about his fish pens and the feasibility of modifying the design to make them into spheres that contained windows instead of mesh and air opposed to water.

The idea was to use them as shark diving pods for tourism. I was debating using them in making a documentary but another project has still kept me from exploring them further.

He was extremely optimistic that it would work and had done some preliminary research of his own as well. Yet due to us both being consumed with other projects it hasn’t gone any further.

The geodesic ocean pens in both the Hawaii and MIT videos appear to be manufactured by his company.

There is a great video here about them.

I’m having trouble with hyperlinks on my iPhone and his forum but it’s to a short documentary style video on YouTube.

Ps. Elmer, either add something useful for the discussion or don’t post in this thread. You adding links and keywords doesn’t have help your website index higher, it just spas us.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #10

just want to be helpful and give you some context - you seem to have a need to read up what was going on here earlier - judging from what you are posting ( what is basicly a repetition )…this is what the links are for…use them and learn (avoid repetition) - or just ignore (and stay ignorant) - your choice…we call that the cientific debate aproach ( cientific discourse comes always with a reading list to help newbies to catch up )…it is an invention of Enlightenment…very useful to make progress…

…actually i understand that many people want to have a social chitter chatter going around in circles rather than a scientific discussion process that is strictly moving forward sending newbies to do the homework what is percieved as socially unpolite (and unkind with the slow foxes in the forrest that have a hard time to understand and follow the cutting edge argument ) - so if you “find my posts rude” or “do not understand the context” (as you have not made your homwork of reading up and understand basic stuff yet) - take my apologies and accept, that what i say, needs to be taken from the angle of the cientific debate process.
(having that written in your book i will of course attend your request and not post further on this thread…)


You mean like where, when confronted with documented facts, you beg for an opinion…?

Try re-reading his comment. He contacted someone about the feasibility of his concept, rather than posting a fantasy that we do not have the technology to build, to the dimensions you fantasize about.

@A_Hill Congrats on practical applications and critical thinking. Don’t let the nay-sayers stop you, but I would encourage you to be as complete in your thought processes and in the development of your ideas as possible, right down to toilets, plumbing and wiring…


I have trouble | comprehending | random words and hyperlinks | that are posted without context | :cry:

Maybe | @ellmer | might | one day | use | simple sentences and paragraphs | to introduce his links explain the reason | WHY | his links are | relevant to the topic.


A simply … “Here is a link to a discussion about why spheres are good (or bad). LINK … would suffice.

(Matias Volco) #14

That’s why I opened the Free Association Circle Talk for.
Feel free to use that thread to crucify users in the most wittiful way.


Responding to a post on one thread …

… should not require the responder to wander over to another thread to post the response.

That’s not how threaded commentary is supposed to work.

Further, repeated requests on multiple threads for a member to conform to the site’s standard of commentary should result in that member voluntarily subordinating his or her preferences to the repeated requests of the members and the management.

@ellmer has, for years, failed to respect the requests of others. That is simply … history.

My response was both warranted and appropriate.

If anyone disagrees …

… feel free to wander over to another thread a post a response. :slight_smile:

For reference, review this linked thread …

(Andrew) #16


Noun: forum ‎(plural forums or fora)

  1. A place for discussion.
  2. A gathering for the purpose of discussion.
  3. A form of discussion involving a panel of presenters and often participation by members of the audience.
  4. (Internet) An Internet message board where users can post messages regarding one or more topics of discussion.
  5. Trish was an admin member on three forums, and had no trouble at all when it came to moderating them.
  6. A square or marketplace in a Roman town, used for public business and commerce.

You see, in the “forum” it is called such because having the ability to constantly debate and critique and challenge eachothers views creates a stronger base and understanding for the future. This also allows new ideas to be inserted and challenge the old dogma to make sure its the best way to do things. If it isn’t, and can be both theorized and proven repeatedly by multiple unique parties over time that also becomes absorbed into the best practices of the community and there is a net gain. Now, that said every idea isn’t a good idea, and this system also helps break down and explain why certain things don’t work, and then still people wishing to prove the point can end up trying and failing, or surprising everyone!

Now, I checked out your website… I’m not sure thats what most people would call it. It is just a collection of boxes of at best “clip art” and at worst “plagiarized” content but if nothing else it is a massive batch of clickbait and backlinks that google doesn’t even care about anymore!

I do wonder, if you think that somehow you can stifle any potential competition by mucking up this forum with your “context” and “cientific” accusations of conjecture and speculation. It is possible, but if anything this has helped me to see the benefits of just having a normal Yacht!

Oh, and the floating triangles? The Breakwaters? Please take some time and study up on basic physics, optics, and fluid dynamics your designs while not terrible; are riddled with errors that will keep anything made from being cost effective and successful.

As for other aspects of the discussion on the thread, I’ll reply a bit later today. Just wanted to take care of this bit first lol!


(Wilfried Ellmer) #17

… nonsense limit reachd in my universe - ellmer out…it is a quest for efficiency…(ref)

@BobDohse | @A_Hill | @JL_Frusha | - you are barking up the wrong tree…you have no “conversation base” with me…until you post something that is interesting and talkworthy in the context of ocean colonization …trying to involve me in your internet anger thereapy is futile …

…in my world you have been asigned to the … “special segment”…which is best attended by ignoring…(ref 954)

Can anybody here make a topic relevant point (if there is a topic and a point), present a hypothesis, a concept, etc… to make some progress…and create a pleseant and informative reading experience for seasteading interested folks…



@ellmer - You have ignored item #2 in your own reference …

“2) Stupid comments get no answer and are simply ignored”

Go to your own post and COUNT THE (zero) ANSWERS posted over the past 18 MONTHS.

What you seem to consistently ignore, @ellmer, is the reality that others might have a different perspective than you.

Thus, what you repeatedly argue as the best way is frequently merely a different way.

Why must you insist on trying to make everyone accept YOUR ideas as the ONLY ideas worth having?

Why must your concrete submarine always be superior to someone else’s barge, or floating platform, or ramform, or yacht?

Take a break and go learn something about brainstorming and collaboration.

Support others when they try to innovate. Allow people to experiment … even if they fail.

It is THEIR ideas, THEIR experiments, THEIR resources, THEIR time and energy, … and THEIR lessons learned.

Stop crapping on everyone else’s inspirations and aspirations.

You aren’t the Seasteading mommy.

You are just a fellow traveler.

Stop being the asshole who insists on puffing cigarettes in the nonsmoking room, just because YOU insist on everything being done YOUR way.