TSI August 2010 Newsletter

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Eric Jacobus

Aug 3, 2010, 2:22:30 AM8/3/10
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The Seasteading Institute August 2010 Newsletter

Table of Contents

  • In the World

    • Immigration - A Case for Experimentation
  • TSI News

    • Sink or Swim - A Seasteading Business Plan Contest
    • UnEphemerisle Wrap-Up
    • Join TSI Staff at the Singularity Summit on August 14 and 15
  • Call to Action

    • Help us promote our business plan contest
  • Monthly Updates

    • Events
    • Blog Posts
    • Talks
    • Media
    • Community Links

In the World

Immigration - A Case for Experimentation

by Eric Jacobus

Arizona’s passage of immigration law SB 1070 marked a watershed moment for the state’s conservative voters, whose concerns ranging from crime prevention to unemployment compelled them to support stricter immigration enforcement. The Obama administration has deemed the law unconstitutional, putting the state and the Federal government at odds over issues of immigration and law enforcement. No matter the winner in the debate, one side will call foul, and as with so many state-vs-federal rulings, justice will be elusive. With its localized approach to lawmaking, seasteading provides a practical solution.

The Arizona issue has posed no small problem for libertarians: do they take the economic side of immigration, which provides ample evidence that immigration is healthy for economies; or should they channel Madison, abhorred by our "modern European type of government with ... a powerful independent executive" and champion states’ rights ala Thomas Woods? The economic argument says if immigrants are a drain on entitlements, then the entitlements should go. But libertarians can’t speak for Arizona voters: apparently they enjoy their entitlements, and they don’t like sharing with non-payers.

We can predict the federal government will enact the commerce clause to void the law, as it’s been used to trump states’ rights in a variety of other ways. Mr. Woods might argue Arizona is free to defy the Court by using nullification, but given the cost of ignoring federal laws, Arizona will probably fall in line. Localized, specialized lawmaking will give way to general, inefficient federal law.

If a seastead can retain its autonomy, it can avoid the federal-vs-state problem. With the power to enact and enforce local laws, seasteading has what Arizona and other states may never have: the power to make what outsiders consider mistakes. Prescribing a dogma, libertarian or not, to a locale only serves to remove autonomy from its lawmakers and undermine their local knowledge. Seasteading allows for more experimental lawmaking, which can produce a market for policy far more powerful than any one ideology.

TSI News

Sink or Swim Business Plan Contest

TSI recently launched “Sink or Swim”, the seasteading business plan contest. You can win $2,500 if you can write a persuasive business plan that takes advantage of the legal, regulatory, social, or physical environment of a seastead in creative ways.

Our goal is to create a compendium of good business ideas that would work well aboard a seastead to inspire and embolden the for-profit sector to take notice of this emerging and potentially highly lucrative seasteading world.

If you’d like to participate, please check out our website at http://seasteading.org/community/contests/sinkorswim-2010 for full contest rules and guidelines. If you have any questions feel free to email sinko...@seasteading.org.


  • First Place: $2,500
  • Second Place: $1,000
  • HumanIPO community favorite:: $750
  • Most creative: $375
  • Best Seasteading PR: $375

(Click here for a promotional video for the Sink or Swim constest.)

UnEphemerisle Wrap-Up

Relentless in the face of such minor obstacles as event cancellation, the seasteading community came together last weekend to throw a fabulous floating festival. Due to its decentralized nature -- all crowdsourced, no organizers -- many have been calling it "UnEphemerisle", in the spirit of an "unconference".

Despite our cancellation of the official Ephemerisle event due to high insurance prices, UnEphemerisle drew 116 people on 9 houseboats, one platform (part of Photo credit - Ben Burke and Anja UlfeldtApocaisle’s foundation), and San Francisco artist Chicken’s John’s artstead, the Relentless. Saturday’s activities included a series of talks at Memocracy, plus fun water activities such as wakeboarding, tubing, and water zorbing.

It was heartening to see Ephemerisle/UnEphemerisle attendance numbers stay roughly level from 2009 to 2010, despite the fact that there was no official event or centrally-provided infrastructure/services in 2010. As a community-building event where people interested in seasteading gather for fun, connection, and inspiration, UnEphemerisle was a great success. Post-event, there was a resounding amount of positive feedback on the event mailing list.

A key part of the vision for Ephemerisle is to incrementally evolve into a full-fledged seasteading city in international waters. This almost certainly requires some centrally-provided infrastructure, so the community’s progress along this path in 2010 was understandably limited. But it’s important to note that the crowdsourcing approach was a great success at Ephemerisle’s other goals of seasteading community-building and inspiration.

As we evaluate the possibilities for Ephemerisle 2011, we’ll be looking at ways to leverage the best of both worlds -- centralized infrastructure plus decentralized community passion -- to create an amazing event on the San Francisco Bay that moves Ephemerisle tangibly closer to the seasteading vision.

Join TSI Staff at the Singularity Summit on August 14 and 15

Join Patri Friedman, TSI's Executive Director, at the Singularity Summit August 14 and 15, hosted by The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Patri, and many TSI staffers have been interested in emerging technologies like brain-computer interfacing, regenerative medicine, human enhancement, and artificial intelligence for years. Some of us are fans of skeptics like James Randi and futurists like Ray Kurzweil. If you are interested too, join us at the upcoming Singularity Summit.

The speakers list this year is better than ever, with more than twenty speakers. We also have a booth at the Summit so you can learn more about Seasteading. Additionally, Saturday night from 7-10 there is a Meet and Mingle event to join speakers and fellow attendees for some stimulating conversations. Find out more here: http://meetss10speakers.eventbrite.com/.

Speakers include Ray Kurzweil, James Randi, Irene Pepperberg (animal intelligence expert), John Tooby (co-founder of evolutionary psychology), Dr. Anita Goel (leading bionanotechnologist), Prof. Steven Mann ("the world's first cyborg"), Dr. Gregory Stock (famed bioethicist and author of Engineering Humans), Ellen Haber-Katz (scientist who studies fast-regenerating mice), David Hanson (creator of the world's most realistic humanoid robots), Brian Litt (inventor of silk brain implants), and many others. The Singularity Summit is both the premier event on the Singularity and among the most ambitious interdisciplinary emerging technologies conferences today.

Registration for Singularity Summit is $585 (https://www.singularitysummit.com/registration/). Discounts are available for students, VC-funded young entrepreneurs, academics, and those who refer others. Discounted hotel rooms at available at the Hyatt (event venue), and booking a room at the Hyatt gives you a $100 discount on registration.

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco for this awesome event!

Call to Action

Each month, we ask you, the seasteading community, to contribute to the seasteading movement in a specific way that is relevant, practical, and effectively leverages your time and effort. We thank you for your participation!

Help us promote our Business Plan Contest

  • Know a way to reach out to entrepreneurs who could create business plans for TSI?
  • Do you frequent any websites or message boards whose readers would qualify?
  • Do you know of any news or media outlets that could help us spread the word?
  • Send your thoughts to sinko...@seasteading.org!

Monthly Updates


  • Join the Reason Cruise on Facebook! - Reason Magazine and The Seasteading Institute are teaming up to bring you a seven-day Caribbean Cruise featuring thought-provoking speakers, influential journalists, and an all-star cast of thinkers and freedom fighters from around the world.

Blog Posts

Upcoming Talks

  • The Feast - Friday, October 15, 2010 - Patri Friedman will be speaking at The Feast conference in New York City.


Community Links

TSI has presences on most major social networking sites. These are used for announcements, discussion, and are a good way to find other seasteaders in your area.

Special Thanks

To our donors and members, who continue to astound us with their generosity, their volunteered insights, and the quality of their characters;

To our forum participants, who have been keeping discussions lively, fresh, and civil, helping to further the cause of seasteading on all fronts;

And to you, for reading our newsletter!

See you next month!

Eric Jacobus, Lead Admin
The Seasteading Institute
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