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I've written about this before, but it's interesting to see the technology coming together to make it feasible. The idea is that people will start living on barge-like boats and slowly motor or sail around the ocean to stay in the best weather.

You'd need a number of technologies to make this feasible, and all of them either exist or soon will. Obviously you want solar power, and some method of storing the energy for night, such as this: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html

You'd need a desalinization device, GPS, and some sort of satellite Internet service. And you'd probably need some serious waste treatment gear.

The reason I think the future will be barges instead of standard boats is that you can start small and add real estate as you can afford it. Just connect a new barge and presto. And you can dock to other barges to create temporary or permanent communities. If the barges are designed to be connected, according to some common standard, the entire city can move around to the best weather and fishing spots as needed.

The reason I think this will be a compelling lifestyle is that you won't have to pay much in taxes if you live and work in international waters. And there will be no government to squelch your freedoms, unless you choose to form one. Big countries will have no compelling reason to conquer your barge, or even your barge city, because it will have no strategic value.

With scale, you get floating hospitals and schools and all the other services you need. The big problem would be pirates. But there is a theoretical amount of firepower that makes that risk manageable too. You could have your own surveillance drones that warn you well in advance of any company.

I think it will happen.
 
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Aug 22, 2008
Too late. The Uros of Peru beat you to it. Sort of. Plus, the weather is not exactly Corona-friendly. But, if you get pissed off at your neighbor, just cut your island in half and shove off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uros
 
 
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Aug 20, 2008
Just one word....seasickness.
 
 
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Aug 20, 2008
Buy an island.

 
 
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Aug 20, 2008
It's all already been planned- but with a large boat for a multitude of rich people (hence captain=government) but the cruising for lift thing works- also makes the waste treatment easier as this is hugely simplified by scale. This will of course NOT be solar powered (boats would have too small a surface area to sail at a decent speed with solar powered engines- you may have to fight currents). Barge cities would NOT be particularly storm proff- and a lot of them would probably sink every year unless they are in closed coastal waters (hence governement- ups you screwed). Generally you also get the problem with living on boats- houses go UP in value over time (hence not just home- investment) whereas boats go DOWN- so unless your personal income is big enough that you tax dodging pays the offset of not having real estate income it'll be bad economics.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
Won't it get to a point where it's exactly like how we live now? (As far as governments and taxes and police and so on are concerned.)

Even the weather chasing won't be that different. The good spots would get crowded, so only the rich could live in or visit them (just like Turtle Island!)
 
 
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Aug 19, 2008
I've always wanted to convert a supertanker into a private yacht. French chateau, formal and English gardens, a ten story apartment block for the staff and a bridal path. And that's only the top deck. And that's just the top deck. My idea comes with the kind of fuel tanks you need to motor around looking for the best weather.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
Pirates will not be a problem. They are going to be extinct because of global warming.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation#Examples

 
 
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Aug 19, 2008
I really like the tramps from today's strip! Especially the guy on the right with the overbite... Scott, can you please give them a recurring role in a future strip? Maybe they could work in sales, or security.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
Well, if you have a group of people who are wealthy enough not to have to work, this works OK but I think the cruise ships already have that market cornered.
If you are talking about the vast, seething masses of humanity whose numbers are rapidly approaching 10 billion and desperately need places to live then you also have to have something to do for them to make a living or for investors to build such a place. How about algae farming? Grow the right algae and they can be up to 77% oil. Instead of drilling off the coast, we could be farming off the coast. Yeah, I know I already posted on that but it sounds like such a great solution...energy from sunlight that you can sell on the global oil market.
Alternatively, we all know that it is better to be a pirate than a merchant in the Caribbean and a Smoker in Waterworld so why not just provide them with some nice quick amphibious vessels so they can do their own piracy or at least keep their day jobs on land? A hybrid jet ski/motorcycle or carboat would keep people from having to shell out to marinas in expensive real estate markets like San Diego, L.A. , New York etc and you could provide affordable housing to the masses. One to two hundred thousand for a condo adds up pretty quick. I can't believe that the engineering hurdles can't be worked out for that much.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
it mis all irrelavant when cows are on the war path

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4662095a11.html

kiwi
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
This is sort of a complementary idea to one of my halfbaked ideas entitled "City In the Skies Above" which is about people living in giant cities with interconnected helium/hot air balloons. One of the advantages of balloon cities is that the air is cooler as you gain altitude.

http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/City_20in_20the_20Skies_20above#1200438074
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
Waste treatment!? Well, the reason it's called the "Poop" deck is because it's in the back of the boat where pirates used to ...
 
 
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Aug 19, 2008
I like the idea of no government.

If you think pissed off ex lovers and neighborly disputes can be bad now, just wait until there's no governing body to throw anyone in jail.

On the plus side, population control won't be a problem.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
Interesting idea - but not practical for all the reasons others have pointed out.

One modification - instead of moving your barge to a new location, just move the contents to another barge. You could either have more than one barge, or do some sort of time share, or just keep buying a new one when you get tired of the old location. Barges on the open ocean are a bad idea.

 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 19, 2008
Hi Scott,

Barge cities are a neat idea, but do not seem practical. Storms, rough seas, and pirates will not be a big issue at all. Since these barges will be thousands of feet in length and displace billions of tons of water, the hundred foot waves of the North Sea will be but a ripple. The biggest cost of maintaining a large vessel is cleaning it. The most corrosive environment on earth are the oceans, and the warmer ones with higher salinity are much worse. These barges will quickly become floating reefs covered with all sorts annoying sea life. Then they will start to corrode. The non-stop effort to keep these vessels sea worthy would cost a fortune. Barges for the most part are disposable. When they are no longer useful, they are either scraped or sunk as artificial reefs. They will not make a good long term building material. Everything on these barges will have dramatically shortened lives. Electronics and salt water do not mix. The point being, the big blue eats anything that stays out there too long. A floating city will need to have an extremely long life to be commercially viable, the cost to keep it afloat will be way too expensive. Landfills and new islands are the best we can do, think Boston or The Palm Islands off Dubai.

Keep your barges the hell off my waters.

dsg
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
Some people are already doing this in a way. I went on a cruise a couple of years ago & met quite a few retirees who literally cruise all year. They do Alaska and/or Europe in the summer and the Southern hemisphere in the winter. They have no fixed address, aside from PO boxes in various ports. One couple told me that it was actually less expensive to cruise all year than to maintain an apartment in LA.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
I can see problems with supplies. Not that they'd be inaccessible, but frequently consumed items would be pricey, especially if resupply happens only once every few weeks. There would most CERTAINLY be taxes, as maintenance on such a superstructure would be massive and ongoing. I like Freedomship's idea for propulsion. Instead of using giant engines with 50ft screws, they use hundreds of tiny propellers, under the flat hull of the ship, which have independent 360 deg. rotation, and require far less power than traditional propulsion. Much slower, but much cheaper too. Piracy is less of a problem in my mind, as even a small country can have a standing Navy. Who wants to attack a barge city with three or four cruisers armed to the teeth patrolling around when there are so many unattended cargo ships around? The security is another expense that'd have to be paid by taxes. In the end, the tax level may be the largest prohibition. A setup like this will cost a bomb, both to create and to run.
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
waste treatment... I can't help the image that pops into mind of the residents peeing off the side of their barges
 
 
Aug 19, 2008
No government?!

So I have a barge side plot and a new McBarge ties up on my shore line. With no zoning panel to appeal to, I extend my deck accross the new neigbors lawn to restore my ocean view. He begins to seriously consider torching it, but I warn him that he ain't getting any deliveries from the market accross my barge, etc etc.

Look, you are either formulating a communist world, or an anarchist one. and I would hold off on the 'no strategic value' assesment until you see how fishing rights and geographic rights for cleanest water, best solar insolation for power and best climate play out.

Plus, regretebly, a large portion of the population will do what they can get away with and with no revenue for public service, it will be insane. This model can be forcast from the dynamics of ealry settlements in newly explored areas. What makes the best ones work. Community planning, balance of commercial tax revenue, freedom, protection.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 19, 2008
I'd need a regular weekly visit from a travelling supermarket, probably based on a large Spruce Goose-like flying boat. I'd get frustrated if the only fruit I could eat was tinned or dried, and there's limited scope for growing your own, even if you followed the nice weather, without a substantial orchard barge.
 
 
 
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