Colonizing Antartica:

Total posts: [175]
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Pro-Freedom Fanatic
First of all, it escapes the notice of no-one that most so-called civilized and democratic countries are steadily growing more fascistic and authoritarian...

And most Third World countries were fascistic and authoritarian to begin with. Most territory on the world is currently claimed by one government or another... And pretty much everyone and their dog has passed or is currently passing Internet censorship laws, increased surveillance and police powers, drug prohibition, restrictions on people's freedom of association, restrictions on union activity...

Still, there's territory that's not currently reclaimed by any one country: Specifically, Marie Byrd Land in Antartica. It would be possible to set up a little freedom-lovin' enclave, without no pigs in blue and virtually no limits on individual freedom. Since there's no economy already in place, it might also be a place to experiment with economic systems. So why don't we get off our butts and colonize it? At the very least, we could set some 100% lawless datacenters there, circumventing all sorts of bans and prohibitions and creating a last safe haven for subversive and obscene speech.

Why don't we, y'know, do it?

edited 6th Dec '11 5:38:39 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
2 Carciofus6th Dec 2011 05:49:04 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
Well, apart from the usual comments on how such a commune would eventually have to develop regulations and, yes, policemen, there is the fact that that is not exactly the most welcoming of the environments. It's perhaps not impossible to establish a stable presence there, but doing that would require massive investments (and even then, it would not be a very comfortable life).

If you want to create an independent "nation", I think that a better bet would be to get some ships and/or petrol platforms and establish a presence somewhere in international waters. Technically, these ships and platforms would still fall within the jurisdiction of the flag state; but this can probably be circumvented in some way — for example, by registering them with some state which has not the means and/or the interest to give you trouble.

Mind you, it would still be a very big investment and an uncomfortable life, and the whole project would have a very high chance of failing.

edited 6th Dec '11 5:52:38 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to
know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

3 TheEarthSheep6th Dec 2011 06:16:17 AM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
it escapes the notice of no-one that most so-called civilized and democratic countries are steadily growing more fascistic and authoritarian...

It's escaped my notice, thank you.

And yeah, it would never work. The trend in society is always towards more regulation, not less.
Still Sheepin'
4 Carciofus6th Dec 2011 06:25:30 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
The trend in society is always towards more regulation, not less.
I am not sure that this is generally the case. The recent period saw an increase in regulation (more than I appreciate, to be honest), that's true; but other periods saw a decrease in regulation instead.

But putting aside for a moment the political issues, I think that colonizing Antarctica would be an interesting enterprise. At the very least, it would allow us to test some of the technologies and logistical protocols that we will eventually need to develop in order to colonize the space.

My suggestions for a functioning Antarctic city would be the following:

  1. Everything should be built underground, in order to reduce heat dispersion.
  2. For energy, one could try finding oil under there — we know that there is some. A (subterranean) nuclear central could also be a reasonable alternative, but we'd probably have to import fuel from somewhere. If we want to go with clean energy, I'm not sure — perhaps we could dig deep enough to find a big source of geothermic energy, and then exploit the temperature differential between it and the surface? Not sure how viable it would be, though.
  3. Food can also be grown underground, using artificial lights.

In theory, I think that something like this could work. The expense would be staggering, though.

edited 6th Dec '11 6:28:25 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to
know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

5 Colonial1.16th Dec 2011 06:59:47 AM from The Marvelous River City , Relationship Status: In season
Crazed Lawrencian
—strips the thread's premise of the OP's politics—

Would domes work in any fashion? If so, what kind?
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
6 Oscredwin6th Dec 2011 07:06:02 AM from The Frozen East
Have you heard of seasteading? Or of charter cities, especially the one being put together in Hondurus? Savage, you should google Patri Friedman and see what he's up to, you'd like it.
Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
7 lordGacek6th Dec 2011 08:26:40 AM from Kansas of Europe
[up] As far as I remember, most of those are right-libertarian. cool
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
8 Oscredwin6th Dec 2011 08:32:25 AM from The Frozen East
The great thing about right libertarians and left libertarians is that we can live as neighbors and countrymen, we can join different institutions (co-ops vs startups) and no one tries to govern everyone else.
Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Cmdr. of His Supremacy's Armed Forces
I agree with Savage (I've been doing that more and more recently :/) in that every nation on Earth is getting more and more...Well, there's too much regulation, for one, and that we need a new country for the freedom of information and speech.

No PC, but within reason.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
[up][up] There are several points of contention that make that premise impractical:

Many right-libertarians believe in patents and copyrights. No left libertarian I've ever come across considers them acceptable. If the right-libertarians tried to enforce copyrights, conflict would break out. The second point of contention is natural resources: Libertarian socialists believe that natural resources are the common heritage of mankind: You own the stuff you produce out of them with your labor, but you can not own the resources themselves. The problem's that in practice, you can only have so many oilrigs over the same bag of crude oil... According to left libertarians (and geolibertarians) those semi-exclusively exploiting a certain natural resource would have to pay everyone else for their acquiescence. Right-libertarians wouldn't, and it would be a cause of conflict.

Right-libertarians and left-libertarians can easily coexist in the same cities, since they're both totally laissez-faire when it comes to personal lifestyles. But sharing a single economy would be more than problematic, and would eventually end in an outright civil war.

Charter cities are a shitty excuse for actual self-ruled communes, and seasteading is specifically designed for rich people. They're steps on the right direction, that is, eliminating State interference on people's lives... But substituting government pigs for corporate security guards doesn't do much in the way to improve freedom.

edited 6th Dec '11 9:05:39 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
11 Colonial1.16th Dec 2011 09:05:51 AM from The Marvelous River City , Relationship Status: In season
Crazed Lawrencian
...Savage, can we discuss more the hows instead of the whys?
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
12 TheBatPencil6th Dec 2011 09:07:46 AM from Glasgow, Scotland , Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
I don't suppose that there's anything stopping someone with the sufficient resources from, say, sailing into Marie Byrd Land and declaring it a new country. But there's a reason why out of roughly 220 international entities, nobody wants the Slippy Slidey Ice Mordor.
And let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
The bad news is that the UK currently claims (but doesn't use) the habitable part of Antartica. Marie Byrd land is.... inhospitable, to say the least.

When it comes to the hows, it's relatively simple: You'd set up a research center in the habitable part of Antartica, Brits be damned. It would be possible to exploit the loophole that Britain is not to interfere with science being done in there (and they lack the enforcement ability to do so anyway). Furthermore, it would be possible to actually swindle scientific agencies of the world to fund expeditions.

Expanding the research station and prolonging the experiments for decades (adding new ones) would create a de facto population in there. Once that was achieved, there'd be a brief struggle for independence: Hold elections, UDI, that kind of jazz. Since the Brits have no inhabitants, and the colonists would, it's more likely than not that the settlers would retain control over the territory, or at least achieve some sort of mutual non-interference deal.

The Antartic coast isn't that different from Greenland: It's shitty and permafrosty, and it's damn cold... But it's survivable with adequate insulation. There's fishery to live off of. Small-scalle greenhouses could be set up. As long as they're properly insulated, there's no reason why they wouldn't work. You don't need to worry that much about equipment overheating: Hell, the place was built for datacenters. Power would be a bit tricky: However, the antartic glacier looks designed for large-scale windpower.

It's not been drilled extensively, there's probably lots of untapped fuel to exploit, too.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
Savage, trying to build a commune in Antartica is also an enterprise exclusively for the rich. It's prohibitively expensive to start up a colony in such a hostile environment. Hell, Russia's doing something sort of like what you're suggesting within some territory it owns up way in the North. (Or at least suggested it.) The only reason they can even suggest such a thing and have it considered seriously is that they have a whole country to use as a tax base to fund the thing, and that they will be drilling oil there.

It's not so much that people won't get off their lazy butts as the actual monetary and labor costs at this point far outweigh perceived social benefits. The internet jockeys you think could live there aren't exactly the engineers you'd need to build the home structures in the first place.

Plus, there's that treaty in place to prevent any one country setting up a colony there while allowing scientific outposts. I'm fairly certain that it could be stretched to any independent organization trying to set up a new country. Legal issues ahoy; you can't ignore international law no matter how much you'd like to.

Basically, it's not done because it's not practical at this point in time. Seasteading is also impractical, but there might be less international resistance to it.
15 Oscredwin6th Dec 2011 09:23:20 AM from The Frozen East
[up][up][up][up] In the right libertarian circles I frequent there's some debate about how IP should or could work. No one thinks that the current situation is right, and that any sort of patent is a government granted monopoly and thus illegitimate. Believing in any sort of intellectual property is a fringe position. When dealing with natural resources, the idea is that some government would hold an auction and disperse the money taken in to the general population and the winner of the auction would then own the resources in question.

Sea steading is specifically designed for rich people, but that's how new things usually work. Cell phones used to be the exclusive province of rich people, high power lawyers and the like. Then in was phones where you could get your email, Blackberries. Now everyone has a cell phone and there are some pretty cheap smart phones out there. As sea steads expand, a wider range of people will want and be able to live there.

edited 6th Dec '11 9:23:34 AM by Oscredwin

Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
[up][up] Set up a permanent outpost, do research there, populate it entirely with libertarian/anarchist technicians and engineers. Let it grow naturally until they demographically own the damn place. The lines between a colony and a scientific outpost can be completely blurred.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
Actually, the mention of seasteading reminds me of this show I saw once. It featured a ship that basically had homes for the rich on them. It was some sort of retirement thing? Or just had people who were fairly wealthy and thought living on a ship would be a cool thing. I believe they rented or just owned their specific rooms? So yeah, seasteading's got some sort of base that can be drawn off of.

But yeah, by the time seasteading becomes a thing less rich people can do there will already be a crapload of regulations and rules in place. We tend towards rules in order to prevent ourselves from ripping into each other. And that means there needs to be a force to enforce those rules.
18 Oscredwin6th Dec 2011 09:33:25 AM from The Frozen East
Not if the guys who own the boat(s) and floating platforms are against such things.
Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
There won't be a crapton of rules and regulations because there'll be nobody to enforce them. It would be trivial to simply massacre management and take over a seastead, which makes them ideal candidates for a red revolution: A secluded place where the guys in charge can't call the tanks in?

That's the most beautiful about seasteading: The rich will buy it, and then we'll steal it. wink

edited 6th Dec '11 9:35:28 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
The more people you have in any one area, the more likely there are to be rules. Informal rules only work with small groups, and in those cases there's generally a leader or two who's expected to enforce the rules. (Or council, whatever, depends on the size of the group.)

Simply being against such things doesn't take away the practical need for such things in some form. Political ideologies don't survive very long against the practical needs of the group. Though this might be getting off topic, I can't tell, since making these things would be ideologically motivated in the first place. *shrug*

[up] Oh for crying out loud. And someone would shoot you and dump you into the ocean as soon as you did something that displeased them. And then everyone would be dead. Your ideas are so fucking stupid simply because they always revert to "shoot whoever displeases me".

edited 6th Dec '11 9:38:19 AM by AceofSpades

21 Oscredwin6th Dec 2011 09:39:07 AM from The Frozen East
Savage, there are rich people who agree with you. They're the ones who are making the Seastead. Are you going to steal from people who want freedom and to get away from governments just because they own a (very) large boat?
Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
22 Gabrael6th Dec 2011 09:41:44 AM from My musings , Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
I don't mind regulation, so long as it's doing it's job and keeping us safe, not just handing money over to lobbyists who half ass a job and pocket the rest.

That being said, I think living underwater "Abyss" style would probably be more feasible then living in Antarctica. But I am not an engineer so I don't know. It just seems like it would not only be easier to maintain, it would also be easier to generate electricity from underwater vents or water wheels in current streams then attempting to mess with ice.

"Psssh. Even if you could catch a miracle on a picture any person would probably delete it to make space for more porn." - Aszur
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
Not if they stay the fuck out of my stash, my guns and my Internet tongue. Soon as they try and touch any of these, all bets are off. wink

edited 6th Dec '11 9:43:37 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.

People like Savage are why we need regulation. He's got a very broad idea of what "stealing" means, and doesn't care about the safety and decisions of others. Hell, everyone but him could decide that guns are too dangerous to have on the boat, and rather than acquiesce to the people he's decided to live with he'd shoot whoever told him about the new rules because he doesn't believe the democratic process is legitimate. Because of this, he's also the reason a libertarian attempt and colonization or seasteading would ultimately fail.

edited 6th Dec '11 9:51:05 AM by AceofSpades

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