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Ocean reclamation and/or colonization

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Erik Mesoy, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    Full page.

    I think this is a very interesting idea. I originally came across it in connection with a proposal to accelerate global warming to end the current technically-defined ice age going on on Earth. While I think that's risky at present and will have high transition costs, the basic ideas and technologies involved seem very interesting and worth pursuing. The page goes on to discuss aquaculture and floating cities, which raises a number of questions about naval territory ownership and the like.

    How worthwhile and/or important do you guys think it is to be reclaiming oceans as habitable area? What sort of ramifications would this have? What suggestions would you make on how it should work, legally, politically and otherwise? Does it seem feasible in the near future (50 years or so)?
     
  2. The Last Conformist

    The Last Conformist Irresistibly Attractive

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    Why would one want to do that?
     
  3. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    To lower the risk of planetary reglaciation and to free up land for habitation that is currently inhospitably cold.
     
  4. Till

    Till Adventurer

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    This seems like an expensive and disaster prone proposal to address a non existing problem. Lack of land is not an issue right now, and i don't see it becoming one in the future. Humans can be stacked quite highly, as places like Hong Kong or Manhattan show.
    We might run short on arable land eventually, but i would be surprised if off shore farms were cheaper than terraforming previously infertile land.

    If a scenario would arise in which this proposal would be economically worthwhile, it would lead to a scramble between nations to claim as much ocean as possible, putting an end to the concept of "international" waters. Considering that resources on land are in decline and technology for deep sea drilling is getting closer to becoming reality, this might happen anyway.
     
  5. The Last Conformist

    The Last Conformist Irresistibly Attractive

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    At the cost of sinking huge amounts of coastlands (proper deglaciation would raise sea levels by tens of meters) and launching unpredictable changes in weather patterns etc. I think I'd rather pass.
     
  6. Halcyon

    Halcyon 9000

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    Such a skin would be too fragile to be practical, and the non-fragile alternative of earthmoving is too costly to be worth it in more than a few, small-scale cases. Generally the best place to build more land is on top of the land you already have.

    Also consider whether or not you think humanity is already doing enough to rape the oceans to death. Not just the massive, massive overfishing, but things like agricultural fertiliser runoff causing algal blooms which asphyxiate everything larger than a single cell in areas larger than most countries, and just generally treating the sea like a zero-consequence infinite dump for every bit of crap (literally and figuratively) we can't be bothered to deal with sensibly. Things like that one get passed over simply because people don't live in the sea, and therefore don't notice when there's a floating debris field the size of Australia just sitting there, slowly photodegrading into toxic fragments.

    So basically it's not that great an idea in practice.
     
  7. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Peralandra!! I wonder if it would be doable to create such floating islands.
     
  8. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    I demand ADAM and PLASMIDS
     
  9. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    The first thing that pops into my mind is that the Space Elevator is going to be ocean based, and so there will be pressure to grow a community around it anyway.

    One consideration is the lack of nutrients. I'm working with old data (it might have changed), but I'm under the impression that the middle of the ocean is very sparse when it comes to life, because there are no nutrients. My old data recommended harvesting the water at the bottom of the ocean, because it should be terribly full of nutrients.

    One wonders why this isn't done now. A few acres of floating net shouldn't be all that expensive, and it should be rather easy to grow food on that net. Mussel farmers do something like this already, but not on too large a scale.
     
  10. Synsensa

    Synsensa - Retired Moderator

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    Why don't we just invest in Japan's self-made water islands and put farms on those?
     
  11. Erik Mesoy

    Erik Mesoy Core Tester / Intern

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    That's pretty much what I said:
    ;)

    This thingy seems to agree, with its suggestion of pipes that pump up nutrient-rich water.
     
  12. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    Unnecessary and enormously wasteful. We're land creatures, not sea creatures. Living in the sea, or above the sea, requires an investment in resources which must come from the land. I very much doubt this investment would pay off, except for some very special places with worthwhile resources (we're getting oil from under the oceans).
    As for food, there's enough trouble already with the use we're making of what the oceans naturally offer. I have no faith we could improve on things by trying to "farm" them - the conditions are too harsh for any elaborate large-scale construction there.

    Assuming it actually could and would get done, then I guess we'd have first a scramble for the remaining international waters, then a long period of development (depleting many of our land-based resources on the process), and finally the "sea-people" would simply declare independence and proceed to have a go at their neighbors, wrecking their infrastructure in the process.

    If it's cheaper to use land, we'll continue using land.
    It's cheaper to use land.
     
  13. LightFang

    LightFang "I'm the hero!"

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    A very interesting idea, Erik!
     

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