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Countries in Training: Sealand and Oceania

By qslack in Culture
Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 04:55:03 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

Several new countries such as Sealand and Oceania (o-shee-an-ee-uh) are in planning or are actually a registered country. You've no doubt heard of Sealand before; remember Havenco? They use Sealand (which is just a WWII platform for shooting down German ships) to host data that more uptight countries such as the US may not agree with, and consequently take down.
Oceania is being built (actually the floating platforms are being built :) as we speak. It will be the size of Luxembourg initially, but it will be afloat 50 miles away from Panama in a place where hurricanes rarely reach.

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comments (24)
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Sealand is quite famous. Besides having a cover Wired article a few months back, it was also all over the press when they got into a mini-psuedo-war with Britain and when someone took over the island by force (the stories behind each of those are here).

From their "History" page...
During World War II, the United Kingdom decided to establish a number of military bases, the purpose of which was to defend England against German air raids. These sea forts housed enough troops to man and maintain artillery designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. They were situated along the east coast of England on the edge of the English territorial waters.

And, of course, a couple of British people came over and settled on that island. That brings us up to today, when Havenco bought most of the land on Sealand to use as a data haven. Their "About" pages are quite interesting as well (however, the PR-speak is quote noticeable). (Sealand has been featured on Slashdot several times. Read the "Answers from..." especially)

This is by far the most interesting one. How can one look at Oceania without saying "Damn, that looks cool." However, even without pictures, it just sounds very cool and well-thought-out. They already have a constitution and a FAQ which tells that they are about to begin construction.

Oceania's Constitution
Nearly everyone will be happy to know that they do not outlaw drugs. They believe that you can do whatever you want with your body (well, almost anything, as I explain below), whether it's suicide, prescribing your own medicines (i.e. no FDA and no "Common side effects may include death, severe constpation, <insert body part here> dryness, but no side effects were worse than a normal sugar pill dipped in sulfuric acid would be" on commercials--finally!), or nailing yourself to a table covered with wasps.
They do not have any anti-trust laws nor welfare, and they leave the citizens to come up with "trustable organizations" which means no government control of the police, FDA, FBI, etc. Basically what they expect is for people to make similar organizations and if any person or business does not agree to follow them, then they won't be able to buy things from businesses who are a part of the organization. Sounds sensible to me.
In my opinion, they have made two big mistakes. One is that they dictate everything, and I mean *everything*. What punishment the parents will have if their kid doesn't get food for 7 weeks (example), and many more like that. The other big mistake is that they separate by age. Being under 18 myself (I'm in the states) I'm constantly held back by my age. I can't drive, drink, vote, smoke, buy Playboy, let anyone know my name (COPPA), give my consent on legal forms, and the like. They are also very detailed about the sexual ages of consent. No one under 16 can consent to sexual activity even though in places such as Scandinavia where everyone is open, the teenage pregnancy and rape rates are must lower.

I hope that these countries do succeed and one day I may end up living in Oceania if it prospers and if it changes the problems in its constitution.


Voxel dot net
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Oceania is good/bad because..
o Good: Drugs are legal! 13%
o Good: No gov control of the FDA, FBI, etc. 24%
o Good: It just looks cool! 18%
o Bad: It will never be built. 15%
o Bad: Who wants high people to be roaming around all day? 5%
o Bad: Everything. 9%
o I'm neutral 13%

Votes: 126
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Sealand
o here
o Havenco
o featured on Slashdot
o Oceania
o look at Oceania
o constituti on
o a FAQ
o Also by qslack

Display: Sort:
Countries in Training: Sealand and Oceania | 68 comments (68 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Nic estory. (1.62 / 8) (#1)
by Trracer on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 01:45:51 PM EST

Ah, very informative.
Nice reference to Scandinavia too! ;) (legal age, if both are minors is 15)

-- Inoshiro är en räksmugglare!
legal age in Canada (3.66 / 3) (#26)
by naasking on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:02:21 PM EST

IIRC, the legal consenting age in Canada is now 14. The age was reduced from 16 to prevent a 15 yr. old girl's parents from having her 17 yr. old boyfriend arrested and charged with statutory rape.

[ Parent ]
Oceania Is a SCAM (2.20 / 10) (#2)
by LaNMaN2000 on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 01:57:36 PM EST

I remember reading somewhere that Oceania was a SCAM. The principals wanted people to invest in their utopian vision by donating money to the project in exchange for shares in the resulting entity. It is illegally selling shares in a never to be completed project against SEC regulations.

Lenny Grover -- link-spamming to make Google give me my name back!
Perhaps... (4.20 / 5) (#3)
by Matrix on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:05:07 PM EST

...providing some kind of link or other supporting information to back up this allegation would be a good idea?

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

That wasn't Oceania (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by plop on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 05:30:23 PM EST

I believe the place you read about was actually Utopia (easily confused seeing as both are new country ideas, in the sea and end in 'ia').

[ Parent ]
"The Principality of New Utopia" (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by h2odragon on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:43:53 PM EST

...was the full name. I had the honor of meeting the folks behind that project, Prince Lazarus and his wife Maureen. Good folks, their hearts were in the right place... the heads, well, I'll just reserve my speculations...

[ Parent ]
Oceania? Uhuh, okay. (2.16 / 12) (#4)
by _cbj on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:05:41 PM EST

I'm not taking 'Oceania' seriously if they don't realise the name is taken. I mean, "Hurricanes? No waaay, dude", is less than credible from a geography dropout.

A raft the size of Luxembourg initially?

"Woah, Luxembourg, maaaan, that can't be bigger than Vatican City... can it?"


There's a reason behind the name (3.00 / 6) (#5)
by qslack on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:37:04 PM EST

The name "Oceania" was taken from George Orwell's book 1984. In the book it was a sort of perfect place to live.

And in the pictures, there isn't one large raft. There are ~20 honeycomb-shaped rafts. This is a big project, and about 20,000-30,000 people will live on the island initially.

[ Parent ]
I'm not buying it. No way. (3.80 / 5) (#7)
by _cbj on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:58:13 PM EST

The size of Luxembourg?

Have you seen Luxembourg? I hadn't heard this story but I can believe another poster who suggested it was a scam. A backroom full of longtime business criminals dreaming up plots to part money from American VCs need analogies: "Luxembourg", one says. "Small and far away, who'll ever know?"

I'm no engineer, but 1000 square miles just sounds hard, y'know.

Oh, and wanting to escape US authorities and choosing Central America. Hey, the CIA have never meddled there before.

[ Parent ]

[OT] Oceana in Orwell's 1984 (2.75 / 4) (#14)
by Ryan Koppenhaver on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 04:03:07 PM EST

The name "Oceania" was taken from George Orwell's book 1984. In the book it was a sort of perfect place to live.
Eh? The whole point of the book was that Oceania was a complete distopia[?]. The government monitored everything and had absolute power, and the standard of living was signifcantly lower than before "Big Brother" and co. took over.

[ Parent ]
Utopia or dystopia? (none / 0) (#52)
by Chris Andreasen on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:31:34 PM EST

Orwell's Oceania was a utopia because Big Brother managed to convince the entire population that it was one. Any one of Oceania's citizens would abhor life in any present-day country. I viewed the point of the book (or, at least one of the points) as showing that a utopia would be indistinguishable from a dystopia to an outsider, and a dystopia would be seen as a utopia by an insider because we're conditioned by our own society to have certain expectations of our surroundings.
Is public worship then, a sin,
That for devotions paid to Bacchus
The lictors dare to run us in,
and resolutely thump and whack us?

[ Parent ]
Aristocracy (3.57 / 14) (#6)
by FnordLord on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 02:43:35 PM EST

Won't the "initial investors" who buy the original hexagons become a sort of ruling aristocracy? I could see this turning into a feudal state!

I doubt it. (3.16 / 6) (#9)
by qslack on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 03:06:15 PM EST

The reason people would come to live here is to get away from dictatorships, monarchs, or partial dictatorships (as I like to call the US government). Anyone who is perfectly happy with their country will not move.

If it was a feudal state, no one would come to live there!
I'm not defending Oceania, I just think that no one would move to this place if the government wasn't any good. It would be very hard for anyone to overthrow the government as well. I think that tanks would be hard to conceal on such a small island :)

[ Parent ]
then again... (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by naasking on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:03:22 PM EST

But if there was a dictatorship, you may not even find out about it until it's too late(ie. until after you get there). The dicator(s) would be in control of all the facilities and every bit of news coming out of "Utopia" would be propaganda and blatant lies meant to conceal the truth.


[ Parent ]
Yes, but (none / 0) (#67)
by Pakaran on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 08:21:43 PM EST

Ever tried to conceal a large number of starving, enslaved people who were recently citizens of some of the most wealthy nations on earth from the satellites of said nations, not to mention the intelligence agencies?

Let's be honest. Even when (as in the case of S. Vietnam) the US has ignored that a nation is a dictatorship, we have darned well known it.

[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#68)
by naasking on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 08:22:55 PM EST

Ever tried to conceal a large number of starving, enslaved people who were recently citizens of some of the most wealthy nations on earth from the satellites of said nations, not to mention the intelligence agencies?

The main problem I see is that you're going to be on an open sea platform. In the middle of nowhere, all access controlled by those in power. How would you get word out? There aren't many people there. But I see your point and agree that it would still be difficult, but still very possible in this situation.

[ Parent ]
hmm... maybe it will. (3.60 / 5) (#10)
by Justinfinity on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 03:08:40 PM EST

i'm also wondering how you become a citizen of Oceania (see my comment at the story's root). do we rent from the owners of each hexagon (plot) or what? although, with the right leadership (servant leadership is the best kind IMHO), a feudal society can prosper fairly well. we'll just have to wait and see

[ Parent ]
who gets to live in oceania?... (3.90 / 10) (#8)
by Justinfinity on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 03:02:04 PM EST

can anyone just show up at oceania when it's done? i read the FAQ and can't find much mentioning how to go about living there? do you have to help out with the construction to become a citizen? i did notice that "phase 4" included gaining capital by selling "land" to real estate companies, so perhaps you only need buy a house or plot of "land" to become a citizen? does anyone have any more information on this?

OTOH, i think it's a great idea. we all know that none of the current governments are doing a bang up job, it's about time we (the world) tried something different. maybe Oceania will be a success, maybe it will be a financial failure and all it's citizens will return to other countries weel below the poverty level, maybe it will end up sinking, maybe the rest of the world will adopt Oceania's model. who knows?

it will be interesting to follow as they approach and complete the building phase. i know i'd like to try living there, if only for a change from the current government (i live in the US currently).


I wonder too. (3.00 / 5) (#11)
by qslack on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 03:22:28 PM EST

I've looked around on that oceania.org site for at least a day now in preparation to writing this story and the most promising page was this one: http://oceania.org/mall/passport.html. I'm going to e-mail the Oceania people and ask them that because I want to know too. If anyone else has more questions they want asked I'd be happy to get them answered.

[ Parent ]
Passports (none / 0) (#44)
by ookami on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 11:09:42 AM EST

As far as passports are concerned her is the section of the constitution that applies:

ARTICLE TWO: Government Agencies and Power Structure

   4. The Power Structure of Oceania
     A. The following powers are given to Restricted Businesses....
Passports. Private Entities will provide passports to Permanent Oceanians and to Children of Permanent Oceanians who are under twelve months of age. While passports will not be needed for entry into Oceania, there may be some use for Oceanian passports for people who wish to enter other countries. Oceanians may hold passports to more than one country. See Article Four, National Security, for details.

Otakudo The Way of the Nerd
[ Parent ]
Living/becoming a citizen (none / 0) (#46)
by ookami on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:22:17 PM EST

i finally finished reading the constitution and started scanning the laws..here is what I found concerning this:

CHAPTER EIGHT: Naturalization Laws For a Person to be declared a Permanent Oceanian ey Must go in front of a jury which will decide if ey has met the twelve months residency requirement. It takes a unanimous vote by the jury against em for em to not become a Permanent Oceanian. The residency requirement may be met by anyone who is physically present in Oceanian territory for twelve months. It is not necessary that they be consecutive months, and it is not necessary that the resident own or rent property. Children less than twelve months old are also declared to be Permanent Oceanians.

Spouses and other relatives of Permanent Oceanians may only become Permanent Oceanians by meeting the twelve months residency requirement.

An Oceanian will not lose the status of Permanent Oceanian by joining the military of another country unless that country is on the Government's official enemies list. It is the duty of the Commander in Chief to make such a list, which may be modified by referendum

Passports are given to Permanent Oceanians. They are good for ten years after issuance. Passports are provided by private agencies and their design and form is determined by the original founders of Oceania or by any referendums passed by the people of Oceania.

(this is an interesting section)
It is recognized that in the first twelve months of Oceania's existence almost no one will qualify as a Permanent Oceanian. Not even the founders of Oceania will be able to get a passport.

Otakudo The Way of the Nerd
[ Parent ]
I can't... (1.60 / 10) (#12)
by Dolgan on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 03:22:57 PM EST

I can't see this going through. Ever. There's not much else to say. I don't think I really need to explain why. A utopian city in the Sea? Urrghghh... yeah. Uh huh.

RE: Childhood rights as citizens (4.14 / 14) (#13)
by maynard on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 03:24:47 PM EST

This might seem off topic, since it doesn't directly relate to either Oceania or Sealand, though I am replying to the author's complaint about limited rights due to being underage. In order to keep it somewhat on-topic I'll simply say that Oceania's constitution does address this issue by allowing children the right to petition for "teen" or "adult" status within the community.

That said, as a thirty two year old adult I must admit that I completely agree with the separation between childhood and adult status. This opinion is not without dissent, for example John Holt wrote in the mid '70s a book called Escape From Childhood, which argued for complete civil rights for children, and even voting rights. It's a well known book with some interesting ideas that as a child I read and strongly supported. Now I'm not so sure.

Adults deal with issues that most children simply can't fathom. I don't just mean making mortgage payments (or rent), utility bills, and the like. I mean hard issues, which children simply can't handle. I'll give an example:

At the age of fifteen my mother died after a somewhat protracted hospital stay. It was a terrible tragedy in my family's life, and frankly I just couldn't have handled it without the support of my other family members. Contrast this to today, where my father is now terminally ill. I've spent the last four years caring for him (the last two with my sister) and he's now at the very last stages of his illness. He'll probably die within weeks or months.

At the age of fifteen I simply could NOT have handled this level of responsibility. Nor do I think most teens or children should have to shoulder such a heavy burden.

I understand the anger and seeming hypocrisy our society forces upon teens by withholding rights while demanding service; you can fight a war at 18, but you must be 21 to buy a beer. But I don't think most children are ready to handle the primary responsibilities of adulthood. Teen voting turnout is one good example of why offering pre-teens the right to vote is simply a bad idea. JMO.


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

shouldn't be so black and white (3.50 / 2) (#53)
by mikpos on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 12:52:35 AM EST

The problem that most people argue against is usually based on two things: the laws are aimed at the majority (though usually fail) and miss the exceptions; the laws are threshhold, not gradient.

The first part is clear enough. There are 15 year-olds today who are more mature and more capable than 90% of the adult population is (and ever will be). Similarly, there are 30 year-olds who have the mental faculties of a grapefruit. Something like "any person capable of making a reasonable decision" would be better than "any person over 18 years of age" (or whatever the wording is). If you believe this is too vague to be a law, try counting all the laws that have completely subjective qualities about them (sadly enough, usually even more subjective than the example I gave). I think you'll find that they comprise somewhere around 100% of the laws in existence.

Secondly, the laws are too black-and-white. At the instant I turned 18, I was suddenly 100% capable of controlling of my life. One nanosecond before, that, though, I was more or less 0% capable of controlling of my life. Or so the law says.

Basically, what it comes down to is convenience. Yes, 10% of the people under 18 could probably do a damn good job voting; 10% of registered American voters probably grossly misunderstand what they think they know about the presidential candidates. I guess somehow people decided it was best this way.

[ Parent ]

Realism... (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by Miniluv on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 02:33:39 AM EST

The hard part about your argument is how to implement it. I agree, a strong minority of "children" are capable of an adults responsibilities...and weaker minority of adults never will be. How do we determine who is who though?

The only alternative to arbitrary factors, such as age, is some form of grading system...and we all know how skewed "tests" are. They're inevitably going to be biased against people of lower socio-economic stature. IE in america poor undereducated inner city youths will NEVER get a drivers license, the right to enter into contracts, the right to vote, or be allowed to marry. This isn't fair, doubly unfair actually, First off we ineffectively educate these people, then we'd be discriminating against them again because of the first failure.

At least the age based system mitigates some of that, perhaps when we've fixed the root problem of equality despite economic means or racial origin we'll be able to realistically look at replacing our age based legal system.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

It's a matter of convenience... (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by Alarmist on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 10:36:00 AM EST

...among other things. If the laws were structured so that any "reasonably competent" person (to coin a phrase) was allowed to have self-determination in matters like voting, drinking, and whatnot, then there would also have to be a legal test of reasonable competency, meaning that somebody has to determine not only what defines reasonable competency, but also how to test for it.

This is a big, thorny issue that's waiting to impale anyone that happens across it. IMO, it would be close to impossible to institute such a system in the United States as it it is right now, because many people would object to being labelled "not reasonably competent." No self-respecting 30 year old Joe Sixpack wants to be shown up by Sally Goody Two-Shoes, all of 8 years old, and you'd have a lot of people complaining that this was unfair.

I personally would like to see such a system, but I'm pretty sure I won't ever see it in this country without a revolution and civil war.

Fight the Power.

[ Parent ]

OK, a couple points (3.00 / 7) (#15)
by el_guapo on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 04:08:39 PM EST

I like the idea, but I don't seriously think it'll ever work. If it ever exists, I see the first "citizens" turning into a closed pseudo-aristocracy. Also, I think they are completely screwing up the Constitution by covering everything. A Constitution should clearly list what services the "Federal" (i.e. the main (not necessarily big) central government) government is required to provide, and the means to pay for those services. And then finish that part with a "and no more" clause. Then it should give a broad description of basic citizen rights, a few examples, and then a "and any others we didn't specifically take away here" clause, and then it should describe how that government should be organized. Hell, the US has a pretty small Constitution and politicians still manage to butcher it. If you make a legal document big, you make it very politically manipulable IMHO.

Side comment on the age issue: I think it should just be consistent. I believe in a scaling rights type of thing, with an arbitration process for proving you deserve more than what that allows. And I don't necessarily think the part about "old enugh to fight for your country at 18 but can't buy a beer" is hypocritical - an 18 year old in the military, while on base, is a very micro-managed critter. I think it needs reworked, just not that it's hypocritical. We need a single, consistent policy, or the federal government needs to get out of the age business and leave it to the states...

mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
I'm no civil/naval engineer, but... (2.71 / 7) (#16)
by Luke Scharf on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 04:35:41 PM EST

I'm no civil or naval engineer, but the bridge show at http://oceania.org/images/oce04.jpg doesn't look like a good idea. the structure is going to have to be somewhat flexible. The bridge is put in the place where the result of the flexing will cause the most the bridge to have to be able to lengthen and shorten. that would have to be one tough bridge.

And the place is looks small enough that driving wouldn't be a big deal.

Still a nice idea!

The ocean floor (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by qslack on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 05:41:05 PM EST

The whole thing will be anchored to the ocean floor. The flotation devices are simply to make it so the pillars don't need to be so huge. I bet that there is some type of wave defense thing so that if there are any waves in the water the things will just slide slightly.

But I am certainly not defending Oceania; I'm definitely a little skeptical of this whole thing. Above is just what I read from various documents on the Website.-

[ Parent ]
Offshore drilling platforms... (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:11:52 AM EST

The whole thing will be anchored to the ocean floor. The flotation devices are simply to make it so the pillars don't need to be so huge. I bet that there is some type of wave defense thing so that if there are any waves in the water the things will just slide sligh

Good call -- I only looked at the pictures. :-)

Still, I was thinking this afternoon about offshore oil drilling platforms. They're pretty high off the water -- maybe 50 or 60 feet? I'm guessing that's to avoid problems caused by big waves. This seems reasonable to me -- but I've only seen the ocean like 5 times in my life...

Does anyone know more about oil drilling platforms? Interesting technical tidbits? How much one costs?

[ Parent ]
bridge is a dumb idea (none / 0) (#47)
by Rainy on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:53:07 PM EST

Bridges are expensive. The reason we build them is that we need to cross a river sometimes - they don't have a river there, just 2 platforms floating, so if you push them close together and link, that'd be far cheaper than building a bridge.. So I would assume that this picture's whole point is to look cool.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
My e-mail to them (3.87 / 8) (#19)
by qslack on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 05:56:25 PM EST

A few questions have arisen so I've asked them to the people in charge of this project. Here is my e-mail to them and I will post their response when/if I get it.

I am the author of a story at a popular website ( http://www.kuro5hin.org/?op=displaystory&sid=2000/10/21/133830/10 ) and in the comments posted a few questions about Oceania have been asked. Since I'm no expert on it obviously, I'm directing 'em to you. This website has 8,000 members so your answers will be heard and will make an impact (several people have expressed interest in moving to Oceania when it's built). Thanks in advance, and here are the questions:

-In the picture at http://oceania.org/images/oce04.jpg , there is a bridge. How will the bridge cope with waves that may stretch it?
-What happens in the event of a large wave (or a tidal wave!), a fire, or a flood?
-Why did you separate age groups, and give older people more rights? Was it because every other country discrimated based on age?
-Some people thought that the constitution "covered everything." What are your thoughts on this?
-How do you become a citizen? How do you buy land? How will houses be built because it will be hard to get construction equipment and materials over there.
-How will you make it so the original investors and residents won't end up ruling the island?

If you are not the right person to ask, please direct this to the correct person.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to your answers. I will post them on the website above unless you don't want me to.

-Quinn Slack (aka qslack)

tidal wave? no problem... (4.33 / 3) (#23)
by naasking on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:50:09 PM EST

-What happens in the event of a large wave (or a tidal wave!)

Tidal waves aren't a problem in the middle of the ocean. They only become large(ie. high) when they approach shore. When travelling through deep waters, the wave is below the surface of the water.

[ Parent ]
Not quite (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by fluffy grue on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:29:04 PM EST

The wave isn't 'underwater', it's just that since the ocean is so much deeper, the height of the wave is much lower. Like, a few feet.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

almost... (4.00 / 2) (#32)
by naasking on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:33:58 PM EST

the height of the wave is the same measured from the ocean floor(or close anyway). That's why the wave rises above the water level (which is what I meant when I said underwater) when the wave approaches the shore.

Which is what you're saying... I think... Do you mean a few feet above the water level or the ocean floor? :-)

[ Parent ]
Hm, not sure (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by fluffy grue on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:37:17 AM EST

It's been a long time since I took geology in high school, and my teacher was a pathetic drunk who made bullshit up all the time just to sound smart, so I won't try to back what I said up. :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Oceanea (2.50 / 6) (#20)
by Qtmstr on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:35:27 PM EST

This is also the name of the country that the story of George Orwell's 1984 is set in. Was the name derived from this?

Kuro5hin delenda est!
Yes. (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by pete on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:52:56 PM EST

2.13) Where did you get the name Oceania?

Oceania is named after the fictional totalitarian state in George Orwell's book 1984 . It is hoped that the name of this country will cause more people to read this book and realize how similar the country they currently live in is like the country of Oceania described in this famous book.

(From their FAQ)


[ Parent ]
For some reason... (3.71 / 7) (#21)
by skim123 on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:39:51 PM EST

I can't get that Simpsons episode out of my head where Homer, who is being accused of sexually harassing the baby-sitter, proposes the family moves under the sea...

Homer: Under the sea, Under the sea. There'll be no accusations, just friendly crustasians, Under the sea!
Marge: Homer, that's your answer to everything: move under the sea - it's not gonna happen!


Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

Oceania: Hmmm... (3.80 / 5) (#25)
by pete on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 06:56:14 PM EST

If you check out their business plan, it contains no references to Oceania at all, just the floating pieces it's built out of. I have no evidence, but Oceania seems like a publicity stunt to me; it seems like the structures are the real business and they have no intention of building Oceania for real. Sure would be interesting though.


Good job! (none / 0) (#49)
by psicE on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 04:59:14 PM EST

You found the company that they made to sell the structures. In some document (maybe the constitution, probably the FAQ) it said they would sell them to make money to build Oceania, and you found the company that was formed for that purpose.

[ Parent ]
Oceania...already...exists..ermph... (4.25 / 8) (#28)
by madams on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:13:43 PM EST

Maybe someone should tell them that Oceania already exists. Roughly, Oceania encompasses all the islands between Asia and the Americas: Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.

Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

Sorta (my two bits) (3.33 / 3) (#29)
by fluffy grue on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:27:19 PM EST

Although this is the first thing I thought after seeing the name, here's my attempt at justifying their (uncreative) choice of name. "Oceania" is the name of the pseudocontinent/region which encompasses the countries you mentioned. However, just as there's both America (the country) and America (the supercontinent), I don't see why there couldn't be both Oceania (the city/country) and Oceania (the pseudocontinent).

Like, just as nobody goes to "America" (the supercontinent) for their holiday, nobody goes to "Oceania" (the pseudocontinent) for their holiday.

I'm sure there's other collisions like that. Like, Jupiter, Florida. "We're from Jupiter!" "Suure you are!"
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

America, a country? (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by gawi on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:07:25 PM EST

Maybe you can help me out with this. I can't find any country named "America" on my map.

Go in Brazil and say "I'm from America" and you'll get that strange look. Also, a minority of the population of Americas comes from the United States.

You may be interested in the fact that in french, "Amérique" never refers to the USA. However "américain" is the abjective for it. Sometimes, when you really need to make a distinction, you can use "états-unien" (literally "united-statians").

In Québec, our elliptical expression for the U.S. is "les États" (the States) and sometimes simply "les States".

But it's just a matter of years before we wont make the difference. :-(


-- Are you in denial?
[ Parent ]

RE: America, a country (1.00 / 1) (#59)
by RiffRaff on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 03:19:11 PM EST

That's great, and this argument has gone on for ages, but the fact of the matter is that when I specifically say, "I'm from the U.S.," it's just a matter of moments before I hear someone reiterate by saying, "He's an American," regardless of what country I'm visiting. Plus, no one in Brazil has any problem with my saying "I'm from America." They understand where the United States of AMERICA is located, and the concept is really not that much of a leap for them. Maybe your countrymen should brush up on their geography, eh?
Or are you spending too much time fighting over what language should be used? Maybe you ought to work THAT out, first, before you worry too much about the nuances of how people refer to U.S. citizens.

http://www.lp.org Enough is enough!
[ Parent ]
Really going OT... (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by gawi on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 09:27:36 PM EST

Plus, no one in Brazil has any problem with my saying "I'm from America."

Apparently not everyone...

I was just saying that some peoples are sensitive to this particular subject and you should be a little bit more concerned when you talk to the rest of the world.


-- Are you in denial?
[ Parent ]

Re: OT (2.00 / 1) (#63)
by RiffRaff on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 06:18:26 PM EST

I was just saying that some peoples are sensitive to this particular subject and you should be a little bit more concerned when you talk to the rest of the world.

Point taken. But I was saying in my original post that I DO speak without (too much) of the "Ugly American" coming out. My point was that often, the "native people" (uhg...what a term) turn around and refer to me as an "American" of their own accord.

http://www.lp.org Enough is enough!
[ Parent ]
Cool! (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by naasking on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:28:52 PM EST

From the Oceania website: http://oceania.org/spy/index.html
To prepare a sufficient defense for Oceania, the preliminary Oceania government has already developed a world-wide network of spies. They are spying at the corporate, governmental, and personal level. They have also tapped into satellite feeds worldwide.

That's cool! hehehe. They have a little cgi script which detects what OS and what web browser you're running in the "Personal information about you collected by our spies" section.

I bet that would freak some computer illiterate people out.

Then if you check out the satellite feeds they've supposedly "tapped", all the image links are broken. awww... shucks... :-)

The best thing in the spy section has to be the text at the bottom of the page: "This page maintained by Oceania Government - Department of War" oooo... ominous... I can imagine the DoD shaking in their boots right now...

I sure hope they meant that section as a joke...

By the way, does anyone know how to get into the super Secret Lodge that they advertise on their webpage? I'm awfully curious what's behind that last door... ;-)

Satellites (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by Aztech on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 10:20:58 AM EST

Then if you check out the satellite feeds they've supposedly "tapped", all the image links are broken. awww... shucks... :-)
There's nothing clandestine about the satellite feed they've supposedly 'tapped', they are simply picking up transmissions from the US NOAA birds, you can receive GOES (Geostationary Orbiting Environmental Satellite) pictures fairly easily using a (small) dish and tuner, the satellites are constantly transmitting images in a non encrypted form for anybody to receive. Since Oceania is quite likely to be exposed to severe storms etc, I think its quite logical for them to keep an eye on what's going on up there.

The POES (Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites) series are even simpler to receive, you don't even need a dish, a cross dipole aerial and a receiver plugged into the soundboard on your PC will do.

The image on their site of rows of huge dishes is just put there for effect, you don't need kit like that (unless you're running an international intelligence agency) ;)


[ Parent ]
I know what's behind secret (none / 0) (#65)
by sarin on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 08:01:27 AM EST

it's still empty: http://oceania.org/secret/
- only death fish go with the stream
[ Parent ]
Oceania seems calm, dead calm. (4.90 / 11) (#33)
by victim on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 07:37:26 PM EST

I don't see anything modified since 1995 on their site, including the newsletters. google's cache can be persuaded to give an article from freenation.org containing this paragraph...
In 1993, Eric Klien's Atlantis Project attempted to make our vision of a libertarian Sea City a reality. Klien's organization contracted with Sjostrand to create a scale model of this development. While several members of the New Country Foundation board contributed ideas and funds to the Atlantis Project, none of us were principals in that effort. Moreover, most of us became aware of serious flaws in the management of the project, which ultimately led to its insolvency. (A detailed critique of the Atlantis Project is beyond the scope of this article, but may be obtained by contacting the Foundation at 4804 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Suite 227, Valley Village, CA 91607).
Sea Structures Inc, the folks making the cells on which this would be built, seem to have built a small dock, and a tiny floating swimming pool. Its a bit of a jump to a 1000 square mile platform (size of Luxembourg).

Also, about the Utopia confusion. The principal of Sea Structures, Richard Morris, was listed as project manager for Utopia in 1998, which somewhere got renamed or reincarnated as New Utopia. You can read about it at <a href=http://www.tulsatoday.com/newutopia.htm>tulsa today. A wonderful testament to the art of the scam. But you can get on track to citizenship by buying convertible notes starting at $1,500 if you must. :-)

Off topic again... (2.66 / 6) (#34)
by LordBlaa on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 08:22:06 PM EST

I know it's off the topic of the original but there has been alot of discussion about it, so, a word on age-discrimination from Me:

For a start, some people use the argument that they "couldn't handle" things as a child that they can now, and therefore children should have less rights etc.... That argument is flawed, because you could argue then that women shouldn't be able to vote because some women take, say, a break-up with their boyfriends harder than the boyfriend himself... or that depressed people should be banned from voting as there are some things they can't handle.... i think you get my point.

Another thing is that everyone developes at a different rate; i know some 14 yearolds that are more mentally mature than some 17 yearolds i know. Age is such an artificial way to decide rights, only picked because it's solid and you can't argue with it. I think any 'enlightened' comminity (such as K5?) should have no such pointless restrictions.

Age is more than just a number... (4.20 / 5) (#37)
by Miniluv on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 10:07:55 PM EST

The problem with that argument is that age is in fact a good way of judging the average. Laws are not written, nor should they be, for the exceptions.

The legal community has a saying that tough cases make for bad law. They are 100% right, because tough cases revolve around exceptions. The majority of people under the age of 18 are not ready for the vote and the responsibility that comes with it. The same way they aren't ready to get full time jobs, pay a mortgage and begin raising children. Are there exceptions? Of course there are...I began working full-time at age 17, began paying rent just past 18, but I'm an exception. And the fact that I managed does NOT make me smarter, etc...it just reflects the fact that my life didn't follow the usual course.

I'm not bothered by the fact that I cannot buy booze in my country until I turn 21...I understand that most people my age are not responsible enough to handle the ability to purchase alcohol virtually at will. A fair number of people over 21 aren't either, but that's not the point.

Ultimately, when a law regarding when certain rights need to be conferred, age is a perfect criteria. Anything else and we'd be taking tests to determine our responsibility, and thus our value to society. I myself do NOT want that system, especially for things like the vote. Age bias may seem like discrimination, but it's really the most fair system available for administrating a government with 200+ million constituents.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Hrm (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by interiot on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 09:57:36 AM EST

Is it "bad cases make bad law" or "tough cases make tough law" or...?

I don't think it has much to do with the fact that there are exceptions. There are exceptions to everything, so nothing new here. It's just that, right now, there's no relatively objective way to deal with the exceptions, other than age. Or, if the criteria didn't need to be applied often, then it could be done after the fact by a judge who has some subjective leeway.

But still, the current best solution is nowhere near fair.

[ Parent ]

Exceptions... (3.50 / 2) (#51)
by Miniluv on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 08:20:53 PM EST

No,it's tough cases make bad law. What it means is that you shouldn't base a law, or it's interpretation, around a highly subjective situation. For example...murder laws should NOT be interpreted based on a "justifiable homicide" situation. Unfortunately, with a lot of laws, this is exactly what happens in the US system, and in a lot of others world wide. The reason is fairly simple, in that these are the cases that get kicked up level after level through the appeals process, and judges have to try hard to use existing law to cover a situation that really falls outside of it.

In the US this has led to things like Roe v Wade, a decision which should never have been left to the supreme court. The legislative branch should deal with these situations, and let the courts handle the interpretation of law to situations directly relating to it.

As to the age question, age is one of the only truly objective measures we can use for certain things. Maybe it's not perfect, but I've yet to see a suggestion of a better way of determining when a person is ready to handle certain responsibilities.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Age issues (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by RiotNrrd on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 06:05:59 AM EST

I grew up in Italy, where there is no alcohol restriction to speak of (nominally you're not supposed to drink if you're below 14.. I had my first alcoholic drink before I entered school). There is much less public drunkenness there than in, eg, the UK, where I studied. And in the UK you can't drink at all below 16, or in public below 18.

Back in Italy, due to braindead anti-rape legislation and a 6-month age difference, I was "raping" my girlfriend for that 6-month period. Whatever...

Unfortunately there is no way to divide people by personal maturity or fitness, but age does not seem to me to be any sort of workable criterion.

-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

Drinking in the UK (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by Dop on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 11:11:58 AM EST

RiotNrrd wrote: in the UK you can't drink at all below 16, or in public below 18

You'd be surprised. I know a lot of people who were drinking in pubs when they were 14...

Do not burn the candle at both ends as this leads to the life of a hairdresser!
[ Parent ]
Drinking in the UK (none / 0) (#62)
by Aztech on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 10:51:19 AM EST

Yup, if you look reasonably old you can get into places pretty easily, I got into pubs and clubs at the age of 16 without any hassle (I'm sure this is the same for a vast majority of people). My friends pointed out girls from their schools that were much younger, 14 or 15, it's very easy for girls to get into places apparently (usually if they're good looking and wearing skimpy clothing ;).

When I heard you have to be 21 to drink in the US I laughed my ass off. Quite a country of contradictions since kids can legally carry guns years before they can drink.

[ Parent ]
What then? (none / 0) (#64)
by Miniluv on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 11:46:45 PM EST

If age isn't a workable criterion what is? Or should we just drop the criteria all together?

Do you really want a guy to be able to have sex with any 8 year old he can talk into it? Or perhaps 5 year olds SHOULD be able to buy alcohol? I hate to come across so rude, but it's just really frustrating that everyone knows the system isn't perfect, but nobody can come up with an alternative..so everybody bitches. And for the record, I still do not think age is such a bad qualifier for these privileges.
"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Age & Law (none / 0) (#66)
by ryan on Sun Nov 05, 2000 at 06:55:01 AM EST

> As to the age question, age is one of the only truly objective measures we can use for certain things. How about height or skin color? Just because a given criterion is can be evaluated with certainty doesn't make it valid. Don't restrict my rights just to make enforcement easier. Those concerns are secondary.

[ Parent ]
Does this mean . . . (4.33 / 18) (#35)
by acceleriter on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 08:40:35 PM EST

. . . that the new country will already be at war with Eurasia and Eastasia?

Nope... (4.87 / 8) (#36)
by pete on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 09:50:21 PM EST

Oceania is only at war with our mortal enemy Eurasia, just like it always has been. Eastasia is our ally, just like it always has been. Have your history books fallen into a memory hole or something? Eyes front, it's time for the Two Minutes Hate...


[ Parent ]
Economics? (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by aragorn on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:27:59 AM EST

Setting aside engineering issues and moral concerns, I don't see how such a "nation" could be inhabited by anybody but the very wealthy. Such a nation would be essentially unable to produce any tangible product because of a lack of natural resources and the high cost of "land" for industrial structures. Intangible products could conceivably by piped out over the Internet, but it seems that the cost of living (and possibly bandwidth) would be too high to allow for any sort of profitability.

Hong Kong (3.75 / 4) (#41)
by fluffy grue on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 02:52:49 AM EST

Hong Kong started out purely as a waypoint for trade.

Also, although a lot of stuff would need to be imported to get started, vegetables can be produced for the locals (using hydroponics), the service economy is self-sustaining, and there WOULD be an export - information services. I'm sure they'd have Internet access there, yaknow? :) (Buried transoceanic cable is good enough for landlubbers...)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Oceania is dead. Long live Fountainhead! (4.40 / 5) (#45)
by Wolfkin on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 12:00:39 PM EST

Okay, guys, sorry to have to break the news to you, but the Oceania project has not been active for many years. The website is a museum.

A short history: Eric Klien started the project in the early 90's, got some medium donations (~250K, if I remember correctly), and the money vanished. Some say he used it to pay off stock market losses, some say otherwise. Some people got some of their money back in other ways (at least one by repossessing computer equipment).

There was still a group that wanted to see this happen, however, and eventually that group formed a mailing list, called "new-oceania", to discuss starting a daughter project to do what the original Oceania Project had failed at: starting a new, free country. This group (of which I was one, at this point), chose to rename the project "Fountainhead" to distance the new from the old, since no one wanted to be judged by the actions of those who had been involved with Oceania. After a period of quiet, there followed a two-month orgy of planning, discussion, and such on the list, and then things got quiet again.

We now need two things: First, a sum of money to finance design of a platform, and second, people who are both committed enough to work on this in their (hopefully copious) spare time, and who actually have lots of spare time to put toward it. People like myself, who have two jobs and a business, need not apply. :( There is a strong reluctance, however, to asking anyone for money, or even forming an organization to collect it, since every is so incredibly wary of being spoken of as "another Klien". Oh, well.

For those of you still interested, the list archives are available at http://www.egroups.com/group/fountainhead-l.

Other links to "floating cities" (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by hangdog on Sun Oct 22, 2000 at 06:07:13 PM EST

Here are a couple of links to some floating city projects. Not sure how legitimate they are but they get one thinking.


Ho w to Start Your Own Country (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by snowlion on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 11:51:10 AM EST

How to Start Your Own Country is the classic book on start-up countries. It documents the case history of the past century or two of start-up countries (including Oceana, and more importantly, Sealand), as well as a critical analysis of the cases, and the author's synthesis of what is necessary in order to build a successful country. It's a fascinating read, and very well researched.

By the way, be sure to see photographs of Sealand; They are very impressive, and accurately describe SeaLand.

Map Your Thoughts
Oceania is nothing more than a scam.. (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by vwswing on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 08:53:33 PM EST

This is rather well known. ocenia.org hasn't been updated in what.. 4 years now? It made wired 4 or 5 years ago, got a lot of seriously nazi right-wingers (If you've read snowcrash it could be NSA (New South Africa) involved, then interest died out and they stopped doing anything.. I'm surprised oceania.org is even up anymore.. the ISP must have forgotten about it.. and probably automatically billing a credit card for the domain name.. I knew people involved in writing their constitution about 4 years ago.. half of those involved were idealistic MUD addicts.

Countries in Training: Sealand and Oceania | 68 comments (68 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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