My friend John over at designed the above logo and wrote a very thoughtful post about the election. Just in case you somehow arrived here without reading it, please go now. Thanks.

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Google Catches Sea-Fever, Too

First it was Microsoft with the launch of it’s half billion $ new advertising campaign and now it appears that rival Google has also caught a case of Sea-Fever.

Ashlee Vance recently wrote in the NY Times Bits blog:

The search and advertising company has filed for a patent that describes a “water-based data center.” The idea is that Google would create mobile data center platforms out at sea by stacking containers filled with servers, storage systems and networking gear on barges or other platforms.

This would let Google push computing centers closer to people in some regions where it’s not feasible, cost-effective or as efficient to build a data center on land. In short, Google brings the data closer to you, and then the data arrives at a quicker clip.

Perhaps even more intriguing to some, Google has theorized about powering these ocean data centers with energy gained just from water splashing against the side of the barges.


The great BLDGBLOG had an excerpt from the patent application:

In general, computing centers are located on a ship or ships, which are then anchored in a water body from which energy from natural motion of the water may be captured, and turned into electricity and/or pumping power for cooling pumps to carry heat away from computers in the data center.

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd is an industry leader in wave energy and here’s how their generator/converter works:

YouTube – Wave power: how it works

In action:

YouTube – Pelamis Wave – Seatrials

Other articles

Google makes waves and may have solved the data center conundrum – ZD Net – September 8, 2008

Google files patent for wave-powered floating data center – CNET News – September 8, 2008

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Monday Morning Motivator – Everything you need is already inside


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Maritime Art Week – Lawrence Weiner, Navigating the Conceptual

There are some cool contemporary maritime influenced art projects currently on exhibit across the globe, so we’ve declared this Maritime Art Week on the Sea-Fever blog. Here’s the final and maybe most challenging and interesting installment of this series.

Lawrence Weiner was born in the Bronx, NY in 1942. Early in his life, Weiner had a variety of maritime jobs including working on an oil tanker and being a dock worker. In the early 1960’s he returned to New York where he began producing and exhibiting his art, the earliest of which included experiments with systematic approaches to shaped canvases. Weiner is considered one of the modern masters of conceptual art. Today he lives in New York and on a houseboat in Amsterdam. (Lawrence Weiner’s biography on the Guggenheim Museum’s website.)

In 2007, Weiner created an exhibit for the New Visions contemporary art program at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, titled Inherent in the Rhumb Line.

From the National Maritime Museum website:

The National Maritime Museum explores how human beings have sought meaning in the sea, time and the stars. At Greenwich the imponderables of time and space collide: this is the home of Longitude 0°, where one can stand on an arbitrary line marking out the starting point of each new day, year and millennium. Every place on the globe is measured east or west from this Prime Meridian, creating a framework for individuals to understand their place in the world. Lawrence Weiner’s artistic practice questions the subjectivities that create such constructs of understanding. Using observation and experiment, the artist interrogates the relationship of material objects to each other, and the relationship of material objects to individuals.

Like Simon Patterson, another Maritime Art Week artist as well as an New Vision’s artist, Weiner medium is often language and ideas.

Much of Lawrence Weiner’s artistic practice takes the form of language and his statements have been inscribed as text inside and outside the gallery, as well as taking the form of spoken words and printed matter. At the centre of this exhibition the words to a somewhat romantic song, Sailing Sailing, point elsewhere: songs, after all, are designed to be sung and heard, rather than read. Shown beside Weiner’s 2005 film Inherent in the Rhumb Line from which this exhibition takes its name, this song alludes to the freedom of the seas and navigating over the bounding main. As with traditional songs of the sea, Sailing Sailing has been handed down, passed around, reinterpreted and repeated, with each version as true as the next.


Currently, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is exhibiting a career retrospective of Weiner’s work which is titled AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. (through July 14, 2008 )


MOCA Guide to Lawrence Weiner’s AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE (download)


Tate Online Events (Video Interview) – Lawrence Weiner talking art – February 2, 2008

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Seasteading: Making Waves and Living with them too.

BLDGBLOG One of my favorite blogs, BLDGBLOG, had a interesting post yesterday about seasteading, that is “creat(ing) permanent dwellings on the ocean – homesteading the high seas.” Deep-water city-states (May 19, 2008 )

What interests me here, aside from the architectural challenge of erecting a durable, ocean-going metropolis, is the fact that this act of construction – this act of building something – has constitutional implications. That is, architecture here proactively expands the political bounds of recognized sovereignty; architecture becomes declarative.

The stakes for design have gone up, in other words. It’s not just a question of producing better loft apartments, for which you can charge an extra $300,000, or of perfecting the art of luxury kitchen space; it’s a question of designing architecture for extreme conditions and, should your architecture survive, thus opening up room for a new form of what might be called post-terrestrial sovereignty, i.e. governance freed from landed terrain.

BLDGBLOG’s interest was piqued by an article that Alexis Madgridal wrote for Wired entitled Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies (May 19, 2008 ) Thiel and some of his friends seem to be pretty serious about this: they’ve put their hard cash on the table to fund The Seasteading Institute and they’ve written a 300 page how to guide which in the open source spirit is freely downloadable here in case you’re one of those DIY types.

Google’s Patri Friedman, the grandson of Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, is the executive director of The Seasteading Institute.

Friedman estimates that it would cost a few hundred million dollars to build a seastead for a few thousand people. With costs that low, Friedman can see constellations of cities springing up, giving people a variety of governmental choices. If misguided policies arose, citizens could simply motor to a new nation.

“You can change your government without having to leave your house,” he said.

Wonder if these guys have watched this movie a few too many times.


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Monday Morning Motivator: Tom Peters – Gain Respect By Giving It

Way back around the time I was launching my business career, two McKinsey & Company management consultants, Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr., wrote In Search of Excellence, a book that would turn out to be a modern classic and launch a new genre of business literature.

Today Tom Peters runs his own management consulting firm industry. His books are perennial bestsellers and his website/blog is chockful of interesting and useful information. He is an energetic, engaging and insightful public speaker as this short clip about “respect” will attest.


If you enjoyed that and have a little more time (20 mins), watch this episode from The Charlie Rose Show. While its more than 10 years old, much of what they discuss in the interview is still relevant today.


If you want a daily dose of Tom Peters, you can register to receive his Daily Quote via email here.

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World Economic Forum Youth

The 2008 World Economic Forum is currently underway in Davos, Switzerland. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s sort of a convention for world leaders and activist celebrities. It might just be me, but this year there seems to be way less media hype here in the States.

In any case, many, if not all, of the sessions are posted on a special Davos YouTube channel and the one that particularly caught my interest was Future Shifts: The Voice of the Next Generation.  On this panel were 6 kids from Sri Lanka, USA, South Africa, Scotland, China and Argentina. They represented a larger group of 60 youth from 43 countries that were brought together by the British Council for a pre-Forum week in Guildford, UK. You can see what these amazing young people are up to over at their website: The Road to Davos 2008.

I’m sure that this one won’t make the nightly news or front pages but it probably should. These kids are smart and articulate and when we are all old, they’ll be responsible for taking care of us. So I’m doing my small part to promote their good work and thoughts. Please watch and pass it on.

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In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2008

I originally wrote the below post for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2007. Thought I’d repost it again today in honor and celebration of one of America’s greatest leaders.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in recognition of the holiday last night I reread his Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963). I am sure that I must have read it previously in a highschool or college civics course but I more recently became re-acquainted with it when I participated in Aspen Institute’s Executive Seminar last May. If you have not read it or need a refresher like me, you can find online and downloadable versions here.

I believe that King’s letter is an amazing work for many reasons with one of the most important being that it effectively frames the difficult conversation. This is no small feat. Sitting in a jail cell presents a limited range of options for leadership but King quickly responds to the opportunity created by the Alabama clergymen’s public statement (April 12, 1963) directed at him regarding the nonviolent demonstrations taking place in their community. It is a very powerful piece of writing and worth the time it takes to read closely.

When I think of Martin Luther King Jr., I immediately think of the words vision, mission and values. To me King clearly demonstrates the power and importance in connecting these three concepts in order to accomplish what he set out to do. As a leader, King takes advantage of opportunities to communicate his vision, mission and values to wide audiences. His letter from a Birmingham jail may have been written to the Alabama clergymen, but his intended audience was anyone who was concerned about racial injustice in Alabama and across the nation.

To me the jumping off point for all of this in the need to identify the core values that will guide the creation of a vision and the setting of a mission for an organization or cause. In establishing Sea-Fever LLC, and a new nonprofit organization to be called Sea-Changes Foundation, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what core values are important to me. (Sea-Fever LLC’s Core Values.) I will be writing more about Core Values in the future. Please check back in and feel free to join in the conversation.

Finally, it had been a while since I watched Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech (August 28, 1963). Like reading Letter from a Birmingham Jail, I believe it is worth taking the time to watch this video.

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