Sunday, 04 November, 2001

Questions on the Freedom Ship

A couple of things bother me about theFreedom Ship (see October 29).  It's a really cool idea, and likely could be successful, although I see a real possibility of people losing interest after a couple of years and the thing being mothballed when owners stop making their monthly dues payments.  What really bothers me isn't the financial aspects, but rather some of the design decisions.  First, why does the entire top of the thing have to be a runway?  There's no reason the entire width (300 meters) needs to be used for the runway and aircraft access.  50 meters is plenty wide enough for the runway, and another 50 meters for aircraft access should be plenty.  The remaining 200 meters of width could be used for farming.  I could imagine several somebodies making a good living growing and selling fresh produce to a well-heeled, ship-bound, populace.  Perhaps they could even have fishermen who cast their lines or nets whenever the ship is stopped (something like 70% of the time).

The ship will use incinerator toilets to eliminate the waste disposal problem.  Why couldn't they instead install composting toilets, and use the resulting materials on the farms?  Burning all that good organic matter seems like a waste of energy.

And speaking of energy, why use number 2 diesel to power the thing?  This vessel is just begging for a nuclear reactor.  We have over 40 years of experience with nuclear powered vessels.  They're safe, efficient, and non-polluting.  The ship will remain off shore (25 miles or so) all the time, so there's not much chance of an accident that would cause a problem.  I can't think of a better power source for this thing.