Start saving now. A new player in the space hotel market has announced that it's planning to welcome guests in 2012. The price? A three-night stay will run $4 million.
To get its orbital hotel rooms into place, The Galactic Suite Project, as it's called, will launch each one independently. Tourist trips will start with an extended training program set on a tropical island. Then a rocket-powered ship will carry four passengers and two pilots into orbit, where they'll rendezvous with the hotel. While it's unclear whether the company's technology is on track for that 2012 deadline, the group certainly has its sales pitch down. My favorite line: "Imagine being in a weightless spa while watching 15 sunsets a day." Uh, no, sorry, can't do that. Guess I'll have to scrounge up that $4 million to see what it's like.—Gregory Mone
January 1, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
contact: Dan Bloom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Model "Polar City" for possible survivors of global warming in distant
future set to be built in Norway in 2012; first international
volunteer residents will move in in 2015.
In the event of catastrophic global warming events in the far distant
future, humankind might have to find refuge in a group of polar cities
lying within the Arctic Circle in such countries as Canada, Norway,
Finland, Russia Greenland, Iceland, Sweden and the USA (Alaska). Under
such circumstances, the founders of the Polar Cities Research
Institute, led by visionary futurist Dan Bloom, 59, have announced
that they will build a model polar city in Longyearbyen, Norway, with
construction set to begin in 2012 and "volunteer testing occupancy" in
The Model Polar City Project was set up in January 2008 by various
architects, civil engineers, industrial engineers, urban planners and
scientists from around the world. The founders have already made
initial contact with British, American, Japanese and UAE private
investors interested in investing in the project.
The first model Polar City will be built in Longyearbyen, Norway and
will be ready for its first volunteer residents in 2015. Construction
is scheduled to begin in 2012, according to project engineers.
It may sound a little Dr. Evil, or just plain far-fetched, but as of
now, the first occupancy of a model Polar City is a go for 2015.
Details surrounding acutal living conditions and necessities are still
being ironed out, according to Bloom, who has been promoting polar
cities as a possible adaptation strategy for global warming. He
insists that he is not a doomsayer or a gloom-and-doom survivalist,
but rather "an eternal optimist who cares about the future of
Bloom says the model polar city will be a scaled-down version and will
test residents' willingness to live in such an environment in the
Lest you think Bloom is just a lone wacko day dreamer, he has company.
He claims to be backed by an unnamed US firm which firmly believes
this would be a step in the right direction. Bloom says he is also in
talks with other financiers from Japan, Britain, Norway and the United
The 2012 configuration will be suitable to house 100 volunteer
residents. Bloom says that the system is designed for modularity and
expansion "based on the natural growth of a grapevine."
Bloom's current concept artwork depicts blueprints of what a polar
city might look like when completed: http://pcillu101.blogspot.com.
Bloom told Reuters that while he believes there are many people on
Earth who will be curious to know more about polar cities, and that
the time is good now to test a model polar city in public.
Bloom says residents will also take part in scientific experiments,
but without elaborating on this part of the residency.
For more information, contact Bloom at: email@example.com
Posted by: danny bloom | January 05, 2008 at 12:20 AM
New York Times on Polar cities...
March 29, 2008, 10:27 pm
Polar Cities a Haven in Warming World?
By Andrew C. Revkin
One vision of a “polar city” in an overheated world. (Illustration by Deng Cheng-hong)Danny Bloom, a freelance writer, translator and editor living in Taiwan, is on a one-man campaign to get people to seriously consider a worst-case prediction of the British chemist and inventor James Lovelock: life in “polar cities” arrayed around the shores of an ice-free Arctic Ocean in a greenhouse-warmed world.
Dr. Lovelock, who in 1972 conceived of Earth’s crust, climate and veneer of life as a unified self-sustaining entity, Gaia, foresees humanity in full pole-bound retreat within a century as areas around the tropics roast — a scenario far outside even the worst-case projections of climate scientists.
After reading a newspaper column in which Dr. Lovelock predicted disastrous warming, Mr. Bloom (a frequent comment poster on Dot Earth these days) teamed up with Deng Cheng-hong, a Taiwanese artist, and set up Web sites showing designs for self-sufficient Arctic communities.
Mr. Bloom told me his intent was to conduct a thought experiment that might prod people out of their comfort zone on climate — which remains, for many, a someday, somewhere issue.
I interviewed Dr. Lovelock two years ago on his dire climate forecast and prescriptions — and also his ultimately optimistic view that humans will muddle through, albeit with a greatly reduced population. There’s a video of my chat with Dr. Lovelock here.
“At six going on eight billion people,” Dr. Lovelock told me, “the idea of any further development is almost obscene. We’ve got to learn how to retreat from the world that we’re in. Planning a good retreat is always a good measure of generalship.”
The retreat, he insists, will be toward the poles.
It’s a dubious scenario, particularly on time scales shorter than centuries. But — as we’ve written extensively in recent years — there is already an intensifying push to develop Arctic resources and test shipping routes that could soon become practical should the floating sea ice in the Arctic routinely vanish in summers.
Sensing the shift, the Coast Guard has proposed establishing its first permanent Arctic presence, a helicopter station in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States.
It’s not a stretch to think of Barrow as a hub for expanding commercial fishing and trade through the Bering Strait.
The strategic significance of an opening Arctic recently made the pages of Foreign Affairs magazine, in an article by one of my longtime sources on this issue, Scott Borgerson, a former Coast Guard officer who is now a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“It is no longer a matter of if, but when, the Arctic Ocean will open to regular marine transportation and exploration of its lucrative natural-resource deposits,” he wrote.
So even if humanity isn’t driven to Arctic shores by climate calamity at lower latitudes, it’s a sure bet that the far north will be an ever busier place. Urban planners, get out your mukluks.
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11:24 pm Let’s hope new leadership in Washington will begin to address defusing international tensions in the Arctic so that we don’t screw it up with crappy development, sloppy resource extraction, and immature nationalistic posturing on all sides.
— Posted by Adrian from Seattle
11:25 pm Reality check: Even though the temperatures have been warming, people continue to move in droves from northern latitudes to warmer climes. Why is it so hard to understand that most people prefer warmth to cold?
— Posted by Brian
11:26 pm Danny Bloom, Wow! Congratulations on making a main column on Andy’s Dot Earth blog! Very, very cool!
I enjoy and respect all your posts. I do, however, loathe the concept presented here of invading the Arctic or poles with self sustaining communities as our Earth warms. Please understand I’m not condemning you personally, I’m condemning our potential infiltration of those beautiful places. I’m one who will never accept with any grace or joy that those places I hoped would remain isolated, pristine and unparalleled wild lands, will not. How terribly sad, again.
Danny, applause for your creativity and innovativeness regardless of my opinion. It is always inspiring to see a fellow Dot Earther creating, creating, creating!
For the Artic, what a major drag to hear official projections your lovely being is destined to open up to the insatiable human whose economic and consumption interests never seem to reach “enough”. The beginning of yet another end.
— Posted by Elizabeth Tjader
1:46 am Since the latest data from around the globe seems to indicate that the Klimakatastrophe is progressing even more rapidly than the worst-case scenario of the IPCC (e.g. increasing glacier melting rate, decreasing oceans’ ability to absorb CO2), I tend to believe Lovelock’s predictions are spot on.
I think an interesting point to ponder on Dot Earth is: who will populate these refuges? Who will rule them? Even now, Russia and Canada are beginning to squabble (still diplomatically) over who has the “rights” to the Arctic’s resources. Fast forward a decade or two, and these squabbles may become more physical - and the Antarctic resources will begin to be more accessible, prompting conflict there as well.
Einstein once said, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Similarly, I do not know who will find refuge from the Klimakatastrophe in the Arctic, but they will probably be refugees of the Polar Wars as well. Bloom’s design needs to include pretty strong military defences, if the polar cities are to survive.
— Posted by Yuval Kfir
4:11 am Thank you for posting this nice introduction to the polar cities thought experiment. Am looking forward to reader reaction pro and con. We talk alot these days about mitigation, and we need to. And geo-engineering ideas are also very important. But “adaptation” strategies, if worst comes to worst, will also be vital.
Below is the exact sentence from Dr Lovelock’s oped piece that started me off in this direction more than a year ago. It was his “breeding pairs” remark that jolted me awake. Deng Cheng-hong in Taiwan, the illustrator who made a series of computer-generated “blueprints” using the SketchUp software, deserves special mention for visualizing what was at first just a very rough black-and-white sketch that I drew on a napkin.
“We are in a fool’s climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and [*the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic*] where the climate remains tolerable.” — (James Lovelock)
Mr. Deng’s images have now been tracked across the Internet in posts that have appeared in English, Japanese, Spanish, French, Korean and Chinese. I hope these are just the beginning of many other conceptual drawings of what future Arctic habitats might look like in the far distant future.
By the way, while Dr Lovelock says “at the end of the century, meaning 2100 AD, and in recent interviews in the Guardian and Daily Mail in the UK has mentioned the dates of 2020 and 2040 as when this will occur, my own (more naive) thinking dates these polar cities as being inhabited around the year 2500 AD. So we have 30 more generations to start thinking about these human population retreats, planning them, designing them, siting them and even pre-building them.
One possibility is our own generation, now, is to build a model polar city with funding from someone like Sir Richard Branson or the Google people and letting volunteer “residents” test it out during summer months in a place such as Norway or Iceland or Alaska, mostly as an educational tool and public awareness vehicle. But 2500 is a long way off, so there’s plenty of time.
By the way, humor is important, too, as always. Some observers have compared these polar city illustrations to Habitrail tubes for hamsters and gerbils, and one wit titled his blog post “Shall the future be lived in Gerbil Cities?”
To see what a variety of top scientists have said to me personally over the past year, in emails in which I am keeping their names private, you can check the pro and con statements that they have made privately to me here:
Lastly, I also sent an email to Dr Lovelock earlier this year, to show him the images that Mr Deng created, and the very next day I received an email back from Dr Lovelock saying: “Thanks for showing me the images. It may very well happen and soon.”
For Dr Lovelock, “soon” might might be the yaer 2100. But naive youngster that I am, I still say not until the year 2500. But it’s getting later earlier and earlier.
— Posted by Danny Bloom
6:19 am The issue is whether it’s wise to populate the Arctic, exploit necessary natural resources, open up the Northwest Passage to year round traffic or to leave the North Pole in as pristine condition as possible. It should be up to Canada, the U. S., Russia, Norway and Denmark, all with legitimate territorial and geological claims to use collective common sense in any process of polar development.
Frankly, I would count on the Scandinavians to do the best job.
— Posted by juan siglo
6:23 am Brian (comment #2), reconsider your reality: are you speaking of the ever-growing number of refugees moving in droves, even as we speak, from draught-stricken, war-ravaged sub-Saharan Africa (”northern latitudes”?) to north Africa, the Middle East and, ultimately, Europe (”warmer climes”)?
You may say that these are war refugees, not environmental refugees, but you’d be wrong: ultimately, these wars are over dwindling resources. We will see more of them in the near future.
— Posted by Yuval Kfir
8:12 am Good work, Danny. I find Lovelock’s arguments persuasive, and backed by solid reasoning.
Geochemists I have talked to are skeptical of Lovelock, maybe because they will look too foolish if he turns out to be wrong. But these same scientists write papers about the feedback loops that Lovelock describes: ocean warming and methane burps, huge releases of both CO2 and methane from melting of tundra and peat in the boreal region, massive forest fires, and so on.
These are not science fiction scenarios. Danny, your visualizing where things may actually end up is a great idea. Living in concrete bunkers and fighting nature could very well happen, to our horror. If temperatures rise beyond what Lovelock predicts (a theoretical possibility), it may be over for all of us.
Few members of the public know about Lovelock’s predictions in detail. I wish they could be presented by a mainstream publication, and not just in Rolling Stone. Whether he is right or not, this is definitely a possible scenario.
Coal and power companies, forest rapists, and oil companies are engaging in the worst kind of criminal activities. This also goes for the faux scientists who echo their claims in denying the reality of global warming. This should be communicated forcefully to the public, since what we are really talking about is good vs. evil.
There are alternate strategies as well: I know a firm working with the major insurance and financial sectors to deny financing to carbon emitters as a way to force change, since the US government is filled with hopeless whores. Maybe this is what it will take.
— Posted by Mike Roddy
8:40 am I am pleased to announce acreage for sale at the two poles.
Currently covered by glacial ice, these lots should be available for development in the next ten to fifteen years. Buy now at down-to-earth pricing. Prices will remain frozen for the next several years.
Financing available from laid-off Bear Stearns employees.
— Posted by Location. Location. Location.
Posted by: Danny Bloom | April 01, 2008 at 10:34 PM
Hi. We should every night call ourselves to an account; What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
I am from Israel and learning to speak English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "The doctor office called a day or two after my I think I felt a tad bit better."
With best wishes :-(, Faylinn.
Posted by: Faylinn | June 20, 2009 at 02:25 PM