(If you're interested, we're hiring!)
A unique and very special group of people. I cannot recommend the place highly enough.
Interesting - the circumference of the earth is roughly 40 thousand km. If these could manage to lift an antenna either 140m (or equivalently 70m for all participants) - distance to Horizon should be roughly 40 km. So a thousand boats could form a theoretical relay net around a theoretical line in the ocean reaching around the globe.
More to the point, with a fidonet-/usenet-like stop-and-forward system - it might be viable to get data to land quicker than waiting for the drone to arrive with hard drives - and with greater/cheaper bandwidth than via satellite?
It's good for brief beacon based things but most of the RF tech around it is still stuck in the 80s.
This is not hard, and for 8km height you could manufacture them for under $2k/piece. Even if they'd be made to work with hydrogen, as that raises the demands on the construction.
If you'd find the FCC to be willing to allow something like this and are able to handle both thunderstorms and just the general wind load on the tether, this should not be hard.
Regarding the damage from it when falling down, you have to remember that each fiber weighs 50g/km, and the wire is also below 1kg/km, even for rather low heights. This should not be a problem, considering the ease of breaking an optical fiber optic at any remotely sharp edge. A small bird (the size your cat can catch) could probably snap it if he hit's it with some force.
1 kg/km • 50 km • 9.8 m•s^-2 • 50 km = 24.5 MJ
10 MJ = kinetic energy of the armor-piercing round fired by the assault guns of the ISU-152 tank
I think that's just about enough energy to cut just about any living thing in half. Maybe it work if the cable was made of spider silk or Kevlar.
Maybe a kite of some kind, but how do you reliably launch and retrieve it? I dunno, I think in practice the satellite may be cheaper.
Source: my father was an engineer at a marine engineering company
Can you cover most conditions with a balloon and a kite? Can you make a kite which can be inflated to turn it into a balloon? (Looks like clever people have already been here: Kytoon – a balloon with a couple panels of fabric to make it behave like a kite in wind and a balloon in calm.) A two string kite can also be used for propulsion in many conditions.
Depending on transmitter power, I have to think that in 2018 a transceiver is lighter than 70m of coax cable compared to a power pair. Put a relay at the top and talk to it from the boat. (10 watts over 30ga for 70m at 48v is about 66% efficiency for a mass of only 30 grams. You can trade off mass with power, wire size, and respect for the life of you maintenance technicians. The product always looks better at 200 volts!)
Fascinating. I guess the Saildrone is the ideal solution.
Put another way, I bet the pay is low and the the on-ship amenities lacking. Expecting ppl to give you something for nothing isn't SMS's fault.
Or are you making a distinction between luxuries and basic living conditions (space, privacy, quality/healthfulness of food)? For some people, no level of internet access would make hot-bunking tolerable.
Completely agree. But in this case, those are not the ppl you want working for / with you anyway.
Was the problem with my choice of the Internet (which could be used for work) for my scenario instead of tv channel choice?
Autonomous Marine Systems
Apparently they figured out how to do it, but my question is, how exactly are they doing it?
A boat has a displacement that is less than water. Which is how it floats. A small weighted bulb in the keel keeps everything pointing upright. You can mitigate the forces on a sail through 2 ways: heeling is when the entire boat leans to one side, heading up is pointing the wing sail into the wind.
Wingsails are pretty well understood and used extensively in racing. Volvo Ocean Racing (VOR) and America's Cup are 2 examples.
One advantage of this kind of wing sail is it's "self trimming". With the tail/tab in neutral position, it'll always weathervane to follow the wind. With the tail tab deflected somewhat, it'll weathervane with some amount of angle of attack. So even in very heavy winds, all it needs to do is back off on the angle of attack and it should be in a relatively stable state.
I suppose though a drone has more flexibility in design parameters by not having people and people-related supplies on board.
But to be honest, I have very little knowledge on this topic, so maybe a keel is all it needs!
On a traditional boat the sails can dig down in the water and needs to be released rather quickly, and you don't want the hatch to be open, but neither of this seems to be a problem here.
That said, I don't know much about sailing other than it being on my bucket list of things to learn so I've been reading up on it, and I've been actively searching for a good simulator that works on gnu/linux... (anyone know of one?)
One way they spread is by sticking to boats that owners take to a different lake without cleaning them. Cleaning isn't optional, but since it takes work it is unrealistic to believe everyone is going to actually do it. So despite campaigns to prevent it, zebra mussels keep spreading.
I've been (slowly and painfully) working my ways towards constructing a self-reproducing robo-boat swarm for a few years now, ever since learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
My idea is to set up a simple artificial ecosystem of interacting bots that collect and recycle oceanic trash to create more of themselves. This permits exponential growth, making it realistic to attempt to tackle such a large-scale problem from a relatively tiny "nucleus".
I want to use Molten salt oxidation  to convert trash to "synthesis gas"  then feed that through a water column to convert CO+H2O to CO2+H2. Recover the hydrogen for power (more power, the MSO reaction is exothermic) and feed the carbon dioxide to algae tanks. The algae can be processed to create both plastic membranes and a kind of ocean-water-proof glue. Rather than build boats, you make spheroids out of the plastic and glue them together to make foam. (I call it "spittlebug architecture" .) Foam and tendons allow you to make e.g. artificial hydras  which can be attached at their bases to long conduits (also make of glue-foam) to collect and sort trash and carry it (via peristalsis) to the MSO unit. The long hydra-lined conduits can be arranged in a (huge) spiral which can then be driven to rotate by positioning of sails and rudders embedded in the conduit. The MSO unit would be in the center.
The idea, at every stage, is to do and use the minimum of action and materials and energy throughout the system to maximize scalability and throughput-per-unit.
The outputs of the system will be power, fresh water, building material, and packets of recovered molecules (the ones that aren't made of H C or O) to hopefully be reused.
Glue + membranes + geometry + pressure = An open-ended variety of light-weight rigid structures with a very easy construction method. 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflatable_air_cushion & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-supported_structure
It's been slow going, working mostly in my spare time, but I'm committed. I've got two boats now for hosting the initial "kernel", and some time this summer to double down. One benefit of taking so long is that neural networks et. al. have taken off in the meantime and that should solve a few problems that might otherwise have been hairy.
I was talking about a drone shipping tonns of drugs from South America to USA or Europe.
Which is to say- If the drones are too cheap, they probably don't move enough product to justify operator costs and loss risk from conditions. If the drones are bigger, they pose loss risk from coast guard.
Given that cigarette boats were the 80's maxima for sea transport, I suspect that - with current capabilities - the risk/cost/reward for sea drone transport of drugs is saddle shaped. <edit to include the third dimension of the saddle>
If I add up all the sources that are typical for HN it’s quite a lot. Bloomberg alone is $40/Mo now long term, plus nytimes, Washington Post, economist, FT, etc.
I already pay for two of these — I don’t feel the need for yet another, and I’m not going to start browsing Bloomberg for non-linked content.
What I’d like is the ability to pay for a universal “HN” articles membership to ANY website. If it’s linked from HN, let me read the full article, but it’s ok if I can’t browse the website.
A lot of publishers effectively do this for Facebook for free; why not for smaller aggregators for a membership?
However, I also suspect that there will be a lot of car/automated-bicycle accidents since bicycle visibility at night isn't particularly high, and relies a lot on the rider's choice of visible clothing.