Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Monarchist arcology

Live like bees
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(+2, -1)
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Build a cube-shaped edifice about six kilometres on a side. Fill it with two thousand floors of mainly hexagonal cells along with the necessary corridors, conduits, plumbing, wiring et caetera, and the occasional large room for other purposes. This should provide a few million rooms of accommodation.

Then take two married members of the royal family. Use one as a sperm donor, harvest the other's eggs. Carry out IVF and implant the zygotes in women of childbearing age - these are volunteers by the way, who have donated their bodies for this purpose. They are given full board and lodging for this activity. At birth, the majority of babies are sterilised and most of the males are euthanised before birth, but a few are recruited for reproductive purposes. The children are raised communally in nurseries and their roles are set from early life according to their aptitude. When the fertile children come of age, they are sent out to one of the number of other arcologies which stud the surface of the planet, thus ensuring genetic diversity. When the Queen reaches the menopause, she is killed, and the King is kept alive only long enough to serve as a sperm donor.

Unemployment is avoided by setting quotas for each role. Organic waste is recycled or used as compost, the roof is covered in tanks in which algae are grown, yeast is grown elsewhere in the structure and a few invertebrates are kept for nutitional purposes. Water is collected from rain, the walls are covered in solar panels and so on.

There are many advantages: no human extinction problem, efficient, ecologically sound, no existential angst, no inequality, no money and so on. It also has the benefit of pleasing monarchists, fascists, conservatives and communists to some degree. What's not to like?

nineteenthly, Mar 08 2012

Pyramicity http://en.wikipedia...ki/File:Try2004.gif
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 09 2012]


       So who is in charge of doing all this harvesting, sterilising, euthanising and sending out?
DrBob, Mar 08 2012

       What a brave new world that has such people in it.
Loris, Mar 08 2012

       Everything has been worked out in advance. If there's a mistake, everyone will probably die of course.   

       Not Brave New World exactly, as this builds on tradition. Huxley's version was a break with tradition.
nineteenthly, Mar 08 2012

       tempted to post "Hexagonal Wallplan" now that I have people to put in it.   

       But I wonder why you haven't got them out working in the fields gathering food... and the missing bit about a princess going out and starting her own ecology.
FlyingToaster, Mar 08 2012

       I think this idea might have a sting in the tail.
Ling, Mar 08 2012

       Isn't it funny, that a bee likes honey? Buzz, buzz, buzz, I wonder why it does.
pocmloc, Mar 08 2012

       I admit there's an absence of foraging but i doubt much would be necessary. The trick is to provide the right elements in the right quantities initially, then the rest can be done with, presumably, the occasional replenishment from without, probably mainly from seawater. Situating the hive near veins of ore would help, as would attempting to make as much of it low- maintenance or easily derived from living material as possible. Besides the technology needed for cloning and IVF and the tech needed to support that, and the efficiency savings of using those technologies flexibly, this is not high tech. Solar energy could be harness using a "greenhouse" wall and some turbines. The whole thing apart from the medical stuff could be realisable using pretty basic technology. It could be essentially a big solar powered castle with chinampas on the roof and better plumbing.
nineteenthly, Mar 08 2012

       The surface area of that cube does not receive enough light-energy from the Sun to grow enough food for the occupants, by a huge margin. Consider an ordinary farm in terms of the Square-Cube Law. It may take a hectare of ground (100 meters, squared) to provide food for one person. If we wrap that hectare up, to partly surround a cube, well, the Sun will illuminate only 4 sides of a stationary cube, so we want those 4 sides to each be (10000m2)/4, or 2500m2, which is 50 meters, squared.   

       Which means the length for each edge of this cube is 50 meters. There is a lot more room in there than for just one person. And each time you double the size of the cube, the surface area goes up 4 times, but the volume goes up 8 times. Your 6000-meter-on-each-edge cube represents almost 7 doublings in size, from my 50-meter starting point.   

       So, if you have as dense a population of people in that cube as typically exists for bees in a beehive, they will mostly starve to death, without some other very significant energy source for growing food.
Vernon, Mar 08 2012

       OK, thanks, just the kind of feedback I need. In that case, I suggest a crennelated surface and supplementary geothermal energy. Also, a large urban area made of skinny pyramids might help. I shall do the maths.   

       Have you considered, however, that what with Soylent Green being people and all, there might be another way? Could their body fat be rendered into some form of lighting to keep the greens coming? There could also be an apron under the solar windows beneath which more crops could be grown.
nineteenthly, Mar 08 2012

       I'm all for it, provided I don't have to participate.
Alterother, Mar 08 2012

       Convince people that it's space colnist training and they'll probably pay to sign up.   

       It could even be that, and would make evolutionary sense if it was.
nineteenthly, Mar 08 2012

       //no human extinction // D'ye really think so? Without exogamy? The entire population descended from two individuals?
mouseposture, Mar 08 2012

       Only per generation in each hive, not globally. There are many of these habitats and they swap individuals.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2012

       Randomly or by design?
Alterother, Mar 09 2012

       By design in the sense that they plan to travel to the other hives and interbreed. Maybe they could choose the most different HLA types and have arranged marriages, but unless we naturally choose different types ourselves, as has been suggested, simple randomness would be fine.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2012

       Right, [Vernon], i've not exactly done the maths but i suggest the following:   

       * There's a large hinterland of polytunnels around the hive. * The hive itself consists of a number of narrow pyramids which are constantly swivelled round to face the sun during the day, the gradient of the pyramid being determined by the latitude of the hive - the steeper the angle, the closer to the equator it is. * There are geothermal and heat pump sources of energy. * Mirrors reflect the sunlight back onto the hive from the other side, so that the sides in shadow are illuminated. * Crops, excrement and corpses are used as biomasse and to illuminate the interior.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2012

       Visualization aid. [link]   

       //the King is kept alive only long enough to serve as a sperm donor// Dammit Liz - just give one a few more minutes! One's doing the best one can!
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 09 2012

       You had us at "cube-shaped" ... bun.
8th of 7, Mar 13 2012

       Obvious trolling. Entirely forgivable, though, given that you've flushed my prey.   

       Tag! You're it, Borgy!
Alterother, Mar 13 2012

       Get a cube, you two.   

       There's a slight breakdown in the bee analogy. Worker bees are not sterile, although ordinarily they rarely lay eggs, and when they do, they only produce drones.   

       //no human extinction problem// So, not the bee all and end all?
spidermother, Mar 14 2012


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