From a subtropical ski slope to a spinning skyscraper, Miami is the nation's capital of obscenely audacious projects that never come to fruition. Why not a sovereign, moving island the size of Manhattan?
English multimillionaire Ben Way, we get the feeling, is the sort of fellow who would demand that the words English multimillionaire precede his name on his tombstone. He boasts he started his own company at age 15, was "one of the first dot-com millionaires," and appeared on ABC's Secret Millionaire. We imagine the "secret" part was torture for him.
Anyway, Way recently pitched to prospective investors "the biggest idea [he's] ever worked on" at the online fundraising site Kickstarter.com. "I want to create a new civilization," he says in his Harry Potter-esque voice via video, in which the sprightly 30-year-old stands in front of a green screen featuring photos of the sun, beakers, infrared maps, sailboats, and swimming fish, "on a floating island the size of Manhattan. Now, before you think I'm crazy, this project is technically feasible. The social, scientific, and economic opportunities and implications of this new civilization are huge."
It would be called Arc Island. Though the project initially would be based in the Miami area, the "expandable superstructure" would move around the globe via "advanced wind transportation," have its own constitution, and basically be rad. "But I am only one human being," Way laments coyly. "I am fallible, and there is no way I can do this by myself."
Way's fundraising goal is $50,000 to "engage the relevant architectural and engineering talent required to pull together the basic strands of the concept" -- in other words: get some people to figure out how in hell to make a power-boating giant island.
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By the way, don't ask Way why such an undertaking is worthwhile. "Asking that question defeats the object of a project like this," he protests in the comments section of his pitch. "When the Internet was developed, the space race began, or the light bulb was invented, nobody could have predicted where those ideas would take us as a civilization."
The most surprising part: At the time of this writing, Arc Island has raised $7,926 in potential investments, including pledges of $500 from eight Kickstarter users, with 41 days to go for Way to reach his goal. So now instead of saying, "I have a bridge to sell you," there's a new phrase to connote gullibility: "I have a moving island the size of Manhattan to sell you."