Japan headed the craze for land reclamation; artifically expanding their country by creating new land in their waters, but PayPal founder Peter Thiel wants to go one better, and build a new country in the sea.
Before you all laugh, Thiel also was the man that invested in a company called Facebook when it was only 1m users strong, so he knows a business opportunity when he sees one, and he's convinced that floating islands are the future.
Thiel has invested $1.25m into research by the Seasteading Institute to build a series of floating structures, initially off the coast of San Francisco, each weighing 12,000 tons, running on diesel and capable of housing around 270 people; a 3D visualisation can be seen above.
He wants to create a new "open space for experimenting with new societies" and their location in international waters will enable this; they'll be exempt from any existing jurisdictions covering building codes, planning, welfare requirements, weapons restrictions and, crucially, taxes.
Cynical observers might say that the latter fact is the true motivation for the, literally, outlandish, plan, although it's also perfectly possible he simply wants to build a huge nuclear arsenal and obliterate the US. Time will tell.
Images: András Gyõrfi/Seasteading/Rex Features