Re: Best locations for the Singularity Institute

From: David Hart (
Date: Sun Nov 17 2002 - 16:34:11 MST

Hi Eliezer,

Sacramento seems like a good short-term choice; it has attracted many
businesses and organisations for reasons similar to those you point out,
mostly low costs and proximity to the SF Bay area. I lived in SF for 5
years and knew people who commuted between SF/SV and the Sacramento
area, so the distances are certainly not bad, although a comfortable,
safe, freeway-friendly car is certainly a plus; you'll find a fleet of
SUVs and luxury cars making the daily commute.

Australia would be an excellent long term choice. I've been living in
Sydney for almost thee years and find the communications, Internet
connectivity and access to commodity technology terrific. Costs are
likely to remain low with respect to the US as the Australian economy is
valued largely on its agriculture and mineral industries, even though in
reality it's shifting heavily toward service, IT and biomedical. The
US/AU free trade agreement is likely to have the largest near-term
impact on the cost of living, but honestly it could go either way
depending on what trade imbalances and industry shake-ups are seen.

The recent bombing in Bali and Al Quaeda threats specific to Australia
however probably mean Australian cities aren't the safest places in the
world with respect to terrorism. I'd suggest a location away from urban
centers; rural NSW or VIC would be a good choice as you can still have a
location within a few hours of Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra, with easy
access to daily non-stop flights from SYD/MEL to SFO/LAX.

Natural disasters are fairly easy to avoid. Many places in QLD and NT
have tropical climates and suffer typhoons. Earthquakes are rare, but I
would suggest an earthquake-safe structure in any case. This year has
seen terrible drought, and other years might see worse. With this and
the California 'energy crisis' in mind, I'd suggest a location where
self-sufficiency is possible; Australian architecture and technology are
geared heavily toward making this possible (environment friendly designs
and building materials, passive cooling, solar hot water, solar
electricity, rainwater collection, etc. are all the norm in the
cutting-edge of the building industry).


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