How To Start Your Own Country: Episode 84

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A micronation is a small area or group of people that claim to be independent but they aren’t recognized by other countries.

Reading this I kept seeing nation, country and state so I looked it up to figure out what the differences were between them.

A lot of times they’re used interchangeably to mean the same thing. As far as I can tell, A country and a State DO mean the same thing. Country and State are both an independent sovereign territory with people that live there. The United states of America, the country… Is a State. It’s confusing because in the USA were i live we also have divisions within this that we call states. I think it’s because before we united into one country they were individual sovereign states that decided to join together and give of some of their sovereignty to the larger State.

Anyway, these micronations are claiming to be independent sovereign states. To be counted as a sovereign state you have to have these things: land or territory, People who live there, a government, and other countries recognize you as an independent State. Micronations don’t have one of these things. Usually it’s that other countries don’t recognize it.

A lot of these micro nations were formed as protests to different things, others were formed when a landowner claimed their land was a separate country.

The most famous of the micronations is possibly Sealand. Maybe you’ve heard of this one. The story behind it is crazy.

Back during world war 2, in the 1940s England built some platforms out in the ocean on their coast as protection during the war. After the war a lot of these platforms stayed out their in the ocean. I think 3 miles of the coast was counted as England’s water.

But some of the platforms had been built out further than that, into international waters. One of these platforms was named Fort Roughs. By the 1960s their weren’t any military working on these platforms anymore.  I’m not sure who was there first at the Fort Roughs platform. Jack Moore was going to setup a pirate radio station “Radio Caroline”. But Roy Bates wanted it for his pirate radio station “ Radio Essex”.

Ok, so then in 1967 Roy Bates gets Jack and the Radio Caroline people to leave somehow and at some point Roy Bates and his friends are firing guns in the air and throwing some Molotov cocktails. There’s even a bit about leaving one of the guys to dangle from a ladder for a few hours. The exact details are a little cloudy.

Just a year before that  Roy Bates had been living on a different military platform off the coast where he had his pirate radio station. The government shut it down. That’s why He moved to the Fort Roughs platform because it was further out in international waters, but just as he  did this England passed a law that said British citizens couldn’t have pirate radio stations. That’s when it all come together in his mind like a giant jigsaw puzzle. He declared independence from England.

He called himself Prince Roy and his wife, Joan Bates, and two children lived there on the platform with him. He named his country the Principality of Sealand.

In 1967 the English government sent the military to destroy a bunch of the other platforms, some of them were nearby and it freaked them out on Sealand.  So the next year when Government boats were driving…what do you call driving a boat… boating along they got too close to Sealand and some people from Sealand fired some warning shots. The boats left but Roy Bates was summoned to Court in England for the firearms act.

They had legal arguments, the judge thought about it and then decided that since Sealand was outside of England’s waters  they had no jurisdiction. In the 1970s he made a flag, passports, stamps, currency, national anthem and a motto: E Mare Libertas, or from the sea, freedom.

In 1978 a business partner of Roy’s Mr. Achenbach, took over the platform while Bates was away. Bates and Achenbach disagreed about building a casino or a resort, I’m not sure, but this article says that the business partner sent some armed men with a lawyer to Fort Roughs. A different article called them simply business men. They took over the platform. A coup d’etat?

Roy Bates gets together a team of 5 guys and flew in with a helicopter. It got real close but there wasn’t a bloody gun battle. The men gave up and Roy’s partner Mr. Achenbach, since he had been a citizen of sealand, he was charged with treason and sentenced to life on the platform. Finally an ambassador from Germany came and talked him into releasing Mr. Achenbach, who was a German.

In 1987 England extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 miles which included Sealand now. In retaliation Roy Bates also extended his own waters to include a couple of port towns nearby on the coast.

In 2006 Roy and his wife retired to Spain and their son Prince Regent Michael, the acting head of state has decided to live in Essex (England i guess) and leaves the platform to caretakers.

Roy Bates lived to be 91 years old and he died In 2012. I assume his son Michael still runs the Country from Essex.

Sealand is not recognized by any other countries or by the UN. The UN stipulates that artificial installations don’t count as territory.

I did see that according to Wikipedia Sealand has not disbanded and in fact there is a website that seems to be the website for the country of Sealand. There’s history of sealand, the founding of Sealand, and you can buy titles of nobility are. A lord lady or baron or baroness 44.99.  Count or countess for 294.99 or a duck (it’s really duke but i think this typo is funny) or duchess for 734.99. You can also buy stamps, t shirts flags, mugs, or a Sealand ID card. So it seems the dream of Sealand is still alive.


Edible Water And Sneaker Laces: Episode 82

If you’re a regular listener then you’ve probably noticed that this, and the past two episodes have been reruns of previous episodes. We’ve been taking a break while we play our most popular episodes from the vault. We will have a new show next week.

If your a new listener… never mind.

This week we examine edible water bubbles. We don’t eat or drink any, we just examine… the idea. We’re also talking about a Harvard study on the physics behind why shoelaces come untied… and the feet that love them.

Other topics that we get sidetracked with are Fruitarians, Breatharians, plant EKGs, Ents and Entwives, the British version of Kickstarter, Boba tea, kale(again), and we watch an advertisement(?) for Joan’s barbecue and foot massage.

Music by Uncle Milk

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Rat Cafe: Episode 81

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Rygar, Offroad and Borg present another set of unusual stories from the internet. Cat cafes, dog cafes and even a rat cafe. But first we chat about the hard-hitting questions that everyone’s been dying to know: What kind of coffee do you like? What kind of hipster? How tall is America? Why does Charlie Chaplin have the same mustache as Hitler?

There exist cat cafes where you can drink coffee while you hang around with free-roaming cats. There are also dog cafes which are very similar to the cat cafés except the cats are instead dogs. Finally, there is a rat café and guess what the cats there are? Yep, the cats are rats! Try to drink your coffee while your hanging out with rats.

This is a re-release of episode 23. We’ll be back next week with new episodes.

Music by Uncle Milk
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Spin Cycle: Episode 80

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This is a re-release of episode 13. Let’s take a break and look back at the way things were.

We spend a bit of time watching a wash machine cycle (we review someone else’s review) and it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a while. There’s suspense, heartache, thrills, and… cats! Here’s a little spoiler: 1600 RPMs!

Lyrebird is a startup with new speech synthesis technology. They can take a one minute recording of someone’s voice and use it to generate a key which can then be used to generate speech of that person saying anything you want. The company is giving it away for free?

Offroad mentions a theory that looting of stereo equipment during an LA riot helped rap/hip hop to grow. Actually, the theory is that this looting happened during a blackout in New York city in 1977. There is a caterpillar that eats plastic, on purpose. I think he likes it. There is also a quick (ha ha) story about particle accelerators. Look out for Future Shock – the idea and the Herbie Hancock song. Borg shows off his audio fading techniques (the fastest fade in the west).

Music by Uncle Milk
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Zombie Cats: Episode 79


A family buried the wrong pet, police accidentally pepper spray the Tour De France, two men escape from a nursing home to attend a heavy metal show, a 14 year old is running for governor, a captured fugitive was recorded doing the ‘in my feelings challenge’, and Jim Cooper with “interesting news”.

Crow Vending Machine: Episode 75

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This week we talk about drunk seagulls, crow vending machines, the lunar wave, and lighting a cigarette off of a burning car.

There’s a lot of weird stuff on the internet and not enough time to look through all of it. We find all of the unusual news and scrunch it into about a half hour.

Music by Uncle Milk

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Helicopter Prison Break, Accidental Car Theft, and the Woman Mistaken for Dead: Episode 73

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It’s Robot Pizza Van, where we read the entire internet to bring you the odd interesting and unusual news stories, my name is Offroad and today we’re talking about A woman who was found alive in the morgue, a helicopter prison break, an accidental car theft, and the Flynn Effect.

Music by Uncle Milk

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