The nature and structure of Atlantum was inspired by the many fantastic concept designs of ocean cities.
The idea for the Rapa Nui Gene Project emerged from a paper written by Ecological Footprint creator, Professor William Rees, in the mid-2000s, called Is humanity fatally successful?' The concept of the Rapa Nui Gene, and the process for editing it, draws on some real elements; but it is a plot device, not science.
The idea for the MAGE simulator emerged from discussions with the late Andrew Wilford, ex-Royal Australian Airforce, ex-Boeing, an engineering lecturer, a colleague and co-conspirator, outlined in his 2010 paper Spaceship Earth Mission Assurance. Wilf would have loved that a concept he was developing has been woven into a story. I just wish he were here to read it.
The Sand Poet is a fictional character, but his means of communication is an art form I first saw performed by Kseniya Simonova in a clip from a Ukrainian talent show.
The Clock of the Long Now is real and currently under construction in Nevada, but it is a vastly more complicated timepiece in size and engineering than the clock in Atlantum.
The calculation of rice in Jevon’s Paradox is real and derived from calculations made for the wheat and chessboard problem.
Chiiori ('The House of the Flute') is a beautifully restored traditional farmhouse in Shikoku’s Iya Valley that I have been fascinated with ever since reading Alex Kerr’s Lost Japan, and I hope to visit it one day.
Project Seal was a real investigation by the US and New Zealand governments during World War II, which sought to discover whether human-initiated explosions could generate tsunamis. The ABC’s AM program ran a story on this in 2013.
The Global Seed Vault is a ‘seed ark’ on the island of Svalbard, Norway. According to my research, all details about the vault are true.
The MAGE Maze and its associated colours and scenarios for each level is based on the concept of Spiral Dynamics—that humanity has evolved not only biologically, but psychologically and socially—and how people respond to the world around them in given circumstances and with their particular coping abilities. It originated from the work of New York psychologist Clare Graves’s ‘Gravesian Theory’ in the 1950s and 60s.
Goyder’s Line is a demarcation line drawn between arable and marginal land in South Australia made by Surveyor General George Goyder in 1865. Goyder’s Line was embodied in legislation passed in 1872, which prohibited the purchase of land on credit outside of designated agricultural areas. However, the Act was repealed in 1874, after a few seasons of good rain, to allow agricultural development north of the line—only for rainfall patterns to then return to their longer-term average, with Goyder proved right as farmers abandoned properties after extended droughts. Goyder’s Line is also a metaphor and South Australian cultural shorthand for nature’s limits and what happens if they are breached.
Scientists believe there is an 'inner sea', but not the kind that could flood planet Earth through a rupture.
Nadir is a fictional device—I hope! Whether human explosions can give Mother Nature a nudge in triggering seismic events that generate catastrophic tsunamis is unclear.
The Saturnian diamond may be real—the idea was taken from scientific reports of 'diamond rain' on Saturn and Jupiter. If any ever are collected and brought back to Earth, don’t take them outside during a storm.