Manhattan Town Hall Meeting with Jason Ross
DENNIS SPEED: On behalf of the LaRouche Political Action Committee, I want to welcome you to today's dialogue with Lyndon LaRouche, June 17th. We've actually had a kind of pre-meeting which tuned up our assembly. We are, as many know, being involved in a concert which will be happening on Thursday, June 29th, and it will be happening at Carnegie Hall and it involves our New York City Schiller Institute Chorus, supplemented by groups of our members and associates from Leesburg, from Boston, and from other areas. So, we were able to get a jump on our deliberations today by having that session. So we're starting a bit later but I think in better shape. In fact, in a few minutes, we'll be hearing from John Sigerson who will not have simply things to say on the topic of music as such, but the "why" of music, if you want to put it that way.
I just want to call people's attention to a statement we had published about a week ago, because with the events of the past week, there's a tendency I think to get dragged down into the minutiae and this statement, I think, will help.
"When FDR died before the end of the war in 1945, Lyndon LaRouche despaired that a great man had passed and warned that a very little man," — Harry S Truman, a man with no middle name, — "was taking over.
"Looking back on 1945 from today's perspective, do Americans recognize that the United States won the war based on FDR's defeat of the British bankers on Wall Street, by restoring the American System of credit for development, not for speculation, through the Glass-Steagall legislation? Do they recognize that the `arsenal of democracy' which defeated fascism was possible only because FDR had created the greatest infrastructure boom in all of history, in a few short years, giving the U.S. an overwhelming advantage in production and logistics? Do they recognize that Roosevelt's collaboration with China and Russia (the U.S.S.R. at that time) was indispensable in saving the world from fascism?..."
"Then there is space—do people realize that the only reason that they may still believe that the United States despite the condition of our population and our cities is still regarded as a potential leader in technology is because of Kennedy's mobilization for the Apollo Project, which allowed the United States to benefit for a half-century after that effort was nearly destroyed by his assassination? Do they realize that the Silk Road in space, including the industrialization of the Moon is the perfect way for President Trump and the United States to celebrate that President Kennedy, who was himself a conscious follower of FDR's New Deal? This is the new cultural platform that will give birth to a new economic platform, including a comprehensive transformation of the very idea of infrastructure—not merely roads, but development; not just water or rail, but development; not just education and hospitals, but development.
"And it is to this idea of a new cultural platform, a cultural paradigm shift, if you will, that the LaRouche organization, the Schiller Institute, and all of our efforts have been directed."
With that, I want to introduce John and then following John, we'll be hearing from Jason Ross.
JOHN SIGERSON: It's a very exciting time. For me, it's really exciting because it is like the fruition of everything that I've been fighting for, since I started, and I first came in contact with Lyndon LaRouche and his movement was around 1970. Being a musician, I was being guided into just being a professional musician, and making a living and so forth and that wasn't enough for me. Especially because I was very concerned about Africa, and also about other underdeveloped countries. I had big fights with my anthropology teacher on that in college, because he believes that these primitive cultures ought to remain primitive. I wrote some papers which he gave me an F on, because I said no, they need development, they need economic development. He didn't want to hear that. Especially with Africa, I was extremely concerned about the development of Africa.
And today, I see exactly what I was fighting for happening in China. If any of you have not seen these wonderful videos of the Chinese collaboration with Kenya in building this new standard gauge railway, to the capital from Mombasa on the coast, you should watch this. It is just mindboggling—the optimism and the joy, and the agapë—the real love for humanity which comes from these films, and both Chinese and the Africans who are working with them, side-by-side. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_m20MCuGw]
That is the kind of agapë that is so sorely needed right now. I don't want to go through all of the assassination threats against the President, but every single one of these threats and there's a recent Breitbart release which goes through no fewer than 15 different examples of so-called celebrities virtually demanding it.
Let me just pick out one that really gets me. Robert De Niro—everybody knows who Robert De Niro is. "Yeah, OK, Rob't de Niro." [imitating thug Robert De Niro says: "He's a punk, he's a dog, he's a pig, he's a con, he's a bullshit artist, a mutt who doesn't know what he's talking about. I'd like to punch 'im inna face." That's Robert De Niro.
This goes on and on, it's shocking. Both the level of the language which of course is gutter talk, absolute gutter talk, and most of these so-called celebrities liberally—I guess that's the word "liberal," that's what liberals do: They liberally use the "F-word" when they're referring to Mr. Trump, the President of the United States. And literally inciting to violence against the sitting President of the United States.
What's shocking is that here you have great movie stars who are showing no agapë; because anybody who has agape—you simply don't do that, you don't think that way about any human being! I think that's everything about what we're doing with this concert, and this tribute to one of the most agapic individuals of the 20th and the early 21st century, which is Sylvia Olden Lee. When you experience her and experience also the people who worked with her, and reflect that today, those who are still living, you get a sense of what we're moving on developing.
I'll just say one other thing because I want to lead into what Jason is going to say. Jason has been focusing a lot on the transportation crisis, which of course everybody is—it maybe is the thing that hits you right in the face when you ride around or try to make you way around New York City. However, I was recently at a meeting in the small town of Rochelle Park, which is where I live in New Jersey, about flood control. I experienced the manager of Emergency Services telling the entire audience, and this was some of most concerned citizens in this rather small area in Rochelle Park, which is right along the Saddle River which is a tributary of the Hackensack, about saying, "Look face it: We're never going to have any flood control here. There have been on the books for years, for literally decades, there have been proposals to dredge the river so that it wouldn't overflow and create millions of dollars of damage and deaths and everything like that. But forget it—it's not going to happen," that's what he was arguing to everybody; "so you just have to repair and get ready for the next time it's going to happen." Literally, this is what happened.
One individual there got up a little bit and he said, "Don't you think that the problem is that Army Corps of Engineers seems to be more interested in saving a few birds than it is in saving human lives and so forth?" He tried to deflect that a little bit, because the local authorities are just as much victims of everything, because it's the Army Corps of Engineers which controls many of the waterways which are affected here.
I took just a quick visit to the Army Corps of Engineers website, which is quite enlightening. I encourage you to do that. Just for the New York District, there are hundreds of projects which are just waiting to be done, waiting to be funded. Many of them have been on the books for 20-30 years, things that ought to happen.
I'll just give you a really quick idea. I just took almost an arbitrary sample: Passaic River basin flood management. Here, what the Army Corps of Engineers needs to buy out a whole series of floodway along the Passaic River, and they're going to have to get rid of approximately 800 homes, in municipalities, in Fairfield, Lincoln Park, Wayne, Pompton Lakes, Montville, East Hanover, Pequannock, Little Falls, and Riverdale because these are subject to frequent flood damages, and they really need to be cleared away. Which has to happen sometimes if you really want to have good flood management. The whole thing is going to cost about $194 million. This has been on the books for 20 years and nothing's happened. They have study after study, environmental study after study and the way this thing works: You have one study that is done; it usually takes a couple years to do, a couple million dollars just for the darn study and of course by then, things have changed, and they have to have another study and they put in another $2 million. This goes on and on and on.
Here's another one that I was interested in. This is in Queens. East River Queens Bridge Sea Wall. A sea wall that was built in the 1930s in Queens Bridge Park located in Long Island City across the street from Queens Bridge Houses, the largest federal housing project in the nation. It says here, "Cracks began to appear in the sea wall in 1999. The sea wall is now in severely dilapidated condition and threatens the integrity and operation of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority's Cathodic Protection System, an integral component of the 63rd Street subway tunnel." If this thing goes, you can forget it. Where does that stand? Well, it says here—there are feasibility studies and there's another feasibility study; and they finally worked up what is called a Project Management Plan and what it says here is the "draft Project Management Plan was provided to the potential sponsor in February 2006, but local interests have not yet made a decision to proceed." It goes on and on.
And this is just the New York City area. The Corps of Engineers has thousands of projects across the country which are just waiting for the kind of financing which only the U.S. government can supply. They're trying private-public financing. It doesn't work! If the current administration is to succeed, it must start implementing LaRouche's Four Laws. And with that, I'm going to lead it into Jason. [applause]
JASON ROSS: John, since you mentioned anthropology, because that was something that I found most irritating, those anthropology classes and this idea that people should be treated as if they're different types of species in a zoo. This type of person isn't developed, and that's just how they live and this type person is in a developed country because they like electricity. These other people—it's not part of their culture—a disgusting outlook.
What I'm going to talk about is infrastructure, what our economic platform is, LaRouche's concept on that. This is some stuff that we've covered here several times. I want to go quickly through that and then talk about New York in particular, talk about what can be done here, and then from the context of a national plan, because you can't plan one city at a time. In fact, that's part of the problem is that we don't have a national overview and intention to make these things happen, including a national banking approach.
To go quickly through the overall concepts on this, we've seen this chart before, "The Growth Of Human Population Over Time"; the fact that we make this happen, that is the basis of economics. That is where Lyndon LaRouche begins when he talks about economics. He doesn't say: "Well, we'll get there once we look at how much people are willing to pay for something, depending on how much supply there is. Or we'll get there once we talk about whether somebody is willing to work for a certain wage based on what kind of hours they're offered. Or we'll get there once we talk about how effective advertising is getting someone to buy something." That's what economists start with right now. He'd say it's almost like putting the cart before the horse but it's more like putting the bullshit in front of the horse. Right?
You got to start from the top. What makes it possible for us to achieve an improvement like this? It's not a bunch of small changes. It's leaps, it's jumps. Now, how do we make those jumps happen? How can government, how can society as a whole foster those jumps happening as a whole? How can we as a species act in a concerted way the way Prometheus did? Prometheus who gave us fire, who gave us knowledge, who said that we were not going to have a distinction between the human beings and the gods, whose sole authority came from their power. Zeus's idea was, "He! We're the gods, we've got fire. People don't. If they had fire, we wouldn't be the gods anymore." That's the outlook of the British Empire. "Uh oh! Our identity is in being special. What makes us special? We ride around on horses and we rule other people." Compare that with the idea of saying, "What matters with my life is what I've done to leave an enduring value for the future." That's something meaningful.
We've seen these charts, too, about how life-expectancy is increased. I might point out a couple things here. You remember this chart: In 1800, the country with the highest life span was Belgium at 40 years of age. So again, you might say at that time, "ah, we're the best country, Belgium. We have a life span of 40—that's fantastic because look how low everyone else is in comparison." Well, that's stupid. Think about it in terms of how you're moving that upwards. Today, every country on Earth has a life expectancy above 40 because we've changed as a species.
There's a video of watching life-expectancy change around the world. What made that happen? What sped it up? You can look at the size of the change between 1800 and 1950; it's about the same in terms of overall life expectancy per capita as 1950-2012. Why isn't this speeding up? What's making it happen?
So let's think about LaRouche looks at this, because there are two aspects to this. One of them science, so one of them is the Renaissance, the development of a real breakthrough and the creation of modern science. That transformed the human species in a way that was beyond any particular discovery. This was a whole new approach to science. This was created by Cusa. This was done by Kepler, the first modern scientist. So, this was a major shift.
The other aspect is in the development of platforms, and this is something that really depends on the nation state to make this happen. Let me read two quotes from LaRouche on this.
LaRouche wrote in 2010; he said, "We should recognize that the development of basic economic infrastructure had been a needed creation of what is required as a habitable development, as a synthetic rather than a natural environment for the enhancement or even the possibility of human life and practice at some time in our existence. Man as a creator in the likeness of the great Creator is expressed by humanity's creation of artificial environments that we sometimes call infrastructure, on which both the progress and even the merely continued existence of civilized society depends." [as heard]
Individual small groups of people can't build up a synthetic platform in a serious way. You need a nation-state. Whether this is the irrigation of Egypt millennia ago, whether this is the development of canals in Europe maybe 500 years ago, or whether this is the development of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States 150 years ago, this is something that is not done by individuals making a discovery, which is science; it's done by a society implementing a higher platform to enable the whole society to live at a higher level, to change what it's capable of.
That's what we need to invest in. LaRouche at times has said that 50% of the investment of a country should be in such basic economic infrastructure, in the platform which everything depends on, and not just repairing it, building a new level of it. How does that change what we're capable of? Look at power. I don't want to belabor this graph, but as we've seen several times the amount power used per capita in the U.S., overall, it's gone up in our history. It stopped going up around the time of Kennedy's assassination; and maybe as a quiz, what happened? Why did the energy per capita stopped increasing at around 1970 or so? What changed?
The Bomb? Environmentalists. So fluorescent lightbulbs, is that what caused this? Nuclear power? Not a lot of nuclear power got built.
The fact that it didn't, is interesting. Because before we've seen a new technology totally displacing the old one. Who's going to cut down trees for power when you can use coal? More energy in a pound of coal, a lot cheaper. The same thing with oil. Oil has more energy per pound than coal or wood does, and you can use it in an engine. You can run a jet on oil. You're not going to have an airplane run on wood. What happened? The fact that this leveled off—I don't think we've quite got it yet. Any other ideas?
No investment? Okay, we didn't make the breakthrough into fission, right. What is this power being used for? Postindustrial, right. What is this energy used for? Does this energy get used, let's say per capita; what percent of power, let's say at this time, is used in your home? Compared with, is used in businesses or is used in industries? Do you think at this time per capita there was more electricity used by the average American in their home for their daily life, or their per-capita share in America's industry? Which was bigger? Industry, way bigger, — way bigger — several times more power is used in industry than add up all of America's homes. It's industry. So what happened was if you're deindustrializing, and you're not making things anymore, you don't need very much power, do you? This is not fluorescent light bulbs. This is closing down the cement factory, this is shutting down the steel plant, and this is closing down the car factory, and whatever else the manufacturing decreases are. This is not investing is infrastructure. How much energy is required to produce steel for a rail network? How much energy is required in a concrete plant to make cement for building roads? If you just shut down the economy, you're going to use less energy per capita.
Let's look at China. I think this is an amazing chart. In blue, you've got the total amount of energy per capita in China. In red, you've got the amount of electricity used per capita in China. When I made the chart, the units are different, so electricity is only a portion of total energy, but I put them on so they would fit on the same chart. Can anybody tell me from looking at this, how much more power is used per person in China today than in 1971? The total energy use, how much more today, than back in 1971?
Q: A lot more.
ROSS: A lot more. [laughter] Anybody numerically inclined here? About five times more, right. How much more electricity is used per capita in China than 45 years ago? It's hard to see it from this chart, because it was so small compared to where it is today. Twenty-five times, 25 times higher. In 1971, what percent of energy use was electricity in China? 3%. Today? 16%. What's not included in this percentage? Among all energy, this is what percent is electricity. How else do you use energy besides electricity? Any examples? Gas and oil, right. Cars, trucks, ships, planes, trains—if they're electric trains. What else? Water. This is in terms of the energy that's used, so what percent. Hydro makes electricity. Things that you're burning? You're using heat in a factory for example, or your heating your home or for transportation. In the U.S., half of our energy use is not electric, it's transportation—gasoline and diesel. Nuclear energy makes electricity for the most part. Again, this is the consumption of energy. What are we using energy for? Hydro, nuclear—they make electricity.
For the overall energy use, I think that these two things both mean something. The fact that a Chinese person per capita—5 times more energy today than 40 years ago. Take a look—I'm not sure how reliable this chart is in the wood era because I'm not sure how accurate figures were [laughter]; but if you look at today you went down to one-fifth of today's per-capita energy use, you're talking about being down here going back about 150 years. China has done this in 40.
And the electricity is something special because electricity is a higher form of energy. What can you do with electricity that you can't do with, let's say, a wood fire? What can you use it to accomplish? Machinery, cell phones. If you had a steam-powered cell phone, I don't know how well that would work. Type your g-mail on a steam-powered machine. Forget it, right?
Electricity is a higher form of power, so the fact that China is now using more energy but out of that energy use is electricity, this shows a jump to a higher level. This is a chart of per-capita electricity by country and then the GDP per capita. There's no rich country that doesn't use electricity. It doesn't happen. It can't happen!
Here's the Earth at night, something we've looked at a few times. You can see the Nile River, and you can see the development there. You can compare South and North Korea, a pretty big difference. [Comment on Australia from audience.] Not many people live in Australia; it's mostly completely empty. It's a desert but it's not developed. The kangaroos don't have their lights on. [laughter]
This is China. Look at that. Percent of people in poverty. Pretty amazing. So again, here's this chart. I want to ask a question: How much more energy is in petroleum than is in wood? Roughly. Three times. So, if a pound of petroleum gives us about three time more energy than a pound of wood, does that mean it's three times better? Or wood is three times worse?
It depends on what you're doing with it, right? If you're trying to heat something, you're going to heat a kettle of water, wood is three times worse. If you're trying to fly an airplane, wood is not three times worse — it's infinitely worse! That's energy.
Water: We can manage water, it doesn't just have to fall places. Think about it, we don't behave that way with other things. "Oh, there's no food growing here, I guess we just won't live here, or we'll starve." No, we plant food. With water, we can take it straight from the oceans, we can cause rain to occur, we can move it once it lands — we can be in control of these things.
Materials: We've seen this one before. I'll just stress this one again, for a second. The world production of fixed nitrogen, artificial fertilizer, you can see the way that took off after it was developed in the 1940s. This means that we're actually changing the value of land. If you've got the ability to produce fertilizer, artificially, synthetically, humanly, then land that's not very fertile just became fertile. You changed the value of that land, by this discovery, by developing plans to make it happen.
And then, again, this chart of travel, where we've see this, how far you could go from New York in 1800. This line marks the extent of how far you could reach in one week of travel. By 1830, the one-week line has moved much farther. So what happened? Roads. No cars. Canals — canals are great. Moving things on water is very easy, if there's not rapids in the way and that kind of thing. By 1857, the one-week line is way out here. We're starting to get railroads. By 1930, you can reach the whole country in a few days. We've got the Transcontinental Railroad, we've got U.S. Federal highways starting to get built — not the Interstate system, but U.S. Routes are being built.
And you can also see in this, the difference where the land has actually been changed or not. With an airplane, you can fly over land that hasn't been improved. But without an airplane, you're actually moving through land. So if you see about how far you can move in a week, here in 1800; and how far you can move in a week in 1830; it's not so different in the areas that haven't been developed. We've changed the land, we've built a platform.
Think about the development of cities, look at that. We don't have that much rail any more; that's at the peak of U.S. rail. Here's China's current rail map. And here's the plan by 2035, to have 45,000 km of high-speed rail. China already has more high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined, and they built it all in a decade: pretty amazing. Pretty amazing, right?
Let me ask a question, before we move on. In terms of where cities are located, we've got cities in the United States and they're located in different places — why are they where they are? What are some of the reasons that cities develop where they do? They're near rivers; transportation, railroads, mm-hmm. Anything else? Transportation is one I've heard a lot of. Another one is resources: If you're near a place, let's say there's great mining in a certain area, that's a great place to set up some plants to deal with what you're mining. So, there's a question of what percent of China's land is arable, and I don't know — it's low.
So people brought up rivers; rivers are natural infrastructure. We didn't put them there, they're there. The ocean, that's very convenient infrastructure; it's already there. Think about why is New York where New York is? What's on both sides of Manhattan? Water, where does that water go, what is it part of? The ocean, and in the other direction, the Hudson River! That's a pretty significant river, so that's a good spot to build a city. So, when we build railroads, we create new places where it makes sense to have a city, for instance.
Look at some of the things that are special about it. Does anybody have a definition of incommensurable? Can't compare two different things? Can't be measured; immeasurable. Let's look back at a problem with this chart: This shows that wood and petroleum are commensurate. Petroleum is at three times a larger number than wood. If you're asking how useful they are for boiling a pot of water, one of them is three times better, one of them is three times worse. If you're asking which one's better for powering a jet plane — they're not three to one any more, right. It's a total difference. One is capable, one is, so they're incommensurable.
So that's the thing, when you develop a new platform, it's not a little bit more than you used to have, it's just different. The benefits aren't only in the local area. When you build the Transcontinental Railroad, you change the value of the whole country, even places that aren't next to that railroad. Places near the railroad definitely get a benefit, but you change the whole country. And the benefit doesn't come from how much people pay to use it or anything like that; it comes in the fact that you've got a new kind of society.
So if we think about what next levels or the next platforms are going to be, and this is how we've got to think about New York, for example — shall we fix potholes? Yeah, sure. But, where are we going? What's the next level? So yeah, we should fix them, I don't object — but where are we going, the next level of platforms. Just as we look back to the past and we'd say, "oh, the steam engine; artificial fertilizer; oh, electricity; oh, nuclear power." What are the next things going to be that in a hundred years people will look back and say, "that's what they did in the 21st century that they used to make that next shift." One of them is nuclear fusion, and one of them is space. And they're actually connected, because the best fuel for fusion comes from space: it's on the Moon!
How about this? This is a new kind of technology. Can you see the wheels on this train? It doesn't have any! Where is this train? China? Even if you didn't know, that's a good guess. Yes, a new thing, it's probably in China. Yes, this is in China, in Changsha: It is a maglev train. It doesn't go that fast, I think 60 mph or so, but it's produced by Chinese technology. China was the first country to build a commercial high-speed maglev line: In Shanghai, the German company TransRapid built their 430 kph train that goes from Shanghai airport to near the city — a subway stop, it doesn't go to downtown Shanghai.
China didn't build any more trains like that. What they did is they spent some time developing their own technologies to build their own trains, which they can now do at a very good price. So this has been operating for a year; a new line on the Beijing subway is going to come online this year, a maglev line as part of their subway system. That's fantastic.
What do you think makes this different? What are some of the benefits you can imagine about using maglev, floating magnetically levitated trains, compared to wheeled trains? Less noise; yeah, when they come to a stop, you're not going to hear that loud screech. Maintenance — why would that be easier? Fewer moving parts, yes. How much do you think it would affect the maintenance for other aspects, given that it's not going be shaking and bumping and bouncing? Less wear and tear on the track itself. It would be a more comfortable, a smooth ride.
Q: When I went there, I rode on the maglev a few times, and you don't notice it — if you don't pay attention to when you take off and when you stop, you really don't notice...
ROSS: Just like the subway here, huh? [laughter] It depends on what the delays are, you might notice because it isn't moving!
Noise, right, it's very quiet. There's just the air noise from it, but there's no screeching, the wheels aren't scraping, so it's very quiet by comparison.
Q: Steel wheels can crack and so maglev trains can go faster than steel wheels, because they don't have worry about steel wheels cracking and fracturing and then the train derails.
ROSS: Right. The potential for the higher speeds is definitely there. The Chinese technology isn't there yet: Chinese wheeled trains go faster than their maglev, in terms of what they've built. They've got tests, and the potential is there; maglev's got the higher speed potential.
Right, there's no friction, no resistance. You could almost push it yourself. They're more efficient, less energy. I mean, an electric train compared to a diesel one uses about a third of the power, less moving parts; the maglev has got even less.
So, where is this? Anyone know which line this is? This is the L line. Let's take a look at this chart — just a couple of numbers first. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives a report card every so often to the U.S. on our infrastructure — D+. That might be generous of them. They say that there's $4.5 trillion in repairs needed over the next 10 years. They said half of that there's no money for it being planned at all. These repairs are not going to happen, that's where the thing stands right now. That doesn't include building a new platform.
So before the building of the railroads the American Society of Civil Engineers, would say, what do we need to maintain our canals and our roads? They wouldn't have included the numbers for building a rail network. So it's much higher.
We've got this tremendous plan, the Eurasian Land-Bridge from EIR and the Schiller Institute in the '90s, now the government policy of China — not the exact routes, but in effect, this is Chinese policy right now. This is our outlook right now for the world, in terms of connectivity, in terms of big projects — crossing the Bering Strait, bridging the Darién Gap; there's conveniently a British-created national park that cuts the Pan-American Highway in half, so you can't get between North and South America. There's a road called the Pan-American Highway, and it goes and goes and it just stops, and there's just some swamp. And then it starts up again. This clearly could have been built up over the past decades, but it hasn't been; it's been deliberately left out, deliberately left undone.
Let's get into these with the case-study of New York. How about this? This is the highway system as it was envisioned in '55. The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was launched in '56, when Eisenhower signed in the bill that really created it. Does anybody know how he paid for this? How was it funded, how was it paid for? There still was Glass-Steagall. Taxed interstate business? Not really. The Trust Fund — OK, how did that get money into it? From the gas tax! The gas tax paid for 90% of it, gas and other taxes, on tires, on big trucks when they were made, taxes on really big trucks every year for running them. We still pay the gas tax, to pay to keep it up, but the gas tax hasn't been increased in decades now.
So there's not enough money in the Trust Fund, the repairs aren't being made and people say, "let's build a toll road, that's the only way we can get some money to build a new project." One of the things that, unfortunately, Trump was really excited about was in Florida, in Orlando, they're rebuilding Interstate 4 there, and they got a private company to come in and build it and do all the planning; they're saying they're going to build this new system in 7 years compared to 23 years it would have taken the state; and half of the money is coming from HOT lanes. They're saying, "We'll improve the highway, but we'll basically make a private highway in the middle of it, too, and that's where half the money will come from." So this public/private stuff.
OK, where is this? It's Manhattan. I see a lot of tall buildings here — where is this? Lower Manhattan. And I see tall buildings over here, where is this? Midtown, Central Park is over here. Now it's a little less built over here, why is that? Why is Midtown in Midtown? Why aren't there a bunch of tall buildings over here? Transportation? If there are physical reasons that I'm unaware of, then I'm embarrassed about the explanation I'm giving, but I think the most important aspect about it is being able to get somewhere. This isn't drawn to scale; so this is forced. A lot of connectivity down here, downtown; and you've got the L Train, but otherwise, in terms of where the lines cross each other again, it's at 42nd Street. What else do we have up here? Port Authority Bus Terminal; we got Penn Station; we got Grand Central. So people can actually get to Midtown. That's why Midtown is where Midtown is. Remember, that synthetic environment that makes it easy to do something somewhere.
When we're thinking about the future, we don't have to think about where do people currently live, and how do we organize everything around that? Maybe we're going to make a new center. One of plans we're going to talk about, has a big, new hub in the Bronx, for example. People say, "well, there's not a lot of people there right now." But there will be! That's what happens when you build something new.
Just some numbers: Does anybody know how many people use the subway system every day? How many rides? It averages about 5.5 million up to 6 million, a lot of people. The New York subway system, 660 miles of rail, not the biggest in the world; the number of stations, though is the highest in the world, 472 stations, the MTA counts up. That's a lot. Here's the Long Island Railroad — it's not on a map, so unless you're already familiar with these areas, it may not mean much! Again, this is about 300,000 people it brings into Manhattan every day. Metro North goes into Grand Central; Grand Central has more platforms than any rail station in the world — 44, that's a lot. I left out New Jersey Transit, sorry. But again, about 200-300,000 people come in every day, about 200,000 come into Penn Station every day from New Jersey Transit.
So this is the Gateway project. Something like this was under construction back in 2009, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed it in 2010. It was supposed to have been finished this year! If it had been kept on schedule, it would have had the two new tunnels under the Hudson opening this year, had it not been cancelled. But the idea is to build two new lines and come into a new Penn Station terminal. Some people think that's not a very good idea, making a new Penn Station.
Here's how things work right now: New Jersey Transit, people from these lines transfer at Secaucus and get on another train to come into Penn Station; otherwise they wind up at Hoboken. What do you do here, to get to New York? PATH — there's ferries and there's the PATH train; here's the PATH and here's the other one that goes to the World Trade Center, about 200,000 also every day.
Since right now New Jersey Transit trains come into Penn Station and they go back; a few of them come to Sunnyside in Queens and sit there, but most of them just go back. Long Island Railroad comes into Penn Station and they all go back; none of them keep going into New Jersey. So you get this huge traffic jam in there.
The one idea is to let the trains go right through: Let New Jersey also build a new loop so there's no transfer needed, you just go straight into Penn Station, and then don't stop! You keep going: You keep going into Sunnyside, and keep going to a new railyard in the Bronx. Same with Long Island Railroad: Keep going, go all the way into New Jersey. Make some room there for the trains to turn around and to store them. So people say you could really improve Penn Station with that.
This is East Side access: This is under construction right now, and is supposed to open in 2022, and this would bring Long Island Railroad from the Sunnyside yard — this tunnel is already built; right now they're tunnelling under Manhattan here to bring them into Grand Central, to a new underground terminal that's below the current Grand Central. It's four tracks — it's a tunnel that's too wide and too tall. That's in the works.
That's Penn Station — look at that mess, huh? This is what's being repaired right now in this "summer of hell" business, is redoing these tracks and also, right here: There's four tunnels under the East River so repairing those is causing some closures; that's part of the summer of hell business. The trains aren't going to be able to get through, it's going to be cut in half. That's two months this summer.
The other thing coming up is the L Train is going to be closed for a year and a half, if they stay on schedule: The number of people who currently use the L Train between Manhattan and Brooklyn — anybody know how many riders every day? Over 200,000 [audience gasps] use it to cross the East River! Right, otherwise you've got to go much farther north here, or go farther south. How are you going to re-route 200,000 people? Are you going to put them on buses? How many buses does it take to equal one subway train? And if these trains are coming every five minutes, you need to somehow move a bus every minute; you're never going to be able to do it. Don't worry they're going to have additional ferry service. That'll help, 5%.
The thing that has to happen, not to get into too much detail here, but, here's all the stuff that's inside one of these tunnels. And basically what happened, is during Hurricane Sandy, these tunnels completely flooded — nasty, gunky water. They basically have to repair everything. So that's what they're going to do for the year and a half that it's shut down. Look how nice that looks? And this tunnel is from 100 years ago.
What are some other ideas of new things to do? Here's one: This is the Triborough subway line, a new subway line proposed that won't even go into Manhattan, because there's other boroughs: it'll connect the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, maybe go all the way to Staten Island.
But, we've got to think about all this in terms of what're we doing in the nation as a whole? So it's not just how do we get from New Jersey to New York more quickly? You've got to think, how do you get from New York to Siberia more quickly? [laughter] So you think about what a national high-speed rail network would like here, what would it mean to have 20-30,000 miles of high-speed trains? And what are the new areas that would be developed? For example: There's just no way to take the current Northeast Corridor, Amtrak's current line between New York and Boston — you're never going to upgrade it. You can improve it some, but you can't put high-speed rail there, forget it. The right of way is too crooked, it goes through all these old towns and things, forget it.
Just build a new line! It's OK, we're going to be building a lot of new lines. New places are going to become the hubs. China's doing this. When they're building all these high-speed rail lines, they're not all going into downtowns of cities. They can't get in there sometimes; so a new part of the town is going to become the hot part of town.
So you can't be afraid of doing new things. Let's say you want to get freight out here by train: How do you get all your big materials out here to Long Island from New Jersey? By ship or — ? By truck! Conveniently, you drive right through Manhattan with your big truck. So in case Manhattan — because you have to go through Manhattan. Here's a proposal: Build a rail tunnel, to this railyard in Brooklyn. Right now, there's a boat that takes railcars and floats them on a barge twice a day. That doesn't really carry many cars! I think it carries 14 each way, that's it. That's not enough. So instead, you've got all these trucks clogging up everything, when this would be so much more efficient. See, it's not just people, you've got to move stuff, too.
What else do we need? We need water to drink. We need to move freight, we need electricity (didn't talk about that); about nuclear plants being shut down by the cheap gas that's coming from fracking right now. We need a lot more nuclear plants; we need a lot more power.
And then other things like soft platforms: What's our education platform? What do people know for the future? What do kids know? Health, etc.
The last thing I wanted to bring up here was some basic principles: We don't have the full plan on how things ought to happen, but some of them are, start with the future technologies in mind. So, we need to fix the subway system, should we repair the broken down things? Of course.
What about the next level? Are we going to be build a whole new network of train lines deeper? New York subways are very shallow. There's plenty of room underneath them to build entirely new lines that are very deep. If they were all built at the cost of the Second Avenue Subway, it'd cost a fortune! We could do it better. And the Second Avenue Subway really ought to go all the way to Bronx; that was planned for decades and decades, and it's not going to make it there. Meanwhile, the 4, 5, 6 Trains is totally overcapacity; and if the Second Avenue went all the way up that would be a big help, but that's not currently planned.
But the leapfrogging is the thing: Maglev trains; electrification, automated container terminals at our ports. In China, a ship pulls up, these cranes that come in and take the containers off — no person involved, automated. It drops it onto an electric truck, no driver. Imagine if you're able to do this kind of automated loading, and make the ports more efficient. Imagine if you had shorter trains with electric trains or maglev trains, you could have much shorter trains and make it easier to get things exactly where they're supposed to go, instead of very long ones that then have to go to a terminal and get sent on another truck and go by a longer route. If you can make things smaller, you can maybe get things where they're supposed to go more directly. On demand mass transit.
Some of this stuff about what could happen — this isn't the solution to everything — but with self-driving cars and things like this, what's that going to look like in 20, 30 years? How's it going to change the way people get around?
But the real thing is you've got to have the ability to finance this stuff, bigtime, and not worry about whether each piece makes money. So on that, the LaRouche National Bank approach is absolutely essential.
So the message for Trump is: You want to build infrastructure, that's great! Good instinct. The way you want to do it, it's not going to happen. First, you've got your crazy guy Steve Mnuchin talking about how the 21st-Century Glass-Steagall doesn't mean a 21st-century Glass-Steagall — it doesn't mean Glass-Steagall at all! And the other thing is this PPP stuff.
With a National Bank we make it possible to pay for these things indirectly. We say, it doesn't have to make a return, you don't have to get private investors excited about getting toll money. Where's the toll money to come from a flood-control project like John was talking about? How're you going to charge people for that? You're not going to.
So, we need a lot more than a trillion. The Trump plan is really for only $200 billion in Federal spending and hoping to bring in $800 billion in private investment. This is not going to happen, it's never going to happen, not for all the things that are needed. That's the approach we've got to have. And I'm going to stop with that.
Q: This is just a footnote here: You raised the question of why are there buildings down south of Manhattan, and then in Midtown and nothing in between? For a long time, the argument was that the bedrock was closer to the surface in those areas. Not that it actually is down to the bottom of the island, where they had to dig a lot, 45 meters, and stuff like that. But it was a lot easier, initially, given the construction technologies of that time, to build from 34th Street up. So that's where you've got the Empire State Building and so on.
With modern technologies, though, with the digging down to the bedrock and to insert rods and stuff like that like they've developed, it's not the challenge it once was. But there was a period when the bedrock was way below, and it was more of a problem.
ROSS: Now, there's zoning stuff, too, where they try to keep it smaller there. There's a study, 40% of Manhattan buildings would fail zoning laws today.
Q: I'm Steven from New York; this is my question and comment and suggestion. My question is, don't you find it awfully suspicious that every nuclear power plant across the world except maybe some new ones being built in China, seem to fall apart? But yet, the Empire State Building hasn't fallen apart. Our other major structures don't necessarily "fall apart." But nuclear power plants keep "falling apart," over and over and over. So it's kind of obvious, through the building of these structures, it was a hit piece to have made nuclear energy look bad by constantly having them fall apart or fall into disarray.
And then, once, if and when we get Glass-Steagall passed through, I believe that we should have that become not necessarily a national holiday, but something — I'm being serious — that's recognized on a yearly basis so it never happens again, so people are educated. Because the Great Depression happened, and then it faded away from memory. And all you have left now are a few people, a few remnants of the Great Depression, "I remember that time, we had to boil our belts and drink the soup," something like that. But if we nationalized Glass-Steagall once it gets passed through where you have study it in school, it's recognized on a yearly basis, that would keep the American public alive.
ROSS: On the nuclear front, I don't know if it's fair to compare them to a building which has far less moving parts. And I'm also not sure to what extent nuclear plants fall apart more than other ones. I haven't heard that before. One thing to keep in mind is that our nuclear plants are very old. We haven't built any in a long time. Designs have improved; we should build new nuclear plants, and where some of these plants are really old, or inefficient, build a new one!
The technology of nuclear plants has improved over the past decades, like any other field, things have gotten better. We should build new ones. I honestly don't think they're particularly falling apart at a high rate.
Q: [Bruce T] Just on the nuclear question, let me give you a simple explanation, if you take a look at a new car today, everything's monitored in it. If anything breaks down, your tires start getting low, a signal comes on. And that's how nuclear power plants work. They don't really break down a lot and the reason is, they do maintenance on them on a regular basis, from top to bottom and inside out. They don't really break apart. You have shutdowns, just like you do on a car, you might have a flat tire, so things to break down in nuclear power plants, but they get repaired right away. They don't let them continue to be bad.
On another thing, that popped into my mind, when you were talking about the plan: I used to work in car plants where we would come in as millwrights and literally we would strip the entire plant from inside out. There'd be nothing left. And when you went and built to build a new system, you started from scratch and everything was already preplanned, pre-made; you had all your materials, you had all your technicians coming in, your construction, and whatever and it would just roll right out in the shortest amount of time possible, you're back into production. And that's really the way we have to look at a national perspective on whether it's high-speed rail, infrastructure, that's the way we've got to go after it.
So the first thing we need to build is a National Bank! [laughter]
ROSS: Just another quick thing on the Glass-Steagall front, kids should go as Dodd or Frank for Hallowe'en. But it's tough to set things in stone that really work. We've got holidays now, that once had some different type of meaning — you know, Memorial Day means hotdogs now, for example! I don't know how much that works. One of the discussions that Socrates has in The Republic, he's set up his perfect state, everything's going to be great. And then they say, "How is the next generation going to know that this is a good way to run things?" What if they change it all? And so it becomes clear that you have to have a rediscovery every generation. Education has to be a rediscovery, re-figure out what makes most sense, and that will also change over time; it won't be exactly the same every generation.
Q: Hi, I'm curious, as I creep up the West Side Highway after a meeting or rehearsal, or creep in, one of hundreds and hundreds of cars, I wonder what the high-speed railroad would do for me. But I can't be the only one, because I don't do it every day! So there must be millions of commuters that, if confronted with this high-speed railroad, how will it serve them?
ROSS: Another aspect of it, is the way jobs exist right now is insane. There is such a concentration of jobs on the coasts, so people are just flocking to the cities, prices are going through the roof for real estate — part of which is speculation, Saudi princes owning 100 apartments in Manhattan — but it's also that we don't have a productive economy. So the concentration of people looking for work, going to places where you can get some kind of advertising jobs or software jobs, is pulling people into the cities in these specific coastal areas.
As part of reshaping the economy as a whole, there'll be a lot more growth in other parts of the country. This won't be the hot spot any more, that'll be a big part of it, too.
Q: [follow-up] We should move away from suburbia. But, in other words, there would be lots of suburbias. There would be more cities, but people seem to want suburbia.
ROSS: I don't want to get too technical on this, but I'll say a couple things. First, the West Side Highway was supposed to go farther south, and that was cancelled due to concerns over the striped bass. Yes, the Westway project was killed.
As far as suburbia goes, I would encourage myself also, to do more research on how zoning has made it very difficult to have multifamily housing. Cities will zone themselves, they say, "we don't want poor people," so they zone everything for single family, and then people can't afford single family home, they're not going to live there. We're not zoning apartment buildings, or if we do, it'll be behind the Wal-Mart over here.
SPEED: This is not going to take a long time, but nobody wants to live in suburbia — nobody! Let me explain why: Because people generally really would like to be sane, and suburbia and insanity are synonymous.
Now, let's just say some things that will help the discussion: Nuclear power was the most safe technology ever devised in human history and it's proven itself to be so. The first nuclear power plant was created in Russia in 1954; Three Mile Island happened in 1979. That's 25 years. And in 1975, Lyndon LaRouche put out a short pamphlet, called How the International Development Bank Will Work, and on p. 20 of that pamphlet it discusses something called "controlled thermonuclear reactions," what we call "thermonuclear fusion power," but it's there in 1975. At the same time, that he wrote that, our organization put out something called The Emergency Employment Act and what that Emergency Employment Act did was it proposed a crash program to rebuild what was already the decaying infrastructure of the United States, because had you done it then, you could have actually salvaged part of it, because it had not yet reached that kind of point of destruction.
New York City, in 1966 had more industrial workers than any part of the United States, with 1 million people working in some way or other in various forms of productivity and production. And in terms of suburbia, that's what deindustrialization did: It basically put a lot of people in dead-end forms of employment, which they think is better than "blue collar" work. In other words 85% of the people that are employed are basically doing things that are useless. I know you may not like that, but that is true. Most of what all of us do, is completely, utterly, thoroughly, totally useless. And that is how suburbia got developed. It is a decay, it is a blight on mankind. It is something that should never have been allowed to occur, not because it's bad to live in a place where you have a lawn and trees; that's not what I'm talking about. When Lyn ran in 1988, he had a design for cities on Mars, actually, but he was also talking about the notion of urban planning.
And I just wanted to say that had the things that he was discussing in '[75-'76 been done, not only the United States, but the world as a whole would have been looking at the United States as having catalyzed what you now see in China, rather than trying to react to or respond to what you now see in China. That's what we should have done. And that's why his movement was created at the time it was created, and thermonuclear fusion and the space program that Lyn talks about, was really the thing that powered it.
The last thing to say just on nuclear power plants, the plants — apart from the nuclear Navy, which is another issue; the fact that there are people riding around on platforms out in the middle of the ocean for four years, four and a half years at a time, on nuclear reactors, and that these are expected to defend the United States and other countries that have them, you're not doing that unless you believe that that's the safest technology that is humanly available.
So the first thing to understand is that what you think and have been told about this, is you've been bamboozled into believing that this technology is dangerous because there was a fight among many people who used to be in the Fusion Energy Foundation, by the way, to make nuclear power a civilian program: Ted Rockwell, who's deceased now, wrote an article that we published in 21st Century Science & Technology, about that fight.
And Eisenhower did that, because Eisenhower recognized that what he referred to as the "military-industrial complex" was going to use the idea of the nuclear weapon to argue for the permanent militarization of the United States. That you would have to have a permanent military; we always demobilized after wars. And so what Eisenhower's conception was in the Atoms for Peace policy was that this was going to be a generally utilized technology, generally available for economic development worldwide, and the U.S. would lead in that field.
Now, to counter that policy, the environmentalist policy was developed and it was developed in England, in London, by two people: Aldous Huxley was one of the key people, and he did that on the West Coast. They called it "ecology," because you couldn't refer to it as "eugenics." And they began this process.
But I just wanted to say, — and Huxley particularly attacked Plato, specifically, Plato's Critias dialogue where he talks about Atlantis. But Huxley's attack was an attack on the idea of how the Greeks had overfarmed the land and that the flood that was called "Atlantis" had actually happened because too much agriculture had existed, and had agriculture not existed, there wouldn't be the great flood called the Atlantis flood.
So this fraud, this hoaxster stuff, which characterizes the nuclear question was British. It's a British hoax, and it's one of the things, as we go forward, here in the LaRouche movement, we're going to be very emphatic. We have that situation in Indian Point right now; we have a few other situations in the United States, and Mr. LaRouche has been very clear, we're not going to let that happen. We're not going to let these things just be shut down. We're going to campaign vigorously for nuclear power and against the hoax that has convinced people that the most reliable, safe, efficient and provably so technology in human history, is the most dangerous.
Q: I'm Eugene from the Bronx, I would just like to ask, how do the maglev trains move if they have no wheels? Do they propagate, is it something like a plane moves, but only in a straight line? How do they propel?
ROSS: They're pushed by magnets. You may have experienced this, they put these on roller coasters now, too; the things that launch the roller coaster, instead of going up the hill being pushed all of a sudden, it's the same technology: It's called a linear motor. Basically the train has got magnets on it: You put a magnet and when it gets near your refrigerator, it goes click! And sticks to it. The front of the train, you put a magnet in front of the train, and the train keeps getting pulled toward the magnet; you don't move a magnet on the track, but you change electricity on the track or on the train, where it's always chasing a magnet.
Q: [follow-up] So it's a magnetic propulsion, like if you would put two like poles of a magnet going toward each other, they would repel each other, they would move away.
ROSS: Yeah, it's like a bunch of north and south magnets on the bottom of the train; compared to in the track, also a bunch of them, and they're lined up so that it keeps pushing from behind, and pulling it forward, and overall moves it; and it also uses magnets to float. Two separate things: Making it float, and then moving it along, both done by magnets.
Q: [follow-up] And when the train has to stop at a station, I guess they turn off the field.
ROSS: Yeah, and also do it the opposite way; have a magnet pushing it back from the front to slow it down. Otherwise it might go through the station. [laughter] You have to make it stop and that's also done with magnets.
Q: This is Jessica White from Brooklyn: Doesn't the term "mag-lev" mean "magnetic levitation"? So "mag" part of the name tells you that it's magnets. And the levitation part tells you that it's off the ground.
ROSS: That's right. It's a good name.
Q: Alvin here. On the suburb thing, of all my family, I think I'm the only one that's remained in New York. Everyone else went to the suburbs about 20, 30 years ago. And if you visit them now, and talk with them now, including there was industry out there, in parts of New Jersey, it's all changed, it's all gone. And what I hear from them now are things like, lack of hospitals, unemployment, the opioid epidemic which was — 20, 30 years ago, no way! They thought they were getting away from all that, and that was taking place in the "inner city." And of course, traffic and delays for days.
Anyway, last night, I went an event of an amateur chorus in Midtown Manhattan and I listened to some of it; the idea was to distribute and make contacts for the concert and the choral process, and it was very well attended. And the first thing that became quite clear is, both the program and then the quality of how things were being presented, while very well meaning, was — I was going "Wow, I'm so lucky to be where I am doing what I'm doing." There was an after-party which I wanted to, but the place was so loud, so I didn't get to do much but talk to a couple of people, who were chorus members. And they were very happy, very pleased with themselves, that kind of euphoria I can identify with, because they stood up and did some numbers in front a very well-attended audience.
Now, we have our rehearsal today of the chorus, as we get closer to the concert, and John had his opening remarks and Dennis made some closing statements where he talked about the requirement for a deeper understanding of what we're actually looking to accomplish, what we need to get done. And in particular he referenced a portion of one of our Spirituals; he said at that point, this should be both terrifying and uplifting.
Between what happened over the 24 hours is a real contrast, and I think everyone felt the gravity of what he was expressing and what we need to do, besides learning the music itself, and what we have to bring to the stage at Carnegie Hall that night. So, John, I just wanted to share that, and hear from you.
SIGERSON: I think you said it quite well. What we are doing, keep in mind we are singing at the lower tuning, the Verdi tuning. This has a big effect, even though many members of the chorus are not or maybe only half aware of the fact that their voices are more beautiful, or can be made more beautiful, have the potential to become more beautiful when you're singing at the pitch that Verdi demanded all great opera singers use.
So we're going to be continuing to organize in New York for changing that standing tuning pitch, to the only human tuning pitch. And as I have said a number of times, I'm hoping and determined that we can get the Chinese interested in moving in this direction as well. I think it would be a very good route for the Belt and Road, to also have the Musical Belt and Road working at the proper tuning.
I just wanted to ask a question to Jason, on the infrastructure question: It is astounding the speed, the rapidity with which China has been able to build all of these new lines. And in the United States you mentioned building a new line down the Northeastern Corridor from Boston to Washington — well, after looking at some of these things with the Army Corps of Engineers, it's clear that many of these things get completely tied up in issues of what one might call "eminent domain." That is, most of the land that most of these news lines have to be in, is owned by somebody, and you have to do extended negotiations, buyouts, and so forth, in order to be able to get a proper line with the straightness that you require through. How are the Chinese handling this? How are they able to get this done so fast?
ROSS: That's one of the things people say frequently, that in China eminent domain's a snap. The government owns all the land, anyway, there is no private land ownership in China. They do leases, but the government owns all the land.
In the U.S., take for example the Interstate Highway System: That wasn't just built wherever it was convenient. During the construction of the Interstate Highway System, 15,000 families were relocated every year, and 1,000 businesses. So when you add that up, that's 150,00-250,000 families were moved as part of that project. So we did it then. This does happen.
The eminent domain thing, there are just a million regulations, all this environmentalist stuff — people in these businesses they all know it. If you want to hold up a project, claim that you found a cricket near the construction site, and say "we need to do a new environmental impact statement, because no one noticed this cricket before, so we have to do all the forms all over again." That rail line that I pointed out, proposal, the freight tunnel between New Jersey straight to Brooklyn, to get trucks off the roads: That has undergone several environmental impact studies, several feasibility studies — they consider themselves to be on track and they've been doing this for over 10 years now, just putting out studies, community involvement reports, and it's like, is it ever going to actually happen?
I'm not sure what to say about eminent domain — we do it in the U.S., it happens. It maybe costs a little bit more — generally people get paid more than things are worth. Eventually, I don't know if the law needs to change, I think it's an issue of just making it happen. They do take things and it happens, and having to pay for it.
Another minor thing I want to bring up about suburbia — I've been reading a lot about this recently, that Federal loan assistance programs are heavily, heavily weighted towards single family homes. So the people who want to do mixed development, like a three story townhouse, where the first story is commercial — forget it. No federal loan for that; if over 20% of the square footage is commercial, forget it. So it has to be at least five stories, then, so that one story can be commercial. Well, if it's a neighborhood where the zoning only allows four stories, you're never going to have an apartment building with dry cleaner or pharmacy at the bottom.
And people don't want to live in these things. The availability of single family homes compared to demand, there's glut, too many of them. It's more than people want to live in. The amount of people who want to live in multi-family homes it's more than demand, but you can't build them in most places, either through zoning, or you can't get financing for it. That's not the whole reason suburbia happens, but we've put in place a bunch of laws that perpetuate it and make it hard for a bank to approve a loan to build the kind of neighborhood people actually want to live in, as seen by housing prices. How many people are willing to pay to live in a mixed development kind of neighborhood. People like living in them, they don't like suburbs! People are willing to pay more to live in those kinds of places.
Q: [Judy Clark] This is from one of our guests who has a bad cold. But she wanted Jason for you to address the question of nuclear safety and efficiency. She's from Russia and asked about Chernobyl.
ROSS: No plants in the United States are built like Chernobyl, that can never happen here. In the past 10 years, two people have died in nuclear plants, neither of them from radiation. These were plain accidents. In comparison, 50 people have died falling off of windmills while building windmills. So windmills have killed 25 times more people than nuclear power plants. Don't even get started on oil and natural gas — the figure is 1,000 people have died on these in the past decade.
Nuclear just hasn't killed anybody in the United States. Solar panels have, windmills have.
The efficiency — the question why do we need nuclear power? There's a limit to what you can do with chemical processes. So all burning — this is kind of crazy — all of our energy needs right now are based on some way of spinning a fan. Windmills are just big fans; hydropower, water goes through and spins a fan; a coal plant, a natural gas plant, even a nuclear plant, they're all based on making something hot and then blowing it through a fan. It's a little bit outdated. Only with helium-3 fusion will we stop blowing something through a fan, and making electricity directly. But the real benefit of nuclear is there's a limit to what you can do with chemical energy. So when we went to the Moon, like 1% of the mass of what took off on the Saturn V rocket made it to the Moon. Over 90% of it is fuel. And no matter how much research you do in the chemistry laboratory, you're not going to improve that.
Chemical energy only contains so much in a certain amount of fuel, period. Nuclear technology is just based on an entirely different physical process, so the nucleus of the atom — what's it made of? Protons and neutrons. Protons have the same charge, they don't like being near each other. So how do they stick together in a nucleus? Like we were talking about like poles of a magnet, they repel each other — protons are like that, they don't want to be near each other. You put two protons by themselves close to each other, they push themselves away. How do you hold all that in? There's a very, very, very powerful force in the nucleus, a million times more powerful than the force that holds together chemical molecules.
So by rearranging a nucleus, you can get 100,000, or a million times more power, than by rearranging a molecule. So we use uranium, in nuclear plants. If we burned the uranium, — we can run a power plant by burning uranium. It would be very expensive! Because you'd get a million times more power out of that uranium, not by burning it in a fire, but by burning it in a nuclear fire. By acting on its nucleus.
So it's just an entirely different level of physical principle, and it's inherently 100,000 or a million times greater. And that's why nuclear is so efficient, and you need just this tiny amount of fuel, which is the same as a railcar full of coal. Much easier to mine, much smaller.
And then in developing fusion power, that's going to bring things up to a whole other level, once we're able to develop fusion power. And once we get helium-3 from the Moon to power these fusion reactors, we won't use heat to boil water any more and blow a fan. We'll use moving subatomic particles, charged particles that are moving in a field to directly create electricity. That's the real future, is fusion. That's the next platform.
SPEED: OK, we're going to conclude today. In terms of the issues that John alluded to on the Presidency, and the attempts against Trump, our organization is fully deployed to not only oppose it, but destroy that capability and we are happy to elicit your help in that. We're of course involved in raising money, organizing on the street, and we'll be managing to do that, including on a cultural front in the next several days and weeks. We invite you to be as active, and get others to be as active, as you can.
We'll see you next week.