Van Jones on Ending Oil Dependency

Question: Is a shift away from oil dependency possible in the next 50 to 100 years?

Van Jones:    Well, there’s a couple of things we have to think about.  You know, if some, a lot of people say, well, you know, we can’t get off of oil.  It’s just, you know, it’s too big a part of the share of our overall allocation for energy in this country.  We’re going to have, we are going to be and always have to deal with it.  Well, somebody put a gun to your head and say to solve this problem, you can figure it out in about 30 seconds.  You know, the answer is we need a clean energy grid where we use our power centers in the United States which is our Sunbelt where we have a Saudi Arabia of solar and our plain states, we have a Saudi Arabia of wind, and connect those clean energy power centers to our population centers where and most people don’t live in the desert, they live in the cities and on the coast.  There’s some technological breakthrough that have to happen to be able to have hyper conductive power lines, so, you don’t lose so much power in transmission and there’s some battery technology breakthroughs that we need.  But in the 10 years that it’s going to take us to get a few drops of oil through coastal drilling into the system, you can completely overhaul the grid and have a clean energy, smart grid, and the benefits of that are number 1, no more [rush] of oil, no more policing global oil supply lands, tremendous savings.  Number 2, you bring carbon down so you actually have a planet to live on, that’s pretty important.  Number 3, you put people to work.  Look back at the last century.  About building the highway system, we didn’t have an international, I mean, sorry, an interstate highway system, we didn’t have an interstate highway system at first.  It was just, you know, patchwork of little rural roads.  We created an interstate highway system because we’re afraid [IB] invaded how can we move personnel and people and material around.  Well, that laid the basis for the economy that we have.  We are trucking and shipping and all kinds of stuff going on.  A government response creating incredible private economy benefits, like, the information superhighway.  Same thing. Government came in and initially made it work.  Now, people are making, you know, billions of dollars off of the internet.  Well, now it’s time to figure out not how to move bodies and cars around or how to move data around, but how you move clean energy electrons around.  How do you do, how do you produce and distribute?  That public works project, for lack of a better term, can put people to work, bring down carbon, and guess what, the sun is always free.  The wind is always free.  Once you build up the infrastructure, energy cost come down dramatically, but you’ve got to be willing to think in those [10-year] increments and not have cheap solutions like “Drill, baby, drill!” as it is best somehow going to solve all of our problems.

Van Jones on the future of clean energy.

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
Keep reading Show less

From zero to hero in 18 years: How SpaceX became a nation-state

SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.

Photo:Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • SpaceX was founded in 2002 and was an industry joke for many years. Eighteen years later, it is the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
  • Today, SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The journey will take about 19 hours.
  • Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, looks at SpaceX's journey from startup to a commercial space company with the operating power of a nation-state.
Keep reading Show less

Six-month-olds recognize (and like) when they’re being imitated

A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.

Personal Growth
  • Scientists speculate imitation helps develop social cognition in babies.
  • A new study out of Lund University shows that six-month-olds look and smile more at imitating adults.
  • Researchers hope the data will spur future studies to discover what role caregiver imitation plays in social cognition development.
  • Keep reading Show less

    What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

    This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

    On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
    Surprising Science

    To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

    Keep reading Show less

    New study connects cardiovascular exercise with improved memory

    Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.

    Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
    Surprising Science
    • Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
    • The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
    • The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.
    Keep reading Show less