Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Inside Elon Musk's Futuristic City Starbase

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Musk has a futuristic city in his mind, which is all planned!

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In todays video, we are going to look inside the Starbase.

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The private beachside community of Boca Chica Village was previously a sanctuary for retirees,

snowbirds and outdoorsy people who enjoyed dirt biking, fishing or lounging near the


But these days, the traffic backs up the lone highway out of the unincorporated area thats

now a home to only about six residents and SpaceXs Starship facility.

During the daytime, tourists line the road for photos with the stainless steel spaceship

which is under development.

At night, workers pough the earth at the actively busy construction site.

Before the test launches, residents get a notice indicating that they should temporarily

evacuate for safety reasons.

This Texas neighborhood is going to see more change in the near future.

In March, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he intended to create a city including the

Boca Chica Village and the surrounding area.

And the name of this city will be STARBASE!

Building a city could have numerous advantages for SpaceX.

Firstly, it could help the private spaceflight firm to attract future employees, build a

political climate friendly to a business thats supposed to be a noisy neighbor and even pave

the way for the establishment of the kinds of amenities that might crop up near a would-be

transportation hub.

Musk is actually not the first entrepreneur to think about building a city.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries are filled with examples of company towns, chocolate-centric

Hershey being one among them.

The idea is now gaining new life as tech entrepreneurs show dissatisfaction with government regulations

and limitations.

The governor of Nevada wants to allow tech companies to virtually create their own local


The company town of old was basically formed to persuade workers to new job sites.

Enterprises such as mining and smelting often set up sites far away from the general populated

centers which is inconveniently far for daily commutes.

A company town was an unnecessary overhead expense, according to Tracy Hadden Loh, a

fellow at Brookings, which is a D.C.-based think tank.

That was the case with Smeltertown, a company town established in Texas in the late 1800s

by American Smelting and Refining Co. to concentrate on copper and lead extraction.

Positioned outside El Paso, the town was segregated, with white engineers and plant managers lived

in wood-frame homes with indoor plumbing, while workers of Mexican descent lived in

smaller, cinder block homes.

El Paso County governed Smeltertown, but American Smelting and Refining regulated a company

store that was deeply twisted with workers finances, offering credit and deducting the

costs of purchases from employee paychecks.

The company also provided the Smeltertown inhabitants with resources.

It had a hand in distributing water, subsidized vocational schooling and spent money for the

construction of a road to the towns Catholic church.

Such a way of running things has given company towns a reputation for exploiting employees.

Many employers paid the employees not in cash but rather in coupons that could be redeemed

for provisions at the company store.

In some situations, the employer owned the workers residences as well and reduced

rent from their pay.

With the company having the power to set prices and extend credit, employees could find themselves

mired in debt.

Smeltertown is now no more as nearly a century after it sprang up, it was demolished in 1973

because of an air pollution lawsuit against the company and concerns about lead contamination

and poisoning in the children of the town.

A modern version of the company-town idea can be seen in Silicon Valley.

There are tech company campuses with laundry facilities, free food and Wi-Fi-enabled buses.

Providing such services can intervene the boundary between employees work time and

personal time and removes reasons to leave the campus bubble, which can lead employees

to stay at work and work longer.

Another version of this is start-up societies, which are small sites that try new policies

and forms of governance.

They have the capability to make regulatory changes that can increase technological progress,

but none have gone beyond the planning phase in the U.S.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolaks suggested plan would allow a firm owning at least 50,000

acres of undeveloped and uninhabited land to build its own government with the same

kind of administrative power as a county government.

That means that the company-created zone could ask for and collect taxes, create a school

district and court system and provide services, as per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The state already has one interested party which is the Blockchains LLC, which owns 67,000

acres in Storey County near Reno and has announced it would be interested in setting up a community

that would rely a lot on blockchain technology.

The so-called smart city will have a research and development center concentrated on housing,

transportation and energy technologies that could help dwellers and others.

Blockchains Chief Executive Jeffrey Berns and Sisolak have conveyed that the project

would not be a company town.

In his op-ed, Berns stated that the innovation zone would be operated by an elected board

of citizens who would answer to the state just as Nevada cities and counties already


But a draft of the proposal received by the Review-Journal states that at least initially,

the company interested in building the innovation zone would get to choose the candidates for

at least two of the initial three members of the zones board.

Musks schemes for the city of Starbase are unclear.

SpaceX did not acknowledge a request for comment, and Musk himself has given a few clues about

the starbase on Twitter.

He said that he expects Starbase to grow by several thousand people in the next

year or two, and that he intends to donate $20 million to Cameron County schools and

$10 million to the nearby city of Brownsville for downtown revitalization.

At best, planning appears to be in the early stages.

SpaceX executives mentioned an interest in incorporation during a conversation with the

legal department of Cameron County of which Boca Chica Village is a part but neither Musk

nor the company has turned in the required paperwork to start the process.

For example, Texas state law needs a potential municipality to have at least 201 inhabitants

to incorporate.

A Texas Supreme Court ruling also mentions that there must be a nucleus around which

a town can expand, and that the area must be able to receive municipal services on a

regular basis, according toAlan Bojorquez, a municipal lawyer who serves as city attorney

for several Texas cities.

Inhabitants would then have to vote on whether they want to integrate the city or not.

The law is very straightforward, said Bojorquez, who is not affiliated with Boca

Chica Village or SpaceXs plans.

The difficult part of the incorporation process is truly the public relations and

the politics of convincing people who live out in the country to become a city.

Successful incorporations happen generally because of strong support among neighbors

to either oppose something or achieve something they cant do on their own, he said.

As SpaceXs desires increased in Boca Chica Village, the firm started offering buyouts

to residents.

As of March, through an affiliated LLC, spaced owns 110 parcels in Cameron County.

The company intends to use the site as a future spaceport to the stars, where Starship spacecraft

would take off on regular missions.

As part of that plan, SpaceX is also trying to drill for natural gas which is the rockets

fuel on nearby land and is arguing with an oil company over the issue.

Incorporating Starbase will give SpaceX more control over local administration , such as

zoning, which could allow the company to conduct more test flights and launches without having

to evacuate the nearby area for safety.

It could also set up the area to be more attractive for possible workers to relocate.

Workers could get in on the ground floor of a thriving city but they also can be vulnerable.

The places own viability is tied to the survival of the company.

That's not necessarily ideal, and it produces really tough outcomes if the place doesnt

make itsaid Loh of Brookings.

Louis Balderas of South Padre Island has filmed SpaceXs advancements at Boca Chica Village

for two years for his broadly watched YouTube channel.

The guy lives about 45 minutes away and said he would be very much interested in moving

to the city of Starbase, if it were to be incorporated.

The city would basically need more public utilities since the cell reception out there

is not good, he says, and water has to be trucked in every month.

But he appreciates the idea of having a front-row seat to the action.I would hope that it

would be more than just SpaceX employees, It would be cool to live in Starbase, Texashe


With that, we are at the end of the video.

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Let us know in the comments below!

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