But since today is not the most “usual” Friday (I for one am just over 24 hours into regaining electricity), I’ve also thrown together a free series of conversations with friends who have a range of relevant areas of expertise (or just plain bad luck this week) who are united in having survived this week’s lingering polar front, a nearly Texas-wide power outage, and its many discontents. Millions were left without power for days in sub-zero temperatures, lost their water service, or both.
This week’s guests made time to chat at a moment’s notice over the last 24 hours as the luckiest of us are just beginning to get back to normal life (though many here remain without water even after power was restored). This is very much a rough draft of history, not my usual evergreen type of content. I’m learning something new daily and I hope you’ll get something out of it, too.
Gareth Highnam, a scientist in Austin who managed to lose not one but two roofs over his head in a single day, thanks to condo sprinkler systems bursting.
Lisa Mahapatra, a tech worker who recently relocated to Austin from California talks about what it’s like being a new homeowner in a new city in the grips of a local disaster.
Finally, I caught up with two friends for a discussion of power grids, supply chains, and American decline: Josiah Neeley, an Austin-based energy analyst at R Street, and of the Urbane Cowboys podcast, and Byrne Hobart, a recent Brooklyn-to-Austin transplant who writes The Diff, a finance and economics Substack.