Feb 19, 2021 • 2HR 11M

Texpocalypse Now: a postmortem

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Razib Khan
Conversations about science, culture, and current affairs
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I will be posting my usual weekly subscribers-only podcast with Cathy Young on the French Revolution soon. The French Revolution is a current passion of Cathy’s (well, the topic, not revolution!). 

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.

My guests:

  • Jon Stokes, a deputy editor at The Prepared. Jon talks about how and why even he was caught flat-footed, even though he has long been a prepper.

  • 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.

  • Marina Roberts, of Austin DSA and Homes not Handcuffs, talks about how the crisis has impacted the large population of homeless in the metro area.

  • 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.


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