Snowpocalypse Now

Well, my fellow Texas, what have we learned from this disastrous week just passed? Quite a lot, actually – and many of us were reminded anew of those old habits acquired from having lived for a few years in places where winters are reliably ice-cold frozen, dark, snow-packed and last for months. The Army retiree ahead of us in the line to get into the grocery store on Wednesday reminisced with the Daughter Unit and I about such winters spent in less temperate climes, and we racked our collective memories about what had happened to the ice scrapers that we all were certain we had come to Texas with at least two decades ago. (I was sure that mine was somewhere in the trunk of the Very Elderly Volvo, which was sold ten years ago. Possibly the young motorhead who bought the VEV discovered the ice scraper – well, at least now he knows what it was for.)

It’s not that viciously cold, icy winters are completely unknown in Texas; such conditions are routinely experienced on a regular basis in northern Texas, where residences and civic practice are all accustomed to and prepared for such. Southern Texas very rarely experiences ice, snow, sleet; if anything, it’s more of a mild tropical or Mediterranean – hardiness zones 8, 9 and 10 on the USDA maps. Those bouts of below freezing in San Antonio most usually last only for couple of nights and a day. As for snow, the last two rounds of for-real snow melted on the ground almost the moment it landed, or at most, by mid-morning of the following day. If anything, our buildings, civic infrastructure, and public policies are oriented more towards the expectation of blistering summer heat for at least six months out of a year, and relatively mild and temperate conditions for the remainder, interspersed with the occasional hurricane along the coast. Our homes are insulated against the heat; during most winters my central heat barely gets more than a couple of days use. I’d say that most of my neighbors were expecting no more than a couple of nights and a day or two of bitter cold.

The snow began falling late Sunday night – six inches worth and it was cold enough to stay crisp and unmelting the next morning. The power went out in our neighborhood several times during the night and was out for most of Monday. It did come on again in the late afternoon, so that we could cook supper – but then it went out again for all of that night and most of the next day. We had power for a few short periods, but having the water taps suddenly stop running for more than a day; that was even more distressing than the power outage. Electric power and water came back late Wednesday afternoon for us, although the water was in a gradual dribble at first – and we are advised to boil it before drinking. The water is still out in some areas, but I did get a message from the power company that they anticipate any remaining outages to be resolved by the weekend. Like most of our neighbors, we were not totally in a bind: we had a small propane heater and a propane griddle with some nice accessories so that we could cook and make tea and coffee, we had gallons of bottled water for drinking, my daughter could start up her car to charge the cellphones and her tablet, and we began collecting snow and water dribbling from the gutter downspouts to flush the toilets with. Other neighbors contrived tents indoors to conserve warmth, swapped information on what stores and gas stations were open. We did manage to walk the dogs every day, and to keep tabs on our nearest neighbors. What we couldn’t do was anything like work – since we are dependent on our computers for that – or stay up very much past sundown.

What we were able to pick up from neighbors and from the internet during those brief periods when we had power was infuriating. The various water pumps were supposed to have had gas-powered generators for back-up when the power goes out. The San Antonio Water System is taking some well-deserved lumps for that, as is the CEO of City Public Services, and Electric Reliability Council of Texas … especially as it has turned out that a third of the board members of that Council did not live in Texas, and at the last board meeting before the most recent emergency, spent less than a minute discussing the impending cold snap. (More here.) For myself and for many of the neighbors that we have talked to; this last week has killed the Green New Deal in Texas and any seductive notion of renewable energy sources – like the bird-killing and unsightly giant windmills, which froze up when needed the most and turn out to have only a fifteen-year useful life span. (The PTBs are doing their best to evade blaming the windmills for the outage, though. )The anger against the careless mismanagement of the Electric Reliability Council, and the tone-deaf initial responses by the CEO of CPS will not abate soon. This was an emergency predicted a week before it occurred, and when it did … our utility companies were caught with their shorts down. It will be quite a while before we forget the week of misery and cold, of melting snow to keep the toilets flushed and going to bed early to keep warm.

Later Edit 2/20/2021: The last pictorial word on Snowpocalypse Now:

43 thoughts on “Snowpocalypse Now”

  1. The photo of the CEO of the utility says a lot. I’m not racist but…

    At least you didn’t go to Cancun.

    We only went as far as AZ in our flight from CA. Had to stay within a one day drive of the grandkids.

  2. Mike, my next-door neighbor and his son went to stay with his parents, who had a house in the Med-Center area. They never lost power or water, so … if we had a place to go where we could have taken the dogs, the cats and the hen … we would have gone, too.
    And. Yeah. One wonders. Crisis management skills … or other criteria for the job. After this sh*tshow, I doubt that she will have it long. But you never know.

  3. What is amusing is our Socialist troll thinks capitalism is at fault in the Texas fiasco.

    ERCOT is a 501c3 nonprofit. The politicians were behind the windmill scam, just as they are pressing utilities to reduce backup power sources that are idle 90% of the time. Then the storm comes and they blame anybody else they can find. Cruz probably had reservations and may even have left before the storm damage was evident. The dog story will last a decade or as long as he is in politics.

    Abbot needs to be nimble (sorry) to keep his reputation intact.

  4. The conviction is growing that ERCOT is one of those upper-tier scams where the board members nominate all their friends for a nice, well-paid sinecures where they have to do not very much. And that the upper levels of CPS-Energy is one of those where ability doesn’t count for much, either.
    Wind energy is a scam. The only reason it got anywhere was government support. And in this recent emergency, now it’s been demonstrated to have been useless.

  5. I was taken aback at the number of things that we rely upon here that did not apply for my son in Spring . He told me his water had frozen in the pipe from the street to his house, and asked should he turn it off? I thought that must be wrong. Pipes are laid well below the frost line and aren’t going to freeze over a few days of cold! Except in Texas, why would you put the pipes six feet down? Waste of time and effort. I told my son not to worry about the creosote when he worried about his chimney, because it’s a fireplace not a woodstove, and he doesn’t ever burn slow. He didn’t remember what creosote even was, but did know that birds and animals can move into their chimneys rapidly if you aren’t actively burning, and a couple of neighbors had had smoke backup when they started fires. He hadn’t burned in his fireplace for over a year and wasn’t going to risk it.

  6. Most of this the left-wing program is grift, pure and simple. Green power? Top to bottom, side to side, if it was economic or worthwhile, we’d already be doing it. They only succeed so long as the government is suborned into subsidizing it and monetizing the emotional immaturity of the “conservationist” types that they’ve driven into panic over perfectly normal and natural processes.

    What’s really irritating about it is that they claim green sainthood for their wind power and photovoltaic BS, while completely whitewashing all the myriad environmental costs associated with those industries. Ask any of them who the hell is going to be paying for the disposal of those wretched bird-killing blades, or how they intend to clean up all the heavy metals that are going into the soil under the photovoltaic sites? Not to mention the actual energy costs of building those systems…

    None of this makes an iota of sense. If they were truly worried about the environment, we’d be building nukes like there’s no tomorrow, and then using the excess electricity to craft rectified hydrocarbon fuels that don’t pollute instead of this nuttiness about electric cars. You can’t beat liquid hydrocarbons for compact energy storage, and when there’s already an entire infrastructure devoted to supplying that, the idea of shifting everything over to electricity is just nuts.

    The whole thing is a massive Ponzi scheme, and will go down as one of the largest scientific scandals in history, when it’s all done. Assuming there’s anyone honest left to write that history…

  7. It will be interesting to see who those board members are and what, if anything, they said or did about reliability. The Theranos Board is the current example of Board misbehavior. There might be a new one soon.

    The best explanation is from David’s link at a previous thread.

    Unlike all other US energy markets, Texas does not even have a capacity market. By design they rely solely upon the energy market. This means that entities profit only from the actual energy they sell into the system. They do not see any profit from having stand by capacity ready to help out in emergencies.

    No incentive to have backup capacity. WalMart can have “just in time” supplies but it doesn’t work as well with energy.

  8. @Kirk – I’m glad you mentioned electric cars. Wonder how those worked when the grid went down (chuckle). I’ve yet to hear how they perform when its upper Midwest cold. We don’t see them much up here in general and they seem to hibernate/migrate in the Winter.

  9. Opinions that I’ve formed from reading whatever is suggested as “good” explanations of what happened. Epistemic status medium-low, as I don’t have good sources to prove any of the following:

    • This cold snap was longer and lower-temperature than 2011, so even if the suggestions to make 2011 ‘never happen again’ were well followed, this still would have happened.

    • One area that will feed the “it’s all about greed” narrative is that some generation facilities elected not to operate at a loss when the cost of the natural gas exceeded the cost they could recover from charging for the electricity.

    • Wind and solar performed better than predicted-or-planned-for given the snow/icing conditions, so wind really wasn’t a “seen” cause of the generation deficit.

    • Market-distorting pricing for wind is directly responsible for the decommissioning of some fossil-fueled generation that may or may not have been able to come online had it still been in operational status.

    • Market-distorting pricing for wind is a contributing cause to the insufficient winterization in fossil plants, which have been struggling to make money.

    • ERCOT will be re-organized by the Texas Legislature — perhaps with pressure from the federal government, and the ‘fixes’ will be to fix the ‘seen’ causes of the crisis rather than the ‘unseen’.

    • The ‘energy-only’ market policy is a contributing factor to the lack of backup, and although it’s gotten lots of praise to ERCOT for being so green, will probably change

    • There will be lots of pressure to relieve consumers who chose providers who charged wholesale market pricing, (providers such as Griddy) on the theory that the savings in good times were reasonable but the expenses in crisis are not reasonable to pass on to them.

  10. actually renewable power, the reason we needed the industrial revolution, when we had a tiny fraction of our population, went off a cliff, and gates wants to go all mr. burns or wilburn (sean beans part in snowchaser) and reduce our solar exposure,

  11. Some interesting data and charts from Powerline.

    Remarkably, natural gas still generated electricity at 38 percent of its total capacity throughout the energy emergency – providing on average over 65 percent of all electricity generation through Monday and Tuesday – despite roughly 30 GW being inoperable due to frozen pipelines holding up fuel.

    It was the “green” energy sources that failed to show up for work:

    The three worst-performing generating assets, on the other hand, belonged exclusively to renewable energy sources: solar, hydro, and wind. Had Texas been even more reliant on these energy sources, as renewable energy advocates around the country desire, the energy crisis in Texas would have been even worse.

    Disagreeing with this:

    Wind and solar performed better than predicted-or-planned-for given the snow/icing conditions, so wind really wasn’t a “seen” cause of the generation deficit.

    According to the second chart, wind and solar were “negligible” producers of energy.

    In fact, the windmills in northern states like Iowa stop functioning at -20 degrees and draw energy from the grid to heat their motors, thus becoming consumers, not producers.

  12. The EIA data shows that during January, gas generated at a maximum of about 28GW…on Feb 15, it went up as high as 45GW, and at its lowest point it never went below 20 GW. I assume that the reason it was limited to 28GW & below in January was that it wasn’t needed, there was a lot of wind generation, as high as 20 GW. I don’t know to what degree the low-to-near-zero wind outputs were due to freezing versus how much was due to simple low wind conditions, and haven’t seen this point discussed.

  13. Most gas wells produce water and condensate (light hydrocarbons) with the gas. Most of the water and condensate is separated from the gas at the well head. I expect this is most of what froze. Even after the separator, the gas is wet compared to the gas that is supplied to end users. Very large users like power plants might use this gas as is because they have the capability to deal with the changes in composition on a real time basis. I believe the dew point of the gas into the processing plants is supposed to be up to 40-50°F so there’s plenty of chance for cold weather to cause problems. The gas that’s supplied to consumers has water in the PPM range and isn’t in danger of freezing.

    My brother once bought a car from a friend that acquired it in Hawaii while in the service and brought it home to the Colorado mountains. It seems cars sold in Hawaii around 1970 didn’t come with heaters installed. The issue became pressing when the temperature dropped to -20.

    When you make judgements based on probabilities and economics, they’ll eventually find a way to bite you. We could build everything to the same standard as northern Minnesota, or if we wanted to be really safe, White Horse. All it takes is money.

  14. The thing that cracks me up is listening to all the greenies excoriate the Texans for not preparing for atypical cold weather, when all they’ve been harping on for decades is how things like “snowfall is a thing of the past”, and how we’re only ever going to have hot weather in the future.

    Uhm… Guys? Am I unique in observing that that’s sort of, y’know… Hypocritical? I mean, here’s Texas doing exactly the right thing to adapt to future hot weather, and they’re slammed with cold, which the greenies didn’t predict. And, quite predictably, the greenies are turning it into an argument for their side…

    This is like the COVID/Flu argument: On the one hand, the claim is that we have less flu because everyone is masking and social distancing, while at the same time, we have COVID on the increase because everybody isn’t masking and social distancing.

    I’ve actually been told this by people in the medical profession in the same conversation. Apparently, cognitive dissonance only occurs when you actually bother to listen to yourself and then carefully think out the implications of what you’re saying.

    Ah, well–Such is our modern, sophisticated age. Mencken would have loved this era, but then again… He’d have probably been cancelled a long time ago.

  15. My brother once bought a car from a friend that acquired it in Hawaii while in the service and brought it home to the Colorado mountains.

    Back when I was in college (1950s) you could not import a car to Hawaii. Everybody I knew who went there for any time bought a used car. I don’t know when it changed or if the purchase of a new car required an old one to be exported or destroyed at that time.

    Times change.

  16. Maybe all those stories about perfectly functioning windmills in northern states are a bit exaggerated ?

    Due to low wind generation and ice, wind turbines aren’t producing as much energy for usage. Natural gas wells in the south are freezing, preventing production.

    “The demand of electricity has put a push on the cost of natural gas and many of the wind turbines in those 14 states aren’t operating because of weather conditions or a lack of fuel. There’s just not enough wind to generate electricity,” said Mark Becker with NPPD.

    Same in North Dakota. Whoda thunk ?

  17. Kirk

    The thing that cracks me up is listening to all the greenies excoriate the Texans for not preparing for atypical cold weather, when all they’ve been harping on for decades is how things like “snowfall is a thing of the past”, and how we’re only ever going to have hot weather in the future.

    Yes, there is a lot of irony in the greenies’ preaching. Moreover, this really is quite atypical weather. I haven’t done the online investigation, but a 58-year old native of the area says that he has never seen such extended cold. I’d have guessed it as a 100-year old occurrence, but from several conversations the scuttlebutt is that it was about as bad in 1959.That’s 62 years ago.

    In disagreement w Sgt. Mom, I’d say that a once in 50+ weather occurrence doesn’t prove the failure of wind energy in Texas. The cold spell does point out that wind energy doesn’t function all the time. But winter storms have always produced problems for electricity production and/or transmission, even with fossil fuels.

    Growing up in New England, I experienced electricity outages due to ice storms- one for three days. Funny thing, I had 3 1/2 days here in TX without electricity.Consensus in New England was that it wasn’t cost effective to put electrical lines underground, which would have kept electricity running during ice storms. I’d say that I experienced more days without electricity in New England than in Texas.

    My area got electricity several days later than adjacent areas, because a transformer got damaged during the storm. Can’t blame that on wind energy.(I found the 43-50 degree temperatures inside my place in TX to be quite bearable, because growing up in New England taught me how to cope with such temperatures: thick wool sweaters and lots of layers.)

  18. Gringo,
    You’re right that one episode in 50 years doesn’t prove anything. However this is just the latest in a long string, including several near outages caused by nothing more spectacular than the wind stopping over most of the state.

    The fact remains that wind is inherently unreliable and requires one of two things to happen on those numerous occasions where it inevitably fails. Either load equivalent to the shortfall has to be shed on very short notice (minutes) or additional capacity must be available to be spun up in the same time. The proponents never bring up that for every kilowatt of wind, another kilowatt of poor efficiency peaking capacity has to be available.

    I’ll believe in the sustainability of renewables when those virtue signalling by buying “renewable” electricity wake up regularly with no power because the wind stopped blowing while the sun was down.

  19. “I’ll believe in the sustainability of renewables …” when politicians are talking about taxing Big Wind instead of subsidizing it.

    There is a lot of experience now elsewhere with so-called “renewables” — Germany, Denmark, UK. Repeated evidence of the same problems experienced in California & Texas — brownouts, blackouts, along with the joy of high costs. So-called “renewables” are unpredictably unreliable, requiring expensive back-up unless people are prepared to live with blackouts. Since electric customers have to pay for the backup anyway, why not just use the backup and save the money wasted on the bird-whackers?

  20. The whole global warming/climate change/green nude eel is another example of Extraordinary Popular Delusions. Recycling began the enviro trend. Some of it was a good idea. We have tended to waste a lot and recycling things like Aluminum made some sense. During the War (WWII for you kids) I remember women saving cooking fat in cans. I’m not sure what was done with it but nit was patriotic.

    Then David Brower made the Sierra Club from an outdoor hiking club to an environmental lobby and all hell broke loose.

    As annual deficits increased, tension grew between Brower and the Sierra Club board of directors. Another conflict grew over the Club’s position on the Diablo Canyon Power Plant planned for construction by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) near San Luis Obispo, California. The Club had played a major role in blocking PG&E’s plan for a nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay in the early 1960s, but that campaign had centered on the earthquake danger from the nearby San Andreas Fault, not out of opposition to nuclear power itself. The Club’s board of directors had voted to support the Diablo Canyon site for the power plant in exchange for PG&E’s moving its initial site from the environmentally sensitive Nipomo Dunes. In 1967, a membership referendum upheld the board’s policy. Brower had come to believe that nuclear power was a dangerous mistake at any location, and he publicly voiced his opposition to Diablo Canyon, in defiance of the Club’s official policy.

    Sierra Club board elections in the late 1960s produced sharply defined pro- and anti-Brower factions. In 1968, Brower’s supporters won a majority, but in 1969, anti-Brower candidates won all five open positions. Brower was charged with financial recklessness and insubordination by two of his former close friends, photographer Ansel Adams and board president Richard Leonard. Brower’s resignation was accepted by a board vote of ten to five

    From environmentalism to anti-nuclear power. He also ruined the Sierra Club.

    In fairness, I should add that one reason for the Sierra Club originally was John Muir’s opposition to the damming of Hetch Hetchy. That reservoir provides San Francisco’s drinking water so, of course, it is still there.

    The whole environmental movement is an example of do gooders run amok and has been for 50 years. Windmills are only the latest foolishness.

  21. Gavin…”Since electric customers have to pay for the backup anyway, why not just use the backup and save the money wasted on the bird-whackers?”

    You do, of course, save on fuel cost by using solar or wind, even if you have to maintain 100% backup for long-term unfavorable weather conditions. But you also need to have enough battery storage or quickstart turbines/engines to have time to ramp up your major gas plants.

    The tradeoff is a largely a function of fuel prices vs financing costs, since wind & gas have higher capital costs. Right now, IIRC, the fuel costs + variable operating costs for a gas plant are around 2-3 cents per kwh.

  22. The Diablo Canyon episode shows that in 1967 they were willing to make compromises. That doesn’t seem to be possible any more. Now the environmentalists won’t accept anything short of stasis. It’s not their problem to figure out how the people are supposed to survive without water and power. They’re also the ones with money enough to fill their swimming pools and water their plantings from the deep wells and they’ll run generators to keep their lights on. They’ll throw a few bucks into some scam to buy “offsets” so their carbon foot print is good.

  23. David F: “You do, of course, save on fuel cost by using solar or wind, even if you have to maintain 100% backup for long-term unfavorable weather conditions.”

    Understood. The other side of the backup gas-fired generator is that it needs a supply of gas when it is called on to step in for the failing “renewable”. If we want someone to invest in drilling a gas well and building a pipeline to the plant for the times we need it, then we are going to have to pay for that part of the supply chain to ensure that gas is available when required, with some kind of “take or pay” provision. Then we need to consider the “spinning spare” concept where that backup generator needs to be kept active, with paid 24/7 staff on hand, for the occasions when it has to be put into service at very short notice. That is not free! The best analogy remains a fire department — we have to pay for the fire department 24/7 even though we need it only occasionally.

    The nastiest hidden subsidy for bird-whackers is the common regulation that utility companies are required to buy whatever electricity the bird-whacker can deliver whenever it can deliver it, whether the utility requires that power or not at that point in time. And, of course, the utility has to pay above-market rates for this unwanted power.

    The simple answer would be to eliminate the regulations and release the regulators into the labor market. In a free market, wherever bird-whackers make economic sense, they will prosper. Oh! And while we are at it, let’s eliminate the special provision that exempts the owners of bird-whackers from personal criminal liability when one of their machines kills an endangered bald eagle.

  24. Back in the ’60’s when my dad was building power plants, the rule of thumb was that the consumer cost was one-third generation, one-third transmission and one-third distribution. At the same time, hydro and nuclear capacity were worth about three times what thermal steam, then mostly coal, were. At that time, $1,000 per KW for hydro/nuclear, $300 or so for coal. Dedicated peaking capacity that was just starting to be a thing. Hydro and nuclear were considered to have zero fuel cost.

    I don’t know where wind would come under this calculus but a rational analysis would probably assign a negative value on the basis of system stability alone. This is the part that doesn’t show up when you only add up bare costs. Just the presence of a source that is uncontrollable adds cost and decreases stability. Stability is the difference between lights and no lights as was lately demonstrated.

  25. An interesting take on how this got going.

    Best to draw breath and recall where this and everything else in the climate-change edifice comes from. It comes from a hypothesis, based principally on (tenuous and contested) modelling, that man-made CO2 has caused most warming since around 1975; and will go on warming the planet to an unsustainable extent, unless something is done and done urgently.

    As Twiggy Forest puts it, “if we wait until 2050 to act, our planet will be toast.” Probably a misprint. I doubt AOC or Al Gore, or David Attenborough or Prince Charles would be relaxed about waiting anytime close to 2050. Twiggy might reflect and replace 2050 with 2030.

    Good luck.

    Imagine: new incontrovertible evidence comes to light. The received scientific wisdom is mistaken. CO2 is not the devil-in-gaseous form. Now imagine light emerging from a black hole. You’re right, it can’t. The edifice of money, vested interest and political power is simply too gigantic and complex to be toppled by having the hypothesis beneath it pulled away. Galileo had more chance of convincing the Inquisition that the earth moves around the sun.

    Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is as settled a scientific proposition as can be found in the textbooks. Object as you like. Proffer new evidence. It will do no good. You will be cancelled. The Age of Reason is well and truly behind us.

    That is a view from Australia which has even crazier politicians than we have.

  26. The council at EROCT functions like every other similar council.

    If the engineers say, ‘we need rolling blackouts,’ the council members reply, ‘yes.’ What else could they do?

    If the politicians say, ‘we need green energy,’ the council members reply, ‘yes.’ What else could they do?

    If the engineers say, ‘we need more capacity to meet a growing population,’ the council members hem and haw, then reply: ‘can we wait, spending money means raising money and that makes me unpopular.”

    If the engineers say, “green energy is unworkable in a crisis,” the council members hem and haw, then reply: ‘can we wait, spending money means raising money and that makes me unpopular.”

  27. Frozen wind turbines and snow-covered solar panels means that Green Energy requires global warming to function.

  28. That twitter thread is very interesting. I’d be very curious to see that info confirmed–if it is in fact true that the non-“renewable” power generation is forced by the federal government to run far below capacity. Don’t look for the MSM to look into it if it is, of course.

  29. }}} Now imagine light emerging from a black hole. You’re right, it can’t.

    Not to argue with your thesis, but, just to update:

    Yes, it can.


    It’s what first made Stephen Hawking famous, his 1970s papers on what became called “Hawking Radiation”

    “Over”Simply put:

    Black Holes are a prediction of Relativity.

    Relativity is pre-Quantum Theory. Hawking’s big work back then was to update Einstein’s Relativity to meld it with Quantum Mechanics.

    (Einstein never did, at least partly because he had issues with the notions, hence his quote “God does not play dice with the universe”)

    One of the many outgrowths of his papers at that time (which made his fame):

    a) As a result of the Big Bang, it was possible to have “mini-black holes” of sub-stellar mass. These would have been formed during the Big Bang, which didn’t need a stellar collapse to produce the kind of pressure-densities that are normally involved.

    b) A particle can be sitting juuuuust inside of the Event Horizon (i.e., the “breakpoint” inside which it Shall Never Be Seen Again) and, by quantum effects, decide to be on the other side of the Event Horizon… “Heyyyy, I’m outta here!!” and thus get away. “Hawking Radiation” (HR).

    c) While Hawking Radiation is minor, it’s relevant to the mini-black holes (BH) of “a” — if the BH is small enough, the HR can allow the BH to “evaporate”, if it’s not sucking down matter fast enough to counter the HR.

    d) I forget what the size limits were, but something like any mini-BH smaller than Jupiter’s mass had already evaporated by now, since the Big Bang. My recollection as to the minimum size may be completely off. I’ll let the reader investigate if it matters to them.

    So, while your thesis seems apt, your analogy is mischosen. ;-)

  30. }}} I’ve actually been told this by people in the medical profession in the same conversation. Apparently, cognitive dissonance only occurs when you actually bother to listen to yourself and then carefully think out the implications of what you’re saying.

    Yup. I have a friend who is a teacher. VERY smart — IQ about 160 or thereabouts. Had an argument with him about how blatantly the money the Schools got was badly misspent…which he concurred with… then he went on to bitch about the fact that a State School Tax issue had gotten downvoted, so they weren’t getting more funding.


    Some people just shut off their brains sometimes, even when they’re highly intelligent. It’s my own major flaw that I lack this switch.

  31. }}} I remember women saving cooking fat in cans. I’m not sure what was done with it but it was patriotic.

    Pretty sure you cooked with it, among other things. There are a number of “skimping” recipes which can sub animal fat for a part of the meat, as far as human sustenance goes. Lower meat usage allows more resources to be sent to “our boys”, and “our allies”, and less need to spend resources at home for as many animals as might otherwise be demanded.

    Today, we have so little grasp of poverty, esp. grinding poverty. My mother (b. 1938) tells me the tale of spending the night at a classmate’s house. Apparently, a very poor classmate. For dinner, they had leftover pancakes… With leftover beef gravy. She was polite and choked it down, but it wasn’t a meal of choice for her, to say the least. I can’t see too many people native to the USA — even poor Americans — and certainly none under 50yo — even imagining having that kind of reluctance to throw away food.

    Me, I walk into a Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sams, or Costco, and just marvel at the sheer availability of things, for anyone in the country, really. I mean that seriously. You can be a minwage worker, and if YOU WANT A $2000 85″ Sony 4k TV, you can have it, all you have to do is work harder to Get It — take on an extra half-time minwage job on the side, and you can probably buy it in about 16-18 weeks. Then think about Soviet citizens standing in line for hours to buy industrial-grade toilet paper. People screaming for “Socialism” are really pitifully ignorant and sad.

  32. more information on who did what in the Big Freeze.

    The Chairman of ERCOT is a Green Activist, for example.

    I think the saving of cooking grease was not to be used in more cooking.

    It was used to extract glycerin for explosives.

    During WWII, it was a patriotic duty for housewives to save and donate fat rendered from cooking bacon and other foods to the U.S. Army. The American Fat Salvage Committee coordinated the collection efforts. The fats were part of the bomb making process. Rendered fats make glycerin, a necessary component in the making of bombs. One pound of fat potentially contains enough glycerin to make an equal amount of explosives. Source:

    And I was born in 1938, too.

  33. Animal fats heated with a strong base yield fatty acids and glycerine. The fatty acids are used largely for soap/cosmetic preparations.
    Glycerine is used to make nitroglycerine, used in explosives and propellants for the war effort.

  34. Another shoe has dropped at ERCOT in the wake of the storm.

    Five Board members resigned or withdrew, including the Green Nude Eel chairwoman who lives in Michigan.

    The Texas legislature is set to hold its first hearings on the council’s performance during the worst winter freeze the state has experienced in a century. Much of the state suffered rolling and prolonged power blackouts while temperatures plummeted and a series of storms brought ice and snow. Millions of Texans were left in the cold and dark, and many of their homes have suffered damage from burst pipes. Dozens of Texans reportedly died during the storm.

    Abbot may not be unscathed from this.

  35. Podcasts: Dan Crenshaw – representative from Houston – was doing a series on energy before this hit Texas, then one from Houston in its midst.
    FEB 17, 2021 What Happened in Texas, with Alex Epstein and Robert Bryce
    What Happened in Texas, with Alex Epstein and Robert Bryce

    Alex Epstein and Robert Bryce join us to examine the truth about what went wrong with the Texas power grid this week.
    FEB 14, 2021 How Progressive Energy Policies Are Hurting Average Americans, with Robert Bryce
    FEB 7, 2021 Smarter Ways to Protect the Environment, with Dr. Bjorn Lomborg
    (Also on Youtube video.

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