I live outside of Houston.
Hot humid summers, mild winters. The semi-tropics.
As I sit here, all bundled up against the rare cold snap that people living in the northern climates would consider normal winter weather, I realize a few things.
My house isn’t built for it.
Oh, the attic insulation is pretty good–designed to keep out the summer heat–but the rest assumes air conditioning and indulges in plate glass windows. Cleverly designed with an overhang large enough to shade the glass from the direct summer sun, but not too large! In winter the sun is lower enough to shine though, and warm the rug.
I love my house.
But if, instead of getting a deep freeze like this once or twice a decade, the climate changed and every winter was like this, we’d have to make some structural changes to adapt to the new reality.
Which is all well and good for mere architecture, but when it’s political, business, technical, and social climates that are changing, all at once, we can get pretty darned stubborn about adapting.
Now I don’t want to write a political screed, but I don’t want to adapt to the “fortified” election process, I want to change it back to something that will keep fraud under control. But government is something we are supposed to control, right?
Businesses, on the other hand, so long as they operate legally, are free to run themselves, according to their own desires. So, for instance, if Amazon decided they didn’t like the tone of my books–let’s face it they could easily find something to justify canceling me–it’s not my responsibility to change them.
Might bitch a bit, but . . . see tech changes! I could sell my stuff elsewhere, and would. What if they all decided I was beyond the pale? Website, “Downloads, Free to Good Homes! If you like them, and want to encourage me to write more? Every five or ten books, send money to . . .” PayPal doesn’t like me? “. . . send a ten spot or whatever to P.O. Box ###, Boonies, TX.”
Or I can try to hand-sell at book fairs and cons. Hang around street corners. “Pssst! Hey buddy, want to buy a book?”
Hey, don’t look at me like that! You never know until you try it!
I’ll keep my eyes open for a good trench coat, just in case it comes to that.
Other businesses? Well, I can, at worst, pick the least obnoxious grocery store and enlarge my veggie garden. Assuming the grocery stores have anything to sell. But I don’t, personally, think we’ll go full USSR-style bare shelves.
No, really the hard part is going to be Social and Cultural Adaptation.
The Leftist Environment is going to be . . . interesting, yes, let’s call it interesting.
I’ve always thought of myself as a fiscal conservative, and a social moderate. But the social currents of the last several decades have had me swimming up stream as fast as I can and barely staying even with what I used to think of as moderate. Because as far as I can tell, that current is swirling right down the toilet.
And the violent reaction to any attempt to present the other side is disturbing. Like poking a poisonous snake. Not a safe pastime, but you can’t just leave it there, where it might bite someone else.
We all know about the harmless snakes that look like the poisonous ones . . . so some people will adapt by taking on the appearance of a poisonous . . . thing. Not becoming one. And maybe trying to push a few ideas out there that might make people think a bit.
One has to be clever. Subtle.
I’m not good at faking it.
My adaptation is going to have to be consciously steering my writing, presenting the types of heroes and villains that slant the way I want the real world to go.
The Works in Progress may be a little heavy handed. The good guys are individualists, working, sharing voluntarily, helping their neighbors. The bad guys are collectivists, controlling people “for their own good.” I’ve dumped them on a rather dangerous World and turned them loose to live or die by their practices.
Now I just need to get the right people to read them.
And stay warm, in an unusual winter, that I do not want to become entrenched.
Drat it. Neglected to click the notify me of new comments. Need more coffee.
I told a colleague that this past two weeks have been like the 1980s, minus shoulder pads. She shuddered in remembered horror. Until the mid 1990s, below 0 weather and prolonged periods below freezing (up to six weeks, one year) were normal. Not the really hard freezes of the Upper Midwest, say, but staying in the upper 20s for two weeks or so, lows in the teens. Two-three feet of snow was the average per winter. The last few decades have been mild in comparison. 2011 was a hard winter and a harder summer (worst drought recorded), with rolling blackouts for much of the summer. The climate and weather change. That’s just how it is. Humans adapt. That’s what we do. When ideology – however well or ill intentioned – interferes with adapting is when trouble starts.
I’m in Alvin, about 45 mins south of Houston. maybe twice a year, voluntary social functions or a VA visit will drag me into town. Most of my family lives in Katy. Alvin reminds me of what Katy USED to be, before Houston gobbled it up. My condolences if you have to deal with Houston regularly. Last time I was on Westheimer, I felt like sucking on a revolver. I echo your observations about the city being woefully under-engineered for cold weather. Abbot and Cruz are pointing fingers at wind power and vow legislation to remedy this, but I remain skeptical. I’m gonna buy a bigger generator. TEXAS low on power? If politicians were in charge of selling sand, we’d be outta beach and the lobbyists would still be lighting cigars with Ben Franklins.
Wind power, and solar really are a problem, but it is complicated to explain, and I doubt that the actual cause of Texas power problems is as simple as Abbott and Cruz might make it sound.
Money, engineering energy, and nutritional energy are related things, and when you treat them as isolated, you overlook things of relevance.
In this case, renewable energy has been implemented with the use of vast government subsidies, in absence of the subsidies there would be none.
The greater price per watt of renewables represents hidden inefficiencies in engineering energy usage. A huge dollar cost in renewable subsidies represents the engineering energy cost of the economic activity which generated that tax income. Using subsidies to shift a higher fraction of the ‘supply’ to renewables is basically wasting that money, and hence energy, but because of the conversions and people wanting to hide it, the wasted energy is not counted in the official numbers. Fossil fuels are efficient/profitable, and it is the energy profits from fossil fuels that are spent to pay for the renewable waste.
So, avoiding the wasted of solar and wind would have had all sorts of benefits, but that does not mean that such benefits would have been enough to prevent the problems.
It is common for a bureaucracy to show that it is unprepared during rare or unusual circumstances.
I’m west of Houston, between Katy and Richmond, unfortunately within gobbling distance, but it hasn’t happened yet. The problem, as Jim Curtis said on FB, is everyone in the whole state needing four times more electricity all of a sudden.
The problem with wind power, IMO, is that they don’t build more traditional (or better yet nuclear) power plants as the population grows. Because, on paper, the wind farms make the total generation capacity look good.
WIP, my guys went and conquered North Korea. In an hour. Space weapons, nanotechnology, robots, they can do things like that.
Why not go full ham, I say. ~:D
As to the winter weather, -9F is cold by anybody’s standards. Then to have the power company fail to meet the load, that’s just… pretty much what I expect from a frigging socialist Greenie government. As Kate McMillan is fond of saying, “the wind don’t blow when it’s cold.” I’m very familiar with seeing the smoke rising straight up from chimneys in February. We have windmills here in Ontario too, and they’re not turning much in the dead cold.
That’s why I have a generator and a wood stove. In case the power company screws the pooch, which they have been known to do. Or the propane company runs out of propane and won’t deliver, I’ve seen that too. Worst comes, I can McGuiver my way to victory for a couple of weeks.
Suggest investigating adding a layer of insulated siding to the outside of the house. Might be worth doing if the glowball warmening keeps going the the way I expect it to.
I’ll start with some seriously insulating draperies on all the windows.
I had those when I lived farther north. They were great for both summer and winter, and I got the kind with black-out thickness, since every two weeks, I worked nights (1700-0500 or whenever we landed).
Tip from the Great White North, the plastic film and two-sided-tape trick works better than drapes. They sell it at Home Pepot and etc. It seals the whole window no matter how crappy it is, and you can still see through it .Super cheap, disposable, easy to put on.
But can you stand to look at it all winter?
If you have help putting the film on to get it flat and uncreased in the first place, heat-shrinking it will make it almost invisible.
Smoke checking walls, doors, windows, etc with a stick of incense will show where air intrusion, cold or hot, is so that you can stop it.
Also check your ducting, where you can, to seal leaks.
Older or uninsulated houses can be retro insulated with blown in cellulose through small holes in the walls.
Good luck in the cold. We are wintering in Florida. Yesterday was in the low 80s.
John in Indy
Once upon a time I rented a house in Minnesota with single-pane glass windows and storm windows on the outside. It was a sieve. If a gust blew outside, you felt it inside. Lucky for me I didn’t have to pay the gas bill, it was utilities included.
You better believe I was happy to look through that plastic all winter. ~:D I plastic-coated every window in the place and a couple of doors.
I tried that – I have nice thick velvet drapes. The problem: The baseboard radiators are under the windows, so when the heavy drapes are closed, the heat rises up behind them and flees through the windows. The windows with the old-school, cast-iron radiators under them work fine because the drapes hang behind the radiators.
Not having radiators does eliminate that problem, though.
I realize that no one is going to look at this four days later but I was just in Minot. My in-laws had plastic directional scoops on all of the vents under the windows or next to walls that directed the air toward the center of the room. They telescoped to fit the length of the vent and had magnets on each end. Bump them and they’d dislodge, but it was a very simple solution and they must have them or something similar at most home-stores up north.
Howza ’bout electing politicians that can at least spell thorium? Sumpin’ tells me Sheila Jackson-Lee can’t. And I can’t see her unelected in my lifetime. I wonder who’ll inherit her office when she dies? Chillax, folks. Her passing will leave no statistically significant dent of the sum total of human knowledge. She is evidence of the decline in Houston politics, the end result being I am a former citizen, once but no longer proud of that metropolis, and live out of effective range of its TaxGuns.