Locklin on science

Texas energy markets: several bad ideas

Posted in energy by Scott Locklin on February 20, 2021

Since everything in the US is politicized right now, you’d be hard pressed to understand why Texas is in the dark. Right wingnats blame renewables. Left wingnats blame deregulation. Establishment monkeys blame the fact that Texas isn’t regulated by the federal government. As usual, both the left and the right ideologues have stumbled on part of the truth, and the establishment are retards who should go fuck themselves.

Basic facts: Texas is not connected to the rest of the US energy grid. Because the US government only has power over states in so far as it regulates interstate commerce, this means they can govern their own affairs. This happened partly organically: Texas is huge, has a large coastline and not well connected to the rest of the US geographically due to natural geography and the fact that no other state has any large cities near the Texas border. Mostly, though, it was a political decision: FDR’s massive dictatorial power grab in the 1930s was not universally appreciated as current-year regime loyalists would have you believe, and Texans preferred that East Coast mandarins not have any authority over the energy grid they built. Theoretically Texas should do fine on its own as the potential power grid connections would be pretty sparse anyway, just as they are in similarly huge California, due to the mountain range in the way, and lack of dense populations at the California border. In fact, Texas actually does have power connections outside the state: with Mexico, which is more connected to it geographically with Neuvo Laredo and Matamoros sharing close borders. It also has a little connection with the east coast for such emergencies, but obviously, it was pretty cold there too, so not much help to be had. There are not good maps of this out there, but here’s one that more or less gives you the basic idea. Or you can look at a very good map of the Europe power grid for ideas of how it actually works in the US; geography and the location of industry and cities is tremendously important.

When demand exceeds supply on a power grid, things catch on fire, and you might have no power for months. That needs to be avoided at all costs, even if someone’s pipes freeze. You can imagine what might happen in current year America, a country which couldn’t produce enough masks for the Wuhan coof, if there were a bunch of simultaneous orders for new transformers and generators. Months might turn into years.

The Polar Jet Stream is misbehaving itself this year. It’s not just hammering North America with cold; it’s unseasonably cold everywhere in the north. Usually it keeps the cold air bottled up in the Arctic; this year it’s unstable and making it colder than usual everywhere. Of course dipshits are saying this is happening due to CO2 induced global warming (“climate change” is a meaningless doublethink tautology), but that’s far from clear. Really, the same sort of thing that happens before a new Ice Age. Doesn’t matter: the weather is unpredictable, and while grousing about the fact that there is weather is apparently a political winner due to the profusion of stupid people, we don’t do that around here.

So, it’s cold in Texas; shouldn’t be a problem. Except usually it’s hot in Texas; the grid is designed with that in mind. When it’s hot out, there’s lots of wind and the 20% of the power grid that depends on windmills is well suited to running the numerous air conditioners that are the general cause of peak load conditions. Beyond that, Texas is a natural gas state; it produces megatons of the stuff, and so about 50% of its power comes from gas, just like most of the rest of the country. Gas wells shut down when it’s really cold out, so, no gas for the gas plants. Coal (20%) and nuclear (10%). Texas electrical grid isn’t that different in energy sources than the rest of the country: it’s light on nuclear and hydro, heavy on wind, which they generally have in abundance. The main problem it has is the energy sources don’t work as well when it’s cold out. The main blunder here is that it assumes peak load happens when it’s hot out, and depends on it actually being hot out. Other states use multifuel turbines and have stored fuel on site for such peak load emergencies. Texas could have stored more natgas on site; and it probably will in the future, as this is the cheapest most sane thing to do. Tanks are cheap. Building an extension cord to Louisiana (which probably had similar problems) isn’t.

Windmills: they don’t work when there is no wind. Ice meme is solid though.

This actually happened before: in 2011 there were other blackouts in February. Which brings me to the final point: Texas energy grid is a libertardian wet dream of insane free-marketism on an essential piece of state infrastructure. Power grids are really the type of thing that should have some regulation; preferably local regulation via a Public Utility Commission.  Texas has one which looks a lot like others on paper, but it gave up its power to effectively regulate anything in the late 20th century.

Texans get their bills from an insane patchwork of energy options “suppliers” which are options companies that basically bet against the consumer. There are literally thousands of “plans” that one can switch on a weekly basis. What is the rationale for this? The idea is the different “plans” will cause the free market of consumers to adjust their energy usage to suit the power producers using price signals, so power producers don’t have to build excess capacity for use during peak hours. It’s a capital investment and so there are maintenance problems, debt servicing problems; geez, the lives of power companies would be much easier if you stupid monkeys would just use a predictable amount of power at all times. This is, of course, barking lunacy, courtesy of modern economists; aka bribed ideologues.

When it’s cold out people will turn the heat on. When it’s hot out, people will turn the air conditioners on. The ideology which states this kind of “free market” will do otherwise, is obviously false and produces no such efficiencies, and mostly makes everyone miserable by having an extra-complex thing they have to manage. It also removes the risk from power producers; if power producers are required to provide electricity including peak load electricity, they’ll invest in their infrastructure enough to make sure they can always do so: passing on the costs, of course, to the general public, who actually would like to be able to turn the heat on when it’s cold outside. If they think they can train the 30 million monkeys to fiddle with their power usage through various “smart grid” mechanisms and price signals, they will not invest in their infrastructure to make this possible.  There are even startups to help you manage this ridiculous complexity.To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, right now there is a huge demand and no supply for power in Texas. As a result those who use some power are going to get HUGE bills; it’s really absurd. That’s the power company telling you to let your pipes freeze because they’re having a hard time right now.

Actual free markets work to social benefit when there is competition between producers. Offloading monopolistic risks and expenses to consumers has zero social benefit. People really don’t turn the heat off when it’s cold out, no matter what the price signals are, no matter how much the morons in the utility companies wish they would. This isn’t a uniquely Texas problem; it’s being pushed by …. power companies, with Green veneer on it. I became aware of this in 2010 and thought it was absolutely bonkers, and anyone who defends it is a gibbering moron or a profiteering power company executive. I can even point you to falsified analysis used to pitch this idea on a pilot program. You can see exactly what happened; everyone complied with the smart grid directives to turn off the power when it’s hot out (peak load in the region studied) the first time it happened, because muh technology I guess. They literally never did it again. The ice cream melting in the freezer in Wally world (shops and large facilities used vastly more power than consumers) demonstrated how bad an idea this was. The one thing that did happen was the factories moved people to a night shift. Through creative statistics this was presented to the PUC as a huge success, basically because the people involved in the analysis bet their careers on it. No doubt they continue to advocate for it. They should be sent to China to pitch the idea.

The free market doesn’t work here because you can’t build a new power plant to profit from these $10,000 a month power bills. The price signal only works one way, and it won’t be heeded by the people it’s directed at; it just tortures ordinary people. The free market won’t induce power companies to float bonds to profit from unpredictable peak loads. Regulators could though, and regulation is exactly what is needed in this situation. Blaming the stationary windmills is pretty silly, though over reliance on them is definitely part of the problem; other countries use lots of windmills and do fine, even when it’s cold out, because they have regulators who make sure there’s plenty of all kinds of electricity. If you want the free market to work properly, let the power companies buy natgas when it’s cheap and store it in tanks instead of offloading this risk on consumers.

48 Responses

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  1. Filip said, on February 20, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    This blog post complements this
    http://wimflyc.blogspot.com/2021/02/energy-mess-in-texas.html

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 20, 2021 at 3:20 pm

      You should shill your book more. It’s very good.

      • Filip said, on February 20, 2021 at 4:33 pm

        I am not the author, but I did read the book as well.
        Having read your blog and your opinion about the book, I am trying to understand your position on Drexlerian nanotech which J Storrs Hall is fond of – I assume it has not changed?
        Out of curiosity, what did you like about the book?

        • Scott Locklin said, on February 21, 2021 at 12:02 am

          Human power over nature is proportional to energy use: flying cars are good. I can forgive a science fiction fan who wants to live in the future instead of the shitty favela we live in now for believing in nano-shite, or at least entertaining the idea.

      • Norman Yarvin said, on February 21, 2021 at 11:51 pm

        Speaking of shilling one’s own work, since you like takedowns of crap science, here’s one of mine:

        https://yarchive.net/blog/detonation-engines/

        • anonymous said, on February 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm

          In a rocket engine, you have to shove the propellant into the combustion chamber at above the chamber pressure at which the chamber operates. This requires either some sort of blowdown mechanism (for low pressure, low thrust engines) or turbopumps and some associated turbo-combustor to power them. (The apotheosis of which are the full-flow stage combustors of something like the space-shuttle-main-engines that manage to shove the turbomachinery-powering gasses into the chamber as well.) This is complicated and heavy, and the reason why rocket engines are hard.

          The point of the pulse-detonation engines is that the injection pressure can be much less than the combustion pressure. This means you can hopefully use a simple light-weight injector and still get high chamber pressures. IIRC, the V-1 buzz-bomb was a PDE because no one had the time and resources to mess with turbomachinery in bombed out Germany.

          I don’t know where the Isp improvement claims come from: I’m assuming that’s “lies told to funders”. Isp is pretty strongly bounded by the specific energy of combustion and the average specific molecular masses of the equilibrium resultant gas. As far as I know, we’re in the 90ish+% range of efficiency with this already, and so there’s not much more to squeeze out with engineering tricks.

  2. Chiral3 said, on February 20, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    Scott, great entry, thank you.

    The energy (and water) issue seems preventable going forward with some duct tape and prophylactics, although the organization and competition for energy is likely too endemic and ingrained to replace (versus iterate on). Reminiscent of healthcare or prisons.

    I was thinking about Christianson in your last thread. I could care less for the management BS myself, but I date his work to be contemporaneous with the “disruption mania” that overtook management anxiety. Not dissimilar to seemingly unrelated items whereby the tails of a distribution are weighted (psychologically) closer to the mean. Whole cottage industries and various regulatory bodies exist based on this psychology. While I agree that certain extermination events – nuclear, 9/11 – have to be pushed to zero probability, and this is achieved more so by engineering math versus paying for the response to every possible scenario, there’s whole zoos of 1/100 events that we plan for daily despite 1/2000 events that happening once every 10 years.

    I read some research a while back that made me think a little differently about utilities and institutions, more generally. It basically said that growth of nations can be (partially) attributed to how they weather downturns and that, historically, those nations that fared the best, had the strongest institutions aligned with the public good / interest. That makes some sense to me, especially in a country of 300M people and all the Malthusian shit that comes with that mess. Like nuclear in the grid, there should be some baseline floor, there should be things regulated as a utility.

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 20, 2021 at 4:39 pm

      As you might expect I Hate That Guy. His entire career was spent outsourcing US productive power to foreign countries. The biggest “disruption” of the last 40 years was removing trade barriers so people like him could collect fat paychecks outsourcing US production and services. Thus allowing the cockamamey petro-china dollar to infinitely fund stupid imperialist projects by looting the national infrastructure. Funny he died of a horrible disease like Herod Agrippa.

      Pretty sure the Texas thing can be fixed if they put on their big boy pants and realize how much they screwed up the privatization and their green strategy. Build a few tanks and it should be fine.

  3. William O. B'Livion said, on February 20, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Speaking of renewable energy, what’s your take on Liquid Metal Cooled Reactors v.s. Helium Pebble Bed Reactors?

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 21, 2021 at 12:12 am

      I dunno what’s wrong with sticking pieces of heavy metal in water, making steam that way, besides it makes hippies sad?

      • gbell12 said, on February 21, 2021 at 7:32 am

        But you do of course… 5000 years of safe storage of the waste a requirement, not a nice to have, amiright?

      • William O. B'Livion said, on February 21, 2021 at 11:30 pm

        1) More modern designs are “fail safe” in ways the heavy and light water reactors are not.
        2) Small, modular reactors are cheaper to build and can be scattered around the country making for a more resilient grid, rather than fewer, larger reactors.
        3) Standardized designs (which, admittedly can be done with older style reactors) means that you do the engineering once, and have LOTS of eyes looking for failure points.
        4) Most designs use non-weapons grade fuel.
        5) Still makes hippies sad because is “nuclear”.

        • William O. B'Livion said, on February 21, 2021 at 11:41 pm

          forgot:
          6) Pebble bed designs can be refueled without shutting down.

          • Scott Locklin said, on February 22, 2021 at 12:21 am

            I mean, I’m not opposed to it, but it’s not a real big interest of mine; these ideas have been around for 50 years. Nobody will produce them in the current political climate where 20 year old girls wear 4 masks for a virus that basically kills only people with one foot in the grave.

            • William O. B'Livion said, on February 22, 2021 at 2:52 am

              Well, the big bad orange man is gone, so I’m expecting to see stories soon about how it’s not really that bad, and the Trump administration overstated it to scare people etc. etc.

            • magget said, on February 22, 2021 at 9:30 am

              MMhh.

              I am not sure about the math.

              https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

              So you have for almost a year several 9/11 worth of people PER WEEK more with one foot in the grave than the years before?

              • Scott Locklin said, on February 22, 2021 at 10:19 am

                3 million people die every year in America in a good year. Someone’s grandma or fat diabetic uncle dying early is sad, but it isn’t tragic. The US suffered similar fatalities the year I was born from the Hong Kong flu (actually healthy people in that case), and nobody noticed. Destroying the lives of the other 330 million people in a futile attempt to prevent this is just insanity. As is paranoia of people who aren’t in any danger of the disease.

                • chiral3 said, on February 22, 2021 at 1:44 pm

                  It’s a good datapoint.
                  – Killed 100,000 people in the US, mostly over 65 (when the US population was 200M), so call it half the excess mortality of COVID but still substantial.
                  – Had an r0 of 1.8 (slightly less transmissible not accounting for people packed into country like sardines today)
                  – Became “endemic” (H3N2 is still in annual flu shot). Learn the fucking word people!
                  – Doctor at Penn created a vaccine in 4 months and vaccinated the most at risk.

                • George W. said, on February 22, 2021 at 4:39 pm

                  America’s obesity epidemic is far worse in terms of overall effect and we don’t treat it with appropriate reverence. Kentucky is one of the worst states for it. I feel bad for these people, it’s deeply saddening more-so than old people dying. It’s not talked about in the media. Fat acceptance is no different than anorexia acceptance.

                  We needed a (paleo-esque) dietary and lifestyle revolution more than a vaccine.

                  https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0917-adult-obesity-increasing.html

                  • maggette said, on February 22, 2021 at 5:45 pm

                    True. But that argument is a poster child for “whataboutism”. Obesity and diabetes is not contagious nor does exponential growth play a role in it.

                    By the way, I can’t imagine the “freeeddooom” yelling uproar if some liberal brat is proclaiming the war on “sugar water” and starts to “tax people into a healthy lifestyle”.

                    Even I would call to arms if somebody would force “paleo-esque” pseudo science on me. That’s for Jordan Peterson fanboys and CrossFit idiots.

                    • George W. said, on February 22, 2021 at 9:41 pm

                      Paleo-esque is the wrong word. True that appeals to nature are a fallacy and true that Jordan Peterson is an idiot. Paleo has incidentally healthy aspects which I refer to. I don’t want the government pushing any diet, but sugar and dairy (calve fattening juice) subsidies should end or go somewhere else. The truth will come out over enough time. Slowly.

                      I concur that CrossFit is inferior and looks dangerous with the jerky motions they do.

                      Here’s a very rough idea of what paleo diet looks like in the eastern U.S.:

                      ~25% ANIMAL: fish, shellfish/crustaceans, small game (squirrel, birds, possum, snakes, etc.), small eggs, honey…

                      ~25% NUTS: acorns, pecans, walnuts, hickory nuts, chestnuts,..

                      ~25% FRUIT: paw paws, persimmons, wild plums, hawthorn berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, serviceberry, huckleberry, mulberry…

                      ~10% MUSHROOMS (COOKED): puffball, morels, lions mane, shaggy mane, oyster,…

                      ~15% MISC: seeds, maple syrup/tree saps, tree bark, cat tails, edible greens, flowers, insects…

                      ^^^MINIMAL SALT & NO OILS

                      Most of these foods are very healthy in naturally obtainable quantities.

                      Coconut oil- scrambled eggs, peanut butter and honey on paleo bread–everyday–is not actually paleo and not healthy. Eggs are rare and hidden, wild game is MUCH leaner than Cargill beacon, coconuts used to be isolated to a small peninsula in Asia, etc.

        • maggette said, on February 22, 2021 at 9:22 am

          In my mind there is absolutely no doubt that all safety hazard problems in present nuclear fission energy, of which there are plenty, are solvable engineering problems. If the political will would be there to solve them, this could be done. And unlike fusion and lot’s of stuff in renewables, most of the solutions are based on proven tech.

          – there are almost a handful of promising reactor designs (you already talked about some of them) that are not stable by design and just die down if not actively kept working
          – there is promising technology regarding handling waste

          So this could be done. But pretending it is already done is just denial.

          Another question is, even if they solve these problems, are nukes still commercially viable?

          German government promoted the technology for a long time. Similar to what they do to renewables right now. R&D had been outsourced to government in the early days plus as of present (at least in Germany) the companies had not to pay for risks and other costs they inflict on society. For example they did not have to cover their assets with reinsurance contracts, like any chemical refinery has to do. Their financial involvement in taking responsibility regarding waste is laughable.

          Given all these financial advantages, nukes are still barely profitable. Event when emission prices are high. Hence almost nobody is investing in the technology right now.

          There is no question that the old reactor types were not reliable enough and the risk assessments of nuclear engineers were simply wrong.

          Most nuke fan boys are as delusional as the hippies. A friend of mine caught Bill Gates really off guard when asking him about Kyshtym disaster. He didn’t now about it!!! A nuke energy supply chain is a complex and dangerous thing. I think reactor technology is the smallest problem.

          But it could be managed. You just need to be honest about it. And remember that companies will never be honest about it.

          But even with all its problems, dumping the technology all together is very short sighted by my home country. I have a friend who worked in nuclear energy research at RWTH Aachen. Getting funding for useful projects is close to impossible.

  4. George W. said, on February 20, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    > Of course dipshits are saying this is happening due to CO2 induced global warming

    Gotta admire when they claim that X percent of a catastrophe (i.e., forest fires and hurricanes) is attributable to anthropogenic climate change, as if that’s a thing. I’m all for switching to hydro, nuclear and solar—given and sensible implementations [0]—but the take-away-combustion people are a burden to society who go statue-tipping in the Summer.

    Kudos for pointing out the hysterical “climate change” redundancy/tautology. Global warming sounded better anyhow. Heavy metals contaminating water is infinitely scarier than warmer weather, as is our 7.7B population’s growing demand for animal agriculture amid an unstable world food supply.

    > The free market doesn’t work here because you can’t build a new power plant to profit from these $10,000 a month power bills.

    As you argued, the notion of free market in the electrical grid is somewhat ridiculous and only something a bribed econotard could have marketed to the government. There doesn’t exist a better example of a natural monopoly: huge barriers to entry, and perfect demand inelasticity. Moreover, busted residential pipes do not affect utility companies’ profits.

    Maximizing social good, the incentive structure for the electrical grid should prioritize (1) reliability over (2) efficiency over (3) environmental footprint. Texas flipped (1) and (2). Now people are dead, cold, and pissed off, albeit Darwinian pressures should be listed as the cause of death for those who started their car in the garage [1].

    Maybe nobody gives a fuck about social good and Texas’s government is ran by incompetent solipsistic nihilistic hedonistic bureaucrats. I hope they are just gullible idiots. Either way, I’ll be ditching the electrical grid soon enough for a solar-lithium setup in the backcountry somewhere.

    [0] – https://futurism.com/the-byte/worlds-first-solar-road-disaster

    [1] – https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/two-dead-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-after-using-car-heat-texas-n1257972

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 21, 2021 at 12:06 am

      I dunno, they’re probably better off than California, despite having a shittier climate. If they fix it, this is a good sign for America. If they double down or sell out to the federal government, buy the solar lithium setup.

      • William O. B'Livion said, on February 22, 2021 at 2:59 am

        We’re probably getting solar put on the roof of the house later this spring. The idiots that are in charge of Colorado’s energy grid have decided to shutter one of the bigger coal plants in the name of “the environment”, but have no plans to build any other power facilities to replace it.

        Dunno how they plan on powering their electric cars.

        Anyway, we’re considering the lithium “backup” battery option too. Fixing the cost of our electric for the next 20-25 years seems to make sense.

        • Walt said, on February 23, 2021 at 11:45 pm

          In NorCal everyone’s getting a backup generator and a transfer switch. If you have solar, you will also need a transfer switch since solar runs to the grid, not to your house.

  5. seanvanderlee said, on February 20, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    We have the same issue in Alberta, Scott. Somehow, despite an abundance of coal and natural gas, we have decided to mothball our coal plants (I know you aren’t a fan of these but bear with me) and make up for the shortfall in demand by importing electricity, largely from Montana, which is in turn largely coal. This way we can somehow meet our climate goals etc etc, and be on the edge of brownouts at times of peak demand.

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 21, 2021 at 12:14 am

      Germany’s renewable mania has been great for the US coal industry. Nukes seem better if you’re worried about carbon dioxide.

  6. Igor Bukanov said, on February 20, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    The climate in Northern America is less stable than in Europe or Asia. IIRC an explanation was that in America mountain ranges are fro North to South, while Europe and Asia are more horizontal on physical maps.

    So the fact that things works in Europe cannot be used as an example. I doubt that Oslo will do OK if in February temperatures drop 20C below what is average and stay at -30C for couple of weeks. There is way too much electrical heating. Surely in mountains in Norway in winter the temperature can drop to -30C, but this is expected and happens sufficiently often that people get accustomed to it.

    • maggette said, on February 20, 2021 at 7:50 pm

      I traded electricity and energy for almost 5 years in European markets. And still I work on projects involved of optimal control of VPP and trading flexibility of renewables and storage.

      “I doubt that Oslo will do OK if in February temperatures drop 20C below what is average and stay at -30C for couple of weeks.”

      Trust me. They will be okay.75% of their power is flexible. They actually have multi-year reservoirs and the infrastructure to handle them.

      But they are a rich, well organized country with only few citizens and a culture that chases libertarian free market evangelists fathered and tarred out of town. Shit just works there. I think they are an unfair benchmark for other countries. My home country (Germany) included.

      I am confident that Germany, Switzerland and Sweden could also pull it off though. There is quite some “Kaltreserve” right now (mothballed blocks that can get online with not to much ramping time).

      Generating capacity will probably never be the problem. I think heavy storms doing damage to transmission lines is a much more likely problem (as happend in 2006 in Münsterland…several hour outage for 205K people. Three small villages needed 3 days to get online).

      In addition to that: as of 2020 Germany has more than 50% renewables. Even though they have their disadvantages…..they are almost all cold starters!

      • gbell12 said, on February 20, 2021 at 10:14 pm

        > they are almost all cold starters!

        Can you please explain more?

        • Scott Locklin said, on February 21, 2021 at 12:08 am

          You can probably find it on this cool map. It’s a really cool map!

          https://www.entsoe.eu/data/map/

          Another cool map: https://www.electricitymap.org/zone/DE

          • maggette said, on February 21, 2021 at 2:23 pm

            ENTSO-E is awesome. Really value added. EU regulation can lead to good things.

        • maggette said, on February 21, 2021 at 2:15 pm

          Sure.

          Like your car motor needs a battery to get started, most generating assets need a, sometimes rather vast, amount of energy, to get started and produce electricity. And even more so to do it at commercial acceptable efficiency. For that reason you do whatever you can do to keep an lignite, coal or nuclear asset running.

          Most renewables are quite robust in that sense.

          This is an rather nice property if you have to claw your way back from cascading failure.

  7. anonymous said, on February 21, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Scott, you mentioned in the previous post wanting to be able to migrate your blog away from wordpress.com. I didn’t have my blog hosted by wordpress, but a few years ago I moved a wordpress.com instance that I had hosted on Bluehost from Bluehost to Linode. (Bluehost had helpfully decided to “upgrade” my self-installed wordpress instance without my permission so they could attach ad panels and hook it in to their control panel frontend. That was the end of that for them.)

    In order to make the move, I had to dump the mysql databases to files using mysqldump. I then moved them over to the new server, installed and installed a new instance of wordpress. I wrote some python scripts to mass-edit the mysql files using mysql.connect. I then imported the sql files and populated the new tables.

    It was a bit of a mess. I remember having to work with it a bit to get the photos wordpress managed to load, but it eventually worked out. Unfortunately, I can’t recall or find everything I did, but that was the general outline.

    Hope you can get some sql dumps of your wordpress databases – that’s where all the state is.

    • anonymous said, on February 21, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      I’m currently using Linode for hosting and Namecheap to manage my domain. If you’ve heard anything shady about either, or have better recommendations, let me know. I’d like to avoid deplatforming entanglements going forward if possible.

      • BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) said, on February 21, 2021 at 10:57 pm

        I hear good things about Namecheap in this regard. I’m also a customer.

      • William O. B'Livion said, on February 21, 2021 at 11:44 pm

        That’s the second time today I’ve come across Namecheap.

        The other recommendation was by a Pirate Computer Security guy I’ve interacted with on a gun forum.

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 22, 2021 at 12:22 am

      Thanks, I figured it would be something like that. I’m not sure I have access to any mysql databases here.

  8. Walkaway Joe said, on February 22, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Who benefits from solar and wind subsidies?

    Oh yes, the Chinese.

  9. Walt said, on February 22, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Outstanding broadside.

  10. Anon said, on February 24, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Reading through your own posts I noticed that I have a limited access to Takimag articles your wrote & linked to. Takimag has a paywall now, apparently.

    Are you making money from your old takimag articles? If not I’d be really interested in seeing whether you can host them elsewhere for people to read for free.

  11. anonymous said, on March 3, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Mr. Locklin,

    Thank you very much for your post on Ford’s paradox. Very interesting.

    I did some brief toe-dipping into ergodic theory to pass a math class back in Graduate school. This seems to be an area where there could easily be a lot of interesting things there.

    One interesting thing from statistical mechanics: Equipartition of energy isn’t really obtained in general. It is in “complex” systems, and isn’t in “simple” systems, even “chaotic” nonlinear simple systems. Not entirely clear where the boundary between the two are. But if the statistics that nature coughs up aren’t the same as the statistics your assumptions force, you can end up claiming things about the underlying physics that aren’t required by observations. I remember skimming a paper a while back that produced something like Planck’s blackbody curve from an entirely classical (I think simulated) system, where h ended up having a different explanation within the system.

    I’m sort of interested in alternative explanations for things where I think physicists may have been sloppy. There are many things near the turn-of-the-century revolution in physics that seem to be possibly in error: The Bohr-van Leeuwen theorem denying the existence of classical diamagnetism is certainly shocking to plasma physicists, who depend on the physical fact of its existence. (Boltzmann I think objected to it being in error.) Gibb’s paradox is another one that got “swept under the quantum rug”, when Gibbs actually came up with a compelling resolution to his own paradox which emphasized something about entropy that I think got ignored. Edwin Jaynes (though I don’t believe every direction he took in attempting to answer them) was good at picking out interesting problems where conventional thinking had been sloppy and people try to “pull a fast one”.


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