Texas's unregulated power market was premised on the notion that allowing power companies to charge a bazillion dollars during power shortages would incentivize them to maintain robust excess capacity, and incentivize customers to reduce usage.

Neither happened. A thread. 1/
It turns out that in the near total absence of rules, companies could not be bothered to maintain extra capacity, or even do basic things like weatherize their infrastructure, even when the same power plants failed again and again in storm after storm. 2/

Thus, when the polar vortex struck Texas last week, the basic winterizing found in other states was not in place. Natural gas pipelines froze and shut down, nuclear power plant cooling systems froze over, and windmills lacking heating kits iced over. 3/

Thus, even though Texas law allowed power prices to soar by 10,000 percent (you read that right), to a maximum of $9,000 per megawatt-hour (up from a few cents), power companies simply could not bring any more generation online. 4/

Meanwhile, customers could not magically reduce demand. Millions of them had no power at all to reduce their use of, and others, due to the same frigid conditions that shut down dozens of plants, were forced to use electricity to heat their homes and stay alive. 5/
In fact, dozens of people have already died due to the power outages (that we know of so far), and the actual death toll is likely to be much, much higher. 6/

Nevertheless Harvard economist William Hogan, who helped design Texas's power system (or lack thereof), argued that despite millions of Texans lacking access to power, food, and water, the system was functioning well. 7/

All this was possible because Texas deliberately cut off its power grid from the rest of the country to avoid the "interstate commerce" clause of the Constitution and thus escape even minimal federal regulations.

It also means Texas can't get power from neighbors in a crisis. 8/
This should go without saying, but it turns out that the reason electric power is so highly regulated almost everywhere in the world except Texas is that in the 21st century, access to adequate electricity is essential for human life and should be considered a human right. 9/
In almost all nations and US states, regulators cut deals with private power companies to guarantee them steady, but limited profits in exchange for adhering to strict regulations about maintaining capacity and infrastructure.

But not in Texas.

In Texas, we now get stories like this 63-year-old Army vet living on Social Security who normally paid $80 a month for power getting charged $16,752. 11/

Large numbers of corporations were also hit with massive power bills, so much so that Texas is likely to see a wave of corporate as well as personal bankruptcies. 12/

Meanwhile, a few Texas power companies who had the good luck not to have their plants go offline during the storm are reaping massive, lottery-esque windfalls, with folks literally speaking in terms of "hitting the jackpot."

Casino capitalism FTW.


For example, "a 100-megawatt wind farm in Texas that might have normally made $40,000 over a two-day period in February could have reaped $9.5 million on Monday and Tuesday alone." 14/

But of course Texas's Republican leaders are trying to somehow blame this crisis on green energy, despite the fact that the vast majority of the power generation shut down was traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear, and adding de-icing to windmills is relatively trivial. 15/
We should not be surprised. Although Texas used to be a leader in green energy policy, it has become a dysfunctional petrostate with all of its GOP leaders massively on the take from fossil fuel companies.

They must appease their true masters.



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More from @nick_kapur

28 Jan
This is insane. Robinhood is not merely raising margin requirements, but actually preventing its users from buying Gamestop, AMC, and others.

The system is putting its thumb on the scales to stop ordinary people from hurting the hedge fund shorts.

Merrill Lynch is also specifically banning buying $GME and $AMC while still allowing sales. They are even cancelling open orders that were already successfully placed in the past:
Interactive Brokers is also only allowing selling:
Read 6 tweets
7 Jan
The MAGA invasion of the US Capitol recalls similar events in Japan - the 1960 Anpo protests also saw an invasion of the National Diet and one woman killed.

I wrote a whole book on this!

A thread on similarities, differences, and consequences for US society going forward... Image
On June 15, 1960, radical left-wing activists smashed their way into the National Diet compound, precipitating a bloody battle with police that injured hundreds and killed a female Tokyo University student, Kanba Michiko. ImageImageImageImage
At issue was arch-conservative prime minister Kishi Nobusuke ramming through an unpopular renewal of the US-Japan Security Treaty, which is the treaty that to this day allows US troops to be based on Japanese soil.

(pictured: Kishi; Kishi and Eisenhower sign the treaty in 1960) ImageImage
Read 19 tweets
5 Jan
Japanese terms for rude things to do with your chopsticks!

If it's something rude you can do with a pair of chopsticks, Japanese has a special term for it.

A thread... Image
1. Hashiwatashi 箸渡し ("chopstick passing")

Don't pass food directly from your chopsticks to another person's chopsticks. Image
2. Tsukitatebashi 突き立て箸 ("piercing standing chopsticks"), or just tatebashi 立て箸 ("standing chopsticks") for short

Don't stab your chopsticks into your bowl of rice so they stand upright (this is done for Buddhist funerary offerings, so doing it otherwise is very rude). Image
Read 42 tweets
31 Oct 20
Japanese halloween is great for many reasons, but one of the greatest is the annual "mundane halloween" contest hosted by website @dailyportalz, where people dress up like mundane, everyday things.

Here is a thread of some of my favorites from 2020...
"Uniqlo mannequin that suddenly started wearing a mask during the pandemic"

"Man who forgot he was wearing a mask and tried to bite his corn dog"

Read 23 tweets
29 Aug 20
The 2025 Osaka world's fair logo had 5 finalists. Option E was the winner.

Its official name is inochi no kagayaki ("brilliance of life"), but Japanese Twitter nicknamed it koroshite-kun ("please kill me now-kun")

Here is a thread of memes!


Many people emphasized the potentially horrific aspects of the logo:

Other people saw a chance to exercise their creative sides!

This person knitted a kill-me-kun out of yarn:


Read 28 tweets
30 Jul 20
I made a map of the very first thing Japanese people think of for every prefecture in Japan, at least according to Japanese Google autocomplete...
Many people outside of Japan have been asking questions about these search terms, so I though I would explain some of them in a thread...

Eight prime ministers have come from Yamaguchi - the most of any prefecture.
Hyōgo indeed has many strange crimes.

Just to name a few...

The Kobe and Akashi Nude Murder Cases (1980s)
The Kobe Serial Child Murders (1997)
The Kobe Graduate Student Lynching Case (2001)
The Amagasaki Serial Murder Incident (2000s)
The Takarazuka Crossbow Murders (2020)
Read 20 tweets

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