Texas Nearly Went Dark – AGAIN – Because Officials Misjudged Weather

Texas came uncomfortably close to another round of rolling blackouts Tuesday night because grid operators misjudged the weather.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of the state’s grid, had counted on a mild cold front sweeping the state, lowering demand for power. It didn’t happen. As a result, demand on the grid was about 3,000 megawatts higher than anticipated — or the equivalent of 600,000 homes.

The forecasting error, coming as 25% of power generation was off line for seasonal repairs, was another grim reminder of the vulnerability of Texas’s grid. Two months ago, a deep winter freeze knocked out almost half the state’s generating capacity, leaving millions of people in the dark for days. But Tuesday’s weather was hardly extreme, and the close call has raised questions about whether the grid operator, known as Ercot, can prevent a repeat of the February energy crisis.

“It’s a disgrace for a power grid in modern times to struggle to keep the lights on during a mild day,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University.

No doubt that comment is echoed by millions of Texans who wonder who’s in charge and why haven’t they been fired by now. No, not just the Electric Reliability Council. Throw in the State Legislature and the feeble hacks inhabiting the governor’s mansion and outbuildings.

Amazon is buying up dead shopping malls…

Malls that buckled due to e-commerce or suffered during the pandemic are being given new life by the very entity that precipitated their decline — Amazon…Over the last several months, the retail giant has gone on a shopping spree of its own, buying up disused malls across the country and turning them into distribution centers.

Between 2016 and 2019, Amazon converted around 25 shopping malls … “The reality is that the cash flow at these lower-quality malls is declining rapidly,” said Vince Tibone, lead retail and industrial analyst at the real estate analytics firm Green Street. “You have to decide, ‘Do I want to do something myself to invest a lot of money to transform this dead retail into thriving retail or put up offices?’ Selling a dead mall as land is a more attractive option.”

Poisonally, I think the GOUSA is facing a tough economic forecast … for individual cities and towns that don’t figure out what to do with dead malls. Online shopping and the pandemic have pushed lots of diminishing-margin businesses to the wall. My wife and I still shop groceries, week by week, over a range including several stores. A couple of heavies like Walmart or Target, smaller stores like Sprouts or Trader Joe’s. That’s what fits the budget of a couple of retirees.

Sports “supplement” is 80-year-old stimulant NEVER Approved for oral consumption

An experimental stimulant drug from the World War II era is showing up in weight loss and sports supplements sold today, according to a new study.

The stimulant, known as phenpromethamine, was last sold as a nasal inhaler called Vonedrine in the 1940s and 1950s, but it has since been withdrawn from the market and has never been approved for oral use, according to the study, published Tuesday (March 23) in the journal Clinical Toxicology. It’s also banned from competitive sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The new study appears to be the first to confirm the presence of phenpromethamine in supplements, the authors said.

In addition to phenpromethamine, the study identified eight other prohibited stimulants in sports and weight loss supplements, which were often found mixed together in various combinations to create “cocktails” of stimulant drugs that have never been studied in people…

These products were usually marketed as weight loss supplements or sport supplements. (A full list of these supplement brands can be found in the study.)

Maybe we can get the FDA back in the business of trying to protect consumers instead of allowing leftover drugs weaseled back into consumption by unprincipled producers.