Postmortems

When the power goes out

When the power goes out… you might lose heat, cooking, light, television, maybe radio unless you have batteries, internet, mobile phone service, but also no cashless or credit purchases, no fuel (because of electric pumps.) In this case 55000 households and 8000 undergraduate students were challenged to survive without smartphones or cashless transactions. Even train service was affected.

The root cause in this case, Lancaster UK in 2015, was the electricity substation for the city being sited right next to the river, for historical reasons (a former gasworks) and being knocked out by flooding.
See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-35020049

Flooding in UK towns is apparently exacerbated by mismanagement of land and waterways, because vested interests hold sway.
“The government pays grouse moor owners to drain their glorified outdoor chicken runs. Meanwhile it’s the proles downstream who get a soaking”

This reminds me of this brillant dystopian sci-fi novel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashes,_Ashes

That one’s new to me, but reminds me that I recently saw Elon Musk recommend the 1909 dystopian short story The Machine Stops which you can find at
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Machine_Stops
Ref: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/683333695307034625

Oooh, thanks for the recommendation @EdS !