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Blue Dot 205: Climate Extremes: Texas Freeze And Urban Heat

Dave investigates two very different but interrelated topics: the deep freeze that sent the power grid in Texas into near collapse and how our cities are disproportionately hot in summer due to the urban heat island effect.

Both stories involve how the most vulnerable populations tend to take the brunt of climate change extremes. In Texas, dozens died trying to stay warm while in our western cities, black and LatinX suffer in summer when their neighborhoods are measurably hotter than more affluent neighborhoods.

Dave is joined by Pulitzer Prize winner Wiliam Englund from the Washington Post to talk about the frozen grid in Texas as well as bigger picture implications for our increasingly vulnerable power infrastructure. Then UC Davis researchers Stephen Miller and Jake Dilsandro share their study of how the urban heat island effect disproportionately affects minority residents in western US cities.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.