Product Reviews

Hurricanes, Solar Storms, and the Fight to Keep the Power On

Earlier This week, Hurricane Ida swept through the southern US, hitting Louisiana and parts of Mississippi especially hard. The storm disabled the power grid across Louisiana, including heavily populated areas like New Orleans, and officials say it could be weeks before power is fully restored. It’s not the first disaster to reveal how woefully unprepared our infrastructure is for weathering disasters—and it won’t be the last.

This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED senior writer Lily Hay Newman about what caused the power problems in New Orleans, and how humanity can prepare for unexpected disasters (like solar flares) that might come in the near future.

Show Notes

Read Lily’s story about the power outages in New Orleans. Also read her story about how solar storms could cause an internet apocalypse.


Lily recommends upgrading from your iPhone 6S (or earlier), since Apple is about to stop supporting security updates on older phones. Lauren recommends the August 31 episode of The New York Times’ podcast The Daily, about America’s final hours in Afghanistan. Mike recommends the show Justified, which you can watch on Hulu.

Lily Newman can be found on Twitter @lilyhnewman. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.

How to Listen

You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Podcasts app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.

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