Blackout '03: Lights Out

First the good news: the biggest blackout ever in North America brought out the best in millions of citizens. Now the bad: it exposed a woefully fragile electrical system. How did it happen? And how v

We learn most about power when we lose it and are left eating cereal by candlelight on the front stoop. Or helping the waiter and the hairdresser and the deaf man direct traffic at the intersection. Or meeting an elderly neighbor for the first time when we stop to deliver some water. One woman who had lived in Manhattan for 40 years saw the Big Dipper for the first time. You could see Mars hanging over midtown. Outside a Tribeca bar, a patrol car cruising by turned on the bullhorn: "Attention! Make sure you drink your beer before it gets warm."...

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