On January 15, 1919, in Boston's North End, a 50-foot-tall tank holding 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, unleashing a deadly wave that rose nearly 25 feet high at one point. The disaster killed 21 people and injured another 150. Nearly one hundred years later, an analysis carried out by a group of Harvard fluid dynamics physicists explains how "cold temperatures and unusual currents conspired to turn slow sticky goop into a deadly speeding wave." [more inside]
Once upon a time, in a public library branch in Boston's North End, 29-year-old Edith Guerrier, librarian, decided to change the world around her by founding the Saturday Evening Girls, a club devoted to improving the intellectual and cultural lives of area immigrant girls through lectures, stories, singing, and dancing. In 1908, nine years after its founding, the SEG branched out into the making of beautiful earthenware--and the creation of jobs for women--with the launch of the Paul Revere Pottery. [more inside]
Private schools, painful secrets. More than 200 students have been victims of sexual abuse and harassment at New England private schools since the 1950’s. At least 90 students or their families have filed lawsuits or other legal claims. At least 67 private schools in New England have been affected by allegations of sexual abuse by employees disclosed over the past 25 years. The Boston Globe's Spotlight team investigates. CW: The link contains content regarding molestation and sexual abuse that is likely SFW for most but some may find disturbing.
What do you do when your team is aiming for the World Series, but nobody on your team can catch your knuckleballer? It's a tale of panic, mistaken identity, emergency flights over cleared airspace, and missing jock cups... It's an oral history of the Doug Mirabelli trade. (SLSports)
Balcony Seats to the City: "Officially of course, the urban fire escape is primarily an emergency exit, but in New York, this prosaic adornment of countless five- and six-story apartment houses has assumed myriad other functions: faux backyards, platforms for criminal getaways, oases for marginalized smokers and makeshift bedrooms popular during an age before air-conditioning." [more inside]
W E A T H E R - I S - H A P P E N I N G | BOSTONS SOURCE 4 NO NONSENSE WEATHER NO GAMES PPL THIS IS IT THIS IS DEFINITELY IT | ABOWT. |
Late Night's Seth Meyers (previously) has released the trailer for Boston Accent, the most Boston movie of all time. [SLYT]
Over the past year, the [Boston] Globe spent time with an East Boston heroin addict as she struggled through recovery and the prospect of losing her children to the state. Nearly every key moment was witnessed by a Globe reporter or photographer. Brave, broken, loving, at a loss, this is Raquel and her story.Warning: Does not end terribly, but does not end well.
Isabella smoked cigarettes, and the newspaper ran stories claiming she had taken zoo lions for a stroll in the park. A dahlia bears her name, and so does a mountain peak in Washington. She once shocked all of Boston Society by showing up to the Boston Symphony Orchestra bearing a headband that declared, "Oh you Red Sox." She invited the Harvard Football team to her home after they beat Yale. She hosted a boxing match at her home and, while the men fought, she danced. She had two large diamonds attached to wires and wore them bouncing in her hair. At the opening of her museum, she served champagne and donuts. The woman courted the world, and the world courted the woman.
Star Simpson, on the aftermath of the airport "bomb hoax" case, how her school failed her, and how MIT's new student law clinic could have helped. "I would have been grateful to ask questions of someone. Was I actually going to go to prison? What were my options? Should I, in the great American tradition, try to sue somebody? What would accepting a plea deal mean? Was it a good plea deal? Should I keep going with the case, instead? On top of having nobody to turn to, I was disallowed from talking about the case in public. Someone needed to make those decisions and I was completely on my own. Honestly I just wanted it all to be over, but that option was mostly unavailable. I just want you to consider for a moment asking the nearest 19-year-old with no prior interest in nor experience at all with the law for guidance on what to do with any court case. You can tell me how it goes." [more inside]
It’s a Thursday morning, and you’re sitting around with nothing to do. You had a job, but it exploded, so now you’re stuck here in your boring house. Suddenly, your phone rings. Murder, Cheat, and Fuck Your Way Through Boston
Oh my Gawd, it's the fuckin' Bahstin Sunfish supercut! Language NSFW. [more inside]
A 1972 missed connection, as written up more than 40 years later on Craigslist. [internet archive link]
The twisted, true story of the drug-addled, beer-guzzling hardcore punks who made the most popular T-shirts in Boston history.
Cotton Mather's career is defined by two episodes of mass panic. In 1721 he found himself the target of public anger in Boston when he advocated for small pox inoculation after inoculating his own children on the advice of his West African slave, Onesimus. Three decades earlier, in 1692, he was one of the instigators and defenders of the Salem Witch Trials. For more on the latter, visit the comprehensive Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive (previously).
Earlier today, the US Olympic committee dropped the Boston 2024 bid. Local website Universal Hub provided extensive coverage of the ill-fated bid, from its beginnings to today's end. [more inside]
The jury deliberating the fate of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev announced Friday that he will be sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2013 attack. The decision in the penalty phase of his trial came after just over 14 hours of deliberations. He was convicted last month of all 30 federal charges against him, 17 of which carried the possibility of the death penalty. [more inside]
New Balance Bought Its Own Commuter Rail Station [The Atlantic]
If you were in a generous mood, you might call the public transportation system here troubled. Otherwise, you’d call it an ancient, broke, disorganized, mess. The MBTA owes $9 billion in debt. Trains are old. They often can’t run in the snow, which is problematic in a city that got 109 inches last winter. Still, the city of Boston is growing as Millennials and Boomers alike look for walkable, dense places to live. Boston needs more transit, but the state can’t help much: Governor Charlie Baker has proposed cutting $26 million from the state Department of Transportation and $14 million of MBTA funding. So when athletic company New Balance decided to expand its headquarters and build retail, a hotel, a track, and skating rink in one Boston neighborhood not served by public transit, it didn’t wait for the city to agree to build new train stations or add bus routes, which could have taken years. Instead, it decided to build a commuter rail station itself.
Boston's Mayor Walsh has proclaimed today Riot Grrrl Day , in honor of Kathleen Hanna's speech to take place in Boston tonight. Joyce Linehan, the city's Chief of Policy, used to work as an arts promoter and has a long-standing friendship with Kathleen Hanna. Marty Walsh: Coolest Mayor of Boston ever? Next month Bostonians can celebrate the second annual Eugene Mirman Day.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Has the Most Ferocious Lawyer in America Defending Him. Judy Clarke, the publicity-shy anti-death-penalty attorney, has defended the Unabomber, Susan Smith, and Jared Loughner, and successfully spared them capital punishment.
MB(ecket)TA: Samuel Beckett quotes on photos of Boston's snow. Frankly, a little too real right now.
As the city of Boston is continually getting buried under record breaking amounts of snow, one Yeti attempts to bring a little joy.
From the Boston Public Library's Postcard Collection, enjoy approximately 25,000 office proofs of postcards of the United States published by the Boston firm Tichnor Brothers Inc. The collection is sorted by state, plus a few miscellaneous US-related cards and other postcards, including two different color charts. Some images are also available on Digital Commonwealth, and Wikimedia Commons.
The Olympic Rings over Fenway? Are you wicked stupid? On Thursday the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as America’s bidding city for the 2024 Olympics, beating out San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles in the Olympic sweepstakes. As would be expected from Bostonians, reaction is less than enthusiastic. [more inside]
"Turkey drives" were an autumnal tradition from the 1800s to the early 1900s, and involved the overland strolling of flocks of turkeys from all corners of Vermont to their destination — and demise — in Boston.
A Boston Globe reporter talks to his dad about some old-school Boston-area colloquialisms.
Sea levels are rising, the land is sinking. It's going to become a big problem for some cities on the US East Coast, so in Boston people are thinking the unthinkable - copying Venice and Amsterdam, and becoming a city of canals. [more inside]
Tom Menino, Boston's 53rd and longest-serving mayor, dies at 71. He had recently published his memoirs, but announced last week that he was suspending both his book tour and his cancer treatments. "Because of his leadership," current Mayor Marty Walsh said in a released statement, "Boston is a better place today." That is an understatement -- some polls showed that more than fifty percent of Bostonians had met him at one time or another; Tom Menino was the People's Mayor. [more inside]
In light of Dries Verhoeven's public art of his Grindr interactions (since cancelled), Arne Svenson's show, "The Neighbors" (previously) and Future Femme's piece, Show Me More: A collection of DickPix, and amid questions of legality and ethics, the Guardian examines art, consent and privacy.
Vice interviews the shit out of Ben Carr, full-time dancer for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones since 1983.
If you live in the Boston area and would like to attend science, technology, math, or engineering lectures, you'll find Fred Hapgood's exhaustive and continually-updated list of Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering in the Boston Area very useful. (Here's his list of sources.) Perhaps you know of a list like this for lectures in your locality or field of preference?
Politico: "Young called his creed 'the religion of nature' and 'the religion of nature’s God.' And he made abundantly clear that, in his own mind, this radical philosophical religion was the axis on which the Revolution turned. For him, the project to free the American people from the yoke of King George III was part of a grander project to liberate the world from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion." [more inside]
This week Allstate Insurance released its 10th annual Best Drivers Report for the 200 largest US cities. It's wicked pissah being at the bottom (again). [more inside]
In the late 1700's, when the US constitution was ratified and the first Catholic diocese was established in the US in Baltimore, the vast majority of Christians in the US were Protestants - only something like 30,000 Catholics called the new country home. This number rose dramatically within a few decades to over a million with the influx of Irish and German Catholic immigrants in the early 1800's. Simmering anti-Catholic feelings that dated back a hundred years or more occasionally boiled over - one of the most notable incidents, the burning of the Ursuline Convent, happened in sight of Bunker Hill in August 1834. [more inside]
A tour of Boston (et environs) via car in 1964 Take a ride through the Cambridge, Boston, Brookline and Brighton streets of 1964. As notable for what's still there as what isn't. In 1964, Government Center is a construction site, the Citgo sign is not yet the neon icon we all know and love, and the Prudential Tower was brand new. And yet it all look so familiar as you pass the three-deckers in Cambridge and Brighton, ride down the tree-lined Jamaicaway, and dodge those Ford Fairlanes, Nash Ramblers, and '57 Chevys on Storrow and Mem Drive.
An interactive visualization of Boston's subway system in February. With it, you can see where trains on the red, blue, and orange lines were at any moment on February 3 were in space and along their paths between stations, among many other things. [more inside]
Springpad to shut down. The venerable productivity app that served as a digital filing cabinet and personal organizer, has announced on its blog it will close its doors effective June 25. [more inside]
Rare footage of the Velvet Underground playing live in Boston (1967, sound, color, 33 mins. Dir: Andy Warhol) has recently been discovered. [more inside]
"Of all the men known to have boarded the Hunley, indeed, only about half a dozen escaped death in her iron belly–yet McClintock himself survived the war, and one of the keys to understanding the events of 1879 is to establish why he did so."Scam artists, war profiteers, double agents, possibly faked deaths, and the precursors to the IRA are all tied together by the designers and builders of the first combat submarine to sink a warship, in the American Civil War.
In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class. Here's What $800 in Rent Gets You in 11 Major Cities [more inside]
Sarah’s abuser gained access to every password she had. He monitored her bank accounts and used her phone to track her location and read her conversations. She endured four years of regular physical and emotional trauma enabled by meticulous digital surveillance and the existing support services, from shelters to police, were almost powerless to help her. “We wish we could just stop the clock because we need to catch up,” said Risa Mednick, director of the Cambridge domestic violence prevention organization Transition House. To fight back, Transition House and others turn to the same methods used by intelligence agencies in order to keep their clients safe.
How 38 year old Meb Keflezighi became the first American man in more than 30 years to win the Boston Marathon. [more inside]
Edgar Allan Poe will come striding back into Boston this Fall as a life-size bronze sculpture, as designed by Stefanie Rocknak, who has created a number of fluid carvings from wood.
Photographs of survivors and responders from the Boston Marathon bombing as they convene on Boston a year later. Powerful stuff.
...taking a critical look at the dark side of the "Innovation Economy" There is no Google bus controversy in the Bay State. But the similarities between Boston and San Francisco now include a growing debate over the shadow side of the Innovation Economy: [more inside]
Ibragim was a womanizer. He was kind to children. He had a sweet tooth, and a temper. Who killed three men in Waltham, Massachusetts, on September 11 2011? And could solving that case have prevented the Boston Bombings? The answers may never be clear, because the chief surviving suspect, Ibragim Todashev, was shot by the FBI while allegedly on the brink of confessing. Journalist Susan Zalkind's investigation turned up many more questions about the Bureau's handling of the case than it answered. It's also been featured on This American Life. Warning: the first link contains photos of Todashev's dead body.