Sunday, January 15, 2017

Some Sunday Reads

Today I turned 62 years old. I can't believe I made it this far. In two months I will receive my first Social Security check, as I am taking it early. Congress better not fuck around with it, either.

I like what Google does on birthdays and comes up with a Google doodle wishing a person a happy birthday.

This year I have some plans I am going to be trying to fulfill. I will attempt to market my novel, which so far hasn't sold anything. I wasn't expecting to sell anything right off the bat, but it costs money to get a professional to design a cover, purchasing an ISBN number, and so forth.

It's way out of my price range to hire an editor, but I don't think I need one unless the person would insist I completely revamp the book, which I would never do. Much of it is based on my own experiences.

Right now I am writing another book, but this one isn't going to be a very long book by comparison. I am taking my time with it.

I also have some trips I am going to be taking. The first one is a revisit to Yosemite, and I want to take it in August. It will be a group tour and not the nightmare ride I had with my landlord back in 2006.

I never heard of this tragedy, which happened 98 years ago. It is certainly one of the more bizarre ones in history:

The reason? Boston’s Great Molasses Flood of 1919, one of the city’s most bizarre and deadly disasters.

Shortly after noon on January 15, 1919, as many Boston workers were taking their lunch break, a 2.5-million gallon tank of molasses on 529 Commercial St. ruptured, sending a “tidal wave of death and destruction stalking through the North End,” as The Boston Globe reported at the time.

According to varying estimates, the wave was 15 to 40 feet high, and moved at a speed of 35 miles per hour.

As bloggers used to say, "Read the whole thing."

Strange as hell.

The New York Times had an article about it last month:

For nearly 100 years, no one really knew why the spill was so deadly.

But at a meeting of the American Physical Society this month, a team of scientists and students presented what may be an important piece of the century-old puzzle. They concluded that when a shipment of molasses newly arrived from the Caribbean met the cold winter air of Massachusetts, the conditions were ripe for a calamity to descend upon the city.

By studying the effects of cold weather on molasses, the researchers determined that the disaster was more fatal in the winter than it would have been during a warmer season. The syrup moved quickly enough to cover several blocks within seconds and thickened into a harder goo as it cooled, slowing down the wave but also hindering rescue efforts.

“It’s a ridiculous thing to imagine, a tsunami of molasses drowning the North End of Boston, but then you look at the pictures,” said Shmuel M. Rubinstein, a Harvard professor whose students investigated the disaster.

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