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One of the most intriguing regional disasters of the past century – the Great Molasses Flood that killed 21 people in Boston’s North End in 1919 after a 2 million-gallon storage tank burst – has gotten the attention of academics who were curious about why it was so bad. The NY Times has a big story about it (here it is), but in summary, the weather was just wrong: warm enough to allow the molasses to flow very fast, but cold enough that it congealed quickly and trapped people.

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