Shannon Fischer

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Shannon Fischer is a freelance science writer based in Boston. Her work has also appeared in Boston magazine, Pacific Standard online, and IEEE Pulse.

Articles By Shannon Fischer

April 1851: With a cold spring wind blowing across East Boston, the Flying Cloud slid from its shipyard and into the water for the first time. The vessel was a massive beauty, all long lines and angles, with a 1,782-ton cargo capacity, decks that spanned 225 feet, and a sharp prow built to knife through the water. The keel was made of rock maple, and three sails carried a total of 10,000 yards of canvas. Beneath the bow, a carved white-and-gold angel trumpeted the way forward.

At a time when sailing merchant vessels ruled the mid-19th century seas, the Flying Cloud became the fastest “clipper” ship of the day, and was built in Boston by a pioneering shipbuilder, Donald McKay.More →

Jan. 1, 1889 — Just over a century and a quarter ago, Boston and New York had themselves a choice to make: clean up their respective crowded, stinking, horse-jammed roadways with cable-based transit technology a la San Francisco, soot-belching steam trains like London’s, or go for broke with comparatively untested newfangled electric railways popping up in small experimental models around the country?

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