Jemel Roberson was working as an armed security guard at Manny's Blue Room Bar in the Chicago suburb of Robbins early Sunday morning when he asked a group of intoxicated men to leave the bar. The men came back to the bar and one with a gun began shooting. The 26-year-old security guard fired back and caught one of the men outside of the bar. He had the suspect down on the ground at gunpoint when two Midlothian police officers responding to 911 calls arrived on the scene. One of the officers shot and killed Roberson. Read the rest
After the 2016 elections, Scout.ai and a group of technology activists created Machine Learning President, designed for "scenario planning to game out how tech might impact future elections, as a way to think through the potential challenges and pitfalls that might eat away at democracy." Read the rest
I have been collaborating with science fiction writer, singer, librettist and Renaissance scholar Ada Palmer and science historian and piracy expert Adrian Johns to put on a seminar series at the University of Chicago called Censorship & Information Control In Information Revolutions: every Friday, we gather a panel of interdisciplinary scholars to talk about parallels between censorship regimes during the Renaissance and the dawn of the printing press and the censorship systems that have arisen since in response to other new forms of information technology. Read the rest
16 October, 2018 My wife drops me at the airport in Calgary. I'm traveling to Chicago. A fancy audio hardware company called Shure invited me to the city to check out some of the new tech that they'll be releasing in the coming months.
I pass through security with no issues. As I lace on my boots, I am certain that I have my passport. It is in my hand as I board my flight. I place my passport in a buttoned pocket in my jacket before sitting down on the plane. Standing up at the end of my flight, my passport is still there. Upon landing, I pay it no further mind. I'm on the hunt for a cab ride into Chicago's downtown core.
"They say they don't have any money but Jesus: lookit alla this construction," my cab driver says to me. "It's alla the time." I tell him that we have construction season in Calgary, too. But yeah, the traffic headed into the downtown is weaponized bullshit. My smartphone says that the trip should take 35 minutes. Curb to curb, it is a 90-minute ride.
I pay the driver his due and step out of his hack.
In the hotel's front door to the hotel's front desk. I have my luggage. I have a reservation. I have a credit card for incidentals.
I do not have a passport.
I don't have a driver's license, either. I haven't had one for years: my PTSD makes my being behind the wheel a bad idea. Read the rest
I'm coming to Chicago for this week's installment of the Censorship and Information Control During Information Revolutions seminar series, and while I'm in town, I'm appearing at Volumes Book Cafe (1474 N. Milwaukee) for the regular Deep Dish reading series, on November 11 at 7PM. Read the rest
A Chicago jury has found white police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Read the rest
Science fiction author, librettist, singer and historian Ada Palmer (previously), science and piracy historian Adrian Johns, and I have teamed up to create a seminar series at the University of Chicago called Censorship and Information Control During Information Revolutions, which compares and contrasts the censorship regimes and moral panics that flourished after the invention of the printing press with modern, computerized efforts to control and suppress information. Read the rest
Chicago's tourism sector is booming, with a record 55,000,000 visitors to the city last year, and revenue up this year by 10.4% to $1.45B: but workers aren't seeing those gains. Read the rest
In 2009, after a successful public records lawsuit, the Invisible Institute received data on complaints against Chicago Police Department officers since 1988 -- the complaints often list multiple officers, and by tracing the social graph of dirty cops over time, The Intercept's Rob Arthur was able to show how corruption spread like a contagion, from senior officers to junior ones, teaching bad practices ranging from brutality to falsifying evidence to torture to racism to plotting to murder whistleblowing cops. Read the rest
Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago's very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city's most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter. Read the rest
It's wedding season, y'all. Time to get dressed up, drink too much and do something regrettable at what should be the best day of your best friend/sister/mother/father/hairdresser's life. Around since the 1990s, Chicago paddy punk band The Tossers are the perfect soundtrack to any special occasion you'd care to ruin. Read the rest
Four Democratic challengers backed by United Working Families (linked with the progressive Working Families Party) have successfully challenged establishment Dems backed by Chicago's legendarily unassailable "Democratic machine," effectively winning their offices at the same time, because the Democrat candidate always gets elected to those offices, thanks to Republicans not bothering to field candidates (leaving a vacuum that is sometimes filled by Holocaust-denying Illinois Nazis). Read the rest
Arthur Jones is standing uncontested to be the GOP's candidate in Illinois's 3rd Congressional District, representing suburban Chicago; he has run for office several times on a white-supremacist, Holocaust denial platform, calling the Holocaust "the biggest blackest lie in history." Read the rest
On December 15, Ars Technica ran a story by veteran security reporter Dan Goodin in which Goodin reported on a disclosure by Google researcher Tavis Ormandy, who had discovered that Keeper Security's password manager, bundled with Windows 10, was vulnerable to a password stealing bug that was very similar to a bug that had been published more than a year before. Read the rest
Two of the four Chicago Department of Aviation Security officers who beat United Airlines passenger Dr David Dao until he was unconscious, concussing him, breaking his nose and then dragging him off the plane, have been fired -- but not for administering the beating. Rather, they were fired for lying about it. One of the other two officers involved has quit and the final one got a two-day paid holiday ("suspension"). Read the rest