Pangea raised $180m to buy up low-rent Chicago properties "to help poor people," and then created the most brutally efficient eviction mill in Chicago history

Pangea was founded by Al Goldstein, a Deutsche Bank investment banker who quit to found a massive, intercontinental payday lending outfit; he tapped the investors that he enriched with his payday lending business to stake him $180 million and bought up thousands of low-rent buildings in Chicago's poorest neighborhoods (which are also Chicago's blackest neighborhoods). Read the rest

Uber drivers across America are going on strike -- UPDATED

Update: Shona from Gig Workers Rising clarifies: "Gig Workers Rising isn't organizing the national day of action. Drivers in each of the 6 cities taking action are coordinating the day of action together. Drivers in LA with Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles called a strike and asked other cities to take action on the same day. Gig Workers Rising supports and educates drivers who are organizing across the state. We are not organizing drivers."

On May 8, Uber drivers are organizing a nationwide shutdown of Uber, with drivers turning off their apps in protest over low pay: so far, seven cities' drivers are signed up: Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis, LA and DC. Uber and Lyft have both slashed pay for drivers and raised prices as they try to assuage the capital markets. Read the rest

Chicago is demanding that children on bail wear private-sector ankle-cuffs with mics that can record them without their consent

Children who end up caught in Chicago's policing and justice system are being outfitted with ReliAlert XC3 GPS ankle-cuffs supplied by the Track Group, who use them to log children's movements and to bark orders at them, as well as listening in on them. The children have to wear them 24/7 while on bail awaiting trial. Read the rest

Chicago's first gay, Black, woman mayor won all 50 wards, defeating the machine candidate with an anti-corruption campaign

Lori Lightfoot is Chicago's newest mayor, succeeding the notoriously corrupt establishment figure Rahm Emmanuel (who quit after two terms, triggering a race), and beating out Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who had been anointed by Chicago's legendarily unassailable Democratic machine as the next mayor. Read the rest

Free to a good home: 70 washed, empty cans of Popeye Spinach

Are you in Chicago? Do you want 70, washed, empty Popeye Spinach cans? Craigslist has you covered: "Stacked in a pyramid, they look like a modern art masterpiece one might find at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I ate a bunch of spinach years ago and never threw the cans away, if you’re wondering WTF." (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Chicago! I'm at C2E2 this weekend with my new book RADICALIZED! Next up: San Francisco, Portland/Ft Vancouver, Seattle & Anaheim!

Last night's book tour event in Toronto was a smashing success! Thanks to everyone who came! I just checked in for my flight to Chicago for a weekend's worth of appearances at C2E2, and then on Monday I'll be at Berkeley Arts & Letters at 7:30PM with Richard Kadrey, then The Revolutionary Reads series at Ft Vancouver (outside of Portland, OR), and then the Seattle Public Library and finally a weekend of events at Wondercon in Anaheim. Come on out! (Image: Nikola Danaylov, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

I'm going out on tour with my new science fiction book RADICALIZED and I hope to see you!

Radicalized is my next science fiction book, out on March 18 from Tor Books: it contains four novellas about the hope and misery of our moment, from refugees resisting life in an automated IoT hell to health care executives being targeted by suicide bombers who have been traumatized by watching their loved ones die after being denied care. Tor Books is sending me on tour with the book in the US and Canada and I hope you can make it to one of my stops! Read the rest

Chicago Police seek surveillance cams to ID attackers, 'MAGA' claims were true

UPDATE: Smollett lied, say cops: actor charged with filing false police report

Black security guard shot dead by police after preventing a mass shooting

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

Chicagoans can actually play "Machine Learning President," the election RPG

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

Last chance to back the Kickstarter for our interdisciplinary seminar series on censorship today and in the Renaissance

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

My life on the road: A lost passport, no ID, and bullshit paperwork trying to get back to Canada

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

Chicago! I'm speaking at Volumes Book Cafe on Thursday!

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

Jason Van Dyke guilty of 2nd degree murder and aggravated battery in shooting death of black teen Laquan McDonald

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

Tomorrow: come to our University of Chicago seminar on Renaissance censorship and internet censorship

Ada Palmer is a University of Chicago Renaissance historian (and so much more: librettist, science fiction novelist, and all-round polymath); she has convened a series of seminars at the University in collaboration with science and piracy historian Adrian Johns, and me! Read the rest

Kickstarting a seminar series with Ada Palmer and me about the history of censorship and information control

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 is facing its first citywide hotel strike since 1903

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

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