Video Assistant Referee makes full MLS debut

By Sye Bennefield Jr.

On Tuesday night during the 2017 MLS Homegrown match, viewers at home and on hand had the opportunity to witness the first glimpse of video review technology, although in the scariest of circumstances.

After a collision between FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez and Chivas’ U-20 forward José de Jesús Godínez, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made its MLS debut, four days earlier than first issued.

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Red Stars defeat the Pride — and the heat

By Sye Bennefield Jr.

The only thing hotter than Christen Press Saturday afternoon was the Toyota Park grounds as the Chicago Red Stars defeated the Orlando Pride 2-1.

Press netted a brace for the Red Stars (8-3-4, 28 points) as temperatures were as high as 91 degrees with humidity. Head referee Farhad Dadkho stopped the contest so players could hydrate and cool down.

Yet, that hardly bothered Press as she opened up the scoring in the 29th minute with a lovely Sofia Huerta ball over the top of the Pride’s back line.

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Saint John the Baptist gets a makeover at the Art Institute

By Puja Bhattacharjee

A newly restored “Scenes from the life of Saint John the Baptist” by Bartolommeo di Giovanni is among the paintings and objects on display in “Saints and Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe,” which opened on March 20 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Scholars believe the painting adorned a Florentine home in the late 1400s. It was a spalliera painting– a painting hung at shoulder height. It was originally part of a series of paintings that would have decorated a room.

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Army takes Warrior Games gold medal; coach has message for team and others

By Sye Bennefield

As the athletes went down the line, both greeting and congratulating each other, Army Head Coach Rod Williams, simply watched.

Chicago played host to the Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games on June 30 – July 8. It was the first time the Warrior Games was hosted outside of a military base or Olympic venue.

Williams was there along with approximately 265 wounded service members and their families. He’s no stranger to competing, he’s been competing against himself from the very beginning.
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After-school program teaches native children their heritage

By Jiayan Jenny Shi

Kelly Summers, 44, is a Chicago-born Native American who volunteers with Native Scholars, an after-school tutoring program at the American Indian Association of Illinois (AIAI). Every Tuesday afternoon, native children across Chicago meet at a church basement in Andersonville where they get homework assistance and cultural instruction.

Summers learned cultural traditions at a Menominee Indian reservation and from her late father. Now she tutors native children as a way to give back to the community and continue her father’s dream and mission.

Photo at top: Kelly Summers assists native children in their homework at the after-school program on May 16. (Jiayan Jenny Shi/MEDILL)

Building a better tornado warning system

By Puja Bhattacharjee

People start trickling into the National Severe Storms Laboratory holding coffee cups and laptops. By 8 a.m., eight people fill a room for the Spring Experiment. The laboratory in Norman, Okla., is open all year. But now it’s tornado season.

Researchers, forecasters, software developers, IT personnel and scientists from different parts of the country have come together for the annual experimental program held during the spring severe weather season to test and evaluate new techniques and tools for hazardous weather forecasting.

One of the goals this year is to continue testing software that could possibly eradicate false alarms, issue more accurate and detailed warnings for tornadoes and other severe weather. “The false alarm ratio of a one-hour forecast of a tornado should be smaller in the future if the research pans out – meaning fewer one-hour forecasts of tornadoes will be wrong,” says Greg Stumpf, who heads this program.

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Making materials in space – freeze it first

This summer a team of Northwestern University undergraduates will finalize instrumentation designs for a NASA satellite mission that will test the manufacturing of materials while in orbit.  The students are building the device for SpaceICE to study freeze-casting, a process that could eventually be used to build materials on other planets in space colonies.

“In terms of science fiction, the perfect use [of freeze-casting] would be to use soil on Mars and on the moon” to make bricks or other necessities. “We hope we will impact the creation of the first space habitats from planetary sources,” said materials science Professor David Dunand, the lead advisor for the SpaceICE project.

Why the Cavs’ future depends on these NBA Finals…

By Allie Burger

It’s now…or maybe not for a long time for the Cleveland Cavaliers if they don’t win the 2017 NBA Finals. Here’s a breakdown of all the moving parts in their organization that could be affected if they lose.

Photo at top: The Cleveland Cavaliers are tied for the oldest team in the NBA and do not have a draft pick until 2019. (Allie Burger/MEDILL)

Student researchers move step by step to prepare for NASA launch

By Lily Williams

A combined team of undergraduates at Northwestern University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are working together to build a satellite and instruments to test the fabrication of building materials in space.

The NASA mission is due to launch into orbit in the summer of 2018. It has two parts: a box-like satellite called a CubeSat (UIUC’s job) and a payload of instruments (NU’s job at the SpaceICE lab) to test freeze-casting . The instrumentation will freeze suspensions and study the corrugated structures of materials left behind in the freezing and thawing process. The undergraduate-only collaboration will determine if freeze-casting could be a viable mechanism for fabricating many different materials, from fuel cells to cocoa tablets, both on Earth and eventually on other planets.

The work is complex, rigorous and constantly evolving, especially because, as students graduate, they need to be replaced and re-trained from the ground up. Each university team not only has to design and test their own product, but also make sure that CubeSat and the SpaceICE payload work together.

Below are some photos that attempt to chronicle the day-to-day tasks of both teams, at NU and UIUC, where the satellite makers  need to configure their spacecraft for the instrumentation.

Photo at top: Northwestern materials science and engineering senior Jonathan Young spoons his suspension into the collection vestibule of the freezing instrument SpaceICE has specially designed for their research. (Lily Williams/MEDILL)

Mole brings Pilsen community together

By Alissa Anderegg

At the annual Mole de Mayo Festival, thousands of hungry Chicagoans come to explore the authentic Mexican flavors of the Pilsen neighborhood. This year’s festival marks the eighth anniversary of the event, where locals and visitors come to taste some of the best mole dishes in Chicago. Each year Mole de Mayo features a mole contest, where restaurants compete with their versions of the Mexican staple. The festival is organized by the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that has been serving the Pilsen neighborhood for more than three decades.

Mole tacos are served at the eighth annual Mole de Mayo Festival. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)