General Interest

Sound of science: DePaul phonographers tune in to city noise

By Bryce Gray

With car horns, truck traffic, and the buzz of jackhammers and construction blaring through every city neighborhood, local decibel levels make Chicago one of the noisiest places in the country.

That’s according to data released recently by the National Park Service’s Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies. Continue reading

Food waste in the crosshairs of NUvention entrepreneurs

By Bryce Gray

That tomato on your salad and other produce items across the U.S. endure an odyssey of more than 1,300 miles from the field to your local grocery store. That journey not only costs energy, but also time that cuts into shelf life and contributes to $7 billion worth of domestic food waste annually.

When it comes to freshness, the dizzying logistics of this system require food to be picked when under-ripe and treated with chemicals and costly refrigeration until it reaches far-off consumers.

“This is a very complex system,” said Aidan Mouat, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate and the CEO of Hazel Technologies, speaking at last week’s end-of-term presentations for entrepreneurial NUvention Energy students at Northwestern University. “We’d like to say, ‘Let’s stop all that. Let’s just come up with a solution that works well and drops into a number of different spaces and just stops that senescence process – that ripening process.’” Continue reading

Southeast Siders: No End in Sight For Pet Coke

By Sarah Kramer

Jessica Loy had lived in her new two-story home for three months when her youngest son, Carlos Gonzalez, Jr., 5, started showing the same symptoms of asthma his twin sister, Carla Gonzalez.

Carla has suffered from asthma since she was a baby, Loy said, but Carlos didn’t have a history of the same problems. He’d never needed a nebulizer treatment. Now he does. Now Loy has to convince the energetic kindergartner to sit still for 10 minutes, breathing in vaporized liquid through a small plastic mask, twice every day.

“My doctor asked me what happened, what did you do differently?” Loy said. “Nothing. We just moved.” Continue reading

OPINION: Sharp rumors hurt everyone involved

By Ryan Lund

Patrick Sharp is a hard man to dislike.

With a winning smile unblemished by a 13-year NHL career that landed the high-scoring winger on the cover of Chicago Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful Chicagoans” issue in 2011, Sharp is an instantly recognizable face on a team that seems to deal almost exclusively in recognizable faces.

But despite his very public face, the quick-wristed 33-year-old has managed to keep a relatively low profile.

There have been no bar fights, court dates or social media tirades; no Twitter-backed embarrassment campaigns linking Sharp to domestic violence or drugs, just a clean slate of productive play.

Sharp has netted fewer than 20 goals just once since 2007.

By all accounts, Patrick Sharp is a man that you want to have on your team.

Well, nearly all accounts.

Continue reading

Teachers sample new science ed tools at national exhibition

By Taylor Mullaney

The National Science Teachers Association hosted its 2015 National Conference March 12 to March 15 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, with almost 10,000 teachers in attendance. The conference included a three-day exhibition of the newest science education products on the market, including games and live animal specimens. According to teachers, these tools can provide a way to engage diverse learners in challenge scientific content. Continue reading

Doctrine or discrimination: the Mormon church’s ‘new’ stance on homosexuality

By Meghan Tribe

Brad Steckelberg assumed everyone knew he was gay. A recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – colloquially referred to as the Mormon church—Steckelberg disclosed his homosexuality prior to his baptism. He understood the church’s stance on celibacy. He was willing to live within those parameters. But that became close to impossible once people in the church started setting him up with women.

A younger church member passed along Steckelberg’s email address and phone number to his mother. Another church member’s sister found Steckelberg’s email from the church directory and began emailing him. A missionary asked Steckelberg if he could give his phone number to a woman he baptized in another area, for as he put it, “she and I would be perfect together.”

Perplexed and dumbfounded, Steckelberg reached out to his friend and missionary in the Pure Branch of The Church of Latter-day Saints in Pierre, South Dakota, for guidance. Steckelberg said his friend’s haunting advice to him was, “No matter what you do, keep this a secret. Do not tell anyone about your attractions. And I’m just telling you for your own good, that it won’t end well if you start telling people.” Steckelberg’s friend identified the underlying irony of the Mormon Church’s alleged shift on homosexuality.

In January 2015, Mormon elders held a press conference where they called upon local, state and federal governments to pass legislation “protecting the rights of our LGBT citizens in such areas as housing, employment and public accommodation,” so long as these rights didn’t infringe on the constitutional rights of churches or the integrity of the traditional family outlined in Mormon doctrine. Continue reading

Creative. Energetic. Talkative. Narcoleptic?

By Priyam Vora

“It was what everybody jokes about when somebody falls asleep somewhere in a chair at a holiday party like you know ‘Oh you must be narcoleptic,” said Regis Watson, Annie’s mother. “I mean it was always a joke.”

Annie was diagnosed with narcolepsy when she was 6 years old, a long painful year after Annie started showing symptoms when she was 5.

“It took us some time before we knew Annie had narcolepsy because she was just so bright,” said Regis Watson, Annie’s mother. “She is fabulously smart.”

Video reporting by Priyam Vora/Medill; videography by Ronak Vora

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that impacts 1 in 2,000 people in the U.S., according to Narcolepsy Network. The disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and an overwhelming sense of tiredness and fatigue throughout the day. Continue reading

Jails lack resources to care for heroin addicts, experts say

By Dani Anguiano

Sonja Radtke, 30, a recovering heroin addict, says experiencing heroin withdrawal feels a lot like going through hell, but it is much worse in jail where treatment is limited.

“Like, I throw up blood and have seizures when I get sick, but [jail staff] really don’t do anything,” Radtke said of her withdrawal experience while incarcerated in an Illinois jail.

Similarly, Chenel Jones said the pain that she experienced while withdrawing from heroin was so intense that she became delusional.

“Because it’s hell,” Jones said. “I just asked God to take my life. I had gave up – it’s so painful and it’s so sickening.”

The jails where Radtke and Jones experienced withdrawal are among the more than 5,000 jails and prisons across the United States, many of which lack the resources to provide treatment for heroin withdrawal and detoxification. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care says methadone-based treatment is highly effective for opiate addiction, but only a handful of facilities have a methadone program, such as Rikers Island’s Key Extended Entry Program. Heroin use has reportedly skyrocketed across the country in recent years leaving more and more facilities ill-equipped to offer treatment. Continue reading

International Women’s Day brings healing to female writers

By Dawnn Anderson

“Being a woman of color you are forced to choose between being a woman and being black. But both are my realities. The writing circle shows diversity in our experiences. We are not all the same.”

That was one of the sentiments expressed on International Women’s Day March 8, at the Jane Addams Hull-House museum, where eight strangers openly shared their lives through reflective free writing exercises. Continue reading

Architecture for everyone – how one start-up design firm thinks beyond the building

By Bethel Habte

During a presentation at Creative Mornings, a free monthly conference and networking event, architect Katherine Darnstadt pulled up a photo of people waiting in line for designer cupcakes at a food truck on a freezing Chicago afternoon. She followed that photo with one of people waiting in line for fresh produce at a decommissioned transit authority bus her firm redesigned to serve communities in food deserts across the city.

“Same day, different parts of the city,” she told a crowd of nearly 200 people. “That’s the dichotomy that we do have in this city and we work right at that gap.” Continue reading