Health and Science

Days before the Polar Vortex, Chicagoans make a splash at the Polar Plunge

By Emma Goodson
Medill Reports

The high hovered at a frigid 14 degrees, though the sun glazed Oak Street Beach as hundreds of people gathered there on Jan. 26.

Some stripped down to bathing suits to participate in the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Some wore costumes, including a polar bear outfit, of course.
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Chicago Chill – Temperature drop empties streets as students and commuters stay home

Chris Schulz
Medill Reports

January 30, 2019, marked one of the coldest days in Chicago’s history, with an early morning low of -23 degrees and a frigid high of -10. Schools, businesses, and public attractions all closed their doors against the dangerous cold, encouraging everyone to stay indoors. Downtown Chicago, devoid of its characteristic bustle, looked eerie and abandoned. Continue reading

How this nano startup tackles big problems at the smallest scale

By Cyan Zhong
Medill Reports

A floating birthday balloon that sticks to the wall. A sponge absorbing water. An exploding soda can. A bottle rocket.

These seemingly unrelated items are all analogies Benjamin Hernandez uses to explain his startup, NuMat Technologies, a nanotechnology company in Skokie that tackles big problems at the smallest possible scale.

Think of birthday balloons. When they float around and rub against the wall, they stick to it because the electrical properties of gas determine that it likes to stick to surfaces, the 35-year-old founder said. Continue reading

Latinx residents and young candidates join forces for upcoming Cicero elections

By Ankur Singh
Medill Reports

On a cold Monday night at the V Bar in Berwyn, the room radiated energy as a group of young people gathered to build a grassroots political campaign that has never been seen before in their community.

“Some of you might recognize me as the voice of the announcements from the class year of 2012,” said Gerardo Nava, as he introduced himself as a supporter.

“I have been involved politically, not so much in Cicero because, at this point if you live in Cicero, you know how the politics are. But now we have the opportunity to take that landscape and make it our own. I’m really excited to see what can happen,” added Brenda Hernandez, campaign manager for Morton High School District 201 board  candidate Esteban Rodriguez. Continue reading

Who is the most tech-friendly candidate for mayor of Chicago?

By Yixuan Xie
Medill Reports

Early voting in Chicago’s elections began Tuesday, setting the stage for the winning candidate who will have the opportunity to accelerate Chicago’s already burgeoning tech scene.

Chicago tied for the second most innovative U.S. city with Boston and has become one of the nation’s leading tech hubs, according to a KPMG report released in March.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been an ardent supporter of the tech community since he took office in 2011. He helped create ChicagoNext, an organization that is dedicated to driving Chicago’s tech growth, supported the launch of the city’s biggest tech incubator 1871, and invited many tech companies to move to Chicago.

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Chicago mayoral candidates criticize “the Chicago way” and vow to eliminate corruption

By Ariana Puzzo
Medill Reports

“We have candidates on this stage right now who are not corrupt,” said attorney and mayoral candidate John Kozlar.  He and others took swipes at  accusations that have surfaced during the race for mayor and aldermen.

“The people who got us in this mess are not going to be the ones who get us out of it,” Kozlar said.

Other candidates at Saturday’s mayoral forum at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple added that voting for a new type of leader in the mayoral election would bring citywide improvement.

Garry McCarthy, the former Chicago police superintendent, said the problems that affect Chicago today are based on decades of political corruption in the city, state and county.

“Concepts like ‘the Chicago way,’ concepts like, ‘Well, I gave the money back,’” McCarthy said. “Well, if you rob a bank and give the money back, you’re still guilty of bank robbery, folks.”

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Multiple federal agencies hit by wave of possible Iran-linked cyberattacks

By Tyler Sonnemaker
Medill Reports

The Department of Homeland Security last week instructed all federal civilian agencies to take immediate actions to address “significant and imminent risks to agency information and information systems” resulting from an ongoing wave of cyberattacks.

In an emergency directive issued Jan. 22, DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said it is aware of “multiple executive branch agency domains” impacted by the campaign and has notified the agencies that maintain them.

FireEye, a cybersecurity firm based in California, indicated it had identified attacks that affected at least 50 government, telecommunications and internet infrastructure entities globally on an “almost unprecedented scale,” according to a company blog post published Jan. 9.

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More international students in the U.S. ponder career prospects after graduation

By Lily Qi
Medill Reports

After receiving another job rejection, 22-year-old Dayan Paiewonsky posted an Instagram screenshot of the email with “thank u, next.”

Paiewonsky left the Dominican Republic four years ago to study international business and finance at the Loyola University Chicago.

With graduation approaching this summer, finding a job is becoming urgent for him. In Paiewonsky’s eyes, completing college in less than five months isn’t something to be excited about like fellow students, but a crucial stepping stone if he hopes to stay in the U.S.
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Volunteers and survivors of sexual assault help other survivors

By Chris Schulz
Medill Reports

Medical advocates always hope they will not receive this notification during their shift. Even though they have trained for the scenario, are certified by the state to respond and have volunteered their time for this exact reason, it is still heartbreaking. The notification means that someone, somewhere in a hospital in Chicago has just disclosed that they survived a sexual assault.

Medical advocates are dispatched on these calls by the organization they volunteer with, such as YWCA-Chicago or Resilience, notified directly by staff at the hospital.

Although she stresses that every case is different, Lindsay Cogan always tries to start her interactions with survivors by communicating: “This isn’t your fault. I believe you. You have options.”

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Break down silos to make Chicago an electric transit leader

By Xieyang Jessica Qiao
Medill Reports

As vehicle automation and electrification gain traction, they create a new mobility ecosystem for Chicago to tap into. Yet the city’s traditional residential infrastructure and limited connectivity could hinder Chicago and other metropolises in their ability to innovate.

Waymo, Google’s autonomous car subsidiary, announced last year they would purchase over 60,000 vehicles from Fiat Chrysler and 20,000 electric vehicles from Jaguar for the self-driving car fleet.

“According to Morgan Stanley’s estimate, the potential market cap of Waymo is $175 billion if they launch an initial public offering,” said Gary A. Silberg, the Americas head of automotive innovation at the audit firm KPMG. Continue reading