Chicago Tribune

From Bitcoin mining to ATMs, Illinois is positioning itself as a center for the booming cryptocurrency industry

City of the big shoulders, hog butcher for the world, Chicago is looking to add another title for the digital age: cryptocurrency finance center. From one of the Midwest’s largest cryptocurrency mining facilities to a Chicago-based Bitcoin ATM operator, Illinois is becoming fertile ground for the fast-growing digital asset industry, which has developed from an arcane concept into a booming investment in a little over a decade. With little regulation and no backing other than the faith of its fervent believers, cryptocurrency has turned into digital gold for early adopters, despite wild market ...

‘If you want a scary story’: Agriculture, human health and ecosystems at risk as Illinois’ climate is quickly changing

Illinois’ climate is swiftly changing, In an extensive new report released Tuesday, the Nature Conservancy details how Illinois’ climate has transformed and looks forward to what more change might mean for the state’s agriculture, human health and already-stressed ecosystems. “There’s a big message there that we need to be doing everything we can to prevent future climate change by mitigating our use of fossil fuels, particularly,” said Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois, and one of the lead authors of the assessment. “For those things we can’t p...

Live on election night, Colbert, Noah struggle to make comedy out of the unclear presidential results

The comedy Tuesday evening was about as satisfying as the vote-counting.On an election night where the most likely thing happened and America went to bed without a winner in the presidential race or many other key contests, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah offered up separate live comedy shows attempting to leverage the potentially momentous occasion.But by the time both shows ended in the vicinity of midnight Eastern time, there wasn’t much available in the way of results and so the shows were left to ride largely on prepared bits that they could run no matter the news and on jokes about the n...

As we head into a winter lockdown, who will win? Netflix and DoorDash again? Don't be so sure.

CHICAGO — Last Saturday, I asked my wife how she wanted to spend the evening. “Well,” she said. “We could take the dog for a walk or watch something on a screen.”My face must have fallen. “You know what?,” she said, brightly. “We could do both.”In the first phase of this pervasive COVID-19 nightmare, screens dominated our locked-down lives, providing education for our children, a gateway to buying stuff and almost all of our entertainment options. The economic consequence of this was a massive win for international in-home content facilitators and providers like Zoom and Netflix, a devastating...

The only Chicagoan of the Chicago 7 just wrote a memoir and says he's a fan of the Netflix movie 'Trial of the Chicago 7'

CHICAGO — Lee Weiner was the only defendant in the 1969 trial of the Chicago 7 who was from Chicago. He grew up in South Shore; while facing federal charges of inciting a riot and teaching his fellow protestors to build Molotov cocktails, he was a research assistant in the sociology department at Northwestern University. Yet, in the new Aaron Sorkin movie, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which hits Netflix on Friday, Weiner is barely a supporting character. Which isn’t far from the truth: If the Chicago 8 (as they were initially) was considered a dream team of magnetic war protestors — Abbie Hof...

Trump's America gets caught with its pants down in 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm'

We’ll zip up the matter of Rudy Giuliani’s pants in a minute. First, though, let’s pretend the new “Borat” movie has people talking about anything else.It goes by the droll, broken-English title of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Sacha Baron Cohen’s most useful satiric creation — the exuberantly bigoted idiot journalist from Kazakhstan first introduced on Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show,” then given his own, wonderful, hit-and-run 2006 feature — captures intermittent flashes of lightning in his return to an America even more alarming than the gun-toting Dogpatch of the second Bush term, as depicted in th...

College grads struggle to launch careers in a pandemic economy. 'I chose the worst year to get my life together'

CHICAGO — Kevin Zheng had big plans lined up as he prepared to graduate in the spring with a degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.The 23-year-old thought he’d enter the job market well-prepared, with an internship at the Chicago Police Department on his resume.But the COVID-19 health crisis upended that plan. His internship was canceled, his graduation was delayed until August, and he sat in his bedroom for the virtual commencement ceremony. Now he’s looking for a job in a pandemic-induced recession.“I chose the worst year to get my life together,” said Zheng, ...

Was it realistic to expect college students to follow COVID-19 protocols? The science suggests no.

Back in June, leading adolescent brain researcher Laurence Steinberg wrote a New York Times op-ed predicting that students returning to college campuses during a pandemic would not go well.“These plans are so unrealistically optimistic that they border on delusional and could lead to outbreaks of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff,” wrote Steinberg, who is a professor of psychology at Temple University and the author of “Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence.”He was right, of course. A late September survey conducted by the New York Times looked at more than 1...

An Illinois university got major pushback for cutting religion, French and anthropology. But other colleges are dropping the humanities too

CHICAGO — Scott Sheridan didn’t expect his 23 years of teaching at Illinois Wesleyan University to end like this.Though fewer students are pursuing degrees in his areas of study these days, many still participate. This semester, more than 50 students at the campus in Bloomington are taking advanced classes in French cinema and Italian cultural history. The spots filled up so quickly that more were added, Sheridan said.But programs in French and Italian won’t continue beyond this school year. And neither will those in religion, anthropology, American cultural studies and three other academic de...

'Trial of Chicago 7': Aaron Sorkin takes Mayor Daley's 1968 nightmare to court

Brilliantly cast, full of juicy verbal confrontations and only slightly undermined by its director, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” hits the righteous indignation spot. The writer is Aaron Sorkin. The director is also Aaron Sorkin.It’ll certainly hit home for Chicagoans who remember 1968 and 1969, as well as Chicagoans who know full well what has boiled these few months of 2020, and why.In late August 1968, the Democratic National Convention began and soon became a secondary narrative. Lincoln Park and, across the street from the Conrad Hilton Hotel convention headquarters, Grant Park drew tens o...

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