The Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory compiles a fascinating array of primary sources about the 1871 fire that destroyed 4 square miles of the city of Chicago, killing hundreds and leaving nearly one out of five residents homeless. Explore 3D images, music [embedded], children's drawings, and personal recollections. See also a pictorial survey of the damage, including fused marbles and metal hardware, related documents and images at the Library of Congress, and an exoneration of Mrs. O'Leary and her bovine companion, along with a suggestion by John Lienhart that police corruption and class struggle were more to blame than a cow [embedded audio].
Creativity, Inc: Dave Eggers of McSweeney's is a proprietor. A shopkeeper. Perhaps even a franchise magnate! It was his keen perception of unmet needs in niche markets that led to the opening of a growing array of supply houses across the country. Among them: The Pirate Store, for the well-outfitted swashbuckler; The Boring Store, a subtle, unassuming purveyor of goods for secret agents; the Superhero Supply Store, in Brooklyn, carrying all the eyewear and accessories today's world-savers require; and Greenwood Space Travel Supply, where customers are reminded of the space-travel axiom "A lack of preparation is a prescription for mishaps." If these sound like curious business ventures for a celebrated author, there's a reason: the storefronts, though real, are just that - fronts. They're the streetside faces (and fundraising arms) of the nonprofit 826National, a family of learning centers for kids ages 6-18. The 826 'stores' provide free field trips, creatively themed writing workshops, publishing, and one-on-one instruction. Supported by an impressive field of cultural types (including Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, Sherman Alexie, and others), the program is growing. Coming soon: Michigan 826 will open Monster Union Local 826, and 826LA will open the Echo Park Time Travel Mart.