Mob kills men after traffic accident. This story is a little disturbing; it's been on CNN etc., but here in Chicago it's the hourly top story. A van driven by two middle-aged men moving furniture jumped a curb and pinned three girls against a step. In retaliation, a crowd of a dozen or more yanked the men from their van and beat them with fists and even bricks. Both died. The police have fanned out looking for witnesses and evidence, with a few arrests, but no charges as of yet. [more inside]
Chicago Rat Patrol. No, not this kind of rat patrol; for this crew, rat spotting is just a sideline. What these guys skulk in alleys for, though, is discarded bike parts to kludge, especially in strange and unexpected proportions. Most of them work. As a result of their experiments, they're attuned to the kitbashed contraptions used by (mostly) economically marginal folk. Additionally, or superfluously, they're sort of anarchist anti-corporate critical-mass types. Updated until almost a year ago. Note: Geocities site. Tread lightly. And stay away from the "Rodeo" link, where there's a quicktime video, until tomorrow.
The Maltesos. Well, there's no Webistics, and Big Pussy hasn't turned up floating down the Fox River, but here's your modern American mob family, suburban style. Betty Loren-Maltese, longtime mayor of the Town of Cicero, which abuts Chicago's West Side, has been indicted for looting the town's health insurance system to the tune of at least $10 million. The US Attorney says it is the largest dollar amount in any single organized crime investigation. [more inside]
Chicago to enlist graphic designers for friendlier ballots. [free reg may be req'd] There's been a bunch of discussion about the usability problems with various voting systems, notably punch-card ballots. Chicago didn't have anything as dramatic as a "butterfly" prexy ballot or two pages' worth of candidates, but we still had close to 120,000 discards from 2.1 million votes -- and when compared with jurisdictions using other systems, there's little evidence to suggest that voters are skipping the presidential ballot. That's just how bad manual punch card technology is. Even if we can't get rid of them just yet, at least we can make sure they aren't confusing. Did I just post the twenty-sixth link on Metafilter today? GO AWAY. METAFILTER IS FULL. :)