A week’s worth of developing stories, odd events, and signs of the times, culled from the desks, inboxes and wandering eyes of the editors
Robot Revolution at MSI
The future is near. The future is now. The future is…in Chicago for the next few months. This past week, a set of dudes in suits wearing unnervingly robotic mouthpiece microphones unveiled a set of exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry designed to showcase the cutting edge of robotics technology and speculate about the future of robot-human interactions. Among these exhibits is a full-scale robot soccer match, as well a—no, this is not a joke—a kid-friendly (and unfortunately named) interactive space called the “Drone Zone.” A robot named Baxter cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. God help us all.
CPS Messes Up
Documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times have revealed that Chicago Public Schools forgot twenty-two schools in its estimate of a private contract with Aramark to manage school janitors. The forgotten twenty-two buildings account for 3.2 million square feet, with the largest being King College Prep in Bronzeville. Though the private contract was expected to save the district $40 million over three years, the mistake cost CPS $7 million, an amount that CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey says would have been spent anyway had the estimate been correct. This comes to light after a string of allegations—supported by some pretty gross photos that the Weekly has spared you—that Aramark has failed to keep schools clean anyway, as parents and teachers report everything from insufficient janitorial supplies to vermin, found dead and alive.
Home Sweet Shipping Container
Home is where the heart is—and who says your heart can’t live in a giant steel box? Adrian Gutierrez, land developer and owner of Mighty Containers, is proposing a plan to convert shipping containers into homes and place them on vacant lots in Englewood. Turning these containers into residences can be a productive way to repurpose neglected shipping containers, which often sit unused after being emptied. According to Gutierrez, these shipping container homes would be cheap and ecofriendly. Two 8-by-40-foot containers would combine to form each 640-square-foot home, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen—enough to house a single family. The downside? Some worry that these homes may be easy to break into, especially since they will still resemble actual shipping containers on the outside.