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10 Important Stories to Read This Week

Our annual Best of Chicago list, how to make robots feel, and inside R. Kelly’s alleged “cult.”

R. Kelly   Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune

1. Best of Chicago

Want to throw a killer cocktail party? Grown an urban garden? Be a tourist for a day? Here’s how to enjoy the best of the city in 12 action plans. Chicago magazine makes its picks.

2. Inside the Pied Piper of R&B’s “Cult”

Parents report that R. Kelly is holding their daughters against their will. Former members of his circle say the same. Jim DeRogatis investigates for Buzzfeed.

3. “My Last Resort”—Thousands Come to Illinois to Have Abortions

As other Midwestern states tighten their laws, more women are coming here. The Chicago Tribune follows them.

4. Meechy Monroe, a YouTube Star for Her Natural Hair Lessons, Dies at 32

When the Chicago native cut off the hair she’d been perming for years and documented her “transition” online, she gained a huge following. The New York Times tells her story.

5. Another Life

After a homicide, how do friends and family cope and continue on? A documentary series from The Triibe examines what happens through the eyes of Chicagoans.

6. The Research That Convinced SCOTUS to Take the Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case, Explained

A University of Chicago prof’s work could overturn our neighbor’s redistricting, with major implications for other states. Nicholas Stephanopoulos walks readers through it for Vox.

7. Want a Robot That Can Really Feel? Give It Whiskers

A Northwestern mechanical engineer looked to other mammals for inspiration in order to give her creations a sense of where they are. Wired profiles Mitra Hartmann’s work.

8. Predictive Policing and the Long Road to Transparency

The CPD released data from its Strategic Subject List, meant to estimate the risk that an individual will be involved in gun violence. But there’s still a lot left in the black box. South Side Weekly peers inside.

9. Has Bruce Rauner Lost It?

Much of the governor’s staff is out. Numerous former employees of the Illinois Policy Institute are in. What’s going on? Greg Hinz asks the question for Crain’s.

10. How Much Money Could Chicago Save by Reducing Violence?

Depending how you look at it, we could save more than it would cost to run effective anti-violence programs. Chicago magazine runs the numbers.

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