The secret police: Cops built a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder, MIT Technology Review
Operation Safety Net was a multi-jurisdictional police operation to prepare for disruptions before, during and after a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd. An investigation by the MIT Technology Review using the state Data Practices Act and interviews with activists and participants asserts that the surveillance was more extensive than revealed and is ongoing, long after the trial ended. Tate Ryan-Mosely and Sam Richards did the story.
—Peter Callaghan, state government reporter
A group of physicians in Chicago wrote about a new basic income policy there as a violence prevention tool, and contrasted it with asset seizure policy that Chicago, and many other cities, tend to use in spite of evidence that such policies don’t work.
—Jonathan Stegall, user-experience engineer
If you grew up in the suburbs in the 1990s, you are likely familiar with the distinctively nasal and drawn-out-vowel-ly vocal stylings of Tom DeLonge, the lead singer of Blink-182. The band is most famous for their 2000 hit “All the Small Things,” or as DeLonge sings it, “awl the smawl theengs.” Is DeLonge’s dialect a sneering version of the Southern California dialect? American pop punks trying to imitate the Clash? Reporter Dan Nosowitz made some linguists listen and analyze.
—Greta Kaul, data reporter
“How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?” The intersection of art and activism is a tricky one to navigate. Many … most, defer. Nina Simone is not most. She is the one who boldly asked, “How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?” Equal activist as she was artist, Simone’s turbulent life and career — made more turbulent because of her outspokenness on issues of Black and women’s pride and suffrage, white supremacy and human dignity — is powerfully captured in the Netflix documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” An ideal selection to honor and celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.
—Harry Colbert, managing editor