Stories by Paul Caine

Motor Vehicle Deaths Claim 40,000 Americans in 2016

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert / Released)

Deaths from distracted driving are rising sharply. We talk with a transportation safety expert about what can be done to bring the number of fatalities down.

Dick Simpson on His Life as a Chicago Progressive

He has seemingly been part of the Chicago political scene forever, first as an activist but then as an alderman, political science professor and twice as an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. Dick Simpson talks about his new book.

Microbes: Earth’s Oldest and Most Essential Life Forms

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

They are the oldest forms of life on Earth and without them humans would not exist. How microbes shape the planet and its people.

Dorothy Brown’s Office Granted More Time to Modernize

In 2018, the notion that one of Cook County’s most important offices is still using systems that Charles Dickens would recognize would seem to be a problem. Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown joins us.

1871 CEO Howard Tullman a Cryptocurrency Skeptic

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin may be all the rage, but is the so-called “blockchain” technology behind them the thing that could really change the world?

US Stocks March Higher Boosted by Tax Cuts and Deregulation

The financial markets have skyrocketed over the past year. Can they keep climbing in 2018?

Daniel Ellsberg Reveals Secrets of America’s ‘Doomsday Machine’

He leaked the Pentagon Papers expediting the end of the Vietnam war, but Daniel Ellsberg now reveals another big secret in his new book, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.”

Governor’s Race: Marshall’s Plan to Split State, Legalize Marijuana

Burr Ridge physician Dr. Robert Marshall tells us why he’s running for governor and discusses his plans for Illinois.

Outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen Hikes Interest Rates One Last Time

While Fed Chair Janet Yellen ends her tenure on an upbeat note, are there storm clouds ahead for the economy?

Roy Moore Proves Too Much for Alabama Voters

Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Roy Moore on Dec. 12.

Does Doug Jones’ upset signal a building blue tsunami that could help Democrats retake the House – and maybe even the Senate – in 2018?

Canada Geese Give Local Hunters the Slip

It’s open season for hunters of Canada geese, but the migrating birds have found a novel way to stay out of the firing line: wintering in the city. Rabiah Mayas joins us with that story and more from the world of science.

Plans for Gospel Museum on Site of Burned-Out Pilgrim Baptist Church

(Rendering courtesy of Wight & Company)

A local businessman who founded the Stellar Gospel Music Awards wants to create the nation’s first major gospel museum on site known as the birthplace of gospel music.

Bitcoin Price Soars Ahead of Launch of Futures Trading In Chicago

(Antana / Flickr)

The Chicago Futures Exchange is set to start trading bitcoin, which has seen its value rise more than 1,000 percent since the start of the year. Just what is bitcoin?

Exploring the Technology Behind IIT’s Microgrid

A new mini power grid supplied by wind and solar helps the Illinois Institute of Technology meet its 21st century power needs.

Putin Playing a ‘Long Game’ to Restore Russian Pride, Influence


As evidence mounts that Russia did meddle in the 2016 election, we speak with a Russia expert about what Vladimir Putin’s strategic goals might be.

Voice of America Still Mission-Driven at 75

The Wilbur J. Cohen Federal Building in Washington, D.C., where Voice of America is headquartered. (PersianDutchNetwork / Wikimedia Commons)

It began as an effort to combat Nazi propaganda, but in these highly partisan times can the taxpayer-funded Voice of America remain free from bias?

Democrats Hoping for ‘Blue Wave’ In 2018

(Public Citizen / Flickr)

A year after what for many Democrats was unthinkable—losing the presidential election to Donald Trump—there are signs they may be getting their mojo back.

Family Tragedy Prompts Local Woman to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Prescription pain pills are dumped out on a table. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration / Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

The opioid epidemic in Illinois is more acute than in many other states, according to the National Safety Council. We discuss the crisis and a new memorial that highlights the human toll of opioid addiction.

First Frost Signals Time to Put WTTW Garden to Bed

This week, Chicago will see its first hard frost of the season—and that means it’s time to prepare our WTTW garden for winter. Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan leads the way.

Are We Alone? Giant New Telescopes Could Spot Alien Life

(NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope / Flickr)

Thousands of planets orbiting alien suns, giant new telescopes coming online: Could we finally answer the question “Are we alone in the Universe?”

City Steps Up Environmental Protection Efforts As EPA Hobbled

(Trey Ratcliff / Flickr)

After cutbacks at the EPA and skepticism within the Trump administration about climate change, the city of Chicago has made clear its intention to step up efforts to protect the environment.

Tribune Finds Poorer Black, Latino Communities Pay Most for Water

(Daniel Dionne / Flickr)

An investigation uncovers a disturbing gap in how much local communities charge their residents for water. We discuss the findings with Chicago Tribune reporters Cecilia Reyes and Ted Gregory.

Trump’s Former Campaign Chair, Associate Indicted for Money Laundering

Paul Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates are indicted on money laundering charges, but the White House says it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

Scathing Criticism of Trump Fails to Undermine Base Support

Blistering attacks against President Donald Trump coming from members of his own party. Local Republicans give us their take on the turmoil dividing Washington.

Study: Tiny Mammal Survives Winter by Shrinking Skull, Brain

(Hanna Knutsson / Flickr)

University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin returns for another review of stories making headlines in the world of science.