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This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA’s DART probe, foreground right, and Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube, bottom right, at the Didymos system before impact with the asteroid Dimorphos, left.

Steve Gribben/Johns Hopkins APL/NASA via AP

The Rundown: NASA cosplays 'Armageddon'

Good afternoon! Tonight will be a good time for stargazing, as Jupiter will be the closest it has come to Earth in 59 years. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. NASA will shoot a spacecraft into an asteroid today

At 6:15 p.m., an asteroid will get nailed by a spacecraft as NASA tests a technique that could help save the planet should we find ourselves in the plot from Armageddon.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, or DART, is hoping to change the trajectory of the asteroid Dimorphos, which is the moon of a larger space rock. Neither asteroid poses a threat to Earth.

If the test goes well, NASA hopes it can prevent a dangerous asteroid from colliding with the planet, knocking it off its path enough so that it’ll become a “near miss” instead of a “game over.” [NPR]

2. Another unsteady day on Wall Street

Stock markets saw more volatility today as investors grew more concerned about the possibility of a global recession, inflation and rising interest rates.

Worldwide, much of the attention was on Britain, where the pound briefly plunged to a record low against the dollar, trading at just over $1.03. The nation’s central bank, the Bank of England, warned the U.K. may already be in a recession. [NPR]

That turbulence came as the world economy is slowing down more than expected, according to a new forecast from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The organization downgraded its outlook for economic growth, but did not forecast a recession. [New York Times]

3. Does Chicago have enough tech workers to satisfy Google?

The tech giant announced big plans this summer to buy the massive James R. Thompson Center and expand its local workforce of 1,800 employees.

“That makes this a good time to be a talented tech worker,” writes Steve Hendershot for WBEZ. “But if you’re working in HR at a Chicago startup that’s aiming to expand, it’s daunting.”

Hendershot adds that “Google’s planned expansion will help lure more tech talent to the region, insiders say, which is good for the tech sector as a whole. But it’s also a gut-check moment for companies that want to hold on to their workers: Is there enough tech talent here to feed that broader, burgeoning ecosystem while also satisfying Google’s appetite?” [WBEZ]

4. The Lightfoot administration pushes for more affordable housing in downtown Chicago

Specifically, City Hall is looking at La Salle Street and breaking up the “monoculture” of office buildings that have a high vacancy rate, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration today unveiled a bid for proposals that “amounts to a bold nudge to building owners along and near the street to consider residential conversions and other fresh uses that would bring life to the historic street,” the Sun-Times reports. “For landlords willing to take the chance, the city is dangling financial incentives for the work, including tax-increment financing.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said timing is right as office spaces sit empty with employees working from home.

“There is nearly 5 million square feet of vacant commercial space on the La Salle Street corridor but not a single unit of affordable housing,” Lightfoot said in a statement. [Sun-Times]

5. The far right, Italy and … Lord of the Rings?

Italy is set to have its most far-right prime minister since the fascist era of Benito Mussolini.

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, claimed victory this morning after voters cast their ballots over the weekend.

Her ascent came as Italy’s left struggled to form a unified coalition, and it could have broad implications for the European Union and assistance to Ukraine.

Among Meloni’s beliefs is that The Lord of the Rings is a sacred text, reports The New York Times.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy saga “has for a half-century been a central pillar upon which descendants of post-Fascism reconstructed a hard-right identity, looking to a traditionalist mythic age for symbols, heroes and creation myths free of Fascist taboos,” according to the newspaper. [NYT]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The days of getting real-time information from police scanners in Chicago are coming to an end. [Chicago Tribune]
  • A street this week will be renamed to honor former Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Amid a national wave of book bans, Chicago aims to become a sanctuary city for literature. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Girls flag football is taking off in the Chicago area. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

Do I need a 12-foot skeleton?

Every time Halloween gets near, I get sucked into the rabbit hole of looking at decorations, flirting with the idea of getting something really big for the front of my apartment building.

Thrillist has a great “unofficial ranking” of the largest decorations you can find online this year.

Coming in at No. 1 is an inflatable 14-foot Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It costs a whopping $299. [Thrillist]

Tell me something good ...

Speaking of Halloween, now’s the time to start planning a really great costume. I’m not sure what I’m going to be this year, so what are you dressing up as? Hopefully a good idea will come to me and I can share it before Friday.

Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

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