The government may be shut down, but the news never stops.
Here's what else happened this week:
One of the most popular stories on our site this week was a more nuanced look at our new obsession with Google's Arts and Culture app. A new feature in the app allows users to take a selfie and match it with historical artworks from around the world.
While there were no shortage of creepy pale figures for a white guy like me to match with, the app has been a very different experience for people of color, who often find themselves matched with a small number of stereotypical images.
I spent most of last Sunday afternoon alternating between cautious excitement and resigned disappointment, culminating in sheer euphoria and disbelief when my Minnesota Vikings pulled off a last-second victory over the New Orleans Saints.
That sets up a match-up today between the Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles with the winner headed to the Super Bowl. That poses a bit of a conundrum for the Fresno parents of Eric and Mychal Kendricks; Eric plays for the Vikings and Mychal for the Eagles.
My favorite part of the story is when the boys' dad, Marvin, completely flip-flopped on who he wants to win the game.
“I’m a little partial towards my baby boy, Eric, ‘cuz he went to UCLA and that’s my alma mater,” said Marvin, who was a running back for UCLA in the early 1970s.
“Whatever Mychal does, Eric does better. They’re both great athletes.”
But worried about the long-term health outcomes for football players, Marvin doesn’t want his sons to play more than 10 years. Mychal’s already in his sixth NFL season, and Marvin would like to see him get a Super Bowl win.
“I’d like to see Mychal go this time,” he said later in our interview. “Philly hasn’t gone and he’s been in the league six years now. He’s got less time left than Eric. Eric, their team is young enough I think they’ll be back again real soon.”
Back in 2015, years before #MeToo launched a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault, a bunch of immigrant night janitors in California spoke out about their experiences.
One of them was Georgina Hernandez, a night janitor working in Los Angeles, who was raped by her supervisor. Hernandez joined with other janitors to share their stories and even went on a five-day hunger strike to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign new legislation protecting janitors.
Now, as the rest of the country is forced to face the ubiquitous problem of sexual harassment in our workplaces, Hernandez has been transformed by telling her story. “My life is new,” she says. “I almost don’t even recognize myself. Now I’m confident in myself, I’m not afraid. Before I was afraid of my own shadow. I’m not afraid of anything anymore.”
(If you have some extra time, I highly recommend checking out the entire "Rape on the Night Shift" series, which shared these women's stories and helped change the law.)
The Kahn and Keville tire shop in San Francisco's Tenderloin is famous with locals for its towering sign that features quirky and sometimes inspirational quotes. Bay Curious dug into the backstory and found that it all started with one of the shop's founders who kept a book of quotes to help carry him through while he served in World War I.
Back at his tire shop in San Francisco, he shared the quotes with customers and eventually built the nearly 7-foot tall sign just for the quotes. It's never advertised any prices or products. How cool is that?
A few months ago, a social studies teacher in the Mesa Union School District sent his students home with a handout purporting to interpret Islamic law and the Quran. But, according to Islamic studies professors, the handout provides a distorted picture of Islam, relying on strict interpretations of Quranic verse.
It also appears some of the information was taken from a website that promotes a radical view of Christianity, saying Satan uses Muslims to kill Christians and that people should be afraid of Islam.
When Azfar Quddus’ 12-year-old son brought the handout home, he told KQED he was not pleased.
“I told my son, ‘This is not what Islam is and what this sheet is saying has nothing to do with our religion,’ ” Quddus says.
“ ‘That’s not what my friends think,’ ” Quddus remembers his son saying. “ ‘They think that’s what Islam is.’ ”
Steven Burchik didn't talk about his military in service for 40 years. But now the photographs he took while he served have given him a way to process and share his experiences.