The Winter Olympics are underway, the government shutdown (again) and we still can't stop talking about memos.
So what else is going on? I'm glad you asked.
I'll be honest. Redlining was always one of those things I had heard about but never knew what it was. I didn't learn about it in school, and I never took the initiative to investigate it on my own.
That has now been rectified thanks to this story from KQED's Brian Watt and Erika Kelly. It not only taught me that redlining happened when the government denied access to loans and mortgages in neighborhoods with high minority populations; it also educated me on the 40-year-old Community Reinvestment Act, which was put in place to push back against racist redlining and encourage banks to invest in marginalized and low-income communities.
In Oakland's formerly redlined Fruitvale neighborhood, the CRA has helped build a transit village, fund Head Start programs and establish affordable housing. But advocates worry the CRA could be weakened by the deregulation-happy Trump administration.
My friends in college used to make fun of me because I followed so many people on Twitter. They said my "ratio" was terrible, meaning I followed a lot more people than followed me.
At least I can be proud that of my measly 660 Twitter followers, all but 15 are real people and not bots, according to the company Twitter Audit. I knew having a lot of followers was a status symbol, but I had no idea that people would pay money for more followers.
I think Georgia Tech media studies professor hits the nail on the head when he tells KQED's Sam Harnett: "People assume when they have a follower on Twitter, that it’s not just a real human being, but that it is someone who is looking at them and listening to them and responding to them, and they can sell products or services to.”
I follow 1,509 "people" on Twitter. I listen to very few, I respond to even fewer, and I'm not buying from any of them.
I started playing football in fourth grade and played all the way through high school. I was an offensive lineman who spent a lot of time banging my head against my opponents.
So when I read stories like this about guys my age committing suicide and being diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, that has been linked to concussions in football, I get nervous.
I loved playing football, and I still enjoy watching it, but the evidence of its terrifying risks are starting to add up for me.
Imagine having a loved one die and then having the coroner's office send you someone else's remains. It's something that has happened more than once in San Joaquin County where Sheriff-Coroner Steve Moore is under fire for mismanagement and interference into death investigations, as reported by KQED's Julie Small.
Julie's most recent piece on the issues in San Joaquin County explores cases of bodies sent to the wrong families and families paying unnecessary morgue charges while other deaths are overlooked. The whole piece is incredible and worthy of your time, but this one sentence produced an audible gasp from me:
At one local mortuary in San Joaquin County, staff said that the coroner’s office has released the wrong body to them often enough that they now ask family members to view and identify each body before cremation or burial.
My paternal grandfather died before I was born, but I've been talking to him for years. I tell him about my day. I vent to him when I'm upset. I use him as a sounding board to work through my problems.
So I loved this story about a touring pop-up phone booth currently in Santa Cruz (and coming to San Francisco) where you are encouraged to talk with someone who has died.
And I love what the organizer, Morgan Brown, says about how people have interpreted the opportunity: “I’ve had people talk to childhood pets. I’ve had people talk to people who are alive but they’re estranged from. I’ve had people talk to their former selves. You can interpret died or death in any way that you need to."
Did you know San Francisco’s neon signage was once up there with New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas? The city used to be lousy with neon. Bay Curious explores San Francisco’s bright history with neon.
Stay caught up with the best of KQED's reporting each week by subscribing to the Q'ed Up podcast.