Around Town | January 6, 2023 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 6, 2023

Around Town

HARMFUL LANGUAGE ... Stanford University has taken down its Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative website, the university announced Wednesday, after facing widespread backlash. Steve Gallagher, Stanford's chief information officer, wrote on the Stanford IT Community website that the initiative was "intended as a guide, not a mandate," to address racist and harmful terminology commonly used in the IT space and inspired by widespread and campus-specific events of 2020. Launched in May, the initiative compiled a list of more than 100 words considered racist or harmful, with the most controversial inclusion being the word "American." The initiative suggested using "U.S. Citizen" instead of "American" to avoid "insinuating that the U.S. is the most important country in the Americas." Several media outlets criticized the initiative overall and the inclusion of "American" specifically, with a USA Today column calling the list of words "an example of political correctness gone wild" that will discourage free speech and discussion. An opinion by The Wall Street Journal's editorial board called the list an example of what makes "so much of modern life and culture (resemble) the Babylon Bee." In his post to the Stanford IT Community website Wednesday, Gallagher wrote that the site was taken down because the initiative "missed the intended mark." "The path forward will be determined after reviewing all recent feedback and consulting with university academic and administrative leadership," he wrote. "All efforts will be guided by Stanford's commitment to academic freedom."

TETRIS MURDERS ... Some Peninsula natives may not know that the culturally inescapable video game Tetris was co-created by Russian-born Palo Alto entrepreneur Vladimir Pokhilko. Tragically, Pokhilko and his family were found dead in their Ferne Avenue home in 1998, an incident originally thought to be a murder-suicide. Now a new docuseries, "The Tetris Murders," dives deep into the killings, reapproaching the crime in the Palo Alto residence with a new perspective. The series, which debuted Dec. 5, revisits the deaths of Pokhilko, his wife and his son, revealing new evidence and offering new theories. Sandra Brown, a retired Palo Alto Police Department investigator, leads the effort to uncover the truth behind the tragic deaths, along with homicide investigators who were at the scene on Sept. 22, 1998, according to a press release from Warner Bros. Discovery. The series features interviews with Brown and other members of the Palo Alto Police Department and archival footage. Along with revealing new explanations for the killings with possible connections to Russia, the series also explores the history of Tetris itself, examining the game's creation and rise in popularity. "The Tetris Murders" aired on the crime and justice network ID in three parts and is now available to stream through discovery+.

LOCAL HEART ... A Palo Alto native has been selected to create a heart sculpture that will be featured in the Hearts in San Francisco 2023 public art project, the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation announced on Dec. 14. Artist Miles Mathews, a Santa Cruz resident who grew up in Palo Alto, will make a heart to honor the 150th anniversary of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, along with nine other artists from around the Bay Area. Graduating from University of California, Berkeley in 2015, Mathews makes mosaic art, murals and paintings featuring folk and spiritual themes. Mathews' heart sculpture, along with nine other hearts and one larger heart by featured artist Sirron Norris, will be displayed at the Hearts in San Francisco gala to honor the hospital. "Since 1872, Zuckerberg San Francisco General has been steadfast in supporting our city's public health and well-being, providing vital, compassionate care throughout our most challenging moments, and keeping the heart of San Francisco beating strong," Kim Meredith, CEO of the hospital's foundation, said in a press release. "We are delighted to expand this year's array of Hearts in San Francisco sculptures to celebrate the hospital's extraordinary legacy of service, and to help ensure that it remains a leader in public health innovation and equity far into the future." The Hearts in SF gala is set to take place on Feb. 9 at San Francisco City Hall, where the 10 hearts by Bay Area artists will be on display.


Posted by jerry
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 6, 2023 at 1:20 pm

jerry is a registered user.

As well as artist Miles Mathews, Palo Alto artist and Heartist, Judith Lippe just completed her 3rd heart for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.
Her first 2 hearts in 2013, 2020 raised $150,000 for the hospital.
The 2020 Heart is at the Westfield Center in S.F. Her latest heart entitled Sun Kissed San Francisco can be seen at the San Francisco Ferry Building beginning January 25th. to Feb.28.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2023 at 5:28 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Good. It didn't bode well for Stanford, or for America (USA).

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2023 at 6:02 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

I already spent $$$ printing MUSCGA hats. Can I file a suit to recover my damages?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 6, 2023 at 7:16 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

A bunch of us here hav having fun coming up with NewSpeak synonyms but this was brand new to a friend from Back East and she got me wondering what the new correct term is for "Freshmen." Thanks in advance.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2023 at 9:53 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

What are we supposed to call a manhole cover now?

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