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Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."

For Donald Trump, it seems a little light anarchy might just be the price of a really sweet deal.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.


Following the bombshell New York Times report that in 1995, the businessman and current presidential candidate claimed losses so staggering that he might not have paid federal income taxes for 18 years, two possibilities have emerged:

One is that Trump truly did lose almost a billion dollars in one year. The other — the one Trump would prefer we all believe — is that the former casino, university, vodka, and steak mogul is so adept at gaming the system that, with one genius pen-stroke, he was able to avoid any of his hard-earned dollars going to Uncle Sam for nearly two decades.

It's a dubious claim, at best. But suppose we take Trump at his word. Suppose we extrapolate that out a little. I mean, I like to think I'm smart. You seem smart too. And Trump has a point: Not paying out 10-40% of our annual income is certainly tempting. If taxes are optional, why shouldn't we all benefit?

What if we were all so smart that we didn't pay our taxes?

Here's a snapshot of what that version of America might look like:

1. The George Washington Bridge at rush hour might look like this.

Without the Federal Highway Administration and various state and local port authorities and departments of transportation, commuters would have to cross rivers the old-fashioned way.

On the plus side, the plastic kayak industry would boom and your upper body would be much stronger.

2. Your house might look like this.

Even worse? If your house ever caught on fire, no fire department would come because fire departments cost tax money. Pretty, though!

3. Yellowstone National Park might look like this.

For a mere $3 billion per annum, the National Park Service provides every American with the opportunity to stare slack-jawed at a bison out of their rental-car window as often as they like for as long as they like.

Without it, America's most iconic hydrothermal hotspot would just be another empty plot of land. Maybe not entirely empty. Someone would probably put a parking lot there. Who knows?

4. Aretha Franklin performing "A Natural Woman" would look something like this.

Aretha Franklin photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images. Background image via iStock.

Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened in 1971, eight years after Congress authorized $23 million of federal funds to build it. Which means that without your tax dollars, Franklin's iconic late-career performance of "A Natural Woman," which brought President Obama and Carole King to tears, never would have happened.

Actually, the performance might have still happened, but it would have happened in an empty field with no one around to enjoy it. Sad!

5. The Purge might be real.

Without the hundreds of millions of dollars we contribute in taxes to state law enforcement budgets, there would be no police to stop The Purge from happening.

True, even well-funded police aren't perfect, but if there's one thing cops are probably good at, it's keeping the crazed cannibal armies at bay. And for that, we at least owe them our thanks and a small cut of our paychecks.

6. After eating eggs from the supermarket, you might look like this.

Photo via iStock.

Who doesn't enjoy a round of salmonella roulette?! Without the $1 billion we send the Food Safety and Inspection Service annually, it wouldn't matter because you wouldn't have a choice but to play!

7. Ducks might look ... kind of like this.

A small but not insignificant 0.48% of federal spending goes to funding America's critical scientific infrastructure, including the Duck Research Laboratory in Eastport, New York, which studies basic duck care, duck nutrition, and duck housing and management.

Suffice it to say that you don't want to think about how America's ducks would be doing if we didn't pay taxes.

8. Your boat after a boating accident might look like this.

When no one is paying taxes, don't expect the Coast Guard help you flip your turtled sailboat. Your nautical accidents are your own damn problem. Up by your bootstraps! Self-reliance!

9. Yankee Stadium

We can debate the merits of funding private sports stadiums with taxpayer money all night and all day, but if you thought the beer selection was terrible at Yankee Stadium now ... yikes.

10. The internet might not exist.

W-E-L-L A-C-T-U-A-L-L-Y. Photo by Javier Capella, U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons.

Your tax dollars helped build the internet, which means probably no email, definitely no Facebook, and super-definitely no cat-stands-on-two-legs-cause-it-thinks-it's-a-person GIFs.

You would finally finish that screenplay with all the time you'd save, though.

11. And Washington, D.C., might look a little something like this.

National defense makes up nearly a quarter of the federal budget. It's an important quarter because (good-faith disagreements about appropriate levels of military spending aside) without that money, we'd be sitting ducks for a Norwegian invasion force. They wouldn't even have to send an army. A bunch of children could do it. Here is their victory parade.

Taxes pay for a lot of cool stuff. Necessary stuff. Most Americans, it turns out, agree with that.

Sure, you might think taxes are too high. Or you might think they're too low. You might object to some of what they pay for. But hey, it's nice to have highways! And schools. And relative safety. And society.

Maybe Trump's right and it takes a genius to get away with not paying taxes. Lucky for America, we're not all so smart.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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