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President Obama is visiting Japan at the end of May for the G-7 summit. But his trip's itinerary is already making news around the world.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and President Obama. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.


The president plans to visit Hiroshima, a city devastated by an atom bomb dropped by the U.S. in 1945.

Photo by Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images.

He hopes his visit on May 27, 2016, will help promote the idea that "a world without nuclear weapons" can be achievable in the decades following his presidency.

Japan honored those lost on Aug. 6, 2015 — the 70th anniversary of the bombings. Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images.

His visit is big news, especially when you consider the immeasurable impact America's use of nuclear weapons had — not only on Japan, but on the entire world.

Here are three reasons why Obama's trip to Hiroshima is a big deal:

1. Obama will be the very first sitting president to visit Hiroshima.

Naturally, visiting any war memorial as the president of the country that caused the deaths honored at the memorial is a step guaranteed to bring about a few raised eyebrows. So it makes sense that no other sitting U.S. president has done what Obama plans to do.

Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry visited the memorial, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to do so. Many saw the move as setting the stage for Obama's visit later this month.

Photo by Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.

Obama's visit is to honor the lives lost and "not [to] revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II" — a decision still up for heated debate over 70 years later.

2. The atomic bombs dropped by the U.S. in Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the only use of nuclear warfare in history.

It's difficult to overstate how much the atomic attacks in Japan shaped global politics in the years following the second world war. The bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — which were dropped to put an end to a costly conflict in the Pacific, then-president Harry Truman had argued — killed over 200,000 people.

The immediate blast caused thousands of casualties, but the radiation it dispersed resulted in even more deaths and illnessesin the years that followed.

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

There's no "question that the bombs opened an era in which the very survival of the human race became hostage to geopolitical disputes," Serge Schmemann wrote for The New York Times. The destruction also manifested in popular TV, film, and music, shaping a generation of artistic anxiety seen throughout the world.

Although President Truman remained confident his decision was the correct one, it's worth noting J. Robert Oppenheimer — a physicist who helped develop the A-bomb — once quoted Hindu scripture in regards to his work: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

3. Obama's symbolic visit highlights a key principle of America's foreign policy under his presidency — a perspective that could shift drastically depending on who the next president is.

Nuclear non-proliferation has been a central theme in Obama's messaging and policymaking throughout the past eight years, and his trip to Hiroshima serves as a "forward-looking vision" to keep that outlook a priority. The next president, however, may have different ideas in mind.

A memorial service is held between both American and Japanese service members on the anniversary of one of World War II's bloodiest battles in March 2015. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump called the Obama administration's Iran Deal — a pact to ensure Iran doesn't acquire nuclear weapons — "one of the worst deals [he's] ever seen negotiated."Trump also suggested countries like Japan and South Korea should obtain their own nuclear weapons — an idea that not only shocked officials in East Asia, shows Trump "doesn't know much about foreign policy," Obama said.

The president's visit to Hiroshima speaks volumes about his thoughts on nuclear weapons only months before a very different world stage could be set by the next American leader.

At its core, Obama's historic trip to Hiroshima serves as an important reminder that innocent lives are lost when we resort to bombs over diplomacy.

"In making this visit, the president will shine a spotlight on the tremendous and devastating human toll of war," Rhodes wrote.

And although Obama is "eternally proud" of the sacrifices of men and women in uniform during World War II, he'll make this visit "knowing that the open recognition of history is essential to understanding our shared past, the forces that shape the world we live in today, and the future that we seek for our children and grandchildren."

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images.


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.”

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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


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