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Rainforests are f***ing amazing.

They look cool, they sound cool, they even smell amazing. Like a combination of roses and fresh-cut grass. No, seriously, I spent the night in a rainforest once, and I swear the air smelled like sugar and hugs.


Plus mornings look like this. Photo by me.

Rainforests also do incredible things for the climate.

They're natural carbon filters. All that nature packed into one area basically makes them giant CO2 vacuums that pump out fresh oxygen.

When it comes to clean, breathable air, rainforests have our backs.

Unfortunately, deforestation all over the world threatens to make rainforests a thing of the past.

According to National Geographic, at the current rate of deforestation, rainforests will disappear completely within a hundred years. Which would be terrible for a lot of reasons.

Deforestation in northern Brazil. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

It would hurt the environment, it could wipe out the homes of millions of animals, and it would definitely make the world a less awesome place.

The biggest rainforest in the world is the Amazon, and it's been shrinking scarily fast.

From 1970 to 2015, the Amazon lost 768,935 square kilometers (296,887 square miles) of forest — about the size of Turkey. The worst year for Amazon deforestation was 2004, when 27,000 square kilometers of forest was lost.


Time-lapse of deforestation in the state of Rondônia in Brazil from 2000 to 2010. GIF via NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Overall, deforestation has slowed, but a lot of work needs to be done to slow it further. Luckily, Brazil, which hosts about 60% of the Amazon rainforest, got some help.

Back in 2008, Norway pledged $1 billion to Brazil's Amazon protection fund to help it fight deforestation.

"We support Brazil's government and its efforts to preserve the forest and stop deforestation," said then-Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The funds were to extend through 2015 on the condition that Brazil provide definitive proof that deforestation was being reduced. It was a worthy challenge and an incredible call to action from a country on the other side of the world.


The Amazon River in Brazil. Photo by Christophe Simon/Getty Images.

The best part is...

Brazil crushed it.

In the seven years since the pledge, Brazil managed to reduce deforestation by a stunning 75%, which translates to about 33,000 square miles of forest saved and 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere. According to National Geographic, that's three times bigger than the effect of taking all the cars in the U.S. off the road for a year.

So yeah. Ca-rushed it.

Norway applauded Brazil's absolute home run and paid up the final $100 million in September, with Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft saying "Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds."

Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

Brazil plans to continue its work and has even pledged to eliminate deforestation completely by 2030.

It's going to take the whole world coming together to fight climate change effectively.

Brazil stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with the help of a country that is over 6,000 miles away and doesn't have an inch of the Amazon on its soil. But Norway knows we're all on this planet together.

Photo by Jerome Vallette/Getty Images.

"This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the Brazilian deal.

It's the type of international cooperation I know I'd like to see more of. Norway saw an opportunity to help — not themselves, but the whole world. And they helped Brazil do something amazing.

Joy

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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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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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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