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80 percent of Americans support common-sense gun control. Stop making excuses and get it done.

After a year where public mass shootings hit a historic low due to COVID-19, America has been rocked by two in the past month, leaving many — once again — with a feeling of helplessness. On March 16, a gunman in Atlanta, Georgia murdered eight people in massage spas, six of the victims were Asian.

On Monday, a gunman in Boulder, Colorado murdered ten people in a supermarket.

After a year out of the headlines, the topic of gun control has made it to the forefront once again. The maddening thing is even though the vast majority of Americans support common-sense gun control laws, nothing ever gets past Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

There are two significant gun-control policies that enjoy bipartisan support, the assault weapons ban and universal background checks.


A 2019 poll reported by Politico found that 70% of Americans support an assault weapons ban, including 86% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans. The same year, a National Public Radio (NPR), PBS Newshour, and Maris College poll found that 83% of Americans believe Congress should pass legislation that requires background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales.

Pew Research found that Americans on both sides of the political divide overwhelmingly support universal background checks. Ninety-three percent of Democrats and 82% of Republicans said they favored, "making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks."


via Maryland GovPics

One of the biggest reasons why Republicans refuse to pass any gun-control legislation is a paralyzing fear of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Many Republican legislators are afraid that a negative grade from the organization will immediately end their careers.

The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington and spends money with laser-like precision, elevating those who support gun rights and taking down those who favor gun control.

That means it's nearly impossible to get a Republican to support gun safety laws, even though only 1.5% of Americans are members of the NRA and 70% don't even own a gun.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 that killed 26 people, including 20 children and school employees, President Barack Obama got little support from Senate Republicans to pass a gun control bill supported by 90% of Americans. "It came down to politics—the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. [Congress members] worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment," Obama said in a speech afterward.

Last Friday, after the Atlanta shooting, president Joe Biden spoke out about the need for Congress to take action this time.

"I don't need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act," Biden said.

On Tuesday, Biden called for the Senate to "immediately pass" two bills the House recently approved that change background check laws.

Biden has a long record of supporting gun-control measures. In 1993, he helped pass the Brady Bill which first established the background check and waiting period requirements. In 1994, he wrote a controversial crime bill that included a 10-year ban on assault weapons.

The problem Biden faces is that passing common-sense gun legislation would need 60 votes to make it through the Senate, so 10 Republicans would have to flip. However, some lawmakers believe that the current moment gives Democrats one of the best chances they have at getting something done because the NRA has been weakened over the past few years.

The NRA declared bankruptcy earlier this year and in 2018 it was outspent by gun-control groups for the first time ever.

"I think the implosion of the NRA, the growing support among the American people and the inevitability of increased support gives us an opportunity we haven't had before," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said earlier this month. He added: "What's changed is we now have a president who can put pressure on our colleagues."

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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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.

via YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


These days, we could all use something to smile about, and few things do a better job at it than watching actor Christopher Walken dance.

A few years back, some genius at HuffPo Entertainment put together a clip featuring Walken dancing in 50 of his films, and it was taken down. But it re-emerged in 2014 and the world has been a better place for it.

Walken became famous as a serious actor after his breakout roles in "Annie Hall" (1977) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978) so people were pretty shocked in 1981 when he tap-danced in Steve Martin's "Pennies from Heaven."

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Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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