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A heartbreaking photo of a Syrian child went viral. Here are 3 things we can do about it.

We can't unsee that photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. But now, we have a choice: We can turn away, or we can do something about it.

By now you've probably seen that startling photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh from Aleppo, Syria.

Plenty of other powerful and arresting moments have been caught on camera since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. But none of them have managed to send shockwaves around the world quite like this photo, taken by Mahmoud Raslan: a child dressed in dust and soot and a "CatDog" T-shirt, propped up in a bright orange ambulance seat that pops in sharp contrast to his ashen, gray appearance. He's young enough that he could even share a birthday with the raging conflict that still consumes his country — and judging by the blank expression on his bloodied, battered face, he may have lived his entire life in a war zone, too.

It's certainly an arresting image, and it's easy to understand why so many people have responded to it.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is that Daqneesh and his family all survived the hospital airstrike that led to the moment the photograph was taken. Between the Assad regime and ISIS, nearly 500,000 other Syrians haven't been as lucky.


Photo by Zein Al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images.

Over 18,000 of those casualties — including nearly 5,000 children — have come out of Aleppo, the city where Daqneesh and his family live. Military airstrikes from Russia and the Syrian government have targeted medical facilities in Aleppo held by rebels and humanitarian aid groups, in a blatant violation of Geneva Convention rules.

As a result, 95% of the doctors in the area have already fled the country, leaving only a handful of trained professionals to care for the 600 new urgent-care cases that happen every day in two hospitals. In fact, one of the very first casualties of the war was a cardiologist who was attending to injured protesters during the Arab Spring.

"By making it impossible for people to seek treatment when they were injured — even civilians and children and women who had nothing to do with the anti-government uprising but happened to live in areas that were under the control of opposition groups — they were being collectively punished," Ben Traub of the New Yorker explained in an interview with NPR.

Photo by Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images

We can't un-see that photo of Daqneesh. But now, we have a choice: We can turn away, or we can do something about it.

And if you're one to pick the latter option, here are three ways to start.

1. Donate to the doctors on the ground who continue bringing aid despite the threat of monstrous attacks.

As Traub explained it, Assad's continued assaults on medical workers are "a strategy to make life completely unbearable" — basically, government-sanctioned terrorism.

But groups like the Syrian American Medical Society, INARA, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Medical Corps are out there risking life and limb to provide crucial care for those who need it most. You don't need surgery training of your own to help them out.

Photo by Zein Al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images.

2. There are plenty of first-response groups in Aleppo trying to protect and save innocent people before they become casualties, and they could use your help as well.

Groups like The White Helmets, Islamic Relief, and the International Rescue Committee are in Syria, searching for victims after these horrendous airstrikes and finding ways to create some sort of "normal" society for them — providing beds, food, and education as best they can.

If more people volunteered their money and time, it would make it that much easier to make a difference.

Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Surviving through an armed conflict is a crucial first step. But people also need opportunities to build new communities and improve their lives.

Groups like the Karam Foundation, MercyCorps, UNICEF, and SOS Children's Villages provide educational programs to children along with that ever-important strategic training known as fun — giving children a chance at normalcy and relief, even in the most dire situations.

If you're interested in helping people of all ages get out of those scrappy, overcrowded refugee camps, you can donate to groups like Refugees Welcome, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, or the UNHCR. You can also take the time to educate yourself on your country's refugee entry policies and processes, and look into ways that your community can help improve those numbers and conditions.

Photo by Baraa Al-Halabi/AFP/Getty Images.

Maybe it was easier to ignore the Syrian refugee crisis before it had a human face.

We can't put that knowledge back in the box. But we can do our best to understand this crisis and try to make a difference.

It's easy to feel down or overwhelmed by the awful state of violence in the world. It's easy to ignore the things you've seen and return to the bliss you felt before Omran Daqneesh's heartbreaking visage filled your screen.

But if we all step up and do our part in small ways, we can make the world better for kids like Daqneesh. Because remember: Despite the savagery of that photograph, Daqneesh is still alive. All is not lost.

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.

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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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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