+

Let's talk about Ted Cruz. The guy's a problem. And not just for Texas.

The senator's only been warming his chair for five years, but that hasn't stopped him in excelling at confusing, confounding, and outright outraging both his constituents and (this is pretty big, Ted!) the rest of America.

Here's just a brief rundown of some of the things Cruz has done since he was elected to office:


Cruz is currently fighting for his senate seat against democrat Beto O'Rourke and his latest move is pretty confusing. It appears that he's asking his constituents to vote for his opponent.

Of course, that doesn't seem like the wrong thing to do considering all the information up top, but when you're running a political campaign it feels like you should be making the strongest case for yourself. Especially when protestors have already rented billboard trucks to remind your constituents that the current president of the United States (who's quite unpopular himself) has renounced you several times in the past.

But after their first debate against each other — during which Cruz dodged questions about police violence — he posted a video of O'Rourke speaking to a packed audience about the very topic that he refused to discuss.

Captioned "In Beto O'Rourke's own words," the video shows the democratic hopeful denouncing the death of Botham Jean, a Dallas resident who was shot to death by an off-duty police officer who entered his apartment by mistake.

The video was supposed to be a takedown, but it's got voters galvanized.

"How can it be in this day and age in this very year in this community that a young man, African American, in his own apartment, is shot and killed by a police officer?" O'Rourke asks the audience.  

"And when we all want justice and the facts and the information to make an informed decision what is released to the public? That he had a small amount of marijuana in his kitchen? How can that be just in this country? How can we continue to lose the lives of unarmed black men in America at the hands of white police officers?"

"That is not justice. That is not us. That can and must change," O'Rourke cries as his listeners erupt in agreement. "Are you with me on this?"

The response to Cruz's tweet suggests that they are.

The reason that Cruz posted this video is likely much more sinister. But we have time to change where we're headed.

While it's fun to consider that Cruz may just be losing steam, the reality is much more stark. According to experts, including Daniel W. Drezner at The Washington Post, Cruz's choice to post this video is likely less about O'Rourke's message and more about proving that Cruz's opponent is anti-police, a dangerous sentiment in Texas.

"The only possible reason I can see for showing O’Rourke’s perfectly sane words without comment is because it has nothing to do with his words and everything to do with the visual," Drezner writes.

"O’Rourke delivers this speech at an African American church, and the churchgoers react in an extremely energetic manner. That is the image that Ted Cruz wants his supporters to see, because he thinks it is the image that will mobilize his supporters into disliking O’Rourke and voting against him."

Though no one can say exactly what's going on in Cruz's mind, one thing is clear: His rhetoric and views aren't just disagreeable, they're dangerous for a great number of people. And that's exactly why it's on all of us to make sure that we immerse ourselves in politics and vote in the upcoming elections. And hey, if Cruz has convinced you to vote for his opponent, this is one time I'll say more power to him.

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.
Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less