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Atallah hadn't been able to talk to his daughter for 2 years. Then NetHope came along.

For Syrian refugees in Greece, the internet isn't a pastime. It's a lifeline.

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CARE & Windows 10

For Atallah Taba, it all happened in an instant. One moment he had a wife and a home in Jobar, Syria. The next, an air strike took both of those away.

Like millions of other Syrians in the war-ravaged country, Atallah fled. He headed north toward Turkey and eventually reached Greece, settling in a refugee camp in Cherso, Thessaloniki. His journey had taken two years. During that time, he told NetHope, he hadn't been able to talk to his six children, all living abroad in Lebanon and Germany.


Atallah Taba in his temporary home at a refugee camp in Cherso, Greece. Image by Madeline Kane, used with permission.

Like 70% of all Syrian refugees, Atallah didn't have a mobile phone or a way to get online.

It's impossible to overstate how important it is for refugees to have safe, reliable ways to access the web. The internet helps them connect with loved ones, get important news updates, and find aid agencies.

For refugees living in Greece, internet access is even more important: The only way they can start the process of applying for asylum is to make an appointment on Skype — and the office is only available to make appointments for brief windows of time on certain days. Without a secure internet connection, refugees can't even begin to plan for a future beyond a refugee camp.

That's where organizations like NetHope come in.

Engineers with NetHope at a refugee camp in Greece. Image by Madeline Kane, used with permission.

NetHope is an organization full of broad thinkers with big hearts, trying to change the world through the power of technology. It works with humanitarian agencies and tech companies to help get people online when they need it most.

NetHope's first big project to bring refugees online was in 2012 at Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp. Together with tech companies and aid agencies, it launched DadaabNet, a large-scale high-speed broadband network connecting the thousands of people living and working in the country's largest refugee camp with the rest of the world.

The tent city of Dadaab, Kenya. Image by Oxfam East Africa, used with permission.

For the past several months, NetHope and its partners have worked at refugee camps across Greece, helping build wireless networks.

The project is far from complete, but it's already helping hundreds of thousands of people in need.

According to Frank Schott, NetHope's Managing Director of Programs, "over 90,000 devices log on to one of the sites. With one device per 3-4 refugees we estimate that the reach is close to 300,000 refugees that have benefitted in Greece."

NetHope workers troubleshoot their network. Image by Madeline Kane, used with permission.

When NetHope set up the connection in his camp, Atallah was the first person to thank them. After two years of silence, he has a phone with internet and can finally call his children and tell them he's safe. Which he does. Every day.

Life in a refugee camp is never meant to be permanent. For Atallah and others in Cherso, stable internet access allows them to feel a little more connected to home while they wait for what happens next.

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

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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 Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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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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