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I wrote a news headline that didn't even link to a story. Over 2,000 people commented on it anyway.

I've written for the fine people of the internet for more than a decade. At this point, you'd think nothing would surprise me.

I mean, I've had private messages sent to my personal inboxes that would make a sailor blush. I've had people write jaw-dropping screeds in response to articles I've written that shouldn't even have been controversial. I've watched comment sections turn into mob-like madness and have been called every unsavory name in the book.

Sometimes I think I've seen it all—and then something like this happens.


Last Thursday, Upworthy published an article I wrote with the headline, "Most domestic terrorism comes from white supremacists, FBI director tells lawmakers." The article includes links to sources for the facts, a video of Wray's testimony, information about what the current administration is/isn't doing about domestic terrorism, and some commentary and questions to get people thinking and talking.

When the article first went up on Upworthy's Facebook page on Thursday, it got more than a thousand shares and sparked hundreds of comments.

It was a pretty standard response for a piece like that.

But then this happened:

The article was shared again over the weekend, only this time there was a glitch. At first, here's what showed up on Facebook:

I have no idea why it says "Don't Publish this" or why there's no image. Someone was probably testing something behind the scenes and accidentally scheduled it to publish. And there was no article linked. If people clicked on the post, it went straight to this error page:

People shared and commented on the Facebook post anyway, which I thought was weird. But it got caught fairly quickly and taken down.

Later in the weekend, however, another share of the article went up, this time with the correct headline, image, and share text. Still no link to the article, though. Anyone who clicked was taken straight to that same 404 error page.

Guess how many shares and comments that post got before Upworthy got wind of the dead link and took it down.

More than 2,000 comments. And thousands of shares to other people's Facebook feeds.

[Deep breath.] Okay, people. We need to talk.

Is sharing a dead link embarrassing for Upworthy? Sure. But not nearly as embarrassing as the 2,000+ people who shared and commented on it without even clicking on it, nor as embarrassing as the commenters who wrote things like "This article is full of race-baiting b.s." and "This article is FAKE NEWS," without even reading the article they were attacking.

Again, there was no article to read. When I saw the Facebook share and started reading the comments, I was baffled. Only about 2% of the comments were people saying "There's a dead link," or "Link isn't working." Two in a hundred. No exaggeration.

Everyone else was reacting only to the headline. Full on debates raged. People claimed that Upworthy was publishing lies or writing articles that were just designed to divide people.

None of these commenters had any idea what they were talking about because THERE. WAS. NO. ARTICLE.

I often find myself dismayed by people who obviously comment without reading the article. (I wrote a whole article once about why people need to stop that nasty habit.) But I've never seen such a blatant example of how common this is. It was like an unintentional sociological experiment that thousands of people failed.

A headline is not an article. Share text is not an article. Why are people sharing something they clearly haven't read? Why are people sharing their thoughts on an article that wasn't even there?

There could have been anything at that link—I could have made stuff up out of thin air, I could have linked to actual fake news sites, I could have brazenly misquoted someone—except Upworthy has standards, thank goodness. Maybe I should feel happy that the people who shared it felt like they could trust the outlet I wrote for, but I'm super uneasy with that. No one should be sharing something they haven't read, no matter who publishes it.

And there's one more element to this that deserves a word: How headlines get crafted.

I'm guessing the reason people didn't bother clicking that link is because the headline was clear and descriptive and neatly summed up the story at a basic level.

The headline gave no details or proof, of course. Nevermind the fact that the article points out an important differentiation between domestic terrorism and homegrown violent extremist terrorism. Nevermind the fact that the article makes clear that white supremacist violence is nothing new. (Sooo many commenters felt the need to point that out.) Nevermind the fact that this administration has slashed programs designed to counter white supremacist violence despite its own intelligence agencies' warnings. All of those things add important context to the story, but the headline is so clear that people don't even know what information they're missing.

Aye, and here's the rub: What would get people clicking and reading is a less clear headline—maybe something like "FBI director tells lawmakers that most domestic terrorists come from a specific group of Americans." But you know what we'd be accused of then? Clickbait. People would complain that we were being vague on purpose, just for clicks. Facebook would ding us and squash our reach because its almighty algorithm would determine that—heaven forbid—we want people to actually click on our content and read it.

If we write clear, concise, informative headlines, people don't read the article. If we write vague headlines that leave people with questions, people complain about clickbait. Writers can't win.

I just want a t-shirt, a banner, a billboard, and a meme that says, "READ THE DAMN ARTICLE, PEOPLE." I also request a parrot that repeats that same phrase all day long. That's literally all I want right now.

Fine people of the internet, we are better than this. We can do better than this. Please don't prove me wrong.

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

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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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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