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Her mom was helping pay off her student loans. When she passed away, the debt had doubled.
person holding brown leather bifold wallet

College is expensive. Parents work multiple jobs, put pressure on their children to perform at the top of their class in order to earn merit scholarships, all in the hopes for college to be mostly paid in full. Inevitably many students and parents have to take out student loans in an effort to fill in the gaps left by financial aid.

In the case of one Twitter user, Michelle Miller, her mother agreed to pay back half of Michelle’s student loans to ease the burden on the new graduate. After graduation the daughter owed approximately $30,000 and, split between the two of them, it meant they would each need to pay back $15,000.

Michelle lamented on Twitter about how her mother insisted on paying back her agreed-upon portion of the student loans though the daughter offered to take over payments. When Michelle’s mother informed her that the original $15,000 turned into $40,000 after interest, Michelle decided to save money in preparation to take over payments. However, her mother refused to allow it. Miller’s mother was expected to pay $400 a month on the student loans, but this would cut into her retirement, leaving her below the poverty level. To her mother, it was worth it to hold up her end of the bargain. Unfortunately her mother became unexpectedly ill and passed away before she was able to retire or pay back the loans. When going through her mother’s paperwork after her death, Michelle was met with a shock.



The loan amount had doubled. Michelle’s mother hid that the interest rate on the loans had brought the grand total to $80k that she could never afford to pay back. But this story is not unique. Many borrowers go into debt thinking the benefit of the degree will outweigh the burden of student loan debt but the cost of an education continues to skyrocket and the interest rate on loans makes paying it back nearly impossible. When you go to school and take out loans, you expect to be able to afford monthly payments and hope to pay it back in a timely manner, eventually freeing up income, but that’s not always the case. A lot of people find themselves in a similar situation as Michelle’s mother. They take out a dollar amount that is repayable, only to look up and see they’ve repaid the original balance but they still owe more than they originally agreed to borrow.

man wearing white top using MacBookPhoto by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

If stories like Michelle’s are the norm, why aren’t we doing more to regulate student loan companies? Presidential candidates like to talk about student loan forgiveness, and some have come up with actionable plans, but it doesn’t solve the long term issue of student loan practices. The truth of the matter is that children who three months prior had to ask permission to use the bathroom are now expected to understand the long term implications of borrowing money from a company that doesn’t care that the average person can’t pay it back plus interest.

Seventeen- and 18-year olds with a dream of attending college and questionable loan practices is a perfect storm for continued crisis in the student loan arena. Until we can figure out how to better regulate the lending companies in charge of student loans, the next generation will repeat the cycle. People shouldn’t have to choose between pursuing their dreams and taking debt to the grave.

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.

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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