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Senior class makes history at Ohio high school, electing two girls prom king and queen

The roots of the senior prom date back to the 19th century, at a time when colleges were separated by gender. The prom—short for promenade—was an opportunity for young men and young ladies to meet and mingle at a formal party. The idea moved to younger ages in the 1920s and evolved into the modern-day prom, complete with tuxedos, limousines, over-the-top "promposals," and, of course, the infamous prom "court."

The fact that students are still being asked to vote among their peers for a "king" and a "queen" of the prom is somewhat baffling. The idea felt outdated when I was in high school decades ago. Am I missing something, or is it really just a glorified popularity contest where the naturally outgoing and beautiful among the student body get the privilege of winning a prize that has no real meaning or significance?

Traditions are odd things when you step back and look at them objectively. Many people aren't able to do that, which is why there's so often an uproar when traditions get broken or messed with in some way. But not all traditions are worth keeping—or at least worth being precious about.


That's the lesson for an Ohio community whose senior class voted in two girls as prom king and queen this year. The couple, Annie and Riley, were chosen by their peers at Kings High School to wear the crowns and carry the titles—a choice that was brought up and discussed at a local school board meeting.

At least one parent at the school board meeting expressed concern over having a girl serve as prom king, but others were supportive.

"I admire this generation for their thirst of knowledge and understanding, their strength to stand up for what they believe in," said one parent.

"Sorry, but I believe that there are still two genders, a male and a female," said another.

The decision, however, was the students' to make, not the parents'.

"This is solely a Kings High School senior class nominated and voted-on initiative," Dawn Goulding, a community relations coordinator for the school district, told WLKY News.

The school shared a photo of the girls on their Facebook page with no extra fanfare—just a simple message of congratulations. "Congratulations to Kings High School 2021 Prom King and Queen, Annie Wise and Riley Loudermilk! #KingsStrong." Though there was a mix of comments on the post at first, they grew more supportive.

"The queen and king that were nominated and won were thrilled, they were so excited and they feel so supported at school, Gould told Fox 19 News. "What is great is it shows a lot of the character of our students at Kings High School. They're inclusive and they get it."

The Facebook post now has more than 2,000 comments, most of which are words of celebration and support for the students.

Let's just step back a second. For parents to raise a fuss about a prom court in any way shape or form is just silly. "But a king is by definition a male! But the point is to have a boy and a girl!" It's a prom court, for the love. It means nothing in the big scheme of things, regardless of who wears those crowns.

The students of Kings High managed to at least give it some fleeting meaning, using an archaic prom tradition to make a statement of solidarity and an expression of inclusivity. And the school district has stood by the students as they've endured criticism from certain parents and community members.

The students have spoken, and what they've said is, "We're turning traditions on their heads and celebrating our friends just as they are." Seems like a fitting coming-of-age milestone for young adults heading into an increasingly diverse world.

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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