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If Google was at a holiday party with the rest of the Fortune 500 companies, it would definitely have a New Year's resolution worth bragging about.

The company intends to be powered entirely be renewable energy in 2017.

Image via iStock.


Now those other Fortune 500 companies might go, "Hold on, Google, not so fast. We know you're one heck of an impressive tech company, but you employ over 60,000 people all over the world! Think you might want to set a more realistic goal?"

To which Google would probably say, "Nah, I'm good."

Of course, this isn't the kind of goal you hit overnight. Google has been laying the groundwork to hit this "landmark moment" for years.

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

According to a post on Google's blog by senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle, Google is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. Last year, the company purchased 44% of the power needed to run the entire company from solar and wind farms, but it began pursuing renewable energy much earlier than that.

In 2010, Google contracted with 114-watt wind farm in Iowa. The company also became one of three investors of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS), the world's largest solar power tower plant back in 2011. Oh and no big deal, but Google's been working toward carbon neutrality (meaning its energy production cancels out its emissions) since 2007.

Photo via Google. Used with permission.

So yeah, you could say Google had a bit of a head start on its 2017 New Year's resolution.

If you're thinking this is the kind of initiative that only a company like Google can do because Google has a ton of money and renewable energy is expensive, think again.

According to Google's extensive environmental report, the cost of wind and solar energy has dropped 60%-80% over the last six years. So not only is that 2017 renewable energy goal good for the planet, it's good for their business as well. And if there's anything most companies can get behind, it's saving money.

All in all, Google has invested more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy sources all over the world and also works to help other organizations lower their emissions as part of its commitment to doing whatever it can to combat the very real threat climate change poses to our planet.

Photo via Google. Used with permission.

Google isn't alone in trying to make a shift toward renewable energy. Microsoft reports that its been carbon neutral since 2012. Pearson, the world's largest education company has been committed to total carbon neutrality since 2009, and has maintained it ever since. And that's just two of 100 companies in the United States that have committed to operating on 100% renewable energy sources in the next few years.

According to data collected by the Climate Group, if companies worldwide committed to this endeavor, global carbon emissions would drop by 15%.

In cleaning up their energy acts, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Pearson are setting a great example for other companies worldwide to follow.

Photo by AFP.

It will take a certain amount of initiative, especially from smaller companies, to make a full shift to renewable energy. Even Google is facing some challenges in meeting its 2017 goal. For one, its data centers require the most amount of energy, and even though use of artificial intelligence has cut the need down by 15%, needs keep mounting.

Google is determined to keep pushing forward, facing each new challenge as it arises because combatting climate change is a marathon, not a sprint. And thanks to the climate summit in Paris in 2015, more countries' industries are taking up similar emissions pledges.

The clean energy gauntlet has been thrown by some of the most influential companies in the world. Hopefully their resolutions will inspire others who don't want to be left behind in the pollution dust.

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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