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Groundhog Day is, unquestionably, America's favorite holiday.

Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images.


It can sometimes seem that, for millions of children and adults alike from Maine to Hawaii, the only day on the calendar that matters is February 2.

It's a day that seeks to answer the single most pressing question on our collective mind: Will winter end a little early, or just, like, at the normal time?

The magic of Groundhog Day harkens back to the late 19th century — a simpler time — when our nation's most sophisticated mode of climate modeling involved pulling a terrified rodent out of the ground and watching its facial expressions for about 45 seconds.

...and I'm about to ruin it.

Photo via iStock.

This gives me no pleasure (OK, a little bit of pleasure). But it needs to be said.

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) pulled data for all the Groundhog Days since 1988. For each year, it tracked whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, and whether temperatures in February and March of that year were above or below average.

After just a cursory look at the results, two things become immediately clear:

1. Groundhog Day is completely useless as a predictor of whether spring will come early.

2. To the extent that the holiday contains any useful information whatsoever, Groundhog Day is actually a harbinger of planetary doom.

Let's take these one by one:

1. Turns out, Punxsutawney Phil pretty much always sees his shadow.

"Yeah, so I do lift." Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images.

Groundhog Day operates on a pretty simple premise: Phil sees his shadow, winter stays around for six more weeks. Phil doesn't see his shadow, winter goes away earlier than usual. You'd probably expect a roughly 50-50 split.

And you'd be wrong.

Between 1988 and 2016, the purportedly clairvoyant groundhog has taken an obvious gander at his own shadow 20 out of 29 years. If you go back to 1887, his record gets even worse. Since the very first Groundhog Day on record, Phil has seen his shadow 102 times, and not seen it only 18 times (there is no data for 10 of those years).

Groundhogs only live two to eight years on average, so this data tracks across dozens of Phils.

If, between the late '80s and today, we'd been dealt a series of solidly long winters, maybe you could make a case for Phil's psychic prowess. But that's the opposite of what's been happening.

And that's where the doom comes in.

2. In the last 28 years, regardless of whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, spring mostly just always comes early. And that's not a good sign.

Death is coming for us all. Photo by Kor!An/Wikimedia Commons.

We've had a warmer-than-average March 22 out of the last 29 years. Globally, as of 2016, March 2016 was the hottest March on record.

While there's no one on Earth who would say "no" to a St. Patrick's Day barbecue, the ruthless, relentless advance of spring is also a pretty stark illustration that climate change is real and getting worse.

In case you need to be reminded why that's scary, here's a pretty good 'n terrifying summary.

It's not the groundhog's fault. He's tried hard to see-his-shadow our way out of this. But it hasn't worked.

No, it can't. Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images.

Unfortunately, that means we have to do more of the heavy lifting. A lot of that is going to depend on our ability to meet the ambitious goals laid out in the landmark climate agreement that was signed in Paris in 2015, like limiting global temperature rise to "well-below" two degrees Celsius.

The problem is, for the countries that signed on, the commitment is voluntary.

Making sure we hold up our end of the bargain means electing politicians that not only believe in man-made climate change, but actually want to do something about it and pressuring them so that they actually do.

If we manage to accomplish that, Groundhog Day can go back to being what it was always meant to be: a silly holiday that doesn't mean a damn thing.

Photo by Archie Carpenter/Getty Images.

Not the kind of day you'd want to experience over and over and over again, but, you know, not bad for a day in February!

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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