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President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address last night.

It was full of rousing moments, brutal mic drops, and two appearances of the phrase "pass muster," which gave the whole thing a nice Gatsby feel.

While a lot of important issues were addressed, like terrorism and curing cancer, some were not — abortion rights and police brutality to name a few.


Obama delivering his final State of the Union address. Photo by Evan Vucci/Getty Images.

One topic Obama brought up toward the end carried with it his only use of the word "regret."

"Democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest. Too many Americans feel that way right now. It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency  —  that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better."

It's not often you hear a president use the word "regret."

He's expressed frustration at gun control and in 2015 said that he wishes he closed Guantanamo Bay on his first day in office.

But for Obama to express regret in his final address, before all of congress and America, is a pretty big deal.

Especially since the issue at the heart of his regret is one we hear about often — divisiveness and partisanship in Congress and in this country.

Americans, more than ever, feel divided and that their voices simply aren't being heard the way they used to.

According to a recent CNN poll, 75% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the government is being run. That's a huge problem in a country that is supposed to be "of the people."

From billionaire bankers who can crash the economy without spending a second in jail, to corporate CEOs who can buy and sell presidential candidates to unarmed black men being killed by police on sight — and those cops who never see a day in court because of a system of politics that protects them — it's pretty easy to see why people aren't feeling just dissatisfied but completely unmotivated.

Most Americans look at the scope and scale of the problems this country faces and just aren't sure they can do anything about it.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's election in 2013 received record-low voter turnout. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Voter turnout is on the decline in presidential elections, and in local and primary elections, turnout has been abysmal. Not to mention even if people do turn out to vote, politicians have gerrymandered districts, something the president called for an end to in his State of the Union, or as he described it, "the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around."

Once again, in a country that elects its leaders to represent them, this is — to put it lightly — not good.

But there may be one silver lining to this problem, in the form of millennial voters.

According to a poll conducted by Rock the Vote and USA Today, millennial voters (the country's largest demographic) no longer reliably identify as liberal or conservative.

Millennials are more likely to cast their votes based on issues, not candidates, and their political alignments reflect a need for radical systemic change rather than just another party politician.

It might explain why there's so much support for Bernie Sanders, a candidate who, much like Obama eight years ago, many young voters believe carries with him the radical change they're looking for.

On the other hand, it could also explain millennial Republicans' support for Donald Trump, a candidate who also represents an anti-establishment ideology.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is surging in popularity just ahead of the Iowa Caucus. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Maybe that's what bridging this almighty divide will look like. Voters turning out to voice their concern on specific issues and candidates who, as a result, have to be representatives of the people first and politicians second. As it should be.

This is what one of the most powerful world leaders, the president of the United States, says he regrets not being able to change in his years in office.

Of course, the president went on to say that he would do his best in his remaining year in office to address this problem.

"There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office."

He went on to say that what's necessary is a change of the entire system, an end to practices like gerrymandering that will help us "to reflect our better selves."

But the president's call to action is significant because the people, with a united voice, are one thing that's more powerful than he is.

With an election coming up this year, the voice of the American people has the potential to be louder than it ever has. As the president noted in his closing paragraphs, it's not enough to just sit at home and be frustrated.

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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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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