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Jon Stewart returns to late-night TV to explain why the Wuhan lab-leak theory isn't so crazy
via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart made Stephen Colbert and his audience uncomfortable on the "Late Show" Monday night when he went on a rant about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stewart believes the virus probably came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, instead of the once near universally accepted belief that it emerged from wet markets in the area.

"Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic … which was more than likely caused by science," he said to nervous laughter.



Jon Stewart On Vaccine Science And The Wuhan Lab Theoryyoutu.be


Colbert believes that there's "a chance" that the virus leaked out of the lab.

"A chance? Oh my god!" Stewart replied. "There's a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab.

"The disease is the same name as the lab! That's just a little too weird, don't you think?" he continued.

Stewart then dealt a series of hilarious metaphors to put his theory in perspective.

"There's been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania — what do you think happened?" he said of another scenario.

"Oh, I don't know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean … or it's the f—ing chocolate factory. Maybe that's it!" he said.

"'I have been alone so long, and when I realized that the laboratory was having the same name — first name and last name — of the evil that had been plaguing us, I thought to myself, 'That's f–ed up,'" he said.

Colbert countered Stewart's opinion with a pretty strong argument.

"It could be possible that they have the lab … because in Wuhan there are a lot of coronavirus diseases because of the bat population there," he suggested.

Stewart's comments have been controversial because as a prominent liberal, they appear to confirm some of Donald Trump's thoughts on the virus's origin.

In late April and early May of 2020, Trump claimed he had a "high degree of confidence" that the virus came from a lab.

At the time, many of Trump's critics pushed back against the claim, calling it a conspiracy theory or an attempt to blame China for the virus. Which makes sense because Trump routinely peddled conspiracy theories and tried to scapegoat China for COVID-19 calling it the "China virus."

However, Trump backed off the theory after the spring of 2020 and never released any information that would have confirmed the idea.

Stewart's thoughts also rightly make many uncomfortable because Americans have a historical desire for retaliation and promoting the lab-leak theory could lead to an overreaction like we had after 9/11. It could also exacerbate the growing number of racist incidents against Asians.

The truth is nobody knows the virus's origin. But there is growing circumstantial evidence that the lab-leak theory should be considered. A Wall Street Journal report revealed that three researchers at the lab were hospitalized in November 2019. The new information has caused the Biden administration to order a new intelligence investigation into the virus's origins.

Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that it may be a possibility.

"That possibility certainly exists, and I am totally in favor of a full investigation of whether that could have happened," Fauci said.

Colbert's reaction to Stewart's opinion highlights a major problem in political discourse in the United States: if the other side believes something, it must be wrong. Democrats have leaned into being the party of science over the past generation by embracing environmental science and evolution.

Liberals have also been better at fighting back against the COVID-19 virus by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

At a time when we don't know the origins of COVID-19, liberal thought leaders like Colbert should put science before party and keep an open mind, even if it means having to possibly say that Donald Trump was right about one thing.

As the old saying goes there are "those who want to get it right" and "those who want to be right." Regardless of party, we should all be on team-get-it-right so that we can prevent the next pandemic.

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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