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If you're like me, nothing beats a big, meaty cheeseburger off the grill.

And if you're like me, you probably don't really like to think about where your food comes from. But we really need to.

Of course, I try to buy responsibly farmed meat for the most part, but I'm definitely guilty of purchasing lower-grade beef in a pinch or when the sale price is just too good to beat.


This image lives permanently in the depths of my subconscious.

It's just way too easy to not think about what horrible things may have happened to that package of beef on its journey to my supermarket's cooler.

Unfortunately, out of sight, out of mind is exactly what the meat industry wants.

That's why many big factory farms have proposed laws to prevent animal advocates from exposing their practices.

Animal rights groups have spent years fighting for more transparency about what goes on inside factory farms, often in the form of undercover videos taken inside poultry and pork factories that aren't playing by the rules.

In 2013, the meat industry processed over 100 million pigs. Photo by Nick Saltmarsh/Flickr.

But instead of cleaning up their farming methods, a lot of these manufacturers have been trying to punish the people who capture and distribute this kind of evidence via "ag-gag" laws, as they're known, that try to keep these videos from ever seeing the light of day. Not cool.

Some of them make it illegal to enter an animal facility with intent to use a camera or video recorder. Others inflict harsh penalties on people who lie on employment applications in order to gain access to these places.

Starting around 2011, state-level ag-gag bills started cropping up everywhere. Thankfully, most of the bills have died due to strong opposition, but the laws have passed in several key areas, like Iowa and Kansas, for example, both of which are central hubs for factory farms.

We may not want to watch the horrifying behind-the-scenes videos filmed at factory farms, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have access to the truth.

In 2007, The Humane Society of the United States shot one such undercover video at the Hallmark Meat Packing Co. plant in Chino, California. The footage showed appalling treatment of sick cows, yes, but it also tipped off the USDA that the resulting meat may not have been safe for consumption. What followed was one of the biggest meat recalls in U.S. history.

Ag-gag laws make obtaining that kind of footage a punishable crime.

Going vegetarian or vegan is a great way to make a difference, but it's actually OK to eat meat. It's even OK if you don't want to know where it comes from.

It's just not OK for factory farms to escape accountability for their actions.

There is good news, though. A federal judge in Idaho just struck down the state's whistleblowing law.

Big Ag, meet your maker — Judge B. Lynn Winmill. Photo from U.S. Courts website.

U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled on Aug. 3, 2015, that Idaho's ag-gag law violates the First Amendment (free speech, ftw!) following a lawsuit from a coalition of animal activists and civil rights groups.

"Audio and visual evidence is a uniquely persuasive means of conveying a message, and it can vindicate an undercover investigator ... who is otherwise disbelieved or ignored," Winmill wrote in his ruling.

You said it, buddy.

And it's a good thing this ruling came down because Idaho's ag-gag law really sucked. In addition to making it damn near impossible for anyone to collect hard evidence of wrongdoing, its penalties for whistleblowers were actually worse than the ones for inflicting animal cruelty in the first place!

Absurd.

Good riddance to ag-gag in Idaho. But there's a lot more work to be done.


Big Agriculture is an extremely formidable opponent. According to the North American Meat Institute itself, meat and poultry sales in the U.S. were over $150 billion in 2009. That kind of money buys you some serious lobbying firepower and a lot of influence when it comes to public policy.

But the industry as a whole needs to be held accountable.

Yes, trespassing and lying on employment applications should be illegal, but the factory farming industry shouldn't get to inflict special penalties just because they have friends in high places. And they definitely shouldn't be shielded from following — at the very least — basic animal welfare guidelines.

Ag-gag is currently holding strong in at least six states (as of March 2015), but the federal court throwing its weight around in Idaho definitely bodes well for the future of this battle.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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 YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


These days, we could all use something to smile about, and few things do a better job at it than watching actor Christopher Walken dance.

A few years back, some genius at HuffPo Entertainment put together a clip featuring Walken dancing in 50 of his films, and it was taken down. But it re-emerged in 2014 and the world has been a better place for it.

Walken became famous as a serious actor after his breakout roles in "Annie Hall" (1977) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978) so people were pretty shocked in 1981 when he tap-danced in Steve Martin's "Pennies from Heaven."

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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