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On the whole, I’m a good person.

Really, I am.

I recycle, I pay it forward, and I practice random acts of kindness. I smile at strangers, hold doors open for people, and even let you merge ahead of me on the highway. I teach my kids — my “Fruit Loops,” as I call them — to say please and thank you and refer to grown ups as “Mrs.” or “Mr.” I’ve put children in time out so fast their heads have spun.


I'm also a responsible citizen. I pay attention to local politics, I vote in the primaries (midterm AND presidential) — I even show up to local zoning board meetings. I believe in civic duty and though I mostly ran for PTA president because I wanted the gavel, I also did it because I believe that as a parent, it’s my job to have a voice on issues like budgets and education.

My point? I’m doing the best I can to be a good human and raise humans who aren’t monsters. And since I've got that under control, I don’t need you or anyone else, to help me decide what my kids learn about sex, religion, and politics. I’m doing a pretty good job on my own, thank you very much.

Recently, Fruit Loop #2 was subjected to inappropriate, egregious discussions related to the underbelly of our society.

During the course of several weeks in Fruit Loop #2’s religion class, her teacher felt it necessary and appropriate to discuss topics that, frankly, even I can’t fully wrap my brain around at the age of 41.

Sex. Condoms. ISIS. Beheadings. Donald Trump coming to “save us all.” Every week, Fruit Loop #2 would come out of class bewildered and scared, with questions that made me want to stop driving us home and hold her. Her hazel eyes asked me if I’d miss her after ISIS beheaded her for standing firm in her belief in God.

Let that sink in: My daughter was told she should be brave if she was going to be beheaded in the name of Christ. No child needs to be told they can become a martyr if ISIS comes knocking.

To say that I was livid is an understatement. I emailed. I complained. I worked with other parents to make sure our children had a safe, kind environment in which to learn and grow. I had a nasty, downright dirty, face-to-face argument with the teacher about spreading hate, fear, and untruths to impressionable children. I was called “low” and “ugly” for speaking up, and I was told that I was doing a disservice to my child by sheltering her from the horrors of the world.

Humans are universal in two ways: Everyone poops and everyone has an opinion.

I get it. We are bombarded with soundbites, email blasts, and memes that make our eyes roll every single day. On the world stage, people who are supposed to be grown-ups are acting like moody 5-year-olds on a playground. It’s insipid and it’s frustrating, to say the least, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deathly afraid for the future.

But I am making a concerted effort to wade through these sociopolitical minefields to truly understand the issues and decide when, how, and to what extent I want to explain them to my children.

What I am NOT doing is shoving my opinions down the throats of other people’s kids and giving them nightmares about men and machetes. And while my husband and I do have spirited debates at the kitchen table, we spend a lot of time helping the Fruit Loops understand the complicated processes that govern our world. We have open discussions and try to answer their questions as best as we can. We’re doing what we can to help our children learn from the mistakes our country is so obviously making right now.

And it's because we’re making that effort that it becomes so frustrating when other adults assume it’s their right or responsibility to teach their opinions to our kids.

Parents, it’s possible to help your kids understand the world without making them afraid of it.

Talk to them. Educate them. Help them understand. Teach them empathy for marginalized people and explain how they can act to make the world a better place. Empower them. Take them with you when you vote and let them pull the lever. Do what you can to give them the tools to become civic-minded adults who focus on solutions rather than hate.

And if you decide to reject all that and scare the wits out of your children instead, that's your business. But don't push your agenda on my kids.

This story originally appeared on Keeper of the Fruit Loops and is reprinted here with permission.

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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