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Teachers in El Paso, Texas, have a secret weapon. His name is Dr. Skateboard.

In a perfect world, the morning school bell would ring and every child would snap to attention, ready and enthusiastic to learn. But of course, nothing is perfect.

In reality, kids come with all styles and levels of enthusiasm for learning — only a few of which are actually to sit down and pay attention to the lesson.


More and more, researchers are finding that interactive lessons are the way to go when it comes to capturing the attention of an entire classroom of children. That's why teachers call up Bill Robertson — or, as the kids call him, Dr. Skateboard.

"I started skateboarding when I was 13," says Robertson, whose title stems from the fact that he does, in fact, have five academic degrees, one of which is a doctorate in education. "I was a high school and middle school teacher for a little while, and I started thinking about ways I could make my class more engaging," he says. "Any time I brought in my skateboard, kids got more interested."

Just like that, Dr. Skateboard was born.

All photos courtesy of Dr. Skateboard, used with permission.

Not only is Robertson now a professor, but he also skates around the world teaching kids (and adults!) lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math.

According to Robertson, skateboarding is the perfect vehicle for lessons in STEM because it incorporates so many of the forces that act on most things.

"The balance of those forces is how you make things fly," he says. When kids pile into the auditorium to watch Robertson skate, they no longer have to imagine their physics problems — they get to see them in action. "Whether it’s an airplane or a skateboarder doing an ollie, you can demonstrate those principles through skateboarding."

So, as Robertson soars into the air, he explains exactly how forces like gravity, momentum, and lift help him takeoff and land safely on the ground — while also putting on a show.

But lessons aren't all about science. Robertson also carries an important message about engaging in learning itself.

Especially to kids with other passions (like skateboarding), school can seem like a chore that keeps them from doing what they really want to do. "By bringing Dr. Skateboard together, I give kids the idea that you can have activities and pursue your education," he says.Robertson works to show kids with all sorts of interests how to become lifelong learners by finding the academic concepts that lie hidden in activities that take place outside the classroom.

"You just try to present content in ways people may not have thought about it," he says. "Whether you’re skateboarding or doing some other kind of activity you really enjoy, it’s a matter of breaking those activities down to see where the concepts lie." For a musician, that could be the physics of sound. For an artist, the chemistry of color.

He also teaches kids about work, showing them that whether it's skating, school, or something different, it takes the same skills to be good at anything.

As a skateboarding doctor, he's uniquely positioned to convince kids that, truly, athletics and academics aren't all that different. Everything takes hard effort.

"Persistence, practice, patience, creativity, tenacity, goal-setting — they’re also the same things you do in your education," he says. "So if you have success in something you like, you can bring that into your education."

His programs speak to adults, too — parents and teachers who may be tempted to write off kids who don’t seem interested in learning. "By being a doctor, I can appeal to teachers and parents and decision makers and say don’t marginalize kids who are into these activities. Because they may have the attributes to become a Ph.D."

Though Dr. Skateboard makes appearances around the world, parents and teachers can learn from his methods without seeing him in person.

Robertson encourages adults to take their own natural interests and talents and use them to show kids how education is in everything — no matter how unconventional it may seem.

But, he warns, the key is not to feign interest in something that even you think is boring.

"Kids especially can tell when you’re being real," he says. "They may or may not be into what you’re doing but they can respect that authenticity."

So if you hate billiards, don't try to teach geometric angles over a pool table. But if you're teaching something you love, just like Dr. Skateboard, you might just end up passing that passion along.

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Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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