+

In the lead-up to the March for Our Lives, The Guardian turned its pages over to the editors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's student paper.

Eagle Eye staff wrote or edited more than a dozen stories on the British media outlet's U.S. website, complete with a number of great on-the-ground reports from the march itself. It was a really great idea, giving a large platform to some budding young journalists, and it was largely well-received.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez stands with other students during the Washington, D.C., March for Our Lives. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.


One story did inspire a bit of controversy: "Our manifesto to fix America's gun laws" included a few clumsy goals mixed in with the good.

First, there's the good: Eagle Eye editors propose banning semi-automatic weapons that can fire high-velocity rounds, writing, "Civilians shouldn’t have access to the same weapons that soldiers do. That’s a gross misuse of the second amendment." Presumably, the students are referring to a renewed ban on so-called assault weapons, something that a recent Quinnipiac poll found was supported by around 67% of Americans.

They also call for a ban on bump stocks; the creation of a database for gun sales and elimination of background-check loopholes; a repeal of the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting any research that results in a recommendation for more gun restrictions; and for the government to raise the purchase age requirement to 21.

Then there's the not-so-good: "Dedicate more funds to mental health research and professionals," reads one of the recommendations, noting, "Many of those who commit mass shootings suffer from [PTSD, depression, and other debilitating mental illnesses]."

The trouble with that recommendation isn't in the actual policy itself — it's true that increased funding for mental health research and professionals would be helpful, generally — but in its justification.

As it turns out, individuals with mental illness are actually less likely than those without mental illness to carry out a gun-related homicide. Where mental illness does play a big role in gun deaths is suicide. So by all means, we should dedicate those funds to mental health programs, just not for the reasons these students are suggesting.

Millions of people around the country attended March for Our Lives rallies on March 24, 2018. Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images.

Another less-than-ideal agenda item is a call to increase funding for school security. Marjory Stoneman Douglas had one armed school resource officer on campus the day of the shooting. Can one officer protect 3,000 students? Probably not. Is the answer to fill halls with armed guards and officers? Also probably not.

Yes, a school resource officer did engage with the gunman in the recent school shooting in Maryland (which ultimately ended in the student's death by a self-inflicted gunshot). That officer's action is commendable, but there are unintended consequences of merging our schools with the police state: Time and again, school resource officers have been caughtgettingphysicallyviolentwithstudents — especially students of color.

One idea in particular is worth another look: Allowing mental health providers to more freely speak with law enforcement about patients.

This may sound like a good idea, but it's actually a call to relax privacy laws and likely will just make the entire situation a whole lot worse. It is worth considering the students' context here, however:

"As seen in the tragedy at our school, poor communication between mental healthcare providers and law enforcement may have contributed to a disturbed person with murderous tendencies and intentions entering a school and gunning down 17 people in cold blood.

We must improve this channel of communication. To do so, privacy laws should be amended. That will allow us to prevent people who are a danger to themselves or to others from purchasing firearms. That could help prevent tragedies such as the Parkland massacre."

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff members return to school on Feb. 23 after the shooting. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

To be sure, most people who've been following the story coming out of Parkland will be able to agree that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, fell through the law enforcement cracks. There were warning signs, but the real issue wasn't that law enforcement didn't know; it was that after school guidance counselor tried to have him involuntarily committed in 2016, a state agency determined that his "final level of risk is low."

Basically, everyone involved was human — but still in touch with each other. That's because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) already allows health providers to communicate with law enforcement if they believe there is a "serious and imminent threat of harm to self or others."

In fact, under HIPAA, providers have a duty to notify law enforcement in those situations. Further loosening those rules will only discourage people from seek help they need.

Also, law enforcement has an extremely sketchy history when it comes to responding to calls involving mental illness. A 2015 report found that nearly 1 in 4 fatal police encounters involved someone with mental illness, making mentally ill people an estimated 16 times more likely to be shot by police compared with the rest of the population — in part because not enough police officers are trained to deal with the mentally ill.

The general scope of the Parkland students' goals appear well-intentioned and actually within reach. Still, it's worth considering a few unintended consequences.

This is the starting point of a discussion, and the world is better because these students are speaking up for what they believe in. They may not get it totally right 100% of the time, and that's OK.

People attend the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Update 4/3/2018: This post was edited to clarify the detail that the Maryland school resource officer was later determined not to have taken down the armed student but that he had confronted him before the student took his own life.

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.
Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less