+
True
The Wilderness Society

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a tiny country in the Pacific Ocean.

Made up of over 1,000 islands and islets and 29 coral atolls, the Marshall Islands are home to just 72,000 people — about half the population of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Like many Pacific islands, it's a scenic, tropical paradise full of beautiful beachside views and ... wait, what the hell is that?!


Image via GroundTruth.

Oh. Right. That's just a giant concrete dome full of radioactive waste on Enewetak Atoll.

From 1944 to 1979, the Marshall Islands were technically a territory of the United States (who took them from Japan during World War II, who took them from Germany after World War I, who took them from...), and as long as they claimed ownership of these remote islands, the military figured, "Hey, may as well use the space to blow stuff up."

Wasn't the Cold War so much fun?

More than 60 atmospheric nuclear weapons were tested in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1962, resulting in a combined 108 megatons of nuclear yield.

That's like the bomb that wrecked Hiroshima times 7,000, or the equivalent of 1.6 atomic bombs dropped every day for 12 years. These tiny islands are home to about 80% of our radioactive waste from nuclear testing.

And about two-thirds of those tests took place on Enewetak Atoll.


The first hydrogen bomb was exploded on Enewetak Atoll as part of Operation Ivy (not to be confused with the seminal but short-lived '80s punk band of the same name). GIF via "Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Movie."

And, well, they had to do something with all that leftover radioactive material, right?

I imagine the conversation went kind of like this:
"Hey guys, now that we've decided to give this country back to its people, what should we do with the 22 million gallons of nuclear waste that's still here?"

"Eh, just cover it in 18 inches of concrete, and we'll deal with it later."

"Cool beans. You guys wanna grab a beer? First round's on me!"






It might look like the crashed carcass of a UFO from a '90s dystopian sci-fi film, but don't worry; it's just a radically unstable plutonium container. NBD, nothing to see here, move along now thanks. Image via GroundTruth.

The Dome was like a parting gift from the U.S. to the Marshall Islands. But it was never meant to be permanent.

The concrete casing was just a stopgap while the U.S. government figured out something better to do with all those megatons of dangerous nuclear debris.

Which, of course, they never did. But hey, at least they give Marshallese residents some compensation for the impending threats of radiation sickness. Maybe that's why the locals affectionately call the place "The Tomb."

Oh, that's the bad news: the Dome has already cracked, leaking radiation into the soil. A 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Energy found that the earth in the immediate vicinity of the dome was actually more contaminated than its contents.

The worse news is that the entire atoll is about to be submerged beneath the ocean — if a natural disaster doesn't destroy it first.

Image via GroundTruth

Instead of being Ground Zero for nuclear testing, the Marshall Islands are now ground zero for climate change.

With worldwide temperatures continuing to increase and sea levels rising, the Marshall Islands will likely be immersed under water within 85 years.

Our ecosystem is an incredible machine, but when we damage just one crucial part of it, that affects other parts of the environment as well — and that domino effect shows no signs of stopping. This could have something to do with the influx of wild floods and tidal waves throughout the Marshall Islands as well.

If you've ever seen what water does to concrete and stone, then you understand why this might be a problem for those millions of gallons of nuclear waste simmering beneath the Runit Dome.


I'm not necessarily saying that the ocean will erode the concrete of the Runit Dome and dump millions of gallons of radioactive debris into the Pacific Ocean that awaken a vengeful fire-breathing mutant-dinosaur-monster bent on the destruction of Tokyo. But it's not not a possibility. GIF from "Godzilla (2014)."

Here's a short video tour of the ruins of the Runit Dome.

And if you care at about the well-being of the South Pacific, sign this petition to help protect the South Pacific and stop oil companies like BP from causing even more damage to our fragile environment. They might not be quite the same as 22 million gallons of plutonium waste, but they're still a major factor in keeping those 72,000 Marshallese residents from drowning in the wake of human arrogance.

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.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

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.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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