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Rex saved his partner's life. And then, years later, she saved him.

'I've taken care of him. He's taken care of me. It's a bond you can’t break.'

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Megan Leavey

When Megan Leavey first met Sgt. Rex — a bomb-detecting German shepherd — they got off to a rocky start.

But through training, the pair worked long and hard to gain each others' trust — a trust that would be tested in over 100 missions after they deployed together as a bomb-detection team in Iraq.

Over the course of two six-month tours, Rex and Megan worked together to find undetonated explosives, saving each other and their team from danger. In 2006, they were working a routine sweep when an enemy detonated a roadside bomb, injuring Rex and nearly killing Megan in the explosion.


From the time they were first paired up, Megan and Rex were inseparable — that is, until Megan was discharged and Rex was not.

While Megan's service commitment ended in 2008, Rex was ready for another deployment. Megan returned home, and he went back to Iraq.

The pair's journey — and Megan's public campaign to petition the Marines to let her adopt Rex — are the subject of a moving new film called "Megan Leavey," starring Kate Mara:

After hundreds of missions and two tours in Iraq, Megan Leavey and her bomb-sniffing dog Rex formed a lifelong bond. This is their story.

Posted by Upworthy Video on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This movie goes beyond Megan's life with Rex; it’s also a glimpse into the incredible world of war dogs who have been supporting militaries around the globe for hundreds of years.

Humans have been bringing dogs alongside them into wars basically since the beginning of time. From the armored attack dogs of the ancient world to the trackers and bomb-sniffers of the modern military, dogs have been saving human lives for centuries.

"They aren't pets. They're warriors," Megan's gunnery sergeant (played by Common) tells her in the trailer. And though many war dogs eventually find civilian homes, their time in the service brands them unquestionably as heroes.

[rebelmouse-image 19469639 dam="1" original_size="1024x920" caption="Spc. Kory Wiels and his military dog, Cooper, take a break after searching a house for weapons and homemade explosives in Baghdad. Photo by Spc. Olanrewaju Akinwunmi/U.S. Army." expand=1]Spc. Kory Wiels and his military dog, Cooper, take a break after searching a house for weapons and homemade explosives in Baghdad. Photo by Spc. Olanrewaju Akinwunmi/U.S. Army.

It's impossible to say how many lives are saved with the enlistment of each new military animal, but there's no denying that they're invaluable assets to the branches they serve. The military actually incorporates a non-commissioned officer title into every dog’s name, always one rank higher than its human handler.It's a tradition that reminds handlers to enter into their canine relationship with respect.

[rebelmouse-image 19469640 dam="1" original_size="1024x682" caption="Liaka, a Dutch shepherd, is led through the streets of Iraq during a mission. Petty Officer 2nd Class Todd Frantom/U.S. Navy." expand=1]Liaka, a Dutch shepherd, is led through the streets of Iraq during a mission. Petty Officer 2nd Class Todd Frantom/U.S. Navy.

Dogs enter into the line of fire to save their human handlers, protecting them in a conflict and scouting for explosives off-leash. Many lose their lives, which is why the military frequently gives fallen war dogs a hero's funeral.

[rebelmouse-image 19469641 dam="1" original_size="766x633" caption="U.S. Army Sgt. Ingram gives Staff Sgt. Cinte a drink. Photo by Pfc. Julian Turner/U.S. Army." expand=1]U.S. Army Sgt. Ingram gives Staff Sgt. Cinte a drink. Photo by Pfc. Julian Turner/U.S. Army.

Despite their service, the respect and appreciation we have for war dogs for many years wasn't backed up by the necessary legislation.

Technically, military dogs are categorized as equipment. For a long time, when a dog became unable to continue service due to injury or age, they were considered "surplus." Sadly, military dogs were put down or left behind instead of being retired with honor like the warriors they were. It wasn't until 2000 that Robby's Law was passed and military working dogs were allowed to be adopted at the end of their service.

For Rex and Megan, the laws on the books weren't enough to reunite them.

Though Robby's Law made it possible for military dogs to be sent home and put up for adoption, the professionals at Camp Pendleton kennel in California doubted Rex's ability to acclimate to civilian life.

Megan knew she could provide her former partner a happy retirement, so she began a public crusade to persuade the Marines to let her adopt Rex.

Even U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer got involved, reaching out to the military on her behalf and launching a petition for people who "agree that these two American heroes should be reunited with all due speed."

Megan was finally able to take Rex home in March 2012, and he lived happily with his partner before passing away peacefully.

Their fight was also a contributing force to the movement that ultimately resulted in a law passed in 2015 that allows all military dogs to retire in the United States and gives their former handlers the first chance to adopt them.

Megan wrote:

"Rex got to swim in a pool and play with my other dogs. He got to roam the yard & bark at deer, play with as many toys as he wanted all day everyday, sleep in a cozy bed next to me every night, chase and eventually make friends with my 2 cats, enjoy & play in his first snowfall … and so much other great stuff that he would have never had the chance to do if he was never retired."

Rex's final days were a fitting end to a life of service to the military, the country, and his partner.

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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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.

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.

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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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