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Free speech means the government can't silence you. The free market means Twitter can.

After rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers into hiding and ultimately leading to the deaths of five people (six, if we count the Capitol Police officer who died by suicide in the days following), Twitter took the unprecedented step of permanently banning Donald Trump from its platform. Since the election Twitter had flagged the president's tweets that pushed disinformation about the election, but in the wake of the violence in the Capitol, concerns about incitement to more violence led them to warn Trump that he risked being banned if he kept up his inflammatory posts.

He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted. And so Twitter followed through, as did Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms that could be used to stir up extremist violence.

And quite predictably, people who inexplicably still support the president started crying about free speech.

Twitter also took the step of removing in bulk accounts that were dedicated to pushing QAnon, the quacky conspiracy theory that says Trump is in the process of taking down a secret cabal of Satan-worshiping, pedophile Democrats and celebrities. QAnon adherents have been a growing part of Trump's extremist base and the falsehoods they push have grown more and more a part of mainstream right-wing rhetoric.

In fact, they've grown so mainstream in the conservative ecosystem that removing those accounts resulted in many high-profile conservative politicians and personalities losing tens of thousands of followers all at once. And hoo boy, were they not happy about it.


But instead of acknowledging that a big chunk of their following are living in a dangerous bonkersland (and that many of those followers were probably disinformation-pushing bots anyway), they started crying about free speech.

Let's be clear. The first amendment of the constitution guarantees the right to free speech, meaning that the government cannot silence us. We have the right to say (almost) anything without being shut down or locked up by the government.

Government is the key word here, though. Twitter is not the government. Neither is Facebook or YouTube or any other company. Free speech is a constitutional right; a social media account is not. A social media account is a product we get to use in exchange for seeing ads and handing over some of our personal info. It's also something we can only access if we agree to a set of terms and conditions and then abide by them. Once we've done that, the company is well within its rights to boot us if we break the terms of service.

Trump was not silenced by the government. In fact, he has a literal microphone that can literally reach the entire world literally down the hall from where he lives and works. He can hold a press conference and say whatever he wants at any time. His free speech is still totally intact—and he still has a huge megaphone at his disposal.

As for the other people who have had their social media accounts suspended? Their right to free speech is also intact because, again, a company is not the government. No one is entitled to a platform.

This is how the free market works. Pretty much the only thing a company can't do is discriminate against someone based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age, thanks to anti-discrimination laws. But a business can deny you service for being a nuisance, for yelling at other customers, for using profanity, for not wearing shoes, and all kinds of other actions if their rules stipulate that they won't tolerate those things.

There are also common sense things we just can't do, even if they aren't explicitly laid out in a business's rules. For instance, I can't walk into Nordstrom and shout into megaphone, "Hey fellow customers! Feel free to just take whatever you want for free because Nordstrom's prices are exorbitant and they don't need our money anyway!" That would get me kicked out in three seconds, and the company would have every right to do that.

The president can't go on Twitter and tweet messages that are likely to incite violence, especially after his followers already stormed the U.S. Capitol on his behalf and chanted about killing the vice president. That would be incredibly dangerous.

People can't go on Twitter and push the idea that our nation's lawmakers are part of an evil cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who stole the election from Trump and deserve to be publicly executed. That's dangerous, and we've let it pass as absurdity instead of recognizing it as radicalization for way too long.

There are things people just can't do in a business space. Incitement of violence is something that people can't legally do in any space, but even pushing disinformation that fuels the beliefs that have led to violence—namely the entire "Stop the Steal" lies about election fraud—is dangerous at this point. Our country is on fire. Anything that directly fuels that fire needs to be kept far away.

Let's be extra clear here. These social media companies are not banning "conservative" speech or silencing conservative voices. Political views that aren't insane and dangerous conspiracy theories and that aren't driving people to mob violence are still up and running and will continue to be up and running (assuming they don't start violating those rules). In fact, Facebook's top 10 posts today are 80% conservative voices, as per usual, so cries of partisan censorship fall a bit flat.

Banning the president of the United States is a huge decision, of course. But again, he has an entire press corps at his disposal and his title and position do not exempt him from terms and conditions. It's not like Trump hasn't broken Twitter's rules of service before. As Sam Harris pointed out in his podcast today, people have gotten kicked off of Twitter for far less every single day that Trump has been president. As Harris said:

"Trump has been violating any sane terms of service on Twitter for years. He's threatened nuclear war on Twitter. More importantly, he has ruined people's lives intentionally on Twitter. As president of the United States, with tens of millions of rabid followers—many of whom he knows to be quite deranged—he's attacked private citizens repeatedly, knowing they would be doxxed and inundated with death threats. That should get you kicked off Twitter. He should have been kicked off years ago. In recent months, he's relentlessly spread misinformation about the election, and he's destabilized our society in the process. And then he incited an attack on the Capitol. Twitter isn't obligated to give him a platform to do those things.

This is not a free speech issue. This isn't a 'Why can't we just debate all ideas?' issue. This is 'Why should we let the most dangerous cult leader on Earth use our platform to sow division in society' issue. Why should we give him the tools to produce mob violence? Honestly, I would expect to get kicked off of Twitter for causing 1/1,000,000th the harm Trump has caused on the platform."

Those clear violations aside, there is a lot of gray area in terms of what counts as violating a social media platform's rules, and there are legitimate complaints to be had about what does or doesn't get flagged or banned. We have to rely on the people who make such judgments to be working in good faith, and we can't always trust that that's the case. We also need to have important discussions about the power of these huge tech companies and the role they play—or should play—in keeping the world from spinning out of control. But those discussions will necessarily involve the role of government regulation, and right now that's tricky as most of the people complaining about social media purges at the moment are the same people who decry government regulation.

At any rate, suspending a social media account has nothing to do with free speech. Unless the government makes Twitter shut down someone's account, no one's first amendment rights are being violated here.

As the saying goes, "You have to kiss a few frogs..."

Dating has certainly evolved over the years—we’ve gone from courtship being purely a financial arrangement (not that this trend has ever truly died) to knights jousting for a lady’s favor, to casual hookups … and now, romance is primarily found through an app more than anything else.

Technology used for meeting that special someone has become so advanced that you can base your search entirely upon specific interests. Like … oddly specific interests. Think a fellow cat person would be the purrfect match? There’s an app for that. Wish to “love long and prosper” with a fellow Trekkie? There’s an app for that too.

No matter the changes, one thing remains the same—dating is awkward. It’s got all the unspoken formalities of a job interview, disguised as innocent fun. The balance between playing it too cool and too eager is hard to find even for the smoothest among us, and usually results in total embarrassment. Even if we aren’t the ones committing those embarrassing acts ourselves, we are often the reluctant witness to them.

Terrible dates might not always be fun in the moment, but they can be just as important as the good ones. They can teach us a lot about ourselves and what qualities we want in a partner. And at the very least, they can teach us to embrace social clumsiness with a sense of humor.

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share a “funny or embarrassing first date story” for his ever popular #Hashtags segment. The best part—some of these awful first dates ended in marriage. There’s hope for us all.

Below, find 15 stories that are truly the the best of the worst. How do some of your first dates compare?

1. "After a nice dinner, she invited me to her house. On the way up, inside the elevator, I decided to push the button to stop between floors and give her a kiss... She had a phobia of closed spaces and she smacked my face as a reflex, two punches after we were kissing and laughing.” – @PanqueAlgarvio

2. “His jeans were so tight he couldn’t sit down. Stood at a bar stool the whole time.” – @onlyintheozarks

3. “Waiting 4 my date when an older couple asked me for a ride. my date came up and said sure! We drove them home & they asked us to come in. Date said “sure”. I pulled him back & asked why he wanted to hang w/strangers. He said ‘sh@t! YOU DON'T KNOW THEM!?’ We bolted!” – @natashaham75

facebook dating

Talk about a fashion faux pas.

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4. “Before the date, we had been chatting about books we liked and I talked about a great book I just read. We went on the date. I loaned her the book. She ghosted me.” – @thenextbarstool

5. “The worst first date I ever had was when my date locked his keys in the car and I had a curfew so he had to break his car window out to get me home on time. Didn’t think I’d ever see him again but we wound up married.” – @csleblan

6. “First date movie ‘Basic Instinct’ not realizing how suggestive it was. We just thought it was a mystery thriller! We left the movie discussing how each character could have actually murdered someone. We're married now.” – @Southrnbell_Amy

black people meet

There are worse first date movies tbh.

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7. “First date with my ex husband was a double date with his parents. The preview for ‘Speed Racer’ came on, and she leaned over me to say to her son, ‘You know what your dad's nickname in the bedroom is?’" – @theostoria

8. “A friend asked me on a double date as a blind date with his date's friend. I went to the bathroom and came back just in time to hear my date say to her friend, ‘why do I get the ugly one?’ I said good night to all three and headed home, leaving her w/the bill.” – @StevenTrustum

9. “He loved cheese. I was subjected to a 2 hour conversation/lecture about cheese, and why cottage cheese is not cheese!” – @Optimist_Eeyore

bumble

I'd like to see this two-hour cheese lecture.

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10. “He took me to an Asian fish market. We walked around looking at live & dead fish for a while. I don’t like seeing dead animals & I don’t eat seafood. Then we sat on a curb & he pulled out a ziplock bag of pineapple for us to share. I don’t like pineapple.” – @markayhali

11. “My cousin set up a first date for me with a family friend. During a break from dinner, Mr. Man follows me into the ladies’ room, comes up close and says in a low voice, ‘I shave my butt.’ Can’t remember what I said in response but the evening ended abruptly.” – @carli_zarzana

12. “I once took out my high school crush to a sports bar and ordered the spiciest wings there in an attempt to impress her. Not only was she not impressed. The next morning I woke up with heartburn.” –@Dmonster38

tindr conversation starters

Talk about a hot date.

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13. “My date showed up with his bestie and girlfriend, and they talked through dinner about people I don’t know. Walking to the car, he gave me a wedgie because he thought he hadn’t been paying enough attention to me.” – @surrealDazey


14. “I was taking my date home and was pulled over by the police for speeding. When the cop came to my car, she jumped out and told him she had to get home. She walked home and I never heard from her again. I'm not sure who's #WorstFirstDate it was mine or hers!” – @eastriverbear

15. “After an evening of dancing with a first date, leaving the dance hall, I had to take a quick pee break. Rushing out to the parking lot, I see a lady, I grab her and swoop her around, and plant a big wet kiss on the lips. She was another guy's wife. Oops!” – @seadogskamore

date you

Only Gomez could have gotten away with it.

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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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