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Support for Syrian refugees in Canada is overwhelming, nonpartisan, and inspiring.

'You're safe at home now,' the Canadian prime minister tells Syrian refugees.

Louisa Taylor, director of Refugee613 in Ottawa, Ontario, has an interesting problem.

Her organization is so inundated with donations and support for Syrian refugees that they're stretched to their absolute limits.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook, our inboxes are overflowing with offers of help," she told me. "[I have] more requests than I can meet."


Her organization is getting ready for the arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees who will soon call Canada their home.

Part of that process, Taylor explained, is simply having to manage the incredible generosity of Canadians. "We are inundated with offers to volunteer, to donate clothing and furniture, to create new programs, and it all takes work to manage that."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeting refugees in Toronto. Photo by Nathan Denette/Associated Press.

The refugee program, which is Canada's most ambitious since the Vietnam War, officially became a reality late Thursday night, Dec. 10, 2015, when a plane carrying 163 Syrians landed in Toronto.

The refugees were greeted personally by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And he wasn't alone in embracing them.

All 163 refugees were given winter coats, and they were warmly welcomed by volunteers and a slew of politicians from across the political spectrum.

"It truly is a nonpartisan, national project," said John McCallum, Canada's Immigration Minister.

So nonpartisan, in fact, that among the people helping to welcome and process the refugees were members of the opposition party and notable Trudeau critics.

Trudeau was elected in a landslide victory earlier this year. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

A second government plane arrived in Montreal just two days later, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, bringing an additional 161 refugees.

The program, or "programme" if you speak Canadian, also has overwhelming public support.

All of the refugees who arrived on the first flight were sponsored to come to Canada by small groups or individuals, who've raised over 28,000 Canadian dollars (just over $20,000) for each family.

One organization, "Yukon Cares," was able to raise $46,000 to sponsor a family, helping them with food, rent, clothing, and furniture. They did so in three months.

Syrian refugees arriving by boat in Turkey. Photo by Bulent Kilic/Getty Images.

It's hard not to be inspired by Canada's support and frustrated by the lack of it here at home.

Canada's program isn't perfect and, in fact, the overall timeline has been scaled back from bringing in 25,000 refugees before January, to 25,000 before March, but it's still leagues better than any resettlement plans here in the U.S.

America is due to take in 10,000 refugees over the next year, a significant increase from the 2,000 originally promised. Yet governors in 31 states have flatly refused to let in any refugees at all, citing what they believe to be a risk of Islamic terrorists entering the United States.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States isn't helping either. With everyone from politically charged uncles at Thanksgiving to prominent presidential candidates taking the time to bash Muslims for being Muslim, public support for Syrian refugees is dismally low.

Honestly, his sign isn't as offensive as that '90s puffy jacket. Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images.

Canada is showing the world that Syrian refugees aren't going to bite.

"There's a whole new generation of Canadians seeing the power that comes from unleashing compassion," said Louisa Taylor. "It's a beautiful sight."

The refugees are being welcomed personally by the Prime Minister and with open arms by the Canadian public. They're being taken to hotels and will soon be set up in homes sponsored by Canadian families and charitable organizations.

They've escaped an unimaginably terrifying circumstance and have entered a country that has the courage, fortitude, and generosity to hand them a coat and tell them they're safe now.

Or, as one refugee put it:

"We feel as if we got out of hell and we came to paradise."

And if Canada is anything like I hope it is, those refugees will soon be enjoying moose rides through the park and swimming in pristine lakes of maple syrup.

Not bad, Canada. Not bad.

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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