Recycling is great for the planet. But you've got to do it right.
How we can create equity for all communities?
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.
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?”
"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.
'This night will go under my pillow of sweet dreams for the rest of my life.'
The live two-hour premiere episode of the star-studded 31st season of “Dancing With the Stars” was an emotional one, to say the least, as actress Selma Blair took to the stage.
Four years ago, Blair publicly announced her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis—a chronic disease that causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination.
It was clear that entering the competition was more than a chance to win a title for Blair. In an interview with ET Canada, the “Cruel Intentions” actress shared that “I hope that by doing this show that I could show people with disabilities the joy that can be found in ways you never expected.”
Blair definitely succeeded with that goal. She and pro dance partner Sasha Farber earned third place and brought the audience to tears with an elegant, moving waltz routine set to David Cook's "The Time of My Life."
Blair posted a shorter clip of the dance onto her Instagram, writing in the caption that "This night will go under my pillow of sweet dreams for the rest of my life.”Blair, who normally walks with a cane, was most concerned with keeping her balance during the performance. But relying on Farber was a welcome relief. “I have been a single mom. I've always loved supporting people, and then to have so many people support me, heaven," she told "Access Hollywood".
She added that the opportunity to dance came at a time when recovery had stalled. “I just couldn't get motivated to get stronger. Then this came and for the first time in my life I was like, 'Yeah, it makes sense…' I want to start learning how to build myself up again," she shared. Because of her work with Farber, the “Legally Blonde” actress is getting stronger each day, something that gives her immense pride.
Blair’s comeback is certainly inspiring—it takes immeasurable amounts of grace to move through all of life's challenges and still remain hopeful. Whether or not she makes it all the way through the competition, she has already won something much more profound by proving what’s possible.
Who doesn't love a good party?
Birthday parties are usually a good time for everyone involved, but sometimes things can get a little rowdy or you can have a few crabby neighbors that are upset their invite got lost in the mail. Either way, someone calls the police to complain about noise hoping the event will be disbanded or at the very least, partygoers will quiet down. That's exactly what led to Greensboro police officers making their way to a 15-year-old's quinceanera, but instead of breaking it up, they joined in on the fun.
If you're not sure what a quinceanera is, no problem. It's a milestone 15th birthday celebration for girls in Latino communities to mark their transition from girlhood to womanhood. The celebration is usually a big deal that involves beautiful gowns, a fancy venue, lots of delicious food and upbeat music. It wouldn't be surprising if the music and celebratory joy emanating from a girl's quinceanera would grab the attention of a few neighbors. But when officers came to check on the noise levels, they were invited into the party and just couldn't refuse.
Greensboro police officers eat at birthday party.
Greensboro Police Department Facebook
The three officers appeared to have enjoyed themselves and got a free meal to hold them over to the end of their shift. According to Greensboro Police Department's Facebook page, the officers also handed out stickers and took a picture with the birthday girl. While this noise complaint could have gone much differently, it's nice to see that the officers chose to celebrate with the family instead.
People in the comments of the Facebook post couldn't get enough of the officers' good deed. Joyce Marie said, "Thank you officers Matthews, King and Johnson! That is an awesome way to build community and the family and especially that young girl will never forget it."
Kelly Jo Netter commented, "Now that’s community policing! These officers turned this into a positive experience for the residents involved. Thank you!"
There are hundreds of comments praising the officers, like Becca La Fea's that read, "This is a very specially event in our culture. They were probably super honored to have you guys seated there. You guys are great!!!"
While there were some comments saying the party shouldn't have been loud, the comments section was mostly positive. Plenty of birthday wishes for the teen were laced throughout the comments, but mostly people were happy to see community policing in action. Getting to know the people in the neighborhood that you're enforcing laws in has had positive effects for communities and officers.
It's clear that these officers had no intention of ruining this teenager's special day, and while the noise complaint may have gone unresolved, they gave the family something to smile about. Hopefully the neighbors weren't too upset and came to understand the significance of the day for the girl and her family.
The Greensboro Police Department had one message for the teen and it was to wish her a happy birthday and we are wishing her the same. It looks like an amazing time was had by all.
This article originally appeared on 03.29.21
One of the biggest problems with coffee production is that it generates an incredible amount of waste. Once coffee beans are separated from cherries, about 45% of the entire biomass is discarded.
So for every pound of roasted coffee we enjoy, an equivalent amount of coffee pulp is discarded into massive landfills across the globe. That means that approximately 10 million tons of coffee pulp is discarded into the environment every year.
When disposed of improperly, the waste can cause serious damage soil and water sources.
However, a new study published in the British Ecological Society journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence has found that coffee pulp isn't just a nuisance to be discarded. It can have an incredibly positive impact on regrowing deforested areas of the planet.
In 2018, researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii spread 30 dump trucks worth of coffee pulp over a roughly 100' x 130' area of degraded land in Costa Rica. The experiment took place on a former coffee farm that underwent rapid deforestation in the 1950s.
The coffee pulp was spread three-feet thick over the entire area.
Another plot of land near the coffee pulp dump was left alone to act as a control for the experiment.
"The results were dramatic." Dr. Rebecca Cole, lead author of the study, said. "The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grasses."
In just two years, the area treated with coffee pulp had an 80% canopy cover, compared to just 20% of the control area. So, the coffee-pulp-treated area grew four times more rapidly. Like a jolt of caffeine, it reinvigorated biological activity in the area.
The canopy was also four times taller than that of the control.
The coffee-treated area also eliminated an invasive species of grass that took over the land and prevented forest succession. Its elimination allowed for other native species to take over and recolonize the area.
"This case study suggests that agricultural by-products can be used to speed up forest recovery on degraded tropical lands. In situations where processing these by-products incurs a cost to agricultural industries, using them for restoration to meet global reforestation objectives can represent a 'win-win' scenario," Dr. Cole said.
If the results are repeatable it's a win-win for coffee drinkers and the environment.
Researchers believe that coffee treatments can be a cost-effective way to reforest degraded land. They may also work to reverse the effects of climate change by supporting the growth of forests across the globe.
The 2016 Paris Agreement made reforestation an important part of the fight against climate change. The agreement incentivizes developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
"We hope our study is a jumping off point for other researchers and industries to take a look at how they might make their production more efficient by creating links to the global restoration movement," Dr. Cole said.