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You know the North Pole?

Image from Christopher Michel/Flickr.


Yeah, that North Pole. It turns out — it's not the North Pole anymore. It, uh ... moved.

The Geographic North Pole is the point around which the rest of the Earth spins. Kind of like this:

GIF from "Elf."

(We also have a Magnetic North Pole, which is what compasses point to. Yes, we have two North Poles. And yes, they're in different spots. I know, I'm sorry).

NASA's been using satellites to watch our poles for a long time, and it turns out the Geographic Pole is not where it used to be.

Technically, yes, the North Pole has always been moving slightly.

The Earth spins around an invisible axis that runs between its North and South Poles, but it's not perfect.

Like a slightly imbalanced top, the Earth wobbles a bit.

Wobble wobble wobble wobble. GIF from "Inception."

According to NASA, historically, the North Pole had been heading slowly but steadily toward North America. Hudson Bay, in particular.

Recently, the North Pole did something really weird though: It kind of ... turned around.

"This is why nobody likes driving with you, Dave."

Before, this is what the trajectory of the North Pole looked like:

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.

For a long time, it was slowly but steadily moving down toward Canada.

But around the year 2000, something happened — the axis started booking it away from North America. Fast.

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.

It wasn't the Y2K bug — so what changed around the new millennium that shifted the direction of the North Pole?

It all has to do with water weight — specifically, where on Earth we keep our water.

Like a spinning top, if one side of the Earth is heavier than the other, it affects how it spins. But if you stop the top and redistribute the weight, the wobble will change, too.

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Water is remarkably heavy. And according to NASA, a one-two hit of melting ice sheets coupled with a drought in Asia is redistributing the Earth's water weight. The drought aspect is especially powerful because it's positioned perfectly to really mess with the Earth's rotation.

So where is the North Pole headed next? Looks like Merry Old England.

Image from Milenqqa/Pixabay.

It's moving there at a glacially-slow-to-us-but-kind-of-fast-for-the-planet seven inches per year, says NASA. Though when it gets to England, it'll have to convert that to centimeters, obviously.

There's no need to panic.

This isn't dangerous and won't affect our daily lives. We're not going to be redrawing any maps anytime soon.

GIF from "Potter Puppet Pals."

NASA and other agencies will need to keep track of it in order to keep satellites and GPS accurate, but that's about all the practical changes we'll need to make.

But it does show how little changes can affect things much, much larger. Like, planet-sized things.

As ice sheets melt and weather patterns get more extreme, we're likely to see more of these secondary, larger changes happen to our planet. So buckle up — things might be about to get weird.

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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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.’”

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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.

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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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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.

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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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