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Firearms result in more than 33,000 deaths in the U.S. per year. Many of these incidents, particularly homicides, can be prevented with a simple solution: a waiting period.

A mandatory waiting period is exactly what it sounds like. It's a delay, anywhere from one to 10 days, between the beginning of a gun purchase and taking ownership of the weapon. This allows stores time to conduct background checks where required and gives the potential buyer a "cooling off" period to potentially prevent impulsive acts of violence.

Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.


A new study reveals that waiting periods aren't just common sense, they actually work.

The study's researchers, faculty members at Harvard Business School, found that the 17 states (including Washington D.C.) that require mandatory waiting periods have reduced gun homicides by approximately 17%, preventing as many as 750 gun deaths each year.

If mandatory waiting periods were extended to the rest of the country, the study estimates an additional 950 gun deaths could be avoided. That's 950 lives that could be saved every year.

Mark O'Connor fills out his Federal background check paperwork as he purchases a handgun. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Waiting periods also save lives when it comes to preventing suicide.

Multiple studies confirm that firearm access is a risk factor for suicide, and there is a strong correlation between states with high gun ownership and a higher number of firearm suicides than low gun ownership states.

"Many suicides (estimates range from 30% to 80%) are impulsive, with just minutes or an hour elapsing between the time a person decides upon suicide and when he or she commits the act," wrote Annmarie Dadoly, the former editor of Harvard Health. "Yet the stressful events that lead to suicidal thoughts are often temporary, such as losing a job or having a romantic relationship end."

Waiting periods allow for those dangerous, confusing, painful moments to pass without easy access to a firearm, keeping temporary feelings from turning into permanent tragedies.

Currently, there is no federal law requiring waiting periods for handgun purchases.

Many states began background checks and waiting periods in 1994, with the introduction of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, better known as the Brady Bill.

The Brady Bill is named for Press Secretary Jim Brady, who was shot and became permanently disabled during an assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. The bill, in part, required potential handgun buyers (purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer) to undergo a background check and a five-day waiting period to conduct the check. In 1998, the FBI introduced the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a system that can return background check results in minutes, leading some states to lift the waiting period.

President Bill Clinton congratulates former Reagan Administration Press Secretary James Brady on the passage of the Brady Bill. Photo by Jennifer Young/AFP/Getty Images.

Other states allow dealers to sell the gun after three days, whether the background check is complete or not. This is how Dylann Roof obtained the weapon he used to kill nine people in the Charleston A.M.E. Church massacre.

Despite the federal Brady Bill, the U.S. still has a piecemeal set of laws from state to state and even from weapon to weapon, with handguns requiring different waiting periods than assault rifles.

The gaps and loopholes in gun laws put everyone at risk, but there's a lot you can do to change that.

If you're interested in working toward a national solution for gun violence prevention, contact your legislators and encourage them to support common sense reforms and to put an end to the moratorium on gun violence research. You can also volunteer your time or make a contribution to groups on the ground, working for safer communities, workspaces, and schools.

It's never too late to start.

A makeshift memorial on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

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.’”

“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.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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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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