+

When Abigail peeks out from her perch — a wooden platform dangling high in a tree on a mountain ridge in West Virginia — she sees a nearly picture-perfect landscape.

She points out roaming farm animals and watches cars drive the few country roads that border the Jefferson National Forest. "The sunsets are incredible," Abigail describes. "And it’s pretty peaceful when the winds aren’t too strong."

[rebelmouse-image 19532530 dam="1" original_size="800x600" caption="The view from Abigail's tree platform. Photo courtesy of Appalachians Against Pipelines." expand=1]The view from Abigail's tree platform. Photo courtesy of Appalachians Against Pipelines.


‌The 22-year-old Virginian (who asked us not to disclose her last name because of the risk involved in her protest) has called this sweeping landscape around Peters Mountain — and this one tree — home since she and others climbed up its branches on a mission on Feb. 26, 2018.

She chose the tree she’s in for a reason: It sits right where the Mountain Valley Pipeline is slated to carry natural gas through the fragile limestone terrain beneath its roots.

The construction of this pipeline would mean the destruction of this landscape, and Abigail is determined to stall that as long as possible.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline was first proposed in 2014 and has been met with community resistance every step of the way.

The route moves from north of Clarksburg, West Virginia, down to just southeast of Roanoke, Virginia — where it's been proposed it will continue another 70 miles south into North Carolina. The 42-inch-diameter pipeline will carry fracked natural gas, and residents like Becky Crabtree — who lives along the route and whose sheep Abigail can see from her tree — fear for their health, communities, and land.

Pipeline route map created by Upworthy.

"We can’t find record of a pipeline of this size ever being built on such a steep grade," Crabtree says. "There are so many questions we have, and no one is answering any of them for us."

Crabtree's property at the base of Peters Mountain is intersected by the pipeline, and her concerns about it are endless. She worries about sinkholes, about the quality of water reservoirs in the area, and about the construction traffic planned on her little one-lane road. She worries about the fence around her sheep field that she’ll have to pay to rebuild once MVP widens that road for their use. She worries about the effect the pipeline will have on the Appalachian Trail, which it will cross under just a couple hundred feet from Abigail’s tree.

[rebelmouse-image 19532532 dam="1" original_size="800x450" caption="The ridge of Peters Mountain from above Abigail's tree. Photo courtesy of FightingFox Photography." expand=1]The ridge of Peters Mountain from above Abigail's tree. Photo courtesy of FightingFox Photography.

Armed with many of the same concerns as Crabtree, over 400 landowners along the pipeline’s route refused to grant MVP easements on their property. These landowners were sued by MVP in 2017 for access to the land; eventually, a federal court will grant the private company access by condemning each person’s land through eminent domain, claiming that the pipeline serves a public good.

Upworthy reached out to MVP for a comment, but has not heard back.

Just a few dozen miles from Abigail, a 60-year-old woman nicknamed "Red" has also taken to the trees to stop pipeline construction on her family’s Virginia land.

"When I saw the tree sits on Peters Mountain," Red Terry says, "I knew what we had to do." Her husband’s family has lived on the Roanoke County land for generations, preserving the streams, wetlands, and an historic orchard that the pipeline will run right through.

"Everyone wants MVP’s money," she quips. "But there are some things in life worth a hell of a lot more than money."

Red's tree-sit, like Abigail's, has been surrounded by tree-felling in recent weeks. But the presence of the tree-sitters — along with dozens of supporters on the ground — has prevented MVP from cutting many trees in the pipeline's path. Although the community supporting these protests is vast, the threat of legal consequences has kept many, like Abigail, from disclosing personal information.

[rebelmouse-image 19532533 dam="1" original_size="2581x1936" caption="A protester blocks a MVP access road in Virginia. Photo courtesy of FightingFox Photography." expand=1]A protester blocks a MVP access road in Virginia. Photo courtesy of FightingFox Photography.

As construction ramps up, Red and Abigail aren’t the only ones taking direct action.

In Giles County, Virginia, a blockade was erected by pipeline opponents on an MVP access road. A single protester has been perched atop a 50-foot log placed vertically in the road for three weeks and counting, effectively halting construction of both the access road and the pipeline. She has not come down once, despite the continued presence of law enforcement preventing supporters from replenishing her supply of food and water. The banner hanging with her aptly reads: "The fire is catching: No pipelines."

Back in West Virginia, Crabtree says she was "jumping up and down delighted" to learn about the folks who climbed into the trees on Peters Mountain.

"We hadn’t noticed them until we read about them," she says. "But the more people that learn about them, the more admiration there is in the community. The more sense there is that we support people that ‘lay it down’ for our environment. That takes courage and wherewithal. It takes some extra teeth."

[rebelmouse-image 19532534 dam="1" original_size="800x672" caption="Photo courtesy of Appalachians Against Pipelines." expand=1]Photo courtesy of Appalachians Against Pipelines.

Local supporters have been so grateful for the tree-sitters that just a couple weeks ago, they held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in support.

That evening, dozens of folks gathered in a church basement to eat, talk with friends and neighbors, and contribute to the cause on Peters Mountain. Crabtree’s granddaughters ran a table complete with markers and construction paper where well-wishers could write thank-you notes to be delivered up the ridge.

Up in her oak tree, Abigail recounts tales of the past three years, which she has spent opposing this pipeline.

“It got to the point where we had tried all these options to fight this,” she reports. “We talked to our representatives. We tried running our own candidates. We wrote letters to the editor. We had people sign petitions. Didn’t work, didn’t work, didn’t work. This is the only thing I feel like I have left.”

Sun is out and our batteries are happy. Hope you all are getting some ☀ too!bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Sunday, March 18, 2018

This fight comes at a time of widespread and increasing resistance to pipelines and other destructive fossil fuel projects around the country and the world.

Just east of the MVP route, folks are fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that — among a multitude of other issues — has a compressor station planned for Union Hill, Virginia, a community built by the descendants of freed slaves.

Down in Louisiana, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline is scheduled to cross 700 bodies of water, including a reservoir that supplies drinking water to the United Houma Nation and 300,000 Louisiana residents. This is the tail end of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which thousands protested last year at Standing Rock.

The list goes on: Mariner East 2, Rover, Line 3, Trans Mountain. But so do the stories of people rising up in the face of this ongoing destruction of land and communities.

"I don’t have a lot to lose being in this tree," Abigail shares, as she settles into her sleeping bag for another night on the mountain. "But as a young person and person from this region, I do have a lot to lose with this pipeline."

Peters Mountain treesit in path of Mountain Valley Pipeline - with drone footage

Check out this drone footage of the tree sit! There's also footage here of trees being felled in the snowstorm on Monday right up to the base of the sit.Currently, the only thing physically standing in the way of pipeline construction is the treesit on Peters Mountain. People in trees are doing what our "representatives" and "regulators" refuse to do — they're protecting land, water, and communities of Appalachia from corporations that believe their money gives them the right to pillage this land and pollute our water.Please donate to support pipeline resistance in Appalachia: bit.ly/SupportMVPResistance

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

For updates from resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, follow Appalachians Against Pipelines and Farmlands Fighting Pipelines on Facebook. To learn about some of the other pipeline fights mentioned here, follow No Bayou Bridge, Makwa Initiative, and Camp White Pine.

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.
Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less