+
More

They went to war but felt uneasy when they got home. So they stuck their hands in some dirt.

Sonia, Althea, and Anna went to war but felt totally different when they returned. Filmmakers Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson tell their story in an awesome film called "Terra Firma."

The film tells the story of three of the over 280,000 women who were deployed to the Middle East since 2001.

Sonia Kendrick was serving in the Army for several years before she was deployed to Afghanistan. So was Anna Mann, who served in Kuwait and Baghdad. Althea Raiford, a 20-year Navy veteran, also served in Kuwait.

When they returned home, all three were diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Sonia in the Army

"If you went through that experience and you got to feel the fear everyday — the uncertainty, those things alter your life."

The three women describe PTSD in different ways.

When Sonia came home, she says, "my bubble was popped" and that she just didn't feel safe anymore.

"I don't even know when it happened or how it happened," Althea explains. "I just know that one day I woke up and can't go into a store by myself."

For Anna it's more like "a little bit of stress over something really stupid and little, [it] becomes this huge stress. ... I really didn't think that I was good at anything."

Despite not having met each other while in combat, all three women found the same way to cope with their PTSD.

What's their secret? Farming.

Althea spends her time at Gilliard Farms, a property that's been in her family for over 100 years.

"All of the things that I've seen in the world over the years that I've served in the military, those unseen scars that people don't know about, when I come here, I feel them healing." — Althea

For Sonia, farming is about having a mission.

"The food that I grow is going to food banks and food pantries. It's going to homeless shelters. ... I can't fight in wars anymore, but I can fight hunger." — Sonia

As filmmakers Owen and Christine told me via e-mail, by growing crops, Sonia continues "to serve her country by providing food for the hungry."

And in North Carolina, farming helped Anna her find her purpose.

"Being my own boss has let me give myself space where I'm not judging myself. ... It's built a lot of confidence back. I'm good at this. I own my own business. I am a mom." — Anna

Since the film was shot a few years ago...

Sonia, who "was only farming at one church" will be growing food at 23 different sites around Cedar Rapids, Iowa for food banks.

Anna is getting her master's degree at the University of California Berkeley, focusing on developing sustainable agriculture. She also became a board member of Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm in Oakland, California, which was founded by another amazing female veteran.

And Althea retired from the Navy and is rebuilding Gilliard Farms with her brother, enjoying their lives as sixth-generation farmers in Georgia.

Christine and Owen were super grateful that Anna, Sonia, and Althea all agreed to be filmed. They initially had trouble finding female vets that wanted to share their stories but were determined to show women's lives post-combat.

"(Female vets) are an often overlooked and underserved segment of the population. We also like to make solutions style films in relation to our broken agricultural system. America needs more farmers and veterans need jobs." — Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson

What a fearless bunch of ladies! I'm so glad they decided to share their struggles and triumphs. Check out their stories here:

[vimeo_embed https://player.vimeo.com/video/73038185?color=b86e25&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]
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
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.

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.

Keep ReadingShow less
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