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bacon bugs madagascar

Sakondry are saviors for this furry guy.

The sakondry bugs of Madagascar are pulling off quite a feat: helping to thwart starvation, relieving biodiversity loss and saving lemurs. All while tasting like delicious bacon.

These small cricket-like insects have long been a well-loved snack for locals. Pro tip: Find the youngest ones (those are said to be the tastiest), give them a quick wash, pinch off the heads then toss them in a pan with some water and salt, and voila … a crispy, crunchy savory morsel.

“They’re quite soft when they’ve been fried … Like a nutty bacon,” Lewis Kramer, a conservation research coordinator, told Metro.co.uk.

“I would happily have a bowl of them with a beer,” he joked.

Nutritionally speaking, however, the sakondry are much more than a snack. They might as well be singing Lizzo’s “Juice” ‘cause baby, they’re the whole damn meal.

Insects generally tend to provide a viable protein, fat and mineral source, all while requiring less land, water and feed than meat.

These facts are more crucial than ever, as around 1.64 million people in Madagascar are enduring an undeniable food crisis. Horrifically destructive tropical storms and relentless droughts—which the UN directly links to climate change—have led to desperate measures. Metro.co.uk reported that people were forced to eat ash mixed with tamarind and leather from shoes to temporarily stave off hunger.

As a last resort, some villages have taken to hunting forest animals, including the already heavily endangered lemur. With nearly 94% of the species threatened with extinction, this is hardly a sustainable option.

But U.K.-based organization SEED Madagascar aims to address these issues with a novel solution: a bacon bug farm.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Created by anthropologist Dr. Cortni Borgerson, the program helps communities plant and grow the bean plants known to locals as tsidimy (also edible, so win-win). The tsidimy will attract colonies of sakonry after only six to eight weeks. Those colonies can then be harvested about a month later.


Knowing that a love for card playing is part Malagasy culture, Borgerson created a deck of cards to act as a creative user manual the farmers can refer to for best practices and troubleshooting. The deck includes everything from how to care for tsidimy seedlings to how to differentiate between male and female sakondry.

In only one year, these farms have raised more than 90,000 harvest-sized sakondry, which provided the annual protein equivalent of 2,700 eggs. Borgerson told Mongabay News that the program has also saved 25-50 lemurs per community each year.

As delicious and nutritious and sustainable as they are, the sakondry remain quite mysterious. But while research is still being conducted, these little bacon bugs are becoming a part of a well-balanced diet (and ecosystem) for Madagascar.

Now … who’s ready for an S.L.T.? Sakondry, lettuce and tomato sandwich, that is. Or perhaps some eggs with a side of sakondry? A maple sakondry donut, perhaps? The possibilities are endless.

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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