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California is using its highway system to save lives.

Human lives, yes. But first ... bee lives.



Bees are in danger. Their population is rapidly declining. Why care? Well, without bees using their sweet feet to pollinate all those delicious plants we eat, those plants die. And humans depend on pollinators, like bees, for about one-third of our food. Plus, beekeepers in America lost over 40% of their colonies from 2015 to 2016 from 2015 to 2016, so the problem is pretty urgent.

You can do the math! It's sad, upsetting math.

Hang on there, little buddy! Image by JD Baskin/Flickr.

But wait! Highways are about to come to the rescue.

Some of the folks who run California's transit systems want to turn the shoulders of highways into magical bee paradises.

Keith Robinson, whose main job is just to keep roadsides from eroding (if roadsides erode, then next up is roads), says this whole mission started with erosion. He and his team of landscape architects want to keep the over 250,000 acres of California highway roadside from eroding, which has become a major problem.

Their solution is a pilot program they hope will also save bee lives at the same time, which is a win-win.

They're improving the soil on the roadside.


Compost realness! Image via California Department of Transportation.

"We want to make sure that [the] soil sustains native plants and creates favorable conditions that encourage pollinator plants to not only to grow but thrive," Robinson recently told folks at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. Hearings in D.C. are often held to bring to light important but overlooked conversations that matter to Congress and to the people they represent.

The plan also maximizes the effect of compost in that soil — the better the compost, the more native plants will grow. And if those native plants outgrow non-native plants, fewer herbicides are needed ... which means there are fewer herbicides killing bees!

The team is even using the barely-used snowblowers (this is California, after all) to spread compost! I love it.

This initiative has politicians of all stripes ready to get on board.

Get a good look. These guys are at risk. Image via Flickr/HealthAliciousNess

Congressman Jeff Denham is a Republican who represents California's 10th district. He's also an almond farmer who needs bees and pollinators for his own livelihood, as well as those of his constituents. As he said at the D.C. hearing, "Making sure we have healthy pollinators is critical to a state like California.”

Could this team bee any more resourceful!?

This bee is laughing at my pun. Image via Micolo J/Flickr.

I love that these folks are using existing infrastructure (their highways), all built in the '50s if not earlier, to solve a problem that didn't even exist when American tax dollars paid for it!

Robinson is determined to spread this plan to other states too. His team has developed a plant selection tool, TransPLANT, to help landscape architects choose sustainable, pollinator-friendly plants — because pollinator-friendly plants equal more bees and happy bees. They've also developed a roadside management toolbox to help other transportation departments learn from California's methods.

Sing it with me: "Life is a highway. I wanna ride it and save bees!" Image via Mark Sebastian/Flickr.

Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that these solutions will completely fix the problems of the quickly shrinking populations of bees in California. As Eric Silva, from the American Honey Producers Association, said at the committee hearing, “We’re losing half the bees over the course of the year."

But California isn't giving up.

I love it when we find solutions for big problems hidden in places we see everyday ... like highways. These are highways that America built when my mom was a baby. With programs like Caltrans', those same highways could serve my grandchildren by creating a more fruitful, bee-full earth. That kind of creativity is so exciting to see.

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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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.

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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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