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Yes, the OK sign can be used as a hate symbol. No, we don't need to stop using it altogether.
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Last spring, I watched my niece's fiance graduate from college. Standing before the camera while his name was read, he held up hand in what looked like a backwards "OK" sign.

Two thoughts flashed through my mind. 1) I knew the beautiful, heartbreaking reason why he did it. 2) People in the audience who didn't know could have made a terrible assumption about him based on that sign.

My soon-to-be-nephew had been a football player at the university. The previous year, the school's up-and-coming star quarterback, Tyler Hilinski, had taken his own life. The boys were friends, and Tyler's suicide was obviously a painful tragedy.


Tyler wore the number 3 on his jersey. That's what the three finger symbol was for—a tribute to honor a friend.

But I also knew that sign could be misconstrued. I was aware of the recent history that has now prompted the Anti-Defamation League to declare the OK sign a hate symbol. I knew that some in the audience might see this big white dude flashing what looked like an OK sign at his graduation and think he was brazenly advertising a belief in white supremacy.

Nothing could be further from the truth—the guy is justice-minded and anti-racist—but a snapshot doesn't show that.

RELATED: A boy was told to give the nazi salute in class. When others followed suit, this girl spoke up.

Therein lies the problem with the OK sign being labeled a hate symbol. At the same time, this is where we are. Because it's 2019 and nothing makes a lick of sense anymore.

The OK sign as a symbol of white supremacy started out as a joke. Apparently, some basement-dwelling 4Chan dudes with a severe lack of purpose in life decided to "troll the liberals" by making people think that the OK sign—something super commonplace and innocuous—was a symbol of white supremacy. (Seriously, people. Get a life, please.)

Then, because white supremacists are stupid, they actually started flashing it during their pity party rallies and it actually did become a symbol. The symbolism was solidified when a photo of the mosque shooter in New Zealand flashing the sign became public. One can no longer argue that a sign is a joke when someone flashes it after having committed a white supremacist massacre.

Does that mean that no one should give the OK sign anymore? Does it mean that my soon-to-be-nephew was wrong to honor his friend by flashing his jersey number? Absolutely not.

Part of the reason the 4chan jerks chose the sign was because of its ubiquity. Divers use the OK sign to indicate that they are all right. They can't use a thumbs up because that already has a different meaning. Kids have a game where they make the OK sign and if they catch someone looking at it, they get a slug in the arm. That's been going on much longer than the white supremacist symbol controversy. In basketball, when a player makes a 3-pointer, they often hold up those three fingers. Obviously, that's not a white supremacist gesture.

And then there's, you know, the American Sign Language letter "F." Clearly people are not expected to stop making these signs altogether. That would be ridiculous.

RELATED: Most domestic terrorism comes from white supremacists, FBI tells lawmakers

The ADL has made it clear that context matters. This becomes even more obvious when you look at what else is on the list of hate symbols. The numbers "12" and "13" and "100%," for example. People use those numbers all the time and they don't mean anything other than what they mean. Same goes for the OK sign.

Basically, we just need to be aware of how these symbols are used by hate groups. Because the internet is what it is, we should probably let our kids know about it so that they aren't blindsided if someone misconstrues an innocent hand gesture. A group of white kids should know that if they all make the OK sign in a photo, there's a possibility that people will question whether they are advertising racism and choose their actions accordingly.

Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Yes. Will people blame the "PC police" for this? Yes. But let's put the blame where it belongs—on 4chan fools and white supremacist idiots for creating this ridiculous controversy in the first place.

Seriously, man. Get. A. Life.

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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