+
You can't 'lower the temperature' when your democracy is already on fire
Canva, Rep. Jame Comer/Twitter, Congressman Ted Budd/Twitter

A common refrain we're hearing from politicians and pundits who insist on denying current reality is that leadership right now needs to focus on "lowering the temperature."

You know, in case a violent mob decides to storm the Capitol or something.

From lawmakers the past couple of days:

"Trying to impeach a President with less than 10 days left in office is the worst way to lower the temperature in our country. If Democrats say they want unity, this isn't the way to show it."– Congressman Ted Bud (R-NC)

"I've reached out to President-elect Biden today & plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature & unite the country to solve America's challenges."– House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

"I am opposed to yet another impeachment of President Trump by Nancy Pelosi that will further inflame tensions in America. We need to lower the temperature and unify Americans behind issues we can all agree on."– Congressman James Comer (R-KY)

And watch Fox News' Brian Kilmeade use the same language:


I'm not sure where these talking points come from, but there's clearly a deliberate message that we all just need to calm down and not do anything that might result in incensing a violent mob.

You know, like the one that already stormed the Capitol.

It feels a bit like these folks don't really comprehend what is happening in their own country and haven't digested the gravity of what just happened. So that we're all clear on where we are, let's take stock real quick:

Insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol last week while both houses of Congress were in session. They broke windows, doors, and furniture and left urine and feces in hallways and offices. They killed a police officer with a fire extinguisher, beat another with flag poles, and put more than a dozen Capitol officers in the hospital. They appeared ready to take lawmakers hostage with flex cuffs and chanted about hanging the vice president. They even constructed a gallows on Capitol grounds—and they did it all in the name of keeping Trump in power.

Trump has spent the two months since the presidential election claiming that the election was rigged, stolen, fraudulent, and/or unconstitutional. He has lobbed and relobbed baseless allegations that have repeatedly been debunked. He has encouraged his supporters to "stop the steal" and "save America" from the "Radical Leftist Democrats." It's been lie after lie, and when you mix those lies up with the quacko conspiracy theories pushed by QAnon—which the president has never denounced, only saying that its deranged adherents "love America"—you end up with a mob of people who think and that it's their patriotic duty to attack the seat of democracy and embarrass the nation on the world stage as they act out their tyrannical government overthrow fever dreams.

The absurdity of the insurrection somewhat masked the seriousness of what we witnessed. But anyone with the slightest understanding of civics should know that a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol is not a sign that things are getting too hot. It's a sign that we're already on fire.

Imagine standing in front of a burning building and saying, "We just need to figure out how to lower the temperature." Um, no. We need to put the fire out. Now. Quickly. By whatever means we have available to us.

The time for "lowering the temperature" was months ago. And the way to lower the temperature was to tell the American people the truth about the election results and to move forward with a peaceful, orderly transition. The reason the temperature got so high in the first place is because opportunistic politicians and right-wing media allowed fringe conspiracy kookiness into the mainstream when they realized how easily and eagerly their voters and viewers embraced it, and because we have a president who fans the flames of prejudice.

Calls for lowering the temperature and uniting the country fall flat when a significant portion of the country believes one candidate literally stole the presidency from the other, and when continued lies, misinformation, and impassioned rhetoric have already ignited the flame of insurrection. At this point, it's too late to lower the temperature. We have to actually put out the fire now. What does that look like? How about telling the truth and uniting around the fact that the violent storming of the Capitol only happened because a dishonest president of the United States can't admit defeat. That's a good start.

What could be more unifying than a unanimous, bipartisan statement of the objective facts? Biden is the rightful winner of the election according to everyone who actually has the authority to determine that's the case. On top of that, the U.S. does not unite with or negotiate with terrorists. The U.S. does not tolerate coup attempts. The U.S. does not abide by sedition and insurrection. This is why people who serve in our government and military take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Congress was literally in the middle of a constitutional duty when domestic enemies sent them into hiding. The storming of the Capitol was literally an attack on the Constitution.

Just because those who did it see themselves as patriots and not seditionists doesn't make it true. Just because they believe they are "saving America" doesn't mean that they actually are. Just because they say they support the Constitution doesn't mean they know what that means. Just because they carry the flag doesn't mean they're actually defending what it stands for.

What we witnessed was a violent mob co-opting the symbols of our nation, mixing them with the language and symbols of white supremacy and those of their dear leader, and attempting to overthrow an entire branch of the federal government. If that's not the most disgusting attack on democracy that we've seen in modern history, I don't know what is. And they are still threatening more violence to keep Trump in power.

When a house is on fire, you don't need to lower the temperature. You need to put out the fire, and you need to do it now.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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
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 Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less

As the saying goes, "You have to kiss a few frogs..."

Dating has certainly evolved over the years—we’ve gone from courtship being purely a financial arrangement (not that this trend has ever truly died) to knights jousting for a lady’s favor, to casual hookups … and now, romance is primarily found through an app more than anything else.

Technology used for meeting that special someone has become so advanced that you can base your search entirely upon specific interests. Like … oddly specific interests. Think a fellow cat person would be the purrfect match? There’s an app for that. Wish to “love long and prosper” with a fellow Trekkie? There’s an app for that too.

No matter the changes, one thing remains the same—dating is awkward. It’s got all the unspoken formalities of a job interview, disguised as innocent fun. The balance between playing it too cool and too eager is hard to find even for the smoothest among us, and usually results in total embarrassment. Even if we aren’t the ones committing those embarrassing acts ourselves, we are often the reluctant witness to them.

Terrible dates might not always be fun in the moment, but they can be just as important as the good ones. They can teach us a lot about ourselves and what qualities we want in a partner. And at the very least, they can teach us to embrace social clumsiness with a sense of humor.

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share a “funny or embarrassing first date story” for his ever popular #Hashtags segment. The best part—some of these awful first dates ended in marriage. There’s hope for us all.

Below, find 15 stories that are truly the best of the worst. How do some of your first dates compare?

1. "After a nice dinner, she invited me to her house. On the way up, inside the elevator, I decided to push the button to stop between floors and give her a kiss... She had a phobia of closed spaces and she smacked my face as a reflex, two punches after we were kissing and laughing.” – @PanqueAlgarvio

2. “His jeans were so tight he couldn’t sit down. Stood at a bar stool the whole time.” – @onlyintheozarks

3. “Waiting 4 my date when an older couple asked me for a ride. my date came up and said sure! We drove them home & they asked us to come in. Date said “sure”. I pulled him back & asked why he wanted to hang w/strangers. He said ‘sh@t! YOU DON'T KNOW THEM!?’ We bolted!” – @natashaham75

facebook dating

Talk about a fashion faux pas.

Giphy

4. “Before the date, we had been chatting about books we liked and I talked about a great book I just read. We went on the date. I loaned her the book. She ghosted me.” – @thenextbarstool

5. “The worst first date I ever had was when my date locked his keys in the car and I had a curfew so he had to break his car window out to get me home on time. Didn’t think I’d ever see him again but we wound up married.” – @csleblan

6. “First date movie ‘Basic Instinct’ not realizing how suggestive it was. We just thought it was a mystery thriller! We left the movie discussing how each character could have actually murdered someone. We're married now.” – @Southrnbell_Amy

black people meet

There are worse first date movies tbh.

Giphy

7. “First date with my ex husband was a double date with his parents. The preview for ‘Speed Racer’ came on, and she leaned over me to say to her son, ‘You know what your dad's nickname in the bedroom is?’" – @theostoria

8. “A friend asked me on a double date as a blind date with his date's friend. I went to the bathroom and came back just in time to hear my date say to her friend, ‘why do I get the ugly one?’ I said good night to all three and headed home, leaving her w/the bill.” – @StevenTrustum

9. “He loved cheese. I was subjected to a 2 hour conversation/lecture about cheese, and why cottage cheese is not cheese!” – @Optimist_Eeyore

bumble

I'd like to see this two-hour cheese lecture.

Giphy

10. “He took me to an Asian fish market. We walked around looking at live & dead fish for a while. I don’t like seeing dead animals & I don’t eat seafood. Then we sat on a curb & he pulled out a ziplock bag of pineapple for us to share. I don’t like pineapple.” – @markayhali

11. “My cousin set up a first date for me with a family friend. During a break from dinner, Mr. Man follows me into the ladies’ room, comes up close and says in a low voice, ‘I shave my butt.’ Can’t remember what I said in response but the evening ended abruptly.” – @carli_zarzana

12. “I once took out my high school crush to a sports bar and ordered the spiciest wings there in an attempt to impress her. Not only was she not impressed. The next morning I woke up with heartburn.” –@Dmonster38

tindr conversation starters

Talk about a hot date.

GIF

13. “My date showed up with his bestie and girlfriend, and they talked through dinner about people I don’t know. Walking to the car, he gave me a wedgie because he thought he hadn’t been paying enough attention to me.” – @surrealDazey


14. “I was taking my date home and was pulled over by the police for speeding. When the cop came to my car, she jumped out and told him she had to get home. She walked home and I never heard from her again. I'm not sure who's #WorstFirstDate it was mine or hers!” – @eastriverbear

15. “After an evening of dancing with a first date, leaving the dance hall, I had to take a quick pee break. Rushing out to the parking lot, I see a lady, I grab her and swoop her around, and plant a big wet kiss on the lips. She was another guy's wife. Oops!” – @seadogskamore

date you

Only Gomez could have gotten away with it.

Giphy