Color & Control:

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Girl holding up a colourful google sign

THUMBS DOWN to YouTube. The company’s automated recommendations are biased toward engagement—and tend to steer users who are less health-literate toward fake cures or misleading medical advice. YouTube is one of the most popular online platforms, with billions of views every day, and has emerged as a significant source of health information. Unfortunately, their most popular and engaging videos are significantly less likely to have medically valid information.


THUMBS UP to Joaquin Phoenix and Jane Fonda for their efforts to reduce waste. Citing Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg as inspiration, Fonda proclaimed the red coat she’d worn to a protest urging action around climate change would be the final article of clothing she’d purchase in
her lifetime. In a similar vein, Phoenix plans to wear the same Stella McCartney tuxedo for every awards show this year to reduce waste. Stella McCartney calls itself a “sustainable luxury fashion brand,” and never uses leather, skin, fur or feathers.


THUMBS UP to Google for partnering with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society to collect voice samples from adults with Down’s syndrome in order to program its algorithms to better decipher the unique speech patterns of this population. Speech is often altered in those with Down’s syndrome because of variances in the facial skeletal and muscular systems, according to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. However, in a small pilot, Google and the non-profit group found that there are enough similarities across those with the chromosomal disorder to train the voice assistant technology.

THUMBS UP to Richardson Hair Salon in Kemptville for adopting gender-neutral pricing on haircuts to be more inclusive to the LGBTQ2+ community, and to charge clients based on their hair and their time spent in the chair, rather than their gender. Owner Stephanie Richardson said the move is a popular one for modern hair salons to make in an effort to help create a more inclusive society and remove the gender-based stereotypes that no longer apply to everyone in 2020.


THUMBS DOWN to Ontario for closing its Assistive Devices Program office and not deeming it “essential.” As a result of the closed office, Michael Wilson, who uses a wheelchair, was left with no way to comfortably move around his apartment or do his grocery shopping after his replacement wheelchair was delayed. Access to assistive devices is even more crucial during COVID-19, when people can’t turn to their social circles for help.


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