The Augmented Reality Sandbox 

The Augmented Reality Sandbox (orginally developed by researchers at UC Davis) lets users sculpt mountains, canyons and rivers, then fill them with water or even create erupting volcanoes. This version of the device at UCLA was built by Gary Glesener using off-the-shelf parts and good ol’ playground sand.

Any shape made in the sandbox is detected by an Xbox Kinect sensor and processed with open source software. It is then projected as a color-coded contour map onto the sand.

Even though school doesn’t start until about a month from now (which I’m not exactly looking forward to), I have been SO excited to shop for supplies! Everything is from Target except my pencil pouch, which is from Kate Spade. The $1 section in Target has some really cute post-it notes, pencils, chalkboards, dividers, etc. if you’re looking for pretty things for cheap ☆


A new gel helps wounds heal

Researchers from UCLA have developed an injectable hydrogel that helps skin wounds heal faster. 

The new synthetic polymer material creates an instant scaffold, sort of like stacked gumballs, that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.

Conventionally, ointments and other hydrogel dressings have been used to fill in wounds to keep the areas moist and accelerate healing. But none of the materials used now provide a scaffold to allow new tissue to grow while the dressing itself degrades. As a result, the new tissue growth is relatively slow and fragile.

So bringing about an injectable biomaterial that promotes rapid regeneration of tissue has been a “holy grail” in the field of tissue engineering, said co-principal investigator Dino Di Carlo.

They envision the material being useful for a wide variety of wound application, including lacerations to large-area burns.

UC Berkeley researchers have also been developing new approaches to tissue engineering. Last March, their advancement in “herding cells” marked a new direction for smart bandages.

Learn more about how this new gel works

Check out what the diversity police at UCLA now say are ‘microagresssions’

What. Is. Happening.

Have you ever said “America is the land of opportunity”? Yeah, well that’s because you’re a racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, fascist, misogynistic bigot. At least, that’s what a handout from the PC police at UCLA indicated in a recent handout.

That’s right. If you say that you think the most qualified person should get a particular job, you’re a racist. Even a business owner who declares that he or she doesn’t discriminate is racist (or sexist or something).

There are a few depressing takeaways from this…

As HotAir noted, that’s it. It’s game over. America was fun while it lasted. Congratulations, progressives, you have finally rid America’s college campuses of reason and common sense.

As I’ve noted before, I find it ironic that people have now reduced themselves to being offended by micro-agressions – Agressions that are, by definition, “extremely small.” In other words, the delicate flowers of this generation have grown up with such little hardship in their lives that they must actively search for ways to be offended. It’s truly staggering.

You want to know the real reason many of these statements are considered “microagressions”? Because they’re true and they are devastating to the progressives’ cause. It’s the same old play book. If progressives can make these phrases (and others like them) unspeakable by successfully branding them hateful, then perhaps no one will say them and the debate will end – not because the progressives won, mind you, but because they silenced opposition. It’s a strategy that is pure evil…but it works.

Look, the truth is, (and I plan on writing more extensively about this in the future) we should be telling people that America is a land of opportunity. We should be telling people that they can go far in life regardless of, or even in spite of the hand they were dealt. We should encourage people to work hard. The most qualified person for a job should get the job. We should be angry if a less-than-qualified candidate gets a job because an employer was pressured to meet some arbitrary standard set by the government or the PC police.

Yet these are the very things that we are now told we shouldn’t say.

The Science of Steamed Milk: Understanding Your Latte Art

Watch a barista at work and you will observe the art of preparing a perfect café au lait, cappuccino, macchiato, or mocha – all of which involve different quantities of steamed milk. Behind the artistic foam hearts and milk mustaches lies a science to steamed milk. Students of UCLA’s SPINLab (Simulated Planetary Interiors Lab) team developed an app that allows you to “calculate the power output of your steamer” and predict the “steaming time for optimal milk temperature based on amount, type and starting temperature of your milk”. Read more…

Photo credit: Dan Lacher (journeyscoffee/Flickr)

Why is it important to define what a planet is?

Today NASA released the clearest image of Pluto yet in it’s New Horizons Mission. It took 9 years for the probe to make it out to the edge of the solar system and a lot has changed in regard to what we call Pluto since the start of this journey. 

In 2006 the IAU decided to classify all the objects in our solar system. They decided there are 8 planets, several dwarf planets, and a large number of minor planets. The decision making came down to the dynamics (the science of forces or motion of an object). 

So one of the new definitions for a planet was that its gravity clears the path of anything else as it orbits the sun. Since its now known that Pluto is part of a swarm of objects known as the Kuiper Belt this criteria doesn’t hold up for calling it a planet. UCLA’s Jean-Luc Margot explains:

Many branches of science require a precise classification scheme (a taxonomy), otherwise people cannot talk to each other effectively. Astronomy is no different. Just like scientists defined “triangle”, “energy”, or “acid”. Scientists must provide precise definitions for scientific terms. It’s not only their job, it’s their responsibility.

Two very important developments in our knowledge of “planetary systems” occurred in the 90s: the discovery of celestial bodies orbiting stars other than the sun, and the discovery of a vast belt of small bodies orbiting the sun beyond Neptune. Both of these developments made it pressing to arrive at a proper definition for the word “planet”. People were making claims of discovering new planets, but were they really planets? The taxonomy as of 2006 was incomplete.

Read more about what defines a planet

In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ We discovered it’s our next-door neighbor. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that 'this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

UCLA’s Gary Gates played a role in today’s ruling on marriage equality by filing an amicus brief in March. In his statement he shared his research at the Williams Institute on gay demographics and how the law affects this population of Americans.

Watch his interview with testtubenetwork on the changing LGBT demographics.