UCLA Advances To First Men’s Final Four Since 2008 Thanks To Johnny Juzang, Who Could Be First Asian American NBA Lottery Pick

Johnny Juzang’s impact at UCLA has been immediate since he transferred from Kentucky, giving the Bruins the scorer and dynamic player they had been missing in recent years.

The junior guard is playing his best at just the right time, leading the Bruins into the Final Four for the first time since 2008.

Juzang also has had a much broader impact, even if it’s been unintentional.

Projected to be the first Asian American NBA first-round pick, possibly in the lottery, he’s become an inspiration for younger players at a time when hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise.

“It’s not something that’s on the top of my mind or really think about. I’m just Johnny,” said Juzang, who’s mother is Vietnamese. “I will get messages or hear stories about how I inspire people, regardless of their heritage. Sometimes there are people of Asian decent. But just being able to inspire people is something that’s touching and inspires me and something I don’t take lightly.”

Juzang’s older brother Christian played at Harvard and led the Saigon Heat to the 2020 championship in the Vietnamese Basketball Association.

Christian was the top pick in the VBA draft, and the younger Juzang looks like he has an even brighter professional future. He has thrived on the court since transferring to Westwood. A former five-star recruit, the 6-foot-6 guard was a role player on a loaded Kentucky team, averaging 2.9 points and 1.9 assists in 28 games as a freshman.

Not long after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season, Juzang announced he was transferring and later picked UCLA to be closer to his family in Tarzana, California.

Juzang missed the first four games of the 2020-21 season with a foot injury, but he is a big reason the Bruins were able to overcome senior Chris Smith’s season-ending knee injury in early January.

Juzang was the Bruins’ leading scorer at 15.5 points per game while shooting 34% from the 3-point arc and seemed to get better as the season progressed. He scored at least 20 points three times in the NCAA Tournament, including 28 against Michigan to clinch a spot in the Final Four.

And he’s done it on an ankle that’s been bothering him for weeks.

“He’s more of a scorer than a shooter and I think that’s what he got labeled at Kentucky,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “I wanted him to get rid of that mindset. We really worked hard on his mid-range and him going to the basket. He’s grown immensely.”

Juzang’s length and skill set have him projected as a possible lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft. It will be history if he is.

Jeremy Lin was a standout at Harvard before his Linsanity days in the NBA and lengthy professional career. Kihei Clark, who’s Filipino American, made one of the biggest plays during Virginia’s run to the 2019 championship and just completed his junior season.

Arizona State’s Remy Martin had a stellar four-year career in the desert and Jordan Clarkson, who is also Filipino American, has a steady NBA career going after playing at Tulsa and Missouri.

Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga was a lottery pick, but he is a native of Japan. Yao Ming never played college basketball, going straight from the Chinese national team to the NBA.

Juzang is a rarity as an Asian American in college basketball with clear NBA potential.

“I think it’ll be a really significant moment and I think the more that it can just be felt where that is normal, I think is what can make it even more significant,” Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, who’s mother is Filipino, said without talking specifically about Juzang. “It doesn’t matter what your race is or what your background is. As long as you can hoop, then people can see you in that way.”

A high draft pick or not, Juzang has been an inspiration for players, particularly young Asian Americans. Hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked during the pandemic, as has the vitriol on social media and beyond toward people of Asian decent.

Juzang’s success and UCLA’s run into the Final Four has drawn positive reactions from Vietnam and all over the world.

“That’s always a good feeling to hear from people, but I wouldn’t say it’s on the forefront of my mind,” he said.

Maybe not, but it’s helping — at least a little.

Source: NBA

Memories Can Be Injected and Survive Amputation and Metamorphosis

The study of memory has always been one of the stranger outposts of science. In the 1950s, an unknown psychology professor at the University of Michigan named James McConnell made headlines—and eventually became something of a celebrity—with a series of experiments on freshwater flatworms called planaria. These worms fascinated McConnell not only because they had, as he wrote, a “true synaptic type of nervous system” but also because they had “enormous powers of regeneration…under the best conditions one may cut [the worm] into as many as 50 pieces” with each section regenerating “into an intact, fully-functioning organism.” 

In an early experiment, McConnell trained the worms à la Pavlov by pairing an electric shock with flashing lights. Eventually, the worms recoiled to the light alone. Then something interesting happened when he cut the worms in half. The head of one half of the worm grew a tail and, understandably, retained the memory of its training. Surprisingly, however, the tail, which grew a head and a brain, also retained the memory of its training. If a headless worm can regrow a memory, then where is the memory stored, McConnell wondered. And, if a memory can regenerate, could he transfer it? 

Shockingly, McConnell reported that cannibalizing trained worms induced learning in untrained planaria. In other experiments, he trained planaria to run through mazes and even developed a technique for extracting RNA from trained worms in order to inject it into untrained worms in an effort to transmit memories from one animal to another. Eventually, after his retirement in 1988, McConnell faded from view, and his work was relegated to the sidebars of textbooks as a curious but cautionary tale. Many scientists simply assumed that invertebrates like planaria couldn’t be trained, making the dismissal of McConnell’s work easy. McConnell also published some of his studies in his own journal, The Worm Runner’s Digest, alongside sci-fi humor and cartoons. As a result, there wasn’t a lot of interest in attempting to replicate his findings.

David Glanzman, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, has another promising research program that recently struck a chord reminiscent of McConnell’s memory experiments—although, instead of planaria, Glanzman’s lab works mostly with aplysia, the darling mollusk of neuroscience on account of its relatively simple nervous system. (Also known as “sea hares,” aplysia are giant, inky sea slugs that swim with undulating, ruffled wings.)

Source: Nautilus

University of California (UC) system can no longer use ACT & SAT test results as a determinant for admissions, a superior court judge has ruled, handing a victory to students with disabilities

The University of California system can no longer use ACT and SAT tests as a determinant for admissions, a superior court judge has ruled, handing a victory to students with disabilities.

The “test optional” policy at most UC campuses affords privileged, non-disabled students a “second look” in admissions, said Brad Seligman, the Alameda County Superior Court Judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California on Tuesday.

At the same time, he said, a “second look” would be denied to less privileged students and students with disabilities who are unable to access the tests. Therefore, the conclusion is to do away with the tests all together.

The news comes months after the university system waived the standardized testing requirements until 2024, after its Board of Regents voted unanimously. A news release from May stated that if a new test hadn’t emerged by 2025, the system would eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students.

Source: USA Today

Full House Actress Lori Loughlin Gets 2 Months Jail Time And Husband Mossimo Giannulli Gets 5 In 2019 College Admissions Bribery Scandal To Get Their 2 Daughters Into USC

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The couple paid $500,000 to college admissions mastermind Rick Singer to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits—with falsified athletic records—as part of a larger bribery scheme, according to court documents.

At least 53 and $25 million. That’s how many people have been charged as part of the scandal.  And at least 33 parents have been accused of paying $25 million to Singer from 2011 to 2018 as part of the scheme.

Loughlin has “a fairytale life,” the judge said. As he handed down the sentence, he addressed her, saying, “you stand before me a convicted felon, and for what? The inexplicable desire to have even more.” He told Giannulli during his earlier sentencing: “You are an informed, smart, successful businessman. You certainly did know better, and you helped sponsor a breathtaking fraud on our admissions system.

The college admissions scandal investigation, codenamed “Operation Varsity Blues” by the Department of Justice, was made public in March 2019. The group of parents accused in the case were believed to have used phony athletic, academic and test score records, along with bribery, to get their children into Yale, Stanford and USC, among other schools. All but one parent have been sentenced to prison time. Loughlin’s daughter (and influencer) Olivia Jade Giannulli has not returned to USC since August 2019. She was falsely presented to USC as an accomplished coxswain in crew, and fake photos were taken of her on a rowing machine.

Source: Forbes

Asian Americans face dual challenges: Surging unemployment and racism

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A new study from UCLA reports that since the start of the pandemic, 83 percent of the Asian American labor force with high school degrees or lower has filed unemployment insurance claims in California — the state with the highest population of Asian Americans — compared to 37 percent of the rest of the state’s labor force with the same level of education.

At the same time, new research shows that discrimination against Asian Americans is surging. More than 2,300 Asian Americans had reported bias incidents as of July 15, according to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, or A3PCON, which hosts the self-reporting tool Stop AAPI Hate.

The UCLA report, published last week, examined the impacts of the coronavirus on the Asian American labor force in California. It revealed that disadvantaged Asians working in service industries have been “severely impacted.”

Researcher Paul Ong, who worked on the report, said that beyond pervasive service industry struggles, he believes people are abandoning Asian establishments because of biases.

“This is why racializing COVID-19 as ‘the China virus’ has profound societal repercussions. We have seen this in the increase in verbal and physical attacks on Asians and in material ways in terms of joblessness and business failures,” he said in an interview.

Source: NBC News

Dean of USC School of Dramatic Arts David Bridel Admits Improper Romantic Relationship with Student, Resigns

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The dean of USC’s School of Dramatic Arts has resigned after a woman publicly revealed that he had a romantic relationship with a student while she was attending the university more than a decade ago.

The relationship was revealed during a town hall meeting on Wednesday for faculty, students and alumni of the MFA in acting program, prompting Dean David Bridel to pen a letter to faculty admitting that he briefly dated an unnamed BFA senior in 2009.

USC Provost Charles Zukoski announced in a memo to the school on Thursday that he had accepted Bridel’s resignation, adding that the university was investigating the allegation. School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth Daley was named interim dean.

Source: NBC LA

LAPD Union Attorney and USC Football Booster Marla Brown Says Protestors Should be Shot; Gets Season Tickets Revoked and Relationship Terminated

USC has revoked the season ticket and Trojan Athletic Fund membership privileges from football booster Marla Brown after her series of tweets Sunday night.

In a statement, USC athletic director Mike Bohn said the university quickly investigated the matter and that Brown’s account has been flagged to ensure she cannot make future purchases.

“Thank you to the USC community for helping us identify this individual so that we could move to swiftly terminate our relationship,” Bohn said. “We stand in solidarity with the Black community.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

A Bachelor’s Degree

I got shat on by so many for returning to community college after receiving my Bachelor’s. No degree is worth getting if you’re not gonna use it. And being a graduate gives me more validation to have an opinion on the matter. Not all community colleges are General Ed farmhouses.

One year after revelations of admissions bribery scandal, California’s oldest private university USC offers free tuition to students from families making under $80,000; home ownership will not factor in need

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The changes will be phased in beginning with first-year students entering USC in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021, the university said.

Folt, the former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was named USC’s president in 2019 as the university was addressing a series of major scandals, including the college admissions bribery case.

That scandal came in the wake of allegations that USC ignored complaints of widespread sexual misconduct by longtime campus gynecologist George Tyndall and an investigation into a medical school dean accused of smoking methamphetamine with a woman who overdosed.

Source: ABC 7