A medical school in Cleveland got one of the coolest gifts of all time from Microsoft: holograms.

Who hasn't thought about what it would be like if holograms were more commonplace?

Not just holograms as specters for spectators...



A pseudo-holographic Tupac Shakur performs for hipsters and hop-alongs at Coachella 2012.

...but holograms as an integrated part of our lives — as the new standard interface for personal computing.

GIF from "Minority Report."

Engineers may know how to create holograms, but the technology has yet to touch our lives in ways that are relevant and useful to us.

Holographic technology may finally be getting the chance it deserves and in a truly worthy way.

In a partnership with Microsoft, medical students at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University are learning the intricacies of the human anatomy with holograms.

The goal is for a team of students and faculty to create a comprehensive anatomy curriculum using HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality headset that projects computer-generated holograms onto users' view of the physical world.

The HoloLens will be available for early purchase by approved developers in 2016 for the low, low price of $3,000 per headset. Photo via Jorge Figueroa/Flickr.

Radiology professor Mark Griswold was one of the first people at CWRU to test HoloLens. Griswold's "world had changed the moment he first used a prototype," according to a press release from the university.

"I think this will improve students' confidence in learning anatomy dramatically," says Griswold in the video below. "With HoloLens, you can imagine having a class standing around a model, almost like a tour group in a museum, where they're all interacting completely naturally."

GIF from Microsoft HoloLens/YouTube.

The technology proved itself instantly to students, too.

"You can take any anatomical part and show any of it," said CWRU medical student Satyam Ghodasara. "You can move it around, you can make it kind of translucent so you can see through the outside, and that really helped me understand how cardiac anatomy worked. It was a way of seeing it that you couldn't do with an actual heart."

GIF from Microsoft HoloLens/YouTube.

Holograms can make the impossible possible, which could transform education as we know it.

From arts to astronomy, archaeology to engineering, augmented reality could have huge implications for how people learn. “The whole campus has the potential to use this," said Griswold. "Our ability to use this for education is almost limitless."

Even NASA has plans for the HoloLens. They want to send headsets to space so Earth-bound scientists can better collaborate with their colleagues in the cosmos.

A rendering of how augmented reality could look for scientists collaborating in a 3D simulation created using Mars rover data. Photo by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

For now, early signs point to holograms having a positive effect on the future of medicine.

On top of the new perspectives they allow, another change holographic learning could bring to medical schools is a reduced need for cadavers.

GIF from Microsoft HoloLens/YouTube.

While learning anatomy the old-fashioned way will always have an important place in medical training, who can honestly argue that fewer dead bodies lying around in noxious chemical baths isn't a good thing?

Check out a video about the Microsoft-CWRU partnership:

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.