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Video game experience, gender may improve VR learning

Males were far more likely to have video game experience, the survey found, and also learned more in the VR simulation, suggesting that either gender or prior video game experience could impact the success of VR-based learning.

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Photo by @stem_t4l from Unsplash.com

Students who used immersive virtual reality (VR) did not learn significantly better than those who used two more traditional forms of learning, but they vastly preferred the VR to computer-simulated and hands-on methods, a new Cornell study has found.

“We didn’t know exactly what we were going to see,” said Jack Madden, doctoral student in astronomy at Cornell University and first author of “Ready Student One: Exploring the Predictors of Student Learning in Virtual Reality,” which published March 25 in PLOS ONE. “But it’s amazing that this brand-new technology performed just as well as these tried-and-true methods that are used today in classrooms. So at least we’re not harming students by using VR.”

Though the virtual reality experiment didn’t change learning outcomes overall, the researchers found that students with more video game experience learned better using VR than those with little video game experience – a finding that correlated closely with gender.

The study – which has new implications as learning around the world shifts online to combat the spread of coronavirus – aimed to take a step toward determining whether new educational technology tactics, while popular, are actually effective.

“There’s been a big push for enhanced technology in classrooms,” Madden said. “I think we can be in awe of these fancy, shiny devices and it might feel like they’re helping, but we need to know if they actually are.”

Males were far more likely to have video game experience, the survey found, and also learned more in the VR simulation, suggesting that either gender or prior video game experience could impact the success of VR-based learning. Reviewing prior work, the researchers found that video games requiring players to navigate 3D spaces are more popular among males than females.

The tech industry – as a whole – has long been criticized for being too male-centric.

In February, for instance, a study noted that “it is imperative that we construct mechanisms and policies that acknowledge the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination, also for the LGBTQ+ community in the development and use of robots and AI.”

“This is an interesting finding, because it could potentially imply that if you can provide learners with that experience, then you could show broad benefits from immersive learning,” said co-author Andrea Stevenson Won, assistant professor of communication and director of the Virtual Embodiment Lab at Cornell. “However, more study is definitely needed.”

“If you’re unfamiliar with navigating this kind of 3D space, you’re not going to learn as well in it, so that could be a barrier,” Madden said. “One of the conclusions of our work is that we need to do a better job of asking questions around things that might be gendered, like video game experience. There’s a lot of finer detail you need to know to make VR learning successful.”

The study’s co-authors are Natasha Holmes, the Ann S. Bower Assistant Professor in A&S; Jonathon Schuldt, associate professor of communication; and communication doctoral students Swati Pandita and Byungdoo Kim. The research was supported by Oculus Education.

NEWSMAKERS

LGB online daters report positive experiences… plus harassment

LGB online daters are also more likely than their straight counterparts to experience a range of negative behaviors on dating platforms, varying from name-calling to physical threats. Among those who have ever used an online dating site or app, they reported experiencing at least one of the forms of harassment measured in this survey on those sites and apps (69%, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts).

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults who use online dating sites and apps generally report that their experiences with online dating have been positive – even more than straight online daters (65% said their experience was very or somewhat positive, versus 56% of straight online daters).

This is according to a Pew Research Center survey, which found that a majority of LGB adults (55%) report that they have used an online dating site or app at some point, roughly twice the share of straight adults (28%) who say the same.

Among LGB adults who are married, living with a partner, or in a committed relationship, 28% say they met their current partner online. This is more than double when compared with 11% of partnered straight adults.

Also, among LGB people who are now single and looking for a relationship or dates, 37% are currently online dating (versus 24% of straight people who are single and looking).

However – and this is worth highlighting – LGB online daters are also more likely than their straight counterparts to experience a range of negative behaviors on dating platforms, varying from name-calling to physical threats. Among those who have ever used an online dating site or app, they reported experiencing at least one of the forms of harassment measured in this survey on those sites and apps (69%, compared with 52% of their straight counterparts).

More than half of LGB online daters (56%) say they have received a sexually explicit message or image they did not ask for, compared with 32% of straight online daters who say the same.

Stalking was also raised as an issue, with roughly half of LGB online daters (48%) saying that someone continued to contact them after they said they weren’t interested, compared with 35% of their straight counterparts.

About four in 10 LGB online daters (41%) say someone called them an offensive name on one of these sites or apps – 16 percentage points higher than the share of straight online daters (25%) who say the same.

Lastly, 17% of LGB online daters said that someone on a dating site or app threatened to physically harm them. This is more than twice the share of straight online daters (7%).

Perhaps not surprisingly, according to the Pew Research Center survey, LGB adults who have ever online dated are more likely than straight online daters to think harassment and bullying is a “common problem” on dating sites and apps (70%, compared to 61% of non-LGBs).

No matter the drawbacks, don’t expect online daters – LGBT or straight – to just dump it.

As per the Pew Research Center survey, even among those who experienced at least one of the asked-about forms of harassment on dating sites and apps, they still said that online dating is safe for the most part. Three-quarters of LGB people who have experienced at least one of the harassing behaviors saying it’s a very or somewhat safe way to meet someone, with 64% of straight online daters who have been harassed agreeing.

And with 78% of LGBT online daters (and 69% of their straight counterparts) still believing that dating sites and apps are a very or somewhat safe way to meet people, this trend isn’t going anywhere soon…

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Shopping

Apple joins 2020’s rainbow retail with Pride-inspired watch

As June nears, expect businesses (even those that used to be anti-LGBTQIA, or at least mum about this issue until profiting from it was seen) to start using the rainbow – long considered as a symbol of LGBT Pride – to sell goods.

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As June nears, expect businesses (even those that used to be anti-LGBTQIA, or at least mum about this issue until profiting from it was seen) to start using the rainbow – long considered as a symbol of LGBT Pride to sell goods.

Among the early starters this year is Apple, which launched the artful Pride Edition Sport Band, which is joined for the first time by the new Apple Watch Nike Pride Edition Sport Band. Both are available from apple.com, the Apple Store app, and Apple stores, and pair with matching Pride Watch faces that are coming soon as a part of watchOS 6.2.5.

Fortunately (at least for Americans), Apple (and Nike) support LGBTQIA organizations doing advocacy and community-building, including GLSEN, PFLAG, The Trevor Project, Gender Spectrum, The National Center for Transgender Equality, and ILGA World.

So… as June approaches, savor the colors of the rainbow, while discussing profiteering of and within the LGBTQIA community.

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Technology

Hidden smartphone features that can make your life easier

Smartphones have some hidden but exciting features.

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We can testify that our smartphones have been doing wonders for us. Some of us have won real money at online casinos only by playing our favorite cinema casino online slots  games on our mobile devices. 

But as much as we have been winning big money at online casinos using our smartphones, there is a whole lot more that they can offer to make our life easier. Smartphones have some hidden but exciting features. For instance, are you aware that the iPhone keyboard consists of never-ending features that will surely make your life smooth-sailing? 

Without much ado, let’s take a moment to look at some of the hidden features that you didn’t know about. 

Take a Screenshot Without Using Buttons

We all take screenshots with the assistance of the two buttons. But do you know that you can simply swipe the screen with your palm on the screen to take a screenshot on the android device? This exciting feature is mostly disabled on most phones. To make use of it, you can simply go to setting, “My device”, “motions and gestures,” then enable “palm motion.”

Schedule your Smartphone’s Power on and off

This is one of the exciting features that quite a number of people are familiar with. Some just know It but they haven’t put into consideration what benefits it have for you. Well, this smartphone feature will protect you not to have smartphone addiction. And for casino games online players, it will allow you to practice responsible gambling as well.

To activate this clinical smartphone feature, simply go to settings and under the “System” section click “Schedule power on and off.” Thereafter, you can select the time to power on and power off your mobile phone device. It’s just as simple as that. 

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Lifestyle & Culture

Foolproof ways to become a star on YouTube

After you have your basics covered, you’re going to want to start getting as many viewers as you can by posting videos regularly and making them feature up to date topics.

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Ever wondered what it would be like to be a YouTube star? This question may seem like one you’d ask yourself in a daydream, but in fact people from every walk of life become new YouTuber stars all the time. If you want to start on your path to becoming an internet celebrity your first step should be to figure out a topic you’d enjoy discussing and then find a special niche for your videos within it. After you have your basics covered, you’re going to want to start getting as many viewers as you can by posting videos regularly and making them feature up to date topics. Finally, be sure to collaborate with other YouTubers or celebrities on videos to boost your exposure to potential viewers and be sure to engage your fans as much as possible to keep them interested in you. 

This video will go over 6 foolproof ways to become a star on YouTube. 

1. Start With Your Passion

The first thing you should think about before starting your own YouTube channel is what your passion is and what sort of videos you’d enjoy making. After all, would the fame really be worth it if you had to create content on subject matter that bored you? If you really like math maybe you could start an educational channel on trigonometry or maybe if you’re really into hiking maybe you can start posting videos about cool outdoor locations in your area, really the possibilities are endless. Regardless of your passion you’ll always want to ensure that you’re using high-quality video. If you want to avoid grainy webcams, click here to help create videos that are aesthetic. When you find a topic that fascinates you your energy will be visible in your videos. 

2. Collaborate With Other YouTubers

In the past few years it’s been a recent trend that separate YouTubers collaborate on certain videos to create hybrid content. If you need help figuring out how to collaborate with other YouTubers there’s a lot of information you can find on the internet to help you out. Many YouTubers may see other channels as a competition but in fact collaboration between different channels has been shown to boost both channels viewership. 

3. Find a Niche 

Once you’ve found a general topic you’d like to make videos on now it’s time to find your niche within the YouTube community. For example if you really like talking about exotic animals maybe you might want to focus on a more specific subtopic on talking about Kangaroos or maybe if you want to discuss different historical battles maybe you add other aspects to your videos like singing or dancing. Once you’ve figured out a good niche for your channel be sure to check the rest of YouTube for similar content to see what your competition looks like if it exists already.  

4. Post Multiple Times a Week

One of the best ways to get lots of attention to your channel is to post videos as regularly as possible. The more videos you post the more tags your channel will have that can bring in new viewers. Your viewers will also appreciate that you post videos frequently since they’ll have more content to consume. As a start try to post just one video a week but as your videos get more attention try to challenge yourself and post 2 – 3 videos a week. 

5. Stay Up to date

An easy way to raise your viewership is to post about recent events or trends so you can take advantage of their buzz. If there’s a viral dance post of your own version of it or if there’s currently an interesting event that just happened in world politics consider sharing your opinion on it. Be sure to try to post these types of videos as soon as possible since you don’t want to miss the wave. 

6. Engage Your Fans

One foolproof way of becoming a full-fledged YouTube star is to engage your fans as much as possible since this can help make them more loyal and share your videos with their friends. Be sure to comment on your fan’s posts as this will help make a connection with them. Another great way to help show your fans some love is to do merchandise giveaways at the end of your videos which actually helps you get your name out at the same time. 

Anyone can post videos on YouTube but if you want to become a true star within the community there are a few tips you’ll be wanting to follow. Before making any videos your first step should be to find a topic that you really like and find your own niche for your video’s content. Next, to start gaining popularity, post videos as frequently as you can and make sure your posts are on up to date topics if possible. Lastly, keep your hype up by collaborating on your videos with other YouTubers and be sure to engage your fans as much as you can. Now you have all the knowledge you need to become a Youtube star!

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NEWSMAKERS

Protecting yourself from the latest internet sex crime

In many cases of sextortion, perpetrators don’t actually possess the images or videos they’re using as leverage. Instead, offenders manipulate victim behavior by tapping into the fear of not knowing whether the threat is real.

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Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash.com

Researchers from Michigan State University released a study on “sextortion” – a lesser-known internet crime that poses a threat to adults and minors – that sheds light on the importance of protecting the public from online criminals.

“Sextortion is the use of intimate images or videos that have been captured to then extort compliance from a victim,” said Roberta Liggett O’Malley, MSU criminal justice doctoral student and co-author of the study. “What makes it different from any other crime is the threat to release. A perpetrator could say, ‘I have these images of you and will publish them unless you…’ to get more images or even in exchange for money.”

In many cases of sextortion, perpetrators don’t actually possess the images or videos they’re using as leverage. Instead, offenders manipulate victim behavior by tapping into the fear of not knowing whether the threat is real.

The research – published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence – suggests the current focus on dissemination of images online may overshadow the issue of threat-based harassment online, like sextortion. Various countries now have laws against revenge porn, but the study makes a case for increasing awareness and changing legislation to include other forms of internet-based sexual abuse crimes.

“Much of the fear comes from the belief that hackers can do anything involving technology, from the ability to see someone’s web browser history to hacking into a webcam or Nest device,” said Karen Holt, assistant professor of criminal justice and co-author. “That’s why sextortion is so effective — it creates a huge amount of uncertainty and fear that victims end up complying versus saying, ‘I think you’re bluffing, and if I ignore you, then I’m fine.'”

Liggett O’Malley and Holt said men are less likely to report these crimes to police out of embarrassment or shame, but also don’t experience the longevity of harassment experienced by minors.

“The victims are overwhelmingly minors and females, but if the objective is to get money, they’re almost always targeting men,” Liggett O’Malley said. “These two groups of people experience a similar crime in very different ways.”

Analysis of 152 cyber sextortion offenders uncovered four distinct types: minor-focused, targeting victims under 18 years of age; cybercrime, targeting victims using computer-based tactics like hacking; intimately violent, targeting former or current romantic partners; and transnational, targeting strangers strictly for financial reasons.

Holt explained that the four themes reflect different motivations for what offenders want from their victims. A survey of 1,631 cyber sextortion victims found 46% were minors, making crimes against minors a focus for law enforcement and in research literature.

“The disproportionate focus on minor victims has led to new laws that protect minors from adult sexual solicitation online, but there are few legal protections for adult male and female victims,” Liggett O’Malley said.

Researchers are starting to see sextortion being used by a lot of other perpetrators. Within a domestic violence context, partners may share images consensually, only to have those images later used as leverage in the relationship. In other instances, transnational organizations employ scams in which individuals pretend to be a man or women on the internet, engaging in webcam sessions with victims and immediately threatening to release a recording unless money is provided.

Awareness and reporting of sextortion crimes, while acting responsibly online, are key in protecting adults and children.

“As digital citizens, we have to start advocating for more accountability on behalf of platforms to take these images down, or to report harassment,” Holt said. “A lot of offline crimes have an online component, and oftentimes law enforcement and our behavior don’t catch up. We need to think about our own personal safety, both offline and online.”

Researchers like Liggett O’Malley and Holt also advocate for federal laws to address the legal loopholes of sextortion.

“We can’t only be focused on revenge porn,” Liggett O’Malley said. “We need to stop and think about all the ways in which images are used against people and to think about the way we construct these laws to ensure there are pathways for prosecution and arrest.”

Online abuses have been repeatedly tackled in the past.

In February 2020, for instance, a study found that in More than one-quarter (28.1 percent) of teens who had been in a romantic relationship at some point in the previous year said they had been the victim of at least one form of digital dating abuse.

LGBTQIA people are also among the victims of cyber-related abuses, including of sextortion.

In 2018, a study found that adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual were more than twice as likely to be the victim of sextortion. This finding is consistent with other forms of online abuse, including cyberbullying and electronic dating violence, which research has shown is more common among those who do not identify as heterosexual.

Unfortunately, even members of the LGBTQIA community are perpetrators.

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Lifestyle & Culture

‘Fluffy Too’ slot game review

It’s a great game for the times when you just want to have nice and playful, easy breezy gaming experience that feels authentic to the good old days of playing games.

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Join in on the bags of fun that you can have with this ultimate fluffy slot gaming experience, Fluffy Too slot. With cute animations you won’t want to miss out on.

Fluffy Too slot game is a 25 pay line slot set across five reels that you can play with from a price as little as 1p per line.

The overall look is modern, cutesy and fun and entertaining music makes you feel like you’re immersed in the real life old school arcade world of games, shooting back to child hood playfulness.

It’s a great game for the times when you just want to have nice and playful, easy breezy gaming experience that feels authentic to the good old days of playing games. 

Gameplay on this UK slot game

Fluffy Too offers players the chance to game with a 25 pay line slot across 5 reels which you can have a go with from just 1p.

Navigating your gaming with Fluffy Too is a breeze, with easy to use functions helping you decide on your playing experiences, like whether you want to increase your betting value or decrease it – this is done easily with your pointer.

The maximum bet you can place is £2, and you can get pay lines up to a maximum of 25, which isn’t bad at all.

There is also the all important auto play function, so when you get tired of manually handling the spins, you can just sit back and relax while the machine does all the work for you.

With the auto play function, you get to watch ducks as they spin to win for a range of times – 10, 20, 50, or 100 spins. Auto play won’t stop, however, for any losses or wins, so that’s worth bearing in mind before you choose this function.

Fluffy Too can be played from any Dragonfish software powered sites, and a jackpot version is available – where players can win one of three jackpots. 

Fluffy Too special features

Fluffy Too is among the more basic of online slot games, which is refreshing. You can get a coin to use its only special feature.

Find the dancing elephant as the wild, and get double wins when that is part of any winning combo.

You’ll also find the coin pusher feature, which can give players up to 100 times your bet, and not only this, but try the free games feature which gives you up to 400 spins with a 3x multiplier.

And for when you really want to up the stakes, look out for the panda and gorilla which give you up to 500 coins, and even better – the pink dragon which gives you 1,000x that. 

Verdict

Fluffy Too is a refreshing choice of slot game thanks to its cute imagery and theme, however unusual it may be to see cuddly toys star in slot games. But, with a 3x multiplier in the free spins rounds this has a huge impact on how likely players are to give it a go, and rightly so.

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