Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 14 Jan 2019, 05:26

Hi everyone! This is a follow-up to my recent post about America's partial gov't shutdown and the controversy over illegal immigration. The gov't shutdown is at 24 days as of 1/13/2019 and is now the longest one in history. According to the BBC [1], negotiations might open up again, as a close confidant of President Trump, Republican senator Lindsey Graham, has urged him to re-open the gov't temporarily.

If talks do not resume, Graham said, the White House could declare a national emergency. There's no specific definition of an "emergency" in this sense, but, according to The Washington Post [2], it was one of the things a president could declare when he deems appropriate (as per the 1976 National Emergencies Act).

As of now, 800,000 federal employees have missed their salaries and about 350,000 of these have been furloughed (a kind of temporary lay-off) [1]. About a quarter of the gov't is inoperative. According to USA Today [3]*, the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury, Housing, and Urban Development have been affected. In addition, some national parks are closed and others have been deemed unsafe due to the lack of employees there to keep parks clean.

According to USA Today [4], a poll by the Washington Post/ABC News [5] has found that the majority of Americans (53%) believe that Trump and congressional Republicans are responsible for the shutdown. Another 13% found both Democrats and Republicans equally responsible. 4% had no opinion.

Well, looks like we're still going to have to wait and see what happens next, and hope that the shutdown -- and the controversy surrounding it -- ends soon. Anyways, I won't bore you all anymore about American politics. Thanks for reading.

Citations:

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46858970
[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pol ... 391079002/
[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... 31203ca66a
[4] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pol ... 564178002/
[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/201 ... inl_manual

* There are some inaccuracies in the USA Today article [2] because it is a little out-of-date. Smithsonian Museums and zoos which receive gov't funding are currently closed. TSA air traffic controllers are also being affected.
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 16 Jan 2019, 17:41

Studies show that looking at pictures of cute animals can help increase your productivity. Even if it doesn't work for you, at the very least they can make you happy! If you're feeling stressed out and need to get back to work like me D: , just look at this compilation of animal pictures I got (and get back to work, lol)! :D All pictures belong to their respective owners. Images have been provided courtesy of Pinterest. Enjoy!

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Have a nice week, everyone! :D
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 19 Jan 2019, 06:18

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Happy Friday, everyone. Here's to the weekend! :D
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 21 Jan 2019, 09:42

Hi everyone! Today I'd like to share some tips with you for staying safe online. You've probably heard the basics: don't give out your personal info, don't share your website passwords, etc. but there's a lot more to staying safe online than that.

A recent development that you may have heard of is that the smash-hit game Fortnite was used to exploit children via the voice chat feature. According to the BBC [1], a Florida man was accused of attempting to exploit children using the feature, with up to 20 victims being involved, as police estimate. I won't go too deep into this story, but feel free to read it for yourself.

Anyways, the point is that not everyone is who they seem to be online. Now, it would be misguided to believe that everyone you met online was, say, a thirty-something year old man trying to sell your organs, but it's best to be aware of your surroundings and to report suspicious behavior. According to Common Sense Education [2], teenagers are the most at risk for being exploited, and at the hands of people their own age.

Remember that you have the power to stop online predators by ending a risky interaction and reporting them. If you ever come into contact with someone you think is trying to exploit or harass you, always report them and consider bringing up the situation with a trusted adult or other person. As always, never give out your personal information or agree to any proposed offline interaction with people you don't really know. Stay safe, everyone.


Citations:

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46923789
[2] https://www.commonsense.org/education/d ... net-safety
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 21 Jan 2019, 23:12

Hi everyone! Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- a national holiday in the US when we celebrate the life, achievement, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We celebrate this day -- the birthday of Dr. King -- on the third Monday in January.

Dr. King was a civil rights activist who advocated for African American people to be granted the full rights that their white counterparts enjoyed. According to Britannica [1], King was a Baptist minister who used nonviolent protest to end America's racial segregation. He was a key in the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in public places. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

In King's own words, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." These words have never been more true then they are today. May we remember him for his lifelong struggle to end the unjust treatment of African American citizens and carry on his legacy.


Citations:

[1] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Martin ... ing-Jr-Day
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 25 Jan 2019, 04:41

Hi everyone. Today I wanted to just give you a taste of what I'll post soon: how online games affect their players, with Lady Popular in mind. This topic will be divided into three different posts: portrayals of an "ideal" woman in the game and how it could affect players, social hierarchy within the game, and finally, an overall look at the affects of online games on players.

I realize that this may seem a bit out of the ordinary, but I've been trying to post more concept-y things and explore different fields of interest. Please don't take this the wrong way, as I do love Lady Popular as a game, but I am simply trying to pick apart the different aspects of the game and apply them to the real world.

Anyways... that's what y'all can expect, coming soon! Cheers!!
Last edited by Trinity Starling on 25 Jan 2019, 05:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 25 Jan 2019, 05:41

LADY POPULAR & THE AFFECT ON PLAYERS - PART I: INTERNALIZATION OF THE IDEAL WOMAN

We, as players of Lady Popular, know that it's a game that is geared towards a predominantly young, female audience, although the game has a male audience as well. The game centers around the player creating an "avatar" ("Lady") and an entire virtual lifestyle around the Lady. Players may internalize the worlds they create and thus, feel pressured to epitomize the virtual lifestyle and their virtual selves (their Ladies). The way the game makes all Ladies have the same features (tall, thin figure; long, slender limbs) is an aspect of the game that cannot currently be changed. Although players can choose to change their looks so far as hairstyles and facial features, the game disallows nonconformity in the aspect of a Lady's physical body. Granted, this nonconformity could be overlooked because of the creativity that is allowed in designing a Lady's outfits and apartment, but it ultimately looms overhead all players because of the way all Ladies have the same figures.

The way a Lady's body has been "designed" has many Western beauty standards in mind, including the tall, hourglass figure, perfect (unblemished) skin, etc. This is another key aspect that makes players vulnerable to the internalization of the game's world. However, it's not only the design of Ladies in the game that can lead to internalization, it's their lifestyles. When a Lady reaches level 30, she has the option of leaving boyfriends and gaining a fiance. The coupling of this with the idea that one's Lady is popular may lead players to believe that they need to be in serious relationships in order to be popular. Obviously, the feature of having a boyfriend/fiance is not obligatory, but, from the outset, it is encouraged and reinforced by a) one of the daily quests involving doing an action with said boyfriend/fiance, and b) other ladies having boyfriends.

The female players of Lady Popular aren't even the only ones at risk for internalizing their virtual lives -- male players may see the game as an "ideal" version of what women should look and act like, which ultimately could make the game's depiction of women more dangerous than intended.

In conclusion, the way that Lady Popular (and all online games, for that matter) portrays women could lead to the internalization of the "ideal woman" as being a popular, conventionally attractive woman who is in a steady relationship. This, however, does not have to be the case if players themselves are consciously aware of the impending portrayals of women and make an effort to not internalize them by telling themselves that the game doesn't depict real life.
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 26 Jan 2019, 05:48

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Happy Friday everyone. Make your week-end shine as bright as you are! :D
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 28 Jan 2019, 06:00

Today, January 27, is Holocaust Remembrance day. May we never forget the horrors that inhumane action wrought upon us. May we never forget the victims of oppression -- 11 million in total whose lives were taken all too quickly. Remember that the Holocaust didn't begin with gas chambers or extermination camps; it began with hateful rhetoric and propaganda. Remember the people who perished all those years ago. Remember the truth. On this day, I'd like to share a poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller, called "First They Came."

"First They Came" -

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak for me.


This poem is relevant even today and carries the message that you must speak out for people who you see are being oppressed because, if the same thing were to happen to you, you'd want people to speak out. We must never turn a blind eye to oppression, no matter who is being involved.
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Re: Trinity Starling -- Diary of Randomness

Postby Trinity Starling » 31 Jan 2019, 16:54

LADY POPULAR & THE AFFECT ON PLAYERS - PART II: THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY

The existence of a social hierarchy in online games, let alone in Lady Popular, may not be immediately evident, but it's there. It exists in the many forms: contests and rankings, clubs, voting, and even a Lady's possessions.

Contests in the game are meant to be a form of friendly competition, but it can very quickly turn into people vying for more and more status in the form of votes. One of the most recent examples is the Star House - a contest where players "like"each others' profiles and move through different stages in order to win prizes. Of course, the number of likes corresponds to the popularity of each contestant, and it is generally seen that someone who has a large number of likes is the most successful. This is where the hierarchy begins to pop up: likes are being assigned numbers. By attributing the abstract concept of liking someone or something to a numerical value, you inherently imbue them with value, which in turn makes people want them more.

Another way the hierarchy exists is through voting for things like the Podium, FTV Catwalk, and the Apartment Contest, as well as overall ranking by experience points. As mentioned earlier, assigning numbers to things like likes or votes imbues them with value, but votes also have something called "sign value" -- the ability to impress other players. This means that, even if a player doesn't care about all the competitions in the game, they could still place value in votes because they want to impress others.

We can also see the need to impress others in our profiles -- we dress our ladies in extravagant, glamorous outfits because we want to show off all the items we've collected through our time on the game. We coordinate outfits with profile backgrounds to show our experience on the game and to add to the fact that we even have special profile backgrounds. We put the date we started playing and the date we got engaged and the date we reached a certain level on our biographies for the sake of showing others that we have experience. We cultivate images of ourselves both online and in the real world to satiate the need to be accepted and held on a podium by others.

To conclude, the social hierarchy in Lady Popular is prevalent in the competitive nature of garnering likes and votes, as well as in the way we imbue sign value into our profiles. This, however, does not mean that a game like Lady Popular is bad for its audience -- it simply has more to challenge us -- but, with enough conscious effort, we can get past anything.
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