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The Healthy Side of Video Games

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Video Games controller

Like every stereotype, video games come with their own sets of preconceptions.  We’ve all heard parents rant about how games teach children violence.  Statements like, you’ll rot your brain, go outside, and get a life are common parental reactions when their children spend too much time in front of the screen.   

Yet what happens when you look at this new genre of entertainment’s possible benefits?  Many changes and evolutions in tech have caused a great divide between the generation of boomers and their millennial counterparts.  Video games are one of the subjects that causes much controversy.  To balance out the popular opinion that videogames are unhealthy, here are a few unique points to consider:

Cyber Social Structures are Still Social when Cyber

The most commonly held caricature of a gamer is a young person, introverted, nerdy, and possibly socially inept.  Perhaps this is the picture painted to those who don’t play games themselves.  Ironically, many games do in fact have complex social networks.  Not only does a game allow someone to play with their friends, it provides opportunities to meet and play with new people, and keep in touch with people all over the world.  In fact, the majority of these game offers people access to social networks larger than most that exist in real life.  

Gamification

Gamification has made its way from games into numerous areas of life.  It’s not uncommon to see incentive systems at work changed from policy to point system in efforts to add a game-like spin in hope to raise employee enthusiasm.  

Game based learning makes light of the learning process by incorporating within it the essence of ‘play’.  Being able to play through complex scenarios offers the brain a healthy way to run through various simulations.  The real world is much less forgiving than a video game, which offers user a first, second, third, or infinite amount of chances to complete a goal.  

The Power of Strategy

One of the greatest benefits of gaming is the ability to strategize and strengthen problem solving skills. Games as simple as Tetris and as complex as Starcraft provide users with a creative ways to solve problems.  In order to solve a problem, it is often required to think both quickly and deeply about strategy.  

Being able to practice complex scenarios through games not only improves teamwork and group dynamic within teams, but also benefits each individual player mentally.  Studies have shown that games sharpen decisiveness, acuity, and many other mental attributes.  

A Game for Everything

One of the most fascinating aspects of video games is that as a genre, it has a ridiculous amount of diversity.  When you look at popular games they could be as different as Angry Birds on your mobile phone, or Brain Age on Nintendo Gameboy, or the Club Penguin social community, or as immense as the immersive World of Warcraft.  

Unlike TV shows, sports or any other form of entertainment, video games contain subject matter that is virtually limitless in its diversity.  Name any possible type of skill you may want to learn, and there is a game out there for it.  

Maybe the most popular examples of video game hits contain violence.  Maybe some people tend to spend unreasonable amounts of time in their basement playing.  Although these two facts do still stand true, video games remain an untapped source of creativity and endless utility.  What incredible  places and scenarios can these virtual portals take us?  How can they help to smear the line between imagination and reality?  And from all this, what can we learn?  Maybe now is the time to pay the vast world of gaming some due respect and admiration.  

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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Lifestyle

The Divorce of Fantasy and Science Fiction

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fantasy and science fiction

The divorce of fantasy and science fiction

When you walk into any Barnes and Nobles, you’ll notice that the layout of the store is separated by shelves.  Each row of shelves is marked by genre.  There’s an isle for Romance, one for History, one for Children’s Books, and New Releases.  If you continue walking, you’ll notice an isle titled fantasy and science fiction.

For most of the history of literature, you’ll see these two paired together. Fantasy and science fiction are both genres of fiction and they present worlds where impossible things happen.  What’s the difference?  In fantasy, the story is driven by mystical and magical forces often in a time and place that isn’t real.  In Science Fiction, the story is driven by technologies not yet known or mastered, often with settings in the far off future.

The divide between fantasy and science fiction

Until recently, it made sense to group Science Fiction together with Fantasy.  Stories of these genres often shared similar tropes and literary aesthetics and both being worlds of impossibility.  However this is quickly becoming less and less true.  There is a chasm growing between these genres.  This gap grows parallel to the current explosive growth of internet and technology.  Famous science fiction novels like The Time Machine and 1000  Leagues Under the Sea would seem far outside the realm of possibility, especially to people during the Victorian era (the era that produced the steam punk aesthetic).  But when you compare the fictional plot lines of these same works to what we’re achieving technologically today, you won’t see too much of a difference.  Famous classic pieces like Issac Asimov’s, iRobot don’t look very different that the automated world we live in today.  In an age of drones, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars, how far from the future are we?

What does the future hold for these genre?

We’re reaching a point in time where these two genres need their own separate bookshelves and it seems that as humanity changes, so does our literature.  As imaginative and timeless as the genre of fantasy can be, the magic that shapes it will sadly never truly exist.  As we continue to innovate more and more, science fiction will have to find itself a new name.  In what category will we call the stories of the future?  What new genres will we create?

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Lifestyle

Meal Prep Ideas for Your Busy Work Week

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Here are some meal prep ideas for your busy work week. If you’re busy, then you may not feel like coming home and investing energy in cooking complicated meal prep ideas. However, with proper planning and doing the meal prep on weekends, this task can become easy and fast. If you prepare a menu for the week, you can buy all the ingredients at once and preserve them. Here are few steps to ensure that you get nutritious homemade food even during a busy work week.

Planning in Advance

Plan in advance for the meal prep ideas that you are going to prepare for the coming week – just pen it down. You should create a menu either for the week (preferable) or the month, and make sure that you have a list of the ingredients that you need for every meal. Make sure that you have a list for every meal that you will be preparing at home, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make sure to have snacks available.

Preparation

Another way to save time is putting meals together, especially those that you’ll be baking or slow cooking. You can do this for as many meal prep ideas as you want, and store them in your freezer to pull out whenever you are going to cook them. Make sure you have all ingredients. Put all ingredients into the slow cooker and leave it to cook.  Set the timer correctly to avoid the food getting burnt.

Easy meal prep ideas

Prepare easy meal prep ideas such as salads, soups, sandwiches, and pasta. There are also other items that you can find in stores that are “ready to make” packs. Have them on the menu and leave the most complicated recipes for the weekend. Simpler meals will often suffice as long as you put some love into it. Just ensure that whatever you eat is healthy and nutritious.

Shop intelligently. You can have your menu ready and do the shopping all at once on a weekly or monthly basis. This saves time and money as well. Also, you can make it easier for yourself if you just plan in advance and ensure that nothing is left for the last minute. Here’s also some healthy ideas you could try with super foods

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Growth Hacking

Reasons Why Content Creators Fail to Build a Loyal Audience

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Good content is important when you want to become an authority on a certain subject, connect with your customer base or when you want to sell something. Often times, content creators struggle to come up with interesting topics to retain audiences. However, there are other challenges that keep content creators form building a loyal audience. Here are some possible reasons.

Uninteresting Topic

Many people who read newsletters want updates or want to learn new things about the industry or product. Sometimes the developments for them are just not that interesting enough. They skim the title but don’t click on the link to read the rest of the article or blog.

Un-intriguing Subject Line

You can remedy this by enticing readers with a catchy subject line. An intriguing subject line could pique their interest so that they click the link and read your blog which is hopefully is just as interesting as the title. If you want to build loyal audiences, create content that is valuable to the reader.

No Social Media

Social media is not just useful for connecting with friends, it’s also a good platform to advertise your blog, get new readers and build a loyal audience. Whenever you have a new blog post, tell friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts. Don’t be afraid to tell the world about your blog.

No Authority

One of the reasons why readers stay loyal is because they view the blogger as an authority figure. In order to do this, they have to trust what you write about. This means you have to give them the facts when you site statistics or studies in order for your blog to be legitimate.

Inconsistent Updates

Don’t you just hate it when your friend does not reply to your text message immediately? The same is true with your audience. They want consistent updates. If you’re in the habit of updating your blog every Wednesday evening, don’t fail to do this unless you want them to switch to other blogs.

Poor Engagement

Bloggers with loyal following have a great relationship with their readers. They respond to questions and comments and engage in discussions. Readers are curious people and that curiosity needs to be satisfied. Engaging audience helps to satisfy that curiosity and build relationships with them.

Does Not Teach Or Empower

Your content needs to teach something or empower somebody so that it has value to the reader. Sometimes readers need something to make them feel powerful, inspired or just something to brighten their day. They also want to feel like they learned something. If you have this kind of content you will have loyal readers who will share your content.

No Persistence

Loyalty cannot be built with a single post. You need to be consistent and persistent. You need to provide valuable content on a regular basis and continue to analyze your audience so that you know what they want which could sometimes take years.

Not Entertaining

Content does not only need to be educational, it also needs to be entertaining. Your audience needs to laugh, cry and feel emotion when reading your blog. Remember, you want them to come back for more and sometimes information alone won’t do it.

Robotic

Your audience needs to know that a human being is writing the blog. If you’re too technical you end up sounding robotic. Use simple words that people use every day to make your content easy to understand.

Not Relatable

You also need content that the average audience can relate to. Think Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. Her lifestyle suggestions and price range is so out of this world, only Gwyneth Paltrow can understand and afford it. As of last year, Gwen and Goop parted ways.

Not Shareable

In the age of sharing, you content might not be sharable enough to build a loyal audience. Everybody wants their friend to know about the latest in something and your content might not be making the cut. Write about something sharable and let your audience do the work for you.

No Graphics

Words, words and all words is boring. Spice up your blog with infographics and pictures. Many people appreciate inforgraphics because they can help present facts in a clear and easy to understand manner.

No Video

According to research, posts with videos get better engagement compared to those without. People love to watch videos about everything. It also makes content easier to understand and absorb.

Poor Grammar

Simply put, poor grammar is annoying. The use of “their”,”there”,”your”,”you’re” is elementary and knowing when use them properly will be appreciated by your readers. Good grammar is also essential for good communication. How can you communicate your ideas properly if you don’t practice good grammar in your blogs?

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