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Playing the waiting game looking ahead to the 2020 season –

In the world of instant-gratification news cycles, this one is moving slowly.

The Eagles have a lot of balls in the air as they position for 2020 coaching staff changes, digging deep in preparation for the NFL Draft, preparing for free agency in March, and continuing the evaluation of the current roster and X's and O's on gamedays.

So, we wait. With that, on Pro Bowl Weekend, some random thoughts

1. The Eagles are conducting a thorough and well-constructed plan to address the coaching staff, specifically the openings at offensive coordinator, wide receiver, and defensive backs. There are plenty of names being reported, but the truth is that only a very small handful of people at the NovaCare Complex know the plan. What does the offensive coordinator do? That position, at least as it has been constructed under head coach Doug Pederson, helps with the weekly game plan as well as the passing game coordination. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has the running game plan on a weekly basis. Pederson calls the plays each gameday. Duce Staley, the assistant head coach/running backs coach, has a big hand in the construction of the weekly offensive vision.

2. We're still six weeks or so from the start of free agency and that means we're not short of having the rumor mill cranking. It's certainly fair to wonder how the Eagles will approach free agency in a year in which they're going to have substantial salary cap room and, by the way, that's worth a golf clap given the extensions the Eagles have paid out to keep the core of the roster intact, including quarterback Carson Wentz's deal. The Eagles put together a roster that looked as complete as could be when the season began in 2019, and then the injuries hit. And hit. And hit. Some of the older players the Eagles added wide receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive tackle Malik Jackson saw very little action because of the injuries. How will that impact the plans moving forward? We shall see. This much is certain: Both Jacksons are in the plans for 2020, very much so. The Eagles have, right now, a good roster slated to return for next season. With the cap room and as many as 10 draft picks in their pocket (depending on how the compensatory picks are named) this roster can get younger and deeper and more talented in a hurry.

3. Speaking of the roster, I'm going to say this: Even with all of these defensive ends on the roster and the presence of some good players, that's a position where an impact addition could turn the defense into something special. Look what Nick Bosa did for the 49ers. The Eagles have good players up front with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry played well especially down the stretch in 2019, and they've got a slew of young ends they're developing, but an impact addition here would be a huge plus for the defense.

4. Then again, the defense is going to be addressed throughout. The linebackers can use some attention is this the year we see a high-round draft pick used on the group? the cornerbacks certainly will be scrutinized and the safeties, with Rodney McLeod scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, are worth watching. There is a lot of work to do on that side of the ball.

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Playing the waiting game looking ahead to the 2020 season -

This Knights of the Old Republic Remake Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen –

Its actually happening. Weve waited for years and years, and were finally getting a new Knights of the Old Republic game. But it wont be like the series you remember.

A few years ago, Cinelinx leaked the news that a KotOR remake was in the works. That remake was later canceled. But now its back! Although were not really getting a remake, were getting a re-imagining Oh.

This could end poorly.

The original Knights of the Old Republic games werent just the best duo of Star Wars games. They were two of the best sci-fi RPGs ever made.

No games before or since have so perfectly blended Star Wars canon with action-RPG and strategy elements. The decision to let you pause the game and line up attack commands was pure brilliance.

Not only that, but KotOR presented genuinely interesting stories. Rather than re-hash the tales from Star Wars that we already knew, the team at BioWare created new characters andnew stories.

Thats why this re-imagining should concern you.

Details about Knights of the Old Republics new direction remain thin. The leak just states that a new game exists and will integrate elements from the first two games.

The most important missing puzzle piece is which of EAs developers will handle it. It makes sense that BioWare would get the nod, but theyre not the same company they were when KotOR came out in 2003.

Most of the key BioWare figures involved in the original KotOR have left. And if you look at the games theyve produced over the past six years, youll grow even more worried.

Theres always Obsidian, which developed Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. But Obsidian belongs to Xbox Game Studios now, so EA isnt likely to hand them the reins this time.

Even if BioWaredoes take the lead on the new KotOR and the developer returns to its early-2000s form, EAs well-documented fetish for microtransactions could still screw the game up.

EA wont just have to masterfully blend elements from two vastly different but equally outstanding games. They must resist the urge to pump the long-awaited title full of micropayments.

I can already see it: $0.99 for a new shield here; $1.99 for an orange lightsaber crystal there. The thought of something so perfect being corrupted makes me shudder.

Lets hope that Disneys displeasure at the Battlefront II backlash is enough to muzzle EAs seediest impulses.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

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This Knights of the Old Republic Remake Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen -

Cubs to spend ST piecing together ‘pen puzzle –

CHICAGO -- The competition for jobs in the Cubs' bullpen this spring will be as wide open as it gets. Even closer Craig Kimbrel comes with question marks after last season, but his spot is just about the only defined role within the relief corps as it is currently constituted.

Lefty Kyle Ryan and righty Rowan Wick will go to camp as the favorites to reprise the setup roles they each seized last summer, and those two provide a snapshot of how Chicago is trying to piece together its 2020 'pen. The Cubs have been collecting an assortment of high-upside or low-risk projects this offseason, hoping to unearth a formidable crop of relievers.

"Any time there's a success story, it helps the buy-in," pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. "But I think we're getting more players that are just accustomed to hearing phrases, seeing pitch data, using Rapsodo. So the learning curve's a lot quicker."

Ryan came to the Cubs prior to the 2018 season, worked with the Triple-A team that summer on correcting an issue with his release point and developed into a reliable Major League option by the '19 campaign. Wick, an unheralded trade pickup from the Padres last winter, fine-tuned his curveball under the Cubs' watch and was setting up and closing games for Chicago by season's end.

This offseason, the Cubs saw such veteran arms as Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler and Pedro Strop hit free agency. Chicago then passed up the top end of the free-agent market, focusing instead on gathering a growing list of cost-effective options. Although much of that approach has been payroll-driven, it has, in turn, potentially improved the depth chart.

"One thing in this organization that we have had a lack of," Hottovy said, "is young interesting arms that have plus stuff and maybe just haven't done it yet. Now, I feel I look around this room, and we have 10 of those guys, and guys with really interesting pitch characteristics, interesting pitch mix."

Here is a look at the options added to the fold this offseason.

Reclamation projects

One thing the Cubs have tried to do in building up their bullpen possibilities is target relievers who are not too far removed from a solid showing. Atop this list is former closer Brandon Morrow, who agreed to re-sign with Chicago on a Minor League deal after losing a year and a half to injuries.

"Look, his willingness and his desire to still be here is awesome," Hottovy said. "I mean, it just shows you the type of person he is. Obviously, the last year didn't go the way he wanted it to go, and he's got something to prove. Personally, I'm excited to get to work with him again and have him in camp."

Morrow will be in camp on as a non-roster invitee, as will lefty Tyler Olson, who dealt with a non-baseball-related health issue late last season. It was not that long ago that Olson used his multiple arm angles to become a key part of Terry Francona's bullpen in Cleveland.

The Cubs also signed righties Ryan Tepera and Dan Winkler to split one-year MLB contracts this offseason, adding them to the 40-man roster.

Tepera was shelved by a right elbow problem last year and turned in a 4.98 ERA for Toronto, but had a 3.60 ERA in 141 games in the previous two seasons combined. Winkler also struggled to the tune of a 4.98 ERA with the Braves before finishing '19 at Triple-A for the Giants. One year earlier, he had 3.43 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings for Atlanta.

Statcast darlings

A quick glance at the Cubs' Statcast numbers following their bullpen additions this offseason reveals something interesting. Chicago knows it does not have a finished product, but there is an intriguing chunk of clay ready for molding in terms of pitch design or usage.

Casey Sadley (acquired via trade from the Dodgers on Jan. 17) ranked 21st in average curveball spin rate (2,911 rpm) among pitchers with at least 50 results in '19. Olson and Travis Lakins (acquired via trade from the Red Sox on Tuesday) also ranked in the top 20 percent on that list.

Righty Jason Adam (Minor League contract) ranked 15th in average four-seam spin rate (2,580 rpm) last season, with Winkler (2,542 rpm) not far behind. In-house, the Cubs already have two Statcast stars in Tyler Chatwood (who will be in the rotation or bullpen) and Dillon Maples.

Hottovy said that the front office has kept him involved in the process of identifying arms to pursue.

"I want all of them," Hottovy said with a laugh. "I'm like, 'Yeah. Yes, yes, yes, yes.' It's just exciting, because again, yeah, we've had some success with some guys we acquired. It's just cool, because you watch them pitch and you see, maybe, them just not using a pitch quite the way we would like them to use it, or maybe not having the breaking ball break quite the way we want it to.

"And it's like, 'Oh man, it'd be awesome to get this guy in the lab and do this,' or, 'Oh, it'd be great for this guy to try to actually pitch in a little more.' Things like that. It's always exciting when that happens and you have those conversations. And I want them all. I'll take as many of them as I can."

Big, physical arms

During Cubs Convention last weekend, Hottovy talked with right-hander Colin Rea, who was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Rea -- more likely a rotation-depth piece than a reliever -- stands at 6-foot-5.

"I said to Colin Rea, 'You're short,'" Hottovy quipped. "He was standing next to two 6-foot-9 guys. What we're trying to do is go in the right direction."

Yes, part of the Cubs' approach has been to reel in some big, physical relief options.

Wick is not one of Chicago's Redwood Relievers, but he is built like a linebacker. Last summer, the Cubs traded for lefty Brad Wieck (listed at 6-foot-9), had him develop a knuckle-curve and watched him excel down the stretch in the big leagues.

This offseason, the Cubs have added two other physical relievers: left-hander CD Pelham (listed at 6-foot-6) and righty Trevor Megill (6-foot-8). Pelham, who was claimed off waivers, boasts a strong fastball, but dealt with command issues last year in Texas' system. Megill (taken in the Rule 5 Draft) has averaged 12.4 strikeouts per nine over his Minor League career with San Diego.

"What intrigues me the most about this group," Hottovy said, "is the fact that everybody wants to see a name. You know, Rowan Wick wasn't really a name coming into last year. Kyle Ryan had a cool story. These guys pitched themselves into that situation."

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.

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Google launches collaborative game to reveal when I/O 2020 is happening – The Verge

Every year, Google launches a game or puzzle that people can play to eventually learn the dates for the companys annual I/O conference, and this years game is now live (via 9to5Google).

Its a space-themed game where users have to work collaboratively to restore an intergalactic satellite network. When you first visit the games site, youll see the map of the galaxy Ive included at the top of this post as well as a message about the mission and a few progress bars (which have been slowly rising as Ive been writing this story):

If you accept the mission, a command line box appears with this text:

The satellite cluster nearest your current location has been located. Determine its proper name, then restore its satellites to their original frequencies. If successful, a portion of the Universal Grid will illuminate. Once all clusters are fully operational, the entire Grid will shine brightly and the connectivity of the cosmos restored. Remember, your fellow space citizens will be working alongside you.

You can then type in the word engage (no quotes) or click on the Engage box to get to the below screen, where youll be able to type in commands to help restore the satellites to their frequencies:

From here, you can pull up a list of commands by typing help in the command line box and work to puzzle through applying frequencies. I will fully admit this is where I got stuck I couldnt figure out what to do next, even after typing in a few queries into the command line. But hopefully with the collaborative effort of the internet, these puzzles will get solved soon.

In past years, Google I/O has taken place in the first few weeks of May, so perhaps the dates for this years I/O will fall in that time frame as well. Here are the dates for the conference for the past four years, if you were curious:

In a tweet announcing the game, Google also showed off what could be some of the branding for this years I/O:

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Google launches collaborative game to reveal when I/O 2020 is happening - The Verge

10 Awesome Coin-Op Puzzle Games From The Past | TheGamer – TheGamer

There were a number of truly excellent puzzle games that came out in coin-op arcade form, and every one of them offered something different in terms of gameplay. While not normally associated with high octane arcade experiences, puzzle titles were a nice distraction from the fighting and shooting titles that dominated arcades at that time. They were also quite attractive to players who weren't too keen on guts n' gore.

RELATED: Untitled Goose Game: Complete Puzzle Guide

Today we're looking back at 10 truly awesome coin-op puzzle games from the past. We're focusing specifically on titles that added something new and interesting to the puzzle formula that madethem worth your investment.

What a classic! Capcom's ingenious take on the puzzle game formula involved building up crystal blocks of a particular color, then shattering them with a circular crystal to inflict massive damage on your opponent. The premise was shockingly simple, easy to learn, and required only quick reflexes to outpace your enemy.

The game's style is straight-up charming, taking Capcom's fighting game characters such as Ryu, Morrigan, Chun-Li and Felicia, and putting them through the Japanese super-deformed washing machine for a little extra fun. The result is a comical, light-hearted parody of the company's fighting titles, built into puzzle form.

SNK scored a few puzzle hits on the Neo Geo arcade system, and one of these was Magical Drop. What made the game especially fun was the grab n' switch mechanic that involved collecting various drops from different columns, and tossing them back up into those of a similar color to score points.

SNK's tongue-in-cheek approach was all over the game, featuring anime-inspired characters and sound effects that put a distinctly Japanese spin on the game. At higher levels, the game was always challenging, but never irritating.

Puzzle Bobble was the game that kicked off a myriad of smartphone knock-offs and for good reason. The play mechanics were deceptively simple, yet required a lot of eye coordination to master. Essentially, your task is to fire a bubble of a particular color into a nest of similar bubbles to pop them and score points.

RELATED: The 10 Best Xbox Puzzle Games You Should Be Playing Right Now

The trick was rebounding bubbles off the sides of the screen in order to hit their target, which sounds easier than it actually is. By the end of a few play sessions, your marksmanship was sure to go up. The classic Bubble Bobble feel translates well into puzzle form, too. It's a fun little game to kill an hour with.

In many ways, Columns was Sega's answer to Tetris, which had gone on to achieve great success on the NES. In arcade form, the game is practically identical to the Genesis version, and plays like a game all its own. Each column consists of three gems that can be shuffled to create vertical, horizontal and diagonal directions. Eagle-eyed players could also set up cluster attacks for more points.

Columns was in many ways a more relaxing form of Tetris. The dreamy music, ancient setting, and increasingly fast gameplay encouraged concentration above all else, though never at the cost of your sanity.

Everyone at some point has played Tetris! It's the great-granddaddy of puzzle games, and has gone on to captivate players all over the world. Its simplistic style of play masked a complex game that involved fitting various shapes together to form straight lines and prevent the screen from being clogged up.

It has since been ported to every platform known to man (and then some), but the arcade version of Tetris was a nice game to spot in the arcades, especially if you didn't have it readily available for play at home.Alexey Pajitnov certainly has a lot to be proud of.

Terrible name notwithstanding, Battle Balls was an excellent arcade game that took the classic puzzle formula and added a slight twist. The player would drop three balls in triangular formation down into the trough, and rotate them so as to create color combos and score points.

RELATED: 10 Best Mobile Puzzle Games Out Right Now

The added complexity of this system made it slightly more difficult to pick up than other puzzle games already on the market, and therefore it's not as widely regarded as others on our list. However, a little practice exposes a great puzzle game that everyone should try out.

Klax is a puzzle game that stands completely on its own. The gameplay is very clever, relying on a conveyor belt system that transports blocks to the edge. The player's job is to grab these blocks in a tray, and lay them out accordingly in order to form a line and score points. With only 5 spaces to work with, this can get tricky, very fast.

The tray allows for several blocks to be held at once, with the topmost block being the first that will be dumped onto the play area. As the game gets more difficult, it becomes harder to plan ahead, which is where the fun comes in. This is one of the most imaginative puzzle games around.

This puzzle title put a spin on traditional tile-matching games with something a little different. The game's objective is to clear rows of slime-like creatures called Puyo by dropping and rotating them to form combinations. The trick is that Puyo may not connect diagonally, which adds a bit of challenge to the game.

The series has enjoyed longevity thanks to ports to a variety of systems, including iOS and Android. It may not be the first puzzle game that comes to mind, but it's definitely one of the most enduring.

Alexey Pajitnov is best known for creating Tetris, but he didn't stop there. Hatris is a variation on his puzzle game formula, but an entirely different game altogether. The object of the game is to stack hats on 6 character heads at the bottom of the play area.

Two hats are dropped at once, and can be swapped by the player and placed where best suited. That's also part of the challenge. The player must plan ahead and keep stacking identical hats in order to keep the play area clear, but it's easier than it sounds.

Who could forget Burger Time? This Data East classic is still renowned as one of the best of the original puzzle games for its quirky gameplay and visuals. The player is tasked with creating hamburgers by walking the character of Chef Peter Pepper across a grid-like structure reminiscent of Donkey Kong.

Enemy foods will chase after the good Chef, forcing him to navigate around the structure and crush them using the burger ingredients or stun them with pepper shots. It's equal parts action title and puzzle game, but definitely, one that requires some practice to get good at.

NEXT: 15 Supposedly Easy Puzzles That Made You Want To Rage Quit

NextThe Witcher 3: 10 Hidden Details About Keira Metz Everyone Completely Missed

Derek started out writing about video games way back in the mid-90s. Since then, he's gone on to write for Cinemablend and GamePro Magazine, to name a few. What keeps him going strong? Hard to tell, but a constant infusion of butter chicken might have something to do with it!

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10 Awesome Coin-Op Puzzle Games From The Past | TheGamer - TheGamer

Everything’s Going To Be Okay – St. Olaf College News

Take it from the experts: our future is bright! Here are six reasons for optimism.

To hear it from the prime time newscasters, our world is in dire shape. Our digital privacy? Nonexistent. Our citizens? An aging economic burden. Dont get us started on the climate.

And yet.

And yet when we asked alumni and faculty experts in those exact fields about the future they saw, they shared a more nuanced view.

Behind all of those bad headlines were sparks of promising change, heartening trends, and, yes, even a few reasons for optimism.

Heres what makes St. Olaf experts look ahead with hope.

Some call it a silver tsunami. Others call it a demographic time bomb. The reality is that our population as a whole is getting older. Were living longer, and were not having as many kids as we did in the past.

While economists fret about the implications of this shift on everything from Social Security to Medicare, Beth Truesdale 97, a sociologist and research associate for the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, says the bleak headlines sidestep a larger and far more important truth. We overlook what a monumental accomplishment aging societies actually are, she says. We overlook how very fortunate all of us are to be living right now.

American babies born in 1880, for example, had an average lifespan of 40 years. A baby born today, by contrast, will likely live to nearly 80. What does she credit for this doubling? Truesdale says we can look to the way public and private systems have worked together to make vast strides in areas such as public health, nutrition, and education.

At the same time, birthrates have plummeted. As late as the 1950s, the number of children being born per woman in the United States was about three. Today, that number hovers below two. Whats the cause? Truesdale notes that birthrates tend to fall in tandem with infant mortality rates. People think, My children are more likely to grow up to become adults. And then they start having fewer babies.

While theres no question that there are costs to an aging society, Truesdale says the advantages are enormous, and were just beginning to harness them. People are able to contribute economically if theyre able to work longer, but also theyre able to contribute to their communities as volunteers and as citizens for a longer time, she says. Often people have terrific skills that they are bringing as a result of lifelong experience. Thats an enormous resource for communities and for the United States as a whole to be able to tap.

For years, Associate Professor of Practice in Biology Diane Angell felt like she was fighting an unwinnable battle. She had spent decades teaching her students about climate change, but the lessons she was sharing in the classroom werent ones that seemed to resonate much beyond it.

We would look at the statistics of people in the United States who believed that the climate was changing, and that number didnt really budge for about 15 years, she says.

And then, suddenly, it did. Over the past four or five years as people began experiencing extreme weather events, from hurricanes to fires to Minnesotas increasingly soggy seasons Angell saw that scientists messages were finally sinking in. According to Climate Change in the American Mind (Yale University and George Mason University: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication), today 73 percent of people believe climate change is happening, significantly higher than the 57 percent who believed the same in 2010.

That shift in public opinion is essential, says Angell, because you cant fix a problem that you dont believe you have. The science was done a long time ago, but I think scientists understand now that we cant do our research in isolation anymore. We need to bring it into the public realm and have real conversations with our communities.

Megan Behnke 16, a biogeochemist and Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University, adds that this shift in public opinion has carried with it a level of activism she finds inspiring. Many states are working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in ways consistent with the Paris Agreement, for example. In her hometown of Juneau, Alaska, a group of concerned citizens started Renewable Juneau, a grassroots organization that seeks to reduce fossil fuel emissions by 80 percent and has created a local carbon offset program

There are hundreds of examples of ordinary people saying, Im going to start fixing this myself, Behnke says. And grassroots change like that is the most effective way to change how our society interacts with its environment.

Such work is important because, despite public proclamations to the contrary, its never too late to make real change. While there are some important thresholds that scientists worry about for example, when we reach certain levels of carbon dioxide emissions, the result may be less like walking down the climate hill and more like falling off of a climate cliff Behnke says that shouldnt stop us from taking action. Even if you fall off a cliff, you wind your way back. You find a ladder, and you work your way back to the top of the cliff.

Climate change has often felt like nothing but bad news, but Behnke says the shifts she sees are worth being optimistic about. Yes, climate change can be scary. But as a society, I think were finally starting to ask, What are we going to do about it?

We live in the age of streaming services: first Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon; now Disney+ and Apple+, and Peacock. With so much incredible programming available to us for the price of a couple coffees (and no further away than our laptops), is live theater still relevant?

The numbers resoundingly confirm theaters abiding popularity and the Jungle Theaters artistic director, Sarah Rasmussen 01, says attendees increasing sophistication about the mediums possibilities make her as optimistic as shes ever been. People do engage in a meditative space here. They turn off their phones. Theyre together, in community with each other. It feels ancient in a way, and its also hopeful.

The Jungle is doing a booming business these days, a trend that mirrors the industry as a whole: a study published in 2018 by the National Endowment for the Arts found that the share of adults who attended visual or performing arts activities had climbed 3.6 percentage points since 2012; last year, Broadways attendance was up 9.5 percent from the previous season.

Rasmussen says attendees understand the value of being in the same space as the performers and other audience members, which leads to a fundamentally different experience from watching a screen by yourself. Do I laugh at something I see at home alone on my laptop? Sometimes, Rasmussen says. But being in an audience, someone will start laughing, and that will make me laugh. Theres a different energy, a different sense of listening.

That laughter is empathy in action and theater can evoke it in larger ways: When theater brings up something challenging or uncomfortable, audience members cant just turn away. Not only must they engage with an idea, but they experience others in the room doing the same. You listen with a sense of curiosity: what is the person next to you thinking about this? That sense of community is more than mental. Research led by the UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences has shown that during a live performance, audience members heartbeats actually start to beat together.

In what can feel like an increasingly divided world, developing that sense of connection, even with those who are very different from us, is a worthy pursuit. Theatergoers understand that. And its why those rising numbers are valuable well beyond the dollars and cents.

Being intentional about spaces where we can come together, where we can be surprised, and where we can both connect more deeply to ourselves and each other, thats important, says Rasmussen. I think its more necessary than ever.

Plenty of hackers have found the path to our personal information: Yahoo, Equifax, and Target have all been breached in recent years, spilling our confidential information to just about anyone who wants it. So it may come as a surprise to some that there is someone worth trusting these days: yourself.

St. Olafs information security officer, Kendall George, says that a combination of better education about the importance of security and perhaps some hard-won experience has made us all a little savvier. People understand now that they need a stronger password. Theyve adapted to two-factor authentication [a combination of a password and additional personal verification, such as a fingerprint or a one-time PIN], says George. I dont really hear grumbling about it.

Even more than that, people are getting smarter about suspicious emails. According to the highly regarded Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, click-through rates on phishing simulations plunged from 24 percent to 3 percent in just 7 years.

Its not just that were no longer being duped by the story of the Nigerian prince who promises a big payoff. Its that were bringing a more appropriate level of skepticism to unexpected emails in our inbox. People are less likely to click [links] or open attachments when something looks phishy, George says. Theyre not falling for messages that look suspicious.

So, while the bad guys might never give up, we can at least know that these days, were not our own worst enemy. Education efforts are working, says Kendall. And thats why that trend is moving in the right direction.

You dont have to tell Oles that choral music has the power to unite communities and change lives an appreciation for music might as well be inscribed in Oles DNA. In a world thats becoming more open to the ideas and music from diverse populations, musics powerful influence is as strong as ever. Yet plenty of people are beginning to wonder where, exactly, the music typically found within the context of the traditional choral canon fits in.

For Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, visiting instructor in music and conductor of the St. Olaf Chapel Choir and Viking Chorus, the answer is right alongside some of the most current works by groundbreaking composers. Since arriving at St. Olaf in 2018, hes been pulling together musical selections that are part of the traditional canon and contrasting them with current pieces that challenge those existing norms.

Recently, for example, the Viking Chorus performed the world premiere of the conversation-starting composition No Color, with lyrics including:

No color

No color can come between us

No shade to be thrown

No turn to be taken to demean us

No hue of hate to be shown

In conjunction with the performance, the pieces nationally renowned composers, Shawn Kirchner and Stacey V. Gibbs, traveled to campus to participate in open dialogue with the Viking Chorus on how they conceptualized the composition. The composers shared with the students that while some people who hear the words No Color or colorblind find it to be a positive attribute, the opposite is also true. It was an entry point, says Wondemagegnehu, into what can often be a difficult conversation.

This gave us an opportunity during our rehearsals to jump into dialogue and hear how each of us define the word colorblind. We began to process what it means to see somebody elses race and differences while acknowledging our own, says Wondemagegnehu. Because of these conversations and experiences, we grew as an ensemble. Singing the African American spiritual Steal Away music I consider to be a major part of the choral canon with new eyes and hearts created a such a rich experience for all of us. And to top it off, we even got to collaborate on Steal Away with the Twin Cities Gay Mens Chorus. So many beautiful intersections, all introduced by beginning the conversation.

For 2020, Wondemagegnehu hopes to include an excerpt of Randall Thompsons Testament of Freedom, a choral piece written in 1943 using Thomas Jeffersons words. The Thomas Jefferson we know today is a profound and problematic character, he says. So how do we program that piece in context with broader social justice initiatives? Thats where the innovation can take place.

In the end, Wondemagegnehu says, the goal is to have an ongoing conversation with older works to understand what they can continue to offer in a world that looks vastly different from the one in which they were created. We can have different conversations about these pieces of music now, he says. And thats something that allows them to live even longer.

No matter how you slice it, video games are big business. In 2018 alone, global video game revenue topped $43 billion, surpassing the total global box office for the film industry by a cool $2 billion.

But video games are still fighting plenty of negative stereotypes: that theyre misogynistic, violent, and focused on grim storylines that center on dominating, destroying, and stealing.

Associate Professor of English Rebecca Richards says theres plenty to be concerned about but there are also remarkably encouraging changes within the larger videogame landscape. Today we have more game developers who are creating games that are challenging that dominant narrative of what a video game is.

Part of the reason for this shift is the non-intuitive demographics of video games: a full 48 percent of gamers are women.

While youll find them playing all the big-budget games that are making headlines Call of Duty and Mortal Kombat, for example theyre also very well represented in puzzle games (think Monument Valley) and digital collectible card games (such as Hearthstone).

Those eye-popping numbers are attracting a wider range of video game developers to the field itself and giving those developers all the incentive they need to develop games that flip the dominant narrative of violent games on its head.

Take, for instance, the game Flower. There are no words and no people in the game, Richards says. You play as the wind, going through different landscapes and picking up flower petals. As you pick up more flower petals, you regenerate the land and bring it back from decay.

The game is meditative, beautiful, and musically gorgeous. No one dies. And no one gets hurt.

Flower may not (yet) be a billion-dollar behemoth, but it represents just one of the many ways that the widening video game audience and community of developers is helping make the entire industry more vibrant.

For a long time, it was the same people making similar games over and over, says Richards. Now there are more of us more people, more perspectives. People are saying, I dont want to play a game where I continually die. I want to play a game where I feel peaceful, and Im working with others instead of against others. More ideas are welcome, and thats something to be optimistic about.

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Everything's Going To Be Okay - St. Olaf College News

Here Are A Variety Of Solutions For Destiny 2s Weaponized FOMO – Forbes

Destiny 2

Yesterday I wrote an article that seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people. The focus was on how Destiny 2 is using its description of you had to be there moments to justify the removal of content from the game, and quite a lot of content at that. It seems to be escalating to the point of driving people away from the game, as even if technically you probably can easily play enough in a season to rank a season pass to 100 or find the seasonal god rolls you want, a lot of players may not even give it a shot because of the perceived pressure.

Yesterday I talked about a lot of the problems with this system, but today I wanted to talk about some possible solutions.

I am try to balance realism with what people are hoping to see from Destiny content. As in, Bungie says that they want to evolve the game and also need to save space and not make D2 too massive. I can respect and understand that, but I think theres a middleground from there to where we need to be.

To start, I want to talk about some aspects of the you had to be there or weaponized FOMO model that probably cant change much.

Destiny 2

Removing the big seasonal activity This one seems pretty fixed. And honestly, given how focused these seasons are on one specific activity, Vex Offensive, Sundial, its honestly not the worst thing if the game removes them in the end given how sick of them youll be after three months. In theory, sure, Id like them to stay just to keep farming options open, but if they have to go, I can accept that.

Certain puzzles I think theres a difference between say, Niobe Labs, and the Corridors of Time puzzle. Niobe I think is cool to have stick around because its still an activity you can complete for a (minimal) prize. But no, keeping the Corridors of Time maze around past seasons end is probably pretty pointless. That said, closing it after two weeks feels a bit extreme.

Certain Story Events Some events will be tied to a season and I understand if they have to move or change or be removed. Like we dont need the Vex gate behind Ikora forever, or the Obelisks everywhere. Those things Im fine with coming and going.

However, I think there is still a whole lot on the table that Bungie is taking away where it doesnt need to, and letting some of this stuff stay, in some form or another, is good for the health of the game and would reduce some of this painful FOMO that players are feeling.

Titles Let titles be earned after the season ends. Yes, some of the stuff will probably need to be done during the season, as it has to do with the seasonal activity which will be removed. However, it seems stupid that if say, you decide to go for the Crucible Ritual weapon a season or two later, and thats the only piece youre missing for a past seasonal title, that you cant get it.

Lore I am specifically referencing whats happening with the Corridors of Time, where you had to be around during a specific two week window to get a 19 part, rather good lore story about Saint, Osiris and the Battle of Six Fronts. Justgive people that lore when the season is up if they havent gotten it by then. Who cares, really? The emblem is maybe a different story, but lore should never be locked into a limited time window like that.

Destiny 2

Season Rank Battle Pass This may be controversial, but I think players should be able to a season rank battle pass for as long as it takes to finish it, even if that means stacking multiple ones. If they are committed enough to pay $10 for a season, they should be entitled to everything in that pass, no matter how long it takes them to complete it. I realize that this is a break from how other games do things, but I think its what Destiny needs. And it makes the next season feel all the more valuable if youre suddenly getting double rewards if you start season 9 at level 1 and are still getting through your season 8 battle pass which you left at level 70 or something.

Seasonal Weapons I am growing tired of this idea that maybe, possibly seasonal weapons will return to the game some way, somehow which Bungie has yet to elaborate on. While I agree that sure, playing the season should yield the most efficient farming path for these weapons (ie. four drops with double perks in the Sundial), I also think that these weapons should go somewhere after the season ends. In this season, for instance, maybe Brother Vance has bounties for materials (not Fractaline) for the brought-back Prophecy weapons. Maybe Saint or Osiris has bounties for the Timelost weapons while Ikora has Vex Offensive frames. Again, players who paid for and played the last season are still at a huge farming advantage, but it doesnt remove these weapons from the game.

Seasonal Armor Honestly, Id put it in the general pool after the season is over. How many damn Tangled or Prodigal sets do you have at this point? And as ever, allow for high stat drop chance on this and all armor, at least to some degree.

Destiny 2

Debatable: The Artifact I think this is an entirely separate issue, but honestly the slow, weird XP-based seasonal power grind isnt something Im a fan of and it just seems wrong to lose 5-15 power each reset. It invalidates the power grind even more than its already invalidated. Mods can probably still rotate seasonally, though I wish theyd start making a few of the best ones permanent.

I feel like the suggestions I list here strike a balance between A) Bungie still getting to remove the activities they need to, B) players not feeling like theyre crammed for time for literally 98% of loot in each season, C) players who do grind the current season hard getting clear advantages and the earliest access to everything, D) some stuff remains time-limited, like the entirety of Eververse which keeps up its usual seasonal rotation. But fundamentally you are removing a ton of the worst parts of FOMO by allowing players to get titles, lore, cosmetics and loot from old seasons without it all just evaporating

As ever, just my two cents, and well see if Bungie has any changes in store for next season.

Follow meon Twitter,FacebookandInstagram. Pre-order my new sci-fi novelHerokiller, and read my first series,The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also onaudiobook.

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Here Are A Variety Of Solutions For Destiny 2s Weaponized FOMO - Forbes

Karen Guregians five Patriots who need to step up in 2020 – Boston Herald

The Super Bowl combatants will be heading to Miami this weekend. And for the first time in four years, the AFC representative wont be the Patriots, who were bounced out early by the Titans.

So while the Chiefs and 49ers battle it out for NFL supremacy, the former champs are on to 2020.

To get back to the promised land, the Patriots are going to have to settle their quarterback situation with Tom Brady, and make some improvements on both sides of the ball. Beyond that, several players are going to have to ratchet up their play and hit another level.

Heres 5 Patriots who need to improve and take that next step in 2020.

1. NKeal Harry Hes a big, physical presence with talent. The Patriots, however, were only able to use that talent in small helpings. After spending the first part of the year on IR, Harry finally emerged and never seemed to fully grasp the offense. He flashed at times with that raw ability. But ultimately, Josh McDaniels only utilized him for specific plays. He played in seven games, with 12 catches for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As the teams 2019 first round pick, he has to be better. He has to learn the playbook. While hes limited by not having breakaway speed, hes still gifted enough to make contested catches, find the soft spots in zones and make plays with the ball in his hands. The narrative of him being a bust cant continue, especially if the Patriots dont get other receiving help.

2. Mohamed Sanu Much was expected of Sanu after the Patriots acquired him from the Falcons in October. With Tom Bradys endorsement, he seemed to be a perfect fit in the offense. Only Sanu didnt give the Patriots wide receiving corps the type of complementary piece that was needed. After a good start, he proved a huge disappointment. Injuries may have played a role, but he had an issue with drops at key points, and wasnt on the same page with the quarterback. Sanu still has a year left on his deal. Its possible with more time in the offense, coming back healthy, Sanu will produce in a more desired fashion in 2020. There really isnt a choice. He has to perform more like the player they thought they were getting.

3. Tight end to be named later With the anticipated retirement of Rob Gronkowski last season, it might have been wise for the Patriots front office to be a little more proactive in terms of reloading the position. Instead, they ignored the position in the draft, and didnt do much better via trades or free agency. That left the position a virtual non-factor. After so many years where the offense operated through the position, whether Gronkowski was setting up the passing attack, or throwing monster blocks to ignite the run game, it was a vital piece of the puzzle. The collection of Benjamin Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo didnt come close to providing what Gronk did in either the pass or run game. At this point, its not about any of those three returning, its more about who the Patriots bring in. Whether its via draft, trade or free agency, they need a tight end who will put some life back into the position.

4. Chase Winovich The player with the always-changing hair color had a very good campaign as a situational pass rusher. He finished tied for fourth in sacks with Donta Hightower (5.5). Winovich also had 23 quarterback pressures and 11 run stops. He earned the second-best grade among rookie edge defenders behind only San Franciscos Nick Bosa, per Pro Football Focus. So as first impressions go, Winovich was one of the few hits from the 2019 draft class. That being said, with the Patriots possibly losing Van Noy and or Collins, or both, in free agency, the team is going to need more from Winovich. Hell have a greater role in the defense next season and has to be even better Year 2.

5. Damien Harris The third round pick seemed to be in witness protection, seeing just four snaps all season. What happened to the former Alabama star? Running backs coach Ivan Fears had nothing but praise for Harris during the year, saying there just wasnt a spot for the rookie on game day. Well, if Sony Michel continues to have issues getting downhill, and continues to get stuffed at the goal line, Harris should get a turn in his second year. Its worth it to see if he can hit the holes better, and get downhill faster than Michel. He might also provide more attention from defenses as a pass-catcher, and not be such a given to run the ball. Thats been a knock on Michel. If hes in, 95 percent of the time, its a running play. Bottom line, Harris needs to step up and challenge Michel for the early-down role. Or he becomes a complete waste of a pick.

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Karen Guregians five Patriots who need to step up in 2020 - Boston Herald

Argonauts, Roughriders will play in Halifax in this years Touchdown Atlantic game – Toronto Star

HALIFAXBrett Lauther will be returning home this summer.

The CFL announced Thursday it will hold a regular-season game in Halifax in July. The Toronto Argonauts will host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on July 25 at Huskies Stadium at Saint Marys University.

It will be a homecoming for Lauther, the Riders kicker and Saint Marys alumnus who hails from Truro. N.S. And with Regina hosting the Grey Cup in November, Lauther has another big reason to look forward to the 2020 season.

Its going to be surreal, Lauther said. Getting to come home and be with family and friends whove kind of followed me on this journey and getting to play in my own back yard is going to be something Ill never forget.

My first (CFL) game was in Moncton and I thought it couldnt get better than that, so I kind of feel pretty spoiled right now.

Saskatchewan, under first-year head coach Craig Dickenson, finished atop the West Division with a 13-5 record before losing 20-13 to the eventual Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the division final.

Toronto (4-14) missed the CFL playoffs for a second straight year. The Argos have a new head coach in Ryan Dinwiddie, a former quarterbacks coach with the Calgary Stampeders.

Lauther, 29, made his CFL debut Sept. 21, 2013 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when they dropped a 28-26 decision to the Montreal Alouettes before 15,123 spectators at Moncton Stadium. The CFL staged an exhibition game at Huskies Stadium in 2005 as 11,148 watched Toronto and Hamilton battle to a 16-16 tie.

A three-day festival will precede the game in what the CFL says will mark its biggest Touchdown Atlantic ever.

Our league belongs to Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast and for one fabulous weekend this July, the east coast will be its capital, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. We are bringing the football and the fun.

Were inviting everyone in Atlantic Canada to join the party, and everyone in the rest of the country to come for the game and stay for a vacation.

The CFL said roughly 6,000 temporary seats will be installed at Huskies Stadium to boost capacity for the game to 10,000.

The previous four Touchdown Atlantic games were held in Moncton, N.B. Last year, Montreal defeated Toronto 28-22 before 10,126 spectators at Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium.

Weve got that loyal fan base that just loves it and giving up that game is tough for them, especially doing it two years in a row, said Argos GM Mike (Pinball) Clemons. But weve all been asked to have that greater vision.

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle when you look at our growth and where were going is a team in Atlantic Canada. To me, truly uniting us from coast to coast is a significant sacrifice for our season-ticket holder but its a small sacrifice as we look at the vision of the league and where were trying to go.

Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE), a group trying to secure a CFL expansion franchise for Halifax, is again sponsoring the game. It did so also last year.

The game here in 2005 had over 10,000 fans and I think having a regular-season game is super exciting, said Bruce Bowser, a founder and owner of SSE. Weve been promoting Saskatchewan as a sort of a role model for what football in Atlantic Canada could look like with the fans, fan base and enthusiasm they have around the team.

Atlantic Canadians seeing Roughriders fans and Riderville here is going to really be inspiring.

Last month, Halifax Regional Municipality voted in favour of providing a one-time $20-million contribution to a proposed CFL-friendly stadium so long as it was at a site other than Shannon Park. SSE had settled on a six- to eight-hectare site at Shannon Park, a surplus military site in north-end Dartmouth, for $110-million stadium.

But a report suggested the site lacks transportation options to get spectators to and from the venue and would need millions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Ambrosie has remained bullish on Halifax becoming the leagues 10th franchise. But he has stated repeatedly its contingent on a suitable stadium being built in the largest city in Atlantic Canada.

Its a slow process, a lot slower than what Im used to as an entrepreneur, Bowser said. Were now out looking at other sites, were working very closely with the league and some of the teams to bring in their areas of expertise in buildings and team operations and management so we put the right plans together.

Tickets will go on sale at the end of next month. Although prices werent announced, Ambrosie stressed the game will be affordable with an average ticket price of approximately $50.

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For Lauther, a 10th team in the CFL would only reinforce what hes continually told people across the league about the Maritimes.

Id like showing off where Im from, he said. I always try to tell my teammates coaches and everyone else, how awesome it is out here and what its like.

No one really has a chance to come out but for me to be able to come back and at least play a couple games each year where friends and family could come see would be so special.

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Argonauts, Roughriders will play in Halifax in this years Touchdown Atlantic game - Toronto Star

Art Nouveau – The New York Times

In other words, the seven circled Cs not only form the shape of the number 7, but each of the theme entries containing those Cs is the name of a SEA, clued as something completely different.

Hows that for layered?

Theres not a lot thats new (or GNU, as in 39A) here, but sometimes fresh is not the point. Mr. Eaton-Salners presents his idea very cleverly here, and I liked it very much. He was obviously very constrained and yet he managed to pull this off in a very elegant way. Also, the clues are razor sharp, which added to my enjoyment of the puzzle.

Conquering complex constraints compels careful crossword construction.

Here, the hardest thing to get right was the shape of the 7 created by the seven Cs. Only a few well-known seas have a C in them. And, the location of the Cs within those seas are fixed. Thus, it took many iterations to whip this puzzle into shape (hah!).

Of course, theres still always flexibility. I originally submitted a grid with CASPIAN and CHINA swapped and with BLACK one row lower. That version had some limiting fill constraints (e.g., _ _ LN in the upper right from CORAL and CASPIAN), and I had to rework the puzzle to remove them.

That said, the current configuration is still pretty constrained. There are three Downs (BEANIE, ROBOTIC and RELEASE DATE) that intersect three theme entries and 10 more that intersect two theme entries. And in four of those 10, the two fixed letters are consecutive (which are typically harder).

Im lucky that SEVEN SEAS and CARIBBEAN are the same length and that CARIBBEAN is a good candidate for the top-left point of the 7 glyph, which means SEVEN SEAS can be symmetrically placed as a revealer. If that hadnt worked out, I would have used a stacked SEVEN/SEAS revealer in the lower-right corner.

If you ever visit Horseshoe Falls, allow plenty of time to find parking. When we went, all the lots were full and it took quite some doing to find an open space. Unfortunately, we had a flight to catch that afternoon, so we could only run to the falls, take a quick peek and then hustle back to the car. Next time, Id like to meander over to the Canadian side, check out the Cave of the Winds viewing area behind Bridal Veil Falls and ride the Maid of the Mist.

Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? Weve got you covered.

Warning: There be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.

Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Right here.

Your thoughts?

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Art Nouveau - The New York Times

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