What You Need to Know to be the Best Ally to All Genders
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Diverse business team looking over online security

This past March, we celebrated Transgender Visibility Day. While this holiday can be used for people who identify as transgender to come out to their peers and celebrate being their true selves, it is also used to educate the public on the struggles of the transgender community.

Especially within the last year, several incidents have made many members of the transgender community feel invalidated or unequal. These incidents mainly include the Department of Defense’s decision to exclude transgender people from enlisting in the military (unless they present themselves as cisgender), the limitations on medical help people who identify as transgender can receive, and even if they can participate in major sporting competitions. Making the public aware about the impact these events have on transgender people can help to better educate cisgender people on how they can present themselves as more supportive.

But, being educated on the issues is just one of the ways a person can show they are an ally to the transgender community. The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth, suggests that some of the best ways to show support for those who do not identify as cisgender is to learn the terminology, expressions and differences that exist among genders. The Trevor Project has created a guide on how to be a better ally to people who identify as transgender or non-binary, but some of the key tips from the guide include:

  • Learning the difference between sex (a person’s given classification as male, female or intersex) and gender (how a person identifies and expresses themselves the most comfortably).
  • Don’t assume a person’s gender based on their looks. Gender expression, the way in which a person dresses and acts, can be fluid and interchangeable and not adhere to the strict “masculine” and “feminine” categories.
  • Respect the labels and the pronouns. Putting aside assumptions on gender can be difficult, especially when we live in a society that has enforced a binary for so long. Whether you’re meeting a person for the first time or know someone who is transitioning, using the preferred names and pronouns for people can show validation for how they are expressing themselves.
Create a Live Video Community (and Why You Would Want to)
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young black woman filming a video while playing guitar

There is a good chance that most people reading this have tuned into at least one live video over the last week. It’s something that is becoming increasingly popular, and is expected to continue to increase in popularity going forward. There are many good reasons why more influencers and businesses alike are turning to creating a live video community, and harnessing the power that it can offer. Now is the time to learn how to create a live video community and why it’s so important to do so.

“People are showing that they love live video and interacting with it in a big way,” explains Alexander Riesenkampff, the chief executive officer of GetVokl, a livestreaming platform. “We have helped many people build and grow their live video community, and know that as this field continues to grow, we will be helping many more.”

People tend to feel more urgency to watch a live video. Seeing that it’s live gets them interested. The area of live video offers a lot of potential for those who are brand influencers, businesses, or those who want to make a strong connection with their followers. Not only is viewing live video on the rise, but research shows that it tends to outperform recorded video.

Those interested in creating a live video community should spend a little time exploring how others have done it. GetVokl, for example, has many live communities that can be accessed, providing a good place to do a little homework and learn the ins and outs. Once you are ready to get started, GetVokl can help you create a larger community. They also make it easy to directly monetize the audience. The app allows each live video to be shown across multiple platforms at one time. This ensures that your video is live across all platforms, rather than being live on one and then having to post a recorded video to the others.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s a good idea to create a live video community:

  • Live video gives you the ability to increase engagement and interaction with your audience. It allows for immediate feedback and discussion. This helps to build authority, make a connection, and increase loyalty.
  • An effective marketing tool, creating a live video community can lead to an increase in sales and revenue. It gives all types of companies and influencers a way to increase their earnings.
  • Live video communities feel real and authentic. This is one of the reasons why people prefer it to recorded videos. Most recorded videos are heavily edited, yet people prefer the authenticity that comes with it being live.
  • There is a greater ability to make an impact when you engage in live video with your target audience. They can ask questions, provide immediate feedback, and get to know your personality more.
  • Audiences tend to watch for a longer period of time when the information is coming to them live, as opposed to in a recorded video. Keeping your target market watching longer makes for a more effective marketing experience.

“Creating a livestream community is something anyone can do,” added Riesenkampff. “Once you do it, you will see there are benefits. It’s like getting the chance to be with your people in the same room, even if they are thousands of miles away. Whether you hold Q&A sessions, offer how-to talks, host interviews, provide advice, or just offer fun looks into what you are doing, it leaves a powerful mark.”

GetVokl is an app that allows people to livestream across multiple platforms at one time. It’s free to use and ideal for podcasters, coaches, teachers, bloggers, reporters, or others who want their livestream to reach people on multiple platforms. It’s quick to set up and easy to use, requiring only minimal technical knowledge. GetVokl also features VCoin, which helps podcasters earn more money by letting people give tips or donations as the livestreaming takes place. To learn more about GetVokl or to download the app, visit the site: https://getvokl.com/.

 To learn more about how VCoin works, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qroHqQY0IjY&feature=youtu.be.

About GetVokl:
GetVokl is a free livestreaming community platform built for podcasters, livestreamers, and hosts to unleash the potential of their audiences through interactive live shows that inspire and create vibrant communities. GetVokl allows a livestream to be broadcast over multiple social media platforms at one time. Join or create your live video community. To learn more about GetVokl, please visit https://about.getvokl.com.

What Strides have the LGBTQ+ Community made in Diversity?
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Two lgbtq men holding a rainbow flag with their arms around each other

The LGBTQ+ community has made tremendous strides in the last decade. Since 2010, almost 30 countries have passed same-sex marriage laws around the world, and in the United States alone, there has been a larger cultural shift and acceptance of those with different sexual orientations and gender identities.

This isn’t to say that the world has achieved a 100% acceptance rate or to ignore the fact there is still a lot more work to be done in advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but the progress being made by the community has been significant in numbers.

Legislatively, the LGBTQ+ community and the disability community, as a comparison, have both made tremendous progress from the new Americans with Disability Act passed in 2011 to legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015. In United States, about 15 million people identify as being LGBTQ+, while the largest minority in the United States, the disability community, has about 40 million people.

One of the big milestones that pushed LGBTQ+ acceptance was the cultural significance that came from it. Celebrities in the world of entertainment, athletics, and politics coming out as LGBTQ+ along with the public support of straight celebrities, such as Prince William, encouraged a normalization of the community and further pushed for the legislative and cultural response needed for LGBTQ+ equality.

However, this normalization in society of the LGBTQ+ community has received a tremendous amount of backlash to these cultural shifts. Many of been discriminated against, bullied, harassed and even killed for their sexual orientations or gender identities.

There is still injustice toward the community, and there is still room to improve acceptance. However, the progress that has been made is present, encouraging and could fuel the fire to keep LGBTQ+ activism alive.

Adelfa Callejo sculpture, Dallas’ first of a Latina, expected to land downtown in Main Street Garden park
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bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo

The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.

A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.

Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.

The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.

Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.

“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.

Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.

Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.

Continue on to the Dallas Morning News to read the complete article.

What is malware and why should I be concerned?
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Young people watching a live streaming on social media

In the era of Social media, our privacy and online safety becomes increasingly important. We’re sharing our lives online; however, we should also know how much is too much and how to save our private data from unwanted intrusion.

The point is, our private information is valuable to cybercriminals who use it to deprive us of our hard-earned money and even ruin our reputation by stealing our identity. Leaving our data “up for grabs” means we might have a difficult time applying for a home loan or even get a passport.

With this being said, it’s essential to know what kinds of dangers lurk around, being able to recognize it and protect ourselves from cyber-attacks.

That’s why we decided to explain thoroughly what is malware, what types of it exist, and how to ensure our data, privacy, and devices are safe.

What is Malware, and why is it so important?

“Malware” refers to malicious software, used to describe any software (or code for that matter) made to inflict damage on mobile and desktop devices by exploiting those devices or data they carry, without the consent of their owners. Malware is usually made to achieve some financial gain – whether it’s about seeking victim’s financial data, holding a computer for ransom, or taking it over in order to rent it out for malicious purposes to others. Without exception, every type of Malware involves some form of payment to the cybercriminal.

There are plenty of ways we can “adopt” Malware on our computers or mobile devices. Some of them include opening the attachment of the “infected” person, clicking on the link which automatically downloads a virus, or even clicking on an ad banner on a website.

He loves me; he loves me NOT.

It’s hard to talk about Malware without mentioning the ILOVEYOU virus, which caused immense damage in 2009. Considered as the most destructive virus of all time, the ILOVEYOU virus used to rename all files in the affected device with “Iloveyou” until the system crashed. Fast-forward to the present day; there’s an increased number of hackers using destructive Malware (Between 2017 and 2018, there was a total increase of 25 percent only) for malicious acts.

Is there a reason to be afraid?

For the ones wondering if they should be afraid of Malware, the answer is a loud: YES! Technology advanced so much that we’re basically carrying small computers in our pockets – in fact, more and more cyber attacks are connected to mobile devices. What’s more, it’s so easy to lose all our important data: text messages, apps we download and failing to update our OS is all the ways we become prone to cyber-attacks. It’s scary and devastating to know someone could ruin our reputation and finances with one single click.

Knowledge is the key.

Now when we have a clear picture of what Malware is, we should get familiar with different types of it. Then, armed with knowledge, we will be able to protect ourselves and our data from malicious cyber intruders. There are six types of malware: spyware, adware, scareware, ransomware, worms, and trojans. Now, we’re going to go through them and offer you a complete overview.

Spyware is not here to harm our computers but follow our every move instead. It attaches itself to executable files and once it is downloaded it completely takes over the control. It can track anything from passwords to financial data.

Adware presents itself in a form of pop-ads or unclosable windows. Luckily, adware doesn’t steal our data, but it tries to make us click on fraudulent ads. Furthermore, it can slow down our computer severely by taking our bandwidth.

Scareware looks and feels like adware, but its main goal is to make us buy software we don’t need by scaring us. Usually, scareware ads tell us our computer has a virus and we need to buy software to get rid of it.

Ransomware resembles hacker moves we’re used to seeing in the movies. Once is on our computer it encrypts our files and holds our information hostage until we pay them a fee to decrypt it.

Worms resemble viruses, however, they don’t need human intervention to get transmitted to another computer. Instead, they use security flaws to do it.

Trojans are designed to allow hackers to take over our computers. Usually, they are downloaded from rogue websites.

We should learn how to protect ourselves.

Now when we know what are the types of malware out there, we will know how to recognize it and protect our precious data and valuable info from cybercriminals. To avoid malware, we should make sure we’re not downloading and running any program from popup windows. Furthermore, we should check our OS is updated and be careful not to open any email attachments from unknown people. Other ways include avoiding the use of public WiFi networks, sharing data while connected on public WiFi and avoid opening emails and attachments from untrusted sources.

Not Only Does This New Clothing Charge Your Phone, It Can Protect You From Viruses and Bacteria
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man wearin suit being splashed with water

A new addition to your wardrobe may soon help you turn on the lights and music—all while also keeping you dry, clean, and safe from the latest virus that’s going around.

That’s because Purdue University researchers have developed a new fabric innovation that allows wearers to control electronic devices through their clothing.

Purdue University researchers have developed a new fabric innovation that allows wearers to control electronic devices through clothing.

“It is the first time there is a technique capable to transform any existing cloth item or textile into a self-powered e-textile containing sensors, music players or simple illumination displays using simple embroidery without the need for expensive fabrication processes requiring complex steps or expensive equipment,” said Ramses Martinez, an assistant professor in the School of Industrial Engineering and in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering.

The technology is featured in the July 25 edition of Advanced Functional Materials.

“For the first time, it is possible to fabricate textiles that can protect you from rain, stains, and bacteria while they harvest the energy of the user to power textile-based electronics,” Martinez said. “These self-powered e-textiles also constitute an important advancement in the development of wearable machine-human interfaces, which now can be washed many times in a conventional washing machine without apparent degradation.”

Martinez said the Purdue waterproof, breathable and antibacterial self-powered clothing is based on omniphobic triboelectric nanogenerators (RF-TENGs) – which use simple embroidery and fluorinated molecules to embed small electronic components and turn a piece of clothing into a mechanism for powering devices. The Purdue team says the RF-TENG technology is like having a wearable remote control that also keeps odors, rain, stains and bacteria away from the user.

“While fashion has evolved significantly during the last centuries and has easily adopted recently developed high-performance materials, there are very few examples of clothes on the market that interact with the user,” Martinez said. “Having an interface with a machine that we are constantly wearing sounds like the most convenient approach for a seamless communication with machines and the Internet of Things.”

The technology is being patented through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The researchers are looking for partners to test and commercialize their technology.

Continue on to Purdue University to read the complete article.

Rosa Parks and Sally Ride get their very own Barbie dolls
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Barbies Sally Ride and Rosa Parks

Children everywhere are going to get the chance to have two historical female role models as part of their play sets.

Mattel is honoring Rosa Parks and Sally Ride with their very own Barbie dolls. Rosa Parks was an American activist known as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and Sally Ride was the first American woman — and youngest American — to fly in space.

“Both Sally Ride and Rosa Parks made the world better for future generations of girls,” a Mattel spokesperson told CNN. “By celebrating their achievements with dolls made in their likeness, we hope girls will be inspired to pursue their dreams.”

It’s only fitting that these two new Barbies debuted on Women’s Equality Day.

“Women’s Equality Day celebrates the hard-won achievement of Rosa Parks and Sally Ride Barbie dollswomen’s suffrage and pays tribute to the trailblazers who paved the way for future generations,” the Mattel spokesperson said.

According to Mattel, research has shown that starting at the age of five, many girls are less likely than boys to view their own gender as smart and begin to lose confidence in their own competence — this is coined the “Dream Gap.” Showing girls more role models, historical and present, and telling their stories can help close that gap.

Both dolls are available for purchase.

Continue on to CNN News to read the complete article.

Yes, tech companies may listen when you talk to your virtual assistant. Here’s why that’s not likely to stop
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alexa machine sitting on a counter

Big tech companies don’t like to talk about it. And when users find out it’s happening, they’re often surprised — and disturbed. Yes, if you talk to a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa, a human may listen to a recording of your chatter.

Recent reports have highlighted what is actually a longstanding practice meant largely to improve the artificial intelligence that underpins the virtual assistant-powered gadgets and services that are popping up throughout people’s homes and lives.

The practice raises privacy concerns for smart-speaker users in particular, who might have known that Amazon, Google, and Apple create recordings each time you speak to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, respectively, but not that people might review them.

The companies have said only a small percentage of recordings are listened to by humans. Still, Google and Apple have temporarily halted human reviews of their recordings, while Amazon recently changed its settings to make it easier for people to avoid such review at all.

Last week, Facebook said it, too, had paused human review of some users’ audio clips, such as those sent as audio messages via the social network’s Messenger app. Facebook had been using humans to listen in, as part of an AI-transcription feature.

Lost in the shuffle of these revelations is whether people are truly needed to make these AI-dependent systems work, and how much companies should tell users about this process.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Race car driver Jessi Combs, known as the ‘fastest woman on four wheels,’ dies while trying to beat record
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Jessie Combs seated in race car before a race

Race car driver Jessi Combs, who earned the title of the “fastest woman on four wheels” after she set a record with a jet-powered car, died Tuesday while trying to beat a land speed record, officials said.

Combs died Tuesday in Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office said. She was 39.

“She was a brilliant & to[p]-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example,” said Adam Savage, former co-host of the TV show “Mythbusters.”

Combs appeared in multiple episodes of the show, while host Kari Byron was on maternity leave. She also appeared as a host in shows such as “All Girls Garage” and “Overhaulin’.”

Combs became the fastest woman on four wheels in 2013 at the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, when she set a record of 398 mph.

In October, Combs set a new top speed of 483.2 mph in a shakedown run.

On Tuesday, she was attempting to go faster when she crashed.

“On August 27, 2019 at approximately 4:00PM the Harney County 911 Center received a call reporting that a jet car attempting to break a land speed record on the Alvord Desert had crashed leading to one fatality,” the sheriff’s office said.

Her resume was full of firsts: the first woman to place at any Ultra4 event; the first woman to compete in The Race of Gentlemen event.

Savage also tweeted “I’m so so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash. She was a brilliant & too-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.”

Her dedication to women’s empowerment in the automotive industry was also significant. She has a line of women’s welding gear with Lincoln Electric, as well as an online collaborative dedicated to empowering and educating women through industrial skills, called the RealDeal.

Continue on to CNN News to read the complete article.

Associating colors with vowels? Almost all of us do!
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man thinking about colors

Does [a:] as in ‘baa’ sound more green or more red? And is [i:] as in ‘beet’ light or dark in colour? Even though we perceive speech and colour are perceived with different sensory organs, nearly everyone has an idea about what colours and vowels fit with each other. And a large number of us have a particular system for doing so. This is shown in research by linguists from Radboud University and the University of Edinburgh on similarities in the vowel-colour associations perceived by over 1,000 people.

For the writer Vladimir Nabokov, “aa” was the colour of polished ebony and “ee” was yellow. Nabokov had synaesthesia: his sensory perceptions mingled with one another. In his case, he saw colours when hearing certain vowels, but many forms of synaesthesia are possible. Only 1 in 25 people have synaesthesia, but this new research shows that certain intuitions about “sound colours” shared by many more people than this.

“Aa” is more red than green

In this study, over 1,000 people took part in an online test where they chose colours for 16 spoken vowels. A large majority felt that “aa” was more red than green, and “ee” more light than dark, whether they had synaesthesia or not. According to Mark Dingemanse, one of the researchers, “There seems to be a logic to how we link sound and colour, and the structure of language has an important role in this process.”

Vowel space

Sixteen vowels sounds like a lot, but it works like this. When you say “aa,” then move to “oo” as in boot and then to “ee” as in beet, Dingemanse explains, you have visited the three outer points of what linguists call the vowel space. The 16 spoken sounds in our study were evenly distributed over this space.

Vowel system dictates colour associations

Earlier studies have found that colour associations are linked to the pitch of the sounds: the higher the pitch, the lighter the colour. But the new study shows that colour associations are driven to a greater degree by the vowel system of a language. For example, many participants described sounds that were close to the Dutch vowel “ee” as light green, while nearby sounds resembling “ay” as in say were assigned a different colour. The associations are shaped according to how our language carves up the vowel space.

Dingemanse says, “If colour associations were purely dependent on acoustical factors, the colours would neatly run into one another like in a rainbow. Instead, we see that sounds are grouped according to the way that our language carves up the vowel space: a few blue spots and then suddenly a red one, with no transition of blue-purple-red. You could say that the vowels have to pass through the sorting machine that is our language before we can link colours to them, even in synaesthetes, for whom associations like these are involuntary.”

Synaesthesia

The researchers used a new method to dig deeper into the structure of the colour associations. For each participant, they compared the chosen vowel-colour associations with a random sample of 10,000 random associations. They used this to measure how systematic the chosen associations were.

“Synaesthetes’ associations were more systematic than those of non-synaesthetes,” says Christine Cuskley of Edinburgh University. “But some patterns occur everywhere: people seem to align the vowel space and colour space with each other and connect the dots from one space to the other.” For instance, colours chosen for “ee” and “ay” tend to be quite close to each other, while those for “aa” and “oo” are further apart. Automatic associations like those of synaesthetes therefore rely on some of the same principles that non-synaesthetes use to link vowels and colours.

The study took place as part of the so-called Great National Research Project (GNO), a collaborative venture of Radboud University, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and NTR Broadcasting.

Continue on to Science Daily to read the complete article.

Driver uses clever signs to navigate through LA traffic
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driver holding signs outside car window in heavy traffic

Saying “please” can get you quite far, even when trying to switch lanes and navigate traffic. A driver in Los Angeles found a creative way to navigate through traffic— a clever sign that reads, “Please let me in.”

In video posted to Twitter Tuesday afternoon, the driver appears to try to merge into a far-left turning lane and cut in front of another driver all the while holding his genius sign.

To smooth things over even more —because situations like that can escalate, he stuck out another sign that said, “Thanks.”

The signs seemed to have worked in the driver’s favor as he inched more into his desired lane.

The approach was simple, yet effective. Plus, in heavily populated cities where traffic can be a nightmare, you rarely expect any sort of “driving etiquette.”

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