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In China, This Video Game Lets You Be a Tiger Mom or a Driven Dad

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SHANGHAI — You want your children to do well in school. You want them to have nice friends and interesting hobbies and to not go out with creeps. You may even want them to be happy.

But in this computer game, you can always start over with a new digital child if things don’t work out as planned.

A new game in China puts players in control of those most fearsome of characters: Mom and Dad. The mission? Raise a son or daughter from cradle to college.

In a nation of famously demanding, scolding and, yes, sometimes loving mothers and fathers, the game, Chinese Parents, is a hit. Since its release in September, it has found a huge audience on Steam, an online marketplace run by the American game maker Valve Corporation. There are no official figures for how many people have downloaded the game, but it has provoked heated discussion online, while earning tens of thousands of reviews.

Yang Ge Yilang, a founder of Moyuwan Games, the independent studio that developed Chinese Parents, said he hoped to produce an English version this year.

The success of the game, which costs $9.99 to play, does not appear to be driven by people hoping to exact revenge for their own upbringings. Quite the opposite: Some fans have written that, by letting them experience childhood from their parents’ perspective, it had moved them to tears.

“I used to not understand many things my mom made me do when I was little,” said Kang Shenghao, 19, a professional blogger in the northeastern city of Qinhuangdao. “But when I play the game and try to boost up figures for my son so he can unlock more achievements and marry the prettiest girl in school, I start to understand my parents more.”

All the joys and trials of raising children are here. Players choose between pushing their digital progeny to attain conventional success and allowing them some semblance of childhood innocence. They must give career guidance and endure (just barely) their teenager’s first dates. Everything leads up to the gaokao, the highly competitive college entrance exam that decides the fortunes of so many young Chinese people.

Mr. Yang said he also hoped to make a smartphone version of the game that allowed players to see how their virtual offspring stack up against their friends’. Chinese parents love nothing more than boasting to their peers about how wonderful their children are.

“We want to give gamers a chance to change the role from Chinese children to Chinese parents and see what would they do in the same position,” Mr. Yang, 30, said.

Parent-child relationships everywhere can swing from reverence to rebellion and back. In China, they are changing as quickly as the nation as a whole.

For many decades, an official one-child policy meant that Chinese boys and girls carried the entire weight of their parents’ hopes for betterment. Population controls have eased (though the game’s children do not have siblings), and economic growth has created more opportunities for advancement. Scoring well on the gaokao is no longer the only ticket to a brighter future. Parents today are more likely to wonder whether unhealthy amounts of stress are turning their children into emotionally dampened automatons.

But the surge in wealth has also heightened expectations for career success. And it has given the well-off new ways to keep their children ahead of the pack. The high-pressure parenting style brought to wide attention by Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” has not gone away in China. It is evolving.

In Chinese Parents, a virtual child’s life unfolds over 48 rounds. In each round, players arrange courses and activities — piano lessons, swim classes, creative writing, coding and more. You can also buy gifts: ice cream, toys, even “Learn to Speak With Jack Ma,” a book featuring the billionaire co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

These choices shape how your child develops along six dimensions: intelligence, emotional intelligence, physical fitness, imagination, memory and charm.

A bar on the screen reflects how much psychological pressure the child is feeling. Pile on too much schoolwork, and the child may crack. But don’t let your score for “parental satisfaction” fall too low, either. Another score captures the concept of “face,” supremely important in Chinese culture. If a child loses face by doing badly in school, a summer trip to Europe could be canceled.

Over time, adolescent love bubbles up. How far does that go? Let it just be said that Chinese censors do not abide video games considered less than wholesome.

A child’s final scores determine what happens after she leaves home. There are more than 200 colleges, including vocational schools and elite universities, that might offer a spot. The socially adept have their pick of compatible mates. There are myriad career possibilities: taxi driver, celebrity author, e-commerce mogul, Beyoncé.

The earliest version of Chinese Parents gave players only the option of raising a son. In the current version, those who choose to have a daughter get reminders about attitudes that remain common in China. Her virtual grandmother says girls don’t need to do as well as boys in school. Her mother says that for a girl, the ultimate goal of hard work is to marry a good man.

After playing Chinese Parents, Mr. Kang, the blogger in Qinhuangdao, showed it to someone who ought to be an authority on Chinese parents: his mother, Zang Wenru.

He uploaded a video of his mother playing the game to the streaming platform Bilibili. It has been viewed more than 590,000 times.

“We want to make decisions that we think are best for our kids, and to help them avoid detours,” said Ms. Zang, 51, who works in a hotel. “But I think what many seem to forget is that every step counts in life, even the detours. We all used to be Chinese kids, too, with thoughts that we want to be respected.”

Chinese Parents does not end when the digital child is grown. If she ends up with good character scores and a solid education and career, the next generation in the game starts out with better character scores.

On the flip side, “if you mess up the first generation, it will be harder for the following generations to make outstanding achievements,” Mr. Yang, the game’s developer, said.

Kong Qingxun, a 21-year-old blockchain entrepreneur in the southern city of Guangzhou, has raised eight generations of sons in the game. He let the first boy play lots of soccer and video games. But he didn’t get into college, so Mr. Kong changed his approach.

He drove his next son hard in school, earning him admission to the famed Tsinghua University in Beijing. From then on, it was easier for Mr. Kong to keep his boys on a path to accomplishment. By the seventh or eighth generation, his children were so gifted that they could goof off yet still excel academically and date pretty girls.

This feels true to life, Mr. Kong said.

“At the beginning, you think it’s just a 100-meter run,” he said, referring to life. “Then you realize it’s a marathon. And finally you understand it’s a relay race that never ends.”



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The most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

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LGBTQ+ in tech 4x3Paul Sakuma/AP; Ben Margot/AP; Rachel Murray/Getty; Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty; Amy E. Price/Getty; Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

  • Tim Cook is arguably the most prominent LGBTQ+ person in tech, but he isn’t the only one.
  • There are LGBTQ+ identifying individuals in prominent roles as venture capitalists, diversity in tech advocates, and C-suite level executives at large tech companies like IBM and Microsoft.
  • Here are 23 of the most influential and notable people in tech who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The atmosphere in Silicon Valley, where “bro culture” is rampant, is not know for being kind to anyone “different.”

That can especially be true for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals, who only gained the right to marry in the US in 2005. Gay marriage is still only legal in around 30 countries.

But a number of diversity initiatives aimed at LGBTQ+ people in the tech sector have emerged in recent years. Groups like Lesbians Who Tech, StartOut, and TransTech Social Enterprises have worked to improve office culture at tech companies, connect LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with venture capitalists, and make resources more readily available to the queer tech community.

Business Insider has compiled a list of some of the most influential and notable people in tech who identify as LGBTQ+. Some techies on this list have harnessed their gender identities and sexual orientations to speak out about and further the presence of LGBTQ+ people in tech. For others, being LGBTQ+ is simply a part of their personal life, which they strive to keep separate from business.

Here are 23 of the most influential LGBTQ+ people in the tech industry:


Tim Cook is arguably the most prominent LGBTQ+…

The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

LGBTQ,Out Insider,Features,BI Graphics,Tim Cook,Arlan Hamilton,Megan Smith,Peter Thiel,Chris Hughes,Keith Rabois,David Blumberg,Martine Rothblatt,Joel Simkhai

The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

2019-02-17T13:00:00+01:00

2019-02-07T00:09:59+01:00

2019-02-15T23:04:31+01:00

https://static2.businessinsider.de/image/5c6737b5bde70f39f2798a10-500-250/the-23-most-powerful-lgbtq-people-in-tech.jpg

BusinessInsiderDe



Tim Cook is arguably the most prominent LGBTQ+ person in tech, but he isn’t the only one.
There are LGBTQ+ identifying individuals in prominent roles as venture capitalists, diversity in tech advocates, and C-suite level executives at large tech companies like IBM and Microsoft.
Here are 23 of the most influential and notable people in tech who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The atmosphere in Silicon Valley, where “bro culture” is rampant, is not know for being kind to anyone “different.”
That can especially be true for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals, who only gained the right to marry in the US in 2005. Gay marriage is still only legal in around 30 countries.
But a number of diversity initiatives aimed at LGBTQ+ people in the tech sector have emerged in recent years. Groups like Lesbians Who Tech, StartOut, and TransTech Social Enterprises have worked to improve office culture at tech companies, connect LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with venture capitalists, and make resources more readily available to the queer tech community.
Business Insider has compiled a list of some of the most influential and notable people in tech who identify as LGBTQ+. Some techies on this list have harnessed their gender identities and sexual orientations to speak out about and further the presence of LGBTQ+ people in tech. For others, being LGBTQ+ is simply a part of their personal life, which they strive to keep separate from business.
Here are 23 of the most influential LGBTQ+ people in the tech industry:

international

Tim Cook is arguably the most prominent LGBTQ+…

The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

LGBTQ,Out Insider,Features,BI Graphics,Tim Cook,Arlan Hamilton,Megan Smith,Peter Thiel,Chris Hughes,Keith Rabois,David Blumberg,Martine Rothblatt,Joel Simkhai

The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

2019-02-17T13:00:00+01:00

2019-02-15T23:04:31+01:00

https://static2.businessinsider.de/image/5c6737b5bde70f39f2798a10-500-250/the-23-most-powerful-lgbtq-people-in-tech.jpg

BusinessInsiderDe



Tim Cook is arguably the most prominent LGBTQ+ person in tech, but he isn’t the only one.
There are LGBTQ+ identifying individuals in prominent roles as venture capitalists, diversity in tech advocates, and C-suite level executives at large tech companies like IBM and Microsoft.
Here are 23 of the most influential and notable people in tech who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The atmosphere in Silicon Valley, where “bro culture” is rampant, is not know for being kind to anyone “different.”
That can especially be true for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals, who only gained the right to marry in the US in 2005. Gay marriage is still only legal in around 30 countries.
But a number of diversity initiatives aimed at LGBTQ+ people in the tech sector have emerged in recent years. Groups like Lesbians Who Tech, StartOut, and TransTech Social Enterprises have worked to improve office culture at tech companies, connect LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with venture capitalists, and make resources more readily available to the queer tech community.
Business Insider has compiled a list of some of the most influential and notable people in tech who identify as LGBTQ+. Some techies on this list have harnessed their gender identities and sexual orientations to speak out about and further the presence of LGBTQ+ people in tech. For others, being LGBTQ+ is simply a part of their personal life, which they strive to keep separate from business.
Here are 23 of the most influential LGBTQ+ people in the tech industry:

international



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Machines vs. cashiers: Why shoppers are so divided over self-checkout

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More than a million people clicked on a CBC News story last week about some retail stores removing their self-checkout machines. Thousands of readers also left comments, many staunchly taking a stand either for or against self-checkout.

The machines are now ubiquitous in many large retail stores, yet self-checkout remains a divisive issue among Canadians.

So what’s driving the debate? Turns out, age can be a factor as well as one’s view on whether the technology represents progress or a step backward as shoppers — aided by machines — do the work of cashiers.

“A lot of people do see self-checkout as a threat to workers,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Halifax-based Dalhousie University specializing in food distribution and policy.

“That’s probably why the debate is so emotional for a lot of people.”

These tweets in reaction to a CBC News story on self-checkout show how divided readers are.

The age factor

Self-checkouts are supposed to cut costs for retailers and provide choice for consumers. A recent U.S. survey suggests age can influence who’s drawn to them. 

Forty-six per cent of respondents aged 18 to 34 said, when given a choice, they prefer using self-checkout over a cashier.

That preference declines with age: 35 per cent of respondents aged 35 to 54 said they favour self-checkout, and only 19 per cent of those 55 and older would choose the machine over a cashier. 

CivicScience, a U.S. data collection and market research company, surveyed 1,969 adults online in July 2018.

“Obviously, they haven’t created [technology] that boomers want to adopt, so maybe that’s a user-experience issue,” said Casey Taylor, of CivicScience.

Although the machines have improved over the years, they’ve frustrated many shoppers, especially when they involved extra steps like weighing produce or applying a discount.

Consumer behaviour expert Brynn Winegard says that tech-savvy millennials may be more willing to accept such challenges.  

“They’re not daunted,” she said. “Troubleshooting a self-checkout terminal is not an issue for them. It doesn’t ruin their day.”

A recent study suggests that age might be a factor when it comes to choosing self-checkout over a cashier. (CBC)

David Ruta, 65, of Napanee, Ont., was turned off self-checkout about four years ago when, after scanning the only item he had, the machine insisted he scan a second item.

I didn’t have one,” he said. “Then it stopped working for the [employee] who tried to help me, and that’s when I left the store.”

In contrast, 34-year-old Matthew Easter, of Ottawa, says he’s found self-checkout machines quite seamless and believes they speed up the process.

“Why would I wait 10 minutes, maybe more, when I can check myself out in 30 seconds?” said Easter, who will only shop at grocery stores that offer the machines.

“It’s a more convenient option, especially if you’re a busy person.”

Matthew Easter of Ottawa will go out of his way to shop at a grocery store that offers self-checkout. (Submitted by Matthew Easter)

What about the jobs?

Many people believe self-checkouts are part of an inevitable shift to automation.

“There’s always going to be progress. There’s always going to be technology that’s going to come along to make things better, smarter, faster,” said Easter.

But those who prefer to use cashiers often fear the machines will lead to fewer of them and longer lineups — and they don’t see that as progress.  

Although he’s a senior, Ruta says he’s not intimidated by self-checkout technology but instead is concerned about its effect on retail workers. 

“I just would rather interact with a person,” he said. “You put in these self checkouts, you’re going to eliminate jobs.”

Nadine MacKinnon, 59, of Toronto, agrees.

“They shouldn’t be able to take away jobs from workers, force the customer to do that work for them for free.”

Nadine MacKinnon of Toronto says she avoids self-checkout machines when shopping. (Submitted by Nadine MacKinnon)

Although it has added more self-checkouts to many stores, Walmart Canada told CBC News the move hasn’t resulted in any job losses. Instead, some employees were re-deployed to other positions such as customer support for self-checkout.

But that may not always be the outcome. U.K.-based research and consulting group RBR said the number of self-checkout kiosks shipped to Canada tripled in 2017 compared to 2016, though it declined to provide exact figures. RBR attributed much of the growth to “labour pressures” created by recent minimum wage increases in some provinces.

Over the past couple of years, grocery chain Metro and retail giant Loblaw both announced they would increase their self-checkouts in select stores to help offset the higher cost of wages.   

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018Future of Jobs report, many jobs that can be replaced with automation, including cashier positions, are “expected to become increasingly redundant” over the next four years.

However, the study suggests that the job losses could be more than offset by the emergence of many new positions. But the questions remains what type of jobs will emerge and what happens to less-skilled workers. 

Walmart Canada says some cashiers have been re-deployed to other positions such as customer support for self checkout. (CBC)

Self-checkout fan Kyle Ross, 19, of Summerside, P.E.I., points out that even self-checkout kiosks generate jobs.

“You have the people that are creating the self-checkouts, the people that come and repair the machines when they need updates.”

That doesn’t placate shoppers like Ruta and MacKinnon, who still worry about displaced workers and how automation will change the shopping experience.

“I prefer to be served by a human being,” said MacKinnon.



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La Bretagne, berceau de la culture mégalithique

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Les mégalithes sont parmi les structures préhistoriques les plus facilement reconnaissables. Ces agencements peuvent prendre plusieurs formes, allant d’une série de pierres verticales placées en demi-cercle jusqu’à des agencements complexes servant de tombeaux à d’anciens guerriers de tribus aujourd’hui oubliées.

Ces constructions ont été érigées à travers l’Europe, de la période néolithique jusqu’à l’âge du bronze, et environ 35 000 d’entre elles y sont encore observables. Malgré cette importante présence et les centaines d’études les concernant, les mégalithes ont toujours conservé une part de mystère, leur origine restant cachée derrière les brumes des mythes européens.

Or, une scientifique de l’Université de Göteborg, en Suède, pourrait lever une partie de ce mystère.

Ses travaux (Nouvelle fenêtre) montrent que ces structures de pierres pourraient remonter à une culture originaire de Bretagne. De là, cette technique se serait ensuite répandue à travers l’Europe, en passant par la mer, lors de trois vagues distinctes.

On voit le monument de pierres dressées de Stonehenge, sous un ciel nuageux. Image captée au site de Stonehenge lors de l’éclipse solaire du 11 août 1999. Photo : Reuters

Une origine entre science et légendes

Jusqu’à maintenant, deux grandes hypothèses expliquaient l’origine des mégalithes.

La première, élaborée entre le 17e et le 18e siècle, avançait que ces pierres étaient l’œuvre d’un peuple ancien, dont les origines pourraient remonter à la Méditerranée ou au Proche-Orient et qui aurait propagé sa culture en Europe par voie maritime.

Cette hypothèse fut abandonnée dans les années 70 avec l’apparition des premières techniques de datation au carbone 14. Les données obtenues lors de fouilles autour de ces sites semblaient indiquer que les mégalithes seraient apparus au cours de la même période à travers le continent, créés indépendamment par diverses cultures européennes.

Pendant 10 ans, la professeure Bettina Schulz Paulsson, une archéologue spécialiste de la préhistoire, a alors passé au peigne fin la littérature scientifique concernant les mégalithes. Ces travaux lui ont permis de recenser 2410 datations au radiocarbone, en plus d’informations sur l’architecture des sites, les coutumes funéraires appliquées et les types d’outils qui y ont été employés. Elle a ainsi pu obtenir une ligne du temps de l’évolution des mégalithes à travers les âges.

Trois vagues, en partance de Bretagne

Selon ses données, les mégalithes les plus anciens se situent au nord-ouest de la France et auraient été assemblés il y a 6500 ans.

Ces premiers exemples étaient formés de quelques pierres agencées au-dessus d’un monticule de terre. D’autres structures étaient toutefois plus complexes comme des alignements de menhirs retrouvés dans la région de Carnac, en Bretagne, aussi produits autour de la même période.

Les datations suggèrent que les plaines de Bretagne seraient le point de départ de ce type de monument. Par la suite, ce style distinctif se serait répandu en France en suivant la côte atlantique, puis autour de la péninsule ibérique jusque dans la Méditerranée, au cours d’une période de deux à trois siècles.

Un millénaire après cette « première vague », on assiste à l’apparition d’un second style : des tombeaux formés d’une ou plusieurs chambres funéraires reliées entre elles par des passages en pierre. Ces derniers ont été retrouvés dans plusieurs régions de France, d’Angleterre, d’Espagne et à travers les pays scandinaves, toujours dans des régions facilement accessibles par voies maritimes.

Enfin, il y a entre 5000 et 4000 ans, la troisième et dernière vague de constructions s’amorce; c’est la période au cours de laquelle sont érigées, entre autres, les célèbres pierres de Stonehenge.

La propagation de ce type de constructions, en plus de leur quasi-inexistence en dehors des régions côtières, laisse croire, selon la scientifique, que cette culture s’est répandue par voie maritime. Cela impliquerait toutefois que l’émergence de techniques de navigation nécessaires à une telle diffusion de connaissances serait survenue au moins deux millénaires plus tôt que ce qui était précédemment accepté.

Même si la communauté archéologique a particulièrement bien accueilli cette étude, certains doutes persistent, et il est toujours possible que d’autres sites aient été construits indépendamment des trois vagues identifiées.



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