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Welcome to Justin Klingbeil’s Blog Page

This blog page is for my Communications 430 (Information, Media and Society) class at University of Wisconsin Green Bay

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Issues with Loot Boxes

In today’s culture, we are surrounded by companies creating paywalls for the content that they create. Whether you feel this is an issue or not, I want to bring the topic of video game companies using loot boxes as a way of making money. Loot boxes or loot crates are a form of prize system that players need to purchase to have a chance to get something rewarding. Things like this have been around for years. For example trading cards such as Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and even football, and baseball players. This system has always been a thing for kids. There are a few issues that these loot boxes can cause, but there is one main issue that I would love to talk about and inform everyone about. This issue is the fact that kids are forming gambling addictions at such a young age because of the loot boxes.

Gambling addiction is a real problem with adults in the United States. An article published by National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) states that 1% of all adults in the United States have a gambling addiction. They also state that 6%-9% of young adults have a gambling addiction. With these numbers, it concerns me to see a large number of young adults with an addiction to gambling. These numbers show the culture that has been forming and is causing some concerns. Gambling addiction can come with a list of other serious issues such as depression, substance abuse, and tend to take part in more criminal activity states by TheRecoveryVillage.com. The side effects listed deeply concern me, because of the rising numbers of young adults forming gambling addiction in today’s culture.

Loot boxes or loot crates have been around for years now and have been a staple for many companies to gain easy revenue. For instance, Electronic Arts (EA) a game developing company creates games that revolve around these loot box mechanics. Games such as FIFA, Madden, and even Star Wars Battlefront had these mechanics. Individuals would need to buy in-game packs to have a chance of receiving a high-value reward to further advance their character or team to the next level. Unfortunately, EA is not the only company that has used these mechanics in their games. We see multiple mobile games, and console games try these tactics. Games such as Halo, Rocket League, etc have all used loot boxes as a way of making a profit. BBC News states in an article that 93% of children who play video games 40% of those kids will purchase loot boxes. BBC News also confirms that out of the 13 articles that have been reviewed, all but 1 show a connection to forming a gambling addiction. With video game companies creating these mechanics to gain as much revenue as possible, you would think they would do the research on the issue. Unfortunately, not all of them have, an article published by CBC News talks more about the issue in great detail and covers how EA tried to justify the system. An article published by Forbes describes that by the year 2025 the gaming industry would gain a revenue of $20 Billion from loot boxes. However, with many companies steering away from these mechanics I feel these numbers will drop.

Over the last decade, we have seen many instances of games and game developers fighting in court over the subject. The most notable case was with EA and the United States. EA was brought to court in terms of using “dynamic difficulty adjustments” which means no matter how good your players or stats are, the game will keep getting harder. EA was sued based on not disclosing this information to the public therefore players. This was an issue due to when players receive an item that should boost their performance, it did not. The player would assume they need better items or players and proceed to purchase more loot boxes. Another case that revolves around loot boxes is with a game called Counter-Strike Global Offense (CSGO). In this case, we see players purchasing packs for weaponry skins. The issue that was brought up was with third-party gambling sites that revolved around this concept for the game. An article by dotesports.com explains this issue in further detail. The main issue with this case was with the third-party sites operating without regulation.

With all this information about games using loot boxes for profit, and even individuals gambling to create profit for themselves. We see companies using loot boxes as a way for players to keep spending money on the game, and using other tactics to encourage them to keep buying. We also see companies not regulating third-party sites that are using their game to gamble real money. These issues are a problem on their own, but the main issue is the effect it has on our children. We see statistics that show a concerning rise in young adults with gambling addictions. These numbers are concerning due to the fact that gambling addiction can lead to many negative side effects on individuals. Gambling addiction is not a joke, but it feels like game companies tend to not care until their money is in question.

Works Cited

 “Gambling Addiction Facts and Statistics | The Recovery Village.” 18 Nov. 2020, https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/process-addiction/compulsive-gambling/related/gambling-statistics/. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

 “Loot boxes linked to problem gambling in new research – BBC News.” 2 Apr. 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56614281. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

 “NCRG Fact Sheet Gambling Disorders.” https://www.icrg.org/sites/default/files/oec/pdfs/ncrg_fact_sheet_gambling_disorders.pdf. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

 “The CS:GO gambling scandal: Everything you need to … – Dot Esports.” 26 Jul. 2016, https://dotesports.com/counter-strike/news/csgo-gambling-scandal-explained-3545. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

 “The Gaming Industry’s Loot Box Problem Is About To Get … – Forbes.” 11 Mar. 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattgardner1/2021/03/11/the-gaming-industrys-loot-box-problem-is-going-to-get-worse/. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

 “Video game giant EA steering players into loot-box option … – CBC.ca.” 26 Apr. 2021, https://www.cbc.ca/news/gopublic/fifa21-loot-boxes-electronic-arts-1.5996912. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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Women in Esports

For the last couple of years, esports has been on a major rise. We see kids becoming millionaires overnight, and kids dropping out of school to pursue esport careers. The gaming industry has been growing faster than ever and has no signs of slowing down. We see games like Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, and Apex Legends pop out of nowhere and become huge hits. Techjury.net states that the video game industry market value could grow to $100.56 billion by 2024. With these numbers showing to be very promising you would think there may be some women getting involved. However, this is not the case from what we see. Not many women are involved in esports and I want to see why.

Women for many years and even in present day have been misrepresented in sports. They have been told they are not good enough, or that they just don’t fit in. When a woman is wanting to get into the professional scene of esport or even sports. The first question that comes to people’s minds is, Are you even good enough to compete? The answer to that question should always be yes. There are plenty of women who compete in esports, but just not at the highest level. It’s the fact that most of them do not move to the highest level that concerns me and many others. Here is a list of most of the female professional esport players off of Wikipedia. Even with this list some women arent even listed like Jaime (Karma) Bickford, a professional Rocket League player. One of the women that stands out on this list is Sasha (Scarlett) Hostyn, she is a professional StarCraft2, and Dota2 competitor. She was the first woman to win a major StarCraft2 tournament. She is also named the highest career earning of any female in competitive gaming by the Guinness Book of Records. We now see this question is answered that yes women can compete.

With that question out of the way, we can now focus on why women are not represented in esports. An article written by Matt Gardner called “The Ugly Hatred Faced By Women In Esports, And How We Fight Back” explains the discrimination and hatred of women in competitive gaming. In the article, Gardner reveals that discrimination in video games can get so bad that women will disguise their identities and change everything to appear male online. In the same article, an interview from Slysssa (Team Liquid Hearthstone player) states that many times she is accused of cheating whenever she does well. Another female streamer states in an interview that it’s frustrating to have someone undermine all her hard work, and endless hours that brought her to the success she has today. She constantly gets told things like “You only get views because you’re a girl” and “You’re pretty good… for a girl.” These are only some of the comments and harassment that female gamers and streamers face every day.

We are now starting to see all-female esport leagues/teams for some games such as Valorant, Counter-Strike, and even Rocket League. These rosters either compete against other female rosters or even compete at the highest level at points. This is a decent step in the right direction, but it just has that feeling of a placeholder for people to be happy. Even though this may seem great we have seen this tried in the past with an all-female League of Legends team. The team Vaevictis was an all-female team set to compete in Russia’s League Continental League (LCL). As reported by Dotesports.com The roster played for a single split but due to an “unacceptable level of competitiveness”, they were removed from the league. The team during that split did not win a single game, and now holds the record for the quickest loss in a professional league of legends game. Even with the poor performance from the team, the girls were still disrespected and harassed by other players and fans of the league. They were told they weren’t good enough and were toyed with in-game by other professional teams. People did not take the team seriously and thought of it as a joke.

With all of this information of women in esports getting harassed and misrepresented, it makes sense why we don’t see much of them. The female population in the gaming community is pushed out of the way by other professional players and fans. They are taken as a joke and that they can not compete because they are women. Some women are even pushed to present themselves as male online to avoid the harassment of others. Even with these setbacks we still see some female players rising up and showing what they can do. These women are a huge stepping stone for more women to break out into the scene and show they can compete.

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Works Cited

“Category:Women esports players – Wikipedia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Women_esports_players. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

 “Karma – Liquipedia Rocket League Wiki.” https://liquipedia.net/rocketleague/Karma. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

 “The Ugly Hatred Faced By Women In Esports, And How We … – Forbes.” 19 Mar. 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattgardner1/2021/03/19/the-ugly-hatred-faced-by-women-in-esports-and-how-we-fight-back/. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

 “Vaevictis’ all-female team kicked out of LCL due to bad results | Dot ….” 17 Feb. 2020, https://dotesports.com/league-of-legends/news/vaevictis-all-female-team-kicked-out-of-lcl-due-to-bad-results. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

 “Vaevictis eSports – Leaguepedia | League of Legends Esports Wiki.” https://lol.fandom.com/wiki/Vaevictis_eSports. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

 “43+ Video Games Industry Statistics, Facts, and Trends … – TechJury.” 18 Mar. 2021, https://techjury.net/blog/video-games-industry-statistics/. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

Do Video Games Cause Aggression in Our Children?

In today’s culture, we see a lot about video games. Video games are a very common pastime for many individuals, especially for kids. Most kids nowadays choose to sit inside and play some sort of game instead of going outside and hanging out with friends. Like almost anything new, people will tend to wonder if this habit will affect someone’s mental or physical health. This concern is a little more prevalent because of the video games kids are now getting into. Games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Apex Legends would make sense to have a bit of concern. In this post, I want to bring this concern to the spotlight and inform people about why this isn’t as much of a concern as you think.

Video games aren’t all that new to the world of children. It’s just as of recently we are seeing more and more kids picking it up. The video game industry has been on the rise in popularity for many years and according to marketwatch.com, it has reached an estimate of 179.7 Billion dollars in 2020. With the popularity of video games becoming bigger, it is starting to concern parents of young children who play video games. Most games now have the concept of guns and killing. Even Fortnite, a cartoon-like visual game revolves around finding guns and weapons to kill everyone until you are the last one standing. Fortnite isn’t even the worst of these types of genres. We see kids playing games such as Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto (GTA). These titles are some of the more graphic out of the lists of video games. With the popularity of video games growing, the number of violent mass shootings around the world has also increased. These numbers pop out to some individuals, and they tend to make them correlate with each other without definitive proof. The Game Theorists did a great job explaining this issue in a video called “Game Theory: Do Video Games Cause Violence? It’s Complicated.” This video explains that the kids who enacted the Columbine shooting also played the video game Doom regularly. Matt in the video states that out of the 18 mass shootings that he researched, only 4 out of the 18 had a correlation to video games. Maybe video games don’t affect people to be more violent in these extreme cases. Matt also states that the statistics show that the popularity of video games grows the number of violent crimes is actually going down. If video games actually cause kids to be more violent, then the number of violent crimes should be going up. Maybe it only affects emotions on a smaller level.

Some other studies by Healthline.com explain of more than 3000 kids, they noticed an increase in their impulsiveness and flight or flight emotions. A few other studies state that teens also showed more signs of depression and tend to take part in more risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking. These studies may show that video games may cause mental issues and bad decisions, but it does not show an increase in aggression in the test subjects. These studies may show little to no correlation to children becoming more aggressive, but they do show an increase in mental health issues and bad decision-making. An article written by aacap.com (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) states that children who play video games will tend to have non-behavioral issues.  Some of the issues listed are lower grades, poor social skills, and a decrease in exercise. The article also gives a list of ways to help prevent these issues from happening. They list things like avoid allowing video games for preschool-aged children, check the rating of the game, playing the game with the child, and reduce the screen time of your child. These can help prevent some issues from occurring.

To wrap things up, video games may not be the healthiest choice for kids to take part in. However, the statement that video games make kids more violent has little to no correlation. With the media now covering more and more violent crimes and the public now carrying more and more about them. We see people trying to find the reason behind the person doing the crime. They find things that could cause the person to have that specific mindset and pinpoint it without doing the full examination. Sure video games may cause issues with mental health in terms of depression and bad decision making. However, it does not show an increase in aggression. Even if violent video games caused children to have more aggressive behavior. In the end, it’s up to the parent to decide if their child should be playing these video games. It is not up to the game developers to change what they are creating. There is a reason behind the rating of video games. “M” rated games are meant for 18+ individuals and in order for children to play them, they need a responsible adult to allow them to play. If you do not want your children to play these violent video games, it is up to you to decide.

Works Cited

 “Do Video Games Make Kids Saints or Psychopaths (and Why Is It So.” 20 Oct. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/video-games-saints-or-psychopaths-082814. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

 “Game Theory: Do Video Games Cause Violence? It’s … – YouTube.” 12 Sep. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkVIqB8tw2A. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

 “Videogames are a bigger industry than movies and … – MarketWatch.” 22 Dec. 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/videogames-are-a-bigger-industry-than-sports-and-movies-combined-thanks-to-the-pandemic-11608654990. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

 “Do Video Games Make Kids Saints or Psychopaths (and Why Is It So.” 20 Oct. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/video-games-saints-or-psychopaths-082814. Accessed 7 Apr. 2021.

“Violent video games aren’t connected to shootings – The Statesman.” 27 Oct. 2019, https://www.sbstatesman.com/2019/10/27/violent-video-games-arent-connected-to-shootings/. Accessed 9 Apr. 2021.

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Dangers of Vlogging

In today’s culture, we see people posting about their lives down to what they ate as a midday snack. We see people posting pictures and videos of them around others and places they have been. We may think this is all for fun and attention, but does anyone ever step back to see the dangers of this practice. In this blog post, I want to bring light to the subject of vlogging, and the dangers that come with it. Vlogging is a form of entertainment that involves filming yourself or others doing your daily activities. This may seem boring to the average nine to five worker, but the genre seems to keep growing. The majority of vloggers tend to upload their videos through Youtube.com. You can find hundreds of vloggers and even daily vloggers throughout the website. Some of the biggest names you can find are Roman Atwood, Casey Neistat, and pointless blog vlogs. These are only a few of the vloggers that come from a huge list. Now, what can be so bad about vlogging your life?

In this article titled Roman Atwood shows off insane new home after stalker drama written by Virginia Glaze and posted by Dexerto.com, she explains a recent incident involving a vlogger named Roman Atwood. Roman and his family were recently involved in a very serious stalking incident that prevented him from uploading any videos for over a year. He recently uploaded a video explaining the whole incident which will be linked here. Roman states that he needed help from the FBI to help catch the person threatening him. He explains that the stalker had access to everything in his life, even the small things like online accounts and even big things like the power to his house. Roman explains the stalker would send messages to his family’s phones saying “This is just a game for me” and other incriminating messages. Now everyone has their incidents with hacked accounts, but this brings things to an all-time high. This also isn’t the first and only time Roman had to deal with incidents like this. Roman also in the past had to deal with multiple occurrences of people trespassing onto his properties. This eventually forced him to invest in hiring security guards to patrol his yard daily. Now you may ask how people are able to find him and do this. Well, one quick google search can answer that question. You can find plenty of sources telling you the exact address of his house. Which can bring a whole new fright to the issue. Roman and his family have recently moved into a new home, and seem to be settling in based on this recent post. 

Well sure, that recent incident could have just been because Roman is a large vlogger. However, this isn’t the only thing that can bring danger to vloggers. With the trouble of creating content based on your daily life. The person vlogging tends to do things around making content for your audience and not for yourself or your family. The article by Medium.com titled The Insidious Dangers of Family Vlogging by At Your Own Door explains this issue along with many others. Vloggers tend to only film the bright happy parts of their lives and not show the down dark parts. This can cause issues mentally for the viewers and even the vlogger. The viewer will watch the video and see all this great stuff happening to the vlogger and think that their life is dull and boring. The viewer will see the happy faces and exciting things happening and wonder why their life isn’t like that. The other side of the issue is with the vlogger. With the vlogger only wanting to show the highs of their life will tend to do things only for the video. Even when things are not looking the best, they will put on a fake smile and make content. This video by Casey Neistat explains in great detail this issue. Neistat himself is a daily vlogger and has experienced this himself. Neistat is not the only vlogger that has experienced this issue. This article titled “Shay Carl Cheating Update: Everything We Know About Shaytards Scandal So Far” written by Rebecka Schumann, and posted by ibtimes.com raps up a cheating scandal between a family vlogger and his wife. The article explains that the accusations were false, but it also states that Shay Carl is struggling with alcoholism. This is a side of his vlogs the viewers did not see. This gives the viewers a false image of the vlogger’s life.  

With these two issues and many others that I did not explain like the impact of their children’s life. Do we still think vlogging is a safe form of entertainment for the vlogger and viewer? Sure it may be entertaining for the viewer, but it does not give a good representation of the vlogger’s life, and it can cause the viewer to have a false look at life. It also affects the vlogger as well. The vlogger will do things for their vlog and not for themselves. Their life now revolves around making content. Your life is now on display for anyone. Someone with the right tools and knowledge can enter that life and make a mess of everything. Vlogging may seem fun and harmless, but the dangers are more prevalent than the eye can see.

Works Cited

“Forced Off YouTube – Full FBI Story – YouTube.” 23 Jan. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP2LDd9SeII. Accessed 12 Mar. 2021.

 “Roman Atwood shows off insane new home after stalker drama ….” 28 Feb. 2021, https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/roman-atwood-shows-off-insane-new-home-after-stalker-drama-1524136/. Accessed 12 Mar. 2021.

“Shay Carl Cheating Update: Everything We Know About Shaytards ….” 3 Apr. 2017, https://www.ibtimes.com/shay-carl-cheating-update-everything-we-know-about-shaytards-scandal-so-far-2519742. Accessed 12 Mar. 2021.

 “THAT ELON MUSK INTERViEW and the dangers of … – YouTube.” 11 Sep. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM16ZeR7oEU. Accessed 12 Mar. 2021.

 “The Insidious Dangers of Family Vlogging | by At Your … – Medium.” https://medium.com/the-innovation/the-insidious-dangers-of-family-vlogging-efa9ba2b84dd. Accessed 12 Mar. 2021.

 “Welcome To Our New House – YouTube.” 27 Feb. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0GUZVU_TTU. Accessed 12 Mar. 2021.

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Esports Going Mainstream

In today’s culture, we dive deep into social media and entertainment. Everywhere we look we see advertisements for certain things like, “The Masked Singer” or, The next big UFC fight. It’s almost hard not to see these kinds of things at this point. Sports are a huge market for advertising because it brings in a large viewer base. For instance, the NBA finals for the 2020 season clocked 7.4 million views for its first game. These numbers would sure be eye-popping for most companies trying to get their name out into the market. You would think an event that can drag that many eyes would be covered by the mainstream, and talked about on ESPN. So the question I am asking is. Why do we not hear more about eSports? 

First off, don’t get me wrong. eSports are covered by mainstream outlets like ESPN, but it’s not to the extent of traditional sports. ESPN will put the coverage on their streaming site, but not under their main page. Which makes it feel like they are trying to hide it even though the viewership is there. Esports have primarily stayed on streaming sites and not on national television due to the viewership mostly being online. Forbes has a great article explaining this along with how Covid19 has impacted the scene. As for the viewership we see the average viewership for the 2020 NHL finals was around 953,000 viewers. These numbers are nothing to compare to the NBA or NFL. However, it is still covered by mainstream media and talked about on the news. Where the average viewership for the 2020 League of Legends world championship finals was around 3.8 million. With these amounts of viewers being brought in, Why don’t we see eSports talked about more? We see well-known sponsors during these events like Mastercard, RedBull, and even some car companies like BMW and Honda. Even with these sponsors we still don’t see mainstream media picking this up. We sometimes even see them making fun of the sport. TheScore eSports does a great job showing this in a Youtube video. They show the media disregarding the sport and its numbers. Also in the video, we hear some decent points like, who would watch someone play a video game or, most video games are too violent. 

With mainstream media making these excuses as to why they won’t cover an esport event. Like esports are too violent, because of guns and gore. This is very true that some video games do have these visuals and gameplay. However, this is also not stopping them from covering a UFC or MMA fight. Not all esports have guns and fighting involved. They also say that they will have to compete with real sports which CBR.com has a great article explaining. Rocket League is a very interesting esport. There are no guns, nor is there violence at all. The whole premise of the game is to push a ball into a net and score more than the other team. It is essentially playing soccer with cars. The game emulates real-life physics but adds a whole new dynamic. The esport has been on the rise for many years now and is continually growing throughout their seasons. I also feel the esport will continue to grow due to its simplicity, and how comparable it is to traditional sports. The other argument that the mainstream media makes is, who would watch someone play a video game? The answer I have for this is, why do people watch NASCAR, Hell’s Kitchen, The Masked Singer. They watch it because they are interested in the genre. There is a market for esports, and it is not hard to find. Twitch.tv is an easy way to see how big the market is. As I am writing this blog I see over 200,000 viewers for five different video game titles. These titles include Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, League of Legends, Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft. Sure only three of the five have esport scenes, but it still shows us the numbers are there.

I fully do not have the answer as to why we don’t see esports on mainstream media. I just hope that the information that I have presented here has informed you of the scene and maybe will shed light on the issue. Also. maybe this isn’t so much of an issue in other eyes. Maybe esports not being covered through mainstream media is a good thing. However I feel for esports to grow and become a regular thing in today’s age, it needs to be covered more. It needs to be shown to people that it has a market and kids can aspire to become esports players. Esports is only growing, and I don’t think it will have a ceiling to stop it. More and more people are diving into video games and finding new entertainment. I feel it will be a matter of time that the mainstream media will have to start covering these events.

Works Cited

 “Esports Is Filling The Programming Void – Forbes.” 21 Apr. 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradadgate/2020/04/21/esports-is-filling-the-programming-void/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “How esports changed the game: From media … – YouTube.” 10 Jun. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_GxPXXLc-w. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “NBA Finals Ratings Are Lower Than Ever, and They’re Getting ….” 6 Oct. 2020, https://www.sportscasting.com/nba-finals-ratings-are-lower-than-ever-and-theyre-getting-worse-every-game/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “Report: Stanley Cup Final TV ratings down 61 … – SportsPro Media.” 30 Sep. 2020, https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/stanley-cup-final-tv-ratings-nbc-tampa-bay-lightning-dallas-stars. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “RLCS Season 8 World Championship detailed viewers stats ….” https://escharts.com/tournaments/rl/rlcs-season-8-world-championship. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “Will eSports Ever Become Mainstream? | CBR.” 29 Jan. 2020, https://www.cbr.com/will-esports-ever-become-mainstream/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “Twitch.tv.” https://www.twitch.tv/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

 “2020 LoL World Championship draws 3.8m peak viewers ….” 5 Nov. 2020, https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/league-of-legends-world-championship-2020-final-audience-viewing-figures. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

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