NEW YORK (AP) — Confused by the “Pokemon Go” mania sweeping the world?
You’re not alone.
For those who don’t know the difference between a Squirtle and a Zubat, here’s a look at the game, how to play it and some of the problems it’s causing.
WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO I GET IN ON IT?
“Pokemon Go” is a free game app that you can download for your iOS or Android smartphone. The game asks players to wander their real-world neighborhoods on the hunt for the animated monsters made famous years ago by cartoons, video games and trading cards. Players build their collections, make their Pokemon more powerful and do battle with those held by other players.
Set up is relatively quick. You customize your avatar — choosing the color of its hair and style of clothing — then set off on your adventures. Fans like how it takes gaming into the streets and gets people walking around outside instead of sitting in front of a console system hooked up to a TV.
Part of the setup process also involves signing into the app with a Google account, at least unless you have an existing account with the Pokemon site’s own “training club .” (It’s rationing out new signups.) The Google sign in process prompted a backlash over privacy concerns, but we’ll get to that later.
SO, IN A NUTSHELL, HOW DO I PLAY?
The app displays your avatar amid a grid of streets and other bits of geography, such as rivers and parks. It’s like a bare-bones version of Google Maps with a pretty sky above it. You can see in all directions by spinning your character around.
But it takes a little getting used to. The streets don’t have names on them, making it tough to determine which way you need to walk until you actually start moving. (A compass icon points north, if you find that helpful.)
Look around and you’ll see floating light-blue blocks that signify “Pokestops,” landmarks that could be anything from the entrance to a park to fancy stonework on a building. Tagging these spots with your phone earns you “Pokeballs,” which you can use to throw at, and ultimately collect, Pokemon, along with other items.
The actual Pokemon — there are 128 initially listed in your profile’s “Pokedex” — also appear on your grid from time to time. Tapping on them brings them up on your screen, allowing you to fling your Pokeballs at them. The idea is to bop them on the head and capture them inside the ball.
Fair warning, some Pokemon are easier to hit than others. Some can escape from Pokeballs, forcing you to re-capture them.
HOW DOES AUGMENTED REALITY FIT IN?
The app makes it look like the Pokemon are right in front of you by using your phone’s camera to capture an image of the street and display the Pokemon on top of it. This has resulted in some pretty funny pictures on social media.
But the augmented reality feature also makes it tougher to hit the Pokemon, because you have to point the phone at the beast’s supposed location. Turning the feature off by flipping the switch in the top right-hand corner of the screen puts Pokemon right in the middle of the screen, making them easier targets.
SOUNDS LIKE FUN. WHAT’S THE BIG PROBLEM?
While it’s great that people are out walking and exploring, a lot of them are also walking — often the busy streets of big cities like New York — with their heads down and eyes glued to the screens.
This has prompted worries about people walking into traffic, trespassing onto private property or finding themselves in unsafe situations. Many players are children, raising the anxiety level.
Some real-world locations aren’t so keen on attracting players, either.
Operators of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland have asked that their site be removed from the game, saying that playing it at the former Nazi German death camp would be “disrespectful.” The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery have also asked visitors to refrain from playing.
IS THE APP ACTUALLY READING MY GMAIL?
No. Well, at least, not anymore.
When it first launched, the app asked users who signed in with Google for access to their accounts, but didn’t specify that it was asking for access to their entire account including their Gmail, Google documents, Google search history and maps.
The backlash was a strong one. Niantic, the game’s developer, said Monday that it never intended to request such sweeping data access and hadn’t collected information beyond the user’s ID and email address. And on Tuesday, it issued an update that pared back the authorization in the Google sign in to just that data.
Follow Bree Fowler at https://twitter.com/APBreeFowler. Her work can be found athttp://bigstory.ap.org/author/bree-fowler.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A $25 million gift in October helped push fundraising at the University of Missouri’s flagship campus to a record high despite several months of turmoil stemming from the administration’s response — or perceived lack thereof — to racial incidents.
The university announced Wednesday that its “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead” campaign had brought in cash and commitments worth nearly $171 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s more than $23 million higher than in 2015 and nearly $7 million more than the previous record, set in 2014.
“We have a very generous donor base and they rallied when the university needed them,” said Tom Hiles, the university’s vice president for advancement.
The university, located in Columbia, found itself in the national spotlight in November when hundreds of students protested over what some saw as administrators’ indifference to racial issues. System President Tim Wolfe and campus Chancellor Bowen Loftin resigned after the unrest escalated with one student’s hunger strike and the football team announcing that they would refuse to play a nonconference game if complaints weren’t taken seriously.
Afterward, the university became a magnet for state lawmaker complaints, with some calling for greater scrutiny of the system’s budget and possible funding cuts. Many were angry that an assistant professor, Melissa Click, was not immediately fired for a confrontation she had with a student photographer and videographer during the Nov. 9 protests. It wasn’t until February that the university system’s governing board voted to dismiss Click without severance.
“We had some on campus saying, ‘This is the worst thing ever, we’re never going to recover, we might as well shut down the campaign,'” Hiles said.
A $25 million gift from the Houston-based Kinder Foundation in October, a month before tensions flared, helped kick off the public phase of the fundraising campaign. A $13.8 million donation to the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources also contributed to the record-breaking year, in which donations of $1 million or more were $30 million higher than the previous fiscal year.
Sam Hamacher, retired president of St. Louis-based diversified investment firm Harbour Group and a member of a cabinet overseeing the “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead” drive, said donors paid close attention to the university’s reaction to the turmoil and how it addressed the issues that were being raised.
“This is a 175-year-old institution,” Hamacher said. “At the end of the day, the people I associate with felt that we needed to really focus on fixing it if it needed to be fixed.”
The university also was caught in controversies involving Planned Parenthood, health insurance for graduate assistants and the temporary resignation of the medical school dean.
Like Hiles, Hamacher praised Interim Chancellor Hank Foley’s efforts to repair damage from the tumultuous year.
“I think there’s a lot of support for Chancellor Foley,” he said.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the football team threatened to boycott a nonconference game, instead of a conference game.
DALLAS (AP) — Former President George W. Bush’s awkward arm swaying in sync with a choir’s singing during a memorial service for the five police officers slain in Dallas last week is drawing mockery and criticism on social media.
Bush smiled, swayed and moved his arms up and down while holding the hands of wife Laura Bush and first lady Michelle Obama during the Dallas Police Choir’s rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” At one point he said something to Michelle Obama, who smiled and laughed.
Video of Bush at the event has sparked a strong reaction online. Some criticize Bush’s behavior as inappropriate given the solemn occasion. Others are using the moment to post videos of Bush dancing awkwardly in the past.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A member of a Canadian singing quartet changed a lyric in his country’s national anthem and held up a sign proclaiming “All Lives Matter” during a pregame performance at the 87th All-Star Game on Tuesday.
The Tenors, a group based in British Columbia, caused a stir at Petco Park with Remigio Pereira’s actions while singing “O Canada.”
In a statement issued during the game, the group blamed the changes solely on Pereira, who held up the sign and sang the altered lyrics while the other three singers wordlessly harmonized. The band said Pereira won’t perform with The Tenors “until further notice,” calling his actions “disrespectful” and “shameful.”
The change happened during the middle portion of the anthem, which is often sung in French at sporting events.
Pereira unexpectedly sang: “We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great.”
The normal lyric is “With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.”
“United We Stand” was written on the back of his sign.
“The Tenors are deeply sorry for the disrespectful and misguided lack of judgment by one member of the group acting as a ‘lone wolf’ today,” the Tenors said in a statement posted on their official Twitter page.
“The other members of the group are shocked and embarrassed by the actions of Remigio Pereira, who changed the lyrics of our national anthem and used this coveted platform to serve his own political views. Our sincere apologies and regrets go out to everybody who witnessed this shameful act, to our fellow Canadians, to Major League Baseball, to our friends, families, fans and to all those affected. The actions of one member of this group were extremely selfish, and he will not be performing with The Tenors until further notice.”
Major League Baseball also had no idea Pereira sought to make a political statement, spokesman Matt Bourne said.
Although the audio wasn’t crystal-clear at the park, many fans reacted with surprise when they saw the sign on the ballpark video scoreboard. The Canadian anthem wasn’t shown live on U.S. television, but it aired in Canada, where the decisions lit up social media with overwhelming criticism of the change.
The Tenors are Pereira, Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters and Victor Micallef. The Juno Award-winning group has recorded multiple platinum albums in Canada while performing around the world, including gigs at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, the 2012 Queen’s Jubilee in England and the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
“All Lives Matter” has become a common online response in recent months to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, particularly after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
The motivations and ethnicities of the proponents of the “All Lives Matter” response vary, but it has received heavy criticism. The phrase has been perceived to use reductive reasoning to trivialize the problems specifically facing blacks.
WESTFIELD, Indiana (AP) — Republican Donald Trump campaigned alongside Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday evening, the latest in a series of public auditions as the billionaire businessman mulls his vice presidential pick.
Walking onto the stage to cheers, Pence confidently introduced the presumptive GOP nominee and vigorously advocated for Trump as the best person to lead the country. The speech made clear that despite his mild-mannered reputation, the governor and former Congressman could serve the role of attack dog if Trump taps him as his running mate.
“Donald Trump hears the voice of the American people,” Pence said, saying that the billionaire “understands” the country in a way no one has since Republican icon Ronald Reagan. His voice raised, Pence drew thunderous applause when he warned of dire consequences if Democrat Hillary Clinton is elected.
Pence would be a welcome pick among anxious Republican officials who are looking for a steady, disciplined counterpart to Trump’s freewheeling style. GOP officials are already starting to gather in Cleveland ahead of next week’s national convention.
Taking the stage after Pence’s introduction, Trump surveyed the large crowd packed into a new arena in suburban Indianapolis. “Wow,” he declared before calling Indiana, which delivered him the nomination after he won the primary here in May, “a special place.”
Trump opened by reading prepared remarks about shootings that have dominated headlines in recent days. He said his comments come “right from the heart.” He was speaking hours after a memorial service for police officers slain in Texas.
“Our whole nation grieves and mourns for the loss of five heroes in Dallas,” he said. He again referred to himself as “the law and order candidate.” And he said “hostility against the police must end.” He also touched on the deaths of men in Louisiana and Minnesota at the hands of officers. Video footage of those incidents has riveted the nation.
“It was tough to watch,” he said. “We have to figure it out.”
He questioned whether inadequate officer training or “something else” was responsible.
Late in the rally, he again spoke about Pence, playfully saying, “I don’t know if he’s going to be your governor” or join the Trump ticket. Trump is expected to his running mate this week. He and Pence also appeared together at a fundraiser earlier Tuesday.
Many in the crowd said they were hopeful Pence would be chosen by Trump.
Christina Lewellen, of Indianapolis, said Pence would have a calming effect because he “doesn’t get caught up in the drama like Donald does.”
“I think he’ll be a restraining device,” Lewellen said. “He’s almost like a white Ben Carson … which is excellent. He’s calm, cool and collected.”
A Democrat who’d come for the spectacle also said Hoosiers would be delighted to see Pence move on.
Dan Gettelfinger, of Indianapolis, summed up his feelings in two words: “Good riddance.”
Associated Press writers Brian Slodysko in Westfield and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.
ATLANTA (AP) — The NAACP says Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has declined an invitation to address the group’s upcoming convention, flouting established precedent and highlighting anew the GOP standard-bearer’s struggle to attract support from nonwhite voters.
NAACP president Cornell William Brooks told CNN Tuesday that Trump had declined the group’s invitation to speak at the Cincinnati gathering, scheduled from Saturday through Wednesday. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is slated to speak there next Monday, which is also opening day of the Republican National Convention across the state in Cleveland.
The Trump campaign did not respond immediately Tuesday night to an Associated Press request for comment.
Brooks said the Trump campaign cited scheduling conflicts with the GOP convention, where Trump will formally accept the party’s nomination. Brooks argued Trump should have made the time amid the racially charged fallout of videotaped killings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, followed by the killings of five Dallas police officers by a black sniper.
“We represent an occasion for those running for president to speak to the nation’s most critical issues at a critical hour in this country,” Brooks said on CNN. “You can’t run for president and not talk about police misconduct and police brutality. You can’t run for president and not talk about the nation’s civil rights agenda.”
He called the gathering an opportunity for Clinton and Trump to give civil rights leaders “a window into not only their policies, but into their heart and character as a candidate.”
The NAACP’s official Twitter account used part of Brooks’ interview to chide Trump. That tweet was quickly recirculated on Clinton’s official account.
Republican nominees John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 addressed the NAACP convention, though Romney was booed when he told attendees he’d be better for black families than President Barack Obama had been during his first term.
Black voters, who already helped propel Clinton to the Democratic nomination over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, will be integral to the general election outcome.
African-Americans cast about 13 percent of presidential ballots in 2012, according to exit polls conducted for the AP and television networks. Obama drew about 93 percent of the black vote, critical to his margins in such battlegrounds as Ohio and Florida.
Trump has boasted that he could win as much as one-quarter of the black vote nationally. The largest share won by any Republican nominee since 1980 is about 12 percent.
Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP .