Thursday, 29 November 2007

Entering Second Life Great Lake Region


Entering the Great Lake district in Second Life.
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Banal in Second Life

Some structures in Second Life are so unimaginative its hard to imagine why anyone even tried. Like this building.
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Too high in Second Life


The best way to escape red lines and lag on Second Life is to fly high, above the property lines and clutter. But the world up here loses all its features and becomes a pea soup to grey mass of undefined nothingness.
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Lag Hell in Second Life



What a difference a Minute Makes in Second Life

Lag is the delay of rezzing objects in Second Life's virtual reality. Flying around lag turns the landscape in to a featurless mass of unrezzed objects that you might see as grey shapes. Sometimes you wait, as I did here
only to be deeply underimpressed.
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Egypt in Second Life


All things Egypt in Second Life
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Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The Voyage So Far


I have almost finished my explorations of the polar regions of Second Life. Next I am going to move north west to the vast lakes district of the central island.

Though I am at the centre of Second Life it makes more sense to think of this region as the pole, since it is forever iced over. Night and day patterns in Second Life seem constant despite the climate so it is not dark more here than anywhere else in Second Life. Little detail they seemed to miss.

For someone new to Second Life the polar region is probably the best to explore, it has the best looking stuff and serves as a sample of all the crazy diversity of Second Life from religion to nature to sex to marriage. I didn't relieve how much of my identity in Second Life was played out here until I explored it.
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The place I got my skin in Second Life


The place I got my skin

This shop in Koss in Second Life is where I got my skin as a very kind gift.

I was floating around and I saw the highway in the snow. The amazing thing I am learning about Second Life is that I can recognise places, that people have built a world though not as rich are RL is diverse, every piece of it looks unique just like ever piece of RL looks unique.

Certainly the forces of commercialism are making much of it bland and routine but these same forces are doing the same to RL. But over time I could see a very richly featured reality emerging from the Second Life Grid, as RL becomes more generic and dull.
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And more snow sex in Second Life


Gang band club with pushy strippers and lots of group sex animations in the snows of Second Life. I am explorer, I just report what is there. You can generally find these places in SL pretty easy, just look for the places where people are.
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Even in the Snows Sex is still King in Second Life



Nympho paradise in the snow lands of Second Life, just under the massive reserved snow park of Linden Labs.
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Got a Life? The assumption of the pathetic in Second Life





Howard Rhiengold in Tokyo


The assumption of the pathetic in Second Life

When I first started this project I blogged it along with a photographer I work with on Flickr. The Flickr blog contains photos taken around the world, many of the photos I worked as an assistant in. The blog shows our voyages around the world.

When we posted this blog a number of people responded how pathetic Rober1236 Jua must have been wasting his time in SL. They compared him to the people who produced the Flickr blog who travelled the world. Thing is you see they are the same person.

The RL me has travelled the world several times. Many of the things the interest me most in Second Life is I meet people from and see things from places I have been to.

But why is there a cultural myth that people who are interested in Virtual Reality can not have a real life? This myth was carried out in South Park, where people who play virtual reality give up their real life and people who have real lives can’t play in virtual reality. Funny but the formal is a bit strange.

As the cyber sociologists Rheingold point out what makes Virtual Reality interesting for many is the intensity of social interactions. It is not unusual for me in an hour in Second Life to talk to 5 or 6 people in different parts of the world. And not just IM chat but to explore places and exchange artefacts.

Last times I remember being labelled a social loser like this was in High School for reading books and in my 20s for going on the Internet. I guess when popular culture assumes you are pathetic you are on to something great.
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This place is a secret


This place is a secret for me in Second Life.
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A Nature Preserve in Second Life


This land is protected by Linden Labs and is not for sale. Linden has produced an amazing public space of snow capped mountains. It is great to see Second Life only government doing the kind of public activities one would expect from a government, like making parks.

Second Life generally does not have enough public spaces, but here is an amazing public space and it’s pretty empty. This is probably the most impressive landscape design in Second Life, the Yellowstone of Virtual Reality.
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An official Linden Lab information hub in the snow



An official Linden Lab information hub in the Second Life snow

Oddly enough I randomly meet someone on my contact list here. This was the first time I encountered a contact by walking. I have over 200 contacts and at any time today Second Life has 50,000 residents logged in. I generally have anywhere from 5 to 30 contacts online at any time.

I don't make contacts like I used to and have developed a small circle of friends in SL who I contact almost every day. I know what they are doing, they know what I am doing.
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How Different Cultures Translate to Second Life


This area is a massive complex of Japanese inspired culture.

Second Life has specifically rich Japanese culture, and the strong electronic visual culture of modern Japan translates well in to Second Life.

One wonders if certain culture forms will be selected by the environment of Virtual Reality. Since Gibson’s Neuromancers and Blade Runner Japan has major role in our imagining of the future. Anyone who has been to Tokyo is often struck by the fact that it looks like the future, and the massive electronic signs and graphic communications of Tokyo translate well in to Second Life.

On the other hand the European communities I have been have been mostly disappointing. European Culture is perhaps more based on written word and less on graphic images, and translates less effectively to modern virtual reality.
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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Disabled could think their way around Second Life


Promise of Second Life for Paralysed

By Isabel Reynolds

TOKYO (Reuters) - People with severe paralysis could find new opportunities from shopping to doing business or making new friends in the virtual world of Second Life by just thinking about it, if experiments being conducted by a Japanese university bear fruit.

In a recent demonstration, Junichi Ushiba, an associate professor at Keio University and head of the project, showed how electrodes attached to the scalp can pick up the electrical changes associated with brain activity.

The data can be interpreted by a computer, allowing a user to manipulate his or her on-line persona, or avatar, around the streets of Second Life without using a keyboard or mouse.

"When people are paralyzed, of course their lives become restricted," said Ushiba, as a graduate student took a virtual stroll through the historic streets of Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, without moving a muscle.

"But with this technology we can interpret their intention to move, allowing them to go shopping in Second Life or even set up a business."

San Francisco-based Linden Lab says about half a million people regularly visit Second Life, where commercial transactions can be carried out in Linden dollars, convertible to U.S. dollars.
Ushiba, who spends part of his time working at a medical rehabilitation centre, hopes to have people with paralysis try the system next year.

The project is still in its early days, and the students experimenting with the system must practice for a while and find the best spots on their scalps for the electrodes before they can stroll smoothly around.

"The important thing is to concentrate. You can't really think about anything else," said 23-year-old Yasunari Hashimoto after demonstrating the system.

Loss of focus can result in an inadvertent dive off a virtual cliff or into the sea.
Brain control of computers is already the subject of experiments in other countries, including the U.S. BrainGate system which enables users with an implant to open e-mail and move objects such as wheelchairs. Continued ... © Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.
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Turning Japanese in Second Life


Turning Japanese in Second Life

Its seems pretty obvious when you think about it, but what Second Life really offers is a potential realm of infinite play, where you can not only visit a wide range of places but you can try a wide range of identities.

I myself never took much to role play. But I love dress up and identity swapping. The opportunity to walk through a Japanese village in a kimono is more than I can resist. When I was in Japan I would have given anything to be able to do this without being laughed at.

Perhaps that is what makes Second Life different than RL in the end, in Second Life no one laughs at you for stepping out of narrow conventional lines of identity. You have a laboratory to experiment with more selves, as Lacan said to suture yourself in to culture in more ways than the demands of culture and taboo will normally allow you to.

It’s a collect dream. Again to use Lacan term a jointly produced Imaginary space not as restricted by the “Law of the Father”. But there are laws that govern our enjoyment of Second Life, the ruthless economy of Prims and the terrible limits of Lag are the Oedipus complexes of Second Life.
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Second Life Silk Waters Mountain Peak


Second Life Silk Waters Mountain Peak

Snakekiss Noir, Japanese Chinese snow bound winter village, market, japan, china, japanese, chinese, buddha,


Its a lot of fun to see who owns and builds places. This amazing statue of a zen Monk towering over the polar region of Second Life is owned by one Snakekiss Noir who is one of the longest citizens in Second Life I ever saw having joined in 2003, making her a founder. She is also given herself +4000 cc enhanced breasts!!!

Uncommon for second life she presents information about her first life in some detail, presenting herself as:

Kimiko Kichizuke - japanese/euro 1L female player of many games including beta tester for other MMORPG games. I work in adult clubs/bukkake/entertainment. Play Neocron, Project Entropia, Deus Ex , Diablo 2,Sociolotron (adult game)

Kimiko is very involved in promoting Japanese culture on Second Life, and Japan and its culture has a major presence in Second Life, that largest Asian presence. I myself own a number of Japanese outfits.
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Cloudmont: Amazing Second Life Winter Landscape


Cloudmont shows that Second Life is so much more than a Social Network.


I’ll be frank, I find all the talk about Web 2.0 Social Networks these days pathetic to disturbing, actually with Yahoo turning people in to the government of China and the kind of freak activity I see on MySpace and Facebook I find them more troubling.

The idea that the Internet will be nothing more than the world’s largest network of shallow relationships owned by companies driven by business logic and watched over by states where people assume pre-made identities in social dramas makes me want to return to paper and morse code.

Second Life often shows me that the Net is evolving in much richer directions.

The very idea of disembodied relationships is simply stupid. The reason my RL relationships mean so much to me is that there is so much in reality, so much richness and complexity that I share with a circle of friends: places we have visited, problems we have solved, issues we have tackled.

What makes society rich is not a network of contacts, pokes, nudges, winks and crushes but a fabric of shared spaces we construct in the amazingly rich and fractal world we call reality. Blogs, wikis, and facebook do nothing to capture this world, and therefore the culture they construct are impoverished. I often wonder if the endless flaming of the Internet comes from the basic pain of trying to build a shared social reality in text.

Cloudmont shows me that in Second Life people are working to build the kind of space people could build social meaning in. Its amazingly lovely and detailed and so well designed it rezs quickly even in the middle of lag hurricanes. Its extremely peaceful place and each time I go there I feel uplifted.

It posses the solitude that is necessary for true society, only in a space where we can be alone can be ever hope to also be with others. Sorry MySpace and Facebook, but your nothing more than a telephone switchboard, the space of the future is being built on Second Life.
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Bali Climate Conference in Second Life


Greetings. Our next meeting takes place December 1st. We will hear from two experts on international environmental issues, discussing the Bali world conference on climate. This is the successor meeting to the famous Kyoto conference.
Speakers are Soso Gao, of France, and Petersan Slade, of the UK. This special meeting is expected to run 1 1/2 hours, so be ready for lively discussion! Read more, and make comments, at http://PTEG.PlanetThoughts.org/.
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Climate Change special series in Second Life


Climate Change special series in Second Life
Looking at Climate Change on Second Life


To co-incide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali next week, we will be holding a special series of events in Second Life.

SLurl: Second Life URL http://slurl.com/secondlife/Second%20Nature/218/213/28
The UN conference runs from the 3rd – 14th of December, and over that fortnight, Second Nature will play host to a range of speakers including Dr Simon Buckle, Director of Climate Change Policy at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change ; Dr Tara LaForce, Imperial College on her research on carbon capture and storage and George Monbiot, Guardian columnist and author of Heat: How we can stop the planet burning.

The first speaker will be Tara LaForce on Tuesday 4th December at 6pm GMT/ 10am PST, SLT: all events are free, open to all, and will be held on our flagship Second Nature island.

Speaker details are below, which will be updated as and when: for more details on times, dates and new speakers, watch Second Life URL http://network.nature.com/blogs/user/joannascott for updates, email me, or join the “Nature” group in Second Life. Lastly, if anyone’s interested, but has never tried Second Life before, now’s a good time, and I’d be very happy to help anyone get started and show you round Second Life – email me, or find me in SL as Joanna Wombat.

Confirmed speakers at the climate change series are below: additions in the next few days.

Tues 4th Dec, 6pm GMT, 10am PST, SLTTara LaForce, Imperial College, on her research into carbon capture and storage

Tues 11th Dec, 6pm GMT, 10am PST, SLTDr Simon Buckle, Director of Policy at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change

Thur 13th Dec, 5pm GMT, 9am PST, SLTGeorge Monbiot, Guardian Columnist and author of Heat: How we can stop the planet burning
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Monday, 26 November 2007

Frodo's Dome in the Snow in Second Life


An intersting dome in Second Life
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Robyn's Temple in Second Life


Robyn's Temple in Second Life.

I got to interview Robyn about this temple. One of the things about Second Life is if you like a place you can often talk to its creator.

[12:55] Rober1236 Jua: I am at your temple
[12:55] Rober1236 Jua: Any story here?
[12:55] Robyn Fabre: How do you mean?
[12:56] Rober1236 Jua: The cats and dolphin in the snow
[12:56] Rober1236 Jua: any meaning to these structures?
[12:56] Robyn Fabre: Well the dolphin was a statue built by my slave Anubis, the cat is for the Goddess Bastet, who I have adopted the persona of and the one in front is an Anubis.
[12:57] Rober1236 Jua: Do you mind if I quote you on my blog on SL?
[12:57] Robyn Fabre: I don't mind at all.
[12:57] Rober1236 Jua: http://thegreatslexpedition.blogspot.com/
[12:57] Robyn Fabre: I was just about to ask for a link. :) Thank you very much.
[12:58] Robyn Fabre: There used to be a Stargate centred group in Larsson.
[12:58] Rober1236 Jua: Yes I could see the influence
[12:58] Rober1236 Jua: Stargate and SLAVERY are common in SL
[12:59] Robyn Fabre: Unfortunatly that has recently been disrupted as the SGC and our ATlantis outpost had to be removed as the owner of the land needed money in RL.
[12:59] Robyn Fabre: It's not true slavery. It's more alongthe lines of BDSM.
[12:59] Robyn Fabre: Anubis can leave anytime he wants to.
[13:00] Robyn Fabre: Just as I can leave my Mistress anytime I want to. I choose to stay with her. Luckily I am give a lot of freedom as well.
[13:01] Rober1236 Jua: Is it okay if I post this Interview on the web
[13:01] Rober1236 Jua: its interesting[13:01] Robyn Fabre: Feel free.
[13:01] Robyn Fabre: I am happy to share any knowledge I have.
[13:02] Rober1236 Jua: Thank You
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Orthodox Church in Second Life





Many of the sites of religious constructs in Second Life have impressed me, but nothing has impressed me as much as St George Christian Orthodox Church. I have meet Ze Novikov who has done a lot of work on this amazing place. This is one of the best places in Second Life and I think everyone should visit.
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