February 28, 2007
$1m is spent a day in second life.
CBS just took part in a funding round for electric sheep.
monster.com is one of a few recruiting organisations to build virtual recruiting offices in SL
childline is setting up a help community for SL
there are more bands playing live gigs in SL than you can shake a stick at.
the second life liberation army (SLLA), a radical rebel army, seeks to replace the totalitarian “rule” of Linden Labs with a democracy.
With claims none less than being an ‘in-world military wing of a national liberation movement’, the SLLA has been busy setting-off virtual atomic bomb explosions in Second Life.
The bombs explode in hazy white balls, blotting out portions of the screen, and more often than not blasting nearby avatars, which are essentially animated virtual world proxies of residents of Second Life.
interesting to read this:
“There’s a lot to be desired in the current (Second Life) search, quite a lot,” said Tony Walsh, the editor of Clickable Culture, a blog about virtual worlds and other online cultures. “We need a Google for Second Life, something that works quickly and produces intelligent results.”
Some might wonder how important search needs to be in a virtual world. But as the number of Second Life stores, places and objects explodes, it is becoming crucial that users be able to find what they need without trying keyword after keyword. And while that dynamic is more true today than ever, many people believe the search system has been insufficient for years.
i figure there had to be religion in there somewhere, and there is.
oh, and you get superheros, too.
Second Life has the Big Six, community sins that it lays out: intolerance, harassment, assault, indecency, disturbing the peace and disclosing real-life information beyond what’s volunteered on a resident’s profile.
Breaking any of the Big Six can mean suspension or, with repeated violations, banishment from the Second Life community.
Mark Latture knows the Big Six well. The Columbus computer programmer is a member of the Justice League, a group started by residents in Second Life that enforces the Big Six and responds to help calls.
If someone is getting “griefed,” or harassed, they can send out a message and one of the Justice League members will appear. Violations are reported by using an abuse reporter tool, and Linden Lab investigates the abuse reports.
interesting choice of fundamental rules.
the global incident map covers “terrorism events and other suspicious activity”.
via a rather fine military blog, the danger room.
i’ve tried second life a number of times. there are a few problems for me. the first is that i actually don’t want to meet anybody much, and that is part of the attraction for many users. i do, however, want to observe, to know what is going on. and if i did want to interract with people i would not choose to IM a conversation, which is the only option. it is possible to “overhear” people, but in text it lacks so much. rejoice then, that voice is coming to SL.
of course, it will still be dull but it will be less dull. and after all it’s main attraction is that it’s just at the embryonic stage. it only has to get a little better before it assumes real usefulness.
right now there’s a pretty good market in building things in SL. land is privately owned, a builder retains the IP to whatever he builds. so far there have been a few hundred attempts by business and media to create “experiences”and entertainments. companies have sprung up that will develop a cyber-real PR strategy. money is flowing. and all this despite it’s miniscule usage. there are something like 3m registered users, but only 15k are using at any one time. this is nothing. why would toyota spend hundreds of thousands of dollars building a city, a racetrack, “experiences”? a small-time radio ad would get to as many people. well, it’s that embryonic thing again. voice is going to project it further.
SL has the potential to grow to massive proportions. all it takes is not to control things too tightly, take care of the scaling issues, and innovate one technological step at a time.
i can imagine running an office in SL. a distributed workforce coming to work at the office makes sense. i know that my colleague is available, because i can see him there at his desk. i go to a meeting and we know we’re all there.
i give you another scenario: you call technical support for something. if you’re lucky you get a voice telling you you’re 4th in the queue. how much better to see the physical queue. count the bodies. maybe even shout abuse at the idiot taking so long. if i were linden labs i’d be turning SL into a telephone exchange on steroids. and ebay would be one of many markets. markets which dynamically alter depending on what i am looking for.
SL should be a representation of what i am doing. when i’m private i’m in my cyber-pad, curtains closed. when i’m out and about, you can see what i’m doing. yes, i’m at the (gutenburg) library, or at the apple store, or both.
beau brummel had up to a dozen people watching him dress each morning in meat-space, imagine what he could have achieved.
to see is to be seen.
February 24, 2007
ok, this is a blog post which comes from being in the pub most of the afternoon. actually there are no pubs anymore, so it was a restaurant/bar. and we drank a pinot grigio (several bottles), and had a pretty good time. i met an old city maven and we hit it off. i got home, slept for a couple of hours, and then felt right as rain, happy and relaxed. it’s good.
blissfully unproductive (except socially), i determined to keep the day that way. i watched a bbc art programme and heard this quote (about arcade fire), which is worth sharing:
Rock and roll used to belong to the boys in detention, now it belongs to the prefects.
that from, the normally objectionable, Toby Young. I’m up for some new music right now. these things go in stages. i get a lot of new input for short periods, then i get none. so, no arcade fire. however another panelist, bidisha, did mention a couple of bands, one of which i looked up, the Afghan wigs. i looked at one lyric and bought the album. we’ll see.
Baby, I see you’ve made yourself all sick again
Didn’t I do a good job of pretending?
You’re saying that the victim doesn’t want it to end
Good. I get to dress up and play the assassin again
It’s my favorite
It’s got personality
I should have seen this shit coming down the hall
Every night I spent in that bed with you facing the wall
If I could have only once heard you scream
To feel you were alive
Instead of watching you abandoning yourself
Baby you can open your eyes now
And please allow me to present you with a clue
If I inflict the pain
Then baby only I can comfort you
Out of the night we come
And into the night we go
If it starts to hurt you
Then you have to say so
Amphetamines And Coffee, from the album “Up In It”.
February 22, 2007
If you are going to top yourself, and you plan on jumping, the advice is to make sure you jump from at least 10 stories high. but it won’t always work out. This guy survived a 16 storey drop.
Just a month after his 16-story fall and merciful landing onto a hotel overhang, Joshua Hanson is off crutches from a broken leg, mostly healed from his other injuries and thankful he has no memory of the plunge.
“I feel really lucky I don’t remember it because I probably would have some pretty serious nightmares,” said the 29-year-old bar owner from Blair, Wisconsin, who crashed out a hotel window January 20 after a night drinking with his friends.
Of course, this isn’t so extraordinary. Look at these guys:
Vesna Vulovic, a flight attendant who in 1972 fell 33,000 feet in the tail of an exploded DC-9 jetliner; she landed in snow and lived.
Joe Hermann of the Royal Australian Air Force, blown out of his bomber in 1944 without a parachute. He found himself falling through the night sky amid airplane debris and wildly grabbed a piece of it. It turned out to be not debris at all, but rather a fellow flyer in the process of pulling his ripcord. Joe hung on and, as a courtesy, hit the ground first, breaking the fall of his savior and a mere two ribs of his own.
Nick Alkemade, an RAF tailgunner who jumped from his flaming turret without a parachute and fell 18,000 feet. When he came to and saw stars overhead, he lit a cigarette. He would later describe the fall as “a pleasant experience.”
These examples taken from David Carkeet’s survival tips for free fall. And just what kind of impact should you expect on such a fall?
Just how fast are you going? Imagine standing atop a train going 120 mph, and the train goes through a tunnel but you do not. You hit the wall above the opening at 120 mph. That’s how fast you will be going at the end of your fall. Yes, it’s discouraging, but proper planning requires that you know the facts. You’re used to seeing things fall more slowly. You’re used to a jump from a swing or a jungle gym, or a fall from a three-story building on TV action news. Those folks are not going 120 mph. They will not bounce. You will bounce. Your body will be found some distance away from the dent you make in the soil (or crack in the concrete). Make no mistake: you will be motoring.
February 21, 2007
The above picture is of Germaine Greer’s plaque on Writer’s Walk, Circular Quay, Sydney. Choosing to write this wasn’t designed to make her popular, I guess. And she hasn’t changed.
This about Steve Irwin’s death at the business end of a stingray;
I had been asked whether I was “surprised” by his death. I answered, “No.” “Grief-stricken?” “No.” “Was it a great loss to the conservation movement?” Again, “No.” “Please explain.” I did. It is my judgment that Irwin made a habit of, and a fortune by, intruding upon the steadily diminishing space available to wild creatures, and that his intention was to demonstrate his power over them, in much the same way as lion-tamers used to do before what they did was recognised as cruelty. Crocodiles, apparently, take longer. Daring to suggest that animals will be better off without Irwin is what some newspapers call “savaging” him.
When I flew to Australia a week later, the orchestrated clamour was still deafening. The premier of Queensland weighed in, announcing that he would treble my taxes, if he could, which gave new heart to those who thought I should be fed to the crocodiles. Lately someone has been throwing food at the windows of my house in England, mostly eggs, sometimes jam doughnuts, once corned beef hash and shaved ham, and, this weekend, two dead rabbits.
Now Greer’s portrait has been removed from the Australian national portrait gallery and replaced by a portrait of . . . you guessed it, Steve Irwin.
Last word then to Germaine:
As Australia gradually morphs into California, it is losing its respect for honesty and directness. Ballyhoo rules, and it’s not OK.
February 20, 2007
a recent study has shown some genetic basis for suicide attempts.
“We’re hoping our findings will eventually lead to tests that can identify those at high risk for attempting suicide,” says Virginia Willour, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study. An estimated 4.6 percent of Americans ages 15 to 54 have tried to take their lives, according to Willour.
these tests might be interesting. imagine a 10 year old kid turning up a positive. what treatment would you give? remember, this is just attempts at suicide. regular readers will know by now that less than 1 in a 1000 attempts actually succeed, a pretty low proportion given that the objective is actually pretty easily achieved.
February 19, 2007
i read a while ago, a couple of pieces from norman mailer about the deleterious properties of plastic. i couldn’t find the actual article online, but there is this quote:
plastic, ubiquitous plastic, there to numb an infant’s tactile senses. It is the front-runner in the competition to see what can make the world more disagreeable.
when i read that article i stopped giving the kids so much plastic. particularly cups and plates. but who knew that it could be partly responsible for the obesity problem. (well, that and being able to stuff yourself with anything, anytime, anywhere).
Obesity is generally discussed in terms of caloric intake (how much a person eats) and energy output (how much a person exercises). However, according to a University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, environmental chemicals found in everyday plastics and pesticides also may influence obesity. Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences in MU’s College of Arts and Science, has found that when fetuses are exposed to these chemicals, the way their genes function may be altered to make them more prone to obesity and disease.
“Certain environmental substances called endocrine-disrupting chemicals can change the functioning of a fetus’s genes, altering a baby’s metabolic system and predisposing him or her to obesity. This individual could eat the same thing and exercise the same amount as someone with a normal metabolic system, but he or she would become obese, while the other person remained thin. This is a serious problem because obesity puts people at risk for other problems, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension,” vom Saal said.
February 18, 2007
i wrote earlier about vanuatu, and mentioned that their national anthem is called “yumi, yumi, yumi”.
It turns out that this means “we, we, we.” Surely a prime contender for a web 2.0 startup name?
Jacques Derrida and a colleague are having dinner with Derrida’s mother. It happens to be the day that the classic french dictionary has included, for the first time, Derrida’s word “differance“. His colleague says that they should celebrate this great achievement, that differance, with an “a”, is now in the french dictionary. “what?”, his mother says, “jacques spelled difference with an ‘a’?”