Another date that lives in infamy

September 11, 2007

The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941.

When President Roosevelt spoke to a joint session of Congress the next day, he called December 7 “a date which will live in infamy”.

September 11 Memorial wall
September 11th Memorial wall in Second Life is etched with nearly 3,000 names of victims of the 2001 terrorist attack against the United States

Fast-forward 60 years

On September 11, 2001, a total of 19 men affiliated with an Islamic extremist group calling itself al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger airliners en route to California from Logan International Airport at Boston, Dulles International at Washington, and Newark airport at New York City.

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Les Plus Belles Lunettes du Monde

September 8, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Ten million people around the world could die from breast cancer in the next 25 years if a cure isn’t found.

That’s a lot of people, but their situation isn’t hopeless.

They have compassionate helpers on their side in the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists — the former Susan G. Komen Foundation, known now as Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Pink ribbon
I’m sure you’ve seen those pink ribbons everywhere

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Who needs history?

August 5, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

We do, if we want SL to have more than a quick 15 minutes of fame. We need to build a strong foundation under our virtual world.

We live in a new era. Second Life just entered our real lives in 2003. There hasn’t been a lot of time for historians to write about what went on here before we arrived.

Mythical dragon serpent at Morris welcome area
Mythical dragon serpent at Morris welcome area commemorates ancient times before we arrived in our virtual world

The present has its roots in the past, and knowledge of our past is necessary for understanding the present. History helps us understand our foundation — how we reached the point where we are today.

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One of my luckiest days

July 31, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Second Life mimics Real Life. There’s no doubt about it.

Take grieving, for instance. In RL, it’s the process of feeling distress after a sorrowful loss of someone near to us, pets, employment, possessions or status. I’ve discovered it’s no different for residents of SL.

LailaLei Mathilde comtemplating in red chair
LailaLei Mathilde

I lost an SL friend last month when she retreated into RL, apparently never to return. This has been a time of sorrow and parting for me.
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Empowering the physically challenged

July 28, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

I said here the other day that Second Life empowers people facing a variety of challenges. Now Newsweek has discovered Simon Stevens operating his in-world nightclub known as Wheelies. Stevens is Simon Walsh in SL.

The magazine’s print article in the July 30, 2007, issue is here.

Simon Walsh dances in chair

Wheelies owner Simon Walsh dances in his chair.

Interestingly, Newsweek produced a video of article reporter Jessica Bennett entering SL and interviewing Stevens at his nightclub. The 33-year-old Stevens has a disability-consulting firm — Enable Enterprises — in England.

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Bluebirds soar across SL’s azure skies

July 19, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Many residents of virtual worlds say the emotions they feel while in-world are strong. So strong,in fact, that almost a quarter of all women and nearly 10 percent of men have had an online wedding.

Ah, the bliss, the joy, the happiness. Bluebirds soaring across azure skies. Tweet, tweet.

May wedding

A lovely May wedding in Second Life.

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The biggest July 4 fireworks display in SL

July 6, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Imagine a spectacular night-time fireworks display over the ocean. Showers of multicolor ordinance exploding in the sky and spiraling downward. Few experiences can get your pulse racing and your senses reacting more than a dramatic show of pyrotechnics.

In cities and towns across America on July 4, public and private displays of fireworks from backyard parties to major national events were spectacles of excitement in lights and sounds.

Fireworks July 4, 2007, over Hillary Clinton 2008 Campaign HQ

As I like to say, SL mimics RL. So it was no different for Savannah Stein as she stood out on a beach in Second Life on July 4, awestruck under a huge splash of colors chasing one another across the sky above the Hillary Clinton 2008 SL Campaign headquarters.

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Hey! What’s going on here?

July 1, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

There’s an emerging society with millions of residents displaying personalities, spawning controversies, and generating innovations. Together, they have cultural identity, social norms and a loose-knit global organization. As in real life, cultural expression is of the utmost importance to the residents of Second Life.

That’s where I come in, tracing the society and culture, politics and economics of Second Life. The intertwining of the lives of people, both public and private.

I have seen in this extraordinary virtual realm the full range of emotions: joy, gratification, interest, elation, good humor, happiness, pride and pleasant surprise, but also there is sadness, fear, anger, guilt, frustration, aggressiveness, stress, irritation, shock, disgust, helplessness, indifference, anxiety, boredom, contempt, disgust, panic and shame. Of course, there also is neutrality, pondering and reflecting. You name it, it’s in-world.

What’s my plan?

I will trace the society and culture of Seconds Life and tell you what I find. I’m going to fly the sunny skies, dive in the warm oceans, hike the cool mountain trails and walk the warm sands on our countless beaches in search of optimism and openness.

But, I also am going to lift up the rocks to see what lies underneath, look to see what scurries in the dark corners, climb down in the cesspools to see what floats there. If it’s in-world, I will find it and tell you about it.

SL residents successfully complete a vast amount of creative and useful work. I will write about those triumphs and exciting moments as well as failures and tense times.

I’m going to look for patterns, connections, hidden information and stimulating ideas.

Point of view

Even though I am in-world, I will hold firmly to an outsider’s skepticism and the professional’s belief that the ordinary residents of Second Life need complete information. If there’s an interesting story in-world, I will find it and tell you about it.