Kickin’ back on the high frontier

June 2, 2008

What could be better than relaxing in front of the big-screen TV watching the astronauts fly by overhead?

What is this place anyway?

Anywhere’s a better place to be

February 16, 2008

Most of the 12.5 million or so residents of Second Life get in free. Each has the right to do whatever they can imagine and is possible in a virtual world.

Anywhere’s a better place to be - Harry Chapin Memorial

Townscape memorial to singer/songwriter Harry Chapin (1942-1981).

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The princess of green in her green castle

February 3, 2008

Millions of colors. The phrase rolls easily off the lips, but what does it really mean? What colors are we talking about? How many millions?

Haley Woodstock

HALEY Salomon at Woodstock last August for a performance by one of Second Life’s best singer/songwriters, Rich Desoto.

Suppose someone hankered for just one of the millions?

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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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NPR star plugs SL to 3 million potential newbies

August 31, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Have you heard of Ira Flatow? No? Well, 1 percent of Americans have.

He’s the host of that National Public Radio (NPR) show, Science Friday, with the catchy slogan Making Science Radioactive.

Ira Flatley crowd 2
Crowd gathers to see Ira Flatley at the Science School

According to the stately News York Times, radioman Flatow is one of the world’s most influential communicators of science. Apparently, some 3 million people believe it and tune in to his talkfest for two hours every Friday afternoon.

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In the future, cities will become deserts…

August 9, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Remember Pleasantville? Where Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon were transported from their tumultuously teenage lives in a stereotypical 1990s household back into the calm and collected black-and-white world of a TV sitcom set in a perfect 1950s town? You know, something like the hometowns of Father Knows Best or Leave It To Beaver?

Wasteland - yurt welcome center
A yurt welcome center greets a visitor to the post-apocalyptic Wasteland

Reese is hot and Tobey is a nerd, neither of which was imaginable in ’50s Pleasantville. Back home in the ’90s, he had been a couch-potato expert on Pleasantville trivia. She had been sexually precocious.

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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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Loving an avatar girl from Nowhereville

July 28, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Dayton, Ohio, sometimes called the Gem City after a well-known racehorse, is itself famous for its Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, largest in the world. And the LexisNexis online archive of print media and legal documents used by lawyers, journalists, and academics, also largest in the world. And the annual Dayton Hamvention, also largest in the world.

Not so famous is the tiny western Ohio community of Centerville, near the big city of Dayton. It’s home to just 23,024 souls in some 10,000 households.

Rich Desoto concert series

Poster for Rich Desoto’s Nowhereville concert series. I wonder if the title should be pronounced as “now here ville” or “nowhere ville?” Those are two quite different statements.

To be fair, I should point out that Centerville is sort of famous for one thing: the largest collection of early stone houses in the state of Ohio. Many are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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