Archive for July, 2008

Watch the next Solar Eclipse in Second Life

July 02nd, 2008 | Category: Education, Environmental, RL Meets SL, Science, Space

Solar Eclipse
Here is something pretty cool, and even if you don’t use Second Life, you’ll still be able to enjoy it. On August 1st, the next solar eclipse will happen, and, if you live in the US you won’t be able to see it live, but thankfully, San Francisco’s Exploratorium science museum will be streaming it live inside Second Life.

Second Life users can view the 45-minute Webcast, starting at 3:30 a.m. PDT August 1, on the virtual world’s so-called Exploratorium Island. Avatars can also gather at the Pi Day Theater at the Sploland Sim, at the Science School Sim, and at the Spindrift Sim. The eclipse will be accompanied by video and commentary of Exploratorium and NASA scientists.

Starting July 1, Second Life members and their real-life makers can use Exploratorium Island to learn about solar eclipses, Chinese culture, and solar science. Source:

Non Second Life users will also be able to watch the solar eclipse on the exploratorium website.

On August 1, 2008, a total solar eclipse will occur as the new moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. The moon’s umbral shadow will fall first on Canada, then zoom across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia, and into China, where an Exploratorium team will be waiting. Our fifth eclipse expedition brings our team to remote Xinjiang Provence in northwestern China, very close to the Mongolian border, where we’ll Webcast the eclipse live. Please check back, as the date nears, for more details.

Check here for more details.

Popularity: 50%

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Second Life News for July 2, 2008

July 02nd, 2008 | Category: Second Life News

From: AIDS.gov Second Life (Part 2 of “We Are Living in a Virtual World”) Quote from the site - This week we build on our June 10 post about virtual worlds and focus on the well-known site, Second Life. To better understand how Second Life can help share HIV information and provide support to those who are HIV-positive, we continued our conversation with our colleagues from the NIH-funded Health Info Island, Lori Bell and Carol Perryman.

From: SL iReports Economic pressures threaten surfing sims Quote from the site - Economic pressures are taking their toll on surf sims in Second Life and it seems certain that more surf sims will close during the coming months, according to the Second Life surfing blog SurfWatch. Rezzable, one of Second Life’s leading sim owner/developers, announced the closing of Surfline Aloha and Surfline Epic sims at the end of June, just a couple of months after completely redesigning and relaunching the surf sims.

From: LifeLongLearningLab Second Life Roundtable: Best Practices, Security Concerns, and Future Developments Quote from the site - The Second Life Roundtable: Best Practices, Security Concerns, and Future Developments was held in Second Life on Monday, June 30, 2008, as part of a week-long celebration of Second Life’s fifth anniversary.

From: My New Media Weblog Second Life - My World Quote from the site - Finally I am excited about Second Life. My opinion about it is changing form a pessimistic position to a more optimistic one. Second Life allows people to communicate and the fact that your avatars are present, it makes the communication visually interesting.

From: Business Wire CIGNA Creating a Virtual Health Care Community Quote from the site - Today CIGNA, a leading health service company, is announcing the development of a virtual health care community. This computer-simulated world is situated on a Second Life island, where seminars, interactive displays, educational games and virtual health consultations help foster real and sustainable behavior change that improves health.

From: Second Life Good Morning from San Antonio! Quote from the site - Talk about sensory and emotional overload!LOL Yesterday, at 8:30 a.m. the entire DEN in SL LC presented together face-to-face. Although most of us had the opportunity (fortune) to meet face-to-face on Saturday night (I landing late and cursing the shuttle service to the hotel — I was the last stop), Celestia met some of the LC for the first time only 45 minutes before the presentation.

From: SLWTF Be one with the ball Quote from the site - There are few things that make me happier in Second Life than finding set of Japanese regions I haven’t encountered before. I’m going to spend the next few posts extolling the wonderful, wacky weirdness we’ve all come to expect.

From: The Industry Standard Cigna deploys a Second Life island for health education Quote from the site - Hoping to make healthcare education hip, Cigna Healthcare is announcing today it has created a virtual environment in the Second Life virtual world to educate people on how to improve their health.

From: Linux Insider Virtual Worlds: And the Children Shall Lead Quote from the site - Virtual worlds like Second Life may not claim as much traffic as top social networking or video-sharing sites, but opportunities are there, writes Parks Associates’ Michael Cai. One relatively strong area is youth-oriented 3-D virtual worlds, where gaming comes into play.

From: The Journal Gazette Virtual ventures pay off Quote from the site - To save money in these tough times, universities, conference planners and global companies have started holding gatherings for far-flung employees and students in the online world known as Second Life.

From: A taste of Second Life Inquiry in a Networked World - LTEA2008 in Second Life Quote from the site - Last week I attended a couple of sessions at the “Learning Through Enquiry Alliance (LTEA) Conference 2008 - Inquiry in a Networked World”, held by the University of Sheffield, CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences).
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Popularity: 23%

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Culture of Virtual Worlds

July 02nd, 2008 | Category: Environmental, Press, Press release, Research, Virtual Worlds

From a notecard inworld:

CALL FOR PAPERS
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Special Issue: Culture of Virtual Worlds
Deadline: September 30, 2008
Publication Date: November 20, 2008

Guest Editors
Mark Bell, Indiana University
Mia Consalvo, Ohio University

Early users of virtual worlds trumpeted their potential to bring together like-minded groups to create community, to encourage social activism, and to explore facets of identity. Over the past 20 years, we have seen virtual worlds develop from text-based to graphical, and from 2D to 3D interactive spaces. Some spaces have focused primarily on game-related activities, from MUD through Ultima Online and World of Warcraft, while others have concentrated on social aspects of being, allowing users to define their own goals, and often create many parts of the spaces they inhabit–from LambdaMoo to The Palace and Second Life. Virtual worlds have also become big business at the same time as some worlds remain resolutely tied to different goals. Yet what of the cultures that have grown up in, around, and through virtual worlds in this same time period? What do we know about that culture, or more accurately, those cultures and how to define them?

Individuals, groups, and corporations are exploring the potentials of virtual worlds, and what is created in that process says as much about our everyday lives as it does about our times spent online. But what do we know? Because of their richly detailed spaces, virtual worlds tend to encourage specific sorts of participants and players, along with expectations about behavior and culture. Yet at the same time, we cannot know how participants will create a livable space, develop a unique culture, until it happens. How is that process occurring in today’s virtual worlds? What do we know about past virtual worlds to guide us? We are slowly learning about how identity shifts and mutates online, yet isn’t as free-floating as early theorists claimed. What of users who are in game-centric versus non-game centric places–how does game versus non-game make a difference in who uses the space, how, and why? Likewise, we now see virtual worlds with transnational user bases. How does that impact the culture, the creation, and the experience of virtual worlds. What happens when virtual worlds emerge, when they expand quickly, and when they die, either slowly or suddenly? What happens to users and how do they make sense of those experiences? How do developers play a role in managing all those expectations, and how much can they actually control? These questions are only the tip of iceberg, just as today’s virtual worlds are at the forefront of emergent design of 3D spaces.

This special issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is dedicated to exploring the issue of culture in virtual worlds. We welcome articles from academic researchers and practitioners in areas such as communications, sociology, psychology, anthropology, information systems, political science, game studies and cultural studies.

Topics of interest include (but not limited to):
• Definitions of Virtual Cultures
• Ethnographies of Virtual Worlds
• Social mechanics and networking in Virtual worlds
• Historical development of Virtual Worlds
• Identity
• Differing goals of play versus non-play centric spaces
• Emergent practices, player-generated content, activities
• Dynamics of economies
• “Serious” uses of Virtual Worlds
• Transnational game spaces, player groups

Guidelines and Deadlines
We welcome submissions in the form of essays, papers, original research, interactive online exhibits with accompanying detailed descriptions, and other forms of scholarship.
For specific submission instructions visit: http://jvwresearch.org

Deadline for Submission: September 30, 2008
Publication: November 29, 2008

For further information contact:

Mark Bell, Indiana U, typewriter@gmail.com
Mia Consalvo, Ohio U, consalvo@ohio.edu

About the Journal
The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is an online, open access academic journal that adheres to the highest standards of peer review and engages established and emerging scholars from around the world. The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is a transdisciplinary journal that engages a wide spectrum of scholarship and welcomes contributions from the many disciplines and approaches that intersect virtual worlds research.

Popularity: 28%

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