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The Virtual Worlds Story Project has a great page up for Nick’s birthday party in SL last week. I was there as CT Niven: “The Second Life community celebreated Namav Abramovic’s (aka Nick Dupree) birthday in style last week, and the results can be seen on The Virtual Worlds Story Project”

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Deathwatch: The End of Second Life talks about how SL is dead and useless and only good for education and the like. Great! Now that people move on to create something ‘better’ it can fall below the hype-radar and we can get back on to learnification. Blogs, after the hype, could grow and mature as a learning too. Same for wikis. The best things, imho, often happen after the wave, not on the bleeding edge. Thanks to jeremy for this, as he pointed me to it, and it always saying SL’s dead.

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Slashdot | Researchers Find Racial Bias In Virtual Worlds

“Real-world behaviours and racial biases could carry forward into virtual worlds such as Second Life, social psychologists say. According to a study that was conducted in There.com, virtual world avatars respond to social cues in the same ways that people do in the real world.

Users, who were unaware that they were part of a psychological study, were approached by a researcher’s avatar for either a ‘foot-in-the-door’ (FITD) or ‘door-in-the-face’ (DITF) experiment. While results of the FITD experiment revealed no racial bias, the effect of the DITF technique was significantly reduced when the experimenter took the form of a dark-skinned avatar.”

Read more at Researchers find racial bias in virtual worlds - Internet - iTnews Australia

No, I have no question about the assertion of racial bias in Virtual World. I’m just reading Lisa Nakamura’s Digitizing Race, which is interesting. However, the research seems pretty lame for reasons commented on in the comments on the first two links, and others. Would be nice if peeps reported on research that would appear better constructed to take up what I think is an important issue.

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Open Grid Public Beta begins today « Official Second Life Blog

we are making the intergrid teleport code available for all developers interested in making virtual worlds interoperate. Today we begin a public beta program for all prospective “gridnauts” (a gridnaut is anyone who has successfully teleported between virtual worlds).

This beta is intended for virtual world developers. The purpose is to establish a base level of interoperability — no inventory, textures, or attachments will transfer upon intergrid teleport. You will appear on the target grid’s simulator as that grid’s default avatar (Ruth).

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AFP: Paralysed man takes a walk in virtual world

TOKYO (AFP) — A paralysed man using only his brain waves has been able to manipulate a virtual Internet character, Japanese researchers said Monday, calling it a world first.
The 41-year-old patient used his imagination to make his character take a walk and chat to another virtual person on the popular Second Life website.
The patient, who has suffered paralysis for more than 30 years, can barely bend his fingers due to a progressive muscle disease so cannot use a mouse or keyboard in the traditional way.
In the experiment, he wore headgear with three electrodes monitoring brain waves related to his hands and legs. Even though he cannot move his legs, he imagined that his character was walking.
He was then able to have a conversation with the other character using an attached microphone, said the researchers at Japan’s Keio University.
It is the first time a paralysis patient has succeeded in meeting a person and having a conversation in an Internet virtual world, they added.
Researchers are now studying a system that would let patients create text messages by mentally selecting certain letters, said Junichi Ushiba, associate professor at the biosciences and informatics department of Keio Universty’s Faculty of Science and Technology.
“In the near future, they would be able to stroll through Second Life shopping malls with their brain waves… and click to make a purchase,” Ushiba said.
Second Life is an increasingly popular virtual world in which people — and animals — are represented by animated avatars and do everything from social activities to shopping.
Ushiba says Second Life could motivate patients with severe paralysis, who are often too depressed to undergo rehabilitation.

Now that the mindless hype for SL is over, and people can get on with doing useful things there.

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Jeremy just posted CFP: Learning and Research in Second Life® Oct. 15 Copenhagen @ IR 9.0 for a workshop we (Jeremy Hunsinger, Rochelle Mazar, Aleks Krotoski and me) are organizing for next fall.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

What Happens in a Virtual World Has a Real-World Impact, a Scholar Finds - Chronicle.com

Forget the pills, hypnosis, and meditation. Losing weight or boosting self-confidence can be achieved by adopting an avatar and living in virtual reality, says Jeremy N. Bailenson, an assistant professor of communications at Stanford University.

Well, Duh! Amy Bruckman’s work like a billion years ago explored that.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

GimpGirl celebrates its 10th Anniversary! YAY to them! Check out the pictures that Aleja and Buridan took!

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

People wonder why I encourage educators to get into Second Life and other VWs for adults… they need to know what children will experience and that are coming down the pipe.

Virtual Worlds News: MTV/Nickelodeon to Invest $100M in Casual Gaming, Changes for Nicktropolis, AddictingGames, Neopets

NMTV Networks’ Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group today announced that it would invest $100 million over the next two years in casual gaming titles, sites and platforms. Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group President Cyma Zarghami said that “with more than 86% of kids 8 to 14 gaming online, we see great momentum for online casual gaming. This investment will not only benefit our audiences, but also our marketing and distribution partners.”

Virtual Worlds News: Disney Developing “Cars” Virtual World for Millions of Dollars

Virtual Worlds News: Disney Investing up to $100MM in New Worlds

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

Slashdot | Head Tracking w/ the Wiimote

“This guy just doesn’t know when to stop. Johnny Chung Lee graces us with yet another one of his inventive Wiimote projects. This time it involves using the Wiimote and a pair of inexpensive LED safety goggles (with the standard LED’s replaced with InfraRed ones) to allow positional head tracking , achieving an effect similar to what is experienced with three dimensional displays and CAVE systems. The video dramatically illustrates the effect. Game developers take note. This simple little variation on infrared tracking could allow for some seriously immersive gameplay in the future.”

I must get some wii remotes. I just must.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

CT Niven: my SL self

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

Reuters/Second Life » Companies shifting virtual world strategies

When Cisco Systems decided to enter Second Life, things didn’t turn out exactly as the network equipment supplier expected.
“We were quick. We got into Second Life and put up a big building with repurposed Web content. It was a ghost town. Digital tumbleweeds,” said Christian Renaud, head of Cisco’s networked virtual environments.
It turned out people wanted to log on to Second Life to hang out with friends and play casual games, not visit a 3-D version of a corporate Web site.
It’s an experience many companies that rushed to set up in Second Life have had in recent months, but rather than abandon its virtual homestead, Cisco changed tack.
“Two or three months in we bulldozed everything we’d done. It’s now a place for meetings (with customers and employees) rather than repurposed Web content,” Renaud said. “If I can have an intimate talk with 50 people a week, man, I’ve won the lottery.”

Now isn’t that wise. Experiment and adjust, rethink and redeploy. Might even work.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

As you well know, around April 9th, Larry and I started working on the superaleja needs a laptop to do second life project, to help our online buddy Alejandra Ospina (AKA SuperAleja get a laptop so that she could join us in using Second Life and share with us her experiences in using virtual reality as someone who has always lived with mobility issues.

So many people have helped bring this forward. Since April we have raised over $2400 CDN ($2275 USD) to get Aleja outfitted. Please visit our donations page to see everyone who has helped. Special thanks goes out to Nolan Transportation Agencies for their significant support of our project.

Early on, Mark Dubin of 3DEmbodiment got involved, and has provided some lindens as well as land and building materials to help Aleja explore.

The project, however, has grown from helping out a friend to realizing that this is really the start of an educational research and development project AND we hope it will be the start of a fundraising project. We hope to study how SL can be efficacious for individuals with mobility issues, how to develope new tools to support the use of SL, and raise funds to support individuals who need better computing to access second life… but more on that later… check out Alejandra’s A SECOND LIFE page, and the pictures below.

Thanks for all your help!

Aleja with an Apple Wiz
Aleja with an Apple Wiz

Apple in a bag
The Macbook Pro coming out of the box.

Andrew and Alejandra
Alejandra with Andrew Emig who took care of the financial issues down in NYC, and, along with Laura (below) donated the laptop case.

Aleja and Laura Alejandra with Laura Schutter, who came along to take pictures…

Aleja at the Apple store Alejandra on her way, laptop where it should be, with what looks like a bemused grin.

Aleja putting her body on
Aleja putting her body on

Aleja with Mark
Aleja with Threedee Shepherd (Mark) at the 3DEmbodiment island.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

Is This Man Cheating on His Wife?

Alexandra Alter on the toll one man’s virtual marriage is taking on his real one and what researchers are discovering about the surprising power of synthetic identity.

Rochelle told me about this one. Yuka calls SL my “second wife” but I think she was referring to something slightly different.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

Second Life and WoW ‘plagued by terrorists’

AUSSIE SECURITY experts claim that Second Life and online games such as World of Warcraft are being used to train terrorists.
According to the Australian newspaper a terror campaign has been waged in Second Life which has left a trail of virtual dead and injured, and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars’ damage.
Apparently there are three jihadi terrorists registered and two elite jihadist terrorist groups in Second Life and they use the site for recruiting and training. This is on top of the Second Life Liberation Army, which has been responsible for some computer-coded atomic bombings of stores on the site.
Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al-Qa’ida, said terrorists are rehearsing their operations in Second Life because they can’t practice in the real world.
Kevin Zuccato, head of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre in Canberra, says terrorists can gain training in games such as World of Warcraft in a simulated environment, using weapons that are identical to real-world armaments.
So we can expect more terrorist attacks involving broadswords and Heathrow airport to be closed due to suicide dragons.

[Via Slashdot | Second Life & WoW Terrorist Training Camps? and thanks to Catspaw for giving me the heads up on this.

Check out the whole article Virtual terrorists in The Australian.

Now, I always did say that virtual reality and simulations are good learning environments that have applications in the real world, but I was not thinking of this. Personally, I think that this is silly. But then I think about A Rape in Cyberspace by Julian Dibbell (Published in: Village Voice, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 51, December 21, 1993) and I am reminded that we do have to consider the emotional impacts of actions online.

jason: jason (Default)

Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

Second Life Video Made in Italy Stirs Controversy - Chronicle.com

A video made in Second Life, the virtual world, by a consortium of Italian universities has unleashed a heated debate on a mailing list for educators [aVataR@School Project]. Some said the video, which may be introduced into a secondary-school curriculum to promote conflict resolution among teenagers, was racist and promoted negative stereotypes of Muslims and Turks. Others defended it, arguing that the main message was about bullying.

The video, in its pilot phase, features a lonely boy, Martin, at a European school who is being blackmailed by a Turkish gang member named Ahmed. He demands that Martin regularly provide him with money and goods. Martin resorts to stealing things from his classmates.

The closing scene of the video shows Martin giving a stolen cellphone to an armed Ahmed, while the owner of the cellphone—another schoolboy—looks on from afar. “How can we resolve this situation?” the video asks….

It really makes me wonder about our teacher training program… and this is funded by the E.U.?

October 2013

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