December 10, 2008

I have a new website now with my shows The 2nd Question! and The Dating Casino and all the blogs of Pooky Amsterdam and Lovey Foxtrot.

Please visit and I would love to hear your comments over at



Sunday Supplement – Why watch TV…..

November 10, 2008

“Why Watch TV when you can Star in your own Cartoon Movie Everynight?”

The shift from passive to engaged user created content of an entertainment variety.

Consumerism takes many forms, and encompasses many kinds of products.  We tend to define consumption of a product when we purchase it or use it.  For example we certainly consume electricity, and this is the basis for our links into the Virtual Worlds we inhabit.  We also have been consumers of electricity for a long time in regards to our entertainment patterns.  Indeed radio, television and movies are all imported to us with the use of electricity.  We take this so for granted, that to state this truth seems rather simplistic.  Perhaps it is, and we have been consumers of entertainments in an electrified form for so long, the adaptation to the computer was rather seamless.

Traditional or old media, is now having to watch as its audience once held passive in front of so much current, now shifts its paradigm to a more active form for what is being sought for entertainment.  Viewership is down across the board for traditional and so is the advertising support that has provided the monetary backbone for production.

People spent more on videogames last year than Hollywood Box office. CBS just announced a $14 million loss in the last quarter, it’s only bright spot was the recently acquired CNET, and in an effort to “not ignore its audience or current trends” has agreed to broadcast its shows on of all places, YouTube.

But the old media giants do not understand, or are reluctant to understand that this shift is not just away from one screen to another.  People are not just moving from one dull old toy to a shiny new one, and this represents something of a more fundamental nature. We are moving from passive viewing habits to another much more engaging form of entertainment.   To be sure we are defined somewhat by what we consume.  Yes, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and indeed the media we consume.  When the final drum plays, though we will be judged not by what we consume in this world, but by what we produce.

Part of the appeal of Virtual Worlds, is that the content we create reflects who and what we are and what are interested in.  We do not have be dumbed down to accept what is being offered on the networks, or in the movie theaters.  We are in many ways reaching up when we create what we do.  Surely this activity is part of what makes Virtual Worlds so appealing, and so worthy of return.  Perhaps even more so than watching reruns of “Seinfeld” 5 nights a week.

Perhaps because I started on HabboHotel where you are not allowed to create any kind of assets, or to script in any way I began using the text based form of interaction for traditional kinds of entertainment. I hosted weekly poetry slams, and wanted to do more, so I expanded quickly into doing plays. I produced Romeo & Juliet for the first time in September of 2003. I had to use my powers of creation, in a more traditional way.   I put on shows, I did many more plays, and found willing participants, who wanted to experience the adrenaline rush of freezing cold fingers while awaiting a cue in what is “live” theater.  And it represents a key into why, what I have been prototyping for the past 5 years with the now defunct tinyspaceplayers of Habbo, to that which I do on SecondLife in the StudioDome in the SciLands has so much appeal. It is exciting.

The term artificial reality, coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since the 1970s but the origin of the term virtual reality can be traced back to the French playwright, poet, actor and director Antonin Artaud. In his seminal book The Theatre and Its Double (1938), Artaud described theatre as “la réalite virtuelle”, a virtual reality “in which characters, objects, and images take on the phantasmagoric force of alchemy’s visionary internal dramas”

Even though the medium of the tiny screen is electric, as we are acting live and in real time, the analogy is much closer to theater, or the beginning of the television age’s live broadcast of shows.  And of course with the production element of anything can happen, and this is live, we are in “The Golden Age of the Internet” as far as show production goes.

When we log onto a Virtual World, we are already taking part in a suspension of belief immediately which has been the hallmark of sitting in a dark movie theatre about to watch just about any film, except a documentary.  We do not, in general log onto Virtual Worlds to create documentary.  We do suspend our belief and take part in the fantastic.  Accordingly, in SecondLife we can fly for example, walk underwater, be furry creatures and more.  According to the SecondLife traffic report, October was a good month to lose oneself within the narratives of Second Life role play as hundreds of residents joined the ranks of Kingdoms of Sand and Remembrance. We are looking to create our own entertainment and if you will, role play is akin to theater. USG is also what we come here to do. As we already suspend our belief; inhabiting the element of the Virtual World is a prime place to construct theater, theater games and shows.

I am however a child of structured theater, not role play.  And I do want others to play with me, learning as they do.  Walt Disney famously said “ I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained

and education when it encompasses entertainment remains more vivid and is retained longer.  (Examples of this are the “conjunction junction” songs and all alphabet kind of songs which most of us utilized in learning and retaining the alphabet) In doing plays, in creating shows that have an element of learning something one did not know before, I engage additionally the participating audience. This happened with the Shakespeare plays, never was the Bard more vivid than when I was inhabiting one of his characters. That held true for all the actors, and when Shakespeare became the hottest ticket on Habbo, I knew I was onto something special.

Now I produce shows that people are thrilled to be a part of. The 2nd QuestioN! has a weekly audience which loves playing along as the show is taped, yes live. They watch it on the video on the site afterwards, and it has become a very popular show. It is the Quiz Show to The Stars! The audience interacts as if they are also the stars, and to be honest, they are. It is a fast paced hour with the audience voting along, and guessing the answers to the questions. Same is true with my new show The Dating Casino which encourages the audience to reveal their preferences to the questions asked as the contestants also answer in real time.

In thinking about how people view video, it pays to think about how people already view video. The experience of watching is certainly not new, and there are loads to understand and appreciate about viewing patterns inherent in the traditional TV audience. The screen has shifted yes, but the same eyes remain firmly in place the species “video on the Internet” is very different from “traditional TV programs” but the species Human has not changed so very much, for example:

The average number of TV channels that people actually watch has only gone from 10 channels in 2005 to almost 16 channels in 2006, despite the number of channels going up from an average of 41 to 104. And people spent an average of less time overall on each stop, mirroring a dwindling attention span. The relevance here is that people have “viewing habits” whether on the Internet or television. People will go back to the same thing again & again if they get something they like there. The Internet caters to people’s tastes and, according to PodTrac, a high percentage of Internet audience members tend to listen or watch the same podcast “station” (for lack of a better word, or “site” if you prefer.) Think of yourself, what number of different actual sites do you go to willingly? Do you tend to visit the same sites over and over again? I think we all do. That’s why we have cookies.


The beauty is there are so many ways to engage the viewer, consumer and Interactive audience. The Virtual World platform is unique. One is generally alone at the computer, doing something that has, needs or wants to get done. When someone is in a Virtual World it is usually because they asked for it and wanted to go there. Here is an opportunity to involve and entertain an audience. People log in and play along, this is viewer log in entertainment. Having a specific show and destination for them to be a part of means they also will return. And they do. Here I build audience or customer loyalty today and encourage them to return and deliver customer value tomorrow. This business model also provides opportunities for advertisers to have a branded form of entertainment on the net, beyond what is just on their site. It is happening live on SecondLife, and people willingly are a part of the show.

Watching videos on the net is rising, according to eMarketeer, in 2006 63% of US households streamed video whether it was content or advertising, by 2011 this is projected to grow to almost 87%. In June of 2007 figures released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers show that Internet advertising revenues continue to skyrocket. The 2007 first quarter revenues of US$4.9 billion represent a 26 percent increase over Q1 2006 at US$3.8 billion. “The continued growth of online ad revenues clearly illustrates marketers’ increased comfort with the extraordinary vitality and accountability of this medium,” commented IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg. “It reaches consumers with an unprecedented level of efficiency and measurability that provides marketers with actionable data. And the ever-changing landscape of new platforms and technologies that enrich interactive advertising guarantees that this growth trend will continue.”

The eyes are here, the money follows. And Virtual World participation is also very much on the rise. Recently, Philip Rosedale, former CEO of Linden Labs predicted at an Always On conference that within ten years the number of people in Virtual Worlds will overtake the number of web users.


Using this platform means creating more than precious moments, and full scale communities dedicated to learning, enrichment and having fun. The platform is perfect for launching all kinds of traditional and potentially profitable kinds of entertainment as well. According to a 2007 Morgan Stanley report, “longer term monetization should grow faster than usage, which should grow faster than users, recent very recent rapid growth of online video + voice + USG combined with a high probability of innovation bodes well for continued usage growth. Ongoing improvements in monetization are being driven by improved targetability / personalization / usability.” Not just microtransactions within a Virtual World, but also delivering the kind of game shows that have been around for over 20 years. And these will eventually be supported by advertisers as well, seeking to brand original productions with their names and product. I jokingly have said that I would, on the 2nd QuestioN! drink a martini of Bombay Gin and smoke a Camel cigarette. I might be put to the test one day with this.

Brand entertainment and Internet advertising has the ability to reach people fully focused and literally at the edge of their seats. With all eyes on the smaller screen, those in advertising must decide how to parlay active interest into time spent with the product. “Time is the new currency,” as it has been said, after which follows, “Content is King”.

Online shows will create opportunities for branding awareness, think of the old Kraft Mystery theatre but on the internet where you too can log in to participate in a performance, or watch someone you know. The new age also eclipses the old one in many unusual ways. We have idolized gorgeous film stars throughout the history of movies, but needing to look at Brad Pitt is certainly diminished when you can easily look like him, or better, in your avatars skin. And if your partner wants to look like Angelina Joile, well she can. If we worship beauty, and have been trained to want to look at better looking people, the ability to be that better looking person might be the best of all worlds.

Another factor for online production and return on investment is cost. Clearly the cost of putting on any kind of television or cable like programming is not only fraught with barriers to entry, (especially if your Dad is not Michael Eisner), but also that of cost. On a Virtual World platform, all the elements to create your own show, or machinima is there, and very often quite inexpensively. Consider it costs around $20,000 USD just to have a professional writer craft just a one hour episode of The Office, and this without any other costs such as hiring talent or production staff. The ability to create an online original program as I have done for very much less is a huge incentive for doability.

It does take commitment, comfort with being that much ahead of the curve, ability to withstand criticism and a very clear focus to produce, organize, motivate, write and direct. These luckily are my strengths. As far as scripting the voting board, or building the StudioDome, well I have to leave that to people who are far more talented in that regard. And with any great production for entertainment value, no one can write, film, direct, act and build sets. The difference is in a Virtual World there are people who want to do what their natural talents give them the ability to do.

There is opportunity to make this happen, it is low cost, it is immediate and it is available.

Machinima and video is more than a trend; it is a valuable way of connecting with an audience that in the case of the computer is literally and figuratively, at the edge of their seats. The intimate nature of the relationship between someone at the keyboard versus someone holding the power tool is quite different. The body no longer ends at the fingertips, but extends into the medium of the computer. If the fingers extend into the medium, then so does the mind in new ways. That is why entertainment on the web isn’t passive, it’s active. The brain itself is engaged in a completely new, active way. We are meaning seeking creatures, as Jane Goodall said, if we find meaning, we will return. We must keep this in mind in providing programming on the web worth watching.

We have an endless appetite for things to see and for things that will stimulate us; therefore engaging with meaningful video is essential. We have been trained now for over 50 years to respond to a moving image through the television. We are training ourselves as to what to look for with the InterVision we are presented with now on the net.

For those who don’t want to produce shows as I do, there is the opportunity to play within them as a contestant, or a member of the panel. For those who want to watch, there is the excitement of being at a live broadcast, and what is even more fun, the ability to really be a part of the audience interaction. This why I create the game shows. On the 2nd QuestioN!, although the panel and myself and my co-host are on voice, the audience is not, but their constant chatlog comments is very rich, varied and entertaining. They are participating in the program as it is being filmed. We have left the passive to become active and star in the very real experience of our own cartoon movies every night.

This creates an added bonus for us in terms of entertainment. When you go to the movies, you are passively watching. On the 2nd QuestioN! you are actively engaged, and engaged in trying to guess the questions along with 60 other people all playing in the “room” at the same time.

Even Alec Trebek doesn’t have that with Jeopardy. I will take viewer log in entertainment on the web, for a million.


The Master Builder – Felixx Sheperd

November 2, 2008

I meet Felixx Sheperd, the man behind the Garden of Da Vinci, at his build. If you haven’t seen it, then well you should for not many are as beautiful or complex as this incredible sim. From golden spires, to castles, to fireworks, an undersea complex, a desert tent and of course his space odyssey, it is unrivaled in beauty and design.

Pooky Amsterdam: I am amazed constantly at Kalepa’s depth & beauty.

Felixx Shepherd: I did it for people like you, so you can use it.

Pooky Amsterdam: Felixx you have created this masterpiece and retreat here on SecondLife- what made you initially want to do it?

Felixx Shepherd: I think there never was an initial point – it grew step by step.

Pooky Amsterdam: Where did you begin?

Felixx Shepherd: My job brought me here.

Pooky Amsterdam: In what way?

Felixx Shepherd: I’m a journalist, and I worked for a radio station and I tried to build up a presence for that station but unfortunately the station went bankrupt.

Pooky Amsterdam: You didn’t end that gig you began a new one then, were you going to do an inworld on air report for it?

Felixx Shepherd: I designed a few things for them here and I liked it and many people said that they liked my style.

Pooky Amsterdam: Funny how SecondLife can also bring out what one is most adept in, things you wouldn’t necessarily know unless you come here.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, right.

Pooky Amsterdam: So you were encouraged by that. What was it that you built?

Felixx Shepherd: The first big project was the castle with the domes.

Pooky Amsterdam: Here on Kalepa? The castle does look like a great hub – the center of your atom so to speak.

Felixx Shepherd: No this was still in Apfelland – that is a German hotspot in SecondLife but soon I needed more space.

Pooky Amsterdam: Very soon I would think.

Felixx Shepherd: At first only a little part of Kalepa was mine. But piece by piece I conquered the whole island 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: How did you come to Kalepa?

:Felixx Shepherd: I came here by destiny 😉 mmmh: I came here searching for a new parcel for me.

Pooky Amsterdam: Why here?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh I can’t say exactly but I think it was really the best for me: since I was able to grow here and the land owner also liked my style: so I made a deal with her: I designed a sim for her – and in return she gave me Kalepa for a good price.

I bought a part on the corner of Kalepa and there I started building the castle with the domes. But this was just the end of one year of my SecondLife career 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: Why those?

Felixx Shepherd: The pictures in my mind become reality, prim by prim – that is what fascinated me. When I was a child I made castles out of LEGO. Now I do the same with prims.

Pooky Amsterdam: And you let your imagination move forward then like so many rezzing prims. So when did you realize you had few if any limitations here in building?

Felixx Shepherd: Good question 🙂 I have a picture in my mind: then I try to come close to that picture, I try and try.

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you sketch it out in any way other than your minds eye?

Felixx Shepherd: Just in my mind.

Pooky Amsterdam: You must have a clear mind.

Felixx Shepherd: Sometimes when I’m not satisfied I’m getting somehow angry 😉 and tear everything down I made for hours or days.

Pooky Amsterdam: As if the prims have a life of their own?

Felixx Shepherd: Haha yes maybe.

Pooky Amsterdam: Does that feeling of tearing it down also feel cathartic to you?

A release?

Felixx Shepherd: Sometimes lol, but there is something strange I build something and think it is ok then I go to sleep and wake up the next day and see it with other eyes: and find it ugly 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you wait till after you have breakfast for your final decision?

Felixx Shepherd: Hahah 🙂 no

Pooky Amsterdam: So you sketch by actually doing it?

Felixx Shepherd: I don’t think long: I’m very impulsive then but no fear 😉 I’m not an aggressive type 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you think in some ways we are like gods here in that we can manifest what we imagine in our minds & make it real? Because the level of creationism is both rich, detailed and varied?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, if you like to put it this way …yes, yes you are maybe right 😉 For me an important point is: To have the possibility to share my creativity with people from all over the world. I can also be very enthused about things others have made.

Pooky Amsterdam: Your favorite SecondLife sights then?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes but I have to confess I’m not far traveled in SecondLife 😉 since I build most of the time.

Pooky Amsterdam: Limitations, if any?

Felixx Shepherd: mmh limitations? Scripting was a thing that was the hardest part for me as what my dreams concern, so far I was able to convert all my childhood dreams into SecondLife 3d reality. Sometimes it was hard, sometimes easier.

Pooky Amsterdam: How early did rebuilding Da Vinci’s telescope enter your childhood dreams?

Felixx Shepherd: Hahah

Pooky Amsterdam: Well I have to ask, from a young age then- 8-11?

Felixx Shepherd: Astronomy is one dream 😉 Ancient times another. Leonardo does combine so many things. Yes I think that was that age.

Pooky Amsterdam: What was your biggest scripting challenge? AND do you think that scripting takes up another part of the brain than the eye & the hand of the builder?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I think I am more the creative, not as much the information scientist but I want to have these functions and so I had to learn by trial and error.

Pooky Amsterdam: But you took on the great challenges, I am amazed by this.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, the rocket was my biggest challenge.

Pooky Amsterdam: The rocket…. tell about this part you have created now paradise on “earth”

Felixx Shepherd: 🙂

Pooky Amsterdam: What made you decide to go to Mars?

Felixx Shepherd: If I would have been given the chance I would have been an astronaut who travels to Mars and builds up there a station. I can not do that, but I can do it here.

Pooky Amsterdam: You said astronomy was an early love.

Felixx Shepherd: I like secrets, I want to know WHY.

Pooky Amsterdam: What did you want to know the why of when you built Mars?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh maybe this is only part of the dream.

Pooky Amsterdam: You built also life on Mars I finally discovered the cave. You know the Phoenix has discovered water on Mars now. Do you think we will find life there?

Felixx Shepherd: Surely not the life I have on my Mars 😉 but maybe in the depth underneath. We know from Earth that on the surface, life has conquered all corners, why not on Mars?

Pooky Amsterdam: & even in miraculously harsh circumstances.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I gave my Mars mushrooms 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: & why mushrooms Felixx?

Felixx Shepherd: They are one of the toughest beings on earth. They even live in the reactor of Chernobyl and are able to get their energy from the radiation.

Pooky Amsterdam: Mushrooms that grow on radiation? *eyes cross* what do you mean?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes there are black funguses that use the radiation like plants use the sunlight. It is really astonishing I have written an article about that.

Pooky Amsterdam: You have also created a Jules Verne experience. Are there any mushrooms in the sea?

Felixx Shepherd: No, that is not their habitat but they have conquered every part of the surface.

Pooky Amsterdam: I am also fascinated by the sea world you have created here.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes mystic things, and the sea is also mystic.

Pooky Amsterdam: Mushrooms are magical, yes?

Felixx Shepherd: Also yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: You looked to recreate the fantastic, the fantastic voyage so to speak

Felixx Shepherd: My undersea area is dedicated to Jules Verne.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes why is this? Was he your 19th century hero then?

Felixx Shepherd: He also was a man with visions and many things he had in mind became true.

Pooky Amsterdam: If Leonardo was one of an earlier time

Felixx Shepherd: That is the case for both yes, and both artists too.

Pooky Amsterdam: You are also an artist most have to conquer one medium though- you have conquered many.

Felixx Shepherd: ;( Haha it would be somehow blasphemy to compare me with them, though I wonder what they would say to SecondLife. Sometimes the future is much more astonishing as you have thought of in your weirdest dreams.

Pooky Amsterdam: Who did Verne admire?

Felixx Shepherd: I don’t know but the one who built the first helicopter, he was a great fan of Verne. Imagination is the always the beginning of the future.

Pooky Amsterdam: Well you said it before, that you wanted to realize your childhood dreams too. Do you think actualizing them made them richer for you?

Felixx Shepherd: yes it gives me so much life quality, but I think I did not loose my real life. I also sell my creations, but the main thing about that is not that I’m so keen on money 😉 It is rather like being a painter who can sell their creations. This is telling me someone finds my creations so beautiful they are willing to spend money on it.

Pooky Amsterdam: I was about to ask on the monetizing aspect of this for you.

Felixx Shepherd: It started with my first castle. Someone came to me one day and asked if he could buy it and so it all began that I created new things since people wanted to have them.

Pooky Amsterdam: I have every free thing you made here. I love every single one of them & often go on my feather for a ride. You are unbelievably generous & have given us all who come here incredible gifts: the submarine, the helicopter, the diving gear.

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh some say I’m expensive but I want my things to be a bit exclusive.

Pooky Amsterdam: Everyone on SecondLife is concerned with monetizing their content. Any challenge Felixx?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh it turned out to be a real job 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: Hahha

Felixx Shepherd: I was on holiday for 10 days, and as I came back I had over hundred IM’s.

Pooky Amsterdam: for product?

Felixx Shepherd: Not all, but many of them are kind words about my work which I do appreciate much. Of course I answer all, but many are about products yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: Where do you find beauty & your sources of inspiration from here on so to speak?

Felixx Shepherd: This holiday… I was in Italy. Everyone who knows some of my builds knows what I mean. They are inspired by ancient architecture but as you know I have started building space environments, I already have seen beautiful space creations in SecondLife.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes Inspire Park is wonderful.

Felixx Shepherd: It surely is, yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: What are you most excited about building now?

Felixx Shepherd: I would love to create a whole space themed region, unfortunately time is a constraint. On the other hand it is great for me as I start a new job, as a matter of fact next week.

Pooky Amsterdam: Well if you can get that mega time prim into your real life inventory, & expand the day to 26 hours, or 36 more like it.

Felixx Shepherd: A pill to replace sleep, but sleeping can be nice 😉 And it gives fresh ideas

Pooky Amsterdam: Your new job?? Tell us please, I am sure people want to know what real life is like for Felixx.

Felixx Shepherd: I work for a scientific journal in Germany, it is an infotainment journal.

Pooky Amsterdam: You should mention the 2nd QuestioN! in it.

Felixx Shepherd: We convert the articles into radio format and these radio clips can then be used by radio stations for free with the branding of the journal of course – that is the concept.

Felixx Shepherd: I also plan something for children, I hope this concept will work, there is a radio station just for children. I would like to produce a science show for children. Infotainment for children

Pooky Amsterdam: The 2nd QuestioN! Is for adults who need to remember what it is like to be a child of wonder – Disney knew you needed to entertain to educate as well.

Felixx Shepherd: I definitely want one thing: That it should be interesting for adults too, a good crossover thing that parents will watch it with the kids.

Pooky Amsterdam: You have to have their eyes & hearts & the minds will follow

Felixx Shepherd: Yes that is the main idea

Pooky Amsterdam: You really must, if you have time, to come to the Naked Scientists tomorrow, the BBC radio show as it brodacasts also live in SecondLife at 10 AM SL time.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I would love to.

Pooky Amsterdam: What is your favorite part of Kalepa? Is it a fair question? Or like asking a parent who is your favorite child?

Felixx Shepherd: mmmh hard to say, haha, it depends on my mood. You see I have taken you here since I think it is an atmosphere that fits.

Pooky Amsterdam: Object owned by Felixx Shepherd gave you ‘Tropical dream cocktail’Good answer.

Felixx Shepherd: but there is one thing.

Tropical dream cocktail whispers: MMm MMM good!

Felixx Shepherd: I love to be in my tree, lying on a branch and listening to the wind. It is 53 prims, I can show you my tree.

Pooky Amsterdam: Have you ever seen Botanicals?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I like it.

Pooky Amsterdam: oh yes please do show me the tree.

Felixx Shepherd: Let’s go there by canoe.

Logboat: Ready to go! If you don’t board me, in about a minute I will disappear.

Felixx Shepherd: My flying fish, see?

Pooky Amsterdam: I love them, wonderful, this is just so rich.

Felixx Shepherd: Please right click the tree and sit. Can you see me?

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes I just took a picture and I am now also in the tree

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I see you, I was very happy as a child in trees

Pooky Amsterdam: Did you build this tree?

Felixx Shepherd: Every prim on Kalepa, nearly 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: You just opened your mind to learning it all?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I think I like this place most. A whispering tree is one of the most beautiful sounds in nature. I use a radio sound data base … 😉

Felixx Shepherd: Did you already use my new rocket tour? To Mars?

Pooky Amsterdam: I really enjoyed it.

Felixx Shepherd: And the trip to the station near the sun?

Pooky Amsterdam: No I didn’t do that yet. I have now 3 last questions, your hero today- someone you find heroic in the present day, what is a perfect day for you? & what would life have been like without Secondlife.

Felixx Shepherd: Three difficult questions 🙂

Pooky Amsterdam: Not so much so!

Felixx Shepherd: I will try

Pooky Amsterdam: Thank you

Felixx Shepherd: Maybe a strange answer…: some days ago I was in the underground train. A bit away from me there was a woman, elegant about 50. The door opened and a homeless came in and he started talking to that woman. He was ugly but somehow not unfriendly. She began talking to him, very friendly and polite with nothing that gave him the feeling he was someone of less worth. She made this man very happy I think

Pooky Amsterdam: I understand Felixx- her talking to him equally brought all of us up a little bit, the greater humanity she showed spoke well of all of us.

Felixx Shepherd: That’s it. For me there is something very important and that takes us back to SecondLife. To react to people without prejudice, the same respect to all people and in SecondLife you even are not able to have prejudices.

Pooky Amsterdam: I also think prejudice says more about the person who is prejudiced

than the object of their scorn.

Felixx Shepherd: Human beings are somehow only the avatars of their souls, I do not mean that religious.

Pooky Amsterdam: I actually saw that so clearly one night, this man transformed into like 20 avs, all beasts etc & I thought well the skin, the ava is just a soul wrapper isn’t it

Felixx Shepherd: 🙂 I like that, anybody can be freed from the chains of his Real life, sex, appearance colour…. and that is great but on the other hand also a source of danger.

Pooky Amsterdam: mmmmmmmmmmm what do you mean?

Felixx Shepherd: Since some become addicted to that to escape from their Real life.

Pooky Amsterdam: This is indeed a selected life & that begs a great question of course, if your life on SecondLife is somehow more satisfying than your real life, do you- leave SecondLife & try to make your Real life better or do you enjoy & maximize your life here?

Felixx Shepherd: In my case it is a bit different I think

Pooky Amsterdam: Tell me how Felixx

Felixx Shepherd: I’m very much myself here, I feel Real life here, not someone else. I even tried to make my avatar look very much as I do. But I do not say that this is the right way.

Pooky Amsterdam: Does it mean SecondLife has fewer emotional pitfalls then? Possibly?

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I think so.

Pooky Amsterdam: Fewer conflicts, very interesting that point.

Felixx Shepherd: It seems to depend on the character, for some it could be great to be a fantasy person here.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes I think so too, if someone really feels at home in their skin- even the skin of a dragon or wolf or panda.

Felixx Shepherd: I think I could be a furry too since this is then something totally different.

Pooky Amsterdam: What furry would you be? An experiment maybe? Haha okay what animal?

Felixx Shepherd: I think a tomcat, I like the feline way of being.

Pooky Amsterdam: I would be a kitten *waves tiny paw* *chases imaginary mouse* *gets stuck in tree*

Felixx Shepherd: Hehe yes and being so happy to lie in the sun

Pooky Amsterdam: I am very happy person, I love being alive and now for the last 2 questions

Felixx Shepherd: I sometimes would like to be happier, I’m sometimes melancholic

Pooky Amsterdam: What do you think about that makes you sad?

Felixx Shepherd: I can’t tell.

Pooky Amsterdam: You know no rain makes a desert

Felixx Shepherd: its character I think

Pooky Amsterdam: There is so much trouble in the world today- you have depth & soul, blue eyed soul.

Felixx Shepherd: right 😉

Pooky Amsterdam: You can’t solve the problems of mankind yet know what could be made better at times it is frustrating. Yes, is SecondLife an escape or a beautiful refreshment of spirit?

Felixx Shepherd: But there are such times and those times, haha, that sentence also fits on that hahah. If I create something I forget all that, it is a nice thing but I am happy that I can say that I’m not addicted to that.

Pooky Amsterdam: Happiness is an achievement and not a constant state; we all like to feel good. That is it, isn’t it- if this makes us feel good we want to do it.

Felixx Shepherd: The ten days of holiday…also from SecondLife…were really nice, Pooky Amsterdam: That brings us to the last question then what would life have been like without SecondLife?

Felixx Shepherd: Do you mean for me personally, or generally?

Pooky Amsterdam: Well both then….

Felixx Shepherd: For me personally it is a little wonder, I can be creative and I get much positive feedback.

Pooky Amsterdam: & from all over the world & you could not possibly know 800 people in Real life could you?

Felixx Shepherd: For some I seem to be able to brighten their time here.

Pooky Amsterdam: oh yes Felixx you have given so very much.

Felixx Shepherd: What more can there be? 🙂 And generally I think it is comparable with other media developments such as the first books, radio, television and internet. In each case some people had fears that this would be harmful but all has two sides and mankind will be able to adapt.

Pooky Amsterdam: How do you see mankind evolving in the next 100 years? Bonus question, S;-D

Felixx Shepherd: Hehe, I do think that virtual relationships will be totally normal and enrich our communication I hope so.

Pooky Amsterdam: Well they already have- letters are also not exactly virtual as people for hundreds of years wrote letters.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes I’m really thrilled what will happen to SecondLife I hope SecondLife will develop to a sort of 3d internet, I hope that no other portal will replace it.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes me too, it is funny but I call this home now & feel I must defend it.

Felixx Shepherd: Mmh it will never completely replace physical meetings.

Pooky Amsterdam: No, people still need to hug.

Felixx Shepherd: Haha sure.

Pooky Amsterdam: & for business they need also to meet in Real life at some point.

Felixx Shepherd: Yes, I hope people realize the potential since many people meet also in Real life.

Pooky Amsterdam: It is a great thing to be able to meet & talk here. I do value this opportunity to talk with you. I know that people will be enchanted with the man behind Kalepa.

No Place Like Dome, StudioDome

August 18, 2008

Lots of movement occurs over the summer, in lots of ways. For the break from school kids get that long period to unwind and in not having to do much but be themselves learn about who they are and how they want to spend their time in leisure. They grow because that unstructured moment lets them explore which they don’t with the more rigorous schedule of real life, school work & exams breathing down their necks. They stay up late and sometimes try what they can’t during times of have to get to sleep early.

And people move as well more in the summer, sure there are vacations and going places, but there is also the big move that happens when one changes a residence. It happened to me this summer. Moving house in real life is never fun, packing a chore, cleaning worse and trudging through boxes an obstacle course at best. Oh to just pack up everything as I could in SecondLife would have been a lifesaver. This would have been my dearest wish. And it would have been worse but something wonderful happened. And so I realized the nature of home.

The 2nd QuestioN! Has been housed at the SpinDome in the SciLands since its inception. The masses of people and activity that has occurred there made the place well, very busy, and Paradox Olbers, the Guru saw that it was time for the show to have a place of its own. He gifted me with the new venue from where the show is now seen. The StudioDome. My own place! I had tried to raise a site with the name StudioDome for some years hence, and though research, team and talent were there, the technology was not. I was at the time too far ahead of the curve, and then not far enough. I had done hundreds of shows and thousands of events on another virtual world. September of 2002 I did Romeo & Juliet in 6 acts. It took three hours, there were 2 Romeos, they fought in the balcony scene, one Romeo transformed himself into a lemon & lime and danced while Juliet wept. I learned a lot from that.

I had hosted a weekly poetry slam since March of 2003 where thousands of people came & presented their poems, songs and classics. Had a weekly talk show, wrote, produced and directed The ChrimboCarol every year for 5 years. launched the Wizard of Habboz, where people had to follow the yellow doormat road (we didn’t have bricks) to The Emerald City. Had A Brave New World book club, debates on policy, was Sandy in Grease and even hosted Improv and a Friday night Comedy Club. The Shakespeare festivals I produced would have made the Bard proud. And all in text, yes at that time, I was Home in a 2.5D world with no headset.

I guess Home is where you take it, what you make of it, give to it and you can travel the world real or virtual forever in search of beauty, or in search of home but you must carry it with you or you will find it not. Since March of 2008, I have found it here, finally and as so many of us have in a world where we can & do bring our dreams to bear, see the fruit of our many hours of devotion ripen in the unrestricted, summery days of SecondLife.

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The Slews – 7/15

July 21, 2008

The Slews 7/15

Lights dim and music swells….From the top of what rises in the east to the bottom of what falls in the west, covering the metaplace, the marketplace and wherever else inquiring minds are…..This…Is…The>…Slews!

P: Good evening  Second Nation & here now The Slews

P: Astronomers say that Saturn’s rings will disappear from view on Earth on September 4, 2009. That is officially  before the 2009 SecondLife Convention,  think we know where they are heading?

H: No Pooky, The gases, ice, and rocky material that make up the rings will remain in place, but be invisible from the vantage point of Earth, as they do about every fifteen years. The rings are so thin that stargazers will be unable to see them through small telescopes.

P: I always wondered, What are Saturn’s rings made of? Light? Gases? Water and ice? Rock and debris?

H: Rocks to boulder size objects, even up to small minivan size objects, all in orbit around Saturn,  &  at how many gallons per mile, that takes some Lindens to get there.

P: Until now, astronomers have failed to identify where asteroids come from, because of what happens after the meteorites are ejected from their asteroidal parent body.
Most of the meteorites that we collect on Earth come from the main belt  between Mars and Jupiter

H:  . Why do we want to know this? Meteorites are a major tool for knowing the history of the solar system because their composition is a record of past geology that occurred while they were still incorporated in the parent asteroid..  Like when I used to live at home.

P: Undersea volcanic rocks offer vast repository for greenhouse gas, says study A group of scientists has used deep ocean-floor drilling and experiments to show that volcanic rocks off the West Coast and elsewhere might be used to securely imprison huge amounts of globe-warming carbon dioxide captured from power plants or other sources.

H: In particular, they say that natural chemical reactions under 30,000 square miles of ocean floor off California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia could lock in as much as 150 years of US CO2 production.

P: Research scientists have now presented a new generation of household robots, the “Care-O-bot® 3”. Stereo-vision color cameras, laser scanners and a 3-D range camera enable Care-O-bot® 3 to register its surroundings in three dimensions in real time.  Just like in SecondLife, but I will smack anyone who calls me their robot!

H: If a person moves into the radius of its arm, it stops moving. Another feature of the small, flexible helper is that it can move in any direction. It can also learn to recognize new objects. The user simply places the unfamiliar object in the robot’s hand so that it can gain a three-dimensional impression of the item.

P: However, the new robot does not look like a human being. humanoid service robots were deliberately moved away from, when we designing Care-O-bot® 3,”  But can they hold a human hand? Never mind a human heart?

H: A U.S. watch list of terrorism suspects has passed 1 million records, corresponding to about 400,000 people, and a leading civil rights group said on Monday the number was far too high to be effective.

P: President George W. Bush ordered in the current list in September 2003 as a way to wrap several growing terrorism watchlists into a single government database compiled and overseen by the FBI, through a Terrorist Screening Center.  Now is we could only get them all into a social network that would be an instant 1 million registered users.

H: Telescopes looking back in time to more than 12 billion years ago have spotted a star factory — a galaxy producing so many new stars that they have nicknamed it the “baby boom” galaxy.

P:The remote galaxy is — or was — pumping out stars at a rate of up to 4,000 per year. In comparison, our own Milky Way galaxy gives birth to an average of just 10 stars per year.This galaxy is undergoing a major baby boom, producing most of its stars all at once,

H: If our human population was produced in a similar boom, then almost all of the people alive today would be the same age.

P: Speaking of babies – A baby’s smile does more than warm a mother’s heart — it also lights up the reward centers of her brain, according to the results of a brain imaging study.  The investigators found that when the mothers saw their own infants’ faces, key areas of the brain associated with reward lit up during the scans, suggesting increased blood flow to that area.

H: These are areas that have been activated in other experiments associated with drug addiction, or SecondLife addiction.

P: Cymbals don’t clash of their own accord – in our world, anyway and diaper spelt backwards is repaid.  But the quantum world is bizarrely different. Two metal plates, placed almost infinitesimally close together, spontaneously attract each other.

H: What seems like magic is known as the Casimir force, and it has been well-documented in experiments. The cause goes to the heart of quantum physics: Seemingly empty space is not actually empty but contains virtual particles associated with fluctuating electromagnetic fields.

P: However, only virtual particles of shorter wavelengths — in the quantum world, particles exist simultaneously as waves — can fit into the space between the plates, so that the outward pressure is slightly smaller than the inward pressure. The result is the plates are forced together. What about virtual plates?

H: Now, tiny “microelectromechanical” systems — so-called MEMS devices that are already used in a wide array of consumer products — become so small they are affected by quantum forces. More specifically, the finding could one day help reduce what MEMS engineers call “stiction” — when two very small, very close objects tend to stick together.

P: how small do you have to get to be Stuck on you? A new report is the first to describe the principles behind the stability and electronic properties of tiny nanoclusters of metallic gold. The study, which confirms the “divide and protect” bonding structure, resulted from the work of researchers at four universities on two continents.

H: In the Heart of Gold effect – this Study reveals principles behind stability and electronic properties of gold nanoclusters that confirms ‘divide and protect’ bonding structure.

P: has launched a social network for what it calls “the largest parenting community online.” many blogs and  matching with people who share common interests or childrens’ ages, and tag photos and profiles.

H: I am bit suspicious of anyone who shares that much common interest with a child. But the moms just keep on coming! New moms and pregnant women have over 109 word-of-mouth conversations per week about products, services, and brands, most of them positive and considered highly credible by other moms,

P: Nielsen is expected to announce its long-awaited new service that will deliver standardized metrics for out-of-home video networks. It will deliver free reports to agency clients,

H: Speaking of which, The world’s largest digital sign – commissioned by Walgreens – is nearly completed in Times Square.  The sign, which is comprised of 23 synchronized digital screens to create a solid animation, wraps three sides of a 25-story  T the building from which the New Year’s Eve ball is dropped.

P: Weighing in at 250,000 pounds, it spans 43,720 square feet making it significantly larger than the old champion from NASDAQ, which covers just 11,000 square feet.

H: More Out of Home marketing! A futuristic, inflatable, transformer-style giant graced New York’s Times Square yesterday. The 60-foot gift monster is heading to Phoenix today, to take its place outside of the University of Phoenix stadium where the Super Bowl will be played in two weeks.

P: In response to the complaints of a pastor of a church in Times Square, a New York state Supreme Court Justice has ordered a temporary restraining order against a company that proposed to put up ads that would have shown naked bottoms with smiley faces.

H: The advertisements for the Washlet – a bidet-toilet seat that uses warm water and air – were to go up July 1 for 30 days on the two sides of the building that houses the nondenominational church.

P: Storage vendors are scrambling to keep up with the demand from Hollywood special-effects houses and surveillance companies. Digital video storage is the single fastest-growing sector in the storage industry and it is being driven by the demand from filmmakers and security companies, both producing thousands of hours of video that needs to be held indefinitely;

H: The first iPhones won praise for their sleek design and elegant touchscreen, but Apple’s latest will be celebrated for the software applications it enables. & sold a  million over the weekend.

P: Last weekend there was, an ultra technorati blowout generously sponsored by the folks at O’Reilly Media at their spacious campus in Sebastapol  Among them were folk from Get Satisfaction, a site that fosters dialog between companies and their customers.  You post questions there, offer advice to others, and when it’s something company employees can address, they respond.

H: Linden Lab also has a Get Satisfaction company listing, with five Lindens interacting.  A bit like JIRA, the Lindens’ feature tracking software, but way more user-friendly– and perhaps just as important, publicly viewable.

P: It’s a family Affair! Night Morrisey has a fascinating and keenly observed profile of a Second Life family, seven adult-age Residents who roleplay as a caring nuclear household, with a mother and father, and five kids.  I bet there is a lot of smiling going on.

H: The details of their virtual domestic life are intriguing, especially as they relate to their real world identities.  MOM & DAD have accumulated I mean adopted, the children, and even extendplay into their real lives with telephone calls- I am sorry Pooky but I think I’m just going to call that a real relationship

P: The mom remembers when her smallest was “three days old, and looked it. So I took him shopping, then home – I wouldn’t take him home with noob hair!”
but he didn’t intentionally become a kid,  “I started playing with the slider settings and without realizing it I was making my av smaller and smaller, and it felt more natural to me. He bumped into other kids on a playground my first day as a boy and the other kids there were picked up by their mother, and I immediately knew I had to have that same thing.”

H: I got mine from slexchange, she’s a beauty.  And cleans up better than a robot.  Will virtual diapers be that far in the future?

P: diaper spelt backwards is..

H: Okay Pooky, we know…..Today was the Tour of the IBM Virtual Green Data Center
& IBM has announced it has accomplished virtual teleportation. That’s correct. The company known as the world leader in supercomputing teamed up with Second Life to make sure that users of virtual worlds can “teleport” their avatars between them.

P: “Teleporting an avatar between platforms has the potential to have a significant impact on the future of virtual worlds. An open standard for interoperability would allow users to cross freely from one world to another in a seamless transfer, just as they can go from one Web site to another on the Internet today.”

H: while Developing this protocol is a key milestone and has the potential to push virtual worlds into the next stage of their is getting the teleportation device that transports a real human into Second Life as an avatar, that just might be very worthwhile.

P: I thought that was called logging in? The “Partner” option in Second Life enables you to list another Resident as such in your avatar profile (if that person accepts your proposal, that is), and doing so is a bargain deal, literally costing pennies:  listing cost is $L10 (around 3.7  US cents), and L$25, if the couple decides to get divorced.  but who gets the kids?

H: The designation means different things to different Residents.  Sometimes it’s just romantic roleplay.  For others, it’s a connection that’s real in some meaningful way.  (The Linden Partner page acknowledges as much, offering it as an option for partnerships that certain real world governments forbid:  “Can’t be married in real life? Try Second Life!”)

P: What about polygamy? Is that legal here? Recently CeNedra Rivera ran a survey on her blog, asking “What does ‘Partner’ mean to you in SL?”, 27% said nothing I will never get partnered here, and you dont have to be married to get virtually pregnant either.

H: In other virtual headlines – yes Lively reminds me of something like IMVU, an instant messaging program that enables 3D avatar chat, in that it provides off-the-shelf avatars with teen appeal for socializing.

P: However, imagine if Google Earth became a portal to other virtual spaces. If you were in business mode, you could fly in via Google Earth to check the name of that company whose building you keep driving past, find its real-world buildings, use them to launch its webpage, and then enter its Lively virtual space to interact with some real employees.

H: As a tourist, you could fly into New York, check out the hotels in the area near where your friends live, and then fly your avatar into the hotel’s Lively space to talk to someone about getting a deal on a weekend break.

P: It’s this integration of 2D and 3D which is so powerful, and Google, which dominates the world’s text-based information and has hell of a leg up in 3D via Google Earth, seems to me well placed to create the ultimate mash-up of real and virtual world content. It will be interesting to see how Lively develops, but for now, we don’t need another stand alone virtual space: the real magic will happen when these worlds start to collide.

H: And The perception of most business people (if they’ve even heard of virtual worlds) is that virtual worlds are games. It’s hard for many business people to imagine using them for work.

P: . But with large companies like Diageo, Unilever, BP, IBM and others using virtual worlds  the case studies will start to come out and perception will gradually change.”

H: A Gartner report shows that 90% of corporate attempts to use virtual worlds fail within the first 18 months. Despite this finding, Gartner says that virtual worlds could still play a vital role in the future with 70% of organizations developing a private internal virtual world by 2012.

P: The projects so often fail either because they are launched for the wrong reasons

H: for the cool factor or to keep up with competitors, or because they replaced the bright sociable go-getter  with the IT guy who has the personality of a mushroom.

P:  or because marketers don’t understand at a fundamental level how virtual worlds are different from the rest of the Web (the pages that compose the “2-D Internet”).

H: “Realistic graphics and physical behavior count for little unless the presence is valued by and engaging to a large audience. and unless they smile Pooky, at least somewhere deep inside.

P: yeah & certainly if you don’t have to clean up your room.  And that…it…the …slews!

Sunday Supplement – The Soul of The New Machinima

July 13, 2008

The other night, after the show in the SpinDome, an avatar was there who went through his many wonderful and beautiful “selves”. As I looked at this person transforming himself from an alien to a griffen to magical dragons, I realized his form while changing was essentially the house of something that remained true. Yes the house we have our soul in whether in body form with fingers typing at the keyboards, or here as we speak, is still well, us. But what lies underneath, I guess it is our soul. It doesn’t really matter what the outside is, I realized as I looked at this avatar, we are who we are inside. Perhaps we love SecondLife because we can also breathe a different form to life, and in one that more closely resembles who we fell we really are. Our soul is our own though, our inner self always there – the one we carried with us into this life, second or othrwise. And what we do with our souls while we manifest them onto whichever plane we are on impacts how that soul devlops. How we touch other people also tells us what of our soul reaches forth beyond the confines we house.

We do not live just for ourselves alone in this world and we thankfully have the chance to reach out beyond the single self we do have. We can enchant eachother, teach each other and also transform one another. In so doing we grow and also transform ourselves. Not a bad package to have access to. Of course we can also at times hurt each other or over step the boundaries. In a respectful world, we try to pull back. Again it is the will of my soul to not want to cause yours pain.

For those who do hurt intentionally, do so with the horror of hurting themselves. Damage is never just impacted to the external, but to the internal as well.

While we change our form we essentially remain true to who we are. We can do what we can to enrich our own being, but I guess we also have the great and wonderful responsibility to help each other too. SecondLife lets us reach many people who we would normally, in the course of one human day never reach. And we come here because its beautiful and fun, impressive to see what others have done yes too. We can only imagine what we alone can fathom. But we can also learn from others, as no one knows everything. (I mean no one can really, where would you put it?) So you show me something and I show you too, together and separtely we grow and hopefully evolve into better people. We still carry tha soul inside us even if we are red or blue or green or pink or brown. However we are, we make an impact upon one another. It can’t be for naught, and we know this I think instinctively.

And we want to be here, for so very much. Time rushes when we are inworld, The minutes stretching vastly to hours in ways we could never have imagined we would devote to our virtual beings with our everlasting souls clinging gracefully to them. And because we do want to be here so very much, we set ourselves with things we “must” do. I have to come online to write or to get panelists, to check the set, etc. Others have to do what they must to get their virtual lives in order. And because we want to be here, I think we set the things we do as things for others because then we can justify all the time we spend here better to ourselves. It is and has become a world of mutual enrichment Because otherwise we couldn’t explain why we spend so much time here. For a greater service we can, and so we do. That reflects well on us, and consequentially on the souls which we will take undoubtedly with us when we shuffle off this virtual coil, whether by logging out for the day, of for eternity.

The Slews – July 8th – Pooky & Hydra

July 13, 2008

Lights dim music swells..from the top of my head to the tip of my tongue,,covering this
Once in a lifetime..beat that will go on in ways too persistent to remember…this….is….The….Slews
P: And good evening Second Nation, Here now The Slews!

H:A boa noite, e é aqui os pântanos

P: Scientists use the Big Byrd Green Bank Telescope to go fishing in a rich molecular cloud in our Milky Way. Seeking to discover new, complex molecules in interstellar space that may be precursors to life.  Always that search for life, why don’t they try Google?

H: As molecules rotate and vibrate, they emit radio waves at specific frequencies. Each molecule has a unique pattern of such frequencies, called spectral lines, that constitutes a “fingerprint” .  We tune in, and gotcha!

P: For centuries, sailors in the Indian Ocean have told stories of seas glowing with a dim, white light at night.  Satellite images now confirm the appearance of what seem to be bioluminescent bacteria, right where a ship’s crew reported seeing the “milky seas” 11 years ago.

H: Scientists say this rare phenomenon could be a way for the bacteria to attract the attention of fish so they can enter their guts and live there.  I don’t know about you Pooky, but I don’t eat anything that glows in the dark.

P: Plotting the ship’s course, and then, there it was on the satellite image… “It was one of those chill-down-the-spine moments that you hope to get once or twice in your career,” Scientests said.

H: Yeah like when you eat something that glows in the dark How many bacteria would it take to light up the seas?

P: Four billion trillion.

H: Lets just say a Google.  Letting your imagination run away with you may actually influence how you see the world. New research from Vanderbilt University has found that mental imagery—what we see with the “mind’s eye”—directly impacts our visual perception.

P: Imagery leads to a short-term memory trace  can bias future perception, definitively showing that imagining something changes vision both while you are imagining it and later on.” Top-down expectations or recollections of previous experiences might shape perception itself.”

H: As long as you didn’t say topless Pooky.  And this just in… “Animals wings, unlike propellers, have to keep stopping and starting in order produce lift”” (animals have forgotten to invent propellers, just as they forgot wheels), New research is centering on the compromise winged creatures face between meeting aerodynamic requirements and overcoming inertia in order to generate lift.

P: In the name of science researchers in England are loading wings of racing pigeons with lead fishing weights. This, Dr. Underwood believes  should act as a reminder to be cautious in copying nature. There is lots of interest in making micro/unmanned air vehicles that flap, hoping they present all sorts of advantages in terms of maneuverability, speed and so on.

H: He also goes on to say there is a tendency to presume that biology is efficient, and I would say that, even at very small sizes, if you want to hover efficiently, be a helicopter not a flapper…” I would like to see someone put lead weights in his underwear and see how far he gets.

P: In Einstein’s relativistic universe, matter curves space and slows down time, and the speed of light remains the only constant. But those are the big effects. The theory of relativity also includes some more esoteric details, one of which is called spin precession.

H:  The idea goes like this: Two massive bodies orbiting near each other will warp space enough to disturb the central axis around which both are moving, causing them to begin wobbling just like spinning tops. Strong gravity creates this so-called precession, and the more massive the objects, the easier the precession is to observe.

P: It’s not an easy theory to test. The lack of candidates and telescopic power had frustrated astronomers for years, until the discovery in 2003 of a particular pair of pulsars. Most important in this case, one pulsar eclipses the other briefly every couple of hours. That’s key to detecting precession, because during each eclipse astronomers can determine the precise angle of the radio signal and therefore the pulsar’s wobble over time.

H: Calculations based on Einstein’s theory predicted it should advance by 5.07 degrees per year, well within the margin of error. “It’s bang-on,” says astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor of Princeton University. “Einstein’s theory passed the test this time,” agrees astrophysicist Fotis Gavriil of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who praises the study’s “amazing high-precision measurement.” So is Einstein’s reputation secure? Says Gavriil, “Only with experiments like this will we know for sure.”

P: Put some lead weights on him…and see if he flys…Martian soil data collected by five robotic missions indicates that rain fell on the Red Planet billions of years ago. The findings provide no new insight into the possibility of Martian life,(again)  but they do suggest that further clues to Mars’s past could be found right here on Earth.

H: There’s little doubt now that Mars once was wet.  Yes but did it glow in the dark? less than 2 weeks ago, the Phoenix Mars Lander struck water ice while digging at the north polar region.  What remains to be determined is where this wetness came from and how long it lasted.

P: Preliminary investigations by Mars mission scientists, as well as high-resolution images taken by orbiters, have suggested that water on Mars surged up from deep below the surface, sometimes carving extensive channels and gullies,  However ther are also indications of rain by studying our own planet’s geochemistry.

H: Analyzing soil samples show a distinctive pattern of chloride and sulfate deposits. In all of the samples, the data show that the sulfates tend to stay nearer to the surface, whereas chloride concentrations increase with depth. That’s the same pattern found in extremely arid places on Earth such as Antarctica’s dry-valley regions and Chile’s Atacama Desert.

P: More than a year after taking a hallucinogenic drug in a carefully controlled experiment, most people rate the experience among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives, researchers reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Such findings are helping to renew interest in research with hallucinogens, a field whose reputation long suffered from the psychedelic excesses of the 1960s. When people glowed in the dark with alarming frequency.

H: The researchers monitored the mostly middle-aged subjects while they took a strong dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. All of the volunteers had indicated at least some participation in religious or spiritual activities–such as meditating or going to church–and the researchers instructed them to direct their attention inward while under the drug’s sway.

P:None had previous experience with hallucinogens. Over a year later, people continued to rate their 8-hour experience in the lab as similar in significance to life events such as the birth of a first child.

H: A giant rubber snake could be the future of renewable energy. The rippling “Anaconda” produces electricity as it is squeezed by passing waves. Its developers say it would produce more energy than existing wave-energy devices and be cheaper to maintain.

P: I think it might have been part of that Pslocybin experiment. Retired physicist Francis Farley and Rod Rainey dreamed up a flexible tube filled with seawater and sealed at both ends like a giant sausage. The structure streams out in the waves like a windsock pushed by the wind.

H: The passage of each wave squeezes the rubber and produces a bulging pressure wave that travels down its length. When the bulge reaches the end it sets turbines spinning to generate electricity.  That reminds me of something but I am not going to say what.

P: IF YOU were unfortunate enough to experience one of the universe’s most powerful explosions up close, you would certainly be doomed. But would the blast obliterate you with jets like something from a flamethrower or with cannonball-like projectiles of plasma? We thought we knew the answer, but now the picture is not so clear.

H: Gamma-ray bursts the most violent explosions in the cosmos, are intense flashes of high-energy radiation. The shorter bursts probably happen when a neutron star collides with another neutron star or a black hole. More protracted bursts release so much energy that only one type of event is thought capable of producing them – the collapse of a massive star’s core to form a black hole or neutron star
P: Or the collapse of the news as we knew it.  The value of 11 newspaper groups that have traded publicly since 2005 plummeted a combined $23.7 billion in the first half of this year. The value fell nearly as much in six months as it had in the three previous years put together,

H: But there is hope in the newspaper galaxy because, In developing countries, newspapers are booming, with circulation increasing in some cases in the double digits, despite the fact that the medium faces near-constant predictions of doom in the U.S. and Europe.

P: Rising literacy rates and an increase in disposable income are helping boost newspaper readership. Anyone who can read or write is still looked at with a bit of awe [in many markets in India.] When people first learn how to read, they want to let people know, and the first thing you want to do is be seen to be reading a newspaper.

H:’s traffic soared an impressive 94 percent in June compared to the same month last year, according to the company’s internal traffic numbers.Rupert Murdoch  plans to make access to the Wall Street Journal’s website free. The move will be able to bring in more advertising, as instead of having 1 million subscribers, it will have “at least 10 million to 15 million, in every corner of the earth,” he said.

P: At a meeting with about a dozen senior members of AOL’s staff very recently, Jeff Bewkes, CEO left at least one member of management with the impression that the company is for sale, a source close to the company says.

H: If Twitter had a P2P payments system in place today, it would become the most used mobile payments system overnight. Having the ability to send a message like “p innonate $5″ for that beer I just bought you”,  would integrate seamlessly with the way Twitter’s users already interact with their system.

P: Layering on a payments system would not only make the feature instantly used, it would position Twitter to revolutionize how money is collected and exchanged on the Internet. (Think of what Twitter’s done for flashmobs and how it could effect fundraising.)

H: The Senate Commerce Committee’s has rescheduled its online behavioral targeting hearing for July 9. On the eve of the hearing, Public Knowledge, Free Press and the Center for Democracy and Technology will hold a debate contesting the safety of behavioral targeting,  It might be putting the Cart before the horse though.

P: One-third of marketers say there are no written goals of any kind guiding marketing strategy. But as marketers begin developing metrics that help plan for future marketing, they are focusing on a variety of measures: brand and customer equity models, predictive models for direct response, working to understand the offline impact of online advertising, and working to understand the impact of experiential marketing.

H: Stop the presses! Word-of-mouth (WOM) happens during actual conversations! Those taking place in person and over the phone are overwhelmingly more prevalent than those online Specifically, content from a spouse, relative or best friend is rated more believable when it is shared offline, either by phone or face to face, than online – via email, text messaging or blogs.

P: Apparently, the value of eye contact, voice and perhaps even nonverbal communication provides a boost to credibility and to the likelihood that we’ll do something about what we’ve learned,” I wonder how the metetrics track for WOM on SL?

H: Especially now that our lips move? Google scored a legal victory in keeping its search source code secret from Viacom, but YouTube users were not so fortunate with their privacy.  Well if you put it on youTube, how private is it?

P: A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the search giant doesn’t have to turn over the code to Viacom, which filed a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google in 2007. In granting Google’s motion for a protective order, U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton in Manhattan agreed with Google’s characterization of the source code as a trade secret that can’t be disclosed without risking the loss of business.

H: New research from Nielsen tracks the top ten sites in the UK in average monthly minutes. There aren’t any virtual worlds on the list–MSN Search, eBay, and Facebook take the top slots–but Club Penguin and Second Life make the up-and-coming list.

P:  Tracking their usage minutes from May 2007 to May 2008, Nielsen reports that Club Penguin grew 82% from 23 million minutes to 42 million while Second Life grew a whopping 137% from 125 million minutes to 296 million.  My Club Penguin account is UberWaddle.

H: We’ve previously heard about A-SpaceX, a virtual world for intelligence agency collaboration and analysis that  lets agents look at data from around the world and across different time frames, but it looks like the project is picking up steam.

P: The Office of the Director for National Intelligence, IARPA, and the Air Force Research Laboratory recently announced an Industry Day for A-SpaceX, that happened today with  a simulcast in Second Life & it was all too hush hush to mention.

H: “A-SpaceX is seeking to create an analytic environment where the workspace becomes an enabler for the analytic process – fostering creativity between two key emerging technologies: Virtual worlds, and Workflow management.” a press release stated.

P:In this case, A-SpaceX is planned to include multiple virtual worlds, each targeted at specific kinds of decision making, though the goal is to make them interoperable to allow analysts to jump from one hoop through another.

H: Habbo Hotel announced a partnership with the Matthew Shepard Foundation to bring the “Erase Hate” project to the InfoBus. Foundation staff will lead two discussions each week in the virtual bus on bullying, discrimination and hate–both on- and offline.

P:I remember Sulka Haro explaining that the company had problems opening up its Hotels to international audiences, though, since “only 44% of teenagers had positive attitudes toward foreigners.”  Regardless, it sounds like an interesting project and a nice indication of nonprofits reaching out to the youth audience through their increasing involvement in virtual worlds.

H: On24 focus is on  events with corporate webinars, but announced yesterday that it had expanded to include virtual worlds for trade shows, conferences, and events with ON24 Virtual Show. Virtual Show targets users looking to avoid travel costs and time as well as extending physical events’ reach with networking, virtual booths, webcasts, and a customizable interface.

P: And  San Jose State University, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has built a campus at Second Life, . “I can send a student in to have an experience in an unstructured environment, and then come out and have a conversation about it.”  professor Kemp said.

H: Thirty students signed up for Kemp’s 15-week virtual-world class, which includes learning about the application driving the Second Life program.

P: On the 4th Americans celebrate Independence Day, but five years ago, July became a significant month for everyone in Second Life.  That’s when outrage against the Linden’s tax policy, which penalized excessive building by deducting L$ from the creator’s account, began festering toward open revolt,

H: Buildings were razed, giant tea crates were deployed, declarations were written (by Fleabite Beach, and within the year, the Lindens had canceled the policy, replacing monthly subscriptions with what we have now: land use fees where building is no longer taxed.  Sounds effective-

HP This week Master of Puppets Meets Hands Free: Dorkbot Presents Top Avatar Control Innovators Avatar Puppeteering introduces a completely physics-based means of naturalistically animating the avatar,

H: in which every joint can be pushed, pulled, or rotated in real time for maximum expressivity and responsiveness.

P: Demonstrated this Sunday in a fantastic open comment no=holds barred environment It was a great debut for a possibley soon to be seen flexibility. Every joint has a position and a rotation in 3D space.

H: In the early 1980s, NSF put together NSFNet as a network connecting regional computer networks around the country. The Department of Defense had already created the Arpanet network, which gave birth to many of the tools and techniques used on the modern Internet, but Arpanet traffic was limited to Defense-sponsored research. NSFNet was designed to be open to all users. Happy Birthday Modern Internet

P: & Happy birthday Hydra too! That was Hydras big event this past weekend. CIGNA, , is announcing the development of a virtual health care community. 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.

H: Developed by Method, a brand experience agency, will help us develop nutrition knowledge, learn how to make healthier food choices, manage our weight and understand portion sizes and food labels – Stress, physical activity and sleep zones within the community will be developed following an evaluation of people’s experience with the nutrition zone.

P: Sleep zones ???? Don’t be foolish! – everyone knows that Sl stands for Sleep Less!
& that is the slews..

The Slews……7/1 Pooky & Hydra at the helm

July 3, 2008

Lights swells
From the top of the crown on the Head Lindens Head to the bottom left hand corner of the search for the new and exciting …and going beyond the virtual world for relevant facts and fiction 24/7….in ways to crazy to completely understand…This …is…the….Slews

P: Good Evening Second Nation and here now the Slews.

H: Gutenabend und hier ist jetzt die Durchläufe

P: Although the preliminary findings from Phoenix do not answer whether life ever existed on Mars (or might still exist somewhere underground), an experiment showed the dirt on the planet’s northern arctic plains similar to surface soils found in Antarctica, full of the mineral nutrients that a plant would need.

H: Mars today is frigid and dry, and the surface is bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, making life unlikely, but conditions in more ancient epochs may have not been so harsh.

P: NASA reported“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life whether past, present or future,” “The sort of soil you have there is the type of soil you’d probably have in your backyard.”for Phoenix scientists that was “like winning the lottery

H: Trying out the new & unusual could be programmed into our hot wiring – Using brain scans to measure blood flow, British researchers discovered that a brain region known as the ventral striatum was more active when subjects chose unusual objects in controlled tests.

P:The ventral striatum is involved in processing rewards in the brain through the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine.

H: Scientists believe the existence of this age-old reward mechanism indicates there is an evolutionary advantage in sampling the unknown.

P: programming into our brains?  In the future we could have computers implanted  Scientists at the University of Florida aren’t just creating a neural implant that can translate human brain signals, but one that can act independently to increase its efficiency and synergy with the brain as it learns new things.

H: Tests with new evolving brain-machine interfaces using rats have tiny electrodes that capture thought signals.

P:: Three rats were taught how to move a robotic arm toward a target using just their thoughts. Each time they succeeded, the rats were rewarded. Is that like food for thought?

H: You can run but you can not hide -! A new whitepaper reveals how advertising that spans multiple-media platforms drives conversion well beyond the effects of increased frequency, and targeting. With or without brain implants

P: I know if I could shop just by thought it might prove fatal.

H: So if I just thought of you naked would that mean…..never mind….
Driven by market capitalization growth in emerging economies, the wealth of the world’s high net worth individuals increased 9. percent to $40.7 trillion in 2007,

P: The global economy grew at a slower pace but upward wealth will grow to $59 trillion by 2012, advancing at a rate of 7.7 percent per year.

H: ICANN, which regulates aspects of internet use, voted unanimously to relax restrictions on trusted domains like .com and .net, as well as country suffixes like .uk, .it and .fr

P: The decision enables companies to create brand-specific web addresses, and individuals to purchase self-named domains — provided they have a “business plan and technical capacity.” is still free as of this writing

H: Google on Monday unveiled a new Web-based tool, Map Maker, that lets people add roads, lakes, businesses, and other features to unmapped regions of Google Maps.  Just what Google needs, more free stuff

P: What if I build my own island on google map that doesn’t exist yet- will google create it for me?  They might not have the money – A technology startup that developed software for migrating data from Microsoft) Outlook to Google Web mail has filed a lawsuit , claiming Google owes the smaller company more than $1 billion for stealing its trade secrets.

H: LimitNone agreed to share its technology with the understanding that it would be kept confidential.  “When a mega-company like Google that professes ‘Don’t be evil’ tells you they love your product and says they are not going to make a competing product, you believe them.”
“Don’t be evil”!  it should be don’t be a weasel!

P: Stuck in a traffic jam and really hoping you could update your Facebook page? You soon may be able to in a Chrysler. Which will announce a wireless Internet-access option for all 2009 models called UConnect Web —& you can check you that real-time stock quotes now made available on , So you can see how your social profile improves as your stock goes down

H: or vice versa. Yearly online video ad revenue will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 168 percent.

P: A recent report by IDC predicts that Internet video advertising will increase over sevenfold during the next four years, from $500 million in 2007 to $3.8 billion in 2012. Obviously, this is huge and great news for the industry. Get me my agent

H: Wyndstorm Corporation launched Socialframes, which enables users to interact with a social network or virtual world without leaving the website they are visiting. Or their car.

P:  be on the look out for  virtual salesgirls with a perky names and a handy discounts

H: The virtual associates are built with artificial intelligence software from Justdevelopit, a new company. When the software senses a transaction delay, it launches a chat and offers the customer a privileged discount,

P:but since the salesgirls are so hot they are also inciting emotional relationships- never let a chatbot break your heart Hydra

H: TechCrunch is reporting that Vint Cerf, the so-called “father of the Internet,” says maybe we should think of the Internet as being like the highway system — a public good that should be nationalized. trying to spark a debate about whether the Internet should be treated more like the public resource that it is.

P: I Paramount  with Makena, are making thousands of movie clips  available on, Visitors who purchase the clips can use them to communicate with others by having their avatar “speak” lines from movies while the actual clip plays in a small window.

H: Cliches made fresh Daily.

P: Slim Jim has launched its own virtual world, Spicy Town, which actually now is the main, official website for the snack food. It’s a pretty basic, Flash-based environment: users can walk around, chat, pick fights, collect Slim Jims, and wreak havoc on the environment. All While they exude the aroma of SlimJims!

H: Not in my car!  One of the only steps to the registration process, which is minimal and full of ‘tude, is to upload a photo of yourself, which is then mapped on to the edgier version of you. I don’t think I could stand a spicier version of myself? Could you Pooky?

P: Don’t blame me I was just drawn this way.  I am more interested in SeaPals,. I am already beginning to populate my virtual aquarium. I am still looking for a penguin as of this writing. But the chat is only in preset messages with other fish.

H:  Instead of going to a site to play a MMOG,  RocketON has actually placed a virtual world on top of the Internet. Your avatar can roam the Web with you, inviting friends to join, discuss and interact on any site.

P:, RocketON is super-imposed in the bottom corner of your screen.Then you can chat, play games, and, if the site is a partner, download virtual goods from the site for your ava like GAP outfits, NIKe shoes or virtual coke-

H: I just don’t want one in my car.

P: for HabboHotel The recent milestone of 100 million users is nothing to snuff at. In true Habbo style, they threw a big bash and gave the 100 millionth user a boatload of prizes as a thank you for helping them reach this major goal.

H: Found!   Beach ball made by Philip Linden in April 2002 before SL was even launched.  In Smoky there is Philip’s handiwork, made in the days before the world was even Beta.

P: Lost!  The Garden for the Missing which contains over 170 posters of missing persons from the US.  All of the missing persons posters are clickable so that you can read more about their disappearances;  In Remora.

H: Profound: Sl5b is SL’s big birthday bash with over 600 exhibits and plenty to look at, anything and everything you might have imagined can and was built. And there were many panel discussions on how here can affect *points behind*

P: Monsters attacking Toxian City’s Exhibit
Toxia is a dark urban live action role playing game. The city’s setting is what’s left of an old port town after major disaster hit.  How that helps us I don’t know

H: The ABA’s Conference “Why Virtual Worlds Matter for Lawyers” was held at the Justice Center in (SL). Discussion of virtual reality law issues and the future of law in worlds. As long as they dont sell SecondLife Insurance.

P:  Troy Mcluhan’s new exhibition called Lord Rosse’s Monster Telescopes opened on Sunday, on the sim named Space Island,

H: The greatest avatar the world has ever known might indeed be that of Philip Linden.  His statue is in the VIP known as the Linden installation where you can actually see the statue .  The man has a sense of humor, and we searched the SL5B for evidence of where he might have gotten those flashy pixels which cover his privates.

P: Yes we finally discovered this picture after days of searching –The Hansel & Gretal house & yes  it is skittles which are covering his vitals and that is the Slews…

The Titan – Troy McLuhan

June 29, 2008
The Titan

The Titan

Perhaps it’s his brilliance, wit and wisdom that makes us seek him out, but Troy McLuhan is one busy man. From his early work with the International SpaceFlight Museum to bringing the Naked Scientists into focus on Sunday Afternoons, he is endlessly busy creating a better life for us here. It is his restless search and great commitment to this outstanding Metaverse we inhabit that also makes it a better place. And we recognize this.

The man I call The Titan was gracious enough to give me a few hours of his time (Yes he is busy, and we had to do the interview in 2 parts.)

It was fitting that the interview took place on Mars, above Kalepa.
Pooky Amsterdam: You mentioned that a few years ago you presented a talk to the International SpaceFlight Museum, what year was that?
Troy McLuhan: Well, I guess the first presentation would have been in June 2006.
Pooky Amsterdam: Tell me about it please.
Troy McLuhan: We’d invited someone from NASA Johnson to talk at the grand opening of the International Spaceflight Museum.
Troy McLuhan: He’s a volunteer fireman and there was a fire….so I jumped in to give a talk in his place at the opening of ISM Spaceport Alpha sim.
Pooky Amsterdam: You were last minute to present?
Troy McLuhan: Yes, I talked about the International Space University.
Pooky Amsterdam: Where is that?
Troy McLuhan: (I’m alumni) I went to the ISU Summer Session Program (SSP). The ISU SSP is in a different city every year. Next year it’s at NASA Ames.
Pooky Amsterdam: Always NASA then?
Troy McLuhan: No, it’s been in Thailand, Chile, Canada, you name it.
Pooky Amsterdam: What are some of the goals?
Troy McLuhan: It’s multidisciplinary, covering the science, the economics, the policy issues, the engineering, and more. It’s also multinational, with about 100 students coming from all over the world.
Pooky Amsterdam: What was the most important thing you got out of it?
Troy McLuhan: I got a good sense of the space community out of going to the ISU.
Pooky Amsterdam: How did this reflect in your talk you gave?
Troy McLuhan: My talk in June 2006 was about 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of questions. After that I gave a talk almost every week up till around Christmas.
Pooky Amsterdam: Great so you were a hit. Did you feel any destiny in this?
Troy McLuhan: I like giving presentations.
Pooky Amsterdam: After the first talk, did you prepare a great deal, or speak more off the cuff?
Troy McLuhan: It was all pre-written I copied and pasted from a text file. (This was before voice chat.)
Pooky Amsterdam: When you initially started giving the talks you must have had some limitations in terms of presentation materials, how did you overcome this?
Troy McLuhan: Space topics have the nice property that there is a ton of public domain images etc.
Pooky Amsterdam: I was fascinated by your description of your building 3d models yourself, why did you take this upon yourself?
Troy McLuhan: My first big exhibit project in SL was a 3D model of the solar system.  You can say a date on open text chat, and then the planets move to their positions on that date. I made that in November 2005.
Pooky Amsterdam: I’m in awe.
Troy McLuhan: I’ll show it to you sometime.
Pooky Amsterdam: How much time do we have now?
Troy McLuhan: 13 minutes
Pooky Amsterdam: 2 more questions for now
Pooky Amsterdam: 1) Why do you do this?
Pooky Amsterdam: I think it is important to know where this incredible motivation comes from.
Troy McLuhan: It’s about trying to understand the world, trying to figure it out.
Pooky Amsterdam: & that must be what makes you so effective as you are also on the journey of discovery.
Troy McLuhan: Aren’t we all.
Pooky Amsterdam: Indeed! Troy I hope so, but some can take others with them more easily. It’s that x factor, you have it.
Pooky Amsterdam: What was the first presentation you gave in school that made you feel really great, feel really the beginnings of this kind of journey for you?
Troy McLuhan: We used to do public speaking competitions in 4H.
Pooky Amsterdam: I had always wanted to be in 4H but I was a city girl, I used to read about it.
Troy McLuhan: There’s 4H in cities too, but not as common.
Pooky Amsterdam: Not in Greenwich Village….
Troy McLuhan: Most 4H clubs are farm related.
Pooky Amsterdam: How old were you?
Troy McLuhan: I don’t know.
Pooky Amsterdam: & what was the presentation you did?
Troy McLuhan: I don’t even remember the topics anymore.
Pooky Amsterdam: Was it that people were really listening & learning something? Is that what made you happy?
Troy McLuhan: I didn’t win.  I think the best I ever did was come in 2nd place.
Pooky Amsterdam: I guess it wasn’t about winning for you, but you will compete as you aren’t afraid to throw your hat into the ring.
Troy McLuhan: I was in 4H mostly because my Dad wanted me to be in 4H.
Pooky Amsterdam: You got more out if it though, you created something more out of it for yourself and I can think of a few metaphors for this.
Troy McLuhan: We also had public speaking in school.
Pooky Amsterdam: Did you like that?
Troy McLuhan: I’ve always enjoyed public speaking I think.
Pooky Amsterdam: That makes sense.
Troy McLuhan: It’s 18:00 now
Pooky Amsterdam: I will hold the rest till a more convenient time
End of Part 1

Beginning of Part 2
Pooky Amsterdam: When we last left off- the Martian landscape was beneath us in a glow of its’ red aura, now we sit in a quiet place after the flight….
Pooky Amsterdam: When you were young, did you ever imagine yourself older as now doing what you are on space exploration?
Troy McLuhan: Well, when I was younger I read a lot of science essays and books, the “popular” accounts, if you will.
Pooky Amsterdam: Did you ever not take what was told you on face value? Or, how did this lead to your wanting to investigate on your own?
Troy McLuhan: Well, I’m not sure anything led to me wanting to investigate things on my own. I did little experiments and things since I was quite young.
Troy McLuhan: A parallel thing that’s important to understand is that my parents got us a computer for Christmas in the early 1980s. A TRS-80, you hooked it up to the TV as the screen.
Pooky Amsterdam: They encouraged you then in this as well.
Troy McLuhan: One of my brothers also got into programming, and it’s also a big part of what he does today.
Pooky Amsterdam: & what did you find yourself doing with it in its nascent form?
Troy McLuhan: We made some simple games, a wordprocessor, a map program.
Pooky Amsterdam: It didn’t come with its own load of stuff or you had more interest in making your own?
Troy McLuhan: No, the TRS-80 didn’t come with anything except a BASIC interpreter. You could buy games or software as cartridges to stick in the side.
Pooky Amsterdam: Sure, but it must have been limited.
Troy McLuhan: Yeah but it was fun.
Pooky Amsterdam: It was the future- did you get any sense of that then?
Troy McLuhan: Well, we knew it was new, but it must have given my dad quite a scare, because he never used one since.
Pooky Amsterdam: He left that to his sons.
Troy McLuhan: He was actually very suspicious of it, giving us very specific schedule when we could use it, as if it were a toy.
Pooky Amsterdam: He knew more about 4 H, so in a way it is really a tribute to him that he wanted more for you.
Troy McLuhan: I hated 4H. Maybe I didn’t make that clear.
Pooky Amsterdam: Did you find those limits useful? And yes you did-but in that you pushed your 4H experience it to where it made sense to you.
Troy McLuhan: And we weren’t allowed to use it during seeding or harvest, even for school work. Well, the schedule was also in place so my brothers and I could have our own times with it.
Pooky Amsterdam: Did you fight over it ever, as kids will?
Troy McLuhan: No we never fought over anything.
Pooky Amsterdam: That is great.
Troy McLuhan: Or if we did it must have been minor since I forget.
Troy McLuhan: We also had school work to do, and chores, and hockey, and so on.
Pooky Amsterdam: I guess your dad put that kind of thing into a schedule- a time for every purpose then. You played Hockey??
Troy McLuhan: Yeah, I hated hockey even more than 4H. At least I got *some* useful things out of 4H.
Pooky Amsterdam: It has an innate elegance, the skating, I think. But you don’t seem to like anything forced upon you.
Troy McLuhan: Should I?
Pooky Amsterdam: No, of course not, but I’m sure you have observed that some people are not leaders who know their own minds so very well. You do & seem always have.
What was an early thing you determined for yourself? That was really yours alone?
Troy McLuhan: I don’t have any good answer. Maybe nothing.
Pooky Amsterdam: Okay interesting & re hockey- at least you know how to skate.
Troy McLuhan: It’s of no use to me to know how to skate. Since I’ve been able to decide for myself what to do with my spare time, I’ve not put on a skate.
Pooky Amsterdam: You have a very strong interest in space- when did that kick in? From the early science essays you read? Or more technical real things?
Troy McLuhan: My interest in space is just part of my larger interest in the natural world and how things work.
Pooky Amsterdam: so you have an equal interest in the microscopic?
Troy McLuhan: Sure, of course.
Pooky Amsterdam: You seem to have one foot so firmly planted in the future & yet are also drawn to the Victorian era. Do you think we need the past to find the future?
Troy McLuhan: Well, I think it’s important to grasp that our human understanding of the world comes from people who lived and worked on it – on history.
Pooky Amsterdam: On the shoulders of giants?
Troy McLuhan: Yes, something like that.
Pooky Amsterdam: Yes, time is a river, & for those who can plumb its depths a remarkable one. In that vein what of the great ancient engineering accomplishments are you most taken with?
Troy McLuhan: I think the great pyramids at Giza are impressive.
Pooky Amsterdam: What was the first thing you built that you felt really proud?
Troy McLuhan: Most of the big things I’ve made have been software. For my PhD, I basically rebuilt an entire program twice.
Pooky Amsterdam: A program for…?
Troy McLuhan: For optimizing preliminary designs of spacecraft trajectories, where the spacecraft could use gravity-assist maneuvers and low-thrust engines.
Pooky Amsterdam: Great accomplishment!
Troy McLuhan: That work was funded by JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory).
Pooky Amsterdam: The ability to maximize thrust in outer space is very important, what do you think they should do with it?
Troy McLuhan: Low-thrust engines are good because the key thing is to get the most bang for your buck (propellant mass). The “bang” is the speed of the propellant coming out of the spacecraft – and with ion engines, it comes out 10 times faster than with chemical engines.
Pooky Amsterdam: & less cost & residual?
Troy McLuhan: I haven’t done any work on that since I finished my PhD in 2004.
Pooky Amsterdam: They have it now- you have moved on then?
Troy McLuhan: JPL was going to hire me, but they didn’t get around to it, yet. There were budget cuts back in 2004-5 and also there are hurdles because I’m Canadian.
Pooky Amsterdam: Their loss- talent is hard to come by. Would you like them to get back to you?
Troy McLuhan: If they had an interesting project or problem for me to work on, then yeah, I’d be interested.
Pooky Amsterdam: Do you think Canada will become more involved in space exploration?
Troy McLuhan: No.
Pooky Amsterdam: 3 more questions then
Pooky Amsterdam: 1) What would you like to build?
Pooky Amsterdam: 2) I wish I built that……..
Pooky Amsterdam: 3) What intrigues you?
Pooky Amsterdam: So those are my last 3 questions.
Troy McLuhan: The things that intrigue me are how things work, especially “natural” things – like why do some butterfly wings change colour depending on the angle you look at them?
Pooky Amsterdam: Oh Troy, some things should be a mystery!
Troy McLuhan: Why?
Pooky Amsterdam: To make us wonder, but then I could say well its camouflage or the layers of color changes on each ‘hair” on the wing producing a natural hologram effect..
Troy McLuhan: Well, one thing you quickly learn in this business of understanding things is that as you learn more, you realize you understand less than ever.
Troy McLuhan: For question 2, I really admire some of the work of Aimee Weber, like her Tsunami build on the NOAA sim.
Pooky Amsterdam: I guess the thing you would like to build, you are building. Anything you want say about the Lord Rosse project?
Troy McLuhan: Well, it’s just one in a series of projects – all of which exist to help explain ideas in science, for reference, like an adjunct to Wikipedia, but also for education and entertainment.
Pooky Amsterdam: Fantastic & that will spark much more science & thinkopedia.
Troy McLuhan: No it’s *in addition to* things like Wikipedia, which is text, pictures, video and audio files. I’m adding 3D models, animations, narrations.
Pooky Amsterdam: People will be drawn to that- I do believe people are tired of the dumbing down. That will really expand it then.
Troy McLuhan: Yes.
Pooky Amsterdam: Wikipedia is very flat.
Troy McLuhan: Wikipedia is already multimedia, but doesn’t yet incorporate all kinds of digital media.
Pooky Amsterdam: Pretty mighty Troy and that really could expand a base of curiosity in so many important fields. Do you think there is any kind of fight for the mind of humanity now?
Troy McLuhan: Is that a bonus question? 😀
Pooky Amsterdam: With you it’s all a bonus, maybe we should think on that one.
Troy McLuhan: I’d rather not get into that – it seems a bit off topic.
Pooky Amsterdam: I agree, another time then?
Troy McLuhan: Ok, Cheers!

The Slews – 6/24 Pooky & Hydra from the The Desk

June 28, 2008

Lights dim….music swells
From the Top of the flying carpet which flew itself into my tiny heart to the bottom of the koi pond where I saw the future reflected in blue eyes, covering the mental Inline skating we make happen on & off the ice 24/7…in ways Bobby ORR couldn’t even imagine…This …IS…The…. Slews……

P: Good evening Second Nation and here now The Slews!

H: Hyvä ilta , ja tähän kas noin

P: Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.

H: “It must be ice,”These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it’s ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can’t do that.” Neither can dandruff.

P:  For the second time since April, ESA’s Jules Verne ATV was used to raise the orbit of the International Space Station.

H: A record boost from the 20 minute burn of the Automated Transfer Vehicle’s main engines successfully lifted the altitude of the 300-tonne Station by around 7 km . Talk about a relaunch!

P: Advanced ground penetration radar, originally developed to investigate the soil structure on the Moon and other planets is now used in Canadian mines to spot hidden cracks and weaknesses in mine roofs.

H:  Lavas from Hawaiian volcano contain fingerprint of planetary formation Now, a precision analysis of lava samples taken from the crater is giving scientists a new tool for reconstructing planetary origins. A closer examination of iron isotopes tells us more.

P: Higher than expected levels of sodium found in a 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite suggest that the dust clouds from which the building blocks of the Earth and neighboring planets formed were much denser than previously supposed

H: Has anyone been Sodium and Iron on the panel?

P: Single person submersibles have been called in to help scientists retrieve samples from a lake in northern British Columbia that may hold vital clues to the history of life on Earth and on other planets.

H: Underwater exploration at heart of outer space.   How we explore this Lake will lay the groundwork for how we will explore Mars.”

P:  At an international conference, a team of European astronomers announced a remarkable breakthrough in the field of extra-solar planets.

H: Using the HARPS instrument at the ESO La Silla Observatory, they have found a triple system of super-Earths around the star HD 40307.

P:.. Add to it the Jupiter-like planets already known, and you may well arrive at the conclusion that planets are ubiquitous,” as in everywhere.

H: Scientists have confirmed for the first time that an important component of early genetic material which has been found in meteorite fragments is extraterrestrial in origin,

P: The finding suggests that parts of the raw materials to make the first molecules of DNA and RNA may have come from the stars. The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavier form of carbon which could only have been formed in space.

H: Electronic Arts has released the so-called Spore Creature Creator, which allows players to generate infinitely varied 3D critters and interact with them.  :It’s a tantalizing, preview of the company’s upcoming God-game Spore.

P: Almost all of the bloggers on the site where this was announced are still waiting for the download – There is A god then there is an EA- Phone home.

H: Japan’s biggest astronomical observatories are teaming up with international community for an unprecedented quest to find out whether there is life in outer space.

P: New computing technologies and the evolution of a “virtual man” to predict the effects of new drugs before they enter clinical trials could transform the fortunes of pharmaceutical research,

H: In May 2008, the average time spent among all social networking websites increased 71 percent compared with May of last year.

P: Although Overall monetization in the online ad industry dropped last month social networking and gaming site pricing began to improve.

H: Cost per thousand increased 66 percent and 51 percent, while  sports sites remained level and entertainment, news and tech sites dropped.

P: Almost 100% of the content in IMVU is user-generated. They have collectively created the world’s largest catalog of virtual items.  The games industry should understand user generated content before it’s too late.

H: iOpener Media,, got a nice feature from the BBC today about its plans to create a mixed-reality racing game, pitting average users against professional Formula One drivers.

P: iOpener will track real-time differential GPS data from the races and send it to PCs and consoles.

H: “It’s clear that the next trend in gaming is going to be bringing real objects into the virtual world; playing not against other gamers but people doing the real thing, “You can compete against the best of the best.”

P:TV ASAHI, one of Japan’s major broadcasters, is airing a pilot this Saturday night for a”one hour interactive mobile participation TV show, Artificial Life,  letting audience members at home chime in with their own 3D avatars, competing against  100,000 others  and answering quiz questions for TV ASAHI-sponsored prizes.  Viewer log in!

H; The application that’s getting attention is Loopt. Working with Microsoft Virtual Earth for the display, Loopt lets people use their iPhone as a “social compass.”
A free service using the iPhone’s location services to display your location and your friends’ as pinpoints on a map.  But does it know where your secret crush is Pooky?

P: As long as he can find me on the world map, I’m good….This week 50 Golden Brands, which is a send-up of the brands that influenced each of the past 50 years . 1959 was ruled the year of Barbie. ’85 went to Microsoft, ’88 to Nike, ’01 to the iPod, and ’07 to O2. 2008’s brand has not yet been named.  I vote for the 2nd QuestioN!

H : A new survey by consumer research firm Experian has found that PlayStation 3 owners skew the oldest of all three consoles – with appeal at its highest levels to those 44 and older,

P:also tracking low gamer activity in… needlework and antiques shopping?

H: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had purchased 20 SimWelder units  and with channel partner VRSim. California Prisons Using Virtual Reality to Train Inmates in Welding Skills.  Working on a Virtual chain gang!

P: If you want to create your perfect mate have a look at new World Notes & CyFishy Traveler– you can create your perfect match right here on SL.  If you don’t mind dating yourself.

H: Pooky you never do that!

P:The fourth Virtual Worlds Business Panel was hosted at the Nokia sim last friday, and drew quite a choice crowd, exploring many varied experts’ opinions on how to really make it in virtual world business.

H: Linden Lab has announced that it will celebrate Second Life’s 5th Birthday by holding a two-week long Virtual World Fair,

P:  The Virtual World Fair, which will take place in several Second Life regions from June 23 to July 7,  showcasing our creativity, kicked off with founder and former CEO Philip Rosedale and current CEO Mark Kindom each delivering an opening address.

H: Lotus Development Corporation founder and Linden Lab board member Mitch Kapor will offer closing remarks.

cP: Check out The Garden of NPIRL Delights, a sprawling continent of interactive art installations that could only exist in a metaverse like ours

H: Recent note -ArcelorMittal is hosting a global, mixed-reality shareholder event in Second Life.. Charity Contact a Family is using Second Life to help parents of disabled children stay in touch.

P: French executive recruiting company GBO has opened up a space in Second Life. Blockdot has opened a gaming center in Second Life with Asahi  and Fivestar Interactive to reach the Asian market.

H: The 2008 Second Life Surfing Association Season One Champion Awards Party officially marked the end of the year’s first Second Life surfing season with Second Life resident Pova Rustamova being declared the season champion,

P: With ten qualifying SLSA surfing competitions in the year, plus twenty-odd others, surfing is one of the most popular and fastest growing sports in Second Life.

H: Cory Ondrejka left his post of CTO at Linden Lab,  many wondered where he’d wind up next. It’s not to a hot, new virtual world,
though. Two weeks ago Ondrejka became Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy, for EMI Music. Yes but do they have surfing?

P: I think he took the Second Award for best executed Job Surf- You Hydra who hosted the now Famous Nokia business panel- beat him by a few curls and that is The Slews!