Friday, April 30, 2010

US Army to Use Second Life to Aid Amputee Veterans

The US Army is making plans to purchase space in Second Life for the purpose of helping veteran amputees back into society. Named the Amputee Virtual Environment Support Space project, the virtual space is to be used by the wounded soldiers after they leave treatment centers.

“The avatar will be able to interact with other registered avatar beings – fellow amputees, caregivers, even friends and loved ones – in a virtual world that's unencumbered by the restrictions of time, distance or disability.” One program manager noted amputee soldiers once out of treatment faculties found themselves alone. The virtual world would help provide them with a group of peers for support.

“As AVESS develops, users also may be able to check in with their professional caregivers, asking questions, getting information updates, and even seeing online demonstrations of the best way to do a physical therapy exercise or adjust a prosthetic device.”

The contract was awarded in fall 2009 to ADL Co, "We tasked them with coming up with a roadmap, letting us know what was possible in developing a virtual world for amputee veterans, and letting us know what issues there are in terms of privacy, access, authenticating who was coming into the environment, all those types of issues," program manager Ashley Fisher explained.

The first phase involved a normal Second Life region, to see what they could do there. Their experiences also led to the conclusion they needed a secure area from unauthorized avatars, especially griefers whom would harass the wounded veterans.

"We wanted to avoid that, because we really did want the veterans to be able to go in and express the issues they are having with the people they know are going through the same thing," Fisher detailed, "And also, we needed it to be secure, because we want to try to bring families, and possibly even children, into the world, and we can't really do that on the regular Second Life platform." The area is being set up in a private, and secure, space in Second Life Enterprise , a region for private spaces marketed to corporations.

Fisher made comparisons to the movie “Avatar,” in which a former marine who lost his legs is able to go about in a new body through the use of a machine. She explained she saw “tremendous therapeutic value” in the amputees’ ability to “define their avatars as they choose, and to immerse themselves in those characteristics as they interact with other avatars.”

Fisher expected some to depict their amputations on their avatars with prosthetic limbs, though a number would do so only as they became more at ease with the virtual environment and the others in it. The “transformation” where they would come to “accept themselves and their new appearance” was hard enough when surrounded by their peers in a hospital, but harder when trying to fit back into society.

"For individuals with disabilities, virtual worlds are a powerful way to connect with others, to access peer support and to participate in activities that might not otherwise be possible," Fisher explained. "This project will establish the best way to adopt this technology for the unique needs of the military amputee community."

Source: The Official Website of the National Guard

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, April 23, 2010


By Bixyl Shuftan

Those with a fascination for Steampunk, fans of the classic novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” or even just a simple interest in either, may want to head to a certain place in Second Life: Nemo.

The entry point is a metal platform, with a walkway leading to a metal tube poking up through the surface, a doorway open and leading to an elevator. One can take the elevator down, and find oneself in the middle of an undersea city. The structure is done in the style of the Victorian era, but with strange machines mixed in. Near the entrance is a model of the complex, which can help in seeing where one can go while down there. There is also music in the background, which was a bit haunting at times when I was there.

The underwater complex is well detailed. Some rooms are simple living quarters in which one can sit on a couch by an amp and read the books of the day. There is also an occasional portrait of a notable person, appropriate to the setting, at the time, such as scientist Nikola Telsa. There is also an organ in one

In other places in the structure, one can look at electrical and plasma-filled equipment fit for a mad scientist’s lab. There are robots in the place, resembling sea creatures, in various stages of assembly, as well as sketches of the contraptions on the wall. If one looks outside, an occasional working model can be seen moving through the water. There are also other machines for use outside the lab, such as a fortune-telling machine. The machines are done in good detailed, sometimes with moving gears and other parts.

Nemo was built by Sextant Shepard, a French journalist in real life. In the Linden Blogs, he stated he was working on another area, the Oruchalcum Mine. Nemo itself is still a “work in progress,” evidenced by a closed door with a sign at one point.

A fascinating sim that anyone who’s read the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells will enjoy.

Nemo is at the FRANCE3D futuna sim at (91/148/21).

Someone also did a Youtube of the area, which one can see: Link.

*  *  *  *  *

Addition: Nemo was one of the last places I would cover for James and Dana's Second Life Newspaper. This sim received a good deal of praise for it's design. It was featured in the destination guide and mentioned by Linden Lab as a key place to go to. More was built after the article, including scenery above ground, so I went back to see the new additional areas. Sadly, it didn't stay up for very long. In a matter of weeks, it was gone. I would go back once more for a few more pictures before it faded away.

Bixyl Shuftan 


Thursday, April 22, 2010

M Linden Appears on “The 1st Question” Game Show

About a year ago, Second Life Newspaper took a look at Pooky Amsterdam’s “The 1st Question," a game show in Second Life shown on someone called “a cross between having lunch with Albert Einstein and ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ “ Since then, the show has continued to appear every Tuesday at 7 PM SL time, always drawing a packed audience, and having among it’s contestants a number of noted residents, some well known, some important, and a few whom were both.

On Tuesday April 20, the contestants included one of the more well known residents of the metaverse: M Linden, aka Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon.

The other contestants were Sydney Caramel (real-life journalist Boonsri Dickinson), FutureGuru Haiku, and Professor Springflower. But all eyes were on M Linden. The center of the room had been circled with “M”s as well. So the question on our minds was, would the CEO come out on top, or end up getting his tail kicked? A couple people in the audience joked that a Linden loss would result in the sim suddenly disappearing.

The sim was packed more than usual, with 66 residents in the place at one point. This caused lag and other complications. Some residents crashed and were unable to get back in, including Sydney Caramel. Co-host Hydra Shaftoe later commented he should have capped the avatar limit at fifty or fifty-five. So it was up to two other contestants to stand up to the head Linden.

But with the first few questions, it was becoming clear M Linden was holding his own, able to answer tricky puzzles. Although the others were ahead in points at the start, M soon took the lead and held onto it, eventually winning the show. It is unclear what prizes M Linden won from his victory on the game show.

The archived episodes of “The 1st Question” can be seen Here , with the April 20th show most likely appearing on their within a few days.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TRP360 Up and Away at Sialimonus


It is always wonderful to go exploring and find a new astonishing site I have never seen before. I arrived at the entrance of an ethereal Stonehenge. The view is of an airy gossamer Stonehenge with the universe circling. “Turn around “ I was instructed and touch everything. So I did.

Off I went into space with my first tap, following a meteor ‘s trail around and around. I found a lineup of the planets, and sat on a few that again sent me off into space in various dances and poses. It is great fun to walk - run in space Asteroids bumbled through the air, barely missing the site.

Back on the ground, I spied a teleport to the “Fun House." Hah! I cannot tell you much about that journey, not wanting to spoil the experience, but get ready for an escapade that will take you through mazes that really amaze!!! Make sure you have time to enjoy, or you will need to revisit this experience again and again , trying to solve the way through. Look for a happy face to guide you. You will smile back.

Back at the entrance you will find a teleport that will bring you to other magical sites. Enter and enjoy!!

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breezes Thoughts

First view of the morning is delightful for me. 
where shall I roam this day to see. I have a craving for sweets you see. ah I know exactly where to go. Follow me if you please. 

Is this anyway to camp??
even the bartender is ignoring me.
Mercy sakes Bree you are losing it.
I know, but whats a girl to do?
I asked for a drink , he said get it yourself little lady. I raised my glims at him and the look went squinty. finally Igot my drinks.
Just goes to show. Persistance is what it takes. 
Now here is my craving satisfied? No not quite. haha but It is close.
Munching on Jellybeans standing amongst the hedgehogs that like to bite my Saadi. and the peacock squawking at him as he frowns mightily. Me in latex and a western hat and gun waiting to venture to a mixup contest. This is the way I go tonight.
Variety of stuff I can get into?

Breezes Babii

Sunday, April 18, 2010



Biosphere is a whimsical and environmentally beautiful spot to visit. The small area is a treat for the senses-- tall green grass, a bright blue pond, and the pleasant sounds of singing birds.

When you arrive, you will find yourself on an island. Before you cross the swinging bridge, be sure to look for the turtle swimming in the pond. Across the bridge is Mocha, a shop filled with country inspired clothes, accessories, and furniture. Watch out for the animals as you approach! The whimsical Gmoks will talk, or at least grunt, if you touch them. A pair of llamas, which are rare in SL, graze contentedly nearby.

But the real treats are inside Mocha. On the first floor are sweaters, shoes, and lots of quaint clothes. One unusual feature is the demo mode that lets you see exactly how the shoes will look and fit before you buy. No more wasted Lindens buying the wrong shade or the wrong heel height!

I also liked Mochás rings, which sell for only $10L. There are 3 designs in 16 different patterns available. The fun part is that the ring you get will be a surprise–they are given out randomly. You may not get your favorite the first time, but at this low price you can afford to try again.

On the second floor there are country style textures, carpeting, wallpaper, and tile for sale. It even looked like the farm house could be purchased. The back room has a small selection of country furniture, too.

If you have additional time, there are two smaller outbuildings next to Mocha. One of them sells butterfly tattoos. Enjoy Spring and wear it, too!

Grey Lupindo


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Little Dove RFL Steamclub Opens

The Southern Colorado sim is noted for being a location for Relay for Life events, notably Hope Gardens. It now has a new place to hold events. On Monday March 5th at 4PM SL time, Club Little Dove held it’s Grand Opening.

Club Little Dove’s creation is due to one lady: Nydia Tungsten. She constructed the club in four levels, with the top level originally a pilothouse, but later changed to a landing field. The place was designed with a Steampunk look (for those unfamiliar with the term, think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne). There were features such as the main dance floor showing turning gears underneath, 19th century dials and huge lightbulbs making up much of the equipment, carved wood and stained glass making up much of the walls and furnishings, the occasional steam-age gadget or vehicle, a few hookahs around the place (the Victorian-Era had a libertarian view on drugs, and in some ways encouraged their use), and others.

The official name of the club is Her Majesty’s Airship Little Dove, or HMAS Little Dove. Club Little Dove is named after a former resident in Second Life, who sadly passed away last year. She was the real-life partner of a close friend of Nydia's, “she was devastated.” Nydia saw the naming of the club in her honor as, “just the right thing to do.” Nydia is part of the "Passionate Redheads" Relay group, but says the club is open to all RFL groups.

On Monday, the club was up and ready for it’s opening event,Relay for Life’s Daaneth Kivioq sending out an invite, “Commodore Tungsten invites you aboard the HMAS Little Dove, now flying high above Hope Gardens in the beautiful Colorado Sim! We will be celebrating the Grand Opening of this new venue with a Steampunk Ball. Music will be provided by two of SL's finest DJ's - Dusk Griswold from 4PM to 6PM, and the Commodore herself, Nydia Tungsten from 6PM to 8PM. All Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the American Cancer Society. Please join the Passionate Redheads as we launch the HMAS on her maiden flight!”

And so after 4PM SL time, the dance floor was soon full of men and women, both normal human and furred avatars, dancing away. There were no tip jars out. There was only the Relay for Life kiosk, which people chipped into. Although the theme of the party was Steampunk, which called for Victorian fashion, the music as thoroughly modern with a variety of music from the 70’s to today. “Rocky Mountain High” got a few chuckles, “Appropriate that we play this song, as we’re in the Southern Colorado sim.”

And of course, “I Run For Life” played as well. It played twice, the second time near the end, with Nydia calling out, “I run for life ! I run for Little Dove! I run for Fimi! I run for my Stepfather! Run for them all, and remember them all!”

Club LIttle Dove is in the Southern Colorado sim at (187, 37, 1002). During it’s construction, it’s location changed from where it began.

Bixyl Shuftan