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Through Second Life, UC Profs Hold Virtual Barn Dance
Two University of Cincinnati faculty members bring their classes together for a virtual barn dance and hayride. Avatars yall come!
One of the latest crazes for tech-savvy people is a program known as Second Life. Open to the public since 2003, Second Life (SL) is an Internet-based virtual world that came to international attention through mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007. Developed by Linden Lab, a downloadable client program enables its users, called residents, to interact with each other through motional avatars. Through their avatars, residents can explore, meet other residents, socialise, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another.
The word avatar, which comes from Hindu philosophy, means the earthly incarnation of a higher being or god. Avatars come in a small number of basic models to get started. Then users quickly learn to tailor their avatars appearance to suit their persona. From there, users or residents learn to walk, run, fly and dance. Similar to open map video games, avatars wander through the world, interacting with other avatars. "Interacting for about 30 students includes dancing and roasting virtual marshmallows. The students from Women in Science and Communication and Technology, are having an end of quarter dance in the virtual 3D world Second Life.

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Since last November, one large green wasteland floating somewhere on the outskirts of Second Life has been transformed into the multi-island archipelago of Second Nature. Second Nature is our flagship island, and over the last few months, has become home to a wide variety of scientists. We have decided that Second Life is so experimental that we can't possibly know what scientists will actually find useful, so the best thing is to let them find out for themselves. The upshot is, any scientist with an idea for a project in Second Life is welcome to come to us and experiment on our island. The result is an island full of interactive and developing exhibits, from full scale city modelling, to a ride through a giant cell to a scientific art exhibition. To see all of these, do come and visit Second Nature.

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Ariane 5 Rocket in Second Life (Beta)



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The Liverpool Philharmonic
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A British orchestra is to become the first to perform a professional music concert in the virtual online world of Second Life, it said Tuesday.
The Liverpool Philharmonic said audience members from across the world will "sit" in a three-dimensional virtual version of its home venue in the north-west England city and listen live as the real orchestra plays.
The concert on September 14, featuring works from Rachmaninov, Ravel and contemporary Liverpool composers John McCabe and Kenneth Hesketh, will be conducted by its principal conductor Vasily Petrenko.

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The virtual world "Second Life" has banned gambling, a cautious legal manoeuvre that could dent revenue and spark anger among fans.
San Francisco-based Linden Lab, which operates "Second Life," imposed the gambling ban last week, citing in a blog "conflicting gambling regulations around the world."
The company may remove violators' virtual equipment and may suspend or terminate accounts. Linden Labs also threatened to report user information to authorities.
"Second Life" executives refused to elaborate.

Source AP

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Anything pretty much goes in online virtual worlds. Identities are nebulous. Online characters known as avatars chat it up, gamble or even have sex at first sight.
Increasingly though, these online zones like "Second Life" are also becoming places where commerce is happening. Big companies such as IBM Corp. and Intel Corp. use these graphics-rich sites to conduct meetings among far-flung employees and to show customers graphical representations of ideas and products.
Now, in hopes of capturing the power of this new platform while avoiding potentially embarrassing incidents, IBM is taking the unusual step of establishing official guidelines for its more than 5,000 employees who inhabit "Second Life" and other online universes.

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Jesuit missionaries may soon venture into Second Life, intent on saving virtual people from virtual sins.
Writing in the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, whose contents are approved by the Vatican, Father Antonio Spadaro has told fellow Catholics that they shouldn't be wary of venturing into Second Life's virtual world, arguing that the online alternate universe might be the perfect place to land converts,

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An ongoing investigation by the FBI into gambling in Second Life is believed to be directly related to Linden Labs sudden decision to ban all forms of gambling on Second Life.
The FBI investigation commenced in April and was considering the legality of online gambling within the virtual world. The US Government prohibits most forms of online gambling.
It was unclear at the time of writing whether the FBI would take the matter further, including the possible arrest of Linden Lab directors or the prosecution of individual users.
Casinos and gambling have been a prominent part of the Second Life metaverse over the last 2-3 years. Linden Lab will take a financial hit from the decision as casino owners cancel virtual land ownership agreements; top tier casinos contribute large sums in monthly fees to Linden Lab.

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