Another gem from Seren

Mistaken Identity

identityOne of those things I’ve always vowed never to do is meet anyone from SL in the flesh – for me one of the most attractive features of living in a virtual world is the way in which you can choose for it to be entirely removed and distinct from reality. I can be whoever I wish, and do whatever I want, in whatever context I desire whilst inworld; that does not in itself convey any need or wish for my virtual existence to be in any way connected with the real me. If I choose to share something of my virtual life with someone in the real world, (a situation that has not yet occurred), I will do so, but it will be on my terms and only to the extent to which I feel entirely comfortable. Similarly, if I choose to disclose elements of my real life to those I know from the virtual community, it will be on the same terms, and there are a number of things that will always remain strictly private, confidential and none of your business.

Not everyone feels the same way, but each to their own, and whatever works for you is fine.

When it comes to my virtual friends and acquaintances, I’m afraid this produces an unequal equation: Many of those I know inworld have no problem with sharing information and details about their real lives that I, for one, will never share about myself, except with a very favoured few. There are those who, if I was to run into them in the street, I would instantly recognise: I know roughly where they live and I know what they look like and sound like in the real world. They, on the other hand, could walk past me and never know they’d encountered Serendipidy Haven, unless they are one of the handful with whom I have shared my photo and voice – and even then, it’s such a rare occurrence, I might still pass by unnoticed.

I’m pretty certain however that those of you who do associate with me inworld, or even through the pages of this blog, have some sort of mental picture of the real me, and in some cases that may well be a fairly accurate one. However, I discovered only recently that imagination and reality can be worlds apart when it comes to the facts, with amusing results.

I shall paraphrase the recent exchange that took place between an inworld friend and myself over the course of a few days:

Friend: Who’s that girl pictured on your blog then?
Me: Huh? What girl… What picture?
Friend: That girl. It’s you, isn’t it?
Me: I don’t think so!
Friend: I think it is!
Me: I don’t even know what picture you mean, but I know it’s not me!
Friend: I’m sure it is. I worked it out.
Me: OK – I’m intrigued now – send me a screenshot of the picture.
Friend has offered you inventory
Me: Erm, that’s definitely not me.
Friend: Bet it is.
Me: Nope… That’s Scarlett Johansson!

They were very disappointed; I was very flattered!

litNo doubt, the friend in question will wish to beat me to a pulp when they read this – but I certainly wouldn’t wish to humiliate them over such a sweet mistake, so they shall remain completely anonymous and if anyone asks me who it was, my lips will remain tightly sealed.

It’s weird how our minds, when presented with only the bare minimum of information, will still nevertheless, try to fabricate a coherent picture from what is available, and will latch on to any strand of detail that comes their way, no matter how tenuous it may be. Throw in some intelligent guesswork, a bit of luck and you may – Nutrimatic fashion – end up with something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike me!

This is probably a good thing, since:

a) You will be spared the true horror of experiencing the true reality of me;
b) I will be spared the true horror of ever being recognised in RL by you;
c) I am more than happy to be mistaken for Scarlett Johansson.

There is a further aspect to this whole anonymity thing that also merits exploration – some people in SL really do appreciate the anonymity the virtual world provides, for the simple reason that they actually do wish to remain anonymous and experience things as a normal, everyday person. What if – and you have absolutely no way of knowing the real facts here – what if, in real life, I really am Scarlett Johansson? Surprise!

The problem with being famous is that it’s very difficult to escape to normality – the moment anyone suspects you might be a celebrity, they’re all over you asking for your autograph, taking photos, bragging to their friends about meeting you and generally meaning you never have the opportunity to have fun and do all the things that normal people get to do. It’s bad enough not being able to pop down the shops for a loaf of bread without the paparazzi hounding you, or being unable to leave the house without a disguise, but if you can’t even escape to a virtual world and experience some semblance of normality, then fame can be a real bind. So we may never know when the rich and famous are amongst us in SL – our best friend may be a superstar, and we’d never know it!

scarlett. x

Fame, (fame) what you like is in the limo
Fame, (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, (fame) what you need you have to borrow Fame
Fame, (fame) it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to crime (fame)
David Bowie – Fame

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Perspective

From my friend Serendipidy Haven’s blog:

Perspective

by Serendipidy Haven

vangoghA brief trip to the National Gallery recently brought me face-to-face with Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, or at least, one of his variations of this most well known of his subjects. Sunflowers was my main reason for the visit – since i’ve never seen the work in the flesh before, but it also gave me the opportunity to become re-acquainted with another of his paintings that has pretty much passed me by up until now.

Van Gogh’s chair has never really inspired me or struck me as being particularly special. It lacks the thickly daubed, tormented brush strokes of his later pieces and the finesse displayed in his other works of the period. It’s a peculiar thing, worth getting up close to; where the warped, almost child-like perspective of the composition is offset by the painstaking attention to detail the artist gives to the most mundane of features. You’re struck by the effort that’s gone into painting the door hinges, knots in the wood and the weave of the chair seat… but, on this occasion – for the first time – i stepped back, and suddenly everything changed.

From the middle of the room, the painting that had always struck me as rather flat and distorted resolved into something entirely different. It was almost as if i was seeing through Van Gogh’s eyes, sat at his easel, glancing over the canvas towards the chair on the other side of the room. That bizarre perspective which offends the eye when seen in close up, becomes completely natural and lifelike when viewed from a distance – the painting becomes less a flat canvas and more a three dimensional moment in time, captured in oils. It was an unexpected and somewhat humbling moment.

paint_001How often do we see things from our own viewpoint with  a skewed perspective, failing to understand what is right in front of our eyes, and not seeing the picture as it really is? Probably quite often and, as users of sl, it’s something that we’re very used to experiencing from the ‘outside’ world. Those who’ve never had the opportunity to properly get to grips with becoming part of a virtual world tend to have a distinctly distorted picture in their minds of what sl is about. Like me peering closely at Van Gogh’s canvas, they’ll seize on the little details that make sense to them, whilst remaining utterly puzzled and bemused at the bigger picture. So the common perception of sl, from those who have no experience inworld, is that it’s an environment that’s primarily about pixellated sex, a ‘game’ played by geeks sat in their basements with curtains drawn and snacking on cheese puffs. They seize upon the bits that stand out to them and write off the larger part as irrelevant, uninteresting or incomprehensible.

It’s a matter of perspective. And perspective works both ways.

The perspective from which we see sl differs dramatically according to where we stand – on outside looking in or, equally, on the inside looking out – and we residents can be just as guilty of skewing the overall picture as those who have no experience of the virtual world. From the inside, we are terribly good a painting pictures of sl from a palette based entirely upon our own perceptions and experiences, rather than taking a balanced view, (this is something that ex-residents, in particular, can take to an extraordinary degree). The result is a very narrow-minded and distorted view of sl… the servers are always down, it’s full of griefers and content stealers, it suffers from nightmare lag, gacha events are corrupt, and so on. Even when we’re positive we tend to pick and choose to focus on the bits that matter to us, ignoring the fecundity of the virtual community and excluding whole swathes of SLife that we personally have no particular interest in.

Perhaps it would do no harm to occasionally break these self-imposed rules and try to look at things from a different perspective – who knows… perhaps that aspect of sl that you never understood, never appealed and that you’d managed to convince yourself was of no worth at all, might look very different from a different angle, or when you take a step back and try to appreciate what it’s all really about.

Or, you could just stick with the perspective you’ve got, and maybe miss out on a much bigger picture.

If you’re not swayed then think on this a moment: Vincent Van Gogh was completely unappreciated in his lifetime, purportedly only selling one painting before his death. Now he’s one of the most recognisable artists that has ever lived, and his paintings sell for millions. Just imagine how all those people who turned him down and derided his work might have felt if they’d known how he’d now be appreciated. Sometimes, focussing on the details and the ugliness of what we perceive means that we can be blind to the potential and the beauty of what we are seeing.

vincent_001

s. x

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
Don McLean – Starry Starry Night

Excellent stuff well done Seren

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Tails From The Cat Shop Special Offer

TAILS FROM THE CAT SHOP
COUNTDOWN DEAL (USA Only)
6 to 12 June 2014
Buy for a limited time special discount
Follow this link:

http://www.amazon.com/TAILS-CAT-SHOP-Jessika-Jenvieve-ebook/dp/B00IFRFR7G

 

 

bookFantasy meets Reality in Cyberspace, in a world where our online and offline experiences, friendships and even, our identities are excitingly entangled. Avatars are extensions of us, leading lives parallel to our own dull everyday existence. Having a Virtual Life sets you free to dream and some dreams do come true.

Meet the Divine Penny, the Italian-speaking Siamese cat, with the delicate chocolate paws, and find out if Professor Poppett’s poodle recovers from ‘indoor barking syndrome’. Go on an adventure in the alligator infested bayou to hunt for the Golden Kitten and find out why love always wins the day.

 

 

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Tails From The Cat Shop

Great new book out from Storm! Must Read! Click on the picture to buy.

Fantasy meets Reality in Cyberspace, in a world where our online and offline experiences, friendships and even, our identities are excitingly entangled. Avatars are extensions of us, leading lives parallel to our own dull everyday existence. There are no limits to our Virtual Lives and we are free to live in any World we choose. Having a Virtual Life sets you free to dream and some dreams do come true.

Storm and Dude are partners. In spite of the fiercely opposing time zones, they meet and fall in love on the dance floor of the Junkyard Blues Club in the Virtual World of Second Life. They begin collecting breedable cats and their Second Life gets very crowded, so together they open Not Another Kitten, a Cat Shop in Cyberspace. Then the Cat Shop meets the University and both Worlds collide with laughter.

Meet the Divine Penny, the Italian-speaking Siamese cat, with the delicate chocolate paws, and find out if Professor Poppett’s poodle recovers from ‘indoor barking syndrome’. Go on an adventure in the alligator infested bayou to hunt for the Golden Kitten and find out why love always wins the day.

tails book

Quite an achievment. Started as a blog and became a book. Well done Storm very proud of you!


Heres the URL again : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IFRFR7G

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A Bundle Of Pixels

jiselleinfoGetting a virtual pet in second life is quite a remarkable experience.  You go to the shop and choose your pet, in this case a cat.You can see the genealogy of your cat. Opposite are the details taken when she (!) was three days old. The “birth” is an experience in itself. You buy a box with your kitty in it and rezz it. You have to wait 15 minutes and you are presented with a dialogue such as ” Your kitty’s eyes are just opening and she is fumbling around” This goes on for 15 minutes detailing what would be the birth of a real kitten. You, well we did, you sit and wait and watch as the box starts to move. Then the kitten is born. A kind of reverse imprinting occurs.

A rapid learning process by which a newborn or very young animal establishes a behavior pattern of recognition and attraction to another animal of its own kind or to a substitute or an object identified as the parent.

The kitten is tiny and has a name. You can see its menu detailing its love, happiness, food status and age. You set its area of travel . She can sit on your shoulder during the first week . (Sorry having trouble with “she” and “it”).

This is a bundle of pixels. Yet psychological mechanisms are at work here. Throughout second life a process goes on whereby identity is given to an onscreen representation of yourself. Here an identity i.e. your cat is a being. It is a primitive expert system that responds to your input.

 jisellelarge

This kind of behaviour is not uncommon in children. Their toys take on a life of their own with likes and dislikes, a pure projection of the child’s imagination. How much more real is having a “toy” that  has a degree of autonomy but is still dependent on you for love and food in order to grow and live? Bonding occurs. But the bonding is with the avatar so we are even further removed from the actuality. Isn’t this wonderful. first we have an identification with the avatar which becomes an extension of ourselves then we anthropomorphize even further to give life to a bundle of pixels.

 

Storm holding Ormond with Bronya on her shoulder Dude with Jiselle
Storm holding Ormond with Bronya on her shoulder Dude with Jiselle

 

You notice that set above the animals head is a menu. This shows the cats energy, love factor, happiness factor and if it is hungry. These change according to your interaction. The more you pet the cat the greater its happiness factor. In the first seven days your cat will grow. Initially she or he will sit on your shoulder but after six days will become to big to do this. Food is rezzed and the cat will find it (Its placed within the roaming range) . Your cat will roam around sniffing at things, cleaning itself and will chase butterflies from an emitter. There was an incident with Ormond where Storm (my partner) made a mistake with deeding him to the group. Ormond became sick and lay in his basket not eating and was covered with a blanket. It was quite upsetting.

Kill The Robot

In the 80s while researching expert systems I came across the following study, reference lost sorry. A small robot was created with LED lights and could traverse a counter top. It had sensors whereby when its batteries became low it would plug itself into a wall socket. It would emit “happy” beeping sounds and its lights would pulse and glow. A subject was asked to observe the robot then was given a hammer and told to “kill” it. It was after all just a bundle of transistors and servos. The subject was reluctant and the robot with the aid of proximity sensors was able to avoid the hammer. It could run away. Eventually the subject caught the robot a glancing blow disabling one of its wheels which began to leak oil. It ran around in circles bleeping. The subject became very distressed and demanded that the researcher kill the robot and put it out of its misery.

Eliza

Many of you might know of ELIZA (after Eliza Doolittle , Pygmalion)  created first in the 60s. It had a sub routine called DOCTOR. It was not AI but simulated it so well it became famous. Based on Rogerian psychotherapy a dialogue would go something like this:

Patient: “Everybody hates me”

DOCTOR: “Why do you think everyone hates you?”

Patient : Because my mother told them to”

DOCTOR “Tell me about your mother”

etc……key words could be identified or a response could be simply turning a statement into a question. It was phenomenal how people reacted. Some said when discovered using the program that it was confidential or personal even after having the program explained to them.

Paro, a robot used in the treatment of dementia.

Paro was developed by Takanori Shibata, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Paro is a therapeutic, pet-type robot with the appearance of a baby harp seal.

paro

Paro has tactile sensors and moves its tail and flippers and will respond by opening its eyes and moving its face toward the sound of voice. Paro’s sensors monitor sound, light, temperature and touch and Paro respond’s appropriately, such as responding to its name and being stroked.

Paro can show various emotions including surprise, happiness and anger, and Paro will cry if it is not receiving sufficient attention.

Anthropomorphism, or personification, is attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being.  This isn’t good enough to explain what is going on here with cats.  (Got to laugh there is a group on Facebook: P.E.T.R.A: People for the Ethical Treatment of Robot Animals. ) Our cat are robots coz  they are exhibit AI. They have there own mechanisms to handle their environment and respond to avatar owners. They can be petted and will reward the avatar with an increase in happiness. Just as a real cat responds to stroking with purring. But all they are is a bundle of pixels.

 Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative. Suspension of disbelief often applies to fictional works of the action, comedy, fantasy, and horror genres, as well as in professional wrestling.

Can it apply here? We have already come some way with this with our avatars in second life we consider them to be real. We go beyond them being merely representations and almost have given them a life of their own. Our cats have a certain autonomy but just like their real counterparts need food and attention in order to flourish. We are also “fooled”  into bonding with them through psychological techniques. It is therefore easy to pretend they are real.

I think this is worthy of further study. I think second life itself is worthy of further study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God Forbid

Rising damp is unsightly, potentially unhealthy, often leads to timber decay in older properties and causes heat loss due to the increased conductivity of the walls.

Thats me in all my poetic glory; unsightly, potentially unhealthy leading to decay. She walks in beauty like the night i creep up the timbers causing heat loss. If not treated early serious even terminal damage can be done.

This is all subliminal of course, when people make an insult or faux pas its not intended to hurt. But somehow the truth has bubbled to the surface without conscious effort.

Then too there is the rule that cannot be violated. You must never think “I wonder if my “partner” will like this? Will it turn him on? Will he sparkle when he sees me in it” OMG Forbid. Clothes are only ever to be worn to please oneself NEVER to take into account what another person might think. AND everyone thinks the same!! Well I don’t but I am only pernicious damp.

Then she is down the pub drinking and playing with trains then making puddings She tweets about it all while I, who have been up for hours hoping for a “date” insidiously rise intent on terminal damage.

You may have guessed I am very upset. Its not nice to be likened to rising damp especially NOT in a poetic way.

Then the theme song of hers “I’m no angel” that she dedicates to me. She wants me to drive her crazy her with all the street cred and me I guess the big toughie she doesn’t want to be treated softly, . she steals my diamonds and gives back gold. is this some sort of competition? and wants me to use spurs or she wants to and when you buy a bed you know exactly what it comes with. and maybe this wasn’t a joke, this is a sex rug…….

So you don’t give a darn about me
I never treat you bad
I won’t ever lift a hand to hurt you
and I’ll always leave you glad
So I might steal your diamonds
I’ll bring you back some gold
I’m no angel.

shes no angel

Ah well I’ll let it go. There’s no saying anything, she just gets upset and runs away.

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You got a friend

When you’re down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothin’, nothin’ is goin’ right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’ to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds

And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knockin’ at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’, runnin, yeah, yeah,
to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will

Now ain’t it good to know
that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come runnin, runnin’, yeah, yeah, yeah
to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend,
you’ve got a friend,
ain’t it good to know,
you’ve got a friend,
ain’t it good to know,
ain’t it good to know,
ain’t it good to know,
you’ve got a friend,
oh yeah now, you’ve got a friend,
yeah baby, you’ve got a friend,
oh yeah, you’ve got a friend.

This came on the radio and it made me think about friendship. How precious it is. I used to play this song when I was a bartender / dj in a bar in Torremolinos in the early 70s . Love is ok but when you’ve got a friend its something special. The power of music is awesome. I love listening to BBC 6 Music. ITS WORLD BOOK DAY!! Please visit the library. I did my cv yesterday. Here it is:

Philip Finlay Bryan CV 2013 by Philip Finlay-Bryan

Wish people woud Use Me

friend2

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

PersonalBusinessAn EventNone of your business

Are you a second life user?

If you have a website type it here

captcha

Type in the code

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Now is our wynter of discontent

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

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The Six Varieties of Love

Published on 12 Feb 2013

Need a cure for romantic love? Then turn to the Ancient Greeks, who identified six different kinds of love. Writer and cultural thinker Roman Krznaric talks about their radical and inspiring approach to love, drawing on his book THE WONDERBOX: Curious Histories of How to Live (Profile Books).

He describes how the Ancient Greeks were far more sophisticated in the art of loving than we are today. Their different words for love included ‘eros(sexual passion), ‘philia(deep friendship), ‘ludus(playful love), ‘pragma(mature love), ‘agape(selfless love) and ‘philautia (self-love).

N.B. It is a statue of Anteros in Piccadilly Circus NOT Eros.

In Greek mythology, Anteros (Ancient Greek: Ἀντέρως, Antérōs) was the god of requited love, literally “love returned” or “counter-love” and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love.

Anteros was the son of Ares and Aphrodite in Greek mythology, given to his brother Eros, who was lonely, as a playmate, the rationale being that love must be answered if it is to prosper. Alternatively, he was said to have arisen from the mutual love between Poseidon and Nerites.[1] Physically, he is depicted as similar to Eros in every way, but with long hair and plumed butterfly wings. He has been described also as armed with either a golden club or arrows of lead.

 

 

Recorded live at All Ears Storythyme, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London, November 22, 2011. www.allearsevents.co.uk

SOUNDS GOOD TO ME< HEY LADIES WANT SOME LUDUS TODAY?

dudepole
NO I AM NOT GAY> ITS A BIT OF PHILUTIA. You Ladies do it so well thought I would give it a try

 

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Cyberculture 2013

UPDATE!

Cyberculture 2013 by

Cyberculture

Home

//

Introduction

————————————-

Cyberculture (Cyberkulture)

Yes I know it is spelt with a c. I spelt it with a k for two reasons. 1. There is a revolutionary in me [example : Amerika] 2. All the cyberculture (dot) whatever had already been registered. And squatted, none were being used that I could find. I got Cyberkulture (dot) com. OK? Update: Its ready. Has a video of this page for lazy scrollers

I will be weaving strands of ideas and hopefully we will have a nice comfortable sweater at the end.

Background: I did quite extensive research and could not find a definitive work on Cyberculture that was not younger than 8 years! It seems it was an idea waiting to become real. In my view, with the advent of high speed broadband; live streaming of high quality 3D animation; the streaming of sound (music / voice); the ability to create a credible online identity; to belong to mutual interest groups and sub groups and to develop both private and public relationships have brought cyberculture to age. Below is an illustration of such a cyberculture. The wiki quotes are from 2012.

Wiki says :

Cyberculture is the culture that has emerged, or is emerging, from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment and / or business It is also the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of network communication, such as online communities,

…….online multi-player gaming, social gaming, social media, and texting and includes issues related to identity, privacy, and network formation.

I am a member of such a community. It is called Second Life. It is in 3d. There is a continuing debate as to whether it is real. Let me give you some idea what second life is like. Then we will see if it is real or not. Firstly let us look at Identity a key feature of any culture.

Culture

I have been asked why I have gone into so much detail further on about second life. A definition of culture from The Center Of Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) has this definition:

…….culture is defined as the shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization.

A key word is pattern because in culture we see patterns of behaviour but we also see cognitive patterns, ways of thinking. Further on that link we see a term “Cognitive Programming”. “Honour” may be seen as a cultural cognitive construct, in some cultures it is worth killing for and dying for. However there may be a more base level in that of perception. A couple of studies comparing Japanese and Americans showed differences in perception summed up in the phrase “Why do Easterners remember the forest while Westerners remember the trees?” See Psychology Today May 2012 . From my own experience of living in Japan for four years and studying the language and culture, I noticed that a gaijin (non Japanese ) would view a room containing just an alcove with a vase and scroll (tokonoma) as empty; space is seen as a negative construct, an absence, whereas the Japanese would see space as being a positive construct, an entity in its own right. This is cultural bias.This occurs through a process of cultural socialization..

Therefore the detail I have gone into is an attempt to show a process of cultural socialization occurs within second life. However, in the general sense this may appear somewhat weak. Undoubtedly many people treat second life as just a game. Therefore I have gone to lengths showing the construction and dressing of the avatar. Socialization occurs here but really it is through language and interaction. As you will see, the example I give within second life is that of the blues culture. This in itself is a culture. The blues is a powerful expression of life’s vagaries, its joys and heartbreak, that is shared with everyone through blues music. In my view this adds great strength to the argument that a cyberculture / cybercommunity exists within second life.
.

Dude

Avatars

Avatars

Firstly you have an avatar. The free ones are noticeably free. The first thing people do is buy a shape. There is a currency called lindens and you can buy lindens with your credit card. Secondly you will need clothes, you buy these too. Here is a picture of me, I mean my avatar (hm interesting slip a ). You have the option to chose a name. I am Dude Starship. Above my head it just says Dude. (Yes It was a courageous move to chose “Dude”. I suffered a tad but now I am Dude and sometimes The Dude. Yes I still get “Dude, where’s my car?” I answer with a remark like “Its in the swimming pool”). You are now fit to mingle with other avatars as an equal.If you do not do this you will be seen as a noob or newbie and, tho welcomed, will not be taken seriously. You have not made a commitment to the …I hesitate because to call it a community would be presumptuous at this stage. You understand.

Avatar Profile

If you right click on an avatar you get a menu , on it, is profile. Clicking on it brings up the full profile in a box on the screen.. There is a lot of information on the first page. There is artwork, your profile picture. There are varying degrees of image skills portrayed varying from a simple head and shoulders to a complex Photoshop enhanced image. This picture speaks volumes. Your screen name (Dude) and your login name (dudestarship2); your date of second life birth plus number of days and whether you have payment info. Under this is a box which says if you have a partner. a partner is someone you have made a commitment to, some call it marriage. Then there is a box listing the groups you belong to. Great indicator of what you do in second life. You can belong to 42. Below this you can write anything you like (500). Perhaps the most common is a summing up of your attitude to life (first and second), the universe and everything (apologies to Douglas Adams). Mine says:

Latest Motto: Live Fast Ride Hard, Die Laughing.. I’m English we tend to make fun of things we love. I met a Valkyrie she is my gf. she sometimes appears as an Angel. Shes called Catty

I live by the four Brahma Viharas, (Dwelling Places of God) : Friendliness, Compassion, Equanimity and Sympathetic Joy.

“The moving finger writes and having writ moves on. Nor all your piety nor wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all your tears wash out a word of it.”

“The moving finger…etc” Is from the Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam.It is so appropriate for chat. Once you have pressed the enter key ….”…nor all your tears wash out a word of it”

At the top are tabs. There are :

Web : Often left blank but some put in a video, their blog or a website. (I have my own irishsecure (dot) com, designed for this space)
Interests: This is where you tick various elements in second life, building, scripting, textures, whether you want work or hiring and more. There is also space to list languages spoken and skills.
Picks: Here you can list those places or people who are special to you in second life. There is a picture with text underneath. This tells a lot about a person.
Classifieds: You can put an ad here
1st Life: There is space for a real life picture. It is very very rare to see a real picture of the person. Underneath is a box for text. The text ranges from “Don’t Ask” to “Ask”.. It is very very rare to find real life information.
Notes: This is your space to put what you like e.g. likes long skirts eats chocolates very funny bit stupid etc etc. This is not visible to the avatar.

N.B. One of the things that you can do is “friend” someone. They become your friends and can see when you come online or offline. They appear in your friends list which means you can contact them no matter where they are in second life. You can also give them the ability to see you on their map and give them the ability to modify objects owned by you.

So we have a well dressed pleasing shape, with a name, dressed in nice clothes. We have a profile and we can view others.

Identity is pretty well established however it cannot be complete until you interact.

Chat Box

Chat In Second Life

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Chat In Second Life

Source: 21stCN

Chat

Chat

There are two systems of communication : a chat box and using voice (microphone). In public areas voice is often disabled. The chat is a resizeable box where you can place anywhere on the screen and it is divided . On the left is the name of the person or group who is speaking, next to it is the text itself. There are three types of messaging: Local where everyone chats, this is public and instant messaging which is avatar to avatar and is private. There is also group messaging where members of the same group chat. This can get quite hectic as you may be having several private chats while following the thread of public chat and group chat. Its called multitasking and women are better at it than men. However it is a skill that can be mastered. By the way the ratio of women to men is 5 to 1. Yippee its a great pick up joint.

You are interacting with fellow members.

The Chat Room

Oh My God! You can find loads of videos on my blog. sl (dot) irishsecure (dot) com. However let me describe one I know well. In second life there are clubs, just like in real life. On my second day I found a blues club called The Junkyard. This “chat room” comfortably holds 50 avatars. By the way avatars are the same size or a tad bigger than real life. Dude is 7ft 6 ins. The Junkyard has blue tiles and is open air with the theme based in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida. In the centre is a stage where the DJ is situated. The DJ has a microphone and controls the music stream so plays his / her choice and introduces the tunes. They are real DJs. AND they take requests and dedications. A session lasts two hours. The DJs cover about 18 hours a day seven days a week. There is also a host assisting the DJ. The host meets and greets new arrivals, keeps local chat alive, can give out group memberships and offers help to anyone who might send an instant message. He or she has a close relationship with their DJ. The host also has the power to eject a person from the dance floor into the near by sea if they annoy other avatars. They can also ban the person permanently from the club. I am a host in The Junkyard 12 hours a week. The club is open 24/7 and a blues channel radio is put on when there are no DJ.

You have a space to interact in.

The Junkyard

The Junkyard Blues Club

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The Junkyard Blues Club

Animation

Animation

Your avatar is animated however the animations that are free look free. It is the general rule that you buy something called an AO. For example Dude will stroll casually with his hands in his pockets, when stationary he (oh dear > “he”) will assume a pose, looking cool. The animations in second life are superb, the dance animations more so. The best dance animations are made by filming real dancers and using stop motion techniques create animations. Many couples go to The Junkyard. In two corners are dance balls. One for couples, one for males and one for females. All the balls have a menu of about 15 dance styles. These range from jive to extremely sensual dances. There are many clubs in second life catering to every musical taste.

Imagine then a 3D chat room where you, an entity, chat with friends , dancing as a beautiful avatar, while listening to a live DJ playing your favourite tunes.

Animation Dance

dancingshadow3

The Blues Culture of Second Life

A woman’s baby died and she could not give it up. After a week went by her friends pressed her to go and see The Buddha. He said to her “Yes I can make your child alive but first you must collect 3 grains of rice from a household that has not known sorrow” Of course the story is clear, she was unable to do this and in the process discovered that life was concomitant with sorrow. A western way to realise this is through the blues. In second life all nationalities are represented but in my view the national boundaries, cultural socializations are subsumed under a greater rubric that of human suffering and also there is an expression of human awareness, triumph over adversity and joy. Not all blues is sad by any means. However the point to be made is that it provides a very powerful cultural medium.

N.B. My avatar is 7ft 6ins 228 cms

Junkyard Blues

Culture and Reality

We have firmly established the presence of a network; a representative of yourself that you have tailor made to express your identity and the ability to interact at varying degrees of privacy and intimacy.

“Cyberculture, like culture in general, relies on establishing identity and credibility.” We have seen how with the creation of an avatar an identity is created that is credible. “However, in the absence of direct physical interaction, it could be argued that the process for such establishment is more difficult.” Not in Second Life. Sure it takes some skill but through observation of your peers and those that have been “in world” for some years, an identity that is appealing and “fits” is not difficult. Your avatar represents you.

Culture

Wiki : Specifically, the term “culture” in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society its so-called material culture and everything else, the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term “culture”.

Looking at second life we can see a commonalty that gives second life its culture. A society if you will. Firstly there are avatars in many and varied shapes but still avatars collectively with profiles. The 3D space has global characteristics that are present everywhere. Chat everywhere is the same. Viewers to view and interact any scene are broadly the same. There is a market place that anyone can access containing thousands and thousands of items that can be bought with lindens. There is a multiplicity of nations yet all conform broadly to standards. There are TOS which are adhered to. There are mutual interest groups. There are friends. In second life there are ratings which have their own regulations. These are general, mature and adult. You cannot for example be naked in a general area. In a 24 hour period there are between 30k and 50k people in second life. Avatars (people?) fall in love, fight and have sex.

An important feature of second life is the ability to own your own space. This may be a house, an island or land. i have a small tropical island. When I got it it had a few palm trees. It has taken me weeks to create what is now my second life home. Others I have visited are unique to that person. adjusting arranging can take hours as well as shopping for that perfect vase. Just as your home in real life reflects your personality so does your home that you have created in second life.

Second Life is a cyberculture but is it real?

Reality

We would say the mind body complex existing in a physical space, is us experiencing reality. However if I am communicating with another person, whether or not we occupy the same physical space this is also real. This communication can be via a keyboard and is in real time therefore it is real. In second life the chat is real. I may be a 63 year old male yet wear a female avatar and giggle when boys make jokes. My avatar my representation may be completely false i am treating second life as something real only to my avatar. Some say that second life is not real because the avatar is merely a construct. But it is the physical me who is manipulating the avatar, just as a puppeteer pulls the puppets strings. The puppet isn’t real, the puppeteer is.

Human beings have an incredible ability to adopt a persona. Just look at actors who do it with consummate skill. They are not surrounded by the environment we see on screen but are surrounded by lights scenery cameras and lots of other people. Still they are able to act an intimate love scene as tho they were the only two people in the world.

What if on your computer screen I put a life like “person” and when I typed the “person” said the words? What if the scene was that of a club and out of the speakers a DJ spoke your name? What if others there would greet you as a friend? What if you were flattered and felt at home? What if you danced with an attractive partner, danced with grace and skill?

What if you fell in love?

Undoubtedly real relationships are formed.Friendships last years and through private messaging the real person shares their real life. Their real name, family details, work, where they live (Yes this has resulted in real life stalking). Photographs, real life, are shared… Partnerships formed in second life have led to the two people getting together in the real world. Great emotionality is generated in second life. Avatars do not experience emotion. In my opinion those that say second life is just a “game” are wrong. There is confusion. Read this :

[02:33 AM] aaa: OMG stop thinking real ,,, this is a game but unlike other games it connects to peoples emotions , I cried when dumped ,I cried when walked in on my wife dancing with a man , I cried when my husband in IW asked me to marry him .I cried when John decided to return to SL ,,, X has a SL wife no place for me but I wont cry this time because I have learnt to play the game
[02:34 AM] dudestarship2: thats why i’m introspective. this is a game?
[02:34 AM] dudestarship2: feels pretty goddam real to me
[02:34 AM] aaa: it can be a game that hurts

A friend sent me this:

[4:21 AM] Sxxx: Interesting case study for you, 2 people have been together in SL, very close relationship, contact through email and chat outside SL, know quite a bit about each other’s real lives, have shared lots of good times and bad times, had rows and love, split up, got back together, know each other’s deepest darkest secrets, are incredibly loyal to each other, gotten totally under each others skin, and expect to stay in contact of some kind till the internet collapses, but have no likelihood of meeting in rl, and although he knows her real name, she has no idea what his is, even after 3 years.

Another friend said:

[07:30 AM] Mxxx: I always ask people who think SL is a game what the rules are and how do you “win”

Those that say second life and real life are distinct separate entities are wrong in my view, but some treat it so it seems. We have a debate here I think. Please comment.

Personally…………

I cannot sign this Dude nor can I sign it Philip its

Dude / Philip

A closer look at my home called Lamu

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Comming of age in second life

Abstract:

Millions of people around the world today spend portions of their lives in online virtual worlds. Second Life is one of the largest of these virtual worlds. The residents of Second Life create communities, buy property and build homes, go to concerts, meet in bars, attend weddings and religious services, buy and sell virtual goods and services, find friendship, fall in love–the possibilities are endless, and all encountered through a computer screen. Coming of Age in Second Life is the first book of anthropology to examine this thriving alternate universe.

Tom Boellstorff conducted more than two years of fieldwork in Second Life, living among and observing its residents in exactly the same way anthropologists traditionally have done to learn about cultures and social groups in the so-called real world. He conducted his research as the avatar “Tom Bukowski,” and applied the rigorous methods of anthropology to study many facets of this new frontier of human life, including issues of gender, race, sex, money, conflict and antisocial behavior, the construction of place and time, and the interplay of self and group.

Coming of Age in Second Life shows how virtual worlds can change ideas about identity and society. Bringing anthropology into territory never before studied, this book demonstrates that in some ways humans have always been virtual, and that virtual worlds in all their rich complexity build upon a human capacity for culture that is as old as humanity itself.

Tom Boellstorff is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.

You can read it here ...I’m not an anthropologist. I’m an educated user. I am biased. Dude Starship and I are aspects of the same entity. He even has his own domain DudeStarship.com This hub is an intellectual exercise that has and will evolve into a synthesis of identity. We are all cyborgs now.

We Are All Cyborgs Now

 

A Transcript of the video:

I would like to tell you all that you are all actually cyborgs, but not the cyborgs that you think. You’re not RoboCop, and you’re not Terminator, but you’re cyborgs every time you look at a computer screen or use one of your cell phone devices. So what’s a good definition for cyborg? Well, traditional definition is “an organism to which exogenous components have been added for the purpose of adapting to new environments.” That came from a 1960 paper on space travel, because, if you think about it, space is pretty awkward. People aren’t supposed to be there. But humans are curious, and they like to add things to their bodies so they can go to the Alps one day and then become a fish in the sea the next.

So let’s look at the concept of traditional anthropology. Somebody goes to another country, says, “How fascinating these people are, how interesting their tools are, how curious their culture is.” And then they write a paper, and maybe a few other anthropologists read it, and we think it’s very exotic. Well, what’s happening is that we’ve suddenly found a new species. I, as a cyborg anthropologist, have suddenly said, “Oh, wow. Now suddenly we’re a new form of Homo sapiens, and look at these fascinating cultures, and look at these curious rituals that everybody’s doing around this technology. They’re clicking on things and staring at screens.”

Now there’s a reason why I study this, versus traditional anthropology. And the reason is that tool use, in the beginning — for thousands and thousands of years, everything has been a physical modification of self. It has helped us to extend our physical selves, go faster, hit things harder, and there’s been a limit on that. But now what we’re looking at is not an extension of the physical self, but an extension of the mental self, and because of that, we’re able to travel faster, communicate differently. And the other thing that happens is that we’re all carrying around little Mary Poppins technology. We can put anything we want into it, and it doesn’t get heavier, and then we can take anything out. What does the inside of your computer actually look like? Well, if you print it out, it looks like a thousand pounds of material that you’re carrying around all the time. And if you actually lose that information, it means that you suddenly have this loss in your mind, that you suddenly feel like something’s missing, except you aren’t able to see it, so it feels like a very strange emotion.

The other thing that happens is that you have a second self. Whether you like it or not, you’re starting to show up online, and people are interacting with your second self when you’re not there. And so you have to be careful about leaving your front lawn open, which is basically your Facebook wall, so that people don’t write on it in the middle of the night — because it’s very much the equivalent. And suddenly we have to start to maintain our second self. You have to present yourself in digital life in a similar way that you would in your analog life. So, in the same way that you wake up, take a shower and get dressed, you have to learn to do that for your digital self. And the problem is that a lot of people now, especially adolescents, have to go through two adolescences. They have to go through their primary one, that’s already awkward, and then they go through their second self’s adolescence, and that’s even more awkward because there’s an actual history of what they’ve gone through online. And anybody coming in new to technology is an adolescent online right now, and so it’s very awkward, and it’s very difficult for them to do those things.

So when I was little, my dad would sit me down at night and he would say, “I’m going to teach you about time and space in the future.” And I said, “Great.” And he said one day, “What’s the shortest distance between two points?” And I said, “Well, that’s a straight line. You told me that yesterday.” I thought I was very clever. He said, “No, no, no. Here’s a better way.” He took a piece of paper, drew A and B on one side and the other and folded them together so where A and B touched. And he said, “That is the shortest distance between two points.” And I said, “Dad, dad, dad, how do you do that?” He said, “Well, you just bend time and space, it takes an awful lot of energy, and that’s just how you do it.” And I said, “I want to do that.” And he said, “Well, okay.” And so, when I went to sleep for the next 10 or 20 years, I was thinking at night, “I want to be the first person to create a wormhole, to make things accelerate faster. And I want to make a time machine.” I was always sending messages to my future self using tape recorders.

But then what I realized when I went to college is that technology doesn’t just get adopted because it works. It gets adopted because people use it and it’s made for humans. So I started studying anthropology. And when I was writing my thesis on cell phones, I realized that everyone was carrying around wormholes in their pockets. They weren’t physically transporting themselves; they were mentally transporting themselves. They would click on a button, and they would be connected as A to B immediately. And I thought, “Oh, wow. I found it. This is great.”

So over time, time and space have compressed because of this. You can stand on one side of the world, whisper something and be heard on the other. One of the other ideas that comes around is that you have a different type of time on every single device that you use. Every single browser tab gives you a different type of time. And because of that, you start to dig around for your external memories — where did you leave them? So now we’re all these paleontologists that are digging for things that we’ve lost on our external brains that we’re carrying around in our pockets. And that incites a sort of panic architecture — “Oh no, where’s this thing?” We’re all “I Love Lucy” on a great assembly line of information, and we can’t keep up.

And so what happens is, when we bring all that into the social space, we end up checking our phones all the time. So we have this thing called ambient intimacy. It’s not that we’re always connected to everybody, but at anytime we can connect to anyone we want. And if you were able to print out everybody in your cell phone, the room would be very crowded. These are the people that you have access to right now, in general — all of these people, all of your friends and family that you can connect to.

And so there are some psychological effects that happen with this. One I’m really worried about is that people aren’t taking time for mental reflection anymore, and that they aren’t slowing down and stopping, being around all those people in the room all the time that are trying to compete for their attention on the simultaneous time interfaces, paleontology and panic architecture. They’re not just sitting there. And really, when you have no external input, that is a time when there is a creation of self, when you can do long-term planning, when you can try and figure out who you really are. And then, once you do that, you can figure out how to present your second self in a legitimate way, instead of just dealing with everything as it comes in — and oh, I have to do this, and I have to do this, and I have to do this. And so this is very important. I’m really worried that, especially kids today, they’re not going to be dealing with this down-time, that they have an instantaneous button-clicking culture, and that everything comes to them, and that they become very excited about it and very addicted to it.

So if you think about it, the world hasn’t stopped either. It has its own external prosthetic devices, and these devices are helping us all to communicate and interact with each other. But when you actually visualize it, all the connections that we’re doing right now — this is an image of the mapping of the Internet — it doesn’t look technological. It actually looks very organic. This is the first time in the entire history of humanity that we’ve connected in this way. And it’s not that machines are taking over. It’s that they’re helping us to be more human, helping us to connect with each other.

The most successful technology gets out of the way and helps us live our lives. And really, it ends up being more human than technology, because we’re co-creating each other all the time. And so this is the important point that I like to study: that things are beautiful, that it’s still a human connection — it’s just done in a different way. We’re just increasing our humanness and our ability to connect with each other, regardless of geography. So that’s why I study cyborg anthropology.

Thank you.

Of course I am a cyborg and with my avatar I am one hell of a cyborg. The blurring of the lines between “Man and Machine” has never been so self evident As machines get more intelligent more skilled these lines will disappear.

Cyberculture Main Stream cyberrealism

Gorillaz are a main stream band who use avatars in their videos, In this video we see a wonderful mixture of the real and the cyber to tell a story. (Stylo 13 million views) I include it here as an example of what I call cyberrealism. Another neologism but one that has been coined before. The cyber is main stream.

The story is a dual between avatars (Gorillaz) and Bruce Willis.The avatars win. Take note of the ending. Avatars are malleable and can adapt to any environment.

So, perhaps that is a little tongue-in-cheek. Watch the video please.

  • 88% Yes
  • 13% No
  • 0% I Don’t Know

8 people have voted in this poll.

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