The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. The Toronto Star – Let my avatar buy your avatar coffee. “Paula Weisz’s favourite place to take her dates is the Millennium bar, where she can sip a glass of red wine and have a good conversation. She typically goes on one date per week with men she meets at Omni Date.com, a Toronto-based company. For her dates, the 42-year-old single mother of two doesn’t need to leave the comfort of her living room sofa. And the Millennium won’t be found in any local phonebook.”

2. Reuters – Lego’s latest brick trick: a virtual world. “Millions of children pick up Lego bricks each year to spend hours — 5 billion, in fact — creating their own imaginary worlds. Now the manufacturer of the little plastic playing blocks wants to take them online to “Lego Universe,” a virtual world for fans of the ubiquitous toy.”

3. The Jeffersonian (USA) – Virtual world new marketplace for cars. “Owings Mills entrepreneur and iMagicLab CEO Richard Keith Latman is obviously tickled by last month’s opening of his company’s newest venture — a multi-brand automobile dealership. Set on its own island, the dealership looks like a car wheel and hubcap to shoppers as they fly toward the site.”

4. Tech Digest (UK) – Grand Theft Philadelphia, courtesy of virtual world GeoSimPhilly. “Fancy going to Philadelphia for free? And without leaving the house? That’s the AMAZING FUTURISTIC POSSIBILITY opened up by GeoSimPHILLY – an extremely realistic online representation of Philadelphia.”

5. The University of Texas at Dallas – Students Develop a Virtual World for Art Lovers. “High culture comes to gamers with the help of a group of graduate students from UT Dallas Arts & Technology program. Twelve graduate students have created a virtual art education environment in which art lovers can learn about museum practices and the visual arts.”

6. Fox News – Science-Fiction Writers Help Government Prepare for Attacks of the Future. “magine an attack by a swarm of armed micromachines … or a bioweapon small enough to fit in a suitcase and deadly enough to destroy the human race. It’s the stuff of Hollywood storylines, but to the U.S. government such plots are potentially very real and very dangerous. So the government has turned to an unlikely source for help in identifying these threats: science-fiction writers.”

7. T.H.E. Journal – Children’s Way Beefs Up Security in K-6 Virtual World. “Non-profit developer Children’s Way Foundation has teamed with eGuardian to bolster security on its Woogi World, an online virtual world for K-6 students. The agreement allows Woogi World to incorporate eGuardian’s online verification service as a means of safeguarding kids from online strangers who might be posing as other children.”

8. Science Daily – Virtual World Therapeautic For Addicts: Study Shows Impact Of Environment To Addiction Cravings. ” Patients in therapy to overcome addictions have a new arena to test their coping skills–the virtual world. A new study by University of Houston Associate Professor Patrick Bordnick found that a virtual reality (VR) environment can provide the climate necessary to spark an alcohol craving so that patients can practice how to say “no” in a realistic and safe setting.”

9. Profy.com – Are We Sure About This Virtual World Thing? EA Land Hits Deadpool. “Almost a year and a half ago, Colbert Low posted here on Profy that the future of the Web would be 3D applications, or virtual worlds, with Second Life leading the pack. It’s amazing to me that so much could have changed in such a short amount of time. Today it was announced EA Land, which was formerly called The Sims Online and rebranded only a short time ago, will be shuttering before the end of summer.”

10. IT Business (Canada) – Canadian college turns virtual world creation into real business venture. “After being the first Canadian college with a virtual campus, in Linden Lab’s Second Life, Loyalist College is now starting a commercial venture to help other schools and companies create their own virtual world space.”

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