Merged realities: events and issues for virtual worlds

1. The latest Second Life Education in New Zealand blog has an interesting update on a NZ-based Second Life creative project that’s exploring issues around public urban spaces.

2. Volume 3 of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is now available and as usual contains a range of interesting research. A glimpse of some of the peer-reviewed research papers:

Spectacular Interventions of Second Life: Goon Culture, Griefing, and Disruption in Virtual Spaces
Burcu S. Bakioglu
Abstract  |  PDF
Knee-High Boots and Six-Pack Abs: Autoethnographic Reflections on Gender and Technology in Second Life
Delia Dumitrica, Georgia Gaden
Abstract  |  PDF
Jigsaw Worlds and Avatars – Puzzling Over Property and Personhood. New Challenges for Intellectual Property Law.
Norberto Nuno Gomes de Andrade
Abstract  |  PDF
On the Dark Side: Gothic Play and Performance in a Virtual World
Mikael Johnson, Tanja Sihvonen
Abstract  |  PDF
Analyzing Social Identity (Re) Production: Identity Liminal Events in MMORPGs
Javier A Salazar
Abstract  |  PDF
Gorean role-play in Second Life
Tjarda Sixma
Abstract  |  PDF
“Because it just looks cool!” – Fashion as character performance: The Case of WoW
Susana Tosca, Lisbeth Klastrup
Abstract  |  PDF
Things you can do in a virtual game world, when you are dead: collective memory constitution and identity of virtual refugees.
Anthony Papargyris, Angeliki Poulymenakou
Abstract  |  PDF

3. The Virtual Worlds: High Performance or Hype? discussion paper is still available as a free download.

‘Life On Line’ launches

lifeonline I received a media release yesterday, announcing the launch of a virtual TV show, Life On Line.

It’s the latest project by Australian Steve Cropper, who produced a virtual worlds community called My Metaverse as well as a previous offering: The Late Show.

I watched the pilot episode and like any pilot, it’s pretty raw. The overall theme of the show is the multitude of ways that people spend time online, from Facebook to Wikis. The topics are covered in a fairly breezy way and it works to an extent. What doesn’t work for me in any way is the canned laughter. To say it’s annoying is an understatement – at points it harks back to some early TV shows in the 60’s where laughter appears in spots where there’s nothing to laugh at.

The news section featuring blogger Sigmund Leominster has promise, but the rest of the show to me seems to have a long way to go. It’s always great to see new options appear, and here’s hoping this is one that goes from strength to strength. The first episode launching today will determine to a large extent whether that’s the trajectory we’ll see.

Update – Episode 1 is now live, so you can judge for yourself the real deal:

Victorian Bushfire support continues in Second Life

Across the Second Life grid, fundraisers continue to occur for the victims of the Victorian bushfires. Tonight I heard about a fundraiser occurring at Bringiton’s Music Hall of Fame.


Australian owner Bringiton Paine is hoping to raise up to half a million Linden Dollars overnight, so if you’ve got some spare time and want to have a dance, join the party and make a donation. There were more than 40 people having a good time when I jumped in, including a significant proportion from Austria, Germany and France to name a few. Another example of grass-roots fundraising at its best.

Don’t forget there’s a growing list of Second Life vendors selling goods to raise money for the cause.

Merged realities: events and issues for virtual worlds

1. The upcoming SBS documentary, Alter Ego, now has a (superb) theme song available for free download here.

2. An interesting Second Life event:

The annual DREAMS Community Health, Education and Art Fair will be held from February the 15th through the 28th. This will be the 5th year for the fair at Dreams.

Each year the Dreams Community Fair is provided as an outreach program to connect & educate SL residents about support groups and their services with an emphasis on health related groups.

The fair is filled with group presentations; booths of information, SL related classes, live performances, talks and more!

The ever popular “Linden Dunk Tank Day” will return and is tentatively scheduled for Friday the 20th from 2pm to 6pm SLT

3. A useful article on health education and virtual worlds was featured in a 2008 issue of Telehealth World ezine (page 8). Better late than never mentioning this.


Merged realities: events and issues for virtual worlds

Two of our more popular features each week are our weekly mainstream news roundup, The Watch, and our weekly does of machinima, Weekend Whimsy. The former runs Mondays, the latter Fridays.

We’ve decided to add a new feature that will run in the middle of the week, called Merged Realities. It will be a handful of links to virtual world events, real-world events and non-mainstream coverage of virtual worlds issues. If you have an event that you think will be of interest, contact us with details. Either use our contact form or DM us on Twitter. If it’s Second Life related, feel free to IM Lowell Cremorne.

Onto the inaugural edition:

1. Mandy Salomon, Senior Researcher at the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre, is giving a presentation on Second Life to the Women in Information & Communication Breakfast Series – if you’re Canberra based this is worth checking out.

2. Metaplace are having a stress test of their platform. If you’re a beta tester, you should have received an email with the details, otherwise log in to Metaplace to find out more. The stress test starts at 1pm PST on Thursday Feb 5th, which is 8am Friday the 6th of February AEDT.

3. Dancing Ink Productions have released the findings from their Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project, conducted in partnership with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. I particularly like the graphic novel option for the findings.


4. The Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University is out its Greenland world into open beta:

To test some ideas, we have prepared a browser-based game of kingdoms, trade, diplomacy, and warfare in the stone age. The world is called Greenland and it enters open beta today. We invite those interested in such things to help us by testing the environment and contributing reactions and criticism to the forums.

To enter Greenland, go to and choose the Mercator server (the other two servers are closed for internal testing).You will need a code to register for the server; it is GLOPENACCESS.

5. Check out this superb video of avatars as music-makers (via New World Notes):

Bandbots – Second Life Musical Avatars from Chantal Harvey on Vimeo.

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