12 Apr 2009

Science Life

I walk the Science beat in Second Life, it is incredibly rich and diverse. It also includes education and technology. I am constantly amazed at the depth of resources, and their availability.

Tonight I am going to Yuri’s night http://slurl.com/secondlife/Avatrian%20Central/123/78/31

which is the celebration of the date of Yuri Gagarin’s successful trip into outer space in 1961, and as the first human being to orbit the Earth. We will be celebrating this great human achievement with slide shows, and more. I even hope to pick up a copy of the space suit he wore.

Yesterday night I worked on fixing the voting board which allows the audience in the StudioDome, where I broadcast my live show, http://www.the1stquestion.com/ to vote in real time from all over the world on which of the panelists’ ideas and / or inventions they most support. The panel this week was made up of a university administrator whose college hosted the Edward R. Murrow Awards, http://www.wsu.edu/murrow/winners.htm for journalism, and where Helen Thomas took the stage in Second Life and in real life. Also on my panel was real life science author Billy Marse, (SL name H3 Turbo) who just wrote a great treatise on Geology and in addition will be a leading light in a few weeks for Earth Week on Second Life, where members of the US House of Representatives will be speaking.

I just received the Astro-news from the head of the Physics Club, Sl name Roger Amdahl, who sends out a weekly update of astronomical happenings. Yesterday morning I attended a lecture on NOAA weather satellites, Thursday morning I was at a lecture called, “Stellar Dynamics in a Virtual Universe,” a weekly workshop on setting up N-body simulations in virtual worlds at the MICA auditorium. MICA stands for Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics. I will be submitting an interview I did recently here with the founder of MICA, Dr. George Djorgovski (SL name Curious George)of Caltech University who worked on the World Wide Telescope for MicroSoft, and is pioneering in his vision for and work in the virtual world known as Second Life for science education.


I also attended Science Friday which is broadcast live over NPR, and which Dr Ira Flatlow hosts in Second Life to a very appreciative crowd.


I found out about Science Friday from Troy McLuhan, (Real Life name Dr. Troy McConaghy PHD in AstroDynamics) who runs the science center and moderates the listing of inworld science events. http://science-center-group.wikispaces.com/Science-Related+Places told me about it.

I also saw Troy at a recent talk replete with PowerPoint and great audience discussion and interaction given by Dr. Robert Knop (SL name Prospero Linden & yes he does work for Linden Lab) Dr. Knop Talks Astronomy - “A Snapshot of the Early Universe” here is an abstract of his talk –

In 1998, two teams of astronomers observing supernovae discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. The speaker, Dr. Knop, was on one of the two teams, working with Saul Perlmutter. In this talk, I will describe just how it is that you can measure the expansion history of the Universe by observing distant exploding stars, and what surprising things we saw in our results that indicated to us that the expansion of the Universe was in fact accelerating. At the end, I’ll briefly mention some things about “dark energy,” the mysterious substance that is causing this surprising universal acceleration.

This science talk is intended for the general public. All were welcome. Its part of a series of popular talks called Dr. Knop Talks Astronomy. I learned a lot, might not have understood everything, but for a person with a very active mind, being able to access information like this is unbelievably significant for me.

Dr. Knop, or Pospero as I call him, was also very much present at the MICA Popular Talk - Black Holes, Bright Lights: Quasars as Probes of the Early Universe

I was last week to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Island


where a fantastic lecture on"William and Caroline Herschel and the Invention of Modern Astronomy"was simulcasted (beamed live) into an auditorium there, given by Michael Lemonick — Science Journalist & Lecturer, Princeton University. I found out how an experiment William Herschel made with a thermometer, a prism and the rainbow of light it reflected led to the discovery infra red light. Wow!

Attendance in the lecture also meant a chance to win a real life Galileoscope. It is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. Someone won the raffle (which will be an ongoing event) and it will be shipped to their real home, so they can watch the sky. If I win, I will donate it to my daughters’ school. If I wasn’t there, I never would have known about it.

Troy just relocated the Science Center http://slurl.com/secondlife/Science%20Friday/33/146/22 to Info Island, http://infoisland.org/ where Loreli Junot (Real Life name Lori Bell), DaisyBlue Heffernan and Abbey Zenith, among others run the magnificently appointed Info Island, which has links and teleports to 43 Library installations and islands. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Info%20Island/112/105/33 Click on the Archipelgao board for more information. Here there are books, audiobooks, training programs, programs, medical library, science fiction portals, a fantasy gallery, events, a movie theater, exhibits, web resources and also the ability to create customized resources for people. The Alliance Liabrary system is magnificent!

The Librarians were one of the first groups to realize the great economies of agglomeration to be found in Second Life.

There are a lot of libraries on Second Life. A great one is being built as this blog is being written. It is being created dutifully, and in minute detail, which will thrill ancient architecture students from all over the world. The texts being accumulated are

the passion of one Nev Loring, who is building in his own time and on his own dime, the Library of Constantinople. http://slurl.com/secondlife/WORLDland%201/235/165/21

He said he had been accumulating so many books over his year on Second Life that he had to give them a home. A friend offered him some land on which to build, and here he is creating it for us, the residents who care about these things. There are a lot of us.

The Smithsonian Latino http://slurl.com/secondlife/Smithsonian%20Latino%20Lobby/140/128/2

has an incredible exhibit on the The Olmec who were an ancient Pre-Columbian people living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico. There are pictures taken of Matthew Stirling of the Smithsonian Institution who conducted the first detailed scientific excavations of Olmec sites in the 1930s and 1940s. Stirling, along with art historian Miguel Covarrubias, became convinced that the Olmec predated most other known Mesoamerican civilizations. The dig and museum is an incredible learning experience and again I traveled to a part of the world I would never have found if it wasn’t for Second Life. The museum was designed by a woman, SL name Penelope Riggles who had been given a workshop by the person who is in charge of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and who curates and maintains the one here in SL, Patio Plasma.


He also writes Isaac Asimovs old column.

I have been to exhibitions on Charles Babbage, been introduced to the legendary figure who was Ada Lovelace, and found remarkable adventures in thought, education, science and more. All in the Victorian Island known as Caledon which has an incredibly rich and well resourced community for this important period in the time of the Industrial Revolutuon.


I have seen the Mars Phoenix land on MARS, in an open air auditorium in The Scilands here with 90 other people who witnessed it live with me from around the world, while we had feedback from the actual control room at NASA. The SciLands are a restricted area in SecondLife devoted to the Sciences and Education. 45 islands now make up this illustrious area. The SciLands are my beat so to speak. I broadcast my weekly show, The 1st Question from here in The StudioDome, and make it my business to know what is happening around this great part of our metaverse in Second Life.

I take the following from the SciLands wordpress http://scilands.wordpress.com/


The SciLands is a specialized region of Second Life for Science and Technology based organizations, providing:

* Island reservations in a pure Science region, with shared resources and other Science-based organizations, initially centered around the Space Industries and the acclaimed International Spaceflight Museum.

* Shared resources, islands, events and networking for organisations interested in formal and informal science education, innovation, knowledge transfer and research using Second Life.

* Access to our network of experienced Second Life residents and developers who value scientific accuracy and innovation.

* An extended network of organizations interested in all aspects of informal and formal education using Second Life, including University Faculty, Government Agencies, Libraries, Museums, Subject Matter Experts and Educational Technology Researchers.

Here is the SciLands.org URL as well http://www.scilands.org/

The events held in the SciLands of second life are just like watching your favorite shows on the History and Discovery Science channels, except you get to be interactive, ask real questions, in real time, from real experts top in their fields. It doesn’t really get any better than that.

I could go on, but I have to get ready for Yuri’s night, which is also being celebrated all over the world, and celebrated on Second Life. I will meet people from Russia who are attending to celebrate this achievement of this great human being who was one of the first to orbit the moon. And so from all over the globe we come together to realize what we can accomplish together. I just got a book called US Human Spaceflight, which was compiled by SL name Charlie Navarathna for the NASA CoLab Library & Archives. Head Librarian of which is Archivist Llewellyn.


It is a great place to be when you want to learn. The only naked I am aware of is The Naked Scientist broadcast which comes out of the BBC live onto the Scilands. It is a great hour of listening to the radio, in fact The Naked Scientists just won a European Podcasting Award. http://www.thenakedscientists.com/ Every Sunday we collectively gather and take part in this great program, they even take our questions from Second Life. It is a thrill to hear ones name called out over the broadcast! http://slurl.com/secondlife/SciLands/102/129/26

For those who are involved in the sciences, education and technology in Second Life, there are untold riches of discovery, learning, collaboration and more. We meet each other with a thirst for knowledge and an offered cup of wisdom which we share gladly and gratefully. I have heard other things go on in Second Life too, happily I keep this beat. Tune in to this channel for more of what’s really happening.


Anonymous said...

Quick correction -- George is at Caltech, not Stanford.

Scott Merrick said...

Great collection of resources and places to visit, Pookster. Thanks so much for sharing. I just added your blog into the running for November Blog-o-the-Month at ISTE Island's Blogger's Hut. Voting ends today on the October Blog and yours'll be one of four to be voted on all during the month of September! Yay! See Oh!VirtualLearning! tomorrow for a complete list!