Daily Archives: October 28th, 2008

Virtual Worlds and the Corporate Media, Gotta Luv It!

Not hearing much about virtual worlds these days? They’re not dead, says Tim Ferguson – just preparing for the next round.

Virtual worlds such as Second Life have a bright future, according to experts, especially as businesses start to realise how they can be used for collaboration within their organisation and with customers.

A couple years ago, big names in tech and business were rushing to capitalise on Second Life’s popularity by building ‘islands’ and headquarters in the virtual world – or using it to sell products in a novel way.

But since that initial rush, things have quietened down. Media coverage of virtual worlds has subsided and some early adopters have abandoned their virtual activities after failing to reap benefits from the medium.

So are virtual worlds dead?

Hardly. Now experts predict the virtual world phenomenon is entering a second phase in which businesses will become shrewder about their involvement in such environments and look more carefully at the tangible benefits they can realise.

Science is going to follow art in this case. Author Charlie Stross has already written about the business applications of Second Life in his book ‘Halting State.’

Virtual worlds are the business environments of the future. Why commute when you can don a pair of glasses or skull cap and be where you have to be for a board meeting or just plain performing your slave-wage job.

Just ask the Google-Plex.

Virtual worlds set for second coming ( Note the religious symbolism here )


Military bases appear to be a popular haunt for wandering spirits, with several attracting the attention of ghost hunters seeking evidence of paranormal activity.The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) in January checked out reports of unexplained phenomena—mysterious footsteps, voices and apparitions—in three buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for the Sci Fi Channel show Ghost Hunters. Some base personnel have reported seeing the ghost of a blond-haired boy in building 219; others claim to have spotted the apparition of an elderly woman in building 70.

During the episode, TAPS co-founders Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes spend time in building 70, where they claim to hear footsteps one night in the empty office space after urging any spirits there to present themselves. Derek Kaufman, a public affairs specialist with the 88th Air Base Wing, says that the base was happy to have TAPS check out the reports. He notes that he works in building 70, but so far has not had any ghostly encounters of his own.

I’m actually surprised to find this in the Scientific American and the TAPS connection leaves me suspiscious to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the Ghost Hunters show, not for the prospect of ghosts being real, but for the entertainment value.

For that reason alone, SA should print a disclaimer.

Then again, it’s not a peer review journal, the target audience are regular sheeple/slaves like us.

Ghostbusters: Are military bases haunted?


Star Trek fans, take heart — Mr. Spock’s fabled home star, the nearby Epsilon Eridani, could harbor an Earth-like planet.

NASA astronomers today report that the triple-ringed star has an asteroid belt and a Jupiter-like giant planet in roughly the same orbits as in our own solar system. Only 850 million years old, a fifth the age of Earth’s sun, Epsilon Eridani resembles a younger twin to our solar system. About 62 trillion miles away, it is the closest known solar system.

It was borrowed by the creators of the TV series Star Trek as the location of Vulcan, the planet that gave us the super-logical science officer Mr. Spock.

“We certainly haven’t seen it yet, but if its solar system is anything like ours, then there should be planets like ours,” say astronomer Massimo Marengo of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

This would be all well and good if the star was a billion years old or older ( it’s only 850 million years old ).

The Vulcan culture in the Trek lexicon is supposedly thousands of years older than Terran culture.

If solar and planetary evolution has any validity to it, how can an older culture evolve on a planet younger than Earth?

Mainstream media types don’t know squat about astronomy/astrophysics apparently.

These guys at USA Today can’t even get their canon right either, according to this, the planet Vulcan is located at 40 Eridani, not Epsilon Eridani, since some genius at Paramount finally figured out that 40 Eridani was more age appropriate!

*Because the 40 Eridani system is a triple star system with a white dwarf component, 40 Eridani C. White dwarfs are typically stellar remnants of K and G class stars, usually tens of billions years old.

But hey, a young stellar system is cool too. It would be a good observation ground on how planets form around their stars.

Earth-like planet in Epsilon Eridani? It is logical, Captain