The Bay: tropical retreat with an adult twist

The Bay, Cats; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrThe Bay, Cats (Flickr)

Mz Marville is perhaps best know for her work with Matoluta Sanctuary, which has been the focus of articles in this blog on more than one occasion, my last visit there being in September 2014.

However, in November, she opened the doors on a new venture: The Bay, located on the region of Cats, and it is a place I’ve been meaning to take a look at since it opened, but have only just managed to get my head sufficiently above water to do so properly.

The Bay, Cats; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrThe Bay, Cats (Flickr)

Now, the first things to note is that The Bay is Adult rated, and that Adult activities do take place on the island. Although there is a Members Only area in the centre of the island (group membership required to access), which may keep most adult activities out of sight from casual visitors, do be aware that adult-themed role-play and socialising are permitted throughout the island, so long as everything meets The Bay’s rules.

Aside from the Members Only area, the island is open to the public and offers a tropical locale with an interesting mixing of wildlife – African elephants can be found here as well as their Indian cousins, alongside tigers and monkeys. There are plenty of casual cuddle spots / meeting places to be found in the public areas – rafts and boats on the water, beach houses and cabins up on the rocks and hills. The landscape offers plenty of opportunities for photography, and opportunities to explore around the coastal areas.

The Bay, Cats; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrThe Bay, Cats (Flickr)

The most prominent landmark is perhaps that of an old brigantine (a design by Eduardos Ducatillon and which is seeing some popularity among region designers at the moment).  This is where the main landing point is located, with information boards on the island and the activities taking place there. It also gives the island something of a piratical feel, which is itself in modest ways, carried through to other areas of the region.

Group membership can be obtained for a one-off L$350 payment, and this grants you access to all of the members’ areas on the ground and in the air. These can be found in the centre of the island, where heavy wooden doors guard the entrance to a deep mine (and a security system guards against non-group member access, with a reasonable 90-second warning). Down in the mines lay private areas, while close to the doors sits a teleport disc providing access to member’s facilities up in the sky, centred on a very plush bath house, all of which have something of a pirate theme to them.

The Bay, Cats; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrThe Bay, Cats (Flickr)

Note that in a recent move by The Bay’s management, group members can also request temporary access to the Members Areas for friends, should they wish to show them around.

Music events are also a feature of The Bay, with events taking place between 14:00-16:00 once a week, although days on which they occur may vary; there will also be special Premier Events, only open to group members.

To celebrate its opening, The Bay is running a photography competition with some impressive prizes: L$8,000 and a gift card courtesy of the region’s sponsor,  CerberusXing (who is also responsible for the interior designs in the region) for the first place prize;  L$3,500 and 2 weeks use of a 1/4 region with 800 LI for the second prize and a L$2,500 third place prize.

Participants can submit up to three photos of The Bay to the The Bay Flickr pool to enter. These must be original photos for the competition (e.g. not used elsewhere), and entrants are encouraged  to utilise adult themes and membership to The Bay VIP group. Entrants should also be away that submission of entries to the competition gives The Bay permission to modify and display photographs on The Bay’s website and in any future marketing/advertising. The closing date for entries is Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014.

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Lab issues benchmark viewer crash fix

Update: Friday, December 5th, 2014: this Benchmark RC has now bee promoted to the the de facto release viewer.

On November 10th, the Lab promoted their benchmark viewer code to release status (viewer version 3.7.19.296094. This viewer removes the need for a manually-maintained list of GPUs (the GPU table) in order to identify the graphics system your computer is using, replacing it with a series of quick tests which are used to test the graphics system and set suitable initial defaults for the viewer (which only happens if you have no graphics settings already recorded for your viewer).

Despite extensive testing whilst a release candidate viewer, the promotion of this particular viewer to the de facto release viewer resulted in some people experiencing issues with the viewer immediately crashing on start-up due to a VFS failure – see this forum thread and  BUG-7776, BUG-7783).

The problem didn’t affect everyone using the viewer, but for those who did, the usual fixes for VFS failures didn’t appear to work.

Since that time, there has been a further release viewer update – version  3.7.20.296724 (December 1st, formerly the Snowstorm contributions RC).

However, if you have resisted updating the viewer due the crash issue, or if you are still encountering the VFS crash issue, the Lab has released a new Benchmark RC viewer, version 3.7.22.297128 .

This release should address the start-up issue, and the Lab has requested anyone who may still be having problems install it, try it, and provide feedback via BUG-7783.

Kosmic algorithms

Project Algorithm: "observabalh" by Nino Vichon
Project Algorithm: “Observatorim” by Nino Vichon

In November, I wrote about Giovanna Cerise’s latest full region installation, Chaos, Kosmos, currently open on LEA21 as a part of the 7th round of LEA artist In Residence grants.

the initial installation has been extended with three airborne platforms offering pieces by three artists Giovanna invited to participate in her work. Together, all three are referred to as “Project Algorithm”, and each appears to be designed to carry forward something of the original theme of Chaos. Kosmos – examining the relationship between two seemingly opposite elements which may actually be two sides of the same coin. In the case of the original piece, this involves examining the relationship between the ordered cosmos and its chaotic origins (which it still, despite its own order, also echoes).

The three new pieces on offer are reached via the spherical teleport at the Chaos, Kosmos landing point.  As they are all independent works, the order in which they are visited doesn’t appear to be important. As such, I’m tackling them here on the basis of height above ground – from the lowest to the highest.

Project Algorithm: "Live and Die" by Pol Jarhead
Project Algorithm: “Live and Die” by Pol Jarvinan

So the first piece is Live and Die, by Pol Jarvinan, which appears to examine the relationship between life and death; neither of which can exist without the other, and yet both are opposed to one another. The relationship is presented, to my eyes at least, on a number of levels.

The major part of the piece, when cammed around, can give an impression of a graveyard, the black and white shapes frequently forming crosses as the camera moves – the field of death. In the centre of this is a small region of colour – life. Yet even this colour exhibits something of an ebb and flow: the word LIVE is green / healthy; the word DIE is pale / sickly. between them lie a series of geometric shapes in a rusted hue; suggestive of ageing. Throughout the piece are black-and-white circles which, as the camera moves, can appear to be individual or overlapping, perhaps again symbolic of the relationship the exists between being and not being.

Project Algorithm: "observatorim" by Nino Vichon
Project Algorithm: “observatorim” by Nino Vichon

Nino Vichon opts to examine the algorithm – or relationship – between fantasy and prediction through his piece, Observatorium. Here, he sets out the view while appearing separate, fantasy and prediction are perhaps intertwined.  Neither requires linear steps in understanding, and both can be based upon creative or intuitive leaps of the imagination as much as anything else. As such, they are not mutually exclusive in application; rather they are complimentary.  He illustrates this through the examples of chemistry and its relationship with alchemy (from which it grew), and astronomy and its relationship with astrology (ditto).

The uppermost platform is home to Daco Monday’s Chaos, perhaps the most involved and perplexing of the three pieces. It is defined as “the Algorithm of history”, although quite how it should be interpreted is difficult to discern.

There is a quote within the piece, “la luce diurna e razionalista della storia moderna si va spegnendo il suo astro declina avanza il crepuscolo e ci avviciniamo alla notte” – which, I think is a reference to Novoe srednevekov’e (“The End of Our Time”, also known as “The New Middle Ages”) by the religious and political philosopher / Christian universalist Nikolai Berdyaev.

Project Algorithm: Chaos by Daco Monday
Project Algorithm: Chaos by Daco Monday

As I have no idea if I’m barking up the wrong philosophical tree here or not, I’m loathe to plumb this piece further in writing (although I’ve been mentally scratching my head over it during the course of the last 24 hours…). Therefore, should you wish yo know more, I can only suggest you go take a peek for yourself.

Project Algorithm will remain open, along with Chaos, Kosmos, until the end of December 2014.

Related Links

  • Chaos, Kosmos SLurl (Rated: General) – use the teleport sphere at the landing point to reach the platforms.

Orion: first flight time line

The moment of separation: Orion, shrouded by the Launch Abort System, and attached to the "dummy" Service Module / Delta upper stage combination at just after separation from the main stage of the Delta rocket. The two panels seen either side of Orion are the panel that protect the Service Module during ascent to orbit
The moment of separation: Orion, shrouded by the Launch Abort System, and attached to the “dummy” Service Module / Delta upper stage combination, just after separation from the main stage of the Delta rocket. The two panels seen either side of Orion protect the Service Module during ascent to orbit, and are jettisoned just ahead of the Launch Abort System

Update: Friday, December 5th. The Orion EFT-1 mission was a complete success, and I have an update available for those interested.

Update: Thursday, December 4th, 2014: due to a series of issues involving a boat straying too close to the launch pad, wind speeds around the pad exceeding safe limits, a fuel valve problem on two of the booster engines and – finally – concerns over the battery lief on Orion’s camera systems expiring due to lack of charge (with the fuel valve issues also unresolved) a decision was made to scrub the launch. A re-try will be made on Friday, December 5th, all major times given in the time line here remain the same, although NASA TV coverage will not commence until 11:00 UTC / 06:00 EST.

At approximately 12:05 PM UTC, on Thursday, December 4th, a Delta IV Heavy booster should lift-off from Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (immediately to the south of NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, and the home of the vat majority of America’s unmanned rocket launches).

Sitting at the top of the rocket, covered by the protective shroud of its Launch Abort System, will be America’s newest space vehicle, one that will – if all goes well, and political willingness is maintained – carry a crew to an asteroid in 2021, before taking humans back to the Moon, and then, perhaps around 2032, onwards to Mars and back.

The Orion "stack" at launch
The Orion “stack” at launch

The Orion Multi-purpose Crewed Vehicle (MPCV) is, as I’ve mentioned before in these pages, the first crew-capable space vehicle NASA has commissioned and will operate since the the space shuttle – a design itself rooted in the !970s. Yet in some respects, Orion evokes an even earlier era than that – the heady days of Apollo. Not only will it hopefully participate in lunar missions in the future, it actually resembles the Apollo Command Module, being a capsule vehicle, albeit one larger than Apollo (it can carry up to six crew, although four will likely be the usual crew number) and it is truly state-of-the-art in terms of design and capabilities.

This first launch will see Orion operated in an uncrewed proving flight, and will mark the start of a 4.5 hour mission that will see the capsule, complete with a “dummy” service module (again, like Apollo, Orion uses a Service module unit to supply life support, power and propulsion), travel further from the Earth than any vehicle designed to carry a crew has gone since the last of the Apollo Moon missions in 1972.

In doing so, the vehicle will be tested through the Van Allen radiation belts surrounding the Earth, and the capsule will be directed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere at around 80% of the velocity it would achieve on a return from a cislunar mission (that is, roughly 4,000 kph (2,500 mph) faster than the space shuttle ever returned to Earth).

For those interested in the mission, here’s a brief time line of events:

  • 03:50 UTC, December 4th / 10:50 EST, December 3rd: The mobile launch gantry starts to withdraw from the launch vehicle
  • 07:35 UTC / 02:35 EST, December 4th: Fuelling the Delta IV Heavy commences
  • 08:35 UTC / 03:35 ET: NASA flight control team take over from United Launch Alliance in managing launch preparations
  • 09:30 UTC / 04:30 EST: NASA TV coverage of the launch commences
  • 11:46 UTC / 06:46 EST: Terminal countdown hold for final pre-launch checks
  • 11:57 UTC / 06:57 EST: Go / No Go launch poll; Orion switches to internal power
  • 12::01 UTC / 07:01 EST:  Terminal countdown begins
  • 12:05 UTC: / 07:05 EST: Lift-off!
  • 12:05  through 12:22:39 UTC / 07:05 through 07:22:39 EST:  vehicle climbs to initial orbit of 185 x 888 kilometres (115 x 552 miles), during which boosters and first stage are jettisoned, as are the Service Module fairings and Launch Abort System. Orion and Service Module still attached to Delta upper stage
  • 14:00:26 UTC / 09:00:26 EST: Delta upper stage engine re-fires for 4:45 minutes, pushing the vehicle to its extended elliptical orbit that will carry it 5,800 km (3,600 miles) from Earth
  • 14:10-14:25 UTC / 09:10-0925 EST: Orion passes through Van Allen radiation belts; cameras turned off during this period
  • 15:10 UTC / 10:00 EST: Orion reaches furthest distance from Earth
  • 15:28:41 UTC / 10:28:41 EST: Orion capsule detaches from “dummy” service module / Delta upper stage
  • 15:35-16:10 UTC / 10:35-11:10 EST: Orions passes back through Van Allen radiation belts, reaction control motors used to initiate return to Earth
  • 16:18:35 UTC / 11:18:35 EST: re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere commences at 36,000 kph (20,000 mph)
  • 16:18:41-16:21:11 UTC / 11:18:41-11:21:11 EST: radio blackout & hottest period of re-entry with heat shield temperatures reaching 2,200C (4,000F), slowing the vehicle to around 480 kph (300 mph)
  • 16:24:29 UTC / 11:24:39 EST: parachute bay cover jettisoned (and also recovered after parachuting to its own splashdown)
  • 16:24:31 UTC / 11:24:31 EST: drogue parachute deployed, slowing vehicle from 480 kph (300 mph) to 160 kph (100 mph)
  • 16:25:40 UTC / 11:25:40 EST: main parachute deployed, slowing the vehicle from 160 kph (100 mph) to less than 30 kph (20 mph)
  • 16:28:29 UTC / 11:28:29 EST: Spashdown, to be followed by recovery by the USS Anchorage.
The boat (arrowed) that initially held the Thursday, December 4th launch, as it sits within the safety exclusion zone
The boat (arrowed) that initially held the Thursday, December 4th launch, as it sits within the safety exclusion zone. the first of several delays and issues which eventually resulted in the planned launch being scrubbed for 24 hours.