Music and art at an Indie Teepee in Second Life

Indie Teepee: Eupalinos Ugajin's installation
Indie Teepee: Eupalinos Ugajin’s installation

Indie Teepee is a region-wide celebration of music and art in Second Life. It officially opened on July 10th (with a pay-to-see preview day on July 9th), and will run through until July 24th.

It is billed as an annual event, and has been inspired by physical world music and art festivals, so offers a wide-ranging programme featuring rock, indie, hip hop, electronic dance, and live performances in the music genres; while from the world of art it features installations by Bryn Oh, Eupalinos Ugajin, ByrneDarklyCazalet, Belua Broadfoot and her partner Elsie Wonder, and M4SK22 Melody and Kanjena Sweetleaf, who present their own machinima programme. As well as these, the event also boasts shopping, literature and poetry, a roller derby, skateboarding and wrestling – making things quite a mix!

Indie Teepee: one of the three music stages
Indie Teepee: one of the three music stages

The best place to get information about all that is going on is via the official Indie Teepee website. This is well put together, presenting a lot of information on the event, including schedules, background information, participant biographies and notes, plus podcasts from the previous days.

Music for the event is divided among three stages, all of them simply referred to as Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3, with the main schedule providing key times for performances, as mentioned, together with individual pages for the live performers,and DJs and more from the music side of activities.

Indie Teepee: art by
Indie Teepee: art by Belua Broadfoot with music by Elsie Wonder

The region itself is well designed, offering an semi-desert like environment surrounded by high mesas. A central sandy hill offers plenty of space for the main music stage on its flat top, the remaining two located to the south and north and all three well separated to prevent any overlap of sounds.

The main landing point and information hub sits in the south-east corner of the region, close to the roller derby arena and Skateboarding teleport. Paths from this lead the way around the island – although given the size of some of the art installations, they are a little hard to miss!

Indie Teepee: the literary corner
Indie Teepee: the literary corner

Shopping is split between three areas around the region, a nice move that further encourages exploration and discovery, leading one through the art installation, past the galleries, literary corner and machinima drive-in in the process.

Do note that several of the art installations are interactive to one degree or another, and there are a number of freebie givers scattered around, so careful hovering on the mouse can be in order when wandering. Some parcels may also offer their own windlight settings as well, so be sure to accept them in order to experience them as intended (most noticeably in the art installations).

Indie Tepee: I take a break with Bryn Oh (foreground) and cica Ghost (right) on Bryn's birds - although she and cica sit on their perches a lot me elegantly than I do (at the back)!
Indie Tepee: I take a break with Bryn Oh (foreground) and Cica Ghost (right) on Bryn’s birds – although Bryn and Cica sit on their perches a lot more elegantly than I do (at the back)!

So, if you fancy mixing music and art while enjoying a little shopping, or fancy a little skateboarding or roller skating, you might want to drop into Indie Tepee between now and July 24th.

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Space Sunday: Pluto – the history of a brief encounter

Pluto (right) and Charon, as captured by the LORRI instrument aboard NASA's New Horizon's probe on July 8th, 2015. The colour of Pluto has been obtained by combining the image with data gathered by another instrument on the spacecraft, called Ralph
Pluto (right) and Charon, as captured by the LORRI instrument aboard NASA’s New Horizon’s probe on July 8th, 2015. The colour of Pluto has been obtained by combining the image with data gathered by another instrument on the spacecraft, called Ralph

Tuesday, July 14th promises to be a major day in the annals of space exploration, as the deep space probe New Horizons hurls through the Pluto-Charon system, making its closest approach to both, allowing us to gain our best views yet of this binary pairing of dwarf worlds and their little nest of moonlets.

The mission is already fast approaching the 10th anniversary of its launch (January 19th, 2006),  with the overall mission (from inception to the present day) already  almost 15 years old – although the planning for a Pluto mission goes back a lot further than that. Getting to the Pluto-Charon system has been a remarkable feat.

Originally, Voyager 1 had been provisionally scheduled to make a Pluto flyby as a part of its half of the “grand tour” of the solar system, using its encounter with Saturn to swing the probe on to a rendezvous with Pluto in 1986. In the end, Saturn’s Mighty moon Titan was considered a more valuable target for study, and the laws of celestial mechanics meant that a study of Titan and a swing-by of Saturn suitable to send the mission on to Pluto were mutually exclusive.

In the 1990s various missions to Pluto were proposed, ranging in size from the huge Mariner II mission, utilising an update on NASA’s veritable Mariner class probes, weighing two tonnes, down to the tiny Pluto 350, a comparatively tiny vehicle massing just 350 kilogrammes (772 pounds). These evolved, through short-lived programmes such as the Pluto Fast Flyby mission and the Pluto-Kuiper Express mission to eventually become New Horizons in 2001, a mission conceived and operated by the Applied Physics Laboratory, which often operates in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

At launch, New Horizons became the fastest spacecraft ever launched, using an Atlas V booster with no fewer than five strap-on solid rocket boosters. In addition, a high-powered third stage was used to boost it directly onto a solar escape trajectory – something which required the vehicle to achieve a velocity of over 16 kilometres per second (56,000 km/h or 37,000 mph) following launch. To put that in perspective, such was New Horizons’ velocity that it had passed beyond the orbit of the Moon (an average of 384,400 km / 238,900 miles from Earth) less than nine hours after launch.

The nuclear-powered (RTG) New Horizons - one of the fastest man-made craft ever made to date, now closing on the Pluto-Charon system
The nuclear-powered New Horizons – one of the fastest man-made craft ever made to date, now closing on the Pluto-Charon system The RTG system which provides electrical power through the radioactive decay of plutonium, can be see in the upper right of the vehicle in the main image, alongside the inset image of New Horizons under construction

Just under 3 months after launch, and travelling at over 21 kilometres a second, (76,000 km/h; 47,000 mph), New Horizons passed beyond the orbit of Mars, heading onwards for Jupiter, and a manoeuvre referred to a gravity assist.

Reaching the Jovian system in September, 2006, New Horizons was able to stretch its scientific legs, when it started observing Jupiter and its moons from a distance of 291 million kilometres (181 million miles). Over the next 6 months, the craft continued to close on Jupiter, gathering a huge amount of data along the way to add to our understanding of the biggest planet in the solar system, its complex weather systems and atmospheric composition, and its ever-growing system of smaller moons, many of which perform a vital role is “shepherding” Jupiter’s thin ring system.

Jupiter

This was the first real opportunity to observe Jupiter and its moons since the end of the Galileo mission in 2003, and New Horizons did so spectacularly well, passing within 2.3 million kilometres of the planet and using its gravity to further increase its speed by 14,000 km/h (9,000 mph), shortening the journey time to Pluto by some 3 years.

Following the Jupiter mission, the vehicle went into a hibernation mode, allowing it to reduce the power drain on its nuclear “battery”, the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) which provides the vehicle with all its electrical power (and which itself was the back-up unit for the Cassini mission which is still in operation around Saturn, 18 years after its launch).

During the vehicle’s hibernation, things were changing with regards to Pluto. Until the 1990s, it had always been classified as a planet – albeit one with an unusual orbit, which is both sharply inclined to the plane of the ecliptic in which the other planets of the solar system orbit, and highly elliptical, bringing it closer to the Sun than Neptune during certain periods.

Eris and Dysnomia (bright spot, lower left) imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.
Eris and Dysnomia (bright spot, lower left) imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.

Both of these factors, coupled with Pluto’s relatively small size, suggested that it was more of a “captured” object from the Scattered Disc, a region of the Solar System between Neptune and the Kuiper Belt  that is sparsely populated by icy minor planets (Pluto’s orbit around the Sun actually sits within the Scattered Disc).

In 2005, while New Horizons was sleeping,  astronomers at Mount Palomar Observatory imaged Eris, a Scattered Disc object, complete with a moon of its own (Dysnomia), which is some 27% more massive than Pluto. This discovery, coupled with the fact that the Scattered Disc may be the home of other objects of similar size, caused the International Astronomical Union to officially define the term “dwarf planet” in 2006, and downgrade Pluto’s status to match – although not without a certain amount of controversy and protest.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: Pluto – the history of a brief encounter”

Country squires, wizards in space and reading from a classic

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, July 12th, 13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street

Caledonia Skytower, Kaydon Oconnell and Corwyn Allen continue reading The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, originally published in 1894, and which brings together twelve (or eleven in US editions of the volume) adventures featuring Holmes and Watson, as originally published in The Strand Magazine. This week: The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, first published in 1893.

The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, Sidney Paget, 1893
The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, Sidney Paget, 1893

“It was sometime before the health of my friend  Mr.  Sherlock  Holmes  recovered from the strain caused by his immense exertions in the spring of ’87. The whole question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis are too recent in the minds of the public, and are too intimately concerned with politics and finance to be fitting subjects for this series of sketches. “

So records John Watson in opening the narrative of one of Sherlock Holmes more unusual cases, in that it has come to be known by a number of titles: the one used here, and also The Adventure of the Reigate Squires (plural) and The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle.

The main part of the story concerns Watson’s bid to help Holmes recuperate from the strains of the Netherland-Sumatra affair, by taking him to visit a friend’s estate in Reigate, Surrey. However, a burglary at the home of another local family, the Actons, coupled with a murder at the estate of yet another estate, that of the Cunninghams, and the long-standing enmity between these two families serves to draw Holmes and Watson into matters.

Monday July 13th, 19:00: The Wizard of Karres

Gyro Muggins returns to the universe created by James H. Schmitz and given form through his 1949 novel, The Witches of Karres, as he continues reading the 2004 sequel, The Wizard of Karres, penned by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer. So why not join Gyro as he once more traces the adventures of Captain Pausert and his companions, Goth and the Leewit, the Witches of Karres.

Tuesday July 14th, To Kill a Mockingbird

MockingbirdTo mark the publication of Harper Lee‘s Go Set a Watchman, Caledonia Skytower, Kaydon Oconnell and Gyro Muggins read selected passages from Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird.

Set across three years of America’s Great Depression (1933 through 35), the story revolves around issues of rape and racial inequality, but is renowned for its warmth and humour with the story’s Atticus Finch, father of the narrator in the piece, serving as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers.

Given that Watchman – which some describe as a”sequel” to Mockingbird, despite the fact the manuscript pre-existed the latter – offers a very different perspective on things, one which may well overturn feelings of warmth and support for Atticus Finch in the minds of some readers, this trip through Mockingbird is a timely reminder of things past.

Wednesday July 15th: 19:00: The Tail of Emily Windsnap Part 5

Faerie Maven-Pralou reads from Liz Kesseler’s series about a young girl who, having always lived on a boat but having been kept away from the water by her mother, finally gets to have swimming lessons. With them comes a remarkable discovery that leads her into another world…

Thursday July 16th

18:45: Prologue: Mythology as History

With Shandon Loring.

19:00: The Druid by Frank Delaney

The Sea-folkHe has been described as “the most eloquent man in the world”. In a career spanning three decades, BBC host and Booker Prize Judge Frank Delaney has interviewed more the 3,500 of the world’s most important writers. He’s also an author in his own right, earning top prizes and best-seller status in a wide variety of formats.

His latest project is collectively called The Storytellers, and presents a series of short stories that follow the tradition of the seanchai: providing a crisp, concise tales of the world, and which also include his own notes on the history and craft of storytelling and the creation of myths.

Shandon Loring continues a journey through The Storytellers, this week reading from The Sea-Folk, a tale of distant days along the coastline of Ireland, when who knew what creatures came ashore “in days so dark that their shadows had shadows?” Or observed humans from out in the tide? And who knows how they interacted with the people on the land?

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for June / July is the The Xerces Society, at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programmes.

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