Return to the Abyss: science in Second Life

The Abyss Observatory's main facilities at Farwell
The Abyss Observatory’s main facilities at Farwell

January 8th, 2016: Update: as per the comment below from Yan, SLurls for the observatory’s facilities have changed, and the article hand images have been updated to reflect this.

In May 2015, I wrote about the The Abyss Observatory, a collaborative project formulated by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and involving the support of a number of organisations including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Open University in the UK.

At the time I wrote that piece, it appeared that a good part of the Observatory’s operations in Second Life would be going off-line in June. fortunately, rather than this being the case, the team behind the Observatory have been busy relocating the exhibits and also taking the opportunity to renew many of them, and they’re now once more moving forward in their work of fostering a greater understanding of the world around us.

Weather balloons rise from the atmospheric research facility at the Abyss Observatory, with the Calypso and Okeanos Explorer moored bat the foot of the island
Weather balloons rise from the atmospheric research facility at The Abyss Observatory, with the RV Calypso and Okeanos Explorer moored bat the foot of the island

“Since the closing of Second Earth 3 in June 2015, we have been working on five new areas,” Abyss co-founder Yan Lauria informed me during a recent visit to the Observatory’s new hub at Farwell. “We now have installations at Farwell, Jabara Land Atlantis, STEM Island and Lily, although some parts are still under construction.”

The re-working of the Abyss facilities has also led to increased collaboration with other science and eduction groups and organisations in Second Life, and also to expand a presence in OpenSim as well.Supporting the venture from the physical world are the National Institute of Education, Singapore and The Science Circle.

Yan, who is also a lecturer at The Science Circle in Second Life, as well as working at JAMSTEC, went on,”We continue to develop Earth, Ocean and Life science exhibits and cross-disciplinary collaboration in SL and JOGrid with TUIS, JAMSTEC, NIE, UIW, The Science Circle and other organisations,”

Underwater at the Abyss Observatory, visitors can learn about deep submersibles like the Treste (left) and JAMSTEC's Shinkai 6500 (right)
Underwater at The Abyss Observatory, visitors can learn about deep submersibles like the Triseste (left) and JAMSTEC’s Shinkai 6500 (right)

Most of the exhibits from the earlier iterations of the Abyss Observatory have now been placed in new locations across the five regions, and a new cross-navigation teleport system has been implemented to ease movement between the different locations and exhibits. These are largely centred on the  Observatory’s land at Farwell, which is perhaps the best place to start any planned tour or visit.

It is at Farwell that those new to The Abyss Observatory can gain a general introduction to it and the purposes behind it, visit several of the main exhibition locations, including the Sunken City Excavation by Kichimaru Haystack, the Cetological Museum by Dugong Janu, Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso and the NOAA Okeanos Explorer (and you can read about the latter’s studies in the physical world as well). And that’s just the start of things.

The Tet
The Tektite Habitat also now resides at The Abyss Observatory’s facilities at Farwell

The travel system on Farwell’s shore will take you down to one of two further undersea exhibit areas, the Dophin Promenade, where you can see the unique Tektite Habitat, which in 1969 / 70 was the centre of research into reef ecosystems and human physiology studies related to both saturation diving and possible long-duration space missions. Simply wait for the travel sphere to arrive when you stand at the entrance to the system, then step inside and let it carry you down to the promenade, where you can walk through the glass tunnel to the travel system at the far end.

Just offshore from the island on the east side of Farwell is a further underwater exhibit, reached via elevator. Here you can wander glass observation tunnels on two levels, the lower of which take you into the world of deep diving exploration, and the likes of craft such as the bathyscaphe Triseste, which in 1960, descended the Challenger Deep within the Mariana Trench, to reach a record maximum depth of some 10,911 metres (35,797 ft).

The One Earth interactive exhibit deserves a visit in its own right
The Only One Earth interactive exhibit deserves a visit in its own right

For those who prefer, the navigation system – which comprises a series of clickable image boards which supply SLurls to their destinations in chat  – will take you up into the sky to the aforementioned Cetological Museum, the Underwater World and Submarine Design Project, and the visually stunning and informative Only One Earth interactive exhibit – which in itself is worth a visit, quite apart from the rest of the Observatory’s offerings.  The navigation boards also provide access to the Abyss exhibits at Shamash, Jabara Land Atlantis, STEM Island and Lily, all of which are worth the time to visit and explore.

Continue reading “Return to the Abyss: science in Second Life”

Advertisements

Help build a school in Kenya via the MadPea auction in Second Life

Help build a school in Kenya "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world" - Nelson Mandela
Help build a school in Kenya through the MadPea charity auction: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

The 2015 MadPea Celebrity Auction kicks-off at 08:00 SLT on Friday, September 25th, and runs through until around 20:00 SLT on Sunday, September 27th.

Over 60 people have signed up for the auction, including Alexa Linden, Simon Linden and Xiola Linden. Everyone putting themselves forward is offering something special for anyone winning the bid on them, be it time spent with them or a special award or activity or other unique opportunity.

The aim of the event is to raise money to help further the work of Live and Learn Kenya (LLK) in building a school in Nakuru, Kenya, where young children will be able to receive an education.

Organised by Brique Zeiner, LLK is perhaps more familiarly known in Second Life by its Feed A Smile programme, which is also run in-world by Brique under her SL name of Brique Topaz.

A purpose-built entertainments area has been built for the MadPea event, with auction boards placed around the dance floor and stage
A purpose-built entertainments area has been built for the MadPea event, with auction boards placed around the dance floor and stage

Feed A Smile provides nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations. Over one-third of this money comes directly through donations made to Feed a Smile from within second Life.

LLK’s broader programme includes finding sponsors to finance the education of children in Kenya, helping to provide them with everything they need: uniforms, shoes, text books, school supplies, etc. The organisation also provide medical and dental care for children, including check-ups and vaccinations. 100% of the donations received by LLK are transferred directly to Kenya to care for children, provide education, medicine, food, shelter and foster care. Nothing is lost to salaries, fees or administrative costs at LLK.

The events area includes a replica of the Nakuru school under construction, which will gradually complete itself over the course of the weekend as donations are received
The events area includes a replica of the Nakuru school under construction, which will gradually complete itself over the course of the weekend as donations are received

The school construction project is one of the most ambitious programmes LLK has undertaken. Each room at the school costs some US $19,000 to build and equip. However, the first elements opened in January 2015, and work is continuing – and will go further with the help of Second Life residents. With some L$ 1.1 million raised for LLK in the 2014 MadPea Charity Auction, the hope is that this year will raise even more.

The live auction will take place between 08:00 and 16:00 SLT on Sunday, September 27th, but the auction boards will be open to bidders from 08:00 on Friday, September 25th, and will remain so throughout all the entertainment leading up to the live auction activities.

At the time of writing, the entertainment schedule stood as follows. All times are SLT, and as always, there might be last-minute changes and updates – so keep abreast of the latest via the MadPea blog:

Time
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
08:00
DJ Kess & auction boards open DJ Panda DJ Crusier  – LIVE auctions start
10:00
Max Sabretooth live DJ Deepert SL Radio Live LIVE auctions
11:00
Leannan Wolfgang live DJ Deepert SL Radio Live  LIVE auctions
12:00
DJ Esme SL Live Radio Max Kleene live  LIVE auctions
13:00
DJ Esme SL Live Radio Paradise Lost movie screening LIVE auctions
14:00
DJ Kess Josie Anderton live LIVE auctions
15:00
Sandia live Max Kleene live LIVE auctions
16:00
DJ Ned SL Live Radio DJ Arc DJ Mex Thorn SL Radio Live
18:00
Angela McKeenan live DJ Panda Anek Fuchs live
19:00
Zara Fiasco live Miah Shamen live Twostep live

The Second Life residents offering themselves, their time, etc for auction include:

Dusty Wasp, Trinity Yazimoto, Josie Anderton, Anderian Sugarplum, TeenaMarie Bressig, Sina Souza, Aeonix Aeon,  Maggie Mae Bhaktiguru, Toxic Darkmatter,  Twostep Spiritweaver,  Johannes1977 Resident,  PinkRayne,  Mericat Ireland, Aayla Barzane, Tab Tatham & EvanKeel Resident; Roman Godde, Brique Topaz, Inara Pey, Isla Gealach, Canary Beck,  Esme Capelo, Saffia Widdershins, Draxtor Despres,  Jessica Lyon,  Kiana Writer,  Kess Crystal, Arduenn Schwartzman, Callie Cline, Caitlin Tobias, Freestar Tammas, Garnet Psaltery, Synitry, Leetx, Imre Bellic, Tzaryna Gracemount, Levio Serenity, Leannan Wolfgang, Dita Lamour, Tracy Redangel, Harper Beresford,  Cacilia McMasters & Ava Jhamin, Winteru9, RacerX Gullwing, Kara Trapdoor.

Continue reading “Help build a school in Kenya via the MadPea auction in Second Life”