Daily Archives: March 28, 2016

A return to Baker Street in Second Life

221B Baker Street, Second Life

221B Baker Street, Second Life

“Come at once, if convenient…” such was the start of a summons sent by Sherlock Holmes to Dr. John Watson in A Study in Scarlet, and much later in a Study in Pink from the outstanding BBC re-imagining of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous coupling, Sherlock. It was also, as it happened, the quote I opted to use when writing about a simply outstanding Second Life recreation of 221B Baker Street from that TV series, back in April 2015.

As I noted at the time, the recreation of the flat, by Darius Godric who is very much a Sherlock aficionado, was nothing short of marvellous. The attention to detail was superb, with lots of wonderful touches directly from the various cases  – notably those of the first season – making it a veritable treasure-trove for fans of Sherlock and Holmes in general.  So when Darius dropped me a line over Easter to let me know he’d been working on the flat, and invited me to drop by to have a look at the results, I was only too happy to do so!

221B Baker Street, Second Life

221B Baker Street, Second Life

From the outside, not a lot has change (but the it wouldn’t, would it? Baker Street is hardly likely to undergo radical change 🙂 ). Speedy’s is still there, offering patrons breakfast, lunch and pasta, and alongside it is the entrance to apartment 221B, with the hallway leading to Mrs. Hudson’s kitchen and the stairs going up to the flat itself.

It is here that the attention to detail really comes into play. In my original piece, I mentioned touches such as the  bullet-scared flock wallpaper from The Great Game (“I’m BORED!” *BANG*), the pink valise from A Study in Pink, references to St. Bart’s Hospital used in The Reichenbach Fall, as well as a direct reference to that case; the riding crop from either A Study in Pink or possibly A Scandal in Belgravia and more besides.

221B Baker Street, Second Life

221B Baker Street, Second Life

Now to these has been added much more. Walk through the kitchen (which has some subtle changes, but retains the famous head-in-fridge and chemistry set), and you can visit Holmes’ bedroom, as seen in A Scandal in Belgravia, complete with Jack-and-Jill access to the bathroom, and a framed periodic table of elements on the wall.

Meanwhile, in the living room, the pink valise has been moved to one side, making room beside the dining table for John Watson’s laptop, complete with its significant 1895 visitor count. On the table itself, joining the page of ciphers alluding to the episode The Blind Banker, now sits a page on which has been scrawled U.M.Q.R.A (The Hounds of Baskerville), together with blueprints for the ultra-modern house belonging to Charles Augustus Magnussen (His Last Vow – and in fact Swinhay House in Gloucestershire).

221B Baker Street, Second Life

221B Baker Street, Second Life

Nor does it end there. Also on the table are a couple of very clever references: a map of Europe and Russia with the submarine blueprints which were the focus of Doyle’s 1908 story, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans. Thus we have a neat reference to the Sherlock episode The Great Game (which involved the Bruce-Partington Project) by way of Doyle’s original tale. There are more such touches to be found – but I don’t want to spoil things by listing everything, as discovering them is far more fun.

Back in April 2015 I wrote “Anyone who has enjoyed Sherlock’s three (thus far) seasons via the BBC (and their world-wide partners) is going to love the version of 221B Baker Street Darius has created in Second Life; it really is a marvel to visit. The many touches within it will have fans of the show smiling happily (I know I was).” This still holds true now, and it’s a delight to see how Darius has both updated 221B Baker Street and offers links to the original adventures taken by Holmes and Watson, thus very much keeping the magic alive.

221B Baker Street, Second Life

221B Baker Street, Second Life

If you are a Holmes / Sherlock fan and you haven’t visited already, I cannot urge you strongly enough to hail a cab and head over. The address, should you need it, is below 🙂 .

SLurl Details

221B Baker Street – Sherlock Holmes (Rated: Moderate)

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2016 viewer release summaries: week 12

Updates for the week ending Sunday, March 27th

This summary is published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version: 4.0.2.312269, March 17 – no change  download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • HTTP updates and Vivox RC viewer updated to version 4.0.3.312816 on March 23rd – combines the Project Azumarill RC and Vivox Voice RC updates into a single viewer  (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V4-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

  • Cool VL viewer Stable branch updated to version 1.26.18,0 and the Experimental branch to version 1.26.19.0 both on March 26th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A farewell to March at Seanchai Library

It’s time to kick-off a week of 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.

Monday, March 28th: 100 words at a Time

Long ago, Crap Mariner swore an oath to write a 100 word story every day until the day he died. A decade later, he’s holding true to that promise.

Crap MQuirky, witty, irreverent, Crap’s stories will cover any subject that comes to mind. Nothing is off-limits to his razor wit and keen eye for wordplay; nor is any subject  or above having him poke at it, prod it into submission or offer an opinion or observation upon it by way of one of his stories.

Nor is it all about humour, mocking, sarcasm or plain fun. Craps stories can stop you in your tracks as they visit you with  – as Caledonia Skytower says – “a moment of profound feeling and insight, leaving you breathless.”

Tuesday March 29th, 19:00: Echo

EchoCaledonia Skytower reads Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Newbery Honour novel.

Three entwined stories focusing on a magical harmonica, start with the tale of 12-year-old German boy Friedrich, growing up in the time of the rise of National Socialism in Germany. Already an outcast because of the birthmark that disfigures his face, Friedrich discovers the harmonica, and with it, hope for the future.

Two years later, 11–year-old Mike Flannery finds himself in possession of the harmonica, and with it, the opportunity to prevent his younger bother being sent away to a state home by the woman who adopted the boys to suit her own purposes.

In the final story, Ivy Lopez, whose parents are migrant farm labourers. It’s a year after Pearl Harbour, and her family find themselves running a farm after the Japanese-American owners are placed in an internment camp. Forced to attend “Americanisation” schooling, Ivy encounters institutional racism, and also strength and refuge when the harmonica enters her life. But soon enough, her family’s ties to the Yamamotos put them in crisis, and Ivy finds herself keeping what she fears is a terrible secret.

Wednesday March 30th, 19:00: Feeling’ good with Faerie

Spring has sprung, our own resident winged-one is back and she’s feeling good! She’s ready to share that goodness with her friends at the Library with stories from Alice Gray’s compilation Stories from the Heart.

Faerie says, “With the current world events, I think everyone could use a story to make them remember the good in the world.”  Stories include A Perfect Pot of Tea, Encouraging Words, Bouquet, Beauty Contest and more.

Thursday, March 31st, 19:00: Draco! Draco!

With Shandon Loring

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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 March / April is Project Children, building peace in Ireland one child at a time.

Additional Links

Space Sunday: of ice and salts, aurorae, and mountains

A true colour image returned by the Dawn space probe of one of the bright "spots" in Occator crater on Ceres, revealing what might be a cryo-volcano

A true colour image returned by the Dawn space probe of one of the bright “spots” in Occator crater on Ceres, revealing what might be a cryovolcano (credit:NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / PSI)

The science team behind the joint NASA / ESA Dawn mission has released the most stunning high-resolution images yet seen of Ceres, one of the solar system’s three “protoplanets” located in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The Dawn spacecraft has been mapping Ceres for also a year, operating at its lowest altitude above the tiny world since December 2015. During the course of the year, the images and data it has returned have, alongside information sent to us about Pluto and Charon by the New Horizons mission, caused planetary scientists to start seriously reconsidering all they thought they understood about minor planetary bodies in the solar system.

However, one thing everyone has been waiting for has been to see high-resolution images of Occator crater and the strange bright spots within it which have been the cause of so much interest and speculation, ever since they were first imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope.

A false-colour image showing the main peak in Occator crater with the small bright spots off to the right

A false-colour image showing the main peak in Occator crater with the small bright spots off to the right (credit:NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / PSI)

While the vehicle may have commenced its most detailed mapping orbit of Ceres in December, due to the complexities of Dawn’s orbit around the tiny world, it was not until relatively recently that it was able to overfly the 92 km (57 mi) diameter Occator and capture images of what lay within it, and these images were released on March 22nd, as a part of a science briefing given at the 7th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas.

Taken from an altitude of just 385 kilometres (240 miles) above the crater, the images reveal a huge dome-like structure with a dimpled top forming the brightest of the “spots” in Occator. It looks for all the world like a volcano, prompting speculation that it might be what is called a “cryovolcano”. The theory here being that Ceres may contain significant quantities of volatiles (ices), which are gently heated by the dwarf planet’s interior, causing them to erupt through the surface layer, the deposits they leave behind slowly building up the volcano-like dome.

A false colour elliptical map of Ceres showing that Occator (just right of centre) is not the only bright spot on the tiny planetoid others, mostly associated with young (around 70-150 million years old) craters

A false colour elliptical map of Ceres showing that Occator (just right of centre) is not the only bright spot on the tiny planetoid others, mostly associated with young (around 70-150 million years old) craters (credit:NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / PSI)

However, this is not he only theory on what might be happening. Spectral observations show that the light patches found in Occator and elsewhere are consistent with a magnesium sulphate called hexahydrite, which resembles Epsom salts here on Earth. Thus, an alternative theory is that impacts in places like Occator expose the salt-rich ices trapped in the crust to the vacuum of space. This causes the ice to sublimate (vaporise), leaving the salt behind.

Commenting on the two the two theories, Ralf Jaumann, planetary scientist and Dawn co-investigator at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) said, “Before Dawn began its intensive observations of Ceres last year, Occator Crater looked to be one large bright area. Now, with the latest close views, we can see complex features that provide new mysteries to investigate. The intricate geometry of the crater interior suggests geologic activity in the recent past, but we will need to complete detailed geologic mapping of the crater in order to test hypotheses for its formation.”

In the interim, NASA has released a new video summarising Dawn’s investigations of Ceres.

Cygnus Rendezvous with ISS

March 22nd saw the latest Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply vehicle lifted-off from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in a spectacular night-time launch beneath a full Moon.

The automated vehicle, carrying 3.5 tonnes of supplies and equipment up to the International Space Station, made a flawless ascent into the Florida sky, the clear weather and moonlight offer some extraordinary opportunities for photographers, as shown in the image below, taken by Alex Polimeni for Spaceflight Now.

Long exposure photograph shows the trail of the Atlas V launch vehicle as it carries the Cygnus OA6 vehicle "Rick Husband" into orbit on March 22nd, 2016. In the foreground is the world famous Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre (credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now)

Long exposure photograph shows the trail of the Atlas V launch vehicle as it carries the Cygnus OA6 vehicle “Rick Husband” into orbit on March 22nd, 2016. In the foreground is the world-famous Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre (credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now)

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