Visions of Hope 2016: of funds and help & a closing celebration

Visions of Hope Gallery
Visions of Hope Gallery

The Visions of Hope 2016 art auction has drawn to a close and the numbers have been totalled. This annual art exhibition serves two purposes: to raise money for cancer research as a part of the Relay for Life of Second Life fund-raising season, and to promote the support given to those living with cancer by the Hope Haven Heroes.

This year, seventeen of Second Life’ photographers and visual artists donated up to three pieces of work apiece for the auction. Taking part were Bijou, Boudicca Amat, Ciottolina Xue, d-oo-b, Dru G Eiren-Milneaux, Em Larsson, Hills, Inara Pey, Mareea Farrasco, Nikolai Warden, Proph, Pusher, Randy Firebrand, Ricco Saenz, Tomais Ashdene, Trinity Yazimoto and Ziki Questi.

"Joy" by Boudicca Amat - Visions of hope 2016
“Joy” by Boudicca Amat – Visions of Hope 2016

In all, L$38,100 has been raised by the auction, which ran throughout May 2016. “And the number of people who have come through and got support info,  its staggering,” Co-organiser of the event, Randy Firebrand informed me just after the auction had closed. “The numbers are in the hundreds. I sat down last night when I looked at it and I started to cry,  goofy, I know,  I just had this rush.”

Randy and partner Ricco Saenz organise the Vision of Hope auction on behalf of Hope Haven Heroes, and to mark the end of the event this year, they are holding a closing party at the 2016 Visions of Hope gallery, from 17:00 through 19:00 SLT on Tuesday, May 31st., and featuring music by DJ Hottie B (mjshotboy.skytower).

"Incomprensione" (foreground) and "Teste" by Ciottolina Xue, Vision of hope 2016
“Incomprensione” (foreground) and “Teste” by Ciottolina Xue, Vision of Hope 2016

“The silent auction was intended to raise funds for Relay For Life, a global initiative by American Cancer Society,” Randy and Ricco say of the auction. “During the exhibition, the public has been able to acquire photo-based pieces as well as sculptures from some of the most renowned artists in Second Life and, at the same time, contribute with the ACS’s programs to improve cancer survival, decrease the incidence of cancer and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their caretakers.”

As one of those people graciously asked to supply pieces to the exhibition, I’d like to thank both Ricco and Randy for the time and effort they put into organising Visions of Hope, and for offering me the chance to participate in the event.

SLurl Details

1920s Berlin Project celebrates 7 years in Second Life

1920s Berlin Project
1920s Berlin Project

Monday, May 30th marks the start of a week-long celebration at the 1920 Berlin Project, marking the 7th anniversary of the community’s founding.

Offering a trip back in time to the inter-wars years of Berlin, the project is one of Second Life’s success stories, often featured in the media, visited by Lab staff and – most importantly of all – enjoyed by those who have made their homes there.

While there are always activities and events taking place within the city, the week of May 30th through Sunday, June 5th will see a special series of events held to celebrate the 7th anniversary. Among the latter will be a photo contest and the Miss Berlin 1929 contest.

The Photo contest theme is The People of Berlin, with a first prize of L$1,000 and a second prize of L$500 on offer. For full details on the entry requirements, please see the 7th anniversary blog post. However, in brief, entrants are invited to capture a picture of people at work or at play within the Berlin 1920s Project and in period costume, and to upload their images to the 1920 Berlin Project Flickr group, no later than June 3rd. The winning entries will be announced on Saturday, June 4th at the Adlon Tea Dance (see the events schedule, below).

The Miss Berlin 1929 Contest will be a full beauty pageant, featuring both swimsuit and evening wear, and will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Adlon. The compère will be Miss Sasa Steigerwald and music will be provided by DJ Myron Byron. On offer to the winner are a range of prizes supplied by Sonatta Morales, Heinrich Grau and Clarrington Enterprises. For further information on the contest and how to enter, please refer to the contest Facebook page.

1920s Berlin Project
1920s Berlin Project

Note that visitors to 1920 Berlin Project are generally asked to wear suitable period dress when visiting the city (although this rule will be relaxed on Sunday, June 5th). To help with this, there is a selection of free outfits and accessories at the 1920s Berlin Project landing point,  together with some special freebies for the celebratory week.

Commenting on the anniversary celebrations, 1920s Berlin Project founder Jo Yardley said:

In our fantastic neighbourhood people have been extremely creative, active and something great and rare is the result. I cannot put into words how much the sim and its people means to me and to my delight it means a lot to many of those who live there as well.

On the 30th of May 2016 we’re celebrating the 7th (!) anniversary of our sim and we’re going to celebrate with 7 days of events!  We hope you come and be part of the celebrations.

So why not capture a taste of history and hop over to the 1920s Berlin Project during the week?

Schedule of Events

All times SLT – please refer to the official celebrations blog page for any last-minute changes.

Date Time Activity
Monday, May 30th 14:00 Special dinner at the Nussbaum restaurant
13:00 7th Anniversary Dance at the Pariser Platz (At the foot of the Brandenburger Tor) with a show by Sonatta Moralesta Morales and with DJ Myron Byron
 Tuesday, May 31st 14:00 happy hour at the Volksbad!
A party at the public baths – swim suits will be provided.
16:00 A gathering at the exclusive penthouse in the Hotel Adlon for supporters
 Wednesday, June 1st 14:00 Happy Hour at the Biergarten
15:00 Open stage at the Odeon Theatre. Your opportunity to sing or read to the audience, dance, do magic – the stage is yours!
16:00 Special Church service
18:00 Late night extra festive dance at the Hotel Adlon’s ball room
Thursday, June 2nd 02:00 “Tiki” themed party at the Spree, with a bar in a small park near the Spree behind the department store and with “Floating Ring Race” in the Spree with prize, and 1920s submarine toy for everyone
13:00 Car rally around Berlin
14:00 “Tiki” themed Happy Hour with a bar in a small park near the Spree behind the department store.
 Friday, June 3rd 14:00 Festive dinner followed by Tango themed dance at the Hotel Adlon’s ball room.
Submissions for photo contest close!
15:00 Joaquin Gustav live
16:00 Berlin City parade
17:00 Smoking hour in the basement of the Hotel Adlon
18:00  “Herrenclub” party – 18+ only
Saturday, June 4th 11:00 Tea dance at the Hotel Adlon with announcement of Photo contest winner
12:00 Miss Berlin 1929 contest
13:15 Soapbox Airplane race for kids
14:00 Special Cabaret show at the Eldorado
17:00 Extra festive class at the school for all kids
Sunday, June 5th All Day Open Door Day & relaxed rules day (period dress not required) – an opportunity to explore 1920 Berlin, including some private residences, and meet the locals
13:00 Sport and Health Class at Hindenburg Schule
14:00 Special freebie hour at the Biergarten with a free gift for every visitor
15:00 The locals go crazy and rez whatever they want –  so don’t be surprised if flying saucers hover over the city or King Kong climbs the Brandenburger Gate!

Related Links

2016 viewer release summaries: week 21

Updates for the week ending Sunday, May 29th

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: (dated May 11), May 18th – no change: formerly the Quick Graphics RC viewer 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):
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version release on May 23 – a modest but useful set of 24 fixes and updates to the viewer (download and release notes)
    • Inventory Message RC viewer updated to version on May 23 – removal of deprecated and unused UDP inventory messaging mechanisms from the viewer (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions) updated to version on May 26 – this build includes the “reset Skeleton” option and additional slider updates  (download and release notes).

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


  • Cool VL viewer Stable branch updated to version and the Experimental branch updated to version, both on May 28th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: Martian tsunamis, Indian space planes, Chinese telescopes

Mars as seen from 80 million km (50 million mi): a Hubble Space Telescope image of Mars captured during opposition on May 12th, 2016. Coincidentally, the Arabia Terra, one of the subjects in the report below, is the dark area in the centre of the image,
Mars as seen from 80 million km (50 million mi): a Hubble Space Telescope image of Mars captured during opposition on May 12th, 2016. Coincidentally, the Arabia Terra, one of the subjects in the report below, is the dark area in the centre of the image, together with Xanthe Terra. Cryse Planitia (Plain of Gold) is in the lower part of the light-coloured circular area dipping into the dark mass of Arabia and Xanthe Terra. North is to the top of the image, south to the bottom. Credit: NASA / ESA

It has long been believed that Mars once had oceans which covered most of the northern hemisphere lowlands about 3.4 billion years ago. Radar mapping from orbit has revealed layers of water-borne sediment similar to those found on Earth’s ocean floors, sitting on top of a layer of volcanic rock. In addition, there is strong evidence for an ancient shoreline and coastal areas around the rim of the ocean. The problem is, the evidence for the coastal areas is far from complete, leading to one of Mars’ many mysteries: if the lowlands were once home to a vast ocean, where did the shoreline go?

Alexis Rodriguez of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson Arizona believes a study she and her colleagues have been carrying out may hold the key: sections of the Martian coastline may have been washed away as a result of massive tsunamis. And when I say huge – I mean waves towering some 120 metres (400ft) into the air.

The northern hemisphere of Mars when it was once home to an world-circling ocean, 3.4 billion years ago
The northern hemisphere of Mars when it was once home to an world-circling ocean, 3.4 billion years ago

The time of the Martian ocean coincides when the end of the period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, when the planets of the inner solar system were subject to a disproportionately large number of asteroid impacts. Rodriguez and her colleagues have suggested that two particularly large meteoroids smashed into the northern hemisphere during this period, driving the tsunamis and reshaping the ancient shoreline.

The focus of the study is a region on Mars where the Arabia Terra upland region meets the lower-lying Chryse Planitia, and which should form a part of the ancient shoreline. Within it, Rodriguez and her team have identified two separate geological formations which may have been created by two separate tsunami events.

In this image
This set of images show the region where Arabia Terra flows down to Chryse Planitia. In figure A, the red line denotes the original ancient shoreline of the region. The grey area below and to the left of it denotes depositions believed to be the result of the first tsunami, together with outflow channels carved by the receding flood (blue arrows). The black line indicates the much younger shoreline of the region at the time of the second impact, which saw the formation of icy lobes in the region, and the embaying of features by slurry and material deposit by the receding waters. Images B and C focus on the coastal areas of deposition and embayment. Image created by Esri’s ArcGIS® 10.3 software

The older of the two looks every bit like a coastal region struck by a huge wave which deposited boulders over 10 metres across. As the water then receded back into the ocean, it cut large backwash channels through its debris and boulder field, depositing large amounts of surface material back into the ocean. Then, several million years later, the second impact took place.

This later event came at a time when Mars was effectively entering an ice age, and caused not so much massive tidal waves, but huge ice slurries which spread across the landscape, much of it freezing out, forming lobes of ice. The material which did make it back into the ocean also “embayed” older features there, partially burying them in the slurry.

Radar imaging has revealed subsurface large lobes of icy deposits along the outwash plains and channels in the Arabia Teraa / Chryse Planitia abutment, indicative of the study's suggestion that some of the material deposited after the second tsunami event froze out before it could flow back to the ancient sea
Radar imaging has revealed subsurface large lobes of icy deposits along the outwash plains and channels in the Arabia Teraa / Chryse Planitia abutment, indicative of the study’s suggestion that some of the material deposited after the second tsunami event froze out before it could flow back to the ancient sea

The study isn’t conclusive, but does offer up some strong supporting evidence. Rodriguez and her team are the first to admit more research is required before the tsunami hypothesis might be confirmed or refuted. They are now examining other areas where the ancient coastline is “missing” to see if they exhibit similar evidence for tsunami events.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: Martian tsunamis, Indian space planes, Chinese telescopes”

Pocket Racing in Second Life

"It's a glorious day here at the Inazuma circuit, Ace Resort, with perfect race conditions, a track temperature of 37 degrees, and the drivers ll looking forward to a good race..."
“It’s a glorious day here at the Inazuma circuit, Ace Resort, with perfect race conditions, a track temperature of 37 degrees, and the drivers all looking forward to a good race…”

I’m always on the lookout for fun things to do in Second Life  – hence how I got into sailing, boating and flying. I’ve also poked around at cars and racing, but they’ve never really appealed to the same degree. However, when Annie Brightstar posted an article about trying a Pocket Racing circuit recently, it piqued my curiosity.

The track in question is the [Pocket Racers] Inazuma Circuit, part of the 719 Racing brand created by Hakuyuki719. It is designed to fit into a 1/4 region and comes complete with everything needed for up to 8 people at a time to race one another and / or race against the clock. The cars presented by the track are the little 719 [Pocket Racer] Wing series which can also be purchased separately as a rezzing system.

When I say the cars are little, I'm not kidding. They are, however, veritable pocket rockets
When I say the cars are little, I’m not kidding. They are, however, veritable pocket rockets

Like Annie, I hopped over to the track at Ace Resort, a Japanese region offering a variety of activities at ground level (and possibly elsewhere in the sky – I confess I didn’t explore that much, other than by, um, accident…), with the track located high overhead.

The car rezzer is located at the end of the pit lane, and I would suggest that once you have driven off of it, you touch the car for the configuration menu – these may be pocket-sized vehicles, but that doesn’t mean they have a pocket-sized performance; they can actually be something of a handful for the uninitiated. I found setting the transmission to Auto and re-setting the steering responsiveness to around 5-6 worked best for me, but the best thing is to fiddle with the settings yourself.

On the grid following an installation lap (or six...)
On the grid following an installation lap (or six…)

You can do this by heading out onto the track for an F1-style installation lap, which also allows you to gain some familiarity with the track before racing begins. Then it’s back around to the grid ready to race your lap time will automatically start and be recorded each time you cross the start / finish line.

My early laps were not brilliant, but as I settled down, I did manage to climb up to 4th place on the timings board. However, I seriously doubt my technique would endear me to a Formula 1 team, given it partially relied upon bouncing the car off the Armco barriers at the side of the track.

4th fastest time - just don't ask to see the condition of the car after I achieved it...
4th fastest time – just don’t ask to see the condition of the car after I achieved it…

There are transparent safety walls around the course, although I didn’t find them particularly effective. This probably say more about my racing technique than any fault in the safety system, but it did give me the opportunity to discover the shooting range at ground level – if only by dint of landing in it. Well, it was that or bailing out of the car and practising my skydiving technique instead!

The great benefit of courses like this is they don’t involve the unpredictability of region crossings (719 Racing also produce a region-sized track suitable for “full-sized” racing cars), while the tight fit of this particular course makes it very competitive in these little cars. When driving on your own, the clock becomes a significant adversary, and I’d imagine when racing against friends, a certain hilarity would be forthcoming.

"Well, I was going to take a look at what was on the ground after racing, anyway..."
“Well, I was going to take a look at what was on the ground after racing, anyway…”

Is it enough to convert me to racing cars in-world? Well, no; I’m too addicted to boating and flying. Is it a fun way to spend an hour or so completely distracted from the care and worries of the world, physical or virtual? Absolutely. There are doubtless other Pocket Racer tracks scattered around SL, but if you want to give things a try, Ace Resort is a good place to start. And if you’re looking for a new attraction for your own region, the 719 Inazuma Circuit might be just the ticket!

Additional Links

Surrealism in Second Life

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

Officially opening at noon SLT on Sunday May 29th is a new ensemble exhibition at DaphneArts, curated by Angelika Corral and SheldonBR – a gallery which is fast becoming the venue for ensemble themed exhibitions by leading artists from across Second Life.

The title for the exhibit is Surrealism, and it features pieces by Awesome Fallen, Catarina Carneiro de Sousa (CapCat Ragu), Kato Salyut, Kimeu Kamolla, Loé, Meiló Minotaur, Miles Cantelou, Owen Landar, Sina Souza, Skye Nefekalum (Azram Belwraith), Thea Maiman, and Yoon, with Theda Tammas providing a sculpture.

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

As with Imagine, which I reviewed earlier in May, each of the artists has been asked to submit a piece on the theme selected by Angelika and Sheldon, and the result is once again a series of images which are as rich in diversity as they are in content.

As the name of the exhibit suggests, the theme is that of Surrealism, an art and philosophical / metaphysical movement which started in the first decades of the 20th Century with the aim of resolving “the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”. Embracing many branches of the arts – painting, sculpture, music, theatre, film, literature – it is most often marked by the use of juxtaposition and non-sequitur elements and ideas. Within the visual medium, this can result in the most startling, attractive and thought-provoking pieces of art, and this is very much the case with the pieces presented at DaphneArts, making it a fertile ground for an introduction to, or appreciation of, surrealist art.

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

“Sheldon and I have always admired the imaginative works of these photographers,” she told me as she and Sheldon gracious allowed me to preview the exhibition ahead of the opening. “They create new worlds using only their imagination and they make us dream with them. This is what we liked and thought that it would be wonderful to invite people here to share this dream together.”

Viewing the pieces on display, I was struck by the notion that given the aim of surrealism is to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”, this exhibition is perhaps a reflective microcosm of Second Life’s macrocosm. After all, Second Life is a place which can very much act as a unifying influence between our dreams and reality.

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

This is another outstanding exhibition brought together by Angelika and Sheldon, one that definitely should not be missed. As noted above, the formal opening will take place at noon SLT on Sunday, May 29th. However, the gallery is already open for visitors, and the exhibition will run through to late June.

SLurl Details