Daily Archives: September 4, 2016

Sansar: what’s in a name?

The new Sansar logo (courtesy of Linden Lab)

The new Sansar logo (courtesy of Linden Lab)

In the first half of 2015, speculation circulated that the name of the Lab’s new virtual experiences platform might be “Sansar” or “Project Sansar”, after two trademark registrations were spotted. When asked, the Lab would only comment than “Project Sansar” was a temporary name, and that a number of options were being considered (and there was at least one other trademark filing at the same time which seemed to support this statement).

However, on August 31st, in a press release marking the distribution of the first invitations for people to join the platform’s Creator Preview, Linden Lab indirectly confirmed the official name of their new virtual experiences / social VR platform is indeed Sansar.

As the news of the name circulated, there were various group chat comments questioning the meaning and relevance of the name. While there is no reason for any product’s name to have a definitive meaning, in this instance, there do seem to be likely connotations.

Sansar Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr Sansar (TM) Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr

Back when the Lab was poking at possible names for Second Life, one option they considered was “Sansara” (later used as the name of the first mainland continent). This was said to be a variation on the Sanskrit word Samsāra, meaning “wandering” or “world”, associated with cyclic, circuitous change.

The interesting point here is that the Maxgyan dictionary  / lexicon offers sansar (also sansaar in Jainism) as an alternative for Samsāra, and defines its potential meanings as “earth”, “world” or “universe” (with “cosmos” cited as a possible alternative to the latter), depending on the context.

Given that  Sansar is intended to host many different virtual spaces, “universe” might be taken as a good “fit” when looking for a meaning in the platform’s name. Similarly, the idea of cyclical, circuitous change appears to be reflected in the platform’s logo, with its three segments suggestive of movement (/change).

Sansar Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr Sansar (TM) Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr

Of course, other meanings of “sansar” could be offered (such as an”icy Iranian wind”, for example), but it seems reasonable to look no further than those derived from Hinduism / Jainism. There is a certain “fit”, as noted above, and the Lab has turned to Hindu nomenclature before. As most of us are aware, the Lab’s two publicly accessible SL grids are named for Rigvedic deities – Agni, god of fire, and Aditi, the mother of gods.

But even accepting this as a possible derivation for the platform’s name, it might be argued that the Lab should have gone for something more “obvious”. Well, possibly. But then again, it is fair to say that at this point in time, those being drawn to Sansar are doing so by way of the Lab or through media reports on it, and so already have some idea of what it is about. This will also likely be true when Sansar opens it doors to the public (although by that time, the website will hopefully be a lot more dynamic and informative as well). Thus, having a name which “reflects” the platform’s intent perhaps isn’t so major a consideration.

For my part, if the platform’s name is intended to have a meaning, I admit to being drawn to it being “universe”. As noted above, it, fits the idea of an environment hosting many, many virtual spaces of many different sizes, some of which exist independently of the rest, others of which are “stitched together” to form – dare I say – “constellations” of linked spaces. Of course, being a “space fan”, I could also be a tad biased 🙂 .

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Family curses, tales of time, magic, and the old west

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.

Sunday, September 4th, 13:30: Tea Time at Baker Street

Tea-time at Baker Street returns for the summer, featuring a new location – 221B Baker Street at the University of Washington iSchool in Second Life. Caledonia Skytower, John Morland and Kayden Oconnell invite you to join them as they return to what is quite possibly the most famous of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, and present their fourth reading from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Baskervilles-1902The third full-length novel written about Sherlock Holmes, this is likely to be the one Holmesian story which – at least in outline – known to most, whether or not they have actually read any of Holmes’ adventures.

But how many of us know the story as it was originally written? Over the decades it has been adapted for film and television more than 20 times, starting as early as 1914/15 with the 4-part series, Der Hund von Baskerville, and continuing on through to Paul McGuigan’s The Hounds of Baskerville, featured in the BBC’s brilliant Sherlock series.

All of these adaptations have offered their own take on the tale. Some – such as McGuigan’s, have simply taken the title of the story and used it to weave a unique tale of their own; others have stayed true to the basics of the story whilst also adding their own twists and turns quite outside of Conan Doyle’s plot in order to keep their offering fresh and exciting to an audience.

So why not join Cale, John and Kayden as they read from the 1902 original, and discover just how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unfolded this apparently supernatural tale of giant hounds and murder, and the pivotal role played by John Watson himself?

Monday September 5th, 19:00: The Crucible of Time

crucibleGyro Muggin’s takes his audience into the fix-up by John Brunner. First published as two-part story which appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it’s an ambitious tale of alien intelligence which grew to a series of six linked tales pushed as a single novel in 1983.

Far off in space is an alien race which is so much like us, yet so un-alike. From the birth of their earliest civilisation through to their attainment of star flight as their star system passes through the galaxy, we follow their development through the ages.

Aquatic by nature, this race presents some significant challenges well outside the realms of anything encountered by humanity. But they are also driven by all too familiar hopes, fears, desires, needs, wants, prejudices, impact of religious ideologies, and the quest for knowledge we have experienced in the growth of our own civilisation.

Charting six periods of time, each a thousand years after the previous, the six stories focus on the efforts of a group of individuals in each era as they face one or more challenges, their success in overcoming these challenges inevitably leading them towards a greater understanding of their planet’s plight, and ultimately, the ability to deal with that plight and the survival of their civilisation.

Tuesday September 6th, 19:00: The Old Country

The Old Country“So this is what it’s like to have fingers,” the girl laughed, and pointed the bow at Gisella. “How does the world look from the other side of the crossbow?”

And so it is that Gisella  learns the truth in the warning never look too long into the eyes of a fox, as she finds herself trapped in the fox’s body, as the fox makes off with her own. But such is the way of things in the Old Country, where “all the fairy tales come from, where there was magic – and there was war.”

Now she must cross a country torn by war, encountering magic, bloodshed and more as she seeks to find her own body and stare once again into the eyes of the fox possessing it, and so reclaim it. But such are her experiences in crossing the ravaged land, that once she finds her body, she faces a surprising  revelation and choice about her own nature.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she takes her audience through the enchanting pages of Mordecai Gerstein‘s 2005 novel.

Wednesday September 7th, 19:00: A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell #2)

MonstrousReturn to 221B Baker Street at the University of Washington’s iSchool, Second Life, for the latter-day adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes (retired) and his young orphaned protégé, Mary Russell, originally from the United States, as written by Laurie R. King.

Taking a trip to London, Mary encounters Veronica Beaconsfield, a friend from Oxford, who in turn introduces her to the charismatic and enigmatic Margery Childe, leader of something called “The New Temple of God.”

Sect-like, and seemingly involved with the suffrage movement, the New Temple and its leader offer both curiosity and intrigue for Mary, who is not convinced either are entirely above-board.

Her suspicions appear to be correct when several of the Temple’s wealthy young female volunteers and financial contributors are murdered. With Holmes keeping a watchful eye in the background, Mary turns her curiosity into an investigation; in doing so, she faces her greatest danger yet.

Thursday, September 8th

19:00: A Gent from Bear Creek

Gent from Bear CreekRobert E. Howard is perhaps best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane. However, in A Gent from Bear Creek, he presents a series of western stories narrated by Breckenridge “Breck” Elkins, his protagonist.

A native of the fictional Bear Creek in Nevada, Elkins is “mighty in stature, small in brain” – that is, a man given to brawn over brain. He is known throughout the west, together with his equally ferocious horse, Cap’n Kidd, for having something of a temper and for being extremely skilled with his fists.

Each of the stories in the book is self-contained, all told through the character of Elkins in the manner of “top rail” bullshippin’, and some in the west referred to very tall tales (so tall, they required the narrator sit on the top rail of the bull pen fence).

A Gent from Bear Creek actually formed Howard’s longest running series. They were initially strung together in an attempt to form a novel but Howard and his publisher, John Kline, shortly before Howard’s death in 1936. While the novel did gain publication in 1937 in the United Kingdom, it didn’t reach print in the United States until 1966, leaving first editions of the original UK publication highly sought-after by collectors.

Shandon Loring dons the character of “Breck” Elkins in both Second Life and Kitely (check Seanchai Library’s Kitely event announcements for specific grid location details).

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

With Gyro Muggins.


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 September-October is TBA.

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