A Painter’s Link in Second Life

A Painter's Link, Salomon Beach; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr A Painter’s Link, Salomon Beach – click any image for full size

Note: I understand from Silvermoon that A Painter’s Link (and with it 50 Words for Snow, located overhead) might be closing some time shortly after January 6th, 2017.

I’ve always enjoyed Silvermoon Fairey’s region designs in Second Life since I first visited  Dawn of Radiance 2013 (see here, here, and here for some past visits). So I was a little surprised to find an LM sitting in inventory for A Painter’s Link, another of her creations, passed on to me by Silvana Casini but which has been languishing without attention – my apologies to both Silvana and Silvermoon for the oversight.

When blogging about Second Life rural scenes, it’s easy to turn to the term “pastoral” as a description, when there is actually little sign of grazing by cattle or sheep or anything else. However, with A Painter’s Link, the word is appropriate: sheep do indeed safely graze under the watchful eye of a shepherd, while further afield in the gently undulating landscape, horses can be found grazing on the grasslands.

A Painter's Link, Salomon Beach; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr A Painter’s Link, Salomon Beach

That said, attempts to describe the region is words are unlikely to do A Painter’s Link justice; this is a place which should be visited to be truly appreciated. Caught in a mix of  Spring’s warm greens and Autumn’s gold and red, the region presents a world of rustic cottages, old ruins, rolling fields, and country folk of a seemingly bygone era going about their work. Only the presence of a bicycle, an upright telephone and a gramophone, with its great horned speaker indicate the era is likely more recent than the clothing worn by the locals might otherwise suggest.

Wonderfully woven into a whole by a meandering stream and rutted tracks, with pools of water fed by low falls, rugged edges to the hills around them, A Painter’s Link carries within it echoes of the great landscape paintings. There is a certain sense of homage within it towards the likes of John Constable – it is hard not to escape thoughts of The Haywain when seeing the cart and horses in the water, with the cottage close to hand. similarly, aspects of another of the cottages brought to mind The Valley Farm.

A Painter's Link, Salomon Beach; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr A Painter’s Link, Salomon Beach

These echoes and suggestions add immeasurably to the appeal of the region. Together with Silvermoon’s eye for detail and composition, they make A Painter’s Link wonderfully photogenic – although I’m sure better eyes and talent than might have brought this fact to the fore far better than I might. And while the default windlight is ideal for photography, this is very much a place which lends itself fully to a range of lighting environments and experimentation.

Nor is that all; A Painter’s Link is equally as welcome to those simply seeking to enjoy the landscapes of Second Life. There are paths to wander, views to be enjoyed and plenty  of opportunities to sit and appreciate all that is on offer, whether it’s on the little wooden deck, watching the cart and horses, under the shade of a tree and looking up towards one of the thatched cottages or cuddling on the blanket spread with fruits and drink within the garden of a cottage.

A Painter's Link, Salomon Beach; Inara Pey, December 2016, on Flickr A Painter’s Link, Salomon Beach

There is also a wonderful sense of life about the region – not only in terms of the horses, sheep and wildlife, but also in the presence of the locals: the shepherd, the farmer and his wife, the little girl with her goose, the cartsman, and the boy with his kite (who is perhaps placed to suggest he should actually be watching over the horses). All of them bring A Painter’s Link more to life and present it as a series of marvellous vignettes waiting to be caught forever in photographs and paintings.

When visiting, check the sign at the landing point for a folder, and be sure to visit 50 Words for Snow, which is located up in the sky – I’ll have more on it myself next time around.

Note: following the publication of this article, Silvermoon contacted me to let me know she may be letting the region go in the new year – so if you plan to visit, please do so sooner rather than later, and do please consider making a contribution towards Silvermoon’s work, which may help maintain this region, or go towards the upkeep of It’s A New Dawn.

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2016 viewer release summaries: week 51

Updates for the week ending Sunday, December 25th

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

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V4/V5-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: loss, glides and the avalanche model

Piers Sellers ( April 11th, 1955 – December 23rd, 2016): climatologist and astronaut
Piers Sellers ( April 11th, 1955 – December 23rd, 2016): climatologist and astronaut. Credit: NASA

On Friday, December 23rd, news broke that astronaut Piers Sellers had passed away at the age of 61. His name might not be familiar to some, but British-born Sellers quietly achieved a lot both in orbit and here on the ground.

Born in 1955 in Crowborough, Sussex, Sellers held a bachelor’s degree ecological science and a doctorate in biometeorology. He was regarded as an expert on climate change, studying the relationship between the living world and the atmosphere for the better part of two decades starting in 1982, shortly after he and his wife (they later divorced) relocated from the UK to the United States. At that time he joined  NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, working on climate change computer modelling. He then moved to leading the US team developing the multi-national Terra research satellite, regarded as the flagship Earth Observing System (EOS).

A qualified pilot, having trained as an RAF cadet while at college, he maintained his flight status throughout his first ten years in the United States, repeatedly applying for a position in the NASA Astronaut Corps. However, it wasn’t until 1991, when he gained US citizenship that he met all of the criteria to be considered for a place in the Corps, and he was selected for training in 1996.

After completing two years of training, Sellers was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, followed by service in the Astronaut Office Space Station Branch, which saw him based in Moscow for periods of time, working with Russian colleges as a technical liaison for the development of computer software for the International Space Station (ISS).

Sellers on EVA during STS-121, his second flight into orbit,
Sellers on EVA during STS-121, his second flight into orbit, July 4th through 17th, 2006. Credit: NASA

In all, Sellers flew in space the times, starting with STS-112 (October 7th – 18th, 2002, Space Shuttle Atlantis), during which he logged a total of 19 hours and 41 minutes of extra vehicular activity (EVA) work, assembling elements of the ISS). In 2006, he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery for the Return To Flight Mission, STS-121, of July 4th through 17th. This mission marked the first flight of the shuttle fleet following the tragic loss of the Columbia and all seven crew on board, on February 1st, 2003. Sellers performed three  further EVAs on that mission, testing the 50-foot robotic arm boom extension as a work platform.

His final flight in space came in 2010 with STS-132, when he once again flew aboard Atlantis in what was to have been its final mission (although it actually flew once more, in July 2011). The mission delivered Russian Rassvet Mini-Research Module along with an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD) to the ISS. In total, Sellers logged 35 days, 9 hours and 2 minutes in space, including more than 41 hours on six spacewalks.

In 2011, Sellers resigned from the Astronaut Corps to become Deputy Director of Goddard Space Flight Centre’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate, a position he still held at the time of his death, and later the Acting Director for Earth Sciences at Goddard. He was the author of 70 research papers, and in 2011 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to science. In June 2016 he was bestowed the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, while shortly before his death it was announced he would receive e Gen. James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, the highest award the Space Foundation can bestow.

Sellers (l) discusses the realities of climate change with Leonardo DiCaprio in the National Geographic documentary, Before The Flood. Credit: National Geographic
Sellers (l) discusses the realities of climate change with Leonardo DiCaprio in the National Geographic documentary, Before The Flood. Credit: National Geographic

At the start of 2016, Sellers revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and chose to do so by way of an article written for The New York Times entitled Cancer and Climate Change. Commenting on his diagnosis in the piece, he wrote:

I’ve no complaints. I’m very grateful for the experiences I’ve had on this planet. As an astronaut I spacewalked 220 miles above the Earth. Floating alongside the International Space Station, I watched hurricanes cartwheel across oceans, the Amazon snake its way to the sea through a brilliant green carpet of forest, and gigantic night-time thunderstorms flash and flare for hundreds of miles along the Equator. From this God’s-eye-view, I saw how fragile and infinitely precious the Earth is. I’m hopeful for its future.

Despite his diagnosis, Sellers continued his work and research almost right up to his death. In October 2016, he appeared with Leonardo DiCaprio in National Geographic’s documentary Before the Flood. He described climate change plainly and simply:

Here are the facts: The climate is warming, We’ve measured it, from the beginning of the industrial revolution to now. It correlates so well with emissions and theory, we know within almost an absolute certainty that it’s us who are causing the warming and the CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions.

Commenting on Sellers’ passing, NASA Administrator Charles Bowden, himself a veteran of four flights into space, said:

Piers devoted his life to saving the planet. His legacy will be one not only of urgency that the climate is warming but also of hope that we can yet improve humanity’s stewardship of this planet.

Piers Sellers is survived by his ex-wife, his wife of 36 years, Amanda, their son Thomas and daughter Imogen and a grandson, Jack.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: loss, glides and the avalanche model”