Update March 28th: Artful Expressions is in the process of relocating. The current exhibition remains “for a few days” at the SLurl given in the body of this article, after which the gallery can be found at its new Mainland home.
Currently on display at Artful Expressions Gallery, curated by Sorcha Sanvean (Sorcha Tyles), is an exhibition of images by Adi Frith (Adiuvo), a photographer whose work I had not previously encountered.
Once again, this is a small exhibit offering just six images, all of which are avatar studies featuring – I assume – Adi herself as the model. All are all very individual pieces, ranging from a deeply voyeuristic view of a couple engaging in adult play (Found) through to what might be seen as a simple, casual capture (Just Away). Between these are moments of contemplation (Tied) and what might be a reflection of love (Rose), with what might be a further moment of adult intimacy (Strapped) and another suggestion of voyeuristic opportunity (Give Up), although this might also be characterised as a moment of thoughtful reflection.
All six images are finely cropped and post-processed to present captivating scenes, each with a story to tell – or a mystery to be explored (who does the languid, leash-holding hand belong to in Found? What thoughts are present within Give Up and Tied – and what preceded these moments? These are questions and stories only those who view the images can answer – and thus a visit very much is in order.
As well as the gallery space, Sorcha also provides a ground level garden and beach space, reached via the teleport within the gallery – although on my visit I found it dropped me a little too neatly into the foamy wash of tide. The beach area offers deck seating and a short garden walk up to a small café, making it an ideal place it catch your breath and perhaps sit and think about the art you’ve just seen up at the gallery.
Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, opens its portals on Thursday, April 18th and runs through until Sunday, May 5th, 2019 inclusive. It will bring together everyone with a love of fantasy – enthusiasts, creators, performers and designers – for eleven days of commerce, special events, live music concerts and more, all to help raise funds for Relay for Life of Second Life.
All of the sixteen regions and their designers have yet to be announced in full, but nine have been outlined as a teaser:
Bayounimba by Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Mondi Beaumont: a place that has gone from art and light within a forest to a place of darkness and swamp, where half-remembered echoes might still be found.
Department Discarded Curiosities by Mayah Parx: a place of whimsical clutter, collected and tossed aside, where colour and curiosity reside.
The Light of Valoth by Kilik Lekvoda: a once glorious city once protected by Nature, but now reclaimed by her.
Midas by Alia Baroque: where rivers meet, the jewel of the ancient world is born. Follow the trail of incense through baths and gardens to meet the one that will touch your heart of gold.
Nightshade Blossoms by Rowan Thursday and Kylie Todriya: a window on a land forgotten by time lit by lanterns and starlight.
Sanguinely Garden by Eldowyn Inshan and Katz Republic: humanity destroys its own environment. and the animals and plants are building a new home. The garden with its inhabitants shows them a new way.
The Shrine Tree by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee: a place of Dark Mystical Fantasy where sunset colours the world and the occult, mystical, Gothic and spiritual might be found.
Tensors’ Flying Market by Lrriven: a place of endless antiquities and curiosities, one of the Dreaming’s most wondrous of destinations.
Twilight Spring by Searlait Nitschke: a place of worship for Dark Elves and Drow, where dance, music, and celebration might be found.
Call to Bloggers
On Monday, March 18th, 2019, applications to be a 2018 Fantasy Faire blogger opened, with the announcement reading in part:
Faire blogging should stem from the same source the Fairelands do: inspiration and imagination. There are no obligatory assignments. Instead there are challenges. We do not want to force anyone to do anything, we want to inspire, dare, encourage: challenge.
We are looking for bloggers that genuinely love the Faire and cherish the fleeting time the Fairelands visit our realm. Since the application is mostly about getting into the early access, we are focusing on bloggers who take pictures in the sims, or of the sims. Studio-work is not dependent on if the sims are laggy or not, after all. We are also searching for bloggers with strong ties to RFL, who are passionate about the Relay and willing to write about it. I am also always, always looking for and favouring good writers and storytellers.
If you would like to chronicle the Faire, make sure you complete the blogger application form (also produced below) BUT! – don’t hurry there right away; as with past Fantasy Faires, there are a few little extra things to consider!
Bloggers are additionally invited to participate in one or more challenges. These are not obligatory, and anyone – official blogger or otherwise – is free to participate in them. They are:
Faire Folk – create a Fairelands character based on one of the Faireland region themes, and bring that character to life through photography and / or writing
My New Shiny – merchant-focused blogging from a personal perspective.
I Remember – write about your favourite Fairelands of the past.
Faire Life – get involved in a Faire event – roleplay, literary workshop, attending a dance or other performance – and write about it.
Those applying can also apply to write for the official Fantasy Faire website. This has no influence on the actual blogger selection for the Faire, and should be filled only if you are truly interested.
This summary is generally 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.
Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.
Official LL Viewers
Current Release version 18.104.22.1684670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13th, promoted February 28th. No Change.
We tend to think of the Earth orbiting around the Sun along a path largely free from debris. However, this is not strictly true. Twenty-five years ago, scientists discovered that Earth orbits the Sun along with a giant ring of dust which appears to have originated within the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. This belt is made up of millions of rocks of all sizes, many of which over the millennia crash into one another and grind together, producing a lot of dust. This gradually falls towards the Sun as a result of gravity – but along the way, some of it is influenced by the Earth’s gravity, becoming trapped along and either side of the Earth’s orbit, forming a ring.
Observations of Mars by NASA’s Maven orbiter have also given indications that the Red Planet could have a ring – or at least, a proto-ring – occupying its orbit, while 10 years ago, astronomers discovered a ring straddling the orbit of Venus. Now a new study reveals little Mercury has a ring of dust lying along its orbit – although by rights, it shouldn’t.
Mercury’s ring was discovered entirely by accident – ironically, those responsible for its discovery, Guillermo Stenberg and Russell Howard of Naval Research Centre in Washington, DC, were attempting to find a dust-free region that is thought to surround the Sun, created by solar energy radiating outwards from our star. The idea being that determining the size of this dust-free region would both reveal more about the nature of the Sun and the evolution of the solar system. But instead of locating this area of “empty” space, the astronomers discovered the ring sharing Mercury’s orbit.
People thought that Mercury, unlike Earth or Venus, is too small and too close to the Sun to capture a dust ring. They expected that the solar wind and magnetic forces from the Sun would blow any excess dust at Mercury’s orbit away.
– Astronomer Guillermo Stenberg
The two scientists worked with images from NASA’s STEREO solar observatory. This pair of satellites follow highly elliptical geocentric orbits. Over time, one of them pulls farther ahead of Earth while the other falls further behind. This means that together they provide stereo images of the Sun. In studying the images from the satellites, Stenberg and Howard noticed an area of enhanced brightness along Mercury’s orbit, indicative of a dust ring being present.
The question is – how did it form? There’s no answer to this yet; as Stenberg notes, the ring shouldn’t be there, and the lesson of Venus has revealed that it’s better not to assume common factors in the formation of these rings.
This is because initially, it was assumed the ring around Venus was the result of the same gravitational forces that have created the dust ring along Earth’s orbit. However, when astrophysicists Petr Pokorny and Mark Kuchner from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre attempted to use extensive computer modelling to try to reproduce a dust ring matching the one in Venus’ orbit, they were unable to do so.
As a result, the two started researching and modelling possible explanations, and in a paper published on March 12th, 2019, the two suggest that the Venusian ring is the result of a previously undiscovered group of asteroids occupying the same orbit as Venus with a 1:1 resonance (that is, they complete one orbit of the Sun for every orbit Venus makes). Further, their research suggests that the group of asteroids are the remnants of a much larger asteroid ring that existed when the solar system was born.
The asteroid themselves have yet to be located – no easy task, assuming they do exist, as the Venusian dust ring is 25.5 million km (16 million mi) deep, and 9.6 million km (6 million mi) across, and bright enough to hide larger objects within it. However, if the asteroid are discovered, they would not only confirm the theory about how the dust ring around Venus’ orbit formed, but also hold clues to how the solar system formed.
Further SLS Changes
In my previous Space Sunday report, I covered the announcement by NASA that suggested the Space Launch System rocket might have its initial launch delayed. Now it seems the system is to undergo further changes to both its initial flights and its future development.
As it was originally planned, the SLS was to have been initially launched in its Block 1 configuration. This would see the vehicle use what is called the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) as its upper stage. After that, launches would switch over to using the Block 1B version, intended to use a more powerful upper stage called the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS), being built by Boeing Aerospace.
Given issues with the development of the EUS, in late 2018 NASA announced the first two SLS launches, referred to as EM-1 and EM-2, and designed to send a Orion vehicle on a month-long trip around the Moon, the first uncrewed, the second crewed, will utilise the Block 1 version of the rocket, with flights thereafter shifting to the Block 1B rocket to undertake tasks such as launching elements of the Lunar Gateway. Now, under the Trump Administration’s 2020 budget request, it appears the introduction of the EUS is to be deferred – possibly indefinitely, with NASA ordered to carry out all initial flights using the Block 1 variant of the rocket.
While the ICPS stage is more than sufficient to achieve the objectives established for EM-1 and EM-2, it is not powerful enough to meet all of the demandd of the proposed Lunar Gateway development. Instead, NASA is expected to supplement SLS flights to build the Gateway with the use of commercial launch vehicles, such as the United Launch Alliance Delta V, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy and – potentially – Blue Origin’s New Glenn.