Sunday, August 30th saw some hiccups in people’s ability to connect to Second Life, with users either unable to log-in or, if already logged, abruptly found themselves abruptly disconnected and unable to log back in.
For some, the issues were relatively transitory (I was logged out and unable to log back in for about 20 minutes) whilst others were subjected to longer periods of frustration being expressed at the lack of any immediate status feed updates.
On Monday, August 31st, April Linden blogged as to why this was the case.
In short, the issue wasn’t with Second Life; rather, US-based CenturyLink/Level(3), a global supplier of Internet bandwidth providing Internet services via their Tier 1 network to Internet carriers in Europe, Asia, and North America, suffered a significant outage. As a result of this many services and users around the world suffered issues in network connectivity / their ability to connect to the Internet. However, from the Lab’s operational perspective, nothing initially appeared to be wrong: all services were running, no alerts were received, and no alarms triggered. However, as April notes in her blog post:
Of course, from the Resident point of view, Second Life was effectively down in some parts of the world, and that’s really what matters.
To help us react quicker in the future we’ve made a few changes.
Yesterday evening we added a new monitoring service that checks on some of Second Life’s core systems from all around the globe. It’s a service that a lot of other companies use too, so we’ll get alerted better in the future. When Internet-scale events like yesterday happen there’s not a lot we can do about it, but we can post on the status page quicker to let our Residents know we’re aware things aren’t right.
We’re sorry for the lack of communication yesterday. We know how important Second Life is to our Residents, and we’re taking steps to increase our visibility into issues outside of our servers. It’s our hope that these steps will enable us to communicate better with y’all in the future.
See you inworld!
April Linden Second Life Operations Manager
I’ve long appreciated April’s blog posts, as not only do they help explain the complexities of Second Life and when things can go wrong as and when they do, they also help to remind us that using Second Life isn’t simply a matter of the viewer and the simulator it is connected to. There are a lot of intermediary services and steps that can also cause problems for users, and which lie well outside of Linden Lab’s sphere of influence and ability to rectify. In this particularly case, April’s post also shows that even when the latter is the case, it doesn’t stop her team from trying to tweak / improve things so they can be better informed about potential issues in the future.
So thank you again, April, for keeping us informed and educated!
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 viewer version 188.8.131.526539, dated August 11, promoted August 17, formerly the Arrack Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
Release channel cohorts:
Bormotukha Maintenance RC viewer, version 184.108.40.2067468, issued August 28th.
Project Jelly project viewer (Jellydoll updates), version 220.127.116.117487, issued August 26th.
It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.
Monday, August 31st, 19:00: Voyage to the City of the Dead
Gyro Muggins reads the 11th volume in Alan Dean Foster’s Humanx Commonwealth series, first published in 1984.
The Humanx Commonwealth is an interstellar ethical/political entity spanning multiple star systems and worlds. One of the more unique of these worlds is Horseye, the home of three alien cultures and renowned throughout the Commonwealth for having the most spectacular river valley anywhere in the known galaxy.
It is both the cultures and the river that has drawn scientists Eitienne and Lyra Redowl to Horseye. Now, after months spent in quarantine, they embark on a voyage to the source of the 12,000 long River Skar, and study it and the peoples living on its banks.
Veterans of exploration and discovery, the Redowls believe they are ready to face anything. But how can you prepare for things like treachery, lies and greed? For a local legend would have it that at the source of the Skar lie a great treasure – and the locals who appear to be willing to help the Redowls in fact plan on finding it for themselves.
Assuming, that is, the treasure is in fact something at can be regarded as offering wealth or power…
Tuesday, September 1st:
12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym, Live in the Glen
Music, poetry, and stories in a popular weekly session at Ceiluradh Glen.
19:00: Cale’s Greatest Hits
Caledonia Skytower reads various short selections of popular stories that she has presented over the last 12 years, including Frank Stockton’s The Lady, or The Tiger, which formed her Seanchai audition piece.
Two identical doors. Behind one is a blushing beauty. Behind the other, a horrible beast. Which will the young man choose, the lady or the tiger?
Wednesday, September 2nd, 19:00: The Beeline
Ktadhn Vesuvino shares more of his original work – a journey for late summer.
Riding a motorcycle to connect thoughts and actions via snow and flowers.
Thursday, September 3rd: Captains Courageous, Pt 1
Shandon Loring reads Rudyard Kipling’s adventure. Also in Kitely: teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.
Harvey Cheyne Jr. an arrogant, spoiled son of a multi-millionaire, is en route to Europe with his parents via luxury liner. As the ship enters the fishing grounds of the Grand Banks, He manages to fall overboard – the result of rushing to the deck in a heavy sea feeling sick from attempting to smoke an illicit cigar.
His fall passes unobserved aboard ship, which passes onward, leaving him to drown. Fortunately, he is rescued by Portuguese fisherman, Manuel. Unable to convince any of the fishermen of his position in life or his father’s wealth, Harvey finds himself forced to earn his passage aboard one of the larger fishing vessels.
At first indignant, Harvey quickly learns it is work – or go hungry. And so he embarks on a new life one which eventually leads him to a surprising realisation.
Seanchai Library is Moving!
After three years at Holly Kai, Seanchai Library is moving to pastures new (and larger!). The last sessions at Holly Kai Park will be on Thursday, September 3rd. I’ll have a full update on their new location on or just after that date.
The Third Eye, curated by Jaz (Jessamine2108), opened its September 2020 exhibition on the 29th August, once again offering a double header of art featuring Lynn (Titaniclynn Ayres) and pieces by Jaz herself.
Lynn is a Second Life photographer whose work tends to centre on landscape photography, but also can encompass art and avatar studies. For Photos by Lynn she offers 18 pieces in both colour and black and white that are taken from her extensive portfolio of landscape images, and which incorporate some of Second Life’s popular public destinations.
The colour images, encompassing places such as Boulder, Jambo, A Taste of Africa, Cherishville, Venesha – all of which are well known to seasoned Second Life travellers – offer unique views of their subject that are rendered in rich colours. In some, this post-processing suggests a painting-like finish, in others they provide a sense of warmth and lightness. All, however, do full service to their subjects.
Similarly, Lynn’s black and white pieces encompass SL’s more popular destinations of recent times and are all equally evocative – if not more so, given the way black-and-white images tend to draw out the secrets of their subjects. In this – and while I enjoyed Lynn’s colour works immensely, I found the black-and-white pieces like Waiting.., Tralala’s Diner and Elvion, to contain a particular vitality.
For her exhibition, Jaz offers Navarasa a visual journey through emotions in Indian dance. The Navarasa is a dance form that represents the nine rasas, or emotions that an individual might display according to their situation. These are: Śṛṅgāraḥ (romance, love, attractiveness) Hāsyam (laughter, mirth, comedy), Raudram (anger, fury), Kāruṇyam (compassion, mercy), Bībhatsam (disgust, aversion), Bhayānakam (horror, terror), Veeram (heroism) and Adbhutam (wonder, amazement).
Each of these emotions is portrayed in a pair of images: the uppermost a scene captured from within Second Life, the lower a photograph over which has been set the dance step representative of the rasa itself. It’s an engaging, evocative display, dance figures and background photos (including in places the use of colour wash) capture the emotional mood, whilst the accompanying image from Second Life provides an expressive narrative for the emotion.
Venus has been the subject of a number of recent studies, one of the most intriguing of which suggests it’s runaway greenhouse effect was started by what might at first seem an unlikely candidate: Jupiter.
Our solar system is a place of mysteries, both in itself and in comparison with many exoplanet systems. While of the latter have Jupiter-size worlds, unlike our solar system, these tend to be found fairly close in to their parent planet (although there are some exceptions). It’s believed that these planets actually formed further out from their parent stars, but then migrated inwards under gravity, until a point of equilibrium / resonance was reached.
This idea of planetary migration has led to theories on how our own solar system may have developed early it its life, with one of them in particular being of interest here. Called the Grand Tack Hypothesis, it suggests that Jupiter likely formed some 3.5 AU from the Sun (1 AU = the average distance separating the Earth from the Sun) – or about 1.5 AU closer to the Sun that its present orbit. During the initial evolution of the solar system, it gradually migrated closer to the Sun, perhaps getting as close as 1.5 AU – a little further out from the Sun than the present orbit of Mars, before the combined gravities of the other outer planets – most notably Saturn – gradually teased it back outwards again, until that point of equilibrium / resonance was reached, leaving them all in the orbits we see today.
What is particularly interesting about the Grand Tack Hypothesis is that it accounts for a number of inconsistencies visible in the solar system today if it is assumed the planets all formed more-or-less in their current orbit sand never shifted very far from them. These can be summarised as:
Why is Mars so small when compared to Earth and Venus? If the planets all formed within or close to their current orbits, then most models built around this idea result in Mars being of a comparable size to Earth.
Why don’t we see a “super Earth” (or “mega Mars”) between the orbits of Earth and Jupiter? Again, models based on all the planets forming in their present day orbits around the Sun indicate that there would have been sufficient accretion disk material in the region of Mars for a solid planet 1.5 times the mass of Earth (or greater) to have formed.
Why is the asteroid belt so relatively uniform? Again, if Jupiter formed 5-5.5 AU from the Sun, then the material within the accretion disk should have resulted not only in a Earth-size Mars, or a possible “mega Mars”, but should also have resulted in the formation of many more planetismals or “mini Marses” forming, smaller than Mars as weknow it today, but potentially somewhat larger than the likes of Vista and Ceres within the asteroid belt.
A migration of Jupiter towards the Sun accounts for the first two of these inconsistencies in much the same way: as it moved in towards the Sun, Jupiter both “ate” a lot of the material of the accretion disk sitting between the current orbits of Earth and Mars and also “pushed” some of it inwards, helping in the eventual formation of both Earth and Venus.
Then as it reversed course, it “ate” more of the debris, whilst pushing some of it away. Thus, the inward and outward movements of Jupiter left only sufficient material occupying the area of Mars’ orbit to accrete and form a relatively small rocky world. By the same measure, this pushing / absorbing of material within what would become the asteroid belt meant that material was much more widespread and unable to accrete sufficiently in order to create multiple “mini-Mars” planetismals.
But what does this have to do with starting the extreme greenhouse effect on Venus? The answer to this is quite complex.
In effect, Jupiter’s motion inwards not only pushed material towards the Sun that helped Earth and Venus to form, it also became sufficiently close to them both to encourage them into exaggerated elliptical orbits around the Sun, which at the time was somewhat cooler and dimmer than it has been for most of its adult life. Thus, Venus likely formed within what was then the Sun’s habitable zone, allowing an abundance of liquid water to form across the planet’s surface, whilst its elliptical orbit meant it experienced significant seasonal changes during the course of it’s “year”.
In particular, whilst “close” to the Sun, during its “summers”, the ocean-rich Venus would be subjected to greater amounts of evaporation of water from its oceans, which would in turn be subject to greater amounts of UV radiation. This radiation would split the water vapour into elemental oxygen and hydrogen, with the latter easily stripped away from the planet’s atmosphere by the solar wind, leaving the oxygen to combine with carbon to form carbon dioxide, generating what is called a “moist greenhouse” effect.
At the same time, the mass of water in the Venusian seas gave rise to a process called tidal dissipation which over time, gradually “dampened” Venus’ exaggerated orbit around the Sun, allowing it to be pulled into the kind of circular orbit it has today, eliminating the seasons whilst holding the planet closer to the Sun than it had been, further increasing temperatures and accelerating the moist greenhouse effect. This in turn would be aided but the Sun increasing in it radiative output, further accelerating the greenhouse effect as more and more water evaporated from the surface oceans, until the point of no return was reached.
A further result of the Sun’s increasing outflow of heat meant that its habitable zone was pushed outwards to encompass the Earth – but being that much further away from the Sun and under a greater influence of the gravities of the outer planets, Earth didn’t suffer either form that initial kick into a moist greenhouse effect, allowing it to maintain its seasons, and remain a more comfortably warm, wet planet.
It’s not 100% certain Jupiter’s migration was the kickerstarter for Venus’ greenhouse effect. There are, for example other mechanisms that may have dampened Venus’ orbital eccentricity without the influence of a massive planet like Jupiter – such as Milankovitch Cycles. But given the way the Grand Tack Hypothesis helps explain a good deal about the early solar system, it seem likely it may well have been responsible. And if it is correct, it has significant implications for any Venus analogues orbiting other stars and our understanding of the mechanisms at work in the development of exoplanets.
Back in May, I wrote about Camila Runo’s homestead region design, A Taste of Africa (see A voyage to Africa in Second Life). Since that time, Camila has redressed the region so whilst it remains rooted in Africa, its foundation lay further to the north and perhaps east than that iteration, as the new title – *NOUR* – Light of the Desert – indicates.
As with the previous iteration of the region, this is a richly evocative setting, incorporating multiple aspects of what might be called – for those of us in the west, at least – “traditional desert settings”.
There’s a domed palace on a rocky plateau, complete with a small garden house with with the most valuable commodity to be found within desert dunes: free-flowing eater. Then there is a Bedouin camp site sitting at the edge of an oasis (or a wadi, depending on your preference). In between these sits a waterside village, crowned by a luxurious bath house, although the dhows sitting on the river suggest this is more of a working village than a resort.
From the landing point, located in the south-west corner, it is possible to visit all of these locations in turn, the region being neatly laid out in such a way so as to suggest a walk through a desert, one surrounded by high dunes (although these are admittedly off-region, so the intervening water does spoil the effect a little), passing from one oasis of life to the next. A path running down from the landing point points to the route to be taken, with the first stop that of the high palace. sitting on its plateau, commanding a view across the rest of the region.
Topped by yellow-painted domes and reached via a stone stairway that sits just within the walls of the village and that leads the way past the lower-lying garden house, the palace has thick walls to help keep the heat out, a tall fountain splashing water within its main hall. Lavish curtains and drapes separate the side rooms from the hall, and latticed windows allow whatever breeze might pass to enter the building, while the upper level offers an ornate bath and chaise lounge on which to recline.
Down below, beyond the garden house with its fountains, water, grass and flowers, sits the village. Flat-topped houses and a souk built of mudstone surround an open market of tented stalls. It is bracketed by water to one side, where wharves for dhows sit, and a long ruler of a wall on the other, clearly designed to keep as much of the wind-blown sand out of the village as possible. Standing as a place of local commerce, the village is dominated, as noted earlier, by the squat bulk of a great bathhouse, within which sits a large square pool and plenty of opportunities to relax.
A single gateway sits within the long village wall, parallel lines of rounded stones marching out into the desert beyond. These wind around and between rippled dunes, showing the way to the oasis / wadi. Whether you follow them past the old desert fort or simply set out over the banked dunes to reach the greenery that lies beyond them is up to you, but once you’ve passed through the ring of palm trees you’ll find a spacious Bedouin camp set out around a body of water unusually – for a desert – fed by a rocky peak from which water tumbles in multiple falls.
Throughout all of this are many details that add depth to the region. There are a lot of places both within the grander buildings and in the large tents to sit, with more outside around camp fires or shaded by the likes of blankets draped over simple wooden frames. Dromedary camels add to the felling of the north African / Arbian setting, whilst a rich (if a little intrusive in places) sound scape brings life to the village with the noise of people going about their daily business filling the air. Adding their own conversation to the mix are the camels, given as they are to the occasional grunt and snort as they wander.
Following on from A Taste of Africa, Camila’s latest build continues in the same vein of offering an immersive, engaging setting, one particularly rip for avatar photography, although the region offers more than this for those willing to dress the part and / or explore it from end to end. All-in-all, an excellent build and engaging visit.