Updates from the week ending Sunday, August 7th, 2022
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
Release viewer: version 220.127.116.113358 – formerly the Maintenance 2 RC viewer, dated August 1, promoted August 4 – NEW.
Release channel cohorts::
Maintenance (N)omayo RC viewer, updated to version 18.104.22.1683882, August 5.
While I have written about the passing of noted individuals involved in astronomy and space exploration in previous Space Sunday articles, this obituary – coming a little later than intended – focuses on the life of a woman who never actually flew in space or worked directly on any space programme, but who nevertheless has a profound impact on the shape of the US space programme from the late 1970s through mid-1980s. who who served as an inspiration for woman and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds to seek careers with NASA, and who sadly passed away on July 30th, 2022
Her name is Nichelle Nichols, known the world over as Lt. Uhura from the original Star Trek TV series and the first six of the franchise’s big screen outings, and this is her story.
Born Grace Dell Nichols on December 28th, 1932 to Samuel Earl Nichols, a factory worker who Lishia (Parks) Nichols, in Robbins, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), where Samuel Nichols served as both the local mayor (1929) and its chief magistrate. From the start, she was determined in her aims: as a youngster, she informed her parents she did not like her given first name and asked them to change it, any they suggested “Nichelle”, which she adopted.
Studying ballet, dance, music and singing at High School and the Chicago School of Ballet, Nichols landed her first professional gig when just 16, singing in a revue at The College Inn, a well-known Chicago night spot.
It was there that jazz legend Duke Ellington witnessed her performance and he invited her to join his big band as a singer / dancer. This was followed by time with Lionel Hampton’s band, which she joined as a lead singer and dancer.
Nichols’ acting break came in 1959, when she appeared in Porgy and Bess, Starring Sammy Davis Jr., Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Danridge and Pearl Bailey. While she was uncredited in the film, her appearance led to a series of small stage roles, then in 1961 she was cast opposite Burgess Meredith in Oscar Brown’s Kicks and Co, a musical satire poking fun at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy.
The show wasn’t a success, closing not long after it opened, but it ran for long enough for a curious Hefner to attend a performance. He was so impressed by Nichol’s stage presence and singing voice, he immediately offered her the chance to sing at his original Playboy Club, which has opened to great success as a nightspot in 1960.
Three years later, Nichols gained her first TV part, a small role in The Lieutenant starring Gary Lockwood (2001 a Space Odyssey) and created by a certain Eugene “Gene” Roddenberry. The episode, entitled To Set It Right, guest-starred Don Marshall (Land of the Giants) and the legendary Dennis Hopper, and dealt with the controversial subject of racism – so controversial in fact that NBC initially refused to air it, a decision that Roddenberry later said helped spur him in his desire to create Star Trek and use the science-fiction format by which to tell morality tales and socially-aware stories without upsetting the network censors.
Nichol’s role in The Lieutenant was small but memorable (and actually led to a short-lived affair with Roddenberry). More particularly, in appearing in the show, she joined a distinguished list of actors who would go on to have an impact on Star Trek, including cast members Majel Barrett (with whom Roddenberry also had an affair before eventually marrying her) Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and Walter Koeing, and guest stars Ricardo Montalban (Khan Noonian Singh from Space Seed and later, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) Paul Comi (Lt. Styles, Balance of Terror), and Lockwood himself (Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell from Where No Man Has Gone Before).
As Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek, Nichols became an icon for women and people of colour the world over, and particularly in the Untied States. Her position as a female officer serving on the bridge of a quasi-military vessel (part of an organisation clearly modelled on the US Navy), was unprecedented, while the role itself was one of the first times an African American actress was portrayed a non-stereotypical role on television.
However, thanks to the core focus on the series leads – Shatner and Nimoy – by the end of the first season, Nichols was dissatisfied in having little to do, and on the final day of shooting, Wednesday, February 22nd, 1967, she handed her resignation to creator-producer Roddenberry, stating her intention to take an offer to appear on Broadway. Rather than accept, Roddenberry requested she take time to think about leaving the show some more before making her decision final.
The following Saturday, February 25th, 1967, Nichols attended an event at the Beverley Hills Hilton in connection with the Nation Institute (although later attributed as an NAACP banquet) at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, was to speak. It was an event to go down in history as the first time Dr. King publicly condemned the war in Vietnam. However, for Nichelle Nichols it was memorable for another reason entirely. Ahead of King’s address, she was informed her “greatest fan” wanted to meet her.
I said, ‘Sure.’ I looked across the room and thought whoever the fan was had to wait because there was Dr. Martin Luther King walking towards me with this big grin on his face. He reached out to me and said, ‘Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.’ He said that Star Trek was the only show that he, and his wife Coretta, would allow their three children to stay up and watch. When I told he I was leaving the series, he said, ‘you cannot, you cannot! For the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day, as intelligent, quality, beautiful, people who can sing dance, and can go to space, who are professors, lawyers … If you leave, that door can be closed because your role is not a black role, and is not a female role; he can fill it with anybody even an alien.
– Nichelle Nichols, recalling her 1967 meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
So deeply affected by King’s words, Nichols didn’t only return to Start Trek and stay with it through the Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the last outing for the entire original series cast, she sought to do more for the people of whom King spoke.
Most notably, she helped found and run Women in Motion, a company that initially produced educational materials using music as a teaching tool and which focused on young women and girls. However, during a visit to a NASA facility, she commented about the lack of apparent diversity among the staff. NASA responded by asking her to help them broaden their recruiting activities, providing a grant to Women in Motion to help with the work.