Author Archives: Inara Pey

About Inara Pey

Eclectic virtual world blogger with a focus on Second Life, VR, virtual environments and technology.

Ani and Haya at Serena Imagine in Second Life

Now on display through to the end of the month at the Serena Imagine Arts Centre are exhibitions by Anibrm Jung and Hayael Bracula, two artists I’ve previously featured in these pages, and who between them have two unique perspectives on the worlds around us.

Anibrm Jung specialises in physical world photography, focusing on nature. Many of her images captured from her own garden, and all of them recorded using only her Nikon D60 camera and natural light. Everything is framed directly through the viewfinder, and no cropping nor image manipulation is used after the fact. In this way, we are able to see each picture exactly as she did when taking it, allowing us to share her own sense of closeness with her subjects.

The result is stunning images, rich is substance and detail; vibrant demonstrations of the art of working with nature, often at the macro level, skilfully utilising depth of field or soft focus to marvellous effect to produce truly stunning images.

In the north-west corner of Serena Arts, Ani is exhibiting over 20 of her images ranging from fabulous shots of the coast, through beautiful captures of nature, to the aforementioned pictures from her garden, many of which feature studies of cats and her macro lens work – which really is extraordinary. These are images which would grace any home, either in Second Life or the physical world, and all are available to buy. I challenge anyone not to be captivated by her work, particularly when it comes to the likes of aKELEI or Over the Moon! – the latter of which beautifully captures a Blood Moon.

Sitting between Ani’s exhibition and the region’s landing point is Heaven, a substantial exhibition of work by Hayael Bracula, which feature more than 40 pieces of work.

Haya focuses on images captured within Second Life, with a particular  – but by no means exclusive – slant towards avatar studies. Using a range of approaches to her work, coupled with a skilled application of post-processing, Haya’s work always draws the eye into it. There is a deep well of detail to be found in her studies, revealing much about mood, thoughts and emotions, both with her subjects and ourselves. These are, in many cases, pieces which are more about encompassing a statement than offering a narrative, and they do so extremely powerfully.

Scattered among the avatar studies is the occasional landscape or scene (one of which is actually repeated in the exhibition). These again reflect Haya’s approach to her work, setting a tone and style that is unique to each so that – in contrast to the more numerous avatar studies – do perhaps suggest a narrative to us.

Both Ani and Haya will be on display at Serena Imagine Arts Centre through until the end of May, 2017, and if you haven’t already done so, a visit is recommended.

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2017 Viewer release summaries week 20

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, May 21st

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

  • Current Release version: 5.0.4.325124, dated April 3, promoted April 19th – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer overviewdownload page, release notes – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Maintenance RC Viewer, version 5.0.5.326444, released on May 18th – new trash purging behaviour, support for estate access overrides (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: planets, stars and spacecraft

Artist’s impression of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Proxima b, the planet discovered orbiting the closest star to our own, Proxima Centauri (see here for more), has been the subject of much speculation regarding its potential habitability (see here for more). Now a new study is underway which may bright us a lot closer to understanding the conditions on the planet.

Located 4.25 light years away, Proxima Centauri is a M-type red dwarf star. Such stars are highly variable and unstable compared to other types of stars, and this might weigh heavily against Proxima b having the right conditions for life to arise. The new study involves a team of astrophysicists from the University of Exeter, England, and staff from the UK’s Meteorological Office, who have been using the latter’s state-of-the-art Unified Model (UM).

This infographic compares the orbit of the planet around Proxima Centauri (Proxima b) with the same region of the Solar System. Credit: ESO

Used to study Earth’s atmosphere, with applications ranging from weather prediction to the effects of climate change, the Unified Model allowed the team to simulate what Proxima b might be like if it had a similar atmospheric composition to Earth, and also what it might be like if had a much simpler atmosphere – one composed of nitrogen with trace amounts of carbon dioxide. Last, but not least, they made allowances for variations in the planet’s orbit.

This last point is important because given the planet’s distance from its parent – around 7.5 million km (4.6 million mi) – Proxima b is likely to either be tidally locked so that one face constantly faces its sun, or it is in a 3:2 orbital resonance, rotating three times on its axis for every two orbits around its sun. In the former situation, the main atmospheric gases on the night-facing side would likely freeze, leaving the daylight zone exposed and dry; in the latter, a single solar “day” would last a long time, resulting in the sunward side of the planet being extremely hot and day and the night side very cold and dry.

Taking all of this into account, and using data from previous studies, the UK team found that Proxima b, with either a complex or a simple atmosphere, could have regions where water might exist in liquid form. In addition, any substantive eccentricity in the planet’s orbit around its sun could further increase its potential habitability.

It will still be some time before more can be directly discerned about Proxima b, but it is hoped that the study will help in our understanding of the potential habitability of other exoplanets, and demonstrates how the study of conditions here on Earth can be used to predict what may exist in extra-solar environments.  It may also improve our understanding of how our own climate has and will evolve.

US Military “Close” To Awarding Spaceplane Contract

The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is reportedly “close” to awarding a contract to build its XS-1 spaceplane launch vehicle.

An artist’s impression of the Boeing XS-1 concept vehicle

Announced in 2013, the XS-1 is intended to provide the US military with the means to rapidly deploy small satellite payloads to Earth orbit using a re-usable first stage and expendable upper stage which may be carried piggyback by the first stage vehicle. The goal of the programme is to provide an uncrewed launch vehicle capable of delivering payloads of up to 2,300 kg (5,000 lb) to orbit, which can be rapidly re-used – the target of the development programme is to have the vehicle complete 10 launches in 10 days. In addition, the vehicle must:

  • Be capable of hypersonic flight to Mach 10 (12,250 km/h) or higher
  • Lifting an expendable upper stage unit which it can then launch, and which can carry the payload to orbit
  • Operate with a launch cost less than 1/10 that of current launch systems (i.e. around US $5 million per flight).

Three groups of companies were awarded initial design concept contracts:  Boeing and Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems and XCOR Aerospace, and Northrop Grumman and Virgin Galactic. None of these may be awarded the development contract, which is intended to see the project to a point where test flights could commence in 2020.

To be successful, the vehicle will make use of advanced materials, cryogenic tanks, durable thermal protection, and modular subsystems. These, coupled with a reliable, re-usable propulsion system, would make it possible for the vehicle to achieve the hoped-of low-cost, rapid launch and re-use capability.

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Costa Blanco in Second Life

Costa Blanco, Costa Blanco; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Costa Blanco – click any image for full size

Caitlyn and I first visited Costa Blanco in January 2017, but I didn’t get to blog about it at the time, so a re-visit seemed in order.

Designed by Gabrian Lascelles (Gothicgaylord), the region is described as “situated in the southernmost province of Sweden, and is connected by weather and theme with Bretagne in France.” It’s an interesting description, and the general environment for the region has much of a feel of being suited to either southern Sweden or Bretagne (or even here in the UK!). However, the design of the region throws in multiple elements – a Mediterranean style villa by the landing point, for example – such that Costa Blanco has an eclectic feel to it which makes exploring interesting and offers many opportunities for photography.

Costa Blanco, Costa Blanco; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Costa Blanco

The aforementioned landing point is in the north-west part of the region, directly outside of the villa. Grapes are growing on the vine here, as a cobbled drive leads down the slope of a low hill to where a scattering of farm outhouses and barns sit. Some of these have clearly seen better days, as their boarded windows and doorways can attest, while the tractors sitting in and around them also speak of age and hard-working lives. Given the way the hay is baled, it would seem this is still a working farm, but the overall impression is that the focus is now more on providing stables for horses, than working the land.

Costa Blanco, Costa Blanco; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Costa Blanco

Dirt tracks run around and through the farm, offering multiple choices for wandering. To the south, a single track runs along a finger of land pointing eastwards. At the end of this sits another old outhouse in which sits a little display of photographs captured in the physical world. This tumbledown galley shares the headland with an old barn and a cosy little cove, around which places to sit and snuggle can be found, some of many to be found throughout the region.

A sandy beach sweeps  down the eastern shoreline of the land from the north, and out onto the slender headland, giving the impression that this is a stretch of coastline facing east, looking out to where a smaller island sits. Reached via a little motor boat available from a beach-side pier, this rocky island offers a little retreat, complete with summer-house,  and a look-out point in the form of the disintegrating wreck of a boat made fast against the rocks. As the motor boat poofs when you leave it, getting back the mainland appears to be a case of flying or of teleporting back to the landing point.

Costa Blanco, Costa Blanco; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Costa Blanco

Given the number of cuddle spots here – we particularly enjoyed the secluded hot spa – Costa Blanco is ideal for romantics. Those seeking more active pursuits can ride the region’s horses while photographers can have a field day with the setting as a whole. There is something about the air of age and general shabbiness present in the buildings, coupled with the natural unkempt nature of the trees, grass and bushes which make Costa Blanco an eye-catching visit.

Costa Blanco, Costa Blanco; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr Costa Blanco

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